The US culture industry wants the Chinese market. The only way is through the Chinese government, which restricts the number of foreign films allowed in the country each year – thirty-four only. To get one of those precious slots, Hollywood has learned to kowtow. Now, there’s nothing wrong with Hollywood trying to nuance is content   Read More …

Categories: Politics

There is a meme that circulates every few months. A picture, black and white, the 1950s perhaps, everyone on a train with their head buried in a newspaper. It comes with a subtitle along the lines of: ‘All this technology is making us anti-social’. Oh the irony. Check mate, old bean. *like*. On to next   Read More …

Categories: Politics

Red Harvest, Yojimbo, A Fistful of Dollars: Remaking the Remake The American Western was revitalised by an Italian director inspired by a Japanese filmmaker with a love of hardboiled fiction. This is the strange international pedigree of the ground-breaking A Fistful of Dollars. Sergio Leoni, a man who neither spoke English or who had visited   Read More …

Equity The Americans have done it again. The conservative wing has rigged the Hugo Awards, turning it into a list of ideological screeds, petty revenge stories, and comedic gay erotica. The progressive wing will no doubt punch back, like they did last year, and vote in ‘No Award’ for the particularly egregious categories. They’ll cheer.   Read More …

Categories: Fiction, Politics

When an individual earns a billion dollars, they are legally killed by society and their wealth redistributed*. This killing is televised: a SWAT team with go-pros enters the palatial residence, or chandeliered bunker, or mahogany-clad private jet, and puts a bullet to the offending billionaire. In 1982 a terrible film called Logan’s Run was released.   Read More …

Categories: Politics

We live in a world as hyper-capitalist as any point in history, with inequality approaching the extremes of Dickensian England circa 1850. Yet, consumers increasingly expect music, films and books to come free. This is the problem faced by writers: that there is a habit, or even a culture, of refusing to pay for art   Read More …

Categories: Fiction, Politics

“It’s fun for the children,” they tell me. “Harmless,” they say. “It gets the kids outside – don’t be such a killjoy,” they implore. So if my opposition to Halloween makes me the Scrooge of that festival, then so be it. You may call me a killjoy, but you won’t convince me to allow my   Read More …

Categories: Politics

When we develop Artificial Intelligence, our philosophical DNA will be embedded in our creation. This is one of the fascinating arguments of the movie Ex Machina: that the values of the creator are imprinted on the new being (an excellent movie, by the way, and well worth watching for science-fiction fans or simply those who   Read More …

Categories: Politics

The Lego Movie has a heart of darkness. Beneath its glossy façade and messages of friendship, individuality, and freedom, lies the abyss of moral hazard and societal decay. The Lego Movie is, at its core, a capitulation to the venal whims of casino capitalism. You’d be forgiven in thinking precisely the opposite. You’d be forgiven   Read More …

Categories: Politics, Reviews

He goes by many aliases: Kris Kringle, Saint Nicholas, Hagios Nikolas, Joulupukki, Nicholas of Myra, Sinterklaas. He’s the jolly bearded man bearing gifts; the herald of good will and joy; an icon for the young; an ally to the old – Santa Claus is a figure of almost universal affection. But there is a dark   Read More …

Categories: Politics

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