[TRAILER] A TransSiberian train journey from China to Moscow becomes a thrilling chase of deception and murder when an American couple (Woody Harrelson, Emily Mortimer) encounters a mysterious pair of fellow travelers (Kate Mara, Eduardo Noriega). [more inside]
The invasion of a village in Byelorussia by German forces sends young Florya (Aleksey Kravchenko) into the forest to join the weary Resistance fighters, against his family's wishes. There he meets a girl, Glasha (Olga Mironova), who accompanies him back to his village. On returning home, Florya finds his family and fellow peasants massacred. His continued survival amidst the brutal debris of war becomes increasingly nightmarish, a battle between despair and hope. The film recently overtook Everything Everywhere All at Once as the highest-rated narrative feature film on Letterboxd. [more inside]
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Transgender Rights II Season 9, Ep 26
This week.... Russia's forces, under the direction of General Sergey "Armageddon" Surovikin, strike back at Ukraine for destroying the Crimea Bridge by firing missiles at Ukrainian cities. And Now: More Electrifying Small Talk From San Antonio's "Daytime With Kimberly & Esteban." Main story: the struggle for transgender rights, and Republican efforts to use it to drive supporters to the polls, often using ridiculous exaggerations or outright lies to do so (as is their standard practice). On Youtube (27 minutes). Last Week Tonight is off next week. [more inside]
In 1864, a group of working men formed an international association called The International Working Men's Association. (I didn't see a way to post by season for podcasts; I was thinking we could use this thread to discuss all of Season 10 on the Russian Revolution) [more inside]
David Lean's 1965 epic historical romance film adapts the 1957 novel by Boris Pasternak. Russian physician and poet Yuri (Omar Sharif), although married to Tonya (Geraldine Chaplin), falls in love with young field nurse Lara (Julie Christie) and experiences hardship during World War I and then the October Revolution. Score by Maurice Jarre. [more inside]
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Sex Work Season 9, Ep 2
This week.... The invasion of Ukraine by Russia. And Now: A Look Back at Notable Moments in History. Main story: sex work (25 minutes), and how terribly sex workers are treated by the system. And Now: A Fond Farewell to the Wendy Williams Show. [more inside]
A young girl and her two accident companions walk halfway around St.-Petersburg; they flirt and tease each other, and for ninety minutes they act out a real-time romantic drama. This stroll is full of laughter and tears against a backdrop of the hustle and bustle of the streets.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The Sackler Family Season 8, Ep 20
This week, from the white void (for three more weeks).... Andrew Cuomo tries to ride out the numerous sexual harassment allegations against him. Russia competes under another name in the Olympics, as the Russian Olympic Committee. And Now: The Electrifying Small Talk Of San Antonio's 'Daytime With Kimberly & Esteban.' Main story (Youtube, 24 minutes): While on the surface it appears that Purdue Pharmaceuticals is finally being duly punished for their role in the opioid epidemic, the plan under consideration lets the Sackler family that currently owns it off in many ways. The Sacklers have created a website. judgeforyourselves.info, to give their side of the story, but Last Week Tonight got the dot-com version, judgeforyourselves.com, to give a broader picture, featuring video of "Richard Sackler" (played by Richard Kind). [more inside]
A story about a heroic fireman who worked as one of Chernobyl liquidators post-reactor explosion. (In international markets, it's also distributed as Chernobyl: Abyss or Chernobyl 1986, per Netflix)
In the grand tradition of Russian fantasy films comes a new version of the supernatural legend of The Viy, written by Nicolai Gogol. An eighteenth century English cartographer sets out on a journey to map the uncharted lands of Transylvania, only to discover the dark secrets and dangerous creatures hidden in a cursed, fantastical Romanian forest. Streaming on Amazon Prime. Note: this is a bad movie. [more inside]
When Olya asks her boyfriend, Matvei, to kill her father, things go horribly wrong. [more inside]
Homeland: Prisoners of War Season 8, Ep 12
Series finale. Carrie enjoys a jazz concert. [more inside]
Winter lasts most of the year at the edge of the Russian wilderness, and in the long nights, Vasilisa and her siblings love to gather by the fire to listen to their nurse’s fairy tales. [more inside]
It's Friday, March 22, 2019. It's been nearly two years since Robert Mueller was first appointed Special Counsel. Now, he's ready to submit a final report to the Attorney General. He has uncovered a sprawling and systematic effort by Russia to interfere in the 2016 election. And he's developed a mountain of evidence about the president's efforts to obstruct his investigation, things like witness tampering, ordering the creation of false records, and trying to fire Mueller himself. But Mueller's got a problem: a Department of Justice memo says he can't indict a sitting president. So what is he supposed to do with all this evidence? Mueller decides to just lay it all in the report, all 448 pages of it. It'll be someone else's problem to decide what to do about it: maybe a future prosecutor, maybe Congress, maybe the America electorate. That isn't really Mueller's concern. He's done what he was asked to do. Now his report can speak for itself. [more inside]
We're almost at the end of our story. This episode will cover the final set of activity that the Special Counsel examines for possible obstruction of justice: the president's behavior towards his long time attorney Michael Cohen. Unlike the other possible acts of obstruction in Volume II, which mostly occur after Trump takes office, the relevant conduct towards Cohen spans the entire time period at issue in the Mueller investigation. It starts all the way back before the campaign. To Trump Tower Moscow. [more inside]
It's January 2018. Paul Manafort and Rick Gates are in a whole lot of trouble. The past is catching up to them. Three months earlier, they'd both been indicted on multiple felony counts and now it looks like there might be even more charges coming. Gates is getting nervous--they're facing many years in prison. Manafort tells Gates to relax. He's talked to the president's personal counsel. He says they're going to "take care of us." Manafort tells Gates he'd be stupid to plead guilty now, "just sit tight, we'll be taken care of." Gates wants to be crystal clear on what exactly Manafort's getting at. So he asks: Is the president going to pardon them? [more inside]
It's February 6, 2018. Don McGahn is back in the Oval Office with President Trump and the new White House chief of staff John Kelly. The New York Times has just published a story reporting that, back in June of 2017, Trump had directed McGahn to have Mueller fired and that McGahn had threatened to resign rather than carry out the order. The story doesn't look good. Trump says: "You need to correct this. You're the White House counsel." Trump wants McGahn to say it never happened. But McGahn knows that it did happen. The White House Counsel is sticking to his guns. He's not going to lie. The president asks again. Is McGahn going to do a correction? McGahn feels Trump is testing his mettle, seeing how far he can be pushed. And so he answers: No. He's not. [more inside]
It's May 17, 2017. White House Counsel Don McGahn is in the Oval Office with the president. McGahn's job is to represent the office of the presidency, which isn't quite the same as representing the president personally. It's a delicate line to walk, and Trump hasn't made the job any easier. McGahn is supposed to act as the point of contact between the White House and the Department of Justice, to ensure all the rules are being followed. But the president has made clear, he's not interested in following the rules. Trump has already fired his FBI director. That's why McGahn is in the Oval that morning, they need to interview a new nominee for the position. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is there too.Sessions interrupts the meeting. He has an urgent phone call from the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, so he steps outside to take it. Sessions returns a moment later and relays the message: Rosenstein has appointed a Special Counsel to oversee the Russia investigation. It's the former FBI director, Robert Mueller. Trump slumps back in his chair. He says, "Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my Presidency. I'm fucked." [more inside]
It's March 7, 2017. The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing on the nomination of Rod Rosenstein to be the Deputy Attorney General. Rosenstein's whole career has been leading up to this moment. He's a non-partisan sort of guy. He's served under both President Bush and Obama. Now he's being elevated to the role of running the day to day at DOJ.But this hearing is about more than just confirming a new deputy attorney general. On March 2, five days earlier, Attorney General Jeff Sessions had announced his recusal from all investigations involving the 2016 election, a recusal which included the Russia investigation. And so, the moment he becomes deputy, Rosenstein will also become the acting attorney general for the purposes of the Russia investigation.Rosenstein is confirmed and he's sworn in on April 26, 2017. But his oath is about to be tested, like never before. Less than two weeks later, President Trump says he wants to fire the FBI Director and Rosenstein decides to help. [more inside]
It's January 26, 2017. Sally Yates is the acting Attorney General; she's leading the Justice Department until Jeff Sessions is confirmed by the Senate. Yates has just learned some alarming news. The new National Security Advisor Michael Flynn has lied to FBI agents. He's told them that he hadn't discussed sanctions in a call with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak. But he had. And it looks like Flynn has lied to the vice president about it as well. Yates calls White House Counsel Don McGahn. She says they have to meet right away. Yates knows that the FBI has the tape to prove Flynn lied, which is a crime, but right now there's an even bigger problem: the Russians probably have the tape too. [more inside]
It's April 18, 2019, Attorney General Bill Barr summons reporters to the Department of Justice in Washington DC. Robert Mueller's report is about to be released. Before the press and the public finally see the document for themselves, Barr wants a chance to tell his own version of the story it contains. But is the bottom line according to Barr the same as the bottom line according to Robert Mueller? We'll let you decide. [more inside]
It's December 29, 2016. The Obama administration announces that it's imposing sanctions on Russia, as punishment for election interference. Michael Flynn has been tapped to become Trump's national security advisor when the new administration takes office in January, but it's still the transition period. Flynn is taking a few days vacation at the beach, when he sees the news. He grabs his phone and texts the transition team at Mar a Lago. He writes "Tit for tat with Russia not good" and says that the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak is reaching out to him today. Flynn calls Kislyak and asks that Russia not escalate in response to the sanctions. Apparently, it works. The next day, in a surprise move, Putin says that Russia won't retaliate. Trump tweets, "Great move on delay (by V. Putin). I always knew he was very smart." [more inside]
It's the morning of April 25, 2016. At a hotel in London, a Maltese professor meets with a young foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign. The two have been in touch over the past few weeks; the professor has been helping the young man connect with Russian officials. Now, over breakfast, the professor lets him in on a secret. On a recent trip to Moscow, high-level government officials told him that the Russians have "dirt" on Trump's opponent. What was the "dirt" in question? "Emails," he says. They have "have thousands of emails."
As the Russians were engaged in operations to hack and dump emails, the Trump campaign and its associates were in communication with Wikileaks about the distribution of stolen materials. But that's far from the whole story of the Trump campaign's connections to Russia during the 2016 election. As Special Counsel Robert Mueller began to piece together the rest of that story, his investigation came to focus on two Trump Towers. The first is Trump Tower Moscow. Beginning all the way back in 2013 and through the spring of 2016, the Trump organization is pursuing a project to build a skyscraper in Russia. For a long time, the plans for Trump Tower Moscow had gone nowhere. But when Donald Trump announces he is running for president, things start to get interesting.
It's July 27, 2016. Donald Trump has just given a press conference during which he suggests that Russia hack Hillary Clinton and release the 30,000 allegedly missing emails from her private email server. The Russians, unbeknownst to people in the United States, appear to take the request seriously and hour later begin cyber-attacking Clinton's private office for the first time. Privately, Trump has instructions for his top aides: He repeatedly asks individuals affiliated with his Campaign to find the deleted Clinton emails too. His national security adviser, Michael Flynn, says Trump made this request repeatedly. And so Flynn acts on it, teaming up with a shadowy Republican political operative in an ill-fated attempt to track down a trove of Clinton emails from Russian hackers
It's March 2016. John Podesta is sitting at his computer. He opens an email. Something's wrong with his password, it says. It looks a little fishy, but IT says it is legit. And so he clicks. He follows the prompt. inputs his old password, resets a new one. And just like that hackers from a Russian military intelligence unit are in. It barely takes a minute, one click and a few keystrokes and there is no going back.This is Episode 2 of The Report: Hack. Dump. Divide
Stranger Things: "Chapter Eight: The Battle of Starcourt" Season 3, Ep 8
Terror reigns in the food court when the Mind Flayer comes to collect. But down below, in the dark, the future of the world is at stake.
Stranger Things: "Chapter Seven: The Bite" Season 3, Ep 7
With time running out - and an assassin close behind - Hopper's crew races back to Hawkins, where El and the kids are preparing for war.
Stranger Things: "Chapter Six: E Pluribus Unum" Season 3, Ep 6
Dr. Alexei reveals what the Russians have been building, and Eleven sees where Billy has been. Dustin and Erica stage a daring rescue.
Stranger Things: "Chapter Five: The Flayed" Season 3, Ep 5
Strange surprises lurk inside an old farmhouse and deep beneath the Starcourt Mall. Meanwhile, the Mind Flayer is gathering strength.
Stranger Things: "Chapter Two: The Mall Rats" Season 3, Ep 2
Nancy and Jonathan follow a lead, Steve and Robin sign on to a secret mission, and Max and Eleven go shopping. A rattled Billy has troubling visions.
The final report by Robert Mueller on Russian interference in the 2016 election, whether the Trump campaign conspired with the Russians, and whether the President obstructed justice by getting to limit the effectiveness of the investigation.
There are two topics covered at roughly equal length this week. The first is the long-awaited release of the Mueller Report, the contents of which reveal things that are entirely insane. On YouTube (15m). The other, almost as insane, is the story of Chiitan (TWITTER), an unofficial mascot for the Japanese city of Susaki. The behavior of Chiitan, a cartoon otter with a turtle on its head, was random, bizarre and violent, and so was asked to stop, by the city Susaki, associating with its official mascot, Shinjo-Kun (INSTAGRAM). But where some ways part, others join, so LWT sent one of their own mascots, Chii-john, a cute otter version of John Oliver, to Susaki to be Shinjo-Kun's new friend.
Alexievich chronicles the experiences of the Soviet women who fought on the front lines, on the home front, and in the occupied territories. These women—more than a million in total—were nurses and doctors, pilots, tank drivers, machine-gunners, and snipers. They battled alongside men, and yet, after the victory, their efforts and sacrifices were forgotten. Alexievich traveled thousands of miles and visited more than a hundred towns to record these women’s stories. Together, this symphony of voices reveals a different aspect of the war—the everyday details of life in combat left out of the official histories. [more inside]
When Andrei Kaplan's older brother Dima insists that Andrei return to Moscow to care for their ailing grandmother, Andrei must take stock of his life in New York. His girlfriend has stopped returning his text messages. His dissertation adviser is dubious about his job prospects. It's the summer of 2008, and his bank account is running dangerously low. Perhaps a few months in Moscow are just what he needs. [more inside]
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Stupid Watergate II: Fox News' Cries Of "Witch Hunt" Season 5, Ep 14
- Trump prepares for the (then) upcoming North Korea summit, of course, by not preparing.
- Philippine President and strongman Rodrigo Duterte very uncomfortably kisses a young woman before a crowd.
- And Now: Julie Chen Has A Few Questions For The Audience of "The Talk."
- Main Story: More on Stupid Watergate, this time about Fox News' efforts to normalize the idea that the Mueller investigation is a "witch hunt" by calling that through every channel available to them, in an desperate (yet somewhat effective) effort to get ordinary Americans thinking it must be one, despite the fact that they've already charged 20 people and three companies, and gotten five guilty pleas. Watch it on YouTube (18m).
- And Now: The Entire Seventeen-Minute Piece You Just Saw, Boiled Down To Eight Seconds.
- Finally, a bit about the UK. Last week's episode had a segment about the putdowns of House of Commons speaker John Bercow that could not air in the UK, because of a stupid law saying footage of the chamber could not be used in "light entertainment" or "political satire." Because they used such footage this week and thus UK viewers again cannot be shown the whole program, LWT offers five minutes of replacement content: Gilbert Gottfried reading Yelp reviews.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Guardianship for the Elderly Season 5, Ep 13
- The summit with North Korea is called off. North Korea sends Trump a message in an oversized envelope. Trump calls the summit back on. Trump admits he hadn't read the contents of the envelope. Leader of the greatest nation in the world, folks.
- Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko is declared to be dead on worldwide news, but then discovered to be alive, his faked death an element in a sting to catch a group of Russian assassins.
- In the UK, the chairman of the British Monarchists Society, one "Thomas J. Mace-Archer-Mills, Esq.," a fixture on TV during the royal wedding, is revealed to actually to have been born and lived to his teens in the US, and even got an unrelated elderly British couple to call themselves his grandparents.
- And Now: The Very British Put-Downs of Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow.
- Main story: Legal guardianship, a state under which senior citizens can be put where they have limited rights, and can find it difficult to get out of.
Homeland: Paean to the People Season 7, Ep 12
Carrie and Saul's mission doesn't go as planned. Elizabeth Keane fights for her presidency. Season finale. [more inside]
Homeland: Clarity Season 7, Ep 10
Carrie needs to choose a side. Keane needs an ally. Saul has an idea. [more inside]
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Mike Pence Season 5, Ep 5
- Trump fires Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
- Putin wins reelection as President of Russia to no one's surprise, ensuring horrible threats, poisoned opponents and meddling in foreign elections for foreseeable future.
- And Now: Local News Cannot Be Trusted With St. Patrick's Day
- Main Story: Mike Pence, the hyper-fundamentalist, hyper-intolerant Vice President in the Trump Administration, and the one person in it Trump cannot fire. His opposition to gay rights is well known, but, as Oliver admits, he has a cute rabbit named "Marlon Bundo." Pence has a book out, A Day in the Life of the Vice President, about his rabbit. LWT is putting out another book, about a different rabbit named Marlon Bundo, A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo, where a boy rabbit falls in love with another boy rabbit. (See inside for more.)
Homeland: Active Measures Season 7, Ep 5
Keane plays tactics to calm the situation in Richmond; Carrie assembles a team to put pressure on Simone; Saul pursues the Fake News agenda alone. [more inside]
The X-Files: This Season 11, Ep 2
Per IMDB, "A chilling secret is revealed when an old friend reaches out to Mulder and Scully in a seemingly impossible way." Per me, "FBI special agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully fall asleep on a couch in front of the TV, only to be awoken by a mysterious phone call." [more inside]
A mysterious thief has been using the internet to steal a bizarre array of items - watches, scooter parts, clown costumes. This week, Alex heads straight towards his hideout.
Fargo: The Lord of No Mercy Season 3, Ep 6
Gloria and Winnie get closer to the truth; Emmit tries to make things right; Nikki and Ray prepare for payback; Varga cleans up a mess. [more inside]
Battle for Sevastopol is a Russian/Ukranian co-production based on the WWII experiences of Lyudmila Pavilchenko, a young Ukranian student who becomes one of the war's deadliest snipers. With 309 confirmed kills in just over a year, Pavilchenko is brought to the White House to meet President Franklin D Roosevelt, the first Soviet ever to receive such an invitation. Pavilchenko meets and is befriended by Eleanor Roosevelt, who invites her on a promotional tour of the United States to rally support for the Soviet "Second Front" war effort despite her PTSD. [more inside]
Un village français: Le débarquement Season 1, Ep 1
How one small village in France deals with fascist takeover in WWII. Tanks begin rolling into town. [more inside]
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The Dalai Lama Season 4, Ep 4
Over the last seven day period....
- The good will President Trump earned addressing Congress in a manner unlike a madman is burnt away by continuing revelations that his pick for Attorney General perjured himself in his confirmation hearing by claiming never to have met with the Russians.
- Trump also claims Obama tapped his phone, an allegation apparently gotten from the Breitbart website, then asks Congress to investigate whether it is true, reversing the usual order of investigations.
- And Now: Does Anyone Know If CNN's Brooke Baldwin Would Consider Herself A Nerd?
- Main Story: The Dalai Lama (YouTube 19m), and China's attempts to surpress his influence over Tibet. The bit concludes with an interview between Oliver and the Dalai Lama himself.
Occupied: Okkupert - Season 1 Season 1, Ep 0
A decision to shut off Norway's oil/gas production by the ruling environmental party sets off a slow-motion invasion and occupation of Norway by Russia, condoned by the EU and unopposed by the U.S. A show so . . . plausible the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement in protest. [more inside]
Arrow: So It Begins Season 5, Ep 6
Felicity and Curtis learn that Prometheus' victims have a mysterious link to Oliver's past that could upend his new team. [more inside]
- The UK votes to leave the European Union, and in the wake David Cameron resigns as Prime Minister of the UK. YouTube (5m)
- And Now: The Things News Anchors Are Scared Of
- Main Story: Doping in the Olympics, and its creeping ubiquity. LWT provides an inspirational athlete bio that may be more realistic than the usual uplifting sports story. YouTube (21m)
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