Ryan H.

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  1. I don't enjoy this show. It's very much in the Vonnegut mode: acerbic and numbingly bleak, exercises in miserablism. Yes, it's smart, as far as that goes, but the comparisons to Twilight Zone feel terribly wrong. Serling, like Bradbury, maintained a robust humanism that gave his social critiques potency and a sense of whimsy that buoyed his bleaker visions. Black Mirror often feels more like a wallow in miserablism, impotent and bitter and smug.
  2. I just checked in and am ELATED to see that this is the pick for October. This is a seriously great film.
  3. One of the more intriguing moments to consider would be the end of Battle for the Planet of the Apes. It! (1967) also comes to mind.
  4. I can think of many bad movies where this happens (i.e. Tomb Raider). But good movies? That's harder.
  5. As far as I understand it, the dominant complaint re: Suicide Squad was not that it was lighter, per se, but that the theatrical cut of the film was a senselessly-mangled mash-up of creative impulses. Extensive reshoots that exist to undermine the original vision of a film and replace it with a corporate directive rarely result in a coherent project.
  6. Yeah, it's pretty goofy. This film did not ever have any genuinely good poster art.
  7. I tried to pick this up this weekend to replace my old DVD copy, but my local B&N didn't have it or The Immortal Story on Blu. There's a good case to be made that Chimes is the best film Welles ever made and I'm very eager to see the restoration. I am, however, very disappointed in the Criterion cover art.
  8. The actual clips from this show floating on YouTube are weird. This is not as sober as the trailers make it appear. I'm sure this show will drive our resident Catholics batty, but I'm interested. I don't put a lot of stock in Sorrentino's philosophical musings, but he's capable of delivering some intriguing aesthetic moments.
  9. Scattered thoughts on my viewing of Aliens last night: 1) This was the first time in probably ten years that I've watched the theatrical cut instead of the director's cut. I don't intend to ever view the director's cut again.The theatrical cut is undeniably superior. 2) At this stage of his career, Cameron demonstrated brilliant efficiency in his storytelling. The theatrical cut's build-up to the initial appearance of the xenomorphs on LV-426 is precise and careful. No moment overstays its welcome. Aliens sets up a large ensemble and lays out its narrative groundwork with ease. 3) You cannot overstate just how good Weaver is here. She deserved her Oscar nomination. She would have deserved a win. 4) Insofar as Aliens is a sequel from the Die Hard 2 school (remake the original, with a TWIST), this film is particularly clever about the way it retreads the original film's territory. It bakes that sense of repetition into Ripley's character arc--she needs to relive the experiences of Alien to conquer her fears--and then recontextualizes those big moments to gives them new impact. 5) The film loses me a bit during the climax. Its pacing is immaculate (Cameron loves his tense build-ups, after all, and there's few filmmakers who have done this sort of thing better), but after all the film's mounting tension, with shadowy swarms of xenomorphs destroying everything in their path, what we get as the apex of horror, the ultimate form of Ripley's fears, is just a bigger, badder bug (essentially a insectoid version of the Terminator with a maternal slant). The film generally underplays the psychosexual elements that are so significant in the Ridley Scott film, but if ever there was a moment for Aliens to really turn up the H. R. Giger and deliver some true nightmare fuel, the reveal of the xenomorph queen would have been it.
  10. The Dwindling Promise of Social Media "I’ll tell you the truth. I don’t even give so much a crap about all Google’s data mining and analytics. I’d deal with it, if Google could just get that one fricking cardiologist a Google Now message that says 'Hey dude, update: Opioids are addictive.' But Google Now is not going to do that, because the dream of Google is not the dream of Engelbart or Kay. Those inventors wanted a world where we became better people, better doctors, better citizens, better architects. Google Now doesn’t give a crap about any of that. Google Now doesn’t want to make you a better doctor or a more compassionate human. It just wants to get AI down enough that it can sell you a Starbucks on your morning commute. And eventually, maybe opioids for your back pain too. Because it’s all just data, right? Good job everyone. Welcome to the future."
  11. If it works, yep. But this could easily turn out to be another One from the Heart.
  12. It's a predictable list. I could nitpick it, but why bother? I'm glad to see A.I., though. That masterwork very much deserves the critical reappraisal that it has undergone in the past decade. In keeping with Joel's post above, here's what my ballot would have been (in alphabetical order): 2046 A.I.: Artificial Intelligence Faust Inherent Vice Mulholland Drive Mysteries of Lisbon Oldboy A Serious Man Wild Grass Youth Without Youth
  13. Boy, do I hate iTunes. But I got hooked-in to it during my college years and never escaped. I've happily avoided all other Apple products, though, I look forward to listening to this.
  14. That certainly fits with Meyer's comments.
  15. Yes. So many of the retrospective film screenings near me seem to depend more and more on projecting Blu-rays. And even if you do get a film print, there's no guarantee that it will be protected properly.