It's Not A Movie Review..
We finally managed to go see Blood Diamond directed by Ed Zwick (The last Samurai, The Siege). I have to say I did not quite get some of the criticism of this movie. One review I read talked about how the Africans in the movie were used as props. I have to disagree with this characterization. I think the backdrop of the civil war, the use of child soldiers and their manipulation via threats, drugs and the brutality including the hacking of limbs were not props. Did they have to develop the characters more? The central characters were fairly well developed.
Was this a message movie? Probably, but if ones knowledge about the role of blood diamonds in the overall diamond trade comes from a movie then we have bigger problems.
*A* is a huge Leonardo DiCaprio fan, and she was not disappointed. He does a very good job in his role here, very intense and believable. If you don't like him or can't get passed his baby faced looks, then you are likely missing the fact that he is a really good actor. The 2 golden globe nominations for his acting in this movie and "The Departed" also attest to this. Djimon Hounsou was also good in the movie in the role of the fisherman, forced into working for the rebels in the diamond mines, but he risks being typecast in roles similar to that in "Amistad". Jennifer Connelly, is also good in her role of a journalist working towards trying to bring the atrocities in to the world view.
This is the second consecutive movie with Leonardo in it where his character has the same .... Well I will let you find out for yourselves.
Iraq Is Not A Mess ;-)
Well if you are a wingnut supporting the mess in Iraq you just got a new talking point. Courtesy of this article in Newsweek.
It may sound unreal, given the daily images of carnage and chaos. But for a certain plucky breed of businessmen, there's good money to be made in Iraq. Consider Iraqna, the leading mobile-phone company. For sure, its quarterly reports seldom make for dull reading. Despite employees kidnapped, cell-phone towers bombed, storefronts shot up and a huge security budget—up to four guards for each employee—the company posted revenues of $333 million in 2005.Read the paragraph above folks.. "trickle-down.. lower tax rates.. more cash in the pockets of Iraqis..private enterprise". Smells like success (at 2 billion dollar a week cost.. some return on investment eh?) or like a wingnut wet dream eh? Just ignore the daily mayhem or the 2 billion dollar a week that we are putting off on future generations. This thing may haunt us for a long time in more ways than we know.
Even so, there's a vibrancy at the grass roots that is invisible in most international coverage of Iraq. Partly it's the trickle-down effect. However it's spent, whether on security or something else, money circulates. Nor are ordinary Iraqis themselves short on cash. After so many years of living under sanctions, with little to consume, many built up considerable nest eggs—which they are now spending. That's boosted economic activity, particularly in retail. Imported goods have grown increasingly affordable, thanks to the elimination of tariffs and trade barriers. Salaries have gone up more than 100 percent since the fall of Saddam, and income-tax cuts (from 45 percent to just 15 percent) have put more cash in Iraqi pockets. "The U.S. wanted to create the conditions in which small-scale private enterprise could blossom," says Jan Randolph, head of sovereign risk at Global Insight. "In a sense, they've succeeded."
On A Lighter Note
Funnies from here
"This week a top general at the Pentagon said the War on Terror could take a 100 years to fight. President Bush was furious about the 100-year prediction and said, 'Stop setting a fixed timetable'" --Conan O'Brien
"They had the Iraqi Commission report and President Bush says he will not make a decision about getting us out of Iraq until 2007. He says he wants to give it some careful thought ... unlike getting us into Iraq." --David Letterman
President Bush has received a copy of the 96-page Iraq Study Group report. When they gave it to him, President Bush said, 'Don't tell me how it ends.' They said, 'Uh, it doesn't.'" --Jay Leno
Quotes from who else..
"Make no mistake about it, I understand how tough it is, sir. I talk to families who die." --President Bush, Washington, D.C., Dec. 7, 2006
"It's bad in Iraq. Does that help?" --Bush, after being asked by a reporter whether he's in denial about Iraq, Washington, D.C., Dec. 7, 2006
Funny video.. From Youtube
It's work safe, in case you were wondering..