New York Times’ Knee-Jerk Review of ‘Soraya’ is Dead Wrong

Soraya

Ed Morrissey pointed me at the New York Times’ review of “The Stoning of Soraya M,” and I have to say, as predictable as it was, I’m still disappointed.  This is exactly the kind of unimaginative, knee-jerk, cover your ass reaction that John Ziegler warned me about when he told me about the film.  Let’s compare.  From my original review:

The film has some superficial things in common with “The Passion of the Christ,” such as the same production company (MPower Films), star (Jim Caviezel), and a graphic crucifixion.

And from the Times’ review:

Not since “The Passion of the Christ” has a film depicted a public execution in such graphic detail.

…The casting of Jim Caviezel as Freidoune Sahebjam, the Paris-based Iranian journalist whose 1994 best seller. “The Stoning of Soraya M.: A True Story,” recounted the incident, lends the movie a queasy connection to “The Passion of the Christ,” in which Mr. Caviezel played Jesus.

This is a stunning, awe-inspiring example of judging a book by its cover.  What a shame.

As Ed Morrissey points out, the Times’ reviewer doesn’t get his basic facts right, clocking the stoning at 20 minutes:

First, the stoning sequence lasts about eight minutes, not 20. It starts at the 1:31:30 mark, it’s over by 1:40, and it’s intercut with at least one flashback sequence.

This is a big problem, because lots of people are now going to stay away from this movie to avoid a 20 minute torture scene that isn’t there.  That’s a real shame.  The fact is, this scene, while bloody, is nothing at all like Passion of the Christ’s crucifixion scene.

The reviewer goes on to write the rest of the review from the Cynic’s Handbook. Continue reading

Update: ‘The Stoning of Soraya M’ Does Well in Limited Release

Update: The film has taken in $117,000 from 27 screens, for a good $4,333 per-screen average, according to studio estimates.  This is a film that deserves to be seen, and hopefully, it will see its numbers increase in future weeks, as word-of-mouth spreads and the film is shown in more theaters.

‘The Stoning of Soraya M’ is a Must-See

200px-The_Stoning_of_Soraya_M._US_Poster

Several weeks ago, when my friend, John Ziegler, asked me to review the film “The Stoning of Soraya M,” he did so specifically because I’m a liberal, but also someone whom he trusts to be fair. Or at least fairer.  As he described the film to me, I didn’t really get why anyone would be concerned about liberal reaction to the movie.  He explained.
Continue reading

White House on Michael Jackson

Before I get to Robert Gibbs’ statement on the death of Michael Jackson, here’s my personal favorite performance:

MJ superfan Jake Tapper broached the subject first, and Gibbs related some of the President’s thoughts: Continue reading

President Obama Demands Ahmadinejad Apologize to His People…Sort Of

eye_on_the_WH

At a press conference earlier today, President Obama was asked, by the New York Times’ Jeff Zeleny, if he thought Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad owed him an apology for comparing him to George W. Bush.  The President’s answer seemed to indicate that he thought Ahmadinejad ought to think about apologizing to his own people.  I asked Robert Gibbs to clarify the President’s statement at today’s White House Press Briefing:

TC: (Jeff) asked if the President felt that President Ahmadinejad owed him an apology for comparing him to President Bush, and in his reply, the President all but — he stopped just short of saying that he thought that President Ahmadinejad owed an apology to his people. He didn’t quite say that, but would you — do you think that’s what he was saying?

MR. GIBBS: I’d simply point you to what he said. I think he was fairly clear on what he meant and who it was directed to.

That sounds like a “yes” to me, but you be the judge.  Here’s what the President said:

In any case, it was a good answer to the kind of question that doesn’t usually get one.  The President’s obviously not going to engage in verbal volleyball with Ahmadinejad, but he managed to put the gossipy question into a weightier context.

‘The Stoning of Soraya M’ is a Must-See

200px-The_Stoning_of_Soraya_M._US_Poster

Several weeks ago, when my friend, John Ziegler, asked me to review the film “The Stoning of Soraya M,” he did so specifically because I’m a liberal, but also someone whom he trusts to be fair. Or at least fairer.  As he described the film to me, I didn’t really get why anyone would be concerned about liberal reaction to the movie.  He explained.

The film has some superficial things in common with “The Passion of the Christ,” such as the same production company (MPower Films), star (Jim Caviezel), and a graphic crucifixion.  This was also prior to the Iranian election, so that made a difference, too.  Now. the film carries extra resonance, as the death of young Neda echoes through it.

I went into the film, then, knowing what I wasn’t supposed to like about it.  I can say, without qualification, that John need not have worried. Continue reading

Neda

Tonight was the first chance I’ve had to see the video of Neda, the young Iranian woman shot to death while watching a demonstration.  I’m nearly speechless.  Her eyes just grab at you.

She has become a powerfully symbolic figure in just 2 days, and her name as a rallying cry quickly reminded me of Stephen Biko.  I have often wondered if Biko, as he lay dying in prison, had any idea what his death would come to mean to the world.  I’ve wondered if, even knowing that, he would have spared himself that death.

The ripples of Neda’s death have only just begun, and I hope that whatever becomes of it, people remember those eyes, and are haunted by them.

Info About Iran: Twitter, Links, etc.

alex01thumbI had a really long and complex (and surprisingly coherent) post written up about the Iran elections. And then WordPress ate it. (Yes, WordPress ate my homework. No, it’s not funny, I was working on that for hours.) It’s late and I’m pissed off and on a computer that switches to French keyboard configurations without warning, so you get the abbreviated version, which, on the off-chance that WordPress is just dicking around, will be restored to the original later. If not, what you see is what you get.

The gist of it: I’ve been following the Iran election fandango as best I can via international sources such as BBC News and CNN International, since American sources fail to give me the kind of coverage that I need.

The revolution will not be televised. However, it will be, and is being, Tweeted. Those supporting Iranian reform candidate Mir-Hussein Mousavi have increasingly turned to Twitter as a means of communication since text messages and Facebook have been cut off within Iran.

The rest of it was a very long recap of the events so far, and links to more information about the elections and the protests, as well as those tweeting about the events. Putting it all in list format. Continue reading