Fifty Shades Freed (2018) review (April drunken Fools edition)

Rated: Take a fucking guess.

Been a while since I’ve done this, but it’s been a regular thing with each Fifty Shades of Butt-Fucking film that’s come out over the past couple years, so I mine as well as finish it all the way to the climax.  Climax, something none of these films have ever gotten me to do.  Because not only are the sex scenes sissy shit, they have been getting less and less enticing with each passing film.  Hopefully this one will be better, but if not, I fucking swear I’m putting up porn gifs/pics on this blog entry.  One way or another, I’m getting a fucking climax (hey, maybe you will too).  You’ve been warned.

Rat Pack Week a Lynch1979 event | ALCOHOL MAY BE MAN'S WORST ENEMY, BUT THE BIBLE SAYS LOVE YOUR ENEMY. | image tagged in rat pack week,lynch1979,memes | made w/ Imgflip meme maker

Oh, and there better be ass-slapping in this like there was in the last 2 films.  And there better be some unintentional hilarity (which the first film provided, the second film far less so).  If not, I’m going to throw a bitch-fit.  Oh, who am I kidding, it’s a drunk review; bitch-fits are inevitable.

What this review is rated, though I can’t swear to the film containing incest and rape.  But who knows, I might just improvise on that.
Just in cases you needed 1 more warning in case it wasn’t clear.

Review

That’s right.  Like Twilight, these dipshits gotta get married.  Now consummate the fucking thing!

Continue reading

Death Wish (2018) review

Rated: 3.5 / 5

“So you’re going to save the animal that shot him!?”
“If I can.”

Rant

So I was interested in seeing this film in November of last year when it was set to release, but then it got pushed back to May 2, 2018, due to concerns of it being released after the events of a mass shooting.  Guess that turned out well.

While I was eager to see this flick after watching the trailer last year (and becoming dismayed when I found it its release would be delayed until, well, today), I had my reservations.  First, with Bruce Willis.  The last film I saw him in where he looked like he gave a damn about the role and attempted to put some effort into it was Looper (a film I found to be mediocre, mainly due to some holes in the time travel logic, and the altered pace of the second half).  Outside of that, most of the stuff he’s in he’s just sleepwalking through.  Not putting hardly any effort into his role.  Unfortunately, that’s still the case with this film, but he does become more alive during the action scenes.  On the other hand, despite people stating how awesome Charles Bronson is, he pretty much did the exact same thing in the original 1974 Death Wish film.

The second reservation is with Eli Roth.  Now, this director, he couldn’t make a great film to save his life.  The best anyone could ever hope for from him is a B+ movie, and that’s it.  Most of the time he releases C-grade material that can be entertaining, but not good enough to be entirely memorable.  He loves putting gore into his films, can keep a film interesting enough to sit through all the way to the end, and usually injects enough thought-provoking material to consider when the film is over; but let’s be fair here, it’s stuff you would only think about for a couple moments and then move on, it’s never heavy.  That being said, for a film like this, a competent B+ actioner was all that I really needed.  Plus, unlike just about every other film he’s done, this one doesn’t star annoying youngsters.  He finally directs something with a middle-aged (or older-aged; sorry Bruce) protagonist having the lead role.

When the original Death Wish film was released in 1974, it was released to much controversy.  Critics decried its support of vigilantism, repulsed by the violence and the rape scene, and proclaimed the film as immoral to society.  Yet it was a hit with audiences, and it sparked discussion on the concept of vigilantism, especially with the rising crime rates.  Cut to today, and it doesn’t seem like much has changed on the controversy aspect, except that now “racism” is thrown into the mix, and choosing to attack groups of people with certain political views in addition to the concepts brought up in the film, as opposed to just exclusively attacking the ideas in the film itself.

One could say it’s definitely not a good time in America to release a movie which embraces gun-toting vigilantism with a complete disregard for any repercussions, one that offers a well-to-do white man as the answer to crime, but it’s never really a good time to release such an insensitive, tone-deaf movie. The crucial arc of pacifist-to-maniac is missing here, leaving the feature pointless, merely staging a “protect your family” parade. The only challenging thing about this movie is watching it.

David J. Fowlie of Keeping it Reel

Alan Zilberman @alanzilberman

Eli Roth’s Death Wish remake is so nakedly fascist that alt-righters will have an erection before the trailer ends http://bit.ly/2hr1mpC

Donna Dickens@MildlyAmused

Maybe isn’t a good idea in a post-Trayvon Martin world. White dudes on vigilante rampages for their fridged wife is very 1980…

Replying to @adamcbest

Moving it to Chicago is basically code for “let’s shoot black people”

In moving the setting to Chicago, a city where gun violence is both well-documented and highly politicized, and setting the trailer to “Back in Black”, the remake tips its hand: 2017’s Death Wish comes off as a work of cowardice and opportunism, piggybacking off hard-right fear-mongering and a government that’s completely and utterly disingenuous in its rhetoric about violent crime when nationwide, crime rates—despite rises in cities thanks to mass shootings like the Pulse massacre in Orlando—remain historically low. This stands in stark contrast to the state of violent crime in the U.S. during the ’70s, a decade that did see rising crime as well as some of the most notorious killers in the nation’s history.

The new Death Wish has an entirely different context, one where guns are routinely turned on black citizens by white supremacists and white cops, where mass shootings regularly occur and lawmakers refuse to do anything about it, where guns in the hands of the populace is not a rarity but arguably an epidemic. It takes a profound level of either ignorance or craven, willful opportunism to think that this is a moment to make a film about a white man’s rage channeled through the barrel of a gun.

Joshua Rivera of GQ

Although, even trying to have fun with the gritty revenge flick can prove troublesome; for some indefensible reason 95% of the criminals are minorities. The self-aware jabs at how easy it is to acquire a gun in America (Bruce Willis takes a few comedic trips to a satirical weapons store similar to Ammunation the Grand Theft Auto games) feel halfhearted and edited in after recent tragedies to throw criticism in both directions of the political spectrum. And let’s face it, watching a teenage girl fear for her life during a shootout right now is probably the last thing people will want to see, regardless of how the scare turns out. Honestly, an enlightened remake of Death Wish would not place Jordan in a coma, instead, it would give her a real character alongside PTSD in the aftermath of such events. The limited amount of perspective we do get from her is better than anything else in the movie from a narrative standpoint,

Robert Kojder of Flickering Myth

It’s the absolute wrong movie at the absolute wrong time. With our country currently reeling from the latest in what seems like an endless cycle of sickening school shootings, there couldn’t be a worse moment for a film that not only fetishizes gun violence, but also seems to get off on it. I’m sure there must have been long hand-wringing debates about whether to shelve the film for a couple of months and let the still-fresh wounds heal. At least I hope so. But whatever the case, the louder and more irresponsible voices in the room seem to have won out.

[…]

The audience I saw it with (in a Blue State, no less) cheered like crazy during the moments that might have otherwise given them pause. […] But the marketing of the film is another matter entirely. It has an unmistakable stink of rah-rah Make America Great Again-ness to it. It’s patriotic red meat thrown to the NRA crowd.

Chris Nashawaty of Entertainment Weekly

A time of Trumpist racism, incoherent gun policy, fear of police, etc., would be fertile subjects for mainstream films that use genre metaphors to address real national debates. That’s something this Death Wish doesn’t even try to be. Something has gone very wrong in Hollywood when one longs for the moral nuance of a Charles Bronson exploitation flick.

John Defore of Hollywood Reporter

The NRA would have you believe that the answer to a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. But what about a bad movie with a gun? There will surely be those who approach Eli Roth’s updated “Death Wish” — with Bruce Willis taking over outlaw-justice duties for Charles Bronson — as the fantasy balm of righteous violence they need after the headline horrors of so many mass killings.

But is an upstanding man turned instant vengeance machine, who slays only the right criminals, who never hits a bystander, really the message our roiling gun-debate conversation needs right now?

[…]

Never addressed, though, is the racial truism that if an anonymous, hoodie-shrouded person of color from a poor neighborhood were dispensing street justice, he’d hardly be labeled a “guardian angel” or people’s hero. He might not even be covered by the media. But that kind of truth-telling would just harsh this movie’s NRA-friendly buzz.

[…]

It’s anyone’s guess if the nation’s newly politicized, gun-control-hungry teenagers will be a decisive demographic in this movie’s box office fate. But as I left the screening for “Death Wish,” one middle-aged white guy barked out over the credits, “God bless the NRA! Arm the teachers!” Trigger warning, indeed.

Robert Abele of The Wrap

It’s difficult to think of a film more out of step with the current culture than Eli Roth’s remake of Michael Winner’s 1974 action thriller Death Wish. At a time when Americans are constantly bombarded with reports of unpunished police brutality, the film suggests that the true problem with justice in our country is that law enforcement isn’t violent enough.

Jake Cole of Slant

Watch it now, and you laugh at the campier aspects, cringe at the outright racism and sit slack-jawed as a Southern yokel/NRA avatar circa ’74 talks about how the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

[…]

But it helps to remember that this Nixon-era law-and-order wet dream also became a huge blockbuster hit, sparked a lot of point/counterpoint conversation about vigilantism, gave Charles Bronson’s career a shot in the arm and kicked off a revenge-fantasy franchise that went well into the Nineties.  […] And given how Trump resurrected that same “law and order” rhetoric to scare voters and play to his base’s baser instincts, you can see why an opportunist might want to remake it now, right?

David Fear of Rolling Stone

2018 is turning out to be a truly inclusive year for on-screen representation. “Black Panther” invited African-American audiences to see themselves in a massive superhero movie that wasn’t about their own oppression, “A Fantastic Woman” gave transgender women the chance to see themselves in an acclaimed film that wasn’t terribly retrograde, and now Eli Roth’s dangerously enjoyable “Death Wish” gives right-wing lunatics the opportunity to see themselves in a fascist fairy tale that wasn’t directed by Dinesh D’Souza. To each their own cinema.

[…]

The grossest part of the entire movie are the milliseconds between when you smile at what you’re seeing and when you recoil at what it means. Roth implicates us in the violence to an extent that the original never did, or never could.

David Ehrlich of IndieWire

Irresponsibly tone deaf, maverick in its thematic ignorance and pornographic in its fetishistic gun obsession. There’s never a point where vi-o-lent vigilante justice might *not* be the answer, always gruesomely inflicted with Rothian levels of fatal body trauma. For a movie that opens with media chatter about how Chicago’s criminal epidemic has reached near-dystopian levels, there’s a shocking lack of responsible messaging under peeled layers of flesh. No matter how much you might want to separate your politics from movies, Death Wish refuses to let you. It’s a dumbfounding example of the exact kind of weapons normalization we *do-f#&king-not* need in mainstream pop culture right now.

Matt Donato of We Got This Covered

The scene, by all rights, ought to be a nasty bit of business: a middle-aged white avenger in a hoodie, popping out of nowhere to blow a black drug dealer away. But that “last customer” line plays like an old Schwarzenegger kiss-off, and the lawless killing is followed by equal-time commentary from black and white talk-radio hosts — the film’s explicit attempt to defuse any racist overtones.

More than that, the reality of a glib execution like this one is that audiences have been consuming overripe revenge thrillers for 45 years now, and they no longer take them all that seriously. Blowing someone away with unsmiling moral cool is now an act of violent comedy. (That’s certainly how the multi-racial audience reacted at the preview showing of “Death Wish” I attended; they hooted and hollered with glee.)

“Death Wish,” make no mistake, is a movie that has its heart in the wrong place. It’s an advertisement for gun fetishism, for taking the law into your own hands, for homicide as justice, for thinking of assault weapons as the world’s coolest toys. Given that the eternal debate about gun control has now been heightened, post-Parkland massacre, to a new state of urgency, the film, depending on your point of view, is either horribly timed or spectacularly well-timed. An N.R.A. cultist might see the new “Death Wish” and think, “Hollywood finally made one for our side.”

Owen Gleiberman of Variety

There is no clear explanation as to why Roth decided today’s world needed to revisit the franchise’s ultra-right-wing dog whistling. Perhaps a George Zimmerman biopic fell apart due to rights issues, and this was the closest producers could get. Or maybe the cinema needs just that much more sickeningly sincere gun fetishization – they’ve certainly got an audience in Senator Marco Rubio, so that’s one ticket sold.

Takashi Seida of The Globe and Mail

Death Wish is the last movie we need right now. Eli Roth‘s remake of the 1974 original is just as tasteless and tone-deaf as its exploitative trailer promised, with Bruce Willis‘ doctor-turned-vigilante Paul Kersey doling out gunpowdered justice against the milieu of Chicago’s real-life gun violence epidemic after his wife is killed during a home invasion.

Randall Colburn of Consequences of Sound

Actually: No. There’s no better time to sit with director Eli Roth’s version of “Death Wish.” Sixteen days after Parkland; 17 days after the murder of Chicago police Cmdr. Paul Bauer; the same week as our president’s assertion that he would’ve run into that Florida high school and taken care of business, gun or no. Yes, it feels like the week for this movie.

Funny thing: Initially, MGM had this Bruce Willis “Death Wish” reboot scheduled for a Nov. 22, 2017, launch. But a week after last fall’s gun massacre in Las Vegas, the studio thought, well, maybe this isn’t the moment to get audiences jazzed about an NRA wet dream. So MGM waited, forgetting that America never goes too long between massacres.

Michael Phillips of Chicago Tribune

28701240_2003616402999170_5095705636543554078_o

So that’s the general atmosphere of mainstream film critics, and I’m sure mainstream news sites and talk shows, most of which are liberal and pro-gun-control.  Unlike the 70s where they just called the film repulsive, today they not only call it repulsive, but call anyone who enjoys it repulsive, and call anyone related to being pro-Trump or pro-NRA repulsive (and racist, and alt-right, and pro-fascist).

Ok, first of all, can’t we just agree that there are people out there who don’t give a fuck about politics and just want to see a revenge-thriller?  Not everyone who would find enjoyment in this move fits those “negative” traits, and even if they did those trait definitions have been stretched so broadly just about anyone could fit into their definition.

Second, just because someone is pro-NRA, pro-Trump, anti-gun-control, doesn’t mean they’re an asshole who promotes violence and wants to kill everyone.  I’m tired of seeing people like that, including me, being labeled as such.

28958452_10155300788151770_6047636922427307361_n

Third, and this is the big one, I think they fear that films like this, about vigilantes and how their way can work because police aren’t a guaranteed source of protection (as many recent shootings have demonstrated; if these cocksuckers are going to exploit shooting massacres to justify not seeing a film, then I’m going to be one of those cocksuckers who will exploit the shootings and justification for seeing the film).  Because this film, and the original Death Wish (among other films between 1974 and 2008, nevermind the 1973 Walking Tall film), provide reasons as to why and how having guns (good guy with a gun) can eliminate criminals early on who wish to cause violence among innocent civilians (ie the bad guy with a gun).  They wanna label anti-gun-control individuals as people who want violence to happen and as deplorables who will make things worse, that can go both ways.  Why not label the pro-gun-control individuals as those who also want violence to happen.  See how things work out if you ask that some guy with a gun follows the law and not shoot anyone when he’s about to start shooting people.  See how that worked out for many examples in the past where a good guy with a gun stopped such incidents before they got exponentially worse.  Forget about seeing so judgemental and open-minded and letting people make up their own decisions.

“Everyone is very sensitive, everyone is ready to take a stance against something, but c’mon guys.

“You have to be aware of your audience, if you want to handle that subject matter, you have to be smart about it. And we do.

“When you see the film, you’ll see exactly how we handle the killing, how it’s not about race. It’s about good, it’s about bad. He’s going after bad guys, he’s going after the guys that did this to him. But you know what, everybody gets a taste of justice in this movie.”

Eli Roth

Some are actually calling for the movie to be plugged from theaters or questioning the decision of the studio to make the film at all ( just by the critic’s interpretations of the film’s politics) and that’s why I say that a lot of these guys are definitely no different nor any better than those “1950s book-burners right-wing assholes” they claim to hate so much.

But thank God we still got some freedoms left and the movie was released and viewed by yours truly.

Mucho Macho on Manly Movie

And some people going, “A white guy in a hoodie killing a black gangster (nevermind about the white guys he offs, that’s mandatory to avoid being labeled UBER-RACIST!).  That’s racist!”  Fuck you!  You wouldn’t be bitching about that if it was a black guy killing off a bunch of white people, like Denzel Washington did in The Equalizer.  Hell, you wouldn’t bitch about it if it was about a black guy going all vigilante on a bunch of white guys who killed his family.  Stop trying to make this a racist black vs. white issue!  Everyone from all sides has a thing for revenge films!

“This film is the last thing we need released right now because it’s a sensitive subject!”  Fuck off!  Having a movie about a sensitive subject allows for more potentially constructive conversations to happen.  Besides, every movie contains material that some may find offensive and triggering.

“My best friend was killed by a thug with a gun!”  Mine wasn’t, so I don’t give a shit.

“My family died in a car crash!”  Well, guess we better ban all racing films from theaters.

“My family died in a plane crash!”  Doesn’t mean everyone else still can’t watch Fearless or Airplane! or Con Air.

“My dog died!”  Fuck you, I’m still going to watch and enjoy Old Yeller!

“Me and my wife got gang-raped!”  Guess we can’t have films with rape as a plot device anymore, not even if it tackles the subject with how to recover/recoup from it, nevermind other revenge flicks that can come from that such as I Spit on Your Grave or Elle.

“My girlfriend broke up with me!”  Then avoid all the straight and lesbian romance flicks and go watch Brokeback Mountain or some movie where homosexual men or transgenders or futas fuck each other up the ass!

“My waiter was mean to me!”  Cry me a river and starve to death while I watch Waiting.

Virtually anything can set someone off.  Some have their personal traumas that they are unable to get over (or that some don’t want them to get over, at least not too quickly, because we can’t encourage people to get over traumatic experiences on their own and be tough and independent now can me?) which prevents them from watching and enjoying a film containing that particular subject matter.  But just because that’s the case for them doesn’t mean they should bring the experience down for everyone (including those tough enough to get over the traumatic experience) else who is interested in seeing the fucking film, whether it’s a stupid fucking film, a smart fucking film, a poorly made film, a richly made film, etc.  Let individuals decide for themselves if they want to see it or not, and whether they’ll enjoy it or not.  And if they want your input, they’ll fucking ask for it (or visit a website and read about it, hello readers).  The only reason this is controversial is because of the social/political/cultural climate that the mainstream has been stirring up ever since 2014, and doubling down on it, and doing their damnedest to make us hate ourselves and each other, and I’m fucking sick of it, and hope they burn in hell for dividing us like this.  A part of me hopes this film stays at the top of the box office for 3 weeks straight just to spite these assholes, and especially if it beats out Black Panther so that Disney and Marvel lose their shit.

*sigh*

 

 

Actual Film Review

Alright, enough with the ranting, which will probably take up more space than the actual review.  So how was the film?  I enjoyed it.  It’s roughly what I was hoping it would be.  Didn’t exceed expectations (that would’ve been a miracle), but it didn’t fall below them either.  Bruce Willis is typical, nothing to special about his acting talents; just sleepwalking until the action scenes (so basically like Bronson, except he also sleepwalks through the actions scenes too).  Eli Roth kept things interesting with the pacing and the action for the most part (though the first 30 minutes is a bit slow, because they needed a better dialogue writer and better actors and actresses to deliver them, and it’s all by-the-numbers).  And the violence is much appreciated, not shying away from any of it.

Now I wouldn’t say it’s quite as gritty as the original film.  Roth may like to think he’s making gritty material, but just because it’s violent doesn’t mean it’s gritty.  He’s not skilled enough for that, and he’s too clean with his directing, despite what the gore may make you think.  That being said, I prefer this remake to the original simply because it’s more fun and energetic.  The 1974 film is rather boring by my standards, and monotonous.  The only reason it’s hailed as a classic is because it was released in a “timely” matter (even if critics back then claimed otherwise) when it was relevant (like this film today), and because it was the first true vigilante film.  Many were fed up with the high crime rates and the lack of police successfully protecting citizens, so the idea of taking the law into their own hands appealed to many.  And crime isn’t much better today in some areas of the country (Detroit, Chicago, the latter of which is where the film takes place, and I firmly believe this was intentional on the screenwriter’s part).  Because crime rates and violence is still a problem today, this theme is still relevant, especially when we’re in a day and age where we’re encouraged to be less independent than ever.  Doesn’t usually work out that well.

Death Sentence

The other element this brings is how social media and radio hosts and podcasters react to vigilante Bruce Willis.  You know, like what Boondock Saints did (one of the most overrated movies ever, even for something that only has a cult status).  Or what The Brave One did, something I reviewed alongside another film called Miss Sloane, the latter of which was a very pro-gun-control film which bombed in theaters (hah!).  The Brave One had a female being in the role of the vigilante, a good girl with a gun.  And it’s a film I consider to be superior to Death Wish (both versions) and Boondock Saints in terms of dealing with the pros and cons of being a vigilante.  The other good film on vigilantism (that focuses primarily on what the consequences are) that I’ve seen is the under-rated Death Sentence starring Kevin Bacon.  This new Death Wish film attempts to show the grey area of vigilantes, by having podcasters ask if he’s right or wrong (it came off as very shallow and tacked on), by having another vigilante wanna-be get killed off (that addition worked better), and showing how Willis’ character becomes more closed off from others, and how his den becomes more and more littered and trashed as he continues on this lifestyle.  It doesn’t go far enough to point out how unhealthy the lifestyle is, in my opinion, but it’s there.  But regardless, the film clearly sides with vigilantism, and one could argue without much outcry from me that vigilantism is glorified.  But at least it’s nice enough to show that Willis doesn’t start out as a pro.  He almost gets killed from a bullet ricochet when he fires for the first time (pretty sure it was played more for laughs then as a warning; entertaining regardless), gets his hand messed up from the slider, and the gun gets jammed on one occasion.  Plus he lucks out of getting killed in one instance.  So I wouldn’t say it entirely glorifies vigilantism to the point where it encourages anyone to be a vigilante.  But I would say, like the original film did, that society could use vigilantes to make society better, because law enforcement isn’t always enough.  In any case, Eli Roth is like Scott Snyder when it comes to themes; neither director is capable of going far enough with them to be considered satisfactory.

And the violence does get quite brutal at times, especially when he visits the auto-shop (that’s all I’ll say about it).  And I always appreciate a film bringing some hard R violence into the cinemas to remind me that not everything is bland and holding back (just most mainstream movies).  It worked far better in this film than it did in Eli Roth’s previous film The Green Inferno.

From the films I’ve seen in the director’s repertoire, this is probably his best-made film to date, better than Hostel (that’s probably not saying much for some readers out there, but there it is).  Roth does miss far more than he hits, and in my opinion this film is only his second hit (next to Hostel, all other films of his I either don’t care to see, or I have seen and think they’re shitty).

Good fun shoot-em-up entertainment with a dose of torture in the middle, and we have a protagonist who doesn’t come off as invincible (he gets some scars and hits off and on).  Recommended.

PS: For those who bitch about Willis’ character not puking out of sickness and disgust from his first kill like Bronson did in the original adaptation, I chalk it up to Willis being used to being around dead people; you know, being a hospital surgeon and all.

PPS: Doesn’t the daughter in this film look like Anne Hathaway?

Annihilation (2018) review

Rated: 5 / 5

 

 

Wait, no, that’s not right.  Time must be messing with my head.

Though you should fear what’s inside the previous poster.

Rated: 3 / 5

There, that’s better.

So I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from this movie.  Ok, that’s a lie, I knew exactly what to expect in terms of plot.  This is another one of those cases where the trailer spoiled enough to where I could deduce how this movie would go and how it would end, with the film left to fill in some gaps in the middle.  That being said, figuring out where a film is going to go shouldn’t be enough to ruin the whole experience.  Otherwise we wouldn’t be rewatching old favorites.

Like this one.

The one thing I will say is that this film looks great.  A good amount of practical effects and non-CG stuff was put into it to where it looked fantastic, and made things blend in well enough with the CG that was used.  Showing animals and plants and dead things becoming mutated in some strange way, and the world that is made/altered as a result.  It’s great stuff in the looks department.

But anyway, so the film is about an asteroid (or is it a meteor?) that smashes into Earth, into a lighthouse (I’d imagine there’s some symbolism there, a lighthouse guiding a vessel safely to shore, in this case guiding an uninvited vessel).  This asteroid then proceeds to emit purple shit, which expands slowly, threatening to consume the world.  So we send in some military who don’t come back, and then a team of female scientists who have a small amount of combat training (save for Natalie Portman, who has a good amount), to do what men before them could not do.  Women power!  Well I will say this, in terms of assembling a team of female scientists to kick ass and eliminate the (semi) supernatural threat, this film is certainly better than Ghostbusters: Answer the (Cocksucking) Call (and yes, that was the actual title of that movie, you’re just not remembering it right).

Let’s do/study/shoot this shit!

From there they go to learn more than they initially did about this colorful yet dangerous area, because they didn’t receive any information about it previously.  It’s at this point that I realized the film isn’t as intelligent as it thinks it is, 20-30 minutes in.  I mean, for fuck’s sake, you’re telling me no one sent in a team to simply act as a scouting party, not meant to go to the source of the problem, but simply to recon the area close to the (ever-expanding) border before heading back to tell about what they learned?  After attempting to do this for 3 fucking years?  That’s bullshit, especially with all the weird shit that goes on down there.  You would think there would be at least one team that would go, “You know what?  This shit is to freaky for my ass.  We’re outta here.”

That kind of stupidity belongs in low-budget shit like this, not in a theatrical film!

But anyway, so they learn that this asteroid and its aura are causing everything organic to mutate or change in some way.  Plants, animals, organs, cells, etc.  There’s even a pretty damn great and terrifying moment that demonstrates this when they stumble upon some “found footage,” which is a great enough scene to watch the entire movie just for that moment (why can’t we get a found footage film that’s that good?  Hell, why couldn’t we get the found footage version of this movie?  That would’ve been awesome!).  So this first causes them to run into a crocodile that has had minor mutations involving increased size, a weird throat and noise, and shark teeth.

So, a mutated alligator.  What does that remind me of from 1980 and 1991?

While the first film was good, trust me, the 2nd one is not as good as this poster would lead you to believe.

But anyway, aside from the mutated alligator, they also come across a mutated bear.  Alright, come the fuck on!  Surely you can be more original than this!  Haven’t you ever heard of Prophecy, which is pretty much the exact same thing as this movie except with mercury causing all this instead of an asteroid!?  You could’ve given us a giant killer tick or mosquito or bunny, or hell, even a killer plant (even if movies about all of those have already been made; ah fuck it, originality is dead)!  Hell, why not try killing it the way they did in that Prophecy movie?  With a bow and arrow!  You should get one of those bows and arrows Rambo had and blow the shit out of that thing, like what Lara Croft is probably going to do in that upcoming live-action Tomb Raider movie (which looks like ass, and not the good kind).

 

But I digress, they did some cool things with those animals, which leads to some interesting discussions.  Which brings me to the theme of the film, or at least what I gathered from the meaning.  They ask “why?”  Why is this asteroid thing here?  Why is it doing this?  Why is it causing these changes?  What does it want?  What is it’s purpose?  The answer the film seems to give is that it has no purpose, it wants nothing.  It just came here, and is just doing this just because.  It has no meaning, because life has no meaning.

This theme seems exemplified with the cast members, who each attach their own meaning to the series of events, to the why/how of it all (except for Portman’s character, who goes along with the more nihilistic message of the film).  How one should approach death, how one should approach annihilation.  How one should approach the afterlife, should it exist (in my personal opinion, unrelated to the film’s say on this, there is an afterlife; I may make a post on that sometime in the future).  We, as humans (unless you’re a nihilist) attach meaning to things.  Life, death, events.  There’s a purpose to it all, one way or another.  But is there?  What if we are just a series of responses to responses to responses to chemical interactions that are only natural?  What if there is no meaning to all that happens?  What if change is neither good or bad, it’s just simply change, no better or worse than something that doesn’t change?  Thus I believe the film pushes forth a message that because our attachment of meaning to anything/everything is pointless, change is nothing to be feared.  It just is.

In terms of the acting department, everyone seemed solid, save for Jennifer Jason Leigh, which puzzles me because she’s usually a solid actress.  She doesn’t show any emotion at any point in the film, which I guess is the point, since she plays a character near the end of her life who has seen so many people die that she no longer cares.  But even so, you would think that some of the weird shit that goes on in this movie would get some sort of emotion out of her.  The only conclusion I could come to is that she’s a psychopath, which is something that could’ve been pointed out, adding a dimension to the film as to how a person with no emotion views life.  All that’s really hinted at in that department is a line stated about all the women on the team, “We’re all damaged goods.”

Anyway, while this film isn’t as smart and deep/complex as it thinks it is, it’s still solid enough to be worth at least one watch.  One of the better sci-fi-horror films to come out in a long time (I say this not having seen 2017’s Life, which I heard was just mediocre and not all that special).  Here’s hoping the upcoming remake of The Blob (which is supposed to come out this year) is just as good (I don’t have my hopes up; maybe because this film almost tempts me into becoming a nihilist).

Thor: Ragnarok (2017) review

Rated: 2.5 / 5

I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t looking forward to seeing this.

“What’s that?  What the hell is wrong with you!?  Do you not know how to be entertained!?” you may ask/shout.  To which I would reply, “You sir/madam are too easily entertained.”  All the positive reviews this film has been getting, like just about every Marvel film released since, well, The Avengers, has been getting.  At this point I’m convinced the critics have been paid off (something I will dig into in much more depth, with proof, in a later review when that topic becomes more relevant for that specific film, never mind for Black Panther, which, for the record, I haven’t seen).

I’ve been worn out of Marvel superhero films ever since Captain America: Civil War.  I’m sick and tired of all these goddamn superhero films having the same goddamn stories, the same goddamn arcs, the same goddamn finales, the same goddamn CG overload, the same goddamn feel of coming off an assembly line that likes to play it safe and PC, with some subliminal advertising for either feminism or immigration tossed in for good measure.  This film, despite all the praise, is no different from all those other fucking Marvel films that have been coming out for the last decade, despite how it tries to have this 80s retro thing at times which just doesn’t mesh at all with what is going on.  Though I do appreciate the effort despite its failure, at least some today admit that the 80s were awesome and had awesome style and attitude, and wasn’t full of bland bullshit like much of the stuff today.

It’s all about the 80s, dude.

Guess I’m rambling too much.  Well, guess I mine as well as get on with this review.

I got a bigger laugh out of this gif than I did the entire movie.

So the first problem I noticed with this film, the humor.  A lot of people are saying this movie is funny, and it’s the funniest Marvel film to date, beating out Ant-Man in that category (which I also thought was a mediocre film, though I will admit the final fight was genius and far funnier than any of the shit in this movie).  Well, guess I don’t really share their sense of humor.  I mean sure, there were a couple moments that made me chuckle, but only a couple.  The humor in this film is forced to the extreme.  It’s ridiculous.  This film would’ve been far better if it played at least half the scenes straight, but you’d be lucky to get through a third of a scene without some half-assed joke being forcefully thrown in there.  From the opening fucking moment, with Thor in chains, dangling above the ground, turning slowly in mid-air while in a conversation with a CG version of Tim Curry from Legend except blown up to bigger proportions, and on fire.  “Up, wait a second, wait until I turn back towards you, hang on…  Ok, there we are.  You were saying?”  Shit like that happens throughout the entire film, even at the expense of moments which should’ve been dramatic and somewhat heartbreaking, like when ragnarok finally happens (oh yeah, spoilers by the way, not that I really give a shit because these films have gotten quite predictable, even without watching trailers that tend to give it all away anyway).  They just couldn’t let that moment go without inserting a joke into it, ruining what could’ve been a nice emotional moment where the protagonist looks on with sadness, and possibly regret over something he wished he didn’t have to do.  The jokes suck the life out of this movie.

As awesome as this image looks, it’s too brief and, believe it or not, played for laughs.

What else?  Oh right, the CG.  Yes, the CG is done well, it’s fine.  They even use it when Cate Blanchett is fighting off an army of people, because let’s face it, this woman in real life isn’t capable of pulling off this sort of stuntwork.  Kinda wish they would do what they used to do back in the day and have a stunt-double wear that ridiculous outfit and do all the kung-fu acrobats with it (I’m pretty sure the Chinese could pull that off, and it would be another excuse to get some Chinese people inserted into the movie so it could make a profit in China, though that didn’t work out so well for The Last Jedi).  So while the CG is fine and all, again, overload, making me not care all that much for what’s going on on the screen.  If a film is going to use so much of it, why not just make the thing animated?  I mean, for Christ’s sakes, they already have animated superhero films out there, they just need to make them more mainstream.  Considering that Disney owns both Pixar and Lucasarts and Marvel, you’d think that would be a cinch for them to pull off in terms of getting it into theaters.

To the film’s credit, there was one sequence that actually drew me in and got my investment.  When Thor fights the Hulk.  That entire sequence is the best part of the film.  Why is it good?  Why did that action scene get me invested when just about all the others didn’t catch my interest?  Because more than just fighting was going on during the fight.  Callbacks to the first Avengers film, Thor trying to get a friend to snap back into reality, Thor discovering his true powers (though I am getting a little sick of the trend, “You don’t need the weapon, the power is within you!”; a trend that was used as a parody in fucking Spaceballs, nevermind used too seriously in Wonder Woman).  There was actual development happening during the fight, and the action choreography was shot pretty well too.  Sure it had a good dose of CG, but let’s face it, there’s no way practical effects would make that fight work.  At least not in the way it was handled in this film.

You see, CG has made things too easy nowadays.  I know, you’ve heard this all before, but it fucking matters damnit!  And as long as I keep seeing movies that keep making my point, I’m going to keep bitching about it!  Back in the 80s (and earlier), because they didn’t have CG to utilize effectively and didn’t always have the best budget, they got creative with when and how to use practical effects, and how to shoot it.  Sometimes that creativity was a hit, sometimes it was a miss, but at least there was passion put into it that you could feel through the screen.  Hell, it’s even possible to pull off such restraint today.  Look at Gareth Edward’s adaptation of Godzilla.  He never overplayed his hand when it came to putting CG on the screen.  He showed just enough of the monsters and their fighting to keep you eager to see them trade blows, and showed enough of a payoff during the finale to make one satisfied.  Because he showed restraint.  And that’s an element that these fucking superhero movies are missing (and discouraged for utilizing) nowadays, restraint.  They have too much big explosive action too often and too early, without much if any buildup.  And even if it does have decent buildup, it lasts too long for what it is.  It’s like having foreplay before rough sex.  Foreplay is appreciated and nice, and the sex can be good while it lasts, whether it’s 10 seconds or an hour.  But just rushing into the rough stuff without the foreplay usually lessens the passion, and having too much sex can wear one out and make one exhausted.  All I’m saying is that there can be too much of a good thing to the point where you forget that it even was a good thing.

Fuck with me, and this is what will happen to your dick!

Well anyway, one last talking point, then I’m done with this.  This film has a pro-refugee theme to it, obviously made intentionally in this day and age for the purpose of encouraging viewers to believe that taking in refugees is a good thing.  Because of course the only optimal place to take them would be Earth, of course that’s where Loki would send Odin for some fucking reason (come on, how many other worlds are out there that he’s familiar with?  Earth can’t possibly be the best possible world Loki knows of.  You’re holding out on us screenwriters!).  Their world/country is fucked, so bring them on over to this world/country, we’ll take care of them, they’re all good people like in reality!  Ah, but whatever.  Despite that bit of subliminal messaging, it had a decent them to it about how it’s the people that are the world, that they matter more than the place, which shouldn’t be a permanent anchor for them.  And that bit of subliminal messaging is the least of the film’s problems (at least it’s not the worst of the film’s problems), and just more of a nitpick than anything else.

So, overall, this film turned out exactly as I was expecting.  Wouldn’t have watched it if not for a co-worker begging me to see it.  Well, considering I got the fellow co-worker introduced to the original Star Wars trilogy in exchange for this, I’d say it was worth bearing through this dull monotonous Marvel world again.

 

PS: And no, I’m not interested in Black Panther either.  I’m over Marvel films.  I’m willing to give Infinity War a shot (and even then my interest isn’t all that great), but that’s about it.

Mystery Review for Black History Month and Valentine’s Day

So, what to review for this time of the year; this time of the month?  I’ve been pondering a few films to review for black history month; which, to be honest, I think is kind of a stupid thing, because if there’s going to be a black history month, then there should be a white history month, or a red history month, or a pink history month, etc.  Kinda racist to leave all the other races out, don’t you think?  Just have a plain old-fashioned history month!

But I digress.  I could review 12 Years a Slave (2013), directed by Steve McQueen, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor (and no, I couldn’t type that name correctly without copy-pasting it, and I refuse to believe that guy could either until he was in middle school), who was awesome in that one judo movie Redbelt.  But despite the great directing and cinematography (especially that) and acting, it’s just a basic run-of-the-mill slave film that just looks real nice.  It may be basic, but it’s still pretty damn great, but also depressing, so not exactly the most entertaining popcorn flick I’d rewatch often.  But then again, neither is Requiem for a Dream, and that film is pretty damn good too.

I could review Django Unchained (2012), but that film is overrated.  Seriously, it ran out of steam after the first big gun battle.  Even during that sequence, the realism walked out the building.  Now I know what you’re thinking, it’s a Tarantino film that is only similar in name only to the Italian film it ripped off (which I recommend over this), and it’s supposed to be all about the homages, the callbacks, the retro vibes.  Because Tarantino can’t really do anything all that original, though he is capable of writing some absolutely fantastic dialogue.  But that’s the thing.  The whole, “But it’s retro!  It’s supposed to be over-the-top and a bit cheesy and exploitative!” is something I just see as a lame excuse to disguise the flaws inherent in some of his films, mainly with this and Death Proof (despite the incredible stuntwork that film pulled off) and Kill Bill (though I find it impossible to hate those movies despite my gripes).  The difference between his films and those he pays tribute to is that the latter took itself dead-seriously, thinking without any doubt it was the most bitchin’ thing in the world, when it is really cheesy as hell and all the more entertaining because of it.  Tarantino’s films, with the exception of Reservoir Dogs and Jackie Brown, are intentionally designed to give that feel, are very self-aware, which makes it all the more easy to critique and give them hell for it.  It’s a bad excuse to let realism get thrown to the wind during Django Unchained’s last 20-30 minutes, especially when Tarantino’s films (at least prior to Kill Bill) were firmly grounded in realism.  Plus I have reason to believe this is one of the films, if not the film, that started the whole white-guilt/black-power element that’s been plaguing films in a negative way since then, though not all are bad.  But I’ve rambled enough about that with this paragraph, so I’ll just end it by saying this movie was meh.

I could review Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, except that I already did that.

I could review Super Fly (1972), which is a fun movie, but not THAT fun.  Sure it has a hilarious chase scene where you can see the camera cord bounce in and out of frame off and on (stuff like that brings a smile to my face, at the very least, when watching these old 70s blacksploitation films), some somewhat amusing fight scenes (especially the hilarious finale fight), and a smoking hot bathtub sex scene.  But all in all, it’s just a slightly above-average flick with a lot of big lull points with some sparse entertaining bits here and there.

I could review Shaft (1971), arguably the most famous blacksploitation (the spell-check wants me to auto-correct that word to “transplantation”) film of all time, especially with that kick-ass theme music, plus those pen metaphors for colors; but that would be too easy.

I could review Black Dynamite (2009), but that would also be too easy, even if it is one of the only films I’ve seen next to Bruce Lee’s Game of Death that has a nun-chuck vs. nun-chuck fight against Michael Jai White and Richard Nixon, but I think that reason is enough to convince you of how fucking epic that movie is, and is mandatory viewing.

I could review Black Panther (2018), but fuck that.

Nope, not going to review any of those.  I’ve got something else in mind.

From 1992,

the one,

the only,

the legendary…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I could’ve saved this for April Fools, but then you would think this is a joke.

Rated: 3 / 5

“Wherever there is a male race, or lifeform in the universe, that is oppressed by females, we’ll come and free them, for a gay universe!”

“Oh it’s real!  It’s damn real!”

Yes, this movie exists.  Yes, it was made to troll the shit out of people.  And yes, I’m trolling the shit out of you too with this review.

So the film begins where Star Wars and Star Trek began, in space, in the universe.  A calm peaceful universe where men are free to live and express themselves freely, and watched over and cared for (in more ways than one).  The gayniggers (the film title indicates that is one word, the narrator speaks as if it’s two separate words, but I’m just going to go with the one-word format for this review) come from the planet Anus, a “male only” world.  They pilot a ship, with crew members named ArmInAss, Captain B. Dick, Sgt. Shaved Balls, Mr. Schwall, and D. Dildo.  They come across Earth, and are ready to not pay it much mind until they find out there are “female creatures” on the planet, which makes one of them ask, “What in the phallus is going on down there!?”

So they go down to Earth determined to save men from the oppressive females (probably because the #metoo movement caused them to take over the world, and eliminated honey badgers in the process), and start by killing hookers in some city.  Then they start killing females in Russia, a country who’s language is incomprehensible, and is untrustworthy.  Then they go to Asia, where the women, and I quote, “eat with branches, have yellow skin, and are very unfriendly.”  Then they go to Germany to eliminate females, who are all blonde and hate dark skin.  Then they go to America and kill Mr. T’s girlfriend, then ArmInAss tries to fist Mr. T, who then gets angry and squeezes his tight muscular buttcheeks together and rips his arm off, which causes him to get welcomed onto the ship as a replacement crew member, with the new name M.B. Cheeks.  And after all this, one stays behind to lead the Earth into a peaceful gay future.

Oh yeah, and speaking of arms in asses, did I mention there’s a “Holy Asshole” that they stick their arms into?  And that one of the gayniggers transforms into a white European?

It’s worth mentioning that this film is intentionally badly dubbed, in that the voices don’t always sync with the lip movement (to say the least).  The music can be decent (and funky) at times (even if it steals the theme from S.W.A.T.), and the narrator has a nice ASMR voice (pray he never uses it on you, or else you’ll get to relaxed and then Surprise!  Butt-sex!).

goodbye white pride

So I guess the theme to take away from this movie is that it’s ok to be gay, learn to live without women, and should women start oppressing men, pray to the stars and then gayniggers from outer space will show up and blast women into oblivion and make men not be such pussies anymore (the world belongs to the dicks and assholes).  Happy black history month, and happy valentine’s day.

The Voices (2015) review

Rated: 3 / 5

“Being alone in the world is the root of all suffering.”

Warning, this is one of those movies you should see before reading this spoiler-filled review.  So if you haven’t seen it yet, I would strongly advise watching it before reading this review.

I watched this film 3 times.  The first time I was a bit out of it due to being high, the second time I was still high but starting to come out of it.  The third time I rewatched it was because I wanted to make sure I caught as much as I could.  Because this is one of those films that is deceptive in what it shows.  One of those films where the point of view is from the perspective of the protagonist, who is a bit crazy, and doesn’t always see things as they are in reality, thus what we see from his view isn’t necessarily how things actually are.  Basically like David Cronenberg’s Spider, except, well, more deceptively cheerful and definitely more colorful.  Plus this whole film has the dark humor thing going for it.

Continue reading

The Post (2018) review

Rated: 3/5

Intro

Warning, this review gets political, makes no apologies about it, and gives no free flying fucks if you disagree with it (unless any of you dare to try having an honest discussion with me). You’ve been warned.

The Post, a movie.  Like how there was a TV series called The Office.  Now all there needs to be is a miniseries titled The Post Office.  All joking aside, The Post is short for The Washington Post, which I guess wouldn’t have attracted as many viewers to the movie for some reason, or perhaps because they wanted to eliminate “Washington” from the title, considering it’s supposed to be corrupt and led by a corrupt president during this time period (everyone’s favorite corrupt president that films always like to remind everyone exists and is corrupt about as often as they like to remind us Hitler was a scumbag, Richard Nixon).  How they stood with The New York Times in publishing a story on the Pentagon Papers regarding how Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon both kept the reality of the Vietnam War hidden from public, that it was a war we were either destined to lose, or a war that we would have to be fighting for a long time with a lot of manpower in order to win.  Basically a similar situation to what the British faced during the Revolutionary War, except America had assistance from France.

I’m not going to lie, I had preconceived notions when going into this film.  I expected this to be a preachy movie that praised the Washington Post, to the extent that it’s the end-all-be-all of news and newspapers, that it should always be allowed to post stories because all their stories are flawless and true.  That, and to bash the Trump administration ever so subtly (something I’m sure we’ll see more of for the next few years, as evident from a few films that came out near the end of last year).  So yes, I expected some serious subliminal messaging, or even messaging that is too blunt to be considered subliminal.  And while that stuff is here, it’s not as bad as I thought it was going to be.  Besides, as I had to remind myself, any decent movie is a work of art that can be viewed with different perspectives. More on that later.

 

Review

There are some negatives I had with the film.  There’s a brief moment near the end of the film after the Supreme Court sides with the papers over the government (oh, spoilers by the way, for any of you who didn’t already know or take an educated guess as to how things would turn out).  We see Meryl Streep walking down the steps surrounded by a bunch of smiling women.  Pro-feminism message much?  She can be an inspiration to both men and women, not just women goddamnit!  Can’t we live in an age where any gender and race can inspire all genders and races?  I mean, for Christ’s sake, the whole film is supposed to be about how an underdog newspaper company did a brave/bold thing which caused all other major papers to follow suit and side with freedom of speech over the power of the government telling them no.  That’s a cause everyone can rally behind!  But it’s just a minor moment that only lasts a few seconds, and I’m just making a big deal over a nit-picky moment.  The rest of the film is quite solid.

For the first half of the film, I started to wonder why it wasn’t about the New York Times.  I mean, it seemed as if they were doing all the interesting stuff.  But then during the 2nd half, it becomes clear why The Washington Post is the main focus of the film.  While the New York Times was the first paper to print on the Pentagon Papers, and the first to be challenged by the government over their publication, it’s the Washington Post that gets a hold of the larger amount of paperwork, and ultimately follows what the New York Times did.  The thing is, I think the film would’ve been more interesting if it focused on both sides, on the New York Times and on the Washington Post.  Certainly would’ve been more energetic and intense.  But then there would be less time for the more dramatic character moments, especially this one moment between Streep’s character and her daughter, which is definitely one of those moments where Spielberg is indulging himself with the drama.  It’s the one aspect about him that’s been a bit bothersome ever since E.T., where the character drama and character interaction comes off as a bit too emotionally manipulative and overdramatic.  It plagues a respectable number of his films.  That said, I found it bothersome in only that one scene.

The obvious themes come up from a film like this, about freedom of the press, freedom of speech, needing high quality reporting for high quality newspapers that readers will love and therebye become loyal fans of, how the papers have a duty more to the people than towards the government, etc.  An element in the film that took me by surprise is how it showcased that some of the higher-ups in the press tend to have political connections, and are friends with some high-standing government officials.  And this causes an inner conflict when they must consider if they value their work more than their friendship, or vice-versa.  A welcoming subplot in a film like this.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/c/embed/b1d79872-e1cd-11e7-b2e9-8c636f076c76

 

 

No More Pussyfooting

Now, with all that said, let’s stop pussyfooting around the pink/white/orange/black/whatever elephant in the room shall we?  I’m not going to ignore how many reviewers state that this is a timely and relevant film that has strong parallels to today’s environment.  And we all know what they’re talking about. Consider the headlines from some of the reviews:

‘The Post’ Review: Steven Spielberg’s Spectacularly Entertaining Journalism Thriller Is a Rallying Cry for the Resistance — David Ehrlich of IndiWire

“The Post” doesn’t feel so urgent because it was rushed into production — it was rushed into production because it feels so urgent. In a year full of accidental Trump movies, this is the first one that’s completely on purpose.

[…]

“The Post” works as a history lesson, but its priorities are clearly sorted by their relevance to the crises we’re enduring right now, the need for a free press being first among them.

[…]

Nixon is a pivotal character, but he’s sheared down to the parallels he shares with Trump

[…]

“The Post” is essential because it stares down cynicism with a smile, because it enshrines the fact that governments only see journalists as a threat when they have something to hide.

The Post film review: Steven Spielberg’s riveting newspaper drama could be subtitled: ‘FAO Trump’ — Christopher Hooton of Independent

Holding political feet to the fire, it will be applauded by a newly politicised Hollywood, looking to give the Trump White House some serious side-eye.

[…]

Is this a political film about holding truth to power? An industry meditation about journalists uniting for a common cause? A feminist reading of Graham’s role in history? Or a parable for the situation the press currently finds itself in with President Donald J. Trump (“I don’t think I could go through this again,” a character laments in one of the final scenes)?

‘The Post’ isn’t just a masterpiece, it is a call to arms against Donald Trump — Gregory Wakeman of Metro

What feels most prescient, though, is the fire that it looks to set underneath all of us, especially journalists, when it comes to their duty to take on Donald Trump and his attacks on the freedom of the press. “The Post’s” final speech will hopefully immediately stir and inspire.

So yeah, all that stuff. Even Spielberg noted that he made this film in 2017 because he felt either he makes it then, or not at all, because he felt it was so timely, because he spotted parallels between Nixon and Trump. Over the past couple years, Trump has been bashing several major news outlets, though never to the extreme that Nixon did in the early 1970s. Because that’s the reason the film exists, as a call against Trump bashing the news outlets.

However, and this is what I suspected would be the case, this is not the only way to view the film. Like any decent film, like any decent work of art, there is more than one way to view it, even if it doesn’t conform to the artist’s original intent. Some mainstream reviewers can attest to that.

Steven Spielberg’s The Post Is Good, and It’s Not About Trump — Kyle Smith of National Review

[…] the hacks will note that the film’s co-star, Meryl Streep — on the strength of her January Golden Globes speech, which she devoted entirely to attacking the president — is as strongly identified with anti-Trump sentiment as any major Hollywood player. For these reasons, The Post stands to be one of the leading contenders to win the Best Picture Oscar on March 4. Academy voters who are dying to turn the ceremony into an expression of revulsion for Trump will have no better weapon this year with which to attack him.

Yet The Post is simply a potent newspaper thriller that could have been released in the Obama years (when it was written) or for that matter at any other point in recent decades. It offers very little in the way of actual parallels to Trump, and to Spielberg’s credit he doesn’t include any overt Trump bashing. Hysteria-prone Hollywood liberals who see the president’s likeness in every passing cloud will be thinking of him throughout the movie, but only because hysteria-prone Hollywood liberals are prone to hysteria.

[…]

Today, of course, the public trusts neither the government nor the media, but it would take a more ironically minded filmmaker than Steven Spielberg to capture that in a film.

[…]

The lasting importance of the Pentagon Papers was not that they altered the course of the Vietnam War (I’m not sure they did) but that they heralded a media Reformation, a new era of doubt and iconoclasm in which journalists like Bradlee (and Graham, who was personal friends with McNamara) chose an antagonistic new stance toward institutions. This isn’t activism or partisanship: Journalists should relentlessly investigate whatever Washington is doing, regardless of party. While it’s true that the media are much more hostile to one party than the other, the principle is a valid one: Journalists should be diggers, not Victorian gents.

Good follow-up to the above article here: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/454367/steven-spielbergs-anti-trump-movie-post-meryl-streep-and-tom-hanks

Despite how much the film aims its sights at Nixon (a metaphor for Trump) as the villain for attacking freedom of the press, historically speaking, it was more due to Henry Kissinger for attacking the press than Nixon (though I’m sure Nixon was all for Kissinger’s actions). That aside, as I said earlier, this film doesn’t make any stretches or anything all that blunt about bashing Trump, it’s made well-enough to be considered a sort of time capsule that can be watched in any time period to reflect upon this historic moment in the early 70s, followed up with the Watergate scandal (covered in All the President’s Men), and eventually Nixon’s resignation.

Anyway, I bring this all up because I disagree, strongly, with the message being taken from this film by many people, even if it’s the message Spielberg wished to inject into the film (but again, viewers can have opinions differing from the artist). First off, the idea that the Trump administration is attacking the press anywhere near as violently as the Nixon administration did (or even McCarthy, as can be seen in the highly recommended and still quite relevant film Good Night, and Good Luck). He bashes them, sure, but never to the extent that he’s also attacking the first amendment. I mean, for crying out loud, there’s a scene in the film where Nixon bars the Washington Post from a wedding reception and from any other White House event. While that may have happened in 1971, the case is reversed in the present, where CNN (among others) voluntarily choose to not attend similar White House events of their own accord.

And then there’s the other message contained within the film. It is said briefly in some speeches early on in the film that reporter integrity is vital, the quality of the paper/article helps to gain readers/fans and thus keep the Post alive. They have a responsibility to report important events as much as they do for reporting the truth. So thus I found it possible to also view this film as a call for news integrity, for honest and unbiased news that doesn’t leave out facts much like how Nixon and LBJ left out some inconvenient truths/reports on the Vietnam war. Most, if not all, of the instances I’ve seen Trump bash the media has been because of their false/biased reporting. Because they are not being as honest as those from the early 1970s. And it’s a long list of events where the media has falsified stories or taken them out of context.

http://thefederalist.com/2017/01/10/washington-post-reporter-doubles-down-on-fake-news-about-guns/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/kalevleetaru/2017/01/01/fake-news-and-how-the-washington-post-rewrote-its-story-on-russian-hacking-of-the-power-grid/#6fd9e4e27ad5

https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/266714/anonymous-sources-washington-post-and-cnn-fake-daniel-greenfield

https://theintercept.com/2016/11/26/washington-post-disgracefully-promotes-a-mccarthyite-blacklist-from-a-new-hidden-and-very-shady-group/

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/washington-post-blacklist-story-is-shameful-disgusting-w452543

https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2017/05/15/washington-post-creates-fake-news-timed-release-story-intended-to-capture-evening-news-lede/

https://thinkprogress.org/washington-post-fake-news-lomborg-climate-e13681c350f8/

https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/265832/why-medias-trump-lie-machine-failing-daniel-greenfield

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/mar/8/dems-media-have-no-problem-lying-about-trump/

Should news agencies not be bashed if what they report is bullshit (assuming they’re not literally reporting about shit falling out of a bull’s ass)? Do those they report against falsely not have a right to attack them back for doing so? Should fake news not be treated as false? It’s stuff like this that makes me think of the other elements in the film, about how the higher ups in the media/papers are sometimes associated with government officials, and how that can lead to bias and not producing coverage of their “friends” when it’s honest and negative coverage; much less the fact-checking and source-backing (done to a greater extent in All the President’s Men). The sort of thing that should be done more often to government entities that are corrupt like the Clinton administration and portions of what Barack Obama did.

So there’s the other perspective one can take from this film. Not just a call for government honesty, but also for press/media honesty. As they said in the film, the press is more for the people than it is for the government. More for the ruled than for the rulers.

Otherwise, there is the social media alternative, and more are emerging beyond Twitter and Facebook.

But anyway, recommended film.