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Songs from the Idiot Box at The Earl:

If you need a reminder that Iraq is still going on, or some interesting anecdotal evidence about how it's getting worse, here's an interesting and very personal article from one of the reporters from CNN:

I caught a screening of Underworld: Evolution, the sequel to the film that ripped off local gaming company White Wolf's live action role playing game Vampire. This is one of those sequels where you almost need to see the first movie to make sense of it. Heck, maybe even then you'd be lost. But don't worry because the plot isn't what you this film for. It's got some pretty effects, lots of action, and Kate Beckinsale running around in skin-tight vinyl. Otherwise it doesn't have much going for it. If you're a fanatic for vampires, you probably saw the first one and you'll probably see this one.
Otherwise, put on your garlic necklace, brandish your cross and hope this one stays away from you.
On the other end of the spectrum is Sryiana, a political thriller of a different sort. You don't get Harrison Ford as Jack Ryan dodging missiles as he protects this great nation of ours. Instead, you get George Clooney as Bob, a CIA agent who didn't used to have to ask why he did his job but now is beginning to think maybe he should've. You don't get faceless bad guys getting gunned down by the dozens. Instead, you get the story of a Persian boy and his father who immigrated to an Arab country in the Persian Gulf, only to get laid off and end up at a Muslim school where the son is slowly seduced by a charming terrorist. Instead of conspiring evil foreigners plotting to bring down America, or at least the hero, we get conspiring evil Americans, bringing down the ideals we'd like to think this country stands for but are all willing to drop the moment our gas supply might be curtailed. Instead of the shadowy foreign government supporting these villains from abroad, we have a shadowy U.S. government supporting these villains wherever they roam and in whatever capacity will keep the blood (oops, I mean "oil") flowing.
In the 5 of us surveyed, we all struggled for the first half the film, waiting for the apparently divergent stories to get going. But eventually you begin to connect the dots and in the end everything converges and you walk out thinking, "Ohhhh, so THAT'S what all that meant." It's an interesting experience, particularly in an American film where you're usually lead by the nose.
The film has been criticized as being paranoid in it's conspiracy theories, but I found it sadly believable. If a few Indian tribes and influence the Federal government, imagine what multi-national multi-zillion-dollar corporations can do, particularly when it's in the nation's best interest to keep the blood (oops, there I go again) - oil - flowing?
Though there are some heavy-handed speeches in the film that don't sound like things anyone would actually say, they are few and played against a story that unfolds slowly and subtly. I recommend watching this, and the documentaries Why We Fight, and The Corporation, all in one weekend, then tell me why America and unfettered global competitive capitalism is so fucking great.

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