Archives for posts with tag: Dan Stevens

The Ideological Content Analysis 30 Days Putsch:

30 Reviews in 30 Days

DAY EIGHT

A-Walk-Among-the-Tombstones-Poster

As downbeat and depressing as its title suggests, A Walk Among the Tombstones has cop-turned-private-investigator Liam Neeson hired by drug dealer Dan Stevens to track down the sadistic kidnappers who took his money and dismembered his wife. In a development only a Jew could cook up, Neeson commissions a homeless but literate black teen computer whiz, vegetarian, and aspiring detective (Brian “Astro” Bradley) to help him with the case.

A Walk Among the Tombstones is one of those movies that thinks itself edgy for taking its protagonist down the dirty alleyways of the real and into America’s gritty heart of darkness – the netherworld of serial killers, drug dealers, and street-wise African-American youths with hearts of gold and brains bristling with fallow potential. Typical of the film’s pretension are the intercutting of a graveyard shootout with audio from an AA meeting, a pointless reveal of the still-standing World Trade Center at the end, and the closing credits choice of a goofily earnest female vocal rendition of Soundgarden’s grunge hit “Black Hole Sun”.

3.5 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that A Walk Among the Tombstones is:

6. Anti-Christian. The drug dealer who hires Neeson is named Kenny Kristo (i.e., Christ) and another dealer (Sebastian Roché) has a cross tattoo on his hand, the subversive meaning of these two associations being that Christianity is like peddled dope.

5. Pro-miscegenation, featuring a relationship between a mestizo and a blonde. “I gather it was a mongrel,” one character says of a canine, adding, “So many of us are.”

4. Anti-gay. The killers, it is insinuated, may be homosexuals.

3. Anti-drug. Traffickers, while portrayed with some sympathy, nonetheless endanger their families with their work, which also brings them under the scrutiny of the DEA. Neeson gives up drinking and joins AA after making a terrible mistake under the influence of alcohol.

2. Anti-gun. Set in 1999, the film shows Neeson reading a newspaper with headline “Gun Sales Rise on News of Y2K”. The implication is that gun owners are doofuses moved by paranoid patriot propaganda and conspiracy theories. When Neeson’s sidekick finds a gun, the hero advises him that he might as well go ahead and blow his head off with it, since that will be the inevitable outcome of a life of amateur pistol-packing. Neeson quit the NYPD after accidentally shooting a girl.

1. Anti-racist (i.e., pro-yawn). In a prologue set in 1991, Neeson calls his partner a “spic”. Though the character never makes an explicit disavowal of racist bigotry, it is implied in the older, wiser Neeson’s tutelage and, it is suggested at the end, adoption of his black sidekick.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

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Adam Sandler turns in a pleasantly understated performance as Max Simkin, a Lower East Side shoe repairman who discovers that an heirloom stitching machine has magical properties in Tom McCarthy’s film The Cobbler. Put on any customer’s two shoes and Max takes on that person’s appearance, allowing him to indulge such entertaining caprices as sneaking into a black thug’s gun-and-bling-filled apartment or walking into a beautiful stranger’s bathroom. Max eventually takes his place as a “guardian of souls” in addition to his work as a mender of soles.

While funny, The Cobbler is a film which, like Punch Drunk Love (2002), allows Sandler to show off his non-idiot side and is welcome as a change of pace. Steve Buscemi and Dustin Hoffman appear in supporting roles as, respectively, Max’s barber neighbor and mysteriously absent father. Viewers may see the surprise ending coming, but so much of The Cobbler is entertainingly unexpected that any conformity to audience expectations is handily offset.

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

6. Obesity-tolerant. “I’m not fat. I’m big-boned.”

5. Pro-gay and pro-miscegenation. Simkin’s eventual love interest is peppery Carmen (Melonie Diaz). An Asian woman (Greta Lee) flirts with Simkin in a bar after he has unwittingly taken on the form of a bisexual man (Dan Stevens). “I think it’s hot,” she reassures him. Sandler also dons high heels to occasionally assume the appearance of a gauche Latin transvestite (Yul Vazquez).

4. Family-ambivalent. Simkin is deeply devoted to his mother (Lynn Cohen), who was abandoned by his father (Dustin Hoffman). The latter turns out to have responded to a higher calling. Asked if she ever wanted to be somebody else, Mrs. Simkin replies, “I’m your mother. That’s all I ever wanted to be.” Carmen seemingly discounts the necessity of fathers, however, when she says, “My dad split when I was 12. Life goes on.”

3. Localist and populist. Carmen works for the Lower East Side Action Committee, committed to halting the area’s gentrification, and attempts to get Simkin to support the cause. “I’m glad that you’re supporting a local business,” she tells him when she sees him with a box of pickles.

2. Racist! The Cobbler’s only important black character is a career criminal, a murderer and abuser of women, played by rapper Cliff “Method Man” Smith. “You Jewish?” this black bigot interrogates Simkin. “Lucky you.” He then insensitively asks if his recently deceased mother left him any money. In another scene, the fiend creates a Michael Brown-style ruckus in a convenience store.

1. Borderline anti-Semitic. Surprisingly, The Cobbler offers an unsavory portrait of a Hebraic slumlord and gangster in tough-as-nails “Jew from Queens” Elaine Greenawalt (Ellen Barkin). The film compensates for this cinematic blood libel by providing typical wailing violin movie portrayals of weak, long-suffering Jews like Simkin, who gives submissive shoeshines to arrogant blacks. Ratcheting up The Cobbler’s Jewish victimhood factor is Fritz Weaver from the 1978 Holocaust miniseries, who appears as Mr. Solomon, the helpless old man Greenawalt hopes to evict by any dastardly means necessary.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

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