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Our man in the states reviews the Osama Bin Laden videos...

The infamous video clips, released to Al Jazeera TV from 4/15/02

Directed by: Osama Bin Laden

Written by: Bin Laden and Mullah Omar

Reviewed by - Ezra "Señor Donkey" Fuentes

First, I'm not happy with the direction here. They only use one camera, and it never pans, zooms, or does anything. This is just that same old Osama style minimalism. The simple camera work and long takes might be an attempt to emulate the work of Mike Leigh, or even more likely, Iranian film, but the result is disappointing. Such inflammatory material deserves more of a Sam Raimi, nutsy- -kookoo treatment. The scenery is boring. Osama always chooses dull filming locations. Why not try something different for once, or add some festive balloons? In any case, the screen space is pretty much wasted, with little scenery, imagery or anything to look at besides Osama and his toadies. I'm sure this is deliberate-an attempt to bring focus to the speaker, but it's a misguided strategy. Compare this film to the grand Triumph of the Will or the cheaply manipulative-er, inspiring "The Man From Hope," both of which are way more persuasive and powerful than Dude Where's Osama. Propaganda films just aren't the place for an ascetic aesthetic.

There was only a still-shot of Mullah Omar, but he did send an e-mail to some crazy newspaper on the same day Al-Jazeera premiered, There's Something About Osama.  (The next clip in the series, Osama's Spring Break will be aired on Thursday, which I find disturbing.) Anyway, how can Mullah Omar be surfing the net? Here we are, dropping all our precious, precious bombs; meanwhile, this dude's shopping on eBay! If he has an e-mail address, can't we drop napalm on wherever that is? If only he had downloaded "Enter Sandman" off Napster, the Metallica legal team would have rounded him up long ago.

Osama had no lines in "part one" of this episode. Some weirdo, sitting next to him, goes off about the usual stuff about how they'll take us all down. It's a pretty good performance from an unknown. I think we'll be hearing more from this guy. Nonetheless, this dialog has grown as stale as the slice of pizza under the dryer--very unrewarding. It's time for Osama to explore some new material.

Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, who doesn't usually review movies, says it's possible Osama directed this a long time ago, before he got blown to bits in the CIA missile-strike, from the video, "Operation: Merry Christmas" (CNN).

I thought the guy they hit with an anti-tank missile looked like Osama, but maybe it was some other guy. Incidentally, why do the guys at the Pentagon call Osama "UBL" now? Why isn't it "OBL?" What's the deal with that?

The video of the 9/11 hijacker, also released today, had a much better crew and budget. The camera seems to have had an operator, and it's digitally re-mastered, to show the WTC in the background. "UBL" should take note of the effort to fill out the background. Again, this guy goes off about how the Mujahadeen is going to ruin America. I mean, like, Hello? - Even if you guys do blow off a nuke, you know we'll still get you in the end. Give it up already! I'm tired of the melodrama.

The general problem with these films is that they just keep teasing us with the mystery element; Where's Osama? Is he dead, or what? Sure, it was tantalizing at first, but once again, it's growing stale. At least they finally claimed responsibility, which is refreshing. Imagine if we'd been wrong all along, and the French actually did it? That would be embarrassing! Plus, then, we'd have to move some of our stuff to France. What the fuck do we do, man?! - My answer: Clone MaCarthur. He'll set everything straight! Nothing says, "Shut the fuck up" like a few, old-fashioned, hydrogen bombs.

Ratings

*        Film, Overall - 3
*        Story - 6
*        Acting - 6
*        Direction - 1
*        Rewatchability - 4
*        DVD Extras - That same old footage of Osama riding a camel to freaky music

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