We are the children of children, and we live as we are shown.

Joe Versus the Volcano (1990)   One of those movies where enduring cult status leads you to the conclusion those venerating it must have first seen it an impressionable young age (another prime example being The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension). John Patrick Shanley’s screenplay isn’t especially witty, and his direction isn’t especially nimble. Its Amblin status ensures some decent production values, but Joe Versus the Volcano lacks the visual style – or at least, consistency of style – to go with them. And while the Meg Ryan/Guantanamo Hanks pairing may subsequently have gone on to capture

The world is just a story. I’m the storyteller.

Westworld Season 4   There are, of course, no illusions about the game being played with Nolan brother Jonathan’s transhumanist paean. This is a world where, following in the Blade Runner line, the machines have the most heart and soul, and to underline the point, humans themselves are no more than the sum of their memories, redeployable years after their deaths, encased in fast-decaying physical vessels. Even the genuinely living ones are exactly as malleable and programmable as your average computer. There is, essentially, no difference. Except that, on balance, the machines are probably a little more durable. Bernard: We

Don’t you ever call them tattoos!

The Illustrated Man (1969)   I’d been blissfully unaware The Illustrated Man didn’t have a great rep. And that Ray Bradbury – not that authors/originators necessarily ought to be looked to as arbiters of the quality of adaptations of their work – thought it stank. I was quite taken with it on the occasion I first saw it – which must be upwards of thirty years ago – and this revisit confirmed many of the qualities I recognised in it then. To a degree, it’s little more than a pretentious, SF twist on then popular portmanteau horrors, but its conceits, likely the

99.386 percent of the population wouldn’t believe this conversation, and the rest are working for us.

Thirty-Minute Theatre: The News-Benders (1968)   I’m late to the party for this one – 54 years, to be precise – as it’s had something of a rediscovery, riding on the crest of the plandemic wave. The News-Benders’ insights into the manufacture – the penning of the preordained script – of the news are all there in its densely packed 28 minutes.The only question arising would be whether it represents a quite shockingly blatant disclosure of method – as many understandably assume, given how accurately it reflects the current state of the conspirasphere – or simply trenchant satire. Such is the nature

I think that if you prepare people well enough to believe a lie, they will believe it as if it were true.

The X-Files 5.13: Patient X   Season 5’s continuation of the mythology arc has been rocky going. Despite a bracing volte-face handed to Mulder, Carter et al haven’t really known what to do with it, probably because they set it up with the inevitability of it, in turn, being revealed as misdirection (gotta get those aliens in the movie!) Nevertheless, this is the closest the show – by necessity a proponent of the ET-government collusion narrative – gets to the essential psyop-ness of the management of the conspiracy movement, of whistleblowers and official or leaked reports (regardless of any truth

I can’t be the worst. What about that hotdog one?

Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022)   It would have been a merciful release, had the title card “The End”, flashing on screen a little before the ninety-minute mark, not been a false dawn. True, I would still have been unable to swab the bloody dildoes fight from my mind, but at least Everything Everywhere All at Once would have been short. Indeed, by the actual end I was put in mind of a line spoken by co-star James Wong in one of his most indelible roles: “Now this really pisses me off to no end”. Or to put it another way, Everything Everywhere All

You tampered with the universe, my friend.

The Music of Chance (1993)   You won’t find many adaptations of Paul Auster’s novels. Original screenplays, yes, a couple of which he has directed himself. Terry Gilliam has occasionally mentioned Mr. Vertigo as in development. It was in development in 1995 too, when Philip Haas and Auster intended to bring it to the screen. Which means Auster presumably approved of Haas’ work on The Music of Chance (he also cameos). That would be understandable, as it makes for a fine, ambiguous movie, pregnant with meaning yet offering no unequivocal answers, and one that makes several key departures from the book yet crucially maintains

The Illumi-what-i?

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)   In which Sam Raimi proves that he can stand proudly with the best – or worst – of them as a good little foot soldier of the woke apocalypse. You’d expect the wilfully anarchic – and Republican – Raimi to choke on the woke, but instead, he sucked it up, grinned and bore it. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is so slavishly a production-line Marvel movie, both in plotting and character, and in nu-Feige progressive sensibilities, there was no chance of Sam staggering out from beneath its suffocating demands with anything

Next stop, implosion!

Fat Man and Little Boy aka Shadow Makers (1989)   The Manhattan Project is currently Hollywood currency once more, on account of a highly-prized – by bidding studios – Chris Nolan project that hopes it will be a goldmine simply based on the director’s past credits. Not, perhaps, an outrageous assumption, but studios would have been wise to look to Dunkirk’s performance and then halve it when agreeing to the budget. On the face of it, Oppenheimer’s a prestige Oscar-grab by Nolan, one that sees him once again scouting the terrain of perception and reality as he reinforces the dominant paradigm. If

I can’t wait to get back to all that music and fun and diversion.

Darby O’Gill and the Little People (1959)   While up to its eyeballs in Oirishness – Disney had attempted to secure professional Hollywood Oirishman Barry Fitzgerald as Darby, to no avail – this adaptation of Herminie Templeton Kavanagh’s stories is surprisingly unfiltered by the studio’s predilection for sentimentality and cutesiness. The Sean Connery-Janet Munro romance lends Darby O’Gill and the Little People a sniff of a supernatural (or is it?) The Quiet Man, while Albert Sharpe’s unmoderated accent – unless you’re unfortunate enough to see it on Disney+ – in concert with the emphasis on boozing, all the while with the main drama/comedy revolving