October Horrorshow, Retroactive: Alien

Always beware when a series of films has been labeled a franchise. Often it can mean that any effort to bring quality to the screen has been abandoned to embrace the industry’s insulting perceptions of mass taste. Such has been the fate of the Alien series of movies. The last entry that remained within the original continuity, Alien: Resurrection, was so awful it effectively killed the series. Since then, it has truly embraced the franchise label, making reality longstanding plans to team up with the Predator franchise, following a trail the comic book wings of the two brands began blazing in the 1980’s. Continue reading “October Horrorshow, Retroactive: Alien”

Iraq

At this very moment, American troops are engaged in a running gun battle with the Mahdi Army in Sadr City, Baghdad. In order to push Moqtada al-Sadr’s control of the area back to a point where his militia’s rockets lack the range to reach the Green Zone, where the American embassy and Iraqi government offices lie, a decision was made to take on Sadr’s forces in a sort of follow up to ongoing actions in Basra. In a disturbing instance that is becoming an alarming trend, Iraqi troops, allied with the Americans, abandoned their positions in the middle of the fight, leaving U.S. forces to face the brunt of Mahdi resistance. Continue reading “Iraq”

The Empty Balcony: The Matrix

Science fiction is not only the province where the wonder of our imaginations resides, it is also where nagging fear for the safety of mankind finds a home. The best science fiction stretches human timelines to the unbelievable. Also, it reminds us of what is possible. Because we can imagine it, it follows that eventually, it will be done. Some time in the future we will gaze upward at foreign skies with unfamiliar constellations, Sol but one of the infinite dots twinkling in a new sky. We will wander so far from our home for so long it will become legend, rumored to have once been an unthinkable place where thousands of generations could only dream of seizing the stars, when light years were vast and distance still had meaning. It’s possible. Continue reading “The Empty Balcony: The Matrix”

Oval Office Thunderdome: None of the Above

What are the responsibilities of citizens in a democracy? Is there a base level of participation that is required? In some countries there is. There is no requirement in the United States that the eligible voters of the country must educate themselves about, or participate in, the choosing of our leaders. There is nothing wrong with that. It would be nice if everyone were engaged with the workings of our government and the actions of our elected representatives, but it is unrealistic to expect such a broad commitment among the electorate. Continue reading “Oval Office Thunderdome: None of the Above”

The Empty Balcony: Lawrence of Arabia

Lawrence of Arabia is the grandest of them all. Grand scope, grand personalities, and a grand, at times overpowering, score. The film is at or near the top of more ‘best movies ever’ lists than is worth recounting here. It is a classic, a film at the apogee of the industry’s aspirations for crafting epics. It was also a gaping hole in my experience of film. Until this weekend, I had never seen more than the first few minutes and some random clips here and there. Mostly, I had just never set aside the time. For the last few years, however, I never sought out the film because of what I know of the Middle East, and the film industry’s liberal interpretations of history. Continue reading “The Empty Balcony: Lawrence of Arabia”