Happy New Year’s Eve to everyone..I’m celebrating in San Diego with old college friends and likely won’t update again until 2006. So, without further ado, here’s the 2005 movie round-up. Overall, it’s been a pretty solid year for cinema, and this is the first year in the past five where the #1 movie wasn’t immediately obvious to me. But, still, choices had to be made, and so…
[Note: The #1 movie of 2005 changed in early 2006: See the Best of 2006 list for the update...]
1. Syriana: I know Stephen Gaghan’s grim meditation on the global reach and ruthlessness of the Oil Trade rubbed some people the wrong way, but I found it a gripping piece of 21st century muckraking, in the venerable tradition of Ida Tarbell and Upton Sinclair. True, Christopher Plummer was a mite too sinister, but otherwise Syriana offered some of the most intriguing character arcs of the year, from morose CIA Field Agent George Clooney’s ambivalent awakening to corporate lawyer Jeffrey Wright’s courtship with compromise. In a year of well-made political films, among them Good Night, and Good Luck, Munich, Lord of War, and The Constant Gardener, Syriana was the pick of the litter.
2. Layer Cake: If X3 turns into the fiasco the fanboy nation is expecting with Brett Ratner at the helm, this expertly-crafted crime noir by Matthew Vaughn will cut that much deeper. Layer Cake not only outdid Guy Ritchie’s brit-gangster oeuvre in wit and elegance and offered great supporting turns by Michael Gambon, Kenneth Cranham, and Colm Meaney, it proved that Daniel Craig had the requisite charisma for Bond and then some (and that Sienna Miller is no slouch in the charisma department either.)
3. Ballets Russes: Penguins and comedians, to the wings — The lively survivors of the Ballets Russes are now on center stage. Like the best in dance itself, this captivating, transporting documentary was at once of the moment and timeless.
4. Good Night, and Good Luck: Conversely, anchored by David Strathairn’s wry channeling of Edward R. Murrow, George Clooney’s second film (and second appearance on the 2005 list) couldn’t have been more timely. A historical film that in other hands might have come off as dry, preachy edutainment, Good Night, and Good Luck instead seemed as fresh and relevant as the evening news…well, that is, if the news still functioned properly.
5. Batman Begins: The Dark Knight has returned. Yes, the samurai-filled first act ran a bit long and the third-act train derailing needed more oomph. Still, WB and DC’s reboot of the latter’s second biggest franchise was the Caped Crusader movie we’ve all been waiting for. With help from an A-list supporting cast and a Gotham City thankfully devoid of Schumacherian statuary, Chris Nolan and Christian Bale brought both Batman and Bruce Wayne to life as never before, and a Killing Joke-ish Batman 2 is now on the top of my want-to-see list.
6. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: As I said in my original review, I initally thought Cuaron’s Azkhaban couldn’t be topped. But give Mike Newell credit: Harry’s foray into Voldemortish gloom and teenage angst was easily the most compelling Potter film so far. Extra points to Gryffindor for Brendan Gleeson’s more-than-slightly-bent Mad-Eye Moody, and to Slytherin for Ralph Fiennes’ serpentine cameo as He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.
7. King Kong: I had this film as high as #2 for awhile, and there are visual marvels therein that no other movie this year came close to offering, most notably Kong loose in Depression-Era New York City. But, there’s no way around it — even given all the B-movie thrills and great-ape-empathizing that PJ offers in the last 120 minutes, the first hour is close to terrible, which has to knock the gorilla down a few notches.
8. Capote: When it comes to amorality for artistry’s sake, Jack Black’s Carl Denham ain’t got nothing on Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Truman Capote. I think it’d be awhile before I want to watch this movie again, but, still, it was a dark, memorable trip into bleeding Kansas and the writerly id.
9. Sin City: One of the most faithful comic-to-film adaptations on celluloid also made for one of the more engaging and visually arresting cinematic trips this year. I don’t know if the look and feel of Sin City can sustain a bona fide franchise, but this first outing was a surprisingly worthwhile film experience (with particular kudos for Mickey Rourke’s Marv.)
10. Munich: I wrote about this one at length very recently, so I’ll defer to the original review.
11. Brokeback Mountain: A beautifully shot and beautifully told love story, although admittedly Ang Lee’s staid Brokeback at times feels like transparent Oscar bait.
12. Lord of War: Anchored by Nicholas Cage’s wry voiceover, Andrew Niccol’s sardonic expose of the arms trade was the funniest of this year’s global message films (That is, if you like ‘em served up cold.)
13. The Squid and the Whale: Speaking of which, The Squid and the Whale made ugly, embittered divorce about as funny as ever it’s likely to get, thanks to Jeff Daniels’ turn as the pretentious, haunted Bernard Berkman.
14. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith: Thank the Force for small kindnesses: George Lucas put the Star Wars universe to bed with far and away his best outing of the prequels. The film flirts dangerously with the Dark Side, particularly in the “let’s take a meeting” second act, but for the most part Sith felt — finally — like a return to that galaxy long ago and far, far away.
15. A History of Violence: I think David Cronenberg’s most recent take on vigilantism and misplaced identity was slightly overrated by most critics — When you get down to it, the film was pretty straightforward in its doling out of violent fates to those who most deserved them. Still, solid performances and Cronenberg’s mordant humor still made for a far-better-than-average night at the movies.
16. Walk the Line: Despite the great performances by Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line ultimately seemed too much of a by-the-numbers biopic to do the Man in Black full credit. But, definitely worth seeing.
17. In Good Company (2004): Paul Weitz’s sweet folktale of synergy, downsizing, and corporate obsolescence was too charitable and good-natured to think ill of any of its characters, and I usually prefer more mordant fare. Nevertheless, the intelligently-written IGC turned out to be a quality piece of breezy pop filmmaking.
18. The Constant Gardener: Another very good film that I still thought was slightly overrated by the critics, Fernando Meirelles’ sophomore outing skillfully masked its somewhat iffy script with lush cinematography and choice Soderberghian editing.
19. Primer (2004): A completely inscrutable sci-fi tone poem on the perils of time travel. Kevin and I saw it twice and still have very little clue as to what’s going most of the time — but I (we?) mean that in the best way possible.
20. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: The Chronic-what? Andrew Adamson’s retelling of C.S. Lewis’s most popular tome lagged in places, and the two older kids were outfitted with unwieldy character arcs that often stopped the film dead, but it still felt surprisingly faithful to the spirit of Narnia, Christianized lion and all.
Most Disappointing: The Fantastic Four, which I finally saw on the plane yesterday — One of Marvel’s A-List properties is given the straight-to-video treatment. From the Mr. Fantastic bathroom humor to the complete evisceration of Dr. Doom, this movie turned out just as uninspired and embarrassing as the trailers suggested. Runner-Up: The Brothers Grimm. Terry Gilliam’s long-awaited return wasn’t exactly a return-to-form. But, hey, at least he got a movie made, and Tideland is just around the corner.
Most Variable: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: I still haven’t figured out how I feel about this one. I liked it quite a bit upon first viewing, but it didn’t hold up at all the second time around. Still, the casting feels right, and I’d be up for The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, provided they turn up the Ford-and-Zaphod shenanigans and turn down the forced Arthur-and-Trillian romance.
Worth a Rental: Constantine, Aliens of the Deep, Me and You and Everyone We Know, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Island, March of the Penguins, The Aristocrats,Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride, Jarhead, Sarah Silverman: Jesus is Magic, The Ice Harvest, War of the Worlds
Best Actor: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote; Eric Bana, Munich; Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain; David Straitharn, Good Night, and Good Luck
Best Actress: Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line; Naomi Watts, King Kong
Best Supporting Actor: Jeff Daniels, The Squid and the Whale; George Clooney, Syriana; Brendan Gleeson, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Best Supporting Actress: Maria Bello, A History of Violence; Tilda Swinton, The Chronicles of Narnia
Unseen: The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Bee Season, Broken Flowers, Cache, Casanova, Cinderella Man, Crash, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, Grizzly Man, Gunner Palace, Head On, Hustle & Flow, Junebug, Match Point, The New World, Nine Lives, Pride and Prejudice, Serenity (although I watched all of Firefly last week), Shopgirl, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, Wedding Crashers
2006: Frankly, the line-up doesn’t look too exciting at the moment. Nevertheless, 2006 will bring A Scanner Darkly, Casino Royale, The Da Vinci Code, Flags of our Fathers, The Good German, The Inside Man, Marie Antoinette, M:I III, Pirates of the Caribbean 2, Snakes on a Plane (!!), Southland Tales, Superman Returns, Tristam Shandy, V for Vendetta, and X3.
If at times somewhat turgid, Steven Spielberg’s Munich, which I caught this afternoon, is a lively and admirable piece of filmmaking. For the most part, it works as both an expertly-told cloak-and-dagger thriller and a timely rumination on the moral consequences and violent blowback that accompany vengeance as an anti-terror policy. (Indeed, the film infuses Spielberg’s dramatic strengths with contemporary gravitas much more smoothly and profoundly than this summer’s War of the Worlds, which, like Tom Cruise’s earlier Collateral, seemed like it’d be a better movie until taking a tremendously ill-conceived jag in the second hour.) Still, while Munich is assuredly a very good film, ultimately I think the gears grind a bit too loudly at times to consider it a great one.
After a chilling retelling of the horrible events that forever marred the 1972 Olympics (told mostly through newsfootage at first, with reenactment filling in the details later on) and a grim strategy session presided over by Golda Meir (Lynn Cohen), the film introduces us to Avner (Eric Bana), the family man-cum-Mossad agent assigned to head one of Israel’s deep-undercover response teams. Comprised of embittered wheelman Steve (Daniel Craig), nebbishy bombmaker Robert (Matthieu Kassovitz), resigned forger Hans (Hanns Zichler), and conflicted clean-up man Carl (Ciaran Hinds), Avner’s team crisscrosses various scenic European vistas, clumsily dealing death to the alleged perpetrators of the Munich tragedy. (One would think an assassination squad that included James Bond, Julius Caesar, and the Hulk wouldn’t have as much trouble as they do here.) But as the (terrorist and collateral) body count piles up and Avner’s hunters become the hunted, these agents of vengeance increasingly question the righteousness of their retribution, and wonder whether the costly murders they’ve perpetrated have made any dent in the war against Black September.
The acting in Munich is universally good, with special marks going to Bana and his colleagues, particularly as their early relish for the job shades into reluctance and, eventually, paranoia and abject horror. (Mathieu Amalric and Marie-Josee Croze are also memorable as a French information dealer and Dutch assassin respectively.) And, for most of the film, Spielberg’s direction is exquisite. Still, sadly, there are some flaws — The pacing of Munich noticeably lags in the middle hour. And, more troubling, the film seems to strain visibly at times to seem arty and high-minded. For every few import-laden scenes executed with a deft touch (for example, the sequence in which Avner’s team shares a safehouse with a PLO cell), there’s one where the symbolism seems just a tad inflated. (Particularly egregious in this regard is the, ahem, climax, which intercuts the Munich massacre with scenes of a tortured-looking Avner having sex with his wife. What, exactly, does this mean? Are love and war meant to seem oppositional or synchronous? Is this union the “home” that Israel must protect, or what? Whatever the intended message, the scene comes across as not only opaque but overblown.)
Still, not to miss the forest for the trees, Munich is a movie well worth-seeing, the rare thriller that’s not afraid to grapple with today’s thorniest political questions, and without insulting the audience’s intelligence by giving easy, simple-minded answers to seemingly insoluble problems. The film may at best be a long triple, but, to his credit, at least Spielberg is swinging for the fences.
“‘I do think Harvard Square, unless something drastic is done, is dying.’” With the imminent closing of yet another landmark, the Brattle Theater (The Tasty, the original Coop, and the Bow & Arrow had all disappeared within a year of my graduation (1997), and recently Wordsworth Books and Briggs & Briggs have joined them), the AP takes a moment to lament the commercialization of Harvard Square.
“To become a multiplanet species, we must master the skills of extracting local resources, build our capability to journey and explore in hostile regions, and create new reservoirs of human culture and experience. That long journey begins on the moon — the staging ground, supply station and classroom for our voyage into the universe.” Astrophysicist Paul Sputig eloquently makes the case for a return to manned lunar exploration.
From Truman Capote to Oswald Cobblepot? Word is Philip Seymour Hoffman is in talks to play the Penguin in the next Bale Batman, while Sam Rockwell is angling for the Clown Prince of Crime.
A happy (belated) holidays to you and yours from the compound in Norfolk, VA, where we’ve all been engaged in the usual Murphy christmas routine: gift-swapping, atlatl-tossing, and myriad other games of skill and chance. Updates should resume around here shortly, particularly since, among other things, Santa has kindly brought Berk and I a swanky new Gateway MX7515 notebook! (In fact, this is my first wireless post, so GitM has now officially joined the Wi-Fi era…booyah.)
Unable to defeat the Feingold-led filibuster, the Senate GOP instead decide to punt with a six-month extension of the Patriot Act. Dubya originally said he’d veto a three-month stopgap, and the Republicans have been fervently against previous Democratic calls for a temporary extension…but at this point it sounds like the White House and GOP will take what they can get. (Feingold’s reaction: It’s “a victory for the American people.”) Update: Make that a month.
“‘The fact is, the federal law is perfectly clear,’ Turley says. ‘At the heart of this [NSA wiretap] operation was a federal crime. The president has already conceded that he personally ordered that crime and renewed that order at least 30 times. This would clearly satisfy the standard of high crimes and misdemeanors for the purpose of an impeachment.’” Salon‘s Michelle Goldberg assesses the current political temperature for Dubya’s impeachment. “‘For Republicans to suggest that this is not a legitimate question of federal crimes makes a mockery of their position during the Clinton period. For Republicans, this is the ultimate test of principle.‘” Update: Slate‘s Dahlia Lithwick also muses on Dubya’s distaste for the rule of law.
Passed over thrice for a Dubya high court nomination, conservative appeals court judge J. Michael Luttig today got the chance to exercise his wrath upon the administration in a decision regarding Jose Padilla, and for good reason. “The appeals court opinion reflected a tone of anger that is rare for a federal court addressing the United States government…Luttig said the government’s actions created the appearance ‘that the government may be attempting to avoid’ Supreme Court review in a matter of ‘especial national importance.’ He also suggested that the government’s actions in the Padilla case may possibly have had negative consequences for ‘the public perception of the war on terror’ and ‘also for the government’s credibility before the courts in litigation ancillary to that war.‘”
“What I’ve heard some of the judges say is they feel they’ve participated in a Potemkin court.” Allegedly in protest over Dubya’s illegal use of wiretaps, US District Judge James Robertson resigns from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (or FISA court.) Meanwhile, the NYT reports that, despite what the administration is saying, some purely domestic calls were overheard via Dubya’s warrantless wiretaps.
“The legislation would allow states to impose new fees on Medicaid recipients, cut federal child support enforcement funds, impose new work requirements on state welfare programs and squeeze student lenders.” Although a tie-breaking vote by Cheney got the deficit bill passed — meaning people on Medicaid, welfare recipients, and students with loans will soon be paying for Dubya’s millionaire tax breaks — the Dems do succeed in beating back ANWR drilling, much to the chagrin of Ted Stevens, who gambled that the Senate wouldn’t vote down a defense bill.
“Every time I think I’m going to wake up back in the jungle…” The strange teaser for Mel Gibson’s Mayan epic Apocalypto is now online. Looks intriguing, although to be honest — with the Will Durant quote, Chichen Itza, rainforest scouting, and the panther attack — I had a hard time watching this and not thinking of Civ 4. Update: Look for the subliminal Mel…bizarre.
The MTA strike has begun. As I’m ensconced uptown and have completed most of my christmas shopping, the strike doesn’t much affect me yet, although picking up my rental car for the drive home in the HOV-restricted zone of Manhattan might turn out to be a pain…we’ll see.
Is the FBI searching for Al Qaeda…or the Army of the 12 Monkeys? In yet another example of scary overreaching by intelligence organizations of late, the ACLU disclosed today that the FBI has been spying on several innocuous activist organizations since 9/11, including PETA, Greenpeace, and the Catholic Workers’ Group.
A month after the school board was swept of intelligent designers (to Pat Robertson’s chagrin), a judge in Dover, PA dismisses ID as a classroom alternative to evolution. Good to see both science and common sense win one for a change.
Off again, on again: Along with a smattering of Operation Offset-type cuts (particularly with regard to student loans), “Bridge to Nowhere” Ted Stevens and the GOP attach ANWR drilling to a fiscal defense bill, in effect daring the Dems to vote against supporting the troops. Is this ANWR’s last stand? Update: Senate Dems ready for a fight.
Team Dubya spent the weekend on the offensive regarding the recent disclosure of illegal NSA wiretaps, with Bush saying over and over again that disclosing the wiretaps was “a shameful act” that “damage[d] our national security.” Sheah. That Dubya and his cronies would try to pass off these egregious violations of civil liberties and due process with more dissent is disloyalty garbage (and a frisson of 9/11, 9/11, 9/11) speaks once again to how corrupt and out-of-control this administration has become. Let the investigations commence. Update: Newsweek‘s Jonathan Alter weighs in: “Bush was desperate to keep the Times from running this important story — which the paper had already inexplicably held for a year — because he knew that it would reveal him as a law-breaker…If the Democrats regain control of Congress, there may even be articles of impeachment introduced.”
Wonder upon wonders, SNL actually had a decently funny sketch the other night (at least if you’re both fanboy and Beastie-inclined): Lazy Sunday (a.k.a. The Chronic!-les of Narnia)…cause Mr. Pibb & Red Vines = crazy delicious. Update: It’s a phenomenon.
The long-awaited film version of Watchmen, which died over at Paramount this summer, gets a new lease on life at Warner Brothers, although director Paul Greengrass and screenwriter David Hayter are no longer attached.
In the midst of my pre-transit-strike christmas shopping downtown, I took an evening breather at the Angelika to watch The Squid and the Whale, Noah Baumbach’s withering confessional film based on the divorce of his semi-famous parents (writer Jonathan Baumbach and film critic Georgia Brown) in Park Slope, circa 1986. The movie is mostly episodic vignettes in the life of a broken family and at times suggests a more misanthropic Me, You, and Everyone We Know. But it also feels scarily authentic and is probably one of the most convincing — and wryly funny — depictions of divorce I’ve ever seen on film, with particular kudos going to Jeff Daniels as the sad sack father in this outfit.
The story centers on 16-year-old Walt Berkman (Jesse Eisenberg of Rodger Dodger, playing Baumbach’s alter ego) and his younger brother Frank (Owen Kline), as they try to navigate the fallout from their writer parents’ collapsed marriage. (The title of the film refers to a display of an underwater death struggle at the American Museum of National History, which is referenced several times as an apt metaphor for the younger Berkmans’ plight.) Walt sides with his father Bernard (Daniels), a washed-up author-turned-college-professor, while Frank enlists under the standard of his up-and-coming writer mother Joan (Laura Linney), who has a profoundly irritating habit of calling her children “Pickle” and “Chicken.” As the parents war over the details of their absurdly complicated joint custody agreement, both Walt and Frank begin to display increasingly bizarre behavior, with Walt pilfering Pink Floyd’s eminently recognizable “Hey You” as his own composition for the school talent show and Frank taking on the habits of the “philistines” his pretentious father so loathes, namely drinking, masturbating in public, and idolizing his goofy semi-pro tennis coach (Billy Baldwin, playing it broad).
With all due respect to the rest of the cast, most of the funniest (and most cringeworthy) scenes in the film are a result of Jeff Daniels’ terrific performance as paterfamilias-in-exile Bernard Berkman, one that should be on the warning label for anyone thinking of a career in academia. At once bombastic and deflated, Bernard is a terrible snob — he refers to Franz Kafka as “one of my predecessors” and can’t stop tossing off pithy and damning critiques of his son’s high school reading list (A Tale of Two Cities is “Minor Dickens,” for example.) At the same time, the wolves are at the door: Daniels’ eyes — hidden in the depths of his scruffy academic beard — have a furtive and hunted look, as if at any moment his wounded ego will cough up its last and he’ll collapse into a paroxysm of fatal self-loathing. Bernard basically deserves almost every indignity that’s heaped upon him here (with the possible exception of his wife’s serial infidelity, which, the movie suggests, may have originally turned him into this stunted, paralyzed pretender), but Daniels’ haunted resignation makes both the laughter and the pain stick.
R.I.P. John Spencer 1946-2005, a quality character actor best known as Leo McGarry of The West Wing.
Thanks to more lies emanating from the Dubya administration, the Congressional Research Service is forced to set the record straight: Dubya saw more prewar intelligence than Congress. “The Bush administration has routinely denied Congress access to documents, saying it would have a chilling effect on deliberations. The report…concludes that the Bush administration has been more restrictive than its predecessors in sharing intelligence with Congress.“
“I don’t want to hear again from the attorney general or anyone on this floor that this government has shown it can be trusted to use the power we give it with restraint and care.” Aided by today’s shocking revelation that the NSA has been monitoring thousands of international calls without a warrant since 2002, a group of Senators led by Russ Feingold — and including four Republicans (Craig, Hagel, Murkowski, and Sununu) — succeed in defeating an extension of the Patriot Act. At this point, I might as well put a Feingold 2008 banner over on the sidebar — Ever since the McCain-Feingold days, the Senator from Wisconsin has continued to rise in my esteem, and this once again proves his mettle as our most forthright and committed progressive standard-bearer. Bravo!
Seen tonight at a second viewing of Kong: the new trailer for Spike Lee’s Inside Man, a heist flick with Denzel Washington, Clive Owen, Jodie Foster, Willem DeFoe, and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Great cast, great director…yeah, I’ll see it.
which is good, ’cause it’s looking right now like the long-simmering transit strike will in fact happen, if not tomorrow then Monday. Update: Or Tuesday.
The new trailer for V for Vendetta is now online. This premiered at BNAT 7 last week and got universally great reviews from the AICN fanboys, most of whom know their Moore…but, frankly, I’m not really feeling the “Matrix with knives” angle of this trailer, and John Hurt seems like he’s overdoing it.
In an interview with FOX News’s Brit Hume, Dubya backs Boss DeLay, saying he is innocent of money laundering. “It is highly unusual for a president to express an opinion on a pending legal case. Richard M. Nixon, for instance, was widely criticized for declaring Charles Manson ‘guilty, directly or indirectly’ of murder while Manson’s trial was ongoing.” Also in the interview, Dubya tried to pin Casino Jack on both parties and gave Rumsfeld the Brownie thumbs up. Update: The backlash begins.
“My opponent doesn’t know what it is to lose. I do. And I’ll welcome the support of voters who do, too. I’ll take the losers. I’ll take the debtors. I’ll take those who’ve lost in love, or baseball, or in business. I’ll take the Milwaukee Braves.” R.I.P. Sen. William Proxmire 1915-2005.
“The West has given more significance to the myth of the genocide of the Jews, even more significant than God, religion, and the prophets.” In the world-gets-even-scarier-department, Iran’s hardliner president publicly indulges in Holocaust denial. Clearly, Iran is living up to its axis-of-evil appellation these days, but remember: Ahmadinejad’s election was in part blowback from Dubya’s amateurish and tone-deaf Middle-East policy in the first place. At any rate, it’s clear that our Iran situation is worsening, and that Iranian possession of nukes could be a very frightening scenario.
“We are about to lose New Orleans. Whether it is a conscious plan to let the city rot until no one is willing to move back or honest paralysis over difficult questions, the moment is upon us when a major American city will die, leaving nothing but a few shells for tourists to visit like a museum. We said this wouldn’t happen. President Bush said it wouldn’t happen.” By way of Looka, who’s been doing an exemplary job covering the Katrina aftermath, remember New Orleans.
As Chuck notes, “Why are [Dubya and the GOP] balking at spending $32 billion to protect a major American city from further destruction while they seem to have had no trouble passing four tax cuts in the last week that totalled $95 billion?” Update: The White House announces it will spend $3.1 billion on levees. Well, it’s a start, I suppose.
“I’m confident the president knows who the source is. I’d be amazed if he doesn’t. So I say, ‘Don’t bug me. Don’t bug Bob Woodward. Bug the president as to whether he should reveal who the source is.’” What did the President know about Plamegate, and when did he know it? Saving his own skin first, as per the norm, Douchebag of Liberty Robert Novak says ask Dubya. Update: Safe once more among his kind, DoL Novak joins FOX News.
Ian McKellen’s voiceover lends some Gandalfian grandeur to the new trailer for Ron Howard’s version of Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code, also starring Tom Hanks (with eighties hair), Audrey Tautou, Paul Bettany (in albino mode), Alfred Molina, and Jean Reno. I never read the book, but I suppose I’d pay ten bucks to see this.
“They are trading the lives of poor people for their agenda. They’re being, and this is the worst insult, unbiblical.” As liberal Christian groups protest GOP cuts in poverty programs, the Post looks into why the usual right-wing suspects are AWOL on the issue of poverty.
Good news for AD fans: According to Variety, both ABC and Showtime are in talks to take over Arrested Development should FOX cancel it, “with Showtime said to be in particularly hot pursuit of the ratings-challenged laffer.“