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Showing posts from January, 2020

Time Trap (2017)

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Too often, despite its initial glowing promises, the internet has become the reason we can't have nice things.  In fact, we can't even have mediocre, slightly tarnished things.  In the end, what are things?  Are they a white patriarchal heteronormative social construct?  Is, "I think, therefore I am," exclusionary?

It's like background radio static or snow in an old-fashioned television signal, except that this static is made up of half-formed opinions and vulgarities while the snow is - well, something no one sane wants to see.  While I have faulted creative writing and other courses that teach "how" to do art at universities with destroying individual creativity, the denizens of the web bare a lot of the blame for the decline of our mass culture.

No, this is not a rave about toxic fandoms, but against those who actively work to scorch the earth of anything they personally find not to their taste.  The 1990s were a heyday of independent film and one o…

The Last King of Scotland (2006)

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Dictators.  If anything should scare aliens looking down and studying us to see if they should make contact, if there is one thing that should scare them is our penchant throwing one of these guys the reigns of power every now and then.  There have been mad kings, barons and khans throughout the ages, but in the last two centuries technology and communication have been an unprecedented enabling force.

It's not like we've been taught this less over and over again.  For every Thomas Sankara that actually tries to do something good for his country, there is a Kim Jong Il, Adolf Hitler or Pol Pot to make it quite clear that about the only thing they are good for is lining their pockets before leaving in exile, leaving a burning heap of a country behind.  Even those that have in some ways left their countries improved, like Francisco Franco or Augusto Pinochet, still ended their time with a severe reduction in their population, particularly those that had some differing opinions.

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

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When I originally saw that this movie was coming out I was rather confused.  I was wondering if things had got to the point where Marvel was just trying to throw anything against a wall and see if it stuck.  Apparently I wasn't the only one because I distinctly remember that the announcement of this movie was not exactly met with a wave of enthusiasm.

As soon as it did come out, though, everything changed.  Marvel movies have a problem with humor, and that problem is that it often seems like it is forced.  Rarely do I find the jokes in most of the movies to be funny, but rather ham-handed attempts at character building or getting the heroes to bond.  That is what I feared when I saw trailers for this.  Yes, it included Blue Swede's "Hooked on a Feeling", but it is one of those songs like "Walking on Sunshine" that appears in trailers every now and then.  It seemed that a science fiction movie with a talking raccoon had been thrown together just to be quirk…

A View to a Kill (1985)

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Roger Moore had been considering quitting the James Bond franchise since Moonrakercompleted.  For all intents and purposes, he wanted to make For Your Eyes Onlyhis last go, and was largely brought back in Octopussydue to Sean Connery starring as Bond the same year in Never Say Never Again.  There was some question about whether he would return for A View to a Kill, as producer Albert Broccoli already had his eye on Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan as possible replacements.

Alas, Moore decided to make one last Bond film, although he was quite aware that he was too old to play the part.  Unfortunately Hollywood, as well as a number of film industries around the world, still have the habit of paring a male lead with a female romantic partner young enough to be their grandchild.  In this case, he was older than his costar's mother, which drove the point home to him.  Broccoli himself was finally getting the idea as he had no intention of doing another Bond film with Moore after this…

Underworld (2003)

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Recently I have been binge watching shows I missed when they first came out.  The first was Supernatural, where I went through the first 13 seasons (14 hadn't come out yet at that point).  Recently, it's been Fringe.  Both of those shows came out not too far apart form each other: Supernatural in 2005, Fringe in 2007.  Both extended into the decade we just left behind.

One thing that is interesting in watching a show that straddled a number of years is how things change.  Both shows have their share of product placement (Nissan was really trying to push their cars in Fringe) and, as a result, show off much of what was cutting edge technology at the time.  You get to see both what was largely accessible to those with a ton of money and, for most of our protagonists, the normal consumer electronics targeted at the public. 

When I watch an older film, even up into the first half of the '90s, there is such an abyss between what we have now and what we used then that I rarely …