oscarBWA lot of press has been given lately to the claim that the American Academy Awards, or Oscars, have continued to snub black actors; #OscarsSoWhite has been the rallying hashtag this year, and pundits in and out of the industry have chimed in with responses.  Black-white relations in the U.S. has found yet another front to start yet another of their ongoing battles against each other.

I’m not going to regurgitate the discussions here, and here’s why:

Racism is certainly an issue in the U.S.; but calling out Hollywood for being a mostly-white cadre handing out awards to mostly-white people is, in fact, a waste of everyone’s time. Continue reading

Are We Overthinking the Dangers of Artificial Intelligence?


skynetIn this IO9 article, George Dvorsky talks to SF author David Brin about our society’s inherent over-reaction to and fear of technology.  His comments parallel recent articles and press releases of Project Hieroglyph, in promoting a positive outlook in science fiction, and he sums up the biggest problem here:

The problem with Hollywood, and cable news and yes, much written sci fi, as well, is that the very notion of adult process is anathema! it is seen as a killer of what Hollywood needs most… drama! Fast-paced peril and pure heroes opposing pure evil!

He also calls out one of my old favorite authors, Michael Crichton, for building his reputation on stories where basically the purity of science and technology was corrupted by a few people ignoring accepted safeguards, or working in secret with some hidden agenda, and thereby creating deadly nanotechnology or dinosaurs running amok.

My take: David Brin Johnson is right! (Hurerrer!) It’s good to hear a bit of common sense applied to technological development, and the fears largely caused not by the technology, but by our own lack of care.

The movie blockbuster bubble


marqueeAt the opening of a new building at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts in Los Angeles, Steven Spielberg was quoted as saying that the era of the movie blockbuster may soon be over:

“There’s eventually going to be an implosion, or a big meltdown… where three or four or maybe even a half-dozen mega-budget movies are going to go crashing into the ground, and that’s going to change the paradigm.”

George Lucas—between he and Spielberg, producers of most of the biggest movie blockbusters in American history—agreed that the movie industry was due for a reversal of fortune, where the huge movies of the past will no longer carry the mega audiences they once did, and studios will be stricken by the sudden unprofitability of big movies.  Both of them also lamented about the “lesser” movies they made, which almost weren’t accepted by the studios for theatre releases because of their non-blockbuster status.  That’s right: Spielberg and Lucas both had trouble getting their movies into the theatres.

And what they are suggesting is that, at present, lesser movies are hard to produce for movies… but that in the near future, big blockbusters won’t get the automatic greenlight either.  Does this mean Hollywood will have to turn back to the lesser movies, and a different profit expectation?  If so, what should we expect? Continue reading

The success of series

The Avengers (Marvel Studios)

The Avengers (Marvel Studios)

As I write this, The Avengers is well on its way to becoming another record-breaking movie.  As well, we have seen three Twilight movies, four Pirates of the Carribean movies, six Star Wars movies, umpteen Harry Potter movies, sequels to The Hunger Games and Iron Man are in the works… you know what?  I could blow three or four paragraphs on all the sequels and series of movies out there.

Suffice to say, continuations are popular in movies.  And why not?  A movie can only pack in so much information… a typical 2-hour movie is perhaps the equivalent of a 100-page book, and these days, books pack in 3-400 pages.  Multiple movies are a great way to get in all of the book’s content (well, more of it, anyway) and provide more well-rounded entertainment to the moviegoer.  Continue reading