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antisocial poster

A future film historian compiling a list of the most representative and sociologically reflective horror films of the present decade could do worse than to include Cody Calahan’s feature debut, Antisocial. Redolent of the contemporary fears of intrusive surveillance, vile conspiratorial plots, drones, martial law, cyber-bullying, terrorism, flash mobs, viral epidemics, internet addiction, and civilizational collapse, Antisocial is more than a mere splatter film.

A gaggle of vapid college coeds gather to throw a New Year’s Eve party, unaware that the sudden outbreak of a 28 Days Later-reminiscent rage plague will soon have them barricading themselves inside and suspecting themselves and each other of infection. And what role does ubiquitous website the Social Redroom play in the chaos? “If you’re not on Facebook,” some have suggested, “you’re probably a sociopath.” Antisocial, thankfully, begs to differ with this assessment.

The story wastes little time in getting to the action and suspense, which is fresh while also respectful of genre conventions and traditions, with the themes, scenario, and spare, electronic moments suggesting influences from George Romero, David Cronenberg, and John Carpenter. A guaranteed good time; recommended to horror fans.

4 out of 5 stars.

[WARNING: POTENTIAL SPOILERS]

Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Antisocial is:

6. Anti-Christian. Some respond to the epidemic by holding exorcisms, but the explanation for the plague turns out to be decidedly more sublunary. A newscaster’s wish of “Happy New Year, and may God be with you,” rings hollow given the situation on the ground.

5. Gun-ambivalent. The partiers are frightened by shots from outside, but it is unclear whether these are from the police or private citizens.

4. Pro-slut, pro-miscegenation, and anti-racist. Heroine Sam (Michelle Mylett) is pregnant with some guy’s bastard. Cheap tramp Kaitlin (Ana Alic) is an item with black dude Steve (Romaine Waite). As the two are making a sex video, one of the afflicted bursts in on their fun through a window. The fact that the attacker appears to have a skinhead haircut may be intended subtextually to suggest lingering racism and resentment among whites toward those who choose to mate outside the species.

3. Feminist. “Final girl” Sam, once forced to fend for herself at the end, has little difficulty adjusting to the role of the badass. A bandage she ties around her head gives her the martial appearance of an Apache warrior.

2. Media-critical and anti-corporate. Social Redroom executives have secretly implemented a subliminal pattern designed to induce addictive behavior in visitors. Characters are unsure whether to trust material coming out of the mainstream media and look, rather, to grassroots sources of information available online.

1. Luddite. The title, Antisocial, serves a dual purpose, referring both to the nasty behavior of the afflicted and to the film’s critical stance toward social media. The script is full of apprehensions about a world in which “private life is public knowledge”, cruelty is as easy as clicking a key, and lovers break up remotely, by way of handheld devices.

Appropriately, social media darling Kaitlin and her boyfriend are among the first to develop symptoms. Sam and Jed (Adam Christie), who have deleted their Social Redroom accounts, retain their sanity longer than others. “How do you keep in touch with people?” Kaitlin asks. “I see them in person,” Sam deadpans. Significantly, Sam later repurposes a laptop as a murder weapon.

The internet itself is not necessarily to blame, and an online video actually provides the means of overcoming the crisis. What worries Antisocial, however, is the addictive potential and hive mind pull of ubiquitous sites like Facebook. Fear of mass loss of privacy also looms large, and in one of Antisocial‘s more outrageous moments, Social Redroom users’ bodies function as organic surveillance devices.

 

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In the not-too-distant future, the world is a winter horrorland after a well-meaning attempt to control global warming has gone tragically awry. Consequently, what remains of humanity after the ecological apocalypse and societal collapse lives scattered in dwindling underground colonies plagued by despair and the common cold. Leading one of these colonies as a sort of benevolent despot is Briggs (Laurence Fishburne), who, when he receives a distress call from another colony in the region, sets out with a small group of men to see what aid they can offer their fellows. Unfortunately, what they find when they get there is a pack of savage, marauding cannibals bent on making Briggs and company’s colony next on the menu.

With high-caliber thrills, a pervading dread, and situations and sinister interiors somewhat reminiscent of Alien, The Colony is a film with a firm grasp of the mechanics of suspense and ends up, alongside The Purge and You’re Next, being one of the scariest, most satisfying offerings of the year. Fishburne, of an age now to convey an easy air of mature experience, is a welcome presence in the lead. Bill Paxton delivers a solid supporting performance as the brutal Mason, Briggs’s principal rival for colonial leadership, while Kevin Zegers is likable enough as Sam, a young man forced to toughen up quick when the yellow snow starts to hit the fan.

5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that The Colony is:

3. Pro-castration. Haunting the icy landscape are immense weather control towers, ruins of modern man’s arrogant and paternalistic presumption.

2. Black supremacist. Briggs, a wise and noble black man, has naturally fallen into the leadership position after Caucasians’ botched schemes have practically destroyed the planet. Reminding viewers of what happens to unsupervised and unprogressive white men who have no black savior to guide and protect them from their own primitive follies are the cannibals, whose leader sports the obligatory skinhead look. The Colony‘s black supremacist street credibility is undermined, unfortunately, by its unoriginal (albeit thrilling) concession to the sacrificial Negro convention – unless, of course, the character’s sacrifice points to his role as the Messiah.

1. Green. Because the world dragged its feet in addressing the challenge presented by global warming, its efforts, when these finally came, were too late and too desperate, resulting in an ecological cataclysm worse than the one mankind had sought to avoid. Rather than pointing to the vain futility of humans’ attempts at controlling atmospheric conditions, however, the moral of the story would seem to be that, in order to avert such a future catastrophe, global warming research needs more funding now – or that, in other words, a well-placed stitch in time saves nine.

Better than might be expected for a low-budget science fiction adventure out of cut-rate genre studio The Asylum, director Thunder Levin’s AE: Apocalypse Earth is an entertaining and tolerably paced concoction that might best be described as Predator meets The Mysterious Island, with a dash of Star Trek added for flavor.  Adrian Paul, looking every bit as handsome and virile as when he starred in the Highlander television series, stars as the unfortunately named Frank Baum, a military man who leads a group of refugees from an outer space “ark” after Earth is overrun by alien “chameleons”. Also in the group is spaceship pilot Captain Crowe (Richard Grieco), camo-skinned jungle woman Lea (Bali Rodriguez), and a gaggle of nondescript space-fillers who tag along.

AE unsuccessfully attempts to conceal that the planet on which they have landed is Earth hundreds of years after invasion and climate change have caused its lifeforms to evolve in striking ways, so that the Planet of the Apes style revelation of the ending has been obvious all along, arguably given away even by the film’s title, and carries none of the intended impact.  Despite this shortcoming, AE succeeds as a decent afternoon’s home entertainment matinee if viewers are willing to be lenient with the abundantly unconvincing CGI creatures and spacecraft. The picturesque Costa Rica locations lend a great deal of production value, and the costume design, particularly for the sexy Lea and the albino cave-dwellers, enhances the look of the film as well.

3 out of 5 stars.  Ideological Content Analysis indicates that AE: Apocalypse Earth is:

7. Anti-drone.  Aliens use the things like hunting dogs.

6. Feminist.  Lea lives and hunts alone and is capable of taking care of herself.

5. Pro-military.  Soldiers are depicted as noble and selfless servants of humanity.

4. Pro-NWO.  In the future, America is protected by the “North American Joint Military.”

3. Anti-racist/anti-white/anti-Christian.  Representing WASPs are a tribe of bald (i.e., skinhead), bigoted, and generally unprogressive albino cave-dwellers who have cast out Lea because she was born different. Having reverted to primitive superstition in their isolation, they believe those unlike themselves to be demons.

2. Multiculturalist/pro-miscegenation.  Baum gets the hots for humanoid Lea, the most beautiful woman he has ever seen.  A multi-ethnic band of survivors works together against the invaders – but the old sacrificial Negro convention lives!

1. Green.  “Most of the water on Earth is polluted.”  A “runaway greenhouse effect” has covered the planet with jungle and mutated the flora and fauna.  And Lea, the next step in human evolution, has literally turned green!

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.

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

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

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

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

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

A star and a half.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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