Director: Byrd McDonald
Vintage Tomorrows, currently streaming on Netflix, is a feature-length documentary about the steampunk movement. It is based on the book of the same name. It is a very personal film for me. I was a steampunk event organizer, DJ, blogger, and maker from 2007 until about 2013. I was such a fanatic that the large bureaucracy I worked for wrote a memorandum about hats in the workplace just to get the bowlers off my head. I know many of the people interviewed in this film personally. Full disclosure, one of the interviewees is Margaret Killjoy of this website. The film has clearly been in post-production a long time: none of these interviews or events took place any later than 2012, so this film is unintentionally a retrospective of steampunk at its peak.
Continue reading Vintage Tomorrows (2015)
Director: Paul Feig
Screenplay: Katie Dippold, Paul Feig
We don’t really do hot takes here at AGR, apparently. Now that you’re all done talking about Ghostbusters and probably never want to hear about it again, here are some thoughts.
MRA pissbabies should be even madder about Ghostbusters than they are. Though that would probably kill them. Which, I mean, ok, if they have to go, literally burning up in a column of incandescent rage over a movie that has girls in it is probably how they’d want to go.
Continue reading MRA Pissbabies Should Be Even Madder About Ghostbusters Than They Are
Directors: Joe Russo, Anthony Russo
Screenplay: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Is it weird to call Captain America an anarchist? Yes, yes it is. Of course, there’s a ton of different versions of the character throughout the canon, from the hyperpatriotic and jingoistic to the I-hereby-renounce-my-US-citizenship-because-I-am-so-disgusted-with-this-government. “Captain America” is not so much an embodiment of America as he is an embodiment of whatever version of America the creators who are working on him at whatever moment think would be the ideal. So even though yeah, we’re talking about a guy called Captain America who wears a red white and blue costume, we’re not talking about AMERICA.
Continue reading Captain America is a Big Screen Anarchist Superhero, How Fucking Weird is That?
Directed by: Francis Lawrence
Screenplay by: Danny Strong and Peter Craig
Based on: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
I’ve only read the first Hunger Games book. That either makes me the perfect reviewer for the movies, or maybe a woefully incompetent one. It does mean, however, that I’m taking the movies one at a time, because I don’t know what happens.
I know it makes me a bad anarchist to say this, but the worst thing about the third part of the Hunger Games is that there aren’t any hunger games. It’s just a movie about revolution instead. Considering that the hunger games are an awful thing and revolutions are something us anarchists are known for encouraging, this is a strange statement. But frankly, the battle royale under the omniscient gaze of an evil dictator made for good fiction.
Revolution can too, it turns out. I liked the movie, but it was decidedly less fun, and in so many ways less spectacular, than the first two. It was just, well, a completely different thing. Which is better than just making the same movie three times, I suppose, from a storytelling point of view. So I’ll forgive it.
Continue reading The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (2014)
Land and Freedom
Director: Ken Loach
Writer: Jim Allen
Fucking Stalinists are the worst.
Land and Freedom is an emotional tale of the Spanish Civil War, one that’s based loosely on George Orwell’s experiences as recounted in his book Homage to Catalonia. It follows a young unemployed communist from England who heads off to volunteer his life for the Spanish revolution, fighting at the Aragon front alongside the men and women of the POUM, a Marxist militia. There, despite poor training and poorer equipment, they liberate a village from fascists and hold the line.
The most important scene in the movie, twelve minutes long, is the argument in the liberated village whether to collectivize all of the land around the village immediately or to only collectivize the land of the Franco supporters at first. Everyone speaks passionately, everyone’s opinions are given weight and consideration by the filmmaker.
Continue reading Land and Freedom (1995)
Directed and written by: Richard Linklater
Kevin Smith says that Slacker was the inspiration for his film Clerks. It shows. And more than that, it shows what happens time and time again in art and media: first, political radicals and engaged philosophers create new styles and genres; then, derivative work picks up the aesthetics and surface-level ephemera and leaves the core behind.
Continue reading Slacker (1991)
The Anarchist’s Wife
Directed by: Peter Sehr, Marie Noëlle
Screenplay by: Marie Noëlle, Ray Loriga
Spanish title: La mujer del anarquista
“Sing softly for love, sing loudly for freedom.”
Some of the best films use war and politics as backdrop to tell a story that isn’t about war. The Anarchist’s Wife is one such film.
I heard about this movie when it came out, but with a title like The Anarchist’s Wife, I wasn’t hopping up and down to go see it. Why is the film about the wife but she’s only known in relation to her husband? Why is he the anarchist and her just a wife?
Continue reading The Anarchist’s Wife (2008)
Niantic Labs, 2013
Recommended? Yes, and it’s complicated.
Observation and Analysis of Revolutionary Tactics Being Unintentionally Transmitted via Video Games: Ingress as a Tool
While I have observed many useful skills and tactics being transmitted through games, particularly tabletop RPGs, I’m focusing in Ingress in this piece.
Ingress is an alternate reality game based on Google Maps. If you are interested in a more detailed description of the game itself that includes some of the lore I recommend checking out the wikipedia page. The game mechanics depend on visiting real-world locations, called “portals” in game, and interacting with them within the app on your phone. There are two teams competing for control of the portals physical turf along with magical in-game “mind units,” or how many human minds you are controlling within the territory you have claimed. Ingress is a massively multiplayer game with a lot of social and technological aspects I will get into in a bit here. The two teams are cleverly labeled, with the Resistance being the over-populated team with conservative leanings and the pretentiously-named Enlightened being the smaller, more agile, forward thinking early-adopter-of-alien-technology team (that is also possibly serving as alien overlord snack foods / tools / skinsuits). I’m going to split this piece into two sections; the first on the useful skills unintentionally taught and how they relate to revolution and horizontal organization, the second on the dangers and wider consequences of the game itself.
Continue reading Ingress
Surviving San Diego’s Comic-Con is kind of like whitewater rafting. To navigate the tumult of over a hundred thousand nerds being desperately marketed to you half steer, half go with the flow.The cool thing is that the rapids sometimes carry you to some little island of pop culture you weren’t planning on seeing but turns out to be pretty awesome. That’s how I ended up at the panel for “The Man in The High Castle.” Continue reading The Man in The High Castle: A First Look at Comic-Con International 2015
by Stacy Wakefield
2014, Akashic Books
In The Sunshine Crust Baking Factory, author Stacy Wakefield sets out to capture the spirit and energy of the squatters community in New York City in the mid-1990s by way of a novel. Over the course of the novel, readers get a good snapshot of what squatting was like, with tales of punk shows, squats, battles with the cops, evictions, and the joy of living rent free. It does an excellent job of portraying the experience of squatting and the surrounding scene.
Continue reading The Sunshine Crust Baking Factory