khanbaliq2

IMDb member since September 2009
    Lifetime Total
    250+
    Top 250
    2009
    Top 250
    2008
    Top 250
    2006
    Top Reviewer
     
    IMDb Member
    10 years

Reviews

It Chapter Two
(2019)

Small gripes aside, there's enough to love about It: Chapter Two to satisfy anyone's inner cynic.
N an earlier post, I wrote about how only two films that were released in theaters during the summer pleased me. They're Toy Story 4 and Spider-Man: Far From Home. Well, Avengers: Endgame played in theaters during the summer too, but I don't consider it to be a very good film. There were also several other summer movies that I kind of like. So, when it comes to new Hollywood films, it wasn't a good summer or a bad summer. It was an average summer. I mean, one can't expect an excellent new film to be released every week. Who would have the time to go to a theater every week? This isn't realistic. Well, anyway, after the summer movie season came to an end, Hollywood quickly released several enjoyable films that make the summer movie season pale in comparison to this autumn movie season. I haven't seen every film that has been released in the autumn yet, but I can say that Terminator: Dark Fate, Zombieland: Double Tap, Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil, and Abominable are worth seeing. Most are so good that they can be seen more than once. I'd also like to see 21 Bridges, Charlie's Angels, Frozen 2, and Jojo Rabbit. Joker is a film that I think isn't worth seeing more than once. It's not a bad film. For a modern film, it's good, but the filmmaking leaves a lot to be desired. I mean, it's no Apocalypse Now (1979). That's for sure. There are a few moments of brilliance in Joker, but, for the most part, it's a rather dull film, and I'm not judging it based on its message or content. The performance by Joaquin Phoenix is good, but not extraordinary. The cinematography doesn't look very good. Most of the scenes in the film aren't interesting. And the direction, though certainly better than average for modern times, isn't very good either. What did surprise me is how much I enjoyed seeing It Chapter Two and Doctor Sleep. I don't think that these films are very good, but they're better than I expected them to be. In It Chapter Two, the director, Andy Muschietti, showed more of his artistic side, as he did in his fine horror film Mama (2013). It Chapter Two is more atmospheric, better shot, and features better acting than It (2017). And it doesn't rely as much on silly jump scares. All of this added together made it a more enjoyable film for an adult like me. But the film still suffers from the fact that, like It, it was made to appeal to as large an audience of modern moviegoers as possible. Doctor Sleep is another well shot and atmospheric film that was directed by Mike Flanagan, who directed the fine horror film Oculus (2013). As a film, Doctor Sleep is kind of enjoyable. The novel by Stephen King is, in my opinion, bloated and rather dull. Still, the film isn't much better because there's nothing about it that stands out. The acting is fine, but not great. The story is fine, but not very interesting. The cinematography is good, but not in any way truly appealing. The music isn't memorable. Some of the scenes are good, but most of the scenes are just passable. By the way, one of the horror films that I really enjoyed seeing lately is Candyman: Farewell To The Flesh (1995). It's better than I expected it to be. The first film, Candyman (1992), is, in my opinion, fantastic when it comes to its artistry. It's easily one of the best horror films of the 1990s. When I was thinking about it, I thought that it must be the best of the 1990s, but then I remembered that Scream (1996) was released in the 1990s too. Scream is overall a slightly better film than Candyman. With Candyman: Farewell To The Flesh, the filmmakers at least attempted to make a good film, and in some ways they succeeded. It's obviously inferior to Candyman, but the acting, the cinematography, and the direction still make it worth seeing. And, finally, I'm almost done with my Marvel Cinematic Universe marathon, which I began in May of this year, when I watched Iron Man (2008) again. From then on, I've been watching every MCU film in order, and I'm still not quite finished. Of course, it hasn't been an obsession with me because I haven't been watching the films one after the other all in one sitting. I've seen many other films in this time period too. In this way, I've now seen every MCU film at least twice, and I don't consider this to be a bad thing because MCU films are good. There still hasn't been a single bad MCU film. Quite impressive. The years 2018 and 2019 are particularly memorable in the history of the MCU because Marvel released four fantastic films one after the other. They're Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, Ant-Man And The Wasp, and Captain Marvel. When I watched these films again on home video I noticed how well made they are. The acting is good. The stories are interesting. The music is fitting. The entertainment factor is high. The special effects are excellent. Need I say more? I can say that by the time Phase Three began in the MCU, Marvel truly found its groove.

300
(2006)

The whole thing runs the chance of simply being a song-and-dance number made up of quick-to-slow shots of steel, blood, and open-throated yelling.
Snyder's 300 is a bucket of filth that somehow manages to get praised by brainless Americans and by some bought and paid for professional film critics. Sure, 300 isn't the only bucket of filth that has been made in Hollywood in the last two decades. There have been many such buckets of filth. But I think that 300 is the film that is most representative of all of this filth. 300 is much louder, much more distasteful, and much more historically inaccurate than The 300 Spartans (1962), which is actually a fine film that's worth seeing. In addition, I noticed that it promotes militarism and oligarchical rule. Sparta, the Greek city-state whose citizens and customs are portrayed as being worthy of imitation in the film, had oligarchical and militaristic rule. But Classical Athens, the Greek city-state whose citizens are portrayed as weak and ineffective in the film, had democratic rule. In fact, Athens is the birthplace of democracy and the model of democracy. It also became the most prosperous Greek city-state after the Greco-Persian Wars. Now, if you want to know what a real democracy should be like, you should read some history books about Classical Athens or at least look at the Wikipedia page about Fifth-century Athens. It's quite different from the so-called democracy that exists in the USA. In addition, I recommend reading Carroll Quigley's books 'The Evolution of Civilizations: An Introduction to Historical Analysis' (1961) and 'Weapons Systems and Political Stability: A History' (1983), which provide even more useful information and conclusions about Ancient Greece. I think that this is important because most people these days don't know what democracy is supposed to be like, partly because of the fact that they get a bad education in school. This is why some middle class people fall for oligarchical swindles like libertarianism and why other middle class people think that democracy is a failure and thus become irrational pro-fascists. The overwhelming majority of Americans, for example, don't care about democracy. They don't even know what it is. What they do care about is the empire that the USA possesses. Therefore, when you criticize the American political system, they respond in a calm and apathetic manner. But, when you criticize the American empire and overseas operations, they respond in a heated and confrontational manner (even in a psychotic manner). The same goes for class structure in the USA. This is the case because they've been taught to think like this by the American ruling class. They've been taught to think that they have a right to trample on others and to stick their noses in every crack. But, when it comes to democracy and their economic rights under capitalism, they take a conservative and unconcerned position. This isn't true for all Americans, but it's undoubtedly true for most Americans.

Toy Story 4
(2019)

As always, Pixar's animation excels.
It's that time again, the time for updates, since enough time has passed. First of all, people asked me to give my opinion on the summer films of this year, and I'm not against doing this. How good are the films that have been released this summer? I'm now ready to give my take. I must admit that I've seen only several films this summer, and most of them were made by the The Walt Disney Company. But the ones that I did see didn't really disappoint me. Toy Story 4 is the best film that I saw. This film had a long development period because of the departure of John Lasseter from Pixar Animation Studios. I read about this in Animation Magazine. Because of this, and because of the fact that the film is yet another sequel to Toy Story (1995), I had the feeling that Toy Story 4 might be somewhat disappointing. But this film surprised me when I saw it because it's not only the best Pixar film since Incredibles 2 (2018). It's also one of the best Pixar films of this decade. In my opinion, the director, Josh Cooley, delivered the goods. The characters have never looked better. The voice work is excellent. The humor is frequent. And we get to find out new things about Woody and the gang. It's true that the film is formulaic, and it's yet another sequel from Pixar, but, when the film is this good, I don't feel like complaining. Still, I didn't enjoy seeing Toy Story 4 as much as I enjoyed seeing Incredibles 2. Incredibles 2 is, in my opinion, the best Pixar film of this decade, even surpassing Inside Out (2015) and Finding Dory (2016) in terms of craftsmanship. I went to see it more than once in a cinema. Can you believe that Incredibles 2 could have been even better if Brad Bird and Pixar had been given more time to make it? The film is almost perfect as it is, but it could have been even better. The only thing that weighs it down is the lack of a truly memorable villain. But, otherwise, the film is perfect, in my opinion. Thank goodness that films like this can still be made from time to time in Hollywood. Bird deserved to win a second Oscar for his work, but, because of political reasons and because he already has one Oscar, the Oscar for Best Animated Feature was instead awarded to the filmmakers of Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse (2018). By the way, I finally figured out why Into The Spider-Verse isn't an entirely satisfying film. Miles Morales, the new Spider-Man, is supposed to be the main character. But he spends almost the entire film either being a sidekick to Peter B. Parker or acting as comic relief. Only at the end of the film does he get to do something on his own, but, by that time, it's too late for any character development for him. Therefore, Into The Spider-Verse lacks a fully developed protagonist. The animation style is also something that I find to be not entirely to my liking. It makes the film seem like a gimmick at times. Anyway, I've already posted my review of Into The Spider-Verse on my blog, and I don't have to go into it in more detail. By the way, if you like the animation style of the film, I can recommend getting the art book 'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse - The Art of the Movie'. The only other film that I fully enjoyed seeing this summer in a cinema is Spider-Man: Far From Home. It's yet another example of Marvel's domination of the superhero genre in film form. Marvel continues to put the other Hollywood studios to shame. Even the recently released Shazam!, which is thought of by some people as the best DC film of recent years, doesn't come close to the best Marvel films. I mean, really, is it that hard to make a good action film these days? I guess that it is, especially one with plenty of special-effects. Instead of lively, enjoyable flicks, we often get dour, distasteful flicks like Venom (2018), The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014), or Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice (2016) from the other studios. How depressing. It seems that the only film form in Hollywood that has consistently delivered good films in the last decade is computer animation. In my opinion, Far From Home doesn't rank among Marvel's best, but it's still a good flick. Tom Holland is definitely the best on-screen Peter Parker so far. So, there you go. I enjoyed seeing two films in a theater this summer, and both of them are films from Disney. I guess this means that this summer has been disappointing when it comes to new Hollywood films. But there are other new films that I found to be... passable, though not fully enjoyable. They are Annabelle Comes Home, Detective Pikachu, Missing Link, The Angry Birds Movie 2, Pet Sematary, The Secret Life Of Pets 2, Aladdin, Us, Hobbs & Shaw, How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, and Alita: Battle Angel. I saw almost all of these films long after they were released in theaters. I decided not to include The Lion King among these "just fine" flicks because seeing it felt strange to me. Firstly, this film was made entirely using computers. There are no human actors or real locations. But the film was still made to look as realistic as possible. Maybe this means that it can't really be called an animated film, or maybe it can. It's almost a scene for scene copy of the original 1994 film. This means that there's nothing original about it except for the way it was made. The animals, since they were made to look as real as possible, aren't as expressive as in the original animated film. In addition to all of this, I saw the original animated film only a few days before I went to see the remake in a theater. All of this added together made the film a strange and unenjoyable experience for me. Still, Pumbaa did fart once. But let's move away from this somewhat depressing picture and focus on something else. The people that follow my blog should know that most of the films that I see aren't new Hollywood films. If it's a Hollywood film, it's most likely one from the 1980s or it's a so-called classic Hollywood film. Many films from Hollywood's Golden Age really are a pleasure to watch for me. These films are well-acted and optimistic. By the way, if you've read the science fiction novel Titan by John Varley, you should know that Gaea, the old alien being that Cirocco meets at the end of the story, is obsessed with watching films from Hollywood's Golden Age. I'm currently reading the book 'Majestic Hollywood: The Greatest Films of 1939' by Mark A. Vieira.

Captain Marvel
(2019)

This fierce girl-power flick has many thrills, laughs, and terse combat scenes.
I don't review films often, but I think that Avengers: Endgame (2019) is worth talking about. First of all, I saw Captain Marvel (2019) for the second time recently, and this time I paid for the ticket. I now think that it's one of the best MCU films, if I'm being honest. I've never been a Marvel fan because I don't like to be a fan of anything, really. In my opinion, being a fan of something is for uninformed people. But Marvel films, for example, are worth seeing at least once because they contain messages from the Anglo-American establishment. The only problem is that you have to be informed in order to notice and understand these messages. Marvel films are also enjoyable to watch. I'm not one of those people who dislike Brie Larson because of something that she said. She plays the role of Carol Danvers in Captain Marvel. I've got better things to do than hating some woman actress. I mean, what do people expect at this point? Sure, I guess that they need an outlet for their anger, and there are many things to be angry about these days, especially for white middle class men, but picking Hollywood as the object of hatred seems silly to me. Hollywood has been feeding them propaganda their whole lives, but now, all of a sudden, they are angry because some actress bluntly stated the agenda. I don't mean to insult them because I understand their situation, but I think that they should pick up a book and read once in a while. They'll feel better and be more informed. This is actually one of the problems with Western people now. Carroll Quigley mentioned this matter in one of his interviews. Western people hardly ever read anymore. Instead of reading, they watch television or see films. Nowadays, there's a new distraction, which is playing video games. Therefore, because of their lack of knowledge and lack of critical thinking, Western people can be so easily manipulated by the authorities. When it comes to me, what I find a little interesting about Brie Larson is that her personality is kind of like mine. This is a rare case. Therefore, I really don't feel like hating her. Anyway, Captain Marvel, the character, doesn't play an important role in Avengers: Endgame, as it turns out. I did find Larson's acting to be pretty good in the film. Carol Danvers is important in her own film, but, in Avengers: Endgame, her importance in the story has been way overblown before the release of the film. Avengers: Endgame is kind of a mess. It's not really a piece of garbage because there are good things in it, but the script is so poorly written that the film ends up being one of the worst MCU films, and perhaps the worst one. Honest reviewers on IMDb have already pointed out the numerous flaws of this film. There's fat, pathetic Thor. There are the inconsistencies with time travel. There's the silly humor. There's the poorly thought out final battle. There are the continuity problems. Yep, this film is a real stinker in some ways. Still, I did find it to be entertaining. It didn't make me feel bored. I think that out of the two most recent Avengers films, Avengers: Infinity War (2018) was much more important for Marvel and the filmmakers than Avengers: Endgame. Therefore, Avengers: Infinity War contains the cool action, the filmmaking craft, and the important messages that the filmmakers wanted people to see. Avengers: Endgame, on the other hand, turns out to be a film with leftovers. Thanos said his piece about overpopulation and limited resources in Avengers: Infinity War. He succeeded in killing half of all life in the universe with the snappening. Naturally, Marvel couldn't let this be the end of the story. People would have been outraged at such a depressing finale. Therefore, Avengers: Endgame had to be made so that the Avengers could defeat Thanos and undo his doings, though Thanos does have a few more things to say this time as well. This time he makes a little speech about rewriting history and brainwashing people. In addition, Iron Man and Captain America had to be killed off because Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans have been playing these roles long enough. In addition, the writers and the filmmakers saw an opportunity to patch up some of the inconsistencies from previous MCU films. Rene Russo came back to better develop the character of Frigga because of a lack of development in Thor: The Dark World (2013). Hawkeye gets more screen time as well because people complained about his lack of screen time in previous films. So, the filmmakers wanted to service the fans, and the fans sure did get serviced with Avengers: Endgame. They got serviced hard. In my opinion, Avengers: Endgame turned out to be a leftovers and patch up film after the main event that was Avengers: Infinity War. And, of course, Avengers: Endgame sets up the next phase of the MCU. Funnily enough, the directors, Anthony Russo and Joe Russo, are now responsible not only for some of the best MCU films but also for the worst and most ridiculous MCU film.

I finished reading the book 'Factories of Death: Japanese Biological Warfare, 1932 - 1945, and the American Cover-Up' by Sheldon H. Harris. I think that it's essential reading for those who are interested in World War II. But it's a good book to read for anyone, really. The history that this book covers has been suppressed in the USA because Japan is a close ally of the USA. It has also been suppressed in other countries. In the book, there's information about what happened to the American POWs that were captured by the Japanese after Japan attacked the Philippines. Japan, as it turns out, had the largest biological weapons program in the world at that time. The author also wrote about post-war Japan and about the domination of conservatives and reactionaries in Japanese government. I haven't yet finished reading Nikolay Danilevsky's 'Russia and Europe: A Look at the Cultural and Political Relations of the Slavic World to the Romano-German World'. But I have come across more interesting information in the book that is worth mentioning. Danilevsky pointed out that there have been three periods of development and growth in the history of Western civilization. It's almost certain that this is where Carroll Quigley got the idea that there were three separate ages of expansion in Western history. I know that Danilevsky's book was very influential for Quigley because he mentioned it in two of his books. Moreover, Danilevsky even wrote the dates of these periods of development, though Danilevsky didn't go into them in detail and he didn't discern that they happened because of different instruments of expansion. Currently, I'm also reading Immanuel Velikovsky's 'Worlds in Collision' and Oswald Spengler's 'The Decline of the West'. Since I haven't yet finished reading these books, I can't comment on how much I like them or dislike them. I have been enjoying reading both of them so far, and I will tell what I think about them after I'm done reading them.

Alita: Battle Angel
(2019)

Alita: Battle Angel is a great action-adventure film, featuring a solid cast, a strong female lead, and a story that is complete on its own.
Alita: Battle Angel (2019) turned out to be a little better than I expected. Well, in some ways, it's about as good as I expected it to be and, in other ways, it's a little better. There's nothing fantastic about it, but it's not a bad way to spend two hours because it's a good film. Some of the CGI I liked, especially views of Iron City and Zalem, and some of the CGI I didn't really like. Alita herself, partly a CGI creation, wasn't unpalatable, which is something that's important in this film. So, it wasn't a bad decision for me to go and see this film. I think that I should have gone to see Aquaman (2018) in a theater because it turned out to be better than I thought it would be. I can say that the director, James Wan, delivered with this film. There's nothing great about it, it's actually average overall, but it has some nice bits and it's entertaining. I think that, in this particular case, I should have listened to Grace Randolph.

I can point out that when I make posts on my blog about the films that I see, this doesn't mean that I recommend these films. These are simply films that I've recently seen. But, since I usually see films because I want to see them, I would recommend seeing almost all of them. I know that many Hollywood films feature American propaganda, but this doesn't stop me from seeing them and enjoying some of them. Since I've been sick for the last few weeks, and since I can't wear my glasses for now, I've been spending my time on watching films, and I've seen a number of films that I can really recommend. The one film that I've seen not long ago that I would definitely not recommend is The Predator (2018). It's just a bad and vile film. But here are examples of films that I would recommend. Most of them are old Hollywood films because there's no point in spending time and money on seeing new Hollywood films. New Hollywood films are just not good if they're compared to old Hollywood films. The Hindenburg (1975) features good special effects and is definitely worth seeing. The Raid (1954) is a neat Western set during the American Civil War. Young Winston (1972) is a classy adventure about Winston Churchill in his youth. Nightfall (1957) is a good film noir in black and white. The Miracle Worker (1962) features some of the best acting by actresses in the 1960s. Crimes of the Heart (1986) is a good southern gothic film that features good performances from the leads. The Morning After (1986) includes one of the best performances by Jane Fonda. 'night, Mother (1986) is an interesting drama with only two roles. Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974) is simply essential viewing, and it features an excellent performance by Ellen Burstyn. Forever Young (1992) is one of those neat little romantic science fiction films from the 1990s. The Fly (1986) is just plain awesome. Bachelor Party (1984) is a surprisingly funny comedy from the 1980s. The White Buffalo (1977) is a Western that features Charles Bronson and... a big white buffalo. Nuff said. Assassination (1987) is another unintentionally funny and enjoyable piece of action junk from Cannon Films. Tough Guys (1986) is a pleasant and somewhat moving comedy. Coma (1978) is an excellent suspense film that was directed by Michael Crichton, of Jurassic Park fame. Demetrius and the Gladiators (1954) is an impressive epic in which Victor Mature "acts". It's set in Rome and features gladiator fights. Avenging Force (1986) is yet more action junk from Cannon Films in which Michael Dudikoff delivers yet again in the leading role. April Fool's Day (1986) is quite a good mystery slasher film that was filmed in British Columbia. Death Wish 3 (1985) features Charles Bronson talking about killing bad guys, with a wicked little smirk on his face. Death Wish 3, by the way, is one of those 1980s flicks, like RoboCop (1987), that show the decay and economic depression that took place in the USA in those years. American Dreamer (1984) and Bad Medicine (1985) are two funny comedies from the 1980s that I would definitely recommend seeing. Agnes of God (1985) is worth seeing simply because of the excellent performances by Anne Bancroft and Jane Fonda. A Soldier's Story (1984) is a fantastic drama, and I can't believe that I've never heard about it before I saw it. Country (1984) is yet another fantastic drama that has been forgotten in the mainstream. Well, anyway, I can go on and on with this list, but these are some of the most memorable films that I've seen in recent months.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
(2018)

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is solid, entertaining, gritty, sharp, and funny.
Since a few people have asked me why I don't like Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse that much, I've decided to reveal my issues with it. First of all, I do like this film. It's easily the best wide-release film that's now playing in theaters, but I think that it's not a great film or the best Spider-Man film. The main character, Miles Morales, turns out to be one of the least appealing and least interesting characters in the film, although he's given plenty of time for character development. The most appealing character, in my opinion, is the original Spider-Man (Peter Parker or Peter B. Parker). Morales seems like a poor copy of the original Spider-Man, except that, for some reason, he also has additional, unoriginal powers like invisibility and bio-electric energy. In this case, the creators of this character just couldn't come up with a new, original superhero. This isn't surprising because hardly anything that's made by people in the American entertainment industry these days is original. Therefore, they took an old, beloved character and made him black. Morales isn't a terrible character. He's appealing, but he's lacking, in my opinion. In the film, Morales is also not a science wiz. He's simply a laid back, normal teenager, who just likes to draw and who even gets bad grades in order to transfer to a less prestigious school. Apparently, the filmmakers thought that such a character would be cool for today's audience and fine for being a superhero. This doesn't work, at least for me. Can this normal, laid-back teenager really be a superhero? Is he a good example for black teens and kids? In addition, there are, perhaps, too many Spider-Man characters and too many supervillains. A few of them are just ridiculous, though they're still kind of likable, and they add little or nothing beneficial to the film. The only character with enough development and enough appeal is, yet again, the original, Peter B. Parker. Still, even with all of this baggage, the film has several good scenes that make it worthwhile to see it again. The filmmakers can be praised because of this. But these scenes aren't enough to make Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse perfect or great. So, this is my take on Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse. It's very good, it's fresh and well-animated, but it's weighed down by a few poor characterization and filmmaking choices. That's too bad. The score for this film is nine out of ten from me.

When it comes to what I've been reading lately, I've been able to get my hands on a few interesting history books. The first one is 'Russia and Europe: A Look at the Cultural and Political Relations of the Slavic World to the Romano-German World' (1869) by Nikolay Danilevsky. I don't know if this book is easily available in English now. I know that it used to be available because Carroll Quigley mentioned it in one of his books. Apparently, Danilevsky was the first man to divide the cultures that have existed in history into types, and, now that I've been able to get my hands on this book (because it's easily available in Russia now), I can see that Quigley was very much influenced by this book. It's no wonder, really, because Danilevsky's book features some brilliant writing. Another book that I've been reading is World History in 4 volumes (1887) by the German historian Oskar Jager. It's one of the books that Andrei Fursov recommends. Like Danilevsky's book, this book too is either not available in English or is difficult to find. It is readily available in Russian, however. For me, it became somewhat special because Jager's writing got me interested in the Ancient Greeks for the first time. The third rare book that I've been able to get my hands on is 'Political Equilibrium and England' (1855) by Ivan Vernadsky. It's mainly about the geopolitical struggle of the British Empire against the Russian Empire in the 19th century. Unfortunately, the copy of this book that I've been able to download is in the Russian language of the 19th century. It's not available in English and, as far as I know, it's not available in modern Russian either. I can still read the book, but this is not easy to do because there have certainly been some changes in the Russian language in the last century. Thankfully, the book isn't too thick. The one book in English that is readily available, and that I've been listening to lately on Audible, is Cosmos (1980) by Carl Sagan. I finished watching Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, which is the thirteen-part television series based on the book, several months ago, and I quite enjoyed it, actually. So, I decided to get the book too, and Audible offers a very good new recording of it. The only downside to a few of Sagan's works is that they feature American oligarchical propaganda. This is something that I've noticed about other American sci-fi writers, like Isaac Asimov. In the 1970s, and especially after the fall of the Soviet Union in the late-1980s, American and British sci-fi writers began to heavily promote the Anglo-American oligarchical agenda. This agenda is about typical oligarchical fuzz, like population control, the green movement, and their geopolitical aims. I'm not really against the preservation of nature. This obviously has to be done, but the rest of the propaganda isn't really to my taste. This is also why I don't like Frank Herbert's novel Dune that much. It's undoubted that Dune is one of the best-written science-fiction novels in the English language, but the oligarchical propaganda that it contains isn't entirely to my taste. First of all, Dune is about a future that's not really progressive. In the antiquated future of Dune, the interstellar society is ruled by noble houses in control of individual planets. So, this is certainly not some futuristic, improved society that you might see in a franchise like Star Trek. It's not even a democratic society. It's a hierarchical society of nobles and royalty that very much appeals to the modern Western capitalist oligarchy. It can also be said that Dune is in tune with the environmental agenda of the Western elite, and this is why this old novel remains so popular and why it's promoted so heavily in the West. Dune was published in 1965, and, in the decades since then, the science-fiction genre in the West has largely been turned by the Western elite into a genre that promotes the environmental agenda. This is not something that I find to be very distasteful, but it is something that should be noted.

The Soviet Story
(2008)

The Soviet Story fails at being informative because it's first and foremost propaganda.
There was a bit of fuss about this film so I watched it (it's not easy to find though). It can't be taken seriously because it's obviously propaganda. The film's poster alone should tell you that; the statue of the worker and the peasant on top of a pile of human corpses. I've seen similar anti-Soviet documentaries before. The film includes a creepy narration, huge red titles, constant footage of corpses, and it's full of errors. If you already have a good knowledge of the Soviet regime and of the two World Wars then you won't find much that's new in The Soviet Story. This film just turns up the heat on what's been said before, and the way it does this is by showing gruesome footage backed by an effective musical score. Is it an objective film? No. Any good documentary should be. This film's intent is to just be anti-Soviet. It's because of this that The Soviet Story won't be taken seriously by viewers in the future. The best documentary about the Second World War is called The World At War (1973). The World At War does not demonize the Nazi regime but provides an objective look at it's failures, evils and even triumphs (which mostly happened in war). It shows what caused those evils. The Russians are shown in a positive way, as they should be because Hitler was broken in Russia, and the Soviet Union suffered 19 million civilian deaths. No one can argue with that. None of this information is included in The Soviet Story. One of this film's strongest points is that Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union were allies before 1941. Not true. They did have a pact, but Stalin approved it only because he wanted the USSR to stay out of the war at that time. It's well known that Stalin's purges caused the deaths of many people. Perhaps as many as 1.2 million. The Soviet Story makes a case that this spread to Soviet occupied lands. That's mostly true, but there were hardly any such murders in the Baltic states. Another thing that puzzles me is why the film is called The Soviet Story. The Soviet Union lasted until 1991, and yet what's shown in the film happened before 1950. Shouldn't it be called something like The Evils Of Stalin's Regime? There were no famines or purges after Stalin's death in the Soviet Union. What about the Cold War and the Space Race?

I read that several members of the European Parliament (all from Eastern Europe) gave this film positive reviews. And yet there are others like Tatjana Zdanoka (Latvian MEP) and historian Alexander Dyukov who said that the film has errors and that it's a propagandistic odd job, which is given out to be "a new word in history". Dyukov alleges inconsistencies in the film and questions the credibility of some of the film sequences and conclusions of some of the Russian and Western historians interviewed in the film. Latvian political scientist and cultural commentator Ivars Ijabs offers a mixed review of The Soviet Story. On one hand, it is a well-made and "effective piece of cinematic propaganda in the good sense of this word", whose message is clearly presented to the audience. On the other hand, Ijabs does not agree with a number of historical interpretations in the film, asserting that it contains errors.

Edvins Snore, the director, should really be ashamed of his film. He included scenes which weren't even about what was said. There was a scene where officers are drinking and giving a toast. The film claims this as proof of Nazi-Soviet collaboration. In fact, there were no Russians present at that meeting. Another example is a scene where Russian war dead were shown from World War I. The film instead claims that these were Ukrainian dead from the 1932 famine. I know this because this same scene was shown in the acclaimed British documentary series The Great War (1964). And these are just the scenes that I know of. There are definitely more of these. A news story about the film informed me that pictures taken at Nazi concentration camps were presented as pictures taken at Soviet labour camps in the film, and that a Latvian pro-Nazi parade was said to be a Soviet parade. A fake picture made by Nazi followers was presented as proof of Nazi-Soviet collaboration, in it Heinrich Himmler is shown touring Soviet labour camps and "learning" from the Soviets. Can a movie that has so many errors (some even intentional) be taken seriously? Of course not. And what's more disturbing is that Snore at the end uses his film to take a stab at the second president of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin. How does a Russian president fit in a film about the Soviet Union? No wonder The Soviet Story wasn't released on home video. No one would buy this historically inaccurate horror flick.

I guess the question is why was The Soviet Story released? The answer is to spread anti-Soviet and anti-Russian sentiment. The Soviet Union disintegrated two decades ago, so what is the point of a film that strongly criticizes a regime that hasn't existed for a generation already? The answer is, yet again, politics. Latvia (the country where the film was made) and other former Soviet satellites are afraid of Russian domination. Even with the fall of communism the situation in those countries hasn't improved much, and in some cases deteriorated. The current government blames Russia, even though Russia isn't involved in those countries' internal affairs. The Soviet Story is a badly made film, but those with anti-Russian feelings are going to eat it up. I don't recommend it because The Soviet Story is in parts untrue and in all parts extreme. To say that the far right is just like the far left is a major mistake. Those looking for trustworthy information should find something else (preferrably a history book).

Black Panther
(2018)

Black Panther leaves viewers with the feeling that they have just seen 135 minutes of pure comic-book fun, entirely well-acted and mostly well-written.
Well, it's not surprising that Avengers: Infinity War is going to become one of the biggest box office successes in cinema history. This film has been out for less than a week and already pretty much everyone who goes to the cinema has seen it, except for me. I haven't seen it yet because I don't get the urge to do what everyone else is doing. So, I'll probably wait until I can borrow it from some library. I actually like the films that Marvel makes, but I don't jump up and down every time one of those films is released. My favorite MCU films are Thor (2011), Ant-Man (2015), Iron Man (2008), The Incredible Hulk (2008), Doctor Strange (2016), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), and Thor: Ragnarok (2017). Pretty much all the Marvel films are enjoyable, but the ones that I've listed are my favorites. The recently released Black Panther isn't one of my favorites. It's not a bad film by any means. It's good. It's more serious that the usual Marvel flick. It's just that only a few characters in the film appeal to me. The film also doesn't quite have the emotional weight that it should have. When it comes to the characters, it lacks the appeal of Thor or of Iron Man, for example. Since Marvel films contain some Anglo-American propaganda, it can also be interesting to see them because of what they're about. Some of the information in these films actually surprised me. For example, in Captain America: The First Avenger, the fictional terrorist organization Hydra uses some odd weapons and technology. Steve Rogers (Captain America) doesn't fight against regular German troops in the film but against Hydra troops armed with extraordinary weapons. Such weapons are usually the stuff of science-fiction, but I later learned that the Nazis did actually have some of those extraordinary weapons. Some of this technology and weaponry wasn't intended for mass production and some of it wasn't fully developed when Nazi Germany was defeated. So, for example, the Germans did have plans to create the Amerikabomber, which was a long-range strategic bomber for the Luftwaffe that would be capable of striking the USA from Germany. In the film, the Red Skull attempts to use a similar bomber to strike the USA. At one time, Adolf Hitler considered the creation a giant tank not so different from the one that the Red Skull uses in the film. So, if the Germans hadn't been defeated in World War II, such "miracle weapons" would have become a reality already in the 1940s or the 1950s. In the sequel, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, we find out that some members of Hydra were recruited by the American espionage agency S.H.I.E.L.D after World War II. Something similar happened in real life too because the Americans did bring German and other European scientists, psychiatrists, and agents to the United States after World War II. Some of these people, like Ukrainian nationalists, were so-called war criminals because they were engaged in mass killings in Europe.

When it comes to what I've been reading lately, I can recommend Paul Kennedy's book 'The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers' (1987). It's a history book with some good information that was recommended by the historian Andrei Fursov. I finally finished listening to The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky a few months ago. It's a thick book, and I had to listen to it for about 25 hours. I'm now listening to the Complete Stories of Sherlock Holmes (in 3 volumes) by Arthur Conan Doyle. The narration is by Charlton Griffin, and I've got to say that I'm really enjoying listening to these releases. It's not only that the narration is very good, it's that I haven't yet read any of the Sherlock Holmes stories. Therefore, this is something that's new for me. Since Doyle was a Mason and a member of the British establishment, his novels contain some interesting information about British intentions in the second half of the 19th century. Another book that I'm almost finished listening to is Dispatches by Michael Herr. Dispatches was one of the first pieces of American literature that portrayed the experiences of soldiers in the Vietnam War for American readers. Herr's book is surprisingly funny at times, though he mostly describes the behavior of American soldiers and their actions. Carl Sagan's The Dragons Of Eden, which is another book that Fursov recommended, is an interesting read. I got The Dragons Of Eden right after I've read Sagan's well-known 1985 novel Contact, which is one of the more memorable hard science fiction novels that I've read. I personally prefer to read books on my tablet, by using the app Play Books. Other times, when I feel like it, I buy books at second hand book stores. But, for the most part, I read books on Play Books or I listen to them on the Audible app.

Some of the novels that I've already read are Inherit The Stars (1977), which is a personal favorite, Blood Music (1985), The Visitors (1980), The Robots Of Dawn (1983), Titan (1979), Beyond The Blue Event Horizon (1977), Mission Of Gravity (1954), The Godwhale (1974), Triton (1976), In The Ocean Of Night (1977), Ender's Game (1985), and Dune (1965). When it comes to Dune by Frank Herbert, I'd recommend getting the unabridged audiobook narrated by Scott Brick and Orlagh Cassidy, among others. I'm not at all a fan of Frank Herbert's work, and his science fiction novels aren't among my favorites, but the audiobook is a compelling listen that includes music and sound effects. Although I'm still reading the manga Berserk by Kentaro Miura (I'm now reading the 16th volume), I've finished reading Battle Angel Alita by Yukito Kishiro a few months ago. I've already read famous manga like Rurouni Kenshin, Death Note, Maison Ikkoku, Akira, Nausicaa Of The Valley Of The Wind, and Fullmetal Alchemist, but Battle Angel Alita is hard to get because it has been out of print for years. Therefore, you can read it only on the internet or on an app for now. I've thought about reading it for several years, way before I knew that there was talk of adapting it into a film. Sure, the artwork is the biggest draw, but there's also a pretty good story that includes the theme of social control. Battle Angel Alita: Last Order is the continuation of the story that features more of Kishiro's fantastic artwork.

All the Right Moves
(1983)

An unexpectedly moving drama which got lost among the sugar-coated teen trifles of its time.
I've got to say that I'm not fully satisfied with my video about the best teen movies of the 1980s. There are at least two movies that I should have included. They are Footloose (1984) and All The Right Moves (1983). I myself wouldn't call Footloose an '80s classic, but it's still good enough to have made it to my list, though it wouldn't have been in the top 20. Footloose is an epic story about one teen's struggle to... dance and listen to pop music in some American backwater town. Footloose does have a good soundtrack, which is one of my favorite soundtracks of the 1980s. The movie itself isn't bad, and it has some good performances, but it's the soundtrack that I really like. The one movie that definitely should have made it to my list is All The Right Moves, which is easily one of the better teen movies of the 1980s. Unfortunately, I somehow forgot about this movie while I was making my list. What a bummer. First of all, there are good performances from Tom Cruise, Lea Thompson, and Craig T. Nelson. But every performance in this movie is solid. Then there's a good story with a message, which is actually not an uncommon message in Hollywood movies. No matter how hard life gets in the US of A, you can still pull through and triumph if you really try. Well, you can believe that if you want to. Unfortunately, there are a few things that, for me, weigh down this commendable, realistic look at life. One is the presence of sex jokes. The other is the presence of American football. The sex jokes kind of cheapen this otherwise good movie, and I've never been a fan of American football. These two things are staples in many other American teen movies. By the way, All The Right Moves was available on Netflix for a while, but it later disappeared.

Now, let's get to my thoughts about Star Wars: The Last Jedi. I have not seen this movie, and I'm not planning on seeing it because I learned my lesson after seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens. But the controversy surrounding this movie is quite interesting. Of course, as I predicted, The Last Jedi, while not being a good movie, got showered with praise by paid movie critics, just like the awful The Force Awakens was showered with praise. Many ordinary and honest people, however, said that The Last Jedi is even worse than The Force Awakens and that it ruins the legacy of Star Wars. Some grown men even said that it made them cry because they had to sit and watch their favorite franchise being ruined by Rian Johnson and Disney. In other words, the peasants rebelled. It seems that not all Americans are brainless consumers yet, as the people at Disney may have thought. The Disney propaganda machine and its buddies in the media and on the internet decided to fight the backlash. Numerous articles began to be released online claiming that the people that don't like The Last Jedi are either obsessed fans or grown men who live in their mothers' basements. Even more favorable reviews of The Last Jedi by Disney's buddies and army of paid critics appeared as well, claiming that The Last Jedi, though certainly not being a good movie, is still kind of original and that it tries something new. But, wait a minute! Didn't the people at Disney say that these new Star Wars movies are for the "fans"? Now, all of a sudden, they're saying that these fans are annoying crybabies and that the movies are really for children (because children often don't care about the quality of movies and because the propaganda in Disney movies is meant to influence children). But Disney and its numerous partners in crime are going even further. The popular website Rotten Tomatoes has recently announced that it won't tolerate users who are intentionally voting down Disney movies because of their anger with The Last Jedi. The reviews and ratings of such users will be removed from the website. Criticism of the Disney monopoly and its bad movies will not be tolerated. In addition, the popular website IMDb recently changed the way user reviews can be viewed. Yes, you no longer have the option of which reviews you want to read, be they old or recent, negative or positive. Now all reviews are in only one section and only the most popular reviews can be viewed easily on the website. Still, even this measure didn't prevent the fact that user reviews of the The Last Jedi on IMDb are almost all negative. But let's not forget about Google (the owner of YouTube), which is another popular American website that's heavily involved in censorship online. Try finding a negative review of The Last Jedi by using the Google search engine. You'll have a very hard time doing this because only reviews that praise The Last Jedi are easily found on Google. Honest reviews by ordinary people are intentionally pushed back. You can still find such reviews, but it'll take some time and effort.

It's worth pointing out that I'm not a hater of Disney or of the messages in its movies. I wisely didn't even go and see The Last Jedi in a theater because, as I've mentioned, I learned my lesson after seeing The Force Awakens. I didn't see The Last Jedi simply because it's a bad movie. But what Disney has been doing (releasing unoriginal remakes of beloved movies and crushing dissent) is biting. But this sort of behavior is typical in the USA. Of course, Disney isn't the only Hollywood studio that's releasing bad and unoriginal movies nowadays. What still surprises me sometimes is that some people still think that The Force Awakens is a good movie, though they didn't like The Last Jedi because of its obvious flaws. Well, this just shows that not everyone is rational and informed. Many people are mindless consumers who just want to watch CGI and explosions on the big screen. My younger sister, for example, is such a person. I'm sometimes stricken by the irrational things that she says. And, yes, she does own an iPhone, like many other mindless consumers. Well, such are the people that are being brought up by the capitalist system. They don't question the system or the authorities, and they live for mindless entertainment and consumption. That's why those awful Transformers movies directed by Michael Bay made hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office.

Kidô senshi Gundam: Dai 08 MS shôtai
(1996)

This compelling series is one of the very best in the Gundam franchise.
Sure, I will write a review, maybe a short one, about Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017), which is seemingly the worst Star Wars film ever. But, for now, I'd like to get into the Gundam franchise. I already made a list about the best Gundam releases. However, not all of them are all they're cracked up to be. Well, first of all, instead of watching the original series, I'd recommend watching Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team, Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack, Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket, and Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz. I think that these are the best of the best of the Gundam releases. Yoshiyuki Tomino, with his 1979 original series, may have started the franchise, but it's admittedly a rather dull series, for the most part. Tomino is fine at showing the realities of war, and he knows his science, but his direction doesn't make the original Gundam a truly compelling series. If you compare the Gundam franchise to other giant robot anime series, you'll see that not one of the Gundam releases reaches the heights of The Vision Of Escaflowne, Neon Genesis Evangelion, or Macross Plus. Still, the four Gundam releases that I listed are very good, and I'd recommend them to anyone.

In the 1980s, Japanese animation was lower in quality than American animation or Soviet animation. But some of what Japanese animators made in the 1980s is very good and original. Anime became even more popular in the 1990s. More quality releases appeared as well, in part because the quality of animation improved. But, in the 2000s, anime began to turn into repetitive, unoriginal schlock. Judging by user comments, I see that some people are smart enough to realize that this is the case, that the anime industry in Japan is producing unoriginal schlock now, similar to how Hollywood is producing unoriginal schlock now. In this environment of creative stagnation, releases that are good and original are rare.

Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back
(1980)

It's very unlikely that there will ever be a Star Wars film as good as this one.
I recently watched the original Star Wars trilogy (1977-1983) in order to see how good these films really are. I already pointed out that I won't be seeing Star Wars: The Last Jedi in a theater because Star Wars: The Force Awakens really disappointed me. The Force Awakens is perhaps the most shallow, uninspired piece of filmmaking that I've ever seen in my life. Actually, recently, I got a lot of enjoyment out of reading user reviews of The Force Awakens on IMDb. Almost all the popular reviews on IMDb gave this film a rating of one out of a possible ten stars. On the other hand, almost all paid film critics praised The Force Awakens when it was released. As some people pointed out, this shows that film critics working for popular newspapers and websites can't be trusted. They praised The Force Awakens because they were paid by Walt Disney Studios or because they were pressured. There is a word in the English language that describes this situation. It's corruption. What's interesting is that Disney has been pressuring movie theaters into showing The Last Jedi in all the largest auditoriums when the film will be released. In other words, it seems that Disney wants to make as much money as possible in as little time as possible with the release of The Last Jedi. Make of this what you will. Possibly, The Last Jedi is a disappointing film, just like The Force Awakens. Therefore, Disney wants to make as much money as possible before negative reviews by honest film critics begin appearing on the internet. I'm sure that The Last Jedi will be showered with overwhelming praise by paid film critics upon release, just like the awful The Force Awakens was. I'm not saying that The Last Jedi will be just as bad as The Force Awakens. Rian Johnson probably managed to make a better film than The Force Awakens. But it's possible, maybe probable, that The Last Jedi will also turn out to be a disappointment and a cash grab.

Anyway, let's get back to the original trilogy. I've got to say that I was rather impressed by these three films, especially by The Empire Strikes Back. The visuals impressed me the most. I don't really think of Star Wars as science fiction. This is why I didn't include Star Wars films on my list of the best science fiction films. For me, these films are more like space fantasy or science fantasy. But the visuals of space and spaceships in these films are some of the best ever put to film. George Lucas created quite an imaginative world in Star Wars. There is no doubt that Lucas is a visionary. But, of course, Lucas grew up at a time when Americans were brought up to be inventive, capable, and original. For the last several decades, however, Americans have been brought up not to be inventive and knowledgeable but to be uninventive and obedient. Such is the policy of the capitalist American ruling class. Therefore, Americans don't really invent anything anymore and they can't come up with original ideas. I've seen the original Star Wars trilogy four times, I think. Now that I'm no longer a teenager, I realize that these three films are quite impressive pieces of filmmaking. The special effects are particularly impressive. But Lucas and company were also smart enough to bring in experienced British actors in order to make certain scenes more meaningful. As it turns out, many of the novels in the Star Wars Expanded Universe are worth reading too. I'm now reading Heir To The Empire, Deceived, and Darth Plagueis. What I should mention is that I'm not hating the new Star Wars films because I'm just a hater. I'm not obsessed with Star Wars, and I've never been a fan, but I still wanted these films to be good. Unfortunately, they're not good. They contain propaganda, just like the original trilogy did, but they are unoriginal corporate cash grabs. On the other hand, The Empire Strikes Back is such a good film that I got an urge to watch it again after it was over.

Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens
(2015)

Easily the worst Star Wars film yet. A real insult to intelligence.
I will offer my thoughts about the new Star Wars: The Last Jedi trailer. This new trailer, by the way, again got me to think about how bad of a film Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) is. I began watching videos and reading articles that criticize and pick apart this film, and I'll later post some of these videos on my blog. I've known from the beginning that it's not a good film, but I now realize that The Force Awakens is truly the worst Star Wars film so far. I really enjoyed watching and reading the negative things that people have to say about it. Here are a few reasons why it's so bad:

  • It is pretty much rip-off of Star Wars (1977). In addition, it is a much worse film than Star Wars. Why should I watch an inferior version of a film that already exists? I'd rather watch the 1977 original. And, not surprisingly, I haven't seen The Force Awakens since that one time in December of 2015.


  • The new characters (Kylo Ren, Rey, Finn and others) are not interesting or appealing. They're pretty much inferior copies of old characters like Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader. These new characters are just more proof that screen writers in Hollywood can no longer write believable human characters.


  • The Starkiller Base makes no sense. How could the First Order create a weapon that's several times bigger than the Death Star? Where did they get the time or the resources for this? In addition, the laws of physics don't apply to this thing. Is The Force Awakens more of a fantasy or more of a science-fiction film? The Starkiller Base is a result of poor screenplay writing.


  • So, The Force Awakens offers nothing new when it comes to plot and characters. It also offers nothing new when it comes to fashion or technology. Almost everything in The Force Awakens is something that we've seen in Star Wars films by George Lucas.


  • In short, The Force Awakens is a cash grab. It's not original. It's not art. It doesn't feel epic like the other Star Wars films. It's just a corporate product that was made to play it safe, to appeal to "fans", and to earn as much money as possible. It's just mind-numbing.


Well, there you have it. There are many more reasons why The Force Awakens is such a bad film. It's even worse than the Star Trek films that J. J. Abrams directed. The latest trailer does make Star Wars: The Last Jedi look somewhat promising. Rian Johnson probably made a much better film than The Force Awakens. But I won't be seeing it in a theater because The Force Awakens left such a bad taste. I'll be boycotting The Last Jedi just like I boycotted Rogue One (2016).

What can I say? Thanks to The Force Awakens, the prequel trilogy that George Lucas directed doesn't seem so bad now. At least the prequels have some originality. Even that romance that was played out by Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman doesn't seem so bad now. By the way, I once read that Portman strives to keep a good image as an actress by not appearing in trashy movies. That's admirable, I thought, especially when compared to other Hollywood actresses. But, as it turns out, according to a gossip website, even she appeared in at least one movie without every item of clothing on her. I haven't seen Hotel Chevalier (2007), which is what that amusing cartoon that I posted earlier about, but I have seen The Darjeeling Limited (2007). I've seen it so long ago that I can't remember what happened in it, but I did include it on my list of the ten best movies of 2007.

So, The Force Awakens is truly awful. But I'll mention that there's another film that's even more painful to watch. It's Casual Sex? from 1988. I'll admit that I like watching Hollywood films from the 1980s. Even the bad films from that decade don't seem so bad when compared to many modern films. So, what can go wrong? But Casual Sex? is so dull that it took me about a month to finish watching it. Sometimes, I watched it several seconds at a time. It felt like a chore. It's very dull. It stars Lea Thompson and Victoria Jackson, but there's nothing original about this film, and nothing interesting happens in it. If you'd like to get tortured, watch this film.

World War Two: Behind Closed Doors
(2008)

The Soviet Union did not invade Poland in September, 1939.
"The truth is that the USSR did not invade Poland in September, 1939. However, so completely has this non-event passed into historiography as "true" that I have yet to find a recent history book from the West that actually gets this correct. The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was a non-aggression pact, not an alliance of any kind. The claim that the USSR and Hitler's Germany were "allies" is simply stated over and over again but is never backed up with any evidence."

The above quote is taken from Grover Furr's book BLOOD LIES: The Evidence that Every Accusation against Joseph Stalin and the Soviet Union in Timothy Snyder's Bloodlands Is False. Plus: What Really Happened in: the Famine of 1932-33; the "Polish Operation"; the "Great Terror"; the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact; the "Soviet invasion of Poland"; the"Katyn Massacre"; the Warsaw Uprising; and "Stalin's Anti-Semitism". New York: Red Star Publishers, 2014.

Those people who want to find out the truth, instead of listening to lies in programs like Behind Closed Doors, should read Furr's books.

Behind Closed Doors is just one of many, many efforts to falsify history in recent decades. Of course, the lies in this program are directed against Russia and, historically, against the Soviet Union. These lies are repeated over and over again in the European Union, in the USA, and in other Western states in order to justify NATO aggression against Russia and to demonize communism. The anti-communist lies present in Behind Closed Doors were thought up in the West during the Cold War, and, after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, they've been promoted as fact. Anyone who points out that these "facts" are in fact lies is ridiculed and attacked, and historians who try to tell the truth are prevented from doing so or threatened with job loss. So, this is what's going on in the "democratic" West and in nationalist European states like Poland. In part, the anti-communist lies are used to justify exploitation in Europe and in the rest of the West. People in the West and in other places are taught that they have no alternative and that social justice is wrong. As many honest people say, living standards for Europeans, especially for Eastern Europeans, fell drastically under capitalism, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the European Union is now, in 2017, a basket case of economic stagnation and degeneracy.

Alien: Covenant
(2017)

Alien: Covenant is a notch better than the expertly crafted but underwhelming Prometheus.
Is Alien: Covenant (2017) really that bad? I did say that it's a disappointing film. What I meant by this is that it's just disappointing and not terrible. In my view, Covenant is a slightly better film than Prometheus (2012) because it makes a little more sense. A few people said to me that they kind of like Covenant. I can understand why they think that. Covenant is entertaining, and it does make more sense than Prometheus, but it also has some of the same problems. Because Covenant is a film by director Ridley Scott, it's a given that it looks very good. And, honestly, I'd like for him to make a sequel to Covenant. I'm a little interested in what he might be able to do with a sequel.

The biggest disappointment of this year at the cinema for me was the film It, which was directed by Andy Muschietti. It didn't even seem like a film to me. More like a collection of nonsense. I can't believe that so many people are praising this film. Sure, it's kind of entertaining, the acting is fine, and there's some humor, but this is where the good stuff ends. And, unfortunately, I fell for the hype. I had a good feeling that I'd be somewhat disappointed by this film because it's hard to adapt Stephen King's thick novel to film, but I didn't think that it would be such a mess. Now I understand why Cary Fukunaga dropped out during the production phase. It seems that he intended to make a good film that respected the material in the novel. The film that we got in the end has few similarities with the novel. What made my viewing experience worse is the fact that I finished reading the novel just several days earlier. It was still fresh in my mind, and I remembered pretty much everything that happened in the novel. When I was watching the film, I couldn't believe what I was seeing. There was plenty of swearing that isn't in the novel. There's no explanation of who Pennywise is. The film is set in 1989, but the filmmakers still decided to make the characters do what they did in 1958. This doesn't work at all. I can't imagine children, and even grownups, behaving like this in the 1980s! I still can't believe that I wasted my money and time on this turd. Avoid it!

So, I finally finished listening to the audiobook of Stephen King's It. It took quite some time because it's about 45 hours long. I didn't get as much enjoyment out of the novel as I did when I read it years ago. I still enjoyed listening to most of it, especially the first half, in which King explains the history of Derry. It's when the reader doesn't yet know what It is. The novel is by no means a masterpiece, and I don't like a few aspects of King's writing, but It still seems pretty good to me after all these years. Now that I'm done with It, I'm listening to Fyodor Dostoyevsky's The Idiot, which is a novel that I've wanted to read for quite some time. Instead of reading The Idiot, I decided to listen to the audiobook since I had a few credits to spend. What's also worth noting is that I've noticed a rather interesting trend in American fiction of the 1980s. I'm now reading a few American science-fiction novels from the 1980s, and something that pops up even in the genre of science-fiction of this period is anti-Soviet propaganda. I'm sure that many people know about the writer Tom Clancy, about the fact that his novels are pretty much anti-Soviet, pro-American military propaganda. Well, all of this isn't a coincidence. The fact that Ronald Reagan praised Clancy's propaganda novel The Hunt for Red October (1984) wasn't a coincidence too. As historian Andrei Fursov explained, the Americans, when Reagan was president, intentionally raised tensions with the Soviet Union. The Americans released a lot of offensive anti-Soviet propaganda in the 1980s. The fact that Hollywood released many action films in the 1980s also wasn't a coincidence. The Americans were intentionally trying to create an atmosphere of tension, violence, and confrontation. They did this because they had a strategy of trying to weaken the Soviet Union and possibly cause it to collapse. It's because they saw this as one of two ways of getting out of the economic crisis that was affecting the West since the early-1970s. The other way for them was war. In the end, we all know that the Americans succeeded, thanks to people like Mikhail Gorbachev. The collapse of the Soviet Union allowed the capitalist ruling class of the West to postpone a serious economic crisis until 2008.

Idiot
(1958)

A masterpiece of film-making that reveals the depths of human psychology.
Some people have been asking me what I think about the summer movies that have been put out in the last few months. Therefore, this is what this post will be about. I haven't been making any film-related videos lately. My videos of late are mostly about culture and sociology, and not about film or anything else. But I still go to the cinema once in a while, mostly to see the special effects featured in Hollywood films. I've read a few articles on the net that state that this year's summer movies are disappointing, that, overall, it hasn't been a blast for moviegoers this summer. Well, I can agree and disagree. Almost all of the films that I've seen this summer are entertaining. But, then again, I haven't seen that many films this summer. I think that Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is the best film in the franchise since Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is in third place for me, and I don't want to see Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End again. Spider-Man: Homecoming is pretty good. It's certainly not the best Spider-Man film ever, as some people have been (suspiciously) saying. It's in third place for me, after Spider-Man 2 (2004) and Spider-Man (2002). Other 2017 summer movies that I consider to be pretty good are Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Kong: Skull Island, Wonder Woman, The Fate of the Furious, Baywatch, and Baby Driver. Now, I don't mean that these films are masterpieces. They're just fine. They entertained me. I didn't mind seeing them one time in a theater. They are, of course, nothing like Apocalypse Now (1979) or The Idiot (1958), for example. By the way, The Idiot by director Ivan Pyryev is one of the best films that I have seen in a long time. What a shame that this magnificent Soviet film doesn't get any recognition in the West because of ideological and political reasons. It should be as well known as War and Peace by director Sergei Bondarchuk. The cinematography is gorgeous and the acting is superb. This is easily the best film adaptation of Fyodor Dostoyevsky's works. The Idiot is highly recommended by me. The Brothers Karamazov is the only Dostoyevsky novel that I've read so far. But, after seeing the 1958 film adaptation of The Idiot, I now have an urge to read the novel. Anyway, when it comes to this year's summer movies, there have also been some disappointments, like The Mummy and Alien: Covenant. So, overall, it has been an average, and not a bad, summer movie season, in my opinion. Nothing truly great like Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) or Dredd (2012) has been released so far this year. Good films like these are rare now. It seems to me that the number one goal of Hollywood film studios now is to make films that are first and foremost entertaining and that feature many special effects, in order to draw in crowds of people. Even the not so good films now are entertaining. The number two goal is propaganda. And quality is only in third place or lower. I think that I've already made a post about the fact that Hollywood has been releasing unoriginal and dumb films for about three decades already. But pretty much everything has gone down in quality and originality in the USA in the last several decades. It's not that all Hollywood films are bad now. Some of them are still good, if not great. It's just that there's nothing new. There's no originality. There's no inventiveness. So, as a sentient organism, and not as one of the sheeple, I have to say that things s*ck, which is a phrase that Americans often use. I should mention that I did see one film not long ago that's not that good but that's still daring and kind of original. It's The Space Between Us (2017) by director Peter Chelsom. Watch it until the end, and I think that you'll be surprised by how old-fashioned, daring, and sweet it is. Another thing worth mentioning is that I saw Rogue One (2016), which is the second Star Wars film made by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, after it came out on video. It is, as I expected, rather dull. I don't want to see it again. It disappointed me even more than Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015). There are only two moments in Rogue One that stood out for me - when Galen Erso delivers an emotional message to his daughter, Jyn Erso, about the Death Star, and when Chirrut Imwe, who's a blind warrior, gets a bag put over his head. One of the few directors working in Hollywood who can film science-fiction well is James Cameron. I heard somewhere that Cameron read many science-fiction novels when he was growing up. If this is true then this must be one of the reasons why he's good at filming science-fiction. Still, his latest film, Avatar (2009), didn't impress me much. Some parts of Avatar are inspired, but, overall, it's not great. Cameron is clearly getting old, and making an original film in Hollywood is difficult now anyway. Lack of originality isn't the only problem with Hollywood films. Another important problem is poor characterization. This comes down to scripts and acting. There's a serious shortage of appealing and interesting characters in Hollywood films now, and not just in summer blockbusters. Those dull, medium and low budget Hollywood dramas and romances feature unappealing characters too. If you want to see good characterization, see The Idiot (1958) as an example. That film puts Hollywood films, and especially summer blockbusters, to shame.

Suicide Squad
(2016)

Suicide Squad delivers a solid two hours of aesthetically pleasing, superpowered action that's just plain fun to watch.
There are currently two serious, mind-boggling questions that need to be answered. First, why did John Flickster watch Fifty Shades Of Black (2016)? Second, why isn't Justin Bieber on display in some zoo? By the way, I like watching some of John Flickster's movie reviews. He has a good channel. Anyway, I watched Suicide Squad (2016) some time ago, and I was somewhat surprised by it. Warner Bros. Pictures is in the process of creating its own so-called cinematic universe with DC Comics superheroes. This decision was influenced by the money-making success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So, like any other large entertainment company without an original idea, Warner Bros. Pictures wants to get in on the action. Some people might say that the company is not off to a good start. They're right. But I still like some things in the movies that Warner Bros. Pictures has released so far. These movies are Man Of Steel (2013), Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice (2016) and Suicide Squad (2016). On the one hand, these movies are dumb, unoriginal, violent and depressing pieces of Hollywood garbage. On the other hand, there are some good ideas in these movies. Also, the acting is good in places, the special effects are good, and, for example, the people that worked on hair and make-up for Suicide Squad deserved winning an Oscar. But this is what one would expect from Warner Bros, which is a major Hollywood studio. I mean, you can't expect a movie with a budget of almost $200 million to be garbage on all levels. Still, because of the problems that I've mentioned, I'm not going to go around and say that I like Suicide Squad or Man Of Steel. Seriously, how can you like a movie in which ships look like johnsons? That's really too bad because I like some other things in Man Of Steel, like the special effects and the designs. Unfortunately, I will never say that I like Man Of Steel because it's depressing, because the characters are not interesting, and because Zack Snyder seems to have an obsession with phallus symbolism in all of his movies. Does anyone remember 300, which was released in 2006? Thanks to that movie, we've learned that soldiers in Ancient Greece spent a lot of time working out in American gyms. Maybe the Persians should have bought passes to American gyms too. Suicide Squad is an entertaining movie. I probably enjoyed watching it more than I enjoyed watching Man Of Steel. Still, like Man Of Steel, Suicide Squad is weighed down by some of the same problems, and it is, first of all, a Hollywood product. I feel the same way about Star Wars: Revenge Of The Sith. I remember watching this movie in a theatre. It's when I was still going to high school. I watched it in the same theatre in which I watched Ghost In The Shell 2: Innocence. It was summer. The auditorium was full of people. There were many children. I remember being entertained by Revenge Of The Sith. It was quite a spectacle on the big screen. It's one of my most memorable theatre going experiences. But now, of course, I know that it's not such a good movie. It has some problems, to say the least. Watching it in a theatre, however, was quite something. There have been so many movies about superheroes in the last decade that there have been talks about superhero movie fatigue, as if people are tired of watching movies about superheroes. Well, I certainly don't have this fatigue. Other people don't have this fatigue too because these movies are still very profitable. If they're done well, they will certainly make a lot of money. Though I have the feeling that Hollywood keeps making these movies not just for profits. It seems to me that these movies have a certain social message, especially movies about teams of superheroes. I think that the concept of superheroes and supervillains in Western society goes back to feudalism and to knights. So much Western literature is about super heroes and super villains. So, Sherlock Holmes just had to be a super detective and Professor Moriarty just had to be a super criminal. This concept of individualism is present in the art and literature of few other cultures.

Howard the Duck
(1986)

That's it, no more Mr. Nice Duck.
Howard The Duck is an interesting film to review. It's a big budget special effects spectacle, and yet there's plenty wrong with it. It is, to put it straight, odd. First of all, there's the twenty-seven-year-old duck Howard (voiced by Chip Zien). He's just like a normal person, except that he's a duck from Duckworld. He doesn't have any superpowers, but he does know quack-fu. The filmmakers made him look appealing, even cute at times, but his range of expressions isn't great because he's brought to life mostly by an animatronic suit. Still, I think that, for their time, the special effects (animatronic suits, costumes and puppets) look good and work well. I didn't have a problem with taking the duck seriously. The only problem with Howard, in my opinion, is that he's not a very likable protagonist. The Howard in the comic book is rude and obnoxious. The Howard in the film is sarcastic. Maybe the problem lies in his personality. Maybe the problem lies in the situations that he gets into. The film was supposed to appeal to children, as well as adults, but some of its dirty humor is not suitable for children. Howard gets beamed from Duckworld to Earth at the very beginning of the film. While this is happening, we're shown impressive views of space, planets and stars, which wouldn't look out of place in Star Trek. But, when Howard ends up on Earth, he has one problem after another, and his situation is a bit depressing because he's like a lost pet or a down-on-his-luck person. This is certainly not Back To The Future (1985). There are problems with the cast as well. The actors don't deliver bad performances, but, because the film is a comedy about a talking duck, their performances are sometimes strange. Firstly, there's Lea Thompson (playing Beverly Switzler), the beauty whose role in Howard The Duck was her biggest one yet. She was cast because of her appearance in Back To The Future. Her performance in Howard The Duck is definitely not one of her best. In some of her interviews, she talked about how unpleasant it was for her during filming. She's good at times, she looks nice, but, with the direction of Willard Huyck, she's often bland. Still, her involvement in the film made it better because she's a good screen presence. Tim Robbins plays Phil Blumburtt, a janitor who pretends to be a scientist. His performance is wacky. One can say that it's bad, but, in my opinion, it suits the film. Jeffrey Jones plays Walter Jenning, a good scientist whose transformation is memorable, yet strange, to say the least. It's also a bit scary, and what is with that voice? Another one of the film's problems is the direction by Huyck. Sure, the film seems coherent. It's not hard to follow the plot. But scenes seem to just happen, often without purpose, and some of them drag on for too long. Anyway, I can go on and on about what's wrong with Howard The Duck. Hardly anything about it seems right. Just about everything seems odd. It has a boring middle section. Did I mention the romance between Howard and Beverly? So, why do I, like many other people, like it? Well, it's because it's a film from the 1980s. It has that 1980s charm, those 1980s special effects, a good rock soundtrack, and it has Lea Thompson. It's a ridiculous, sometimes poorly-made film, but, so much money and effort was spent on it, that it's just interesting to watch and be marvelled by it. I definitely recommend it.

Better Off Dead...
(1985)

I want my two dollars!
I wanted to write a review about Better Off Dead months ago, but, after I watched it for the first time, I immediately became busy doing other things. So, I forgot about the film for a while. But now I'm ready to offer my opinion about this memorable little gem. I've actually known about Better Off Dead for years, but I had no urge to watch it. That's because the DVD cover for the film does not look interesting to me. I also had no interest in John Cusack's work before I watched Better Off Dead. But later, when I decided to watch a number of 1980s teen movies, I saw the original poster for Better Off Dead (which looks much better than the DVD cover) and decided to watch the film. There are teen movies that the entertainment industry keeps telling us about, like The Breakfast Club (1985), and it's these films that people are familiar with. But I discovered that the more memorable films are the ones that don't get advertised and that don't appear on lists of the top films. So, if you're curious about a film that isn't praised by critics, you should still see it. You'll probably discover that it's a good film, regardless of what critics say. My recommendation is to never listen to film critics. I also recommend staying away from those official lists of the top films. Anyway, I had no expectations for Better Off Dead when I began watching it, and I didn't even know what it's about. Needless to say, I was immediately surprised because the film is very funny from the very beginning to the very end. There isn't really a dull moment. The film is so entertaining that I watched it in one sitting (something that I rarely do). The animator Savage Steve Holland wrote and directed Better Off Dead, so he's the one who deserves most of the praise. But there's also a good cast. John Cusack is likable as the normal, depressed, somewhat lazy high school student Lane Myer. Cusack wears an expression of hangdog gloom for most of the film, and this makes the ridiculous situations that Myer get into that much funnier. Myer has problems at home and at school. On top of all that, his girlfriend of six months, Beth (Amanda Wyss), dumps him for the handsome and popular Roy Stalin (Aaron Dozier). Quirky performances by Curtis Armstrong, Daniel Schneider and Diane Franklin also help the momentum of this teen fantasy. Franklin is especially memorable as Monique Junet, a French foreign-exchange student. Much like Lea Thompson, Franklin is nice and eager to talk about her 1980s film roles in real life. I can say that Better Off Dead isn't really about anything. It's only an unusual, very funny coming-of-age story filled with jokes and outlandish incidents. But people (including me) don't seem to care because it's still funny and charming. I definitely recommend it.

John Carter
(2012)

John Carter is fun, charming, visually-impressive, but formulaic.
I'm not entirely sure why a film like John Carter flopped at the box office. I remember that I didn't go see it when it was released in theaters. I saw the trailer, but it didn't interest me. I didn't know what to make of it. There was Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins) talking about a hero, John Carter (Taylor Kitsch), coming to save a dying world. Judging by the trailer, I thought that the film is a fantasy, with a few elements of science-fiction. With all the different creatures, airships, and heavy use of CGI, this film reminded me of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999). So, even though the trailer was good, it didn't hook me. I thought that the film is just another uninspired bore with a lot of computer-generated special effects. But then, a few years later, I came upon the promotional videos for this film, and I saw more of the trailers. I love to read and watch sci-fi, so, when I found out that John Carter is partly a science fiction film, I decided to watch it. The film is based on A Princess Of Mars by author Edgar Rice Burroughs. This novel, originally released in 1917, is an important early work of science fantasy. The story may be nothing special today, but it certainly was one hundred years ago. Edgar Rice Burroughs, the man who also created Tarzan, wrote several more novels in his Barsoom series after A Princess Of Mars. The 2012 film, directed by Andrew Stanton, is a mixed bag in my opinion. On a technical level, John Carter is impressive, though formulaic. There are several famous names in the cast (including Willem Dafoe, Samantha Morton, Thomas Haden Church, Mark Strong, Bryan Cranston and David Schwimmer), but none of them are particularly memorable in their roles. The special-effects are well-done and impressive, but often not visually striking or interesting. The screenplay by Andrew Stanton, Mark Andrews and Michael Chabon is burdened by exposition, and fails at good character development, resulting in a film with pacing issues. But, even with these problems, I enjoyed watching John Carter. It's not, by any means, a boring film. There's plenty of humor. There's action, though not quite enough of it. There's an excellent soundtrack by Michael Giacchino. And it's a visually impressive spectacle. Unfortunately, the film comes off as formulaic. Maybe this is due to its size and the large amount of special effects. So much money was spent on making it, that hardly anything in John Carter seems fresh and original. The Lone Ranger (2013) is another Walt Disney Studios release that has similar problems. I mostly enjoyed watching The Lone Ranger, and a lot of money was spent on making it, but the result is formulaic and not particularly memorable. So, if you're looking for a family-friendly film or if you'd like to see a grand adventure, I recommend watching John Carter.

The Last American Virgin
(1982)

The Last American Virgin is an odd product of its time.
This is not an easy film to review. On the one hand, The Last American Virgin is an obvious cash grab. It's a teen comedy with plenty of female nudity, something that was seemingly popular with audiences back in the early-1980s. This not only speaks about the ongoing degeneration of Western culture but also about what people generally enjoy watching now - mainly nudity, horror and fantasy. So, The Last American Virgin sort of follows the Porky's (1981) formula, but with considerably less style and imagination. I'm thinking that the title too was chosen simply to attract male viewers. And don't forget about those jeans with an open zipper on the film's poster. On the other hand, the two leading actors, Lawrence Monoson and Diane Franklin, deliver good performances, especially in scenes dealing with love and heartbreak. The coming-of-age drama featuring their characters is like a different film within this film. The cast is made up mostly of Jewish-American actors, and director Boaz Davidson is from Israel. The Last American Virgin is a remake of Davidson's 1978 film Lemon Popsicle. Davidson teamed up with Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus of Cannon Films to get The Last American Virgin made and released in the USA. By the way, Cannon Films is best known for releasing several cheesy patriotic action flicks starring Chuck Norris in the 1980s. And so, if you're an adult like me (I'm a young adult) and you get to watch The Last American Virgin, you'll notice that something isn't quite right with this film. And I'm not talking about the not-so-good direction by Davidson. I'm talking about the behavior of the characters and the situations they get into. These characters just don't behave like American teens. This is made clear by the fact that Davidson also wrote the screenplay. What might have looked familiar to an Israeli audience, looks odd to me (I'm Canadian by the way). And I kept thinking that the behavior of these supposedly American teens is intense or strange. It's no wonder that film critic Geoff Andrews called this film "sickening junk." But when this film isn't showing us a group of young men desperately trying to get into the pants of young women or a prostitute, it's showing us one of those young men longing for a beautiful transfer student. How about that? Also, I couldn't believe it when I saw Diane Franklin. I kept thinking that she is too good-looking to be in this film. She has little to say, but her performance is clearly one of the best. When talking about The Last American Virgin, people often mention the soundtrack. The decision to include popular new wave rock songs from that time period was clearly made to appeal to an American teen audience. But these songs aren't used to good effect in the film. Some of them don't even fit the scene. So, given all this, is The Last American Virgin worth recommending? In my opinion, it's not worth recommending. I'd say that it's one of the worst teen movies of the 1980s. It's entertaining, but that's one of the few good things that I can say about it. It's not worth watching even if you're interested in American '80s culture because only the setting and the actors are American.

Terminator Salvation
(2009)

Terminator Salvation is a visual treat with thrilling action.
Too bad I didn't see this film in a theater when it was released back in 2009. For me this is the most enjoyable Terminator film since James Cameron's last effort in 1991. The reason for this is the absence of Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator Salvation. In addition, the filmmakers dared to try new things, resulting in an interesting, entertaining and gritty film. Schwarzenegger, a great presence in the first two Terminator films, should have left the role of the T-800 when he became old. This is my opinion. This would have resulted in better sequels or reboots after James Cameron stopped making Terminator films. Schwarzenegger's presence requires screenwriters to construct a plot revolving around his T-800, and this has resulted in two repetitive and average cash-grabs titled Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines (2003) and Terminator Genisys (2015). This problem is especially clear in Genisys, for which, instead of trying something new, the screenwriters (Laeta Kalogridis and Patrick Lussier) delivered a poorly-written and confusing screenplay because Schwarzenegger, who's 68 years old now, agreed to return. As a result, we got an "old but not obsolete" good Terminator, yet another attempt to prevent Judgment Day, an evil John Connor (something that I really didn't like), and an overstuffed plot with unimaginative details and possible plot holes. Well, Genisys was just another uninspired attempt to make money, however, I still enjoyed the film despite its faults, and I recommend seeing it. Schwarzenegger is no longer the box office draw that he used to be in the 1980s and 1990s, but Emilia Clarke is definitely a good screen presence. And so, Terminator Salvation doesn't have this 'Arnold problem.' It introduces new characters, and further develops established characters like John Connor. On second thought, Connor has little or no character development in this film, but it's still good to see him. We also get to see the future in 2018, after Judgment Day. For the most part, the designers and special-effects technicians did an excellent job creating the robots, vehicles and buildings. Though there are some missteps when we get to see Skynet headquarters. The action scenes that one expects from a film like this are mostly exciting and even original. The images are memorable as well, be it a nuclear explosion, a ruined city, a big deadly Terminator, or an apocalyptic wasteland. Because of all this, Terminator Salvation really deserves to be called a science fiction action film. On the downside, the screenplay by John Brancato and Michael Ferris is unfocused and rather simple. One can say that there are two main characters, but neither one gets enough development. The exploration of human nature that was present in James Cameron's films is absent. But at least the dialogue is fine, for the most part. Director McG can be applauded because he knew what he wanted this film to be like, and he followed through with his vision, resulting in a film that's epic, enjoyable and a bit disturbing. So, I definitely recommend Terminator Salvation. It has its faults, but it does not, as Arnold said, s*ck. It rules.

Terminator Genisys
(2015)

Terminator Genisys is the best film in the franchise since Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
I'm going to get something out of the way immediately. Terminator Genisys is the best Terminator film since Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991). This doesn't mean that it's great. But it is the most enjoyable and most consistent Terminator film since 1991. Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines (2003) and Terminator Salvation (2009) are remembered for their action scenes and little else. Terminator Genisys, on the other hand, stays solid from beginning to end. The marketing campaign for this big budget science fiction action film has been problematic. The trailers weren't really impressive, and the last trailer revealed a part of the plot that should have been kept secret until the film's release. I only like some of the promotional posters. Another thing that seemed strange is the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger (who's 67 years old now) as a T-800 Terminator. Why would an old man play a Terminator? Fortunately, Schwarzenegger's age isn't a problem in the film. His return is welcome by me. He also delivers one of the best performances. Another good performance is by Jason Clarke, who plays leader of the human resistance John Connor. What Clarke does in this film is much better than Christian Bale's bland performance as Connor. I won't even complain about the acting because Jai Courtney (Kyle Reese) and Emilia Clarke (Sarah Connor) are fine as well. They do the best with the dialogue that they've been given. The film's biggest problem is the screenplay by Laeta Kalogridis and Patrick Lussier. It's by no means a wreck, but it's sometimes formulaic, unoriginal and poorly written. Perhaps there are even a few plot holes present. It's one of those things that people have come to expect from Hollywood films these days - a screenplay with poorly written characters. It was written with profits in mind. Still, there are a few good ideas in it, and it provides some good character interactions. When it comes to the characters, what works for me is the relation between Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese and the relation between Sarah Connor and Guardian. These are characters that one grows to like in the course of the film. So, even with the problematic screenplay, no one can really say that they hate Courtney, Clarke and Schwarzenegger in this film. There's a good amount of humor in Terminator Genisys. The film also has a lighter and brighter tone than its gritty and dark predecessors. This is something that I definitely enjoyed because the ending has an optimistic note. By the end, you want these characters to succeed. When it comes to how the film was scored, I can say that Lorne Balfe's music is the best since Brad Fiedel's score for Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Balfe's score isn't full of memorable themes, but this is definitely above average film scoring, with several pleasing tracks. I recommend buying or downloading the score. The biggest draw is, of course, the action. There's nothing here that we haven't seen before, but the film is action-packed nonetheless. The young audience will especially enjoy the robot vs. robot fights. Terminator Genisys has a PG rating, so there's nothing in the action that will offend people. This is what brings me to what mostly upset some fans of James Cameron's Terminator films. Because the filmmakers wanted this film to be family-friendly, they made it like a typical inoffensive summer blockbuster. But, in my opinion, this criticism has been harsh. It's been 30 years since the first Terminator film. One simply can't expect Hollywood to deliver something like James Cameron's effort again. Well, Cameron himself made Titanic (1997) and Avatar (2009) since then, two films that not many people enjoy watching. So, do I recommend Terminator Genisys? Yes, I definitely recommend it. The 2014 remake of RoboCop, for example, really disappointed me, but this reboot of the Terminator franchise made me want to see Terminator Genisys again after it ended.

Tomorrowland
(2015)

A good but formulaic film for children about innovation and utopia.
If you go to see Tomorrowland you should know that this is a film that's aimed at children. I took my girlfriend with me after telling her that I'll pay for the tickets. However, I didn't enjoy watching Tomorrowland as much as I thought I would. That's because there are a number of problems with this film. Firstly, this is more of an adventure film than a science fiction film. It's not so much about Tomorrowland as it is about getting to Tomorrowland. Secondly, while the characters are a likable group of people, they're not that interesting and their motivations aren't that clear. This is mostly a fault of the screenplay by Damon Lindelof. By the way, I was a bit impressed that they were able to find a young actor (Thomas Robinson) who actually resembles George Clooney. And, for once, we get to see a robot in a movie that's good and helpful and not bad and menacing. Thirdly, Tomorrowland is not a well-paced film. Scenes just happen, and you don't get the feeling that there's much of a purpose to what's going on. Logic also goes out the window during some scenes. Perhaps this wouldn't have been such a problem if a number of exciting action scenes were included. But there's hardly any action in the film. The best thing about Tomorrowland is the special effects. This is what one would expect from a $190 million production by Walt Disney Pictures. Tomorrowland itself is mostly a well-designed place. It's a futuristic city that one would definitely want to visit. It's best presented in one memorable lengthy sequence after Casey Newton (Britt Robertson) touches the T pin. But, again, the way that it's presented is best suited for a young audience because Tomorrowland seems more like a theme park than a place where people actually live. And in Disneyland it is a futuristic themed land. Before going to see this film, I watched many of the promotional videos on the internet. The filmmakers and actors mentioned that Tomorrowland is about optimism and innovation. This is something that, I think, works well in the film. While I was watching it I did get the feeling that I can get things done. This message of achievement and positivity is in great contrast to our current stagnant culture of doom and gloom. In a way, Tomorrowland is meant to represent the 1950s and 1960s, a time when things were much better in America. So, do I recommend the film? Yes, I recommend the film. It is, for the most part, enjoyable to watch. It has a good message. But keep in mind that it's a film for children, so adults won't like it as much because the end result is more formulaic than inspired.

Insurgent
(2015)

A serviceable adaptation of the book with a surprisingly effective ending.
I wasn't really excited to see Insurgent, but since my girlfriend wanted to see it I went along with her. I've seen Divergent last year and thought that it's a fine science fiction adventure film for young adults. Though there was too much fighting and too many guns for my taste. Insurgent begins three days after the previous installment and immediately seems like a more entertaining film. That's because it's not burdened by exposition describing what the world is like in this series. There's also more action, something that helps to keep momentum until the thrilling ending. This is again a story about Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley) and her fight against Jeanine (Kate Winslet) and the rest of Erudite. In this difficult struggle she gets help from her boyfriend Four (Theo James), who's really just about every girl's dream man. This time around Woodley shows that she's a very good actress by providing Tris with a considerable amount of depth. There's a reason why the trailers for this film featured footage from the ending. The ending is easily the most compelling part of the film. That's when the science fiction elements come into play. That's when the CGI is used to good effect for the simulations, which are reminiscent of some of the best parts of The Matrix (1999). That's when there are dramatic scenes that truly leave viewers in wonder. In fact, watching the ending of Insurgent was the best time I've had in a movie theater this year before I watched Mad Max: Fury Road. But Insurgent is no Fury Road, and unless you're familiar with the world of this series by author Veronica Roth you won't get much enjoyment out of watching this film. So, do I recommend it? Yes, I recommend Insurgent. You get to see Woodley, James, Zoe Kravitz and Miles Teller on screen, along with accomplished actors Kate Winslet, Naomi Watts and Ashley Judd. The film was scored well by Joseph Trapanese. The CGI is used to good effect in the film's impressive visuals. Sure, Insurgent treads water for the majority of its running time, and the concept of this dystopia story is near ridiculous. However, there's some interesting science fiction on display in addition to the action.

Avengers: Age of Ultron
(2015)

The haters are wrong. Avengers: Age Of Ultron is another fantastic Marvel film.
When I was in a movie theater waiting for Avengers: Age Of Ultron to begin playing, I had low expectations for the film. I've read the reviews online, and many people were saying that Age Of Ultron is dumb, boring and overstuffed with mindless action. In other words, they were saying that this is Marvel's first turkey. So there I was sitting and expecting the worst. After what seemed like half an hour of commercials and trailers, the film began with thrilling action, with the Avengers on a mission. During the fighting new characters were introduced and their powers were demonstrated. This set up everything that followed. I definitely enjoyed the opening act. But wait, some reviewers mentioned that there's a dull middle section after the thrilling opening. So I kept on waiting for the film to get stuck in the mud. An hour passed and Age Of Ultron continued to entertain. In fact, even though the film is over 2 hours long, the time just flies by. After an hour passed I began to realize that the reviewers were wrong or that they were judging the film harshly. I'm pleased to say that Age Of Ultron is another success for Marvel Studios. Actually, I wasn't even thinking about this much because the film kept my attention until the very end. Sure, it's a Hollywood product, but it's a Hollywood product written and directed by Joss Whedon. So Whedon once again delivered what he should have delivered - a real superhero movie. People seem to forget that Age Of Ultron is a superhero movie. It's not The Godfather (1972). It's not Chinatown (1974). And it's not serious science-fiction like Solaris (1972). It's a film based on comic book material. And it delivers what it should - action, comedy, special-effects, fantastic characters and a world under threat. By the way, Whedon delivered all this with intelligence and style. The Avengers - Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Captain America, Black Widow, Hawkeye - are as good as ever. Their interactions are witty, fun and dramatic when needed. The new characters - Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch - are welcome additions. They're played well by Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen. But there's also Vision (Paul Bettany), whose role in the film is almost as important as that of the villain Ultron (James Spader). So I've got to say that this film really surprised me. It's even more entertaining than The Avengers (2012). It may not be better than the first Avengers film, but it's another solid entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. After the impressive Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) I was a bit disappointed by Guardians Of The Galaxy (2014). After watching Age Of Ultron I had the same feeling that I got after watching The Winter Soldier - that things can only go up from here. I definitely recommend Age Of Ultron, and I can't wait to see it again myself. The battle at the end was amazing too by the way.

See all reviews