Recent Movies and TV

  • Invisible Man (2020) -- This movie was bullshit in 30 different ways. Let's start with hack filmmaking: a jump-scare sound effect is not what passes for suspense. The plot, such as it is: a woman's being stalked and gaslit by a jerk in a scramble-suit, who apparently has some mad commando skills and Jason Vorhees levels of stealth despite being Science Nerd. So if you want to see someone crying and not being believed while being smacked around for two hours, this is the movie for you. Maybe I'm late to this, but I have finally come to realize that anything with "Blumhouse" on it is garbage with a topping of vomit. Like, a Michael Bay level of both contempt for the audience, and misogyny.

  • Onward: This is just OK. It really didn't grab me at first, because it's so "family drama", but it got funnier towards the middle. I did enjoy the fact that, much like the merman in Cabin in the Woods, they keep mentioning gelatinous cubes, and so you know that you're gonna see one. And when you do, it delivers. I also liked the feral unicorns. More like raccoonicorns.

  • 24 Hour Party People: I hadn't watched this in years, and it really holds up. I liked it much more this time around. When I first saw it, I couldn't really get past the fact that I absolutely despise The Happy Mondays, but this time around I enjoyed hating them rather than just being annoyed by them. It's such a weird movie. How did this even get made? The licensing alone... I always want to recommend it but it comes with such a long list of footnotes. Like, if you don't already know all about these people, it's probably best to watch this movie with me sitting next to you on the couch, yelling.

  • Snatchers: This may be the greatest monster movie since Night of the Creeps. Excellent and snappy dialog, great comedic timing, hilarious gore. Chef kiss.

  • Underwater: Not bad. The claustrophobia of it makes it be more The Descent than The Abyss. Obvious plot is obvious, but the suspense and effects are good.

  • Vivarium: What if Cube but suburbia. A couple checks out a house and can't escape. Extremely nightmarish and well done.

  • She Never Died: A loose sequel to He Never Died. It's kind of the same movie again with a different cast, but it's enjoyable.

  • Tales from the Loop: This was absolutely fantastic. A series of interconnected stories based on the artwork and short stories by Simon Stålenhag, who is amazing. It's so different than almost any other scifi I've seen. It has a bit of a Twilight Zone feel, but mostly there aren't any villains, and the whole thing is just very calm. Calm and sad.

  • Beforeigners: I will make an exception to my ban on police procedurals when some of those police are time traveling vikings. Ok, fine. You got me. It's pretty good.

  • Siren: Season 1 was really fun, but season 2 went all relationships and babies and feeeeelings and I wasn't really there for it. But season 3 really picked up: they went full World War Mermaid.

  • Homecoming: Season 2 is a lot better than season 1! And season 1 was pretty good.

  • Motherland: Fort Salem: "What if the US Army was made up of pretty teen girls who are also witches" sounds like a completely idiotic plot for some Young Adult Paranormal Romance nonsense, but it's actually kind of ok. The worldbuilding and backstory really had me scratching my head, but they didn't dive deeply enough into it to lose me yet.

  • Charlie's Angels (2019) This was more entertaining than I expected. Much punchy, so fashion. It had kind of a Spice World feel to it, very 90s Girl Power.

  • Gretel & Hansel: It was fine, but I find that I've already forgotten it.

  • Jumanji: The Next Level: I laughed, but I've already forgotten it.

  • Penny Dreadful: City of Angels: This is absoutely fantastic. You may recall that Penny Dreadful season 1 was amazing, season 2 was OK, and season 3 was really pretty bad. Well fortunately, this show is not season 4 of Penny Dreadful: rather, it is season 3 of Carnivàle! And that's a really good choice.

  • Upload: This is kind of a sequel to "The Singularity Ruined by Lawers", and it's pretty funny. It strays into an unresolved murder mystery at some point, which is less interesting. The core achievement here is ridiculing social media trying to monetize your dreams.

  • Scoob: It's a "reboot" and it's 3D-modelled, so it's obviously inferior, but it does have some good gags. I laughed. I was enjoying it well enough until about 15 minutes from the end, when it seems like an entirely new writer took over, which is probably what happened. How do you fuck up the ending on Scooby Doo? By leaving out all of the jokes and filling it with saccharine nonsense and sequel-bait instead. Dude, we know there's going to be a sequel. This series is like a thousand years old. Also it just feels wrong to me that Shaggy isn't voiced by Matthew Lillard. (Greets to Cereal Killer!)

  • Blood Machines: Sooooo Carpenter Brut made a movie that's like.... Farscape fanfic or something? It's very pretty, but the plot, such as it is... it's straight out of an 80s issue of Heavy Metal, where all the men are creeps and all the women are naked, and that's pretty much the single defining characteristic of each. As a music video it would have been excellent, but there wasn't enough music and people kept talking.

  • Star Trek: Picard: This is... boring. How did they manage to make it so boring? I wish the show was about Picard doddering around the mansion with his Romulan housekeepers instead of whatever nonsense it was actually about. Which was mostly, "Data: is he a Real Boy??"


    Ok, first of all, why does Star Trek have synths at all? The only reason to build them is to have a slave caste, and A) you're a post-scarcity society, so why, and B) you've got a whole galaxy full of people with funny noses who can all inter-breed, so you've got options there too, if you're feelin' all slavey. So they spend dozens of episodes whinging over "BUT IS IT A PERSON" in a way they never do over Ferengi or Mexicans.

    There was a little movie called Blade Runner, it closed the book on this. Why do you keep reminding me of a better movie I could be watching instead?

    The way Peter Watts tore apart Humans is highly applicable here: "What a pleasant 101-level introduction to AI for anyone who's never thought about AI before, who's unlikely to think about AI again, and who doesn't like thinking very hard about much of anything."

    In the hundreds or thousands of episodes of the various Star Trek shows that exist, it's hard to pick a Most Irritating Character -- it's a target-rich environment -- but Data has always been the character I despised most. Not just because of the terrible, hackneyed "beep beep boop" writing, but because stories around him make no sense.

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Primary CV-Dazzle Failure Mode: Looking like a goofball.

Russian artists wear anti-facial recognition make-up... and get arrested

Thick black and red lines criss-cross the faces of young Russian men and women in a number of photos published on Facebook and Telegram. They've joined the 'Sledui' campaign, Russian for 'follow'. [...]

"We don't want to be caught in the lenses of video surveillance cameras without our consent. We don't want these new technologies to take over. We use make-up to shield ourselves from surveillance and facial recognition for a few minutes, turning this make-up into a symbol of disobedience," Nenasheva explains on her Facebook page. [...]

On February 9, Ekaterina Nenasheva published a new series of photos of herself wearing the distorting make-up -- but this time she's in the back of a police car. "They arrested us yesterday for wearing this make-up, and now they are accusing us of having taken part in a non-authorised event -- just for wearing it," the artist wrote on her Facebook page.

I've seen a lot of armchair pundits saying, "Pfffff, everybody knows that CV-Dazzle doesn't work", but it's very much all [citation needed] because I've seen anecdata on both sides. Have there been any rigorous attempts, or just performance art projects like this?

Though the dazzle that these people are wearing looks very ineffective.

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