15 posts categorized "Propaganda"

March 14, 2022


Screen Shot 2022-03-14 at 5.04.49 PMChinese Cinema's signature anti-Japanese racism is on full disturbing display in this bloody death-bath.

Bloody missing eye-balls.

The filmmakers put the dubious mindset directly into the text of a film that views Japanese Karate as a brutal style of fighting developed for its power to maim and kill opponents. 

That's its excuse.


Grand scale fight sequences give way to a mano y mano battle royale climax that provides for some heavy blood-spewing visuals.


Who needs 3D with this kind of fight action.

That wasn't a question.


Take "The Chinese Boxer" for what it is, racist propaganda with a toxic sense of self-hatred as filtered through stylized martial arts fighting.

Well and thoroughly fucked.   

Rated R. 90 mins. 

1 Star


Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

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July 25, 2016



Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon. Thanks a lot pal! Your generosity helps keep the reviews coming!

Cole Smithey on Patreon

Tony Robbins

Netflix audiences may bring a slew of casually-acquired preconceptions to Joe Berlinger’s Kool-Aid-consumed documentary about “life performance coach” extraordinaire Tony Robbins.

The film covers Robbins’s six-day “Date With Destiny” self-help seminar in Boca Raton, Florida. Though this doc initially comes across like a puff piece by the usually more rigorous Berlinger (see “Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger"), the film effectively reveals what goes on at Robbins’s retreats.


You probably won’t pick up any shocking life-hack secrets you didn’t already know from listening to your favorite podcast series, but you will get a charge from the infectious energy on display. Tony Robbins is a monster ball of vim and vigor.

Paul Verhoeven and Werner Herzog look out. 

Famous (or infamous) for his ubiquitous self-help infomercials and celebrity status (for coaching celebs like Oprah, Princess Diana and Nelson Mandela), Tony Robbins puts his outsized personality to use with a 2,500-large crowd of attendees.

Tony Robbins3

Years of delivering such impassioned talks has blown out Robbins’s voice to a rasp. With his giant 6’4” frame, the square-jawed Robins delivers his hyper-caring brand of pop psychology. He wants to end suffering for any human being he can. He considers his subjects’ biggest problem to be that they “think they shouldn’t have them [problems].”  

A handful of the anxious searchers in the packed audience get to enjoy a one-on-one session with the master in front of the whole group. Staff team leaders perform emotional triage to advance [possibly suicidal] attendees for top priority attention during the sessions.

Robbins’s impressive interactions with such audience members prompt some dramatic results. Still, you can’t help but feel like you’re witnessing a parlor trick. The format is clear; by tackling especially difficult cases Robbins rescues people in dire need of a strategy to get through whatever landmine-loaded reality they endure on an immediate basis. Urgency is a factor.

Tony Robbins2

This town hall setting allows Robbins to infuse a new-agey rock ’n’ roll atmosphere (with the help of a high-tech production design and music).

Everyone here paid the seminar’s $5,000 fee. While that's a lot of bread, it’s still a fraction of what you would spend on a drug rehab program.

Tony Robbins appears to be a well-intentioned and effective force of nature. Early into the film we witness a conversation between Robbins and a twentysomething Euro kid with suicidal thoughts. Robbins uses dialectic jujitsu to disarm the young man by insulting the kid’s red tennis shoes.

His methods and career, based on lessons Robbins learned from the late motivational speaker Jim Rohn and from his involvement in John Grinder’s NLP (neurolinguistic programming) are that of a self-made-man whose force of will takes no prisoners. The culty aspects of the retreat are mitigated by the openness that Robbins exhibits throughout the week. Tony Robbins isn’t a guru; he just plays one in your mind.

Not Rated.  115 mins.

3 Stars

March 18, 2016



Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon. Thanks a lot pal! Your generosity keeps the reviews coming!

Cole Smithey on Patreon

Jfk-movie-posterOliver Stone’s “JFK” (1992) is a milestone filmic achievement based on New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison’s investigation into the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Garrison’s tireless inquiry resulted in the indictment and 1969 trial of Clay Shaw — known as “Clem Bertrand” in the New Orleans gay underground where he held court with the likes of Lee Harvey Oswald during the summer of 1963.

With the aid of co-screenwriter Zachary Sklar, Oliver Stone builds the fact-based drama toward Bertrand’s trial to complete this film’s appropriately tempered thematic arc.  

In the best performance of his career, Kevin Costner expresses Jim Garrison’s keen sense of personal integrity to shed essential light on a carefully orchestrated murder whose executioners will likely only be discovered long after the last one has died.

Screen Shot 2022-04-10 at 10.13.11 PM

Jim Garrison’s book “On the Trail of the Assassins,” and Jim Marrs’s “Crossfire: The Plot that Killed Kennedy,” provides the source material that Oliver Stone deftly manipulates with cinematic finesse.

A clip from Eisenhower’s famous 1961 farewell address, during which he warns of the military-industrial complex, sets the tone. The unknown distances between conspiracy theories and conspiracy facts create a wormhole that would have easily have swallowed a lesser filmmaker.

Stone shores up a veritable sea of conspiratorial facts (linked to the C.I.A., the F.B.I. the Secret Service, the U.S. military, and the Dallas Police Department) with a condensed cinematic rendering that does much more than just put names to faces.

Screen Shot 2022-04-10 at 10.14.04 PMThe filmmaker contextualizes a “coup d'état” that was as devastating to American foreign policy as the murder of their 35th President was to its citizens.

Gary Oldman’s spot-on portrayal of Lee Harvey Oswald shows the nimble CIA operative to have fit the bill of a patsy, the word that Oswald used to describe his detention to television cameras.


Systematic mishandling of evidence by the CIA, the Secret Service, the F.B.I., and by Dallas Police recur at a staggering rate. The CIA’s rerouting of Kennedy’s procession path at 11pm on the night before, to go past the crow’s nest-ready book depository reeks like week-old tuna.

Having served in battle in Viet Nam, the veteran soldier Stone has explained from his own experience in the military, it would take four cells of eight “mechanics” (a total of 32 agents) charged to carry out a mission they don’t comprehend until the last possible second. As with firing squads where all but one are firing blanks, none of the could-be assassins would even know if he fired the kill shot.

Screen Shot 2022-04-10 at 10.15.40 PM

As more facts become known about the Kennedy assassination — through investigations such as the one performed in the documentary “JFK: The Smoking Gun” Oliver Stone’s “JFK” remains an important touchstone. Stone pulls out every trick in his arsenal of cinema vocabulary. The result

is a fitting cinematic tribute to John Fitzgerald Kennedy, and to Jim Garrison, two men cut from the same cloth of personal accountability.

Rated R. 189 mins.

5 StarsCozy Cole

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