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Donnie Darko – Review

So it took me a while to get around to watching this movie. I suppose the promo image for Donnie Darko was a bit of a turn off. Someone in a hoodie looking ominous with fire in the background. I imagined it was like Firestarter (which I haven’t seen… but you get the idea).

Image via Deviant Art

All I knew about Donnie was that it had something to do with alleged psychic abilities and time travel, and that it was a bit dark. Even the opening scenes are a bit dark (exposure-wise). This made me think I’d be suffering through the grainy bummer of old movie prints that aren’t remastered. But I persevered and after a few minutes was pleasantly surprised. In fact, Donnie kept growing on me, right up to the grand, freaked out finale.

Set in 1988 but filmed in 2001, this is an interesting time loop in itself. The past looking at the past. On the whole the retro fit is done well. Rounded CRT TVs. VHS tapes. That era. The only anachronism I might have detected is the Panasonic Ball Radio. I owned one of those, and that was the 1970s, not the late 80s. Oh well. I guess you could say the character who owns the radio gets it from her parents.

Donnie Darko (soundtrack)

Donnie Darko soundtrack (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This film touches on several key issues without going overboard on any of them. Time travel, premonition, the idea of mental illness, bullying, racism, child pornography, the hypocrisy of some self-help gurus. All these provocative themes are wrapped up into a tight ball that steadily unravels as the film progresses.

The acting is pretty much fabulous throughout. I didn’t see any weak performances and lots of strong ones.

Rather than break it down (you can get that at more conventional sites), I suggest watching this film with as few preconceptions as possible. Wikipedia helps make sense of it. But I wouldn’t read that until after seeing this skirmish into darkness, light and emerging new ideas about space, time and alternate universes.

Sometimes mystery is good, and spelling it all out beforehand can detract from the magic.

MC


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Galatea

My latest venture into electronica. This was pretty clearly influenced by Brian Eno’s “Atmospheres and Soundtracks” and “Music for Airports.” And maybe John Klemmer’s “Touch.” But I wanted to make it my own, give it my own twist, and not just try to copy the great pioneers of ambient music and smooth jazz.

While composing this, I had a vision of this guy sitting in a 2001-esque space station somewhere, maybe orbiting, definitely alone.


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Sleepy Robot Rebellion

© Lee Neale and Mike Clark

Thanks to www.freesound.org/ and www.freesfx.co.uk/

Lee Neale is the Australian-born founder of Shamagaia Universal Healing, currently living in Japan. When Lee suggested we collaborate on some projects, I thought it was a great idea. I’d been playing around with MIDI for a while, and felt confident enough to back up his vocals. I’d never heard Lee speak or sing, and didn’t know what to expect. So when he sent me the vocal track for Sleepy Robot Rebellion, I was impressed, to say the least.

To me, Lee’s vocals sound like some kind of operatic mix of Freddie Mercury, David Bowie and Paul McCartney. The soundscape we finally settled on was the 8th version. Along the way, Lee helped with the arrangement. He also came up with some amazing sound FX to add to the ones I’d found.

Just what is Sleepy about? To be honest, I’m not entirely sure. And I like it that way. I prefer art that is suggestive and not overly literal. But the lyrics clearly have something to do with artificial intelligence (AI), consciousness, power and ethics. So it’s a tune that should become increasingly relevant with every passing year.

—MC


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Sunbathing on Zeta 3

Testing out a promising new freeware program called LMMS, recently been made available for Windows. I don’t really know how to use it. And it seems to have some limitations. But I like what it does do. Or rather, what I could figure out in a few hours!

lmms.sourceforge.net/home.php


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Rod Serling did it better… but Battlestar Galactica still hot

SPOILER ALERT… don’t read this if you haven’t seen the final episode for 2008!

BSG fans no doubt delighted at the 2008 season finale where all sorts of insane tensions mount between humans and Cylons.

And Xena (oops, I mean Cylon number Three), that ever-enchanting toaster, offers an innocent civilian up to death before a truce is made between humans and Cylons.

Interesting that the truce isn’t achieved by brute force but by human and Cylon goodwill, along with President Apollo’s diplomacy.

All round great job… kudos to all concerned in the production.

Except for one thing… the final scene where Earth is trashed? Rod Serling did it way better.

If you don’t believe me, just check out the episode “Time Enough at Last.”


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Cylon’s despair

Cylon’s despair, originally uploaded by earthpages.

Sci-fi fans are all hip to the idea of human beings wondering if they’re cylons… but what about the other side..?

Original Creative Commons photo “Liverpool Street station crowd blur” by David Sim » www.flickr.com/photos/victoriapeckham/164175205/


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Are you up to tachyonic speed?

C. F. Fitzgerald, “Tachyons” pp. 421-423 cited in
Tachyons, Time Travel, and Divine Omniscience
Author(s): William Lane Craig
Source: The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 85, No. 3 (Mar., 1988), pp. 135-150

I remember once saying to a friend that the pop group The Clash could have had an influence on the music of Beethoven. She couldn’t really see what I was trying to say and, to make matters worse, I didn’t have the conceptual tools back then to elaborate very well.

But these days the notion of retrocausality has been popularized by Stephen Hawking and other top scientists and philosophers take it very seriously.

So I ask… Are you up to tachyonic speed? 😉