Archives for posts with tag: anti-capitalist

road-to-the-well

Laurence Fuller plays a frustrated beta male desk jockey, Frank, who discovers that his girlfriend has been having an affair with his boss. Serendipitously, an old friend of his, handsome drifter Jack (Micah Parker), breezes into town and convinces his buddy to meet him for a few drinks at a night spot, where he also goads Frank to approach a woman (Rosalie McIntire) who catches his eye at the bar. From here, Frank’s life takes a left turn down a darker avenue than he ever knew existed, with Road to the Well developing into a fantastic, albeit eccentric, little thriller sustained by painful tensions and moments of unexpected strangeness. Only one superfluous scene broadly and condescendingly characterizing conservatives as “bigoted trash” taints what is otherwise a recommendable film, and writer-director Jon Cvack is to be commended. Barak Hardley is also worthy of mention for his portrayal of spoiled millennial man-child Chris, while Marshall Teague, glaring out of the screen from the other end of the masculinity spectrum, is also highly effective. For those interested, Road to the Well was recently released on DVD and VOD.

Four-and-a-half out of five stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Road to the Well is:

8. Anti-capitalistic, with prostitution furnishing the film’s model of free enterprise. Undignified Frank continues to work for his company (in order to “build a cushion,” he says) even after learning his boss has cuckolded him. He despises his erstwhile friend Chris, however, as a “hoity-toity yuppie” – but it is possible also to read the envy hiding behind Frank’s feigned contempt for Chris’s material security. Jack is utterly dismissive of regular employment, and encourages Frank to call in sick. “I don’t work anymore,” he says.

7. Anti-war. An implicit parallelism emerges during a scene between a murderer and a military man. One character understands something about the other’s experience.

6. Judgmentally anti-slut. The wages of sin is death!

5. Pro-gay. A corny anecdote is told about a homosexual adolescent who shot himself after being bullied. A homophobic redneck landlord who makes light of his own son’s participation in the bullying is intended to represent the low standard of sophistication prevailing among opponents of sodomy. Frank’s exaggerated reaction to this insensitivity is, one assumes, meant to establish his character’s moral credentials.

4. Manospherean. Frank, over the course of the film, is taught by his experiences to man up and assert himself. “Everything is fine as long as you got some money and a nice piece of pussy” is Jack’s philosophy.

3. Anti-Christian. A chaplain (Teague) has lost his faith and become suicidal. “My faith? What the hell is that?”

2. Anti-marriage. “It’s like marriage is this weird construct we’ve made up for ourselves and handed down from generation to generation,” moans Chris, who is soon to be married. “It’s meaningless, right?” A committed relationship is “not exciting”.

1. Antinatalist. “It’s like they’re these tiny little animals and I’m responsible for ‘em,” Chris frets, imagining the prospect of fatherhood. “If I don’t change their diaper, then they just, what, sit in their shit all day? Or, like, if you touch their fontanelle, you’re like, touching their brain, and you got a dead baby. […] No thank you.”

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

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Two Days One Night

Deux Jours, Une Nuit is a dreary and mundane French “art” film directed by Belgium’s Dardenne brothers. Marion Cotillard, whom American audiences may remember as the femme fatale Miranda in The Dark Knight Rises, stars as Sandra, a working mother whose poor psychological health has kept her at home and away from her job for some time. In her absence, her boss has given her coworkers an offer they find hard to refuse: either take Sandra back at their present wage rate, or agree to terminate her in exchange for a raise for everyone else. Due to irregularities in the circumstances of their initial decision, which has (unsurprisingly) gone against her, the workers are to be given a chance to hold a second vote. Sandra now has one weekend – the two days and one night of the title – to locate and approach each of her coworkers to convince them to take her back and forfeit the promised raise.

Nothing about Sandra, who suffers from depression and spends most of the movie moping, despairing, and gobbling Xanax tablets, is particularly interesting, and one suspects that this is intentional; she stands for the common person who is too often forgotten. Scenes of her intermittently breaking down and being encouraged by her sensitive husband (Fabrizio Rongione) to persevere and not to give up on her peers and their dormant capacity for selflessness are, unfortunately, somewhat repetitive, and not the strongest material to support an entire feature film. What ultimately saves and elevates Two Days, One Night above the level of tedium is the earnestness of the film’s key performances.

[WARNING: POTENTIAL SPOILERS]

3.5 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Two Days, One Night is:

6. Anti-American. The selfish Julien (Laurent Caron), a collaborationist co-conspirator with the workplace management, wears a “USA” patch on his shirt, perhaps signifying his sympathy with neoliberalism.

5. Anti-marriage. Sandra’s coworker Anne (Christelle Cornil) determines to leave her husband after years of being bullied.

4. Anti-drug. Sandra’s abuse of Xanax is worrying to her husband, whose concerns are shown to be warranted when she attempts suicide with an overdose.

3. Pro-union. The filmmakers, in an interview featured on the Criterion Blu-ray, say that their intent was to illustrate the “savagery” of companies whose workforces are not unionized. “We thought that with a nonunion company, we’d be closer to the raw truth of the social situation people experience today.”

2. Ostensibly anti-capitalistic, with workers pitted against each other by capital.

1. Dysgenic, pro-immigration, and crypto-corporate. Two Days, One Night is fundamentally disingenuous and misleading in framing the plight of the western worker as an individual rather than a national-racial dilemma. People are, of course, individuals on one level of their experience; but the inundation of European and European-descended peoples with Third World undesirables is precisely what has suppressed the typical worker’s wages and standard of living. In the end, when the tables are turned, and Sandra has the option of taking her job back on the stipulation that Alphonse (Serge Koto), an African, will be terminated, viewers are expected to be inspired that Sandra, playing the good goy, makes the wrong decision and sacrifices her own livelihood to save the congoid. Two Days, One Night goes out of its way to depict non-white immigrants as gentle, helpful souls and credits to their new communities, and even includes an African doctor (Tom Adjibi) who saves Sandra’s life after her overdose. To this extent, then, the film promotes a de facto corporate-state agenda.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

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gunman

Sean Penn, who co-scripted, plays an ex-mercenary haunted by his assassination of a Congolese mining minister. Eight years later, now a damaged man in more ways than one, Penn discovers that someone with knowledge of his past has put out a contract on his life. Penn spends as much of the movie as possible shirtless so as to show off his impressive physique, and in one scene even taps into his inner Spicoli and catches a few African waves.

Less incendiary than one might expect for a Joel Silver production, The Gunman is an action movie that wants desperately to be an art film, aiming for poetic moments like that in which a battered and dying assassin is juxtaposed with a matador’s speared bull. The action, once the movie gets around to it, however, should be brutal enough to compensate for the more pretentious material. There is also a love triangle to keep the women interested.

4 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that The Gunman is:

6. Anti-tobacco. “That’s really healthy,” Ray Winstone says sarcastically on seeing Penn light a cigarette.

5. Anti-marriage. Penn’s love interest (Jasmine Trinca) regards her creepy husband (Javier Bardem) as a creditor, her loveless wifely duties the repayment of an obligation.

4. Multiculturalist and pro-immigration. European-accented non-white professionals put in a good word for immigrants’ ability to assimilate into western societies. London and Barcelona appear as peaceful and orderly multi-ethnic metropolises. Penn atones for his sins by working to improve the lives of Africans.

3. Ostensibly anti-war. Rape and machete attacks are noted as weapons of war in the Congo. Penn’s combat experience has left him with brain damage.

2. Anti-capitalistic. Corporatocracy is behind the world’s evils, with the “growing demand of the western world” to blame for the Congo’s sufferings.

1. Globalist, giving the false impression that NGOs (non-governmental organizations) are strictly humanitarian and apolitical entities. In reality, NGOs are frequently the unconventional tools of Zio-American foreign policy and therefore have been dubbed “missionaries of empire”. Brit-accented television reporters – still more tools of Zio-American globe-grasping – are presented as reliable sources of information. That the poster has the chutzpah to say both “armed with the truth” and “from the director of Taken” probably says all that prospective viewers need to know.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

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[For those who don’t know, icgayreviews LGBTQ ally Germanicus Fink was rousted out of his safe space at murderbymedia2 this week for allegedly failing to comply with heterofascist WordPress “terms of service”. His blog account was suspended after a few complaints, a little gunboat diplomacy, and some behind-the-scenes skullduggery from Vladimir Putin’s Ministry of Slavic Hate persuaded WordPress to rain on the pride parade. Stay tuned for future developments in the ongoing saga of this internet holocaust of all decency. In the meantime, enjoy Fink’s guest review of the Macaulay Culkin club kid classic Party Monster!]

Party Monster

This was a movie I’d have never been interested in seeing, but I was the victim of a ‘perfect storm’ that resulted in my watching it. I was having a bad day and talked to ICAreviews online. Culkin came up and I mentioned that in the recent pictures I saw of him he looked like a real mess, then he told me Macaulay had made this movie in an attempt to step back in the ole spotlight as an adult actor 12 years ago. Of course I’m not talking about an adult actor as in “adult films”, I meant as a grown up. You know, a big boy star.

I had free time so I decided to watch it out of curiosity. A couple of times I almost just turned it off, but then I figured I’d try to write something about it so I ‘manned up’ and decided to ‘take a hit for the team’, so to speak.

Of course I wondered why he chose a movie about homosexual party boys in New York as his grown up debut. I figured his motivation for picking this genre must be because maybe his voice never changed, or that it was a life style he was familiar with. I’ll have to leave it up to people who know something about him to answer that one. Possibly he made it hoping to cash in on a fad? When was that “club kids” trend big? The film came out in 2003.  I had the impression that that club kids buzz happened a bit before 2003, but I could be wrong.  Since the film focused on homosexuals and hard core drug abuse I guess those subjects will always have an appeal to both the morbidly curious and confused teenagers so I suppose it’s a moot point whether that craze lined up with the film’s release.

One thing any normal person will find immediately annoying about this film is how over the top gay most of the actors behave throughout it. I suppose there are some gays in real life who behave screaming, prancing around, Priscilla Queen of the Desert gay, but so many of them on the screen at the same time kind of gets on a guy’s nerves.

Culkin plays Michael Alig and Seth Green plays his best friend James St. James, two young New York homosexuals who liked to dress up in outrageous costumes, throw lots of wild parties and do all kinds of drugs all the time. My impression was that a lot of the film was just about broken people who just could not face reality, so they stubbornly clung to their fabulous degeneracy and did whatever it took to keep the party going. It was never a good time to quit so they just couldn’t stop and kept on going until either they imploded or crashed.

In one scene Michael abandons his mother after she shared in his television debut on a tabloid talk show about him and his “club kids” phenomenon. He hurriedly told her he couldn’t get her a ride back to the airport as he ran off with his dealer for more of the hair of the dog that bit him to fight his withdrawals. I think she summed up a lot of what this film was all about when she she said, “I came in a stretch limo, i’m not leaving in a bus”.

Of course this film will fulfill all your wildest expectations assuming your expectations are actually wild enough. Semitic Hollywood is always more than willing to promote a rainbow of antisocial behavior. Whether a film is for blacks, children or homosexuals it seems they are always encouraging people to act up, get out of control and destroy everything they can. If you can’t annihilate anything important you can at least lay waste to yourself and hopefully take a few friends with you.

Of course, misfits who are not independently wealthy and can’t face reality can only maintain their delusions with the help of duped normies. In this case they exploited a club owner with an eye patch who became a sort of surrogate father figure for Michael. By allowing him to host his well publicized parties at his club he funded Macaulay’s lavish, nonstop, party party all the f*cking time life style despite the fact he always complained that he himself barely broke even.

What’s the symbolism of the eye patch? I don’t know, maybe he didn’t examine this situation in depth or was just seeing it in two dimensions? Why did he sponsor all this degeneracy? Hard to say. I honestly can’t speak for his motivation here aside from his strange, paternal relationship with the Culkin character.

Maybe the patch just indicates that the man is missing something. He’s portrayed as very straight and normal so maybe we are to believe he was living vicariously through this flamboyant little peacock with his superficial philosophy and his high flown plans and unconventional dreams. Maybe the patch is meant to represent that he is deformed inside which is why he’s making all this madness possible. Maybe it was just to make him look ominous because he was the only straight, middle aged guy in the film and everyone else was young and marvelous. Or maybe he represents the self-Chosen who are the ones making all this current cultural decay possible and his eye was lost while struggling with narrow minded gentiles? You decide.

Since this film was obviously targeted at gays a lot of it had to do with “loss of innocence”. The first example of that is when he is talking about his childhood in a small town and how his male Sunday School teacher seduced him (this kind of stuff goes on ALL the time in small White communities goyim! Watch a few more of our movies and you’ll see!). The second instance is when Michael hooks up with a straight guy who he later seduces while they are hiding in a dumpster from a cabbie after they stiffed him on the fare. How’s that for symbolism? Of course all straight guys are totally gay just below the surface so they are easily seduced by any gay guy forward enough to try. Please make a note of that all you gay goyim!

They drag lots of innocent people with them into their self-destructive hell with drugs. Drugs seem to be EVERYWHERE in this film. This “loss of innocence” motif culminates in a depressing scene where Michael, his friends and his surrogate father are all getting pretty loaded in a swanky hotel room. The guy with the eye patch, who has never done drugs before and is married to a sensible, no nonsense conservative looking young woman is shown fried out of his mind on crack with a black and possibly a tranny prostitute. Also, there was a black drug dealer named “Angel” who nobody wanted around at first, but he seemed to become their main connection as the film progressed. Oddly, once this relationship had been established he always wore angel wings whenever he made deliveries to them. In the Hotel scene, as well as all the subsequent scenes he was always demanding his money. I guess he wasn’t really supposed to be an angel at all, but the devil come to visit them in hell to collect his dues.

In line with this theme of tricking people into doing unhealthy things there is a part where he tricks his friend James into drinking his urine when he christened their embarkation on this club gig with the eye patch guy. A pretty gross scene, but not the only scene involving the drinking of urine.

One of the more disturbing aspects of this movie is it encourages bisexuality, which in light of the AIDS epidemic strikes me as more than a little sinister. I suppose you can file that under seduction of the innocent. His girlfriend is some Midwest kid who caught him and his club kids on that afternoon talk show I mentioned earlier. She was star-struck by all the glitz and glamour of his superficial lifestyle so she got in touch with him and he invited her to come stay with him up in New York. There is a scene where they are both taking a bath together and he announces he had polluted the water, so of course she scoops some up, drinks it and sprays it on Michael. He then did the same and sprayed her. Since they are both now dependent on drugs, naturally they are encouraging each other’s debauchery. They are clearly not good for each other. Near the end of the film we hear she died of an overdose.

spit

Culkin gets pissy

Everybody in this film is out of control, that is, until the Culkan character gets in a spirited argument with his angelic, black drug dealer where he demands his money one too many times and we are led to believe he kills him in self-defense. Right after cutting up the body and dumping it in the river (after they used up all his drugs, of course) Mike decides to check himself into rehab. This is one of those films that starts near the end and loops around to the beginning and it began with Michael confessing to James that he killed his dealer as they shared some of the deceased’s stash. Seth then promptly OD’d and ended up in the ER.

I realize I may be giving way too much away about this film, but I had a bad day today and this is helping me take my mind off of my problems. Besides, be honest, how many of you were planning on seeing this turkey anyway?

So, as if “loss of innocence” weren’t bad enough, we are also treated to some rather base betrayal as well. In an effort to weasel out of a possible murder conviction for killing his connection, Micheal starts cooperating with the feds to bust his father figure for supposedly dealing drugs out of his club. Ironically he was the only person to express sincere concern about Michael’s drug habit. In fact he paid for the stint in drug rehab that Macaulay took advantage of after murdering his dealer.

I strongly dislike films like this, where people are out of control and doing stupid things. I was waiting the entire time for someone to get busted, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Michael’s constant friend throughout the film, Seth Green, wanted to be a writer but never actually wrote anything. It wasn’t all talk, he really wanted to write and did actually try from time to time, but he had a bad case of writer’s block. That is until he got so high one day that he hallucinated a giant talking rat who claims to have seen Michael’s struggle with his dealer. Michael got busted but he said he only acted in self defense, which was somewhat true, at least at first. While the black drug dealer was strangling Culkin some other druggie came out of his stupor and grabbed a hammer which was conveniently placed and hit the guy. Only he wasn’t quite dead yet. So Culkin beat him some more then tied him up and tortured him to death by injecting Drano into various parts of his body (use your imagination here you sick f*cks!).

The Seth Green character uses the information he got from his conversation with the giant rat to write a best selling novel, Disco Bloodbath, and then he takes this information to the police and has the star of the film arrested and put in prison. I didn’t know that the hearsay testimony of an imaginary, giant talking rat was admissible in court, but I guess in New York it is. That’s what happens when you live in a city that never sleeps I suppose.

I suppose here is where I do the content analysis. Party Monster was:

4. Anti-capitalist. Culkin is always letting people into the club for free, giving them free drink tickets and, of course, would rather murder his dealer than pay for his drugs.

3. Racist. Actually I guess it could be construed as being kind of racist since the only black character in the film gets beat unconscious and terribly tortured to death by Culkin.

2. Pro gay. This movie was so gay I felt that I needed an AIDS test after watching it!

1. Anti-drug. Despite showing people doing and enjoying drugs for nearly 2 hours they finally landed Michael in prison. So don’t do drugs, mmmkay?

I give it a 2. Maybe you’d give it a 3 or more if men screaming and swishing around all over the place for nearly two hours doesn’t give you a headache.

Germanicus Fink

[Who is Germanicus Fink? Read Aryan Skynet’s interview with him here.]

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The Ideological Content Analysis 30 Days Putsch:

30 Reviews in 30 Days

DAY ELEVEN

Madame Bovary

Sophie Barthes adapts Flaubert’s great novel as a film that covers the essentials of the narrative, but proves as unfaithful as its protagonist in reproducing the author’s tone and his mordant humor. Madame Bovary succeeds, at least, in evoking the nineteenth century, and no frame of the film is unattractive. Mia Wasikowska, who plays the lead, is not to blame for the choice to depart from the novel’s attitude, and her presence does much to sustain viewer interest; but the character’s bitchiness is toned down, her agency in her mistakes diminished, and her selfish culpability in the campaign to convince her husband, country doctor Charles Bovary (Henry Lloyd-Hughes), to perform a disastrous experimental surgery is deemphasized – the cumulative effect of which is to make the character less intriguing. Surprisingly, given that it is the current year, even some opportunities for eroticism are neglected. “Perhaps Bathes’ intention was to do her part to prevent anyone from wanting to read the novel?” speculates Cinema de Merde. “Regardless, that remains the most interesting thing about this film: wondering what the director’s intentions possibly could have been.”

4 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Madame Bovary is:

4. Anti-Christian. Emma finds no solace in the Church.

3. Pro-miscegenation. Emma’s first extramarital love interest is the clerk Dupuis, played by weird-looking Jew Ezra Miller. Cinema de Merde is again worth quoting at this point: “Ezra Miller […] looks like the face of a young Alan Rickman emerging from within a hairy vagina. It’s the sort of thing where you think: ‘Maybe women find that attractive? Is that possible?’”

2. Anti-capitalistic. Aggressive, insinuating merchant Lheureux (Rhys Ifans) is the cause of much of the Bovary household’s trouble. (Why could Ezra Miller not have been cast as Lheureux?)

1. Vaguely feminist. The camera obsesses over the lacing of Emma’s corset, the idea apparently being to squeeze sympathy from her unenviable plight as an oppressed woman presented with no options for self-actualization by nineteenth century society. Then, too, her husband is shown to be a sexually inattentive lover. She even has a brief, inarticulate rant about how insidious men are – though this viewer was somewhat perplexed as to whether or not this scene was supposed to be comic. Enough of Flaubert remains, however, for the protagonist’s behavior to be inexcusable on account of patriarchy.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

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The Ideological Content Analysis 30 Days Putsch:

30 Reviews in 30 Days

DAY SEVEN

Nightcrawler

Beginning with its opening shot of a full moon, Nightcrawler hums with the limitless potential of Los Angeles at night. Jake Gyllenhaal plays professional thief and aspiring entrepreneur Lou Bloom, who shifts lanes into the high-adrenaline world of the nightcrawlers – freelance news cameramen who eavesdrop on police radios and race through the nocturnal streets of L.A. for graphic crime and accident footage – when he gets a taste of the money and the excitement there is to be sucked from human suffering. Gyllenhaal turns in an electric performance as the bizarre and intriguing Bloom, whose drive to get closer to the carnage than his competitors takes him first into situations of questionable ethics and then into outright illegality and endangerment of police officers and the public. The always diverting Bill Paxton appears as a rival nightcrawler, while sexy Rene Russo is a rung on Bloom’s ladder of self-promotion.

5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Nightcrawler is:

5. Anti-drug. Among the titles of Bloom’s salacious videos are “D.W.I. crash kills four” and “drunk mom kills biker”.

4. Pro-police. Cops are depicted as brave men who risk their lives to protect the citizenry. California Highway Patrolmen are shown putting themselves in peril to pull a woman from her burning vehicle.

3. Anti-white. “We find our viewers are more interested in urban crime creeping into the suburbs,” says news director Nina Romina (Rene Russo). “What that means is the victim or victim’s preferably well-off – and white – injured at the hands of the poor or a minority.” The suggestion that television news ignores black victimhood in favor of rich whites is preposterous. Many news organizations, in fact, have policies of censoring information about black criminal activity – particularly when whites are the victims. Anybody who casually watches the news knows who Trayvon Martin and Freddie Gray are – and even a misbehaving South Carolina schoolgirl has been receiving a lot of press of late because an insufficiently obsequious white cop yanked her out of her desk – but how many Americans could name a single white person murdered by a congoid within the last five years?

2. Media-critical and anti-capitalistic. Nightcrawler presents the television news industry as the worst, most nihilistic manifestation of capitalism, with human drama and suffering commoditized and exploited for titillation and ratings. Bloom blurs the line between objective documentary reportage and filmmaking when he drags a crash victim’s body to get a better shot.

1. Anti-Semitic! Bloom is an icy, emotionless freak who thinks of every situation in terms of potential profit and exercise of control. Even his sexual come-on to Nina Romina is conceived as an impersonal business negotiation. The viewer is told that Romina resists unspecified sexual demands from Bloom, which suggests that he may have deviant tastes. He exploits the gullibility of assistant Rick (Riz Ahmed) and shows no pity or human interest as he lies bleeding in a street.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

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The Ideological Content Analysis 30 Days Putsch:

30 Reviews in 30 Days

DAY ONE

I Frankenstein

Never mind the quaintly underachieving likes of Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster (1965) or Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter (1966). These movies are masterpieces compared to I, Frankenstein, positively the worst appropriation of Mary Shelley’s story this writer has ever seen. It wants desperately to be The Matrix, but this humorless CGI phantasmagoria bears more resemblance to the hallucinations of a subnormal and unimaginative ten-year-old boy given a tab of LSD. The comic book plot has Frankenstein’s monster (dubbed “Adam” here, because calling anybody a “monster” in this day and age would be insensitively judgmental), played by Aaron Eckhart, teaming up with an army of gargoyles committed to protecting humanity from “dark prince” Naberius (Bill Nighy).

In terms of screen presence, the question of the relative power of demons, corpses, and gargoyles to inspire audience sympathy would seem to be academic, so that I, Frankenstein’s tableaux of legions of devils being blasted into fiery smithereens carries no more human interest than a war of several strains of bacteria viewed through a microscope. Beyond “look at all the surging colors”, there is really very little to say. Unless the reader finds himself enthralled at the prospect of ninety minutes of actors saying things like, “The gargoyle order must survive, and mankind with it”, or has always dreamed of seeing Aaron Eckhart writhing and screaming to sell the effect of computer-generated flame-tentacles burrowing into his eye sockets, there is nothing to recommend this film, which is possibly even more appalling than Dracula Untold.

A star and a half. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that I, Frankenstein is:

4. Pro-torture. “Descend in pain, demon,” Adam tells an enemy after shoving his face in holy water for enhanced interrogation.

3. Ostensibly Christian, but misleadingly so. “Any objects can be made sacramental by marking them with the blessed symbol of the gargoyle order,” the viewer learns.

2. Anti-capitalistic. Naberius takes the earthly form of a corporate executive, with his demon minions all wearing suits and ties like the agents from the Matrix franchise.

1. Multiculturalist, anti-white, and pro-miscegenation. An army of multicultural gargoyles battles white guy demons in suits (plus one token Uncle Tom demon). A white warrior woman prefers to join her brown boyfriend in death rather than live without him. One might pity an actor as classy as Bill Nighy for being criminally miscast in such a retarded dud if not for the certainty that he was paid handsomely for his part in representing refined European man as demonic and therefore disposable.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

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Baytown Outlaws poster

Prospective viewers may be disappointed to discover that ostentatiously billed Billy Bob Thornton has only a potty-mouthed supporting role as villain Don Carlos in this violent ersatz-Tarantino concoction disingenuously passing itself off as genuine good ol’ boy entertainment. The film concerns the reckless redneck exploits of the Oodie brothers, Brick (Clayne Crawford), Lincoln (Daniel Cudmore), and McQueen (Travis Fimmel), as they rip through an array of ridiculous comic book adversaries to rescue a handicapped teenager (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) from Don Carlos’s clutches.

The Baytown Outlaws is lightning-paced and at times diverting, but too condescending and mean-spirited to squarely hit its target. Worse, its perpetrators (writer-director Barry Battles, is that your real name?) betray a disturbing moral confusion and an obvious disregard for human dignity and life, as typified by the scene in which one of the brothers accidentally shoots and kills a maid and says, “Oh shit. My bad, lady”, and then goes casually about his business. Flippant to excess, this one may appeal to ADHD-afflicted consumers of films of the Snatch or Cat Run type.

3 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that The Baytown Outlaws is:

11. Drug-ambivalent. Don Carlos abuses pills. Liquor’s antiseptic quality comes in handy during a medical emergency. “You want one of these?” Brick asks, offering a minor a cigarette after a battle and telling the boy, “You earned it.”

10. Ostensibly Christian. Brick wears a cross on a necklace, but this fashion statement would appear to be the extent of how his faith expresses itself. The Oodies claim with sarcasm to have been in church while they were actually out raiding a residence and exterminating its occupants. “This Is Our Song”, a southern-fried hip-hop tune that plays over the end credits, says, “Folks round here still believe in God” and “Tell the government to leave my check and church alone”. A cross tattoo on a hitwoman suggests that the Christian content of the film is something less than sincere, however.

9. Anti-police. Celeste (Eva Longoria) wants peace of mind, “something the cops can’t give me,” she says. Officers catching sight of the Oodies locked in rowdy highway warfare turn a blind eye and give no pursuit.

8. Anti-corporate. “I kind of look at my future empire as the Wal-Mart of bottom dollar retail crime,” Don Carlos explains to impertinent underlings who have approached him about a raise. “I need stockers and cashiers and mercenaries and mules.”

7. Localist/pro-vigilante. The sheriff resists federal meddling and even eschews the law itself, maintaining the Oodies as his personal vigilante squad to keep criminals off the streets and spare the court system the trouble.

6. Gun-ambivalent. A t-shirt reads, “If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.” The Oodies are poor poster boys for responsible handling of firearms, however, and kill several people by mistake.

5. Pro-immigration. Illegals are bright, talented, underappreciated professionals like nurses who, if given a chance, would be a boon to the U.S. What is more, they are whites’ intellectual betters. “Your ignorance is unbelievable,” a valiant wetback bimbo tells Brick when he says, “You’re a nurse. You oughtta be helpin’ people,” and suggests she become naturalized. “Your country doesn’t make it that easy for us,” she complains.

4. Black supremacist. The black sheriff (Andre Braugher) enjoys sassing and establishing his mental superiority and official authority over whites. “Just do what you’re told,” he scolds a deputy. In a scene that is seemingly intended to draw an ironic humor from racial role reversal in view of the hoses that were once turned on civil rights agitators, the sheriff unsmilingly sprays a white child with a garden hose for no apparent reason and tells him, “I don’t even know you.”

3. Family-ambivalent/anti-marriage. “This Is Our Song” includes the line, “God and my family is all I need”; but, with the exception of the Oodies’ mutual loyalty, the representations of family relationships in the film are derogatory. The Oodies have “no known mother” and the irresponsibility of their father, an abusive Ku Klux Klansman, necessitated their being transferred to foster care. Don Carlos is another negative father figure whose relationship with Celeste has ended in violence. “There goes the longest relationship I ever had,” McQueen reflects after he and his brothers dispatch a bevy of biker hitwomen.

2. South-ambivalent. “Welcome to the South, motherfuckers!” The Baytown Outlaws is something of a Trojan horse where the South is concerned, any regional pride it evinces being superficial and devious. Brick Oodie, who, along with his brothers, seems never to bother changing his clothes, always wears a sleeveless shirt bearing the Confederate stars and bars – but, as with his cross, more as a fashion object than as a proclamation of political philosophy. The hell-raising, empty-headed redneck, forever the film industry’s favorite image for the perpetually stereotyped southern white male, appears in The Baytown Outlaws as a kind of cute, quaint, grotesque curiosity, something like a dog to be petted and encouraged in its animal eccentricities, but also restrained by a master’s leash. The redneck can be an endearing type and useful as long as his wild ways are harnessed by a black representative of the state made wise by his sufferings during the struggle for civil “rights”. That one of the brothers, a brutish mute, is named Lincoln may be interpreted either as a sarcastic joke or as an indicator that progress is being made in the South and that northern dictators now vie with General Lee in the christening of white trash children. Alabama, it is observed, has its own pace but is “behind the times”.

1. Un-p.c. and repeatedly racist! The Baytown Outlaws is an exercise in what is termed hipster racism, which occurs when progressives knowingly appropriate stereotypes for their own putatively innocuous purposes and so expect a free pass for their playful, winking insensitivity. The Baytown Outlaws strains the confines of this classification, however, with its depiction of a group of Indian assassins who scalp their victims and shoot arrows. There is also a pack of vicious, foul-mouthed blacks, one of whom feels compelled to warn another, “This time, try not to hit the motherfuckin’ baby.” Other instances of political incorrectness include the use of “faggoty”.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

The_Guilt_Trip_Poster

World’s ugliest beautiful woman Barbra Streisand teams up with the funniest, most lovable schlub of his generation, Seth Rogen, in this hilarious, touching story about an obnoxious New Jersey widow invited by her son to accompany him on a cross-country road trip as he attempts with generally pathetic results to sell his invention and life’s work, a potent and potable cleaning product awkwardly christened (so to speak) Scioclean. Unknown to the mother, though, is that the son has actually lured her onto this expedition, not just to spend some quality time with Mom, but to reunite her with an old flame who may be living in San Francisco. This chick flick is frankly a joy from start to finish and should, thanks to Rogen’s presence, be nearly as palatable for men as for its primary audience of menopausal women, with Streisand and Rogen comprising one of the strongest comedy teams in recent memory. Sure to pluck the heartstrings and bust the collective gut of those who like their comedy kosher and pickled in a brine of gratuitous kvetching.

Ideological Content Analysis indicates that The Guilt Trip is:

10. Pro-gay. Streisand’s Pilates instructor is a lesbian. During the trip, she subjects the hapless Rogen to the seemingly interminable audiobook of Middlesex, a novel about a hermaphrodite’s sexual self-discovery.

9. Mildly anti-Christian. Christians are at no point vilified, but The Guilt Trip does evince a kind of innocuous condescension toward Christianity, which comes across as quaint and kitschy. “God bless, y’all,” stripper Moonlight (Analeis Lorig) says in one of the film’s few allusions to faith. And Tulsa, Oklahoma, Streisand reads in a brochure, is purported to be home to the world’s largest praying hands. (see also no. 5)

8. Anti-drug. Drinking can lead to trouble.

7. Diversity-skeptical. Notwithstanding no. 4, The Guilt Trip hints at the painfully artificial contortions into which America twists itself to accommodate ethnic plurality. Rogen, who objects when his mother says “oriental”, meets with uncomfortable silence himself when, during a pitch for Scioclean, he offends the self-loathingly p.c. sensibilities of a board of K-Mart executives by growling “soy!” in the voice of a gruff karate master. Among the executives is a humorless, unsmiling black woman, no doubt promoted to her position through affirmative action. Failing to dodge the insidious Scylla of racial sensitivity, Rogen also smacks against the Charybdis of sex when he jokes, “And trust me, I didn’t stay three years [at the EPA] because of the ladies.” Like most men of his generation, he is neurotic at best when confronted with the cruel demands and exigencies of p.c. totalitarianism. Sadly, Streisand, after worrying aloud that a hitchhiker might try to rape her, is apparently driven by feelings of racial guilt to pick up a Mexican drifter (who luckily turns out to be mild-mannered), thus demonstrating how the psychological ravages of political correctness endanger not only good taste and common sense, but people’s lives, as well.

6. Green-ambivalent. Rogen is a former EPA operative and his cleaning product is made entirely from natural, sustainable ingredients. However, the aforementioned irreverence about the women of the EPA may be taken to imply that environmentalism is the pet preoccupation of the ugly, nerdy, or otherwise unappealing. Streisand, in what appears to be a piece of sarcasm on the screenwriter’s part, invokes the mystery of “this climate change thing” when a snowstorm strikes in Tennessee.

5. South-ambivalent. Southerners are, for the most part, depicted as friendly and hospitable, particularly in a Texan steakhouse – although lingering North/South hostility is acknowledged when patrons boo at hearing that Streisand is from New Jersey. Moonlight, a stripper the pair meets in Tennessee, is especially helpful when they have car trouble (and is also very much a slut). A scary redneck in a bar does, however, become pushy when Rogen objects to his sexual aggression toward his mother (see also no. 9).

4. Multiculturalist/pro-miscegenation. Streisand and Rogen’s characters’ surname, Brewster, suggests Anglo-Saxon-Semite interbreeding, and Barbra’s aged charms do prove irresistible for more than one macho cowboy on the pair’s swing through the southern states. The film ends with the suggestion that Streisand may be entering into a potentially serious relationship with Texan businessman Ben Graw (Brett Cullen). One of Rogen’s ex-girlfriends is Asian. Races mix at a mature singles’ club and in an airport, where a black man stands with an Asian woman. The airports depicted in the film are clearly designed to show people of different ethnicities (complete with a gentleman in a turban) interacting peacefully, the happily equal cogs of a multicultural clockwork. There are even a few blacks (probably lynched after filming ended) to be spotted in the Texan steakhouse. (cf. no. 7)

3. Anti-marriage. An ex-girlfriend of Rogen’s is happily married and pregnant, but one of Streisand’s friends (Kathy Nijimy) is glad to be rid of her recently deceased husband, who is described as “horrible”. Streisand, too, is relieved to have her bed to herself, since she now has the liberty to eat M&Ms in bed whenever she likes.

2. Capitalist/corporate. The Guilt Trip reminds communist whiners and weenies that, toiling and struggling like ants at the feet of those oft-reviled corporate giants and monocle-sporting exploiters of the masses, are millions of honest, self-made small businessmen who risk personal capital and earn every penny they manage to keep. “My little Donald Trump,” Streisand dotes. The film does, however, feature copious product placement for the aforementioned corporate giants.

1. Family-ambivalent. While The Guilt Trip is very much preoccupied with family, and the son’s occasionally prickly but deeply devoted relationship with his mother provides the film’s satisfying emotional meat, the father is conspicuously absent from the formula. “I was your mother and your father,” Streisand declares with self-satisfaction. The mother-son combo would appear to be the new nuclear family for the twenty-first century.

Magic Mike poster

Magic Mike, along with Katy Perry: Part of Me, was one of the faith-shakingly embarrassing trailers that seemed to hound this critic every time he went to the movies during the summer of 2012. “Oh, no, not this again,” he would think to himself, slumping into his seat as his heart sank in his breast. The fact of the matter is, however, that this amusing and unassumingly sharp drama from screenwriter Reid Carolin and director Steven Soderbergh not only rises to the occasion on more than an anatomical level, but ends up as one of the most outstanding films of its year.

Channing Tatum, who actually worked as a stripper during an earlier phase of his show business career, puts his skills to productive use in Magic Mike, a role perfectly suited to the actor’s dissolute good looks, sex power, and sense of humor. Tatum’s semiautobiographical Mike is an American original, a creatively driven renaissance stud who aspires to build handcrafted furniture for a living, but works at construction, car detailing, and stripping until he can put together the venture capital he requires. Handsome Alex Pettyfer plays Adam, the fresh piece of meat Mike recruits to join the dance revue at Club Xquisite, and whose pretty but staid sister Brooke (Cody Horn) will become Mike’s reluctant romantic interest.

It is Matthew McConaughey, however, who majestically steals much of Magic Mike as the Mephistophelean Dallas, the Gordon Gekko of male strip club proprietors. In particular, the sequence in which erotic drill instructor Dallas is training greenhorn Adam for his first tour of duty under the lights provides McConaughey with the most explosive monologue of 2012. “Who’s got the cock? You do. They don’t,” he prods his pupil like a madman, showing him how to win over a crowd of emotionally vulnerable women by whirling and thrusting his pelvis properly. “You are the husband that they never had. You are the dreamboat guy that never came along. You are the one-night stand, that free fling of a fuck that they get to have tonight with you onstage and still go home to their hubby and not get in trouble because you, baby, you make it legal. You are the liberation!” McConaughey even gets to sing a sweet little country ditty, “Ladies of Tampa”, which he himself co-wrote.

Soderbergh again shows himself to be the consummate master, a man in complete and comfortable control of his craft. Magic Mike is a career highlight, but with no small assistance from his collaborators at every level of this nearly perfect production. From performances to editing and visual design, Magic Mike is a classy show and deserving of repeated viewings. Music also adds much to the verve of the experience, with cleverly selected songs setting the movie’s various tones and rhythms. Of special note, Win Win’s “Victim” is darkly repetitive, cock-rocking magic; Countre Black’s cover of “It’s Raining Men” is a scintillating introduction to the men of Xquisite doing a campy raincoats-and-umbrellas routine; and Chris Mitchell’s coy rendition of “Like a Virgin” is an appropriate accompaniment to Adam’s shy first appearance onstage.

Highly recommended at 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Magic Mike is:

11. Anti-Christian. A crucifix pendant and cross tattoo appear in irreverent contexts.

10. Antiwar. The troupe of strippers performs a mock-patriotic military-themed routine, firing their crotches to the sound of gunfire. While, on the one hand, this points to the warrior ideal as a perennially appealing archetype in women’s sexual fantasies, it might just as easily equate war with show business as something tawdry, phony, and whorish, or suggest that war is really a sublimation of primal, sexually motivated aggression.

9. Anti-obesity. One of the strippers hurts his back trying to lift a chubby customer.

8. Pro-gay. “I don’t care what your preferences are,” says Brooke when she discovers her brother’s dance outfits and takes these for evidence of his homosexuality. Then, as if 2005’s Brokeback Mountain had been insufficient degradation of an American movie icon, the cowboy archetype is further downgraded by a homoerotic gunfight strip routine.

7. Statist. “Fuck school altogether,” Dallas opines with reason. His idea is that children should be homeschooled with special emphasis on finance and investment strategies, but Mike, presumably from faith in the liberal public education system, dismisses this as “stupid shit”.

6. Anti-American. “That’s the state of the country, man. America. People. Stupid.”

5. Pro-wigger. Mike affects a hoodie, backwards cap, and “y’all” talk.

4. Feminist/anti-marriage/anti-family. Brooke is offended and gets defensive when she assumes Mike is suggesting that she cook breakfast for him. A woman wearing a “bride to be” sash is seen dancing uninhibitedly onstage with one of the strippers, and Dallas explains that women patronize his establishment because their marriages are unfulfilling, with nude male revues providing the psychological “liberation” women require. The institution of motherhood, meanwhile, receives grotesque parody treatment in the memorable image of pink-haired tart Nora (Elvis Presley’s granddaughter, Riley Keough) bottle-feeding milk to a piglet.

3. Drug-ambivalent. Strippers partake of something called “hey juice” and stupid sorority girls demand to know: “Who do we have to fuck to get a fucking drink?” Joints are passed around without consequence, but drinking and harder drugging (and drug dealing) get Adam and Tarzan (Kevin Nash) into serious difficulties. Mike and Adam barely make it out of a sorority house with their lives when Adam enrages a girl’s boyfriend by slipping her some E. To its credit, Magic Mike contains a classic morning-after atrocity scene too good to spoil.

2. Slut-ambivalent. Relatively conservative Brooke regrets her adolescent decision to get tattooed. Adam is warned to avoid oral contact with customers so as to avoid contracting herpes. One laid-back dope dealer enjoys an open marriage (“My wife’s tits are awesome. Check ‘em out, man.”), but this segment, rather than serving as an endorsement of swinging lifestyles, is intended to evince the decadence and the seductive evil of the world into which Adam is being initiated. Casual orgy partner Joanna (Olivia Munn) comes across as unhappy and frightened by intimacy, with Mike ultimately realizing that what he needs is a good girl and a sexually conventional life. In the final analysis, Magic Mike is less than satisfactorily judgmental where sexual promiscuity is concerned, but does give the impression that such escapades are best suited for youth if at all necessary and better abandoned in maturity.

1. Anti-capitalistic-cum-populist. In Magic Mike’s complicated and nuanced moral universe, informed by the compassionate socialist-populist worldview of screenwriter Reid Carolin (whose nonprofit group Red Feather Development has, according to Wikipedia, been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show!) and director Steven Soderbergh (hagiographer of Che Guevara and happy producer of George Clooney’s disingenuous anti-McCarthy clunker Good Night, and Good Luck) honest toil when set to the pattern of the typical employer-employee paradigm becomes a species of semi-prostitution. “You don’t wanna know what I have to do for twenties,” Mike tells Brooke significantly. The capitalist, as exemplified by Mike’s construction foreman, is a petty exploiter who balks at the notion of paying “benefits and shit”.

It is stripper-impresario Dallas, however, who most clearly personifies capitalism in this film. Icy, dishonest, superficial, materialistic, and nihilistic, he is also a charming, seductive swaggerer whose charisma no viewer will deny. A manipulator of others, Dallas also whores himself, serenading his customers (whom he describes collectively as his “wife”) and climbing back into the saddle for an impressively sweaty farewell performance of his own, erupting a shower of crumpled dollar bills onto his naked torso. Going into business as partners with Dallas is clearly a matter of dealing with the Devil (“Nobody walks on water on my team.”), and Dallas expectedly lets Mike down, going back on his glorious promises. Commerce, for Dallas, is glorified theft. “You are worth the cash you pry out of their fuckin’ purses,” he snidely pontificates.

It is the small, honest, dream-driven entrepreneur, uncorrupted by greed and mercenary prudence, with whom these filmmakers sympathize. Mike’s desire to start his own custom furniture business is admirable and casts him as, if not a starving artist, then a creative man of principle unwilling to compromise on his vision. This type of endeavor, Magic Mike charges, is thwarted at every turn by the old boys’ club of the business and financial establishment. This becomes painfully obvious when Mike, seeking a startup loan for his venture, is turned down as a bad credit risk by a bank’s loan officer (Breaking Bad’s Betsy Brandt, who, this reviewer is grieved to report, is at no point in the film treated to a private dance from Mike). “The only thing that’s distressed is y’all,” Mike tells her defiantly on being refused. One of the morals of Magic Mike, then, is that self-reliance and hard work, even if it results in a less comfortable life than that of a high-class courtesan, is, albeit a more difficult one, a more dignified way to live. Magic Mike, consequently, has mostly scorn for slacker Adam, who shirks his responsibilities, sleeps on his sister’s couch, and refuses to interview for a job that requires his wearing a “fuckin’ tie”.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

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