I have scratched together a living, in one way or another, as a writer for more than 50 years now. I was a free-lance writer during the early stages of the Vietnam War. I was the Southwest Division Overnight News Editor for United Press International back when UPI was a legitimate news gathering organization. Following that, I went to the Dallas Morning News where I became the first person to write about rock 'n' roll on a daily basis for a Texas metropolitan newspaper. I later became the News' entertainment editor. Following some stints with a couple of prominent PR firms, I had the extraordinary good fortune to team with two communications legends, Ken Fairchild and Lisa LeMaster, as part of one kick-ass media consulting/crisis communications team. That was followed by short stays with the City of Dallas, as its public information officer; the Dallas Northeast Chamber of Commerce where I had the good fortune to meet and work alongside some of this city's business and political titans; and editorial director for QuestCorp Media until that company went out of business. Now officially retired, concentrating on this blog.
The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology *** Directed by Sophie Fiennes. Fiennes and philosopher Slavoj Zizek team for this documentary that uses their interpretations of a potpourri of movies to create a journey into the epicenter of ideology. In a series of mini-rants with insights that range from the ho-hum to the profound, the sixtysomething Žižek, paunchy, bearded and bobbing his hands like a squirrel’s paws, rummages through what he calls the trash can of ideology.
On the Job *** Directed by Erik Matti. Filipino crime thriller inspired by a real-life scandal in which prison inmates are temporarily released from prison to work as contract killers on behalf of politicians and high ranking military officials. A sturdy and sophisticated crime drama that takes a pretty gruesome situation and enriches its presentation with lots of human detail.
Hellbenders **½ Directed by J.T. Petty. The Augustine Interfaith Order of Hellbound Saints, a team of blasphemous ministers who live in a constant state of debauchery, work to drag the worst of demons back to Hell. Mostly feels like a doodle, an amiable lark that will amuse genrephiles and anyone else with their sights set appropriately low.
Afternoon Delight **½ Directed by Jill Soloway. Rachel (Kathryn Hahn) is a quick-witted and lovable stay-at-home mom. Frustrated with the realities of preschool auctions, a lackluster sex life and career that’s gone kaput, Rachel visits a strip club to spice up her marriage and meets McKenna (Juno Temple), a stripper she adopts as her live-in nanny. The film, which had at worst seemed unfocused (not a cardinal sin for a comedy), takes a bizarrely reactionary turn in the homestretch, undermining all of the goodwill Hahn had accumulated up to that point and turning her character into detestable yuppie scum.
Zaytoun * Directed by Eran Riklis. In 1982 Beirut, a young Palestinian refugee (Abdallah El Akal) helps an Israeli fighter pilot (Stephen Dorff) escape from PLO captivity because he wants to visit his ancestral family home. En route through war-torn Lebanon their relationship develops into a close bond. Alternating abruptly between road-trip comedy and war-through-a-child’s-eyes melodrama, the film’s tonal inconsistency prevents the story from gelling.