A rule of thumb for all Boardwalk Empire characters: don’t make plans. Anytime someone announces the pursuit of any sort of aspiration, he’s bound to wind up six feet under by the end of the very same episode. Meeting this fate on the latest episode of the series is Owen Slater — a character so debonair and likable, albeit shifty and amoral, that it’s almost a miracle he’s lasted this long on the show. When we last left Owen, he and the enamored Margaret were vowing to flee away together, escaping the life that Nucky has built for them. Right up until he shows up in the Thompsons’ doorway, dead inside a box (courtesy of Joe Masseria), Owen was asserting himself dedicated to that very plan… although who can tell if this guy is ever actually speaking the truth?
Let’s backtrack. Nucky rallies his inner circle (Owen, Eli, and Mickey) to pull the trigger on the antagonistic Masseria, rally the help of Johnny Torrio, and set up shop in Pennsylvania to start work on their own distillery, respectively. We don’t see how Eli’s and Mickey’s missions play out, but we do see what the cruel fates have in store for Owen. Masseria is tipped off to his approach by an especially traitorous pair of entrepreneurs: Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky, who, in hopes of striking a deal with Masseria to fund a heroin operation, give up info about their “pal” Nucky’s plans to do away with the Mafia boss.
So, Masseria beats Owen to the punch… and all this after Nucky’s right-hand man has just learned that he’s going to be a father: Margaret is pregnant with his child. And given her mass hysterics upon glance of Owen’s dead body, Nucky is likely onto the fact that there was something going on between the two… although, really, did he think their marriage was going just fine before this?
Business as usual for Bobby Cannavale’s mad hatter. Something goes wrong in his operation (a dozen or two bottles go overboard and wash up on the Atlantic City shores during delivery), someone speaks out of turn when trying to be helpful, and he goes into a blinding, homicidal rage. It’s not shocking anymore, Boardwalk. Watching Rosetti is just like living next door to a crying baby — always the same nonsensical routine, and we just want to tell him to shut up and get over it already.
But on the opposite side of the spectrum is Richard, who, although living in a proverbial soap opera at this point, is always invigorating. Richard’s girlfriend Julie encourages him subtly to take the rearing of young Tommy into his own hands, and then invites him back to her place… where her belligerent father insults them both, earning Richard’s violent (but controlled) wrath. If and when Richard is going to institute a move of his own, with Julie and Tommy along for the ride, is uncertain. But hopefully any plans our favorite World War I veteran makes won’t leave him in a box on somebody’s doorstep. We’d miss you most of all, Richard.
Speaking of plans gone awry, hardly any time at all has passed since Van Alden has gotten himself into the bootlegging business before trouble heads his way. Thinking he’s made a faithful customer in a Norwegian barkeep, Van Alden is ratted out to the Johnny Torrio union and manhandled all the way to a meeting with an unhappy Al Capone, who, this season, is quickly rising to the prominence that history has pinned to his lapel.
And finally, poor Jess Smith. Innocent, good-natured, potentially brain damaged Jess Smith, who takes himself out of the picture after finding out that Harry Daugherty, his own childhood friend and closest confidant, was willing to have him killed as not to prompt any more trouble professionally. Little does he know, Daughtery is next… at least as far as Nucky’s schematics would read.
It seems like everyone close to Mr. Thompson finds him or herself on the wrong side of this war. This season alone, Nucky has lost his business associate (Manny Horvitz), his girlfriend (Billie), and now his right-hand man. Who could be next — Eli? Margaret? Please not Eddie.
[Photo Credit: HBO]
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Patrick Meighan has taken to his blog to recount how 1,400 armed cops in SWAT gear confronted the campaigners demonstrating against corporate greed at City Hall Park last Wednesday (30Nov11)
He claims the cops began slicing open tents and "scattering" contents and later manhandled and arrested protesters who refused to unlink their arms.
Meighan writes, "An LAPD officer would forcibly extend the protestor's (sic) legs, grab his left foot, twist it all the way around and then stomp his boot on the insole, pinning the protestor's (sic) left foot to the pavement, twisted backwards.
"Then the LAPD officer would grab the protestor's (sic) right foot and twist it all the way (in) the other direction until the non-violent protestor (sic), in incredible agony, would shriek in pain and unlink from his neighbour."
Meighan also recalls being "very scared" as he was shoved to the ground by an officer who handcuffed him: "I stood as instructed, and then I had my arms wrenched behind my back, and an officer hyperextended my wrists into my inner arms. It was super violent, it hurt really really bad, and he was doing it on purpose. When I involuntarily recoiled from the pain, the LAPD officer threw me face-first to the pavement.
"He had my hands behind my back, so I landed right on my face. The officer dropped with his knee on my back and ground my face into the pavement. It really, really hurt and my face started bleeding and I was very scared. I begged for mercy and I promised that I was honestly not resisting and would not resist.
"My hands were then zipcuffed very tightly behind my back, where they turned blue. I am now suffering nerve damage in my right thumb and palm."
Meighan spent 25 hours in a jail cell with 16 other Occupy LA detainees before being released.
Idi Amin was the ruthless dictator of the African nation of Uganda throughout much of the 1970s. He was ultimately blamed for thousands upon thousands of deaths (some estimates place the death toll in the hundreds of thousands) during his tenure. The Last King of Scotland is a fictionalized version of Amin’s (Forest Whitaker) reign of terror. Giddy after graduating from med school in Scotland Nicholas Garrigan (James McAvoy) randomly picks Uganda to be his first post-college destination. When he gets there the locals are abuzz after the new leader has been sworn in and vows to right all that is wrong with the country. After a chance encounter with Amin Garrigan bears witness to his dichotomous personalities as the ruler goes from threatening to charming on a whim. Amin is so taken with the young doctor--and vice versa--that he invites Garrigan to become his personal physician. A doctor-patient relationship leads to close friendship and before long Garrigan is the very center of the dictator’s inner circle. And not long thereafter he learns that there is no worse place to be. For over 20 years now we’ve all bore witness to Whitaker’s mastery of acting. His choices have been eclectic and his performances consistently great but it’s always been a case of “And oh Forest Whitaker’s great too.” Until now. Whitaker makes what can only be described as an earthquake of an entrance. It’s clear in the movie when Amin will first appear and yet the actor still manages to catch us off-guard. Amin’s manic personalities are child’s play for Whitaker but he never has fun with it which is where other actors might have gone overboard. He is now leading the race for the Best Actor Oscar too. Not that the supporting players are too shabby though. McAvoy's (The Chronicles of Narnia) Garrigan is actually the heart of the story allowing for more screen time than Whitaker and the Scotsman soaks up every second. He sticks out like a sore thumb in the film but not only because he’s from the opposite side of the earth; it’s because McAvoy the actor makes sure to react differently to everything. In addition former X-File-r Gillian Anderson turns in a solid if short apperance--and you’ll be surprised how amazingly hot she is! Kerry Washington (Mr. and Mrs. Smith) as one of Amin’s countless neglected ex-wives is superb as well.
The contrast between Last King's first and second half is as night-and-day as Amin's personalities. In the first half director Kevin MacDonald (Touching the Void) allows the story to simmer to the point of perfection; in the second half he gets sloppy as though in a rush to finish a different movie than the one he started. The ending also a mix of truth and fable (plucked from the highly acclaimed book by Giles Foden) quickly spirals towards its conclusion which is tough to watch for very different reasons. But prior to that--even at some points in the uneven second half--MacDonald paints a beautiful monster out of Amin. Maybe more importantly he paints a beautiful picture of African ambiance an indirect thank you to the Ugandan people that allowed unprecedented access to their country for the sake of Last King. Even with MacDonald's occasional blunders it's hard to deny the power of his film.