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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride

Where in the World Is Osama Bin Laden? (2008, * 1/2)

Morgan Spurlock’s second feature, “Where In The World Is Osama bin Laden?” is more like “Super-Snide Me,” glossily, glibly entertaining yet deeply dumb and seriously shallow as the mustachioed West Virginian purports to seek out the ostensible shadow-figure of all matters Al Qaeda in various Middle Eastern countries while a darling baby grows in his girlfriend’s belly back home in Brooklyn where they await their man’s return from the field of war. Forget America: whereintheworldisosama1.jpghe must make the world safe for his spawn. The movie’s episodic character is camouflaged by campy interstitial material, such as videogame-style animation in which bin Laden is portrayed dancing and leaping to an M. C. Hammer song from the depths of last century, but the only genuine battle Spurlock pitches is against angry Orthodox Jews whom he laughs at while picking a fight by videotaping them in their own neighborhoods. Watch just how pleased he is, how much he grins with genuine glee as he’s told to leave and met with blows. This is near-clever television masquerading as earnest muckraking.

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“Ten years ago at Telluride, I said on a panel that theatrical distribution was dying. It seemed obvious to me. I was surprised how many in the audience violently objected: ‘People will always want to go to the movies!’ That’s true, but it’s also true that theatrical cinema as we once knew it has died. Theatrical cinema is now Event Cinema, just as theatrical plays and musical performances are Events. No one just goes to a movie. It’s a planned occasion. Four types of Event Cinema remain.
1. Spectacle (IMAX-style blockbusters)
2. Family (cartoon like features)
3. Horror (teen-driven), and
4. Film Club (formerly arthouse but now anything serious).

There are isolated pockets like black cinema, romcom, girl’s-night-out, seniors, teen gross-outs, but it’s primarily those four. Everything else is TV. Now I have to go back to episode five of ‘Looming Tower.'”
~ Paul Schrader

“Because of my relative candor on Twitter regarding why I quit my day job, my DMs have overflowed with similar stories from colleagues around the globe. These peeks behind the curtains of film festivals, venues, distributors and funding bodies weren’t pretty. Certain dismal patterns recurred (and resonated): Boards who don’t engage with or even understand their organization’s artistic mission and are insensitive to the diverse neighborhood in which their organization’s venue is located; incompetent founders and/or presidents who create only obstacles, never solutions; unduly empowered, Trumpian bean counters who chip away at the taste and experiences that make organizations’ cultural offerings special; expensive PR teams that don’t bring to the table a bare-minimum familiarity with the rich subcultural art form they’re half-heartedly peddling as “product”; nonprofit arts organizations for whom art now ranks as a distant-second goal behind profit.”
~ Eric Allen Hatch