February 20th, 2008

Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

LENT DAY 16 News from the Prince of Darkness and Newt

Congress recessed without renewing authority for eavesdropping because Democrats bowed to trial lawyers' demands not to grant retroactive immunity from lawsuits for phone companies that helped U.S. intelligence agencies. It shows greater Democratic reliance on contributions from trial lawyers than their vulnerability on the national security issue.

So as of midnight last Saturday, if U.S. intelligence discovers a new terrorist threat, it must spend valuable time preparing bureaucratic documents and seeking approval of busy officials before their communications can be monitored. By the time they've jumped through the bureaucratic hoops forced on them by House Democrats, it may be too late.

What's more, American telecommunications companies are less inclined to cooperate with intelligence officials because they lack protection from lawsuits under the law.

In short, Americans are at greater risk today than we were four days ago.

Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

"Black Book" is Verhoeven's most literate movie

With "Robocop," "Total Recall," and "Starship Troopers" to his credit, director Paul Verhoeven has long been known as a big budgeted director for boy's adolescent fantasies. With "Basic Instinct" and "Showgirls," Verhoeven has been perceived as a misogynist. The same could be said of the way Verhoeven treats his leading lady, Carice van Houten in "Zwartboek" (English Translation: "Black Book.")

As the Jewish heroine Rachel Stein, Carice van Houten is beaten and is covered in poop. Yet her blond beauty shines and is the most memorable aspect of "Black Book." A bit long at two hours and thirty five minutes, "Black Book" is an entertaining movie that makes one ask; "What happens next?"

The setting is the Netherlands during the waning days of Nazi dominance. Rachel Stein witnesses her family being slaughtered by Gunther Franken (Waldemar Kobus), a high official with a good singing voice. Rachel goes to work for the underground resistence and becomes a spy.

"Black Book" becomes an emotional roller coaster ride from romance to war and humor. The film has both elegance and european crudeness. Verhoeven never loses sight that he is telling an entertaining thriller and "Black Book" becomes the director's most literate movie yet.