Archives for posts with tag: prison

Lock Up

One of my favorite Sylvester Stallone movies from my childhood is 1989’s Lock Up, a satisfying prison flick that stars Sly as Frank Leone, a model convict with six months to go and what appears to be a bright future ahead of him – until he is unexpectedly transferred in the middle of the night to a hellish correctional institution run by the sadistic Warden Drumgoole (Donald Sutherland), who harbors a long-festering vendetta against Leone. “This is hell, and I’m going to give you the guided tour,” he promises. Full of memorable bits like a cockroach race, a barbell assassination, and a brutal slow-motion football montage, not to mention a sentimental piano theme that I’ve never forgotten, Lock Up also delivers the adrenaline in its inevitable escape and comeuppance sequence.

following orders

Following orders.

Sutherland is perfect as the mannered antagonist, and Drumgoole is easily one of the greatest bad guy monikers ever, putting me in mind of the canistered zombie who kicks off Return of the Living Dead (1985) – and Drumgoole is a zombie of sorts, at least in a figurative sense, as he reanimates for the viewer the corpse of the evil Nazi villain stock character. Viewers only hoping for a fun Sylvester Stallone vehicle and harmless action fix instead find themselves the captive audience for a dose of Hollywood Holocaust propaganda when Drumgoole has Leone sealed into a glass chamber for delousing with Zyklon gas! Naturally, Drumgoole leaves Leone struggling to hold his breath way longer than is necessary, and Stallone’s partial Jewish family background makes the moment that much more piquant. Reinforcing the notion that there is something Nazi-like about the prison staff is Tom Sizemore’s character Dallas’s nickname for one of the guards – “Col. Klink” – a reference to the WW2 POW camp sitcom Hogan’s Heroes. Then, too, there is the racial makeup of the guards, with whites like Manly (Jordan Lund) being among the meanest and most stereotypically fascistic and blacks like Braden (William Allen Young) revealed to have compassion in their still-beating hearts. There is an undeniable thematic overlap between the prison and Shoah film and fictional genres, with prison movies as far back as Brute Force (1947) serving as social commentaries on the dangers of authoritarianism and with entries like the Holocaust (1978) miniseries, various salacious Nazisploitation movies of the seventies, and Escape from Sobibor (1987) combining elements of both genres – and Lock Up implicitly acknowledges this connection, so that it could be classified with Soylent Green (1973), for example, as a crypto-Holocaust movie.

Three writers, including Die Hard (1988) bard Jeb Stuart and some nobody named Richard Smith, are credited with Lock Up’s screenplay – but somehow I have to suspect that it is the third name, Henry Rosenbaum, that accounts for the Zyklon delousing scene. The film was directed by John Flynn, whose other credits include the obscure made-in-Israel thriller The Jerusalem File (1972), vigilante movies Rolling Thunder (1977) and Defiance (1980), and the top-notch Steven Seagal revenger Out for Justice (1991). Rocky (1976) composer Bill Conti, meanwhile, contributes the score to what adds up to an audience-pleasingly macho but sensitive send-off for the eighties, Stallone’s most successful decade – even if the gassing scene does give it just a whiff of a fishy-smelling air of high camp for those racially conscious viewers in the audience.

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!

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Shot Caller

The grim crime drama Shot Caller completes a trilogy from director Ric Roman Waugh that began with 2008’s Felon and continued with 2013’s Snitch. The story follows in nonlinear fashion the metamorphosis of an investor (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) who, after a drunk driving accident, is sentenced to prison, where assumes a new identity as “Money”, a hardened and brutal criminal. Money’s conflicting loyalties to his country, himself, his family, and his Aryan prison gang are tested when after release he is tasked with illegally selling a cache of AK-47s from Afghanistan. Location shooting and intensely invested performances in all of the roles – with particularly high marks going to Coster-Waldau and Lake Bell, who plays his wife – imbue Shot Caller with an uncomfortable authenticity and hoist it over the top as a must-see prison movie. Welcome echoes of Breaking Bad are audible, too, in the elements of drugs, white nationalist thugs, Albuquerque locations, and the central character’s transformation from straight-laced dork to crime lord.

4 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Shot Caller is:

[WARNING: POTENTIAL SPOILERS]

4. Anti-drug. Drinking and driving destroys Money’s life and kills one of his friends. The balloon-up-the-ass mule transport method of selling dope in prison also works wonders at deglamorizing the subject.

3. Anti-war. Casualties are referenced, and there is also the sense that military service facilitates a veteran’s transition into gang life, with the war being brought home in more ways than one. Shot Caller is careful, too, never to glorify its violence, always depicting it as abrupt and unpleasant.

2. Anti-racist. With suspected Israeli agent Haim Saban producing, it should come as little surprise that Shot Caller, whatever its authenticity, joins the ranks of films like Green Room (2015) and Imperium (2016) in seeking to keep an outmoded and negative incarnation of white nationalism foremost in audiences’ minds. While Money’s respectful relations with black investigator Kutcher (Omari Hardwick) demonstrate the possibility of interracial cooperation, the racial orientation of prison gangs is revealed to be based on self-interest rather than on genuine love of one’s own people, with whites and blacks alike victimize their own in the course of the film. There is a probably unintentional humor and irony in the fact that the white gang member, Shotgun, who turns out to be a police informant is played by Jewish actor Jon Bernthal.

1.Race-realist. Notwithstanding the foregoing, Shot Caller is perfectly honest about the racially self-segregating nature of prison populations as microcosms of human behavior in all multiethnic societies. “It doesn’t matter what yard you go on; it will be segregated by race, period,” the movie’s director concedes in his audio commentary. “That’s a fact.” Shot Caller’s world is one in which a man decides to join the ranks of either the warriors or the victims – and only the latter stand alone.

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!

The Ideological Content Analysis 30 Days Putsch:

30 Reviews in 30 Days

DAY TWENTY-FOUR

Pussy Riot

Daryl Hannah ought to be tarred and feathered for agreeing to narrate this piece of shit, positively one of the worst, most hideously ugly and unappealing documentaries of the decade. Perhaps best viewed as an inadvertent comedy, complete with Jewish handwringing about corruption and the need to uphold the Russian constitution, its robust aroma is made the more pungent by slapdash subtitles, bad acting, and tiresome samples of Pussy Riot’s monotonous, wailing “music”. During the course of this particolored cavalcade of tedium, the saints of Pussy Riot are likened to Elvis Presley, Joan Baez, John Lennon, Joan of Arc, and even Michelangelo – and without the slightest indication of irony.

The “evil man” Putin, on the other hand, is compared to Joseph Stalin, Tsar Nicholas I, and Francisco Franco, and repeatedly depicted as a “fascist”. “This is a country where people die from dissent,” charges Masha Gessen. Performance artist Oleg Kulik has the most sidesplitting lines of this circus, funnier for being delivered with the utmost earnestness: “We are in the heart of a Satan and the heart is beating. Black blood is pumping like oil. The girls have poked the devil’s eye and the devil screamed ‘I am God!’ And the girls say, ‘No, you’re not God. You’re the devil,’ so it’s an argument between them. Is he a devil, or is he a God? It is an existential argument.”

Another chuckle comes from the sight of young women in rainbow-colored terrorist ski masks accompanied by the assertion that a rising generation of young Russians has a “desire to live in a normal country.” “Thank you, Madonna! Thank you, Red Hot Chili Peppers!” the girls exclaim for the solidarity shown them by the American entertainment establishment. The group needs all the help it can get when faced with a dictator like Comrade Putin. One of the silliest statements in the film is the weepy telling of how the members of Pussy Riot “were arrested in a dark street in Moscow.” Imagine the shame of the thing! Arresting these world-famous artistes in a street that was not even properly lighted!

Pussy Riot: The Movement earns a star and a half for its unintentional humor. Ideological Content Analysis, meanwhile, indicates that this pile of Jew dookie is:

4. Pro-AIDS. Jewish faggot Masha Gessen, who has admitted that her advocacy of “gay marriage” has the purpose of destroying the institution of matrimony, is one of the wholesome voices of anti-authoritarian courage featured in the documentary. The Pussy Riot girls are also shown cavorting and howling about homosexual “rights”.

3. Anti-Christian. “Sexism, persecution, and torture” follow from church involvement in state affairs. The Russian Orthodox hierarchy is portrayed as corrupt, oppressive, and avaricious. The entire film celebrates the Pussy Riot sluts for their desecration of Christ the Savior Cathedral, which, one of the interviewees suggests, may come to be known to history as Pussy Riot Cathedral. Francis Carr Begbie of The Occidental Observer adds:

Pussy Riot is also supported — in a circuitous route — by the Soros-funded National Endowment for Democracy. Could it also be that support of groups like Pussy Riot is part of a parallel Jewish strategy of debasement and corruption of Christian morality? As Professor Nathan Abrams wrote, the very prominent Jewish involvement in porn was a result of the “atavistic hatred of Christian authority” and a desire to “weaken the dominant Christian culture.”  Is it so much of a stretch to view Jewish support of these groups as part of the same agenda?

2. Feminist/pro-slut, with Russia depicted as some sort of hell hole of sharia-style patriarchal totalitarianism where women are obligated to cover their heads in shame. “It’s an act of love among dead nature to show that there is at least something living in this country,” Kulik says of a public orgy in which one of the Pussy Rioters participated.

1. Zionist, smearing Putin and Russia in accordance with neoconservative aims. Pro-Israel Jew Senator Benjamin Cardin is spotlighted for his work in raising awareness about the gentile evil being perpetrated in Russia. The narration even tosses in a jab at Iran for alleged corruption. Interviewees, in addition to the disease-exuding Gessen, include Pussy Riot’s Jewish lawyer, Mark Feygin, and gallery owner Marat Guelman, who whimpers piteously: “Because now what we have, Stalin come back.” There is, too, an echo of “Holocaust” propaganda in Pussy Riot: The Movement’s characterization of Russian prisons as concentration camps where women are (so the story goes) fed stale bread and rotten potatoes, made to stand naked outside in the cold, and prevented from using a toilet. Jewish billionaire oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky is presented as a rival of Putin – perhaps the only politician who could lead Russia to freedom! – but those susceptible to such rubbish are advised to read what Ronald L. Ray of American Free Press has written about this parasite:

It is Russia’s President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, a former communist, who stands in the breach, while bankers and internationalists promote the likes of Mikhail Borisovich Khodorkovsky, a Russian Jewish oligarch with billions of dollars to use for the re-enslavement of the former Soviet Union. […]

Although convicted of tax evasion and moneylaundering—a conviction upheld by the European Court of Human Rights—Khodorkovsky has been portrayed by Western media and politicians as a “political prisoner” because he opposed Putin. He is the poster boy for the plutocratic fight against Russian nationalism and economic independence.

But according to a January 3 report in Germany’s National-Zeitung, even defenders of the 50-year-old multi-billionaire are forced to admit that his wealth is ill-gotten. In just 15 years, the young communist son of modest engineer parents amassed many billions of dollars under the aegis of former Russian President Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin. He was one of a handful of Jews who were given free rein by Yeltsin to enrich themselves by gaining control of much of Russia’s wealth and politics […]

As Yeltsin’s energy minister, Khodorkovsky used his now-bankrupt privately-owned Bank Menatep, for shady real estate dealings and to purchase a controlling interest in the defunct Yukos Oil Company at a fraction of its value. The Yukos production division in Russia sold the oil at minimal profit to the distribution division, located in a foreign tax haven, which then sold the oil to American and Jewish interests at market rates. Khodorkovsky and his partners profited immensely and paid little or no taxes. When a local Russian mayor spoke out about Yukos’s refusal to pay taxes, a Khodorkovsky partner was implicated in the contract murder of the official.

Khodorkovsky was accused of stealing 200 million metric tons of oil from Russia—half the Yukos production—via his business practices. Thus, it was natural that, under Putin’s efforts to break the international bankster grip on Russia and regain control of natural resources, Khodorkovsky would be investigated for selling those resources out of the country.

Not surprisingly, Pussy Riot: The Movement executive producer Marianna Yarovskaya – clearly a principled crusader for truth – is a former employee of Zio-globalist operations Greenpeace and Voice of America. She was also the head researcher for global warming scare film An Inconvenient Truth. Unsurprisingly, too, given the group’s Jewish and globalist NGO connections, Pussy Riot has most recently thrown the weight of its tawdry celebrity wholly behind the “refugee” invasion of Europe.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

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The Ideological Content Analysis 30 Days Putsch:

30 Reviews in 30 Days

DAY FIFTEEN

Get Hard

It sounds like a funny idea on paper. A pampered white businessman, convicted of embezzlement, hires what he mistakes to be a streetwise black dude to teach him how to “get hard” so as to protect himself from being abused when he goes to prison. The execution itself, sadly, feels at times exactly like the cinematic equivalent of one of the sodomy sessions dreaded by the protagonist. Will Ferrell, Hollywood’s go-to guy for playing weird, dim-witted white jerks and/or gluttons for punishment, gets to be both in Get Hard, with mildly funny Kevin Hart from Ride Along appearing in the role of straight man.

Indicative of the standard of entertainment on tap is bit player Matt Walsh’s credit as “Bathroom Stall Man” in a sequence way too sick for description here. Psyche-scarringly inappropriate for children or even mature adults, Get Hard is one of the most repugnant motion pictures this reviewer has witnessed, rivaling even the cataclysmically syphilitic A Haunted House. It is, in short, a film that could only have been written and directed by a degenerate named (((Etan Cohen))).

2 and a half out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Get Hard is:

4. Crypto-Zionist, implicitly endorsing the fairy tale of Osama bin Laden’s responsibility for 9/11. Coach’s Craig T. Nelson, meanwhile, reprises the type of role he essayed in Action Jackson and Devil’s Advocate as a privileged and WASPy financial super-criminal, Larry David apparently having been unavailable.

3. Pro-immigration. Ferrell’s mestizo domestic servants roll their eyes and wag their heads with contempt at their master’s antics. Rather than fill the viewer with distaste at the further inundation of America with ethnically hostile Third World riff-raff, however, these scenes allow the film’s target audience of complacent liberals to feel smart and at one with the Mexicans, who they can pretend will share their progressive values going forward as they point and laugh together at the stupid white man.

2. Pro-gay. Hart befriends (but politely parries the flirtations of) a homosexual he meets in the course of his adventure.

1. Anti-white and pro-miscegenation. Ferrell and Hart make a narrow escape from the greasy clutches of a white supremacist biker gang. Ferrell eventually finds his soulmate in twerking ghetto denizen Dominique Perry and rejects the renewed advances of former fiancée Alison Brie when he dismisses her as having a “white girl’s booty”.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

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The Ideological Content Analysis 30 Days Putsch:

30 Reviews in 30 Days

DAY NINE

Swelter

Saddle up for another hipster riff on the western … Out-of-place big names Jean-Claude Van Damme and Alfred Molina pick up shameless paychecks for supporting roles in this sub-Tarantinoid dose of direct-to-streaming dreck. The actual leading man viewers get stuck with is a tedious congoid, Lennie James, who plays Bishop, the sheriff of a sleazy backwater outside Las Vegas that finds itself invaded by a gang of prison escapees searching for a cache of hidden loot. Van Damme, his accent thicker than ever, plays the implausibly named “Stillman”, one of the gang of psychotic outlaws, which also includes Cole (Grant Bowler), who discovers he has a score to settle with Bishop when he finds him shacked up with ex-girlfriend Carmen (Catalina Sandino Moreno). Annoyingly slapdash, with no sympathetic characters, Swelter is as uninviting, drab, and exhausting as its title advertises, with Van Damme’s charisma criminally underutilized. The great character actor Tracey Walter does add some much-needed color to a few scenes, however, in his role as “Old Man Henry Johnson”.

2.5 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Swelter is:

4. Anti-police. Van Damme’s gang gets the hip Reservoir Dogs slow motion stroll treatment as they shoot down the officers manning a roadblock.

3. Anti-gun. Bishop’s deputy Ronnie (Alan Simpson) is a klutz. Bishop himself refuses to carry a gun until circumstances force his hand. Asked why he performs his duties without a sidearm, he replies, “I’m afraid I might shoot somebody.”

2. Anti-white and pro-miscegenation. White men are vicious, sadistic poison to women. “It’s your DNA,” says Carmen in rejecting Cole’s renewed advances. She prefers the dusky embrace of Bishop. Van Damme also kisses a mutt.

1. Obamist. Swelter unfolds against the backdrop of the upcoming election of a new sheriff. After electing Bishop, a man with a mysterious past, just to rid themselves of the previous power, the townsfolk have grown impatient with what they perceive as Sheriff Bishop’s moralistic stifling of free enterprise and are itching to vote for his lame white deputy as a replacement; but Bishop, the righteous black man of destiny, rides in, rises to the occasion, and manages to protect the townspeople from a descent into white barbarity. (cf. American Hustle)

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

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Closed Circuit

Forget neoconservative junk like Zero Dark Thirty. Closed Circuit is the real deal – or, anyway, as close to it as a major motion picture is likely to get in the present climate. After a 7/7-reminiscent terrorist bombing in London, attorneys Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall are assigned the task of defending Farroukh Erdogan (Denis Moschitto), the alleged “mastermind” of the attack. It soon becomes clear, however, that nothing is as it seems in this self-described “conspiracy thriller”, as Bana discovers that the case is “being managed” from above and that the “suicide” of the previous barrister handling Erdogan’s defense might actually foreshadow his own demise. Unremittingly grim and realistically paranoid, Closed Circuit moves at a healthy clip, sustained by the lead actors’ earnest performances, and suffers principally from its anemic chromatic palette and visual drabness.

[WARNING: POTENTIAL SPOILERS]

4 out of 5 possible stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Closed Circuit is:

7. Anti-marriage. Bana is going through a divorce.

6. Feminist. Hall portrays an assertive, tough, and detail-oriented professional woman.

5. Anti-drug. Government patsy Erdogan is a heroin addict who, in the great Islamic fundamentalist tradition, has a drunk driving arrest on his record. The poor quality of the horse made available to him in prison causes him to be nauseous.

4. Anti-racist/multiculturalist. An East Indian complains that he is regularly stopped by police. The War on Terror, Closed Circuit suggests, has exacerbated racial prejudices. The multicultural wealth of London’s Turkish population proves to be an asset to the investigation.

3. Media-skeptical. The British press is characterized as unscrupulous. Closed Circuit strains credibility, however, in suggesting that The New York Times, of all publications – the “newspaper of record” that, for instance, covered up the Holodomor – would be the beacon of honesty in such a scenario, and that one of its reporters (Julia Stiles) would risk assassination to bring the truth about synthetic terrorism to the public.

2. Anti-state. Closed Circuit performs a modest service in mainstreaming the concept of government-instigated terror, with “national security” considerations only masking the cover-up; but the movie stops short of accusing western intelligence agencies of actually commissioning false flag terror attacks. Instead, Closed Circuit presents a story in which MI-5, through “incompetence”, has lost control of its counterterrorism operation.

1. Defeatist. “We’re not strong enough to fight them, are we?”

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

Council on Foreign Relations creature Angelina Jolie directs Unbroken , a.k.a. (as it shalt be known for the purposes of this cinematic exegesis) The Unbroken Passion of G.I. Goy, the Judeo-Christian fable of Olympic athlete Louis Zamperini (Jack O’Connell), his war service to organized Jewry, and his long and not particularly interesting tenure as a P.O.W. Equal parts war movie, survival story, and prison film, The Unbroken Passion of G.I. Goy’s most satisfying passage is the section in which Zamperini and two other survivors of a plane crash are stranded at sea for more than a month in a lifeboat. For the remainder of the film, Zamperini stoically endures forced labor and regular torture at the hands of the Yellow Peril. One might have expected something more engaging (or at least more divertingly offbeat) from screenwriters Joel and Ethan Coen, but what the audience gets is tolerable, if judged by the standards of neocon fodder.

3.5 out of 5 possible stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that The Unbroken Passion of G.I. Goy is:

4. Sodomy-ambivalent. Showing their solidarity with the globalist gay agenda, P.O.W.s put on a drag show. A pox on progressive internationalist Angelina Jolie, however, for resorting to the cookie-cutter homosexual villain type in the characterization of Commander Watanabe (Takamasa Ishihara). Shame on her and the Coen brothers for their clearly unreconstructed Hollywood hetero-fascism!

3. Pro-immigration. Zamperini serves as the poster boy immigrant son whose mother still speaks Italian. Bigoted Anglo-Saxon boys pick on him and call him a “wop”, unaware that he will go on to become a war hero and suffer his Unbroken Passion for all of their sins of WASP privilege. Even his underwhelming eighth-place finish in the 5,000 meter race at the Berlin Olympics is treated as an immaculate triumph for America, democracy, and equality, a companion feat to that of fellow diversifier Jesse Owens (Bangalie Keita), and the film actually attempts to give the impression that the crowd in Olympic Stadium is cheering for Zamperini.

2. Ostensibly Christian. Zamperini, initially an agnostic or atheist, is eventually moved by the Spirit to become the personal Jesus of his fellow P.O.W.s. In the triumphant moment of his Unbroken Passion, Zamperini is made to lift a cumbersome beam, the framing unsubtly calling to mind Christ’s bearing of the cross, after which he must stand crucifixion-like with it or be shot by the sadistic Jap-Romans.

1. Pro-war. The opening shot of The Unbroken Passion of G.I. Goy is a dreamscape of clouds accompanied by the singing of a chorus as of angels. Soon the angels materialize as American bombers doing the righteous bidding of FDR’s Yahweh-state. In The Unbroken Passion of G.I. Goy’s most laughable scene, a P.O.W. falls to his knees and weeps on hearing the news that FDR has died. Oh, no! God is dead! Yes, seventy years later, the Jew World Order is still cranking out stupid WW2 propaganda movies – in other words, hardcore porn for folks like the annoyingly coughing old Tea Party type who sat behind this reviewer and commented with a reverent and wistful air during the trailer for Selma that “if they hadn’t killed him, things’d be different today.”

Make no mistake: the tableaux of ruined Jap buildings and bodies is included not to evoke sympathy for the victims of Allied war crimes, but as a warning of what can be expected to befall any Eastern powers attempting to resist the will of ZOG. (Malaysian jet pilots, are you reading this?) The detail that the Japanese have beheaded some prisoners is no doubt intended to engender a subconscious psychological continuity between the viewer’s experience of the still highly marketable “good war” against nationalist Europe and Japan and the current money pit conflict against “ISIS” (Israeli Secret Intelligence Service?).

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

Multiple MickBlame_It_on_the_Night_poster

Blame It on the Night (1984) ***1/2

Top arena rocker Dalton (Nick Mancuso) has his busy but more-or-less freewheeling backstage lifestyle upset when he learns he has an illegitimate son, Job (Byron Thames), now a teenager attending a military academy. Dalton desperately wants to make up for lost time and to be a real father to the boy, who, however, has been accustomed to icy military discipline and insists on acting like he has a baton stuck up his ass. The clash of their personalities and the cache of Job’s unresolved emotional suppression and resentments provide the background for this innocuous 80s movie’s conflicts.

Philip Norman gives the following account of the Rolling Stones frontman’s involvement with Blame It on the Night in his 2012 biography Mick Jagger. Approached with the opportunity to star in the film, “Mick was initially interested, especially when producer Gene Taft offered him a co-credit for ‘original story’ if he would provide material from his own direct experience of rock stardom. He changed his mind, however, on realizing that the estranged parent-child theme had uncomfortable parallels with himself and his daughter Karis. When the film finally came out in 1984, ‘Michael Phillip Jagger’ was still co-credited [with Gene Taft] for the story.”1

The resulting experience suffers, haunted by the absent Jagger’s specter, so that one can only wonder, while watching Blame it on the Night, what the film might have been like had Jagger actually committed to playing the lead, which instead went to handsome but comparatively colorless Nick Mancuso. Jagger’s input on the rock ‘n’ roll life would likely have lent a gritty edge to what, in the event, is an overly sanitized portrayal of the world of rockers, roadies, and floozies, so that the movie almost seems to have been made to play on the Disney Channel. Scenes of Dalton angrily telling his son to clean up his room or, worse still, engineering a cringe-inducingly forced reconciliation around a campfire, are unconvincing, to say the least. Only former Willie Nelson drummer Rex Ludwick brings an air of rock excess to the film in the role of Dalton’s hearty-partying bandmate Animal.

Perhaps to compensate for the absence of Mick, notable Rolling Stones collaborators Billy Preston and Merry Clayton (whose fiery “Rape! Murder!” vocals fans will know from “Gimme Shelter”) appear as themselves in minor roles. Unfortunately, the music, with the exception of the marginally catchy title tune, is uniformly uber-generic 80s pop cheese delivered with sappy Michael McDonald earnestness. On the plus side, Blame It on the Night is appealingly paced and goes down as smoothly (and is about as nutritious) as a spoonful of Jell-O. Nostalgia aficionados, furthermore, will appreciate that Blame It on the Night features more than one obligatory 80s rock montage sequence. Think of it as a C-grade rock ‘n’ roll Over the Top minus all the testosterone and arm-wrestling.

Running out of Luck

Running out of Luck (1986) *****

Previous to helming this epically bizarre film, Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle (1980) director Julien Temple had also created the atmospheric music video for the Rolling Stones’ “Undercover of the Night” (1983). “For Julien Temple,” relates Philip Norman, “the filming [in Paris, passing for South America] was an experience that made the Sex Pistols seem almost a rest cure by comparison.”2 But whatever his bad experiences on that set, Temple agreed to reunite with Mick for another tropically-themed collaboration in 1985 when he jaunted to Rio de Janeiro to film the absurd rock musical Running out of Luck.

Essentially a vanity project for Mick, Running out of Luck finds the star playing his arrogant, sneering self in what amounts to a series of several music videos connected by a loose adventure narrative. After shooting a video for self-absorbed director Dennis Hopper (!) in Rio, Mick picks up three women who turn out to be transvestites (“She’s a geezer!”) and who beat him up, rob him, and stow him in a meat truck that takes him into the middle of Brazilian nowhere. After stumbling around and hallucinating in a desert, Mick gets picked up by a horny virago (Norma Bengell) who forces him to work on her banana plantation and satisfy her sexual needs. While there he hooks up with Brazilian bimbo Rae Dawn Chong (who has a steamy, bare-breasted love scene with the star) and makes his escape from the plantation only to fall into further misadventures and gets thrown into a grimy prison, which, fortunately for the viewer, is lax enough to let Mick to sing and wiggle his butt to his heart’s content. Mick’s moll Jerry Hall, who also appears in the film as herself, has meanwhile decided that Mick is deceased and entered into a tawdry affair with an American politician.

For those who feel, as this writer does, that the “Dancing in the Street” video with Jagger and David Bowie camping it up like a couple of move-busting insane asylum escapees is one of the finest slices of cinema ever broadcast, Running out of Luck is the real thing – a veritable mother lode of eccentric 80s Mickness in full-lipped snarling glory. Among the various sights and sounds and marvels awaiting the viewer of this freak show of a flick is Mick in drag, Mick getting manhandled and stepped on, Mick licked, Mick groping a tranny, Mick eating maggot-infested prison gruel, Mick playing the roulette tables like James Bond, Mick writhing with a tarantula on his back – and more! The funniest scene has him stumbling into a country store, trying to convince the proprietor that he is, in fact, Mick Jagger, and futilely jumping around, shouting, and shaking his ass to prove it. In short, any Rolling Stones or 80s obscurities fan should pounce at the chance to watch this sicko sweetness dredged from the VHS trash trove.

Mick Jagger performs “She’s the Boss” in Running out of Luck (1986)

Endnotes.

  1. Norman, Philip. Mick Jagger. New York, NY: HarperCollins, 2012, p. 475.
  2. Ibid., p. 526.

out_of_the_furnace_poster

Christian Bale racks up another career highlight performance as Russell Baze, a good but deeply flawed man at the end of his tether in Out of the Furnace, a strong, deeply American film from writer-director-to-watch Scott Cooper. Baze is an endearing dead-end ex-con and mill worker who, in a relationship reminiscent of that between Keitel and DeNiro in Mean Streets, attempts to look out for his war-damaged deadbeat brother Rodney (Casey Affleck). Rodney is in debt but uninterested in conventional employment, leading to his involving himself in the dangerous world of underground fighting.

Out of the Furnace stands as a stark statement that the American Dream is deceased. Its rust belt setting rings all too true, and a barroom television moment more subtle than a similar scene in 2012’s Killing Them Softly shows that Obama’s hope-and-change rhetoric has no reality for the typical working (or unemployed) stiff. Out of the Furnace is a film of its time and timely, its story enthralling, with each frame carrying fascination and a feeling of immediate importance.

Those who enjoy tense, earthy family dramas and character studies with gritty, realistic settings – movies like Sling Blade, Mud, or The Place Beyond the Pines – are certain to appreciate Out of the Furnace, which, in addition to the showcased character creation of Christian Bale, features sharp supporting performances from Forest Whitaker, Sam Shepard, Zoe Saldana, and Willem Dafoe. Deserving special recognition, furthermore, is Woody Harrelson, frightening light-years from Cheers here as hillbilly drug kingpin Harlan DeGroat. Harrelson’s hot dog moment in the opening scene sets the grotesque, tenebrous tone of the film and constitutes the most shocking piece of fast food humiliation since the fried chicken scene in 2011’s Killer Joe.

5 stars. Highest recommendation.

Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Out of the Furnace is:

7. Diversity-skeptical. In one of his underground fights, Rodney is pitted against a black thug who taunts him, calling him “white boy” and mocking his military service. Pleasantly, Rodney makes a comeback and gives this rascal a vicious and racially charged beatdown.

6. Antiwar. Rodney comes back from Iraq as an angry and alienated man.

5. Protectionist. The mill is scheduled to be shut down, with American jobs exported to China.

4. Pro-miscegenation. Notwithstanding no. 7, Russell is in love with brown beauty Lena (Zoe Saldana), but loses her after his stint in the pen.

3. Anti-drug. Drunk driving lands Russell in prison. Harder stuff turns Harlan DeGroat into a maniac.

2. Anti-redneck. Harlan DeGroat is the scariest white trash bad guy since Deer Crossing‘s Lukas Walton.

1. Pro-family. Russell Baze is driven by his devotion to his family, caring as best he can for his sick father and brother while both are still alive, and diligently avenging them after they are gone.

Escape Plan

Sylvester Stallone, who previously suffered and grunted to great effect in the excellent Lock Up (1989), gets thrown into the slammer again in Escape Plan as Ray Breslin, the Harry Houdini of incarceration. Breslin is so adept at egress from maximum security penitentiaries that he actually makes his living at it, hiring out his services to the Federal Bureau of Prisons and going undercover in different correctional institutions across the country to test their tightness. Breslin finds himself in the bind of his life when he agrees to try his hand at the Tomb, a CIA-commissioned, privately operated black prison “off the grid” and designed for containing dissidents the government would prefer to see “disappeared”. This time Breslin’s sentence is more than a game.

A gray-haired Arnold Schwarzenegger plays second fiddle to Stallone’s hero, but does add considerably to the fun of the film. He is given one moment of greatness equal to his larger-than-life persona when, in testosterone-mainlining slow motion, he levels a machine gun and mows down a gallery of disposable baddies. Jim Caviezel, unfortunately, is inadequate to the task of furnishing proper antagonism for the likes of the two leading titans. Sam Neill collects a paycheck for playing a tiny supporting role as the prison’s doctor, while Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson keeps it real representin’ the African-American computer genius community as Breslin’s loyal “techno-thug” Hush.

Escape Plan has exactly two things going for it: Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger. The script is lame and about as original as the title, with typical lines of dialogue being, “You hit like a vegetarian”; “I’m gonna fuckin’ kill you, motherfucker!”; and, still more amazing, this brilliantly sarcastic coup of a zinger: “Have a lovely day, asshole.” Weaknesses aside, the story is fast-paced, the performances are fun, and the dynamite action combo of Stallone and Schwarzenegger will be a difficult one for fans to resist.

3.5 of 5 possible stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Escape Plan is:

7. Anti-tobacco. A guard’s routine of taking a smoke break causes him to be distracted.

6. Pro-miscegenation. The streets of New Orleans teem with interraciality.

5. Anti-Christian. Schwarzenegger, putting on a show of insanity for the guards, spouts religious nonsense in German. Stallone tears a page out of a Bible and burns it.

4. Anti-torture. Guards pummel Stallone and force water down Schwarzenegger’s throat with a hose.

3. Anti-neoconservative. The Tomb, with its savagery, high-tech surveillance, and disregard for citizens’ constitutional rights, serves as a microcosm of life in post-9/11 America. Giving the lie to the Islam-bashers, Muslim prisoners are violent only when they are provoked.

2. Anti-cronyism/anti-capitalistic. The Tomb is operated by “Blackwater rejects” who do the dirty work of corrupt, authoritarian governments and international bankers. “From a financial standpoint I like it,” Breslin’s business partner (Vincent D’Onofrio) says on hearing about the Tomb and the money he stands to make by cooperating with the CIA. Schwarzenegger is an anarchist or revolutionary of some sort who seeks to bring down the financial establishment.

1. Anti-state. The Tomb is administered by the significantly monickered Mr. Hobbes (Jim Caviezel), who boasts, “In here you have no control over any part of your life, except your breathing.” Of interest, too, is the deindividuated design of the brutal prison screws, who wear S.W.A.T.-flavored get-ups and charcoal-black masks with Caucasian features. Could this be a commentary on the reality of life under fake black president B.O., whose ballyhooed skin color masks exactly the same opportunism that motivated his predecessors in office?

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