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Klavan On The Culture

A Great New Culture Site

September 5th, 2014 - 7:30 am

While America suffers the wages of leftism in the political sphere — authoritarianism, censorship and sluggish economy at home; spreading violence and tyranny abroad — those who are in and on the right have been making a strong move into the all-important world of culture. At Britain’s socialist newspaper The Guardian, cranky lefty Ewan Morrison (h/t Instapundit and Reason) complains that most of the recent YA films — The Giver, Hunger Games, Divergent — honestly depict state oppression and champion libertarian freedom. As one leftist commenter cries, “The masses are increasingly right wing with an antagonism to politics and to the state. They need to be confronted.” To which Instapundit hilariously replies, “Confront away, Big Boy.”

And here’s more good news: there’s an excellent major new movie site that champions civilized values too. HollywoodinToto features a look at pop culture with “a Conservative Edge.” The edgy-guy in chief there is Christian Toto, who for a long time was one of the best culture writers at Big Hollywood. He knows movies and TV well, both from an aesthetic and political perspective.

The site is already rocking with cool, smart articles like “Sopranos vs. Breaking Bad: Why Walter White Wins,” and “The Sad, Unpredictable Fall of Russell Brand,” along with lots of reviews of films old and new.

Listen, I’m not against complaining about left wing culture — but I am against complaining and not supporting the true culture warriors of the right. Christian Toto is one of them — I mean, just look at his name! Check the site out. You’ll be glad.

Is Ayn Rand Nonsense?

September 4th, 2014 - 9:48 am

Me and Bill Whittle take on the Randians.  Don’t hate us because we’re beautiful.  Hate us because we think you’re wrong! Although obviously, we’re also beautiful.

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I Sign On to The Gosnell Movie

September 3rd, 2014 - 10:10 am

Back in May, when I promoted Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer in their heroic effort to crowd fund a movie about abortionist/serial killer Kermit Gosnell, I did not expect that I was going to end up writing it! But according to what I read in The Hollywood Reporter, that’s how it has shaken out:

The TV movie or feature film about imprisoned abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell has hired as its writerAndrew Klavan, a bestselling novelist whose book True Crime was made into a movie starring and directed by Clint Eastwood.

Those behind the Gosnell project set a record at Indiegogo in May by raising more than $2.1 million via a crowdfunding campaign. Klavan is expected to use gruesome details from a grand jury report to craft the story of Gosnell, who was convicted of murder after killing live babies born at his Philadelphia abortion clinic.

“As I’ve begun to get into the research materials, it’s started to come home to me that we’ve all taken on a huge responsibility,” Klavan said. “The women who were brutalized by this Gosnell monster — they can tell their stories. But all his victims, all those babies — we’ve got to figure out a way to speak for them somehow.”

Klavan also wrote Don’t Say a Word, which was made into a movie starring Michael Douglas, and he authored a series of young-adult novels called The Homelanders. He also has written opinion articles for several newspapers, including a controversial piece in The Wall Street Journal that compared Batman as portrayed in The Dark Knight to President George W. Bush.

The producers of Gosnell, husband and wife Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney, along with Magdalena Segieda, have made their case that their independent movie is necessary because the mainstream media and traditional Hollywood has largely ignored Gosnell and his crimes, and Klavan agrees.

I do indeed, and I’m very excited to be part of this project.  Phelim and Ann are top-notch filmmakers and people, and it’s a genuine pleasure to be working with them on a story of this importance.

“Haunting Melissa 2″ Is Looking Great!

August 29th, 2014 - 10:13 am

 

Exclusive still from HM2: Dark Hearts

Exclusive still from HM2: Dark Hearts

Director Neal Edelstein has finished filming my script for the sequel of the bestselling and Appy-award-winning  storytelling app Haunting Melissa It’s called Haunting Melissa 2: Dark Hearts, and I have to say, it is looking unbelievably good. I had a chance to see some of the dailies as they were coming in, and then dropped in on Neal in the editing room the other day to watch some rough cut scenes. As spooky as the first story was, he is definitely taking the thing to a new level.

For those of you who didn’t get a chance to download the first Haunting Melissa app, it’s very innovative, very cool. It delivers filmed portions of a ghost story to your iPhone or iPad on its own schedule. You never know when your phone is suddenly going to whisper, “Melissssssa,” scaring the bejabbers out of you and announcing that a new chapter of the creepy tale has arrived.

The first film, also directed by Neal and written by me, told the story of Melissa Strogue, who begins hearing voices while staying alone in the farmhouse where her mother died.  If you want to watch the story before the sequel comes out, it’s still available, though it’s exclusive to iOS devices and as far as I know, there are no plans to do an Android version any time soon.

Anyway, when you write for film but don’t direct, you never know how things are going to turn out, and I’m very excited to see the way this is going. Every scene I’ve watched so far has been well shot, well acted, emotional and scary. The beautiful Kassia Warshawski returns to play the title role, and the somewhat less beautiful but still talented Greg Lawson — who just recently had a part in the Fargo TV series — is back as her father.

It’s nice when you’re able to plug something you’ve worked on and do it with complete honesty. I think I can honestly recommend:  if you like ghost stories, download Haunting Melissa and watch it now, because you’re definitely going to want to see the sequel.

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Instapundit on Militarized Police

August 27th, 2014 - 6:31 am

From Dave Hodges “Common Sense Show.”

Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit and law professor, has an excellent USA Today column this week on the militarization of the police. I’ve been tracking a lot of opinions on this and Glenn’s strikes me as the most commonsensical:

There’s a role for SWAT teams in limited circumstances, but they’ve been overused in recent years, deployed for absurd things such as raids on sellers of raw milk. The problem is, when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. And when you have cool military equipment, there’s a strong temptation to use it, just because, well, it’s cool. (Federal regulatory agencies have succumbed to SWAT Fever too.)

I don’t entirely blame the police. If somebody gave me a Bradley fighting vehicle, or an Apache helicopter, I’d take it.

Glenn’s three prescriptions for dialing back the hardware and abuses also make excellent sense and you should read the whole thing here.

I recently heard Hugh Hewitt say that he’s not concerned about the equipment the police have, but only about how it’s used. For all sorts of reasons, I’ve been in the car during Hugh’s show a lot lately so I’ve been listening to him quite frequently, and the guy is really terrific, a revelation and a treat. Here, though, I think his point would only be right if human nature weren’t involved — and that’s what Glenn is getting at.

One of Hugh’s recent guests, my pal Kurt Schlichter — high-ranking military veteran, lawyer, author and (according to some recent rumors) karaoke dude extraordinaire — recently made the excellent point that the military wins by increasing violence while the police win by decreasing violence. Glenn’s column catches that distinction as well:

The people they are policing aren’t enemy combatants, but their fellow citizens — and, even more significantly, their employers. A combat-like mindset on the part of police turns fellow-citizens into enemies, with predictable results.

The problem then is that the militarization of the police is only a symptom of the larger disease:  public servants re-conceiving themselves as public masters who do not need to follow the laws they pass and aren’t accountable to the people who elect them. I guess we can expect to see Nancy Pelosi in a SWAT suit right soon!

Black Lies and White Anger

August 24th, 2014 - 10:45 am
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American black people are being lied to and the lies destroy them. They are being lied to by corrupt people like Attorney General Eric Holder and Al Sharpton Jr. and Jesse Jackson and the leftists in our news media. They are being told that their poverty is due to prejudice and that the police are targeting them out of bigotry. They are being told that the dreadful existence of slum life grew out of slavery and is being perpetuated by hatred.

None of this is true. Poor black people are poor because they have no family structure and get little education. Police target them because so many more young black men are criminal thugs than young men of other colors. Women clutch their purses when a black man gets on an elevator not because they’re racist but because the statistics and the facts they have seen with their own eyes have taught them that that’s the wise thing to do. People aren’t suspicious of young black men in hoodies because people are ignorant or bigoted. They’re suspicious because reason and experience tell them that young black men in hoodies are threatening.

O. J. Simpson wasn’t innocent. Tawana Brawley wasn’t raped and neither was Crystal Mangum. George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin in self-defense. There is always racism everywhere, but America may be the least racist country on earth. For black people to think otherwise is to believe lies created to keep a narrative in place. The narrative gives the people who create it power and an appearance of virtue — Holder, Sharpton, Jackson, the news media and the rest.  As for poor black people, the narrative keeps them poor and angry and helpless and so destroys their lives.

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“What is Truth?” said Jesting Pilate…

August 22nd, 2014 - 8:42 am

…and would not stay for an answer. And, you know, when the big questions are left hanging, who you gonna call?

 

Harvey Weinstein arrested for making The Giver.

Holy smokes! I guess we’ll soon see California police hustling Harvey Weinstein out of his house with a towel wrapped around his head while IRS agents trail in his wake. Isn’t that how the Obama administration treats people who make movies with different political points of view from theirs? Well then, watch out, because with the dystopian young adult story The Giver, produced by the Weinstein Company, our Harvey has decided to go the full Limbaugh.

Actually, if Rush saw this picture, he might give Harvey a call and tell him to dial it back a little. “Harve, baby, sweetheart, I get it: with Obama in office, we can all see that the left wing policies you’ve been supporting most of your life are driving the world into chaos and our nation into the grave. But that’s no reason to be so… conservative! Take a tip from your old Uncle Rush and try to stick to the middle of the road a little bit. Listen to my show and learn some moderation, know what I’m saying?”

Seriously, The Giver as filmed is a virtual diatribe against 1) equality, 2) abortion and 3) atheism — with a knock at climate regulation thrown in. No wonder it gets a low-ish 31% from reviewers on Rotten Tomatoes while human beings give it a sturdy 71%.

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‘God’s Not Dead,’ But Some Are Trying

August 18th, 2014 - 1:13 pm

Take a look at some of these reviews for the religious indie hit God’s Not Dead:

From Britain’s Socialist newspaper The Guardian:  ”This warped evangelist item…  veers from the suspect…  to the outright hateful: by the jawdropping climax, wherein a preacher is effectively granted divine right to mow down non-believers, ‘doing God’s work’ has become indistinguishable from Grand Theft Auto. Ban this sick filth.”

Here’s one from Movie Nation:  ”It’s a movie where rare is the voice that is raised, but deep is the rage bubbling through its rabid anti-intellectualism. When a non-believer is considered to be better off dead, that’s not brimstone you’re smelling. It’s bile.”

And from my old employers The Village Voice:  ”Judging by the ignorance and contempt with which the script treats nonbelievers, the real goal here is proving that non-Christians are worthless.”

I admit those reviews are the extreme ones. I disagreed with Claudia Puig’s negative review at USA Todaybut it was fair and honest and gave credit where credit was due. She and I saw the same flaws and strengths but came out with a different overall impression. Tastes differ.

My take? God’s Not Dead is a pleasant and touching little entertainment, the core of which is an intelligent, succinct, well-reasoned and well-stated response to popular atheist arguments. There’s no Bible thumping, there are no threats of hellfire, there’s no attempt to “prove” God’s existence — the film admits it can’t be proved. But the script makes clear what I have thought for a long time: most atheist arguments, no matter how brilliant the scientist or philosopher who makes them, are just simply not very good judged on the merits.

What’s more, the movie is bracing in its vigor. It doesn’t hesitate to depict both the unkindness and the pain of a Muslim father when his daughter discovers Christ. His is a perfectly plausible reaction and we all know there are Muslim fathers who would do much worse. Nor does the movie fail to confront the fact of suffering and death that many non-believers find a dispositive argument against faith. I was happily surprised at how far the filmmakers were willing to go in making their case.

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Just Saying…

August 15th, 2014 - 9:17 am
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