Scanlyze

The Online Journal of Insight, Satire, Desire, Wit and Observation

Some thoughts on Mad Max: Fury Road.

Some thoughts on Mad Max: Fury Road.

I’m going to assume you have either seen the movie, know the general plot, or don’t want spoilers.

I enjoyed Fury Road but I don’t think it is as good as the reviewers claim. It is a B movie and destined to forever be one of the classics of that genre. It isn’t a feminist epic, though there are some nods in that direction. It does pass the Bechdel test and with flying colors despite there being almost no dialog in it. But most every movie should do, that doesn’t make it a feminist movie. The old ladies, the Vuvalini, are just the only non-evil gang/tribe.

The dialog is weak, almost non-existent, and isn’t so interesting. I’m also not fond of the early voiceover, that’s a lazy device probably demanded by the studio who were maybe uncomfortable with the no doubt WTF reaction of some older focus groups.

Of the core group of characters, in many ways Hardy’s Max is the least interesting. I didn’t think Hardy’s performance was that great, he lacked the screen presence and manic intensity of the younger Mel Gibson. Of course here his character is supposed to start so beat down and deindividuated as to say when asked his name, “Does it matter?

Where I give the movie very high marks is for physical effects, cinematography, editing, stunt coordination, logistics, and the creation of a very strange world which approaches Alice in Wonderland in weirdness and Saving Private Ryan in nihilistic brutality. The names are nothing if not inventive, such as The Splendid Angharad, Capable, and Toast the Knowing.

The film owes something to Harold Lloyd and Charlie Chaplin in the physical comedy and timing, and exquisite complex rube goldberg-like crashes. In a horrible way it is quite funny, like a live action Road Runner. At the same time it is as horrifying as Apocalypse Now. The lady next to me spent most of the movie with both hands palms pressed to her cheeks in the classic look of horror. Her mouth was in a little “o” as in OMG what am I seeing? But, she didn’t look unhappy.

The long shots of broad desert landscapes are awe-inspiring and make Fury Road a modern “Lawrence of Arabia.”

It wouldn’t be wrong to say this is like a stagecoach western on acid, where the stagecoach tuns into a dieselpunk battlewagon with two small cars welded on the top for turrets, the pursuing outlaws turn into radioactive mutants in monster trucks, the hostile tribes turn into jawas in porcupine like cars and a explosive-spear-chucking 100 mile-per-hour cirque du soleil respectively, and the cavalry turns into rifle-toting old ladies on motorcycles.

If you go expecting another Mad Max movie you won’t be disappointed and you might be pleasantly surprised. Otherwise if you go in cold, hold onto your hat, or in the case of my seat neighbor, your face.

Copyright © 2015 Henry Edward Hardy

20 May, 2015 Posted by | analysis, B movie, brutality, Fury Road, Mad Max, media, movie, review, scanlyze | , , , , , | Leave a comment

“War on Christianity” meet “War on Islam”

“War on Christianity” meet “War on Islam” (using the US, and Afghanistan and Iraq as the templates)

People say things about you and your religion which you don’t like.

Both: Yes.

A nation of the other religion conquered your country and had executed the former leader.

Islam: Yes.
Christianity: No.

The media considers the name of your religion to be synonymous with “extremism” and “terrorism”.

Islam: Yes.
Christianity: Not so much.

Your country is being occupied by a superpower which is predominantly of the other religion.

Islam: Yes.
Christianity: No.

Civilians in your country are subject to illegal assassination carried out by remotely piloted aircraft.

Islam: Yes.
Christianity: No.

Your religion is subjected to occasional terrorist attacks.

Both: Yes, but in the case of the victims of the other religion, each religion’s fanatics blames the victims.

The terrorist attacks on your religion are reported as a major world news event.

Christianity: Yes.
Islam: Not so much.

Your country possesses, and asserts the right to strike first with nuclear weapons.

Christianity: Yes.
Islam: No.

What do you think of my analysis?

Copyright © 2015 Henry Edward Hardy

7 May, 2015 Posted by | Christianity, Iraq, Islam, peace, politics, scanlyze, war | , , , , | 1 Comment

Glass, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Glass, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Good:

1. Heads up display is readable and clear if finicky to get it set right. Even with my prescription lenses. Despite being nearsighted and able to read up close, I can’t read anything on glass without my glasses. Glorious indeed compared to all previous efforts I have seen (probably not including some military HUDs). There is this little 640×480 screen floating in your field of view up toward the top. Rearview mirrror territory which is one more reason not to drive with this thing on.

2. Sound quality is fine on earbuds, so-so too soft on built in bone conduction speaker.

3. Interface is understandable. It is a timeline. Each event is a card, and it has certain functions associated with the card type. This is very much work in progress. You can port an android app to it, or even debian/ubuntu packages, but its up to you to make them work. A wireless keyboard and mouse will be a necessity until someone makes a workable virtual keyboard. Then the glassheads will be walking down the street like sleepwalkers. Well, typing, so sleep typers. Will see if I can get one of my Logitech 850s and Logitech MX mouse working.

4. Killer app. Make a broad wink and take a picture. Picture quality is very good compared to my nexus 4.

5. The motion, orientation and acceleration sensors’ potential is barely scratched. The potential exists for fully virtual worlds, or “enhanced reality” that changes with your headmotion and field of view.

6. Getting live video of breaking news from CNN is cool.

7. Voice recognition and speech synthesis are scary good, HAL 9000 quality or better.

Neutral:

1. What if people updated shots of their location to google maps and did google street map full surround environments everywhere all the time. Like Open Street Map or OS Opendata but so much more.

Bad:

1. Web browser is limited to google search, which almost always takes you to wikipedia. Selecting a link and going there is difficult and of course entering text without a keyboard is currently impossible.

2. Gmail integration is barely there. You can only see messages as they come in, and reply to them. That’s it.

3. SMS is useful but a picture a friend sms’ed to me ended up in my gmail, but I didnt get paged about it on the glass so I had no way to retrieve it.

4. Battery life is nowhere near the claimed 24 hours. More like 1.5 to 2 hours as I use the thing.

5. They seem to be trying to make this a standalone device. That’s a mistake. For one thing people need to stay near where they can charge it either a plug or a computer or laptop. Also most of the time people are going to have it tethered to their phone for calls, sms and often for wifi bridging also. There is your mouse and keyboard device if google would get a clue and enable that synergy.

Ugly:

1. MAJOR COMPLAINT They make you enable location for every app. They make you enable google plus, even if you earlier cancelled your account. This is not good for the user, it is merely to try to use this to make a walled garden where customers will buy all their media and game content through google play. Of course, the open source nature of android goes totally against this, but they are building a legal bulwark and I can see android being “delinuxized” as VMware was in a couple years and becoming fully proprietary and closed. The money men are winning at Google and something beautiful is being destroyed there.

Copyright © 2014 Henry Edward Hardy

23 June, 2014 Posted by | scanlyze | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The US is like ancient Rome

The US is like ancient Rome. It merely wants the world to ‘voluntarily’ bow before it. Any country that defies it is made an example of, its leaders publicly humiliated and summarily executed, its countryside and cities and economy devastated, the people, kidnapped, tortured, and raped, its culture and religion challenged by MacDonalds and MacChrist, its fields sown with Agent Orange and mines and cluster bombs and depleted uranium. That is why the US makes a point of attacking small countries like Grenada which are no threat to it. It is, “pour encourager les autres” as Voltaire would have it.

‘They have pillaged the world: when the land has nothing left for men who ravage everything, they scour the sea. If an enemy is rich, they are greedy, if he is poor, they crave glory. Neither East nor West can sate their appetite. They are the only people on earth to covet wealth and poverty with equal craving. They plunder, they butcher, they rape, and call it by the lying name of ‘empire’. They make a desert and call it ‘peace’.’

–speech attributed to Prince Calgacus of Britain
in P. Corn. Tacitus
Agricola
98 AD

Copyright © 2014 Henry Edward Hardy

9 May, 2014 Posted by | imperialism, peace, politics, Roman Republic, Rome, scanlyze, Tacitus, US, USA, war | , , , , | Leave a comment

Aaronsw Is Not My Hero

Seems everyone is lionizing Aaron Swartz. Aaron is someone I was acquainted with peripherally through mutual friends at One Laptop. I have to say aaronsw is not my hero.

If I thought it was justified to take all the documents in JSTOR I would have done when I was the sysadmin for the company that wrote the first interface to it. I don’t and I didn’t. I never even looked at a single document and I had root on everything.

Same is true for the American Mathematical Society and about a million of their documents I worked on the public interface for back in the 80’s. Never looked at a one.

Aaron was very charismatic, brilliant, and had a lot of good ideas. But he also according to what has come out, acted incredibly stupidly in the whole scenario with JSTOR and MIT. They kept blocking him and he kept coming back. Hello, clue?

But maybe he thought of this as civil disobedience and in some sense meant to get caught. If so I think he totally wimped out rather than doing the six months they offered him or going to trial and potentially taking a draconian sentence.

Not to say I think he was treated fairly. Given that JSTOR and MIT saw no reason to prosecute (or that’s the official story at MIT now anyway), and that there is apparently no evidence that documents were ever exfiltrated off-site or published if I was the prosecutor I would have exercised discretion and taken a pass on this one. No harm, no foul.

It worries me that Aaron is being made out to be a hero who deserves to be be emulated. He wasn’t, and he doesn’t.

Aaron Swartz (wikipedia)

Copyright © 2014 Henry Edward Hardy

12 February, 2014 Posted by | Aaron Swartz, aaronsw, archives, censorship, media, MIT, news, OLPC, politics, scanlyze, suicide | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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