Archives for posts with tag: China

arrival

Arrival is a more intimate alien visitation story than most owing to its sensitive lead performance from Amy Adams (Man of Steel’s Lois Lane playing another lover of extraterrestrials) as a distinguished linguist drafted by the U.S. government to communicate with the occupants of one of twelve alien spaceships that land around the world. Kill the Messenger’s Jeremy Renner appears as the physicist who assists her. Arrival features some highly stressful and fascinating sequences, but loses a little steam as its bankrupt moralism becomes evident.

[WARNING: POTENTIAL SPOILERS]

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

5. Green. The extraterrestrials’ craft demonstrates that highly sophisticated technology can be developed to travel at high speeds without producing an ecological footprint.

4. Feminist. It is women with brains and feelings, not men with guns, who will win peace for the world, the film suggests. The protagonist’s daughter plays at being a sheriff, her mother having empowered her to believe that girls can fill traditionally masculine roles.

3. Neoconservative. Russia and China, not the U.S., threaten global security with their idiosyncratic saber-rattling. Mention is also made of the Amy Adams character having helped the military translate a recording of Farsi-speaking “insurgents”, connecting Iran with terrorism in audiences’ minds.

2. Pro-immigration. Arrival functions partly as an allegory about western anxieties of demographic displacement. This subtext is made explicit when the viewer is treated to an excerpt of a blowhard conservative talk show host complaining about the alien presence. Lucky for Earth, the undocumented ones come bearing the gift of advanced parapsychological technology.

1. Globalist. Renner’s physicist feels – correctly, as it turns out – that the earth’s safety depends on his work with Adams rather than anything the military can do. It is sensitive, scholarly anti-racist academics to whom the world must look in order to understand immigrants’ needs and desires and the ways in which all beings’ interests are intertwined. The appropriately octopus-like Heptapods – reminiscent of the Twelve Tribes of Israel – visit the planet in twelve massive ships in order to gift humanity with their nonlinear, brain-reconfiguring language, a sort of intergalactic Esperanto through which a one-world order will be brought about. Something vague is said about how the Heptapods will collect on the debt in 3,000 years, at which point something akin to a horrible plague will develop. Screenwriter Eric Heisserer thereby seems to acknowledge that the “gift” of globalism will ultimately result in decay and death of the host, but seems to expect the viewer to feel that the joy of experiencing nation-erasing Jew World Order parasitism will somehow be worth the price.

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

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I’ve never been much of a U2 fan, but I’ve always had a soft spot for the group’s song “Beautiful Day”. Upbeat and uplifting in a generic, innocuous way, the track could hardly have been more perfectly engineered for distracting the public with pleasant reflections during some of the darkest days in the history of the United States. Was this the intention?

Curiously for a single offering such a positive message, the album from which it was lifted, All That You Can’t Leave Behind, was released at the end of October 2000, with E! News announcing the album as a “Halloween offering” for the band’s fans1. In retrospect, there is a creepiness to the music video for “Beautiful Day”, which features the band cavorting and performing at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. The video, in addition to showing Bono running about and behaving like a child or a madman, contains a scene in which the group’s luggage is scanned by airport security – did anybody suspect U2 of being terrorists? – and later has them playing a gig on some Persian rugs laid out on a runway. Less than one year later, the unfortunate associations of aircraft, airport security, and the Middle East in conjunction with the stuck traffic and other details referenced in the lyrics would conjure anything but the idea of a “beautiful day” – for most audiences, anyway. The events of September 11th were, of course, highly profitable for many – perhaps even “beautiful”.

bono-u2

Was All That You Can’t Leave Behind designed as a cryptographic soundtrack to 9/11? To ask such a question, of course, sounds foolish, as would any suggestion that Bono or any other members of U2 had anything to do with the terrorism experienced in New York City and Washington, D.C., that day. There are, however, several compelling precedents for an intelligent discussion of popular culture artifacts as possible evidence of cryptically indicated foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks, the Coup’s Party Music cover depicting the remotely controlled demolition of the World Trade Center being one of the most familiar of these. Are there any circumstances, apart from those listed above, that might lead a person to suspect more than a quasi-synchronicity at work between the perpetrators of 9/11 and All That You Can’t Leave Behind?

The cover of the album itself, also photographed in a terminal of Charles de Gaulle Airport, invites interpretation with its superimposition of the code “J33-3”, a reference to Jeremiah 33:3, which Bono has described as “God’s phone number”2. The biblical passage, which itself refers to mystery, reads, in the New American Standard Bible translation, “Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” In the King James version, it says, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not”, while the English Standard version renders it more interestingly as, “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known” (italics added). The Darby Bible and the Jewish Publication Society’s Tanakh of 1917 also favor the use of the word “hidden” in this passage. Is Bono, who as a young fellow in Ireland belonged to a prayer group called Shalom3, suggesting that something or other has been “hidden” or encrypted in the album’s contents?

bono-bush

The context of the quotation from Jeremiah may be instructive in view of the music’s hypothetically posited relevance to the events of September 11th, which infamously prompted Benjamin Netanyahu to observe that the destruction of the World Trade Center was “very good” for Israel4 and to concede years later, “We are benefiting from one thing, and that is the attack on the Twin Towers and Pentagon, and the American struggle in Iraq.”5 Here is what Jeremiah goes on to say after 33:3.

For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says about the houses in this city and the royal palaces of Judah that have been torn down to be used against the siege ramps and the sword in the fight with the Babylonians: “They will be filled with the dead bodies of the people I will slay in my anger and wrath. I will hide my face from this city because of all its wickedness.

“Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security. I will bring Judah and Israel back from captivity and will rebuild them as they were before. I will cleanse them from all the sin they have committed against me and will forgive all their sins of rebellion against me. Then this city will bring me renown, joy, praise and honor before all nations on earth that hear of all the good things I do for it; and they will be in awe and will tremble at the abundant prosperity and peace I provide for it.”

bono-star

After the promised revelation of the “hidden things”, the “God of Israel” talks about demolished buildings and war against the enemies of the Jews in connection with the restoration of Israel. A few verses down, Jeremiah even mentions “burnt offerings” and “sacrifices” with reference to Israel’s ascent. For those with an interest in the occult significances of 9/11, the number 333 is also associated in Aleister Crowley’s Thelema system with a destructive force called Choronzon, a “demon of dispersion”, illusion, and hallucination which Aleister Crowley claims to have summoned. This, however, is probably straying too far afield for the purposes of the present essay, possible indications of Crowleyite mysticism at play on 9/11 and Bono’s reputed sartorial dabbling in the Jewish occult notwithstanding (“When he’s going cycling, he likes to dress up as a Hassidic Jew,” the Edge revealed of his bandmate after Bono injured himself in a bicycle accident in 20146).

Returning to “Beautiful Day”, the song informs listeners, “You’re out of luck,” and goes on to intone, “Sky falls, you feel like / It’s a beautiful day.” It goes on, “You’re lovin’ this town / Even if that doesn’t ring true / You’ve been all over / And it’s been all over you” – as, perhaps, material from the combusted skyscrapers would be “all over” the people in the streets of lower Manhattan? Niall Stokes, in his book Into the Heart, notes that Interscope Records executive Jimmy Iovine made a special visit to the Dublin studio where U2 was hard at work on “Beautiful Day” with “co-conspirators” (i.e., producers) Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois. “It wasn’t finished at the time,” Stokes writes, adding that “the lyrics were only half-crafted when Iovine heard the track”7. He goes on to give this interesting account of one member of the production team’s experience of the song:

Daniel Lanois, sitting in the control room also had that [“Beautiful Day”] feeling [expressed by Bono]. “The track at that point was really pumping,” he remembers, “and the mix that we did had the power of shattered metal. You don’t know where it comes from – I think it was a lot of processing. And I had this image of Bono, singing about beauty in the midst of flying pieces of metal and mayhem.”8

bono-eyeWhat “flying pieces of metal and mayhem” have to do with a “beautiful day” is beyond me, but apparently it meant something to U2. Another song on the album is titled “New York”, referencing the target of the attacks explicitly, and name-drops Jews and, in the following line, “political fanatics” – although it’s unclear from the context whether or not the Jews are the fanatics in question. Other lines in “New York”, heard post-9/11, could easily be construed as alluding to the chaos of that day if somebody didn’t know better: “Voices on a cell phone / Voices from home / Voices of the hard sell / Voices down a stairwell / In New York […] You can’t walk around the block / Without a change of clothing / Hot as a hair dryer in your face / Hot as a handbag and a can of mace / New York.”

Other songs on the album, whether intentionally or otherwise, carry similar 9/11 resonances, with imagery evocative of air travel (“Man dreams one day to fly / A man takes a rocket ship into the skies”; “Explain all these controls”; “You’re packing a suitcase”; “you’ve got no destination”; “You make me feel like I can fly / So high, elevation”; “The only baggage you can bring / Is all that you can’t leave behind”; “Who’s to say where the wind will take you”), death and loss (“I wasn’t jumping / For me it was a fall / It’s a long way down to nothing at all”; “They left you with nothing”; “a star that’s dying in the night”; “You lose your balance, lose your wife / In the queue for the lifeboat”; “I’m not afraid to die”), and explosions (“scatter of light”; “fireworks”; “star lit up like a cigar”), and other catastrophes (“All that you wreck / All that you hate”; “I hit an iceberg in my life”). “When I Look at the World”, meanwhile, in lines that could very easily refer to the “Chosen People”, gripes, “I can’t see for the smoke / I think of you and your holy book / When the rest of us choke.” Another of All That You Can’t Leave Behind’s tracks is titled “Kite” and might be of particular interest to those familiar with accusations of esoteric significance to the children’s reading demonstration for President Bush on September 11th. “There’s a kite blowing out of control on a breeze,” the song warns, adding, “I wonder what’s gonna happen to you.”

Notwithstanding the highlighted lyrics, it must be noted that Bono and his bandmates have provided perfectly plausible explanations for the genesis of each of the songs on All That You Can’t Leave Behind – each of which is detailed in Into the Heart. Bono has claimed the death of INXS frontman Michael Hutchence as the inspiration for “Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of”9, while “Elevation” purports to convey “a combination of primordial lasciviousness, ecstatic spirituality and soulful need”10 and “Walk On”, according to Bono, was inspired by Aung San Suu Kyi, a Burmese academic and leader of the National League for Democracy11. As for the album’s travel motif, Stokes makes the observation that Bono is “a man who has spent a substantial part of the last 25 years living in hotels.”12 On the origin of “In a Little While”, Stokes offers the following:

Around the turn of the year, Bono had been thinking Millennium thoughts, watching old clips of the Apollo moon landing on TV and experiencing again the sense of awe that he’d felt when he saw those pictures for the first time as a kid, the ecstatic realisation of how tiny and insignificant we are as individuals – and as a race – in the grand scheme of things. It was a mood that fed into “Beautiful Day” with its vision of Bedouin fires, the Great Wall of China, the Grand Canyon and other earthly phenomena, as seen from above, the narrator cocooned in the bosom of a space ship orbiting the globe.13

bono6In addition to the “Bedouin fires” and “oil fields” – clearly references to the Middle East – the line in “Beautiful Day” that goes, “See China right in front of you” is, perhaps, and to force a point, interesting in view of this assertion by geopolitical commentator and former U.S. Treasury official Paul Craig Roberts: “The Western peoples are so dimwitted that they have not yet understood that the ‘war on terror’ is, in fact, a war to create terror that can be exported to Muslim areas of Russia and China in order to destabilize the two countries that serve as a check on Washington’s unilateral, hegemonic power.”14 But, again, such a reading would constitute something of a stretch.

The song “Peace on Earth”, meanwhile, is acknowledged to have been inspired by a terrorist event – but one that took place in Ireland, not New York. Stokes explains:

[…] a bomb went off at 2:30 in the afternoon, on 15 August 1998, in the town of Omagh in County Tyrone. There had been an advance warning. But it was inaccurate, and instead of clearing the area around the car containing the bomb, it drove the crowds of people milling around the town on a busy Saturday afternoon towards the danger zone. When the bomb exploded, the resulting carnage was the worst in the bloody history of the Northern troubles with twenty-nine killed and dozens more scarred, maimed and wounded.15

bono-bush-2

Finally, “New York”, according to Stokes, consists of “the cool pulsing groove acting as a backdrop as the narrator confesses quietly to the terms of the mid-life crisis afflicting him” until “halfway through it explodes in a grungy mess that’s impressively appropriate to the theme of the song.”16

In spite of the flimsiness of the case to be made for All That You Can’t Leave Behind as a cryptographic foreshadowing of the World Trade Center attacks and the coming of the War on Terror, there is an undeniable and consciously cultivated connection between U2 and these events. As The Daily Dot’s Nico Lang recounts:

Their 2000 record, All That You Can’t Leave Behind, not only sold a staggering 12 million copies, but it gave the band a renewed relevance in the wake of 9/11, when songs like “Walk On” came to symbolize an America figuring out how to pick up the pieces. Songs like the anthemic “One” had always found a universal relevance, but this was a reminder of exactly why U2 was so popular: It united the types of people who would normally never agree on liking anything.17

Whatever the group’s intentions in crafting each of the particular songs, fans have made connections between the group, All That You Can’t Leave Behind, and contemporary events in history. One uploader to YouTube has even dubbed “Stuck in a Moment” a “9/11 Song” despite the fact that it was released almost a year before that date.

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More intriguing than fans’ perceptions of the band’s intentions, however, are Bono’s unexpected involvements with the neoconservative Blair and Bush administrations. “Among liberals there was, it is true, some grumbling when, from 2001, Bono’s friendly persuasion started to provide ‘caring’ cover for a Republican White House rather than a Democratic one,” writes Harry Browne, author of the scathing study The Frontman: Bono (In the Name of Power). “But such grumbling is a mere artefact of the partisan divide in the US, where the distinction between the two parties hides the fact that they have few substantial differences.”18 He continues:

bono-flag-3It was reported that he would hop on a plane immediately after a gig and dash to Washington for meetings first thing in the morning. The Bush White House increasingly liked the cut of his jib. […]

The White House was pleased that Bono was on board with the sort of “conditionalities” on aid that First World governments and institutions had been demanding from developing countries for decades.

After 9/11, it perhaps became a little harder to sell development assistance in Washington. However, [Condoleezza] Rice and secretary of state Colin Powell were keen to ensure that US foreign policy was seen to have a non-military dimension, and Bono and others were frequently heard to conjoin the “war on terror” with a “war on poverty”: as the New York Times put it, paraphrasing Bono’s argument, “fragile states could not be allowed to become failed states, as Afghanistan had been.”19

bono-flagBono does not seem to have had much of a problem with Bush’s interventionist foreign policy, and the singer was disgustingly reported to have “clicked” with Paul Wolfowitz when the pair met20. At the very outset of the War on Terror, he gave his implicit blessing to the American invasion of Afghanistan. “Bono would not always be so sensitive about the dangers of associating ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ with nationalism, even violent nationalism,” Browne recalls. “On stage in Madison Square Garden in October 2001, as the US dropped bombs on Afghan cities, during that song he ‘embraced the Stars and Stripes’ and otherwise ‘reverently’ handled the US flag,” he continues. “He didn’t tear it apart.”21 A few months later, at E-Trade Finanacial’s Super Bowl Halftime Show of 2002, U2 performed “Where the Streets Have No Name” as, ironically, the names of the 9/11 dead were projected behind the band. At the close of the show, Bono opened his jacket to reveal the American flag in its lining, appearing to give the crowd a demonstration of his solidarity with America’s warlike response to the terror attacks.

“Such is Bono’s special status among the elite globalist sets of Bilderbergers and Trilateralists that he has, inevitably, come to the attention of American conspiracy theorists, who incoherently (even by their own standards) paint him as a knowing ‘frontman for genocide’ through his connection to an obscure but deadly eugenics agenda that appears to be run by Bill Gates,” Browne observes. “As usual,” however, “such ravings distract from serious consideration of Bono’s place in the world and the service he provides to the powerful by dressing their work, individually and collectively, in humanitarian garb – a relationship that is right out in the open and can be viewed clearly without resort to conspiracy.”22

Inevitably, not every questioner will be satisfied by Browne’s dismissive sarcasm – particularly when Bono conveniently pops up at the recent ISIS Nice truck attack (!).

Thoughts?

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

Endnotes

  1. Grossberg, Josh. “New U2 Album to Rock Halloween”. E! News (August 21, 2000): http://www.eonline.com/news/40334/new-u2-album-to-rock-halloween
  2. Rossell, Raul. “U2 All That You Can’t Leave Behind Airport Photo Location and Bible Reference”. FeelNumb (August 29, 2010): http://www.feelnumb.com/2010/08/29/u2-all-that-you-cant-leave-behind-airport-photo-location/
  3. Browne, Harry. The Frontman: Bono (In the Name of Power). New York, NY: Verso, 2013, p. 14.
  4. Abunimah, Ali. “‘It’s Very Good’: Recalling Benjamin Netanyahu’s Words on the Day of the 9/11 Attacks”. The Electronic Intifada (September 11, 2012): https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/its-very-good-recalling-benjamin-netanyahus-words-day-911-attacks
  5. “Report: Netanyahu Says 9/11 Terror Attacks Good for Israel” Haaretz (April 16, 2008): http://www.haaretz.com/news/report-netanyahu-says-9-11-terror-attacks-good-for-israel-1.244044
  6. “U2’s Bono Goes Hasidic”. Jewish News (December 8, 2014): http://jewishnews.com/2014/12/08/u2s-bono-goes-hasidic/
  7. Stokes, Niall. Into the Heart: U2. New York, NY: Thunder’s Mouth Press, p. 146.
  8. Ibid., p. 147.
  9. Ibid., p. 148.
  10. Ibid., p. 150.
  11. Ibid., p. 151.
  12. Ibid., p. 152.
  13. Ibid., p. 154.
  14. Roberts, Paul Craig. “The NeoCon Game”. American Free Press 15, no. 51/52 (December 21-28, 2015), p. 12.
  15. Stokes, Niall. Into the Heart: U2. New York, NY: Thunder’s Mouth Press, p. 156.
  16. Ibid., p. 160.
  17. Lang, Nico. “How U2 Became the New Nickelback”. The Daily Dot (September 16, 2014): http://www.dailydot.com/via/how-u2-became-the-new-nickelback/
  18. Browne, Harry. The Frontman: Bono (In the Name of Power). New York, NY: Verso, 2013, p. 72.
  19. Ibid., p. 73.
  20. Grieve, Tim. “Wolfowitz Reaches Out to Bono”. Salon (March 18, 2005): http://www.salon.com/2005/03/18/wolf_5/
  21. Browne, Harry. The Frontman: Bono (In the Name of Power). New York, NY: Verso, 2013, p. 24.
  22. Ibid., p. 111.

Contagion

Steven Soderbergh directs an ensemble cast including Laurence Fishburne (cool, calm, and collected), Matt Damon (heartbroken and desperate!), Gwyneth Paltrow (autopsied!), Kate Winslett (who, sorry to say, does not appear nude), Jennifer Ehle (scientific!), Bryan Cranston (insignificant!), Jude Law (slimy and limey), and Elliott Gould (Elliott Gould!) in this frightening film in the tradition of 1995’s Outbreak. A planet goes literally batshit crazy when a virulent new virus ravages its way from China to the U.S.A., causing a panic and the potential for societal collapse. If nothing else, the flawlessly paced Contagion demonstrates that the inevitable breakdown of civil order, whatever its cause, will not be fun. (Naturally, the disorder also provides an irresistible opportunity to depict ravenous white men rioting and robbing blacks.) A neat and polished product with an effective electronic score to match, this respectable but gruesome (and ideologically servile) entry on Soderbergh’s resume may suffer only from slight dearth of soul.

[WARNING: POTENTIAL SPOILERS]

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

9. Pro-gay. The virus at one point mutates into some funky kind of variation on AIDS, reminding viewers of how urgently the world needs a cure for gay cancer.

8. Anti-miscegenation. Unusual interspecies contact has brought the new disease into existence. “Somewhere in the world the wrong pig met up with the wrong bat.”

7. Black supremacist. The juxtaposition of a black doctor (Fishburne) and a white janitor (John Hawkes) says it all.

6. Egalitarian. Pesky “socio-economic factors” affect people’s susceptibility to the plague. When a vaccine finally becomes available, it is rationed by lottery so as to democratize the suffering.

5. Anti-slut. An adulteress (Gwyneth Paltrow) is Patient Zero.

4. Pro-family. Contagion features two touching father-daughter relationships.

3. Green and anti-capitalistic. An American corporation’s blundering program of deforestation displaces a population of oriental bats and so sets off a chain reaction that ironically takes the life of one of the company’s own executives. Black Friday crowds and confusion exacerbate the epidemic. Consumer culture must be regulated or Nature will have its vengeance! Undercutting Contagion’s environmentalist credibility, however, is its illustration of how convenient expendable laboratory monkeys can be during a catastrophic pickle.

2. Conformist. Alternative media receive a condescending send-up and a thrashing from Contagion. Decidedly de-glammed Jude Law portrays Alan Krumwiede (the name speaks for itself), a fringe blogger and crackpot conspiracy theory peddler who accuses the CDC of colluding with pharmaceuticals manufacturers, only to be exposed himself for profiteering on the crisis by stoking fears of the end of the world and defrauding the public by hyping an ineffective wonder drug called Forsythia. The lesson, one assumes, is that dissenters and those who promote distrust of government officials are not to be tolerated. Contagion is thus cronyism-tolerant in seeking to discredit those who would point out the distasteful symbioses between privileged corporations and grasping government.

1. Statist and pro-military. Self-sacrificing agents of the CDC, DHS, CIA, and other agencies contribute to the effort of saving humanity. Great pains seem to have been taken to show that the federal government has learned from the mistakes of Katrina. Laurence Fishburne’s wise technocrat even implies that the central government might do well to subsume all regional autonomies when he frets, “There are fifty different states in this country, which means there are fifty different health departments, followed by fifty different protocols.” In other words, why not just have one gigantic bureaucratized managerial leviathan to handle everything? End credits offer “special thanks” to the U.S. Department of Defense. Kate Winslet leaves the audience with the memorable image of woman-government-agent-as-Christ.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

Badges-of-Fury

Jet Li headlines this action comedy as “vintage” cop Huang, who, along with young comic relief partner Wang (Zhang Wen), is tasked with investigating an odd series of “smile murders”, in which each victim wears a mysterious grin at the time of his death. Moderately funny, Badges of Fury would have been strengthened by more shared screen time and bickering/bonding between mismatched partners Huang and Wang, who spend much of the film acting independently; but scenes between the comical Wang and sassy but insecure sergeant Angela (Michelle Chen) are also highly rewarding. The silly, CGI-facilitated action sequences, complete with crazy cartoon sound effects, will probably be too goofy for fight fans accustomed to western sensibilities, so these scenes are best judged by the standards of slapstick.

3.5 of 5 possible stars.

Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Badges of Fury is:

4. Pro-gay, from the standpoint that there is no such thing as bad publicity. Wang has a run-in with two camp homosexuals who criticize his attire.

3. Asian supremacist. A coroner, citing the superior findings of western medicine, claims there is no such thing as an acupuncture point controlling smiling; but Wang, standing up for Eastern traditions, proves him wrong and makes a major breakthrough in the case by demonstrating that each of the victims died by strategically inserted needles.

2. Pro-family. “Cherish those closest to you,” Badges of Fury advises viewers.

1. Feminism-ambivalent. In the tradition of Hong Kong action, women cops are tough and scrappy; but a telling look on Angela’s face during an interrogation scene suggests that a woman, even an emancipated professional, needs a man in her life to make her happy. Angela is also insecure about her weight and looks. Huang injects further political incorrectness when he reacts to a suspect’s appearance. “You know why we see so many harassment cases? Look at what she’s wearing.”

 

 

Kick-Ass 2

2010’s Kick-Ass advertised itself as presenting audiences with “A New Kind of Superhero”. What was new was the fact that, in that film, the hero nearly drops the ethnic disguise that crypto-Jewish predecessors – Batman, Superman, and others – had worn in winning the public’s heart. In adapting John Romita, Jr.’s comic book for the screen, Kick-Ass not only exposes but almost openly celebrates the Chosenness of its protagonist by transforming Dave Lizewski from the blond, Nordic-looking character of Romita’s creation into a curly-headed, bespectacled Jewish nebbish ably portrayed by Aaron Taylor-Johnson.

Hit-Girl, too – though her name is given as Macready, and despite being portrayed by Chloe Grace Moretz, a precocious actress who claims to come from a “very Christian” background – conveys a decidedly Judaic sensibility; and the character’s Jewishness goes overt in the scene in which she watches as her father, Nic Cage, conflagrates as a one-man Holocaust.

Kick-Ass poster

Kick-Ass 2 (2013), like its forebear, is filthy, foulmouthed, ultraviolent, and full of over-the-top bloodletting, but only half as engaging as the original Kick-Ass. For one thing, the novelty of the DIY hero idea is diluted by the fact that Kick-Ass 2 populates New York City with whole armies of would-be superheroes and villains, none of whom are fully developed characters as Kick-Ass and Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) are in the first film.

Nor are matters helped by the fact that the entertainment-evaporating Morris Chestnut receives extra screen time as Hit-Girl’s tedious foster father Marcus, a straight-laced, sterling example of Africanus cinematicus who chides his young ward for her obscene language and institutes a swear jar penalty for every offense. Meanwhile, the toilet humor factor, as if to compensate for Kick-Ass 2’s lack of human interest, is ratcheted to the nth degree, with Kick-Ass and girlfriend Night Bitch (Lindy Booth) literally having sex in a toilet stall. The only other paltry attraction of note is Jim Carrey in his supporting turn as ridiculously mugging and slugging hero Col. Stars and Stripes.

Kick-Ass Chloe

Chloe Grace Moretz as Hit-Girl in Kick-Ass (2010)

Fortunately, Chloe Moretz is a few years older this time out, which softens the borderline pedophilia of the first film’s fetishization of Hit-Girl. Kick-Ass made explicit Hit-Girl’s forbidden appeal to older males, with her leather outfit, whore wig, short skirt, sensuous, sneering lips, and penchant for blowing kisses and using language like “cunts”, “motherfuckers”, and “giant cock”. One scene of the first film frames her against an erotic billboard advertisement with Claudia Schiffer, juxtaposing Hit-Girl’s juvenile form with that of the fully developed sex siren.

Kick-Ass Claudia

Hit-Girl inappropriately framed with Claudia Schiffer

Jane Goldman

Kick-Ass (2010) writer and devourer of innocents Jane Goldman

Kick-Ass screenwriter Jane Goldman, in the A New Kind of Superhero documentary included on the Kick-Ass blu-ray, refers cryptically to the “odd domesticity” between Hit-Girl and her father, a wording which casts a disconcertingly serious light on Hit-Girl’s meaning when she says, “I’m just fuckin’ with you, Daddy.” Kick-Ass 2 only reinforces this impression when Hit-Girl tells Marcus, “I know you see me as this little girl, but I’m not, and I never was. You’re right, Daddy did take my childhood away, but I’m not so sure that was a bad thing.”

Jeff Wadlow

Kick-Ass 2 (2013) writer-director-cryptographer Jeff Wadlow

2.5 of 5 possible stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Kick-Ass 2 is:

10. Anti-Arab. Hit-Girl threatens to “go Saudi Arabia on your ass” before chopping a man’s hand off. A typically hypocritical Zionist warmonger, she engages in precisely the crimes of which she accuses the enemy. The Motherfucker’s henchmen commit an Islamic terrorist-style decapitation – which, like those supposedly performed by ISIS on Foley and Sotloff, never actually appears onscreen. (cf. no. 1)

9. Crypto-antichrist. Kick-Ass/Dave Lizewsky, though substantively Jewish, affects a veneer of Christian belief for gullible audiences, attending a Christian funeral ceremony for his father (Garrett M. Brown). Lizewsky’s irreverence toward his putative faith reveals itself, however, when he affects a comical pimp disguise with gaudy crucifix bling. On his bedroom wall, furthermore, is a poster advertising Kick-Ass creator Mark Millar’s comic book American Jesus, book one of which is titled “Chosen”. Military-minded Col. Stars and Stripes, meanwhile, is a born-again Christian who shows his faith and patriotism by dishing out beatings with his trusty baseball bat and barking orders like, “Yo, don’t take the Lord’s name in vain!” “I’ll be immortal, like an evil Jesus,” says the Motherfucker (Christopher Mintz-Plasse).

8. Egalitarian/class-conscious. The wealthy Motherfucker and his minions are the “one percent”, with heroes coming from what remains of the middle class. “A family livin’ in the street deserves a hot meal,” opines Col. Stars and Stripes in his role of embodiment of the schizophrenic mental retardation that is Barack Obama’s America.

7. Multiculturalist, pro-miscegenation, and pro-wigger. Hit-Girl, an orphan, is raised by an Africanus cinematicus. Katie (Lyndsy Fonseca), Kick-Ass’s girlfriend from the first film, breaks up with him and informs him that an African rival has a larger “baton”. Girls are encouraged to twerk and jerk to congoid booty-shaking beats.

6. Drug-ambivalent. Hit-Girl cut her teeth on the drug dealers she and her father targeted, but wins in the end of Kick-Ass 2 with the help of hypo full of adrenaline. Mr. Lizewsky is concerned that his son may be using drugs, but “an inebriated college girl deserves to make it home safe at night,” proclaims Col. Stars and Stripes.

5. Pro-gay. The Kick-Ass queer super-friends and allies include a token sodomite. Homophobic talk, the audience learns, “makes you sound super-gay.”

4. Misandrist and pro-castration. Hit-Girl beats up and mutilates a number of men. “In a weird way, I kinda liked it,” says Kick-Ass of being on the receiving end of Hit-Girl’s abuse. More than one male groin gets brutalized. Night Bitch devotes her career as a superheroine to stopping sexually predatory men.

3. Anti-racist (i.e., pro-yawn). Would-be supervillain the Motherfucker is loose with the racially insensitive stereotypes, which he defends rather as “archetypes”. (cf. no. 10)

2. Anti-family. Chris D’Amico (Mintz-Plasse) accidentally murders his mother in a fit of rage. Then, after discovering her S&M gear, he repurposes the items as a bad guy costume and dubs himself the Motherfucker. Hit-Girl’s high school rival, a catty and unprogressive blonde bitch (Claudia Lee), only aspires to be a wife and mother. (also see above remarks on incest and pedophilia)

Join Fight

1. Zionist. “We were in the ultimate clique. It didn’t matter that no one else knew. We knew,” gloats a self-satisfied Kick-Ass. Supervillain and would-be “evil Jesus” the Motherfucker knows that Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl – which is to say, Zionist Jews – assassinated his father (Mark Strong) in the first film. The ‘Fucker’s mother (Yancy Butler), however, dismisses her son’s claims and insists that Mr. D’Amico simply “died in a fire.” The Motherfucker, then, stands in Kick-Ass 2 as an insulting caricature of all the disgruntled “conspiracy theorists”, a representative of the Gentile Spring and the ascendant minority of the angry and awakened gentiles who know that the Jews did 9/11.

Kick-Ass 2 contains what may be a cryptic admission of Jewish guilt for the 9/11 attacks, if considered together with the conclusion of the first Kick-Ass, which ends with gangster Frank D’Amico exploding into an orange fireball high outside a New York City skyscraper. In the sequel, the hero teams up with a new vigilante (Donald Faison) who goes by the name Dr. Gravity – a handle suggestive of the force dictating that what goes up must come down. Significantly, the scene in which “ultimate clique” member Kick-Ass and artificial force of nature Dr. Gravity beat down two street thugs with skinhead haircuts takes place outside a restaurant with a sign clearly visible at the top of the frame. “Since 1911,” it reads – a reference to 9/11/01?

China and Russia, both inconvenient geopolitical counterbalances to the implementation of a Jewish World Imperium, appear personified as antagonists Genghis Carnage (Tom Wu) and Mother Russia (Olga Kurkulina), best described as a female version of Dolph Lundgren in Rocky IV. In another show of Jewish storytelling chutzpah, Col. Stars and Stripes’s German shepherd is suggestively named Eisenhower and wears a tacky American flag mask. The American president and Supreme Allied Commander of World War 2 is thus revealed as the Zionists’ pet, a faux-patriot Shabbos goy attack dog to be unleashed on the enemies of organized Jewry.

Lastly, the much-abused phrase “peace in the Middle East” occurs in the script as a reference point for something incredibly complicated, in the sense in which the proverbial “rocket science” is typically used. This, of course, obscures the fact that Americans, instead of subsidizing the Israelis’ genocide against the Palestinian people, would do better to further the aim of peace by cutting off Israel’s 3.5 billion-a-year in welfare checks.

Kick-Ass American Jesus

“Chosen”

Till Death Do We Scare

Till Death Do We Scare (1982) ****

Poor Irene (Olivia Cheng) – every man she marries dies as soon as they tie the knot! Fortunately (?), her three dead husbands, who loiter around the house as ghosts, want Irene to be happy, so they determine to locate another, hopefully more durable husband for her and pick incompetent radio horror show host Alan (Alan Tam). What follows is essentially a series of slapstick shenanigans as the ghosts, invisible to Irene and Alan, pull various stunts to bring the couple together. Complicating matters are the machinations of evil spirits who would prefer to see Alan dead. 

Till Death Do We Scare is typical fare for the Chinese ghost comedy genre, but with the odd, added attraction of stretchy Beetlejuice-style special effects by none other than Tom Savini. The best comic set piece in the movie is probably the haunted chair that refuses to let fat guy Eric Tsang sit in it; but other highlights include a deflatable ghost face, an animated pig’s head on buffet table, a decomposing princess with amorous intentions, and an unfortunate sucker who rolls down a hill and gets flattened by a steamroller. Till Death Do We Scare has the madcap energy viewers have come to expect of the Hong Kong film industry in the eighties, and should please devotees of the Chinese horror comedy.

4 out of 5 stars.

Breakfast

Vampire’s Breakfast (1987) ***1/2

Fat Piao (Kent Cheng) is a portly Hong Kong photojournalist investigating a series of what appear to be vampire murders, but police refuse to believe his stories, and only a sleazy thief (Keith Kwan) is willing to help him. Vampire’s Breakfast, like The Haunted Cop Shop (1987), is not a typical indigenous Chinese hopping vampire movie, but a horror hybrid featuring a rotten-looking blond Caucasian bloodsucker (Simon Willson) with the usual western susceptibilities to crucifixes and wooden stakes – or, as the subtitles would have it, a “mahogany nail”. Pretty, pouty Emily Chu, whom action enthusiasts may remember from John Woo’s classic A Better Tomorrow (1986), adds a deal of grace as Piao’s love interest, Angie, while Parkman Wong contributes irksome antagonism as skeptical Inspector Chen.

The movie drags a bit in the middle, but does feature a handful of suspenseful sequences, generally drenched in creepy blue moonlight and city shadows. A clandestine visit to a morgue makes for one of the more memorable scenes, while a spurting decapitation at the end should please gorehounds. One does wish, however, that the nastiness of one early scene in a strip club had been sustained throughout the film. Veteran viewers of Hong Kong horror will probably enjoy Vampire’s Breakfast, but prissier audiences accustomed to Criterion disc production standards are hereby warned that the subtitles on the Fortune Star DVD release are more than usually sloppy, resulting in lines of dialogue like, “Tow big eyes were ataring at me”.

3.5 out of 5 stars.

Vampire’s Breakfast trailer

X-Men-Days-of-Future-Past

After an overly busy and action-saturated exposition, alleged pedophiliac ringmaster Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past develops into a passable superhero entertainment, with Logan (Hugh Jackman) venturing back to the seventies to try to stop scientist Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage) from developing the adaptive Sentinel robots who pose an existential threat to mutant survival in the future. Highlights include a comedic slow-motion bullet-halting set piece and the climactic confrontation in which Logan and Beast (Nicholas Hoult) gang up on renegade Magneto (Michael Fassbender). Jennifer Lawrence, meanwhile, playing the pivotal role of Mystique, will, depending upon the viewer’s tolerance for fetish garb, either be sexy or repulsive in her scaly blue body stocking and slather of greasy red porn hair.

4 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that X-Men: Days of Future Past is:

4. Anti-family. Asked if he has children, Logan (Hugh Jackman) answers, “Sure as hell hope not.”

3. Anti-corporatist. At the unveiling of the Sentinels, decorations feature Trask insignia melded with elements of the American flag, suggesting a fusion of government and the defense industry.

2. Feminist. The formidable Mystique kicks or otherwise incapacitates dozens of men throughout the film.

1. Crypto-Zionist. Ostensibly antiwar, Days of Future Past shows its neoconservative streak by having the Sentinel raids on the X-Men occur under the threateningly gloomy skies of Russia and China, two countries currently standing in the way of the Jew World Order. Bodies dumped in a pile evoke the famous images of the Holohoax, while Bolivar Trask’s obsession with experimentation on the mutants so as to find a way to eradicate them recalls the notorious Dr. Josef Mengele’s alleged experiments and Hitler’s supposed “Final Solution” of fumigating the world of Jewry.

The Trask Industries logo, with its angular insignia in a circle against a plain field, vaguely suggests a Nazi banner, and the fact that Trask himself is a midget casts race-conscious gentiles and nationalists as small, abnormal men who overcompensate for their inadequacies by pointing their fingers at those who happen to be a little different. Mutants, like the Ashkenazim, are extraordinarily talented infiltrators who pass as members of a majority they despise and to which they consider themselves superior, a step higher on the evolutionary staircase. Mystique, significantly, is a shapeshifter who, in her mission to save her “people”, insinuates herself into the highest levels of politics so as to subvert and neuter human government from within.

X-Men: Days of Future Past also reveals that, while Magneto has been accused of murdering John F. Kennedy (thus accounting for that legendary “magic bullet”), the helmeted hero was actually trying to save Kennedy’s life because – get this – Kennedy himself was a crypto-mutant! Thus, continuing with the Jewish-mutant parallels, the film seeks to exonerate Israel of any connection with the JFK assassination and paint the president as a tragically fallen friend of the Jews. This would all seem to be designed to distract from the intriguing case made by journalist Michael Collins Piper, author of Final Judgment, to the effect that the Mossad had Kennedy killed because he opposed Israel’s nuclear weapons program.

out_of_the_furnace_poster

Christian Bale racks up another career highlight performance as Russell Baze, a good but deeply flawed man at the end of his tether in Out of the Furnace, a strong, deeply American film from writer-director-to-watch Scott Cooper. Baze is an endearing dead-end ex-con and mill worker who, in a relationship reminiscent of that between Keitel and DeNiro in Mean Streets, attempts to look out for his war-damaged deadbeat brother Rodney (Casey Affleck). Rodney is in debt but uninterested in conventional employment, leading to his involving himself in the dangerous world of underground fighting.

Out of the Furnace stands as a stark statement that the American Dream is deceased. Its rust belt setting rings all too true, and a barroom television moment more subtle than a similar scene in 2012’s Killing Them Softly shows that Obama’s hope-and-change rhetoric has no reality for the typical working (or unemployed) stiff. Out of the Furnace is a film of its time and timely, its story enthralling, with each frame carrying fascination and a feeling of immediate importance.

Those who enjoy tense, earthy family dramas and character studies with gritty, realistic settings – movies like Sling Blade, Mud, or The Place Beyond the Pines – are certain to appreciate Out of the Furnace, which, in addition to the showcased character creation of Christian Bale, features sharp supporting performances from Forest Whitaker, Sam Shepard, Zoe Saldana, and Willem Dafoe. Deserving special recognition, furthermore, is Woody Harrelson, frightening light-years from Cheers here as hillbilly drug kingpin Harlan DeGroat. Harrelson’s hot dog moment in the opening scene sets the grotesque, tenebrous tone of the film and constitutes the most shocking piece of fast food humiliation since the fried chicken scene in 2011’s Killer Joe.

5 stars. Highest recommendation.

Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Out of the Furnace is:

7. Diversity-skeptical. In one of his underground fights, Rodney is pitted against a black thug who taunts him, calling him “white boy” and mocking his military service. Pleasantly, Rodney makes a comeback and gives this rascal a vicious and racially charged beatdown.

6. Antiwar. Rodney comes back from Iraq as an angry and alienated man.

5. Protectionist. The mill is scheduled to be shut down, with American jobs exported to China.

4. Pro-miscegenation. Notwithstanding no. 7, Russell is in love with brown beauty Lena (Zoe Saldana), but loses her after his stint in the pen.

3. Anti-drug. Drunk driving lands Russell in prison. Harder stuff turns Harlan DeGroat into a maniac.

2. Anti-redneck. Harlan DeGroat is the scariest white trash bad guy since Deer Crossing‘s Lukas Walton.

1. Pro-family. Russell Baze is driven by his devotion to his family, caring as best he can for his sick father and brother while both are still alive, and diligently avenging them after they are gone.

David Cronenberg’s newest film advertises and makes a production of its overwhelming complexity, with dense and enigmatic dialogue lifted directly from Don DeLillo’s novel.  At its core, however, Cosmopolis is a simple story, following young financial demigod Eric Packer (Robert Pattinson) and his wilfully unraveling fortunes as his futuristically hermetic limousine slowly snakes its way across Manhattan while anarchist protests explode in the streets.  Along the way the detached Packer has a series of philosophically loaded encounters with the other unusual types who people his life.  The ride is on one level a seemingly pointless jaunt to an inconveniently located barber shop; on another level the trip is a self-obsessed one-man funeral procession, with Packer undergoing sartorial as well as financial and mental downsizing and disintegration en route.

Money, the business of his life, has become an abstract thing; like art, it is no longer narrative and now talks to itself in mad senility.  Isolated from the real life concerns of common humans, Packer is anaesthetized and knows it and will go to bizarre lengths just to feel something.  “Stun me,” he dares his bodyguard (Patricia McKenzie) as she levels a taser at him.  Even his relationship with his wife is absurdly cold and emotionally constipated.  Like Cronenberg, he is an intellectual who intellectualizes everything, so that his “chief of theory” or financial oracle (Samantha Morton) occupies an important place in his life and gives him daily debriefings.  Is it possible that Packer will be able to liberate himself from his psychological sterility only by consciously dismantling everything he has built with such precision?

Cosmopolis is a triumph of visual design and a remarkable feat in remaining consistently sharp and compelling despite being an almost nonstop series of scenes of Packer in conversation.  The stylized dialogue, which lends Cosmopolis an air of being the film adaptation of a stage play, rewards multiple viewings in its clever, showboating complexity.  Also indispensible in keeping this tasteful freakshow afloat is the splendid cast, with Sarah Gadon, Jay Baruchel, George Touliatos, Juliette Binoche, Paul Giamatti, and many others contributing brief but memorable characterizations that help to define Packer by way of relief and speculation.   Cosmopolis is also very funny and comes highly recommended to fans of black comedies.  5 stars.

Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Cosmopolis is:

10. Multiculturalist.  Packer employs minorities and listens to sufi rap.

9. Faith-ambivalent.  “We don’t need God,” says the “chief of theory”.  Callous Packer’s tower has gone “unpunished by God.”  He mocks a health-conscious subordinate’s “Judeo-Christian jogging”.  He does, however, appear to long for some elusive spirituality.  He admires a sufi rapper (K’Naan) who for a time lived in a minaret, whereas Packer has lived his life in another kind of tower and in a different isolation.  He also expresses interest in buying a chapel.  The mysterious “Complex” is the closest thing to a supreme being in the film, however.

8. Pro-immigration.  Foreign cab drivers “come from horror and despair”.

7. Pro-miscegenation.  Packer avails himself of a chesty black woman.

6. Feminist.  Women are capable executives.  Packer has a female bodyguard.

5. Pro-slut.  “I am a single, struggling mother,” one mover-and-shaker pants sweatily.  Sex in this world has nearly succeeded in divorcing itself from emotion; it is now a medication, an “antidote to disillusion”.  Didi (Juliette Binoche) puts on an especially good show.

4. Anti-marriage.  In addition to Packer’s own failed union, reference is made to “some dumb wedding”.

3. Egalitarian.  Private ownership of art is questioned.  Art “belongs to the world”; and yet, “The more visionary the idea, the more people it leaves behind.”  Making money is Packer’s art.  Do his creations also belong to the people?  The precipitous crash of his portfolio makes him feel free, Packer says.

2. State-skeptical.  A financial pundit is attacked and stabbed in the eye simply for criticizing the stability of the yuan.  A finance minister’s movements are so absurdly awe-inspiring and earth-shaking that even his pauses and breaths as he speaks are studied with intense interest.

1. Anti-capitalist.  Cronenberg is reluctant to accept this label for his film, but too many elements point in this direction for Cosmopolis not to receive it.  Capitalism, not communism, is the “specter” haunting the world.  “People eat and sleep in the shadow of what we do,” Shiner (Jay Baruchel) reflects with trepidation.  “All wealth has become wealth for its own sake.”  “Foully and berserkly rich” Packer, the film’s representative magnate, is an unfeeling philanderer disrespectful of human life.  “You’re forcing me to be reasonable,” he says to a would-be assassin (Paul Giamatti).  “I don’t like that.”  “The logical extension of business is murder,” he suggests to a sexual partner; then, “Move to the left,” he instructs her, meaning physically, but unavoidably connoting the political to the viewer.

Director Sam Mendes made his fortune with American Beauty, one of the most overrated films of the 1990s.  He did something to begin redeeming himself with Road to Perdition and now continues his foray into legitimately earned accolades with Skyfall, a solid entry in the Daniel Craig James Bond series.  The action set pieces are top-notch or close, with the opening sequence being a particular doozy; and the writing team has injected a valuable uncertainty into the story by presenting a battle-damaged Bond somewhat past his prime and perhaps in over his head in confronting a foe of similar background and prowess.

Javier Bardem has fun as Silva, a quirky, almost Batman-style supervillain and hacker extraordinaire with a private army.  Silva, a former MI6 agent, has a bone to pick with M (Judi Dench), holding his ex-boss responsible for torture he endured at enemy hands.  She is also the subject of his unhealthy mother fixation, so that 007’s current favor with her irks Silva as a kind of sibling rivalry.  M is closer to the action than usual in Skyfall and gets to play with the boys a little.

Packed with lovely ladies, unusual perils, and several exotic locations, Skyfall is a film that should satisfy spy action fans.  It also functions as an interesting character study, with Bond’s psychology and backstory receiving more attention than in most of the films.  Unfortunately, this is where Skyfall strikes its few false notes, with the masculine mystique of the character done something of a disservice in overly generous revelation.  Have any Bond fans been clamoring, for instance, to see 007’s childhood home or to meet his parents’ old groundskeeper?  Happily, Skyfall‘s many merits more than make up for the few missteps, and build solidly on the previous groundwork, ensuring future adventures.

4.5 stars.  Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Skyfall is:

8. Anti-family.  “Orphans always make the best recruits,” M confides (cf. no. 1).

7. Drug-ambivalent.  Bond has become an alcoholic and pill addict, but cigarette smoke retains its sexiness as blown by Severine.

6. Mildly xenophobic.  The Orient and the Middle East are, as always, the lands of mystery, danger, and intrigue.  (The Turkish government must be offering discounts on licenses for filmmakers to run roughshod over Istanbul rooftops, as Skyfall is, along with Taken 2, one of two recent movies to enjoy that privilege.  Not one, but two Third World produce stands are overturned during the opening chase.)

5. Pro-slut/pro-miscegenation – a James Bond tradition.  007’s new girlfriend, fellow agent Eve (Naomie Harris), is black.  In addition to some lucky Turkish babe (Tonia Sotiropoulou), Bond’s other conquest of note is sultry Eurasian maneater Severine (winner of Tastiest, Scariest Seductress of Year 2012, Berenice Marlohe), who, particularly as costumed and colored in the Floating Dragon sequence, is exquisite.

4. Pro-gay.  Computer genius Silva is a mean one, admittedly; but gays have come a long way when they can give James Bond a run for his money.  Skyfall thus has its cake and eats it as well with regard to glorification and vilification of homosexuality.

3. Macho minus.  Craig plays Bond as the alpha male who can outrun a fireball, but the screenplay occasionally seems to want to undermine this familiar characterization, implying that Bond may have dabbled in homosexuality and that he is motivated partly by unresolved childhood trauma.  Oy vey . . .

2. Multiculturalist.  Skyfall acknowledges the contributions to international security of minorities, women, the elderly, and the nearsighted.  Javier Bardem’s hair has been dyed blonde (blonde being the color of evil) to mitigate the insensitivity of portraying a Hispanic homosexual as a villain.  London appears as a representative orderly multiracial society.

1. Statist.  After MI6’s headquarters are attacked, their operations move into the underground command center from which Winston Churchill’s war effort was directed, thus establishing a parallel between the “good war” and superpower intelligence agencies’ struggle with fourth generation adversaries today.  Now terrorists and hackers, not the Soviet Union or SPECTRE, are the primary threats to civilization, so that Julian Assange replaces Blofeld or Goldfinger as governments’ primier bogeyman.

State enterprise and covert intelligence agencies bring mankind salvation.  MI6 achieves its apotheosis when one of its worthies is martyred in a Scottish church, effecting a spook-as-self-sacrificing-savior conceit.  Bond has earlier referred to his own “resurrection”.

Gun control gets an endorsement when Bond is shown at a disadvantage in having to change clips when pitted against a terrorist’s high-capacity magazine.  Also, MI6 has invented for Bond a handgun that is palm-programmed so that only he can fire it – unlike the common firearm or “random killing machine”.  (Are mandatory consumer models next?)  The government-media complex receives a nod when we see that Bond gets his news from CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.  Picturesque Shanghai, meanwhile, puts in a good word for state capitalism, depicting in its futuristic architecture and technology the new type of society on the rise.

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