Are The Russians The New Nazis?

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Photo by Michal Zacharzewski from FreeImagesHave you noticed this?

It seems like I can’t turn to a movie, TV show, or just about anything else produced by Hollywood without seeing the same thing over and over again.

No, I’m not talking about the plot. (That’s not a Hollywood thing, there are only three basic conflicts in all dramatic literature and that means a lot of repeated plots going all the way back to ancient Greece.)

And I’m not talking about the protagonists. (Yes, this superhero thing has gotten out of hand, but, hey, can you blame Hollywood? The more it sells the more they’ll make, at least until it stops selling.)

What I’m talking about is fast becoming a stereotypical prototype for the antagonist, the enemy of the protagonist, otherwise known as “the bad guy.” It’s not that they aren’t Continue Reading “Are The Russians The New Nazis?”

A Hero Has Fallen

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Say what you will about cinematographers, but they’re literally responsible for what we see in movies. Ultimately, save for a few choice lines, it is these images we remember most from the classic films we cherish.

It was the cinematographer’s use of a soft lens in critical close-ups that told more of Ilsa Lund’s backstory in Casablanca than any flashback could. We see a hint of it when she first enters Rick’s Café Américain, a popular casino. There, she’s introduced to Captain Renault.

But it is the extended close-up when Ilsa asks Sam to “play it for me.” There, the lens embraces the wholesome beauty of Ingrid Bergman and the sweet alluring yet Continue Reading “A Hero Has Fallen”

Childhood’s End: A Review of Ford vs. Ferrari

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Does this make sense to you?

There was a time when you met your best friend forever in Kindergarten. You went to school together. You graduated together. You were part of each other’s wedding parties. You raised your families together. You went on vacations together. Ultimately, you retired to the same communities together.

At least that’s what we were raised to believe.

My best friend was Angelo. From that day we met as five-year-olds to board that first school bus, we were best friends. Although the only class we ever shared was Kindergarten, from that point on we did everything together. Each day we would walk up Abbott Parkway to the school bus stop together. Every summer day we’d play together.

We talked of our past, present, and future.

We talked about our families, especially my uncle who wanted to design sports cars and his cousin, who frequently laid rubber in the middle of our street with his red hot 1968 Mustang.

We talked about school friends and who liked Ford and who liked Chevy.

We talked about our future wives, how we’d be each other’s best man. Oddly, Angelo Continue Reading “Childhood’s End: A Review of Ford vs. Ferrari

Contrition, Forgiveness, and Redemption: An Alternative (and Better) Ending to The Man in the High Castle

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If you watched the fourth and final season of Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle and you found yourself saying “Huh?!” at the end of the last episode, you’ll enjoy this.

WARNING: If you haven’t watched the entire fourth season, this article contains spoilers.

Let’s recap a couple of important plot points in the fourth season. These will come into play as we twist to a more satisfying conclusion.

The season opened with Juliana in the “real” timeline. (By “real,” we mean the timeline where Continue Reading “Contrition, Forgiveness, and Redemption: An Alternative (and Better) Ending to The Man in the High Castle

Out of Moves: The Man in the High Castle Finale Rooks Fans

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I don’t often do critical reviews of movies, but I have done them. I can’t, however, remember ever doing a review of contemporary episodic television.

Well, there’s always a first time. And this is it.

I’ve been a fan of Philip K. Dick ever since Ridley Scott transformed the author’s novel Do Androids Dream an Electric Sleep? into the cinematic classic Blade Runner. The movie combined stunning visuals with a deeply compelling drama. The sights, the score, the screenplay; they all melded together into an irresistible film.

So, when Scott decided to take on Dick’s The Man in the High Castle as an Amazon series, I simply couldn’t pass it up.

The Man in the High Castle falls under the “alternative history” genre. The concept revolves Continue Reading “Out of Moves: The Man in the High Castle Finale Rooks Fans”

First Man – A Titanic Odyssey of The Right Stuff

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What could be more fitting that, on the heels of the month where we celebrate the incredible voyage of Christopher Columbus, I feel compelled to share my thoughts on the movie First Man. The film depicts the life of Neil Armstrong and culminates in his historic voyage to the moon, a feat of exploration that, at the time and even today, has been compared with Columbus for its historical significance.

Imagine combining 2001: A Space Odyssey with The Right Stuff, then throwing in a pinch of Titanic at the end. That describes First Man.

First things first. Speaking of 2001, there’s a joke going around that Stanley Kubrik allowed Continue Reading “First Man – A Titanic Odyssey of The Right Stuff”