Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, June 18, 2011

MVNews this week:  Page 11



 Mountain Views News Saturday, June 18, 2011 





Director Andrew Rossi attempts to answer this 
question with his new documentary, Page One. 
Rossi takes viewers on a voyeuristic tour of the 
New York Times’ Media Desk and the inner workings 
of the New York Times’ newsroom.

Rossi does an excellent job of elucidating the 
foibles behind mainstream media organizations, 
and simultaneously providing viewers with a story 
that is both captivating and didactic.

Page One follows New York Times media writers 
David Carr and 
Brian Stelter, media 
editor Bruce 
Headlam, executive 
editor Bill Keller and Baghdad Bureau Chief Tim 
Arango. Carr, a recovering crack addict, is the 
quirky lynchpin of the documentary, as a majority 
of the film follows his interviews and assignments.

The film opens with a depressing montage of 
publications that have either folded, gone bankrupt 
or succumbed to severe lay-offs and buy-
outs, some of which include the Chicago Tribune 
and the Rocky Mountain News. The pessimism 
of the opening is important to note as it forecasts 
similar turbulence for organizations like the New 
York Times.

Despite these overarching themes of decadence 
and despair, Carr emerges as an unlikely protagonist, 
and source of comic relief, opining, numerous 
times throughout the film, that the New York 
Times isn’t going anywhere, even if the odds are 
against them—Carr’s resilient attitude attributes 
to the film’s success, as it reels in viewers and adds 
an empathetic personal touch to the documentary.

What makes Rossi’s documentary most successful, 
though, is his incredible footage and unparalleled 
access to big-name conference rooms 
and debates, all of which facilitate discourse on 
the enigmatic future of print journalism. Rossi 
acts like a fly-on-the-wall, giving the audience 
unadulterated footage that makes the viewer feel 
like they are a part of the documentary—a crucial 
criterion for any great documentary.

The conclusion of the film is, more or less, 
open-ended. No closure is given with regards to 
the future of print journalism. It seems that the 
best plan of action for most print publications is 
to start making use of the new media that is currently 
available, and to also make their online 
components subscription-based rather than free.

Regardless of your stance on the future of print 
journalism, Page One is a unique look at one of 
our country’s most revered publications and an 
eye-opening learning experience that is sure to 
interest any viewer.

 One of the 
most highly 
movies of 
the year, Super 
8 is the 
project from 
the ubiquitous J.J. 
Abrams. Every venture this guy seems to pursue 
ends up top-secret. These days, it’s become the 
norm with any and all J.J. Abrams’ productions. 
However, the very problem with that is how expectations 
may get the best of you. I feel as if J.J. 
Abrams is somewhat of an enigma. On one side 
of the coin, you have a terrific visionary director. 
This is a man who can inject new life into anything 
that seems old and rusted. For example, his 
2009 reboot of Star Trek. He was able to resurrect 
a dying franchise from a script that was as thin as 
Lara Flynn Boyle and take audiences on an absolute 
thrill ride. Remember though, every coin has 
two sides. The other side is J.J. Abrams, the screenwriter. 
In addition to directing Super 8, Abrams 
is sole credited writer on it. His writing and logic 
behind storytelling seems contrived and for a lack 
of a better word, ‘mainstream’. It’s as if he’s trying to 
please every one of all ages, but it becomes increasingly 
problematic when the tone of the movie is all 
over the place. Unfortunately, the case is no different 
here. Super 8 strives in some areas and will 
excite many moviegoers (although possibly under 
their own pretenses). Overall, what is bestowed 
to the audience is a film that is overwhelmingly 

Super 8 is about a group of middle-school 
friends who are shooting their own movie. They 
witness a terrible train accident, but it’s the bizarre 
events that occur afterward when suspicion 
emerges. Once the military gets involved, the 
citizens of the small town raise concern, but few 
answers are provided to them. Same goes for the 
viewer as well. We’re left with many questions, but 
most of them are rarely answered. Joe Lamb (Joel 
Courtney) is essentially the protagonist of this story. 
He’s a young boy whose mother had just passed 
away due to an accident at work. The relationship 
with his father is strained. His father, portrayed 
by Kyle Chandler, is the deputy of the town and 
increasingly becomes more and more distant toward 
his son. Maybe it’s because he’s trying to get 
to the bottom of what is going on in his town. With 
his head in the clouds, he puts his responsibilities 
as a father on the back burner and only becomes 
remotely concerned about his son toward the 
end of the movie. However, Joe finds comfort in 
making movies with his friends. He also forms a 
strong fondness to Alice Dainard (Elle Fanning). 
She too has a stressed relationship with her own 
father. Therefore, Joe and Alice have communal 
catharsis. I can work with this because it creates 
emotional depth. Without giving away anything, 
we also find something else about Alice’s dad that 
connects the kids to each other even more so. So 
while the audience tries to sympathize for Joe, 
you can’t ignore the fact that he’s actually coping 
with everything quite well. He’s not obsessed with 
the death of his mother. He’s more intrigued with 
movie making and the girl he’s smitten by. As far 
as a plausible resolution with Joe and his father, 
the audience will be pleased for Joe. Problem is, 
leading up to that moment in the film feels utterly 
manufactured because the audience knows this is 
bound to happen. However, there is no real emotional 
or genuine build up for it. What you’re going 
to experience is something taken from another 
movie, which will replace the illogical way on how 
it’s presented to you in Super 8. Don’t be fooled by 
the impeccably beautiful shots and blissful score 
that masquerades the faulty storytelling. 

There is particular bedroom scene with Alice 
and Joe in act two that is wholly emotional and 
heartfelt, but that sentiment one will get is interrupted 
almost immediately. Actually, any time a 
specific scene is trying to tug on the strings of your 
heart and emotions, it quickly shifts to another 
scene or inexplicably changes in tone. That’s a huge 
problem for me. Super 8 could have worked much 
better as a coming-of-age tale, but it replaces the 
awe, excitement and wonderment of innocence 
and adventure for mild suspense and an uninteresting 
“alien”. No, I did not give away the big secret 
of the movie. Frankly, Super 8 has no secrets. It 
was advertised and setup that way for the average 
movie attendee to feel that a special payoff was in 
store for them. The only secret here is that the film 
tries extremely hard to recapture the magic of vintage 
Spielberg films. Sadly, it merely succeeds on 
this objective a few times throughout the course 
of the film. 

Up until this point, it seems apparent that I’m 
bashing Super 8. I honestly have somewhat of a 
soft spot in my heart for this movie. Surprising, 
huh? Actually, it’s for what this movie could have 
possibly been. What upsets me the most is that Super 
8 had the potential, pedigree, and key ingredients 
to truly achieve greatness. The direction is 
top-notch, the acting is supreme, especially from 
the talents of Joel Courtney and Elle Fanning and 
often times the viewer is quite interested in what 
is about to unravel on screen. However, I feel that 
the “secret” of what is going on is more intriguing 
for the characters within the movie than it truly is 
for the individuals watching it from the outside. 
Make no mistake, J.J. Abrams is an ultra talented 
director, who knows how to market his movies. 
While his heart may have been in the right place, 
the fundamental problem with the movie is how 
you’re left emotionally empty by the end. Instead 
of being completely enthralled by something spectacular, 
you’re instead left to think how the movie 
made such insignificant impact on you. Think 
of it like this, a J.J. Abrams movie is like a beautifully 
wrapped gift you’re about to open. You’re 
dying of anticipation and you imagine to yourself 
how there’s no possible way you could ever be let 
down. After you carefully take off all the bows 
and ribbons, you open the box to find out the gift 
you’ve just received isn’t entirely what you hoped 
for. You’re still remotely satisfied by the provider’s 
grand intentions, yet disappointment inevitably 
sinks in. The only thing you can wish for is that 
your next present will deliver on the promise from 
its supplier. 

Movie Review 

by Sean Fitz-Gerald

Sean Kayden

WHEN DIVAS WERE DIVAS: Their Lives, Their Way

LOS ANGELES…………Barbara Morrison’s 
Performing Arts Center presents The NAACP 
Award Nominated Play: “WHEN DIVAS WERE 
DIVAS; Their Lives, Their Way.” The musical, dramatic 
theatrical production which focuses on the 
lives of five legendary singers, Lena Horne, Bessie 
Smith, Billie Holiday, Josephine Baker and Sarah 
Vaughan, will be showcased on Saturday, July 9, 
2011 at Barbara Morrison’s Performing Art Center, 
located at 4305 Degnan Boulevard, Los Angeles, 
CA, 90008. The show starts at 8 pm and ticket 
price is $25.00.

The production is introduced with a video narration 
of life in the 1940s. Each of the actresses’ 
performances is complimented with video narratives 
presented before their entrance on stage. The 
video is eloquently recorded by Londa Parks, an 
actress and singer.


The production’s story line begins with Ms. 
Horne introducing Ms. Smith, Ms. Holiday, Ms. 
Baker and Ms, Vaughan, four women she came 
to know as friends and family. As the story unfolds, 
the revelation that these women are having 
a spiritual reunion coming back from the beyond 
to give an account of their lives while they were 
alive is heart-warming. “When Divas Were Divas” 
captures the essence of the “Divas” and depicts 
their roles in the United States during a time 
when “women did not share the equality of men 
or whites and had struggles and pain they had to 
endure to succeed. The audience will experience 
Bessie Smith’s fighting personality, love for life and 
her independence; Billie Holiday’s pain, talented 
music career and friendship with Lena Horne; Sarah 
Vaughan’s outspoken and sometimes comedic 
manner; Josephine Baker’s pain from her upbringing 
and her love for her two countries America 
and France. And, Lena Horne’s trend setting life 
filled with pain and pleasure which she shares with 
the ladies in the last scene as they sit around talking 
about their lives together and separately. 

For reservations call: (323) 296-2272

The Book Report

By Jeff Brown



Two Weeks Left to Perform in Jasper In Deadland, A Featured Event in the Festival of The New 
American Musicals 

 The Pasadena Musical Theatre Program (PMTP) announced that June 21 is the last day for 
students to register to perform in their summer production of Jasper in Deadland. Written and 
directed by award-winning composer and lyricist Ryan Scott Oliver, the pop-rock musical is a featured 
event in the 2011 Festival of New American Musicals. 

 Oliver, who is the Artistic Director for PMTP, grew up in Sierra Madre. He spends most 
of his time in New York City. He is currently writing the score for Disney Theatrical’s upcoming 
musical, Freaky Friday, among other works, and is an adjunct professor at Pace University’s musical 
theatre department. 

 The cast of Jasper in Deadland is made up of students from 7th – 12th grades. Rehearsals 
take place from Tuesday, June 28 – Friday, August 5 from 9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Performances take 
place on August 5 and August 6.

 Children in 4th - 6th grades can perform in The Junior Follies, a combination of Broadway 
and Vaudeville classic songs, dances, and comedy routines. Rehearsals take place from Monday, 
June 27 – Tuesday, July 26 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Performances are July 27 and July 28. 

 Selected students will also perform in an abridged version of Shakespeare’s classic A Midsummer 
Night’s Dream. Students can also participate in Master classes and conservatory classes. 
All of PMTP’s teaching artists are working theatre professionals. 

 “We love the work of Ryan Scott Oliver,” said the Tony award-winning songwriting team of 
Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty. “He’s a fresh and talented new voice, and his songs are filled 
with wit, gusto, and melody.”

 The Pasadena Musical Theatre Program is a nonprofit musical theatre training program committed 
to bringing the highest quality in music and theatre education to students who live or attend 
school in Pasadena, Altadena or Sierra Madre. To register The Pasadena Musical Theatre Program 
summer session, visit 

Cyber War: The Next Threat to National Security and What to Do 
About It 

By Richard A. Clarke & Robert Knake 

Clarke warned America once before about the havoc terrorism would 
wreak on our national security and he was right. Now he warns us of 
another threat, silent but equally dangerous. Cyber War is a powerful 
book about technology, government, and military strategy; about criminals, 
spies, soldiers, and hackers. This is the first book about the war of 
the future , cyber war , and a convincing argument that we may already 
be in peril of losing it. Cyber War goes behind the “geek talk” of hackers 
and computer scientists to explain clearly and convincingly what cyber 
war is, how cyber weapons work, and how vulnerable we are as a nation 
and as individuals to the vast and looming web of cyber criminals. 
From the first cyber crisis meeting in the White House a decade ago to 
the boardrooms of Silicon Valley and the electrical tunnels under Manhattan, 
Clarke and coauthor Knake trace the rise of the cyber age and profile the unlikely characters 
and places at the epicenter of the battlefield. They recount the foreign cyber spies who hacked into the 
office of the Secretary of Defense, the control systems for U.S. electric power grids, and the plans to 
protect America’s latest fighter aircraft. Economically and militarily, what we’ve already lost in the new 
millennium’s cyber battles is tantamount to the Soviet and Chinese theft of our nuclear bomb secrets 
in the 40s and 50s. Powerful and convincing, Cyber War begins the critical debate about the next 
great threat to national security. Richard A. Clarke has served in the White House for President Reagan, 
for both presidents Bush, and for President Clinton, who appointed 
him as National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and 

The Fifth Witness 

by Michael Connelly

This is bestseller Connelly’s compelling fourth Mickey Haller legal thriller. 
Mickey Haller has fallen on tough times. He expands his business into 
foreclosure defense, only to see one of his clients accused of killing the 
banker she blames for trying to take away her home. Mickey puts his 
team into high gear to exonerate Lisa Trammel, even though the evidence 
and his own suspicions tell him his client is guilty. Soon after he learns 
that the victim had black market dealings of his own, Haller is assaulted, 
too, and he’s certain he’s on the right trail. Despite the danger and uncertainty, 
Haller mounts the best defense of his career in a trial where the 
last surprise comes after the verdict is in. A very good courtroom drama!! 

Due to the high demand for her tutoring and education services, bookstore 
owner, Sally Morrison, is opening a new learning center here in Sierra Madre. 
Mindspring Education Center will cater to students (children and adults) 
interested in furthering their reading, writing, math, spelling, and 
comprehension skills. In addition, Sally offers assistance in study skills, 
homework, and test preparation. She also specializes in helping students 
with dyslexia and other learning difficulties. Those interested in summer 
sessions should contact Mindspring soon because space is limited.
As a result of this business expansion, Sally Morrison and Jeffrey Ingwalson, 
owners of Sierra Madre Books, will be closing the bookstore in June 2011. 
“We appreciate all the support we’ve received from our customers over the 
past few years, but are excited about our new venture. We look forward to 
continuing to be part of this community.”
For questions about Mindspring Education Center, please call (626) 355-1972.
For questions about Sierra Madre Books, please call (626) 836-3200.
The Opening of...
Mindspring Education CenterOne-to-One Instruction for All Ages37 Auburn Ave., Suite 7ASierra Madre, CA 91024(626)


 Musicians Tim Tedrow and Terry Vreeland return to the stage of Sierra Madre Playhouse and welcome 
musical guests Severin Browne, Women on the Move, and Bill Mesnik (creator of the hit show 
“Three Songs”) in a concert of folk and country music.

 At Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre, CA 91024. Ample fee parking 
behind theatre. Sunday, June 19 at 6:30 p.m. Admission: $15. Father’s Day special!: Dads get in for $10. 
Reservations: (626) 355-4318. Online ticketing: