Friday, February 27, 2009

Clean Coal: Directed by the Coen Brothers

In this new ad, a pitchman gives us the hard sell on a "Clean Coal Clean"-scented air freshener that works just as well as "clean coal."

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Top Ten Least Worst Movies of the Year

This year's films I think were a less than stellar crop of film. But, there are some stand-outs certainly worth mentioning. Overall I believe it is Hollywood trying to take back the film from independent film-makers who tend to make better films, period. They are a bunch of feel good films who tend to complement the filmmaker rather than the story. Sometimes making up wholly implausible story lines and asking us to suspend belief, whish is not necessarily a bad thing, but when it is interspersed with real story that is where the line must be drawn. Without futher ado:

10. Slumdog Millionaire - A decent film with some startling cinematography, but an implausible story that takes us to the streets of Bombay all the way to the capatilism of Mumbai. This is the surefire Oscar Winner for Best Picture. But, if we are going to make a film about Mumbai then we must not make up out of whole cloth the Title: Slumdog which does not exist and is offensive to many in the slums of Mumbai. The one thought that I kept thinking about through this film is that capitalism overcomes. Is that the message? An an entirely unbelievable love story set at the backdrop of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" Excuse me. These are not folks who look like they come out of the slums of Mumbai. Life is not black and white. We are not good or bad. In the slums this is even truer. While some good filmmaking I sat through it wholly unconvinced that this is Mumbai.

9. I've Loved You So Long - Kristin Scott Thomas gives the second best performance of the year in a beautiful French film that then takes the easy way out at the end. If it were not for the "feel-good" ending this would have creeped up the list. Kristin Scott Thomas, however is astonishing in this film.

8. Rachel Getting Married
- A flawed film with some great performances. Anne Hathaway takes your breath away in this film. Who knew? She gives a courageous and annoyingly beautiful performance. She is my pick for tonights Best Actress Oscar. 1) Because Sally Hawkins is not nominated. 2) Neither is Kristin Scott Thomas; and 3) The Reader is pile of crap. Am I supposed to care that a Nazi Killer cannot read? Rachel, however almost talked me out of getting married all by itself.

7. Man on Wire - A marvelous story of a wholly unlikeable fella. It is like a caper film, as exciting a film this year. Will most likely win Best Documentary.

6. Revolutionary Road - Leo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet at their best. If Kate was nominated for this film you would have no arguments from me. This is a dark film about being trapped in your fears of living the life you want instead of the life people think you should live. Needless to say I affiliated with this film. Michael Shannon, the conscience of the film gives a bravado performance of a mentally ill neighbor. Or is he? A prequel to American Beauty certainly with some flaws. But, the performances are extraordinary.

5. Milk - Sean Penn gives a great Performance as Harvey Milk, the first elected gay leader from San Francisco. It is indeed a great history lesson (as Glory to the Union said), but it is also an exciting film (a little too much campaign) though his late in the film lover seems to be wholly unneeded. James Franco, Emile Hirsch and James Brolin are wonderful. With an historical cameo from Diane Feinstein.

4. Happy Go Lucky - The best single acting performance of the year by Sally Hawkins in this wonderful film about dealing with the travails of life. You won't soon forget Poppy. It is not sappy and corny, it is real as all Mike Leigh films tend to be. I loved every minute of this film. Similar themes of this film in Revolutionary Road.

3. Wendy and Lucy - Michelle Williams shows her acting performance in Brokeback Mountain was no accident. This woman can act. It is a cerebral performance that many will take different things from depending on your views on life. But, the last scene in the film is truly heartbreaking. It is also a comment on our society and makes it ever so poignant during the new great depression. The more I think about her performance it is a tragedy that three of the best performances of the year will sit on the sidelines while Angelie Jolie and Kate Winslet, wholly undeserving will win this award.

2. The Wrestler - Mickey Rourke is so good in this film as to warrant something more than an award. These characters you could leave your home and go to the jersey shore and meet them right now, that is how authentic this film is, you could to Salisbury, Ma. too. Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood (who in three scenes is so good) who never disappoints. I loved every second of this film.

1. Tell No One - This is a fucking awesome film. They do not make films like this anymore. It was released in 2006 in France and at the beginning of the year here. I sat mesmerized through this film. A beautiful couple enjoying themselves in the South of France. A murder. Eight years later the one murdered sends an email to her still unconvinced husband and says: "Tell No One." It spirals from there in one of the most exciting films in recent memory. Kristin Scott Thomas also delivers a performance worthy of note.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Bail-Out Money for the Auto Companies for Laying People Off

I am glad Obama signed the stimulus bill and it is not a terrible bill. It has 8 billion for railroad expansion. Very good news. But, why would we give more bail-out money to Auto companies to cut 47,000 jobs? What is the point of that? What is the point of cutting jobs in this economy? I don't get it at all. What is the long term plan to send all the manufacturing jobs to China?

When did out country get so anti-worker? When exactly did that happen? Was it under Reagan and solidified under Clinton? That is my best guess.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

hob'arts hoboken: art exhibit at historical museum

The Hoboken Historical Museum will host an exhibition of Hoboken images created by eight members of the hobʼart cooperative gallery from March 3 to April 12, 2009 entitled, “hobʼartʼs Hoboken.” The show was created by Roslyn Rose and juried by Robert Foster, Museum Director. An opening reception will be held on Sunday, March 1 from 2 to 5 pm in the Upper Gallery. On Sunday, March 29, at 4 pm there will be a panel discussion, “Art in a New Era.” Each of the panelists will explain how they have individually used both traditional and modern technology to capture a singular view of our much loved city of Hoboken.

The exhibiting artists include Elizabeth Cohen, who has been inspired to connect a cherished childhood doll with images of Hoboken. Roslyn Rose blends manipulated images of local scenes with old photographs to suggest moments that may have occurred. Andrea Milo photographs locations that are not typical images of the city. Tom Eganʼs pictures of the old piers at night were taken before they were incorporated into community parks. Virginia Parrottʼs recent images of Hoboken are a departure from the strictly documentary. Leona Seufert, not a Hoboken resident, is displaying digital collages of architectural aspects of our transit hub, which she views during her frequent visits. Femi Ford painted the scene from her apartment in the North East part of the city as a gift to a man who wanted to see Hoboken again before he died. Sissi Siska creates unique paintings on silk, including a view of the community that honors our memories of 9/11/01.

The Museum is located at 1301 Hudson Street, Hoboken. They can be contacted at 201-656-2240 or at the website: Museum hours are Tuesday to Thursday, 2 to 7 pm, Fridays, 1 to 5 pm, and Saturdays and Sundays, 12 to 5 pm.

Contact: Roslyn Rose
Press Secretary

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Death and the Maidens: Hoboken Reform and the '09 Mayorship

What dehumanizing torture will the citizenry of Hoboken have to endure this time around at the hands of green-eyed County career politicians and pop-eyed local virgins? The amorphous mayoral race in Hoboken, ever in the hands of shapeshifters, finds a new face in the race. With the advent of the once formally (but now formerly) 'not running' Fourth-Ward councilwoman Dawn Zimmer, this contest promises not only a grotesquely splayed field of fragile contenders, but also a harrowing array of self-serving elder politicos and bumptious political journeymen trying to recoup previous fecundity in Hoboken. It'll be the voter who is turned under.

The Hudson County Democratic Organiztion (HCDO) will brood, if half-distractedly, over the darwinistic self-triage of the Hoboken players going into the inevitable run-off. Then, no longer preoccupied with JC mayor/HCDO chairman Jerramiah Healy's own re-election run, county executive Tom DeGise, North Bergen boss Nick Sacco and Healy will loom Cerberus-like over whoever of the remnant is most viable and/or manipulable. Youngish mayor and state senator Brian Stack's Union City colt-and-puppy show will take side earlier (though probably not officially) and against HCDO's likely tack of Zimmer or at-large councilman Peter Cammarano, should either provide the unlikely event of surviving to the run-off. This begs consideration of the curious but abiding competitiveness of a third power axis overarching the actual candidates in the race.

Ward councilman Mike Russo and school-board member Frank Raia both achingly cozen the mayoralty from their largely Third-Ward bases yet are committed to sustaining an inherently competitive alliance, as alone either is too weak to even enter the race with a divided base. Raia has more money, Russo has better operations, together they have the best entree in the hunt to the steady Old Hoboken turn-out. Do they both have insuperable wills to faction power like the Reform faction leaders? The Third-Warders are not likely to be that politically callow. Though Raia's money might seem the decider here, he has other upward-mobility Russo does not: Raia can easily accede to Russo's Third Ward seat and simultaneously the de-facto presidency of the Board of Education to balance Russo as mayor. Such power-sharing dominance may be enough to keep them mutually gratified. Even this accommodation is not enough for likely victory - and both also have heavy and recent friction with both Stack and HCDO interests, though remain in contention for some liaison there simply by default and may well receive it ultimately.

This is where the pros and cons of callowness command the stage. First-time Second-Ward councilwoman Beth Mason, the seeming front-runner currently, can't be wed to HCDO in a run-off (their interactions get truly medieval) and is already being given informal Stack blessing - to the extent that matters in Hoboken as his influence in Hoboken is slighter than HCDO’s and as it somewhat handcuffs multi-hat assemblyman Ruben Ramos. HCDO’s next choice, though, isn't so simple.

First, formulaic weasel Cammarano's broad unlikability and lack of a native base trumps his flip-floppy pandering and cheesy grandstanding so palatable to HCDO. As Establishment-desirous as he profiles, he still can't get an established name to join his ticket and will try to pawn unvetted and unheard-of ‘reformers’ off on an incredulous Reform center . Even the ace up his sleeve, buddy and fellow at-large councilman Ramos, won't sign on fully - and is probably hoping for a Stack/HCDO compromise candidate to surface a la meat-puppet Anthony Romano in the freeholder race (possibly even himself, in a true taste of Hoboken).

Then, officeholding-virgin Zimmer's menage with handlers HCDO appointee Mike Lenz and HCDO vice-chair Carol Marsh has seemed more a case of harsh prima noctis than a honeymoon for the bulk of Hoboken voters. Even within her natural Reform base, Zimmer's political deflowering this past year or so has seen the bloom come off her rose, being untested-and-so-unsullied having been her only real political strength. With neither her nor Cammarano likely in the run-off, HCDO will only be left with the Old Hoboken Russo/Raia candidate, hacked from the same burlap as they are, to half-heartedly support against the Hudson Machine-loathing Mason.

What has Hoboken done to deserve so jumbled and broadly unhopeful a palette of choices in the midst of financial doom? Being such a wonderful little community of uniquely charming neighborhoods, obviously it is their happily wallowing in their own intense parochiality that has brought them to this dire point. So let's dispense from here on with any maudlin sympathies for this candidate or that. Regardless of the ubiquitous claims to the contrary, we all know each has cultivated a local subculture distinct from, resistant and unsavory to, every other - even where common interests abound. None distinguishes him/herself for, nor appeals broadly to, a citizenry as hungry for further extrapolation of the Obama algorithm as this one proved to be in November. Personal ambition alone - and nothing like ecumenical conciliation - has left this disfigured fetus of a race on our doorstep.

The pristine failure stillborn of all this is the gob-smacking inability of Reform to capitalize on the biggest political collapse of Hoboken's old-guard establishment in more than a generation. Advanced age and bloat, abandonment of all fiscal probity, divested city control, a universal zeitgeist of Change and an inchoate opposition potency had all been perched like Hitchcock's ravens to politically denude the old-boy regime's carcass - which now, unfortunately for every Hoboken school-child and shivering retiree, will probably continue to lurch zombie-like through City Hall for another four years. The cause of this opportunity is epitomized in the arrogant land and privilege abuses of ejectees like Lou Picardo; the cost of this opportunity is crystallized on the Reform family crest: two heads thrust out a windshield, sawing through their necks as they turn to blame each other for the crash.

Once again, Reform's own two old-guard camps are splitting on candidates - and not just for mayor, but very probably for school-board as well. This pre-emption of the greater Reform voting public's declared best interest also demoralizes that demographically ascendant base. And in turn, this has everything to do with both the future health of the city and, relatedly, Reform's own future political viability. It seems little was learned in the most recent freeholder and school-board campaigns where divided Reform interests lost the unprecedented gains of the prior year’s unified efforts that supercharged both Reform's activism and punch city-wide.

Though the dominant influence in the race is whether the Old Hoboken candidate in the run-off is heading an essentially unified ticket or not, whether Reform can muster an essentially unified face has everything to do with who the Old Hoboken candidate(s) will be in the run-off and whether Reform has a presence in the run-off. A full-tilt squaring-off between Mason and Zimmer drops the otherwise near-certainty of a Reform candidate in the run-off down dramatically. Scrambling for smallish portions of Reform credulity will decide whether the Russo/Raia alliance prevails over Cammarano and/or Ramos interests; a Mason-only race would have the Lenz/Marsh subfaction siding against their long-time objects of personal obsession, Russo and Mason.

It is here Hoboken comes full circle to the true salience of the Zimmer entry into the mayor’s race. Hoboken is not wafting heaven-ward on the winds of change; it is entrenching itself ever deeper into its historic mistakes. The gross political immaturity and strategic clumsiness of Zimmer’s dogging Mason’s heels into the race not only obliterates the hope of swift, salutary change for leaving Hoboken to the same Visigothic rapine that has nigh buried it already. This will also successfully re-brand Hoboken progressive reform as fecklessly disorganized and peevishly unempowered, as well as officeless in the longer term.