Like a child who thinks he can scandalize his elders by screaming naughty words he doesn’t even understand, German filmmaker Uwe Boll (Alone in the Dark) mistakes shock for satire and crudity for cleverness in this desperately unfunny, hopelessly clueless catalogue of the ills of America -- bigotry of every stripe, reflexive violence, and criminality at the highest levels of our leadership -- that ends up rejoicing in what it believes it is sending up. It’s a celebration, not a condemnation, of America as crude, heartless, and brutal. In the town of Paradise, a scam church and a secret cell of Taliban warriors go to war over a valuable clutch of rare toys that are selling for a mint on eBay. Boll believes this will be “controversial,” but it’s just dumb, and the only thing even remotely humorous about it -- it’s meant to be a comedy, after all -- is how Boll clearly intends to push buttons and boundaries yet he can’t even hit the broad side of barn, missing even the easiest, widest of targets. Jokes about rape and suicide bombers are almost the least of it, especially when Boll brings the dubious art of toilet humor to a disgustingly gratuitous new low. On the other hand, Kid in the Hall Dave Foley (Cars) seems to be enjoying a new personal freedom -- he appears gratutitously naked here in what might be a blow for casual cinematic male nudity if it could even be deemed gratuitous: it’s beyond pointless. Remember Ass, the top-grossing movie of the futuristic dystopia of Idiocracy? This is it. In fact, the only way to make sense of Boll and his “movie” at all -- if it’s not the kind of moronity our culture might actually deserve -- is to see it as a Springtime for Hitler con game.
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> 2008 theatrical releases
> new on dvd
by MaryAnn Johanson
MPAA: rated R for strong sexuality, graphic nudity, violence, and for pervasive language and some drug use
viewed at a private screening with an audience of critics
· my week at the movies: ‘2012,’ ‘Women in Trouble,’ ‘The Strip,’ ‘A Single Man,’ ‘The Missing Person,’ ‘Nine,’ ‘Everybody’s Fine,’ ‘Serious Moonlight’
· question of the day: Which director cannot escape his hackitude no matter how he tries?
· don't blame Tom Cruise for 'Knight and Day'; Hollywood still loves Comic Con; more: leftover links
· the oh-no! DVD of the week: ‘Postal’ (Director's Cut)
· The Baader Meinhof Complex (review)
· ‘Torchwood’ blogging: “Exit Wounds”
· Mobile (review)
· Traitor (review)
· The Peacemaker (review)
· The Devil’s Own (review)
trailer break: ‘Mister Foe’
‘Doctor Who’ to shoot in America?