Tag Archives | Movies

Transcendence is Real

Transcendence2014PosterDo you believe in transcendence, about which Wikipedia says “In religious experience transcendence is a state of being that has overcome the limitations of physical existence and by some definitions has also become independent of it. This is typically manifested in prayer, séance, meditation, psychedelics and paranormal ‘visions’”?

Gearing up for tomorrow’s release of the Johnny Depp movie Transcendence, the Daily Dot claims that it ain’t just sci-fi, it’s “terrifyingly real”:

This Friday, a movie called Transcendence will arrive in theaters. Directed by Christopher Nolan’s go-to cinematographer, Wally Pfister, and penned by first-time screenwriter Jack Paglen (whose script appeared on the infamous Black List), Transcendence is being sold as Hollywood’s next sci-fi epic. So far, reviews haven’t been kind (although they’re still rolling in), and box office predictions have been tepid.

The movie follows Johnny Depp’s Dr. Caster’s journey from being fatally shot to uploading his mind into a supercomputer, where he achieves the all-knowing, all-powerful state he’s only dreamed about before.

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An Esoteric Take on The Big Lebowski

The Big Lebowski

More than a movie The Big Lebowski is the kind of miracle that, more rarely than occasionally, slips through the cracks of the Hollywood machinery. That’s because the Coen Brothers’ previous film, Fargo, earned seven Academy Nominations and won two, for best original screenplay and best actress in a leading role, Frances McDormand, incidentally Joel Coen’s wife. So, with a lot more clout behind them, the Coen Brothers embarked on their next project, The Big Lebowski, in which the leading role of the Dude is sublimely played by Jeff Bridges. The Dude, by the way, was inspired by a real man, Jeff Dowd, a publicist who helped the Coen Brothers in launching Blood Simple, their first film.

In the Dude we find the archetype of the slacker, i.e, according to the definition in the dictionary,  an educated young person who is antimaterialistic, purposeless, apathetic, and usually works in a dead-end job.… Read the rest

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Glenn Beck Developing ‘Edison vs. Tesla’ Movie

Nikola TeslaThe story of Thomas Edison taking all the glory while creative genius Nikola Tesla died alone and in poverty in the New Yorker Hotel room that was his final home certainly seems like a great premise for a movie, but can Glenn Beck be trusted to do it justice? Gizmodo gushes excitedly at the prospect:

Former Fox News TV personality Glenn Beck is really sick of talking about politics. So what rustles his jimmies these days? The mythologized feud between Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison. Beck even has a movie in production about Edison that he hopes will “expose the truth” about this “bad man.”

From National Review:

Another film will “expose the truth” about Thomas Edison, a villain Beck thinks has gotten a break from historians and whose real story demonstrates our flawed understanding of the 20th century. Though remembered as “this nice, kind of, good old Thomas,” Beck explains, “he was really a bad man who was electrocuting animals.” Edison,”was absolutely on the wrong end, and luckily for him the story ended happily with his name being taken off his own company and given to GE,” he says.

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Get Ready For The Mirage Men

MM-AD-336x280-preThe new movie Mirage Men‘s subtitle is: “How the US government created a myth that took over the world.” A promising topic for any disinfonaut, surely, but it really has some bona fides that make us recommend it to you.

Way back in the dark ages of the year 2,000 an insatiably curious and cool alternative journalist arrived in New York to cover an all-day marathon of counterculture called disinfo.con, featuring the likes of Robert Anton Wilson, Marilyn Manson, Grant Morrison and Kenneth Anger, among many, many others. His name was Mark Pilkington and he has gone on to write for numerous newspapers and magazines and has published several books including our own Far Out: 101 Strange Tales From Science’s Outer Edge. Mark’s been working on Mirage Men for years; nominally he’s the writer, but believe me he was an instrumental part of the team that made this film, and you should check it out.… Read the rest

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Almost Everything In ‘Dr. Strangelove’ Was True

Dr strangelove peter sellersRemember Eric Schlosser, the Fast Food Nation author? Well he’s also a great journalist and this week  in The New Yorker he takes a look at the command and control of nuclear weapons, positing that the nuclear craziness of the classic Peter Sellers movie Dr. Strangelove, Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb was actually pretty much true:

This month marks the fiftieth anniversary of Stanley Kubrick’s black comedy about nuclear weapons, “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.” Released on January 29, 1964, the film caused a good deal of controversy. Its plot suggested that a mentally deranged American general could order a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union, without consulting the President. One reviewer described the film as “dangerous … an evil thing about an evil thing.” Another compared it to Soviet propaganda. Although “Strangelove” was clearly a farce, with the comedian Peter Sellers playing three roles, it was criticized for being implausible.

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The Politics of the Oscars

long walkThe whole world recognized and paid tribute to South African icon Nelson Mandela when he died at age 95. Ninety-one Heads of State attended his funeral. The UN General Assembly organized a special tribute. His legacy is secure in official circles, and in the hearts of South Africans, but will there be recognition in the place that seems to matter to the media even more: Hollywood?

The Oscar nominations are due any day, and early on, it seemed, as if the epic movie about the world’s most revered icon was a sure thing for Oscar consideration. Most of the main big newspaper reviewers loved it and, and its American distributor Harvey Weinstein has specialized in influencing Academy decisions.

But of late, it lost its buzz, and is appears buried by the hype machine, almost being treated as an also ran. The entertainment media no long seems to take it seriously. All the focus is on other films and the big US  stars.… Read the rest

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Kung Fu Movie Genre Inventor Run Run Shaw Dies At 106

run run shawVia the New York Times, pretty much all you could ask for in an eccentric billionaire movie mogul:

Run Run Shaw, the colorful Hong Kong media mogul whose name was synonymous with low-budget Chinese action and horror films — and especially with the wildly successful kung fu genre, which he is largely credited with inventing — died on Tuesday at his home in Hong Kong. He was 106.

Born in China, Mr. Shaw and his older brother, Run Me, were movie pioneers in Asia. In 1924 Run Run and Run Me turned a play called “Man From Shensi” into their first film. In Hong Kong, Run Run Shaw created Shaw Movietown, a complex of studios and residential towers where his actors worked and lived.

Mr. Shaw enjoyed the zany glamour of the Asian media world he helped create. He presided over his companies from a garish Art Deco palace in Hong Kong, a cross between a Hollywood mansion and a Hans Christian Andersen cookie castle.

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Singularity Goes Mainstream With Johnny Depp’s ‘Transcendence’

Via Slate:

This may be the singularity’s mainstream moment. Popularized by sci-fi author Vernor Vinge, the term refers to a theoretical point at which machines eclipse humans in intelligence, and beyond which pretty much everything changes. Kurzweil is its preeminent latter-day apostle, and he was recently hired as an engineer by Google to work on hastening its arrival by teaching computers to understand English. Now we’ve got Captain Jack Sparrow explaining it in a voiceover.

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