Politically Incorrect Hollywood: Some Films to see

Although at times it feels---quite correctly---like one is swamped with Politically Correct propaganda in the movies and television and magazines, a number of films have been made over the years that buck the trend. Unfortunately, many of them have not been well-publicized and/or not as patronized by conservatives as they should have been. By comparison, every time Hanoi Jane, Michael Moore, or Oliver Stone make a movie, liberals trample themselves over in a mad stampede to support their propaganda movies; conservatives, on the other hand, when they hear of a movie that might be putting up a fight against the totalitarians, often stay at home scratching their rear ends, complaining that Hollywood doesn’t make enough movies that support their viewpoints---and then wait until the movie comes out at Redbox or Netflix.

So here is a list of movies that you might want to watch:

Red Family

Although Kim Ki-duk did not direct this film, he wrote and produced it and it still came out great. The film centers around North Korea sleeper agents passing themselves off as a South Korean family, all the while carrying out espionage and assassinations and maintaining a harsh discipline and ideological purity. Throughout, Damocles’ sword is hanging over their heads because they are being monitored by other agents. Although initially being vicious, cold-blooded killers, with time they become corrupted by their environment and start acting more human, and even humane, with foreseeable results.

Katyn

You have to feel for the Poles. The Russians Germans, and Austrians have repeatedly raped Poland over the centuries. The Katyn massacre is one of those items that make up That Which Must Not Be Mentioned about WWII (another one is that the Soviet Union and the Third Reich were allied during the first few years of the war as they had agreed to partition Europe between them, starting with Poland. Later, when one of the allies attacked the other one, the original pact of alliance was never mentioned, as being in bad taste if you did).

The Katyn massacre, in particular, made a deep scar in the Polish psyche. Perhaps it was due because Russia invaded the country when it was trying to fight off the German invasion, perhaps because the subsequent occupation by the Communists tried to convince the Poles that the Russians were their friends, perhaps because the Russians refused to acknowledge what everyone knew. Who knows.

Another thing that makes one sick is that the Poles behaved with honor towards the conquerors, not realizing at the time what vicious monsters they were dealing with. Example: (a) the professors naively show up at the university, summoned by the SS officer, only to be brutally rounded up and sent to Sachsenhausen (b) the Polish officers are initially loosely guarded, which means that many could have easily escaped, but did not do so and therefore were subsequently butchered by the Communists. The ending of the film is brutal to watch, but it needs to be watched

Unfortunately, to people who are unacquainted with the history, as was the case with my wife, events seem to jump and are a bit disorienting. Had the director simply inserted at the right time in the film what is going on historically, e.g., the pact of alliance between Russia and Germany, the subsequent invasion of Russia by Germany, the occupation of Poland by Russia, etc., the movie would have flowed smoothly.

Hail, Caesar!

The first time I saw it, this film left me a bit befuddled. It took me a second time of seeing the film to truly appreciate it. Part of my initial confusion is that there were so many subplots going through the movie. 

Anyway. The title of the movie is the title of the movie being filmed in the movie, sometime in the 1950s. Got that? The main star gets kidnapped held for ransom from the studio. However, the main character is Eddie Mannix, one of the head honchos of the studio and he is primarily a "fixer." He is presented with one problem after the other and he fixes the problems. Then, he is presented with the kidnapping. The kidnapping, by the way, was carried out by Hollywood communists, who are presented as a pack of intellectual buffoons spouting Marxist jargon. Mannix at the same time is being sought after to quit his job and go work for Lockheed, but he cannot make up his mind. At one point, one of the Hollywood communists gets picked up by a Soviet sub and is presumably taken to the Iron Curtain (in actual life, one of the Hollywood 10 communists did disappear and surfaced in East Germany). There are a lot of in-jokes regarding Hollywood of the '50s, some of which, frankly, went over my head.

Pawn Sacrifice

When I was in my early 20s, I was touring Europe and the talk everywhere by Europeans was the intense chess confrontation between Fisher and the Russians in Iceland, exemplified by Spassky. Everyone was chuckling over Fisher's antics and Spassky's apparent befuddlement at Bobby's behavior, thinking that the latter was messing with the Russian's head. They jokingly referred to Fisher as being a crazy guy and were rooting for him. What nobody knew at the time, except for a handful of individuals was that Fisher was really crazy, that his antics and demands were not psychological warfare. This secret came to light many years thereafter.

The Soviets' philosophy was that if they excelled at chess and at the Olympics, even through cheating, then it proved that Marxist totalitarianism was superior to a Western decadent democracy, so the state-funded chess players (and athletes) and gave them special treatment, unlike the Western countries. This fact is emphasized in the film.

Unfortunately, although Liev Schreiber does a convincing and likeable Spassky, the film does not show that he was a pretty decent guy, far from the usual mindless apparatchik. At a chess tournament against the Czechoslovakian players shortly after the Soviet invasion of their country, he shook their hands even though they wore black armbands as a sign of mourning, something that the Soviet authorities got angry about. Also not shown was that after Spassky lost the tournament in Iceland and returned home, he was hassled at the Moscow airport.

An American Carol

This was a hilarious satire of knee-jerk liberals and their sacred cows. It starts with Leslie Nielsen, during a 4th of July gathering, telling a group of children a patriotic version of Dickens’ A Christmas Story with a Michael Moore being Scrooge. It was funny on several levels: from slapstick to satire. The satire was the best. This movie has been long overdue to challenge the pervasive, unrelenting leftist propaganda coming out of Hollywood. Predictably, the liberals had a fit over the movie and their attack was truly ingenious: their reviews of the movie claimed that it was not funny at all (I guess it wasn't, for them). And what did the stupid conservatives do? They stayed home and failed to support the movie. The producer swore that he would never make another movie geared towards conservatives because he lost a lot of money in the production.

Gone Girl

How to write a review without throwing on the spoilers? Well, this is a great mystery film about a man whose marriage is on the rocks, comes home and finds that his wife has been kidnapped -- at least it seems on the surface. As the film develops we realize that he is a dislikeable person and of course there is suspicion that he may have done away with his wife. Now I'll stop as far as how the plot develops. Let me just say that the feminists hate this movie.

Just as you're 100 percent sure how it is going to turn out, the film yanks you in a totally different direction (in this manner it reminded me of the Dead Man Walking film). A subplot of the film is the lynch journalism: when the media goes hysterically after someone's blood and the journalists become masters at implying things and motivations of their target (remember George Zimmerman?).

You might also want to check a couple of old, though excellent, movies along the same line: Play Misty for Me, Black Widow, Poison Ivy. Unlike many of the other films I mention here, Gone Girl did receive a lot of publicity.

Archangel

Daniel Craig plays a history professor, specializing in the Stalin era, who is approached by a Russian former NKVD officer claiming to possess knowledge of Josef Stalin's secret diary. This is too tempting for him and he overstays his welcome in Russia. There is no James Bond acrobatics or superman actions, but the action is nonetheless very suspenseful as he attempts to unravel the trail to the truth, which takes him to the city of Archangel at the Arctic Circle. And the truth is much more bizarre than what he could have imagined it would be.

Red Dawn (1984)

Red Dawn joins the ranks of good cult movies. However, what is particularly interesting was its reception when it first came out. When Red Dawn came out, American leftists went ballistic because the movie portrayed their precious Soviet Union and communist Cuba in a bad light in invading America, and a small group of civilians forming a resistance. Those of us who lived during the Seventies and Sixties remember the absolute censorship that liberals had over the media, back when the three networks had a monopoly on information) and one of their iron clad rules was that no criticism of communism, Cuba, or the Soviet Union was to be allowed to be aired. It was the perfect censorship. However, Red Dawn was not the first one; a couple of years prior to this a made for TV movie came out (Amerika), which was very, very badly made, but which worked on the same story line. But . . . since it was the first one to violate the Politically Correct restriction, well, the reaction against Red Dawn was nothing compared to the reaction to Amerika -- the liberals went into hysterics. Ted Turner, one of Hollywood's limousine communists (along with Hanoi Jane, Robert Redford and Warren Beatty) actively tried to kill the movie by having specials run at the same time slot for the purpose of indoctrination (read "peace programs" in PC jargon); in fact, You Tube has a couple of clippings showing the liberals’ reaction. A book, or film, needs to be made about that event.

Monty Python's Life Of Brian

I saw it when it first came out in the theaters and thought it was superbly witty. I am surprised, however, that so much has been focused on the supposed "sacrilege" of the movie, of which there really isn't any if one takes a good look at it. The main thrust, however, is at fanaticism in general and the fanaticism that is ruthlessly skewered in the movie is political fanaticism. Judean Liberation Front: why does that sound familiar? Leftists originally watching the movie must have squirmed in their seats when they first saw it because they are realistically portrayed as being pedantic, hair splitting, dogmatic, vicious, endlessly feuding with other groups of fanatics who have the same goals as theirs, constantly engaging the verbal diarrhea, posturing at being holier than thou.

There was one aspect of the movie that I did not like, but others will, and it is one of the trademarks of the Monty Python crew and that was that the same actors were in multiple roles throughout the movie. Some fans of the team may like that, but I personally would have preferred that they had employed additional actors for the roles.

Top Secret!

This was a hilarious satire on East Germany, about an American singer who goes to that country just as the country is going to go to war. The movie came out when that totalitarian regime was still around, but the jokes are still relevant and funny today. The rewording of the East German national anthem was a gem.

Night Crossing

And speaking of East Germany... there are countless excellent dramatic stories about people who tried and either succeeded or failed to cross the Iron Curtain to the West. You would think that they would be a plentiful as films about the Nazis. Night Crossing is just such a story, not only because of its intrisic worth, but because it was one of the very first to bring the topic to the screen at a time when it was nearly impossible to do so in the West, such was the communist infiltration at the time of all branches of the mass media (East Germany began in 1945 and it wasn't until 1982 that a film on the topic was made). I was particularly surprised that Disney produced the movie, considering its penchant for fluff; maybe they decided to get back at the Communists in Chile who at that time declared (I am not making this up!) that Mickey Mouse was a Fascist.

What I found particularly well handled in the film was the tediousness involved in the escape process; it took numerous purchases of cloth to make the balloon, numerous sessions of sewing the material together, numerous trials, numerous equipment modifications, yet the tediousness involved in such endeavors does not weigh in on the viewer, though the efforts are mentioned within the film. Two anomalies that I found in the movie: one, the American/British/Canadian measurement of feet and yards and miles in a continent that uses the metric system. The other was the haircuts by the men. If I remember right, such Western haircuts were anathema and Soviet style haircuts were almost mandatory -- popular since 1917!

Absence of Malice

Many films have been made glorifying journalists, and there is no question whatsoever that many journalists have done good work, have been ethical and conscientious. Past tense. This particular film -- a superb performance by every single participant---punctures their overinflated, overglorified profession and shows that some journalists are callous, arrogant and indifferent to the innocent lives that they destroy.

It begins with a government investigation in Miami over the murder of a labor leader; it is going nowhere, although it is known that organized crime was behind it. The little weasel handling the investigation decides to put pressure on an innocent businessman (Paul Newman) because he is distantly related to a crime figure and he might have information, so he manipulates a journalist to print that Newman is under investigation. When that happens, his business tanks as the unions force the workers off. It then gets worse.

Cooking With Stella

Synopsis: a female Canadian diplomat and her stay at home chef husband are stationed in India. They live inside the compound and are assigned an Indian maid who systematically robs them blind while they are oblivious to her thievery. The husband practically grovels to the maid in an effort to establish Equality between them. He also asks her to teach him how to cook Indian foods. There is also friction between the couple because of his lack of work since he had to sacrifice his career for her sake.

Although Canadians bristle when they are compared to Americans, I nonetheless find that they do have much in common. One of these traits is their infantile craving to be liked by foreigners. Another is their urge to impose Equality in their dealings with people abroad where their societies have a rigid caste structure. And the third trait is their refusal to believe that smiling, groveling, foreigners are actually robbing them at every opportunity. This film brings these faults to the forefront.

Mao's Last Dancer

A young boy in a faraway, primitive, village is selected for State education in ballet and slowly becomes proficient at his craft. As a teenager, he is selected to study in Houston, Texas. Language difficulties and cultural difficulties are surmounted, and when the main dancer becomes injured, Li is asked to step forward to take his place and does a wonderful job. He continues to be included in further productions, gets involved with a girl, but when he asks permission from his government to stay a bit longer, permission is denied and is ordered back to the People's Republic of China.

The story is essentially a rags to riches story with cultural and political elements enriching the highly emotional story. The production was excellent as was the dancing, the acting and the story development. It was filmed in location in China and Houston. The film made $5 million domestically and $17 million internationally.

Seven Years in Tibet

At the eve of WWII, two mountaineering Austrians set out to India to scale one of the peaks there. Upon the war breaking out, they are interned and they escape and wind up in Tibet. Heinrich is then asked to be a tutor to the infant Dali Lama, who is starved for information about the outside world. He educates the boy but he, in turn, also changes for the better. Both Austrians settle in and it is an idyllic existence. Until the Chinese communists invade.

The Interview

Two hack journalists are invited to interview a dictator and the CIA requests that they use this opportunity to assassinate him. This film could have become a film classic, on the same level as Chaplin’s The Great Dictator, but Seth Rogen’s nonstop obscenities bring it down. Otherwise it is a superb satire on North Korea’s Kim Jong-un and, really, of any dictatorship.

It is ironic that when the film’s release was announced, North Korea threatened retaliation and it was withdrawn, except that it was released in a few theaters. But, instead of losing money on the film, it gained a profit through DVD sales and cable.

Topaz

Of all of the films that have been made by Hollywood about the dictatorship in Cuba, this one was the only one that was critical; the rest have been pure communist propaganda.  Incidentally, the plot of this movie was based on a true story of espionage: a Russian high official defected with his family and fingered a spy ring in the highest level of France. He also informed the West that Russia was going to put nuclear missiles in Cuba.

Atlas Shrugged (Part 1)

It took a lot of guts to try to make a movie out of this book -- for several reasons. The first, of course, is the sheer length of the book, akin to War and Peace. The other, equally obvious, is that the philosophical and political message in the book/film is anathema to the leftist Politically Correct hyenas that infest Hollywood and the media. For decades, they have raged against the book, so it was to be expected that they would attack it -- which they did, by totally ignoring it. And, sure enough, conservatives did not go out and support it.

Now as to the first film: many of the characters are excellent. Taylor Schilling is superb in coming across as a no-nonsense executive surrounded by mediocrities who are constantly sabotaging her. Grant Bowler is also good at being stiff upper lip as he, too, is surrounded by whining, evil mediocrities. There are a lot of good secondary character actors. There are some problems with the script, primarily in that it doesn't really drive home the message just how bad things are, a lot of crucial details are left out, and, that the problems are a worldwide phenomenon, as was the case in the book.

The second went downhill and it was evident in the third that there was deliberate sabotage of the movie.

Mission To Moscow

For many years, I’ve been interested in the various communist propaganda films that Hollywood has put out. To this very day, it still cranks out such propaganda---as if the Soviet Union had not been flushed down the toilet (in 2011 it was The Majestic and in 2015 Trumbo). I had always heard about Mission to Moscow, that it topped all efforts, so I ordered it because I had also heard that it was so blatant in its propaganda and in its distortion of facts that it outdid all others, before and since. And because even some communists were embarrassed by it (Stalin and the Politburo reportedly watched it and even laughed at it). So I ordered it and waited for it, salivating.

Wow. Oh, wow.

Now, let me say that if you don’t know Soviet history and you decide to see this, a lot is going to go over your head. But wow. My wife thought I was nuts, seeing how much I was enjoying it and laughing, but after a certain point I had to take a break, because every single utterance by the characters was a glorification of the achievements of communism. It was just too much. Every Soviet in the film is dressed in luxury, the shops are overflowing with food and items, every Soviet is dancing and welcoming with smiles from ear to ear in their faces and are full of idealism, everyone is eating caviar (btw, during the Stalin era, if a non-government Russian even said “Good morning” to any foreigner he was immediately arrested by the NKVD for having passed on state secrets, and either shot or sent to the Gulag).

The most cringe worthy moments in the film came during the show trials of the 1930s, (when Stalin liquidated his rivals in the government after torturing them and putting them in kangaroo trials) which are thoroughly whitewashed.

Incidentally, Davies, the author of the book on which the film was based, insisted on thrusting himself into the movie, giving a lengthy introduction at the beginning. He was the American ambassador to Russia during the 1930s and he was so pro-communist, so pro-Stalin that the entire embassy staff at one point threatened to resign en masse. When he left, the Soviet government gave him as a reward Fabergé eggs (check out the book Hollywood Traitors).

Oh, yeah! And even all the top Soviet gangsters are there in the film smiling and helpful and wise: Molotov and Litvinov and Kalinin and Timoshenko and Vishinsky and even Yagoda (head of the secret police before he, too, was liquidated). And yes, even the “titanic genius” himself, Stalin, makes an appearance, oozing wisdom and benevolence .

Incidentally, the communist writer for the movie was one Howard Koch who, along with Trumbo, was one of the American liberals’ Hollywood 10 traitors that had a setback in their careers, courtesy of Sen. Josef McCarthy, Richard Nixon, and HUAC.

If you love Marxist totalitarianism, you’ll love this film. If you hate Marxist totalitarianism, you’ll REALLY love this film.

The Journey

This was a film about the Hungarian revolt, starring Yul Brynner, highly critical of communism and the Russian invasion. It has disappeared from sight (for some strange reason).

 

DOCUMENTARIES

Fantastic Lies

This documentary is absolutely vital that it be viewed by as many individuals as possible. It is a thoroughly investigated documentary over the infamous Duke La Crosse case where the players were accused by a stripper of gang rape. It would ultimately turn out that the drug addled skank was a liar and was mentally ill on top of that, but before this happened, the media engaged in intense lynch journalism, prompted by the New York Times. Parallel with this were the rabid feminists in Duke University, the blacks in Durham and in the university who decided that Da Sistah had to be avenged in a court of law. Add to that the politically correct faculty signing the usual petition, the physical harassment of the players, the forced resignation of the coach, the canceling of the season, the weak-ass college president and the truly evil prosecutor. That prosecutors routinely destroy exculpatory evidence, make up evidence, and knowingly prosecute innocent individuals is a topic that has not been dealt with and is long overdue.

There was plenty of evil to go around, from the Duke Faculty to the police department to the New York Slime.

Chuck Norris vs Communism

The title is tongue in cheek, but the content is dead serious. In the cultural desert that always results from Marxists ruling a country and constantly inserting their invariably asinine propaganda everywhere, people live there as if they were suffocating, absolutely desperate for some entertainment from the terror and drabness of their living conditions; they also want a glimpse of other cultures that the government demonizes but that the people know it's not true. Having lived in a communist totalitarian regime, I can testify to this feeling. And so, in Romania, portable VHS tapes of Hollywood movies were like a breath of fresh air to people who were suffocating. The movies also showed heroism, which people began to slowly adopt. One man became a capitalist in this black market and hired an excellent translator to dub the movies from English to Romanian.

You may have heard of defectors smuggling DVDs into North Korea, or tying DVDs to balloons near the border. Now you know why.

The irony, of course, that even the repressive elements of communist society, even the upper echelons of the bureaucracy craved these movies and slowly began to realize that Marxism was bullshit, death-dealing bullshit. And these movies helped to bring down the regime.

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry

This is a documentary about the Chinese artist-turned-dissident, living and working inside the PRC, known for his work during the Olympics. Weiwei used social media as an instrument of defiance when he started to investigate the deaths of schoolchildren in an earthquake, because the school was built ineptly, but the government did not want any kind of criticism. The documentary shifts back and forth between him making art and him being a gadfly to the communist state. If you are not interested in art and artists, or, if you are not interested in political repression, then this film is not for you. Otherwise, it is very good.

The Red Chapel

Mads Brugger, a Danish director/manager takes two Danes of Korean descent to modern-day 1984 for a comedy show. It is a Trojan Horse for the purpose of filming a documentary about the totalitarian state and its Dear Leader. Brugger has no illusions about the regime and is uncompromisingly hostile towards it. Behind a smiling mask and low-key statements, he ridicules the dictatorship and its minions, fully aware that behind the government facade lies a panorama of starvation and concentration camps.

One of the two Danish-Koreans, Jason, has a severe handicap and the country has a policy of exterminating "inferior defectives," i.e., handicapped people, just like the Third Reich used to do. Ms. Pak, their "escort" instantly becomes genuinely attached to him and we get the distinct feeling that her son was done away with for being born handicapped. Jason becomes attached to her as well as to the students who welcome them; it is obvious that he has been starved for affection for a long time. Yet, at the same time that he acknowledges the reality of N. Korea he also has affection for its people.

Michael Moore Hates America

God, I wish he had chosen another title. It will alienate precisely those people that need to see this movie.

This documentary is ironic in so far as Wilson copies Moore's earlier attempt to interview a big shot in his attempt to interview Michael Moore, traveling throughout the country trying to track him down. In the process, he interviews other, regular, people that have been skewered and manipulated in making Moore's fictional documentaries. Everyone agrees that Michael Moore is talented at filmmaking, as was Leni Reifenstahl, except that he is blatantly dishonest in his propaganda. That there is something psychological wrong with Moore is evident just by watching him speak and spew out his hatred. I particularly enjoyed the interviews with Teller and Horowitz.

Russian Revolution in Color

This is an excellent documentary of the Bolshevik Revolution, with emphasis on the Kronstadt garrison and sailors, a key component of the revolution. Initially, they supported the Bolshevik revolution, having been taken in by Lenin’s propaganda, then turned against them when the Bolsheviks showed their true colors. The historical facts are presented, including important little details usually overlooked.

Whereas previous depictions of the revolution focus on the Bolshevik leadership and ignore Kronstadt altogether, this particular documentary does the opposite and omits some of the parallel (to Kronstadt) events going on with the leadership, such that Stalin, Kamenev, Zinoviev and others are ignored---but this is not to the detriment of the documentary. I just feel that those events with the leadership should have been mentioned, even if cursory. However, this is nitpicking. It's a great documentary, particularly since the Bolsheviks pointed to Kronstadt as being their pivotal heroes.

Although it may appear from the list above that the number of films challenging the Politically Correct dogma is large, keep in mind that these films came out over a period of decades and were mostly ignored by the leftist media, in order to sabotage them (to underscore my point: how many of these films have you heard of before?) In contrast to this scarcity, we are inundated with anti-Nazi films, as if the Third Reich was still a contemporary threat.

As a review of the above films will reveal, most of them involve the subject of Marxism. If you, the reader, ask what is the possible relevance to today’s events, let me point to the antifas mobs wearing read stars and hammer and sickle emblems. And, also, to some of the college professors who created the antifas.

Armando Simón is a retired college professor and is the author of A Cuban from Kansas, The U and The Only Red Star I Liked Was a Starfish.

Although at times it feels---quite correctly---like one is swamped with Politically Correct propaganda in the movies and television and magazines, a number of films have been made over the years that buck the trend. Unfortunately, many of them have not been well-publicized and/or not as patronized by conservatives as they should have been. By comparison, every time Hanoi Jane, Michael Moore, or Oliver Stone make a movie, liberals trample themselves over in a mad stampede to support their propaganda movies; conservatives, on the other hand, when they hear of a movie that might be putting up a fight against the totalitarians, often stay at home scratching their rear ends, complaining that Hollywood doesn’t make enough movies that support their viewpoints---and then wait until the movie comes out at Redbox or Netflix.

So here is a list of movies that you might want to watch:

Red Family

Although Kim Ki-duk did not direct this film, he wrote and produced it and it still came out great. The film centers around North Korea sleeper agents passing themselves off as a South Korean family, all the while carrying out espionage and assassinations and maintaining a harsh discipline and ideological purity. Throughout, Damocles’ sword is hanging over their heads because they are being monitored by other agents. Although initially being vicious, cold-blooded killers, with time they become corrupted by their environment and start acting more human, and even humane, with foreseeable results.

Katyn

You have to feel for the Poles. The Russians Germans, and Austrians have repeatedly raped Poland over the centuries. The Katyn massacre is one of those items that make up That Which Must Not Be Mentioned about WWII (another one is that the Soviet Union and the Third Reich were allied during the first few years of the war as they had agreed to partition Europe between them, starting with Poland. Later, when one of the allies attacked the other one, the original pact of alliance was never mentioned, as being in bad taste if you did).

The Katyn massacre, in particular, made a deep scar in the Polish psyche. Perhaps it was due because Russia invaded the country when it was trying to fight off the German invasion, perhaps because the subsequent occupation by the Communists tried to convince the Poles that the Russians were their friends, perhaps because the Russians refused to acknowledge what everyone knew. Who knows.

Another thing that makes one sick is that the Poles behaved with honor towards the conquerors, not realizing at the time what vicious monsters they were dealing with. Example: (a) the professors naively show up at the university, summoned by the SS officer, only to be brutally rounded up and sent to Sachsenhausen (b) the Polish officers are initially loosely guarded, which means that many could have easily escaped, but did not do so and therefore were subsequently butchered by the Communists. The ending of the film is brutal to watch, but it needs to be watched

Unfortunately, to people who are unacquainted with the history, as was the case with my wife, events seem to jump and are a bit disorienting. Had the director simply inserted at the right time in the film what is going on historically, e.g., the pact of alliance between Russia and Germany, the subsequent invasion of Russia by Germany, the occupation of Poland by Russia, etc., the movie would have flowed smoothly.

Hail, Caesar!

The first time I saw it, this film left me a bit befuddled. It took me a second time of seeing the film to truly appreciate it. Part of my initial confusion is that there were so many subplots going through the movie. 

Anyway. The title of the movie is the title of the movie being filmed in the movie, sometime in the 1950s. Got that? The main star gets kidnapped held for ransom from the studio. However, the main character is Eddie Mannix, one of the head honchos of the studio and he is primarily a "fixer." He is presented with one problem after the other and he fixes the problems. Then, he is presented with the kidnapping. The kidnapping, by the way, was carried out by Hollywood communists, who are presented as a pack of intellectual buffoons spouting Marxist jargon. Mannix at the same time is being sought after to quit his job and go work for Lockheed, but he cannot make up his mind. At one point, one of the Hollywood communists gets picked up by a Soviet sub and is presumably taken to the Iron Curtain (in actual life, one of the Hollywood 10 communists did disappear and surfaced in East Germany). There are a lot of in-jokes regarding Hollywood of the '50s, some of which, frankly, went over my head.

Pawn Sacrifice

When I was in my early 20s, I was touring Europe and the talk everywhere by Europeans was the intense chess confrontation between Fisher and the Russians in Iceland, exemplified by Spassky. Everyone was chuckling over Fisher's antics and Spassky's apparent befuddlement at Bobby's behavior, thinking that the latter was messing with the Russian's head. They jokingly referred to Fisher as being a crazy guy and were rooting for him. What nobody knew at the time, except for a handful of individuals was that Fisher was really crazy, that his antics and demands were not psychological warfare. This secret came to light many years thereafter.

The Soviets' philosophy was that if they excelled at chess and at the Olympics, even through cheating, then it proved that Marxist totalitarianism was superior to a Western decadent democracy, so the state-funded chess players (and athletes) and gave them special treatment, unlike the Western countries. This fact is emphasized in the film.

Unfortunately, although Liev Schreiber does a convincing and likeable Spassky, the film does not show that he was a pretty decent guy, far from the usual mindless apparatchik. At a chess tournament against the Czechoslovakian players shortly after the Soviet invasion of their country, he shook their hands even though they wore black armbands as a sign of mourning, something that the Soviet authorities got angry about. Also not shown was that after Spassky lost the tournament in Iceland and returned home, he was hassled at the Moscow airport.

An American Carol

This was a hilarious satire of knee-jerk liberals and their sacred cows. It starts with Leslie Nielsen, during a 4th of July gathering, telling a group of children a patriotic version of Dickens’ A Christmas Story with a Michael Moore being Scrooge. It was funny on several levels: from slapstick to satire. The satire was the best. This movie has been long overdue to challenge the pervasive, unrelenting leftist propaganda coming out of Hollywood. Predictably, the liberals had a fit over the movie and their attack was truly ingenious: their reviews of the movie claimed that it was not funny at all (I guess it wasn't, for them). And what did the stupid conservatives do? They stayed home and failed to support the movie. The producer swore that he would never make another movie geared towards conservatives because he lost a lot of money in the production.

Gone Girl

How to write a review without throwing on the spoilers? Well, this is a great mystery film about a man whose marriage is on the rocks, comes home and finds that his wife has been kidnapped -- at least it seems on the surface. As the film develops we realize that he is a dislikeable person and of course there is suspicion that he may have done away with his wife. Now I'll stop as far as how the plot develops. Let me just say that the feminists hate this movie.

Just as you're 100 percent sure how it is going to turn out, the film yanks you in a totally different direction (in this manner it reminded me of the Dead Man Walking film). A subplot of the film is the lynch journalism: when the media goes hysterically after someone's blood and the journalists become masters at implying things and motivations of their target (remember George Zimmerman?).

You might also want to check a couple of old, though excellent, movies along the same line: Play Misty for Me, Black Widow, Poison Ivy. Unlike many of the other films I mention here, Gone Girl did receive a lot of publicity.

Archangel

Daniel Craig plays a history professor, specializing in the Stalin era, who is approached by a Russian former NKVD officer claiming to possess knowledge of Josef Stalin's secret diary. This is too tempting for him and he overstays his welcome in Russia. There is no James Bond acrobatics or superman actions, but the action is nonetheless very suspenseful as he attempts to unravel the trail to the truth, which takes him to the city of Archangel at the Arctic Circle. And the truth is much more bizarre than what he could have imagined it would be.

Red Dawn (1984)

Red Dawn joins the ranks of good cult movies. However, what is particularly interesting was its reception when it first came out. When Red Dawn came out, American leftists went ballistic because the movie portrayed their precious Soviet Union and communist Cuba in a bad light in invading America, and a small group of civilians forming a resistance. Those of us who lived during the Seventies and Sixties remember the absolute censorship that liberals had over the media, back when the three networks had a monopoly on information) and one of their iron clad rules was that no criticism of communism, Cuba, or the Soviet Union was to be allowed to be aired. It was the perfect censorship. However, Red Dawn was not the first one; a couple of years prior to this a made for TV movie came out (Amerika), which was very, very badly made, but which worked on the same story line. But . . . since it was the first one to violate the Politically Correct restriction, well, the reaction against Red Dawn was nothing compared to the reaction to Amerika -- the liberals went into hysterics. Ted Turner, one of Hollywood's limousine communists (along with Hanoi Jane, Robert Redford and Warren Beatty) actively tried to kill the movie by having specials run at the same time slot for the purpose of indoctrination (read "peace programs" in PC jargon); in fact, You Tube has a couple of clippings showing the liberals’ reaction. A book, or film, needs to be made about that event.

Monty Python's Life Of Brian

I saw it when it first came out in the theaters and thought it was superbly witty. I am surprised, however, that so much has been focused on the supposed "sacrilege" of the movie, of which there really isn't any if one takes a good look at it. The main thrust, however, is at fanaticism in general and the fanaticism that is ruthlessly skewered in the movie is political fanaticism. Judean Liberation Front: why does that sound familiar? Leftists originally watching the movie must have squirmed in their seats when they first saw it because they are realistically portrayed as being pedantic, hair splitting, dogmatic, vicious, endlessly feuding with other groups of fanatics who have the same goals as theirs, constantly engaging the verbal diarrhea, posturing at being holier than thou.

There was one aspect of the movie that I did not like, but others will, and it is one of the trademarks of the Monty Python crew and that was that the same actors were in multiple roles throughout the movie. Some fans of the team may like that, but I personally would have preferred that they had employed additional actors for the roles.

Top Secret!

This was a hilarious satire on East Germany, about an American singer who goes to that country just as the country is going to go to war. The movie came out when that totalitarian regime was still around, but the jokes are still relevant and funny today. The rewording of the East German national anthem was a gem.

Night Crossing

And speaking of East Germany... there are countless excellent dramatic stories about people who tried and either succeeded or failed to cross the Iron Curtain to the West. You would think that they would be a plentiful as films about the Nazis. Night Crossing is just such a story, not only because of its intrisic worth, but because it was one of the very first to bring the topic to the screen at a time when it was nearly impossible to do so in the West, such was the communist infiltration at the time of all branches of the mass media (East Germany began in 1945 and it wasn't until 1982 that a film on the topic was made). I was particularly surprised that Disney produced the movie, considering its penchant for fluff; maybe they decided to get back at the Communists in Chile who at that time declared (I am not making this up!) that Mickey Mouse was a Fascist.

What I found particularly well handled in the film was the tediousness involved in the escape process; it took numerous purchases of cloth to make the balloon, numerous sessions of sewing the material together, numerous trials, numerous equipment modifications, yet the tediousness involved in such endeavors does not weigh in on the viewer, though the efforts are mentioned within the film. Two anomalies that I found in the movie: one, the American/British/Canadian measurement of feet and yards and miles in a continent that uses the metric system. The other was the haircuts by the men. If I remember right, such Western haircuts were anathema and Soviet style haircuts were almost mandatory -- popular since 1917!

Absence of Malice

Many films have been made glorifying journalists, and there is no question whatsoever that many journalists have done good work, have been ethical and conscientious. Past tense. This particular film -- a superb performance by every single participant---punctures their overinflated, overglorified profession and shows that some journalists are callous, arrogant and indifferent to the innocent lives that they destroy.

It begins with a government investigation in Miami over the murder of a labor leader; it is going nowhere, although it is known that organized crime was behind it. The little weasel handling the investigation decides to put pressure on an innocent businessman (Paul Newman) because he is distantly related to a crime figure and he might have information, so he manipulates a journalist to print that Newman is under investigation. When that happens, his business tanks as the unions force the workers off. It then gets worse.

Cooking With Stella

Synopsis: a female Canadian diplomat and her stay at home chef husband are stationed in India. They live inside the compound and are assigned an Indian maid who systematically robs them blind while they are oblivious to her thievery. The husband practically grovels to the maid in an effort to establish Equality between them. He also asks her to teach him how to cook Indian foods. There is also friction between the couple because of his lack of work since he had to sacrifice his career for her sake.

Although Canadians bristle when they are compared to Americans, I nonetheless find that they do have much in common. One of these traits is their infantile craving to be liked by foreigners. Another is their urge to impose Equality in their dealings with people abroad where their societies have a rigid caste structure. And the third trait is their refusal to believe that smiling, groveling, foreigners are actually robbing them at every opportunity. This film brings these faults to the forefront.

Mao's Last Dancer

A young boy in a faraway, primitive, village is selected for State education in ballet and slowly becomes proficient at his craft. As a teenager, he is selected to study in Houston, Texas. Language difficulties and cultural difficulties are surmounted, and when the main dancer becomes injured, Li is asked to step forward to take his place and does a wonderful job. He continues to be included in further productions, gets involved with a girl, but when he asks permission from his government to stay a bit longer, permission is denied and is ordered back to the People's Republic of China.

The story is essentially a rags to riches story with cultural and political elements enriching the highly emotional story. The production was excellent as was the dancing, the acting and the story development. It was filmed in location in China and Houston. The film made $5 million domestically and $17 million internationally.

Seven Years in Tibet

At the eve of WWII, two mountaineering Austrians set out to India to scale one of the peaks there. Upon the war breaking out, they are interned and they escape and wind up in Tibet. Heinrich is then asked to be a tutor to the infant Dali Lama, who is starved for information about the outside world. He educates the boy but he, in turn, also changes for the better. Both Austrians settle in and it is an idyllic existence. Until the Chinese communists invade.

The Interview

Two hack journalists are invited to interview a dictator and the CIA requests that they use this opportunity to assassinate him. This film could have become a film classic, on the same level as Chaplin’s The Great Dictator, but Seth Rogen’s nonstop obscenities bring it down. Otherwise it is a superb satire on North Korea’s Kim Jong-un and, really, of any dictatorship.

It is ironic that when the film’s release was announced, North Korea threatened retaliation and it was withdrawn, except that it was released in a few theaters. But, instead of losing money on the film, it gained a profit through DVD sales and cable.

Topaz

Of all of the films that have been made by Hollywood about the dictatorship in Cuba, this one was the only one that was critical; the rest have been pure communist propaganda.  Incidentally, the plot of this movie was based on a true story of espionage: a Russian high official defected with his family and fingered a spy ring in the highest level of France. He also informed the West that Russia was going to put nuclear missiles in Cuba.

Atlas Shrugged (Part 1)

It took a lot of guts to try to make a movie out of this book -- for several reasons. The first, of course, is the sheer length of the book, akin to War and Peace. The other, equally obvious, is that the philosophical and political message in the book/film is anathema to the leftist Politically Correct hyenas that infest Hollywood and the media. For decades, they have raged against the book, so it was to be expected that they would attack it -- which they did, by totally ignoring it. And, sure enough, conservatives did not go out and support it.

Now as to the first film: many of the characters are excellent. Taylor Schilling is superb in coming across as a no-nonsense executive surrounded by mediocrities who are constantly sabotaging her. Grant Bowler is also good at being stiff upper lip as he, too, is surrounded by whining, evil mediocrities. There are a lot of good secondary character actors. There are some problems with the script, primarily in that it doesn't really drive home the message just how bad things are, a lot of crucial details are left out, and, that the problems are a worldwide phenomenon, as was the case in the book.

The second went downhill and it was evident in the third that there was deliberate sabotage of the movie.

Mission To Moscow

For many years, I’ve been interested in the various communist propaganda films that Hollywood has put out. To this very day, it still cranks out such propaganda---as if the Soviet Union had not been flushed down the toilet (in 2011 it was The Majestic and in 2015 Trumbo). I had always heard about Mission to Moscow, that it topped all efforts, so I ordered it because I had also heard that it was so blatant in its propaganda and in its distortion of facts that it outdid all others, before and since. And because even some communists were embarrassed by it (Stalin and the Politburo reportedly watched it and even laughed at it). So I ordered it and waited for it, salivating.

Wow. Oh, wow.

Now, let me say that if you don’t know Soviet history and you decide to see this, a lot is going to go over your head. But wow. My wife thought I was nuts, seeing how much I was enjoying it and laughing, but after a certain point I had to take a break, because every single utterance by the characters was a glorification of the achievements of communism. It was just too much. Every Soviet in the film is dressed in luxury, the shops are overflowing with food and items, every Soviet is dancing and welcoming with smiles from ear to ear in their faces and are full of idealism, everyone is eating caviar (btw, during the Stalin era, if a non-government Russian even said “Good morning” to any foreigner he was immediately arrested by the NKVD for having passed on state secrets, and either shot or sent to the Gulag).

The most cringe worthy moments in the film came during the show trials of the 1930s, (when Stalin liquidated his rivals in the government after torturing them and putting them in kangaroo trials) which are thoroughly whitewashed.

Incidentally, Davies, the author of the book on which the film was based, insisted on thrusting himself into the movie, giving a lengthy introduction at the beginning. He was the American ambassador to Russia during the 1930s and he was so pro-communist, so pro-Stalin that the entire embassy staff at one point threatened to resign en masse. When he left, the Soviet government gave him as a reward Fabergé eggs (check out the book Hollywood Traitors).

Oh, yeah! And even all the top Soviet gangsters are there in the film smiling and helpful and wise: Molotov and Litvinov and Kalinin and Timoshenko and Vishinsky and even Yagoda (head of the secret police before he, too, was liquidated). And yes, even the “titanic genius” himself, Stalin, makes an appearance, oozing wisdom and benevolence .

Incidentally, the communist writer for the movie was one Howard Koch who, along with Trumbo, was one of the American liberals’ Hollywood 10 traitors that had a setback in their careers, courtesy of Sen. Josef McCarthy, Richard Nixon, and HUAC.

If you love Marxist totalitarianism, you’ll love this film. If you hate Marxist totalitarianism, you’ll REALLY love this film.

The Journey

This was a film about the Hungarian revolt, starring Yul Brynner, highly critical of communism and the Russian invasion. It has disappeared from sight (for some strange reason).

 

DOCUMENTARIES

Fantastic Lies

This documentary is absolutely vital that it be viewed by as many individuals as possible. It is a thoroughly investigated documentary over the infamous Duke La Crosse case where the players were accused by a stripper of gang rape. It would ultimately turn out that the drug addled skank was a liar and was mentally ill on top of that, but before this happened, the media engaged in intense lynch journalism, prompted by the New York Times. Parallel with this were the rabid feminists in Duke University, the blacks in Durham and in the university who decided that Da Sistah had to be avenged in a court of law. Add to that the politically correct faculty signing the usual petition, the physical harassment of the players, the forced resignation of the coach, the canceling of the season, the weak-ass college president and the truly evil prosecutor. That prosecutors routinely destroy exculpatory evidence, make up evidence, and knowingly prosecute innocent individuals is a topic that has not been dealt with and is long overdue.

There was plenty of evil to go around, from the Duke Faculty to the police department to the New York Slime.

Chuck Norris vs Communism

The title is tongue in cheek, but the content is dead serious. In the cultural desert that always results from Marxists ruling a country and constantly inserting their invariably asinine propaganda everywhere, people live there as if they were suffocating, absolutely desperate for some entertainment from the terror and drabness of their living conditions; they also want a glimpse of other cultures that the government demonizes but that the people know it's not true. Having lived in a communist totalitarian regime, I can testify to this feeling. And so, in Romania, portable VHS tapes of Hollywood movies were like a breath of fresh air to people who were suffocating. The movies also showed heroism, which people began to slowly adopt. One man became a capitalist in this black market and hired an excellent translator to dub the movies from English to Romanian.

You may have heard of defectors smuggling DVDs into North Korea, or tying DVDs to balloons near the border. Now you know why.

The irony, of course, that even the repressive elements of communist society, even the upper echelons of the bureaucracy craved these movies and slowly began to realize that Marxism was bullshit, death-dealing bullshit. And these movies helped to bring down the regime.

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry

This is a documentary about the Chinese artist-turned-dissident, living and working inside the PRC, known for his work during the Olympics. Weiwei used social media as an instrument of defiance when he started to investigate the deaths of schoolchildren in an earthquake, because the school was built ineptly, but the government did not want any kind of criticism. The documentary shifts back and forth between him making art and him being a gadfly to the communist state. If you are not interested in art and artists, or, if you are not interested in political repression, then this film is not for you. Otherwise, it is very good.

The Red Chapel

Mads Brugger, a Danish director/manager takes two Danes of Korean descent to modern-day 1984 for a comedy show. It is a Trojan Horse for the purpose of filming a documentary about the totalitarian state and its Dear Leader. Brugger has no illusions about the regime and is uncompromisingly hostile towards it. Behind a smiling mask and low-key statements, he ridicules the dictatorship and its minions, fully aware that behind the government facade lies a panorama of starvation and concentration camps.

One of the two Danish-Koreans, Jason, has a severe handicap and the country has a policy of exterminating "inferior defectives," i.e., handicapped people, just like the Third Reich used to do. Ms. Pak, their "escort" instantly becomes genuinely attached to him and we get the distinct feeling that her son was done away with for being born handicapped. Jason becomes attached to her as well as to the students who welcome them; it is obvious that he has been starved for affection for a long time. Yet, at the same time that he acknowledges the reality of N. Korea he also has affection for its people.

Michael Moore Hates America

God, I wish he had chosen another title. It will alienate precisely those people that need to see this movie.

This documentary is ironic in so far as Wilson copies Moore's earlier attempt to interview a big shot in his attempt to interview Michael Moore, traveling throughout the country trying to track him down. In the process, he interviews other, regular, people that have been skewered and manipulated in making Moore's fictional documentaries. Everyone agrees that Michael Moore is talented at filmmaking, as was Leni Reifenstahl, except that he is blatantly dishonest in his propaganda. That there is something psychological wrong with Moore is evident just by watching him speak and spew out his hatred. I particularly enjoyed the interviews with Teller and Horowitz.

Russian Revolution in Color

This is an excellent documentary of the Bolshevik Revolution, with emphasis on the Kronstadt garrison and sailors, a key component of the revolution. Initially, they supported the Bolshevik revolution, having been taken in by Lenin’s propaganda, then turned against them when the Bolsheviks showed their true colors. The historical facts are presented, including important little details usually overlooked.

Whereas previous depictions of the revolution focus on the Bolshevik leadership and ignore Kronstadt altogether, this particular documentary does the opposite and omits some of the parallel (to Kronstadt) events going on with the leadership, such that Stalin, Kamenev, Zinoviev and others are ignored---but this is not to the detriment of the documentary. I just feel that those events with the leadership should have been mentioned, even if cursory. However, this is nitpicking. It's a great documentary, particularly since the Bolsheviks pointed to Kronstadt as being their pivotal heroes.

Although it may appear from the list above that the number of films challenging the Politically Correct dogma is large, keep in mind that these films came out over a period of decades and were mostly ignored by the leftist media, in order to sabotage them (to underscore my point: how many of these films have you heard of before?) In contrast to this scarcity, we are inundated with anti-Nazi films, as if the Third Reich was still a contemporary threat.

As a review of the above films will reveal, most of them involve the subject of Marxism. If you, the reader, ask what is the possible relevance to today’s events, let me point to the antifas mobs wearing read stars and hammer and sickle emblems. And, also, to some of the college professors who created the antifas.

Armando Simón is a retired college professor and is the author of A Cuban from Kansas, The U and The Only Red Star I Liked Was a Starfish.