Recent Movies and TV

  • Creation Stories (2021): What if 24 Hour Party People but boring?

  • Nobody (2021): Bob Odenkirk does John Wick and I am there for it.

  • The Irregulars (2021): Victorian teen ghostbusters, except that for some reason there are minor characters with the names "Holmes" and "Watson" who bear no relation to the originals (and are kind of awful) and the show would have been a thousand times better if they simply did not have those names. Also this show follows the new trend of "Victorian England had lots of non-white people actually, but racism did not exist in any way, only classism" and I don't really know what to make of that.

  • Thunder Force (2021): Melissa McCarthy gets the Super Soldier serum. It's forgettable but funny.
  • Godzilla vs. Kong (2021): I tried to watch this like 4 times and was probably awake for a total of 40 minutes of its (I'm guessing) 5 hour length, and I don't feel like I missed a thing. Now I'm not saying that any Godzilla movie has been good, but... this was not. Also I haven't seen CGI hair this bad since the 90s.

  • Willy's Wonderland (2021): Another in the genre of "Nicholas Cage freaks out", this time in a haunted Chuck E. Cheese. Maybe this turns Mandy and Color Out of Space into a trilogy? Anyway, I enjoyed this more than either of those. It is exactly what you expect.

  • The Nevers (2021): Somehow I hadn't realized that this was a Joss Whedon thing until I got to the end credits of the first episode, and then it made so much more sense. They took all of the Whedon stuff and threw it at a wall and hosed it down with steampunk. It's a mess. Knockoff Eva Green is trying to start Professor Xavier's School for Victorian Pixie Dream Girls. By the end of the first season, nothing happens, except for some extremely stupid mythology-reveals. Let's hope there's not a season two.

  • Shadow and Bone (2021): Hits all of the Young Adult Paranormal Romance mandatory moves. I've already 100% forgotten it but it was fine I guess.

  • Invincible (2021): This seems like the sort of thing I would like, but it really did not keep my interest at all.

  • Jupiter's Legacy (2021): Boring. This was just... so basic for a superhero story today. Why even make this?

  • The Power (2021): A decent haunted-hospital story, set in the 70s. Spooky-assed soundtrack by Gazelle Twin!

  • M.O.D.O.K. (2021): It's a little funny, but I expected it to be way funnier. It does not live up to the MODOK from Gwenpool.

  • Cruella (2021): The plot had some ho-hum moments, but I am shocked to report that absolutely loved everything else about this! The performances were fantastic, the costumes were amazing, they nailed the look of the various time periods, the transition through glam and promo-punk. Even the set decoration in the second-hand shop was perfect. There were some dumb moments -- "my mom was killed by Dalmatians" and doubling down on the whole Disney Dead Mom thing, "Yo dawg we heard you liked dead moms so we put a dead mom in your dead mom" -- but overall, even the contrived origin-story references were pretty well done.

    Jim said: "Imagine going back 20 years and telling yourself that in 2021, Disney is going to release a Cruella origin story, about how she came of age between the swinging 60s and the punk rock 70s, and she was essentially a cross between Vivienne Westwood, Siouxsie and Banksy, and that the soundtrack is going to kick total ass, and oh, BTW, you are going to have your mind blown by the perfect recreation of the era, well... 2001 Jim would be very skeptical."

    My skepticism was increased by the fact that I think that the original 101 Dalmatians is one of Disney's worst movies of all time. The story is dumb, the songs are bad, the animation is boring, and though the animated Cruella had a fantastic, iconic look, there's nothing else there. And even with all that, this live-action (!!) prequel (!!!) is inexplicably fantastic.

    Finally: in my headcanon, Cruella also serves as Pennyworth S04. I will be taking no questions.

  • Flashback (2021): Part Jacob's Ladder, part Starfish. It's not easy to follow, but I liked it.

  • A Mermaid in Paris (2020): Or, "Manic Fishie Dream Girl". More on the "stylized fairytale" side than the "carnivorous succubus" side. The Lure remains the gold standard of "apex predator becomes lounge singer", but this one is cute. Relatedly, I still wish Siren had gotten to finish their "World War Mermaid" storyline.

  • Loki (2021): It's basically Loki on a series of buddy-road-trips going nowhere, and that's good enough for me. It's also a fucking time travel story, and I fucking hate time travel stories, but I'm willing to let that slide for now.

  • Werewolves Within (2021): Really funny small-town werewolf movie. (I'm glad this is a genre now.) But also part "screwball locked-room detective-mystery with scenery-chewing character actors".

  • The Tomorrow War (2021): This was deeply, deeply stupid on every level. Just watch the Pitch Meeting of it instead.

  • The Underground Railroad (2021): This show really didn't know what it wanted to be, and I was skimming and dozing heavily by episode 3. There was a little magical realism, a little fantasy, but mostly just a whole lot of torture porn, subcategory "plantation escape". Pass.

  • Spare Parts (2021): Girls in punk band get kidnapped, have their arms amputated and replaced with chainsaws, and are forced to fight in a gladiator junkyard. It's exactly what you expect. There are no surprises of any kind. The acting and effects aren't bad, and the "Saw" shit is kept to a minimum.

  • Kevin Can Fuck Himself (2021): It's a story about a woman who is about to murder her piece-of-shit husband, but the gimmick is that any time he's on screen, they shoot those scenes as an 80s/90s sitcom, laugh track and flat lighting and all, played as "fat man-child and his nagging wife". They get the look of that exactly right, but it just goes on way too long, like, someone writing this show was actually invested in the sitcom subplots, and I just cannot watch that shit. It's exhausting. (BTW, if any reviewer has compared this to either Wandavision or the Rodney Dangerfield bit from Natural Born Killers, they are mistaken. What's the first rule of cover songs? Don't remind me of a better band I could be listening to instead.)


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The Streetsblog review of Fastererer and Furiouserer is great

I Watched 'F9' So Other Bike/Ped Advocates Don't Have To

Luckily, it's just their old friends: Ludacris, Tyrese, and a few other people I do not recognize, because unlike the other two, I didn't dance awkwardly to their music at bar mitzvahs in the year 2000.

Vin is placated, but suspicious. "I know you don't carpool," he sneers, because real heroes only ride in single occupancy vehicles, even when they are going to the exact same off-grid farm that seems to grow nothing. [...]

The squad searches the wreckage of the plane and find what looks like a tiny terrarium for some nice succulents maybe, but is actually half of a super-weapon that can be used hack into any electronic device, including deadly space lasers. I check my phone to see if Marjorie Taylor Greene wrote this movie. [...]

Someone's tank catches on fire and the driver yells, "My ass is en fuego!" so now I am pretty sure this movie is going to win a Best Screenplay Oscar. Tyrese drives through a literal minefield, which is hard because in order to avoid the blast radius after triggering a mine, he needs to drive over 80 miles per hour...but his speedometer only goes up to 70! Fun fact: my Toyota has a speedometer that goes up to 130, and this unnamed Central American country apparently has better vehicle safety standards than NHTSA. [...]

The car immediately explodes, and Luda and Tyrese snicker about how autonomous vehicles will never be a thing, because driving is the highest expression of human greatness. [...] Ludacris and Tyrese arrive to track him, and, to their horror, are forced to park their sweet car in the middle of a crowded pedestrian plaza and....walk. "I just grew a new bunion!" Luda actually cries, because he literally never uses his feet for anything but pushing a gas pedal. [...]

Day freshly saved, Dominic Tomagotchi scoops his young son out of the spider hole where he has been hiding for this entire movie and takes him to the race track where the grandfather he never met was literally burned to death. This is supposed to be touching and not an example of terrible parenting.

Previously, previously, previously.

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Lego Insurrection Kit

FBI Confiscates Rioter's 'Fully Constructed U.S. Capitol Lego Set'

The U.S. Capitol Lego set is part of the company's high end "Architecture" line which recreates famous landmarks. It retails for more than $250 and, according to the Lego website, it has retired the set. The U.S. Capitol set is detailed and complicated for a Lego set, but it's not clear it's to-scale and does not include the kind of detail a person would need to plan an insurrection.

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Wow! This Woman Just Spent 40 Minutes Investigating A Twitter Beef Even Though She Has but One Life on God's Green Earth

Some people just march to the beat of their own drums, and Kelsea Green proves it: This young woman spent 40 precious minutes reading through and researching a Twitter beef that bears no relevance to her whatsoever, and all while she has but one life to live on this miraculous blue marble.

[...] "After almost an hour of investigation, I accidentally clicked the home button and lost everything, so then I just moved on," Kelsea says. "I wouldn't say I learned anything, per se, but I would say the whole experience left me feeling a little bit anxious and bad?"

Kelsea lives within walking distance of multiple free museums and hasn't spoken to her brother, who she loves and gets along with well, in six weeks.

"They say to live like you're dying, but no one really does that," Kelsea says. "Maybe it's less about being adventurous, and more about finding meaning by being present, grateful, and intentional. But I choose to do neither and just sort of avoid thinking about it."

We applaud your unique approach!

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We are all Bane now.

Quarantine changes people.

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MICROS~1 launches automated license-laundering system

Microsoft's "Github" product now does auto-complete madlibs to write code for you. It's a marketing stunt. It's a gag. But it's also a massive license-violation framework.

Here is the correct take:

Github Copilot has, by their own admission, been trained on mountains of GPL code, so i'm unclear on how it's not a form of laundering open source code into commercial works. The handwave of "it usually doesn't reproduce exact chunks" is not very satisfying.

Copyright does not only cover copying and pasting; it covers derivative works. Github Copilot was trained on open source code and the sum total of everything it knows was drawn from that code. There is no possible interpretation of "derivative" that does not include this.

I'm really tired of the tech industry treating neural networks like magic black boxes that spit out something completely novel, and taking free software for granted while paying out $150k salaries for writing ad delivery systems. The two have finally fused and it sucks.

Previous "AI" generation has been trained on public text and photos, which are harder to make copyright claims on, but this is drawn from large bodies of work with very explicit court-tested licenses, so I look forward to the inevitable massive class action suits over this.

"But eevee, humans also learn by reading open source code, so isn't that the same thing"

  • No
  • Humans are capable of abstract understanding and have a breadth of other knowledge to draw from
  • Statistical models do not
  • You have fallen for marketing

Even MIT code still requires attribution, and they don't even know who to attribute the output to.

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Officer-Involved Bombing

Upside, at least the taxpayers whose homes LAPD destroyed are going to get to buy the cops a fancy new truck!

17 Injured After Planned Detonation Of Seized Illegal Fireworks Ends In Explosion:

The explosion occurred after the LAPD had seized over 5,000 pounds of illegal fireworks from a nearby home. Ten pounds of the illegal fireworks were placed in a specialized armored truck designed for controlled detonations. The explosion flipped cars and shattered windows across a two-block radius. There's no word on exactly how many homes were damaged. About 12 homes are under mandatory evacuation.

I also like how before LAPD blew up a neighborhood they were "fireworks" but afterward they were "improvised explosive devices".

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Gulf of Mexico on fire

This is fine.

The fire took more than five hours to fully put out, according to Pemex. Pemex said no injuries were reported, and production from the project was not affected.


Angel Carrizales, head of Mexico's oil safety regulator ASEA, wrote on Twitter that the incident "did not generate any spill." He did not explain what was burning on the water's surface.

"The turbomachinery of Ku Maloob Zaap's active production facilities were affected by an electrical storm and heavy rains," according to a Pemex incident report shared by one of Reuters' sources.

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