April 18, 2014

Tag Archives: oil industry

Oliver Stone’s response to Leopoldo Lopez

HollywoodNews.com: Below is Oliver Stone’s response to Leopoldo Lopez from The Huffington Post:
CLICK HERE TO READ LEOPOLDO LOPEZ’S CHALLENGE TO OLIVER STONE
Leopoldo López, a right-wing opposition leader in Venezuela who supported the military overthrow of the democratically elected government there in 2002, complains about my film (South of the Border), saying “Mr. Stone argues that the assault on human rights is of secondary concern.”
But my film argues the opposite. It’s just that the “assault on human rights” in Venezuela has come from the right, from Mr. Lopez and his allies. One of the first decrees by the coup government that Mr. Lopez supported was to abolish the elected Congress and the Supreme Court. Protesters were shot, and officials of the constitutional government arrested. And the victims of political violence to this day in Venezuela are also victims of the right – mostly poor peasants organizing for land reform, killed by landowners.
The struggle in Venezuela is not so much about one man, President Hugo Chávez, as the right would have us believe. It is a political battle between the left and the right. Not surprisingly, as in the rest of South America, it is the right that has the ugly record on human rights and issues of democracy. And it is the right that represents the rich — López was former mayor of one of the wealthiest areas of Caracas — against the majority of the people, much as in the United States.
Mr. López offers a “Tea Party” view of Venezuela, in which everything that is wrong with the country is the fault of the left government, and Chávez — like Obama for the Tea Partiers — is a “dictator.” López is very selective in his use of statistics. He does not tell the reader that since the Chávez government got control over the national oil industry, poverty has been cut in half, extreme poverty by more than 70 percent, and thousands of doctors added to the public sector now provide health care for the poor.
Some of his statistics are misleading. For example, the 650 percent increase in prices he refers to is an average of 19 percent annual inflation. This is high, but much lower than the pre-Chávez years, where inflation passed 100 percent in 1996. Most importantly, it is real economic growth, not the price level, that matters; and inflation did not prevent the country’s record growth from 2003-2008 [...]

Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz spring through patchy, enjoyable “Knight and Day”

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Knight & Day (**1/2 out of 4 stars)
Some films promise tidy scripts, tangible suspense, and well-earned emotional moments between properly developed characters. Other films deliver impeccable Movie Stars (capitalized for emphasis) executing heart-racing motorcycle chases through international destinations like Seville, Spain during the annual running of the bulls.
The high-octane “Knight and Day” lands in that latter category, but harbors aspirations of being in the former class. At times, it gets there. Other times, it doesn’t.
When it falls short, it’s usually the fault of a patched-together screenplay. Patrick O’Neill receives script credit, though “Knight” notoriously passed through several hands before director James Mangold caught it in 2009 and reworked it. Again. What he ends up with is a frivolous, fast-moving, globetrotter of a summer blockbuster that’s more glamorous and fun than it is clever and intricate. The sooner you accept its diminished intelligence level, the more fun you are bound to have.
Lead actors Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz certainly seem to be having a blast, literally and figuratively, as they plunge through Mangold’s well-choreographed hoops. Cruise plays Roy, a lethal agent for a covert government operation who meets innocent bystander June (Diaz) as they’re attempting to board a Boston-bound plane. If we are to believe Fitzgerald (Peter Sarsgaard) — the shady agent on Roy’s tail — this rogue operative capped 12 colleagues before stealing an extremely valuable renewable energy source dubbed the MacGuffin … ahem, the Zephyr. Roy swears he is only trying to protect Simon (Paul Dano), the Zephyr’s teenaged inventor. June soon realizes she won’t be leaving Roy’s sight until the case is closed.
Mangold hopes we’ll focus on The Ride (capitalized, again, for emphasis), and for most of “Knight,” we do. Elaborate action scenes catapult our handsome protagonists around Boston’s highways, into a train traveling through the Alps, over the rooftops of Austria, and down to Spain.
How do Roy and June manage these lengthy jaunts? Don’t ask, because O’Neill can’t answer. “Knight” is stitched together in spots, so a plane can crash in a cornfield one evening yet the surviving characters wake up in their Boston beds the next morning. Apparently Roy also unlocked the secrets to teleportation in addition to boosting that coveted battery. No wonder the government needs him silenced. The oil industry would be in an uproar if we no longer needed automobiles, trains, or airplanes to trot [...]