Tuesday, October 18, 2011



Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier who has been held captive since 20096 by Hamas has been released.

The release is part of a prisoner swap that suggests movement in Middle East politics and diplomacy as events that began with the Arab Spring continue to evolve.

Some commentators have linked the move by Hamas to exchange prisoners to the move by rival Palestinian Abbas to propose Palestinian membership in the UN.

Here is one of the first videos in English to comment on the release of Shalit:

Monday, October 17, 2011



George Clooney and friend, Stacy Kiebler
At the NYFF 2011 Closing Night
Photo by Eric Roffman - QPORIT

George Clooney plays an unusually befuddled character in The Descendants, the Closing Night film at the 2011 New York Film Festival (NYFF), and also a featured screening at the 2011 Hamptons International Film Festival (the same weekend)!

Returning home from a more-or-less perpetual business trip because his wife fell into a coma after a boating accident, Clooney must deal with two daughters who are somewhat alien to him, the fate of his wife, and a big decision on how to divest a huge parcel of spectacular, pristine Hawaiian landscape that he is heir to and, most important, the custodian for -- on behalf of his extended family of relatives.

The film is not perfect: the awkwardness of the characters with each other at the beginning is, well, awkward; and parts of the plotting and resolution (without giving away any spoilers, here) seem a little too pat, but over all The Descendants is a very interesting, thought-provoking and entertaining film,

Director Alexander Payne's camera and direction take us into the private as well as the lush Hawaii.

Director Alexander Payne
PHOTO BY: Merie Wallace.

The acting is excellent by all the major characters, and the minor ones too. Three young actors create impressive, strong characters,

From L to R- Shailene Woodley as "Alexandra,"
George Clooney as "Matt King,"
Amara Miller as "Scottie"
and Nick Krause as "Sid"
Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures

Judy Greer is emotionally affecting in her climactic scenes, George Clooney is terrific from beginning to end, and even his comatose wife is convincing, without moving or saying a word. It's funny, but in a film like this, which revolves in part around a silent, motionless woman, it is her presence which determines whether the film can succeed, for she must be believable as the someone who can be at the center of of attention. 

And Robert Forster, as the aggrieved father of the comatose wife, mother, and daughter, adds punch.

A 3D video of George Clooney and friend, Stacy Kiebler
At the NYFF 2011 Closing Night
As the Press Photographers get a little wild.
3D Video by Eric Roffman - QPORIT

A note about 3D video on YouTube. It should start as a 3D video for Red/Cyan glasses. If it does not, or if you prefer one of the other viewing methods, follow the instructions to change the 3D viewing method. Sometimes it requires a few tries before YouTube kicks in with the correct format.

QPORIT 3D videos on YouTube SHOULD BE ABLE TO BE VIEWED IN ANY OF THE FOLLOWING FORMATS: (but as mentioned above, the current state of the art is that it may take a few tries to change the format).

1 - 2D
2 - 3D Anaglyph (Red/Cyan glasses or other color pairs)
3 - On a 3D TV
4 - On a 3D device (without glasses!) such as a 3D tablet,  game console or  phone (such as the HTC EVO 3D)
5 - Using the NVIDIA 3D system for a computer.

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Sunday, October 02, 2011



Melissa McCarthy is best known for Bridesmaids, but she has an extensive resume of films and TV, and won an EMMY for lead actress in Mike & Molly this year. 

This was not SNL's best show, but it had moments. 

The most inspired was a mockumercial for a doll that gave HPV vaccinations to little girls. 

The Opening Monologue had a stylish dance routine. 

There were several good jokes in the News segment, and Tyler Perry was well done. 

The best and funniest sketch was a parody of a Mae West film on TCM

Overall, Melissa seemed to be feeling her way a bit, except when she was doing physical comedy, when she went all-out and beyond and was hysterical! 

The show ended with a tribute to "terrible love making."

Saturday, October 01, 2011



Roman Polanski directing CARNAGE
New York Film Festival 2011


These comments on CARNAGE contain


CARNAGE is a kind of downbeat, sometimes interesting film, that goes nowhere, while being both funny and kind of unpleasant.

It might seem a somewhat strange choice to Open the New York Film Festival 2011 (except that it features a quartet of brilliant actors, directed by Roman Polanski, from a well-regarded play, God of Carnage, by Yasmina Reza).

Well, perhaps it's not so strange or downbeat a choice in a year in which there are already at least two films on the End of Life on Earth in the Festival. Although there's some (social) carnage in CARNAGE; it's quite amusing and bloodless. Compared to MELANCHOLIA and 4:44 LAST DAY ON EARTH, I guess it's actually quite a cheerful way to start off the Festival.

It was made by Roman Polanski, originally from a play by Yasmina Reza. (She wrote ART, which was a kind of semi-entertaining somewhat stagy play about some people who discuss the merits of an all-white piece of art -- is it art?)

CARNAGE takes place in Brooklyn, but Polanski (with outstanding legal problems in the US) is not going to film in New York City any time soon, so it was actually filmed in Paris.

The film starts off with a long shot of kids playing in a field in Brooklyn. One kid swings a stick at another and injures him badly in the face. (It looked to me like he actually missed by a mile, but everyone on the field acts like he got hurt a little -- the parents of the kid act, later, like he was hurt a lot.)

The film then moves to an apartment where two couples are meeting. It turns out that John C. Reilly and Jodie Foster are the parents of the boy that was hurt, and Kate Winslet and Christoph Waltz are the parents of the injuring kid. They begin to talk about the kids' "fight" and about how civilized they are that they are meeting to talk about it together. It all seems very artificial: not just artificial because the people don't really mean a word they say, but because they seem to be stage ACTING like people who don't believe a word of what they say. It is all very stagy at the beginning. 

Soon Christoph Waltz -- whose character is a lawyer -- starts getting and making cell phone calls about a client who has some major problem with drug products that are really bad for people, just before a major stockholders meeting. Lots of phone calls. It becomes an irritation to the characters and a joke to the audience.

Then people start talking the way they "really" feel. The couples fight with each other, and in each couple the women and men fight with each other -- and the film gets quite lively and funny.

Jodie Foster, John C. O'Reilly, Christoph Waltz, Kate Winslet
Roman Polanski's CARNAGE
Photo by Guy Ferrandis
Courtesy of Sony Pictures
New York Film Festival 2011

Then, for no particular reason, the film kind of stops. It doesn't come to an end so much as, simply, stops.

In the final scene, the kids are all playing together. And a hamster (that was let loose earlier in the day by John C. Reilly's character -- to the horror of both women when they hear about it -- accusing him of murder (sic) ) seems a bit bewildered by his (her?) freedom but seems otherwise just fine.

The women, I think come off rather badly. The men, especially, Christoph Waltz would seem to be doing better, except that, of course, he is completely immersed in the business of protecting his client from the consequences of some really bad stuff.

This film is fun, I think, if (and only if?) you enjoy the humor when clever, sophisticated, unpleasant, dishonest people -- who think they are clever, sophisticated, and nice -- get "exposed" as the clever, unsophisticated, unpleasant, dishonest people they really are.

Here is a link to more information about the New York Film Festival:


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