'The Lost City of Z' is the best movie of 2017 so far
(Charlie Hunnam in “The Lost City of Z."Amazon)
Director James Gray has quietly been creating an impressive body of work for the last two decades, but his latest movie is his magnum opus.
Since 1994’s "Little Odessa,” Gray has told intimate tales often about hardworking people in unique situations. There was ex-con Leo Handler (Mark Wahlberg) in the corrupt world of the Queens rail yard in “The Yards” (2000), and Ewa Cybulska (Marion Cotillard), forced into a life of burlesque dancing in “The Immigrant” (2013).
But in “The Lost City of Z,” Gray ups his game and tells an epic story that explores big dreams and the sacrifices that come with them.
(Robert Pattinson, left, and Hunnam in “The Lost City of Z."Amazon) If the title of the movie (out in limited release April 14 — it’ll go nationwide April 21 and be available on Amazon later this year) sounds familiar, that’s because it’s based on the popular 2009 nonfiction book ”The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon“ by David Grann.
In it, Grann recounts the life of Percy Fawcett, a British explorer who in 1925 went into the Amazon jungle with his son to find an ancient lost city he believed existed and never returned.
The legend of the city that Fawcett named Z is well-known in the expedition community. As many as 100 people have died or disappeared searching for Fawcett or the city he was obsessed with.
Gray has taken Grann’s book, which also recounts the author’s quest to find Z, and brings Fawcett and his journey to life with such rich detail, you’ll feel the sweat of the jungle. That’s partly because of the stunning photography by Oscar-nominated cinematographer Darius Khondji and the talents of production designer Jean-Vincent Puzos.
Charlie Hunnam ("Sons of Anarchy”) plays Fawcett as a man who’s driven to make a name for his family in an era when class and legacy are everything and finds stardom as an explorer. Robert Pattinson is at his side as Henry Costin, a soft-spoken but equally driven aide-de-camp.
Both give incredible performances. It’s the best one yet for Pattinson. His brooding stare is perfect for a character who must toil in the horrific conditions of the Amazon — at one point half his face is infected by a bug bite.
(Tom Holland, left, and Hunnam in “The Lost City of Z."Amazon) Hunnam, meanwhile, is an incredible talent who thanks to some lousy movies has been largely missed by a wider audience. Here he gives a tour-de-force performance that proves his capabilities as a leading man. He carries this movie on his back with an intensity that is a joy to watch. He’s sensitive and kind in some instances, ferocious in others.
The movie is close to two and a half hours, but it requires every second. To properly tell the story of Fawcett’s journey — and make you fully understand his obsession with Z — we need to chronicle most of his adult life: being a cartographer in Brazil in the 1900s, going on one of his first expeditions to find Z, fighting in World War I, and going on his fatal final quest to find the lost city with his son, Jack (played by the new Spider-Man, Tom Holland).
The lengthy running time is also needed to delve into Fawcett’s home life with his wife, Nina (Sienna Miller), and growing family. In another movie, this part would be omitted or stripped to brief moments, but Gray details Nina’s struggles as she deals with Fawcett going off to explore and leaving her to care for their children. Still, she champions him, even at one point pleading to go with him.
If there’s a movie so far this year you need to see on the big screen, it’s this one. Its rich story, performances, and lush visuals should be taken in at the theater, where you can fully immerse yourself.
“In his latest showdown, Donald Trump ordered Univision anchor Jorge Ramos out of a news conference Tuesday, telling him to “go back to Univision.”
Ramos, who like Trump is known for his confrontational style, didn’t back down until he was escorted out of the room by security. Eventually, Ramos was invited back, where he sparred with Trump over the Republican candidate’s immigration proposals.
Trump has had some high-profile tiffs with media figures recently, battling publicly with Fox News Channel anchor Megyn Kelly, and on Tuesday with the network’s chairman, Roger Ailes.
But prodding Ramos, who has been called the Spanish-language Walter Cronkite, could prove dangerous for Trump, who thus far been something of a Teflon candidate. Here’s why:
Ramos is a very important figure for American Latinos
The 57-year-old has anchored “Noticiero Univision,” Spanish-language TV’s No.1-ranked newscast, for nearly three decades and is considered a trusted source of news. A 2010 study by the Pew Hispanic Center found that among Latinos, Ramos was the second-most recognized Latino leader behind Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and other polls have shown he is one of the most trusted public figures among Latinos.
“Spanish-language news has almost the same pull as the priest in the pulpit,” Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Los Angeles), told the Los Angeles Times in 2013. “And Jorge Ramos is the pope, he’s the big kahuna.”
Ramos has a lot of followers: according to Nielsen ratings, more than 2 million viewers tune in to “Noticiero Univision” nightly. For perspective, in 2013, that was three times the audience of CNN’s “The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer.”
And according to recently published research, the GOP’s presidential nominee would need to win nearly half of the Latino vote to make it to the White House. (President Obama won re-election with 71% of the Latino vote).
During the last presidential election cycle, Washington Monthly called Ramos the broadcaster who would most determine the outcome of the 2012 election.
Despite that, Trump at one point on Tuesday night said he “didn’t know much about him.”
Ramos has a personal connection to immigration issues
A native of Mexico City, Ramos moved to Los Angeles as a student in 1983 and took UCLA Extension classes in journalism. He landed an on-air job at KMEX-TV, Los Angeles’ Spanish-language station. Three years later, he was named an anchor for Univision, becoming one of the youngest national news anchors in television.
Ramos, who became a naturalized U.S. citizen seven years ago, has consistently used his position to unabashedly push for immigration reform.
“I am emotionally linked to this issue,” Ramos told The Times in 2013. “Because once you are an immigrant, you never forget that you are one.”
Ramos sees himself as an advocate for millions of Latino immigrants, and so do they
For many Latinos, Trump telling Ramos to, “Go back to Univision,” reflected shades of racism and echoed the familiar phrase, “Go back to Mexico.”
Earlier this year, Ramos defended his focus on immigration in an open letter to Republicans.
“The Republican Party has been complaining lately about how some Latino journalists, including me, only ask them about immigration,” he wrote. “That is correct, but what Republicans don’t understand is that for us, the immigration issue is the most pressing symbolically and emotionally, and the stance a politician takes on this defines whether he is with us or against us.”
Ramos has been unapologetic about his and the network’s stance.
“Our position is clearly pro-Latino or pro-immigrant,“ he said in 2013. "We are simply being the voice of those who don’t have a voice.”
Latinos, in turn, see Ramos as a leader. According to the Pew Hispanic Center survey, 38% of Latinos surveyed considered Ramos a major Latino leader.
At a University of Texas at Austin forum earlier this year, Univision News president Isaac Lee summed up the network’s audience: “Univision’s audience knows that Jorge is representing them,” Lee said. “He is not asking the questions to be celebrated as a fair and balanced journalist. … He’s going to ask the person whatever is necessary to push the agenda for a more fair society, for a more inclusive society and for the Hispanic community to be better.”
Ramos has faced criticism over the news that his daughter is working for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, but he has said her job doesn’t affect his work. “Like many reporters who have parents, siblings or other family members that are active in politics, this will not change how I approach my duty as a journalist,” Ramos wrote in a blog post.
Much like Trump, Ramos seems to be a glutton for conflict and doesn’t often back down
Ramos quit his first reporting job at a Mexico City TV station after his bosses demanded he soften a piece critical of the Mexican government and he refused.
Ramos has said he approaches interviews with world leaders in the context of warfare. “My only weapon is the question,” he told The Times in 2013.
During the 2012 presidential campaign, Ramos moderated a series of Univision candidate forums, and pressed Mitt Romney and President Obama hard on immigration issues. After confronting Romney about his proposed “self-deportation” policy, Ramos turned to President Obama.
“A promise is a promise,” he said, prodding the president over the administration’s deportation of more than 1.4 million people and failure to tackle immigration in his first term. “And, in all due respect, you didn’t keep that promise.” ”
And in an interview on Noticiero Univision, Ramos stated that “Never in his entire career has he been kicked out of a press conference…”
And I don’t know if this has been stated before, but the question asked to Trump by Ramos was: “Are you aware that you can’t afford to send 11 million people back to their home country?” Trump simply ignoring him half-way through his question by calling on somebody else, even though it was rightfully his turn.
So what are the good things about Bernie Sanders? (I just wanted a list of all the good things about him, so I could show someone it)
His main issues he is focusing on are:
Campaign finance: Limit corporate and interest-group spending in campaigns.
Sanders proposes a Constitutional amendmentthat would effectively reverse the Supreme Court’s Citizen United ruling and ban corporations and nonprofits from unlimited campaign expenditures. The independent senator would also require disclosure of any organizations spending $10,000 or more on an election-related campaign.
Climate change: Charge companies for carbon emissions
Health care: Change to single-payer government-provided health care
Sanders voted for the Affordable Care Act, but believes that the new health care law did not go far enough. Instead, he espouses a single-payer system in which the federal and state governments would provide health care to all Americans. Participating states would be required to set up their own single-payer system and a national oversight board would establish an overall budget.
Immigration: Offer path to citizenship. Waive some deportations now.
Sanders generally agrees with President Obama that most of the undocumented immigrants in the country now should be given a path to citizenship. He voted for the senate immigration bill in 2013, which would have increased border security and issued a provisional immigrant status to millions of undocumented residents once some significant security metrics had been met. In addition, Sanders has supported President Obama’s use of executive orders to waive deportation for some groups of immigrants, including those who were brought to the United States as children.
Taxes: Raise some taxes on the wealthy. Cut taxes for middle and lower class.
The current ranking minority member on the Senate Budget Committee, Sanders wouldnearly double taxes on capital gains and dividends for the wealthiest two percent of Americans. In addition, this year Sanders asked President Obama to use executive action to close six tax deductions benefitting corporations and hedge funds. The Vermont senator would use some of the revenue gained from higher taxes on the rich to lower taxes for middle and lower class Americans.
Iraq, Islamic State and Afghanistan: Opposed the Iraq war. Calls for troop withdrawal as soon as possible.
A living wage (he did the following while he is senator):
Proposed a national $15 per hour minimum wage.
Introduced a budget amendment to raise the minimum wage.
Introduced the “Workplace Democracy Act” to strengthen the role of unions and the voices of working people on the job.
Reforming Wall Street:
Introduced the “Too Big to Fail, Too Big to Exist Act,” which would break up the big banks and would prohibit any too-big-to-fail institutions from accessing the Federal Reserve’s discount facilities or using insured deposits for risky activities.
Led the fight in 1999 against repealing the Glass-Steagall provisions which prevented banks (especially “too big to fail” ones) from gambling with customers’ money; is a co-sponsor of the Elizabeth Warren/John McCain bill to reinstate those provisions.
Has proposed a financial transaction tax which will reduce risky and unproductive high-speed trading and other forms of Wall Street speculation; proceeds would be used to provide debt-free public college education.
Is co-sponsoring Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s bill to end Wall Street’s practice of paying big bonuses to bank executives who take senior-level government jobs.
Introduced a tax on Wall Street speculation to make public colleges and universities tuition-free Supports capping credit card interest rates at 15 percent.
Sponsored an amendment calling for an audit the Federal Reserve. The audit found that far more had been spent in the Wall Street bailout than previously disclosed, and that considerable funds had been spent to bail out foreign corporations.
Warned about the risks of deregulation eight years before the fiscal crisis of 2008.
Has proposed limiting the ability of bankers to get rich from taxpayer bailouts of their institutions
Senate Republicans are coalescing around their colleague Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions’ nomination to serve as attorney general — three decades after Session’s past racist comments sunk his nomination to the federal bench under a GOP-controlled Senate.
Sessions’ nomination was announced by President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team Friday morning. He needs a simple majority of the Senate to be confirmed. With Republicans’ narrow majority in the Senate, there’s little room for defectors.
So far, even senators who strongly oppose Sessions views on key issues, including immigration and the criminal justice system, plan to vote ‘yes’ on the nomination. Sessions fought hard against the Senate’s bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill in 2013 and has opposed bipartisan efforts to reduce mandatory minimum prison sentences.