This is a movie about Hollywood, obviously. But what about Hollywood? It sort of introduces (or rather alludes to) the theme of Hollywood as an example of imperialism (that is to say, monopoly capitalism abroad), with Lockheed, the meetings in the Chinese restaurant, the photo of an H-bomb mushroom cloud at Bikini atoll (not to mention ancient Rome!). But really it skirts the issue, just as the main character opts to stay in Hollywood. And likewise with its more developed or at least sustained or open look at Hollywood as capitalist exploitation in its own right. Obviously it sides most of all with its main character, the executive manager of the studio, the (monopoly-)capitalist enterprise, Capital Pictures, who represents and enforces the will of the capitalist owner (the unseen and unheard--like Christ--Mr. Skank), managing, controlling, disciplining, exploiting the workers. Although it makes a point of showing off the sordid or mundane behind-the-scenes working reality of Hollywood (and even though the protagonist sort of rejects becoming a capitalist himself when he turns down Lockheed), ultimately it expresses the belief in Hollywood as being above exploitation, above class struggle. It believes in and wants to spread the belief in Hollywood as religion. And its communists are correspondingly not much more than the nihilists of The Big Lebowski (even including Channing Tatum's gay communist superman).
Oxford professor Fred MacMurray and his bride Joan Crawford go to Nazi Germany for their honeymoon, also as spies for the British government. Like a Hitchcock film, but more straightforward, less interesting.
A great story about a society in which everyone is scheming to cheat and threatening to destroy everyone else, i.e. capitalist society (at the lower, more naked, end). The impromptu wrestling match is like a powerful, intimate, ominous premonition of ultimate fighting (or "mixed martial arts").
An old gangster movie that's not racist (unlike the original Scarface, for example) and that shows the "corruption" of the state, the close connections between the state and organized crime. Of course the gangsters (especially Johnny Eager) are more appealing than the "respectable" bourgeois citizens. But too bad Eager himself gets corrupted in turn, in the end, by conscience. Indeed, conscience is the movie's weakness.
Unfortunately, it's less about the conflict between capitalist culture and Soviet culture than it is about the conflict between capitalist culture and ancient culture. Or, the former turns/degenerates into the latter.
Guy Maddin is like a Canadian (or Manitoban) Lars von Trier or David Lynch (so, like them, only more decrepit). (Too bad he's not a Canadian Bunuel or Pasolini!) This is probably his busiest and densest and dumbest movie, and I think it's only the third movie I ever left early, and the first I paid for myself. This is the kind of flimsy, willfully obscure but really transparently weak shit that gets state funding, because it wouldn't exist, or we wouldn't know of its existence, otherwise. Another reason to hate and want to smash the bourgeois state.
Basically the same as (the original) Scarface, but starring Paul Muni as a Mexican instead of an Italian. I guess it was probably progressive or anti-racist for its time. Certainly the rich, respectable, bourgeois, WASP characters are the most despicable. But it's all over the place, it's not coherent enough, not least in its sympathy (or condescension?) for rather crudely-portrayed Mexicans.
An expropriated bourgeois, his ex-servant, and a priest go on a treasure hunt for twelve chairs, one of which contains jewels hidden by the bourgeois' mother during the Cuban Revolution. A very funny, droll and slapstick look at the declassed/lumpen remnants of the old society in the new society. And an inspiring look at revolutionary Cuban society.
A story of decadent, infantile, listless, boring, young(ish) white people in (generic) North America--not decadent, etc. because of their variable sexuality, but because they do nothing in their (plentiful) free time but explore their sexuality. But then it is the story of a group of sexually-connected people under threat. (Bonus half-star for being secretly Edmontonian.)
A very bourgeois doctor with a very bourgeois family has a mid-life crisis (activated by his relationship with his daughter turning sixteen) and goes to extraordinary, desperate, bizarre lengths to escape his bourgeois life. Perhaps it's a warning against straying from bourgeois life. Or maybe it's a warning against bourgeois life itself (and the bourgeois justice system).
A small-time band of musicians gets mixed up with a small-time gang of criminals in this weird movie with cheesy rapid-fire dialogue and characterizations, but also with some stylish and wild sequences.
A surprisingly mature (*ahem*) sports movie, for its time and even for today, about a professional football player with health and financial problems (marred somewhat by a too-hectic beginning and a rather nasty ending). Really, it's about dead capital sucking the life out of living labor.
Tedious liberal bourgeois anticommunist contempt and horror for the dictatorship of the proletariat, for the working class. Tedious liberal bourgeois anticommunist torture porn. I mean, here's the (tedious, liberal, bourgeois, anticommunist) explanation it provides for the problem it formulates as why "Stalin eliminated the best, the most brilliant": Because "Stalin, who wasn't alone, was once a seminarian. Public confession, humiliation of the sinner. Also, he was infallible." And the "false" confession of the hero, "constructed" by the party--that he's a bourgeois, selfish, careerist, cosmopolitan traitor--is evidently, objectively true. Really, this is the story, the confession, of western leftists or fellow travelers who turn anticommunist.
A terrific series/set of (interrupted but linked) episodes about the bourgeoisie and their (bourgeois) liberty, which is really a phantom (or spectre) of liberty, and which is really bourgeois oppression, repression, perversion.
It reveals some of the connections between business and state (or call it "corruption", if you like), showing (off) the shabbiness, the lousiness, the decadence of the bourgeoisie. But it lacks the courage or honesty or class position/conviction to see/show it all the way through, instead feeling too much sympathy for this scum (i.e. every character in the movie), mocking them rather too gently.
Sorry, but in the setting/context of the Japanese invasion/occupation of China, martial arts, even (or especially) supernatural martial arts, seem really dumb. It's a decadent bourgeois fantasy of the decadent aristocracy. (The momentous period from Japanese invasion in 1938 to communist victory--unmentioned here--in 1949 takes up less than four minutes of the movie.) I mean, Ip Man, the hero, literally wears a (distinctive) fedora.