Heart of Stone

[2 stars] [IMDB Link] [Heart of Stone]

Free to me on Netflix. And that's Gal Gadot. So let's check it out!

Well, fine. It's not as if I was going to do anything worthwhile.

Ms. Gadot plays Rachel, an MI6 operative, member of a team on a mission to abduct a terrorist, or something. She's a computer geek, and is repeatedly warned to "stay in the van" and not participate in the active bits of the mission. Which means (of course) that she does.

But wait a minute! Rachel turns out to be actually working for "Charter", an even more secretive organization looking to keep the world safe from evildoers. They are aided in this by the "Heart" a supercomputing gizmo that has illicit access to All The World's Data, and can analyze it to detect threats and generate strategies to thwart them.

And the Heart is ensconced in the "Locker", a giant blimp kept 85,000 feet above the surface. Yes, that's an excuse for a Big Action Scene at some point.

In fact the entire stupid plot is an excuse for Big Action Scenes. Explosions, gunplay, chases, … you know the drill. If you're in the mood for that sort of thing, this is the kind of thing you're in the mood for. I felt a little guilty, myself. A better movie would have made me care about what happened.


Last Modified 2024-01-30 5:40 AM EST

Dream a Little Dream Of … Oh No, Not That!

[Nightmare]

In case you (like me) aren't acquainted with Mr. Ramirez's source material: Henry Fuseli, The Nightmare.

Poor lady. Poor us!

Also of note:

  • But who's counting? Jim Geraghty is shaking his head about the latest: 91 Felony Charges, But the GOP Base Doesn't Want to Change Course

    A rational Republican Party would look at former President Donald Trump’s fourth criminal indictment in five months — now up to a grand total of 91 felony charges — and pause to reevaluate its options in the 2024 presidential election. We don’t know exactly when all these trials will conclude, and when the juries will return their verdicts, but it is likely that at least one and perhaps several trials will be completed by Election Day 2024. Special counsel Jack Smith is aiming for a January 2024 start to the January 6 trial case, the Manhattan trial about the falsified business records over payments to Stormy Daniels starts in March 2024, and the classified documents case trial starts in May 2024. We don’t know yet when the Georgia trial would start.

    Of course, you could—and probably should—make a similar observation about "a rational Democratic Party", seemingly oblivious to the nasty combination of Biden's incompetence, corruption, and dementia.

  • Burnt, in fact. Clark Neily checks for doneness: Trump’s Toast, Folks. Why? Among other things:

    1. Trump’s disdain for truth. America has seen its fair share of lying politicians, but Donald Trump is in a class of his own. He appears to view literally any interaction with another human being as an opportunity to be exploited and a game to be won. In Trump’s world, rules are for chumps, norms are for losers, and the truth is whatever you can get another person to believe— nothing more. And of course, history makes clear that this approach has been quite effective at advancing Trump’s interests in certain settings—preening on the set of a game show, for example, or spinning up a fawning, frothing crowd at a campaign event.

    But not only will those antics not work in a courtroom, they will backfire. Given the nature of the allegations against him, Trump will have to take the stand even though he has a right not to, and given his nature, he will lie to the jury just like he has lied to everyone else his entire life.

    Unfortunately, we've had decades of well-known presidential dishonesty, with loyal followers gulping and saying "I don't care, he's my guy.". It's not a big deal any more,

  • On the other hand… Jacob Sullum sees a recurring theme: Trump's Georgia Indictment Raises Familiar Questions of Knowledge and Intent

    The Georgia indictment that was unveiled last night charges former President Donald Trump and 18 other defendants with participating in an "enterprise" that engaged in a pattern of "racketeering activity" aimed at an illegal result: keeping Trump in office after he was defeated by Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. By relying on Georgia's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, Reason's Elizabeth Nolan Brown notes, Fulton County District Attorney Fani T. Willis was able to connect "a lot of related and relatively unrelated conduct"—including 161 listed actions—by "a bunch of disparate people, some acting directly in concert with Trump and his legal team and some much further removed."

    Georgia's RICO law, as interpreted by state courts, is even broader than the famously flexible federal version, covering many more "predicate offenses," defining "enterprise" very loosely, and prescribing a weaker test for establishing a pattern of racketeering activity. The indictment nevertheless hinges on debatable interpretations of specific conduct that Willis portrays as part of a criminal conspiracy but the defendants will characterize as legitimate efforts to rectify what they perceived as systematic election fraud. As with the federal indictment of Trump that was unsealed earlier this month, which covers much of the same territory, the choice between those dueling descriptions will depend largely on how a jury views each defendant's knowledge and intent.

    I feel like we're stuck watching a bad Netflix movie.

  • There's that saying about being born on third base. And Kevin D. Williamson eventually uses it in his column: Born Rich.

    One of the most distasteful aspects of our politics is the extent to which it is so obviously driven by envy, which is what 99 percent of that “privilege” talk ends up being about. But I suppose I am the wrong person to complain about that, because I was born rich.

    Note: he's not talking about money there.


Last Modified 2024-01-30 5:40 AM EST