That’s a good omen. Seeing deer.

Leave the World Behind (2023)   Netflix’s latest serving of seasonally suspect apocalypse porn, and in the wake of White Noise, another prime cut of predictive programming to boot. Albeit, where White Noise offered an account of actual Black Hat event that came to pass a few months later, Leave the World Behind seems, on the face of it, implemented to confuse and agitate – at the behest of producers Barrack and Big Mike – with regard to the reasons for any imminent EBS (ie when it comes, it can’t be good, and what’s more, it will spell the end

The assassin always dies, baby. It’s necessary for national healing.

The Manchurian Candidate (2004)   It’s rare enough for any remake to be greeted as a worthy exercise, but it’s almost unheard of for one dusting off a recognised classic to be acclaimed. And yet, The Manchurian Candidate ’04, which has since slipped into obscurity, had mostly rave reviews. My recollection is that I was also generally quite appreciative. Which belies the stark truth that, regardless of a few odd innovations and devices that might have been put to better use in an entirely different mind-control assassin project (ie one with a different name), Jonathan Demme’s movie is a mess.

White Hats XII

Any day now… Any day now… There are no prospective dates or ballpark figures in this update. Rather, a few questions and answers relating to a smattering of figures in the Truther Movement, or to ideas they’ve proposed that have inspired further enquiry in pursuit of clarity. And, for good measure, there are also a few questions relating to the ultimate White Hat (if you want to call him that): Jesus. It’s fairly evident that nothing is proceeding with the kind of alacrity certain prognosticators would like, such that you can see Phil Godlewski’s recurring frustration – ameliorated by occasional

Why don’t you pass the time by playing a little solitaire?

The Manchurian Candidate (1962)   John Frankheimer’s MKUltra masterpiece still packs a hefty punch, not only for the manner in which it puts it out there – reveals method, if you will – but also the entirely unembroidered, stark depictions of its central characters. Meanwhile, the nominal politics of East/West, Red Menace villainy make for something of a witty veneer – even if The Manchurian Candidate stops short of implying both sides are puppeteered from higher up the totem – something that’s fresher than ever when the tools of mass manipulation, indoctrination and, yes, brainwashing have never been more in

We’re not gonna have a war. We’re having the appearance of a war.

Wag the Dog (1997)   Wag the Dog’s prescience and/or cachet in revelation of method, so called, has been invoked repeatedly over the past few years. It’s cited as an exemplar of the ease with which the media can and do hoodwink the public, and the manner in which events – up to and including international conflicts – are instigated as distractions from the real issue/concern/threat.  And it’s certainly the case that the movie does those things, but I can’t say I found it particularly sharp at the time, even as it basked in suspiciously predictive release timing (anticipating the

I brought your orange sher-bert.

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)   It’s probably safe to suggest Mike Myers’ brand of piss-taking, in its full unfettered glory, wouldn’t go down a storm into today’s environment. Critics had reached a short fuse with him (and, given it flopped, one might argue the public concurred) by the time of 2008’s underrated The Love Guru; his indulgences can be currently found on Netflix, following a hiatus spanning oceans of time, where he can pass relatively unseen and indulge in scatology and genitalia – and conspiracy theories – wholesale; perhaps his time has passed, and he’s considered old,

The Lives and Times of Nikola Tesla

Legends being what they are, it’s safe to suggest that Nikola Tesla’s profile of today, even if one doesn’t credit the ramifications of that legend, is much higher and more salutary than the man – or men, if one wants to add Marconi to the pile – who thoroughly eclipsed him in stature, rapture and success at the time: Thomas Edison. Tesla comes with mystery and aspiration attached, sparks the imagination, inspires movies, books, comics and brands of car, suggests great untold, or suppressed, discoveries and inventions, offers the lure of exotic and ennobling scientific endeavour in all its unrestricted,

We’re dragging humanity to a higher plane.

Person of Interest (2011-16)   Jonathan Nolan seems habitual in taking a fertile, resonant SF premise and failing to capitalise on it. Which might explain why all 3 of his series so far have been prematurely cancelled (in the case of the most recent casualty, The Peripheral, that might be explained away by the strikes, but if Amazon had really wanted more of it, they’d have persevered until it as over). Person of Interest, like his subsequent Westworld, takes as its theme the threat and potential (in that order) that comes with AI; Nolan filters it through a case-of-the-week procedural

Dr Kevorkian, I presume?

Absolute Power (1997)   Patently ridiculous presidential corruption tale, yet kind-of-irresistible, owing to its fantasy-land trappings. Entertain, if you will, the possibility of a POTUS involved in murder who doesn’t have it buried for all time by a mere handful of staff aware of what has happened – no hidden controllers or Deep State puppeteering this White House – and who can be brought down by an average-joe cat burglar. And all this made during the Clinton era! Anyone would think, for all its incrimination of the highest office in the land, it was a piece of propaganda. Whitewashing of

The bigger the star, the more violent its demise.

Oppenheimer (2023)   There’s a scene near the end of Oppenheimer where the theoretical physicist’s wife Kitty (Emily Blunt), subjected to the scrutiny of the verminous Roger Robb (Jason Clarke, cast to type) at a 1954 security hearing, collects herself and comes out fighting, “as I don’t like your phrase”. It’s an electric exchange, a jolt in the picture’s arm, and it makes you realise what you’ve been missing over the course of almost 3 hours in the weary, haggard, haunted company of Cillian Murphy’s J Robert Oppenheimer. His is a fine performance, but it offers significantly less combustion than