October 6, 2012, - 7:56 pm

UPDATED: Wknd Box Office: Taken 2, Butter, The Master, Frankenweenie

By Debbie Schlussel

Due to the Jewish holidays, I was unable to attend the “Frankenweenie” critics’ screening, but I will see it later this weekend and post my review. Of the new movies I did see, only one is worth seeing, even if its star has a silly love affair with Islam. **** UPDATE, 10/7/12: I’ve added my review of “Frankenweenie,” below–the movie is fabulous! ****

* “Taken 2“: This isn’t nearly as good as the original “Taken” (read my review), to which it is a sequel. But it’s good enough, and I liked it. It should be a big hint that it’s being panned universally by mainstream media movie critics. If you were expecting a deep, thoughtful, Shakespearian masterpiece, then you clearly didn’t see the first “Taken.” And you are applying standards to this movie that you don’t apply to most others. I liked this, even if, per usual, the references to the villains being Muslim are muted–muted even from the original trailer for the movie. But they aren’t muted enough. It’s quite clear–even clearer than in the first “Taken”–that the brutal, violent, unforgiving, dishonorable, murderous villains here are Albanian Muslims, who get quite a bit of help from the Turkish Muslims in the movie’s setting of Istanbul. You’ll have to suspend your knowledge that the movie’s star, Liam Neeson, said he fell in love with Islam while filming this and considered converting to this violent religion and that he made the preposterous claim that the lion in “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” is Mohammed, when it was clearly meant by devout Christian author C.S. Lewis to be Jesus, nothing else. (No surprise, given that this is coming from the son-in-law of dhimmi, pro-terrorist skank, Vanessa Redgrave.)

You don’t have to see the original “Taken” to see this, but a quick summary is in order here. In the original, Neeson is retired CIA agent Bryan Mills, whose teen daughter goes to Paris for the summer. When she is kidnapped by Albanian Muslim slave traders and sold into sex slavery to Arab Muslims, Neeson goes to Paris to find her, rescue her, and kill her captors. He achieves all three with aplomb. In this second installment, the father of one of the Muslim sex slavers wants vengeance. Neeson has just finished a private security gig in Istanbul, protecting some Arab Muslim. He invites his ex-wife and their daughter (Maggie Grace) to Istanbul to spend some quality time, when Neeson and his ex (Famke Janssen) are kidnapped by the Muslims, and Neeson enlists his secret agent skills to get out with the help of his daughter and then rescue the ex. Throughout Turkish Muslims help the Albanians and don’t help Neeson or his family, to whom they are particularly unfriendly. And the Muslim stuff is clear. We see the villains wearing Islamic garb and praying to allah. And that’s not to mention the quick shots of the crescent and star tattoos–bearing the symbol of Islam–also shown on the villains in the first movie. Muslims and their friends won’t like this. But you will.

Like I said, the movie’s not deep stuff (and it’s predictable), but neither is there depth in James Bond movies, superhero movies, etc. This is an escapist delight. And I enjoyed it. You know what you’re getting here before you buy the ticket, and it doesn’t disappoint. Again, not nearly as good as the first one, but pretty good. And it’s very clear that the Muslims are the bad guys all around in this movie–something you rarely see from Hollywood. And, toward the end, there’s a great scene in which you’re led to believe that Neeson is acting like a stupid liberal and that it will be the death of him. But it’s a good trick, proving yet again that the Muslim villains have no honor, no decency to speak of. But we knew that. Good to see a major motion picture release reaffirm it, rather than fantasize otherwise.


Watch the trailer . . .

* “Butter“: This movie is meant to be a parable of some sort–a satiric take on the Clintons versus Barack Obama or John McCain versus Obama. Regardless, it’s clearly about the “greatness” and ascendance of Obama, and it’s a very clear knock on conservatives and conservative values. And it’s silly and a waste of time, not worth your ten dollars and 1.5 hours . . . even to see the butter version of “Schindler’s List” on quick display here. Question: is there a coincidence that a Black Muslim girl was tapped to play the Obama figure here? Just askin’.

This is the story of an Iowa butter carving champion (Ty Burrell) who retires. But his perfect, conservative wife (Jennifer Garner a/k/a Mrs. Ben Affleck) can’t handle it, so she takes his place, entering the butter carving competition. She’s very good, but she’s soon upstaged by a young Black girl (Yara Shahidi), who is a foster child to White people and utters such slogans as, “White people are weird.” (You think a White hero of a movie could utter, “Black people are weird,” and get away with it?) The Black girl is helped by a disgruntled stripper (Olivia Wilde), while the wife resorts to unethical behavior to try to win, all while touting conservative values. Alicia Silverstone and Hugh Jackman also co-star.

Like I said, this is a cheap, stupid attack on conservatives and middle America. And it’s full of the c-word, lesbian make-out scenes, and other similar stuff gratuitously inserted to shock. Instead, it was just a bore like the rest of this waste of time movie.

Skip it.


Watch the trailer . . .

* “The Master“: If this is a knock on Scientology–as it’s alleged to be–the Scientologists have nothing to worry about. The movie is long, boring, and a complete waste of time. The only similarities at all to Scientology are that it’s about a silly cult parading as a religion, complete with stupid BS as its philosophy, and the leader of the cult is a total phony. Even the son of the cult leader (the cult leader is played by Philip Seymour Hoffman) knows he’s a complete fraud and says as much to Joaquin Phoenix, who plays a new follower. The setting is the early ’50s, and Phoenix is a lowlife drunk who is a Navy veteran of World War II (yup, another Hollywood flick in which the military veteran is a scumbag). He’s obsessed with sex and drinking and makes a “tonic” with part paint thinner in it (not sure how you can drink that and survive–and one guy dies from stealing the batch and making too much).

The movie goes on and on and on with zero point to it. But along the way, we see a scene in which women of all ages walk around in full frontal nudity for the cult leader (though it’s not clear if this is real or in the imagination of Phoenix–either way, it doesn’t matter ‘cuz the scene was unnecessary and low class), another scene in which the cult leader’s wife (Amy Adams) masturbates him in the bathroom, and yet another with Phoenix having sex with a sand sculpture of a woman on the beach, after which he masturbates. Oh, and it’s filled with the c- and p-words. You stay classy, Hollywood.

Complete and total garbage. Where do I go to get the nearly 2.5 hours of my life back that I wasted on this?


Watch the trailer . . .

* “Frankenweenie“: This was absolutely terrific. Fantastic animation, cool and creepy story, cute and funny throughout, and just all-around great. I saw this in 2D, and enjoyed it thoroughly, so I can only imagine how much better the already stellar animation looks in 3D. It’s in black and white and appears to take place in the ’50s. My only reservation is that while kids will enjoy this, they may be a little scared by it. It’s dark and creepy, if in an ultimately cute way.

Victor Frankenstein is a nerdy, genius kid with no friends, but a strong interest in science. He loves his dog, Sparky. His parents, worried about his lack of friends, and they allow him to participate in the science competition, so long as he joins the school baseball team. But at his first outing, he hits a home run, with the ball out of the park. His dog chases the ball, gets hit by a car, and dies. Victor is extremely depressed. Soon, though, Victor is inspired by his quirky mad genius new science teacher to try to bring Sparky back to life using lightning and electric current. He succeeds and tries to keep it a secret, but the secret gets out when one of his creepy classmates discovers it and blabs. Soon, Victor’s other classmates are trying to find out what he did and imitate his experiment, so that they can win the trophy at the science fair.

One cute thing you’ll notice is that each of Victor’s creepy classmates is modeled after and resembles a major scary character in a classic horror film. This movie is so clever that kids might not get a lot of it, but adults will thoroughly enjoy it. I loved every minute of it. Perfectly fine in 2D. One of the best animated movies I’ve seen in a long time.


Watch the trailer . . .

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38 Responses

I enjoyed your review of “The Master”. The only one I have read that was not fawning, pretentious and crowning this film as the re-invention of the movie-making process. I’ll take your word for it. I’ve always regret when I don’t.

By the 5th fawning review of “The Master” I could garner just from the reviews themselves (when they really didn’t even go into it) that this movie was no threat to “Scientology”. Using deductive reasoning I saw the director was into showcasing something other than that. Plus no one in Hollywood has the balls to put the pedal to the metal regarding “Scientology”.

Taken 2 sounds watchable. I loved the first one and only saw it after your review (I usually skip American films…) I wasn’t sorry I did. I would have missed out on a good flick otherwise.

Skunky on October 6, 2012 at 8:21 pm

Debbie I saw Frankenweenie with some kids. I would like to offer you my per-review: First of all one girl wanted a Coke and two others wanted popcorn. They had a medium drink and popcorn deal for $12.25, a 50 cent savings over buying the items a la carte. But the counter girl upsold me to a large popcorn with free refills for only $1 more. I took the medium drink which I could barely hold in one hand and must have been 64 ounces, the very large vat of popcorn and 4 extra free plastic trays I shnorred for sharing the bottomless popcorn. As the movie started I went to get a diet coke zero I had left in my car, smuggled that in and refilled the pocorn vat too. The movie was decent, I’ve seen some better and some worse. I was IPhoning during parts of it with my screen brightness turned all the way down and nobody else near me anyway, but I don’t think I missed much. After the movie the kids played a few arcade games in the theater lobby. Then we all walked to a pizzeria for cheese pizza followed by a stroll next door for self serve frozen yogurt and toppings at a place where they weigh everything and then you pay. Kids these days live like kings, Debbie. I used to get 25 cents once in a while to buy a candy bar and considered myself lucky to get it.

A1 on October 6, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    A1, you better stop “touching” those kids in public as you won’t be able to stalk Debbie in prison.

    skzion on October 7, 2012 at 12:23 am

I would not spend one cent to pay to see Liam Douchebag in a movie; however, I would more than pay good money to see someone strangle to death his mother in law, Vanessa Redgrave, queen of the anti-Semites.

Jonathan E. Grant on October 6, 2012 at 9:14 pm

I’m going to see Taken 2. If it’s a Luc Besson related movie I’m there.

You’re right, Debbie. Besson’s movies aren’t always the most realistic movies but they are tons of fun to me. The guy just has a certain style. All his movies are so “cool” to me, even though I would like just a tad more realism at times.

I’m going to have to read up some more on Besson and Islam. He seems one of the very few who seems to not kowtow to them like the rest. Muslims were the bad guys in From Paris With Love, too. Besson isn’t a saint, but he was one of the few to take a stand against Polanski, too.

Jeff_W on October 6, 2012 at 11:03 pm

Speaking of movies….I’m beyond stoked for the new James Bond movie Skyfall coming soon.

I could be 100% wrong, but from the previews it looks like they might have gotten the formula down with the Daniel Craig version. Craig rescued the franchise after the disaster of Roger Moore as the star for years.

I still can’t bear to say Craig is better than Connery. I view them as separate, comparing apples to oranges. But, Daniel Craig is awesome as Bond.

Jeff_W on October 6, 2012 at 11:09 pm

Luckily, where I am at (Afghanistan) I can get all these new releases for $2. Pretty good pirated copies I might add. Even at that bargain price, I still won’t watch most of these crappy movies because unlike the $2, my time I value as priceless and like DS, once wasted you cannot get it back. I’d rather go spend a couple hours in the gym. Looking forward to Skyfall as well. I’ll probably have it before it even hits the theatres.

I love not contributing to the pockets of Hollyweird…

Jim from Texas on October 6, 2012 at 11:41 pm

I’m a little confused about Neeson. If he loves Islam so much, why enact a part that is shows Islam in such a truthfully bad light? Is he just an amoral self-promoter? Or is he so stupid he doesn’t understand his movie’s anti-Islamic content?

skzion on October 7, 2012 at 12:29 am

    Or has he had an epiphany? It could happen.

    Italkit on October 7, 2012 at 2:02 am

    Simple answer, skzion…

    HE. IS. AN. AC. TOR.

    You can pay a bacha-bazi boy toy to a 10th-rate Islamaholic warlord an SUV-load of Greenbacks, Loonies and Toonies, Yens and Euroes, and you can make him play a studly, terrorist-trashing mensch to the hilt.

    If you were to get sick skills and you were given serious bank, you’d probably do a better job than Liam Neeson.

    I’m sticking with “Fullmetal Alchemist” on Netflix.

    The Reverend Jacques on October 7, 2012 at 2:03 am

      Rev, whatever my skills, I would not do an anti-Jewish film. Frankly, given the Muslim attack on Christianity, I would not do an anti-Christian film either.

      If I were a defense lawyer, I would not defend a Muslim unless it weakened Islam overall.

      I don’t think one needs to sell one’s soul to practice one’s profession.

      skzion on October 7, 2012 at 4:22 am

        Right back @ Scion – er, skzion:

        Rev, whatever my skills, I would not do an anti-Jewish film. Frankly, given the Muslim attack on Christianity, I would not do an anti-Christian film either.

        I don’t doubt for a moment that there are actors who hold principles over profit. I’m just saying that many mainstream artists tend to have a mercenary approach to their craft.

        I don’t care too much about an actor’s politics, religion or dietary habits (although I do draw the line at Alicia Silverstone’s baby-feeding habits, and Sean Penn’s dances with devils). As long as they are able to suspend my disbelief for 2 hours +, then they get my money.

        That said, I’d stick to watching trailers and reviews to filter out those movies that are thinly-veiled indoctrination propaganda. I love to be entertained, not have an ideology shoved down my throat. The story and execution should count.

        As for lawyers, I don’t doubt for a moment that there are those who hold principles over profit…

        The Reverend Jacques on October 7, 2012 at 2:40 pm

Guess they didn’t submit Taken 2 for this hollywood review and stamp of approval.


ender on October 7, 2012 at 12:33 am

Somewhere buried in “The Master” was a good movie. This is what happens when Hollywood decides that a director is the next Orson Welles and puts no governor on his actions whatsoever.

The psychological attraction between a feral loser and a fraud might make for an interesting movie. The rough start and stops of the birthing of a movement might make for an interesting movie. A period piece of the late 40s, early 50s might make for an interesting movie.

All Anderson did was destroy the entire movie with one grotesque scene after another.

gmartinz on October 7, 2012 at 12:53 am

    Agreed. If the budget were smaller and had the director stuck to the main premise of the story (that of Man begetting God begetting religion), this would have been a great movie.

    I am tempted to see The Master just for the story. I’m at least forewarned by Debbie on what to expect.

    The Reverend Jacques on October 7, 2012 at 4:49 pm

“Complete and total garbage. Where do I go to get the nearly 2.5 hours of my life back that I wasted on this?”

Debbie, if you were Catholic, I’d suggest confession. Why do you fill your eyes and soul with this stuff? It DOES have an effect. You are not so holy as to be immune to its corrosive effects. You’re selling your soul for a little recognition as a film critic? Go read some Psalms. Time is relative but at least you’ll restore the damage done.

Italkit on October 7, 2012 at 1:59 am

    Well, last Thursday I did see “The Master.” There was nothing harmful to the soul about it. Earth to Hollywood-haters: Depiction is not advocacy. What writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson wanted to show was the effect of a cult-like atmosphere on a confused, anomic individual. The central character, played by Joaquin Phoenix, was that type of person — and I’ve known all too many in my life. As a character sketch of proto-totalitarianism, it was a great film, as good, in fact, as Anderson’s earlier “There Will Be Blood.” The 2:17 running time was well worth the money, and besides, it beat going to confession.

    rocker on October 7, 2012 at 10:41 am

      No, the movement had absolutely no effect upon Phoenix’s character. The whole thing was a fraud: a follower can get out of it whatever he interprets it to be, because on its face, there’s nothing of substance. Phoenix’s character couldn’t get anything out of it because he was incapable of interpreting anything. The Master is envious of Phoenix’s “freedom,” but he’s not free; really, he just hasn’t been arrested or murdered yet.

      gmartinz on October 7, 2012 at 5:05 pm

* “Taken 2“: This isn’t nearly as good as the original…

That’s hardly a recommendation. I found the first “Taken” to be barely good enough; it’s only saving grace was that it dramatically depicted a defense of TORTURE of evil men for the sake of a righteous cause (in that case, finding his daughter’s kidnappers who could have raped/tortured/killed her). \

If the sequel is “not nearly as good” then it’s not good enough to watch and pay my money for.

Hesperado on October 7, 2012 at 3:25 am

So, like wait for it to come out on Netflix live stream. That way if you hate it you can flip over to a zombie movie. It’s hard to imagine Liam Neeson (or anyone with a brain) being stupid enough to convert to Islam, whatever that means. (I find the entire concept of “coversion” silly and meaningless) I’m looking forward to this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5ngvk4D4RI

Bad sword play and marginal side kicks, but you can’t beat pretty soldier girlies, splattering zombies and ridiculing Muslims.

Pray Hard on October 7, 2012 at 10:19 am

    That’s a great concept. I gave that trailer a “like” on YouTube.

    That said, there’s better cheese at Pete’s Frootique in downtown Halifax, off Spring Garden Road. You can get anything there!

    The Reverend Jacques on October 7, 2012 at 2:48 pm

U have the absolute wrong idea and knowlegde of what islam is all about. Of course movies will be made tarnishing the great reputation of islam because the people making the movies dislike islam,obviously justice won’t be done have u no respect for religion not only islam here bt whatever religion,it’s still a religion of GOD. Respect yourselves please!!!

hannah on October 7, 2012 at 10:35 am

    hannah dear, why are you using a non-Muslim “name” here?

    Muslim lying is such an integral part of Islam that it becomes instinctive.

    skzion on October 7, 2012 at 12:57 pm

I was hoping against hope that two weeks could go by without a movie about masturbation, vomiting, or scatological references. But it was too much to expect.

Just think of everything that the movies with Garbo and John Wayne were missing!

Little Al on October 7, 2012 at 11:06 am

skzion is right — when a lawyer defends creepy characters, it is saying something about that attorney. Of course they set up ethical codes to defend their degenerate practices, but attorneys or CPAs that help slimey people are not really any better.

Little Al on October 7, 2012 at 11:10 am

I am glad we stopped going to movies years ago. Just trash coming out now. I recently watched some movies from the 1940’s and was thinking “wow has the movie industry fallen into pure trash” since the 40’s.

The older movies had greater values, better looking actors who loved America, and great dialog that you can understand, not like the mumbler of today. Even when these so called “actors” or “stars” appear on an interview show they dress like bums. Our society has fallen as America has.

Fred on October 7, 2012 at 11:23 am

    Oh, yeah. The American films of the Forties. Which featured, with few exceptions, hammy acting with dialogue taken at a machine gun cadence, poor lighting, unimaginative set design, hack direction, and a rigid in-house censorship code that some dopes out there confuse with being “wholesome.” No thanks. I’ll take the movies of today.

    Seek on October 9, 2012 at 1:41 pm

I am so glad there is a great review for “Frankenweenie”! It sounds right up my dark alley and I love October and Halloween even more!

You were right about “Coraline” and I adored that so my next film will be “Frankenweenie”!

Skunky on October 7, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    I loved “The Nightmare Before Christmas”. I’ll surely go for “Frankenweenie”.

    The Reverend Jacques on October 7, 2012 at 2:42 pm

Frankenweenie for me too.

skzion on October 7, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Tim Burton is a genius. His animated movies are a great homage to Ray Harryhausen. Most people do not realize how painstakingly slow it is to make a stop motion animation film. To move a character and film it then move it again etc. etc.

Glen Benjamin on October 7, 2012 at 3:54 pm

I just saw “Taken” (1) per your review, and you’re right, Debbie – it was *very* odd seeing the criminals being portrayed clearly as muslims even though it was never said as much. It’s amazing how far political correctness has continued to advance in just three short years.

And, @ Glen, I’m pretty sure that most non-industry people are savvy enough these days to understand stop-motion, but I think that most of them don’t care about the difference (digital vs. stop-motion or cell animation.) I know that I don’t. Stop-motion is suited for Gumby or aspiring teenage film makers’ home projects, but I think it’s mainly a Burton fetish. Don’t misunderstand – I’m happy that he does it and keeps those artists employed with his regular projects, but I don’t see that it enhances the films.

DS_ROCKS! on October 7, 2012 at 11:53 pm


Question – for those who see Islam as a cult, could ‘The Master’ have been a parody on Islam?

Infidel on October 8, 2012 at 12:07 am

Taken 2 was good.

I saw Pitch Perfect too. If you want to watch something that physically makes you ill, watch Pitch Perfect. I found myself constantly looking around the movie theatre for something to stab myself with to take away the pain of the horrible dialogue, skuzzy characters, and horrible plotline.

Too add insult to injury, this creepy movie even has to find a way to insult Jews by having “Fat Amy” make fun of deaf Jews and then again saying some rather derogatory things.

I repeat, DO NOT GO SEE PITCH PERFECT! Not even for lets-go-see-a-cutsy movie type mood!

Whoomp there it is on October 8, 2012 at 2:39 am

Maybe you should learn about islam before bashing it or labeling the 1.5 billion muslims as terrorists. Maybe you are spoon fed that bs from the media but only in America are people fearful of muslims because your government wants to do false flags to invade countries for oil and demonize and dehumanize people to justify their disgusting actions. Unintelligent people like you spreading hate is disgraceful. Read a book. I guess when Jesus returns we will see who he stands with.

Jim Bob on January 4, 2013 at 7:32 am

“Liam Neeson, said he fell in love with Islam while filming this and considered converting to this violent religion”. -Debbie Schlussel

I’m wondering if you ever been to school and if so how much and how did you pay your way through because you and the producers and writers of this movie are full of hate. I wonder how do you get through life like that? You guys would’ve made great comrades with Hitler’s clan.

Max on January 10, 2013 at 5:08 am

This is old. One small point: L Ron Hubbard was a former Navy man. That’s why the staff at the Scientology World Headquarters wear Navy type uniforms (I once worked at the Kaiser Medical Center across the street). He also WAS a scumbag and a complete phony.

Hey, I love Vets. I thank them for their service. But L RON= Ron Paul, another military vet, in scumbaggery. (Air Force.)

Doin’t forget both Carter and McCain are Navy Vets, Annapolis trained at that.

Occam's Tool on June 19, 2014 at 5:03 pm

By the way, Frankenweenie WAS awesome.

Occam's Tool on June 19, 2014 at 5:05 pm

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