2018-03-29

Who can figure NANOG?

OK, this just makes me angry --


I can't get my question about Bell name servers past the moderators or something, from either email address I have registered. But some idiot can't log in to AOL, and THAT gets posted.

Seriously.


2018-03-23

Pacific Rim Uprising

Spoiler-free summary: BIG ROBOT SMASH BIG ROBOT! BIG LIZARD SMASH BIG CITY! SMASH! SMASH! SMASH! WHEEAAALAAALAAAAGH!

Seriously though, those who liked the first one can probably find things to like about this one; the movie barrels along at a frenetic pace, not letting itself be too troubled with things like "plot" or "plausibility". There are worse ways to spend two hours.

2018-02-19

Bright

So Netflix has suckered Will Smith into making a sci-fi movie for them. Bright is exclusive content that shows the modern world -- if magic, elves, orcs, et al were actually real. Smith is a cop who's been saddled with LAPD's diversity hire of the first orc to qualify as a police officer, and hijinks ensue. The movie is very much an action/adventure without having to be restrained in what it actually shows on the screen. So the gunplay is excessive, the blood spatters gratuitous, the language salty, and the dancers topless. Overall it's a reasonable movie, one I don't regret seeing; however on its own it isn't something that I'd watch again and again -- or even, frankly, again. One thing I will say for Netflix is that it's easy to stop in the middle of something and pick it up again later, a viewing rhythm that fits my current activity level pretty well.

2018-02-02

Blade Runner 2049

Visually and aurally stunning. I liked the story arc the first time through. Doesn't stand up to consideration, though I continue to watch it for the images. I don't know if it will become the "cult hit" it needs to be to generate future examples.

The problem for me is that "building replicants as a slave class" is fine on its own justification, however it doesn't explain why said slave class has to be indistinguishable -- even by experts -- from the real thing. A slave class only makes sense if you can get more work per unit cost out of it than a real person, or if additional costs are acceptable because a real person wouldn't cooperate. Giving replicants the ability to reproduce, as Tyrell did as his last gift before the blackout, makes even less sense. The whole thing just isn't reasonable to me.

2018-01-26

Star Wars 8: The Last Jedi

I think this movie is better than Episode 7. I have read interpretations that the message to Star Wars fans is: time moves on, and we don't have to be slavishly attached to your heroes in order to thrive in the future. Luke is given an honorable, loving end to his arc as a flawed hero, and the story moves on with new heroes doing new things. The movie ends up being a respectful farewell to our Princess Leia. And both of these are good. At some point you have to accept that the universe goes on, and as a film maker your choices are to reboot everything (ie: Star Trek) or crumble under the weight of your own canon (something I suspect Marvel is in very real danger of with the next Avengers movie).

The most powerful moment for me was the Rebel cruiser's jump to hyperspace. The brutality of what happens coupled with the choices in sound design work together to amplify that experience.

Overall, though Episode 7 is exhausting. The tension device of "oh noes all our heroes are doomed and evil will take the day oh wait nevermind" cycles which is constantly repeated through the movie is clearly concealing something, but I'm not movie-savvy enough to see what it is.

I do have doubts about the way the franchise is going. With Skywalker's death, Snopes' betrayal, and Ren's turn back towards the dark side, and the blatant illustration at the end that there are still force-sensitives being born -- Jedi or no Jedi -- the message seems to be the same as Battlestar Galactica's reboot's message: that all this has happened before, and all this will happen again...

and again...

and again...