Archives for posts with tag: supernatural

Prodigy

The popular creepy kid genre can be traced all the way back to The Bad Seed (1956), but really took off in the years that witnessed the introduction of the birth control pill and the legalization of abortion in conjunction with overpopulation propaganda, with Rosemary’s Baby (1968), The Exorcist (1973), It’s Alive (1974), The Stranger Within (1974), Devil Times Five (1974), I Don’t Want to Be Born (1975), The Omen (1976), and The Brood (1979) being notable examples. The purpose of such movies, when it is not simply to make a quick, exploitative buck, has frequently been to instill in deracinated women associations of anxiety and disgust with their own biological imperative, and The Prodigy (2019) is an especially noteworthy development of this tradition. I found it to be genuinely scary – even as I smirked inwardly at its gross subtextual purpose.

[WARNING: SPOILERS]

4.5 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that The Prodigy is:

3./4. Anti-gun and pro-choice in one fell swoop. You have to watch out for those meddlesome old white men with their guns trying to save children from being murdered by their mothers. BELIEVE WOMEN when they determine that their sons deserve to die.

2. Antinatalist. The Prodigy might as well have been titled Abort the Alt-Right: The Movie.

1.Anti-white. New parents John (Peter Mooney) and Sarah (Taylor Schilling) – who have the surname Blume but do not appear to be Jewish – seem to have the perfect suburban life until their unhealthily pale son Miles (Jackson Robert Scott) starts to manifest precocious intelligence while lagging behind in emotional development and social skills. He also has different-colored eyes like Nazi LARPer David Bowie, who is name-dropped in the screenplay. These are the film’s first clues that what devil-child Miles really represents are Jewish and globalist anxieties about the remaining potential for a resurgence of nationalism and fascism among peskily still-reproducing white people. One of the semi-autistic child’s first demonstrations of intolerance is when as a schoolboy he becomes jealous at the sight of a Mexican-looking boy working on a project with a white girl. Miles wants to be paired with the girl instead and attacks the other boy in deplorably savage fashion with a wrench. A not-so-insignificant establishing shot shows him attending Buchanan Elementary School – because everybody knows the antisocial influence that Patrick J.’s tutelage exercises over the kids these days.

A Jewish parapsychologist, Dr. Arthur Jacobson (Colm Feore), finally determines that Miles, who speaks in Hungarian while he sleeps, is the reincarnation of a misogynistic serial killer, Edward Scarka (Paul Fauteux), whose family had relocated from Orban Land to Ohio. Scarka, as seen in The Prodigy’s prologue, disrespectfully chopped off womyn’s hands and murdered them in his supervillainous hillbilly house of horrors. He was probably a Republican, too – the viewer just senses it. Hungary, in Jewish consciousness, is inseparable from its twentieth-century history of anti-Semitism and the “Holocaust”, and Scarka personifies the threat of retro central-European bad-optics nationalism’s reincarnation in Rust Belt populism and toxic masculinity. After Dr. Jacobson tries hypnotizing Miles in order to learn more about the malevolent Hungarian soul occupying his body, Miles threatens to accuse him of sexually molesting him – because, of course, that is what incorrigible young white men are doing these days – falsely accusing Jewish men of being pedophiles. Who needs the bother, amirite, sisters? Just #RESIST pregnancy and have an abortion.

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

Rainer is the author of the books Drugs, Jungles, and Jingoism and Protocols of the Elders of Zanuck: Psychological Warfare and Filth at the Movies.

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Nomads

John McTiernan, director of Hollywood blockbusters Predator (1987), Die Hard (1988), and The Hunt for Red October (1990), began his movie career rather more humbly with the flawed and eccentric but nonetheless entertaining debut Nomads (1986). Notable as McTiernan’s only credit as a screenwriter, Nomads was eviscerated by the critics when first released, and still has only a 13% green splat at Rotten Tomatoes. “Was there any sense in it?” asks leading lady Lesley-Anne Down in an interview included on the Nomads Blu-ray. “I don’t think there was very much sense in it at all for anybody.” Is Down correct in dismissing the film as a shallowly offbeat curio – and were the critics who panned the movie motivated only by an objective assessment of its merits?

Nomads stars Pierce Brosnan as a French anthropologist, Jean Charles Pommier, who in the opening sequence dies in the care of Down’s character, Dr. Eileen Flax, in a Los

Down

Lesley-Anne Down freaks out in John McTiernan’s Nomads.

Angeles hospital. He appears in a beaten, bloodied, and seemingly insane state, and his enigmatic last words initiate what will be a strange paranormal ordeal for Flax, who over the course of the film will both investigate and experience what befell Pommier, with most of the story told in flashback. The anthropologist and his wife (Anna Maria Monticelli) had only recently moved to the U.S. and purchased a house that, as it turns out, has a horrible history attached to it. Soon after moving in, the Pommiers discover Mansonesque graffiti on the garage door and more graffiti inside: “Gutman’s a Hero”. The home, they learn, was the site of a horrific child murder, and a band of elusive antisocial misfits who live out of a van have adopted the house as a holy site.

Pommier, being an anthropologist, follows the titular “nomads” around Los Angeles with the intention of documenting and studying them in order to gain a better idea of the threat he faces and to understand “what kind of people could think of a murder as some sort of shrine.” He determines that none of them have employment and watches them from a distance as they laze at the beach, party, and generally terrorize people. The nomads become aware of Pommier’s surveillance after he witnesses them murder a man and put the body in a dumpster. After first being pursued by them and escaping, Pommier again works his way into proximity with the group – at which point they seem to accept his presence and stage an impromptu photo shoot, with one of them, Mary, played by Mary Woronov, doing an exotic dance. When Pommier develops the film, however, he finds that none of the nomads appear in the exposures, which invites a comparison with vampires – although the nomads, who have no problem frolicking in the daylight, are clearly not vampires at least as conventionally depicted.

These quasi-vampires – vampire lore comprising a traditional understanding of the eternal Jew – are nomads, or what Pommier, drawing on Eskimo legends, describes as an urban variety of Innuat. As related in the film, “It has to do with wandering the desert. […] It’s all the same. Nomads live in deserts, whether it’s a desert of ice or sand or whatever doesn’t make a difference. […] They were supposedly hostile spirits. According to the myth, they were capable of assuming a human form” and traveled from place to place, bringing ruin and madness with them wherever they went. As Pommier tells his wife:

None of this may mean anything. None of it at all. […] But I may have found people who are living outside – outside any structure. They do not participate. No exchange, no constraints. They resort to violence with no provocation and then get away with it. It is as if to the official world they did not exist.

All of this rootlessness, in combination with the confluence of ritual, child murder, the reverence for a killer with the Jewish name Gutman, as well as the general depravity and destructiveness, contributes to an accumulation of clues that the nomads may be the Jews. Curiously, composer Bill Conti mentions during his Blu-ray interview that the soundtrack includes what he describes as a “Middle Eastern sound” – though to this reviewer’s untrained ear such a flavoring is difficult to detect in the synth-and-guitars music cues.

Adam Ant Nomads

Adam Ant portrays the leader of the titular band of roving marauders.

“You must not try to fight them,” a sinister nun (Blue Velvet’s Frances Bay) tells Pommier. This encounter takes place in a dilapidated cathedral where, in a sequence of nightmarish phantasmagoria, a flock of satanic women in habits is seen running through the halls in masks, one of them flashing her bare breasts at Pommier – all of which points to a faith corrupted. Dancing Mary, the nomad portrayed by Mary Woronov, wears a cross that glints in the sun, and later, when she is seen at night, she wears an even larger crucifix so that the viewer can hardly help but notice it as she cavorts like a stripper. Are these Christian elements ironic and indicative of cultural subversion, or have these been added as fig leaves to hide the almost naked Jewishness of the menace? Woronov’s features, it must be noted, are rather evil and arguably Semitic-looking.

In a key moment toward the end of the film, Pommier says to his wife with an air of wistfulness as they survey the Los Angeles skyline from a rooftop, “We are so very far from home, you know. All of us.” He laments his “bourgeois” life in a “civilized” world – in short, bemoans his condition of rootless cosmopolitanism. Both he and his kindred spirit the doctor, another childless middle-aged professional in the process of moving into a new and foreign home, have agricultural surnames, Pommier (“apple tree”) and Flax, that betray their simple origins and relatedness to the earth – Flax also connoting blonde and distinctively northern European looks – that set them apart from the dark, mysterious wanderers who move in their midst. Pommier’s polyglot cosmopolitanism, peripatetic ways, and sophistication nevertheless present a thematic parallel with the lifestyle of the nomads, so that it comes as no surprise when Pommier finally succumbs to them. The horror of Nomads is loss of a sense of belonging to a place and one’s own native culture – the horror of an alienated world in which, for instance, Dr. Flax’s colleague Cassie Miller (Jeannie Elias) complains about the “meshuggenah lunatics” who people the city. Whatever the meaning of the film, it may be worth observing that it is set in the entertainment capital of the world and that the final nomad antagonist Dr. Flax encounters is unable to pursue her beyond the California state line.

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

doctor-strange

Benedict Cumberbatch (BBC’s Sherlock) stars as Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme in this decent supernatural action-adventure adaptation. A brilliant but arrogant surgeon whose hands are ruined after a car accident, Strange treks to Nepal in the hope of finding a means of recovering his manual dexterity, only to find instead that a world of occult knowledge and power awaits him. Tilda Swinton appears as “The Ancient One” who mentors him. She, along with Strange’s big brother adept Chiwetel Ejiofor and antagonist Mads Mikkelson, does a good job of keeping a straight face while delivering gobs of earnest mystical gobbledygook; but the team of screenwriters has also wisely peppered the script with irreverent observations from Doctor Strange, who, like the viewer, experiences the occult side of reality as a newcomer and serves as his own comic relief. With action choreography and a concept similar to The Matrix, fans of CGI-heavy special effects extravaganzas ought to be satisfied. One does, however, wish that sexy Rachel McAdams (True Detective season 2) had received more screen time as Strange’s love interest.

3.5 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Doctor Strange is:

4. Anti-gun, with a physician mentioning “a drunk idiot with a gun” as a recipe for bodily injury.

3. Pro-drug. Stan Lee, in a cameo, is seen reading Aldous Huxley’s Doors of Perception and exclaiming, “That is hilarious!” There is, too, a psychedelic sensibility to Doctor Strange’s visuals – Strange, on first experiencing the otherworldly, even wonders aloud if he has been dosed with psilocybin – and sitar flavors the music that plays during the end credits.

2. Multiculturalist. Only after sitting at the feet of black masters and enlightened bald women are white men permitted to save the universe.

1. New Age. As in The Matrix and any number of other martial arts movies, eastern wisdom is sold to impressionable western youths as a means of attaining preternatural fighting prowess and impressive occult powers. Strange is instructed that he must forget everything he thinks he knows – abandon the European achievements of reason and scientific knowledge, in other words – in order to find that which he seeks.

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

As Above So Below

Perdita Weeks appears as a female Indiana Jones, an obsessive scholar and archaeologist of the history of alchemy in As Above, So Below. Convinced she has learned the whereabouts of the legendary Philosopher’s Stone, she convinces academic colleague Ben Feldman to accompany her into the labyrinth of catacombs beneath Paris. Unfortunately, as they descend, they find that the tunnels they take are mysteriously closing behind them, compelling the expedition into ever deeper recesses of this subterranean world. Even worse, they are not alone. Directed by John Erick Dowdle, who co-scripted with brother Drew Dowdle, As Above, So Below is a first-person footage film in the long line of Blair Witch imitators and is fine by the standards of that genre; but the tale tends to lose its mystique to the degree that the Dowdles insist on depicting their rather mundane vision of Hell onscreen.

4 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that As Above, So Below is:

Pro-miscegenation. Weeks and Feldman, the film suggests, are perfect for each other.

Relativist. “As I believe the world to be, so it is.”

Feminist. Weeks is intrepid and unafraid to the point obsessive insanity. Hinting at the Jewishness of the feminist plague, her character is revealed to be an expert in the Israeli “self-defense” techniques of Krav Maga.

Pro-immigration. Non-white Parisians are depicted as fully assimilated citizens. If anything, it is Africans who are at risk of attack from strange Frenchwomen.

Neoconservative. As Above, So Below is full of Judaic resonances that are never articulated. The film reinforces the engineered impression that Jews and Middle Eastern mythology hold mysterious keys to understanding the universe. Weeks ostensibly makes the decision to bring Feldman along because he knows the ancient Jewish language Aramaic. The remains of six million corpses, the viewer learns, reside in the catacombs, with the number six million triggering audiences’ associations with the “Holocaust” and the history of alleged Christian persecution of Jews. The characters’ subsequent descent into Hell, then, may be understood in this context. The film’s title finds a visual expression in a variation on the Magen David that appears on a wall next to a door on the path to the underworld. The underground realm in which the characters move is revealed to be physically inverted, so that those determined to attach an allegorical meaning to the journey might consider the possibility that, in order to atone and to come to grips with their criminal history of “anti-Semitism”, the goyim must endure the ordeal of having their world turned upside down. Gratuitously endorsing the neocons’ Jewish foreign policy, Feldman berates Weeks as “a crazy lunatic” for traveling to Iran.

As Above So Below Star of David

“As I believe the world to be, so it is.”

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

The Ideological Content Analysis 30 Days Putsch:

30 Reviews in 30 Days

DAY SEVENTEEN

Maleficent

After decades of speculation about her actual physical form, Angelina Jolie appears without makeup or airbrushing software in Oy Gevalt Disney’s Maleficent. For years her horns and razor-sharp cheekbones have remained hidden, digitally erased through the wonders of CGI; but now the moviegoing public can finally see for themselves what a witch Brad Pitt pledged to fuck on a regular basis in exchange for worldly celebrity in a Luciferian pact with the Globalist Nazi Illuminati Council on Foreign Relations.

[WARNING: SPOILERS]

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

5. Globalist. Rival realms are united after the death of a king (Sharlto Copley). War will be obviated by the erasure of national borders.

4. Multiculturalist. Disney managed to dig up a few medieval European blacks for extras.

3. Pro-gay. Only “true love’s kiss” can awaken Aurora (Elle Fanning) from her slumber. Of course, Maleficent’s creepy lip-squish does the trick. “I’m going to live here in the moors with you,” Aurora has said earlier. “Then we can look after each other.” Maleficent teaches little girls that men, and especially white men, are not to be trusted unless weak and dim-witted. “Fairies” are the good characters, whereas men are evil.

2. Misandrist. The only positively depicted males are an apparently lobotomized prince (Brenton Thwaites) and a shapeshifting furry omega (Sam Riley). In a kid-safe evocation of “rape culture”, Maleficent is drugged on a date of sorts and has her wings clipped while she sleeps. Armies of senselessly violent (and mostly white) males rampage over the countryside, hell-bent on oppressing women and diverse magical creature populations.

1. Cultural-Marxist. Up is down and down is up. A hideous monster in the fantasy world of this movie is “classically handsome”. Maleficent, described as “both hero and villain”, purports to be “strongest of the fairies”, but anybody with a preschool education knows a being with horns growing out of its head is called a devil. This is one of myriad movies in which the traditional symbols of evil, as in Little Nicky and Dracula Untold, have been transformed into sympathetic characters – a process discussed at greater length here.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

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The Ideological Content Analysis 30 Days Putsch:

30 Reviews in 30 Days

DAY TWELVE

Ouija

Kevin Tenney’s Witchboard (1986) remains for this reviewer the definitive horror treatment of the Ouija board phenomenon; but those wanting more in the same vein could do worse than last year’s Ouija, especially considering that Ouija board movies have never constituted a particularly robust or prolific genre. There is nothing very original in Ouija, but that is not necessarily bad. The first elegant hour or so of this spooker conforms to teen horror expectations well enough and is comfortably suspenseful in its attention to the conventions, with star Olivia Cooke and her friends finding themselves visited by an unknown force after attempting to contact recently deceased pal Shelley Hennig through the titular spirit-conjuring game.

The last half hour suffers from too much onscreen revelation, with CGI frights taking the place of the great unseen – the bane of far too many Hollywood horrors in this age of digital effects – but the relative strength of the first portion still makes Ouija marginally recommendable for less-than-demanding admirers of the genre. Cooke looks good and is tolerable in the lead, but cute and creepy character actress Lin Shaye, who also energized a memorable scene in the same year’s The Signal, is more worthy of mention for a puny but pivotal role as an insane asylum patient with some inside information.

[WARNING: SPOILERS]

3.5 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Ouija is:

3. Insensitive! The idea that evil can and ought to be destroyed in a furnace may offend Chosen viewers of delicate sensibilities.

2. Multiculturalist. Bianca Santos plays the token Latina friend. Black mourners at blonde bimbo Hennig’s wake demonstrate that she was a decent person. Nona (Vivis Colombetti), meanwhile, puts in a good word for supernatural Mexican folk wisdom.

1. Ambiguously anti-family. Hennig’s house is haunted by the spirits of a little girl (Sierra Heuermann) and the spiritualist mother (Claudia Katz) who tortured her by stitching her mouth shut. It turns out the little girl was even more monstrous than her mother, who apparently was justified in performing this highly irregular surgery, while the mother’s other daughter, played by Shaye, is also a devilish lunatic. The biggest mystery about this family, which lived in the house in the forties and fifties, is why there was no father in the home. Was he a casualty of the war or did he abandon his wife and children? Is the mother’s frightful grotesquerie a commentary on the plague of single motherhood, or on the uncaring men who abuse them? The meaning of Ouija’s portrayal of the family hinges to a large extent on these unanswered questions; but Ouija with no uncertainty seeks to cast doubt on the idea of the perfect atomic age family as glimpsed in the vision of Norman Rockwell and various television sitcoms. This is a pathological past, in comparison with which the multicultural and erotically permissive present is normal and salutary.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

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Ghost Tour

Ghost Tour (2015) ***

Writer-director Erik Bloomquist, whose two-reeler The Cobblestone Corridor icareviews covered earlier this year, returns with the eight-minute short Ghost Tour. Set in 1973, the story concerns milquetoast tour guide Richard Sawyer (William Bloomfield) and his final night of duties at the reputedly haunted and soon-to-be-closed museum at the Clemens School for Boys, where decades ago thirty students and teachers mysteriously perished. Sawyer, who only believes himself to be “haunted by memories, not by ghosts”, encounters evidence to the contrary on this particular evening, when three of his guests refuse to leave the premises after the tour. Tied into this event and the subsequent revelation is Richard’s brother William (William Youmans), the curator of the museum.

At only eight minutes, Ghost Tour is in a hurry to get through a lot of exposition, which rather cramps the viewing experience, forcing the audience to try to establish sympathy and interest in a character with whom next to no time has been spent, so that Ghost Tour would benefit from feature-expansion to allow for the deliberateness of pace becoming such material. This viewer was also left desiring something more in the way of a motivation for the heinous crime the docent discovers. With some elaboration, perhaps double the length, one might imagine this yarn serving as one of the segments in an old Amicus portmanteau film. Ghost Tour‘s look is nice and stately, Bloomquist having found an ideal location in the Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford, Connecticut. More an indication of potentials than a finished whole, the short is nonetheless a lesson in editorial concision. Three stars.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

The Ideological Content Analysis 30 Days Putsch:

30 Reviews in 30 Days

DAY ONE

I Frankenstein

Never mind the quaintly underachieving likes of Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster (1965) or Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter (1966). These movies are masterpieces compared to I, Frankenstein, positively the worst appropriation of Mary Shelley’s story this writer has ever seen. It wants desperately to be The Matrix, but this humorless CGI phantasmagoria bears more resemblance to the hallucinations of a subnormal and unimaginative ten-year-old boy given a tab of LSD. The comic book plot has Frankenstein’s monster (dubbed “Adam” here, because calling anybody a “monster” in this day and age would be insensitively judgmental), played by Aaron Eckhart, teaming up with an army of gargoyles committed to protecting humanity from “dark prince” Naberius (Bill Nighy).

In terms of screen presence, the question of the relative power of demons, corpses, and gargoyles to inspire audience sympathy would seem to be academic, so that I, Frankenstein’s tableaux of legions of devils being blasted into fiery smithereens carries no more human interest than a war of several strains of bacteria viewed through a microscope. Beyond “look at all the surging colors”, there is really very little to say. Unless the reader finds himself enthralled at the prospect of ninety minutes of actors saying things like, “The gargoyle order must survive, and mankind with it”, or has always dreamed of seeing Aaron Eckhart writhing and screaming to sell the effect of computer-generated flame-tentacles burrowing into his eye sockets, there is nothing to recommend this film, which is possibly even more appalling than Dracula Untold.

A star and a half. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that I, Frankenstein is:

4. Pro-torture. “Descend in pain, demon,” Adam tells an enemy after shoving his face in holy water for enhanced interrogation.

3. Ostensibly Christian, but misleadingly so. “Any objects can be made sacramental by marking them with the blessed symbol of the gargoyle order,” the viewer learns.

2. Anti-capitalistic. Naberius takes the earthly form of a corporate executive, with his demon minions all wearing suits and ties like the agents from the Matrix franchise.

1. Multiculturalist, anti-white, and pro-miscegenation. An army of multicultural gargoyles battles white guy demons in suits (plus one token Uncle Tom demon). A white warrior woman prefers to join her brown boyfriend in death rather than live without him. One might pity an actor as classy as Bill Nighy for being criminally miscast in such a retarded dud if not for the certainty that he was paid handsomely for his part in representing refined European man as demonic and therefore disposable.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

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Magic in the Moonlight

With Magic in the Moonlight, degenerate Jewry’s auteur laureate Allan Konigsberg (alias Woody Allen) returns to his beloved Jazz Age and to the theme of the enchantment in life and love that began to preoccupy him sometime around A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy (1982) – as well as to the contested existence of God, a subject that has obsessed him throughout his career. Colin Firth plays a celebrity illusionist invited to debunk spiritualist Emma Stone. The results, pleasantly enough, are quintessential Woody – witty, romantic, and generally wonderful. Blu-ray was invented to showcase Emma Stone’s immaculate, strange, and exquisite face. Highly recommended.

[WARNING: POTENTIAL SPOILERS]

5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Magic in the Moonlight is:

6. Anti-family. Stone’s father abandoned her.

5. Class-conscious. “Unlike you, we’re members of the working class.” Emma Stone’s character comes from a much humbler background than those who patronize her services as a spiritualist.

4. Racist! Firth refers to Stone’s “confused black little criminal’s heart”. Konigsberg is hereby sentenced to make amends by appearing in Tyler Perry’s next Madea vehicle.

3. Anti-Semitic! “Hoodwinking is what we do,” confesses the hero’s trusted Jewish magician colleague Burkan (Simon McBurney), who presents himself as an exposer of hoaxes but turns out to have been a conman himself and a traitor to his friend. He is motivated, he concedes, by “envy and resentment”.

2. Redpilled. Stone rejects fawning, ukulele-strumming beta male suitor Hamish Linklater in favor of masculine, dignified Colin Firth.

1. Agnostic. “I think Mr. Nietzsche has disposed of the God matter rather convincingly.” Or has he? Maintained throughout is a tension between protagonist Firth’s rational understanding that spirituality is a fraud “from the séance table to the Vatican and beyond” and his simultaneous longing for some transcendence. Is it true that “happiness is not the natural human condition”? Is willful ignorance really bliss? “You were much happier when you let some lies into your life, Stanley,” Konigsberg seems to want to suggest with Magic in the Moonlight.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

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COBB_OneSheet_FM1.indd

Adam Sandler turns in a pleasantly understated performance as Max Simkin, a Lower East Side shoe repairman who discovers that an heirloom stitching machine has magical properties in Tom McCarthy’s film The Cobbler. Put on any customer’s two shoes and Max takes on that person’s appearance, allowing him to indulge such entertaining caprices as sneaking into a black thug’s gun-and-bling-filled apartment or walking into a beautiful stranger’s bathroom. Max eventually takes his place as a “guardian of souls” in addition to his work as a mender of soles.

While funny, The Cobbler is a film which, like Punch Drunk Love (2002), allows Sandler to show off his non-idiot side and is welcome as a change of pace. Steve Buscemi and Dustin Hoffman appear in supporting roles as, respectively, Max’s barber neighbor and mysteriously absent father. Viewers may see the surprise ending coming, but so much of The Cobbler is entertainingly unexpected that any conformity to audience expectations is handily offset.

4 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that The Cobbler is:

6. Obesity-tolerant. “I’m not fat. I’m big-boned.”

5. Pro-gay and pro-miscegenation. Simkin’s eventual love interest is peppery Carmen (Melonie Diaz). An Asian woman (Greta Lee) flirts with Simkin in a bar after he has unwittingly taken on the form of a bisexual man (Dan Stevens). “I think it’s hot,” she reassures him. Sandler also dons high heels to occasionally assume the appearance of a gauche Latin transvestite (Yul Vazquez).

4. Family-ambivalent. Simkin is deeply devoted to his mother (Lynn Cohen), who was abandoned by his father (Dustin Hoffman). The latter turns out to have responded to a higher calling. Asked if she ever wanted to be somebody else, Mrs. Simkin replies, “I’m your mother. That’s all I ever wanted to be.” Carmen seemingly discounts the necessity of fathers, however, when she says, “My dad split when I was 12. Life goes on.”

3. Localist and populist. Carmen works for the Lower East Side Action Committee, committed to halting the area’s gentrification, and attempts to get Simkin to support the cause. “I’m glad that you’re supporting a local business,” she tells him when she sees him with a box of pickles.

2. Racist! The Cobbler’s only important black character is a career criminal, a murderer and abuser of women, played by rapper Cliff “Method Man” Smith. “You Jewish?” this black bigot interrogates Simkin. “Lucky you.” He then insensitively asks if his recently deceased mother left him any money. In another scene, the fiend creates a Michael Brown-style ruckus in a convenience store.

1. Borderline anti-Semitic. Surprisingly, The Cobbler offers an unsavory portrait of a Hebraic slumlord and gangster in tough-as-nails “Jew from Queens” Elaine Greenawalt (Ellen Barkin). The film compensates for this cinematic blood libel by providing typical wailing violin movie portrayals of weak, long-suffering Jews like Simkin, who gives submissive shoeshines to arrogant blacks. Ratcheting up The Cobbler’s Jewish victimhood factor is Fritz Weaver from the 1978 Holocaust miniseries, who appears as Mr. Solomon, the helpless old man Greenawalt hopes to evict by any dastardly means necessary.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

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