Thursday, February 22, 2018

Our robot overlords

Not sufficiently terrified by the now-infamous Boston Dynamics robot dog that can open doors?

In that case, you'll definitely want to check out two short horror films that predict an even gloomier future for us puny humans. It seems we're just lambs to the slaughter once our mechanical, AI-powered Frankenstein's monsters decide they're done putting up with our bullshit and turn on us. But don't take my word for it; see for yourself below!

Blinky™ from Ruairi Robinson on Vimeo.

ABE from Rob McLellan on Vimeo.

Five great arts and culture accounts to follow on Twitter

Mark Harris -- the author of the great nonfiction book "Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood," which analyzes the 1968 best picture Oscar nominees and extrapolates a whole lot about American society and the entertainment industry -- is funny, informative, and at times righteously indignant about the dangerous nonsense going on in our country.

Sample tweet:

Rahul Kohli, who plays the wry and intrepid Dr. Ravi Chakrabarti on "iZombie," is caustically funny at times, but his tweets also reveal great affection for his co-stars on the show. He and I once had a delightful back-and-forth regarding "iZombie" star Rose McIver's Netflix movie "A Christmas Prince," which the internet hungrily and hilariously devoured last month.

Sample tweet:

"The Big Sick" co-writer and star Kumail Nanjiani‏ is a newer follow for me, but I appreciate his charming sense of humor and sincerity, along with a significant dose of humility, which was particularly evident when he and fellow screenwriter (and wife) Emily Gordon were recently nominated for an Oscar for best original screenplay.

Sample tweet:

My fellow Oberlin College graduate Emily Nussbaum, who now writes for a little magazine called The New Yorker, also happens to be my favorite TV critic. (She penned one of my favorite TV pieces ever, an aptly cutting assessment of "Dexter.") Nussbaum tweets a lot, and often hilariously, about all things pop culture and some things political.

Sample tweet:

Barry Jenkins won an Oscar last year for his "Moonlight" screenplay, and the film itself won the Academy's best picture trophy. Yet the man's Twitter feed is a model of humility; Jenkins largely uses it to amplify other artists' achievements, with particular emphasis on black filmmakers, writers, musicians, etc. For one of the finest directors and screenwriters working today, he seems remarkably, and believably, like an honorable, modest everyguy. But don't be fooled: His cultural observations are far sharper than the average bear's.

Sample tweet:

Friday, February 2, 2018

Revivals, reunions, and reboots I'd like to see

In honor of the imminent "Murphy Brown" revival (Murphy takes on Trumpism and the "fake news" phenomenon!), as well as another new season of "X-Files," NBC's resuscitation of "Will & Grace," and -- holy cow! -- the upcoming return of "Roseanne," here are a few TV revivals or reunion movies I'd like to see as we enter some kind of golden age of resurrecting old cultural products:
  • "Clueless" reunion movie: Cher, now a lawyer just like her (now-retired) father, is married to her scrumptious stepbrother, Josh, and they have -- of course -- one kid who wants to be a corporate go-getter when she grows up, and one who's into fashion and wants to be the next Michael Kors. Antics ensue when Dionne comes back into their life after a messy divorce from Murray. Also, Tai is cleverly yet sensitively written out of the cast in light of Brittany Murphy's untimely demise.
  • "ALF" revival: ALF returns to Earth from Melmac, and his spaceship crash-lands on the White House. Though the crash is thought by most Americans to have been a terrorist attack, a young aide encounters ALF fleeing his damaged craft and learns the truth. ALF takes up residence at 1600 Pennsylvania and gets into all sorts of amusing trouble, including impersonating a Secret Service agent and, on a dare, stealing Trump's daily cheeseburgers for a solid week. 
  • "The Wonder Years" revival: The new season follows the adventures of Kevin Arnold's grandchildren, contrasting suburban life in the late '60s and early '70s to its equivalent now. Fred Savage, aged only somewhat believably by the show's makeup artists, makes appearances throughout the season as Kevin.
  • "Murder, She Tweeted": In this reboot for the iPhone age, Oscar winner Emma Stone plays Jessica Fletcher, a plucky crime blogger and amateur PI around whom millennials keep ending up dead for some reason. Much seriocomic sleuthing ensues.