When I first heard about this movie, I thought I had a pretty good idea of what it would be like: a young, talented chef saves himself, his family, and possibly the world, through the Power of Food™. That’s not what this film is. Instead, it’s something a good deal deeper, and a good deal more real.
Ready for some wackiness? Those Damn Tourists are back in full force to turn your life upside down (in a good way). With the stresses of today’s world, silliness and absurdity are even more important, and the continuing saga of the most obnoxious elderly tourists in the world is here for you.
The Lab is a wordless story about a nameless, humanoid lab test subject that’s subjected to a litany of trials and experiments. The subject is held in spartan conditions in isolation, surrounded by countless others. While they are clearly being used for some kind of research, we never see the “researchers” whose presence is only hinted at with sophisticated technology that picks up the test subject and administers the test protocols, before depositing the subject back in its cell. In short, it’s a haunting look at the monotony of mechanized testing protocols.
One of the most important things a good story can do is hold a mirror to the world and reflect on it. Killswitch, by Jeffrey and Susan Bridges, provide that reflection in one of the most exciting and action-packed sci-fi stories of the year, and one that centers on a question: Do the ends justify the means?
The Statue of Liberty. That is the reference in this week’s title. Well, it is in a roundabout way with more than one meaning, of course. Everyone remembers the lines, “Give me your tired, your poor, / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…”, even if they do not know the title of the poem (“The New Colossus”) or the poet (Emma Lazarus). But this week’s Westworld episode title also comes from that same poem: “her name / Mother of Exiles…” (Not true, her actual name is “Liberty Enlightening the World,” which we call “The Statue of Liberty,” just like we call Lesane Crooks “Tupac Shakur” or we call Marion Morrison “The Duke” or “John Wayne” – nothing in America is called by its actual name.) So, the Mother of Exiles is the Statue of Liberty, the celebration of liberty and immigration.
Full disclosure here: I was totally new to the Heirs of Isildur (No, NOT Tolkien’s Isildur!) universe, and going in blind was kind of fun. As a primer, I watched a 5-minute long heavy metal music video that provided the context for the opening of Tales from Nocturnia #1. Not surprisingly, the music video also gave me an idea of what I was getting into. In short: a clashing of heavy metal and fantasy tropes that I have always kind of associated with Meat Loaf’s album covers.
The end is here for the Augurs. Whether that means they escape or die trying is up to them, but - either way - they aren’t going back. Killswitch creators Jefferey and Susan Bridges culminate this intense and politically inspired tale in a climax that ends on a bittersweet note.
Like much of quarantined America, I have binge watched and obsessed over Tiger King. While the craziness and over-the-top characters are fun (and sad), I admire the well-crafted narrative. The people are allowed to slowly reveal things about themselves. Sometimes, they reveal things about themselves that they themselves are not aware of. The story seems to unfold effortlessly. Where the remarkable craftsmanship is, however, is in a narrative structure that, untelegraphed and without fanfare, suddenly upends everything you think you knew about this story so far. (Tiger King spoilers ahead.)
Buddy the unicorn lives in Glow, one of six magical realms throughout the galaxy, and the seat of power for them all. Looked down on by the other unicorns because of the little stump where his horn should be, Buddy longs to prove himself and be considered worthy.