Category Archives: Movies

From the multiverse to the Old West: movies

DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS (2022) opens with Stephen (Benedict Cumberpatch, of course) putting on a brave face as he attends Claire’s (Rachel McAdams) wedding. Then America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) enlists him to help against a mysterious enemy out to drain her dimension hopping power — which turns out to be the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), determined to find a realm where her kids are still alive (after what happened in Disney’s Wandavision). Turning to the unspeakable evil of the Darkhold, she’s now powerful and corrupted enough to crush anyone who gets in her way — so how can they stop her?

Directed by Sam Raimi (the final pre-credits scene feels like a very Raimi finish) this is imaginative and entertaining; however I hate how magic often ends up looking less like magic and more like Green Lantern or the Mandarin’s solid-energy constructs. It bugs me that “witch” is implied to be a bad thing, even in a world where magic is normal. And I agree with one of my fellow Atomic Junkshop bloggers that the handling of motherhood is awful. America’s lost her two moms, for instance, but the movie places much more emphasis on finding a new dad in Stephen Strange. Still worth seeing, but flawed. “I don’t know who you are or what you’re trying to do here, but these things don’t usually work out too well for the nameless scientists.”

LEGAL EAGLES (1986) has flaky defense attorney Debra Winger struggling to convince prosecutor Robert Redford that performance artist and accused thief Daryl Hannah is more sinned against than sinning, while Redford struggles to overcome insomnia and rein in his attraction to both women. I really loved this when I caught it in theaters, but rewatching makes me aware the thriller aspect doesn’t mesh well with the legal rom-com parts; rather than have the finalé in the courtroom, we get a generic action-packed showdown with the bad guy in a blazing building (Siskel and Ebert used to complain a lot about movies resolving non-action plots with violence). Still, a good enough cast — including Terrance Stamp as a slimy art dealer and Brian Dennehy as a cop — that I enjoyed it. “Dad didn’t hit her in the face — it was just some guy she was trying to rob with a gun!”

I’ve been rewatching the Middleman TV series so as one episode mentioned RIDE LONESOME (1959) as the hero’s favorite movie …This has Randolph Scott as a relentless bounty hunter determined to bring in a captured outlaw despite challenges from rival hunters, Native tribes, a pretty girl and the captive’s brother Lee Van Cleef. This reminds me of Jimmy Stewart’s Bend of the River for showing Scott’s not the hardcase he appears to be, but this movie doesn’t hook me the way the other film did (in fairness, Westerns are one of my least favorite genres); however the ending does make for great drama. “If a man had you, Mrs. Lane, he’d never know a long, lonely night.”

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BFFs in a Couple Of Movies

MORBIUS (2022) stars Jared Leto as Marvel’s “Living Vampire,” a scientist whose radical experiments to cure himself and BFF Milo (Matt Smith) of a disabling blood disease has a few side effects such as turning them into vampires when they don’t get enough synthetic blood and apparently giving Morbius the power to command vampire bats (the cure was somehow based on vampire bats, which was not the case in the MU). Worse, Milo relishes his new power and sets out to recruit the more ethical Morbius to prey upon humanity rather help it.

As Camestros Felapton says, this would have been a lot better if the guys had switched roles. Smith embraces the melodramatic absurdity while Leto approaches it as if he were in a serious scientific drama like Dr. Ehrlich’s Magic Bullet. That was a bad choice by Leto. There are other problems, such as Morbius not even trying to use a blood bank as an alternative to people, but a big one for me is that vampires are simply too common now for this to have any interest: Milo and Morbius might as well be Lacroix and Nicholas from Forever Knight. Tyrese Gibson plays Simon Stroud, a character from the original Bronze Age series, but he’s no more interesting here. Michael Keaton appears at the end in some seeding for a sequel (if one occurs).  “I am reborn — I am the resurrection.”

The buddies in LET’S SWITCH (1975) are magazine editor Barbara Feldon and suburban housewife Barbara Eden, who in frustration at their lives decide to switch places for a week while their respective boyfriend and husband are out of town. They assume this will be a cakewalk — Eden’s had some journalism training and Feldon being a housewife can’t be that hard — but of course everything goes horribly wrong, leaving them happy to switch back. Much as I like both leads, this is bland and unsatisfying, and surprisingly doesn’t fix any of the problems they’ve caused for each other. With Penny Marshall as Feldon’s dour assistant and Dick Schaal as her artist boyfriend. “I’m going to tell you something only a few close friends and the DA know.”

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1950s computers, 1980s papergirls and modern voyeurism: movies and TV

In hindsight it would have been interesting to discuss GOG (1954) in the section of Aliens Are Here dealing with 1971’s The Andromeda Strain.

Like the later movie, Gog is a film about science and scientific research; where the Crichton adaptation makes scientific drudgery fascinating, Gog is plodding, talky and dull. That’s partly because where Andromeda Strain is tense — can we stop a xenobacteria from causing a pandemic? — the research scenes in Gog have nothing to do with the main plot of the movie.The plot centers on a series of mysterious deaths in a lab working on space research, including plans for an orbiting solar mirror that could destroy any target on Earth, so clearly our satellite has to get up before any foreign power tries it (the kind of thinking The Space Children later warned against). The mysterious saboteur could prevent that.

Dull as it is, Gog does have a couple of interesting elements. Gog and Magog are the screen’s first non-humanoid robots; the foreign power’s interference with the base’s central computer amounts to an early example of hacking. That’s not enough to redeem it though. Not a maniac, Dr. Burton — we have on our staff a cold, calculating killer.”

If you read this blog regularly you know I’m a big fan of the Brian K. Vaughn/Cliff Chiang Paper Girls comics series so no surprise I watched the Amazon Prime adaptation. PAPER GIRLS is  fun with its story of four kids suddenly caught up in a time war, though I think the originals are so cinematic the various changes to the original storyline were pointless. The best change is giving us a look at adult KJ, which somehow never happened in the comics. The most understandable is that while Mac handles cigarettes a lot, she doesn’t smoke any.

The changes I like least are number one, the lack of all the neat 1980s period references. Number two, the girls in the comics are acting on their own; here they’re constantly led around by one adult authority figure or another. That feels very unsatisfying, as if someone got cold feet about the kids trying to survive on their own in such a nightmare situation. In any case it’s been canceled, though I’ve no idea if the flaws I found are tied to that. “You just told me I’m adopted and you really think I want to listen to Whitney Houston?”

THE RENTAL (2020) is a clunky horror story in which two couples spend the weekend at an isolated coastal vacation house with suspiciously cheap rates — would you believe this turns out as disastrous as seeking refuge from thunderstorms in isolated castles? However it’s very oddly structured, starting off as personal drama (did the homeowner refuse to rent to a Muslim because he’s a racist? Will two of the quartet hooking up with the wrong person ruin everything?), shifting into Voyeur of Doom territory (the entire house is wired with hidden cameras!) then has the Voyeur turn into a Masked Slasher who kills them all. Thumbs down. “I’m not saying we can’t get away with it — I’m saying I don’t want to get away with it.”

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“You have the habit of not necessarily looking for implausibility but of not avoiding it if it’s useful.”

The title quote is from the Hitchcock/Truffaut documentary I watched a while back. It’s one of several quotes and discussions that stuck with me now that I’ve finished the relevant book, HITCHCOCK/TRUFFAUT.

Francois Truffaut established himself as a serious filmmaker with his first movie, The 400 Blows. He was also a serious thinker about film, one of several future directors who started by writing for the magazine Cahiers du Cinema which made the radical claim for the time that some American directors were serious artists too. He saw that Hitch, whom America’s Serious Critics dismissed as a gifted but commercial director, was also a serious artist, which led to the book, a biography of sorts starting from Hitchcock’s childhood and working through his career, film by film. It’s fascinating reading even if I don’t agree with either man at times (Truffaut considers Under Capricorn a neglected classic, for instance).The opening quote strikes me as good advice for writers. Going and looking for implausibility might not be productive but if it’s useful, why avoid it? The Fast and Furious series is a good example: the movies are engaging when we have our heroes, say, driving off towing a money vault in Fast Five but a lot less successful when they’re taking on a Russian submarine base in The Fate of the Furious. Diminishing returns and all that (though obviously it didn’t kill the series).While I’ve heard Hitchcock discuss the difference between suspense and shock before — a bomb going off suddenly is a shock, knowing it’s there and counting down is suspense — his discussion of Vertigo added weight to it. The studio thought the ending lacked drama so they wanted a big reveal that Kim Novak was not merely a lookalike for Stewart’s lost love but the same woman. That’s shock; revealing it to the viewers much earlier, as Hitchcock did, is suspense: can she keep up the impersonation or will Scotty (Jimmy Stewart) catch on?

The two men inevitably discussed Hitchcock’s view of MacGuffins — that it doesn’t matter what the bad guys are out to steal or the good guys trying to protect, except that it puts the plot in motion (as I pointed out recently, that’s how I think about the anti-mind control drugs in Black Widow). This raises the risk that when the reveal comes, the audience will be disappointed; Truffaut observes one way Hitchcock deals with this is make the reveal a couple of reels ahead of the climax so it’s not too important to the finish.

But of course the real focus of the book is Hitch’s movies; I rather wish that I’d had this book handy all the way through so I could read the discussion while the film is fresh. Truffaut has the eye of both a critic and a movie maker so we get very interesting discussion of key moments, strengths and weaknesses and film quality. I do think some of Hitchcock’s analysis is skewed by his notorious control issues: he thinks the actors’ role is “to do nothing in an interesting way” rather than act — leave it to Hitchcock’s camera work and set design to tell the story. Unsurprisingly Truffaut, one of the originators of auteur theory (the director’s control makes him the true author of the movie, not the actors or the screenwriter) seems to agree. In Rear Window, he argues, Jimmy Stewart doesn’t have to act: Hitchcock simply shows him watching the neighborhood, then cuts to the scene and we imagine the reaction because Hitch has primed us to see what he wants on Stewart’s face.

I strongly disagree Stewart isn’t acting in that film. But the idea it’s all in the hands of the director and his storyboards must be appealing when you are the director; Truffaut quotes Hitch saying that “I dream of an IBM machine in which I’d insert the screenplay at one end and the film would emerge on the other.” Possibly that also influences Hitch’s view that silents are better than talkies — dialog is theatrical, getting in the way of pure film.

But even where I disagree it’s a fascinating book.

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Czech animation, comic-book based superheroes: movies and TV

JAN SVANKMAJER: THE OSSUARY AND OTHER TALES (1964) collects some of the Czech animator’s bizarre shorts (I’ve seen some of his longer works, such as Alice or Faust), not all of which work — some are just odd and pointless — but most do, including a film about a human fence and one involving a slowly assembling body (I think I caught it back on MTV’s old Liquid Television, which introduced me to Svankmajer). “Plant an engineer between two butchers.”

The 1994 cartoon of THE TICK was my introduction to Ben Edlund’s superhero parody (I found the comic book some years later) as the dumb but mighty hero, his sidekick Arthur and allies such as American Maid—— battle Dick Tracy-esque villain Chairface Chippendale, Bond-style tyrant Pineapple Pokopo, mock adventures in Pretentious Surreal Mindscapes (I hate those) and parody superheroes about as well as it’s ever been done. For some reason this set misses one episode (“The Tick vs. the Mole-Men”) but it holds up well, with the season improving as it goes along. “I’m not Stalin, I’m Stalingrad — a graduate student in Russian history who decided to become a supervillain.”

THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY‘s third season follows up on the ending of the second (though I can’t find a review here for anything but S1), in which Gerard Way’s misfit comic-book heroes return home to discover they’ve been replaced by the Sparrow Academy. It turns out following S2’s changes in the timeline, Hargreaves (Colm Feore) created an entirely different team — more formidable fighters, it turns out, but shallow and selfish, exploiting their heroics to become celebrity. Can the two teams work together when the world once again faces the apocalypse?

I like the set-up and would have loved to see the two team square off, with the Umbrellas ultimately proving their merit. The “kugelblitz” apocalypse didn’t work out as well as I expected. And the ending, leading into the final season, is more frustrating than satisfying — it may all look better once we learn Hargreaves hidden agenda in S4, but that’s really not good enough. “The best way to bring a family together is at a wedding — or a funeral. We’ve tried one, now we’ll try the other.”

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The fighting women of movies and TV

PREY (2022) is the direct-to-streaming Predator prequel set on the Great Plains in the 1700s. The protagonist is a Comanche woman healer who wants to become a hunter; when she discovers something mean and monstrous butchering the local wildlife she tries to warn her tribe, but will they believe her (in a nice touch, some of the butchery turns out to be French trappers at work)? Easily the best film since the first, which raises the question whether they’ll try more historical stories; I notice the Predator has much less armor than later versions, which fits the aesthetic of the setting well. “You see what I miss — you always have.”

EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE (2022) stars Michelle Yeoh as a burned-out laundromat owner facing failure on every level, only to discover that very failure makes her as potentially invincible as Jet Li in The One (because there are so many alt.timelines where she succeeded, and she can draw on her skills in all of them). This makes her the logical Player on the Other Side to an equally formidable multiversal destroyer, provided Yeoh can master her powers in time.

This is as good as I’d heard but several times more bizarre; the Ratatouille parody alone is worth the price of admission. With Jamie Lee Curtis as a stressed out IRS agent. “There’s beauty everywhere, even in that stupid universe where we have hot dogs for fingers.”

Barbara Loden directed and starred in WANDA (1970) as a housewife in a mining town who drifts into a series of one-night stands after her divorce — and wouldn’t you know, one of them’s a criminal who drags her into one of his robbery schemes. This is very well done but it’s very low-key and Wanda is almost completely passive as a character, which makes it hard to get into (there’s apparently much debate whether second wave feminism made the character instantly outdated or it reflects the way so many women in a man’s world just go along with twhat men want). “Maybe you never did anything before — but you’re going to do this.”

BLACK WIDOW (2021) is a textbook example of Hitchcock’s belief the McGuffin doesn’t matter. The McGuffin in this case is an antidote to the mind-control drugs a Russian spymaster has used to create a slave army of Black Widows all over the world but I didn’t give a crap about the drugs or his Big And Evil Plan. The point of the movie to me is the chance to watch Scarlet Johansson’s Natasha kick spectacular butt, escape near death and have a very awkward reunion with her quasi-family of Florence Pugh, Rachel Weisz and David Harbour (the premise being they were a sleeper cell like The Americans but without real blood ties). The movie is a lot of fun, making it a shame Black Widow is one of the few characters who didn’t survive the war with Thanos (which I’m sure doesn’t relate to her being one of the biggest and most expensive stars in the MCU). “We’re just weapons with no face that he can throw away.”

MOTHERLAND: Fort Salem wrapped up with its third season (S2 review here) and happily they stuck the landing. At the end of last season the “Bellweather unit’ of Raelle (Taylor Hickson), Tally (Jessica Sutton) and Abby (Ashley Nicole Williams) went on the run after Vice President Silver framed them for murdering his daughter, the inciting incident to justify a literal witch hunt. Now they have to survive long enough to fight back, despite the schemes by the witch-hating Camarilla to bring back the days when witches were outcast.

To their credit, they resolved everything by going big, not only wrapping up the romantic arcs (and happily avoiding Bury Your Gays tropes) but the clash between the witches and both the Spree and Camarilla extremists. This remains one of my favorite fantasy series of recent years. “I’m not exactly sure what we did, but I’m fairly certain we changed everything.”

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Still exhausted by indexing and proofing—

So instead of my usual Saturday Things Viewed post, some links relating to movies, books and comics.

The Chinese authorities were apparently unhappy with the end of the movie Minions letting Gru get off scott-free — so in the Chinese version, he reforms.

Sarasota County schools are so wary of donated books containing something Ron DeFascist might not like, they’ve declared there will be no donations.

Unsurprisingly, right-wing authoritarian preacher Franklin Graham thinks libraries refusing LBGTQ material is a good thing. He’d probably love these QAnon conservative book-banners.

John Wayne’s The Conqueror is a bad film (Wayne plays Genghis Khan, need I say more?). It also led to many of the cast getting cancer.

Fifty years after the 1973 Oscar awards, when Sacheen Littlefeather spoke out against Native American stereotyping in Hollywood, the Academy has apologized for how they treated her.The DCEU has never been close to an MCU style powerhouse. Now that Warners has been bought out by Discovery, it’s going to get worse.

A conservative church did an unauthorized version of Hamilton and rewrote it to include an anti-gay statement at the end. Isn’t that charming?

“People keep writing things into scripts that they could never do practically.” When this happens, not much thought is given to how those visuals will be created. Another source summed up the approach bluntly: “People are not giving a lot of thought to, Is this film filmable? They’re like, Someone else will figure that out. That’s not my problem.” — a look at how Hollywood is burning out its visual effects people.

“All the goodwill in the world just evaporates when everything gets changed and they decide they’re replacing that character with a different actor or changing the entire environment – they’re now in a pizza restaurant instead of a cornfield. It can be that extreme at the very last minute.” — or why Marvel/Disney is one of the big offenders.

Supposedly the diary of a teenage drug addict, Go Ask Alice was very well known when I was a teen (I don’t know about now). Slate looks at Beatrice Sparks, the writer who made the whole thing up.

Sparks also stoked 20th century Satanic panics with Jay’s Journal, a based-on-not-much-truth story about a teenage Satanist. Which reminds me of Fred Clark’s assertion that fake Satanists are routine — their audience’s hunger to believe is what’s interesting.

Why Stan Lee took Spider-Man #100 as an opportunity to declare himself sole creator of Spider-Man (he wasn’t).

How the $25,000 Marvel promises creators when their characters appear in an MCU movie gets whittled down.

An artist got some media attention by taping a banana to a wall. Now she’s being sued for copyright infringement.

Rachel Swirsky’s new novel tackles the pros and cons of universal basic income.

The time Marvel Comics changed a series’ title to avoid pissing off Hell’s Angels.

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Farewell, Alfred Hitchcock (almost): Frenzy, Family Plot and a book

Yep, my long (re)watch of Alfred Hitchcock is now done, unless I decide to watch the Alfred Hitchcock Presents TV series at some point. Happily, after the mediocrity of Torn Curtain and Topaz, Hitch went out on a win (which was the public and critical reaction at the time, too)

FRENZY (1972) owes a lot to Psycho, though it has multiple elements from other Hitchcock films, such as the innocent man on the run, a doomed romance and an opening resembling Young and Innocent. Jon Finch plays a dour divorcee accused of being a literal psycho when circumstantial evidence fingers him as the Necktie Killer terrorizing London. While innocent, Finch is one of Hitch’s least likely protagonists, a pissed-off loser whose resentment feels as if it could indeed explode into violence (and his 1970s hairstyle surprises me, given Hitch’s preference for old-school elegance); the one rape-murder we witness is considerably more graphic than in Psycho and uglier to watch (a later murder in which we see nothing at all is far more chilling). There’s a lot of humor here, some of it black (“One thing about psychopaths like the Necktie Killer, they’re good for the tourist trade.”) but also the chief detective’s wife’s fondness for exotic cooking (apparently by 1970s British standards, margaritas were extremely strange drinks). “Sometimes just thinking about the lusts of men makes me heave.”

FAMILY PLOT (1976) has two couples on opposite sides of the law, both of whom inevitably wind up pitted against each other. Barbara Harris (fake medium) and Bruce Dern (taxi-driver) are one pair, seeking to locate a missing heir in return for a ten grand payoff; jeweler William Devane and his wife Karen Black are the other, kidnapping prominent wealthy men in return for valuable diamonds that Devane then cuts up and resells. This harks back to some of the light-hearted suspense tales of the 1930s such as Young and Innocent, though it’s not as effective as Frenzy; while Devane has an oily, slimy charm that works well, Dern feels out of place here (and while he’s constantly chewing on a pipe, I don’t think he ever smokes it); Harris is talented but playing opposite Dern she doesn’t quite work either. It’s fun though, and makes  a better end to Hitch’s career than he might have had. “Don’t start to fret or our waterbed will be no fun tonight.”

Wrapping up the films meant I also wrapped up THE FILMS OF ALFRED HITCHCOCK by Robert A. Harris and Michael S. Lasky, which I’ve been reading along with my viewing. This was one of a line of Films Of books published by Citadel back in the 1970s when merely getting a complete list of films with cast and crew information was groundbreaking. Some of them don’t go much beyond that data; this one digs a little deeper, covering critical responses, backstage problems and more. I was startled to read at the end that the authors were anticipating a couple more films from Hitch under his contract with Universal, unaware he’d soon be too sick to keep going, and then dead. But he left one hell of a legacy behind him.

And that’s it until I read the Hitchcock/Truffaut book I referenced a while back.

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The most hated man on the Internet is not Tom Swift: TV viewed

THE MOST HATED MAN ON THE INTERNET (2022) is a three-part documentary series on Netflix about Hunter Moore, a sleazeball whose Is Anybody Up website was apparently the first revenge porn site. Only Moore didn’t stop at posting things vicious ex-boyfriends sent him — it turned out he was hacking accounts where women had posted naked selfies for their own viewing, then posting them along with links to the victims’ social media. Getting photos the victims didn’t want to share was presumably cooler than if it had been consensual but it also led to his downfall, as the hacking got Moore a 30 month prison sentence and a ban from social media.

This is a horrible, if fascinating story: Moore comes off a narcissist like Alex Jones, enjoying his celebrity but also using it to sell merch and line his pockets. He also assembled an army of devoted trolls who delighted in heaping abuse and threats on anyone who dared cost him. Credit goes to the mother of one of his victims who refused to give up on taking Moore and his website down and getting the FBI engaged — though the effort it took shows why so many people doing revenge porn and similar shit never answer for it. “If I wasn’t bullying I don’t know what I’d do .. who would I be?”

The CW has axed a number of series due to their parent company having been bought out by Discovery, but TOM SWIFT (2022) had such low ratings it sounds like it would have been axed anyway.

Boy inventor Tom Swift debuted in print more than a century ago, when the books had titles like Tom Swift and His Motor-Cycle. In the TV series Tom (Tian Richards) is black and gay and has the arrogance that comes with being a billionaire’s son. His genius is real, though — he’s close to Luthor-class in his ability to treat the laws of physics as best practices, but not necessarily mandatory.

In the opening episode, Tom’s father Barton tests out the space ship Tom designed, only to have it explode under him while he’s out near Saturn. Tom discovers he’s still alive and hoping for rescue. However a sinister organization called The Road Back that wants to halt technological advances and restore an older social order (while their agents don’t spell it out, Tom guesses, correctly I’m sure, that their vision includes white supremacy). With the help of his BFF Zenzi (Ashleigh Murray) and his bisexual bodyguard Isaac (Marquise Vilson), Tom sets out to bring his father home, despite a long-simmering resentment at his dad’s homophobia.

I wondered why they’d kick this series off with the spaceflight — billionaires in space is pretty much a punchline these days — but it turns out Tom’s parents see this as the first step in Mountaintop, a plan to found a space colony and give America’s blacks a chance to emigrate away from our toxic history of racism. I love that idea. The stories are usually fun, though sometimes the power struggles in Barton’s absence feel too Dynasty. And while Barton’s right hand Claire (Brittany Ishibashi) is portrayed as a villainous schemer squeezing Tom out so she can become CEO, I notice she’s also the woman who worked her way up only to see a less qualified man get the seat at the top ahead of her (Tom is brilliant but I’m not so sure he can run the company).

I’m not sure why it flopped. The black gay protagonist? The protagonist being a swaggering rich kid? Or is it that Tom Swift doesn’t have the name value that Nancy Drew does, or even the Hardy Boys? Either way, the various reveals in the season ender will never be resolved — too bad. “I’m going to use a technical term — hell no!”

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Japanese time travel, Hitchcock and the Flash: movies and TV

BEYOND THE INFINITE TWO MINUTES (2021) is a Japanese time-travel comedy in which a coffee-shop owner discovers his PC monitor and the TV in the shop are linked so that the monitor shows events occurring downstairs two minutes into the future. His friends are convinced they can make money off this thing but the protagonist worries no good will come of it, especially when knowing the future apparently kills his chance of dating a neighboring business owner. A fun one with a sense of humor reminiscent of the goofy Japanese Summer Time Machine Blues. “What is the capital of Sri Lanka?”

Hitchcock/Truffaut is a famous book on Alfred Hitchcock’s films that I checked out of the library, though I haven’t read it yet. I did, however, watch HITCHCOCK/TRUFFAUT (2015), a documentary describing how celebrated French filmmaker Francois Truffaut came to interview Alfred Hitchcock about his work, and the impact it had on filmmakers from Wes Anderson to Martin Scorsese. When the book came out in 1966, Hitchcock was still a Mere Entertainer while Truffaut was an Artiste so Truffaut taking Hitch seriously was a very book deal. The documentary was good, but definitely doesn’t substitute for the book. “You have the habit of not necessarily looking for implausibility but of not avoiding it if it’s useful.”

The eighth season of FLASH started very poorly as everything seems to be going wrong for Barry with the various other Arrowverse superheroes stepping in to stop him. Then it turns out it’s an elaborate plot by Reverse Flash to change history, take over Barry’s life and cast him as the villain of the series. It doesn’t work but it was great watching him try.

Then we move on into a somewhat rambling season including a mercifully watered down version of the Blackest Night event in comics, the appearance of the Negative Speed Force and a new super-speedster, Fast Track, joining Team Flash. If not their best, overall it was satisfying, particularly Thawne’s final fall. “I told you before, Flash, finding ways to kill you was my life’s work.”

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