Category Archives: Film

Writing “The West” in Westworld

“You’re in my dream. I designed every part of this place. Not a theme park, but an entire world” 

 

So, let’s talk about Westworld. There’s only two episodes left of season one, and a quick Google search will tell you more than you need to know about the number of loose ends and untied threads that are keeping viewers interested. It’s become one of those shows that thrives off of the mystery, and explicitly fuels the collective investigatory powers of the internet with their sights set on decoding the mysteries that it continues to offer, while it seems to be hiding many of its secrets in plain sight—for those quick enough to catch them and post them to Reddit.

What I want to talk about is one thing in particular that Westworld seems to be hiding in plain sight: that the show appears to be exposing the ways in which, until now, “the West” was written under a very specific kind of control, and about and for particular characters.

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The Childhood of a Leader: a composite ‘history’ of twentieth century fascism

I go to the cinema as often as I can but of late I rarely get interested or excited enough about a film to remember what I’ve seen a few days later, let alone want to blog about it (Case in point: Saw Woody Allen’s Cafe Society on Wednesday, was charmed enough at the time, but had forgotten about it by this weekend).

It’s something of an exception then to see a film that genuinely makes me leave the cinema wanting to talk about it, let alone wanting to go home and furiously Google it. The Childhood of a Leader is one of those films.

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Fallout 4’s Nuka World, and Video Games Doing Cinema

In many ways, this is a part II to a previous blog on Fallout 4‘s Nick Valentine, and how codes and conventions of well-known, distinctly American cinematic genres—in that case the crime/noir/detective film—are often used as access points through which many video games reinterpret and represent the past. Here, I want to briefy talk about the new (and final) addition to the Fallout 4 universe, the Nuka World DLC pack, and how it similarly pays reference to the western genre (something that I’ve been looking at in my current PhD research too).

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But first, I want to start with my first impressions of the DLC more, since I’ve more or less ended up entirely hating all of the others.

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Synthetic Memories: Fallout 4’s Nick Valentine

“Well, that’s some real solid detective work”

                                           – Nick Valentine, ‘Getting a Clue’

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In a recent review of Black Mass published in The Independent, the writer argued that ‘Hollywood was always going to make a film about the life and crimes of James “Whitey” Bulger’. Hardly an entirely new ‘story’, it’s already been the inspiration for Showtime’s Brotherhood (2006-2008). Now the story of the ‘notorious US mob boss’ who ran South Boston with the Winter Hill Gang has also made its way (allegorically) into the Boston depicted in Fallout 4, as have the codes and conventions of the detective/mobster genre, through the storyline of Detective Nick Valentine and his pre-war mobster nemesis, Eddie Winter.

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Review: Her

I thought I’d write a short review with a couple of my own thoughts on Spike Jonze’s Her (hopefully) without getting too deep and off-putting.

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Man of Steel Review

I wanted to like this film, I really did. I managed to get past the fact that they blatantly re-used some of the score from the Lord of the Rings Trilogy in their trailers, and somehow forgiving this offense I thought: “Hell, why not. It’s a superhero film after all, at least it will be a good watch.”

But for me, there were three main issues:

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The Past Re-Imagined or History Discarded?

“Facts can be so misleading,
where rumours, true or false, are often revealing.”
– Col. Hans Landa, Inglorious Basterds (2009)

My dissertation is almost halfway through its first draft, and thus procrastination is desperately required. When I started writing this blog it was about something entirely different, but loosely connected; Quentin Tarantino’s last two movies, Inglorious Basterds (2009), and Django Unchained (2012). As I was writing, I realised that I haven’t really discussed my dissertation topic in any great length with many people, but now that I actually have a handle on my evidence and argument, I thought that a blog might be a nice way to do it. It was an idea that came as the offspring of two (sort of) interlinked instances; a conversation with a university tutor on the sources I could actually use for my dissertation, and a fateful exam revision session that led me to a book I have mentioned before in a previous blog; Robert Rosenstone’s History on Film/Film on History.

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