The new movie "Promised Land" digs into the fierce national debate over fracking, the technique that's generated a boom in U.S. natural gas production while also stoking controversy over its possible impact on the environment and human health.
If you don't have the facts on your side, make some up. That's Hollywood's typical scheme for pushing its left-wing views on American audiences.
"Promised Land" offers an experience that's alternately amusing and frustrating, full of impassioned earnestness as well as saggy sections.
"Promised Land" _ An experience that's alternately amusing and frustrating, full of impassioned earnestness and saggy sections. Director Gus Van Sant has the challenge of taking the topic of fracking and trying to make it cinematic. Working from a script by co-stars Matt Damon and John Krasinski, based on a story by Dave Eggers, he succeeds in fits and starts. The impoverished small town that's the tale's setting, a place in need of the kind of economic rejuvenation fracking could provide, is full of folksy folks whose interactions with the main characters don't always ring true. "Promised Land" has its heart is on its sleeve and makes its pro-environment message quite clear, but it's in the looser and more ambiguous places that the film actually works. Damon stars as Steve Butler, a salesman traveling the country on behalf of a bland behemoth of an energy corporation. Having grown up on an Iowa farm himself and seeing how an economic downturn can devastate a small town, Butler seems to be a true believer in what he's selling. But he's also a pragmatist, as evidenced by the playfully cynical give-and-take he enjoys with his partner, Sue (a sharp Frances McDormand). Famously for his efficiency in persuading rural residents to sell their land for the drilling rights, Steve runs into a major challenge when he and Sue arrive in depressed McKinley, Pa., where an outspoken old-timer (Hal Holbrook) and a flashy, charismatic environmental crusader (Krasinski) dare to question the company's methods. R for language. 106 minutes. Two stars out of four.
Ashley Judd reportedly is considering a run for the Senate, so why not Ben Affleck?
"Killing Them Softly" is a stylish and violent dark comedy about low-level gangsters and thugs, set squarely within the U.S. economic collapse of autumn 2008. In rather heavy-handed fashion, it suggests that the mob functions as a microcosm of American capitalism. Thankfully, Brad Pitt is there to keep it from going under.
Fracking already has transformed the nation's energy landscape, but it's also begun to worm its way into American pop culture.
Liz Lemon is getting married and you're invited. Fans of "30 Rock" might have reasonably assumed that Lemon, the harried TV producer played by Tina Fey, would ride out the series' seventh and final season as a perennial bachelorette unlucky in love. But Miss Fey, who also is the creator and producer of the NBC comedy, clearly thought otherwise.
Channing Tatum is People magazine's "sexiest man alive" for 2012.