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  • Upgrade

    Upgrade

    The fun thing about science fiction and speculative fiction, is it’s great conversation fodder. After seeing the movie Upgrade, my husband and I now have an agreement. If I ever become quadriplegic, and a creepy guy comes into my hospital room and offers me an implant that will restore my bodily function, the answer is YES. What if the implant takes over my body and turns me into a killing machine? We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. What if the guy who implants the chip is super sketchy, and is using me for his own nefarious experiements? So? Get me the fuck out of this wheelchair. The answer is yes, always yes, no matter what, yes.

    It probably doesn’t say much good about me that I’d rather be a pawn in an evil genius plot than a quadriplegic, but there it is. I’m not sorry.

    But here’s the thing. If you have the technology and know-how to create something as advanced and miraculous as Stem, then you have the ability to safeguard it from abuse....
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  • Cobra Kai

    Cobra Kai

    I am a huge fan of The Karate Kid. The romance, the fighting, the triumph of the underdog — it’s a move that has it all. However, like many movies from the 1980s, it has a problem — namely, the cartoonish, one-dimensional portrayal of its villain, Johnny. In the original movie, Johnny is dumb, brutal, and mean. Why is he mean? It doesn’t matter. He’s a jerk, and that’s all we need to know.

    The new series from YouTube Red, Cobra Kai, follows the further exploits of Johnny - now an adult, and fleshes out his character in ways that are believable, well conceived, and fun to watch.

    That’s not to say that Johnny is a hero in this show. He’s not. He’s a deadbeat dad, a heavy drinker, a low-key racist, and a general loser stuck in the 1980s. But neither is he the brutal bully from the 1984 movie. He’s...complicated.

    Daniel Larusso is stuck in the 1980s too, but to much different effect. He is a successful business owner who uses his former karate glory days...
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  • Three Courses: The Daleks

    Three Courses: The Daleks

    The concept of pairing works for more than just food and wine. While you can enjoy something individually, sometimes when you consume it with something else complementary it becomes so much better.

    The same is true for entertainment. Sometimes when you mix and match a few different things, they bring something out in one another that allows you to enjoy them even more collectively than you would have individually.

    With that in mind, I’d like to start you out today on Three Courses - with The Daleks.



    Exterminate! The iconic battle-cry of the Daleks has defined the race of aliens in good ways and in bad. To newer fans of Doctor Who, the Daleks are simply a race of beings who think themselves superior to all other forms of life in the universe, who also want to exterminate those other forms of life. That characterization isn’t wrong, but the culture of the Daleks is a little more nuanced than that. Unfortunately, the format of the current Doctor...
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  • Why the Shazam Poster is Just What We Needed

    Why the Shazam Poster is Just What We Needed

    If there’s one undeniable thing about the DC “Extended Universe” movies thus far, it’s that the response has been pretty divisive. The series that launched with Man of Steel in 2013 is typically viewed as being darker than expected, which has been a turn-off for some fans. When it was announced that a Shazam! film was being woven into the DCEU tapestry, then, some people were concerned. Shazam, after all, is a historically bright character. The hero originally known as Captain Marvel (long story, if you don’t already know it, ask in the comments) is a young boy who, through use of a magic word, is transformed into a hero with power levels to rival Superman. Since the protagonist is, in fact, a child, stories of the Marvel family have often taken a lighter tone than their contemporaries, and there was concern that this wouldn’t work within the context of the world that has been established.

    Then, this week, we got the first poster for the film, and frankly, it’s exactly...
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  • The 2018 Superhero Watch: Reflections on the Marvel Cinematic Universe

    The 2018 Superhero Watch: Reflections on the Marvel Cinematic Universe

    As both a movie lover and a ginormous geek, I like to periodically set movie-watching goals for myself. I’ll try to tackle the films in a certain genre, or featuring a certain character, or built around a certain theme. And as a writer and a ginormous geek, I also tend to document some of these challenges. In the past, I’ve done film study projects about the history of horror, the legacy of horror/comedies, my favorite TV Christmas specials and, one memorable December, 25 different incarnations of Ebenezer Scrooge. That I missed out on that Family Ties episode where Alex P. Keaton plays the part is my one regret in life.

    Like so many other things, though, my movie watching habits had to evolve when my wife and I had a baby. It simply wasn’t feasible to set aside an entire month to watch slasher movies and write a detailed analysis of each one. So in 2018, I set a different kind of goal for myself: to watch as many superhero movies as possible, and in the case of those I’ve...
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  • The Cure For Fatigue

    The Cure For Fatigue

    ​Blame James Cameron for this one.

    Recently, the director of Aliens and Titanic has expressed some… shall we say “disappointment” about the proliferation of superhero movies. The man who is working on a Terminator reboot and four new Avatar sequels was famously quoted as saying “there are other stories to tell,” when speaking about the success of Marvel’s Avengers franchise. The man who helped make Arnold Schwarzenegger a megastar and who once almost made a Spider-Man movie went on to bemoan “hyper-gonadal movies about males without families.”

    I’m picking on Cameron a little here, I know, but that’s because he’s the most famous name that has jumped onto this particular bandwagon. He is by no means the first one. Lots of people have talked about “superhero fatigue” setting in, and with so many films in the genre coming out each year, it’s not an unreasonable concern. Marvel Studios is the juggernaut, but let’s not forget Fox’s X-Men franchise (which...
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  • Three Wishes: What We Want in Avengers 4

    Three Wishes: What We Want in Avengers 4

    In Three Wishes, we take a look at something in pop culture and express three hopes for the future, whether those wishes are almost inevitable or pie-in-the-sky dreams.

    Spoiler Warning: This article contains all manner of spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War. If you are one of the three remaining people in North America who hasn’t seen it, read no further.

    In the run-up to Avengers: Infinity War, more than one person called it the Empire Strikes Back of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As it turned out, in terms of consequences, it made Empire look like Benji. After killing several of the MCU’s heroes in the preceding 140 minutes, Thanos successfully assembled the Infinity Gauntlet and completed his stated goal of killing off half the population of the universe with a snap of his fingers. People who read the comic books upon which this was based probably weren’t totally shocked, but even hardcore fans lost their breath when the devastation turned out to include...
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