Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Blade Runner 2049 is what the original Blade Runner is often claimed to be. Unlike Blade Runner, it is a startlingly human film. It manages to pack in so much of what it means to be alive, to be human, in a film about a whole variety of people, robots and holograms. Their society is a layered one that’s as broken with inequality and prejudice as our own. It’s one in which being a member of a certain club is more important than the content of your character. Ryan Gosling’s officer K is science fiction’s Pinocchio. He’s a replicant (biomechanical android) who knows he isn’t human and feels that to be born is to have a soul. Unlike Pinnochio he’s not sure if he wants to be a real boy. Continue reading

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Blade Runner (1982)

Long ago, Blade Runner was my favourite film. Maybe it was an illogical choice as I had probably enjoyed many other films much more even then. It was certainly cool. I liked cool things like liked dinosaurs, space, the future and sci-fi. This one wasn’t just laser battles either and perhaps I mistook the absence of action (and many other things…) for the presence of substance and depth to its existential pretensions. It was easy to like Blade Runner because it was cool and regarded as being philosophically worthwhile. Sometimes it’s worth confronting and even castigating yourself so you can change your mind! Continue reading

The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)

“Drop dead!”
That’s one of the first things said to Kirk Douglas’ character in The Bad and the Beautiful. 1952 was a long time ago. He would have been 35 for most of that year. Now he’s 100 and you have to delve into the extended cast (and those much younger) to find others who still live. It’s difficult to imagine a world where almost everyone alive right now is gone… and you’re still hanging in there. Continue reading

American Madness (1932)

American Madness, like many Frank Capra films, is about a decent little guy going up against the overwhelming forces of cynicism. While the outcomes in these films can be a little far-fetched, especially where they depend on the kindness and honour of the general public, there is more worth in them than mere entertaining escapism. Continue reading

Bobby Sands: 66 Days (2016)

Bobby Sands: 66 Days is an alarming film. It’s republican propaganda with scant effort at balance and the vague hint here and there that the IRA may have been a little off with their campaign of murder and chaos. Perhaps more worrying than this is the reviews, which seem to be universal in their praise, especially when it comes to balance. Continue reading