Jack Goes Confidential: Ultra-Cool ‘ATOMIC BLONDE’ Savages Berlin!

How to best describe ATOMIC BLONDE?

How about, “Hot Badass Cold War Spy Thriller!”

The movie opens with newsreel footage of President Reagan in front of the Brandenburg Gate in West Berlin proclaiming to the world: “Mr. Gorbachev tear down this wall!”

So is this the story of the Wall?

Not at all as the graphics on the screen make very clear.

Sure the setting is Berlin but the timeline here  is about a week before the FALL of the Wall.

That’s where top level British MI6 agent Charleze Theron’s next assignment has taken her. Her mission, to retrieve a top secret document/list of missing agents and take down a deadly espionage operation in the process.

However it’s not the storyline that makes this movie so much fun to watch. Continue reading

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Glazer: Next George Brett Fuels Royals Attack

Man, eight wins in a row – longest winning streak of the year for KC…

Just 1 1/2 games out of first behind Cleveland. If it ended today, we’d be a wild card team in the American League.

TheRoyals ended the first half of season cold but man have they heated up.

Signing three pitchers, not trading any core players and the home run bats are back!

Eric Hosmer is on heat street with 16 home runs with the second most hits in the league at 122 and batting .319. Last night he had a grand slam – his first – 5 hits and 6 RBI’s.

It would appear that Eric is on his way to his best season ever with well over 20 homers and perhaps close to 100 RBI’s and a plus .300 batting average.

Moose will break KC’s home run record and is in line to even win the home run title from Aaron Judge – he’s got 29 and New York’s Judge has 32. So the race is on.

No doubt this team has been streaky. A super cold start and it looked like they were toast.

Everyone including me wrote them off in May Continue reading

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Lefsetz: Handwriting On The Wall For NFL

Is there a connection?

In case you’re unaware of today’s JAMA report, 110 of 111 NFL players were found to have CTE, chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

Now this is a select group, deceased players whose brains have been donated to Boston University, but if even every other dead player since the study began was found to be clear, that would still mean 9% of NFL players have dementia.

The stories are horrifying.

Even Tyler Sash, who played safety for the Super Bowl winning Giants in 2011, had it.

How long before people stop watching football?

They’ve already stopped playing.

People think everything’s forever.

Like the answering machine; like rock and roll; like baseball. I remember when football was a second-class citizen to baseball, when the latter was truly the “National Pastime.”

Now I’m not saying baseball will disappear, the internet has taught us that everything marginal survives to a point. I will say that the NBA and soccer and e-sports dominate the minds of millennials and younger, and the boomers refuse to accept this.

But the boomers gave up smoking. It’s rare to find a boomer who didn’t used to puff. But they stopped. When they saw it killed.

And these same boomers are racing to electric cars. Which conservative voices keep saying are propped up by subsidies and will never triumph.

Tell that to BMW and Mercedes, German companies who are doubling-down.

And to Volvo, which is going all electric, albeit hybrid, soon. They got the message. Along with self-driving cars.

When are the owners and the public going to get the message about football? Continue reading

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Glazer: Scribe says, ‘Stop Picking on Westport’

For years it’s been called the Wild, Wild Westport...

Truth is, it’s only wild after about 3 am on the rare, odd weekend nights.

The inner city bad guys are out late at night looking for trouble and they often cruise the area in and around Westport.

Why? Its near where they live.

It’s been a popular entertainment district for decades and the hood people think it’s cool to do their dirty work where they’ll get attention.

Sad thing is, Westport, our most popular entertainment district over the past 50 years, gets blamed for not doing enough to prevent crime.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

I was there for over 30 years with Stanford’s,

All we did then – and they still do – – is work on security day and night.

Westport has one of the best private security forces in the city and the Midwest. They have the Kansas City Police down there nightly and in force on weekend nights in the summer.

Almost all the problems go down after 3 a.m. weekend nights.

And yet anything that happens nearby is blamed on Westport. Why?

It’s a name part of town that everybody knows and media like the Kansas City Star loves to crucify them.. Continue reading

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Hearne: The News Desecration of Westport

About Saturday night’s wee hours shoot ‘em up in Westport

Naturally local TV news and the Kansas City Star were quick to pounce on the story, dramatize it then milk it for all it’s worth.

In the case of the Star, that translated into back-to-back stories on Monday – with the second a front page rehash on Tuesday – garnished with sensational, dog whistle words like “melee” and “mayhem” stitched together after-the-fact by reporters who were not even on the scene.

Add to the above breathless “reporting” on the commonplace practice of police using pepper spray and a headline designed to titillate.

“Amid shots, pepper spray, police acted to close Westport early,” shouted the newspaper’s front page headline Tuesday for a largely regurgitated story from page four in Monday’s Star (in case somebody missed it).

Unfortunately the newspaper did what it does all too often and failed to drill down to come up with easily obtainable answers that might have provided a more balanced perspective.

Of course that might have diluted the Star’s sensational headline.

For example, the closing wasn’t a broad based decision by police, according to sources. It was largely a knee jerk decision by a single, police sergeant with limited experience in the party zone.

What’s more according bar owners (Remember them? They’re the ones nobody talks to when they’re being written about), closing an hour early was a foolhardy decision that exposed patrons to needless risks during the peak of the disruption.

‘It was a mistake,” says Westport businessman Bill Nigro. “It was just the decision of one guy. I mean, if there’s a problem outside, why would I send my customers out into it? Most of those problems happened early, then (the police) forced the crowd out into the area. That’s just not good for our customers. For example, the shooting happened at quarter to three, a half hour after they forced everybody outside.” Continue reading

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Jack Goes Confidential: Acclaimed Director Christopher Nolan Succeeds with ‘DUNKIRK’

Can you imagine a superhero movie right smack in the midst of summer?

And no, I’m not talking about masks, spider webs are pointed ears here.

What you get with DUNKIRK is the true story of the nearly impossible battle at Dunkirk during World War II which was really a mass evacuation of gigantic proportions.

Some would refer to it as the MIRACLE at Dunkirk.

DUNKIRK found tens of thousands of British and Allied troops trapped on the beaches of this oceanside town facing certain death by the German forces that surrounded them and were actually driving them into the English Channel.

There was but one slimmer of hope left to save those forces…

Round up and enlist every available private vessel on the British side of the English Channel and send them across to evacuate the the thousands of troops stranded on the beach and turn it into a never before attempted rescue mission by sea, air and land. Continue reading

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Jack Goes Confidential: Epic Third Ape Journey Concludes Franchise

Apes together—STRONG!

Caesar and the apes are back in a face-off with humans led by brutal Colonel Woody Harrelson.

In WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES  Caesar guides his flock while wrestling with his darker inner instincts as he gears up to avenge his kind.

The effects and battle scenes in this epic conclusion to the trilogy are terrific—my personal favorite being the incredible avalanche sequence near the end of the film.

What really stands out though in this sequel to 2014’s DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES is Andy Serkis‘ astounding performance as the lead ape.

His facial expressions and dramatic detail to emotions within the Performance Capture process makes this conclusion of the franchise a very special cinematic experience.

To realistically transmit all of the given emotions, Serkis almost relies entirely on playing to the camera through his magnetic eyes which could very well earn him an Oscar nomination. Continue reading

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Hearne: The KC Star’s Recasting of Neal Patterson

Small town media types like few things more than rewriting history…

Like bringing down legendary local icons such as Plaza developer J.C. Nichols. Or recasting a business bully like Sporting KC owner Neal Patterson as a jolly good fellow.

Why confine yourself to the mere writing of news when you can try to record what passes for history?

Make no mistake; Patterson was a giant among men, who loomed especially large given the context of his rise from the ranks of red dirt tenant farmers.

As for comparing Patterson to iconic local businessman and political firebrand Jim Nutter who died the same week, not even close.

Nutter may have wielded a heavy hand in his behind-the-scenes efforts to shape the local business and political landscape, but he was a genuinely nice guy with a comparatively deft touch.

Patterson on the other hand was a mean spirited bully who did not play particularly well with others when he failed to get his way.

Naturally, the Kansas City Star glossed over the most vivid example of Patterson’s rude, crude manner of leadership in writing that, “in 2001 he made national news when his strongly-worded email to employees complaining that they were not working long enough hours was leaked and picked up by the New York Times.”

Talk about an understatement…

Check out this far more vivid and accurate take on Wikipedia:

“Patterson is infamous for an e-mail flaming managers for not coming to work before 8 am and leaving before 5 pm, now a prominent example used when discussing e-mail  etiquette,” it reads. “On the day that the email was posted to Yahoo, the company’s market cap fell by over 22%[5] from a high of $1.5 billion USD.”

How harsh was it?

“The only things missing from the office memo were expletives,” the New York Times wrote. “It had everything else. There were lines berating employees for not caring about the company. There were words in all capital letters like ‘SICK’ and ‘NO LONGER.’ There were threats of layoffs and hiring freezes and a shutdown of the employee gym.

“Now, Neal L. Patterson, the 51-year-old chief executive, a man variously described by people who know him as ‘arrogant,’ ‘candid’ and ‘passionate,’ says he wishes he had never hit the send button,” the Times added.

“Mr. Patterson went on to list six potential punishments, including laying off 5 percent of the staff in Kansas City. ‘Hell will freeze over,’ he vowed, before he would dole out more employee benefits. The parking lot would be his yardstick of success, he said; it should be ‘substantially full’ at 7:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. on weekdays and half full on Saturdays. ‘You have two weeks,’ he said. ‘Tick, tock.’ ” Continue reading

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Hearne: Political Correctness Meets the Silly Season @ 18th & Grand

Anybody wanna join me in calling for the closing of Thomas Jefferson’s Library and tearing down of Monticello?

No?

Well then, how about we start by following Kansas City Star freelance columnist Steve Kraske’s suggestion to rip the name of “visionary” Country Club Plaza developer Jesse Clyde Nichols off the J.C. Nichols Fountain that bears his name.

After all, everyone knows Jefferson owned slaves (and mated with them for crying out loud) and that African Americans were discriminated against across the board in Kansas City and just about everywhere else in this country until the mid to late 1960s.

But does that mean every other notable achievement anyone ever accomplished in their lives should be denigrated and erased from the history books in the interest of the current media wave of over-the-top political correctness?

Why waste millions of dollars sprucing up the Eisenhower Library in Abilene, Kansas given that the 34th President reportedly cheated on his wife and issued an “anti-gay executive order” some 60 years back?

Or how about we kick out the southern states that seceded from the Union leading to the American Civil War?

Or at the very least, remove those state’s stars from our flag in a symbolic recognition of their wrongheadedness?

Seriously though, is this the best the Star’s Stevie Wonder can come up with in the way of column ideas? It’s a classic case of Jason Whitlock-style race baiting. Continue reading

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Glazer: Royals From Worst to…

The Royals were one of baseballs worst teams in April and May…

They couldn’t hit to save their lives  – only Eric Hosmer and ∫ were doing any hitting at all. Thus KC was in last most of those two months and most people wrote them off as a contender for the post season.

Not only that Danny Duffey got hurt and was out nearly two months.

It looked pretty dark.

Then came the home run explosion of June and July.

Moose is now on his way to plus 40 homers  – perhaps even 50. If he stays healthy Moose will break all Kansas City home run records, including the Kansas City A’s with Bob Cerv and Reggie Jackson.

The Royals never really had a big banger.

Yes, there was Carlos Beltran but he did most of his home run damage After he left KC for Houston and New York as well as the Cards.

And yes, there was John Mayberry and Bye Bye Balboni, however none of them crossed 40 in one season in Kansas City.

Plus our for Sal Perez with 18 dingers may break the old record and cross 40.

Clearly it’s been the Royals recent surge of power baseball that has put them over .500 at 44-43 and just 1 1/2 games out of first place. Damn had they only handled the Dodgers in LA, they might be in first. The Dodgers ended the Royals hot streak by taking all three games.  Continue reading

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New Jack City: Jürgen Goes Raunchy

Let’s have some ‘R’ rated pun-fun…

As some of you probably already know one of my (not so) guilty pleasures are the twisted movie titles inspired by major films.

Many of these goofy pun-titles are attached to real productions–most of them in the sexploitation-plus genre.

It goes without saying that the all time champ aas-is-and continues to be “YANK MY DOODLE, IT’S A DANDY” (Obviously a patriotic flick.)

That said, the following fresher list of dubious titles should further scratch what itches and turn any frown into a geezer smile:

* “HUNG WANKENSTEIN”

* “ALL ANAL ON THE WESTERN FRONT”

* “PASSIONS OF THE CRUTCH”

* “A BEAUTIFUL HIND”

* “MOULIN SPLOOGE”

* “A FISTFUL OF CONDOMS”

* “H.R. MUFF ‘N STUFF”

* “TWIN CHEEKS”

Continue reading

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Lefsetz: The Death of Rock As We Knew It

It’s no longer the sound of the street…

The initial burst came with the Beatles and the British Invasion, a new sound everybody went wild for.

Then came the late ’60s free-form FM era, everything from the Doors‘ “The End” to Cream’s “Tales Of Brave Ulysses” to Jimi Hendrix‘s “Purple Haze.”

Sure, some of these tracks crossed over to AM, were single hits, but this was the era, after Sgt. Pepper, when you wanted to make an album length STATEMENT!

In the early ’70s, it was about experimentation and musicianship. Ergo, the prog rock bands. Even Queen. We admired those with chops.

Then came the codification and consolidation of FM radio by Lee Abrams and suddenly all the action was on FM and bands being banged on that format went nuclear. Stadium shows were de rigueur. There was so much money involved that it could not be overlooked, ergo, corporate rock, music made to make money.

Which punk was a reaction to.

But punk got press and little sales and then were both rock and punk, trampled by disco, which ironically survives, even though it’s something different, and is still triumphant.

Then disco records were blown up in Comiskey Park and the music business tanked and then was resuscitated by MTV and the CD.

MTV gave a second wind to rock.

Especially to the oldsters.

But then young acts like Culture Club and Duran Duran got traction, and shortly thereafter so did Michael Jackson and Wham!

Rock reacted the same way it did a decade before, with hair bands. Spandex-clad wankers singing safe ballads that were supposed to titillate women. Continue reading

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Jack Goes Confidential: 16th Adventure in Marvel Cinematic Universe Unleashed!

Young Spider-Man to Tony Stark: “What do you want me to do?”

Tony Stark to Spidey: “I think you’ve done enough.”

It’s been three years since the last installment but this reboot is going for an entirely different feel and time frame with Tom Holland taking over from Andrew Garfield.

It also marks the first time an actual teenager has been cast as Peter Parker.

In SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING the story takes us back to the character’s roots with Tony Stark / Ironman (Robert Downey, Jr.) as mentor to teen Spidey.

And Michael Keaton is here doing his usual GOOD—but this time at being BAD as the Adrian Toomes / Vulture who faces off with the web slinging wonder.

Holland’s Spider-Man you may recall was introduced to us in last year’s Marvel extravaganza CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR.

In support of the film’s starring cast are Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan, Marisa Tomei playing Peter’s aunt May Parker with Tyne Daly as Anne Marle Hoag heading the Department of Damage Control.

Bottom line THIS Spider-Man is fresh and plays much lighter which is a welcome change for the character AND the franchise. Continue reading

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Hearne: American Royal Rubber Rib Rack Poor Sub for Substance

Talk about fiddling while Rome burns…

I uttered a few words recently over the not yet cold, dead body of the American Royal and its arguably only remaining prized possession, the World Series of Barbecue.

The latest:

In lieu of doing something halfway meaningful to help keep KC’s biggest meat meet alive and kicking, the marketing brains behind the Royal stuck up a giant billboard with a 50 foot long, 8 foot tall three dimensional rack of fake ribs to promote this year’s Labor Day cookout.

Here’s the deal.

Not only is the freakish-looking monstrosity borderline grotesque, in no way does it do anything to encourage somebody to trudge out to the Kansas Speedway in KCK in sweltering heat to watch a bunch of yahoos send up meat flavored smoke signals. Continue reading

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Hearne: End of an Era @ Metcalf South

We live in lightning fast times…

That goes without saying. Yet sometimes Cowtowners have to shake their heads about things that  – amazingly – have nothing whatsoever to do with Donald Trump.

Go figure.

For example the mighty Sears department store chain going down down ugly.

How ugly?

When one of the company’s most profitable and iconic stores ever – the Sears at Metcalf South – in Overland Park takes a bullet, you know the end is near.

How near?

With more than 1,100 remaining Sears outlets, it may not happen overnight, but under the current circumstances, the bigger they are the harder they fall. And depending on how many of the remaining Sears are the mini sized “hometown” stores it’s not as if the company is anything approaching the powerhouse it once was.

Far from it.

Having gone from around 4,000 stores to 1,500 the last handful of years, the handwriting looks to be on the wall for what’s left of the Sears/K Mart empire.

Still it’s hard not to breath a sigh when reminiscing back to the 1980s when Sears still had its automotive center on the vaunted Country Club Plaza where the Court of the Penguins now stands.

I can’t tell you how many lawn mowers, weed whackers, washers & dryers and kitchen appliances I purchased there over the years. Not to mention – embarrassingly – that I purchased record albums as a boy at the Plaza Sears.

No mas.

Continue reading

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New Jack City: ‘Mamma Mia’ – Here We Come Again—the Frothier the Better

 

Now that the MAMMA MIA! national ‘Farewell Tour’ made its “final” stop at Starlight Theatre in Kansas City, it’s time for me to reflect…

For me, it all started in 200o when the popular play made its US tour before hitting Broadway where it remained on stage for 14 years.

Since then the musical comedy/love story based on the music of ABBA has set box office records around the globe.

And if memory serves me correctly the play has been on stage in Kansas City half a dozen times.

Six years after its Broadway debut, Universal Studios turned the play into one of the most successful big screen musicals EVER.

With Meryl Streep in the lead MAMMA MIA! racked in $144 million in ticket sales domestically.

But the international market for the film REALLY went wild producing another $466 million.

All in that’s $610 million!

By comparison GREASE did $395 million. LES MISERABLE produced $442 million. CHICAGO took in $307 million and LA LA LAND ended up with $444 million.

Oops, almost forgot. Disney’s 2017 BEAUTY AND THE BEAST beat them all with $1.23 billion in worldwide ticket sales.

Fast forward to today and the news that executive producers Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have finally green-lighted a MAMMA MIA! sequel to their 2008 hit movie. Continue reading

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Hearne: Star Goes Tabloid in Attempt to Label KC ‘Murder Capital’

Yellow Journalism, anybody?

The age-old practice of cherry picking statistics to try and make an exaggerated point is alive and well at 18th and Grand in the newsroom of the Kansas City Star.

Or as the Urban Dictionary puts it, “argument by selective observation.”

However it’s one thing for Kansas City’s newspaper of record to run over-sensationalized, under-reported news stories into the ground. Stories like the Verruckt water slide decapitation of an 11 year-old boy at Schlitterbahn WaterPark and the ridiculously foolhardy, accidental death of Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura.

Clearly, the nucleus of both stories were newsworthy…up to a point.

That said, the Star was among the last to meekly report the awful truth that the Chicago Tribune and other media shouted in headlines such as, “Boy was decapitated on waterslide at Kansas park, source says.”

Nor did the newspaper probe beyond an embarrassingly minimally mention of the fact that Ventura’s blood test results at the time of his wee hours car wreck in the Dominican Republic in January were being bogusly withheld from the media. Especially given that what was known about the deceased pitcher’s final hours appeared to point in the direction of him being wasted and driving on a needlessly dangerous road after a day and night of partying.

Time out…

Do you think if it had been one of Donald Trump‘s kids or subordinates, the Star would have taken a pass on digging for the drug test results? Continue reading

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Glazer: Power to the…Royals?

Wow, it actually happened…

Royals GM Dayton Moore did it; the Royals are a power team!

Yep, six players are in double figures with home runs. That’s a first for a KC team. In fact, two players may break 30 home runs for the year, Sal Perez and Mike Moustakas.

The Mighty Moose likely will hit for plus 40…unreal.

A team that has never hit for power is now doing just that.

And with the power hitting comes wins.

The Royals are hot.

In fact baseball’s worst team in April is now in second place over .500 – crazy.

The Royals for the first time ever are a dangerous home run hitting bunch. Damn.  Continue reading

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(Re) Born on the 4th of July

A funny thing happened on the way to the end of June…

Not so funny, actually.

An accidental misstep caused the KC Confidential publishing device of choice – my MacBook Pro – to take a dirt nap. One that ensued for like 10 days while no less than three computer repair businesses sorted out the fix.

Lame? Of course, but life goes on…

Continue reading

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Hearne: American Royal & BBQ Continue Downward Slide

 Another year, another snoozer American Royal

When it comes to over-the-hill events and washed up personalities, the old ways die hard here in the Cowtown. Case in point, Kansas City’s once vaunted, annual livestock, rodeo, horse show, society ball and barbecue contest, the American Royal.

Since 1899 when the livestock event was first conceived, to 1980 when its first barbecue contest achieved liftoff, the eight week long event has passed for what amounts to KC’s fall pageant.

However changing times and tastes – combined with the loss in 1999 of its core participating attendee group the Future Farmers of America – have rendered the event all but toothless.

With, arguably anyway, the exception of the American Royal World Series of Barbecue.

Unfortunately, owing to a dearth of quality live entertainment and a geographic move from the event’s historic home in the West Bottoms to the soulless Kansas Speedway in KCK, this year’s BBQ blowout could well be a bust.

For locals, anyway.

That’s because a scheduling conflict at the speedway necessitated it migrating from the cool climes of October to a sweltering summer Labor Day weekend.

“We moved it this year to Labor Day because of other events at the Speedway,” an American Royal spokesman explains, adding that in future years the plan is for the event to return to October.

As for the “incredible live music” the American Royal’s website promises for this year’s BBQ, “We have not picked anybody yet,” the spokesman says. “But more than likely it’s going to be somebody local and more than likely different (musical) genres.”

Translation: Forget about the heavy hitter mainstream headliners of American Royals past.

Think local bar bands.

Continue reading

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