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Archive for October, 2017

There’s a new Thor: Ragnarok trailer out.  ‘Nuff said – here it is:

And here’s a fun little featurette:

#ThorRagnarok #DoctorStrange

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As reported by Deadline, The Weinstein Co. is pulling The Current War off the November schedule and pushing it into sometime in 2018, making it ineligible for this year’s Oscars.

The film stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Thomas Edison and Michael Shannon as George Westinghouse, and centers around their competition with each other (and Nikola Tesla).

The current sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein made that company’s films unpalatable.  Cumberbatch himself had slammed Weinstein publicly for his behavior, which makes one wonder if he would decide not to promote it.  In addition, the film had been reworked some after mixed reviews.

There’s no word on a new release date.

#TheCurrentWar #BenedictCumberbatch

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If you haven’t seen the series finale of AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire, Ten of Swords, read further at your own risk.  I’m going to do this review assuming that either you’ve seen it, or that you don’t mind spoilers.  If you’d like to catch up, go here to the website to see the season four episodes.

It’s a shame that Halt never got the audience it deserved.  It got plenty of love from critics, especially in the last two seasons, but it never became a ratings blockbuster.  It had an amazing cast, with Lee Pace (one of those actors whom I believe is capable of doing literally anything), as Joe MacMillan; Scoot McNairy as Gordon Clark; Mackenzie Davis as Cameron Howe; Kerry Bishe as Donna Clark, and Toby Huss as John (Bos) Bosworth.

It started with Joe as almost a literal wrecking ball, manipulating others into buying into whatever his vision of the moment was.  The character was an unlikeable brute when the show first began.  Cameron was a genius programmer but working with her was like trying to nail Jell-O to a wall.  Donna and Gordon, married with two small girls when the series first started and later divorced with teenagers, were supposedly the grounded ones.  Hardware was their specialty; they had invented a computer themselves, but it never got off the ground commercially.

And that seems to have been the theme with Halt.  The foursome worked on great ideas that were either never successful, or that worked for a while until someone else came up with something better.  That is, if frayed relationships between them didn’t sink a project first.

In the 1990’s technology was moving fast, maybe too fast for small companies like Mutiny and Comet to compete.  Every time they’d get their product out there someone else would come up with another that made theirs obsolete.  The company where Donna becomes the managing partner has money and isn’t dependent on just one piece of software, so it survives where Comet fails.  Rover is just one piece of the pie for them, one they can afford to jettison when it gets eclipsed by something with a funny name – Yahoo.

But Halt was not just about the emerging technology.  It’s about connecting with other people, via the Internet (remember Mutiny’s Community?), as well as the personal connections they made with each other.  As Joe liked to say, computers “weren’t the thing, they were the thing that gets you to the thing.”  And the “thing” was connecting with people.

By the second season the Cameron and Donna characters were coming to the forefront of the show.  In the last episode we see just how intertwined those two had become, when Cameron first brings up the idea that she and Donna work together again, and Cameron isn’t talking about joining Donna’s firm.  When Donna asks her if she has an idea for something new, Cameron tells her the idea will come later, she just wanted them to work together again.  In a scene where the two of them visit the now vacant Comet offices they run through the possibility, but decide that it would end up like Mutiny.  Cameron tells Donna that this time, though, it wouldn’t break their friendship.  Donna pushes the idea away, until Cameron is getting ready to pull out of town with her Airstream, and then she rushes out of the diner to stop her, with just four words: “I have an idea.”

We never find out what the idea was (something akin to Facebook maybe?), but it’s great that their friendship and partnership is going to continue.

Then we come to Joe and Gordon.  Joe needed Gordon to help carry out his ideas, and Gordon needed Joe to give them to him.  When Gordon died Joe was lost.  His relationship with Haley (Susanna Skaggs) was sweet, particularly when he recognizes that Haley is gay and gently tries to tell Gordon how to help her.  Being bisexual Joe understands the difficulties of navigating that minefield, particularly in the 90’s.  By series end Joe is almost the opposite of how he started.  He’s a big ol’ softie who realizes that his relationship with Cameron isn’t working and he’s lost his best friend Gordon.  I think he also realizes that his ideas were big, but that maybe he’s not capable of making them come to fruition, particularly now that he no longer has Gordon the hardware guy and Cameron the programming genius.  His original idea for Comet wasn’t going to work – Haley was the one who devised the actual software.  He needs a reluctant Cameron to put a fix in for Comet as he can’t do it himself, but when she does so they realize Yahoo has – gasp – toolbars, making Comet instantly obsolete.

So Joe ends up as he began, teaching.  Humanities courses of all things!  He starts the class as he did with the one where he found Cameron, with the words “Let me start by asking a question.”  He’s come full circle, but he’s not the same Joe he was then.  On his desk there are pictures of Gordon, Cameron and Haley, his makeshift family.  Also in his office is an old Cardiff computer.  He’s starting over, but this time he’s taking with him things from his past that wouldn’t have mattered to the old Joe.

It’s interesting that the writers, after the first series, started concentrating so much on the Donna and Cameron characters.  This last episode in particular was all about women in technology.  Donna has a party at her house for all the ladies in her firm, and gives a moving speech about how she has made it in that world.  Haley is taking college-level C++ classes.  Cameron’s software expertise along with Donna’s hardware know-how come into play when Haley has a problem with her computer.  Even in 2017 women can relate to how hard it can be to make it in a male-dominated field.  That co-creators Chris Rogers and Chris Cantwell are men makes an important statement.

So the series ends after four years with the best episodes of the show.  If there’s any justice in this world, there will be Emmy nominations forthcoming.

#HaltAndCatchFire #LeePace

 

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Wow – all I can say, they threw everything in here!  We’ve got Luke, Rey, Kylo Ren, BB8, a porg, Captain Phasma and Leia.  And I do NOT like the last scene one little bit…

The Last Jedi is out December 15th.

#StarWars #TheLastJedi

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