John Hayward

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'Noah' director faces criticism for artistic license

The Hollywood Reporter has a long article about the backlash director Darren Aronofsky has been getting from some Christians in the test audiences for his upcoming "Noah" epic, starring Russell Crowe as the Bible hero.  Aronofsky says only ten or twenty percent of his test audience has criticized the license he took with the story, but clearly their resistance bothers him.  (He's also distinctly grumpy about the idea of screening his unfinished film for test audiences, something forced upon him by the studio; he reasonably maintains that it's unfair to judge a massive special-effects film with most of the visuals waiting to be spliced in.) Feb 13, 2014 9:00 PM PT

'Job lock' and supply-side economics

Back when that H-bomb of a Congressional Budget Office forecast landed on ObamaCare, and panicked Democrats began running around like maniacs and burbling that unemployment is the essence of freedom, I thought they were making a huge and dangerous concession by admitting that government benefits provide a concrete and effective disincentive to work.   Feb 13, 2014 8:26 PM PT

Selling socialists the bricks they need to bury themselves

Twitter buzz over the weekend made me suspect I had chosen the wrong movie to see and review for its cultural significance.  I went with "The Monuments Men," but I'm starting to think I should have seen "The Lego Movie" instead.  I'm a fan of animation, Eastern and Western, hand-drawn and computerized, but I just couldn't see myself in the audience for the Lego film.  Besides, I'm a lifelong sucker for World War II movies, a taste I partially inherited from my mom.  (One of the last movies we saw together before she passed away was Michael Bay's "Pearl Harbor," which she wanted to see on opening night.  Her review, which I relate to you in its entirety, word for word: "It wasn't like that.") Feb 10, 2014 7:18 AM PT

Movie review: 'The Monuments Men'

George Clooney's new World War II film, "The Monuments Men," has to be one of the most ill-conceived major studio releases ever.  It's not exactly a bad film or a hot mess; that would make it much more interesting - and the one thing "Monuments Men" is determined to avoid, at all costs, is being interesting.  It's pleasant, and very slightly amusing for a few brief moments here and there, but it's a case study in what happens when the premise of a story is systematically cleansed of all drama. Feb 9, 2014 6:04 AM PT

NBC does a solid for the commies

Speaking of suppressed ideas and sloppy discourse, NBC is really going out of its way to make the Russians happy in its Sochi Olympics coverage.  Did you catch the powerful statement International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach delivered against discrimination and intolerance, widely interpreted as a slam against Russia's treatment of homosexuals?  No?  That's because NBC didn't air it for American audiences.  I don't mean that they failed to air a speech the rest of the world saw.  They just hacksawed out the minute or so of rhetoric that would have made the Russians unhappy. Feb 8, 2014 7:07 AM PT

What passes beyond speech, passes beyond thought

Mark Steyn, the most important figure in the debate over free speech in America today - which, as he might say, isn't a bad day's work for a Canadian - makes a crucial point about the impulse to control words as a vehicle for controlling thought: Feb 8, 2014 6:41 AM PT

Obama's know-nothing ambassadors

President Obama's determined effort to find the most unqualified campaign donors he can possibly reward with important ambassadorial positions continues to bring comical, and disturbing, results.  First there was the hapless boob he tapped for ambassador to Norway, top Obama bundler Geroge Tsunis, who might be able to find Norway on a map, but otherwise knows absolutely nothing about it whatsoever.  The unamused Norwegians retaliated for the insult from Obama by nominating Edward Snowden for the Nobel Peace Prize. Feb 7, 2014 5:27 AM PT

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