Archives for posts with tag: Italy

Green Inferno

Eli Roth, the sadistically grinning embodiment of the distinctly Jewish torture porn horror subgenre that flourished under George W. Bush, has never been one of this writer’s favorite moviemakers; but Rainer Chlodwig von Kook is big enough to admit when one of his cultural adversaries knocks one out of the park – one severed head, that is. Cannibalism, as practiced in remote and exotic places, naturally lends itself to action and horror cinema; and the cannibal film, which has an affinity with the “Mondo” genre, flourished especially in Italy in the seventies and eighties, producing such classics of controversy as Cannibal Holocaust (1980) and Cannibal Ferox (1981). It makes perfect sense that unredeemed gorehound Roth would eventually turn his attention to the limitless potentials of the Amazon rainforest to generate compelling and grotesque stories. The Green Inferno is Roth’s homage to Ruggero Deodato and all of the other filmmakers who stalked the forest before him.

Lorenza Izzo plays Justine, a naïve university student who finds herself drawn to a messianic community organizer named Alejandro (Ariel Levy). Wanting to feel that she can give something of value back to the world, but also hoping to spend more time with Alejandro, Justine signs on to accompany a group of volunteers to the jungle to stop a construction project from destroying the indigenous way of life. Once the rag-tag team of idealists has scored its media coup, however, the group finds itself in a world of pain when the local gut-munchers mistake them for the developers they had come to oppose. Worse, the mysterious Alejandro might not be the saintly soul they imagined when they began their journey. Drenched in jungle colors and the epic production values that can only be found in the natural world, Eli Roth’s The Green Inferno is a literally eye-gobbling experience!

[WARNING: POTENTIAL SPOILERS]

5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that The Green Inferno is:

5. Anti-gun.These are our guns,” says Alejandro as he brandishes a cell phone. The idea is that citizen journalism renders armed self-defense unnecessary. Justine has learned a lesson at the end of the film and prevents a mercenary from shooting her by convincing him that she has him on camera.

4. Politically incorrect. “Honestly, I hope they starve to death,” says frivolous college girl Kaycee (Sky Ferreira) of fellow students enduring a hunger strike out of solidarity with the school’s benefit-bereft janitors. (The Green Inferno, though not released until 2015, was finished in 2013, and there is an Occupy Wall Street feel to the film’s Ché shirt milieu.) She also taunts one of the hunger strikers with a big bagel. “Activism is so fucking gay,” Kaycee declares. Roth, in his audio commentary, indicates that Kaycee is “the voice of realism” in The Green Inferno. Her cynicism prevents her from taking any interest in the jungle expedition from which so few of her peers will return. The primitives are literally redskins who paint themselves with a bright red pigment, so that their communal practices can be read as a skewering of communism as ideological cannibalism. (See the Charlton Heston western Arrowhead for another example of redskins as subtexual commies.) “Maybe we’d have a chance [against the natives] if we hadn’t blown up the bulldozers,” one of the activists laments. Despite the story essentially being one of liberals mugged by reality and confronted with the ignoble nature of the savages they adore, Justine maintains the lie after returning to civilization. “I never felt afraid when I was with them,” she says. Justine even claims the natives saved her. Lefties, the movie suggests, will stoop to feeding false information to the public so as to perpetuate the myth of turd world people’s saintliness.

3. Pro-drug. A bag of powerful weed comes in handy once the activists are prisoners. They stuff it down the throat of one of their dead comrades, so that, when the natives inevitably cook her, they all get high and mellow, allowing for an escape attempt. Unfortunately, the natives also get a giggly case of the cannibal munchies.

2. Cynical and conspiracist. Alejandro, a representative SJW, is revealed to be an unfeeling cad and unconcerned with the safety of his fellows. Confronted with one of The Green Inferno’s worst atrocities, he proceeds to masturbate in order to ensure that he can “think clearly”. The whole expedition on which he has led the group turns out to be a ruse. Instead of being motivated by the dignity of the rainforest or the rights of its indigenous peoples, Alejandro is actually in the employ of a rival developer looking to frustrate a competitor’s project. “Everything’s connected,” Alejandro explains. “The good guys and the bad guys. You think the U.S. government didn’t allow 9/11 to happen? You think the war on drugs is something real?” Understandably, given Roth’s racial background, he situates 9/11 in LIHOP Land and has nothing to say about Larry Silverstein, Dov Zakheim, Odigo, or the celebrants spotted at the Doric Apartments in Union City, New Jersey, on the morning of September 11, 2001. Oil, it is suggested elsewhere in the film, is what motivates U.S. foreign policy.

1. Judeo-obscurantist. “The only things those posers care about is looking like they care,” fumes Kaycee. “It’s just some weird demonstration to appease that fucking white stupid suburban Jewish guilt. Hi, I’m Jewish,” she quickly explains, displaying her Star of David pendant to a passerby. “I’m allowed to say that.” Roth would have viewers believe that Jews are “white” and that their “social justice” agitation is motivated by “Jewish guilt” rather than hatred of Europeans and conscious promotion of social chaos.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

where-to-invade-next

Source: World Socialist Web Site

Michael Moore’s Where to Invade Next is not a much-needed comment on the American government’s never-ending invasions and wars. Far from it. Moore simply tells the generals to “stand down.” The filmmaker then becomes a one-man army that “invades” various countries to appropriate not geopolitical advantage—but beneficial social or political ideas or practices.

From Italy, for example, he takes their lengthy vacations; from Finland, their education system; from Slovenia, free college; from Iceland, the dominance of women in politics and banking (we are told that women’s DNA makes them less aggressive); from Norway, a more humane penal system; from France, gourmet school lunches; from Germany, the ability to confront the legacy of the Holocaust (as opposed to the situation in the US, where supposedly through the prison system the “white man” is once again resurrecting slavery); and from Portugal, the legalization of drugs (Moore happily poses with three cops who look like remnants of the Salazar/Caetano fascist dictatorship).

With Where to Invade Next’s potted racialist history of the US and its view that women should rule the world, Moore has, of course, added identity politics into the mix in his “happy film,” as he calls it.

It is hardly accidental that Moore has been so inactive since Barack Obama took office in early 2009. (Capitalism: A Love Story came out that year.) His new movie is a ludicrous attempt to cover for the Democratic Party, hoping against hope that he can convince it to adopt policies that, he takes pains to point out, all originated in the US. Moving the Democratic Party to the left is the most hopeless and pathetic of perspectives.

Moore has become a sometime critic of the Obama administration, after endorsing the Democratic presidential candidate in 2008 and supporting the auto bailout in 2009, which halved autoworkers’ pay. However, he is hopelessly tied to the Democratic Party and capitalist politics by a thousand strings. While excoriating Obamacare, for example, as “a pro-insurance-industry plan,” he termed the plan a “godsend” because it provides a start “to get what we deserve: universal quality health care.”

The filmmaker is a seriously compromised and increasingly discredited figure.

Joanne Laurier

[Covering up for Democrats is small potatoes after covering up for Israel in Fahrenheit 9/11. – Ed.]

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Red Tails poster

Exactly the trite, pedestrian, chest-swelling exercise one would expect it to be, this George Lucas production is just another entry in the unending cycle of films spotlighting Congoid-American achievement. These movies are always the same: mighty blacks encounter and overcome race-based adversity . . . sweeping, inspiring music soars . . . The End. This time the Hollywoodized achievers are the Tuskegee airmen, the first black aviators allowed to participate in combat – in this case, appropriately enough, against those immortal bogeybots and inhuman emblems of racism, the Nazis, who, of course, are in for a “good ol’ Georgia ass-whoopin’” when they encounter the Red Tails. These valiant warriors have not only to defeat the Germans, however, but must also vanquish racism on their own side.

Bryan Cranston, slumming in a thankless cameo, plays the military bureaucrat unwilling to give the brothers a chance. Cuba Gooding turns in a puzzlingly deadpan and colorless performance as Major Stance, and Terrence Howard is safely poker-faced as Colonel Bullard. Whether the other actors in the film are capable of much is hard to say, considering the humdrum (nonde)script with which they have to work. “War is Hell. What we’re doin’ is just boring as Hell,” one of the pilots remarks with candor. Red Tails is the sort of movie that will have viewers glancing at the clock fifty minutes in and groaning that the film, far from winding down for a landing, is flabbergastingly not even half-over yet!

There are, of course, the obligatory scenes in which black romantic prowess receives its due and in which central character Lightning (David Oyelowo) enters an officers’ club, the piano abruptly falls silent, and one of the evil bigots tells him, “This is a whites only officers club. You’re off the reservation, pal.” Most obnoxious, however, is the constant glorification of war and particularly of “killin’ Jerries”. Only genocidal blacks and the most self-loathing whites will exult in the flippant depiction of so much joy in human desolation. There is, too, an indication that the Red Tails take special delight in shooting down white fighters when one alludes to a German’s “bright yellow nose”, a suggestive reference not only to his plane’s paint job but also his lack of melanin. After so many computer-generated explosions and social triumphs, however, the viewer may not find himself stirred to multicultural pride by this cinematic backfire, so much as grumpily in tune with the unwelcoming white officer in the club who dismisses Lightning, saying, “Hey. Go home,” and throws in a racial slur for good measure.

2 stars. Ideological Content Analysis points Red Tails toward the hatefully segregated Crap Only facilities and indicates that this film is:

7. Pro-miscegenation. An Italian ditz (Daniela Ruah) blows a kiss to Lightning, who then woos her for the remainder of the film.

6. Ostensibly Christian. Smokey (Ne-Yo) carries a picture of “Black Jesus.” Whether this is simply to indicate that the historical Jesus was black or is instead a satirical jab at segregation, under which blacks require not only separate facilities, but also a deity of their own, only Black Jesus can say for certain. Not all of the pilots believe in the supernatural, however. (cf. no. 1)

5. Drug-ambivalent. Easy (Nate Parker) has a drinking problem. Smoking, however, gets a free pass, with Cuba Gooding working a pipe in picture 1940s style. Lightning smokes a cigar and Smokey appears to chew tobacco.

4. Statist. “You signed up to follow orders.”

3. Anti-racist and egalitarian. Skeptical whites are repeatedly forced to come to terms with the ability of blacks and say things like, “I guess there’s more to you coloreds than I thought.” The separate but equal doctrine extends to the military and receives a critique from Colonel Bullard, who, lobbying for more expensive equipment, says, “No more hand-me-downs. If you get us new planes, we can help your boys.”

2. Pro-war. The mutual mass murder politely termed war is as usual a noble enterprise, particularly when directed against unprogressive white men and when it serves as a vehicle for civil rights at home. The war effort even receives a spiritual endorsement: “Black Jesus, we thank you for bringing Red Squadron back home to us.”

1. Black supremacist. “We are on the side of God Almighty,” Red Tails boasts. “Hallelujah, the saints are marchin’ in,” proclaims one Red Tail as he enters the fray.

Cannibal Mercenary

Mercenary aka Cannibal Mercenary (1983) ****

This Thai film, titled to capitalize on the success of then-recent Italian gut-munching horrors Cannibal Holocaust (1980) and Cannibal Ferox (1981), finds a ragtag team of sleazy and mentally damaged mercenaries venturing into VC-infested territory to assassinate a drug kingpin who commands an army of “Draculas”, cannibal tribesmen sort of like Indochinese hillbillies.

Clearly inspired by Apocalypse Now (1979), Mercenary opens with post-traumatic battle flashbacks intermingled with a shot of a ceiling fan like the one that transfixes Martin Sheen. After a little hokey, English-dubbed melodrama to set the plot in motion, Mercenary gets down to business – and brutal, nasty business it is, with the outnumbered protagonists encountering the Viet Cong, quicksand, booby traps, and (speaking of booby traps) a treacherous, manipulative jungle bitch who threatens the cohesiveness of the group.

Idiosyncratically edited, Mercenary has scenes of high-stress, noisy, tension-ratcheting quick cuts that appear to be designed to strain the viewer’s nerves to the breaking point, such as when a henchman threatens to waste a whining kid and initiates a death countdown. Standout imagery includes a beheading, eye-gouging, maggot-eating, face-urinating, a skull being split open by a spike, and subsequent hungry brain-gobbling. Horror watchers will also enjoy the tacky, uncredited appropriation of Goblin’s music from Dawn of the Dead (1978). Recommended to cannibal movie videovores and other perverts, who, however, should not get their hopes up about seeing the pictured Aryan super soldier spring into battle, as no such figure appears in Mercenary, an all-Asian affair, alas.

4 out of 5 stars.

Devastator

The Devastator (1986) ****

Directed by low-budget action specialist Cirio H. Santiago, a master of what Joe Bob Briggs has termed the “exploding bamboo” subgenre, The Devastator is yet another generic 80s ‘Nam vet vigilante movie – or, in other words, a classic! Richard Hill, better known for playing the title part in Deathstalker (1983), stars as Deacon Porter, a vet who just wants to get on with his life, but finds himself thrust back into the fray when his old commanding officer is murdered. In the rural California community of King’s Ransom, drug lord Carey (Crofton Hardester) rules his roost with a hell-raising paramilitary force and even has the sheriff (Kaz Garas) on his payroll. When Deacon and a few of his ex-soldier buddies assemble in town, however, Carey’s days of 80s drug tyranny are numbered.

Not much in the way of plot, The Devastator is primarily wall-to-wall action – largely set to chintzy synthesizer music – with some truly impressive stunt work along the way. The most fun, however, is probably to be had from Deacon’s burly compatriot Ox (Jack Daniels!), a growling party animal who greets his old teammate by punching a hole through his door (!) and who clearly delights in over-the-top mayhem for the kicks. The villain has a healthy, thriving marijuana field, which, when Ox assaults it and sets it on fire, results in an even more humongous marijuana holocaust than the one in Up in Smoke (1978) – that, and a funny variation on Duvall’s famous line from Apocalypse Now (1979), with Ox taking big, deep breaths of the stuff and exulting like some victorious barbarian.

Rock-jawed Hill is only so-so in the charisma department, but with his muscular build the actor definitely has the look of the all-American action hero. Jack Daniels, as noted, is quite the hoot as Ox, while foxy item Katt Shea, who co-stars as Hill’s love interest, spunky gas pump attendant Audrey, would go on shortly after The Devastator to become a director of some note, creating stylish thrillers like Stripped to Kill (1987) and Streets (1990). The Devastator would make a perfect double feature with funky Gary Busey actioner Eye of the Tiger (1986), an entry to which this programmer bears a thematic resemblance. 

4 stars. Check it out!

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Cat Creature

The Cat Creature (1973) ****

A suspenseful TV movie with a solid genre pedigree, The Cat Creature was written by Psycho novelist Robert Bloch and directed by Curtis Harrington, whose previous forays into horror included the Shelley Winters classics What’s the Matter with Helen? (1971) and Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? (1972). The Cat Creature‘s hokey but involving story melds elements from old standards Dracula (1931), The Mummy (1932), and Cat People (1942), for a film that reverentially prowls familiar territory, but also marks it with a distinctive musk.

A young Meredith Baxter stars as Rena, a shy woman who takes a job working for sinister Hester Black (Gale Sondergaard) in her occult curiosity shop in Hollywood, catering to dykes, eccentrics, and satanic dilettantes. Things seem to be going well for her until a police detective (Stuart Whitman) comes to question her about a missing Egyptian amulet and drops the bombshell that her predecessor jumped to her death from a balcony.

People have been succumbing to strange, cat-related deaths ever since a “part-time handyman, full-time wino”, and burglar (Kung Fu‘s Keye Luke) stole the amulet from a mummy’s coffin. Meanwhile, the police have brought in a charming archaeologist (David Hedison), who hopes to put the moves on Rena while also solving the mystery of the amulet and all the horrible catty crimes associated with its discovery. Will the professor be able to figure it all out before more are murdered and Rena falls prey to an ancient and evil Egyptian agenda?

The Cat Creature is a relatively classy (albeit low-budget) affair until a high-camp climactic twist knocks it straight into the gonzosphere. Laughable ending notwithstanding, the film has enough going for it to warrant horror aficionados’ attention. The future hippie mother of Alex P. Keaton looks sweet and innocent enough to munch, while Whitman lends the film some weight with his usual air of cool, haggard authority and experience. John Carradine also has a cameo appearing alongside a drunk midget whore.

4 out of 5 stars.

Manhattan Baby poster

Manhattan Baby (1982) ***1/2

This Poltergeist-inspired spaghetti chiller has a reputation as something of a bastard stepchild among the works of gore specialist Lucio Fulci. This is unsurprising, considering that most of the movie is bloodless and comes up short in the scares department. However, for those who appreciate the director more for his stylistic tendencies – his unsubtle closeups, languid pacing, tedium punctuated with shrill hysterics, and spacy evocations of vague sensations and dreamlike states of being – Manhattan Baby finds the master mining the mother lode. Great gore there is, though, particularly toward the end, when a flock of taxidermied birds spring to life and swoop into ravenous action, pecking and ripping some sad Italian greaseball to shreds.

What plot there is concerns an archaeologist (Christopher Connelly) whose daughter becomes possessed by something evil in Egypt after receiving an amulet from a blind beggar woman in a desolate square; but Manhattan Baby is less concerned with plot points or logic than with atmospherics and strange set pieces, sometimes seeming less like a narrative feature than a series of otherworldly, disconnected episodes. Certainly, this one is going to be a difficult sell to anyone other than devoted Lucio Fulci fans and hardcore Italo-horror buffs, who will also enjoy the sight of familiar faces like Connelly (Raiders of Atlantis), child actor Giovanni Frezza (The House by the Cemetery), and Fulci himself in a cameo. Anybody who does have a taste for such fare, however, really does need to see the aforementioned scene of the man-eating birds.

3.5 of 5 possible stars. (Only earning a solid three stars, Manhattan Baby receives an extra charity half-star for featuring blue 80s lasers that zap Christopher Connelly in the eyes.)

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