Directed and Written by: Vijay Krishna Acharya
Yash Raj Films, 2013
I clearly need to be watching more Bollywood films.
A friend of mine sat us all down to watch a three-hour action movie. “You’ll love it,” she said. “It’s about a circus performer who is on a mission of revenge to destroy a bank in Chicago. You don’t have to watch the first two in the series.”
That was enough for me to want to watch it, and I wasn’t disappointed. I thought, for awhile, that the cops were the protagonists — they’re the two characters returning from the last movie. But that was just my western bias — I’m so enculturated into Hollywood storytelling that I just assumed there were clear-cut protagonists and antagonists in this movie.
Continue reading Dhoom 3 (2013)
Director: Iain Softley
Screenplay: Rafael Moreu
The Plague of Libertarianism
It’s really easy to decide, in retrospect, that certain books or movies are what set up my expectations for what my life should be like. While I do believe that aesthetics and media have an incredible impact on who we choose to become, I’m afraid I might ascribe too much importance to specific movies and books.
Continue reading Hackers (1995)
If I can’t have the toy, then I will destroy the toy
Here at Anarcho-Geek Review, we care about two things: anarchism, that glorious ideal of liberty and diversity; and geekery, the loving embrace of imaginary worlds and lives. Oh, and reviews.
With our professed love of liberty, diversity, and the imagination, we were obviously ecstatic to hear that a group of freedom-leaning rebels were fighting against “the stranglehold of old cliques by encouraging a more politically diverse group of fans to take part in the annual Hugo Awards.”
In fact, these “Sad Puppies,” as they call themselves, are trying to “draw attention to an atmosphere of political intolerance, driven by so-called ‘social justice warriors,’ that is holding the medium back.”
Oh, wait, what the fuck?
Continue reading Hugo Scandal 2015
Director: David Fincher
Screenplay: Jim Uhls
Based on a novel by: Chuck Palahniuk
Recommended? You’ve already seen it.
Since the first rule of fight club is you’re not supposed to talk about fight club, maybe most of this essay isn’t actually going to be about the movie Fight Club. It’s going to be about Raymond K. Hessel.
I’m going to assume you’ve seen the movie.
Maybe you remember the scene where our protagonist (both halves of him) drags one of the only people of color in the whole film out behind the building at his shitty job, puts a gun to his head, and tells him to go back to school to be a veterinarian like he always wanted to be. And half our protagonist (we’ll call this half “Edward Norton”) tells the other half (we’ll call this half “Mr. Cool”) that maybe he shouldn’t go around pointing guns at people. Because, you know, maybe that’s taking it too far.
Continue reading Fight Club (1999)
Troika Games, 2004
Recommended: Yes, despite it all
I’ve been getting back into playing the tabletop roleplaying game Vampire: The Masquerade recently, and a growing obsession with the World of Darkness (as the setting is called) had me pick up a computer game I haven’t played in years: Vampire: Bloodlines.
A decade old at this point, Bloodlines has been reviewed plenty. Suffice it to say that: it set a new bar for roleplaying games; it’s immersion and writing are spectacular; it was rushed and buggy because capitalism is an awful economic system for creators; and the game’s, uh, not so perfect from a gender point of view.
Continue reading Vampire: Bloodlines
inXile Entertainment, 2014
Wasteland 2 is probably the longest RPG I’ve ever played, and it doesn’t really have the payoff I feel entitled to after investing so many hours into play. I bet someone’s already come up with some great pun off the name, like “waste-your-life too.” If someone didn’t beat me to it, then I just did.
Still, it’s a game up my alley and I enjoyed it. It’s got tactical, turn-based combat, lots of skills and attributes, and it’s got a good immersive world to play in.
In Wasteland 2, you play a post-apocalyptic cop, one of the elite saviors of humanity known as the Desert Rangers. You’ve got a badge and a gun and you shoot a lot of “raiders.”
Why is it so important in video games that you can buy sex?
Continue reading Wasteland 2
Cockneys Vs. Zombies
Directed by: Matthias Hoene
Written by: James Moran
Trigger Warning (for the movie, not the review): Violence, some sexist characters, and abysmally one-dimensional black characters
So there’s a movie called Cockneys Vs. Zombies. To use a British expression, it does exactly what it says on the tin. Cockneys (working-class people from the East End of London) end up fighting against a zombie infestation. It’s a comedy. You’re either going to watch it based on the title or you’re not.
But if somehow you’re fence-sitting on the issue, then let me just say: it kept me laughing.
One thing that draws me — and lots of people, I’d argue — to zombie movies is that after the zombie apocalypse, law and ethics are entirely disparate from one another. But Cockneys does us one better and protagonizes the lawless from the very beginning. Our bumbling heroes are off on a bank heist when the zombie swarms take over London. The other heroes are the residents of an old folks home, who are cartoonishly badass.
Continue reading Cockneys Vs. Zombies (2012)
Director: Wally Pfister
Writer: Jack Paglen
Recommended? maybe, maybe not
I don’t know, maybe I just have a low bar for films. All the reviewers say this movie is crap. That it’s plodding and Johnny Depp isn’t peppy. That it doesn’t explore its heavy subject matter in-depth enough, or that it’s hypocritical that the movie has an anti-technology message yet uses the latest in CGI special effects.
That last critique kind of stuck with me, and I realized… maybe part of why this film is being panned is because people don’t want to think about what it has to say. After all, cries against the “hypocrisy” of the anti-technology crowd are pretty much the mewing of defensive fools who are desperate to discredit the obvious truth that technology can be alienating and destructive.
Continue reading Transcendence (2014)
The Purge: Anarchy
Director: James DeMonaco
Writer: James DeMonaco
Recommended: Surprisingly enough, yes.
Bechdel Test: Pass, right off the bat
Trigger Warnings (for the film, not necessarily the review): Rape threats, intense weird classist violence
“Anarchist” was a pejorative for a long-ass time before people started calling themselves anarchists. So while I’m pretty convinced the definition of anarchy is “a society without systemic oppression” and not “when everyone runs around killing one another,” I kind of get why some people still hold onto the latter understanding of it.
That was what I told myself to steel myself to watch a film about lawless violence that had “anarchy” in the title.
Maybe I didn’t need to. The Purge: Anarchy is, well, more or less an anarchist film.
Continue reading The Purge: Anarchy (2014)
Irrational Games, 2013
Recommended? Not for what it’s got to say about the world, no.
I’m not too much one for first-person shooters but I’m an anarchist and I’m into steampunk and videogames so it was pretty much inevitable that I was going to give BioShock: Infinite a try.
This game is completely full of class war and anti-racist tropes. I mean, like, completely full. So full it’s overflowing and honestly the tropes are starting to smell and shouldn’t someone clean this thing out before they start to rot?
In BioShock: Infinite you play a disinterested white savior with the higher moral ground who runs around killing first racists and then the anti-racist revolutionaries. The moral of the story is that anyone who wants to solve problems like institutionalized racism and classism with revolutionary violence is a bad person who is going to take things too far. Unless you’re the protagonist, an ex-Pinkerton agent who kills hundreds of people over the course of the game in the name of a paycheck. In which case, you’re in a good place to judge.
Continue reading BioShock: Infinite