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The Revenent
2020-12 rickatech

Epic wild west and nature settings, follows unfortunate events of fur trapper. 

Brutality and squalor weigh in heavily in this film while the nature settings are gorgeous, almost like a PBS Nature documentary.  The main character almost seems like a comic book superhero that miraculously recovers from almost certain death multiple times in the movie.  The sparse but haunting orchestral score adds and compliments part of the movie, but seems overwrought for the rather weak story arc.  Yes the acting by Leonardo DiCaprio is nontrivial, and there are some truly astounding action sequences, but most of the characters are written as uninteresting dolts with a story that seems to unravel leaving a rather pointless, uninspired ending.  At well over two hours, just felt like it could have been more.

Netflix: Queen&pos;s Gambit
2020-11 rickatech

Set in mid twentith century United States, orphan rural girl with mild autism discovers her proficiency at playing chess, catapulting her into an extraordinary life. 

Just wow, well done. 

HULU: The Handmaiden's Tail
2020-10 rickatech

Fascinating concept, infertility plague causes United States fascist society regression. 

Thing is, the whole fascist government that imprisons fertile women is enforced by what would seem to be a dwindling supply of young slavishly brainwashed male soldiers.  It seems the world population should be crashing, and the advanced military state would simply evaporate into a sort of Bird Box / Mad Max loosely organized regional territories - not the essentially still advanced modern western world, just with Amish undertone breeding slaves.

The premise that a faux terrorist group overthrows the US government seems remarkably prescient, but mixed with infertility seems somehow ill fated.  Perhaps if the plot introduced a sinister, charismatic leader, or some mystical force the compels young men to unwaveringly fall in line to follow a despotic leader (Star Wars ladies and gentlemen) during a population extinction event would better support the unique political dynamic of the story. 

HBO: Watchmen
2020-09 rickatech

Spoiler alerts, beware.

So the plot tries to make a black person the first super hero, but one that needs to wear a mask that still reveals enough to indicate they are white.  Sort of a double layer disguise.  Topical, yes.  Consistent with the overall story arc, not really.

The story arc ultimately is all about Doctor Manhattan, the all powerful superhero who's origins are non-black, and who evolved prior to this season due to a nuclear accident into a supreme being that lives outside of time and space.  For some reason, this nihilist supreme being quixotically is smitten by a middle aged black female lesser super hero.  On top of that, the supreme being willfully allows its memory to be temporarily wiped and placed inside a black man husband of the female super hero.

Ultimately various power hungry factions and industrialists catch on that somehow using advanced energy equipment they might be able to siphon off Doctor Manhattan's supremeness into a mortal being.  That only becomes a clear plot point in the last couple episodes, and sort of renders all the earlier race interplay somewhat irrelevant, and the power hungry factions unsurprisingly are non-black.

The first few episodes have some interesting characters and unpredictable plot turns, with some surprising and savage character outcomes.  Trent Resnor (AKA Nine Inch Nails) provides some noteworthy mood and atmospheric music. The bucolic off planet steam punk lord and his clone slaves is a peculiar sort of Doctor Who side plot that is unfurled slowly to nice effect.

Overall the race play early on in the season seems sort of wasted when the end becomes non-black characters trying to steal power from a god.  Seems to me the season should try to stay with super hero core dynamics, and trying to inject race relations into an intrinsically superhero plot serves neither well.

3rd grade

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