Sunday, November 26, 2006

Jingo Jangel Jingel



Control Room is an award winning 2004 documentary covering Al-Jazeera's coverage of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, via the networks team station at Coalition Centrial Command in Qatar. The two central characters in the film are perceptive Al-Jazeera reporter Samir Khader, and ernest army media relations officer Lt. Josh Rushing (who has since had a small role in what looks like a b-movie). The film stresses the difficultys of providing news within an Arab community with little history of a free press, and the Al-Jazeera network comes off quite positively. One should note that neither the American military or Saddams government were happy with Al-Jazeera's coverage of the war, which I take as an indication they were doing something right. Everytime Don Rumsfeld talked about the importance of telling the truth and liars getting caught, my thoughts were "comic genius".


Based on the book by Terry Ryan, the Jane Andersons directed 2005 feature The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio, tells the true story of the authors mothers work as homemaker and jingel writer. Julianne Moore returns to the 50's housewive roles that earned her two oscar noms in 2003. As Evelyn Ryan, Moore is as always sympathetic and strong, and brings out the complicated nuance in her character. Woody Harrelsons role as Evelyns husband Kelly, a bitter and alcoholic former croner, who was forced by a car accident to give up his dreams and become a machinest, is less complicated but the performance near equally strong. Laura Dern has a minor supporting role as a fellow jingel writer.


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