Anon (Netflix)

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Let me just start by saying… I would buy this movie. This has the total cyberpunk/Sci-fi/BladeRunner “feel” to it. It has “speculated reality,” as in this is stuff we will probably see in upcoming technology. AR has way more potential than VR will ever have. Mark my words here. The reason… AR gives companies way more advertising potential. Sad but true. Damn marketers and advertisers. But I digress…

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Anyway, Clive Owen is a detective who is investigating killings done by a woman who is completely anonymous. She can hack the system and disappear from everything. In this world, you can see the overlay (AR) through your eye and you have a “life record” that records everything. Basically, no privacy at all. So Amanda Seyfried has the ability to hack this system and stay anonymous, which makes her the perfect person to be a contract killer.

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The movie has a unique premise, really good acting, and it really draws you in. Bravo to Netflix for grabbing this one. This is truly a quality movie!!! On a side note, why is Amanda Seyfried not in more movies???

 

 

Streamline (Stream of Thought) 2/8/18

Cyberpunk Dystopia

I was worried there for a few minutes. Under leftist Democrats we would have moved toward a more dystopian cyberpunk world via their bad policies and the crack down on their own citizens. We would all truly be high tech and low life, just like all of the stories. But then they lost control and that hellish dystopia began moving away. Leave it to the good old Republicans to get us back on track though, with this really bad bipartisan budget bill that will spend us into bankruptcy. I can safely say that we are back on track for the US collapse and dystopian living!!! Thanks worthless politician overlords!!!

My Quest for the Grail comes to an END

Knightfall (History) may get a second season but I doubt very much that I will be along for the ride. The show was plagued by cliches (the been there, done that, love triangle), overly dramatic dialogue, and sets that looked like… sets. Not to mention that later shows put in twist upon twist in an effort to be clever, though it came off as more annoying. The sets really annoyed me from the beginning. I understand they had a fire early on that destroyed many of the sets but regardless, the sets looked too “perfect” and clean. It wasn’t like Game of Thrones where the sets look lived in and aged. Therefore scenes never really felt very real. Then you have the love triangle between the Templar Landry, the Queen, and the King. Why? Just why??? A point of real contention for me was the dull blades. They were so rounded that their bluntness showed in every scene. I understand using a dull blade for fight scenes but when you are just standing around with your sword out, at least have a semi sharp edge. The viewers can see this stuff pretty damn clearly in HD. They also tried to inject a fantasy aspect into it with the grail but the writers seemed to be too scared to go the extra mile with it. Either the grail in the end was a fake or it never worked. Sadly… I just do not care. I have to also say, in the 9th episode Landry was kneecapped with a massive hammer and the very next episode he’s running into battle. That may have been the most fantasy part of the whole series. Who needs the grail when you have magical kneecaps?

Venom Teaser Trailer

Why is Sony making this?

Ars Technica has been Expunged

I used to really like this site for tech but… They’ve gone off the deep end in “blogging editorial reporting” now. Pretty much every piece is an opinion rant or has a political slant in some way. It’s like, “Hey, come here to our site so you can read our whining and depressing Millennial rants.” So they have gone the way of Engadget, The Verge, and so many before them…

What’s this? What’s this I see? G+ Engagement!!!

It’s not the rollicking good times of old but I have been having more engagement on G+ of late. More so than on Twitter and Facebook. Actual convos!!! My blog has also been getting more hits from G+ than either of the other 2 services. I don’t know if it is a fluke, flash in the pan, or what… but it’s been nice. G+ has a long way to go to get back to what it was. Even finding interesting people to follow is almost impossible these days because their Discovery and People tabs are colossal mess. Showing me people to follow who I already unfollowed because they are no longer active on the service is just dumb. So I’m taking this uptick with a grain of salt and a load of caution.

Funko Pop… POPPED!!!

I used to love collecting these things but honestly… They are just releasing too many now. Also, the ones with variations are not that varied. One had a cigar and the other didn’t for one of the Halo ones coming out. So unless there is a series 2 of Mr. Robot Pops, I think I’m done collecting them. I honestly just cannot keep up…

This Stream has POPPED!!!

Altered Carbon (Netflix) – Review (NO Spoilers)

Altered Carbon on Netflix is simply a masterpiece of Cyberpunk film making. It follows the book (Written by Richard K. Morgan) fairly well, adding and changing things in certain places for the sake of the series narrative. Don’t worry… If you loved the book (REVIEW HERE) you will be VERY happy with these 10 episodes that cover it.

I believe I sat there smiling for several episodes just because I was finally able to see these characters come to life. I’m not going to go over the plot, you can click on the book review linked above, as that is the same. The characters and acting was wonderful. The sound and atmosphere through the CGI was beautiful. I’m serious when I say that this may be the BEST show I’ve ever watched on the Netflix platform. We all know Bladerunner has been the film to judge all Cyberpunk on since its inception but I do believe that Altered Carbon surpasses both Bladerunner and Bladerunner 2049 for creating a fully fledged world that is both interesting in the genre and makes the viewer believe that this world could exist. If you are a true Cyberpunk fan then you will love this show.

Strangely this is the first time I’ve binged something and I feel like going back to watch it again because it was so damn good!!! I’m beyond ready for Netflix to green light the sequel book: Broken Angels, and get that underway. So if you haven’t checked out Altered Carbon on Netflix yet… GO CHECK IT OUT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Altered Carbon by Richard K Morgan (Review)

In anticipation of the Netflix series, I pulled up Altered Carbon once again on my Kindle to give it a re-read. If a movie like Bladerunner exemplifies “cyberpunk” then Altered Carbon could quite possibly be THE cyberpunk template that epitomizes the genre in book form, even more so than Neuromancer.

Written in first person, we are taken into the world Takeshi Kovacs, an Asian Envoy from Harlan’s World, sent to Earth via Needlecast to be resleeved in an caucasian body, and solve the suicide/murder of Laurens Bancroft, who claims that he could not have killed himself. Sound confusing? You have to think on this one and that is part of what makes it such a great cyberpunk tale. In the world of Altered Carbon, the human body is just a sleeve. Your consciousness is actually you, and it can be placed in different bodies (sleeves). Bancroft supposedly killed himself before his next conscious backup, so he’s missing time between his death and his last backup. That’s why he hires Takeshi Kovacs to solve the what and why of his death.

Along the way, we get twists and turns that you really have to think about. I have to say, reading it though on the second pass, I knew what to look for (kind of like going back to rewatch the Sixth Sense, as everyone did, when they found the twist), so I actually enjoyed the story even more this time around. It’s a real noir detective story, and you really do have to keep up with the information that is released to you, because sometimes, those names and characters will show up later and you will get that light bulb moment of, “Oh yeah… whoa!!!”

I’ll be moving directly into the sequel (Broken Angels) next, as well as anxiously awaiting the Netflix series next month (Feb 2nd 2018). I can’t wait to see this universe play out on the screen!!!

Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams REVIEW (NO SPOILERS)

Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams has arrived on Amazon Prime and I’m ready to dive into the cyberpunk techno sci-fi fun of it. I’ve been waiting for this ever since it was originally announced. The reviews have been better than current seasons of Black Mirror (that’s not hard to beat these days) so here we go:

Real Life (Episode 1)

Real Life starts out with a female cop in the future (Anna Paquin – X-men). She’s a lesbian with a flying car and some cool tech gadgets. She escaped a tragic event and her guilt is eating her up. So her girlfriend offers to let her try a new device that her company is working on. This device will make it seem like you have a completely different life. When she goes into this new life, within her head, she’s back in 2012 and she’s a billionaire male (Terrence Howard – Empire). His company is working on a device that interacts with the mind and gives the user the ability to have second life also. Our main character then becomes confused between 2 different worlds and can’t figure out which world, is the real world, and which life, is the real life.

It’s an intriguing story and filled with some really good actors. The premse brings up some good questions about determining what is real and what is just a very vivid dream (which we have all had, but we get to wake up), when it comes to mind altering technology that really doesn’t seem very far fetched these days.

Autofac (Episode 2)

Autofac is a factory that can make anything. After a massive war plunges the world into a post apocalyptic setting, the AI of the autofac continues to produce supplies, unneeded by the last remaining population that is walled off by exclusion zones and left in a small area surrounded by pollution from the factory. The humans come up with a plan to get into the factory and detonate nuclear bombs within so that they can finally be free of it. Little do they know, their existence is linked to the autofac in ways they could never imagine.

As with the first episode, this one draws you in and makes you want to find out just what is going on. Again, there is a twist to it, as so many anthology shows now do. I found myself looking for the twist while watching, and it did turn out to be what I suspected, though it also had an interesting monologue between the factory AI and the main female protagonist which I did feel, made the ending work and feel like a completed story.

Human Is (Episode 3)

Human Is stars Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) and Essie Davis (The Babadook) as a top level couple for the state on are far flung future of Terra (Earth). The air has been poisoned and the people live in the rock of a cliff and bio-domes that protect them from the harsh air. In order to keep the air from being 100% poisonous, they must mine a purification trait from other planets. In this case, they are stealing from an inhabited planet. When Cranston’s character comes back from an excursion from this planet changed, we are faced with the question of, “What is to be human?”

This episode is much more sci-fi than cyberpunk in the setting and the fact that it deals with alien lifeforms. I’m not sure if there is supposed to be a twist or not, even so, it doesn’t need nor rely on that plot device for this story. At 3 episodes into Electric Dreams, this has been my favorite episode so far. The acting and the visuals were above par and the “feel” of this world, from the maze beneath the city to different camera angles, all added to the interesting and enrapturing atmosphere.

Crazy Diamond (Episode 4)

Crazy Diamond stars Steve Buscemi and frankly… I didn’t get this one. The humans are either “Jacks” or “Jills” and inhabited by a synthetic soul (or something). Their habitats are constantly falling into the sea and there is a gate guard that is a “pig lady,” a chimera of a human and a pig. The story is confusing to say the least. Also… the main people are dress in a 70’s future way while these rogues who want the “synthetic souls” are like 80’s future Flock of Seagulls style.

This one really seems to be more concept over story.

The Hood Maker (Episode 5)

The Hood Maker stars Richard Madden (Rob Stark – Game of Thrones) as a detective in a post apocalyptic world that seems to have shunned technology (back to typewriters), while mutant telepaths called Teeps have become a species that is not trusted by the normals. Someone is making a mask that blocks the Teeps from reading minds and the level of trust between Teeps and normals in tenuous.

This one is good but depressing. Normals distrust Teeps because they can read minds, so normals treat Teeps badly. Teeps want to rise up and destroy the normals and if they do, then it vindicates how the normals feel. In the end, as far as I’m concerned, neither side was “good” or right.

Safe and Sound (Episode 6)

I just completed Safe and Sound (writing these as I complete each one) and as of now, this is my favorite story in Electric Dreams. It’s about technology and government control. It’s about controlling people by limiting freedom and making people think “safe spaces” like schools are a good thing. It’s basically, what happens on this ultra PC, snowflake, easily offended trip we are currently on in reality. So yeah, this one is a MUST SEE.

A mother and daughter move across “the rift” from a bubble city (the people think that those in the bubbles cities are terrorists when they are actually for privacy and freedom), only for the daughter to be manipulated by the government, through technology, to get to the outcome needed. The propaganda that is “safe spaces,” plays a big part in this story and it’s nice to see that someone out there created this story to highlight how bad it is as a propaganda tool. WATCH THIS EPISODE!!!

The Father Thing (Episode 7)

This episode is a straight up, good old fashion “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” show, with maybe a little Stranger Things thrown in. It’s a good episode even though it is pretty straight forward and nothing that hasn’t been done before. Still interesting to watch.

Impossible Planet (Episode 8)

Impossible Planet is the story of a space cruise. An old lady wants to see Earth, long since de-populated, so she hires a cruise there. The 2 people taking her there, instead decide to take her money and take her to a planet they can pass off as Earth. The ending is bittersweet but the episode is really good. This is also a universe that I wouldn’t mind seeing more of. It seemed like an interesting place.

The Commuter (Episode 9)

The Commuter is about a time that never was and a woman who can take people’s pain away. This one really doesn’t have anything to do with technology but it is a deeply involving story where you really feel for the lead character played by Timothy Spall (Harry Potter – Wormtail), whose pain come from a son who is on a road to nowhere. I was surprised to see Tuppence Middleton (Sense8 – Riley Blue) as the character of Linda. I could barely tell it was her with the long dark brown hair since I’m used to her in Sense8 with the shorter blonde hair. It’s a good episode even if it feels more Twilight Zone and less technical.

Kill All Others (Episode 10)

Kill All Others is really the hell of a liberal utopia if it should come to pass. Mob rule and state ran control at all levels. Then you have your added “Google-like” advertising to keep people docile. Those who ask questions are the “others” to be dealt with. It was an excellence episode to cap off the first season of Electric Dreams.

Overall, I enjoyed Electric Dreams more than Black Mirror. It’s not quite as dark and morbid as Black Mirror but still tells you interesting stories, some with twist, and some fairly straight forward. It’s definitely an anthology to check out.

Streamline (Stream of Thought) 1/12/18

Dumpster Fire of the Day:

I opened Twitter for a moment today and saw just about every Tweet using the term “shithole” in reference to something that the president may or may not have said. So I instantly closed Twitter because it is in effect, a shithole. There’s a reason I deleted all of of my tweets yesterday. I’m sick of the negative echo chamber that is Twitter. It pulls you in with negativity and creates a narrative to incite you.

Hang it up:

Likewise, I saw some convo on Hangouts where I’m in a few different groups. Oh hey look!!! I already posted about that… 2 DAYS ago. Yet now someone is posting up the same links I already posted, as if they were new. That’s my big thing right now, if I’m taking the time to relay certain info, and you can’t acknowledge it, then why am I posting it??? That’s pretty much everything now… Ergo… this blog being my journal of it all.

I’ve been withdrawing more and more from social media things and the more I think about it, the more I think it is the right decision.

Altered Carbon is coming!!!

The new Altered Carbon trailer is awesome. I need more Cyberpunk in my life and so far, from the trailers, it is doing the book justice. I’m also rereading the book right now and I’m thoroughly enjoying it even more on the reread. 2/2/18 is the big day it hits Netflix. Can’t wait!!!

Alt 105.7 FM in Atlanta

I just happened to have this station on this morning when I pulled out of the garage to go to work. Normally I listen to WSB for the weather and the news but I had this station on from the drive home last night. The morning talk show here was refreshing. They steered clear of politics which was VERY nice. A morning show that doesn’t let itself get politicized? Can it be? Apparently it is, and that is exactly what I am looking for!!!

Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams

It’s finally here!!! The entire first season is up and streaming on Amazon Prime today!!! Reviews have said that this is better than Black Mirror even. It’s also a cyberpunk show so I’m totally down with that.

The NY Times Noticed that Wearables are DEAD

They ran an article today asking if the fad was dead because wearables are MIA at CES. I said over a year ago that wearables were dead. As a matter fact, before I ever bought a Pebble Steel, I stated that wearables were nothing but a fad or electronic toy for adults and that they would be a flash in the pan. I was right. Sure, people still wear their Apple Watches and Fitbits but the majority of people have tried the fad and dismissed it already. I’m still calling the second coming of VR a second fad also. I hold out more confidence for AR but VR is a Pebble Time 2 away from the history books once again.

Upgrade your Cybernetics and Bionics

Speaking of current tech and fads… How we do things now has totally ruined a future where bionics and cybernetics are a generalized thing. I mean, are you going to buy a cybernetic eye that will only get 2 years of updates? After 2 years, some snot nosed 14 year old hacker will be sitting in his parents basement hacking the shit out of your eye. The same goes for legs or arms or etc… Never mind that to subsidize the cost, you may be forced to watch a commercial via that eye every hour… We are on this tech trend where a new version of tech comes out yearly and the old version gets updates for X many years. Having a cybernetic body that is prone to planned obsolescence would really not be a good thing. I guess those cybernetics will join the jetpack in the the list of cool things that will probably never be.

That’s the Streamline for today… Catch you next time.

-JF