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rough night

Aspiring state senator Jess (Scarlett Johansson) agrees to join a handful of her old college friends for one last decadent blast in Miami before tying the knot. The challenge will be to get through the debauchery of the bachelorette blowout planned by old pal Alice (Jillian Bell) without tarnishing her public image in advance of the vote. Some tension between the chubby Alice and Jess’s new Australian buddy Pippa (Kate McKinnon) notwithstanding, the getaway seems to be going well enough until the accidental death of a stripper (Ryan Cooper), which has the women scrambling to dispose of the body before their lives – and, of course, Jess’s electoral prospects – are ruined forever. Rough Night is not exactly bad in the way that being bent over a toilet vomiting is bad, for example; but it is rather bad in the sense that the feeling of having squandered an evening is arguably worse.

[WARNING: POTENTIAL SPOILERS]

3 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Rough Night is:

6. Green, with Al Gore receiving an endorsement.

5. Pro-gay, with Ilana Glazer appearing as token lesbian buddy Frankie. A black transvestite DJ also contributes to the movie’s festive atmosphere.

4. Activism-ambivalent. Frankie participates in a protest of government surveillance, but her idealism is characterized as, at best, a side-effect of the idleness of the unemployed. Hers is a loser’s pastime, a dismissive assessment reinforced when she later announces her resolution to take a “protest dump”.

3. Pro-miscegenation – and, honestly, it’s the rare Hollywood product these days that doesn’t fall into this category in one way or another. This time, it’s mystery meat lesbos.

2. Feminist/pro-slut, with Alice looking forward to “swimmin’ in dick”. Alice’s assortment of sex novelties – penis glasses and the like – is supposed to be funny, but the whole hedonistic ethos unintentionally bores and comes across as stale in this film, which surely represents peak slut and the high-water mark for blasé depravity in western civilization. Blair (Zoe Kravitz) experiences a revelatory orgasm when, as part of a plan to steal a surveillance video, she participates in a threesome with swinger Demi Moore and her husband. The consequences of promiscuity are, moreover, trivialized when one of Blair’s friends reassures her, “Whatever. We all have HPV.” Anyone, the screenplay suggests, who has had sex after 1991 has probably contracted HPV – so what’s the point of being careful, right? The stripper dies immediately after having called Jess a slut, the viewer having the impression that his death is a form of instant karma.

1.Pro-drug. In a flashback sequence to Jess’s college days, she wears a costume referencing marijuana culture. Frankie, complimented on her scent, replies that she has a pound of weed in her bra. Elsewhere, the movie promotes abuse of prescription drugs like the tranquilizer Xanax (“Oh, God, that was good”). Perhaps most disturbingly, Rough Night joins the ranks of Ted, Trainwreck, White Girl, and Office Christmas Party in rehabilitating recreational cocaine use. Coke, in Rough Night, facilitates the bonding of a girls’ night out: “It would mean so much to me if we could do a little bit of cocaine together,” Alice pleads. The filmmakers could point to the fact that Alice is under the influence of cocaine when she accidentally kills the stripper – but her sexual recklessness turns out to have been serendipitous when the stripper is revealed to have been a dangerous criminal.

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

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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Outpost Black Sun

In the opening scene of Outpost: B.S., an elderly gentleman (Michael Byrne) in a nursing home receives a visit from a young woman, Lena (Catherine Steadman), claiming to be his long-lost niece. Rather than embracing him, however, she turns insolent, grasps his hand, breaks his fingers, and even pilfers the old man’s ring. This, one assumes, is intended to endear her to the audience when the man is revealed to have been a Nazi, and social justice demands that, lest the Fourth Reich rise up and six zillion more Jews suffer another Holohoax, wheelchair-bound geezers must be physically abused.

Whereas this film’s predecessor, Outpost (2008), was an impressive exercise in modestly budgeted horror-action that benefited in macho economy from focusing on a gruff, totally male ensemble of seasoned mercenaries, this 2012 sequel shoots itself in the boot from the beginning by featuring a Jewish Nazi huntress as the heroine, thus injecting a dose of sanctimonious and emotional motivation into the franchise where none was needed. Something of the sense of suspense that drove the first film remains in evidence, however, as the bothersome Nazi zombies are on the loose again and conquering a constantly broadening swath of already war-torn Eastern Europe. It also becomes more entertaining once a British commando unit enters the story, contributing a brusque, confrontational snottiness.

The cast is fine and does what it can with the preposterous material. Catherine Steadman is pretty and hardly to be faulted for her annoying character’s uselessness to the franchise; however, the teaser ending, which suggests that she will also play the lead in the expected third installment, is somewhat disappointing for that reason.

[WARNING: SPOILERS]

Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Outpost: B.S. is:

9. Pro-family. Lena carries on a family tradition of Nazi-hunting and hopes to avenge relatives who died in the Holohoax.

8. Anti-military/anti-nuke. The term “military intelligence” is used sarcastically. Hovering over the whole mission, meanwhile, is the threat of a nuclear option that would probably not be efficacious in any event.

7. Anti-slavery (i.e., pro-yawn). A black soldier (Gary McDonald) winces at the sight of a chain and shackle.

6. Anti-state. The American spokesman for a “UN-backed task force” claims to be looking for chemical weapons, but actually wants to secure the Nazi superweaponry for his government. “Any government will pay any price” for the technology.

5. Anti-Slav. Scientist Wallace (Richard Coyle) claims to have been betrayed by Russian partners. “Don’t do time in one of their prisons. They’re cold,” he says, presumably with reference not just to their penal system, but to the Russian people themselves. Eastern Europeans are depicted as shady, sleazy, and suspicious.

4. Feminist. Self-reliant Steadman succeeds in throwing a monkey wrench into the Nazis’ plans.

3. Anti-Christian. One Nazi is named Christian Gotz, and a house with a crucifix conspicuously displayed on one of its walls turns out to have a Nazi zombie hiding in it. A map shows the concentric spread of the undead’s conquered territory in crosshairs, i.e., with a cross at its center.

2. Paranoiacally Zionist and Holohoax-alarmist. The movie industry, prescient of the day when the passage of time would render too ridiculous the idea of a geriatric Fourth Reich rising from the ashes to conquer the globe, has over the decades foisted on filmgoers such interesting (or not) innovations as the conventional Nazi zombie army in films like The Frozen Dead (1966) and Shock Waves (1977); cloned Hitlers in The Boys from Brazil (1978); vengeful and pitilessly boring Nazi ghost sailors in Death Ship (1980); the National Socialist moon colony in Iron Sky (2012); and now, most outlandish of all, the immortal runic unified field Nazi zombie army of the Outpost franchise. “Two days ago I still thought this was all about what these people [i.e., Germans and gentiles generally] had done,” Lena reflects. “But it’s not. It’s only ever been about what they were going to do.” “There’ll always be somebody else,” Wallace warns. Ironically, treacherous gentile Wallace turns out to have been working against Lena the whole time, hoping to acquire the Holy Grail of Nazi zombie-generating unified field technology not to destroy it, but to sell it back to the Nazis. Hilariously, once the deception comes out, Wallace’s black hair changes to blonde, revealing his truly evil nature.

1. Anti-German. Outpost: B.S. reduces the Teuton to what, in the paranoid and condescending anti-white progressive’s view, is his essence: a dead-eyed, lumbering, growling, killing machine bent on stabbing or cudgeling to death anybody unlike himself.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

Family poster

Robert De Niro stars in this gory, mean-spirited “comedy” as a glorified serial killer and sadist who, with his sad pyromaniac spouse (Michelle Pfeiffer) and two chip-off-the-old-block teenagers (John D’Leo and Dianna Agron), has moved to Normandy at the behest of the Witness Protection Program. Posing unconvincingly as an academic, De Niro and his ultraviolent spawn lay waste to the French in a nihilistic bid for the affections of the Freedom Fry aficionados in the American audience. Tommy Lee Jones, looking as wrinkly and battered as the Constitution, appears as De Niro’s long-suffering Witness Protection case worker. The veteran leads are fun to watch, but their characters live too far beyond the possibility of redemption to deserve two hours of viewers’ time. Recommended to neoconservatives only.

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

5. Anti-Christian. Pfeiffer lost her virginity in a church. A judgmental priest (Christopher Craig) becomes irate and commands her to leave his cathedral after hearing her confession.

4. Ultra-green, with De Niro’s brown tap water driving him to an act of eco-terror.

3. Feminist/pro-castration. De Niro’s daughter – surprise, surprise! – is tough as nails and delivers a savage thrashing and genital-beating in reply to a come-on.

2. Zionist, perpetuating the myth that America “liberated” France. The Family, with its story of smug, self-important Americans storming overseas and asserting themselves by destroying things, serves as a frightening allegorical normalization of Jewish-American foreign policy. Gullible audiences, The Family hopes, will internalize as good, old-fashioned Americanism and “family values” the license to commit genocide that Rush Limbaugh chooses to pretty up as “American exceptionalism”. Pfeiffer, for instance, blows up a grocery store after overhearing a perfectly justified complaint about American (i.e., Jewish) media brainwashing. Jews appear in The Family as the victims rather than as the perpetrators of organized crime.

1. Pro-torture/anti-human. Men having their bones broken, testicles crushed, being dipped head-first into a barrel of acid – how hilarious! From murder to thievery to drug dealing in a school, The Family’s attitude is that crime is cute. De Niro, furthermore, attempts to validate his admittedly “sadistic urges” by arguing that he mutilates people for a “good reason”. “You’re the best dad anybody could ever ask for,” his daughter informs him moments before he drifts into a daydream about barbecuing a neighbor’s head. “Writing is intense,” he says in another reflective moment. “I feel like I been lookin’ at myself in a mirror all day.” One wonders what hideous creatures The Family’s screenwriters, Michael Caleo and Luc Besson, glimpse as in a mirror while they ply their appalling trade.

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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24exposures

Prolific director Joe Swanberg, who had a supporting role as the philistine jerk brother in You’re Next, reunites with that film’s writer-director team of Simon Barrett and Adam Wingard in 24 Exposures, a low-budget postmodern murder mystery set in the world of fetish photography. Barrett plays Michael Bamfeaux, a depressed police detective investigating murders of models that mirror the gory photo shoots of artsy smut peddler Billy, effortlessly brought to life by Wingard.

Meanwhile, Billy’s bisexual live-in girlfriend Alex (photographer Caroline White) begins to be jealous of his professional interest in waitress Rebecca (Helen Rogers). Is Billy’s preoccupation with murder more than an aesthetic affinity? And what about Rebecca’s erratic and violently jealous nerd boyfriend? Could he be the fetishistic killer, or is it somebody else altogether?

24 Exposures is sexually explicit, with multiple topless photo shoots and even one girl-girl-guy interlude; but the approach to the exploitative content is so matter-of-fact as to drain most of the erotic potential from the images of degeneracy. Scenes such as Rebecca’s first lesbian experience are extremely easy on the eyes, however. Highlights or lowlights, depending upon the viewer’s taste, are a stylish opening credits series of images paying tribute to vintage pulp artwork; various actresses’ asses and breasts, sometimes pressing against each other; and also some pretty convincing gore makeup for the photo sessions.

Unfortunately, none of the characters are particularly sympathetic, with perhaps the mild exception of unusually uncharismatic cop Bamfeaux, whose appearance onscreen is sometimes accompanied by an inexplicably tough-sounding theme. Swanberg, in a cameo as aspiring memoirist Bamfeaux’s literary agent, gives him a disapproving critique that ironically touches upon some of the reasons why 24 Exposures is ultimately a bit of a disappointment if judged as a murder mystery. The resolution, if it can be called that, simply fails to deliver on the potential promised by such a dramatic and ominous buildup, leaving the viewer unsatisfied as the credits follow an unexpectedly abrupt ending. But, imperfections aside, 24 Exposures is worth seeing if only because it is never boring.

3.5 of 5 possible stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that 24 Exposures is:

5. Pro-drug. Billy and his bevy of bimbos smoke dope.

4. Pro-castration. Small-bearded, bracelet-wearing weenie Billy cooks breakfast for two women after he bangs them.

3. Pro-gay. Callie (Anna Kendrick lookalike Sophia Takal) tells the story of how her first-ever orgasm was with another girl. Alex is bisexual.

2. Pro-police. Bamfeaux, who at one point considers suicide, offers a pathetic example of what serving and protecting the public can do to a man. But he mans up and rises to the occasion when a (more or less) innocent damsel is in distress.

1. Pro-slut. There is something in 24 Exposures, thankfully not emphasized or made overly obnoxious, of the tired shtick about sexually conservative or conventional people being psychologically unhealthy or repressed, while the carefree, sexually adventurous types like Billy are better-adjusted. Fortunately for Detective Bamfeaux, hipster Billy is willing to take him under his wing and initiate him into the simple pleasures of smiling, relaxing once in a while, and bagging trashy, tattooed chicks who take off their clothes for money.

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