I’m a fan of the version of the universe where Shane Carruth never made a second film. Such a quantum reality surely exists, if the gods have any sense of humour about Primer or anything else. This is not, by the way, a knock against Upstream Color, which I’ll probably end up knocking later; it’s got nothing to do with my feelings about Carruth’s follow up film or films. It’s just that it took Carruth such a long time to tackle his sophomore effort that I began to noodle about the possibility that he was never going to do it, resulting in a reality where this former mathematician popped up in 2004, made a $7,000 time travel movie that is in many ways outstanding, and then just vanished back into the non-filmmaking hyper-reality from which he emerged like Athena from the forehead of Zeus. Come on, that’s appealing for a whole host of reasons.Read more
“We may be on a road that has no turns.”
From the ridiculous to the sublime – if “The Royale” is my least favourite episode of the year, “Time Squared” is certainly its opposite number. I flipped my lid over this thing when it first aired, achieving something like a contact high by the time its thunderous climax was unfolding – Picard killing his duplicate, and the Enterprise pivoting 180 degrees in the mouth of the vortex to charge down the entity’s throat. It’s a damned sharp story, a personal highlight of the whole series. And hey, two Picards. That’s worth a few pages in someone’s book.Read more
I thought you and me were — Well, I obviously got it wrong. I’ve been to the year 5 billion, right, but this… Now, this is really seeing the future. You just leave us behind. Is that what you’re gonna do to me?
“I can’t compete with a ghost from his past.”
I was twelve years old, and I had seen Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and, perhaps, a couple of episodes of The Original Series with my mom, who would not have suggested Star Trek to me at all if she’d had any notion of what the next ten years were going to be like. I was at Camp Kandalore for a couple of weeks in July of 1988, and Spencer, a boy in my cabin who had a pathological need to shower as frequently as possible, told me that I should watch Star Trek: The Next Generation, the strange spinoff series that had been on the air for a year at that point, and whose only familiarity to me was a series of stickers found at the bottom of a box of cereal at my grandfather’s cottage, a few weeks earlier, which had me and Mark in paroxysms of laughter at imagining how Lt. Worf came to have that hapless turtle permanently affixed to his head. “Ol’ Turtlesmack,” we called him.
And when I got home from Kandalore, “We’ll Always Have Paris” was the first episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation I watched on TV. I came in on a very lucky moment. “11001001” is still certainly the best episode of TNG’s first season, but “Paris” will always be my favourite, an opinion based in sentimentality but upheld by the quality of the final product. “We’ll Always Have Paris” maybe has a few too many things going on all at once, but it’s a dead terrific episode of Star Trek in every regard, and its precise intermix of adventure, imagination, and romance was a speedball of crack to my 12-year-old self.Read more
“Good as Gold.” A whole DOCTOR WHO minisode I never knew about. Time travel, man. There’s always more of it.
The two men are the same person – one older (Bruce Willis), one younger (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), but the same, both killers, both called Joe. Due to the existence of time travel, they exist now at the same point in time – sometime in 2044 – but one has lived thirty years more than the other. Looper is the story of how one of these two will gain wisdom, and how it will not be the one you expect.
A conversation with his 12-year-old self. Boy do I wish I’d thought of this.
“As a historian, you are a complete failure.”
Don’t tell me a motherflippin’ thing about Breaking Bad. I am finally trying to catch up. After not hearing word one about the plot of this show for four years - until a month ago, I thought it was about crime scene investigators - now I can’t walk into a room anywhere in the city without someone trying to tell me why this show is so great and what happened to who in the what. Save it. I will talk to you soon.
The other night was Videodrome – I’ve skipped ahead on my intended Cronenberg backfill. Videodrome left me curious, if uninvolved, throughout its run and afterwards, but by the next day the collective punch of its image system whalloped me one and now I think I understand a bit more about the idea of inventing images, of Werner Herzog’s things about the human race needing new images and not having them. The pulsating VHS cassette actually made me jump. I may have to look at that film again - a few times. Included on the Criterion disk is the short film Camera, which simply must be the best film Cronenberg ever made.Read more
We roundtable on the latest fistfights in movie news, circa six days ago: the Avengers vs. the Dark Knight! UltraViolet vs. iCloud! Real Steel vs. the Remakes No One Wanted! It’s a Mamo pot-pourri episode, displaced in time.
My Doctor Who process is always the same. I watch an episode, and then I go online to the episode’s Wikipedia page, and read all the “continuity” links to past and future episodes, some of which I’ve seen, some of which I’ve not, and I think about them. I am building a mental map of this thing. Lately this map comes in more useful than not, because the eleven-month winter of the Eleventh Doctor’s run started this past Sunday at around 6 a.m. We’ll see him for Christmas, and there is rumour/unfounded fanboy hope of an Easter special too. Then Series Seven starts next fall.
Until then though, in large part, Silence Will Fall. Doctor Who?
I thought “The Wedding of River Song” was terrific. It was of a piece with the mad, full-to-bursting design of the “mythology” Series Six episodes – “The Impossible Astronaut,” “Day of the Moon,” and “A Good Man Goes To War.” Better yet, it was fun – seriously mother-flippin’ fun – and I defy anyone not to gleegasm when Amy’s train arrives at Area 52… or when Amy opens up with the machine gun, for that matter. Whereas “The Big Bang” closed with a – well, bang – “River Song” ends with a hopeful whimper. The weirdest family in all of spacetime shares a bottle of pinot gris under a starlit sky and syncs their iCals, while the not-entirely-dead Doctor explains how he got away with it yet again, and how he – like Buffy – is going back to a world of stories where he’s not quite as famous as he’s become. It sets up a world of new stories that is, as of this writing, far, far away. But – and on this point I can assure all the broken hearts out there – it will be upon us, soon enough. More than soon enough.Read more