20 July, 1969: Apollo 11 Mission lands men on the Moon, in the Sea of Tranquillity. In these days of rapid technological advances and diminishing personal heroism, it is easy to forget how earth-shaking this achievement was. But anyone alive and out of nappies in July 1969 won’t forget. “From time immemorial men have gazed into the sky and pondered, theorised, even worshipped ‘the silver ornament of night‘”.* At Rice University in Houston, 12 September 1962, President John Kennedy said: “…the eyes of the world now look into space, to the moon and the planets beyond…We have vowed that we shall…Continue Reading →
8 July, 1947: The Army Air Field at Roswell, New Mexico, issued a press statement about salvaging the remnants of a “flying disc” from a nearby ranch and taking it to the air field, where it was quickly spirited to an undisclosed location. It wasn’t till about 30 years later (probably after the release of Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)) that dozens of people started asserting they’d seen aliens, flying saucers, men in black, and so on. It was good business for a long time. But it wouldn’t even pass muster with Stephen Glass. Truth remains an elusive,…Continue Reading →
[A lunatic from the past, Bela Kiss, living in conditions of relative tranquility (in Hungarian, “Nyugalom“), made recordings of his ravings in the first-person mode obtaining from time immemorial. These have been transcribed and lovingly italicized by a team of scholars with rather too much affection for the source. The editor has taken the liberty of suggesting that the ensuing statements in the manuscript smack of self-serving apologia, akin to the homilies obtaining in the forwards of most modern three-volume biographies, to the effect that guessing, decontextualizing, moralizing and or fiction are necessary in order to render an antique subject…Continue Reading →
(Carson McCullers) Not as completely ghastly as a Flannery O’Connor but up there in the southern Gothic oh-my-gawd stakes. The ultimately empty, Christ-like Singer and the yearning tomboy Mick are stock characters perhaps but they live and breathe in this story of poverty, hopelessness and waste. Ian Hunter’s “Cambreau” from Strange Cargo and Conrad Veidt’s “Stranger” from The Passing of the Third Floor Back meet Scout Finch in a boarding house, a café and a ditch.Continue Reading →
(Dir. Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu) (2014) This is an interesting and well-made film that suffers from an empty space about its heart. The 1990s star of “Birdman 1, 2 and 3”, Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton – get it?) spurned Birdman # 4 when at the top of the Hollywood pile, and is now a penniless has-been with substance abuse issues and an uncertain relationship with reality, as evidenced by his schizoid exchanges with the alter-ego Birdman character, who comes and goes, alternately revving and razzing Thomson in a voice reminiscent of Frank in Donnie Darko. His comeback (or if you hate…Continue Reading →
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