Meet Jon and Nedo, a binational married couple whose union is imperiled by an expiring visa:
Since the day we first met, Nedo and I have not been apart with the exception of the seven months while we waited for him to come to the United States on his student visa ... To this day the effects of [the] decision to leave his family are deeply emotional and he can’t allow himself to communicate with them regularly because it is easier to disassociate then deal with the enormity of that decision. Every time he talks to his family he ends up crying for the remainder of the night. He misses his nieces and nephews terribly and it hurts him not to see them regularly. The fact that he is separated from his mother is something he can’t even fully grasp without his eyes swelling with tears. Due to his current legal status he cannot risk leaving the country for fear his visa will not be renewed, but this means he also must live with the knowledge that he may never see his parents again. They are getting older and the more time that goes by without him being able to visit is another form of torment for us as a gay binational American family. My husband experiences this pain often, and it causes me to resent my government for the pain our families suffer in the name of DOMA.
... Each year we participate in the Diversity Visa Green Card Lottery and this last year was especially bitter for us as we are running out of time on Nedo’s visa. The Green Card Lottery is our final hope ... Because his visa will be up in February of 2013 we are running out of options ...
We can no longer put off conversations about what will happen to us next year ...
Tasmania likely to become first Australian state to grant marriage equality.
Conservative news organs complain that the mainstream media ignored Chick-fil-A appreciation day.
Indiana megachurch pastor Jack Schaap dismissed after allegations of sexual conduct with a 16-year-old girl:
“At this time, we deeply regret the need to announce that First Baptist Church has dismissed our pastor, Dr. Jack Schaap, due to a sin that has caused him to forfeit his right to be our pastor,” the church said in a statement.
There were as many as a hundred Christian families in the Egyptian town of Dahshour. After mob rampage, there are none:
The violence was ultimately rooted in a dispute over a badly ironed shirt that escalated into a fight in which a Christian burned a Muslim to death, in turn sparking the rampage by angry Muslims.
"It was a devil's moment," Wehba said Thursday at the home of her Muslim neighbors, who have taken her in. "Whoever caused this was the devil's son."
What Afghan girls brave on the way to school.
Five ridiculous atheists.
NBC apologizes for airing an ad starring a gymnast monkey immediately after recapping Gabby Douglas's gold-winning performance.
Michael Phelps concludes a storied career.
A lucky Olympic picture.
Posted Aug. 4,2012 at 5:52 PM EST by Brandon K. Thorp in 2012 Olympics, Afghanistan, Chick-fil-A, DOMA, Education, Gay Marriage, Immigration, Michael Phelps, Relationships, Religion, Tasmania | Permalink | Comments (36)
AFTER THE JUMP, check out the Kickstarter video for Gaymercon -- the gathering meant to be the first-ever large-scale meetup of LGBT gamerfolk and their straight, geeky friends. (Note: The video scripted partially in semi-impenetrable Geekspeak. Please watch with Google at the ready.)
These guys look serious, and Gaymercon could be huge. There's considerable overlap between the 20-something gay male demo and the geek demo, and in some places there's almost no distinction at all. There was a moment in South Florida, seven or eight years ago, when being 23, male, gay, and sociable very nearly required one to be conversant with underground anime titles, and to know the basic mechanics of an X-Box controller. Most of those young guys and their geekfellows around the country are thirty now, and have travel budgets. And then some. In the first 24 hours of the Gaymercon Kickstarter fund-drive, donors gave Gaymercon more half of the $25,000 necessary to launch the conference next year.
In the last decade, videogame manufacturers have begun, very tentatively, to acknowledge the existence of a vast gaymer culture. Software companies BioWare and Bethesda have, for instance, created several hugely popular games in which players may choosing their characters' sexual orientations, and pursue in-game relationships accordingly. Inevitably, such inclusions have met with anger from game fan communities, and this instinctive dislike of even the barest hint of gayness has apparently frightened developers away from creating any explicitly, unalterably gay protagonists. Gaymers have lots of work to do.
YOUR FEATURE PRESENTATION
It's hard not to feel sympathy for Colin Farrell. His secret movie star weapon is those long, thick unmistakable eyebrows. When he's in distress his brow lifts and pulls them up into a converging point, creating a perfect triangular frame for big brown orbs of boyish angst. "Help me!" is written all over his eyes. That same furrowed brow expression with just minor flickering shifts can also say "Please love me!" and "Aren't I funny?" and "..." His capacity for impish excitement and moral confusion were a perfect match for his best star turn to date in the hitman seriocomedy In Bruges (2008) and it helps the TOTAL RECALL do-over more than it should.
Farrell plays everyman Doug Quaid who doesn't realize he's actually someone else because his memory has been erased. A trip to the fantasy memory banks of "Total Rekall" (a reversal of Eternal Sunshine's "Lacuna Inc" since the company aims to give you false memories rather than take real ones away) upsets his reprogramming and suddenly he's killing soldiers with the trained might of a futuristic Jason Bourne. Returning home his formerly loving wife (Kate Beckinsale) tries to kill him. Quaid realizes he's completely lost in a false life with no memory of the real one. Cut to: plentiful moments of Farrell Furrowing!
But you shouldn't have time to think about the magic and mystery of physiognomy while you're watching an action movie. If you do your mind wanders and questions come cascading in like...
"When did Kate Beckinsale's Hair becomes self-aware like SkyNet?"
... her locks are practically prehensile, whisking about expressively and frantically like they're after their own Oscar since the woman attached has long abandoned serious acting.
"Is the perpetually open mouthed Jessica Beal an actress or a CGI sex doll fantasy for adolescent boys and Justin Timberlake?"
"Why does Colin Farrell keeping saying 'Yes' indiscriminately to 80s remakes?"
"Is Chris Nolan's Batman series responsible for the humorlessness of the current action crop or is self-seriousness a front for Hollywood - a way to feel important and mature without making any serious effort or having anything to say?" But I digress. No more questions.
Total Recall was directed by Len Wiseman, the man behind the undead Underworld series which also stars both his superhot wife Kate Beckinsale and the creepily gaunt mask of Bill Nighy in "dangerous person" mode. Nighy plays a "terrorist" leader though "terrorist" is a matter of semantics since the heroes in Total Recall are the rebel forces, out to free "The Colony" (Future Post-Apocalypse Australia) from enslavement by "The United Federation of Britain" (Future Post-Apocalypse UK). There is so much background plot the film is forced to begin with a short history lesson to get you caught up.
Wiseman makes the very odd choice of introducing us to Colin Farrell in all his half naked glory (I'm not complaining, just saying), the lightly haired chest, the gym physique, the low cut pajamas. He's so beautiful to look at that the film undermines its own nasty follow up plot point that this "everyman" couldn't have won a hot wife like Kate Beckinsale on his own so DUH, his life must be fake! Wiseman is either blind to Farrell's beauty or he's just bragging about his wife again. Or both.
To his credit though, Wiseman does have an eye for action. He lacks the imagination and verve of the genre's masters (Cameron, Bigelow, Spielberg, and very few others), and has trouble making chases, fist fights, and shoot outs feel individualistic but he can make them legible to the eye and intermittently exciting. That's sadly more than can be said for many action directors including those with much stronger critical reputations. The two best action setpieces in Total Recall both make use of sudden shifts in gravity in creative ways. Total Recall has one or two flashes of inspiration in its visual effects and art direction (the audience laughed heartily at a shot of future money but I won't spoil that) but production designer Patrick Tatopoulous has seen as much of the eternally influential Blade Runner as everyone else.
The original Total Recall starring Arnold Schwarzenegger debuted in 1990 may have been dated upon arrival. It's always felt like a leftover 1980s sci-fi movie, filled with cheesy bombast, Ahnuld quips, latex grotesqueries and body count carnage comedy. The new Total Recall is less goofy all around (it stays on Earth for one) and less amused by the death of extras in crowded scenes but it's also significantly less fun and unlikely to incite anything like the original's fanbase. Farrell may have wasted a perfectly great performance on Fright Night (previously reviewed) which no one cared about or saw... and he feels committed to this one, too, though less cheerfully so. Among the central cast only Kate Beckinsale's Hair is having a good time!
ALSO IN THEATERS:
THE DARK KNIGHT RISES continues to dominate the box office though not at the level the Batfans surely hoped. Repeat business isn’t as easy to come by when a movie feels more like a solem duty than a rousing good time. The third and weakest installment of Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy has its moments but not nearly enough of them. It will have to settle for second place in the Box Office Derby of 2012 since there’s no topping The Avengers (previously reviewed). Nevertheless, if you’re as bored with NBC’s atrocious Olympics coverage as I am (I’m mystified by the notion that we’d rather watch Ryan Seacrest eat dinner or talk about Twitter than watch actual athletes doing their thing!), it’s a perfect weekend to hit the movie theater. The best things out there: BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD is the year’s surest (though hardly sure) Oscar hopeful...thus far at least; FAREWELL MY QUEEN (previously reviewed) is the best ignored movie out there and makes an amusing counterpoint to the Batman film; MOONRISE KINGDOM is evocative, funny, kitschy and moving enough to be Wes Anderson's best film since his masterpiece The Royal Tenenbaums; MAGIC MIKE (previously reviewed) lost half of its screens this weekend so stick another ten-er in its shiny pouch before its too late. It'll be zipping up and moving on soon. Know that you’re donating to good causes: -- male nudity, Channing Tatum, Magic Mike sequels!
Nathaniel Rogers would live in the movie theater but for the poor internet reception. He blogs daily at the Film Experience. Follow him on Twitter @nathanielr.
Poor Larry Craig. The ex-senator, famous for his wide stance in airport bathrooms, is currently fending off demands from the Federal Elections Commission that he personally repay the $217,000 spent on his legal defense in the gross/funny/sad leadup to his resignation in 2007.
The FEC sued Craig in June in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., alleging he converted the campaign money to personal use by spending it on his legal defense after he was accused of soliciting sex in a Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport bathroom. The commission argues Craig's defense had no connection to his campaign for federal office.
The ex-senator begs to differ. He insists out that his trip to the airport was pure business -- was constitutionally mandated, in fact, because he was headed to D.C. to fulfill his senatorial duties -- and as such, any expenses incurred while using the airport's amenities ought to be reimbursed by the United States government. Craig and his lawyers claim the assertion has precedent. From the AP:
In documents supporting his bid to have the complaint dismissed, Craig cites the case of former U.S. Rep. Jim Kolbe of Arizona, who tapped campaign money in 2006 to defend himself after allegations of improper behavior emerged against him following a Grand Canyon rafting trip with two former male pages.
Yesterday, Andy reported on the firing of Adam Smith -- the avowedly, loudly heterosexual Tucson man whose video of himself berating a Chick-fil-A employee went viral this week. It seems Mr. Smith reported to work the day after posting his video and learned that his employer, the medical supply company Vante, had been pelted with hate mail and angry phone messages in the night. Smith was first instructed not to post any further videos, and then he was canned. Having been canned, he was able to post more videos, and did.
AFTER THE JUMP, check out Smith's apparently very heartfelt, post-canning apology to the young minimum-wage employee whom he nearly brought to tears ...
The Tennessee Democratic Party issued a sad statement yesterday, denouncing their own party's freshly-minted senatorial candidate:
The only time that [Mark] Clayton has voted in a Democratic primary was when he was voting for himself. Many Democrats in Tennessee knew nothing about any of the candidates in the race, so they voted for the person at the top of the ticket ...
... the Tennessee Democratic Party disavows his candidacy, will not do anything to promote or support him in any way, and urges Democrats to write-in a candidate of their choice in November.
Mark Clayton is the former vice president of the Public Advocate of The United States -- the same deeply paranoid, gay-hating outfit that misappropriated a gay couple's wedding photo for use in a political advertisement earlier this year, and last week published what was supposed to be a funny song about child-molesting gay scoutmasters.
These offenses against taste and sanity don't begin to describe the full breadth and depth of Clayton's weirdness, or the Public Advocate's. Mother Jones has an instructive breakdown, which informs us that Clayton once believed the Chinese government had teamed with Google to destroy his political career; that Clayton has denounced Arnold Schwarzenegger as a sort of Austrian Manchurian candidate whose mission is to bring Nazi eugenics to America; and that Clayton's deepest fears include the construction of a superhighway from Canada to Mexico, the completion of which would for some reason destroy the United States.