Things that made me go "hmmm ..." in a good way:
Frequencies, a movie seen on Netflix. It's a very unusual type of sci-fi film. No CGI, just lots of ideas which benefit from mulling over afterwards. As well as an unusual kind of love story examined, Frequencies debates free will versus determinism, as well as investigating the science that might lie behind old superstitions and mysteries. A rather deadpan tone with acting to match has to be accepted - the film was made on a tiny budget, no big names, no special effects. The film's novelty, intelligence and interesting ideas make it easy to overlook any shortcomings.
See HERE and HERE.
The film received a 100% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes!
I had more than a sneaking suspicion that what we call astrology could well have something to do with "frequencies".
This week I received E-mails from two different cousins on my Dad's side of the family. I last met both long ago and far away, when they were still children. They had both, separately, read and appreciated my family history posts regarding our common Scott background. One of the cousins emigrated to the US as long ago as 1989, lives in NJ now. Both had been alerted to my family history material by yet another cousin who had sent me her own e-mail address at Christmas, which I used to send her links to my genealogy posts - and word spread! Ain't the internet grand!
Lovely instrumental rendition of A Change is Gonna Come by saxophonist
Anat Cohen - hadn't heard this version, or this musician, before. Good stuff!
Things that made me go "hmmm..." in a bad way:
Articles about the film American Sniper currently doing the rounds. It was directed by Clint Eastwood. Much as I've enjoyed several Eastwood-directed movies, I will not ever watch this one, reading about it was more than enough to make me cringe.
The Rude Pundit's review of the film is well worth a read.
"Through it all, all the people he shoots (and, truly, Bradley Cooper seems like he's acting in a different, much deeper film), all the scenes of him watching fellows soldiers get killed and wounded, all the psychological damage he does to his poor wife when he calls her during firefights, Kyle maintains a pathetic belief in the good of his mission and in the protection of his "brothers." It has an effect on him - he suffers from PTSD - but the film wants us to believe that it was necessary. So, in the end, American Sniper is the story of a dumb man who wrecked himself for a worthless cause and about all the young men (and it is all, mostly white, men in it) who were sacrificed for nothing.
It's not the film that tells us it's nothing. We know it was for nothing. We know that one of the great crimes of the new century is the invasion of Iraq for absolutely no rational, demonstrable reason. We know that all those "savages," as Kyle calls the Iraqis, that we killed were for nothing. We know that all those Americans who died lost their lives for nothing. Our military was protecting us from nothing. Our freedoms weren't at risk from Iraq.
And the lie many soldiers from Iraq cling to and the lie we tell ourselves, and the lie that so many have worked so hard to maintain, is that as long as we don't discuss that it was for nothing, as long as we pretend that the fact that soldiers fought when they were told to fight and, mostly, did so nobly, we don't have to face the truly gut-wrenching reality of our national complicity in the crime.
Another relevant piece is at Common Dreams
English actor Benedict Cumberbatch was hauled over the coals and made to feel it necessary to apologise profusely for using the term "coloured" in a US TV interview. This guy is English, remember. He doesn't have the background experience and in-depth knowledge Americans have of the horrendous segregation practices in the USA, carried on as recently as during the lifetimes of many who are still around. He's likely not aware of those disgusting signs which used to be displayed over drinking fountains or in cafés and entrance-ways: "No Coloreds". A little quiet thought and understanding by those who allegedly took offence at his use of the term would have been as good a thing as Cumberbatch doing a little preparation for an interview, when in the ultra-sensitive (when it suits 'em) USA. I was pleased to see he has gained support from a fellow actor. HERE.
We watched 3 episodes of Terra Nova the TV series via Netflix. Enough was enough of this terrible comic bookish version of sci-fi. No wonder it wasn't renewed after its first season! It's the direct opposite of Frequencies (mentioned at the top of this post), in terms of quality ideas and writing.