Archives for posts with tag: ex-con

Sollers Point

American Honey’s McCaul Lombardi stars as Keith, a directionless Baltimore wigger and drug dealer just released from prison and attempting to find his place in the world. At stake in the formless, meandering story is whether the poorly behaved and inarticulate protagonist will settle into the family pattern of working-class tedium and community coexistence or fall back in with the white nationalist gang with which he became affiliated while incarcerated. Keith bowls from one unnecessarily unpleasant situation into another, getting into fights, making a little money, and chasing after various specimens of ghetto tail. Lombardi is an intense performer, and Jim Belushi is likable as his boring but well-meaning dad. What at first appears to be a downbeat and largely pointless character study, however, is revealed to be an accidental comedy once the filmmaker’s ridiculous intentions are taken into consideration.

4 out of 5 stars – in part for the unintentional humor furnished by the director in the DVD extra features. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Sollers Point is:

3. Anti-drug. Diminishing marijuana’s glamor, a thug mentions that his stash had recently been stuffed up his ass. The film also offers a putrid portrait of an aging, heroin-addicted whore hawking her unappetizing wiles on a roadside.

2. Pro-family. Keith’s father does what he can to protect and provide for his wayward son, and other family members are also helpful and affectionate. Keith seems to be troubled by his absence from his niece’s life.

1.Multiculturalist, pro-miscegenation, and anti-white. Baltimore appears in the film as a more or less functional chocolate city marred only by the presence of reckless and immature young white men and trashy white women. Keith’s father, at least, seems to be a good man as evidenced by the fact that he hangs out and plays cards with blacks – so not all white people in the movie are criminals or addicted to dope. “I was really interested in reflecting the diversity of this neighborhood in southeast Baltimore,” soyboy writer-director Matt Porterfield explains in an interview included on the Sollers Point DVD, “but I wanted to sort of focus on the ways in which they shared space rather than the divisions, you know?” The way in which Keith shares space with his black neighbors, however, seems to entail an inferior and deferential role. When Keith’s wigger nationalist acquaintances roll up with hostile intentions, Keith’s black thug neighbors come to his aid by throwing liquor bottles at the white gang’s van; but then they expect him to pick up the broken glass littering the street – which he obediently does. Keith, Porterfield says, has to “figure out who his people are”, and as Porterfield concludes, “his people in the film are white and black” – which may go a long way toward explaining why the character is so lost. Interestingly, the writer-director describes his movie as “a portrayal of a white male in society trying to find his place,” adding that Keith is “not being given any traditional rites of passage.” I burst out laughing, however, when he added that the protagonist is “representative of, you know, a large portion of the population that put our current president in office. […] It’s tapping into a cultural energy that we all kind of want to understand, that put Trump in office.” Which, of course, is 2016 in a nutshell. The Dems should never have underestimated Trump’s appeal to the wigger jungle fever ex-con MAGA drug dealer demographic!

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!

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.

All Is Bright

Paul Giamatti daringly essays his umpteenth grumpy, disgruntled crumb-bum role in the sarcastically titled seasonal feature All Is Bright, a film which might more descriptively, memorably, and profitably be retitled The Grouch Who Stole Christmas.

Giamatti stars as Dennis Girard, a Canadian thief released from prison only to find that his wife, Therese (Amy Landecker), has given him up for an old friend, reformed crook Rene, played by Paul Rudd. Even more humiliating for Dennis is that Therese, hoping to shelter her daughter (Tatyana Richaud) from the unpleasant truth about her father, has told her that Dennis is dead so as to bar him from having any place in his daughter’s life. Out of work, at loose ends, and nearly at the end of his tether, Dennis bullies Rene into taking him along on his annual trip to New York to hawk exotic Canadian tannenbaums.

Offering nary a likable character, All Is Bright may strain the patience of audiences in search of something funny but basically wholesome, uplifting, and appropriate to view at Christmastime. A “criminal with a small dick”, Dennis Girard is ultimately too flawed, thorny, and unpersonable a character, his choices and outlook too glum, sordid, nasty, and unrepentant, for the film to be terribly entertaining or morally rewarding. All Is Bright is marginally amusing at best, and Giamatti’s grouch card may be maxed out, so the actor is advised to seek opportunities for expanding his range beyond the apoplectic curmudgeon that made him famous.

3 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that All Is Bright is:

9. Anti-American. A U.S. border patrol agent is unfriendly, and Dennis and Rene affect a stereotypical Doug and Bob McKenzie Canadian accent to impress gullible American tree shoppers (cf. no. 2).

8. Green. “They still don’t have stars here,” Rene says on arrival in the United States, probably with reference to air pollution.

7. Anti-drug. “You should keep lungs, yeah?”

6. Pro-slut. The viewer is presumably expected to consider the casual attitude of Russian eccentric Olga (Sally Hawkins) toward what she terms “the thing” an endearment.

5. Anti-Putin. “You have heart like Putin,” Olga says insultingly.

4. Anti-marriage, with infidelity and divorce the norm.

3. Barely Christian. Rene gives his adopted daughter an Advent calendar, but little or no other mention is made of the religious significance of Christmas. An irreverent, vulgar attitude toward the holiday prevails (“If you want to throw up, do it in the tree stand”). “There’s money in holidays.”

2. Multiculturalist, pro-immigration, and pro-wigger. All Is Bright is set in that bizarro Hollywood version of the world in which whites beg and receive cigarettes from blacks. The characters generally interact postracially. And Emory Cohen, apparently typecast as wiggers after his turn as AJ in The Place Beyond the Pines, receives a cameo as dopey but sympathetic dude “Lou, who comes to buy a tree”. (cf. no. 9)

1. Egalitarian/anti-capitalistic. Olga suggests charging more for trees bought by “haves”. While Dennis and Rene represent small-scale enterprise in a relatively positive manner, more successful entrepreneurs are vilified. Dennis, in one unfunny scene, physically intimidates a more professionally operated Christmas tree business into relocating. In an even more unlikely moment, Dennis is physically ejected from the men’s room of a restaurant by its petty proprietor for not being a paying customer. The self-pitying protagonist never abandons his thieving ways (“I will not get caught twice,” he vows), and steals a piano (among other things) from a successful dentist (cf. The Possession) as a gift for his daughter. Criminal redistribution of wealth, All Is Bright appears to argue, is fine and commendable as long as it is perpetrated for a good and heartwarming cause.

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