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Commie Crix Clobber "Crystal Skull"


Far from being tossed onto the trash heap of history, the Russian Communist Party has recovered very nicely from the downfall of the Soviet Union by entering another field: film criticism.

After ripping “Armageddon” a few years ago because it impugned the quality of  Russian space hardware, they are taking to task Steven Spielberg’s International blockbuster “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.” Says St Petersburg Communist Party chief Sergei Malinkovich, “It’s rubbish ... In 1957 the communists did not run with crystal skulls throughout the U.S. Why should we agree to that sort of lie and let the West trick our youth?” He called for the film to banned.  Another party member added, “Harrison Ford and Cate Blanchett (are) second-rate actors, serving as the running dogs of the CIA. We need to deprive these people of the right of entering the country.”

 Meanwhile, some right-leaning critics here in the U.S. have also faulted the film, but rather than finding its politics  anti-Communist, they see it as pro-liberal, if not downright pink. Writes  the blogger “Dirty Harry” on the website “Libertas,”  “As far as the film’s politics, act one’s anti-anti-Communist message serves no story purpose whatsoever. Jones did not need to be fired [ because the FBI suspects him of being a Red]  in order to be sent off on an adventure and the story-point is never again picked up or resolved — making it a first for an Indiana Jones’ film: an awkward, ham-fisted political message shoe-horned in at the expense of story quality.” (for a more ideologically sound entertainment, he recommends renting “Rambo:” “…an unsparing look at the evil that exists in our world without any of the politically-correct nonsense of a European arch-villain. Stallone may be too savvy to say so, but if his use of Burma isn’t an allegory for the War on Terror, I don’t know what is. Any liberals at all interested in what will happen in Iraq should Obama keep his promise to offer up a surrender date may want to Netflix this”).

So there you go: touch on politics and nobody’s happy, except maybe the silent but savvy Sylvester Stallone. Which doesn’t stop Nick Turse on “Alternet” from arguing that Hollywood blockbusters, in particular “Iron Man,” serve to rewrite recent history exonerating the US from all wrongdoing in the War against Terror. But according to “New York Post” film critic Kyle Smith’s take on “Iron Man”,  the opposite is the case:“There are only two scenes (including the one with the first Iron Man costume) in which Iron Man blows away America’s enemies; he spends about as much time fighting the U.S. Air Force (destroying an F-22 and nearly killing a pilot in the process) and US industry.         
“You would think that, in 2008, it wouldn’t be so difficult for a screenplay to imagine some villains for an American to fight, but according to this movie (really? again?) our deadliest enemies are domestic.
“Even assuming that were true (news flash: it isn’t), it weakens Iron Man, and the movie. The second half of it is guilt trip, and guilt isn’t fun. When Iron Man goes to rescue some Afghanistan villagers …his is some sort of prosaic U.N. mission, not an epic clash of good and evil.”

Who to believe? Says voice of reason  in the “Daily Standard”  If you go into ‘Iron Man’ seeking right-wing imagery, you'll find it: Tony Stark is a patriot, pro-military, and likes unilateral intervention. If you go into ‘Iron Man’ looking for left-wing imagery, you’ll find that, too.”

Which kind of answers a question that's been bugging me lately: why haven't any of the presidential candidates tried to score easy points like they do in every election by taking cheap shots at Hollywood “indecency” or “anti-Americanism?” Now I can see that it’s just too risky: who knows whether the film is liberal or conserrvative and who you might be offending? (Mind you, in the case of the films such as the upcoming remake of John Milius’s “Red Dawn,” there might not be this uncertainty.)

That doesn’t stop Sharon Stone from putting in her two cents worth about the Chinese earthquakes, blaming them on karma from the oppression of Tibet. All it got for her was a ban of her films in China. So now a billion people can’t see “Basic Instinct 2.” Mix politics and movies and everyone loses.

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Peter Keough tosses away all pretenses of objectivity, good taste and sanity and writes what he damn well pleases under the guise of a film blog.

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