Will They Be Called “The Bush Six”?

Six former Bush administration officials who were responsible for developing legal arguments justifying torture are likely to have criminal investigations opened against them by a Spanish court. The court is claiming jurisdiction because Spanish citizens were held at the prison at Guantanamo Bay and have said they were tortured. The case is going before a judge, Baltasar Garzon, who has a history of bringing charges against overseas defendants, including Augusto Pinochet. Should the cases move forward, arrest warrants will likely be issued. Continue reading “Will They Be Called “The Bush Six”?”

The Empty Balcony: Logan’s Run

Once again, the future is a terrifying place. This is a lesson that Hollywood continues to hammer home to moviegoers. Whether or not anyone is listening...well, that will be evident when we finally arrive in the future, won’t it? If the future is a place packed full of brain-eating zombies, cold-blooded murderous cyborgs, endless desert landscapes blasted with nuclear radiation, gigantic mutated insects, alien slave drivers, and any other myriad threats to the existence of mankind, then we have obviously failed to protect ourselves. Heed the warnings of science fiction, fair citizen, for to ignore them is to sow the seeds of our own destruction. Continue readingThe Empty Balcony: Logan’s Run”

New Lipstick, Same Pig

The Daily News and The New York Post both splashed their front pages in the city yesterday with headlines about the renaming of the Freedom Tower rising on the World Trade Center site. “NO MORE FREEDOM” read the Daily News, while the Post roared forth with “FREE DUMB TOWER.” New Yorkers can shell out a buck a day for these cupfuls of indignation.
Continue reading “New Lipstick, Same Pig”

The Empty Balcony: Burn After Reading

Watching a Coen Brothers movie is sometimes like attending a blind tasting. There won’t be any swill waved under one’s nose, but just what is in the glass could be surprising, or disappointing.

Burn After Reading, the Coen brothers followup to their best picture winner, No Country for Old Men, has a very serious plot. A former CIA analyst named Osbourne Cox, played by John Malkovich, is writing a memoir of his days with the company. His wife, Katie (Tilda Swinton), is secretly pursuing a divorce, and makes a copy onto disc of files from his computer, including the memoir and some classified materials. A secretary at her lawyer’s firm loses the disc at a gym, where it is found and comes into the possession of Chad (Brad Pitt), a personal trainer. Chad enlists his colleague, Linda (Frances McDormand), in a scheme to extort money from Osbourne in exchange for the disc. Meanwhile, Katie is having an affair with Harry (George Clooney), a Treasury agent who, coincidentally, meets Linda through an online dating service. It’s complicated, and only gets more so when plans crisscross and things inevitably go awry. Continue readingThe Empty Balcony: Burn After Reading”

The Empty Balcony: Soylent Green

The future is a rough place in Richard Fleischer’s 1973 film Soylent Green. Especially New York City in the year 2022. The population is 40 million, the city is in the grip of an endless heat wave, and apparently the only things to eat are colored crackers. At least the green kind, Soylent Green, to be particular, seem pretty popular. Man, of course, is to blame for the calamities of this bleak future, as the film demonstrates in an opening photographic montage that is artistically compelling. Continue readingThe Empty Balcony: Soylent Green”