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Our readers' letters regarding the September 11 terrorist attacks
Columns September 28, 2001
"...The terrorists of Central America owe a debt to Ronald Reagan, who currently lives in California. I suggest the FBI go in with guns blazing as if they were attacking some environmental group...."
Thomas Harris' first serial-killer film adaptation.
Film Review July 26, 2001, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...Mann wrote the screenplay as well as directing, and it was stylishly shot by gifted cinematographer Dante Spinotti. The story places Peterson as an ex-FBI agent, who is called back into service to track down a particularly elusive serial killer..."
Film Review June 13, 2001, by Kimberley Jones
"...John Travolta is laughable as oh-so-slick Gabriel Shear, a criminal mastermind who enlists the aid of Stanley, a washed-up hacker (played by X-Men's goofily rogueish Jackman, who apparently is looking to singlehandedly uproot the public's assumption that all hackers are sickly, cream-puff-complected geek boys). A couple of years back, poor Stanley got busted for hacking his way into the FBI's super-secret files, did some time at Leavenworth, and lost his wife to divorce and his child to a nasty custody battle..."
Testimony ends in the first full week of Robert Springsteen's trial in the yogurt shop murders case, and jurors are left with the question: What evidence do prosecutors have?
News Story May 18, 2001, by Jordan Smith
"...of Public Safety crime lab, yielded no physical evidence -- not one fiber, not one speck of DNA -- linking any of the suspects to the murders. Six fingerprints were recovered from the lid of a cash register drawer found near Ayers' body, and were sent to the FBI in Washington, D.C., for analysis, along with prints from the four girls, the four boys, and all the yogurt shop employees..."
Film Review April 6, 2001, by Marc Savlov
In the Seventies, George Jung (Depp) brought cocaine back from the dead, making it the de rigueur party favor for the upscale party crowd. Blow -- adapted from Bruce Porter's...
"...On the way, he hooks up with his first love Barbara (Franka Potente), an airline stewardess who is soon working as his drug mule; Reuben's flamboyantly gay hair-salon owner-cum-dealer-to-the-stars, Derek Foreal; and eventual partner in crime Diego Delgado (Molla), the man who finally introduces Jung to the infamous Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar (a tightly wound Curtis), eventually initiating America's lasting love affair with the sniffles. Like anyone with bales of unlaundered cash lying about, Jung comes to attention of the FBI and lands in jail, but not before he falls for and marries Colombian passion bomb Mirtha (Cruz)..."
Kathy McCarty wants to know "Why?" Why is wanting to know more
about the Kennedy Assassination such social suicide?
Features Story November 10, 2000, by Kathy McCarty
"...Like Abraham Zapruder, she also was filming the presidential motorcade with a home movie camera -- but because of her position, it is likely that her film showed both the Texas School Book Depository and the Grassy Knoll. It probably won't surprise anyone that her film was confiscated by "government agents" (one of whom she later identified as FBI agent Regis Kennedy) and that her film has never been seen or heard of again...."
The Deal of a Lifetime
TDHCA Board member Florita Bell Griffin is standing trial in a Houston federal courtroom on allegations that she, along with two co-defendants, conspired to profit from deals she helped approve.
News Story November 3, 2000, by Kevin Fullerton
"...The showdown in Houston is the culmination of a two-year-long investigation of Griffin, which began in 1998 when FBI agents raided her home in Bryan. Since then, the state housing agency itself has become the focus of both media and legislative scrutiny, with questions raised about the extent to which secret handshakes, rather than an equitable selection process, determine who reaps the millions in tax credits the agency dispenses annually..."
Light Rail, Green Politics, and much ado about the city's
Columns October 13, 2000
"...If Gore's people had a spy in the Bush camp, they certainly wouldn't call the FBI to investigate their own spy's secret package...."
Yoga and Starbucks. Karaoke and republicans. Squirrel rifles and Al Gore. Together for the first time in this week's letters to the editor!
Columns September 8, 2000
"...Crime reporting seems reduced to a contest to see how many times the phrases "high-powered rifle," "assault rifle," or "semiautomatic weapon" can be used in a single paragraph. Fact: FBI statistics show that rifles are used in less than 1% of all violent crimes..."
Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones fields allegations that he's been stifling free expression on Austin Cable Access television.
News Column July 14, 2000, by Lee Nichols
"...Counts is notorious, for lack of a better word, for making prank calls to ACAC call-in shows, especially Jones' show. Counts, who still maintains an Internet account on the server of the now-defunct bookstore Fringeware, said he suspects that Jones then called in the FBI and made bogus claims that Counts was a terrorist and possessed child pornography and got the bureau to raid Fringeware to get Counts' address..."
The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle
Film Review June 30, 2000, by Marc Savlov
Rocket J. Squirrel (voiced by June Foray) and Bullwinkle J. Moose (voiced by Keith Scott) return after a 35-year absence in this wildly uneven but occasionally hilarious updating that takes...
"...That chilly conflict is long-since past, of course, and so scriptwriter Ken Lonergan (who, perhaps not coincidentally, scripted De Niro's other recent film comedy Analyze This) has crafted a tale in which Fearless Leader schemes to win the White House by “zombifying” the American television public with really bad television. Not so far-fetched, is it? Naturally, Rocky the flying squirrel, with his blue aviator's cap and goggles, and dull-witted Bullwinkle come to the rescue, with an assist from FBI agent Karen Sympathy (Perabo)..."
What's the Buzz?
Guide to Summer Films
Screens Story May 26, 2000, by Bryan Poyser
"...If one saucy granny is not enough for you, Martin Lawrence will also be donning a fat suit for his turn as a Southern grandmother in the forthcoming Big Momma's House (June 2). Lawrence plays an FBI agent who goes undercover as Big Momma to protect a woman and her son from a dangerous criminal on his way to find them..."
Two Roads to Justice
Republican Shane Phelps takes another stab at Democrat Ronnie Earle's job for district attorney.
News Story February 18, 2000, by Robert Bryce
"...Moreover, Phelps is running at a time when Austin's crime rate is falling. According to the latest FBI crime statistics, Austin had the second-lowest murder rate of any major U.S..."
Film Review February 4, 2000, by Russell Smith
This locally shot black comedy examines the bizarre feedback loop that exists among celebrity psychopaths, the increasingly tabloidized mainstream news media, and, not least, our own bad selves.
"...Burrow and Allen Odom are working at cross purposes with director of photography Rhet Bear, whose fiendishly inventive conjury of classic creepo flicks by Friedkin, Craven, and Richard Donner (The Omen) is the single most impressive thing about this film. Burrow and Odom's story proceeds along two parallel tracks: A mock documentary about a serial killer named Willie (Bowen) who terrorizes a small Texas town, and the dramatized tale of Willie's pursuit by FBI agent Louis Dehoven (Carradine) and ill-humored local lawman Harry Richards (Unger)..."
Playing It Safe
According to the latest FBI crime statistics, El Paso and Austin rank No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, among the cities with the lowest murder rates in the nation.
News Story January 21, 2000, by Robert Bryce
"...And yet the two cities, El Paso and Austin, are leading the nation when it comes to safe streets. According to the latest FBI crime statistics (from the first six months of 1999), El Paso has the lowest murder rate of any major U.S..."
Top Local Stories of 1999
News Story January 7, 2000, by Robert Bryce
"...Waco makes a comeback. The flames that consumed the Branch Davidian compound in Waco went out long ago, but the heat created by the incident continues to haunt the FBI, the ATF, and the Justice Department..."
Housing, ACC, and Spooner.
Columns October 29, 1999
"...22). As the article mentions, the FBI is investigating the issue...."
House of Cards
Critics say the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs awards low-income housing tax-credits to undeserving developers.
News Story October 22, 1999, by Kevin Fullerton
"...This year, the state's biggest affordable housing program was supposed to operate strictly by the book, or so legislators were told. The days of shoveling public subsidies into questionable developments were over, out the door with the housing agency's former director, Larry Paul Manley, who resigned last year with FBI and Department of Public Safety agents on his trail..."
Film Review July 16, 1999, by Steve Davis
"...Arlington Road aims to unsettle a complacent America -- what if you lived on the same street as someone who blows up buildings? -- but its character insight unwittingly distances its horror. Its protagonist is no ordinary Joe, but rather a man obsessed with American terrorism, a widower still grieving his wife, an FBI agent who was killed in a botched firearms raid..."
The General's Daughter
Film Review June 26, 1999, by Russell Smith
About this time every year, Hollywood invites us to watch as the military's dress-white cloak of honor and rectitude is ripped asunder, exposing -- gasp! -- unspeakable secrets lurking beneath...
"...Every convention is honored, starting with the protagonist, a working-stiff military cop named Warrant Officer Paul Brenner (the increasingly oviform Travolta), whose murder investigation sends him down a darkening path of deceit and duplicity leading, as ever, all the way to the top. Since our decedent is both an officer and the daughter of a beloved general (Cromwell) with political hopes, Brenner is pressured to wrap things up quickly in order to keep the FBI and the jackals of the civilian news media at bay..."
Press Bush on Wiccans
Columns June 17, 1999
"...Dear Editor, The FBI recently released its list of the most wanted fugitives in the world. Sadly, it left out the most dangerous man alive..."
Film Review June 4, 1999, by Marc Savlov
Just because a film is “quirky,” that doesn't necessarily make it interesting. Morgan J. Freeman's follow-up to his much ballyhooed Hurricane Streets is 90-plus minutes of oddball characters wandering restlessly...
"...Alas, it's dad's idea to make the pilgrimage and Skye, a budding television actress, hates it all until she strikes up a relationship with the shy, reticent Blue. Blue and Skye, despite their too-obvious names, fall head over heels in love over the course of the next few days, as the town is quarantined by the FBI after a tractor-trailer containing the secret ingredients for a new cola brand overturns and results in the death of the rig's driver..."
Preying on Atheists
The Oldest Motive: Revenge
News Story June 3, 1999, by Robert Bryce
"...If not, we are going to go on with our investigation," Olfers said. And that's exactly what happened: the FBI, IRS, and ATF pushed their investigation, which has already resulted in Waters' conviction on the weapons charge..."
Interfaith's Socialist Agenda
Columns April 22, 1999
"...Dear Austin voters, federal judges, FBI, college students,..."
Out of Sight
Film Review June 26, 1998, by Marc Savlov
"...Plans go awry (don't they always?) when hair-trigger Snoopy Miller (Cheadle) and stoner car thief Glenn Michaels (Zahn, doing his best Jim Breuer impression) cut themselves in on the action. A host of terrific bit players round out Soderbergh's film: Catherine Keener turns up as Foley's ex-squeeze Adele, Isaiah Washington appears as Snoopy's psychotic brother Kenneth, an uncredited Michael Keaton reprises his Jackie Brown role as FBI agent Ray Nicolette, and an uncredited Samuel L..."
Film Review June 19, 1998, by Marc Savlov
"...An enigma wrapped in a conundrum sealed in a plain brown vapor-lock baggie that -- wonder of wonders! -- actually makes a fair amount of sense. In the five years since creator Chris Carter brought his conspiracy-laden, UFOlogist's dream-come-true television show to the upstart Fox network, the ongoing saga of FBI agents Fox Mulder (Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Anderson) -- he of the credulous wisecracks and she of the pragmatic, slightly chilly disdain -- has amassed a cult popularity to rival that of The Fugitive (or, perhaps more accurately, The Prisoner)..."
I Got the Hook-Up
Film Review June 5, 1998, by Marc Savlov
New Orleans' answer to Suge Knight -- minus the felony conviction, of course -- is rapper Master P, whose No Limits production company has entered the feature film arena via...
"...sell the phones to their friends and gangsta pals and set up their own little renegade Baby Bell. With some able assistance from a hacker cohort, they clone existing numbers onto the new merchandise and have a field day until their scam backfires when the overloaded frequency first begins double-dialing numbers and then draws the attention of the cell phone company's fraud department and the FBI..."
I know I'll go to heaven when I die because I've already been to Mr. Magoo. From the director of Jackie Chan's Supercop and Rumble in the Bronx comes this...
Film Review December 26, 1997, by Marc Savlov
"...Nielsen once again mugs it up -- badly -- as Quincy Magoo, the perpetually befuddled socialite-cum-myopic bumbler. The plot has Magoo being pursued by jewel thief Luann (Lynch) and FBI agent Gus (Hudson) after the millionaire (accompanied by his chunky bulldog Angus) accidentally walks off with a priceless gem from a botched museum heist..."
Film Review October 17, 1997, by Marjorie Baumgarten
In the preposterously scripted yet defiantly engaging Playing God, actor David Duchovny gives us the story of Dr. Eugene Sands, a man suffering from a desperately bad case of “physician,...
"...Yet, what's in between is shot in a fairly routine and unimaginative manner that additionally squanders many rich opportunities while never missing an opportunity to focus provocatively on Angelina Jolie's full, lush lips. The script by Mark Haskell Smith offers little help -- it piles on such stock characters as clueless FBI dorks and single-minded Russian mobsters to an already tenuous storyline..."
Columns July 25, 1997, by Kate X Messer
"...The bomber was never found. A cover-up by the FBI has been alleged, and on August 1 the case of Bari v..."
Film Review July 19, 1996, by Joey O'Bryan
"...Of course, the town is also experiencing a rash of curious deaths, which very well might be the work of the Grim Reaper himself. But what connection, if any, does Bannister have to these deaths? And what part does that mysterious, introverted middle-aged woman (Dee Wallace Stone), who is imprisoned at home by her maniacal, controlling, shotgun-toting mother, play in the mystery? And, oh yeah, did I forget to mention the obviously disturbed, possibly psychotic FBI agent (Jeffery Combs) hot on Bannister's trail? Or how about the demented serial killer (Jake Busey) who- ah, forget it..."
Film Review July 19, 1996, by Marc Savlov
Where's Charlie Sheen? Hey, forgive me, but if it looks like a Charlie Sheen movie, sounds like a Charlie Sheen movie, and just plain feels like a Charlie Sheen movie,...
"...is inevitable. Sheen, however, cannot be blamed.) With a lethally overzealous FBI agent (Burke) on their tail as well as the Atlanta detective Matthew Gibson (Patton) who originally put Luke Dodge (Baldwin) away, they make their way over hill, over dale, to the house of Cora (Hayak)..."
June 18, 1996: Aguascalientes in La Realidad,
News Story July 12, 1996
"...There are also,
within the peaceful civilian national movement some complaints. We don't know
about them directly because it is not in our medium, regarding infiltration or
provocations or espionage, above all espionage of the CIA, the FBI and the
State Department of the United States, of course, the Embassy..."
Film Review July 5, 1996, by Marjorie Baumgarten
Dumb and dumber. No, not Jim Carrey's latest. I'm talking about the recent trajectory of Demi Moore's script choices. I mean, really. First, there's The Juror in which the sculptor/mom...
"...In Striptease, Bergman (who also wrote the script) plays the comedy broadly and unevenly, thus scuttling the movie's chances for the goodwill of its humor to sustain viewers through its lapses in plotting. When Erin Grant (Moore) loses her job as an FBI clerk because of the shady dealings of her scummy husband, she also loses custody of her seven-year-old daughter (played by Moore's actual daughter Rumer Willis, who may also be Striptease's most likable performer)..."
Omaha (The Movie)
Film Review April 12, 1996, by Alison Macor
"...Just exactly what the governor means is incidental, as is much of the wacky plot in which Simon (Walkinshaw), a young man intent on spiritual awakening, returns from Nepal to his family home in Omaha only to be jettisoned on an interstate chase because of some valuable holy rocks and some greedy Colombians named Jorge (Bee) and Gustavo (Dukes). His overzealous and oversexed co-pilot is high school friend Gina (Anderson), whose kickboxing skills are particularly helpful in detaining the Colombians as well as FBI agents and roving gangs of Iowa kickboxers..."
Rumble in the Bronx
Film Review February 23, 1996, by Joey O'Bryan
"...After suckering a plucky young businesswoman (the delightful Anita Mui) into buying the gang-plagued store, Chan's uncle quickly skips town with his new bride, leaving Chan alone to defend both the supermarket and its new owner from the violent troublemakers who control the area. Throw in romantic subplots involving a pretty gang-banger with a heart of gold, a bagful of stolen diamonds, and a group of killers posing as the FBI, and the stage is set for a lively, action-packed romp that, while certainly far from original or intellectually stimulating, dishes out the type of crazed stuntwork and brilliantly choreographed action that longtime fans have come to expect from Chan..."
News Column January 19, 1996
"...But at least we are all being truthful about our pasts now, right?
Wrong. The Statesman's January 7 bio of Oliver Revell, the former FBI
assistant director hired to investigate the ex-UT football player's
whereabouts, neglected any mention of his close relationship with Oliver North,
his subsequent testimony at the Iran/Contra hearings, or his approval of
surveillance of U.S..."
Arts Story July 14, 1995
"...Justly or not, the FBI billed her as the "first female serial killer."
Following her capture, the sensational Florida murders to which Aileen Wuornos
confessed in 1991 quickly inspired a TV movie called Overkill starring
Jean Smart, as well as a several articles and true crime books, one of which,
Dead Ends, was authored by writer and former Austinite Michael Reynolds,
who is interviewed by director Broomfield for this documentary. As
documentaries go, Aileen Wuornos comes from the same tradition as
Michael Moore's Roger and Me and Errol Morris' Thin Blue Line:
works shaped by the interventions of participatory narrator/directors who probe
issues of justice and social distortion..."
Books, Books, Books
The Summer of '95
Books Story June 2, 1995
"...Focused on a small, depraved segment of the population,
Ellroy's novels probe the underworld with microscopic intensity, and show how
the crimes of a few create a web of complicity. No one spins a captivating,
sprawling yarn as well as Ellroy, and the sprawl reaches global proportions in
Tabloid, as two ex-FBI men and a former L.A..."
Die Hard With a Vengeance
Film Review May 19, 1995, by Marc Savlov
Continuing the unlikely adventures of beleaguered NYPD cop John McClane (Willis), this third installment unfortunately forsakes much of the occasionally clever, somewhat wry dialogue and situations of its predecessors in...
"...Simon's first move leaves the blurry-eyed, recently awakened cop wandering around central Harlem wearing a sandwich board emblazoned with a racist slogan guaranteed to render him deceased within in a matter of minutes. To his aid comes shop owner and reluctant sidekick-to-be Zeus Carver (Jackson), who saves McClane's life not because he's a good Samaritan, but because “one dead white cop in Harlem suddenly means hundreds more with itchy trigger fingers.” While the two run around the city on various wild goose chases designed to get them killed, the FBI and Company gamely try to figure out who's behind all this McClane-directed violence that's making New York even more hazardous than usual (which should be fairly obvious from the film's title)..."
Film Review May 5, 1995, by Marc Savlov
"...The Panthers were, of course, rewarded with ever-increasing harassment from Hoover's COINTELPRO, bloodshed, and ostracism from some elements of their own community, chief among them the drug dealers and thugs who preferred life without the Panthers' community policing. When Judge is contacted by the FBI and forced into becoming a government stoolie (to a degree -- he has the consent of both Newton and Seale, who find this a favorable way to feed the feds misinformation), he finds himself caught between his love of the Panther party and a very legitimate fear for his life..."
The Pelican Brief
Film Review December 17, 1993, by Marc Savlov
"...Supreme Court justices and summarily records it in the titular brief. By way of her mentor/lover Shepard, the brief makes the rounds in Washington, popping up in hushed conversations at the CIA, FBI, and, eventually, the Oval Office..."
Film Review July 2, 1993, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...It's a story for our times about a kid with no money who graduates near the top of his class from Harvard Law School and is then seduced by the wealth, perks and camaraderie offered by a conservative Memphis law firm. By the time he realizes that the nature of the firm's business requires either his criminal participation or his premature death, he's left to his own devices to sort out the mess, since he neither trusts the government nor its FBI intermediaries to protect his survival..."
Film Review December 18, 1992, by Pamela Bruce
"...Once thawed, McCormick wanders (almost too comfortably) into his new life, trying to re-establish contact with his scientist friend, and becomes involved in the lives of the young boy who discovered him and his mother (Curtis). But, meanwhile, Big Brother in the form of the FBI and the military soon decide to close in on the case of this “misplaced popsicle,” and time begins to run out for McCormick to regain a fragment of his lost past..."
Film Review August 14, 1992, by Pamela Bruce
Preceded by the humorous animated short Petal to the Metal (which features the screen debut of Disney's newest toon star, the bumbling bobcat Bonkers), 3 Ninjas is long on promises...
"...The first third of the narrative has a telltale essence evoking The Karate Kid -- complete with a Sixtyish Japanese grandfather/martial arts mentor (Wong) and three, as opposed to one, young proteges (Treanor, Slade, and Power). Meanwhile, a flimsy plot tries vainly to pull itself into coherent shape involving the boys' father -- an FBI agent (McRae) -- who is hot on the heels of yet another sleazy, international-thug-in-an-Armani-suit-and-ponytail (Kingsley)..."
How to Jail the Poor
Travis County tries to fix its Driving While License Invalid issue
News Story September 20, 2018, by Chase Hoffberger
"...... Class Cs aren't reported on a typical DPS/FBI background check..."
AFS Rolls Out the Carpet for White Boy Rick
Matthew McConaughey to attend preview screening, Q&A
DAILY Screens August 21, 2018, by Richard Whittaker
"...The film, starring McConaughey, Jennifer Jason lee, Bruce Dern, and Piper Laurie, is based on the true story of Richard Wershe Jr. (Richie Merritt), aka White Boy Rick, the youngest informant in the history of the FBI..."
The Ballad of Townes & Blaze
The twisted but not-so-tall tale of Van Zandt and Foley, Lonesome Dove meets Barfly
Features Story August 16, 2018, by Sybil Rosen
"...The original album Blaze Foley was recorded, pressed, and never released in the Eighties. Instead, the executive producer was indicted on drug charges and, according to Blaze, the albums ended up in the hands of the FBI, through no fault of Townes I might add...."
Into the Black Nowhere by Meg Gardiner
In the sequel to UNSUB, Gardiner pits Caitlin Hendrix against a killer based on Ted Bundy and shows again what a great storyteller she is
Arts Review July 26, 2018, by Jessi Cape
"...The first book in her UNSUB series (soon to join the CBS television roster) was inspired by the Zodiac Killer, while the new installment, Into the Black Nowhere, homes in on an unsub (aka UNidentified SUBject) based on serial murderer and rapist Ted Bundy. Once again, Gardiner's protagonist is Caitlin Hendrix, a police detective in the series' first book, now an FBI profiler in the Behavioral Analysis Unit and someone who's suffered her own personal tragedies and physical harm as a result of criminal violence..."
Sicario: Day of the Soldado Director Finds International Themes to Tex-Mex Thriller
Stefano Sollima goes border to border
Screens Story June 28, 2018, by Richard Whittaker
"...The unexpected sequel to 2015's surprise hit Sicario makes the polar opposite decision to that made by FBI Agent Kate Macer (Emily Blunt). At the end of the first film, she decided she could no longer walk the same dark path as CIA operative Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) and freelance agent of mayhem Alejandro Gillick (Benicio del Toro), who now become the focus of the next two films..."