Showing posts with label Movie. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Movie. Show all posts

January 2, 2020

'Uncut Gems' Cuts Deep

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Uncut Gems Cuts Deep."
Yesterday, we went to see the new Adam Sandler movie, Uncut Gems....Ratner's life is full of shlemazel of his own making. While he has a good wife, kids, and extended family (maybe with the exception of his loan shark uncle), a fancy-schmancy home in the suburbs with a newly renovated pool, his own jewelry business that even caters to some big-league sports players, and a shiksa girlfriend on the side (who seems to love him), Ratner is never satisfied or happy and is always pushing for more!

In the movie, Howard Ratner was driven by greed and made bad life choices, and to me, it was a shame that the he was portrayed as a Jew, which can feed the vicious cycle of discrimination and hatred that has often been anchored around money. With the vicious machete attack on Chanukah at a Rabbi's house in Monsey this week (after a slew of other anti-Semitic incidents, including an attack on a student for wearing a yalmulke on the NYC Subway to beatings and tire slashings of Jews in Brooklyn), we are reminded that there is once again a resurgence of prejudice and hate against Jews, but also that it's the light of Chanukah that "drives out the darkness," and that money and materialism are a mere shabby substitute to finding true security and success whether you work in the dense NYC Diamond District or live in the sprawling suburbs of America.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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December 8, 2019

Operation Thunderbolt: Fighting Prejudice and Persecution

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called "Operation Thunderbolt: Fighting Prejudice and Persecution."
No people should suffer blatant prejudice and persecution and everyone should be “entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” These are part of the foundational values that America and Israel share. We stand as friends and allies for respecting and valuing human rights, always to be underscored by peace and security for our peoples. Isn’t it an amazing “coincidence” that the rescue in Entebbe occurred on America’s 200th anniversary, July 4, 1976!

The raid on Entebbe and the miraculous rescue of the hostages stands as an everlasting symbol of courage and triumph of good over evil. As we continue to work and pray for a genuine peace in the Middle East for all its inhabitants, we also must stand resolutely and say “Never Again.”

(Credit Photo: Government Press Office Israel via Flickr)

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September 22, 2019

Rambo Is Back



I got my tickets for this today. 

Can't wait to see it!

Rambo says:
"You started this; I'll end it!"

Justice, justice shalt thou pursue.  ;-)
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July 28, 2019

Cold-Press Fruits and Veggies

We starting watching this movie with Joe Cross called, "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead."

This guy weighs a ton and goes on a 60-day all juicing diet.  

He stops all the food and just carries his juicer with him everywhere making fresh fruit and vegetable cold-press. 

While obviously a little extreme, I like the idea of reducing the food intake (especially everything gluten which is death itself), and replacing it with healthy juice. 

I tried one of the super green juices and it literally tasted like eating grass. 

Uh, that's not gonna realistically work for me. 

So I settled on Evolution's Organic Super Fruit Greens that has a combination of orange, mango, pineapple, cucumber, spinach, romaine, and kale. 

I actually like it and am sitting here sipping on one as I write this blog post. 

I went into the fridge and threw all the carbs in the freakin garbage--good riddance!

Gotta get and stay healthy!  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 28, 2019

Fire As A Force Of Nature And Man

So fire is a tool for heating and cooking, but obviously it is also a destructive force that can be and is weaponized. 

From tales and mythologies of old, dragons would spew fire from their mouths and destroy the enemy leaving only maybe their charred remains (likely, we will get to see more of that in Season 8 of Game of Thrones coming up soon).

In the 20th century, flamethrowers were widely used in World War I and II, and today thermonuclear weapons create great fireballs and mushroom clouds.  

But already as far back as the Bible, Samson fought with fire against the Philistines. 

He caught 300 foxes, tied them tail to tail in pairs and put a lite torch between them and they ran terror and havoc through his enemy's encampment.  

By the time of the Greek and Roman Empires, they would use catapults to hurl pots or bundles of flaming materials at their enemies. 

In the Movie, Gladiator, upon releasing these catapults, he orders: "Unleash Hell!"

During the Spanish Inquisition, the inquisitor and his henchman would force Jews and others to convert or face execution by fire in the auto-da-fe. 

Again in the Salem Witch Hunts, they would burn suspected witches at the stake. 

And in more recent times, in the War Against Terror, ISIS was shown in videos that went viral torching those they considered infidels.

The other night watching a movie, "Redbad," there was a riveting scene, where the Franks pour accelerants on live pigs and then light them up with torches and send them darting like crazy into the enemy ranks and villages.  

Fire for good or for evil, those flaming pigs, I will never forget.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 24, 2019

Interfaith Movie Today

This afternoon, we attended the interfaith movie screening of “The Judge.

The movie is about a Palestinian woman who becomes “the first woman judge in a Shari’a ‘family law’ court.” 

Let's just say it wasn't easy for her to break into this male-dominated profession within institutionalized religion in the Middle East.  

Thinking in an interfaith way, I guess it's maybe not so dissimilar to women breaking into the profession of the Rabbinate. 

Another similarity between the religions was that there were many Islamic religious leaders that were very conservative and dead set against women in the Shari'a courts, while others stood up against the tide and inspired change--I think we have similar disagreements in Judaism between the ultra-orthodox who want to stick with the "old" historical ways of doing things, and the more liberal Jews that seek the freedom to alter those ways. 

During the movie, there were some interesting take-aways like under Shariah law, men are allowed up to 4 wives!  

Another funny line in the movie was when one of the men said that the men never make trouble for the women (i.e. it's all the women's fault). 

In the court cases filmed, there seemed to be a lot of cases of domestic violence and of divorce, and in one case in particular the wife was actually stabbed to death in the court house by her husband who she was trying to get a divorce from. 

Overall, it felt good to attend the event and try to be a part of the healing process between people. 

The event was sponsored by the Jewish-Islamic Dialogue Society (JIDS) of Washington, D.C. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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January 4, 2019

Them Tables Always Turn

Just wanted to share a saying that I liked.

It is an ancient Mongolian proverb and was in the movie, "Mogul" about the rise of Genghis Khan:
Do not scorn a weak cub; he may become a brutal tiger. 
I think this is the Asian equivalent of:

1) Don't burn your bridges.
2  Don't start a war you can't win. 
3) Pick on someone your own size.
4) What goes around comes around.

The Asian version is better! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 15, 2015

Ex Machina Will Even Turn The Terminator

So this was a really cool display at the Movie theater yesterday...

They had this head of the Terminator in a enclosed case and roped off. 

Shiny metal alloy skull, buldging bright evil red eyes, and really grotesque yellowed teeth. 

This certainly gets the attention of passerbys for the upcoming new movie, Terminator Genisys (coming out July 1). 

Anyway, Terminator is the ugly dude especially when compared with the robot/artificial intelligence of Ava in Ex Machina that we saw yesterday. 

The Turing test is nothing for Ava!

She can not only fool them as to her humanity, but also outmanuever them with her wit, sexuality, and a good dose of deceit and manipulation. 

Frankly, I think AI Ava could even turn the terible Terminator to her side of things--my bet is that movie to come in 2017. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 26, 2015

Andy Blumenthal With Roberta Grossman

What an honor today to be able to take this photo with Roberta Grossman, movie Producer/Director. 

First we saw her upcoming movie "Above and Beyond."

It is the story about the birth of the Israeli Air Force, and it was co-produced with Nancy Spielberg (Yes, the sister of Director Steven Spielberg). 

In 1948 when the U.N. (under G-d's guidance) established the State of Israel, the Arab nations prepared to attack the fledgling nation state.

Just 3 years after the end of Holocaust, the surrounded Jewish people with inferior arms, faced almost certain devastating defeat in their War of Independence. 

However, brave volunteer pilots from America, Canada, and South Africa answered the call to help their brethren in Israel. 

With ingenuity, some smuggled air planes, brief training by Czechoslovakia, and the blessings of Hashem, the Israel Defense Forces stopped the advancing Arab armies--of Egypt, Syria, Transjordan, Lebanon, and Iraq--in their tracks. 

It is an amazing story of courage and heroism, and Ms. Grossman did a wonderful job answering enthusiastic questions from the audience in Virginia today. 

Kol Hakavod on a excellent film--thank you!  ;-)
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April 7, 2015

Different, Better Than Mad Max

Love this photo of the Orange Porsche epecially at this cool angle.

Ok, this is not a Mad Max black muscle car.

More like a Fast and Furious action racing vehicle. 

When I saw this car in front of the new Pike and Rose in North Bethesda (gorgeous by the way), I thought this is becoming more like Miami than typical Washington, D.C. 

Aside from the cars, the upscale dining, shopping, and iPic movie theatre (with luxurious reclining plush chairs and alcoholic drinks) has brought this area to a whole new level. 

Mad Max eat your heart out or perhaps those of your post-apocalyptic adversaries. ;-)

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)
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November 2, 2014

Exodus Hollywood Style 2014


Very excited about the new Exodus movie coming next month. 

Looks high budget action and with great special effects.

Hopefully, not a disappointment like Noah (2014 film)--I don't think it will be. 

Good wins over evil--well, we all know that already from the Bible!

According to the Passover Haggadah, we are supposed to retell every year, from generation to generation, our story of going from the cruel enslavement by evil dictators to the redemption by the merciful Almighty G-d.

It's timeless and our history!  ;-)

(Note: Movie name is Exodus G-ds and Kings, but there is only one G-d.)
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March 1, 2014

First We Must Live

I liked this advertisement for the movie sequel to the 300 coming out this week. 

Anyway, for this scary-looking dude, "War is in my blood"--that's who he is and these days, it seems like he is not alone in this crazy and violent world. 

Some people are like that...they always like to fight, be oppositional, or just be difficult. 

My belief is more like Ecclesiastes--that there is a time and place for everything..."a time for war and a time for peace."

Around the globe, there seems to be plenty of fighting, slaughter, and tensions going on...from Damascus to Kiev, from Iran to Venezuela, from Sudan to the South China Sea, and more. 

I heard what I thought was a good saying on the Game Of Thrones Season 3 (which by the way is totally excellent), it went like this:


"If we die, we die, but first we will live."


Let's hope and pray for more peaceful, stable, and pleasant times.

There is yet much to live for. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 22, 2013

Noah's Ark - Must See!


Okay folks, this is great. 

I want to see movie's like this for the all Bible's stories. 

Applying the technology and special effects makes this just awesome.

More, more, more...love it. 
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November 3, 2013

12 Years A Slave, But Not Anybody's Property

I saw the movie "12 Years A Slave."

I have seen other movies on slavery, such as Amistad and Glory, but none were as potent and realistic as this was. 


I came out with my head full of feelings of pain and injustice, as if I had just lived through those 12 years as a slave myself. 


I literally felt sick to my stomach and the room felt as if it was spinning and I could hardly breathe. 


My wife said to me, "You wouldn't be human if you didn't feel bad."


And I responded to her, "I feel bad that they (the slave owners and traders) weren't human."


I cannot tell the story of Solomon Northup or of the horrors of slavery any better than the movie in fact did. 


But what I can convey is my shear disgust for how anybody could enslave and mistreat others the way the Black people and others throughout history were. 


As a Jewish person, my own people have a history of 400 years of slavery in Egypt, and this took on a whole new meaning. 


As great actors as Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner were, The movie, The Ten Commandments, did not show the depths of Hell of slavery as much as the breadth of Heaven of redemption. 


And while the Pyramids of Egypt were built not with massively powered Caterpillar earth movers and construction equipment, but with the flesh and blood of my people under the whip of servitude 3,500 years ago, similarly the Capitol of the United States and The White House were built with Black people in chains and hung by the noose. 


In the movie today, the plantation owners said they could do what they wanted to the slaves and without fear of retribution or sin, because the slaves were their property. 


What is unbelievable is that anyone can believe that anybody can be the property of anyone other than G-d, the Master of the Universe, him/herself. 


The slave trader in the movie, tearing apart a family and selling the mother and her children separately, when questioned on his ability to commit such atrocity, says matter-of-factly,"my sentimentality extends the length of a coin."


For a buck, what will a person not do?


In history, we have seen individuals and whole societies cheat, steal, rape, enslave, torture, murder, and commit every treachery and treason...for a buck or even just because they could. 


What is the lesson for all of us?


People can do great good in this world, but unfettered by faith, conscience, reason, or fear of justice, they can do great, great evil--and for that we can never let our guard down.

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October 20, 2013

Going For Gravity

A good friend told me to go see the movie Gravity.

He said, "You'll definitely like it, and make sure you see it in IMAX!"

G-d, I don't recall the last time that I went to an IMAX showing. 

So keeping in the mind the saying, "try it and you'll like it," we went for the $19.00 IMAX 3D experience. 

(OMG, I still remember when movies in NYC were $1!) 

I was hesitant about this movie having heard that there were only 2 characters, and that 1 was Sandra Bullock!

Also, that she was the only one left for the second half of the movie--and I thought how interesting is this going to be?

Okay, I told myself, I'll get excited by the action and destruction in the first half with Clooney and sleep through the second half with Bullock. 

But it was so much better than I anticipated--one of the best movie experiences for me ever!

The IMAX 3D was absolutely amazing...only thing better would've been a massive in-your-face hologram of the whole movie--and I bet this comes one day soon.

The space walks, hurling space debris, exploding space stations and daring escapes was right there and up close in this movie.

I found myself at times reaching my hands out to practically touch the characters--since they seemed that close. 

And Bullocks tears floating in space--were very moving and cool at the same time. 

Bullock is going to win a ton of awards for her performance in Gravity. 

Oh, and one more funny experience was when a lady told this guy in the theatre to hush, and when he didn't listen, she kicked his chair.

But that wasn't the end of it...

After she kicked it a few times, he turned around grabbed her shoe right off of her foot and then threw it at her. 

She ran out of the theatre to get security. 

Security told them both to cut it out, and then I heard the guards outside laughing about these two quarreling theatre-goers. 

Anyway, I didn't sleep a wink in this movie, and enjoyed the whole experience. ;-)

(Source Photo: Rebecca Blumenthal)
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September 28, 2013

What True Love Means


A Walk To Remember--what an absolutely amazing movie.

This girl with a beautiful soul, Jamie, turns around the life of this lost boy, Landon. 

She warns him not to fall in love with her, but he does. 

She reveals that she has Leukemia and is no longer responding to medicine. 

Landon is head over heels for her and marries her despite the prognosis. 

They enjoy one summer of love before she passes. 

But she has changed his life forever. 

I cried like a baby at this one. 

It was a movie of faith, love, and turnaround--it made me believe again. ;-)

"Love is always patient and kind. It is never jealous. Love is never boastful or conceited. It is never rude of selfish. It does not offense and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people's sins, but delights in the truth. It is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes." - Nicholas Sparks
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May 16, 2013

Zach Galifianakis at 7-Eleven

I think this is probably as close as I will come to seeing Zach Galifianakis. 

Someone at 7-Eleven had this awesome coffee mug with Galifianakis's photo on the side. 

That face is pretty hilarious--he doesn't even have to say anything and you sort of start laughing!

And The Hangover Part III is coming out next week...

Fill'er up Zach with lots of fun and comedy. 

I'll drink a good coffee at 7-Eleven to that. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 30, 2013

Planning For The Next Big One

I saw the movie Olympus Has Fallen, where the North Koreans attack the White House and take the President and the National Security Council hostage. 

While the acting was a "B" at best, the creativity of the attack and the action was an "A".

The attack begins with a stolen Air Force modified AC-130 with side-mounted Gatling guns unleashing hell on the streets of Washington, D.C. and the White House, followed by suicide bombers creating a breach in the gates, RPG's blowing up the security towers, 40 commandos storming though, and more Gatling guns hidden in the sides of two garbage trucks taking out our finest, the Secret Service agents that protect it. 

There is plenty of subterfuge as the North Koreans posing as the security detail for the South Korean leader visiting at the White House make their way into the Presidential bunker, and there's even a countdown to a potential nuclear holocaust by detonation of our own Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) in their silos by the terrorists.

It was so upsetting to see the Secret Service agents overwhelmed by the North Korean's vicious attack--being literally mowed down trying to protect the President and White House. It was also wrenching to see them throw the American Flag from off the White House, as well as terrorize and nearly kill the President, Vice President, and Secretary of Defense in order to get the codes to access our nuclear missiles to shut them down and then blow them up. 

There is a saying that "Generals are always trying to fight the last war," and this is the feeling you get when you see this brazen dastardly attack on the central pillar of our political power base--where we are taken by surprise and the White House and President are held in foreign hands on our own soil. 

These types of movies are great action, but also a wake-up call to our security professionals to think out of the box---yes, even like Hollywood--about what such a creative attack could look like. 

I remember after 9/11, when everybody seemed to be saying that no one could've ever imagined something like this happening to us with airplanes being used as weapons, yet the movie "Executive Decision" with Kurt Russell in 1996 posed just such a scenario with an airplane loaded with a bomb and poison gas hurtling towards the east coast. 

Years ago, as robotics and drones started to take anchor, I wondered out loud how prepared we were for armored robot(s) or commandos in robotic exoskeletons making just such a brazen attack. 

Science fiction today is real threats of tomorrow. We may not be there just yet, but how creative are we in really thinking and planning for the next big ugly surprise. 

I say get out your most outrageous thinking caps and let your mind run wild with the worst scenarios you can imagine, and then figure out what you will do about it--rather than waiting for the bad guys to figure it out for you! ;-)
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February 18, 2013

Benefits of Coffee

So we went to see Bruce Willis's new Die Hard Movie today--"A Good Day To Die Hard."

Lot's of action, shooting, awesome weapons, attack copters, and car chases. 

We stopped on the way for a cup of coffee--but it wasn't Starbucks--which is sort of so cliche and boring already, but a mom and pop place--and it was nice. 

They had a refreshing variety of coffees, cozy tables, and good eats.

One thing, I couldn't help noticing was this funny sign on the wall touting the benefits of coffee--"Do stupid things faster with more energy."

I guess with compact energy shots like 5-Hour Energy, you can do stupid things not just faster and with more energy, but for longer periods of time as well. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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September 29, 2012

Daddy Long Legs Exposed

Back in primary school, the kids used to call these "daddy long legs". 

Like everyone else, I've had the opportunity to see one of these, but never two in such a compromising pose. 

The other day watching a action movie, one character asks another, "So which are you scared of--snakes or spiders? Everyone is scared of one or the other."

The CIA lady says: "Spiders" and later admits, she lied. 

The Army Ranger lady says: "I'm not scared of anything."

Two different philosophies on defeating the enemy--do you overcome them with strength, courage, and bravado or perhaps you mislead them with deceit and cunning or with both approaches. 

In any case, the other saying that this photo reminds me of from childhood is "bees do it, birds do it" and now I know that spiders do it too. :-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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