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Trial Of The Chicago 7 is cornball Sorkin

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Note: The writer of this review watched The Trial Of The Chicago 7 from home on a digital screener. Before making the decision to see it—or any other film—in a movie theater, please consider the health risks involved. Here’s an interview on the matter with scientific experts.


For all his interest in mashing the hot buttons of contemporary political discourse, Aaron Sorkin has never exactly had his finger on the pulse of the here and now. He’s always been more of a hindsight sermonizer, prone to after-the-fact soapboxing—a habit that can, at best, result in insightful postmortems of cultural sea change (like his Oscar-winning script for The Social Network) and at worst manifest as self-righteous Monday morning quarterbacking (like all three seasons of his HBO series The Newsroom). History does, however, tend to repeat itself, and Sorkin has lucked, for that reason, into a drama of at least superficial topicality: Though set on the chaotic precipice of the late 1960s, The Trial Of The Chicago 7 offers a disturbingly familiar vision of an America where police come down hard on peaceful demonstrators, where the federal government conducts witch hunts for the “radical left,” and where Black citizens are murdered with impunity. Of course, all of that’s been true and “timely” for the half-century that separates the film’s real-life events from those of current headlines. And with Sorkin at the helm, it takes the evergreen shape of crowd-pleasing political theatre, the kind on which the West Wing creator has built a career.

Sorkin has a knack for courtroom theatrics, going back to his first screenwriting gig, A Few Good Men. Here he’s dramatized a true story of legal railroading: the proceedings that followed 1968’s Democratic National Convention, when thousands of protesters flooded Chicago and were greeted with the very kind of blunt-force police brutality that’s currently filling up social media feeds and cable-news programs. Months after the teargas cleared, the justice department of the newly elected President Nixon pressed charges of conspiracy and inciting riots against several prominent anti-war activists.

These defendants, the eponymous seven, were a motley ensemble of firebrands, all arrested during the demonstrations and played in Sorkin’s film by movie stars, Oscar winners, and dead-ringer character actors. There was Abbie Hoffman (Sacha Baron Cohen) and Jerry Rubin (Jeremy Strong), the sardonic countercultural icons at the head of the Youth International Party, a.k.a. the “Yippies.” There was Tom Hayden (Eddie Redmayne), who the film presents as the less theatrical yin to Hoffman’s yang, and Rennie Davis (Alex Sharp), both of Students For A Democratic Society. And rounding out the Seven were the buttoned-up and staunchly nonviolent David Dellinger (John Carroll Lynch), John Froines (Danny Flaherty), and Lee Weiner (Noah Robbins), of The National Mobilization Committee To End The War In Vietnam. These accused were tried alongside Black Panther cofounder Bobby Seale (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), who was in Chicago during the convention for all of a few hours, and denied the right to represent himself in court in the absence of his lawyer.

The Trial Of The Chicago 7

The Trial Of The Chicago 7
Photo: Netflix

The trial was, to be put it mildly, farcical—a sham presided over by a judge, Julius Hoffman (played here by Frank Langella), who made up his mind about the guilt of the defendants long before they set foot in his courtroom. The Trial Of The Chicago 7, which Sorkin directed as well as wrote (it’s his second feature, following the overlong Molly’s Game), cuts between this kangaroo court and the chaos surrounding the convention. It’s a flashback structure reminiscent of the one the filmmaker adopted in The Social Network but also of an earlier film on this subject, Brett Morgen’s exhilarating agitprop documentary Chicago 10, which tackled the same events with a mixture of archival footage set to modern rock and animated reenactments adapted from the court transcripts. Sorkin even opens his film with the exact same footage of Lyndon B. Johnson announcing another wave of deployments to Vietnam. He also filches Morgen’s rat-a-tat cutaways to Hoffman performing for college kids on the weekend, tossing insults and quips like the Lenny Bruce of progressive politics.

The Trial Of The Chicago 7 wants to bottle the revolutionary spirit of its setting—the take-to-the-streets idealism of the ’60s—but its snappy montage-glimpses of demonstrations verge on costume-party kitsch. The movie is at its best and most persuasive in the courtroom, when Sorkin can draw on the clashes of ideology and personality. A few of the more highly publicized testimonies have been curiously excised. (Where, for one example, is Allen Ginsberg’s humming cameo on the stand?) But Sorkin preserves from the public record the comic highlights and most outrageous lapses in judicial objectivity: the judge bungling names and issuing vindictive contempt charges at the drop of a hat; Hoffman and Rubin playing the room like a comedy club, at one point donning robes; and the gut-wrenchingly racist spectacle of Seale bound and gagged for his demand that he be allowed to speak on his own behalf. The trial remains one of the most notorious in American history, and Sorkin remains faithful to its infuriating miscarriages of justice—to the way it seemed to illustrate, on a giant public stage, the rigged game our legal system can become.

But this is no procedural. It’s a Hollywoodized recounting, like a courtroom sketch rendered by a carnival caricature artist. Sorkin can’t resist manufacturing little arcs and dramatic payoffs, even when they contradict what we know about these men. That means we get the gentle Dellenger, who swore off all violence in college, slugging a bailiff when the injustice of the trial finally goes too far for him—an outburst that’s answered with a shameless shot of his adolescent son watching, wide-eyed and quiver-lipped, from the gallery. Rubin, in this version of events, is something close to comic relief, his shtick conforming to flower-power cliché and his feelings “hilariously” wounded by the discovery that his Chicago meet-cute was with an undercover agent. (Leave it to Sorkin to invent whole-clothe a backstabbing seductress.) And the film insists on giving one of the prosecutors a nagging conscience: While the real Richard Schultz has been described as a “pit bull” for his attack-dog reputation, Joseph Gordon-Levitt portrays him as a conflicted, principled patriot, reluctant to even take the case; it betrays Sorkin’s politics as much more centrist than his subjects’.

The Trial Of The Chicago 7

The Trial Of The Chicago 7
Photo: Netflix

At least the performances are top notch, expertly handling Sorkin’s trademark quip and sanctimony. They help rescue The Trial Of The Chicago 7 from its sketch-comedy leanings and biopic simplifications. If you’re going to idealize radical, divisive defense attorney William Kunstler as a paragon of legal integrity, who better to stick in the role than soft-spoken nobility incarnate Mark Rylance? The real stroke of casting genius, though, is Baron Cohen as Hoffman, activism’s prankster rock star. The accent isn’t perfect, but the comedy chameleon pinpoints Hoffman’s rebel spirit, that alchemy of irreverence and moral conviction that defined his appeal. The turn—less impression than conjuring act—pumps some soul into the movie’s most fruitful dramatic embellishment: its depiction of Hoffman and Hayden as adversarial allies, skirmishing for the direction of the movement. It’s the one bit of poetic license that feels truly relevant to the challenges facing the American left, then and now.

For a time, Steven Spielberg was attached to direct The Trial Of The Chicago 7, and his absence is felt in the televisual staging: For all the sentimental uplift of this film’s closing minutes, Sorkin lacks the master’s skill—flaunted in Lincoln and The Post—at enlivening gabby civics lessons. The film could have used some of Spielberg’s craft and twinkly open-hearted conviction… or, perhaps conversely, more of Hoffman’s radical, down-with-The-Man sensibility. Ultimately, Sorkin seems less interested in the actual politics of any of his seven than in the way their flipped bird to the establishment facilitates his own taste for zingers, clever comebacks, and grandstanding. Parallels to the present aside, Trial Of The Chicago 7 is ultimately more timeless than timely in its flaws and conventions. Which is to say that some things sadly never go out of fashion, like perversions of justice and eleventh hour surprise witnesses in legal dramas.

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The Advantages of Online Casino Welcome Bonuses

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When it comes to online gambling, the industry is thriving in 2020. Although casinos are banned in many countries, people still find ways to enjoy their favorite games of chance. However, considering the level of competition on the market, it may be difficult for a beginner to find a good online platform and take advantage of all offers. In this article, you will learn the benefits of casinos’ welcome bonuses.

What Is a Sign-Up Bonus?

As we have already established, the industry is growing rapidly and companies are desperately looking for new ways to attract customers. A welcome bonus is often used by online casinos to get new leads and players in the future. However, the best casino bonuses can be easily used to the player’s advantage. Here are the main reasons you should not neglect this offer.

  1. It saves your money

Quite obvious, right? Well, this is the main reason why you should always use welcome bonuses in online gambling: it is always better to not risk your own money. It is especially true for beginners. Since they have no experience, it is fairly common for beginners to lose their initial investment and be done with gambling for good. However, if you use your welcome bonus as a way of getting the basics skills, the chances of success will rise significantly.

  1. It allows you to try several games

Another common issue beginners face is a lack of understanding of which types of games they want to try: slots, roulette, baccarat, blackjack, etc. If you use your sign-up bonus, you will be able to play several games and choose the ones you like better. Moreover, you can take advantage of a welcome bonus on several online gambling platforms. That way you will try out even more options.

  1. It will make future gambling more profitable

Besides beneficial sign-up bonuses, good online casinos usually have great loyalty programs. For instance, the company may double up to five first deposits on the platform. If you invest 100 USD, you will get 200 USD to your account. More money — more games — more chances of winning.

Although a welcome bonus is a great way of upping your gambling game, there are a few things you should pay attention to. Firstly, a good bonus does not equal a good platform. Before choosing a casino, make sure that the company is legal and trustworthy. Since there are many scams right now, it is essential if you want to save your money. Moreover, check the available deposit/withdrawal methods and their terms.

We hope that this article has shown the true power of online casinos’ welcome bonuses and how you can use them to your own advantage. Follow our tips while choosing a platform and enjoy the best gambling experience.

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3 Key Mistakes to Avoid When Playing Blackjack

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Blackjack is the most popular casino game in the world. The card game, sometimes referred to as ‘21’, accounts for an average of 31 percent of all casino table traffic – this is consistent both online and in physical casinos. For reference, the second most popular is roulette (24%) followed by poker (21%).

It’s easy to understand blackjack’s popularity. It’s a simple game to grasp and offers players a mix of luck and skill: luck in the cards that are drawn, skill over how those cards are dealt and a player’s eventual hand. Compare that to roulette, which is based entirely on luck, and poker, which has a huge skill element to it.

However, while the beauty of blackjack is in its simplicity, there are also a number of complexities to the game, and as is the case with almost anything in life, you learn more from mistakes than successes.

With that in mind, here are three key mistakes to avoid when playing blackjack that can significantly increase your chances of winning, while limiting your losses.

Choosing the Wrong Table

Before a single card is drawn, being at the wrong table – whether live or online – is the first mistake to avoid.

First of all, each blackjack table will have different minimum bet requirements so avoid choosing one that is out of your budget. For instance, if you choose a table with a $100 minimum bet and your budget is $200, you might only play two hands.

Secondly, check the payout odds on the blackjack table. These are typically 6:5 and 3:2 and will affect how much gets paid out when you hit blackjack and land other bonus wins. Where possible, choose a 3:2 table as it pays out higher.

Thirdly, choose between a virtual and a live table. This is not so much a mistake to avoid but more comes down to personal preference. Virtual tables allow players to play against an automated computer, so you can play at your own pace, while live tables are usually quicker paced as human dealers are keen to move the game along.

When to Hit and Stand

As a general rule, most blackjack players know to hit when the hand is 12 and to stand when the hand equals 17. However, there are plenty of variables to consider that could influence when to hit and stand. Getting these right can really boost your chances of beating the house, while getting it wrong could prove costly.

One key move to implement is to always hit on a soft 17 – when the two cards are an ace and a six. This means that if you draw a 10 or picture card (jack, queen, king), then you convert your hand into a hard 17. It also gives greater flexibility if you draw a smaller value card as the ace can be used as a one.

While many players adopt a strict ‘never bust’ policy, meaning they always stand when their hand equals 12 or more, this can be ill-advised as it depends almost entirely on the dealer going bust.

Instead, analyze the value of your two cards compared to the dealer’s first card and weigh up the risk factor in drawing another card before the dealer draws their second. As a strict rule, if your first two cards equal 17 or more, then stand – anything else can be hit depending on the situation.

When to Split and Double

If you are playing in a blackjack tournament, either online or live, learning when to split and double can make all the difference to your chances of success. The same also applies to individual games of blackjack.

Click here to check the best tips on blackjack tournament strategies: https://extra.betamerica.com/casino-news/blackjack-tournaments-rules-strategy-and-where-to-find-them/

Splitting is when you split two cards when dealt the same value cards, so a pair of eights for example. Doubling is when you are given the option to double your bet after being dealt your initial two cards.

While it can be tempting to split and double at every opportunity to increase your winning, doing at the right time is the key.

It is not recommended to split when:

  • You are dealt two picture cards or two 10s
  • You are dealt two 9s
  • You are dealt two 5s
  • The dealer holds a 10 or picture card

It is best to split when:

  • You are dealt two 8s
  • You are dealt two aces
  • The dealer holds a 5 or 6 (as this is the highest probability of a bust)

Similar to knowing when to hit and stand, take a brief moment to assess the dealer’s drawn card compared to your own two cards and determine whether the probabilities are in your favour.

Likewise, knowing when to double down – when not to double down – can change the complexities of your blackjack game. A simple rule to know when to double is if your two cards equal 10 and the dealer’s card is between 2-9. Additionally, if you hold an ace, you can consider a double as these have the flexibility of playing as 11 or 1. But if the dealer’s card is an ace, ignore the double.

Conclusion

Blackjack may be a simple game but there are some important strategies to keep in mind next time you head to the virtual or live table. The game itself is still rooted in luck so there are never any guarantees to long-term success. However, by keeping these three important rules in mind, you can at least avoid making avoidable mistakes.

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Top 5 Entertainment Activities for College Students

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The life of college students is sometimes too complicated. They have to face tons of homework assignments that steal their time. Many students get stressed because of continuous learning. They seem to forget how to relax. If you’re a busy student, you should remember that you’re still young and shouldn’t waste this precious life stage. You can undertake some entertainment activities sometimes. Take your friends and organize funny games to unwind and let off some pressure. We asked writing experts from a professional essay service Smart Writing Service to share their ideas and provide you with top-5 entertainment activities for college students you may like. 

Who Are You?

Students, especially freshmen, don’t know each other perfectly. They may be taken by surprise when some of them tell something quite unexpected about their hobbies, preferences, and so on. If you want to know other students better, suggest playing a game called “Who Are You”.

Form at least three teams. If there are many folks, you can form more teams. Choose a speaker of the game. It may be even one of your teachers or professors. All groups will be given topics to discuss. The speaker is supposed to announce a new topic every few minutes. You may discuss and answer the following topics:

  • What is the greatest challenge you are facing?
  • What do you like or hate most about yourself?
  • What is your greatest value in life?
  • What emotions do you express easily?
  • What is the most valuable thing in friendship?
  • Who you want to become in five years?
  • What is your major objective for next year?
  • Is there something you want to improve about yourself?
  • What motto do you try to live by?
  • Where would you like to travel?
  • If you were to study abroad, what country would that be?

Students should write their answers on index cards. The speaker should gather the answers of every student and shuffle them. Afterward, he/she redistributes them randomly to students. Each person should guess whose card he/she is holding. Play this game after you spend some time together and already know at least something about one another.

Sentence Completion

Another fun activity is “Sentence Completion.” Most people like it because it’s commonly accompanied by laughter and good mood. It’s necessary to prepare a list of sentences. Those sentences should have a beginning, but with no end. Every student should finish the sentence he/she gets. Oftentimes, students give funny answers. At times, they are quite serious, and we can learn something important about other students. Here are several sentence beginnings you may choose:

  • Before I came to college, I was interested in…
  • When I was a child, I wanted to become…
  • The best moment I remember most about high school is…
  • My favorite pet is…
  • The things I value most are…
  • Five years from now I hope to be…
  • My greatest personality trait is…
  • My favorite subject at high school was…
  • If I could change one thing in the world, it would be…
  • My greatest fear is…
  • After I graduate from college, I…

The Reception Line

You may likewise try another entertaining activity for college students. It is called “The Reception Line.” Gather all the mates eager to participate. Divide yourselves into two groups. If you form more, it won’t fit the rules of the game. Each person talks to the person in front of him/her until he/she must move. The person at the end of one line goes to the end of the other line. This method makes it possible to meet new people. Thus, students will learn more about each other. You can make shifts every next topic or set a limit. For example, the pair should discuss 5 topics and afterward move to change partners. Here are some interesting topics to discuss:

  • Where would you like to travel?
  • What motto do you try to follow?
  • What is your favorite movie?
  • What music do you like?
  • What is your favorite hobby?
  • Why did you choose this college?
  • What do you like about college life the most?

Take Sides

You can likewise suggest a game, which offers only two options. It’s called “Take Sides.” Create a list of questions with two answers. Students should obligatorily choose one of them. Afterward, you may discuss the answers. Let everyone explain his/her choices. Thus, you’ll learn more about each other, and it will bring you closer. Here are several suggestions:

  • Watermelon or banana?
  • Sweat or bitter?
  • Short trips every weekend or a journey around the world for three months?
  • Partying or hiking?
  • Listen or speak?
  • Rock or pop?
  • Morning or night?
  • Superman or Batman?
  • Robocop or Terminator?
  • Harry Potter or the Lord of the Rings?
  • Los Angeles or New York?
  • Liberal or conservative?
  • American football or ice hockey?

My Most Embarrassing Moment

You can likewise tell each other about the most embarrassing moments. It’s important to be honest and don’t imagine a story that never took place. All the participants should agree on this term. Commonly, it is a very entertaining activity. Students tell funny stories they’ve been through. It commonly makes them closer.

These activities for college students are very simple to follow. They are really entertaining. Mind that we have mentioned only 5 of them. However, you can try a hundred activities more. Use our examples to have fun and relax. They may inspire you and your friends to look for other entertaining activities.

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