Archives for posts with tag: apocalyptic

Second Coming

Richard Wolstencroft, the Aussie behind the classic underground Boyd Rice vehicle Pearls Before Swine (1999) – a movie that any weirdo reading this should stop and watch right now if they never have before – is back with the second installment of The Second Coming, the first volume of which was finished in 2015. Part of an even grander series that Wolstencroft calls the “March on Rome” trilogy, the two halves of The Second Coming comprise a magickal diptych of miscegenated and mutated gleanings from Crowley, Manson, nuclear physics, social Darwinism, Faustian racialism, and William Butler Yeats, whose poem “The Second Coming” provides the inspiration for a nebulous plot involving a global conspiracy of revolutionary dissidents attempting to usher in a new age of unmediocrity through occult, scientific, degenerate, and quasi-fascistic skullduggery. If such a revolt against the modern world is to be successful, The Second Coming indicates, its principal stumbling block will be the mutual distrust of the various elements necessary to bring the new order into being.

This is essentially a no-budget undertaking – the only money spent seems to have been on travel expenses for the mix of dully mundane and dangerously exotic locations – but what makes The Second Coming a must-see film is the assortment of oddballs Wolstencroft managed to assemble to participate in his production. There are too many to name, but readers may be especially interested to know that proto-Alt-Right hate scene legends Jim Goad and Boyd Rice both have small but perfectly cast and hilarious roles as players in the satanic conspiracy. The phone conversation between the two of them, short as it is, is one of the greatest moments ever stitched together for a movie. A gloriously off-the-wall Kim Fowley, Shaun Partridge, and late Feral House publisher Adam Parfrey also have cameos in The Second Coming, in case the foregoing was not already enough to entice the viewer. In my book, I briefly discuss the potential for the emergence of a white nationalist cinema. Is Wolstencroft’s The Second Coming the realization of this ideal? Well … not exactly. Wolstencroft is too individual a creator and too perverted a reprobate for that. The Second Coming does, however, gesture vaguely in the directions that such a cinema might undertake to explore if it ever emerged from the wilderness of its online chaos. Both volumes of Wolstencroft’s epic can be accessed through Affirmative Right – free to view for a limited time.

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

Rainer is the author of Protocols of the Elders of Zanuck: Psychological Warfare and Filth at the Movies – The DEFINITIVE Alt-Right statement on Hollywood!

 

 

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10_cloverfield_lane

Nasty woman Mary Elizabeth Winstead wakes up chained to a cot in survivalist John Goodman’s basement in 10 Cloverfield Lane, a genre-bending experience in the tradition of Cabin in the Woods (2012) and The Signal (2014). Is Winstead, recalling Misery (1990), the prisoner of an obsessive loser who intends to possess her sexually – or is Goodman telling the truth when he claims that he only intends to keep her alive and that the world outside is uninhabitable, that everyone she knows and loves is dead, and that civilization has collapsed after a catastrophic apocalypse? Is it the Russians? The Martians? Or is it just a tall tale to dissuade his uncooperative guest from attempting to escape? Finding out is as frightening and fun as being held captive in John Goodman’s basement!

[WARNING: POTENTIAL SPOILERS]

4.5 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that 10 Cloverfield Lane is:

4. Alt-media-ambivalent. Goodman is “like a black belt in conspiracy theory”, a mixed bag of a man simultaneously tuned-in and misled as to a number of topics. The fact that, in addition to aliens and Russkies, he is also concerned about “Al Qaeda” seems to suggest that the film is condescendingly and disingenuously conflating neoconservative outlets and various conspiracy-oriented media of varying quality.

3. Anti-redneck. Goodman’s character represents a typical cosmopolitan millennial’s idea of a conservative Republican: a slovenly gun nut, “authoritarian personality”, and “no touching” prude scared of Martians and the prospect of a real-life Red Dawn scenario. He is stuck in a vanished American past, as evidenced by his Frankie Avalon records and VHS collection. The fact that major elements of his assertions turn out to be correct prompts the deliciously implied question at the heart of the film. Which would be more horrifying for a millennial woman – the prospect of an alien invasion that razes everything and everyone she knows, or the possibility that, for all of these years, those hateful, judgmental, beer-bellied, rifle-toting, misogynistic deplorables were right?

2. Disaster-alarmist. Turning viewer expectations upside-down, Goodman’s conspiracy-theory-fueled survivalism comes in handy when the shit really hits the fan. Rather than rejecting extreme preparedness outright, the movie suggests that liberals, rather than pointing and laughing at the conservatives, ought to appropriate such foresight and associated skill sets for themselves. The idea that fashion design could become a survival skill in a post-apocalyptic landscape is no doubt highly appealing to a number of young women and homosexuals with tacky, clashing heaps of student loan debt in the closet.

1. Feminist/anti-family. Goodman presents a negative patriarchal archetype (“I want us to be a happy family.”). Winstead also recounts a traumatic memory of seeing a man cruelly pulling his daughter by the arm and hitting her. Perhaps under the influence of such impressions of family life, she rejects the possibility of reuniting with her boyfriend in order to strike out on her own as a superheroine and save the planet – a choice about which the director, Dan Trachtenberg, expresses a cuckolded you-go-girl enthusiasm in his audio commentary.

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

Zombies vs. Strippers

The Tough Titty, a strip club in a seedy Los Angeles slum, finds itself in the middle of a zombie apocalypse in this silly Full Moon outing. Spider (Circus-Szalewski), the proprietor, along with his bevy of shapely and jiggly employees, must cope with swelling numbers of undead perverts who congregate around the building while everyone also tries to come to terms with how they will spend what may be their last night on Earth. A pair of lewd customers wants nasty thrills; DJ Bernie (Tanner Horn) just wants to get high; while Spider and the strippers increasingly find that staying alive is more important than making money they might not be able to spend.

Slightly better than the tacky and unimaginative title might suggest, Zombies vs. Strippers is still an unremarkable pile of trash and risks overstaying its smelly welcome even at a meager seventy-four minutes padded with lengthy opening credits. There are, of course, curves galore, and a few witty one-liners; but the zombies, after a nice gradual tease during the exposition, offer only a modicum of suspense and pay diminishing returns as more and more of the snarlers appear onscreen. Good enough for a slow night, but hardly the movie this viewer would want at the top of his queue at the end of the world.

3 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Zombies vs. Strippers is:

13. Diversity-skeptical. Black stripper Vanilla (Brittany Gael Vaughn) dismisses “crazy fuckin’ white boys”.

12. Pro-gun. Guns are used defensively against the corpses.

11. Anti-slut. Fornicators are punished, with the zombie plague being compared to venereal disease.

10. Anti-X.  Like Creep Van, Zombies vs. Strippers holds Generation X/Y in low regard, particularly in terms of their value to employers.  DJ Bernie is a pothead, and the strippers can be foulmouthed and sassy. “I’m a professional. That used to mean something,” bouncer Marvin (J. Scott) reflects disapprovingly on the slacker mentality. “The American Dream is stuck in the mud,” children’s host Hambo the Ranch Hand (Chance A. Rearden) says before advocating the extermination of the rising generation.

9. Anti-TV.  Paralleling the zombie plague is the zombie-like vapidity and desensitization of the characters in the film from what seems to have been a lifelong diet of dumb television. “What would Hambo do?” Spider asks, the pig-nosed TV personality having apparently taken the place of Jesus in his life. Characters are more than once unable to distinguish between entertainment and imminent threat.

8. Anti-police. The LAPD, whether from cowardice or indifference, never enters the neighborhood of the Tough Titty. Bikers laugh at the threat of a call to the police.

7. Pro-choice/euthanasist. The infected must be put out of their misery for the good of humanity. Hambo, holding up two eggs, calls for the “eggstermination” of the young.

6. Anti-drug. Spider insults a zombie, calling it “crackhead”, and tells Bernie that weed will lower his sperm count. Later, offering a reefer to a zombie, Bernie is bitten.  When Bernie the zombie is killed by Vanilla, she cries, “This is your brain on drugs, motherfucker!” and pierces his head with her high-heel shoe. Drinking impairs the judgment of more than one character. One man is killed just as he is about to light a cigarette.

5. Capital-ambivalent. Zombies vs. Strippers presents a warts-and-all but basically sympathetic portrait of the American small businessman in Spider, who despite his efforts has failed to make the Tough Titty profitable.  Spider is not above trying to cheat a customer out of his money, but his chosen victim, musician Spike (Adam Brooks), is dishonest and an admitted thief. Adding to Spider’s woes are disrespectful and lazy employees like Bernie, whose poor turntable efforts prompt Spider to threaten to replace him with an mp3 player.

4. Anti-Christian. Christians are represented by biker Red Wings (Brad Potts), who spouts biblical claptrap but makes little secret of his nasty-mindedness. Spike gets tired of listening to his “religious crap”. One of the strippers irreverently dons a nun costume.

3. Pro-miscegenation. Black stripper Vanilla, announced as two scoops of chocolate ice cream that will make a man’s banana split, is desired by the white men around her and engages in flirtation with Red Wings.

2. Feminist.  The name of the strip club, the Tough Titty, says it all. Strong women stand the best chance of surviving. The representative male chauvinist pig (Patrick Lazzara) who uses abusive language against the strippers is certain to meet with an unpleasant end.

1. Relativist/nihilist.  “We’re all a bunch of criminals. A whole world of ‘em.”

 

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antisocial poster

A future film historian compiling a list of the most representative and sociologically reflective horror films of the present decade could do worse than to include Cody Calahan’s feature debut, Antisocial. Redolent of the contemporary fears of intrusive surveillance, vile conspiratorial plots, drones, martial law, cyber-bullying, terrorism, flash mobs, viral epidemics, internet addiction, and civilizational collapse, Antisocial is more than a mere splatter film.

A gaggle of vapid college coeds gather to throw a New Year’s Eve party, unaware that the sudden outbreak of a 28 Days Later-reminiscent rage plague will soon have them barricading themselves inside and suspecting themselves and each other of infection. And what role does ubiquitous website the Social Redroom play in the chaos? “If you’re not on Facebook,” some have suggested, “you’re probably a sociopath.” Antisocial, thankfully, begs to differ with this assessment.

The story wastes little time in getting to the action and suspense, which is fresh while also respectful of genre conventions and traditions, with the themes, scenario, and spare, electronic moments suggesting influences from George Romero, David Cronenberg, and John Carpenter. A guaranteed good time; recommended to horror fans.

4 out of 5 stars.

[WARNING: POTENTIAL SPOILERS]

Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Antisocial is:

6. Anti-Christian. Some respond to the epidemic by holding exorcisms, but the explanation for the plague turns out to be decidedly more sublunary. A newscaster’s wish of “Happy New Year, and may God be with you,” rings hollow given the situation on the ground.

5. Gun-ambivalent. The partiers are frightened by shots from outside, but it is unclear whether these are from the police or private citizens.

4. Pro-slut, pro-miscegenation, and anti-racist. Heroine Sam (Michelle Mylett) is pregnant with some guy’s bastard. Cheap tramp Kaitlin (Ana Alic) is an item with black dude Steve (Romaine Waite). As the two are making a sex video, one of the afflicted bursts in on their fun through a window. The fact that the attacker appears to have a skinhead haircut may be intended subtextually to suggest lingering racism and resentment among whites toward those who choose to mate outside the species.

3. Feminist. “Final girl” Sam, once forced to fend for herself at the end, has little difficulty adjusting to the role of the badass. A bandage she ties around her head gives her the martial appearance of an Apache warrior.

2. Media-critical and anti-corporate. Social Redroom executives have secretly implemented a subliminal pattern designed to induce addictive behavior in visitors. Characters are unsure whether to trust material coming out of the mainstream media and look, rather, to grassroots sources of information available online.

1. Luddite. The title, Antisocial, serves a dual purpose, referring both to the nasty behavior of the afflicted and to the film’s critical stance toward social media. The script is full of apprehensions about a world in which “private life is public knowledge”, cruelty is as easy as clicking a key, and lovers break up remotely, by way of handheld devices.

Appropriately, social media darling Kaitlin and her boyfriend are among the first to develop symptoms. Sam and Jed (Adam Christie), who have deleted their Social Redroom accounts, retain their sanity longer than others. “How do you keep in touch with people?” Kaitlin asks. “I see them in person,” Sam deadpans. Significantly, Sam later repurposes a laptop as a murder weapon.

The internet itself is not necessarily to blame, and an online video actually provides the means of overcoming the crisis. What worries Antisocial, however, is the addictive potential and hive mind pull of ubiquitous sites like Facebook. Fear of mass loss of privacy also looms large, and in one of Antisocial‘s more outrageous moments, Social Redroom users’ bodies function as organic surveillance devices.

 

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Human Highway

Human Highway (1982) ****

Co-scripted and directed by eccentric rocker Neil Young (using the pseudonym Bernard Shakey), Human Highway is the weirdo sort of movie destined from its inception to become an item of cult interest. Young stars as lamebrained mechanic Lionel, who dreams of rock stardom while making a mess of his duties at Dean Stockwell’s roadside gas station and diner, where coworkers include Sally Kirkland, Russ Tamblyn, and Dennis Hopper. The diner is situated near a nuclear power plant where the boys from Devo work and are exposed to so much radiation that they actually glow with red light. Stockwell, who has inherited the diner from his father and finds it in financial disarray, gets the idea to torch his unprofitable business and be rid of it; but will he be able to hatch his plot before toxic waste, radiation poisoning, or a full-blown nuclear holocaust throws a monkey wrench into his plans?

More of a gratuitously bizarre curiosity than a genuinely admirable film, Human Highway remains a valuable document of the prevailing new wave musical sensibility of the day as applied to cinema, and also conveys the anxieties of the eighties about the possibility of nuclear holocaust and the threat to man and the environment posed by toxic waste. This black comedy’s script, unfortunately, too often aims for the random and leaves most of the ideas and characters underdeveloped, while the production values are on the order of a typical episode of Pee-wee’s Playhouse – which, depending upon the viewer’s individual taste, could be a blessing or a curse. The film really starts to fall apart from a narrative standpoint during the second half, with (for some reason) a montage of Native Americans dancing around a bonfire of wooden Indians and Lionel dreaming after being knocked unconscious of rock-and-roll stardom and excess, and letting a groupie suck milk off of him with a straw. The high point of Human Highway is an extended bout of down-and-dirty, feedback-fried riffing and jamming between Neil Young and Devo, with the team totally freaking out and looking like a bunch of psychos.

4 out of 5 glass parking lots.

Incident at Channel Q

Incident at Channel Q (1986) *****

Al Corley headlines this trash heap treasure as Rick Van Ryan, a smug, sarcastic, rebel-rousing VJ at regional television station Q 23. The teenagers love him, but stick-in-the-mud suburbanite parents and Christian conservatives are all in a tizzy and picketing Rick’s unwholesome influence, demanding that his program, Heavy Metal Heaven, be taken off the air in order to save young people’s souls. Corporate sponsors are getting nervous, the old guard at Q 23 hates his guts, and the Tipper Gore ticket is getting unruly, with two right-wing brutes ambushing Rick in an alley and beating him up, after which the young radical moves to bring the cultural crisis to a head, barricading himself inside the TV station and calling on his followers to lend him support. 

What passes for a story line in Incident at Channel Q is primarily a pretext for exhibiting a series of then-recent music videos in their entirety, these videos – ranging from Rush to Rainbow, KISS, Iron Maiden, and all points in between – taking up half or more of the movie and simulating the experience of watching 80 minutes or so of MTV on a typical day in the 1980s. The music, for the most part, is fantastic stuff for 80s rock buffs, with a trio of videos – Lita Ford’s “Gotta Let Go”, the Scorpions’ “Rock You Like a Hurricane”, and Motley Crue’s vicious “Looks That Kill”  – constituting some of the greatest, most outlandishly photogenic material ever committed to film. Poofy hair, horror lighting, whore makeup, chintzy sets, studded leather wristbands, tight pants, and other depravity abound, with KISS’s “All Hell’s Breakin’ Loose” being another fun and action-packed video, while others – Rush’s “Body Electric” and Deep Purple’s “Knocking at Your Back Door” – showcase the post-apocalyptic imagery that was popular in those years.

5 pentagrams for the rock and the morally righteous camp value. VHS copies of Incident at Channel Q are inexpensive, so readers who see one languishing on a used bookstore shelf or in a moldy box in a basement are advised to redeem it or suffer the vengeful disfavor of Satan. 

 

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Ideological Content Analysis requests that readers take a moment to vote in the following poll on American racial prospects. In addition to allowing users to express their sentiments to each other, this will hopefully give the reviewer some idea of the sort of traffic, politically speaking, that the site is getting. Foreign visitors who identify with or take an interest in America’s problems are also invited to participate.

Better than might be expected for a low-budget science fiction adventure out of cut-rate genre studio The Asylum, director Thunder Levin’s AE: Apocalypse Earth is an entertaining and tolerably paced concoction that might best be described as Predator meets The Mysterious Island, with a dash of Star Trek added for flavor.  Adrian Paul, looking every bit as handsome and virile as when he starred in the Highlander television series, stars as the unfortunately named Frank Baum, a military man who leads a group of refugees from an outer space “ark” after Earth is overrun by alien “chameleons”. Also in the group is spaceship pilot Captain Crowe (Richard Grieco), camo-skinned jungle woman Lea (Bali Rodriguez), and a gaggle of nondescript space-fillers who tag along.

AE unsuccessfully attempts to conceal that the planet on which they have landed is Earth hundreds of years after invasion and climate change have caused its lifeforms to evolve in striking ways, so that the Planet of the Apes style revelation of the ending has been obvious all along, arguably given away even by the film’s title, and carries none of the intended impact.  Despite this shortcoming, AE succeeds as a decent afternoon’s home entertainment matinee if viewers are willing to be lenient with the abundantly unconvincing CGI creatures and spacecraft. The picturesque Costa Rica locations lend a great deal of production value, and the costume design, particularly for the sexy Lea and the albino cave-dwellers, enhances the look of the film as well.

3 out of 5 stars.  Ideological Content Analysis indicates that AE: Apocalypse Earth is:

7. Anti-drone.  Aliens use the things like hunting dogs.

6. Feminist.  Lea lives and hunts alone and is capable of taking care of herself.

5. Pro-military.  Soldiers are depicted as noble and selfless servants of humanity.

4. Pro-NWO.  In the future, America is protected by the “North American Joint Military.”

3. Anti-racist/anti-white/anti-Christian.  Representing WASPs are a tribe of bald (i.e., skinhead), bigoted, and generally unprogressive albino cave-dwellers who have cast out Lea because she was born different. Having reverted to primitive superstition in their isolation, they believe those unlike themselves to be demons.

2. Multiculturalist/pro-miscegenation.  Baum gets the hots for humanoid Lea, the most beautiful woman he has ever seen.  A multi-ethnic band of survivors works together against the invaders – but the old sacrificial Negro convention lives!

1. Green.  “Most of the water on Earth is polluted.”  A “runaway greenhouse effect” has covered the planet with jungle and mutated the flora and fauna.  And Lea, the next step in human evolution, has literally turned green!

Appearances, as the old saying goes, can be deceiving.  A case in point is Devil’s Angel, recently retitled and rereleased after debuting in 2010 as I’m Not Jesus Mommy.  A controversy-courting film that deals with abortion, child murder, genetic engineering, the New World Order, Christianity, and the end of the world, Devil’s Angel would be an admirably ambitious undertaking regardless of budget, but is especially praiseworthy for its accomplishments on an obvious shoestring.  No less impressive and entertaining is Devil’s Angel‘s deft handling of its ideological agenda.

Voluptuously common-looking (executive producer) Bridget McGrath stars as Kimberly Gabriel, a doctor pioneering fertility treatments for women but who, ironically, has been unable to conceive a child with her husband (Joseph Schneider).  Enter the gauntly sinister, smiling Dr. Gibson (Charles Hubbell), a genetic researcher who drafts reluctant Dr. Gabriel to assist with his government-funded cloning project.  Dr. Gabriel harbors moral reservations about the experiment and the treatment of the embryos, but continues in Gibson’s service for reasons of her own.  Pitiably, in an access of womanly self-indulgence, she steals a vial of clone material scheduled for disposal and artificially inseminates herself in the lab bathroom and breaks the wonderful news to Hubby only have him get upset, storm out of the house, and die in an auto accident.

Flash forward seven years and the country has fallen prey to freezing climate change, crime, dictatorial rule, starvation, and a plague that evaporates people.  Dr. Gabriel is living alone in a squalid apartment with her creepy clone son, little David (beautiful Rocko Hale), and taking life one day at a time.  Dr. Gibson, meanwhile, is now flying his Jesus freak flag high and has moved in with his sister and niece, whose souls he tries his darnedest to save by reading them scary Bible stories by candlelight.  And what of little David, who talks to an imaginary friend, appears to have access to knowledge of future happenings, and can bring dead mice back to life?  What part does he have to play in the end times?  Could the fact that David’s genetic source material comes from the Shroud of Turin possibly have anything to do with any of this?

So far, so seemingly simple and straightforward, with what appears to be a melodramatic Lifetime Network original horror film with a pro-life and survivalist wacko slant.  Twenty or thirty minutes into its story of the repercussions of a cloning experiment gone wrong, however, the viewer must face a burning question.  Is all of this Apocalypse business in earnest or a joke at the expense of Christian audiences?

Clues are provided by the IMDb and Wikipedia profiles for the director, Vaughn Juares – beginning with his real name, Vaughn Garland Smith.  A creator of web videos that include a mock ad for a Jesus Christ action figure, and director of mercenary assignments ranging from spots for American Express and Nestle to Dairy Queen and Democratic  congressional campaign commercials, plus several boob-and-booty-obsessed music videos for Univision, one of which was named AOL’s “Sexiest Video of 2006”, Mr. “Juares” is a professional product hustler and is clearly no choirboy.  With this background in mind, the viewer is advised to take Devil’s Angel‘s religious content with a wafer of salt.

Put bluntly, Devil’s Angel is a con and a Trojan horse, a film that presents itself as one thing and delivers quite another.  An ostensibly Christian film about the dangers of tampering with the natural order of God’s creation actually emerges in the end as an undermining operation aimed at demolishing by sly ridicule the illusions of its probably intended audience.  It is a film, furthermore, that complicates somewhat the task of Ideological Content Analysis, which, however, indicates that Devil’s Angel is:

10. Smartass.  “No animals were harmed during the making of this motion picture.  The mouse was already dead.”

9. Feminist.  Dr. Gabriel stabs a presumptuous male assailant.  Her husband dies in a wreck as punishment for not supporting her unilateral reproductive decision.

8. Prejudiced.  A man in a hoodie attacks Dr. Gabriel, thus perpetuating the cruel stereotype that would take Trayvon Martin’s life.

7. Drug-ambivalent.  Cigarettes are a turn-off and bad for mothers and babies, but wine is sexy stuff to lick from a woman’s neck.

6. Ostensibly and deceptively critical of climate change theory, i.e., crypto-environmentalist.  Not only is the globe not warming; the fact of the matter is that it is freezing!  This is most likely a condescending sop to conservative climate change skeptics who presumably, in this film’s view, would be more likely to believe in global cooling.

5. Ostensibly and deceptively genetic research-critical.  “At some point science will go bad,” Dr. Gabriel reflects early in the film.  The ridiculousness of the religious views expressed in the film are effectively tantamount to an endorsement of mad science.

4. Pro-immigration.  Illegals are captured and persuaded to allow themselves to be used as guinea pig host mothers for the clone project in exchange for mere “permanent resident” status and are portrayed sympathetically as victims of anglo insensitivity and cruelty, including ogling and butt-slapping.  The situation is then reversed when, seven years later, the U.S. has frozen over and Americans are now scrambling to get into Mexico, which responds by building a wall and shooting frostbacks on sight.

3. Ostensibly and deceptively anti-state, i.e., contemptuous of anti-state sentiment – which is to say that Devil’s Angel is crypto-statist in its sympathies.  The government is indirectly responsible for the Apocalypse – sounds like something those zany hard right Tea Partiers would allege, yes? “When it comes to science,” Dr. Gibson exults, “the public doesn’t have a say.”  “Thanks to a liberal president in the White House and the proliferation of broad fetal cell research,” he elaborates, “we are practically mandated to take the next steps in human cloning.”

Most outrageously, the film parodies right-wing nightmares about the New World Order in its characterization of authoritarian post-Obama America.  The new regime’s propaganda arm, the National Information Ministry, has as its symbol an abstract eagle and a paranoid eye at the center of a pyramid.  The tinnily robotic voice of a fuzzy National Information Ministry broadcast (tv reception sucks in the future) warns that the U.S.-Mexico border is a Mexican-designated kill zone for Americans and Canadians.  “Warning: do not eat food products not provided by the National Food Ministry programs.  All food must be obtained with a valid government wristband or other voucher.”  A national curfew is also in effect from 6 p.m. to 9 a.m. and government services are unavailable in most areas due to the ice and severe weather ravaging vast stretches of the country.

2. Ostensibly and deceptively Christian and spiritual, i.e., anti-Christian and insultingly crypto-irreligious.  Dr. Gibson, the film’s representative religious nut, scares his sister and gives his niece nightmares with his obsessiveness.  “Jesus will take care of us,” he tells them; but after hearing and being inspired by a spooky radio sermon on Abraham, he smothers the sister with a pillow and then snuffs the little girl with her teddy bear.  Fanatically, he has cloned Jesus only to accidentally bring forth the Antichrist instead.  David’s mother disapproves of his belief in an imaginary friend, telling him, “I used to be a kid like you, imaginary friends and all” – which could be read as the film’s way of implying that religion is no better than the products of a childish imagination.

1. Ostensibly and deceptively pro-life, i.e., fundamentally crypto-pro-choice.  Try as it might to pose as a pro-life propaganda piece, the reality of Devil’s Angel‘s plot remains that the Apocalypse could have been averted by a simple abortion procedure.

This film, which examines human behavior in the face of impending extinction, has an intriguing first half hour, particularly as it surveys society’s general response: rampant promiscuity, orgies, drug use, and rioting. Some moments are so shocking and uncompromising that I wish these could be salvaged as part of a better film yet to be made on the same subject.

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is less interesting as it abandons the apocalyptic tableau and focuses on the individual concerns of effeminized, self-pitying wimp and non-leading man Steve Carell, whose cheating wife has abandoned him at the news that humanity is doomed, and his new friend, annoying neighbor Keira Knightley. Specifically, the movie goes into an irrevocably accelerating nosedive from the pointless moment the pair drops in to visit Knightley’s black survivalist ex-boyfriend.

As for the cast, Carell is fun to watch when the material is good, but I’ve learned that I have only a limited tolerance for Knightley’s endless cutesy facial posing. Patton Oswalt appears briefly as a character named Roache and delivers some embarrassingly obscene dialogue, and Martin Sheen wastes a few minutes of what remains of his life as Carell’s estranged father.

Ultimately too self-consciously quirky, uneventful, and self-important, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is at best a high-potential but squandered opportunity. Carell’s dying world and his interactions with friends and with Knightley hold out the promise of something new and unique in cinema – apocalyptic films tending to be uniformly grim or action-oriented, whereas this could have been an apocalyptic romantic black comedy – but it ends up feeling more like 30 minutes of serious thought and 60 minutes of mopey, superficial navel-gazing and disposable tongue-in-cheek humor and sentimentality. Just an average 3 of 5 stars.

My advice: see the imperfect and frustrating but conversation-sparking film The Rapture (1991) instead.

Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is:

3. (Arguably) anti-Occupier, as Knightley’s lazy, arrogantly jobless live-in boyfriend fits the bill and cops out when things get scary, and because riots and looting come across as realistically frightening.

2. Pro-miscegenation, from the standpoint that any publicity is good publicity (accounts for half-star deduction; they really need to start putting this stuff in the trailer as a service to moviegoers)

1. Pro-slut/anti-marriage (though some hope may be held out for unconventional, new age unions)

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