Archives for posts with tag: Jennifer Lawrence

X-Men-Days-of-Future-Past

After an overly busy and action-saturated exposition, alleged pedophiliac ringmaster Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past develops into a passable superhero entertainment, with Logan (Hugh Jackman) venturing back to the seventies to try to stop scientist Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage) from developing the adaptive Sentinel robots who pose an existential threat to mutant survival in the future. Highlights include a comedic slow-motion bullet-halting set piece and the climactic confrontation in which Logan and Beast (Nicholas Hoult) gang up on renegade Magneto (Michael Fassbender). Jennifer Lawrence, meanwhile, playing the pivotal role of Mystique, will, depending upon the viewer’s tolerance for fetish garb, either be sexy or repulsive in her scaly blue body stocking and slather of greasy red porn hair.

4 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that X-Men: Days of Future Past is:

4. Anti-family. Asked if he has children, Logan (Hugh Jackman) answers, “Sure as hell hope not.”

3. Anti-corporatist. At the unveiling of the Sentinels, decorations feature Trask insignia melded with elements of the American flag, suggesting a fusion of government and the defense industry.

2. Feminist. The formidable Mystique kicks or otherwise incapacitates dozens of men throughout the film.

1. Crypto-Zionist. Ostensibly antiwar, Days of Future Past shows its neoconservative streak by having the Sentinel raids on the X-Men occur under the threateningly gloomy skies of Russia and China, two countries currently standing in the way of the Jew World Order. Bodies dumped in a pile evoke the famous images of the Holohoax, while Bolivar Trask’s obsession with experimentation on the mutants so as to find a way to eradicate them recalls the notorious Dr. Josef Mengele’s alleged experiments and Hitler’s supposed “Final Solution” of fumigating the world of Jewry.

The Trask Industries logo, with its angular insignia in a circle against a plain field, vaguely suggests a Nazi banner, and the fact that Trask himself is a midget casts race-conscious gentiles and nationalists as small, abnormal men who overcompensate for their inadequacies by pointing their fingers at those who happen to be a little different. Mutants, like the Ashkenazim, are extraordinarily talented infiltrators who pass as members of a majority they despise and to which they consider themselves superior, a step higher on the evolutionary staircase. Mystique, significantly, is a shapeshifter who, in her mission to save her “people”, insinuates herself into the highest levels of politics so as to subvert and neuter human government from within.

X-Men: Days of Future Past also reveals that, while Magneto has been accused of murdering John F. Kennedy (thus accounting for that legendary “magic bullet”), the helmeted hero was actually trying to save Kennedy’s life because – get this – Kennedy himself was a crypto-mutant! Thus, continuing with the Jewish-mutant parallels, the film seeks to exonerate Israel of any connection with the JFK assassination and paint the president as a tragically fallen friend of the Jews. This would all seem to be designed to distract from the intriguing case made by journalist Michael Collins Piper, author of Final Judgment, to the effect that the Mossad had Kennedy killed because he opposed Israel’s nuclear weapons program.

American Hustle poster

To be perfectly honest, this reviewer was bored for lengthy portions of American Hustle, David O. Russell’s unaccountably lauded opus about the Abscam scandal. Like too many period pieces set in fashion-distinctive epochs, Hustle evinces an overly polished and inorganic quality, more concerned with fussing about its garish clothing, bizarre hairstyles, and flaunting an unwarranted sense of its own super-coolness than with the development of characters deserving of the audience’s interest. As with the less inspired moments in Scorsese’s oeuvre, American Hustle is too content to slide by on the likability of its vintage pop soundtrack and slick but empty visual flair, with – of course! – the obligatory trip to a decadent discotheque.

The performances of Bale, Cooper, and others are fine, but hardly career highlights. Russell’s unconvincing dialogue, co-credited to Eric Warren Singer, bears much of the blame for the film’s lifelessness. Actors can hardly be blamed for failing to salvage compelling drama out of the likes of the following yawners: “This is bullshit. We are bullshit. You were bullshit. You were bullshit.” While no character in American Hustle is particularly sympathetic, there are some affecting moments toward the end of the film when flimflam man Irving Rosenfeld (Bale) begins to feel guilty about misleading and ruining a mark he has come to view as his friend. This in no way justifies a run time in excess of two hours, however – leaving the viewer to wonder whether the tale of this potbellied, philandering Jew con artist with a heart of gold needed to be told at all.

ICA’s advice: For a 70s con game period piece, see Richard Gere in The Hoax instead.

3 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that American Hustle is:

8. Pro-drug. Nothing sells marijuana like the sight of a beautiful temptress (Amy Adams) smoking a joint.

7. Anti-American. Check the title.

6. Multiculturalist. Mayor Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner) maintains friendly relations with the minority community and even adopts a black kid to show what a great guy he is.

5. Pro-gay, with one gratuitous lesbian kiss.

4. Pro-slut. Movie stars making out in a bathroom – how glamorous! Rosenfeld does “the right thing” by marrying single mother Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence).

3. Zionist, calling attention to the undying bogeyman of American politicians’ insidious willingness to sell out the country’s well-being to the Arabs. Dismissive reference is also made to (Israel-hating, Palestine-loving) “fuckin’ Jimmy Carter”.

2. Relativistic. “That’s the way the world works. Not black and white like you say. Extremely gray.”

1. Obamist. In union-friendly Carmine Polito, American Hustle portrays the corrupt but humble and likable politician as tragic hero, a man of the people, a caring, avuncular figure genuinely concerned with the welfare of his constituents, and who presides over a system of corruption only so as to create new jobs. “We dream and we build,” he says. Overly zealous investigators like DiMaso (Cooper) are ruining America, Rosenfeld charges, by exposing high misdeeds and so destroying the people’s faith in their leaders. So lay off the Solyndra, Benghazi, NSA, IRS, and other scandals, American Hustle cautions, lest the spiritually vulnerable masses lose their precious hope.

The ubergenerically titled House at the End of the Street invites by its monicker classification alongside vicious modern horror granddaddies Last House on the Left (1972), Last House on Dead End Street (1977), and House on the Edge of the Park (1980); and, while House at the End of the Street is nowhere near as noteworthy as these films and will quickly be forgotten, it does at least offer enough unexpected twists not to be instantly forgotten by moviegoers looking for horror kicks.

It’s nigh-impossible to describe House at the End of the Street accurately and in much detail without giving away one of its major surprises, as it’s a film that pulls the risky stunt of switching antagonists at the halfway point.  A divorced woman (Elisabeth Shue, a long way from Adventures in Babysitting) and her daughter (Jennifer Lawrence) move into a home that’s affordable for them only because of the double murder that took place in the house nearest to them – which, they’ve been led to understand, is empty.  The suburban legend has it that the retarded feral girl who lived in the house and killed her parents is still living in the woods and remains a threat to the neighborhood.  In addition to their creepy new environs, mother and daughter are also dealing with healing emotional wounds of their own after what seems to have been a long bout of absentee parenting.  The tension between them becomes especially pronounced when the daughter befriends a handsome but spooky young man (Max Thieriot) and begins visiting his home without telling her mother where she is.

House at the End of the Street takes its time in getting to the goods and actually starts out like a disaster.  First, we see the double murder in retardo-vision, through the eyes of the killer, with intermittently blurry and shaky cinematography that’s more annoying than scary.  Then there are the disposable scenes with the local teens, wastrels just begging to get hammered to death after getting hammered.  Fortunately, the plotting is unexpected and manages to maintain viewer interest, even while the characters and the film overall leave something to be desired.  House does, however, rate 3.5 out of 5 stars for aspiring to surprise.

Ideological Content Analysis indicates that House at the End of the Street is:

4. Anti-drug.  An unsupervised child playing outside has a horrible accident while her mother is in the house freebasing.

3. Philanthropy-skeptical.  A teen “famine relief group thing” is actually a front for decadent drinking parties.

2. Anti-family.  Parents are mean and undependable.  Children are wildcards and can turn out retarded or grow up to be serial killers.

1. Anti-human.  Are audiences really expected to care if such disposable characters get killed in a movie with such a self-consciously generic title?

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