Interstellar, the Christopher Nolan movie (co-written by himself and Jonathan Nolan), is the sort of science fiction movie that comes along very seldom these days… unfortunately for all of us. In an entertainment market that will go out of its way to throw boy wizards, zombies and Klingons at ravenous audiences—but turn up its nose when someone offers real scientific content—Interstellar strives to hit some notes that are rarely touched by Hollywood anymore. But as those science notes are nested within some of the more well-known notes preferred by Pop Movie 101 aficionados, this movie does a great job hitting the right notes at the right times.
On a recent episode of Conan O’Brien, comedian Louis C.K. discussed why he doesn’t want to give his daughters smartphones (I love discussions like this, especially when no one thinks to include asking whether the smartphone denier has his own smartphone). In a nutshell, Louis criticizes smartphones—really, phones in general—for allowing us to dodge moments of solitude or sadness, moments he feels we should embrace and celebrate. He believes our solitary moments are the most important to us, and should not be missed.
Frankly, I’d expect that from a comedian whose most popular axiom is that everyone’s unhappy. Of course he wants people to stay unhappy… those are the kind of people he jokes about, and the kind of people who most appreciate his humor, so they are the people that keep him employed. But I’d say he’s dead wrong. Humans should not be alone or unhappy; neither should they celebrate unhappiness or solitude. That’s not being human. Continue reading
Mr. Incredible, trademark and copyright Disney-Pixar.
Well, here we are in another period of summer blockbuster superhero films to wade through. And as much as I enjoy them, I often find myself thinking about The Incredibles, Pixar’s animated superhero family. Since the movie was released, it has gone to my list of favorite movies and stayed there. I watch it frequently when I’m alone in the house and have a few hours to spare, securing myself in the basement with the lights low and the drinks and snacks ready and soaking it in like a guilty pleasure.
But is it just because I like superhero movies? Is it because of my fondness for animation? No, it’s much more than that. In fact, more than the live-action superhero movies, more than most adventure movies, The Incredibles deals with adult themes that I find I identify with… most notably in the character of Robert Parr, aka Mr. Incredible. Continue reading
David, the android (from Prometheus, 20th Century Fox)
Prometheus, the sort-of Alien prequel, opened in theatres a few weeks ago, and already it’s generating a lot of buzz… not for its production or acting, which were nothing short of excellent… but for the many questions the movie raises about the origins and history of life on Earth, the spread of life in the cosmos, and the morality of experimentation with life. Many of these questions are left unanswered by the end of the movie, leading to the possibility that we could see these questions debated for years in the movie’s aftermath. (Caution: Major spoilers follow.) Continue reading
I really enjoyed The Last Man on Earth Club. Honestly, I picked this book up expecting it to be mostly humorous; I was pleasantly surprised to discover a serious treatment about an interversal organization that managed to round up the last survivors of parallel Earths, and offer them psychological aid after the death of their species. Continue reading
War of the Worlds is notable and significant on many levels; not only in its introduction of intelligent and malevolent aliens, bent on conquest for unknowable ends (which Wells based on reports of English invasions of aboriginal regions for resource control); but in its point of view of the “regular Joe,” the man who is not part of the elite, not pressed into trying to attack a superior foe, but whose only concern is to get the heck out of harm’s way. Continue reading
A favorite book, and series, of mine: Beggars goes into such wonderful depth and unique directions, regarding the future of genetically-altered humans, that it almost felt like I was reading the only book that had really considered the subject.Continue reading