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The Ideological Content Analysis 30 Days Putsch:

30 Reviews in 30 Days

DAY SIX

Leviathan

Writer-director Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Leviathan tells the story of Kolya (Aleksey Serebryakov), a rustic mechanic whose family property has been seized through eminent domain so that crooked town boss Vadim (Roman Madyanov) can use it to build a “palace”. Coming from Moscow to help Kolya is lawyer and old army buddy Dmitriy (Vladimir Vdovichenkov), who, in addition to offering counsel, also happens to be screwing his friend’s wife Lilya (Elena Lyadova) on the side. Dmitriy’s idea is to blackmail the mayor, but Vadim, prepared to use violence to have his way, proves to be more than a worthy adversary. Meanwhile, Kolya’s son Romka (Sergey Pokhodaev) bears a bitter grudge against stepmother Lilya, so that the household seems doomed to unhappiness even if the family home is saved. Leviathan is a somewhat exotic treat in its portrait of rural Russian life – an experience seldom offered to American filmgoers – but audiences accustomed to the breakneck pacing and flash of Hollywood might be frustrated by this import’s deliberate lurch and its unresolved ambiguity.

4.5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Leviathan is:

5. Anti-police. Officers are assumed to be on the take.

4. Drug-ambivalent. Characters casually smoke and drink. Fellows come together in commiseration, celebration, or any occasion over vodka. It leads to poorly considered behavior, however, and Kolya warns his son against drinking beer with friends.

3. Anti-marriage. Matrimony, it would seem, makes Russian women miserable. Lilya is driven into another man’s arms, while her friend Anzhela (Anna Ukolova) fantasizes about leaving her husband and running away to America. Marriage, furthermore, shortens a woman’s lifespan. Stepanych (Sergey Bachurskiy), for instance, is said to have outlived two wives.

2. Anti-Christian. “I am a Christian, that’s my culture and my belief,” Zvyagintsev has said. His film, however, gives little evidence of this in its parallel characterization of a corrupt politician and an Orthodox priest. Religious platitudes are juxtaposed with slop being fed to swine.

1. Anti-Putin. Zvyagintsev has acknowledged that Leviathan was inspired by the story of a Colorado man, Marvin John Heemeyer. Not being informed of this fact, however, western media-brainwashed art house audiences are left to assume that Leviathan’s tale of a sleazy Christian bureaucrat’s oppression of an everyman is representative of Vladimir Putin’s theocratic heterofascist neo-Soviet Russia. A portrait of Putin hangs on the wall behind Vadim’s desk just to make the insinuation of microcosm explicit. In another scene, buddies peruse a collection of framed pictures of Soviet leaders they intend to use for target practice, with one of them suggesting that he would like to have a shot at the current crop of elected officials. The implication is an unflattering continuity between the dehumanization of the U.S.S.R. and Putin’s Russia.

With Zvyagintsev having made a name for himself with 2011’s Elena as a rising figure in international cinema, Russia’s Ministry of Culture put up more than a third of the money to make Leviathan; but Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky was understandably scandalized by the finished product, incensed that Zvyagintsev would dare to “spit on” the Putin government with his “anti-Russian” film, which also had to be censored in its home country due to the profane screenplay. “An Incisive Take on Russia Even Putin Couldn’t Ignore,” proclaims a useful idiot writing for The Atlantic, further describing the film as “a rare example of a director’s prestige prevailing over a fiercely controlling propaganda machine.”

One hardly needs wonder why Leviathan was picked up for theatrical and home video distribution in the United States and so enthusiastically touted by Sony Pictures Classics (and, in Spain, by the aptly monikered Golem Distribucion). Sony Pictures Entertainment is headed by Michael Lynton, who, in addition to being a Jew, is a member of the Zio-globalist-warpigging Council on Foreign Relations. Sony Pictures Classics DVDs and Blu-ray discs have frequently paired the trailers for Leviathan and Red Army, another Sony product serving Zionist aims with regard to Russia, before the feature presentations.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

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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 Christmas Gift (1986) ****  John Denver, who in 1972 extolled his “Rocky Mountain High”, heads back to his beloved Rockies for this decent television production. Denver plays George Billings, a New York architect and recent widower who travels to Colorado for Christmas along with his little daughter Alex (Gennie James, who appeared in another TV movie, A Smoky Mountain Christmas, that same December). Ostensibly, Billings is on vacation and only seeking a change of scenery in the rustic hamlet of Georgetown; but Billings’s callous and greedy employer, Mr. Renfield (Edward Winter), has actually sent him to scout and survey the location of a future commercial development.

Billings begins to have second thoughts about the plan, however, when he meets local beauty Susan (Jane Kaczmarek) and comes to an appreciation of Georgetown’s unspoiled small-town charm and innocence. Exactly how innocent becomes clear to Billings when he realizes that even the adults in this backwater still believe in Santa Claus. Some in the town have fallen on hard times – chief among these being rancher Jake (Kurtwood Smith, whom viewers may remember as one of the villains in the original RoboCop), who has been unable to pay his debts and faces impending foreclosure – so that the lucrative proposition of Mr. Renfield, who has the connivance of Georgetown’s well-meaning Mayor Truesdale (James T. Callahan), presents a genuine temptation to a community faced with the difficult choice of modernizing and so losing its identity or struggling on and facing a possible future as a ghost town.

John Denver is effortlessly likable in the lead, and gets to sing one of his own songs, “Love Again” (from his 1986 One World album), in addition to joining with townsfolk for a couple of Christmas carols. Gennie James is cute, Jane Kaczmarek is wholesomely sexy, and Pat Corley (Murphy Brown), who comes across as a poor man’s Jonathan Winters, is amusing in his role of daffy old taxi driver Bud, with clown-faced veteran character actress Mary Wickes adding some extra color as Bud’s hotel proprietress sister. The Christmas Gift is harmless fun and worth an unwrapping if shoppers are snowbound, particularly since (as of writing) it has been uploaded in its entirety to YouTube. The Christmas Gift gets 4 out of 5 stars.

Christmas Gift

From Rocky Mountain High to Mount Zion rock bottom . . .

Israel O Blessed Israel!Israel, O Blessed Israel! (1992) **  Subtitled A Gospel Music Journey in the Holy Land, this dogforsaken howler from the VHS ejection heap is part sermon, part cheapjack music video, part travelogue, and part symbolic act of fellatio performed for the gratification of organized Jewry. Pat Boone, who shamelessly threw in with the Zionist lot back in 1960 when he warbled the overwrought anthem to Otto Preminger’s six-million-hour Israeli epic Exodus, returns to glowingly tread the paths that Jesus Christ Himself walked, sing some hymns, and drum up tourism dollars for America’s favorite Middle Eastern welfare case.

The show opens with “Israel, O Blessed Israel”, probably the worst piece of junk Boone ever recorded, stinking up the place over images of innocent children, flowers, mountains, and the majestically fluttering Israeli flag. Has-been Boone almost seems to fancy himself a kind of peripatetic holy man as he wanders about in his clean white shirt, beige slacks, and all-American tennis shoes – with a picture of Jesus disconcertingly fading into Boone’s faintly evil features at one point. In addition to singing tepid arrangements of “How Great Thou Art” and other standards, Boone recites uplifting passages from the scriptures – promising, for instance, that Israel’s enemies “will forever be destroyed” – and, so as to drive home the all-important point of the Savior’s Jewishness, more than once makes a point of referring to Jesus as “a rabbi”.

Unintentional humor occurs as a slack-jawed camel comes lumbering into view in slow motion to the tune of “O Little Town of Bethlehem” and when a fly whizzes by Boone’s head as he renders “In the Garden”. For some reason, viewers are treated to the famous ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, and Jacques-Louis David’s Oath of the Horatii also makes an unexpected appearance. The tape even takes a brief turn for the scary, slipping into gray, vague, and indiscernible visuals, when Boone recounts a hoary anecdote about reanimated skeletons. To its credit, Israel, O Blessed Israel! does provide a showcase for the country’s bountiful natural beauties and impressive air of antiquity, but let these commendations not lead prospective viewers into any undue temptation, for this VHS relic, verily, brethren, is for hardcore schlock aficionados and Zio-masochists only. 2 out of 5 blue Stars of David.

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