TagEntertainment

Black Mirror Now on Netflix

Black Mirror

The biting, darkly satirical sci-fi anthology show Black Mirror is now available on Netflix, which I think may mark the first time the show has been available to watch legally in the U.S. Think of it as a modern British take on The Twilight Zone or Outer Limits. Highly recommended.

Also, Variety reports: “‘Mad Men’ star Jon Hamm, ‘Game of Thrones’ thesp Oona Chaplin and Rafe Spall will co-star in the ‘Black Mirror’ feature-length special due to air on U.K. free-to-air channel Channel 4 this Christmas.”

Ridley Scott to produce adaptation of Jack Parsons biography for AMC

From Boing Boing:

The colorful life of Jack Parsons as revealed in the biography Strange Angel by George Pendle will appear on AMC in miniseries form, according to a Deadline report. Ridley Scott and David Zucker will executive produce the series, which will be written by Mark Heyman (Skeleton Twins, Black Swan).

Full Story: Boing Boing: Ridley Scott to produce miniseries on rocket scientist, occultist Jack Parsons

Previously:

Jack Parsons web comic

Make Magazine feature on Parsons

Stage play about Parsons

Audio play about Parsons

The Collected Writings of Jack Parsons

MK-ULTRA: The TV Series

mk-ultra

Deadline reports:

The CIA’s controversial mind-control program is getting a miniseries treatment at ABC. The network has put in development MKUltra, a historical mini from writer Karen Stillman and ABC Studios’ boutique division ABC Signature.

Full Story: Deadline: ABC Developing ‘MKUltra’ CIA Miniseries

Oh, and Twin Peaks is coming back, apparently.

(both via Warren Ellis)

See also:

My earlier write-up on MK-ULTRA

Did MK-ULTRA Kill “The James Bond Of Money”?

Mutation Vectors: Speculative Geopolitics Edition

Status Update

I spent yesterday afternoon at Maker Faire volunteering at the Tesseract Design booth, where I was lucky enough to watch Crawford 3D scanning people and then printing out little plastic busts of them. Talk about a New Aesthetic experience. I also got to see a a real-life Flintstones car and a bunch of Tesla coils.

Spending today recovering from too much heat and not enough water, and catching up on some reading.

Browsing

“The current struggle for Scottish independence has about as much to do with the events depicted in Braveheart as America’s ongoing racial struggles have to do with the events depicted in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” writes Amanda Taub for Vox. In fact, the movie is outrageously historically inaccurate even by Hollywood standards. Fortunately, Taub also wrote a nice ‘splainer on the whole situation. Meanwhile, Quinn Norton puts it in context with other contemporary independence movements.

On a weirder note, China has been manufacturing islands in a bid to gain legitimate control over the South China Sea. M1k3y speculates that China could eventually become the first off-world power.

Elsewhere in hypothetical geopolitics: if Reddit were a country it would be a failed state.

And for a taste of something completely different, how about the Islamic roots of science fiction?

Watching

After binging through the entire new season of Trailer Park Boys, we just started the latest season of Channel 4’s Utopia which as I’ve mentioned was one of my favorite shows of last year.

Listening

Continuing the fequent Mutation Vectors motif of me finding out that one of my favorite bands has a new album out months after the fact, this week I found out that Bruxa who I raved about before put out a new album in July on a pay watcha want basis.

Apps

Mailpile, a web-based e-mail client that aims to balance security and usability, is now it beta. You can check out my story on them from back when they had just finished their crowdfunding here.

The Rise and Rise of Television Torture

Hansel at Interpet This writes:

But this prevalence of torture that you see in otherwise very comparable shows is not limited to Fringe. It is everywhere in American entertainment now.

Everywhere you see it it promotes the lie that torture works. It does this very effectively. Because usually we, the audience, already know that the person being tortured has the information. They just will not give it up. In real life of course torture is not like that. In the hundreds of torture scenes that have been acted out in popular media only a handful show the victim making things up, and saying whatever they think the torturer wants to hear in order that they stop torturing them. Which is the reason why torture is not a useful tool. The process would be: Torture someone, they tell you something, you double check that story, maybe torture the people they implicate, then you find it out that there story was incorrect, go back to torturing them. Just one round of that might take days or a weeks. Which would make for boring TV.

Full Story: Interpret This: The Rise and Rise of Television Torture

(via Metafilter)

See also:

The politics of the man behind “24.”

Scalia: Fictional TV show justifies legal torture

My thoughts on the Breaking Bad finale (Spoiler Warning!)

Warning: spoilers.

Continue reading

The Problem with “Strong Female Characters”

Sophia McDougall writes:

Sherlock Holmes gets to be brilliant, solitary, abrasive, Bohemian, whimsical, brave, sad, manipulative, neurotic, vain, untidy, fastidious, artistic, courteous, rude, a polymath genius. Female characters get to be Strong. […]

Chuck Wendig argues here that we shouldn’t understand “strong” as meaning, well, “strong”, but rather as something like “well-written”. But I simply don’t think it’s true that the majority of writers or readers are reading the term that way. How else to explain the fact that when the screenwriters of The Lord of the Rings decided to (clumsily) expand Arwen’s role from the books, they had her wander on screen, put a sword to her boyfriend’s throat and boast about how she’d sneaked up on him? (It took Liv Tyler to realise later “you don’t have to put a sword in her hand to make her strong”). Why else did Paul Feig, as Carina Chicano notes here, have to justify the fact that Bridesmaids hinges on a complex, interesting female character who appeared rather weak?

And even if this less limiting understanding of “strong female character” were the common reading, doesn’t it then become even sadder and even more incomprehensible that where the characterisation of half the world’s population is concerned, writing well is treated as a kind of impressive but unnecessary optional extra?

Full Story: New Statesman: I hate Strong Female Characters

It probably goes without saying, but part of the problem here is that “strong” almost always equates to a certain set of characteristics we problematically associate with maleness: physical strength, aggression, competitiveness. Maybe raw intellect, if the character is a detective or scientist. Women get to be “strong” only by exhibiting these traits, not traits labeled “feminine,” like empathy, expressing emotion. This leaves us not only with one-dimensional “strong female characters,” but also reinforces unhealthy expectations that being strong or “tough” means suppressing emotion and winning in fights. This is understandable to some extent — action movies are about violence, not nurture. But there are writers who pull it off. Fringe‘s Olivia Dunham is tough and smart, but also involves her emotions with her work, which, as she points out on the show, actually makes her a better detective.

Best Of 2012/Technoccult Gift Guide

It’s the end of the year, which is a good time to reflect on what my favorite bits of media were for the year. I figure this list can also double as a guide for any last minute gifts.

I’m sure there’s stuff I’m forgetting in each category, so I may update this again later. Feel free to recommend stuff I might’ve missed!

Comics:

This was a big year for artist/writer Brandon Graham. Three of his releases were favorites of mine this year:

King City cover by Brandon Graham

King City, which was the subject of my interview with Graham.

Prophet: Remission cover

Prophet, a book written by Graham with a rotating cast of artists.

Escalator by Brandon Graham cover

Escalator a collection of short stories written and drawn by Graham. I think this is actually my favorite of the three.

Casanova Volume 3: Avaritia

Besides all the Graham stuff, I really liked Casanova Volume 3: Avaritia by Matt Fraction and Gabriel Ba.

I haven’t finished Hawkeye – Volume 1: My Life As A Weapon by Fraction and David Aja yet, but I’m enjoying it so far.

Also, I haven’t read Glory Volume 1: The Once and Future Destroyer by Joe Keatinge and Ross Campbell yet, but I’m looking forward to it.

I don’t buy very many single issues, but here are some that I bought and liked:

COPRA issue 1

COPRA # 1 by Michel Fiffe. This was a pleasant surprise. I hadn’t heard of Fiffe before I saw it promoted by Floating World Comics. It reminds me a bit of Graham’s Prophet in that it’s an indie artists’ take on super hero comics of the past. I haven’t read the second issue yet but plan to pick it up soon. There’s a preview of issue 1 here and issue 2 here.

The Secret Voice

Secret Voice # 1 by Zack Soto. If you don’t feel like paying, you can check this one out online, along side The Yankee and other great stuff at Study Group Comics.

The Secret Life of DB Cooper

The Secret History of DB Cooper # 1. Really dug the first issue, still waiting for the trade paperback.

Music

Bruxa victimeyez cover

Bruxa: Victimzeyez, a free digital album that I’ve mentioned before. Elements of dubstep and chopped and screwed hip hop with a trace of witch house.

Monolake: Ghosts cover

Monoloake: Ghosts. Minimal techno with a hint of dubstep.

Filastine: Loot cover

Filistine: Loot. I’m not sure how to explain this one — a fusion of lots of different styles of electronic music from all over the world.

The Seer album cover

The Swans: The Seer. New album from an old school no wave band.

Tweaker: Call The Time Eternity cover

Tweaker: Call the Time Eternity. Long awaited third solo album from Trent Reznor’s former right-hand man.

I bough X-TG’s DESERTSHORE / THE FINAL REPORT, but because I’ve been working on my own album I haven’t listened to it yet.

Movies

I didn’t see many movies this year, and I liked even fewer. Here are the ones I liked:

Looper

Looper

Cabin in the Woods

Cabin in the Woods. Technically I guess this came out in 2011, but I think most of us saw it this year.

I haven’t seen The Master yet but want to.

Books

I didn’t read many new books this year, but I did read and like:

Non-fiction:

Information Diet

The Information Diet: A Case for Conscious Consumption by Clay A. Johnson

American Vampire in Juarez

An American Vampire in Juarez: Getting My Teeth Pulled In Mexico’s Most Notorious Border Town

Fiction:

Cover of Psychopomp by Amanda Sledz

Psychopomp Volume One: Cracked Plate by Amanda Sledz. My interview with her is here and an excerpt from the book is here.

The Rise of Siri by Shlok Vaidya. Science fiction that reads more like design fiction — this is all about the ideas, not the characters. Already a little dated since Apple has announced that it’s bringing some of its manufacturing back to the U.S.

New From Alan Moore: Jimmy’s End Trailer, Occupation Records Single

Above: The trailer for Jimmy’s End, a forthcoming 30 minute film written by Alan Moore and directed by Mitch Jenkins. According to Lex Records, it is the second part of a series of short films collectively called “The Show.” The first, titled Act of Faith, is a prequel to Jimmy’s End and will be released on jimmysend.com on November 19. Jimmy’s End itself will be released on November 25.

Moore has also recorded a single titled “The Decline of English Murder” for Occupation Records. You can find out more, and listen to the song, at The Guardian. You can download it from the Occupation Records shop for £1.00.

Moore had previously recorded “March of the Sinister Ducks” and other works with David J of Bauhaus and Love and Rockets (the band, not the comic). Speaking of whom, Moore once wrote a letter to Fortean Times about one of his performances with J, which has been reproduced online.

RZA To Direct Adaptation Of Grant Morrison’s Happy!

With his directorial debut, The Man With the Iron Fists, less than a month away, RZA is continuing his push into directing.

The former hip-hip producer and frontman for the Wu-Tang Clan is teaming up with comic book author Grant Morrison and producer Reginald Hudlin to adapt Morrison’s latest comic, Happy!, for the big screen.

RZA is attached to direct and would produce with Hudlin, a producer on Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained. Morrison will write the script.

Hollywood Reporter: NY Comic-Con: RZA Teaming Up With Grant Morrison for ‘Happy!’ (Exclusive)

(via Wolven)

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