Archives for posts with tag: jazz

Magic in the Moonlight

With Magic in the Moonlight, degenerate Jewry’s auteur laureate Allan Konigsberg (alias Woody Allen) returns to his beloved Jazz Age and to the theme of the enchantment in life and love that began to preoccupy him sometime around A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy (1982) – as well as to the contested existence of God, a subject that has obsessed him throughout his career. Colin Firth plays a celebrity illusionist invited to debunk spiritualist Emma Stone. The results, pleasantly enough, are quintessential Woody – witty, romantic, and generally wonderful. Blu-ray was invented to showcase Emma Stone’s immaculate, strange, and exquisite face. Highly recommended.

[WARNING: POTENTIAL SPOILERS]

5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Magic in the Moonlight is:

6. Anti-family. Stone’s father abandoned her.

5. Class-conscious. “Unlike you, we’re members of the working class.” Emma Stone’s character comes from a much humbler background than those who patronize her services as a spiritualist.

4. Racist! Firth refers to Stone’s “confused black little criminal’s heart”. Konigsberg is hereby sentenced to make amends by appearing in Tyler Perry’s next Madea vehicle.

3. Anti-Semitic! “Hoodwinking is what we do,” confesses the hero’s trusted Jewish magician colleague Burkan (Simon McBurney), who presents himself as an exposer of hoaxes but turns out to have been a conman himself and a traitor to his friend. He is motivated, he concedes, by “envy and resentment”.

2. Redpilled. Stone rejects fawning, ukulele-strumming beta male suitor Hamish Linklater in favor of masculine, dignified Colin Firth.

1. Agnostic. “I think Mr. Nietzsche has disposed of the God matter rather convincingly.” Or has he? Maintained throughout is a tension between protagonist Firth’s rational understanding that spirituality is a fraud “from the séance table to the Vatican and beyond” and his simultaneous longing for some transcendence. Is it true that “happiness is not the natural human condition”? Is willful ignorance really bliss? “You were much happier when you let some lies into your life, Stanley,” Konigsberg seems to want to suggest with Magic in the Moonlight.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

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Blue Jasmine

Embarrassing for a white nationalist to admit, Jewish pervert Allan Konigsberg (alias Woody Allen) remains one of this writer’s favorite directors despite the auteur’s corrosive persona and poisonous cultural influence. Now, with Blue Jasmine, the seriocomic pedo-provocateur furnishes Cate Blanchett with her best and strongest role to date as the fallen Park Avenue socialite spouse of sleazebag Wall Street operator Alec Baldwin, who, after being caught “up to his ass in phony real estate and bank fraud” and committing suicide in prison, has left her penniless, alone, and psychologically brittle. Moving in with her blue collar adopted sister Ginger (Sally Hawkins) in San Francisco, Jasmine struggles to adjust to her lowered station in life – a situation Konigsberg expertly fondles, balancing audience schadenfreude with surprising sympathy. The cast is perfect, the jazz is hot, and Woody is in top form. Fans will enjoy.

5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Blue Jasmine is:

7. Drug-ambivalent. “You drink, you become a jerk.” Characters imbibe throughout, sometimes to the impediment of their judgment. Overcoming addiction is presented as an accomplishment, but Blue Jasmine constantly runs the risk of promoting a kind of nervous breakdown chic given how good Blanchett looks in the film – at least until the concluding scenes, when her traumas and bad habits show on her face. “Have you ever gotten high on nitrous oxide?” asks randy dentist Dr. Flicker (Michael Stuhlbarg).

6. Liberal. “The government took everything,” moans hypocrite Jasmine. “The first thing you gotta know,” her husband earlier warns, “is how to not give half your money to the government.” Resistance to taxation and redistribution of wealth is thereby framed as the scheming of a white financial criminal to avoid paying his fair share of the common burden. Working for the State Department, meanwhile, is “glamorous”.

5. Multiculturalist. New York and San Francisco appear as peaceful and orderly multi-ethnic metropolises. A note of discord is struck when Jasmine, working as a dentist’s receptionist, snaps, “Can you just put someone on [the phone] who speaks better English?” Presumably, though, this is only supposed to mark the character as a bit of a bigot instead of a person with a valid dislike of America’s multicultural experiment.

4. Pro-miscegenation. The film includes multiple white/Asian pairings. In one scene, a white man and Asian woman gawk in bemusement as Jasmine hallucinates and talks to herself. The mixed couple is thus the face of normalcy, the fair Nordic that of pathology.

3. Pro-slut. “It’s not like we’re engaged, so, you know, I’m free.” Ginger, quickly seduced by a man she meets at a party, shamelessly discusses her sex life within earshot of her children.

2. Anti-marriage. Baldwin plays a serial philanderer. Jasmine says her sister’s husband “used to hit her.” Louis Szekely (alias Louis C.K.) plays another cheater.

1. Crypto-Zio-capitalist. As with Arbitrage (2012), The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), and Assault on Wall Street (2013), it is the hated European gentile male and not the Jew who serves as the representative figure in financial shenanigans. “Jesus Christ almighty,” Konigsberg’s script has “philistine businessman” Baldwin gripe when arrested. Jews instead come across as the victims, with Baldwin bilking brother-in-law Andrew Clay Silverstein (alias Andrew “Dice” Clay) and his ostensibly Catholic but Jewish-looking and therefore subtextually Semitic wife out of all of their lottery winnings and savings. Audience sympathy is generally with the down-to-earth crypsis-Jews rather than with the snooty elitist blonde. Hilariously, Baldwin’s innocently idealistic Ivy League son and heir Danny, who rejects him after learning of his fraudulent dealings, is played by a Jew, Alden Ehrenreich. All of this, of course, only serves to obscure the reality of Zio-financial hegemony and Jewish supremacism.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

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Street Music

Street Music (1981) ****1/2

A bittersweet variation on a staple 80s genre – the underdog story in which a motley assortment of misfits band together to save the [insert cause of choice: summer camp, dance club, etc.] – Street Music serves as the perfect vehicle for sprightly, diminutive cutie Elizabeth Guttman (alias Elizabeth Daily), whose exotic looks viewers may recognize from such classics of the decade as Valley Girl (1983) and Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985).

Guttman plays Sadie Delaware, a busker who makes her living giving spirited renditions of old-timey jazz songs. Yet to get her big break in show business, Sadie lives with her boyfriend Eddie (Larry Breeding) in the ramshackle Victory Hotel in San Francisco’s Tenderloin, a colorful slum full of alcoholics, eccentric old codgers, and prostitutes. Unfortunately for the hotel’s residents, it is scheduled to be demolished, and all of its occupants are expected to vacate within a matter of days. Monroe (D’Alan Moss), a black Marxist who works at the Victory, hopes to mobilize the elderly tenants to picket and fight the eviction, but Sadie just wants to get out of the ghetto and make a better life for herself.

Street Music taps into common liberal fears of the 1980s: loss of individuality, ideals, and character; the sacrifice of the little guy on the altar of rising consolidation, commercialism, corporate power, and conformity. The tenants of the Victory – old Jews, blacks, Hispanics, crazies, food stamp recipients, and bohemian artists – represent the liberal dream of harmonious racial diversity in a setting of noble squalor and hearty communitarian grime. A modest movie about little heroisms, full of graffiti, garbage, and heart, Street Music will appeal to admirers of truly independent cinema. Sticklers for craft, however, are warned that, true to its subject matter, Street Music‘s boom operator seems to have been a drunkard, with the microphone dipping into view in more than one of the scenes.

4.5 out of 5 stars. Recommended.

Rooftops

Rooftops (1989) ***1/2

West Side Story director Robert Wise returns to the dance-oriented inner-city fantasy in Rooftops, the story of homeless heartthrob T (Jason Gedrick), who lives in a Lower East Side water tower “like a bat or a rat or something”. T falls for nappy-headed Puerto Rican treat Elana (Troy Beyer), unaware that she works for her cousin Lobo (Eddie Velez), the neighborhood crack cocaine kingpin. Lobo is making life difficult for everyone; and when one of his henchmen burns T out of his tower, Lobo’s days as the local thug-in-chief are numbered.

A prime document of the War on Drugs and its naive “Just Say No” ethos, Rooftops packs a vibrant blast of nostalgia for 80s freaks. Set in a fairy tale barrio where bright, resilient youths settle their differences with beat-driven martial dance showdowns, the movie is splashed with graffiti and peppered with quaint slum dialogue like “You dissin’ me, homeboy” and “don’t bust on my crib”.

Other sights and sounds of sentimental interest include the expected 80s fashions (Batman tank top, anyone?); funky music by the Eurythmics, Etta James, and others; and several shots of the World Trade Center looming large and doomed in the distance. Rooftops is elegantly photographed and entertainingly choreographed, but will be most likely to please admirers of period kitsch along the colorful lines of Body Rock (1984), Delivery Boys (1985), Band of the Hand (1986), and Lambada (1990). One only wishes Rooftops had more dancing and less sanctimonious anti-drug messaging.

3.5 out of 5 stars.

Rooftops preview

bullet_to_the_head

Action specialist Walter Hill has always had a fondness for hero odd couples, a formula the director exploited with memorably entertaining results in 48 Hrs., Red Heat, and Another 48 Hrs.; and now Hill returns to the genre in triumph with Bullet to the Head, the director’s first feature film in many years, but a worthy addition to his impressive filmography and well worth the protracted wait.

Bullet to the Head is a near-perfect showcase for the haggard and frightening gravitas of over-the-hill Sylvester Stallone, who as cynical but likable hit man Jimmy “Bobo” Bonomo looks as chiseled, sleepy-eyed, and casually homicidal as ever, his voice so inhumanly deep and guttural that it sounds as if he has a football-sized phlegm wad and a few shell fragments lodged behind his chest. Veins protrude from his arms like earthworms writhing under the flesh of this man so old he seems just as likely to keel over dead from petrifaction as lash out and take off an enemy head.

But fortunately for action fans, Bobo makes it through the flick and takes out the trash in classic style, gunning for the gangsters and dirty cops who double-crossed him and killed his partner and teaming up for the purpose with D.C. detective Taylor Kwon (Sung Kang), whose own investigation of a fellow officer’s murder has led him to Bobo’s own New Orleans. Sung Kang packs about as much charisma as stale tofu, but his presence allows for politically incorrect fun-poking from Stallone along the sarcastic lines of, “Nice goin’, Oddjob” and “Why don’t you go read some fuckin’ tea leaves?” The generational-technological gap between the two is also effective, recalling the dynamic between Bruce Willis and Justin Long in Live Free or Die Hard.

The culprits turn out to be high-rollers Robert Morel (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), a cane-pimping African emigre with a knowledge of classical literature (of course!), and his sleazy associate Marcus Baptiste, played by Christian Slater, who seems to have transitioned gracefully enough from weaselly 80s alt-heartthrob roles to weaselly middle-aged bad guys. Bobo himself, meanwhile, is also being hunted by mercenary Keegan (Jason Momoa), a mean-eyed menace whose constant scowling is reminiscent of Ed O’Ross’s turn in Red Heat.

Bullet to the Head makes a decent (if perhaps too-obvious) effort to give its story a bit of the spice and flavor of its New Orleans setting, and a sassy blues score by Steve Mazzaro sets the unpretty tone of the film, with Sarah Shahi furnishing skank appeal as Bobo’s bastard tattoo artist daughter. But the main attraction here is always Sylvester Stallone. In addition to getting into a brutal Turkish bath fight, Stallone has a climactic, adrenaline-pumping axe duel with Momoa that earned the movie an extra half-star from this reviewer. Truly an experience to elicit affirmative Tim Allen chimp grunts from seasoned remote control warriors everywhere, Walter Hill’s Bullet to the Head is aggressively recommended to proud dick owners only.

4.5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Bullet to the Head is:

11. Sexist! One of Bobo’s rules as a hit man is “no women, no children”. A modern, sexually enlightened, and gender-blind gentleman would be just as eager to kill marked women as men. The climactic confrontation involves a damsel in distress.

10. Anti-Christian. A foul-mouthed, coke-and-booze-binging jerk (Holt McCallany) wears a crucifix. One of the villains is named Baptiste.

9. Anti-redneck. “I don’t trust that redneck prick.”

8. Pro-gay. Lesbians tango at a costume ball.

7. Anti-Slav. As in Pain and Gain, The Heat, and A Good Day to Die Hard, the Slavic woman is defined by sleaze.

6. Pro-torture. Sadism is an asset in interrogating a captive.

5. Drug-ambivalent. Bobo is a heavy drinker, but is no less effective for it. His daughter’s mother is a dead junkie hooker. (see also no. 10)

4. Un-p.c. Bobo calls Kwon “Confucius”, etc.

3. Multiculturalist/pro-miscegenation. Kwon hooks up with Bobo’s daughter. New Orleans appears as a happy (albeit catastrophically corrupt) multiracial city, with blacks and whites mingling to hear some jazz.

2. Anti-police. Wooed by graft, cops become killers.

1. Anti-state/anti-cronyism. Motivating much of the killing is Morel’s plan to knock down poor (presumably black) people’s housing and throw up condominiums. “This goes way up, man. We’re talkin’ ’bout Washington.”

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