Flicker Bits: Redacted – Military Madness; The Man in the Chair – A Rarity, Captivating

by Buzzin' Lee Hartgrave on November 30, 2007


Bill O’Reilly hates this movie. He has said that it will put our troops in danger. He jumps up and down like Rumplestiltskin almost nightly on his T.V. show about what he calls… “This disgusting piece of liberal propaganda.” Of course, he never mentions his disgusting pieces of regressive propaganda.

The other night he went after one of the producers of Redacted, Mark Cuban (Dallas Mavericks). Reilly asked his fanatic ‘pinhead’ audience to voice their displeasure to Cuban. In other words, try to terrorize and threaten via emails.

The movie by Brian DePalma is based on a real incident during the Iraq war. It is part Documentary style and part fiction based on fact. When it first starts out, I thought that I was seeing real soldiers in the war. The acting is that good. DePalma’s way of letting us know that War is not good by filming a disturbing look at War. It is not good for anyone. For the Americans who are killed every day and for the Iraq people who must be suffering plenty. So, who is benefiting from this war? Not the Soldiers, not the people who live there. The answer is the Rich. So, you see “Let them Eat Cake” is still around.

The movie clearly puts some of the weary Soldiers in a bad light. It’s not their fault that they were tossed into this particular hellhole — but they are there, and bad things are bound to happen that shouldn’t happen. This story is primarily about the real rape of a 15-year old girl by an American Soldier and the killing of her entire family. What a shame. Several Soldiers were involved in the entire horrible attack and they are now being tried. You’re not going to find a more vocal bitter war tirade than you will in De Palma’s film. All he had to do was to take the facts and bring it to the big screen.

The movie of course is controversial. Personally, I think that a film like this should be made. We need to see what really happens during our Crusades across the World. ‘Redacted’ will not be the last of films like this. Many others are already in the Can and will be released soon. And maybe if people see how devastating War is – just maybe they will vote for a Congress and President that is anti-war.

Redacted is a powerful Gritty revelation that you won’t forget. I’m sure that it will be out on DVD soon if you can’t find a Theatre that is still showing it. And, it just might get an Oscar nomination. De Palma has a reputation for vivid, stunning scenes. ‘Redacted’ will stun you with its unbelievable realism.

RATING: FOUR BOXES OF POPCORN!!!! (highest rating) –trademarked-

Christopher Plummer in ‘Man in the Chair’


The story revolves around a high school kid who loves old Black and White movies. He knows everything about them and spends endless hours in movie theaters watching them. He wants to enter a contest at school to earn a scholarship to film school. He accidentally meets up with a legendary Hollywood old Gaffer who drinks way too much. And is mad at the World and smokes cigars. The young man approaches the old-fart when he follows him one day to the home for Older Show Biz people.

“Flash” as he is called is not easy to approach. You have to walk on eggs when you’re around him. Eventually he softens to the kid and agrees to help him make a movie. “You’re going to have to have a script”– he tells Cameron the Kid. “And I know just the person you need to talk to.” “Flash” takes the Kid to see Mickey Hopkins (M. Emmet Walsh) who is now a broken down living legend writer who lives in squalid conditions in a retirement home. He is dirty and filthy and can hardly move his fingers. But, later the Kid inspires him so much that he finally gets himself together long enough to whack out a script on his manual typewriter.

Originally the Kid wanted to make a film about skateboarding. Then, when he saw and read articles about how hundreds of ‘Rest Homes’ abuse and give little care to their ‘guests” – he changed direction and decided to do a documentary about that.

With the help of “Flash” and his contacts he is able to put the movie together. There are several issues going on in the movie. There is an age issue. There is ‘Stepfather’ issue. Cameron doesn’t like him and the Step Dad doesn’t like the Kid. Then there is the Animal Rights issue. The Old Guy Flash loves Animals. It breaks his heart when he watches the San Fernando Valley Animal Control truck drive up with Dogs every day they take inside to kill them. One day with the help of Cameron and a friend – they Boost the Animal Control Truck and release all the Dogs in a Sanctuary for unwanted Animals. The Kids tell him that Animal Control will probably take the dogs back the next day. Flash says: “I know, but at least they have this one happy day.”

This movie runs the gamut of emotions. You enjoy some great laughs. The lines are terrific. However, you will also need some Kleenex to dry your tears, and it will bring back to memory some of your own experiences. Any age can relate to this film.

‘The Man in The Chair’ just brims over with terrific music, Intense acting and fabulous Character acting. The Brilliant Cast members are: Christopher Plummer (Flash Madden) who gives a multi-layered heartbreaking performance. Michael Angarano (Cameron Kincaid) comes across as a real kid. Not as a Kid trying to play a kid. M. Emmet Walsh (Mickey Hopkins the writer) is totally fascinating. Carlene Moore plays a still beautiful has-been actress, who misses the days was she was someone. If her performance doesn’t break your heart, then you don’t have one. And in a small token role is Robert Wagner as a Billionaire who finances the movie. Wagner looked better than I’ve seen him in years and he fit perfectly in this part.

While not perfect, ‘The Man’ is good entertainment. The Film Photography was a little too jumpy at times with excessive strobe effects. But those are minor complaints. I would still recommend that you see this Flicker, especially if you are interested in character acting, Hollywood, old movies, human rights and animal rights.



BEST BETS TO SEE RIGHT NOW: The musical CATS at the Willows Theatre…a dazzling production. The play “Totally True Story” – Love, romance and Career. Turns out to be more than one writer can Handle at NCTC. The new take on XMAS by Christopher Durang at the SF Playhouse. Xmas may be a little edgy this year. The Xmas Carol at A.C.T. Always a delightful, colorful show that is surprisingly very tuneful. And even though they didn’t use any of the quotes from the terrific rave review that I gave them – I still want you to see “Sex” at the Aurora Theatre. I’m in a forgiving Xmas Mood. Did I mention that Beyond Chron gets over 1.5 mil visitors monthly?

THIS YOU MUST ABSOLUTLEY NOT MISS! I’m talking about the show of shows. The Biggest thing to hit this town, since the last one. It’s a Star-Studded evening that will leave you talking about it for years. What is it? It’s “Help Is On The Way – the Christmas Show” at the gorgeous little Jewel Box Theatre – The Herbst. You get to be up close and personal with La Toya London, Mary Wilson of The Supremes, TV Star Sally Struthers., The wonderful Carole Cook who still looks just like her publicity photos, Broadway Star David Burnam, TV and Cabaret star Shawn Ryan, Broadway/TV Star Vicki Lewis. And…many, many more. You’re gonna love it! It all happens this coming Sunday Dec. 2 at 7:30 pm. Tix: 415-273-1620…or, www.HelpisontheWay.org. It’s a benefit show for Meals of Marin and Positive Resource Center. Get off the couch – this will be your best Holiday treat. Believe Me!


Buzzin’s Caption: I just wanted to use your Cell Phone!’

The Photo of Lee Hartgrave Boy Reporter is by Jim Ferreira – Film Noir & Hollywood Glamour. www.lafterhall.com.

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Buzzin’ Lee Hartgrave

Buzzin’ Lee Hartgrave is a longtime theater critic in the San Francisco Bay Area. His reviews appear each Friday in Beyond Chron.

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