Ithaca Mourns: A Zombie Odyssey

A little over 4 years ago, some fellow Movie Geeks and I decided to put our money where our mouths were and actually get about the business of filmmaking. We called ourselves “No Hands Films.” Together, we have so far completed two short independent horror films, the second of which – a modern-day “zombie version” of Homer’s “The Odyssey” – I can now shamelessly show off here via the miracle of YouTube and my younger brother, Chris, who got it uploaded in 4 parts (image-quality is somewhat degraded from the original, as it is after all Internet video) and also did the bulk of the editing work on the movie-proper.

Happy Halloween.

Part ONE:

That’s our omni-talented writer/director/star Tim Luz, my best friend, as the lead zombie. (full listed credits are end the end of Part Four and listed on the actual YouTube page) He came up with the stories and scripts that both completed “No Hands” productions have been filmmed from so far. Tim’s brother Nick, Melissa and CJ, friends of the production, are the other three. That’s my little bro, Chris, as the cop. The (really terrific-looking, even at this resolution I think) makeup FX were handled by Kristen Juliano, a lovely and ridiculously talented young woman who just delivered like gangbusters the whole production. This opening was shot on-location at a real old-as-hell cemetary we found just sitting randomly in a semi-developed field. Creepy as hell, honestly.

Part TWO:

The little zombie girl who gets taken out here is my kid sister, Catie. Of the Zombie Hunters, my brother’s pals Jason and Jared are the “cowboy” and the “soldier” respectively, “No Hands” charter-member Casey Malone as “yuppie” and that’s your’s truly as the one-eyed axe-wielder. “Roger,” the leader in the long black coat, was played by Jeremy Soltys, a founding member of “No Hands” who is, quite simply, a fantastic actor with real screen presence. He’s great in this, seriously. There’s a “splatter on the lens” gag here that works great, but was actually an on-set mishap we opted to keep. Kristen handled the majority of the gore-FX here, while Chris and I provided the opticals for the gunfire. Jeremy provided the awesomely-realistic prop guns, which really helped sell this.


That’s Michelle Tentindo as “Penny,” another good friend of the production who did a great job. Believe it or not, about the entirety of this in-house sequence was shot (on-set makeups and all) in about a day, which is pretty amazing. The score, BTW, was provided by an ultra-talented fella named Mike Beaudoin; while the hard-rock song comes courtesy a local band called “On The 3.”

Part FOUR:

So there you have it. We actually had our first theatrical showing of this over Halloween Weekend here in Salem, and it went over pretty damn well. We’re all really proud of this, and I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing it as much as we did making it 😉

REVIEW: Gone Baby Gone

NOTE: This review does not contain specific plot-spoilers. It does, however, contain AFTER it’s first two paragraphs discussions of theme which MAY make certain mysteries of the film more solvable than they are meant to be. Therefore, if you have not yet seen the film, I recommend that you do not read after that point (a secondary disclaimer will be in place.) I also recommend that you DO go see the film as soon as you possibly can. DO NOT wait for DVD. Thank you.

With one fell directorial swoop, Ben Affleck erases every single negative or dismissive thing that has been said, thought or written about him – justifiably or not – in the intervening years between “Good Will Hunting” and right this moment. Critics, audiences and late-night comedians have had a long run of fun mocking the former Mr. Jennifer Lopez, and I’ve indulged in perhaps more than my fair share myself; but that is and deserves to be the past. I won’t say that he is owed his detractors’ apology, but he is more than owed their respect. A corner has been turned, a bridge has been crossed, and whatever awful movies and tabloid nonsense still lingered is henceforth banished by one singular stunning event: Ben Affleck has directed what may be the best American movie of the year.

“Gone Baby Gone,” directed/co-scripted by Mr. Affleck from the book by “Mystic River” author Dennis Lehane and starring his younger brother Casey in a starmaking turn, is an essentially flawless Boston Noir that feels from start to finish like the finely-polished effort of a seasoned professional rather than the first major effort of an actor-turned-director. Gutsy, grim, wrenching, heartfelt, real, raw, visceral, emotionally-challenging, viscerally-wrenching and immensely intellectually-satisfying. This is a crime story for the ages, a detective picture to stand with the all-time best. You owe it to yourself to see this film.

FINAL NOTE: If you have not yet seen the movie, you should not be reading after this point. You have been warned.

“The line between good and evil is murky. Nothing is as simple as black and white. There are no easy answers.” Those three simple points have been the essential, all-encompassing theme, moral and message of nearly every true Film Noir since before the genre was even called that. In most “modern” Noir, these three almost always are presumed to lead to an innevitable fourth and final entry: “Therefore, nothing really matters, there’s no reason to do the right thing and nihilism is the only escape.” Here, in “Gone Baby Gone,” we have the first real attempt to obliterate that Fourth Point and take the genre back to it’s classical, pre-defeatist roots. To do so, it places at it’s forefront a hero of realistic but none the less rock-solid moral and ethical conviction who’s direct and confrontation with the foundation-rocking Three Simple Points serves to strengthen those convictions. Here is a hero who comes to learn, finally, that “there are no easy answers,” and – rather than giving up on answers altogether, opts instead to dig in his heels and steel his resolve for the hard ones.

This would be Patrick Kenzie (Casey Affleck), a young-looking private detective working in his blighted South Boston neighborhood alongside his childhood friend and current partner/girlfriend Angela Gennaro (Michelle Monaghan) running down the missing persons who “started in the cracks and then fell through” – a two-fisted Nick & Nora of the Southie dive scene. At present, (“Baby” is the fourth book in the series,) the scene is dominated by the headline-grabbing kidnapping of a 4 year-old blonde moppet named Amanda McCready. It’s not the sort of case they normally take, and Angela is profoundly uneasy about the prospect of having to find a “baby in a dumpster,” but Good Catholic Boy Patrick can’t say no when the girl’s frantic aunt and world-weary uncle come asking for their help in their field of speciality: Gleaning info from elements of the neighborhood less-than-enthusiastic about talking to the police.

This is usually the part where the cops turn up and we’re into “gumshoes vs. pros” turf-fighting… but no, not this time. The Captain (Morgan Freeman) is a seen-it-all old pro who lost his own child to abduction and fronts an elite squad dedicated to these cases, recognizes the potential help the P.I.s can be and makes his resources available in the form of two hard-bitten detectives (Ed Harris and John Ashton.) The case is grimy and nasty right from the start: The kid’s mother is a frightfully unlikable alcoholic who barely seems to register awareness of the event. She’s a liar, which complicates the matter, and a drug mule for a local Hatian kingpin, which really complicates the matter. As you might expect, this isn’t “only” about a missing girl… or maybe it is.

And that’s really all that should be said about the plot, as this quickly turns into the type of detective story that’s less about solving a crime and more about unraveling the puzzle-box that the case has become. What you should know going in is that it’s a revelation to watch, as pieces fall into place and an already stellar cast dives deep into the moral complexity (but NOT, importantly, moral ambiguity) that pulse alongside the dialogue and visuals with the realism of life-observed. The plot swells with colorful, grimy locales and grandly-motivated characters but always feels authentic and immediate. “The streets” and the crime that lives on them hasn’t been this well captured in a very long time.

This is the one you need to see. This is the one you’ll be sorry you missed. Get to the theatre, see this movie, thank me later.


REVIEW: 30 Days of Night

One of the nice things about the Horror genre is that reworking it is remarkably similar to playing around with DNA: Move one or two digits around and suddenly it’s a whole new creature. In this case, relocate “Night of The Living Dead” from the rural midwest to northern Alaska, swap the zombies for vampires and – BANG! – you’ve got a whole new movie in “30 Days of Night.”

Based largely on a graphic novel by Steve Niles, the setting is a frostbitten blue-collar Alaskan town of Barrow that’s just entered the regions’ titular month-long sunless winter period – aka paradise for sun-allergic bloodsuckers… even the vampires are surprised that they haven’t thought of this until now. Led by their nominal leader (Danny Huston in a deviously unexpected bit of casting) the pack (flock?) of vamps arrive in the wake their cut-rate Renfield (Ben Foster) of a herald essentially content to un-live out the month gorging themselves on the geographically-captive townsfolk, while the film mainly follows a small and diverse band of survivors trying to endure the seige under the leadership of the local sherriff (Josh Hartnett.)

The tone, story and overall production value suggest nothing so much as an above-average episode of “Tales From The Crypt,” expanded to feature length by a handful of character-fleshing moments and several virtuoso widescreen sequences of vampiric massacre. Given the sorry state of the genre as of late, that’s more than ample reason to peg the piece as a genuinely worthwhile bit of viewing. That it’s not out to rework the entire genre is part of it’s strength: It accepts that it’s a “genre picture” and treats it as a license to cut to the chase. It’s as aware as you are that “she shouldn’t go in there!!!” or that the first-act introduction of various lethal-looking work machines automatically means that one or more humans and/or vampires will be getting chewed up by them in act 3.

I will say that I greatly appreciate the way it dismisses almost-entirely with tiresome postmodernism, getting the “vampires don’t exist!” “so what are they!?” junk out of the way quickly and keeping the characters all on the same “everybody knows how vampires work” page; and that it’s interesting that the film gets more “gore-mileage” out of Hartnett’s prefered method of vampire-killing – fireaxe to the head – than vampire attacks themselves.

Bottom line, best vampire movie in awhile. Give it a look.


REVIEW: Elizabeth: The Golden Age

It’s a period piece with a level of visual oppulence that occasionally dangles at the precipice of outright fantasy, re-imagines a politically/morally complex moment in Western Civ 101 into a starkly-drawn clash between righteous – if grimly pragmatic – Anglo Good Guys and just-this-side-of-demonic Swarthy-Foriegner Bad Guys and charges forward on a feiry lead performance given by a Cranked-Up-To-Eleven British thespian as a legendary monarch with a flair for declarative sentences and the verbal bruising of their enemy’s messengers. In other words, it’s a little bit like a “chick version” of “300.”

Ten years ago, director Shekar Kapur’s “Elizabeth” made Cate Blanchett into an instant star thanks to her grand titular turn and itself into an Anglophile cult-classic thanks to it’s sharp script, stellar cast, decidely UN-“Masterpiece Theater” visual scheme and deft mixing of costume-drama, sensuality and political skullduggery. Director and star are here reunited, looking for lightning to strike twice by sending the title character into Act II.

Since it can no longer be expected that this stuff comes up in school anymore: In the previous film, Elizabeth, daughter of King Henry VIII and Anne Boylen, became Queen of England amid the swirling religious turmoil involving the bitter struggle between the Europe-dominating Catholic Church and the Protestant Church of England – formed by her father after the Catholics refused to allow him to divorce his first wife. Aided by her loyal advisor/spymaster Walshingham (the great Geoffrey Rush) she positioned herself for power against the machinations of the Catholics, who would see her replaced by her devout (and just-this-side-of-nuts) half-sister Mary Stuart.

As the sequel opens, Elizabeth’s reign has set England as the lone “rebel” nation opposite the obsessively-religious King Philip of Spain, who’s Inquisition-happy administration is acting as the tip of a spear in a Catholic-themed Holy War against Protestantism in Europe. Not only is a mighty Spanish Armada being primed for a naval incursion, but England itself is crawling with assassins itching to martyr themselves to bring down the “unholy” Queen. Into this steps Walter Raleigh (Clive Owen,) a professional adventurer who’s hobby – piracy – makes him an invaluable ally in the unconventional war Elizabeth will ultimately have to wage. More importantly, he’s a bit of a charmer (Clive Owen, y’see,) since the overriding arc of this franchise is the dueling duties/desires of the Queen’s public and personal life: Elizabeth is tantilized not just by Raleigh himself, but by the free-spirited life he enjoys, and her ability to set her desire for the “alternatives” this presents in order to properly wage a multi-front defensive war with Spain – and the collateral damage that will be done either way – is the meat of the story.

The original film climaxed with Elizabeth, facing down what was already sure to be a constantly-imperiled reign, transforming her (public) self into that of the Virgin Queen, an ethereal Madonna Figure exuding superhuman power and authority – a potent transformation given how entirely human and vulnerable we knew her to be from the rest of the film. Here, it’s somewhat the opposite: The forceful and furious Virgin Queen is front and center most of the time, and it’s whatever remains of the “human” Elizabeth we only glimpse. As if proof was needed that Blanchett is an actress of boundless ability, here it is: Who else could spend almost an entire film in varying stages of white greasepaint and staggeringly-opulent costumes barking orders and challenges at cowering minions/enemies (attention dudes who ‘get off’ on being verbally berrated by beautiful women: this is your new favorite porno) and NOT have it come off as high camp?

The rest of the movie is kind of the same way: It’s big, soaring and damn-near-garish, but somehow it just WORKS. As history, it’s a bit on the dubious side what with a likely too-clever-to-be-true conspiracy switcheroo twist and a simplifying of the conflict that seems to owe more to an attempt at contemporary paralell (i.e. a Western leader facing down a foriegn army of chanting, cultish religious fanatics) than to the accounts of the times. As romance, it’s pretty soapy, with Elizabeth pining for Raleigh only to see him take up with her Lady in Waiting Bess – a confidant with whom she spends so much time doting on one another (don’t get excited: they didn’t pull that trigger last time, they ain’t gonna pull it here) that it eventually feels less like a love triangle and a bit more like the Queen is carrying on with both of them, by proxy, one through the other. And it builds to a dramatic naval battle that Julie Taymor would call overly-operatic. And check out Samantha Morton’s super-crazy turn as Mary Stuart (which has added the benefit of guest-starring Morton’s mezmerizingly-beautiful face and simply-incredible.. um… “upper torso”)…

…But it all (mostly) fits together and runs along fine, a feverish delusion of Anglophile design-porn. Credit Kapur’s bold embrace of the material’s eccentricities, and a group of well-served actors (with the minor exception of Owen, who’s doing his best in an underwritten role that feels like the writer’s put that part on auto-pilot once they were told they’d landed Clive Owen to play a swashbuckler.) This is a beautiful to look at, enormously fun to watch hybrid – an illicit lovechild of Summer Blockbusters and BBC Costume Drama – anchored by one of the year’s fiercest and most volatile performances. Reccomended.


REVIEW: Michael Clayton

For all the ominus buildup in the trailer, what we have here in “Michael Clayton” is basically a mas-macho/midlife-crisis gloss on the ever-classy old saw of corporate-crony scumbags clawing their way back to humanity. From the premise on down, it hopes (hell, it DEMANDS) comparison to the mythic (cue Peter Biskind’s raging hard-on) Great Films Of The 70s, and it’s graciously upfront about this by building much of it’s story-momentum around a character who may as well simply be named Howard Beale Mark II. That’d be Arthur Edens, (Tom Wilkinson,) a legendary corporate lawyer who’s longtime defense of a loathsome chemical conglomerate may-or-may-not have led him to snap, go off his meds and – now “seeing the world clearly” – turn on his masters. The titular Michael Clayton (George Clooney) is the firm’s dirty-job “fixer” called in on damage-control duty.

So, then, the not-great news is that “Clayton” is, at least in part, yet another corporate-culture indictment that desperately, desperately wants to be “Network.” The really-great news is that it doesn’t really matter. Have we, ultimately, been down these roads a few dozen times before? Yup, doesn’t matter. They’re good roads, they go good places. Is Wilkinson’s Arthur another Howard Beale? Yes, he is. Doesn’t matter. Wilkinson is a great actor, and it’s a great spin on the well-worn “madness equals clarity” concept. Tilda Swinton’s bitch-on-wheels company rep bad guy? Yeah, it’s been done, but never quite this way and not lately quite so well.

What sets this apart from it’s predecessors, aside from the actors and the fresh takes they bring to characters just this side of archetypal is the structure; which suggests that the movie is as aware as we are of how much familiar ground it’s covering. The chemical company covering up pollution bit, it seems to know, we’re all familiar with after “Civil Action” and “Erin Brokovich,” and so it drops the intrigue and conspiracy story mostly into the background and zeroes in on the semi-tangential outer lives of the character’s occupying it; taking us through the harried paces of Clayton’s gambling woes and family/financial wreckage and the twitchy, obsessive and profoundly sad-looking preparation rituals of Swinton’s company hitwoman. And, again, while the whole “insane man who’s actually never been saner” thing has been done to DEATH Wilkinson makes it feel entirely fresh – it’s the first time I’ve bought this kind of character in a long time.

Since it’s using genre-familiarity as a shortcut past exposition and into character-study, it’s largely forgivable that most of Clayton’s “heroic-journey” you’re likely to see coming. Yes, the sinister corporate types are probably hiding something really sinister to drive Arthur over the edge, he’s probably got the goods on them, Swinton’s character is probably going to go all-the-way-bad to protect her masters and Michael Clayton is almost certainly going to be tempted remain safely in moral limbo rather than risk finally fighting on the side of good. Not everything has to re-invent the wheel, so long as it still rolls.

Great characters, good movie, go see it.


Anne Coulter: Anti-Semite

Yes, yes, I know. Anne Coulter isn’t worth taking seriously. It’s a schtick: Let’s have a leggy blonde say incendiary stuff so that then it’s out there and we can eventually talk it up. I get that.

Still, I’m always more than a little giddy whenever a moment like this befalls a vanguard of the so-called “Religious Right” and reveals their true nature It’s almost like clockwork: Scratch the surface of a Christian (or Muslim) religious extremist, and you’ll find a Anti-Semite almost every time. (See: Mel “Passion” Gibson.) And so, in the grand-tradition of “Sugar Tits,” here’s Mrs. Coulter on CNBC’s “Big Idea” theorizing to (Jewish) host Donny Deutsch that the world would be better off if the Jews were all converted to Christianity – or in her terms, the Jews need to be “perfected.” (the clip includes TV commercials, zip past them for her ludicrous “explanation” of herself:

Mrs. Coulter, if you can here me: Just for reference’s sake, I heard about this because my radio-surfing took me past Michael Savage, who was condemning you for it. MICHAEL SAVAGE. Do you have any idea how much of a creep you have to be for Michael Savage to be able to take a legitimate moral highground on you??

The Pigs Are Flying

Today, 10/10/07, as part of their big fall announcements, Nintendo gave the video game world some bad news: “Super Smash Bros.,” the hotly-anticipated Wii installment of their insanely popular fighting game featuring company-branded mascot characters, is being delayed until January in Japan – and, possibly, in the U.S./Europe as well. Major, major bummer.

But, this being Nintendo, they managed to drop a second bit of related fanservice news so “kickass” that it’s probably going to neutralize the bummer of an extended wait – maybe even render it moot altogether. This is IT. The big one. The clash of titans that gamers have been waiting for since the early-90s. The three words that “Smash Bros.” fans thought they would never hear:

SONIC. THE. HEDGEHOG. Not a joke. Not a dream. Not an imaginary tale. Just look at the video:

I wonder if younger gamers (I’m talking 16 and under, maybe older too) have any frame of reference for why oldschoolers like me consider this so huge. Back in the day, in the “Golden Age” of the Nintendo vs. Sega console wars – the ultracompetitive battle that, arguably, produced one of the greatest if not THE greatest periods in gaming EVER… Mario and Sonic were the Red Sox and Yankees of video game mascots. This was, among gamers, THE schoolyard/comic store (we didn’t have the internet, so all fanboy arguing was done face to face – can you imagine?) “who would/should win?” debate of all time. If THIS had happened then… if it was possible to actually turn on a game and semi-physically settle it in virtual hand-to-hand combat… my God, “Halo 3” millions be damned, they’d still be counting the money that would’ve earned.

Yes, a small amount of the inherent “no WAY!” of this is diminished by the fact that we’ll see the onetime Coke and Pepsi of game heroes sharing screen-space and competing before this in “Mario & Sonic Olympics”… it’s not the same thing. Seeing M&S and their various allies running a relay or playing tennis is ONE thing. But this… just that one moment in the middle of these two legends facing eachother down on the platform and trading punches… geez, there just aren’t any words for what it’s like to actually SEE that.

REVIEW: The Heatrbreak Kid (2007)

The Farrelly Brothers’ Formula is as follows: A sappy romantic comedy, told primarily from the perspective of the male lead, infused with envelope-pushing moments of can-you-show-that-in-a-movie scatology so that teenaged boys don’t realize they’re watching a chick flick. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but there it is. Here, it’s been applied to the basic structure of a 1970s Neil Simon flick in place of the original’s very of-the-moment cynicism about the romantic ideals of love and marriage… and I have to wonder if the Brothers are as gobsmacked as I am that it didn’t work.

The basic premise is the same: Eddie (Ben Stiller) a lifetime bachelor, just got married in a hurry (short-version: mid-life crisis) to the beautiful Lila (Malin Ackerman, who’s now the first trouble-sign for “Watchmen” if her turn here isn’t an unfortunate fluke) and headed of to Cabo for the honeymoon – whereupon he quickly discovers A.) that Lila is really, really irritating and wrong for him; and B.) that the (single) woman of his dreams (Michelle Monaghan) is at the same hotel.

That’s a funny premise, and it worked the first time around thanks to an honest understanding of the it’s own potentials and implications: It was cynical, but also practical, about the idealizing of both marriage AND singlehood. It’s characters, in the spirit of 1970s dark comedy, were all largely selfish and unidealized creatures – in other words, they were fully human: Charles Grodin as the hero was, while not “evil,” an egocentric jerk. His main dissapointment with his new wife is that she’s too much oriented toward the traditional marriage-ideal – she wants to be June Cleaver, and he’s built more for a Desperate Housewife. That’s why he’s so enamored of the “other woman,” a blonde ice-queen played by Cybil Shepherd: She doesn’t “need” or even all that much “want” him… their made for eachother. Probably.

The Farrelly’s have populated their version with their usual collection of slightly-grosser Hollywood rom-com superbeings, which is the foundation of it’s rapid ruin: This story just doesn’t work when the wandering husband and the other woman are both genuinely good, decent people “destined” to be perfect for eachother. A guy who’s as movie-hero good and decent as we’re told Eddie is would NEVER chase another woman on his honeymoon unless pushed to a ridiculous extreme, which requires that Lila become a ridiculous caricature of body-functions, personality-flaws and dark-backstory that’s just disasterously over-the-top to – It’s not enough to make her “wrong” for Eddie, she has to become a bad person.

Perfect example: Early on, much is made of Lila’s deviated-septum which leads to her accidentally spraying liquids (and more) from her nose. It’s understandable that Eddie would be a bit grossed out to learn this, and at the prospect of having to deal with it for the rest of his life, but for a mere physical tic to help his eye start wandering would make him slightly less than a 100% worth-pulling-for hero; so soon enough we’re told that her condition is the result of a prior cocaine habit. Eddie is put-off and more-than-a-little frightened by her, but the audience is told to HATE her. The Farrelly’s aren’t misogynists, but in trying too hard to make us root for Eddie unconditionally they’ve engaged in the kind of woman-hating that you rarely see outside of films made by women.

Likewise, it’d be ridiculous to assume that someone who’s as nice/smart as we’re told Miranda is wouldn’t catch on tho things sooner. This requires a truly hackneyed bit of contrivance, like something out of the worst sitcom, wherein she believes something about “Eddie’s wife” that isn’t precisely true, and phrases it in such a way so that Eddie thinks everything is okay when, in fact, it isn’t. Dumb.

This is just bad writing and poor filmmaking, plain and simple. The actors, with the exception of a typically-annoying Carlos Mencia, are trying with nothing to work with. And what was surely hoped to be the “Mary Moment” of grossout humor falls totally flat. It’s a bust. Pity.


Moral Combat


Egh. Well, this is certainly a buzzkiller after yesterday’s “Mario Galaxy” trailer.

Produced several years ago but apparently only heading into some kind of release now, “Moral Combat” is – aside from being a new all-time champion in the field of Worst Movie Title Pun EVER – a documentary about the debate over video game violence.

The doc, produced by Spencer Halprin, carries the standard promises of a “fair look at both sides,” but I didn’t need to know that it gives substantial screentime (and a premier panel discussion!) to Jack Thompson to know that a red flag was already up on this one. Here’s the thing: It’s all well and good to pretend that every argument carries equal weight and is equally worth considering in the hypothetical realm of academic debate where you do so to sharpen the rhetorical skills. But that’s not – and I know I’m committing a sin against Political Correctness by saying this – how it works in the Real World, where quite often you DO frequently find “debates” where one side IS demonstrably, catastrophically wrong.

Thusly, there are times when “balance” between sides is not possible because any “balance” would have to be artificially-imposed. You cannot “balance” debates about Holocaust Denial, for example, because the “it never happened” side has no evidence or credibility while the “yes it did” side has MOUNTAINS of it. There can be no “balance” there: One side is right, the other side is wrong, and any attempt to make it appear otherwise would have to be an exercise in dishonesty, framing crazy people in order to make them appear as worth hearing from as their legimitate others. All men are created equal… yes, but they don’t stay that way. Jack Thompson, Louis Farrakahn, Pat Robertson, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, etc. are not rational, reliable sources on ANYTHING – they are crazy people.

And that, you may have guessed, is my problem with what this doc claims to be (I will, of course, withhold final judgement until I see it)… it’s not, in my estimation, possible in the realm of intellectual-honesty to make an “unbiased” doc on this subject that is also fair and balanced – it’s NOT a balanced debate, and it NEVER will be. There has never been, and will never be, proof to back up the idea that violent video games are a direct cause of real-world violence. Not one study, not one laboratory test, not one SHRED of hard evidence has ever been found. The Thompson/Leiberman side does not have anything to support their claims. Not a single thing.

Thus, a truly unbiased doc showing both sides as they are would end up looking, well… as innevitably one-sided as a doc about the debate over the roundness of the Earth. Because you have one side that’s made up of rational individuals with evidence and facts, and another side made up of crazy people with nothing to back them up. And as the trailer, which I’m about to show you, demonstrates, the filmmakers are at great pains to make Thompson etc. look to be on equal moral and intellectual footing with their opponents, which is simply not an accurate representation of the situation.

Now, I understand. This is the way people think you NEED to do documentaries, always pretend that everything is exactly equal and worth-considering or else you’ll be accused of propaganda. I get that, and was expecting it. THEN I saw the trailer, which I somehow managed to miss back when it was fresh:

No, you didn’t just imagine that. One of the commentators blames video-games for 9/11, and the film (appears to, based on it’s own trailer) treats this as an argument as worth considering as any other.

Yeah, talk about fair.