Archive for January, 2008

 Cloverfield

There certainly was a lot of hype surrounding this film, and J.J. Abrams has a lot riding on it since it is the first foray into the big-screen world for his Bad Robot production company. If this movie doesn’t do well, it could be bad news for his much-anticipated Star Trek movie due out this Christmas.

Overall, I would have to say that I cannot shake my feelings of disappointment over this movie. My expectations were not high going into it. I’m a fan of Lost — one of Abrams’s TV productions — so I know he’s capable of intriguing stories and great special effects. But I also knew that it was all filmed in “documentary style” with handheld camcorders, so I was anticipating needing a sick bag by the end of it, a la Blair Witch.

I’m happy to report that the jerky camera work was tolerable, however, the pacing of the movie is a bit awkward. The obligatory character development at the beginning is tedious, and once the action begins it stops and starts instead of steadily building to a final payoff.

There are many worthwhile scenes captured in this movie. Scary glimpses of the monster, eery views of a deserted metropolis, but they do not flow easily into one another, and the film lacks a certain cohesiveness as a result, almost as if it was designed with commercial breaks in mind.

Although the approach for recording the events is somewhat unique, the idea behind the story is not new, and the end is not terribly gratifying, so I would have to say that J.J.’s first film is simply average. Hopefully he can do better in the future, or he’s going to have to stick to television.

 New Hampshire Is A Fraud

Live free or die, indeed. Is that the best you can do, New Hampshire? With fourty-four percent of you claiming to be independents, with thousands of free-staters now living there, with your state’s heritage as the birthplace of the Revolution, and you hand over your delegates to a statist like John McCain, while delivering only nine percent of the vote to Ron Paul? You’re a fraud, New Hampshire. You don’t care about freedom. Your actions betray your claims to stand for liberty. You should be ashamed.

 And Tear Gas For All

The frequency with which these types of stories are appearing is disturbing. If you read Radley Balko’s Overkill, you are left with no other alternative than to believe that the use of paramilitary raids by local law enforcement is not only on the rise, but is reaching epidemic proportions.

This story illustrates the chaos and pain that was caused for Kayla Irwin when cops raided her apartment, which turned out to be the wrong address. Over a month later, she still has not been compensated for the damage to her property. Almost everything she owned was ruined by their canisters of CS tear gas that were lobbed through her windows. Covering her apartment with shattered glass and a film of noxious dust.

Can a free society that claims to respect not only the rule of law but the individual’s right to be secure from illegimate searches and seizures really continue to tolerate these kinds of tactics?

My meager story archive no doubt represents only a very small percentage of incidents like these that go on every day in this country. I would wager that most never get reported in the news. And of the ones that do, few make it onto my radar. But I will continue to collect the ones that cross my path, to serve as evidence that the cost of maintaining police goes way beyond the tax dollars that are wasted. The cost to individual liberties is much higher, and much more devastating.