Archives for posts with tag: serial killer

batman-the-killing-joke

This animated adaptation of Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s 1988 graphic novel presents a much darker universe than the nineties TV show Batman: The Animated Series that this reviewer remembers watching at the tail end of his childhood. Batman: The Killing Joke is by no means a juvenile outing, and contains some decidedly adult content, themes, and insinuations. The story concerns the origins of the Joker, but Joker enthusiasts may be disappointed that the Clown Prince of Crime does not appear until half an hour or so into the program. Before that, the screenplay is preoccupied with the complex relationship between Batman and his protégée Batgirl. One of the most bizarre of the Batman storylines, The Killing Joke gives viewers a sensitive Caped Crusader who worries about the nature of his “relationship” with the Joker and even offers to “rehabilitate” him and maybe collaborate – even after Joker has shot and possibly even raped Batgirl! The ending, too, is a bit of a head-scratcher, and likely to be a conversation-starter after viewing. The idea of the Joker and Batman having a laugh together might seem too insane to consider until one begins to understand the characters as a pair of Judaic archetypes.

4 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Batman: The Killing Joke is:

6. Anti-bankster, literally depicting a banker as an organized crime figure.

5. Anti-nuke, referencing the danger of nuclear holocaust, which, as one character puts it, could be ignited by a flock of geese appearing as a blip on a computer screen.

4. Family-ambivalent. Viewers are treated to a touching father-daughter relationship with Batgirl and Commissioner Gordon, but the Joker’s origin story, in which the financial and psychological strain caused by his wife’s pregnancy and death precipitates his downfall and transformative madness, is arguably antinatalist in character.

3. Pro-gay, perpetuating the homos-are-a-girl’s-best-friend convention.

2. Pro-miscegenation. “I don’t understand why you’re having fishing troubles when we are in the middle of a lake,” Batgirl’s gay friend tells her as he gestures toward a table full of young men including a bespectacled, intellectual-looking congoid. “What do these guys have to do to get your attention?” A white man and black woman are shown studying together in a library – marking race-mixing as the preference of the sophisticated – and a black floozy is also shown caressing the face of a white bad guy.

1. Sexist! The first act of Batman: The Killing Joke is concerned with young heroine Batgirl’s frustration with the limitations placed upon her by her mentor. She aspires to take more active part in Batman’s crime-fighting, but Batman views her as a rookie whose inexperience represents a dangerous liability. A burgeoning feminist, Batgirl objects to him “getting protective and sitting in judgment”, and confronts him with her previous understanding that they were supposed to be partners. “We are – but not equal,” Batman tells her, laying the bat-smack down on that uppity ho.

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

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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Equalizer

Denzel Washington stars as the title character in The Equalizer – a superhuman bundle of Robin Hood, Barack Obama, Angus MacGyver, and Jason Voorhees rolled into a single American hero. Perhaps the most preposterous film in which Washington has yet appeared, The Equalizer concerns an ex-CIA spook who comes out of retirement to save filthy, greasy-lipped prostitute Chloe Moretz from the clutches of the oil-and-pimping syndicate run by ridiculously named Russian gangster “Vladimir Pushkin” (wink, wink), played by Vladimir Kulich.

Washington’s genius allows him to improvise endlessly inventive and cruel methods of dispatching his enemies, frequently by means of split-second calculus – cogitations conveyed cinematically by extreme close-ups of Washington’s all-seeing eyeball – and always directed at Caucasian men. The Equalizer is silly, offensive, inorganic, and way too long at a run time in excess of two hours, but those who suffer the full duration of its unending equality mandate will at least be treated to an awe-inspiring rap by Eminem.

3 out of 5 stars for the unintentional humor. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that The Equalizer is:

6. Pro-torture. Enhanced interrogation be da bomb.

5. Black supremacist, pro-immigration, and anti-white. The titular hero, living up to his name, disburses the villains’ ill-gotten gains among a group of Asian immigrants. Juxtaposed with the brilliant, polite, well-read, and fastidious Washington – an extraordinary specimen of Africanus cinematicus – white men appear as boorish ogres who mistreat women. Washington scolds a white co-worker for his foul language, and one scene even shows a white criminal in a hoodie robbing minorities at gunpoint. In still another scene, he literally uses a book to disable a Caucasian. “Change your world,” the Equalizer advises, a recommendation that screenwriter Richard Wenk seems to have taken to heart in depicting lifeforms on this planet.

4. Anti-police. Boston cops – white ones, of course – are on the take and extort protection money from minority businesses. In a lame reversal of the famous scene in Dirty Harry (1971), a black man points a gun at a white cop and calls him “punk”.

3. Anti-Russian and pro-war. As in all recent Hollywood output – The Heat (2013), Bullet to the Head (2012), and Pain and Gain (2013) being other examples – Slavic women are depicted as prostitutes. Moretz’s pimp, played by David Meunier, is even named “Slavi” so as to as to scream his ethnicity into the viewer’s ears in case the fact of his being a Russian was not already obvious.

Marton Csokas portrays Itchenko, the iciest and most bestial of the Russians – a character whose name suggests that he is subhuman (i.e., an “it”) as well as being a biological nuisance (an “itch”). Itchenko also has epaulette tattoos on his shoulders, a detail which implies that imperious militarism constitutes a physiologically inextricable aspect of the Russian subhuman’s being. Of “Pushkin”, it is said that “his money and political ties make him untouchable”, which can only suggest that he is somehow connected with Russian government officials – Putin himself, perhaps?

In one scene, an assembly of Russian mobsters refuses Washington’s offer of $9,000 in exchange for a hooker’s “freedom”. “You should have taken the money,” he taunts after murdering all of them. The significance of this confrontation, almost unrecognizably distorted in its filtering of geopolitical reality, is that Russia, by rejecting America’s globalist porno-economic order of capitalo-totalitarian usury, has invited its own extermination. At the film’s conclusion, Washington travels to Russia to assassinate “Pushkin” – and, like a proper slasher movie serial killer, confronts him while he is taking a shower.

2. Pro-N.W.O. CIA officials appear as tender and devoted nurturers. Clearly, the casting of Washington as the hero also carries an onomatological resonance.

1. Anti-Christian and Jewish supremacist. “I will have vengeance,” one hears muttered repeatedly during one of the songs featured on the Equalizer soundtrack. Indeed, it has been some time since this reviewer has seen a movie as viciously and mockingly anti-Christian as this one. Early on, The Equalizer associates and nearly equates Christianity with Russian brutality, with gangsters sporting crucifix tattoos and lounging around a bar with an Orthodox icon on the wall. When Washington intrudes and casually slaughters them, the icon is splattered with their blood.

An early scene that establishes Washington’s character and trajectory draws a parallel with the protagonist of Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea. On the surface, this refers to Washington’s being an older man of former achievement who rises from mediocrity to take on a massive challenge, or catch the big fish represented by “Vladimir Pushkin”. So blatant is The Equalizer’s hatred of Christianity, however, that the significance of the fish allegory is multiple. At the deeper level, Washington is the personification of Judaic vengeance, the golem, the butcher, and fisherman who has finally, triumphantly, reeled in Christendom. The script, at the moment of Washington’s summary of the novel, warrants quotation:

Old man tied the fish to the side of the boat, had to row back to shore. The fish bled in the water, sharks came, and ate the whole fish till there was nothing left. [. . .]  The old man met his greatest adversary when he thought that part of his life was over [. . .] Came to respect it the more it fought.

Asked why the fisherman refused to relinquish the fish, Washington replies that, “The old man’s gotta be the old man. Fish gotta be the fish.” The big fish is Christendom, its bleeding either the vivisection of Christ or the degradation and rot of the West by corrosive culture-disease. European man, in the allegory, is Jewry’s big trophy catch – and neither, if it is to be true to itself, can ever give up the struggle against the other’s all-or-nothing efforts.

In the climactic scene, the hissing and superficially civilized Itchenko is transfixed in a ritual sacrifice by Washington, whose sadistic choice of a nail gun to do the job is the key to understanding the movie’s subtext. Here, for America’s rooting enjoyment, is a thinly disguised Christ-snuff film framed as a thrilling adventure in which ZOG saves the world again from crypto-tsarist-fascist bigotry. For the cherry to top the cloying Jewishness of the whole tawdry abomination, in an earlier scene Washington even subjects Itchenko to psychoanalysis before committing a massive act of industrial terrorism to spite him.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

Family poster

Robert De Niro stars in this gory, mean-spirited “comedy” as a glorified serial killer and sadist who, with his sad pyromaniac spouse (Michelle Pfeiffer) and two chip-off-the-old-block teenagers (John D’Leo and Dianna Agron), has moved to Normandy at the behest of the Witness Protection Program. Posing unconvincingly as an academic, De Niro and his ultraviolent spawn lay waste to the French in a nihilistic bid for the affections of the Freedom Fry aficionados in the American audience. Tommy Lee Jones, looking as wrinkly and battered as the Constitution, appears as De Niro’s long-suffering Witness Protection case worker. The veteran leads are fun to watch, but their characters live too far beyond the possibility of redemption to deserve two hours of viewers’ time. Recommended to neoconservatives only.

3 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that The Family is:

5. Anti-Christian. Pfeiffer lost her virginity in a church. A judgmental priest (Christopher Craig) becomes irate and commands her to leave his cathedral after hearing her confession.

4. Ultra-green, with De Niro’s brown tap water driving him to an act of eco-terror.

3. Feminist/pro-castration. De Niro’s daughter – surprise, surprise! – is tough as nails and delivers a savage thrashing and genital-beating in reply to a come-on.

2. Zionist, perpetuating the myth that America “liberated” France. The Family, with its story of smug, self-important Americans storming overseas and asserting themselves by destroying things, serves as a frightening allegorical normalization of Jewish-American foreign policy. Gullible audiences, The Family hopes, will internalize as good, old-fashioned Americanism and “family values” the license to commit genocide that Rush Limbaugh chooses to pretty up as “American exceptionalism”. Pfeiffer, for instance, blows up a grocery store after overhearing a perfectly justified complaint about American (i.e., Jewish) media brainwashing. Jews appear in The Family as the victims rather than as the perpetrators of organized crime.

1. Pro-torture/anti-human. Men having their bones broken, testicles crushed, being dipped head-first into a barrel of acid – how hilarious! From murder to thievery to drug dealing in a school, The Family’s attitude is that crime is cute. De Niro, furthermore, attempts to validate his admittedly “sadistic urges” by arguing that he mutilates people for a “good reason”. “You’re the best dad anybody could ever ask for,” his daughter informs him moments before he drifts into a daydream about barbecuing a neighbor’s head. “Writing is intense,” he says in another reflective moment. “I feel like I been lookin’ at myself in a mirror all day.” One wonders what hideous creatures The Family’s screenwriters, Michael Caleo and Luc Besson, glimpse as in a mirror while they ply their appalling trade.

Badges-of-Fury

Jet Li headlines this action comedy as “vintage” cop Huang, who, along with young comic relief partner Wang (Zhang Wen), is tasked with investigating an odd series of “smile murders”, in which each victim wears a mysterious grin at the time of his death. Moderately funny, Badges of Fury would have been strengthened by more shared screen time and bickering/bonding between mismatched partners Huang and Wang, who spend much of the film acting independently; but scenes between the comical Wang and sassy but insecure sergeant Angela (Michelle Chen) are also highly rewarding. The silly, CGI-facilitated action sequences, complete with crazy cartoon sound effects, will probably be too goofy for fight fans accustomed to western sensibilities, so these scenes are best judged by the standards of slapstick.

3.5 of 5 possible stars.

Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Badges of Fury is:

4. Pro-gay, from the standpoint that there is no such thing as bad publicity. Wang has a run-in with two camp homosexuals who criticize his attire.

3. Asian supremacist. A coroner, citing the superior findings of western medicine, claims there is no such thing as an acupuncture point controlling smiling; but Wang, standing up for Eastern traditions, proves him wrong and makes a major breakthrough in the case by demonstrating that each of the victims died by strategically inserted needles.

2. Pro-family. “Cherish those closest to you,” Badges of Fury advises viewers.

1. Feminism-ambivalent. In the tradition of Hong Kong action, women cops are tough and scrappy; but a telling look on Angela’s face during an interrogation scene suggests that a woman, even an emancipated professional, needs a man in her life to make her happy. Angela is also insecure about her weight and looks. Huang injects further political incorrectness when he reacts to a suspect’s appearance. “You know why we see so many harassment cases? Look at what she’s wearing.”

 

The Howling poster

The Howling (1981)

National Socialists have traditionally appropriated wolf imagery as an expression of their movement’s fierceness, masculinity, and pagan mystique. Hitler’s first Eastern Front headquarters was named the Wolf’s Lair, and Werwolf was the name the Nazis selected for a German guerrilla resistance force during the waning phases of World War II. White nationalists of today will sometimes refer to themselves as werewolves, as well. A close reading of Joe Dante’s horror hit The Howling (1981), however, may convince viewers that Jews are the ones who deserve the mantle of the wolf.

Ilsa She Wolf of the SS

Lupine-themed pop Nazi iconography

“Signed his work,” explains television news producer Christopher (Dennis Dugan), with reference to the gruesome clues furnished by the artistic creations of a murderous maniac – and, as it turns out, a werewolf – in dialogue suggestive of what may be The Howling’s ulterior intention of cluing viewers into the nature of its Hollywood provenance by way of a revelation of method.

The madman is Eddie Quist (Robert Picardo), a sexual pervert stalking anchorwoman Karen White (Dee Wallace). The latter, in an attempt to help police capture Quist, agrees to meet him in an adult video shop, where he lures her into a private booth, activates a sadomasochistic sex loop, announces his intention to possess Karen’s body, and then proceeds to transform and to reveal his true physical nature – that of a wolf.

Dee Wallace

Dee Wallace as Karen White

Thus, in this crucial encounter, key subtext is set into motion. Quist is in his element when surrounded by filth and shows a pronounced interest in pornography – an industry dominated by Jews – and he also seeks to dominate Karen, a character who is significantly beautiful, blonde, surnamed “White”, and a representative, furthermore, of her local news media – another Jewish near-monopoly. Karen’s employer at Channel 6, Fred Francis (Kevin McCarthy), would seem to be one of the last of the WASP old boys’ club.

Picardo

Robert Picardo as Eddie Quist

A search of Quist’s apartment reveals obsessive drawings of monsters (i.e., autobiographical deviant art) and newspaper clippings illustrative of his resentful preoccupations with violence and Christianity. Two visible headlines from articles on his walls read, “The Dismembered Corpse in the Burned Out Church” and “Weird Case of the Murdering Messiah”. Murdering or murdered? Either way, the headlines speak to Quist’s sense of Jewish supremacy and hatred of gentiles.

Appearing as a guest on Channel 6 is a pop psychiatrist, Dr. Waggner (Patrick Macnee), who advises his audience of the benefits to be had from slackening their moral standards when he says, “We should never try to deny the beast, the animal within us.” Psychiatry, of course, being another field famously lorded over by Jews hostile to the traditional ways of Christendom. Dr. Waggner, like Quist, has designs on Karen White, and – using the pretext of her post-traumatic stress resulting from the meeting with Quist – invites her to his rustic retreat, suggestively named the Colony, for what is supposed to be group therapy along with her husband, Bill (Christopher Stone).

Elisabeth Brooks

Elisabeth Brooks as Marsha Quist

The Colony, unfortunately, is a forested den of werewolves, among them folksy locals Charlie (Noble Willingham), Erle (John Carradine), Jerry (James Murtaugh), deceptively friendly sheriff Sam (Slim Pickens), and shapely seductress Marsha (Elisabeth Brooks), a quintessential scarlet woman who sets about dissolving the bonds of Karen’s marriage by making herself aggressively available to Bill. Marsha’s love shack in the woods is adorned by pelts, which – with their six points of paws, head, and tail – abstractly approximate elongated Stars of David.

Pelt of David

Pelt of David

“Karen, you’re really gettin’ paranoid,” Bill accuses when his wife confronts him about his infidelity. “I know,” he says sarcastically, “it’s all a big conspiracy as far as you’re concerned.” Bill’s tactic, then, is to attempt to distract from the fact that he has plainly sold his soul and his services to the alien by smearing his accuser as a “conspiracy theorist”. Sound familiar?

Karen’s new Colony acquaintance Donna (Margie Impert), also a crypto-werewolf, lets slip a hint of her hidden identity when she and Karen happen upon a mutilated cow. “Oh, Jesus,” she blurts with embarrassment, to which Karen automatically tacks on “Christ”. It is Karen, and not crypto-werewolf Donna, who identifies Jesus as the Messiah and not a head of slaughtered cattle.

Donna and Karen

Donna (Margie Impert) and Karen (Dee Wallace)

An isolated redneck community might seem an unlikely representation of Jews, if not for their legendary prowess at passing themselves as common whites. “Your classic werewolf can change shape anytime it wants, day or night, whenever it takes a notion to. That’s why they call ‘em shapeshifters,” explains occult bookseller Walter Paisley (Dick Miller). “Silver bullets or fire,” he goes on. “It’s the only way to get rid of the damn things. They’re worse than cockroaches.”

Joe Bob Briggs

“That’s why they call ’em shapeshifters.” An example of the crypto is John Irving Bloom, who made a career as ersatz good ol’ boy Joe Bob Briggs

The strength of the wolf is in the pack. A single Charles Schumer or Dov Zakheim might pose no threat to the United States; but taken together, as an organized infestation, Jewry comprises a nearly unbeatable hydra. “A secret society exists and is living among all of us,” Karen duly warns her viewers when she returns to television. “They are neither people nor animal, but something in between.”

The less-than-sympathetic and decidedly utilitarian view this secret order of carnivorous creatures takes toward the goyim is made explicit during the scene in which they reveal themselves. The script is worth quoting at this pivotal juncture:

     Jerry: It was a mistake to bring her to the Colony.

     Erle: We should have stuck with the old ways. Raising cattle for our feed. Where’s the life in that?

     Charlie: The humans are our cattle.

     Erle: Humans are our prey. We should feed on them, like we’ve always done. Screw all this “channel your energies” crap.

     Dr. Waggner: But the danger of exposure! We need this shelter to plan! To catch up with society! Times have changed and we haven’t! Not enough.

     Marsha: Shut up, Doc! You wouldn’t listen to me! None of you! “We can fit in,” you said. “We can live with them!” You make me sick.

True to the bookseller’s lore, the werewolves prove to be vulnerable to silver bullets and fire – which is, of course, to say Holocaust – when gentile news producer Christopher, presumably following in the imaginary footsteps of Julius Streicher, rides to the rescue and burns the lot of the flesh-devouring good-for-nothings alive in their barn-synagogue of Satan.

Marsha, the Zionist Werewolf Whore of Babylon, is seen to be the only survivor of this horrible Howlocaust, and one can only assume that she will now be more bloodthirsty than ever, an assumption corroborated when she gazes into the camera and orders a hamburger – specifying that it be cooked rare. The Howling’s end credits then roll over a close-up of the sizzling hamburger patty – a macabre reminder of the final significance of what is meant by “goy cattle”.

“Rare.”

Wolfshiem

Jewish werewolf Meyer Wolfsheim (Amitabh Bachchan) in The Great Gatsby (2013)

Paul Wolfowitz

Jewish werewolf, warlord, nose picker, and comb licker Paul Wolfowitz

Wolf Blitzer

Jewish werewolf Wolf Blitzer, fiendish face of Cabal News Network

Odd Thomas

Anton Yelchin stars as Odd Thomas – which, the hero informs the audience, is actually the name on his birth certificate – a pleasant young man with an unfortunately morbid paranormal vocation. An “undercover detective for dead people”, he is able to see and receive communications from the deceased, who look to Odd for otherwise unforthcoming justice. Thus, Odd is able not only to assist Police Chief Porter (Willem Defoe) with the occasional murder investigation, but to attempt to prevent violent crimes from ever occurring. Odd alone is able to perceive the otherdimensional demons, called Bodachs, which congregate like tasteless tourists among the living just prior to a murder or some other evil event or catastrophe.

Odd knows something horrible is about to happen in his town of Pico Mundo, California, when swarms of Bodachs appear in conjunction with the arrival of Robert Robertson (Shuler Hensley), or “Fungus Bob”, or “Fungus Man”, as Odd alternately nicknames him. Odd is certain Robertson is up to no good, but he and Chief Porter are limited in what they can legally accomplish until more of Robertson’s plan materializes.

While the film’s computer-generated visual effects, including a bit of that irksome Blade-style speed-up/slow-down action, only range from good to tolerable, the central mystery confronting Odd is sufficiently interesting to sustain the 100-minute run time. The Bodach concept is exploited to taut effect in more than one suspenseful sequence, and the combination of the protagonist’s wholesomeness with the general unsavoriness of the subject matter makes for a winningly offbeat formula. Yelchin is amiable as Odd, while Addison Timlin, too, adds appeal as his bedroom-eyed companion Stormy.

3.5 stars. Worth a rental.

[WARNING: SPOILERS]

Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Odd Thomas is:

8. Class-conscious. The psychotic Robertson “inherited a shitload” from his mother.

7. Multiculturalist (i.e., pro-yawn).

6. Sexist! “I’m a woman. We all have issues,” Stormy explains. Later, loading a gun, she objects, “I don’t need protecting” – a pretense given the lie when she dies at the end.

5. Christian-ish. Odd believes in “a higher power” and picnics in a church’s bell tower. This church provides only the most tentative sanctuary, however, when someone or something invades its peace with malevolent intentions. Materialism is frowned upon (“It’s too bad a car can’t love you back”), as are the prevailing pop culture vanities of the age (“fame is the altar at which most people worship”).

4. Anti-family. Odd has the typical dysfunctional background, his mother having gone insane. Odd Thomas endorses the single mother in the character of Viola (Gugu Mbatha-Raw).

3. Gun-ambivalent. The Robertson plot keeps the bogeyman of the crazed mass shooter phenomenon alive, but any anti-gun sentiment indicated here is undercut by the fact that Odd defensively takes down one threat with a pistol. The additional development that the police force turns out to have been infiltrated by satanists points to the danger of giving the state a monopoly on firearm ownership.

2. Police-ambivalent and generally state-skeptical. Apart from Odd’s reliable collaborator Chief Porter, police are depicted in a derogatory light. Early in the film an officer slams a culprit’s head into a car door and quips that this is “one of the perks of the job.” By the end of the film, the force has no credibility whatsoever, with false flag theories even receiving a boost. Whether Odd is more properly viewed as a vigilante or as an extra-legal police auxiliary and black-bag man for the state is open to interpretation.

1. Anti-Semitic! Principal villain Robertson, a serial killer aficionado and aspirant, has exotic hair that “looks like a yellow yarmulke”. And could this character’s nickname, “Fungus Man”, be a derogatory comment on the Jewish people’s pattern of parasitic attachment to established cultures of the West? Odd, after discovering Robertson’s corpse in a tub, chooses to hide it in a disused gas chamber. Why? Is this supposed to be funny? Let Odd Thomas author Dean Koontz, writer-director Stephen Sommers, and all other perpetrators of this hateful celluloid libel know that the Holocaust will not be mocked!

24exposures

Prolific director Joe Swanberg, who had a supporting role as the philistine jerk brother in You’re Next, reunites with that film’s writer-director team of Simon Barrett and Adam Wingard in 24 Exposures, a low-budget postmodern murder mystery set in the world of fetish photography. Barrett plays Michael Bamfeaux, a depressed police detective investigating murders of models that mirror the gory photo shoots of artsy smut peddler Billy, effortlessly brought to life by Wingard.

Meanwhile, Billy’s bisexual live-in girlfriend Alex (photographer Caroline White) begins to be jealous of his professional interest in waitress Rebecca (Helen Rogers). Is Billy’s preoccupation with murder more than an aesthetic affinity? And what about Rebecca’s erratic and violently jealous nerd boyfriend? Could he be the fetishistic killer, or is it somebody else altogether?

24 Exposures is sexually explicit, with multiple topless photo shoots and even one girl-girl-guy interlude; but the approach to the exploitative content is so matter-of-fact as to drain most of the erotic potential from the images of degeneracy. Scenes such as Rebecca’s first lesbian experience are extremely easy on the eyes, however. Highlights or lowlights, depending upon the viewer’s taste, are a stylish opening credits series of images paying tribute to vintage pulp artwork; various actresses’ asses and breasts, sometimes pressing against each other; and also some pretty convincing gore makeup for the photo sessions.

Unfortunately, none of the characters are particularly sympathetic, with perhaps the mild exception of unusually uncharismatic cop Bamfeaux, whose appearance onscreen is sometimes accompanied by an inexplicably tough-sounding theme. Swanberg, in a cameo as aspiring memoirist Bamfeaux’s literary agent, gives him a disapproving critique that ironically touches upon some of the reasons why 24 Exposures is ultimately a bit of a disappointment if judged as a murder mystery. The resolution, if it can be called that, simply fails to deliver on the potential promised by such a dramatic and ominous buildup, leaving the viewer unsatisfied as the credits follow an unexpectedly abrupt ending. But, imperfections aside, 24 Exposures is worth seeing if only because it is never boring.

3.5 of 5 possible stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that 24 Exposures is:

5. Pro-drug. Billy and his bevy of bimbos smoke dope.

4. Pro-castration. Small-bearded, bracelet-wearing weenie Billy cooks breakfast for two women after he bangs them.

3. Pro-gay. Callie (Anna Kendrick lookalike Sophia Takal) tells the story of how her first-ever orgasm was with another girl. Alex is bisexual.

2. Pro-police. Bamfeaux, who at one point considers suicide, offers a pathetic example of what serving and protecting the public can do to a man. But he mans up and rises to the occasion when a (more or less) innocent damsel is in distress.

1. Pro-slut. There is something in 24 Exposures, thankfully not emphasized or made overly obnoxious, of the tired shtick about sexually conservative or conventional people being psychologically unhealthy or repressed, while the carefree, sexually adventurous types like Billy are better-adjusted. Fortunately for Detective Bamfeaux, hipster Billy is willing to take him under his wing and initiate him into the simple pleasures of smiling, relaxing once in a while, and bagging trashy, tattooed chicks who take off their clothes for money.

mischief-night-poster

Director Richard Schenkman, whose previous efforts range from Playboy documentaries to the abysmal Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies, delivers a surprising winner with this tense home invasion shocker.

Mischief Night evokes immediate sympathy and concern for protagonist Emily (Noell Coet), a girl psychosomatically blinded after her mother died in a car accident. When Emily’s father (Daniel Hugh Kelly), with her encouragement, leaves her alone in the house on what happens to be her community’s annual Mischief Night – an occasion for spooky pranksterism – she finds herself at the mercy of a mysterious intruder (or is that intruders?) in a raincoat. The resulting film is a genuine tingler that raises the bar for blind girl terror, besting Wait Until Dark and Silent Night, Deadly Night III: Better Watch Out in terms of its sheer contagious fright.

The most frustrating aspect of Mischief Night is the muddiness of its moral universe – and, ultimately, its consequent meaninglessness. A fun but superfluous prologue that punishes two fornicators suggests that the Mischief Night killer or killers are disgruntled moralists or judgmental fire-and-brimstone vigilantes of the type represented in The Collection. Subsequent murders, however, lack this puritanical dimension, with victim selection failing to point to any unifying principle other than maximum terror. For most of the movie, the killers function as personifications or agents of a personal Hell for Emily, taking out of commission one by one the people and things that give her a sense of security – a theme that would have been strengthened if the screenwriters had excluded some of the extraneous deaths.

Flaws aside, Mischief Night is as scary as anything the viewer is likely to find at the Redbox, and is therefore happily recommended.

4.5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Mischief Night is:

[WARNING: POTENTIAL SPOILERS]

7. Class-conscious. Wealth and a comfortable home afford no protection from reality or from the moral ramifications of sin.

6. Pro-castration. Emily’s father, somewhat reminiscent of Henry Winkler in wimpy Waterboy mode, is a model sensitive man.

5. Liberal. An old man (Richard Riehle) listening to a conservative talk radio program is dispatched almost as soon as he appears. This might be interpreted as an indication that the old conservative certainties of traditional values and Constitutional republicanism are dead or no longer a feasible defense of America; but more likely is that this is simply gratuitous spite directed at Limbaugh listeners.

4. Anti-slut. An adulteress (Erica Leerhsen) is terrorized during the opening sequence. Emily’s physical closeness with and trust of her boyfriend (Ian Bamberg) is a source of discomfort for the viewer.

3. Anti-gun. Emily’s father accidentally shoots her boyfriend, believing him to be an intruder.

2. Feminist. Emily’s disability has caused her to become highly self-reliant in ordinary circumstances. She proves more valiant than her father in the defense of their home and even asserts an imaginary phallus in the form of a chainsaw.

1. Pro-family. Emily is close with her father, and her disturbance after her mother’s death, a rupture of the family unit, has left her blind and, if not helpless, then at a significant disadvantage. The father, however, is rather girly and ineffectual, thus mitigating the movie’s pro-family credentials.

the-frozen-ground-poster-artwork-nicolas-cage-john-cusack-vanessa-hudgens-small

The first half of this Nic Cage serial killer thriller is so uninspired that it comes as a bit of a shock to realize an hour or so into its run time that it actually packs some fair suspense. Cage is, as always, easy to watch and perfectly adequate in his role as an Alaskan state trooper investigating a series of gruesome hooker murders, though fans of his more outrageous performances may be disappointed by his relatively sedate turn here. It is Cage’s Con Air castmate John Cusack, however, here cast against type as the seemingly mild-mannered murderer, who constitutes the primary reason to see The Frozen Ground. The initial interrogation and confrontation between Cage and Cusack is especially electric and easily the strongest scene in the film. Also featured prominently is Vanessa Hudgens as a revolting prostitute targeted by Cusack and coddled by paternally protective Cage. Rounding out the cast are Breaking Bad‘s Dean Norris in a frustratingly small supporting role and rapper 50 Cent looking somewhat out of place as a pimp on ice. The Frozen Ground is no Angel or Vice Squad, too serious in its approach to its true crime subject matter to take full advantage of exploitative potential; but, approached with appropriate expectations, it might be worth a Redbox rental one of these chilly nights.

3 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that The Frozen Ground is:

6. Racist! Fiendishly perpetuating the black pimp stereotype. Even if it is based on a true story, truth is no excuse for racism!

5. Anti-gun. Cusack is a hunter and Hudgens relates that, when she saw all the animal heads mounted on his walls, she knew there was no point in begging for mercy.

4. Anti-drug. Recreational pharmaceuticals solve nobody’s problems. Cage’s sister died in an accident caused by a drunken driver.

3. Anti-Christian. The killer, whose middle name is Christian, is, appropriately enough, a Christian, as an FBI psychological profile has predicted. One senses that his family’s emotional life is stultified by the strictures of his faith, which has probably also contributed to his vicious attitude toward fallen women.

2. Anti-family/anti-marriage. Like American Beauty, Breach, and countless other subversive films, The Frozen Ground is eager to reveal the conservative family man to be a closet pervert and a volatile maniac. Cusack’s wife is clearly a silent sufferer in an unhappy marriage. Hudgens, child of a teenage mother, reveals that she was molested by an uncle.

1. Slut-ambivalent. The film can hardly be accused of prettifying the life of a hooker, and it graphically illustrates the danger of hawking sloppy thousandths on the mean, moose-prowled streets of Anchorage, Alaska. The movie stumbles onto thin dramatic ice with its attempt to drum up audience sympathy over the rape of a shameless whore, however, and irritates with its perpetuation of the popular misconception that streetwalkers’ lives have value.

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