dev


Why am I even writing a review for a Werner Herzog documentary? Just go watch it, it's on Netflix.

"Lo and Behold" is a little all over the place; it opens with an attempt to trace the origins of the internet in a pretty historical and practical way. However, it quickly broadens itself into a more philosophical and ethical look at how the net's invention has irrevocably changed our society, for better or worse. It's meandering but still entertaining and asks some interesting questions about where online life and instantaneous communication are taking us as a species. The people interviewed range from Elon Musk, to a group of robotics students designing bots capable of playing soccer, and to the programmers behind self-driving cars. There's also time devoted to discussing the issues of modern communication and privacy with former hacker Kevin Mitnick, the bereaved family members of Nikki Catsouras, internet and game addicts in recovery, and so on. It's not a film that's wholly judgmental of technology, though Herzog is a well known Luddite; rather, it pretty broadly examines the truly inspiring and terrifying ways humans have adapted the internet and related technology into our daily lives, and well beyond. Mars colonies controlled primarily by wireless satellite technology might not be so far off in the future as one would think.


I'd also recommend "Into the Inferno", since it, too, is a fairly new Herzog doc out on Netflix. Though I have much less to say about it; the subject matter is interesting and it's great to see how Herzog explores the immensely fascinating relationships different cultures have with volcanoes, but I accidentally got too high and slept through roughly half of the movie. Oops.


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dev
14 February 2017 @ 09:35 am


Watching this is basically watching a bad trip unfold. And if you did decide to trip and watch this, it would probably melt your brain and drive you to soul-crushing Lovecraftian insanity forever, or something.

I saw this in theaters as part of the Brattle Theater's 'Alice in Wonderland' themed weird movie cluster, and it is, in a way, kind of fitting...the essential plot of the film, if it can accurately be described as having one, is that a telepathic girl named Elena attempts to escape from her captivity in a New Age research facility, the Arboria Institute. The institute was founded by Elena’s father, Dr. Arboria, but is now run by his protege Barry Nyle. Nyle’s a cold, calculating, abusive creep who keeps Elena prisoner in this sprawling complex and inhibits her natural psychic abilities using a glowing prism and lots of sedatives.

Nyle himself, like Elena, is apparently what happens when you dip live humans into liquid vats of angel dust. Driven to the brink by psychedelic demonic visions and summarily losing all hair, iris color, etc, Nyle transforms himself into something resembling Steve Jobs with the use of prosthetics. His complete, cool detachment from reality and morality drives him to (hopefully unbeknownst to Dr. Arboria?) keep Elena confined among the other failed 'projects' at the facility, all of which are pretty disturbing. After exploring the facility and the horrors contained within, Elena does escape and the struggle to free herself from Nyle results in the most anti-climatic face off ever.

It’s an incredibly slow and hypnotic movie that is driven almost entirely by stimulating visuals, trippy colors, and endless, endless synthesizers. It’s very ambient and probably cool (and scary) to watch after smoking a joint, but there’s not much of substance beneath the stylistic veneer.

Though I will give it props; the ambience really, really draws you into the world of the film. The flashback scene where Nyle is dipped into the vat of 'consciousness awakening' tar is so intense and horrifying that I actually left for a few minutes. I'm a seasoned psychedelic user and I’m thankful that in my several illegal mind adventures I’ve never had to deal with an actual bad trip. Because if that’s what it’s like, then Jesus fucking Christ.
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dev
02 February 2017 @ 09:36 am


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dev
01 February 2017 @ 09:42 am


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dev
25 January 2017 @ 09:58 am


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