Archives for posts with tag: mystery

Nomads

John McTiernan, director of Hollywood blockbusters Predator (1987), Die Hard (1988), and The Hunt for Red October (1990), began his movie career rather more humbly with the flawed and eccentric but nonetheless entertaining debut Nomads (1986). Notable as McTiernan’s only credit as a screenwriter, Nomads was eviscerated by the critics when first released, and still has only a 13% green splat at Rotten Tomatoes. “Was there any sense in it?” asks leading lady Lesley-Anne Down in an interview included on the Nomads Blu-ray. “I don’t think there was very much sense in it at all for anybody.” Is Down correct in dismissing the film as a shallowly offbeat curio – and were the critics who panned the movie motivated only by an objective assessment of its merits?

Nomads stars Pierce Brosnan as a French anthropologist, Jean Charles Pommier, who in the opening sequence dies in the care of Down’s character, Dr. Eileen Flax, in a Los

Down

Lesley-Anne Down freaks out in John McTiernan’s Nomads.

Angeles hospital. He appears in a beaten, bloodied, and seemingly insane state, and his enigmatic last words initiate what will be a strange paranormal ordeal for Flax, who over the course of the film will both investigate and experience what befell Pommier, with most of the story told in flashback. The anthropologist and his wife (Anna Maria Monticelli) had only recently moved to the U.S. and purchased a house that, as it turns out, has a horrible history attached to it. Soon after moving in, the Pommiers discover Mansonesque graffiti on the garage door and more graffiti inside: “Gutman’s a Hero”. The home, they learn, was the site of a horrific child murder, and a band of elusive antisocial misfits who live out of a van have adopted the house as a holy site.

Pommier, being an anthropologist, follows the titular “nomads” around Los Angeles with the intention of documenting and studying them in order to gain a better idea of the threat he faces and to understand “what kind of people could think of a murder as some sort of shrine.” He determines that none of them have employment and watches them from a distance as they laze at the beach, party, and generally terrorize people. The nomads become aware of Pommier’s surveillance after he witnesses them murder a man and put the body in a dumpster. After first being pursued by them and escaping, Pommier again works his way into proximity with the group – at which point they seem to accept his presence and stage an impromptu photo shoot, with one of them, Mary, played by Mary Woronov, doing an exotic dance. When Pommier develops the film, however, he finds that none of the nomads appear in the exposures, which invites a comparison with vampires – although the nomads, who have no problem frolicking in the daylight, are clearly not vampires at least as conventionally depicted.

These quasi-vampires – vampire lore comprising a traditional understanding of the eternal Jew – are nomads, or what Pommier, drawing on Eskimo legends, describes as an urban variety of Innuat. As related in the film, “It has to do with wandering the desert. […] It’s all the same. Nomads live in deserts, whether it’s a desert of ice or sand or whatever doesn’t make a difference. […] They were supposedly hostile spirits. According to the myth, they were capable of assuming a human form” and traveled from place to place, bringing ruin and madness with them wherever they went. As Pommier tells his wife:

None of this may mean anything. None of it at all. […] But I may have found people who are living outside – outside any structure. They do not participate. No exchange, no constraints. They resort to violence with no provocation and then get away with it. It is as if to the official world they did not exist.

All of this rootlessness, in combination with the confluence of ritual, child murder, the reverence for a killer with the Jewish name Gutman, as well as the general depravity and destructiveness, contributes to an accumulation of clues that the nomads may be the Jews. Curiously, composer Bill Conti mentions during his Blu-ray interview that the soundtrack includes what he describes as a “Middle Eastern sound” – though to this reviewer’s untrained ear such a flavoring is difficult to detect in the synth-and-guitars music cues.

Adam Ant Nomads

Adam Ant portrays the leader of the titular band of roving marauders.

“You must not try to fight them,” a sinister nun (Blue Velvet’s Frances Bay) tells Pommier. This encounter takes place in a dilapidated cathedral where, in a sequence of nightmarish phantasmagoria, a flock of satanic women in habits is seen running through the halls in masks, one of them flashing her bare breasts at Pommier – all of which points to a faith corrupted. Dancing Mary, the nomad portrayed by Mary Woronov, wears a cross that glints in the sun, and later, when she is seen at night, she wears an even larger crucifix so that the viewer can hardly help but notice it as she cavorts like a stripper. Are these Christian elements ironic and indicative of cultural subversion, or have these been added as fig leaves to hide the almost naked Jewishness of the menace? Woronov’s features, it must be noted, are rather evil and arguably Semitic-looking.

In a key moment toward the end of the film, Pommier says to his wife with an air of wistfulness as they survey the Los Angeles skyline from a rooftop, “We are so very far from home, you know. All of us.” He laments his “bourgeois” life in a “civilized” world – in short, bemoans his condition of rootless cosmopolitanism. Both he and his kindred spirit the doctor, another childless middle-aged professional in the process of moving into a new and foreign home, have agricultural surnames, Pommier (“apple tree”) and Flax, that betray their simple origins and relatedness to the earth – Flax also connoting blonde and distinctively northern European looks – that set them apart from the dark, mysterious wanderers who move in their midst. Pommier’s polyglot cosmopolitanism, peripatetic ways, and sophistication nevertheless present a thematic parallel with the lifestyle of the nomads, so that it comes as no surprise when Pommier finally succumbs to them. The horror of Nomads is loss of a sense of belonging to a place and one’s own native culture – the horror of an alienated world in which, for instance, Dr. Flax’s colleague Cassie Miller (Jeannie Elias) complains about the “meshuggenah lunatics” who people the city. Whatever the meaning of the film, it may be worth observing that it is set in the entertainment capital of the world and that the final nomad antagonist Dr. Flax encounters is unable to pursue her beyond the California state line.

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

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10_cloverfield_lane

Nasty woman Mary Elizabeth Winstead wakes up chained to a cot in survivalist John Goodman’s basement in 10 Cloverfield Lane, a genre-bending experience in the tradition of Cabin in the Woods (2012) and The Signal (2014). Is Winstead, recalling Misery (1990), the prisoner of an obsessive loser who intends to possess her sexually – or is Goodman telling the truth when he claims that he only intends to keep her alive and that the world outside is uninhabitable, that everyone she knows and loves is dead, and that civilization has collapsed after a catastrophic apocalypse? Is it the Russians? The Martians? Or is it just a tall tale to dissuade his uncooperative guest from attempting to escape? Finding out is as frightening and fun as being held captive in John Goodman’s basement!

[WARNING: POTENTIAL SPOILERS]

4.5 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that 10 Cloverfield Lane is:

4. Alt-media-ambivalent. Goodman is “like a black belt in conspiracy theory”, a mixed bag of a man simultaneously tuned-in and misled as to a number of topics. The fact that, in addition to aliens and Russkies, he is also concerned about “Al Qaeda” seems to suggest that the film is condescendingly and disingenuously conflating neoconservative outlets and various conspiracy-oriented media of varying quality.

3. Anti-redneck. Goodman’s character represents a typical cosmopolitan millennial’s idea of a conservative Republican: a slovenly gun nut, “authoritarian personality”, and “no touching” prude scared of Martians and the prospect of a real-life Red Dawn scenario. He is stuck in a vanished American past, as evidenced by his Frankie Avalon records and VHS collection. The fact that major elements of his assertions turn out to be correct prompts the deliciously implied question at the heart of the film. Which would be more horrifying for a millennial woman – the prospect of an alien invasion that razes everything and everyone she knows, or the possibility that, for all of these years, those hateful, judgmental, beer-bellied, rifle-toting, misogynistic deplorables were right?

2. Disaster-alarmist. Turning viewer expectations upside-down, Goodman’s conspiracy-theory-fueled survivalism comes in handy when the shit really hits the fan. Rather than rejecting extreme preparedness outright, the movie suggests that liberals, rather than pointing and laughing at the conservatives, ought to appropriate such foresight and associated skill sets for themselves. The idea that fashion design could become a survival skill in a post-apocalyptic landscape is no doubt highly appealing to a number of young women and homosexuals with tacky, clashing heaps of student loan debt in the closet.

1. Feminist/anti-family. Goodman presents a negative patriarchal archetype (“I want us to be a happy family.”). Winstead also recounts a traumatic memory of seeing a man cruelly pulling his daughter by the arm and hitting her. Perhaps under the influence of such impressions of family life, she rejects the possibility of reuniting with her boyfriend in order to strike out on her own as a superheroine and save the planet – a choice about which the director, Dan Trachtenberg, expresses a cuckolded you-go-girl enthusiasm in his audio commentary.

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

True Detective Season 2

The second season of HBO’s bleak series True Detective shifts the scene of the sickness from creepy gothic Louisiana to dystopian southern California, a setting with a more strikingly chaotic ethnic mix that lends itself to an exploration of race relations in America. The plot this time around concerns the intertwined lives and fortunes of vicious but decent-hearted gangster Frank Semyon (Vince Vaughn) and tortured and tarnished detective Ray Velcoro (Colin Farrell) and their investigation into the convoluted circumstances of a politician’s death.

Semyon

Vince Vaughn as Frank Semyon

True Detective presents a world of demographic horror, an America in which racial loyalties are nonexistent and fealty of any other kind is hard to come by. Whites, blacks, Mexicans, and Jews are all crooked. Mexicans, while distrustful and destructive of whites, also think nothing of killing each other, while whites, finding themselves marooned in an increasingly hostile and meaningless world, grasp at anything they can get. Race-based tensions nevertheless continue to simmer beneath the surface of several of the characters’ interactions. Semyon is a self-made man and a bigot, a walking contradiction who dislikes the changing demographics of the U.S. and seethes with an angry white man’s discontent but is also and at the same time cynically complicit in the smuggling of illegal aliens into his country.

Semyon is also an anti-Semite and calls Israeli gangster Osip Agronov (Timothy Murphy) a “KGB kike motherfucker”. True Detective is rather daring in identifying the true ethnic character of the “Russian” mafia. The series gives Semyon more than one moment of triumphant crowd-pleasing sadism, and it is significant that one of these is reserved not for one of the Jewish gangsters, but for an especially weaselly specimen of the Shabbos goy, or gentile who sells his treacherous services to the Jewish enemy. Leonard Cohen’s excellent theme song, “Nevermind”, is interesting in this context for featuring the lines “I was not caught, though many tried. / I live among you, well-disguised.”

Velcoro

Fred Ward as Mr. Velcoro

In another scene, Semyon pummels and then pulls out the teeth of a mouthy brown-skinned inferior (Pedro Miguel Arce) – content that serves as vicarious satisfaction for Caucasian viewers fed up with pretending to like their laughingly darkening world. Representing such viewers is Velcoro’s father (Fred Ward), a retired policeman who found he was no longer able to carry out his duties properly with the advent of the fuck-the-police zeitgeist that found its explosive expression in the 1992 L.A. riots. The U.S. as it presently stands is “no country for white men,” he observes as he enjoys a black-and-white Kirk Douglas movie. He is one of two aged policemen in True Detective who remarks that blacks’ intensifying hostility toward police made it increasingly difficult for them to do their jobs.

The audience, one suspects, is expected to feel a mingled contempt and sympathy for this old man who has given up on life and squanders what little of it is left to him getting high and living in a televised, mythologized past. A parallel character is the disgusting, whorish ex-dancer mother (Lolita Davidovich) of highway patrolman and ex-mercenary Paul Woodrugh (Taylor Kitsch). Like old Mr. Velcoro, she prefers the comfort of watching old movies to doing anything productive with her years of decline. Morally and physically decrepit, her narrow, nostalgic tribalism takes the incestuous form of a selfish attachment to her son, who clearly wants nothing to do with her.

True Detective also offers multiple examples of interracial relationships, but none of these is deep, lasting, or free of damaged trust. As one of the season’s other songs suggests, “There’s no future. There’s no past.” – an assessment that could easily apply to America’s multiracial experiment as depicted in these episodes. A feeling of imminent doom pervades not just the lives of the principal characters, but the life of the proposition nation. In one episode, Detective Velcoro visits the set of a cheesy post-apocalyptic action movie – a cartoon version of the American century taking shape around those dumb enough not to notice what has been happening. Indeed, the characters who survive the final episode are those who choose to flee the country – no livable future seemingly being available to them here.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

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The Ideological Content Analysis 30 Days Putsch:

30 Reviews in 30 Days

DAY TWENTY

Kill the Messenger

Anybody with even a casual interest in conspiracy lore knows at least the outline of the true events that inspired this worthwhile film. Released on the heels of the Ferguson unrest of 2014, Kill the Messenger tells the story of San Jose Mercury News journalist Gary Webb (Jeremy Renner), who discovered that the 80s crack apocalypse epicentered in Los Angeles was facilitated by the Central Intelligence Agency through its sponsorship of the Nicaraguan contras.

Unlike any number of other media stories about police brutality, microaggressions, gentrification, hoodie scares, or other mysterious manifestations of racism and white privilege, Webb’s unsavory revelations give blacks good reason to be angry at their government’s actions. Webb made powerful enemies with his disclosures, which cut across partisan politics but incensed blacks in particular, and understandably so, given crack’s devastation of their families and neighborhoods. Kill the Messenger stops short of alleging that the CIA intentionally targeted black communities for destruction, but does highlight the particular blight these areas have endured.

Primarily, Kill the Messenger is the story of Webb the man, whose life and career were irreparably damaged by the titular smear campaign. Tastefully, but admittedly somewhat disappointingly, the movie leaves to viewers’ imaginations the question of whether Webb, as the official version goes, committed suicide by shooting himself twice (!) in the head or was murdered by some New World Order assassin. Renner is intense as Gary Webb, and the use of actual television news reportage of the day – including CIA shill (and current Ben Carson foreign policy advisor) Duane Clarridge’s jaw-droppingly stupid and smarmy reaction to Webb’s allegations: “Don’t give me that conspiracy bullshit. […] There has never been a conspiracy in this country” – does much to enhance the impression of reality.

4.5 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Kill the Messenger is:

6. Non-partisan. Both Republicans and Democrats are implicated, as is indicated by the opening montage.

5. Pro-gun. Webb keeps a handgun in his home and uses it to scare a spooky prowler away from his car.

4. Drug-ambivalent. Webb and his wife (Rosemarie DeWitt) smoke weed, but a visit to South Central Los Angeles underscores crack’s social ravages.

3. Media-critical. After initially celebrating his breakthrough, Webb’s fellow journalists either distance themselves from him or devote themselves to discrediting his work.

2. Anti-state. This writer must not have been paying attention during his high school civics class when the teacher explained how it was the government’s responsibility to import hard drugs into the country.

1. Borderline anti-Semitic! Richard Schiff plays Richard Zuckerman, a CIA asset and shill utilizing The Washington Post to trash Webb’s credibility. Tim Blake Nelson plays sleazy attorney Alan Fenster, who, while lending crucial assistance to Webb’s investigation, comes across as the stereotypical lawyer who insists even in private conferences on referring to his client “Freeway” Rick Ross (Michael K. Williams) as merely an “alleged” drug dealer. Oliver Platt, meanwhile, appears as Mercury News executive editor Jerry Ceppos, who at first defends Webb’s work but then wimps out in the face of the media firestorm. Perhaps to compensate for these unappealing characterizations, both Webb and his wife as visualized in the movie are darker, less Nordic-looking figures than the biographical subjects.

Gary Webb

Gary Webb

Jeremy Renner

Jeremy Renner

 

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

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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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The Ideological Content Analysis 30 Days Putsch:

30 Reviews in 30 Days

DAY FIVE

before i go to sleep poster

In this cleverly constructed thriller, Nicole Kidman plays a strange sort of amnesiac whose brain works like a broken record. Every morning she wakes up with no memory of her life up to that point. Further complicating her plight is her doubt as to whether or not to trust her husband, Colin Firth, who seems to want to be sympathetic and helpful, but provokes her suspicion by repeatedly hiding things from her. Meanwhile, kindly neuropsychologist Mark Strong tries, without the knowledge of her husband, to help Kidman retain more of her daily memory bank by giving her a video camera with which to record daily notes and reminders to herself. Kidman is convincingly distraught, and Firth strikes the perfect balance between sinister and charming. Good for this type of film.

[WARNING: SPOILERS. And, by the way, the cast/character listing at IMDb also contains spoilers, so avoid it before seeing the movie.]

4.5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Before I Go to Sleep is:

3. Pro-miscegenation. Kidman’s actual husband, the love of her life and father of their ugly son, is revealed to be blue-eyed Jew Adam Levy.

2. Feminist. An implement of female subjection in domesticity becomes a weapon in Kidman’s hands when she whacks Colin Firth in the head with an iron.

1. Anti-marriage. Watch out, ladies. That handsome Caucasian in your bed might not be your real husband, after all. In fact, he might be responsible for your brain damage!

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

Have shopping to do and want to support icareviews? The author receives a modest commission for Amazon purchases made through this link: http://amzn.to/1XRvDZv

The Ideological Content Analysis 30 Days Putsch:

30 Reviews in 30 Days

DAY FOUR

NonStop

Joel Silver, to his dying day, will never tire of trying to spook the goyim with terrorism. The immortal boogeyman of the twenty-first century rears its turbaned head again, only this time it is not the Muslims – or is it? – in Silver’s production Non-Stop, a decent vehicle for star Liam Neeson, who plays an air marshal aboard a transatlantic flight being threatened by an unusually inventive mystery terrorist. Until a turn for the stupid plunges it into irreparable turbulence, Non-Stop lives up to its title as a high-velocity thrill-flight, so that viewers are guaranteed at least a solid hour of Neesony excitement. Creepy Julianne Moore is also on board and somehow manages to get through the whole film without wrenching her face and sobbing.

[WARNING: SPOILERS]

4 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Non-Stop is:

9. Civic-minded, performing a public service by informing unsuspecting men that womyn can be triggered by being called “ma’am”.

8. Pro-gay, normalizing homosexual marriage. An Archie Bunkerish cop (Corey Stoll) is flying to London because, he says, “My fairy brother’s getting married to a guy with a British accent.”

7. Drug-ambivalent. Neeson is an alcoholic whose drinking, however, seems not to have impaired the performance of his duty. His smoking habit, furthermore, serendipitously leads him to the discovery an important clue.

6. State-skeptical. A federal agent (Anson Mount) takes advantage of his position to smuggle cocaine.

5. Media-critical and anti-vigilante. Talking head critics of security state spending come across as uninformed nuisances. Also problematic is the trend of democratized reportage and instantly uploaded videos of purported misconduct by the authorities. Out-of-context phone footage of Neeson manhandling a passenger contributes to a false news narrative according to which Neeson himself is the terrorist. Passengers seeing these reports are misled into revolting against his questioned authority. Neither mainstream nor alternative media are helpful. Best to let the feds conduct their searches of persons and phone records unimpeded by citizen scrutiny and interference. (cf. no. 1)

4. Anti-racist. Cast against audience expectations, the token Arab (Omar Metwally) turns out not to be a terrorist, but – surprise, surprise! – a mild-mannered molecular neuroscientist. Educated brother Nate Parker, meanwhile, knows how to program and hack cell phones.

3. Police-ambivalent. Corey Stoll plays a New York City cop who, while basically a decent sort, is a bit of a bigot. “You’re gonna let that guy in the cockpit?” he objects, seeing Metwally being ushered into the front of the plane to assist in a medical emergency. Later, after having his broken nose set by the Arab, Stoll seems to have been humbled and made to understand something about the brotherhood of man. Police, Non-Stop says, need not be abolished or cannibalized like pigs in a blanket; they only need to be made more sensitive. On the other side of the equation, a mouthy and uncooperative black man (Corey Hawkins) gets off to a bad start with air marshal Neeson, but eventually takes his side and helps him to retrieve his pistol in a difficult situation. Non-Stop invites badged authorities and non-whites to try to meet halfway and engage in mutual understanding.

2. Anti-war. Terrorists Scoot McNairy and Nate Parker are ex-military men who see their service in the War on Terror as pointless. Implausibly, they are most upset by what they perceive as the unsatisfactory state of airline security in the wake of 9/11. “Security is this country’s biggest lie,” they fret. Rather than simply going online and discovering that the event was perpetrated by Jews, however, the duo concocts an elaborate terror scenario designed to frame an air marshal for their own outlandish crime. One can only assume the pair sustained head injuries on the battlefield. Non-Stop’s anti-war bona fides are, however, disingenuous in light of the following consideration.

1. Zionist, perpetuating the 9/11 myth. The circumstance of a flight from New York to London conflates the ghosts of the 7/7 and 9/11 attacks, which hang over the film and reinforce the mythology of the linked destinies of the United States and Britain in fighting the enemies of the Jews.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

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The Ideological Content Analysis 30 Days Putsch:

30 Reviews in 30 Days

DAY THREE

A_Good_Marriage

Stephen King wrote this blackly comedic thriller about a woman (Joan Allen) who, after celebrating her twenty-fifth wedding anniversary with her seemingly dull accountant husband (Anthony LaPaglia), becomes convinced that he is actually “Beadie”, a patriarchal shitlord serial killer and rapist who has been busily putting strong, liberated women back where they belong – in the grave! Meanwhile, some shabby-looking drifter character (Stephen Lang) seems to be stalking the couple. Who is Beadie and what will the heroine do when confronted with his identity? Finding out should be fun for man-haters and those who enjoy scenes of elderly people screwing.

[WARNING: SPOILERS]

3.5 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that A Good Marriage is:

6. Anti-Christian. Allen responds irreverently to a priest’s platitude.

5. Drug-ambivalent. Allen takes a prescription pill to cope with her difficulties. The film, however, warns against alcohol, which impairs judgment.

4. Pro-miscegenation. A congoid can be seen dancing with a white woman at a party.

3. Class-conscious. Prompting the viewer to feel contempt for their social betters is a ridiculous scene in which the leads discuss whether or not to buy a rare coin for $9,000.00. An investigator’s only duty, he says, is to pay his taxes, while LaPaglia contrarily “covers his tracks” from the IRS. The implication would seem to be that the rich will only waste that money they manage to save from redistribution. Allen demonstrates her growth as a character by giving her husband’s belongings to a charity.

2. Misandrist. Sexually insensitive behavior and talk – such “sexist crap” as, for instance, quoting from From Here to Eternity or remarking that a woman’s attire is provocative – is indicative of a psychotic mind that harbors violent hostility toward women.

1. Anti-marriage. Those women who have the misfortune to enjoy “something very rare, a good marriage”, are better off preemptively murdering their spouses – just in case.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

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poster_suit_texture_final

Erik Bloomquist writes, directs, and stars in The Cobblestone Corridor as Allan Archer, hardworking editor of the elite Alfred Pierce Preparatory School’s newspaper, The Pierce Gazette. Archer is straight-laced and by-the-book – a young man who still believes in authority and the dignity of institutions – the sort of person one might expect to carry a picture of William F. Buckley in his wallet. He is also an amateur detective and has his inquisitiveness piqued when he learns that the circumstances of a teacher’s recent dismissal are more than a little fishy. Adding interest to the story is Lizzie Merriweather (Madeleine Dauer), whose simultaneous attraction and opposition of journalistic philosophy adds another layer of tension to the narrative.

The Cobblestone Corridor is a low-key comedy hybridizing genres from teen fare to mystery, and Mike Magilnick’s cinematography does a good job of compromising between tones, referencing noir while keeping things light enough for a chuckle. The film succeeds largely due to a cast of interesting faces, which include Bloomquist’s as well as that of Nicholas Tucci, whom viewers may remember from the outstanding slasher homage You’re Next (2011). An assortment of young women in school uniforms adds to the visuals. Finally, while something of a morsel at 25 minutes, there is a measure of substance to be detected down these halls.

4 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that The Cobblestone Corridor is:

5. Anti-drug. Archer is contemptuous toward stoners.

4. Green-ambivalent. When classmate Claire (Alex Sarrigeorgiou) says paper publishing “just wastes trees”, her professor (Tucci) replies that this is “an interesting environmental argument”; Archer, however, dismisses Claire’s opinions as “shortsighted and ignorant”.

3. Feminism-ambivalent. Archer reviles “sluts” and puts a stop to an all-girl fight club. Lizzie’s contribution to his development as a journalist suggests, however, that women can contribute as professionals, giving the lie to a threatening note she receives informing her “little girls don’t belong in the big leagues.”

2. Tobacco-ambivalent. Archer cock-blocks a quintessential film noir ritual when he stops Lizzie from smoking a cigarette in his office. She later discovers that he has lied about not being a smoker, however.

1. Media-ambivalent. The Cobblestone Corridor’s best scene – crisply written and delivered by Mr. Bloomquist – concerns the question of the continuing relevance of the print medium. Journalism instructor Mr. Brown (Tucci) asks his class, “Are newspapers still important in today’s society, or are they well on their way to fading into historical oblivion?” Claire assails print as irrelevant in the age of the instantaneous dissemination of information; but Archer, who hates “supermarket tabloid drivel” and does what he can to uphold traditional journalistic standards, holds forth as follows:

People who write for newspapers understand that a story is more than just a clickbait by-line. These message boards that Claire talks about aren’t avenues for intellectual discourse, they’re a mosh pit of pseudo-scholars trying to outsmart each other. It’s not about the news, it’s not about the facts, it’s about being the loudest [. . .] and if one day the servers crash and everything goes to Hell we’ll still have a thoughtful piece of analysis we can touch and feel. That sure as Hell beats a tweet by some self-important high school drop-out hiding behind a screen name.

At stake in this scene and for the remainder of the film is the credibility of “conspiracy theories” and the post-9/11 alternative media, the latter being personified by blogger Lizzie. Archer naively believes that the major newspapers’ reporters are as thoughtful and idealistic as he is, is impressed by the Fourth Estate’s centuries of superficial prestige, and disparages the internet. He suggests, furthermore, that the anonymity of the blogosphere is an invalidation of its credibility, failing to consider the fact that alternative journalism is not, in most cases, a living, and that these writers might be putting their employment in jeopardy by signing their real names under their controversial interpretations of events.

However, after Lizzie’s insights prove to have been valuable in solving the mystery of the dismissed teacher, Archer is moved to establish an online edition of The Pierce Gazette, the idea being that online and print news media can coexist and mutually strengthen each other, and that independent researchers’ contributions can make a difference. This, Archer effuses with idealism, heralds the “beginning of a renaissance for The Pierce Gazette” – a revolution by technology and turnover in personnel. Bloomquist, though, by setting his story in the innocuous world of a non-profit student newspaper, has avoided the fundamental corruption of commercial “news” by controlling financial interests. Archer, once he ventures into the Orwellian sphere of professional journalism, will find his masters reluctant to publish material that strays off-script.

[For full disclosure of this writer’s diet of news and infotainment, he will admit to getting the vast majority of it online – from sites ranging from fluff like Yahoo! to deeper-digging content like Global Research – but also subscribing to a fortnightly print newspaper, Willis Carto’s populist American Free Press.]

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

Cold in July

Cold in July is the story of a man who, having once peered into the rabbit hole and inadvertently set one foot inside it, cannot bring himself to turn away. Michael C. Hall stars as Richard Dane, a Texas everyman who shoots an intruder into his home and is subsequently terrorized by the dead man’s ex-con father, Russel (Sam Shepard). But is the dead man really dead? If not, who occupies the coffin, and why would the authorities assign a false identity to the corpse? Dane and Russel discover together that the world is not as it seems; and, teaming with earthy private detective (and pig farmer) Jim Bob (Don Johnson), they set out on a western-flavored, neo-noir odyssey in search of the truth – and, ultimately, violently ironic justice.

Notwithstanding its humor and undisguised pop flourishes, Cold in July is a serious film with strong performances all around. Johnson’s screen presence particularly, far from having faded in the years since Miami Vice, has taken on a new depth and authenticity, so that he brings a great deal of color and masculine clout to the film. Hall is 100% convincing as the man in over his head, while Shepard’s turn is comparatively understated but no less essential to the success of the whole. Pleasantly, an attempt has been made to match the film stylistically with its 1980s setting, so that viewers are treated to a period-faithful electronic score and some elegant, crowd-pleasing slow-motion shots.

Highly recommended. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Cold in July is:

5. Anti-porn. Young women pursuing this trade place their lives at considerable risk.

4. Pro-immigration. “Prostitutes cross the border illegally and nobody cares” – after which they are lured into starring in snuff films, the presumptive implication being that if America had a compassionate immigration policy that was not so “broken”, Mexican women would not be forced to demean and endanger themselves in order to access the American Dream. Mariachi musicians illustrate the vibrant diversity Mexicans offer.

3. Gun-ambivalent. The film strongly suggests that Dane would be a happier man had he not shot the burglar invading his home, and he subsequently disapproves of his young son’s toy gun play. A pistol also appears as a danger and liability in the hands of the emotionally distraught. Guns feature prominently and excitingly in the vigilante action of the conclusion, however.

2. State-skeptical. Part of Dane’s journey of discovery is the realization that his government is not what he imagined. In this context, Russel’s line “All I know is what I’m told” carries more than a surface resonance. In a minor, local way, Dane is initiated into the ugly reality of conspiracy. Scenes deleted from the final cut of the film show FBI agents tailing him. In one scene, a drive-in is playing Night of the Living Dead, a reference which reinforces the themes of paranoia and government cover-ups.

1. Pro-family. Dane is a committed father and husband. Discounting Jim Bob’s diagnosis of married men as “poor bastards”, Cold in July communicates the necessity of the intact family for the well-adjusted existence of an individual or a society. Without obnoxiously articulating the point, the film suggests that Russel’s son has chosen a path of evil as a result of not having had a father during his developmental years.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

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