As a sequel to perhaps the greatest science-fiction film of all time, “Blade Runner 2049” has a lot to live up to. And, surprisingly, it does, in one of the year’s best films. Ryan Gosling plays Agent K, a replicant blade runner who is assigned to track down and kill Deckard (Harrison Ford, returning from the original). He soon discovers that, through Deckard, he may hold the key to a secret that could change history forever.
This film cost $150 million and looks it. Society on Earth is barely surviving an environmental onslaught, but it is still recognizably a “Blade Runner” world. There is a big Sony presence in the future, and a gigantic hologram of a naked woman (which must look great in 3D). The line between human and androids has further blurred.
Harrison Ford is much better in this film than he was in the first one, exuding warmth, humanity, and purpose. I also really liked Jared Leto as the sinister, blind android manufacturer, and Robin Wright as K’s understanding superior. Besides being excellent science fiction, the film is also a mystery and a film noir. As with the first one, the ending is surprisingly moving and provides a real emotional catharsis. Hans Zimmer’s score (with an assist from Vangelis) is his best in years.
If I have a complaint, it is that the film, photographed by Roger Deakins, is not as aesthetically pleasing as the original. That’s a small gripe, though, for a film that accomplishes so much. “Blade Runner 2049” is a must-see.
Finally, something is new on Netflix that is worth watching. No, I’m not talking about “Death Note” and I’m definitely not talking about the hideous “Gerald’s Game.” I’m talking about “Cult of Chucky,” the seventh installment in the “Child’s Play” series and the best one in a long time. You want gore? This movie has the most gruesome decapitation since “The Omen.” You want mayhem? This is the wildest movie in the series. You want Brad Dourif and Jennifer Tilly back in their iconic roles? This movie has them. It was also canny to set the movie in a mental hospital, since the patients are schizophrenic so no one believes them when they see Chucky. Fiona Dourif, the star, shows some of the same talent as her dad. Alex Vincent, who plays Andy Barclay in the first two films, is also back starring in this one. How cool is that? I will not talk about the new plot developments in this film; I will simply say that it is definitely worth watching. Don’t miss “Cult of Chucky”!
Robert A. Heinlein’s masterpiece the Sixth Column, written in the 1950’s regards a future eerily similar to the reality of events in the world today. In the future the US and the rest of the free world has fallen to Pan-Asian Red Dawn style invasion. A corrupt regime based on graft and bribery takes over, and the population is enslaved to work camps. A few ex-military dudes are holed up in a mountainside. They develop new technologies – body armor force-fields and cutting edge laser weapons. They also develop an electronic halo, which they use for religious significance. They start calling the rebel leader Lord Mota. He has an Obi-Wan type quality to him.
Basically these guys use their technologies to convince many of the enslaved people to follow them. The Pan-Asian guards are bribed with gold. Also the guards do not report the strange technology because they don’t want to get in trouble with their bosses. So they always report every thing as status quo, so as not to draw attention to themselves. Meanwhile, the halo ex military dudes build up this giant following. It gets to where they are too big for the enemy government to really handle. The religious group is finally rounded up in a public park for execution. However, the rebel dudes depose the Prince using the technology. Finally, they impose their own military dictatorship based on reason and science. This is done under the premise of preserving the union , though in reality it is opposed to restoring the democratic republic.
“It seems obvious. We have here a unique opportunity to break with the stupidities of the past and substitute a truly scientific rule, headed by a man chosen for his intelligence and scientific training rather than for his skill in catering to the preferences of the mob.” (page 222)
Some of the strange things in this book I should mention are the author’s use of Mormons to effect the religious rebellion. The mention of a church massacre in Charleston, SC is a weird coincidence. Also the church strongholds in the story occur in Salt Lake City and Denver, often considered by conspiracy theorists to be centers of FBI and Illuminati, respectively. The use of a gigantic religious hologram by the rebels to cause rebellion also mirrors some newer technologies which we have discussed on the site before.