January 30, 2015, - 3:25 pm

Wknd Box Office: A Most Violent Year (a/k/a “All the Bad Guys Are Jews”), Project Almanac, Black Sea, Black or White, Cake, The Loft

By Debbie Schlussel

I really liked three of the new movies debuting at theaters this weekend, so things are starting to get better.




* “A Most Violent Year“: Shoulda been called, “All the Bad Guys Are Jews.” This movie was heavily pimped at the end of last year for awards–Oscars, local film critics groups, etc. I didn’t vote for it because, while I liked one of its messages, I couldn’t help but notice that every single bad guy in this movie is markedly Jewish. From the loan sharks to the mobster competitors who hire thugs, every single bad guy in this movie is Jewish. And, of course, the hero is a Hispanic immigrant who wants to do everything right and by the book. You see, in Hollywood, all of the minorities in the barnyard are equal, but some are more equal than others.

Oscar Isaac (whose family in real life is Cuban and Guatemalan but he says he took the stage surname of Isaac in tribute to his father’s “Jewish side”) plays Abel Morales, a Cuban immigrant and self-made man who owns a heating oil business. It’s 1981, and he is successful, making a lot of money, and driving his competitors out of business in New York. So, his chief competitor, named “Arnold Klein” and played by Jewish actor (and obvious, desperate self-hater) Glenn Fleshler, hires gunmen to attack his truck drivers and hijack their fuel. The union is pressuring Abel to allow his drivers to carry guns. But Abel is opposed and doesn’t want to resort to violence.

Abel also wants to run his business legally and by the book, and he thinks he’s doing that. But his wife, a mafia boss’ tough daughter (Jessica Chastain), does the accounting and books at the company. Abel buys a piece of land with storage for his fuel, which he buys from money-grubbing, price-exacting Chassidic Jews in full uniform. But the Chassidim only give him 30 days to pay up, and it’s a few million dollars he must come up with. He struggles to get the money and goes to Jewish loan sharks, Saul Lefkowitz and his daughter Lorraine, to get a loan with very steep terms.

In the meantime, Abel is also under investigation for criminal activity in running his business, and a Black prosecutor is going after him. His home is raided by police during his daughter’s birthday party. And that’s after there have been strange break-ins and violence in his home, all perpetrated, apparently, by his Jewish competitor, Arnold Klein.

Okay, I get it. Jews are mobsters, criminals, loan sharks, greedy Chassidic Jews, and violent. Thanks for the tip, filmmakers. You may now return to your SS Officers reunion party. Or your mosque. Did every single villain in this movie have to be Jewish? I mean, every single one? Talk about overkill which would make the ghost of Goebbels proud.

I would have liked this movie if all the bad guys weren’t THE JOOOOOOS, because the movie shows a good businessman trying to run an honest, profitable, decent business, and trying to treat his workers right. Oscar Isaac is a very good actor and reminds me a lot of a young Al Pacino. Plus, as with most period movies, I loved the spot-on accuracy with the ’80s cars and clothes. However, the movie feels like half a movie, even without the Gestapo-laden propaganda against the “Evil Zionists!” And, instead of being a decent flick about doing the right thing in the face of non-stop pressure to do otherwise, this is the subtle, cinematic version of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. So, um, no thanks for the Jew-baiting. Sieg heil.

By the way, Hollywood, when does the movie–where all the crooks and violent guys are Muslim–come out? How about making even one of the terrorists Muslim? Not holdin’ my breath.

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Watch the trailer . . .

* “Project Almanac“: I loved this movie. It was exciting, funny, entertaining, suspenseful, and it raised ethical questions and issues. Plus, the characters were sweet-natured, decent teens and science-obsessed nerds. Gotta love that. I expected to hate this when I saw “MTV Films” emblazoned on the screen as the movie began. But this isn’t your typical MTV fare. It wasn’t filled with drugs and sex (there is a tiny, quick barely there reference to sex having occurred in one scene). Instead, it promotes everything MTV is against: doing the right thing morally, being good to and caring about others, learning about science and math, and being good citizens. And the smart nerds are the good guys. If I had kids, I would allow my high-school-aged teen kids to see it (it’s rated PG-13). The actors in the movie are all unknowns.

Jonny Weston plays David Raskin, a bright, nerdy high school senior who is dying to get into MIT. He creates amazing technology to fly and direct drones using his hands through his cellphone. And he gets into his dream school. The problem is that he only gets a $5,000 scholarship and can’t afford to pay MIT’s steep tuition. His father died when he was just seven, and his mother doesn’t make enough money to afford the school. He’s trying to do another experiment or create another invention to get one last scholarship to MIT, when he and his sister discover a video camera in the attic, taken by their father at David’s seventh birthday party. They see an image of 17-year-old David in the mirror on the video and discover technology and instructions on how to build a time machine in their father’s basement laboratory. Soon, David and his nerdy group of friends, plus a popular girl on whom David has a crush, are building and using the time machine.

What would you do if you could go back in time? Would you do things over? Would you play the lottery? What is the right and ethical way to behave when you have a time machine? This thought-provoking movie raises those questions and more. The movie’s posters proclaim, “Today is better the second time around.” But the movie asks if it actually is better the second time around. And I don’t think it reaches that conclusion.

I found this movie to be charming, witty, and fun. And it’s a great movie, whether or not you’re into science fiction. It reminded me a lot of another movie in which teens discover a super or magical power and what they do with it: 2012’s excellent “Chronicle” (read my review–though I like it better now than I did when I first saw it). Plus I liked the ending.


Watch the trailer . . .

* “Black Sea“: This movie was so suspenseful and filled with thrills that at times it stressed me out. It’s that effective. I enjoyed the story, the suspense, and the adventure, but I wished it did not have the anti-business, class-warfare element to the plot. Still, it’s well-acted, and I enjoyed it immensely. Plus, I liked the ending.

The story: Jude Law plays an English submarine pilot who has just been laid off from the company to which he’s given his best years. He’s divorced and lost custody and rights to see his young son, while his ex-wife, the love of his life, is now married to a rich man, who is raising the child. Law, unemployed, bitter, and looking to make something of himself and get back into his son’s life, learns of a rumored sunken Nazi ship filled with gold. The ship is somewhere at the bottom of the Black Sea, and Law has an idea of where it may be.

Law is hooked up with a wealthy investor who finances the mission to find the ship and the gold. Law brings together a rag-tag crew of divers and others who know how to run a submarine, and he also gets a crew of Russians to join the mission. They use an old, decrepit submarine and look for the ship. During the trip, there is a lot of drama, infighting, and violence, as well as a lot of manifestation of greed. And there’s also a lot of heart-pounding suspense as they not only search for the ship but struggle to stay afloat, alive, and safe.

My description undersells the movie because it’s exciting and engrossing. And not entirely predictable. Very entertaining.

THREE-AND-A-HALF REAGANS (would be FOUR, but for the class-warfare element of the plot)

Watch the trailer . . .

* “Black or White“: I expected to hate this movie and to find a liberal diatribe on race. But it wasn’t that. And it was surprisingly even-handed and balanced. I watched it with a mostly Black audience, and I was surprised to see that many of them applauded the White grandfather in this race-laden custody case movie. I heard many of them jeer at the Black crackhead father in the movie, too.

Written and directed by actor/comedian Mike Binder (a Jewish liberal from Detroit), Kevin Costner invested $9 million of his own money to get this movie made. Binder helped raise his biracial nephew (who has Black family in South Central Los Angeles), and it inspired him to write this movie.

Costner, who is very good in this, plays a White grandfather who, along with his wife, is raising their biracial granddaughter. The girl is the product of their White daughter’s underage “relationship” at age 17 with a 23-year-old Black crack addict. Costner’s daughter died in childbirth. The crack addict has been out of the picture for years, and now Costner’s wife has died (she was killed in a car accident). Costner, a wealthy lawyer with a drinking problem, now must raise his granddaughter on his own and fight the girl’s Black grandmother, Rowena (Octavia Spencer), for custody. And he must do all of this as he grieves for his wife.

While I had some mild objections, the movie is mostly pretty good. One such objection is that every time the movie shows the girl’s absentee crackhead father lighting up his crack pipe, it shows Costner’s character drinking alcohol. But the two are hardly morally equivalent, nor are their addictions. Costner is responsible and hires a driver for whenever he cannot drive, and he is a loving, nurturing parent to the girl, whereas the crackhead is absent and repeatedly lets his daughter down. The movie does show that, however. Also, the movie shows the obvious, sleazy, race-baiting techniques of the Black grandmother’s lawyer. On the other hand, the movie shows the Black grandmother seeking custody to be a successful, loving businesswoman. Is that usually the case in situations like this?

A lot of mainstream (liberal) movie critics don’t like this movie because they hate the ending. And because they hate the balanced look at things here, something they aren’t used to seeing in the theater. They prefer the usual propaganda and agenda-laden narratives. I prefer a fair portrayal of the issues at hand. And this refreshing movie did that in spades, far more than we usually get. It went out of its way to be fair and thoughtful.

I would be remiss if I failed to mention the outstanding acting by all parties in this movie, especially Jillian Estell, the cute, young actress who plays Costner’s granddaughter.


Watch the trailer . . .

* “Cake“: Jennifer Aniston is getting rave reviews for her starring role in this depressing art house movie, mostly–I think–because she’s very de-glammed and very average looking without much makeup in this film. It wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be. But it was kind of pointless, in my view. I felt like I’ve seen this kind of movie a million times before and didn’t need more of this kind of self-absorbed cinematic misery.

Aniston plays a Los-Angeles-area woman who is part of a pain-management support group (is there anything they don’t have a support group for in our ever-softer, wimpy country?). We don’t know why she’s in the group or what happened to her, and we aren’t told until about three-fourths into the movie (though there are strong hints to that point and you can kind of figure it out). We just know that something bad or tragic happened to her. Aniston is kicked out of the group because she’s rude, sullen, obnoxious, and everyone hates her. She is also wealthy, has a full-time Mexican housekeeper, and doesn’t seem to do anything for a living. She also pops a lot of pills, does drugs, and sleeps with the help.

Soon, Aniston becomes obsessed with a woman who was in the support group but committed suicide. Aniston goes to where the woman committed suicide and imagines herself re-enacting it. She also stalks the woman’s widower and visits his home. But they become friends. Still, throughout all of this, we know something is terribly wrong with Aniston and she has failed to face it, grieve, and move on with her life.

It finally becomes obvious what that is when it all comes to a a head. I could have done without the slowness and then sudden onslaught of melodrama that is this movie. It was boring and then way too much. I wouldn’t spent ten bucks-plus to see this. I want to go to the movies to escape or learn something or be entertained and come out happy. This did none of those things. But maybe it will help someone who has faced a tragic loss (in how NOT to face grief).

Or maybe not.

Either way, it qualifies as great torture material for the few remaining Gitmo detainees.


Watch the trailer . . .

* “The Loft“: This was not screened for critics. But ignoring the stark signs, I went, last night, to see it on my own, so I could review it for you here. In a word: Oy. I thought this was going to be a guilty pleasure, as it could and should have been. Instead, it was a long, slow bore, and I struggled to stay awake.

The story: Five married men who are friends (four of whom are good-looking plus one very fat Eric Stonestreet) pay equal rent on a fancy loft in Manhattan. Each has a key, and they use the loft for extra-marital trysts. But one day, they discover a bloodied, dead, body of a blonde woman in the bed at the loft. And all of them are under suspicion from the police (and each other) about who murdered her and why. All of them are hiding the secret of the loft and their extramarital affairs from their wives.

Believe me, I’m making it sound far more exciting and thrilling than it actually is. The movie isn’t just cliched–that might still be fun and entertaining to watch. It’s nonsensical and stupid. I didn’t end up caring who did it or why. I just kept focusing on how nothing is happening in this movie and I just wasted my money and time on crap. Also, one of the blonde chicks in the movie looks like a Vulcan alien (or like E.T.–phone home!).

The only funny part of this movie is when the fat guy makes fun of a fat chick (but then he ends up with her–water rises to its own level). The rest of the movie was lame.

The poster for this movie urges people to “Indulge.” But this isn’t an indulgence. It’s just crap.

Skip this.


Watch the trailer . . .

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12 Responses

Glad to hear good reviews for Black Or White. I read in some places that Costner had struggled to raise funds to get this movie made, released and distributed – apparently an indicator of how much the Jackson/Sharpton narrative on race relations is entrenched in Hollywood.

ConcernedPatriot on January 30, 2015 at 5:38 pm

Yeah, was considering watching Black Or White. Having seen the above reviews, also considering now Black Sea and Project Almanac. It’s been years since I’ve resumed movie watching

Infidel on January 30, 2015 at 6:30 pm

“Did every single villain in this movie have to be Jewish?”

Your description made my head spin – so many evil Jews everywhere!

DS_ROCKS! on January 30, 2015 at 6:40 pm

Wow 101/2 Reagans ! That must be a record .
I love your movie reviews.

A Charles Martel fan on January 31, 2015 at 7:55 am

The writers of A Most Violent Year need to meet the Albanian mafia. Then they’ll know what a most violent year really is.

Jack on January 31, 2015 at 12:02 pm

I always read your reviews.
Thanks for keeping us updated.

Jeff Schrembs

Jeff Schrembs on January 31, 2015 at 12:40 pm

One movie worth seeing even though not really my kind of thing. This is a good week.
Thanks Debbie.

japple on January 31, 2015 at 1:38 pm

Sorry, make that two.

japple on January 31, 2015 at 1:40 pm

“Black Sea” looks highly promising. But like all submarine films, especially the great ones (“Das Boot,” “Crimson Tide”), it may induce claustrophobia.

Primetime on January 31, 2015 at 3:58 pm

    I’d rank ‘U-571’ over ‘Crimson Tide’. Not as good is another submarine story I saw recently, “In Enemy Hands”. It presents a very PC “The German submariners are just like us” attitude, including a climactic refusal to follow naval orders that will benefit the US war effort in order to “keep a promise” to the German captain. ‘Black Sea’ looks good.

    Raymond in DC on February 2, 2015 at 2:25 pm

We stopped going to movies many years ago as all Hollywood did was push their agenda, showing whites as bad, blacks as good, too much drugs and unnecessary sex, no story, actors mumble, bad story lines and so much more. Why pay to support the enemy as they brainwash our youth. BOYCOTT HOLLYWOOD. Also Hollywood gives so much money to the Democratic Party or should I say the New Communist Party since they have taken over the Democratic Party.

Ann on February 1, 2015 at 1:22 pm

So “A Most Violent Year” is anti-Semitic because most if not off all of the bad guys are Jews- does that make “The Godfather” or “The Sopranos” anti-Italian because all of the bad guyss are Italo- or Sicilian Americans???

Terry Washington on February 2, 2015 at 3:49 am

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