Sunday, December 18, 2016

Spielberg at 70

By Steve Evans 
Spielberg turns 70 today. What's his best film? I still say it's Jaws. That movie holds up, mechanical shark notwithstanding. Raiders of the Lost Ark must be in second place because it exemplifies what the man does best -- slick, wham-bang action entertainment. Then we must deal with Schindler's, which would rank higher if it didn't succumb in the final reel to Spielberg's career-spanning maudlin tendencies and ripe sentimentality. Hmmm...give fourth place to Saving Private Ryan (also weakened by those mawkish bookends at the Normandy-American cemetery) and round out the top 5 with Jurassic Park, for its technical innovations in the service of high-concept suspense. Ya'll can sort out the rest of his oeuvre any way ya like, but these I've mentioned are the essentials.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Future Shock and John Frankenheimer

This CIA/Russian computer hacking/possible election tampering/spying spooks-galore business has pushed me off the diving board into reading Jamie Bartlett's The Dark Net: Inside the Digital Underworld. I anticipate a double-feature tonight or tomorrow of John Frankenheimer's The Manchurain Candidate and Seven Days in May, just to stoke the fires of inspiration. In the last 24 hours I have read up on anonymity, surveillance, VPNs, proxies, TOR and the security risk of torrents, as well as email hacking. The implications of online sabotage and espionage stretch from rearranging world affairs to the flow of hundreds of billions of dollars in transactions that never pass through any government anywhere in the world. In a word, staggering.

There's a helluva modern novel waiting to be written about all this. My research has begun.