Archives for posts with tag: nuclear weapons

wolverine poster

In this adventure, “the” Wolverine – the film is conveniently titled so as to dispel any confusion as to which Wolverine is meant (sorry, Red Dawn fans) – travels to Japan at the invitation of a moribund Japanese magnate (Hal Yamanouchi) who hopes to persuade the hero to exchange his odd and problematic mutant longevity for the old gentleman’s imminent mortality through a transfusion.

The plot becomes much more convoluted than this synopsis suggests, but furnishes ample opportunity for leading man Hugh Jackman to spring into action, with sexy villainous Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova) a more than adequate adversary. Standout action set pieces include a desperate skirmish atop a rocketing bullet train; Wolverine performing emergency heart surgery on himself as a ninja duel rages in the operating room; and a climactic confrontation with a giant adamantium-plated mecha-samurai that hides a surprise plot twist inside.

4 of 5 possible stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that The Wolverine is:

6. Anti-state. A government minister is corrupt in both his private and public doings.

5. Animal rights militant. The Wolverine puts a wounded bear out of its misery, then avenges it when he meets its tormentor in a tavern.

4. Anti-slut. Viper, whose kiss can lay men low, serves as a walking, talking V.D. scare film.

3. Anti-capitalistic. The Japanese corporate world is cutthroat. Viper identifies herself as a capitalist.

2. Antiwar. The viewer witnesses the destruction of Nagasaki.

1. Pro-miscegenation. The Wolverine has the yellow fever.

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white_house_down

Magic Mike himself, big badass Channing Tatum, stars as a Capitol policeman and would-be Secret Service agent who gets his chance to play at the real thing when he and his daughter (Joey King) tour the White House on precisely the day real-life Obama disser James Woods, the devious head of White House security, plans to stage a coup d’etat to unseat President Django, played by Jamie Foxx.

It is appropriate that the opening credits acknowledge a company called Mythology with this lightweight production, considering how White House Down is nothing if not an encapsulation of liberals’ mythologized view of an idealized President B.O., the scholarly man of peace who could solve all of America’s problems if only given enough cooperation and tax revenue. President Django, suitably enough, makes His first appearance in a three-helicopter formation symbolizing the Trinity of His Godhead.

The film follows the basic template of the Die Hard franchise, with a bloodied, battered Magic Mike, complete with soiled wifebeater and an imperiled loved one among the hostages, jumping, running, and dragging himself through historic bedrooms and the obligatory elevator shaft like a younger, sexier, generally less interesting John McClane.

The action is decent, if unoriginal, though there is an admitted joy to the scene of the mild-mannered, bespectacled President Django getting unchained on the White House lawn and hanging out of the window of His chauffeured car with a rocket launcher. James Woods brings a necessary seriousness to the film, while gorgeously quirky Maggie Gyllenhaal, wasted here in the role of a Secret Service bigwig, is at least enjoyable to ogle.

3.5 of 5 possible stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that White House Down is:

9. Anti-tobacco. President Django is not a smoker.

8. Anti-Christian. Prominently featured terrorist Killick (Kevin Rankin) has a cross tattooed on his chest.

7. Pro-miscegenation. Magic Mike’s daughter has a crush on President Django.

6. Anti-racist (i.e., pro-yawn). Right-wing white nationalists naturally play a part in the coup.

5. Feminist and anti-marriage. Magic Mike’s daughter not only protects the President, but saves the world from nuclear holocaust. Maggie Gyllenhaal is a strong, self-assured, and independent woman with no need of a man. Her ex-husband was an “asshole”.

4. Egalitarian. President Django deploys a folksy anecdote to explain how poverty causes crime.

3. Antiwar. Refreshingly, White House Down vilifies defense contractors and poo-poos the fearmongering about Iran’s nuclear capabilities. Undermining this show of pacifism, however, is the President’s favorable attitude toward drones.

2. Crypto-Zionist. Conspiratorial mastermind Woods is a fanatical neoconservative bent on destroying Iran. White House Down points the finger not at Israel, however – that country receiving mention only as a signatory to a Middle East peace treaty – but at vague “corporations” and a nebulous “military-industrial complex” with which President Django must grapple. In addition, the implosion of the Capitol dome from a fire inside the building corroborates the official story obscuring the implosion of the Twin Towers and WTC 7, thus diverting attention from any possible Israeli involvement in the 9/11 attacks. Magic Mike’s daughter wears a shirt depicting a squid or octopus to show her solidarity with the forces of the New World Order.

1. Statist. A few bad apples may exist, but government, as personified or deified by Lincoln aficionado President Django, generally has America’s best interests at heart. Racist mercenary Killick, in addition to his cross tattoo, sports an anarchist circle-A on one of his arms. Also demonized are anti-government hackers of the Wikileaks and Anonymous varieties.

Iron Sky – which, for the purposes of this review, shall go by the more appropriate moniker MSNBC: The Movie – is a Finnish-German-Australian co-production pretending to satirize American political life by way of an invasion of outer space Nazis.  Refugees of the Third Reich, MSNBC: The Movie would have viewers believe, sought shelter on the dark side of the moon in 1945 and since then have occupied themselves building an armada of spacecraft to reconquer Earth.

The Nazis’ plan is enacted ahead of schedule after American astronauts land on the moon.  Among the unlucky voyagers is James Washington (Christopher Kirby), actually just a model being used to promote a cynical “Black to the Moon?  Yes We Can!” promotion in support of the reelection campaign for an idiotic treadmill-stomping Sarah Palin lookalike President of the United States (Stephanie Paul).  After beating Washington and forcing him to listen to Hitler speeches, the Nazis turn him into an “Aryan” by dyeing his skin, teach him to sieg-heil, and take him with them on a reconnaissance mission in advance of their invasion of Earth.  Tagging along is Renate (the permanently stained Julia Dietze), fiancee of expedition leader and future fuhrer Klaus (Gotz Otto).  Naturally, Renate, meeting her first black man, is immediately enamored and wants to be his special friend.

Klaus and Renate are a big hit at the (presumably Republican) White House, where Madame President hires them as her speechwriters, their Nazi rhetoric sounding perfect coming out of her own mouth and attracting an interested following of ignorant white vidiot flag-wavers.  Meanwhile, Renate begins to learn the truth about the historical nature of National Socialism while on Earth when, for instance, she runs into a gaggle of the sorts of sexist skinheads who can be found loitering on any typical American street corner.  Is Madame President disappointed when the Nazis finally invade the planet?  To the contrary, “It’s wonderful!” she enthuses, observing that all presidents who start wars in their first terms get reelected.

Soon America’s outer space military might, spearheaded by the USS George W. Bush, flies into unilateral action along with some unwelcome help from the rest of the world.  Will democracy survive?  Will Washington’s color be restored?  Will Renate ditch the goosestepper for the fly black guy?  Will the identical specters of white pride and fascism never vanish from the face of the Earth?  Only MSNBC knows.

Apart from relatively high production values, there is really nothing good to say about MSNBC: The Movie, which, true to its title, is at no point amusing, insightful, or entertaining.  Euro-slime stalwart Udo Kier, who used to appear in recommendable movies, here collects a paycheck for frowning while wearing a Nazi uniform for a few minutes of screentime, but makes the viewer’s experience no more endurable.  For those, however, who find immense hilarity in the idea of a Nazi from outer space seeing a dirty magazine for the first time in his life and saying, “Pictures of this kind turn me on,” there may be something of value in it.  On the subject of pornography, only something as pungent, truthful, and relatively wholesome as that is likely to wash the taste of MSNBC: The Movie from this reviewer’s unsmiling mouth.

A star and a half.

[WARNING: POTENTIAL SPOILERS – as if this hunk of cinematic carrion could spoil!]

Ideological Content Analysis indicates that MSNBC: The Movie is indefensible garbage and:

9. Anti-Christian.  Quoth the Nazis: “We are the gift of both God and science.”  “Get me a miracle!” the president stupidly commands a campaign consultant.  A fire-and-brimstone sermon for some reason accompanies footage of outer space warfare.

8. Anti-science.  As in Django Unchained, rational understanding of human biodiversity is transformed into racialist pseudoscience.

7. Anti-gun.  A redneck bitch with a gun fires without warning as soon as she sees people on her land: “Get the hell outta my property!”  Black thugs produce guns in another scene, contributing to an image of America as a benighted hellhole of mass murder potential.

6. Diversity-skeptical.  Notwithstandng its anti-racist message, MSNBC: The Movie emerges as a portrait of a country and a planet with no hope of racial or cultural reconciliation.  “You’ll be sorry you did that, white boy!” Washington says when the Nazis beat him.  Then, when Washington, unaware that his skin has been whitened, approaches a group of urban blacks in a friendly way, they immediately draw their weapons on him.  To the extent that Republicans cater to blacks, such as by promoting the likes of Colin Powell and James Washington, it is strictly for dishonest political purposes.

5. Liberal.  MSNBC: The Movie perpetuates the tiresome leftist delusion that Republicans are somehow akin to the Nazis and that all are fascists in their hearts.  If evil conservatives had their way, they would fiendishly censor and whittle The Great Dictator down to a single scene so as to make Charlie Chaplin appear to endorse Hitler.  A magazine cover showing the president has the caption “New World Order”.

4. Anti-white male.  White men are represented in MSNBC: The Movie by Nazis or other unscrupulous politicians and are mostly stupid, angry, loud, violent, and generally worthless.  A Nazi spacecraft is described as a “fat phallus”.  “I’ve come to discuss our legal union,” Klaus says to fiancee Renate, demonstrating the maximum romance that Teutonic homo sapiens can muster.  “Science demands us to unite . . .”

3. Pro-miscegenation/pro-slut.  Unlike the violent Klaus, James Washingon is a good kisser, and after his naturally sexy poop complexion has been restored, Renate throws caution to the winds of change by planting a long, squishy, disgusting French kiss on him – ensuring that, when the moon invaders really do flash-mob the planet Earth, they will be mulattoes instead of Nazis.

2. Antiwar.  Madame President welcomes the invasion as a boost to her reelection campaign.  A Middle Eastern delegate to a body like the United Nations questions whether America’s claim for the necessity of war is not motivated by lust after natural resources.  In the end, this turns out to be the case, as a vast store of potential energy is discovered on the moon, prompting the governments of Earth, lately victorious against the Nazis, to launch into mutual nuclear annihilation out of greed.

1. Anti-fascist/anti-racist (i.e., pro-yawn on both counts).  When will white people learn?

A good day to die hard poster

The Die Hard franchise, like the James Bond films that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union, comprise a record of Hollywood’s search for the new enemy that would confront the free world or at least provide fear fodder for the moviegoing public.  A product of the years that witnessed the Cold War’s ragged, anticlimactic end, Die Hard points to terrorism and asymmetric conflict as the coming trend, with ostensibly idealistic but actually greedy German terrorists taking hostages in an L.A. high-rise.  Inspired by the Iran-Contra controversy, Die Hard 2 finds a threat in the Cold War residue of the mercenary anticommunist armies created to aid dictators in America’s proxy wars in the Third World, and Die Hard with a Vengeance also features directionless mercenaries as a terrorist danger.  With the rise of the internet, 9/11, the War on Terror, and the domestic police state having intervened in the decade separating the third film from the next installment in the series, the superlative Live Free or Die Hard milks suspenseful chaos from the double-edged sword of the omnipresent cyber-surveillance state, but (like the more recent Skyfall) targets hackers rather than statists as the biggest threat to America.

Now, with its latest entry, A Good Day to Die Hard, the venerable action franchise finally appears to be out of compelling ideas and steam.  Set in Russia, where John McClane (Bruce Willis) hopes to reconcile with his CIA assassin son (Jai Courtney, an uninteresting actor with an unappealing face, inexplicably being pushed in high-profile films), A Good Day to Die Hard is an undisciplined, moody, murky, disorienting, and sometimes boring whirl of mostly meaningless action sequences that sweep McClane into an international espionage imbroglio that neither he nor the audience completely understands.  Apart from the familial drama, this story lacks the immediate stakes of the previous Die Hard films, which find McClane reluctantly playing the hero to protect his fellow citizens; now the character appears content to machine-gun foreigners in their own country and wreak massive havoc on their freeways for a lark and without any insight into what he is doing apart from his hope that it will somehow impress his rogue son and restore their damaged rapport.  Astronomical destruction of property, a genocidal body count, and forced sentimentality ensue, much of it filmed with a shaky, erratic pseudodocumentary headache-inducement approach, with the result that A Good Day to Die Hard is easily the most obnoxious and least worthy of the films to bear the prestigious Die Hard banner – and, if anything, perhaps an unfortunate indicator that it is at last a good day for this series of films to just die.

3 out of 5 stars.  Ideological Content Analysis indicates that A Good Day to Die Hard is:

3. Xenophobic and specifically anti-Russian.  Slavs are secretive, dishonest, violent, eccentric, treacherous, and lust after their parents.

2. Family-ambivalent.  The film celebrates the father-son bond, with McClane regretful of not having played a greater role in his children’s lives.  His marriage to their mother, however, was apparently unsalvageable.

1. Statist and specifically neoconservative.  The Die Hard franchise becomes progressively more accepting of the federal government over the years.  In the first film, representative NYPD and LAPD officers are subject to human frailty and poor judgment, but are also admirable in their toughness and obvious concern for the public.  Their bureaucratic superiors are mostly worthless, however, and the FBI is depicted as incompetent and counterproductive, with one of their snipers a Vietnam veteran and death enthusiast who remembers Saigon fondly.  Bureaucrats and elements of the military are still antagonistic in Die Hard 2, and law enforcement at the local level is the most trustworthy.  This is also the case in Die Hard with a Vengeance, with federal agents depicted as conspiratorial and dopey.

Live Free or Die Hard accepts the posited benevolence of the FBI, but harbors reservations about the competence of newer federal rackets like the Department of Homeland Security.  The principal villain is a former government cyber-security expert run amuck, and the Pentagon is censured as clumsy for underestimating the vulnerability of America’s cyber-infrastructure, but the implication is that more and not less federal might is required.  At the end of that film, McClane is shown wearing an FBI jacket, signifying the oneness of his mission as a police officer with theirs at the national level.

Though the original Die Hard is distinctly Jewish in its perspective, the series has not until now embraced outright neoconservatism.  In A Good Day to Die Hard, McClane at first appears to be skeptical about the usefulness of the spy business, but is quickly persuaded to join the game when he sees what fun it offers with its license to ravage foreign lands with impunity.  The villains here are America’s old enemies, the Russians, still totalitarians at heart (as indicated by the Aeroflot airline’s hammer-and-sickle logo and the “CCCP” tattoo on one brutish thug’s back) and more dangerous than ever since criminal elements among them are peddling those dreaded and demonic “WMDs”, including the material for nuclear bombs.  (The prospective buyers, presumably, are Iran or the highest Islamic jihadist bidder.)  The home defense of previous films is no longer sufficient, and proactive overseas CIA adventurism is now the order of the day.  Early in A Good Day to Die Hard, a framed photograph of Barack Hussein Obama seems to smile on McClane from the wall behind him, bestowing on the loose cannon officer and the film itself a sort of enigmatic blessing (?).

dredd-poster

After the nuclear holocaust, the ruins of America’s eastern seaboard are united under police state rule as Mega City One, a sprawling urban squalor infested with crime, with “only one thing fighting for order in the chaos: judges.”  One such judge is Dredd (Karl Urban), a man whose passionate dedication to law enforcement is so profound that his mouth is permanently frozen into a psychotic pout as he zooms around the city righteously blasting tattooed dopeheads.

In Dredd, the titular hero has an especially rough day on the job when, along with rookie partner Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), he finds himself locked into a ghetto megastructure (the overgrown futuristic equivalent of a housing project) and pitted against its masters, drug queenpin Ma-Ma (Lena Headey) and her minions.  The resulting adventure approximates The Running Man meets Escape from New York meets Assault on Precinct 13, with police woefully outnumbered against frightening futuristic odds.

With its charismatically grim avenger and pulsing electronic music, Dredd makes for a fairly slick glorification of authoritarian skull-cracking and high-tech fascism.  There remains in the public’s imagination a fascination and a seduction in quasi-vigilante cops after the Dirty Harry mold; Dredd, likewise, in its more macho moments, almost succeeds in lulling its audience into idiotic obedience in slavishly licking the iron heel.

An irony of Dredd‘s dangerous indulgence toward the police state, however, is its desire to depict iron-fisted government brutality as the solution to social problems which, though the script seems oblivious of the fact, are actually caused by the policies of precisely that glorious fascistic leviathan.  Manufacture and sale of drugs appear to be the major generators of wealth for the ghetto dwellers; but the state, through its prohibition of the people’s livelihoods and pastimes, has only succeeded in creating hellholes of systemic violence in which only the most vicious criminals and corrupt police are allowed to profit and thrive.  The exorbitant level of unemployment indicates that Mega City One’s Hall of Justice is probably doing its enlightened utmost to strangle other potentially productive areas of commerce, as well.

Dredd‘s budgetary constrictions rarely interfere with its considerable entertainment value.  The action scenes are adequate, the pace is consistently brisk, and the evocation of a grimy, dystopian future is sordidly picturesque and amusing if also somewhat half-baked.  Urban is quite watchable in the lead and Dredd lays a workable foundation for a potentially fun series of films down the road.

4 of 5 possible stars.  Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Dredd is:

7. Antiwar.  Nuclear conflict has destroyed most of America.

6. Pro-miscegenation.  It’s the progressive future, so it’s casual.

5. Torture-friendly.  Psychic interrogation may be more efficient, but an old-fashioned beating is also acceptable.

4. Multiculturalist.  The Chief Judge (Rakie Ayola) is black, as are representative medical professionals.  As in 80s vigilante films, street gangs, or at least the Ma-Ma Clan, are a multiracial affair (but one gang, the “Red Dragons”, is all Asian, apparently, and another group identified as “the Judged” is represented by a brown face).  In progressive acknowledgment of multiple intelligences, affirmative action is in effect in Hall of Justice human resources decisions.  Anderson, who has failed her qualification examination by a margin of three points, is given a chance because she is psychic.

3. Feminist/pro-castration.  Tough-as-nails Ma-Ma, formerly exploited by an abusive pimp, “feminized the guy with her teeth”, took over his business, and built a successful drug empire.  Humor is more than once milked from the idea of damaged or destroyed male sexual organs.  A thug is doomed from the moment he taunts Anderson, “Got any last words, bitch?”

2. Anti-drug.  Slow-mo, the illegal drug of choice in the futuristic ghetto, creates an experience of reality that moves at 1% normal speed.  It is evil for postponing the user’s inevitable progress into the glorious future.  Thus, conservatism or resistance to change is reimagined in Dredd as a narcotic addiction and an obstacle to big government new world order progressivism.

1. Statist/fascist.  Society, breaking under its own weight, needs to be protected from itself.  Search warrants, Miranda rights, habeas corpus, right to trial, and freedom from cruel and unusual punishment are annoyances that have, conveniently for the state, been discarded in Mega City One.  Statism gives itself the ultimate pat on the back with Anderson, the psychic judge who proves that the benevolently omniscient and omnipresent state, like Santa Claus before it, knows who is naughty and who is nice.  Gun control, too, receives an endorsement when, as with Bond in Skyfall, Dredd is shown at a disadvantage against lawbreakers’ superguns with high ammunition capacity and rapid fire action.  Citizens live in fear of “the gun, [and] the gang” (presumably with reference to the private and not the public varieties).

With a reach that far exceeds its grasp, this science fiction cheapie from Andrew Bellware suffers from grandiose ambitions notwithstanding its frequent mocking self-aware campiness.  Android Insurrection opens with an informational spiel about the wonders of robotic labor-saving devices which have supposedly ended war and other human struggles, but then follows this with a matter-of-fact but ominous litany of caveats about robotics safety that sound like the scary side effects at the end of a prescription drug commercial.  Set in the twenty-third century, after North America has been reduced to desert and artificial intelligence has turned against humanity, the plot concerns a mission to retrieve a set of pretty, pink-haired androids from an underground research facility guarded by spider-like killer robots.

Based on an “original” story by Nat Cassidy, Android Insurrection bears obvious resemblances at various moments to such films as The Terminator, Alien, Hardware, Crash and Burn, and even Star Wars with the inclusion of light-sabers.  These comparisons, alas, do Android Insurrection no favors and only serve to highlight its pitiful poverty by contrast.  The effects, while often better than amateurish, seldom interact convincingly with the living performers and thus minimize the intended impact of the action sequences.

Momentary suspense is accomplished with the suggestion that one character on the team of robot-fighters may be a robot herself; no serious attempt is made to capitalize on this potential interest-hook, however, and the remainder of the story meanders with little sense of purpose or worthwhile stakes for the viewer.  The acting, too, is inconsistent, and occasionally detracts from what might have been a more seriously committed and convincing film instead of a video document of paradoxically over-ambitious Generation X underachievement.

2 of 5 possible stars.  ICA’s advice: see Cherry 2000 again instead.

[WARNING: POTENTIAL SPOILERS]

Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Android Insurrection is:

5. Antiwar.  Nuclear weapons appear to have lain waste to the planet.

4. Feminist/pro-slut.  Approximating slasher “final girl” structure, Android Insurrection provides one noteworthy survivor in Foxwell (Virginia Logan), a tough, nosering-sporting, midriff-bearing Generation-X chick who wields a phallic EMP grenade with panache.

3. Racist!  Fulfilling wacko survivalist and paintballer fantasies of a vanilla dawn, Android Insurrection, contrary to evident demographic trends of today, depicts a future America populated almost entirely by young, attractive, gun-toting white people, with only one light-skinned Hispanic cutie (Juanita Arias) to complement the otherwise pure, creamy uniformity of the gene pool.  A Hitler-mustached, German-accented nerd named Bellware (after the director, but played by David Ian Lee) gives the combat team its orders.  Undesirables, we can only assume, have been eradicated through a perfection of the AIDS virus or some other nefarious eugenics coup.  Android fifth-columnist agents among the city-dwelling humans (see no. 2), meanwhile, are to be granted “special protections” – clearly an insensitive reference to the necessary progress of affirmative action in the present “post-racial” age.

2. NWO-alarmist.  The most interesting portion of the film may be the epilogue in which an artificial intelligence informs citizens that it is now in control and that, moving among them, undetected, are sleeper agents, secret robots, who could even be their friends and family members, and who at the proper time will move to implement the policies of the new order.  Among the robot commandments are that humans of “subnormal” and “supernormal” capacity are, Procrustes-wise, to be sent to a state facility “for modification”.

1. Neo-Luddite.  Technology is evil.  Your toaster hates you and will destroy you if you allow it.

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