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Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom

Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) is reluctantly recruited by ex-girlfriend Gwen Stacy (Bryce Dallas Howard) to rescue as many species of dinosaurs as they can from Isla Nublar before the island’s volcano erupts. The enterprise is being bankrolled by a mysterious philanthropist (Rafe Spall) – but is his offer what it appears to be? Most importantly, can the unfossilized and feral creatures be contained after they are transported to safety? Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom delivers the mayhem fans are expecting and more, with the volcano’s explosion providing the perfect pretext to fill the screen with giant reptiles of every variety as they scurry and stomp for their lives.

4 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is:

[WARNING SPOILERS]

4. Feminist and pro-miscegenation. Representing the Coalition of the Fringes are a tattooed Latina man-hater (Daniella Pineda) and a nebbishy mulatto computer whiz (Justice Smith).

3. Anti-white, anti-gun, and animal-rights-militant. Ted Levine appears as a “great white [sic] hunter” whose hobby of assembling necklaces from the teeth of endangered species earns him a dinosaur jaw’s worth of trouble. Guns, in addition to being unreliable, are problematic in the possession of trigger-happy white men in particular.

2. Disingenuously antiwar but actually anti-Slav and neoconservative. The dinosaur rescue operation turns out to be a nefarious military-industrial plot – what? social justice hijacked for capitalist plunder? I’m shocked! – and the movie climaxes at an auction at which arms procurers from around the world bid on weaponizable reptiles. Present at the auction are representatives from Russia, Slovenia, and Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation. “Too many red lines have been crossed,” as well – ostensibly with regard to Frankenstein genetic science, but probably also in reference to Syria.

1.Racist! Bookending the film are testimonies from learned elder of science Jeff Goldblum, who warns that humanity, by saving the dinosaurs, is risking its own extinction. Underlying the film is the West’s anxiety about the acceptance of “refugee” populations from the Third World. The dinosaurs, as savage, prehistoric animals – rather like Africans, the film seems to imply – are objects of both amazement and civilizational trepidation. Indicative of the mingled fear and excitement experienced by mentally ill social justice warriors in the presence of rapefugees is an unsettling scene in which a dark-colored dinosaur creeps into a little girl’s room and hovers over her in her bed, extending a claw to caress her. This same child’s decision at the end of the film to release the dinosaurs into the modern world can be read either as a parody or a celebration of naïve Europeans’ – and particularly women’s – childishness and erotic retardation in ushering in their own racial and cultural annihilation. She makes her momentous choice after discovering that she is a clone and not the person she thinks she is – which is to say, after having her sense of identity undermined.

Alternatively, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom can be read as an allegory about the danger inherent in providing succor to Jews. After rescuing the dinosaur-Jews from the volcano-Holocaust, western man is faced with the problem of how to survive with these troublesome creatures in his midst – an interpretation bolstered by an attempt to exterminate the dinosaurs with cyanide gas at the end of the film and which, furthermore, would put a somewhat different and perhaps self-revelatory spin on the aforementioned scene of the giant lizard in the little girl’s bedroom.

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

Rainer is the author of Protocols of the Elders of Zanuck: Psychological Warfare and Filth at the Movies – the DEFINITIVE Alt-Right statement on Hollywood!

Sofia Coppola’s latest effort is very much her own. Bright, punchy, or ambient music, an elegant eye, and a sardonic sense of humor imbue yet another examination of rampant girldom with Coppola’s trademark sensibility. Unlike Lost in Translation or Marie Antoinette, however, The Bling Ring features no strong or particularly likable central protagonist, and is consequently a much more detached and ironic study than its predecessors.

The Bling Ring opens with shots of the Facebook pages of characters Marc (Israel Broussard), Chloe (Claire Julien), and Rebecca (Katie Chang) – an appropriate means of introduction in this true crime story set in an amoral teenage order founded on trendiness and popularity. All attending a high school for affluent problem kids, these are the more sophisticated and fashionable counterparts to the hedonistic nihilists in Larry Clark’s Bully, operating out of the sinister psychological intersection of thug chic and a privileged entitlement mentality.  Along with like-minded recruits Nicki (Emma Watson) and Sam (adorable Taissa Farmiga), the group combines its vapid interests in celebrity, pop criminality, and haute couture by committing a series of casual burglaries of the homes of Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and others.

An odd feature of these young people’s lives is how little concerned with love they appear to be. Tawdry apparel, dirty dancing, sex, and group acceptance interest them plenty, but these new teen creatures bear almost no resemblance to their grandmothers, the malt shop loiterers of old, with their puppy love crushes and idealism. The new teen queen is a kind of ravenous beast sustained by a constant regimen of dope, dainty baubles, irresponsible escapades, and protected from introspection by forbidding walls of abrasive music preoccupied with self-determined fabulousness.

It is difficult to watch The Bling Ring and not be reminded of another group of young Californians who targeted celebrity victims – namely, the Manson Family. In both cases, pathological fascination with the rich and famous, coupled with peer pressure, drugs, and an unhealthily violent cultural diet, result in celebrities being simultaneously venerated as idols and dehumanized as potential victims. Marc, reflecting on the meaning of his acts in the aftermath of his arrest, confides that after the story of his involvement hit the news, he received over 800 Facebook friend requests, suggesting that it is criminality itself as much as fame that attracts the adulation of the unsavory masses.

If The Bling Ring has any discernible shortcoming, it may be the dearth of surprising event, as the film proceeds along a fairly straight, predictable line as far as the plot. Apart from the signature Sofia Coppola seal in terms of color, design, and atmosphere, the film’s most attractive strength must be its delightful cast. Israel Broussard, featured in what, for lack of any real hero, is The Bling Ring‘s lead role, has a Byronic look and an enigmatic vulnerability that complements the Coppola aesthetic nicely; and all of the damsels in dissipation, from Katie Chang to Claire Julien, Taissa Farmiga, and Emma Watson, are irresistibly vile, divine, and luscious.

4.5 stars.  Ideological Content Analysis kisses Sofia Coppola’s ring and indicates that her most recent flourish as a dependable writer-director is:

11. Multiculturalist/pro-miscegenation.  People of different races interact as without the least consciousness of their physiological or cultural differences. One of the girls has a thug Latino boyfriend. The camera lingers longingly over untouchable Katie Chang.

10. Anti-wigger.  Pop veneration of the ghetto mentality goes hand in hand with nihilism, crime, and self-destruction.

9. Pro-police.  Authorities conduct their investigation and effect the necessary arrests professionally and without inflicting unnecessary harm.

8. Anti-religion.  Modern woman’s faith is junk spirituality, “the philosophy of the Secret”, a kooky, relativistic melange in which words like “Lord” rub shoulders indiscriminately with new age talk of “karma”.

7. Anti-gun.  Privately owned guns, this film appears to want to convince viewers in one very frightening scene, make homes less safe and endanger the mentally deficient.  However, the fact that one of the girls steals a gun and gives it to her thug boyfriend demonstrates that criminals are not above obtaining their guns illegally and that gun control legislation is therefore futile.

6. Philanthropy-skeptical.  One suburban family claims a commitment to charitable causes in Africa, but cannot identify the specific country where they are active.  This pretended philanthropy is played as a sympathy card after the girls are caught by the police.

5. Statist.  The pitiable demonstration of home schooling as practiced by one ditzy mother (Leslie Mann) is an implicit endorsement of public education.

4. Anti-drug.  Drinking and driving results in a non-fatal accident, which, however, fails to prevent the girls from going out and behaving just as carelessly as before. Accelerating substance abuse parallels the girls’ increasingly poor judgment and carelessness in their criminal endeavor.

3. Pro-gay.  Sexually ambiguous Marc shares his girlfriends’ interest in fashion (including high heel shoes) and refers to a male schoolmate as “hot”.

2. Class-conscious.  Coppola (perhaps responding to the criticism that Marie Antoinette depicted a self-absorbed aristocrat sympathetically without taking into consideration the economic plight of the French peasantry?) depicts moral decay as in part deriving from wealth and privilege (cf. Billy Madison).

1. Pro-family.  The horror wrought by permissive or absentee parenting is the unstressed theme that haunts The Bling Ring.

Tyler Perry, wearing men’s clothes for a change, plays the titular Detroit police detective in this adequate serial killer thriller.  Cross, along with partner Tommy Kane (Edward Burns), comes up against a worthy adversary in a sadistic assassin (Matthew Fox) dubbed “Picasso” for his eccentricity of leaving charcoal drawings as signature clues.  The leads are serviceable, with Fox turning in an intense performance, but the script is uninteresting.  Neither woefully dull nor particularly memorable, Alex Cross is a passable evening’s diversion, but hardly essential action viewing.  It earns 3 out of 5 possible stars.

[WARNING: POTENTIAL SPOILERS]

Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Alex Cross is:

12. Anti-corporate/philanthropy-skeptical.  European magnate Monsieur Mercier (Jean Reno), who poses as the industrial savior of Detroit, is actually just a criminal and murderer.

11. Anti-drug.  Mercier’s assistant is a drug addict.

10. State-skeptical/ambivalent.  The police chief (John McGinley) is running for mayor and so speaks in platitudes and thinks only of what will benefit him politically rather than what will protect the citizens.  The federal government, however, receives an endorsement when Cross and Tommy decide to apply for gigs with the FBI.

9. Anti-military/anti-torture.  Cross, going by the killer’s refinement of torture techniques, guesses that Picasso is ex-military.  “Inflicting pain is a crucial part of my true calling,” the killer says later, seeming to validate Cross’s hypothesis.

8. Feminist.  When Tommy surmises from a victim’s lavish lifestyle that the woman must have had a rich man in her life, his tough girlfriend/colleague Monica (Rachel Nichols) objects, “Is that your only idea for how a woman could get money?”  “It was very sexy to be saved by a beautiful woman,” one of the Germans (Werner Daehn) flirts.

7. Pro-police.  With the exception of top brass, policemen are honest and hardworking.

6. Pro-vigilante.  Notwithstanding the above, Cross and Tommy find it necessary to throw out the rulebook and do things their own way, breaking into a station at night and stealing evidence.  Cross understandably has personally motivated vengeance in mind after his wife is killed.

5. Christian.  Cross’s name suggests the special relationship of blacks with God and Christian suffering, and the character is an appropriately spiritual man, retreating to a chapel for meditation after the death of his wife.  Blacks enjoy singing a hymn at a funeral (“I sing because I’m free” – from slavery, presumably, in black-run Detroit).

4. Multiculturalist.  Alex Cross celebrates the contributions to law enforcement of blacks, other minorities, women, and even whites.  The friendship the protagonist shares with partner Tommy Kane handily demonstrates the multiculturalist ideal of color-blind brotherhood.  (Together they eat at McDonald’s, probably worthy of their patronage and of mention in the film because of its progressive 365Black promotion.)  Detroit appears as a mostly orderly and suprisingly Caucasian multicultural city.  Mrs. Cross (Carmen Ejogo) even puts in an endorsement for the city’s post-apocalyptic public schools when she voices reluctance to move because it would mean taking her children out of Detroit’s public institutions of learning.  “I have no idea what the public school system is like in D.C.,” she worries.  (Could it be worse?)  Glimpses of the actual Detroit occur, however, in a few ruined buildings and abandoned theaters like the Michigan Palace, once home to rock bands like Iggy and the Stooges, but now just a picturesque parking garage.  Also, an indication of the city’s real crime problem is given when Tommy says, “Witnesses?  This is Detroit.  Nobody’s sayin’ anything.”

3. Anti-white male.  Apart from Tommy, white men are either dishonest, incompetent, cowardly, rude, or psychotic.  The white male as usual furnishes the profile of America’s typical terrorist threat.  Picasso’s close haircut also reminds viewers to be aware of the undying skinhead menace.  A group of German security guards illustrates the tight-assed, “Ja wohl”-spitting constipation of personality to which whites are prone when left to themselves on whole continents for centuries (and also the inferiority of private security contractors to public authorities like Cross).

2. Pro-family/pro-marriage.  Cross is a model husband and father.

1. Black supremacist.  Alex Cross is the sort of character one only encounters in the movies: the hyper-intelligent, cultured, spiritual, upstanding black citizen, family man, badass, invaluable public servant, and super-sleuth who could probably catch Sherlock Holmes napping on the job.  Alex Cross is the paragon Shaft only dreams of emulating, a character who exists not in any recognizable reality, but solely for the purpose of salving blacks’ insecurities as to what they like to imagine is their superiority in every category of human or animal endeavor.  He inhabits a fantasy world in which black people practice at the piano, play chess, eat in fancy restaurants, and respectfully say, “Yes, Ma’am” to their elders.  Also possessed of Lecter-like superhuman senses that enable him, through faint odors or minute stains, to divine everything his wife has eaten or what errands she has run during her day, Cross is uniquely suited to perfectly, almost psychically, reconstruct crime scenes.  “It’s like working with sixth-graders with you two,” he tells colleagues.  One assumes that his penis is also quite large when he makes a condescending reference to Tommy’s “little chip”.  An establishing shot of a sculpture of the Madonna creates a parallel between Cross’s murdered pregnant wife and the mother of Jesus, hinting that the hero, if not for the evil meddling of his white antagonist, might have fathered a new messiah, which in turn would suggest that Cross, the son-sacrificing black man, is, as Jeremiah Wright would aver, the manifestation of God on Earth.

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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