Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Weekend box office

Here's the weekend box office:

1NBlack PantherBV$201,797,000-4,020-$50,198$201,797,000-1
22Peter RabbitSony$17,600,000-29.6%3,725-$4,725$48,572,542$502
31Fifty Shades FreedUni.$17,320,000-55.1%3,768-$4,597$76,513,455$552
44Jumanji: Welcome to the JungleSony$7,925,000-20.9%2,800-336$2,830$377,603,565$909
53The 15:17 to ParisWB$7,620,000-39.3%3,042-$2,505$25,367,717$302
65The Greatest ShowmanFox$5,070,000-21.3%1,936-437$2,619$154,448,356$849
7NEarly ManLGF$3,183,000-2,494-$1,276$3,183,000-1
86Maze Runner: The Death CureFox$2,605,000-58.1%1,892-1,031$1,377$54,085,126$624
108The PostFox$2,000,000-44.9%1,050-815$1,905$76,609,372$509

BLACK PANTHER opened huge.

Any bets on the drop off for next weekend?

I'm going to go with 75%.

Other observations.

THE GREATEST SHOWMAN?  I raved over that movie, it's great.  But I also remember people -- especially critics -- acting like it was a box office failure.  They didn't seem to realize that the film had legs.  Nine weeks later, it's still in the top ten and has now made over $150 million.

FIFTY SHADES FREED goes out a successful end to the triology.  It will probably top off around $92 million domestically.

THE POST will be gone next weekend.  It's done horrible business and there's no way Meryl's getting the Oscar.  There's nothing to keep it in the top ten.  Of 'quality' films, THE POST remains the worst film of the last 12 months.

JUMANJI remains the story of 2018.  No one could have guessed it would make this much domestically before it was released.

I reviewed it and I loved it.  But I wouldn't have guessed it would have made even half this much.

JUMANJI is a force of its own now.

Going out with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Monday, February 19, 2018.  Mere weeks away from the 15th anniversary of this wave of the never-ending Iraq War.

I was on the phone earlier with a friend.  We both know Patricia Arquette and are amazed at her Russian scare mongering -- appalled actually.  I said, "Well Rosanna's not stupid."  He checked.  No, she's not.  I have no idea why Patricia's decided to jump off the cliff but she's on her own.  Increasingly on her own.

(Also, it's very insulting to her late brother for Patricia to present Billie Jean King as the brave voice.  There is the reality of Billie Jean -- lesbian her whole life and in the closet long after she admits to today -- and there there is the myth of Billie Jean.  Patricia's too old to fall for the myth.)

The violence never ends in Iraq (if Patricia wants to check in on that any time soon).

near popular market leaves four civilians killed, injured

And there's the attack today on Iraqi forces:

BREAKING:  Iraq's Shiite-led force: Militants disguised in army uniforms ambush paramilitary troops north of Baghdad, killing 27.

Who was behind that attack?

ISIS says they were.

claims responsibility for killing 20 security personnel in

B-b-b-but Hayder al-Abadi says he defeated ISIS!!!!!

And it must be true because the media's told us that as well!!!!

Oh, the media lies.

Are you still that naive?

As Iraq War vet Mike Prysner explained on LOUD & CLEAR over the weekend:

There are two sides to this.  There's the preparing and the priming for war and all the propaganda and lies and all of the things that the media does to prepare people for that initial attack and [. . .]  But then when the war starts there's this whole other part of the of masking what's really happening, masking the war on civilians, masking the mismanagement and poor planning of the war makers and of course this happened with the Gulf War and with the invasion of Iraq that I was a part of in 2003.  I think that the US empire learned a lesson from the Vietnam War because if you look up footage of the Vietnam War, you'll see that journalists were on the front line, the evening news was showing front line reporting, showing destruction of civilians and the death of and the serious wounding of US soldiers.  And the US empire learned a lesson from that because that stimulated so much anti-war activism in the United States and in the military because people were seeing a first-hand look at what was going on every single day.  And with the Gulf War they made a very specific effort to conceal that.  To be a military reporter there you had to be approved by the government, you had to go through all types of vetting and they were only allowing journalists embedded with soldiers who were approved and who were going to show positive coverage.  And the same was true with the invasion of Iraq.  And I remember one of the things that, you know, I think one of the first times that me and my friends there started to get really angry at the media.  You know we hadn't seen newspapers or news for quite some months but when we finally saw a news report it was just a news report about a rocket that had hit the side of a building and it was just like this kind of endless loop footage of a hole in the side of a building.  This was the reality that we had been dealing with day in and day out -- that was a daily or nightly occurrence for us.   And we realized that people back home had absolutely no idea what was happening in Iraq.  That the politicians were saying everything's going fine, yes, we have to report on this or that death when it happens but overall it's going well.  But what we were seeing was just the opposite -- that every day was getting worse and every day was becoming more and more of a disaster and so this kind of extreme need to conceal from the public what's actually going on as the plans are falling apart or as the plans are working and are getting more and more destructive and horrible for the people that they're going after. We felt completely betrayed by the fact that the people we were supposed to be serving back home weren't allowed to know the true extent of what was going on.

As we have repeatedly pointed out, it wasn't just the Judith Millers responsible for getting us over there, it was also the liars -- The Go-Go Boys of  the Green Zone -- that kept us there.

And the lies never end.

Like the corporate media's need/desire to do the US State Dept's work for them and pimp the lie that ISIS is defeated in Iraq.

That lie benefits Hayder al-Abadi who faces an election May 12th and who has damn little to show for four years as prime minister.

So the corporate media repeats it even though events on the ground -- which they largely ignore -- beg to differ with that claim.

For example:

tightens security on borders with neighboring countries over IS threat

No, that's not something you do when ISIS is defeated.

And let's talk about something else the media did.

Bob Hope's annual Vietnam specials.

I believe it was 1972 when one of them finally came in second for the week.  Prior to that, they were all the number one program for their week.  It reminded people that US troops were in Vietnam.  For some that was good, for some that was bad.  It was these specials that led to it being labeled "Hope's War" -- and that wasn't a good thing.  He faced booing from the troops in one instance, in another, in the US, he insisted it was "a beautiful thing" the war even if it did cost American lives.  He later insisted he was misquoted and said he was suing.  But he never did sue, did he?

Throughout the ongoing Iraq War, there's been every effort to avoid the war in prime time.  There's been every effort to hide it away.

In fact, the most honest moment may have been when Bright Eyes performed "When A President Talks To God" on THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO May 2, 2005.

The Iraq War continues because it's sold over and over, because the corporate media conceals it, because so-called peace activists only care to rail against war if a Republican's in the White House, for so many reasons.

Next month, the Iraq War, this wave of it, hits the 15 year mark.

But it's okay, Patty Arquette's obsessed with defending War Criminal Hillary Clinton and that's what really matters -- at least in a world that's as full of s**t at Patricia herself is these days.

New content at THIRD:

Thursday, February 15, 2018

African-American male movie stars -- context

Why Paul Robeson Matters. New from .

From that article:

Last week saw the publication of two columns that showed how liberals and leftists  continue to misrepresent Paul Robeson, the legendary artist and intellectual giant. First up was Simon Callow in the New York Review of Books, who replayed talking points dating to the Cold War to portray Robeson as a naive African American and willing dupe of Joseph Stalin.
Those charges stemmed from 1949, when Robeson traveled to France to attend a Soviet Union-sponsored Paris Peace Conference. According to this account in Smithsonian:
After singing “Joe Hill,” the famous ballad about a Swedish-born union activist falsely accused and convicted of murder and executed in Utah in 1915, Robeson addressed the audience and began speaking extemporaneously, as he often did, about the lives of black people in the United States. Robeson’s main point was that World War III was not inevitable, as many Americans did not want war with the Soviet Union.
Before he took the stage, however, his speech had somehow already been transcribed and dispatched back to the United States by the Associated Press. By the following day, editorialists and politicians had branded Robeson a communist traitor for insinuating that black Americans would not fight in a war against the Soviet Union.
Historians would later discover that Robeson had been misquoted, but the damage had been almost instantly done. It was the beginning of the end for Robeson, who would soon be declared “the Kremlin’s voice of America” by a witness at hearings by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). 

Paul Robeson was one of the first African-American film stars.  His filmography includes:

A day before BLACK PANTHER is released, we should remember Robeson and
also ditch this idea that this is some amazing blockbuster first.

Eddie Murphy?

BEVERLY HILLS COP -- one, two and three.

Beverly Hills Cop is a 1984 American action comedy film directed by Martin Brest, written by Daniel Petrie Jr. and starring Eddie Murphy as Axel Foley, a street-smart Detroit cop who visits Beverly Hills, California to solve the murder of his best friend. Judge ReinholdJohn AshtonRonny CoxLisa EilbacherSteven Berkoff and Jonathan Banks appear in supporting roles.
This first film in the Beverly Hills Cop series shot Murphy to international stardom, won the People's Choice Award for "Favorite Motion Picture" and was nominated for both the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 1985. It earned $234 million at the North American domestic box office, making it the highest-grossing film of 1984 in the U.S.

Let's also remember 1998's BLADE:

Blade is a 1998 American vampire superhero film, directed by Stephen Norrington and written by David S. Goyer loosely based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name.[4] The film stars Wesley Snipes in the title role with Stephen DorffKris Kristoffersonand N'Bushe Wright in supporting roles. In the film, Blade is a vampire with human traits who protects humans from vampires.
Released on August 21, 1998, Blade became a commercial success by grossing $70 million at the U.S. box office, and $131.2 million worldwide. Despite mixed reviews from film critics, the film received a positive reception from audiences and has since garnered a cult following.[5] It was followed by two sequels, Blade II and Blade: Trinity, both written by Goyer who also directed the latter.

We need to remember those things for a number of reasons -- but especially because fools like Kareem Abdul-Jabar write nonsense like this:

Then, with the political backlash against black advancement in the '80s and '90s came a lull in black action heroes, with most appearing as buddies to white cops (48 Hrs.Lethal WeaponRunning Scared), suggesting racial tensions were more for comic relief than an urgent problem.

Going out with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Thursday, February 15, 2018.  15 years ago today . . .

Today's an important day.

15 years ago today Jeremy Corbyn spoke at the historic protest against the Iraq war

Today is the 15-year anniversary of the largest protest event in history – the Feb. 15, 2003 demonstrations against the imminent US invasion of . On this occasion we republish an article detailing concerns that drove millions to take the streets. 

Why so little coverage of today?

Well, it's not like the press can call us treasonous -- that is what some of them called us in 2003, remember?

"Treason."  To protest an impending war was "treason."

To protest a war being built on lies was "treason."

We knew.

The 'experts' didn't know, but we did.

That's why we turned out in the largest numbers ever around the world.

Because we knew this was an illegal war.  We knew we were being lied to.

And the press spat on us, lied about us, called us names.

That same press isn't interested in telling us today about the protests.

They sold the IraqWar.

They sold it with lies as well as with character attacks on us.

Remember, they're about making money, not about telling the truth.

And the truth about what they did 15 years ago doesn't fit with their image of 'truth tellers' today.

Meryl Streep was no where to be found 15 years ago.  But today she whores her ugly ass to prop up the press as some wonderful body out to protect us.  To do that, she has to appear in a film that lies and that's set in the early 70s which says a great deal -- all bad -- about the press itself.

We stood together 15 years ago and we were a rebuke to the governments wanting war and to the press selling it.

Our actions were evidence that it was obvious all along that the Iraq War was built on lies.

Honoring us, remembering us, today would be to indict themselves.

So they instead they try to disappear us.

Because we did make a difference.

We hoped to stop the war before it started.

That we failed at.

But we were a living testament against the war.

And we were right.

And that doesn't just sting them to this day, it's helped prevent larger wars, it's made them scared to get honest about troops stationed here and there.

15 years ago on this day, millions of people took to the streets across the world to protest against the invasion of Iraq. The Anti-War movement at the time, predicted huge unrest and instability in the Middle East and Iraq if an invasion where to take place. Sadly proven right.

The was very important ad showed  large numbers of people in US and UK didn’t accept the lies and propaganda of the warmongers. The movement also politicised a generation of activists such as myself who were outraged by the sheer barbarity of the war in Iraq and the lies told.

And whilst we didn’t stop the war on Iraq , the war machine that wanted to invade and target more countries was halted. We can be proud of that. Also, ultimately the anti-war movement eventually brought down Tony Blair, the “peacekeeper” with blood on his hands.

The protests 15 years ago mattered and they matter to this day.

To get the war they wanted, they had to lie.  They lie to this day.

Take the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

The fighting in Iraq is over, but the task ahead is enormous. The UN stands with Iraqis as they build a country that is committed to unity and inclusivity.

The fighting is over?

Margaret Griffis (ANTIWAR.COM) just reported:

At least 15 people were killed, and two were wounded in recent violence:

A bomb killed a cattle rancher in Muqdadiya.

A sticky bomb in Ilam killed one person.

In Baghdad, a bomb at a market left two wounded.

Thirteen militants were killed in airstrikes on Tal Afar, near Mosul.

But, hey, the fighting's over.

Once again, it's don't believe what's happening, believe what we tell you is happening.

Iraq held a fundraiser in Kuwait.  They wanted between $88 and $100 billion dollars.  They only got $30 billion.  Worse, not all of that was a gift/donation -- that figure also includes loans.

REUTERS reports:

Iraq received pledges of $30 billion, mostly in credit facilities and investment, on Wednesday from allies but this fell short of the $88 billion Baghdad says it needs to recover from three years of war.
[. . .]
“If we compare what we got today to what we need, it is no secret, it is of course much lower than what Iraq needs,” Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari told a news conference.

The following community sites -- plus PACIFICA EVENING NEWS, BLACK AGENDA REPORT, GORILLA NEWS and LATINO USA -- updated: