Media Update 11/17/2016

Westworld (2016)

Everybody has been raving about this show. I never read the book even though I devoured Jurrasic Park when it came out. I also never saw the movie from the Seventies but I cannot imagine a movie being able to handle the complexity of the show. I had always heard that Westworld was just “Jurrasic Park with Cowboys” and I have realized that this is a criminal oversimplification. When you are manufacturing humans for a theme park, there are going to be a lot more themes than “Playing God” and “Human Overreach”. The show asks a lot of philosophical questions about what it is to think, feel and what it is to be human. The show plays with memories and perception of reality. The guests in Westworld are playing a game and it is really interesting to see the different ways people game in a more realistic way. I have played a few MMORPGs and a lot of the guests’ behavior is very familiar. I am four episodes in and there is an amazing deeper story unfolding. All of this deep, thoughtful stuff has a great layer of Western action on top which makes it all the better. The acting is really great with a whole cast of people I do not recognize with great stars like Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris and Evan Rachel Wood tossed in as well. The show is dark but it draws me deeper and the first season is only ten episodes long. I cannot recommend this one enough, steal an HBO Go password from your friend if you have to.

The World’s End

I felt like this week was the time to finally finish the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy. Each movie in Edgar Wright’s trilogy is similar but each has a different energy. Shaun of the Dead is a goofy parody of zombie movies. Hot Fuzz is a parody of gun-happy action movies. The World’s End is a parody of science fiction alien invasion movies. Yet, they all have central messages that get echoed as the trilogy goes along. Friendship is important. You have to grow up eventually. You can never go home again. Free will is a great gift but it has to be used responsibly. Somehow, Wright snuck meaningful messages for our lives in three genre films. This was a great end to that trilogy. As usual, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are great as arguably the two central characters. We also get all the old regulars from the first two films returning in sometimes different roles but all of them are great. This felt like the most expensive film of the trilogy but that might be because everything looked so good. Part of that can probably be attributed to how much Edgar Wright has learned as a filmmaker. This movie also seemed to be better written which is saying a lot considering the other two are so good. This one did a better job of establishing backstories for each character and creating a world around them. I definitely recommend it. It is very strange but it has a great message, I think.

Screamers 2: The Hunting

I was thinking about what movie would be best to watch to finish out this week and I was a little stumped. I wanted to make the theme a good one and just watching any old science fiction movie felt like it would be a cop out. I did not really want to watch Ex Machina or The Stepford Wives so I kept thinking. Then I remembered that I had already watched Screamers, a movie adapted from the work of Phillip K. Dick that had robots posing as humans in it. Then I looked it up and found that there was a sequel. Then I found out that the sequel has Stephen Amell in it and I was sold. Once again, we have a somewhat schlocky sci-fi action movie with a lot of fun bits. This is a cheap sequel to a cheap movie but I still like the combination of Tremors, Aliens and Invasion of the Body Snatchers that this movie seems to represent. While the movie is cheap, waiting fourteen years to make a sequel means that this movie has much better digital and practical effects. Obviously, Stephen Amell is the best part of the movie after the Screamers themselves and they could have used more of him. This was before his rise to stardom thanks to Arrow. Some of the plot points are really dumb but I kind of enjoy B-Movies. I only recommend this if you have seen the first one and you love cheesy sci-fi movies with bad writing.

Music of the Week:
Ninja Sex Party – Cool Patrol

The Weeknd – Starboy ft. Daft Punk

Thomas Rhett – Star Of The Show

Rae Sremmurd – Black Beatles ft. Gucci Mane

twenty one pilots – Stressed Out

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Robots That Look Like Humans”
– I started Season 2 of Galavant
– I started watching Dice, Camera, Action (a Wizards of the Coast stream)
– I watched more Once Upon a Time Season 6
– I started watching Lucifer Season 2
– I caught up on Lucha Underground


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