At the movies (and on the TV)

Life’s felt a little busy at points recently. Not busy enough that I haven’t watched several movies, but busy enough that I haven’t had a chance to make a few quick notes about them. So, some quick notes.

Kill Bill

I’ve been getting into Tarantino recently. More on Pulp Fiction to follow.

Kill Bill feels like Quentin Tarantino set out to make a beautiful action movie that was fun to watch. He did brilliantly. Yes, it’s gory, but there’s something beautiful in the whole thing. Worth it.

Where am I going

Where am I going is an everyman story; a tale of a gormless character bounced around the world by happen-stance, as he struggles to retain his sinecure as a government official. In the end, he finds true love instead. The film has a few moments that will make you laugh, but unfortunately those are more than outweighed by the moments that are simply offensive. Not worth seeing.

Stranger things

There’s a lot I’d like to write about Stranger Things. Suffice to say, it’s a well-plotted, tension filled piece, that’s worth seeing.

It’s also tempting to over-analyse some of the philosophy underpinning Stranger Things, in light of recent electoral outcomes. Suffice it to say, I think it’s interesting that Stranger Things tells a story of a small mid-western country town, predominantly (almost exclusively in terms of characters) white – where something has gone terribly wrong, as a result of Government testing that’s unleashed a hideous terror. The higher powers are a danger that’s still trying to cover it up, and the only hope for the town is when the beleaguered townspeople start believing each other about the unbelievable things they’re encountering.

This underlying ethos (that the government is most definitely not on our side) was spelt out most clearly, it felt, in a moment where a gormless father tells his wife they need to trust the Government. This is the first (but not second) part of the clip below.

Arrival

Arrival is a well put together movie. It centres around the idea of contact with alien life, and what the practical implications are of the Shapiro-Whorf hypothesis. It follows a linguist who’s recruited to help with the contact efforts. If you like soft sci-fi movies or linguistics, this may be for you.

It veers from there into a poignant love story between mother and daughter, and the complications of linear time, and does reasonably well at presenting the pieces.

The central underlying conflict isn’t between humans and aliens – really, it’s between Louise, the linguist the story follows, and the political-military system that is cutting her off from the aliens. At each stage she makes a conscious choice to reach out to aliens in defiance of the political-military system, and in each case a stronger connection results.

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