Television Show Review: Altered Carbon: Season 1

Altered Carbon Season 1

Altered Carbon: Season 1 created by Laeta Kalogridis (Netflix, Mythology Entertainment, Skydance Television) Starring Joel Kinnaman, James Purefoy, Martha Higareda, Chris Conner, Dichen Lachman, Ato Essandoh, Kristin Lehman, Trieu Tran, Hiro Kanagawa, and Waleed Zuaiter. Let’s Begin Some Thought Experiments Every thought experiment in philosophy begins with a hypothetical. What if we all exist as brains in a vat? What if orange doesn’t exist? What if we never die? Fun, right? If we were brains in a vat, might life feel exactly the same, if images still project scene by scene on our consciousness? How can we know for sure? Better yet, would it even matter? Some philosophers suggest if we have no epistemological foundation for denying it, how could… Read More →

Film Review: Inherent Vice

Inherent Vice written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson (Ghoulardi Film Company, IAC Films, Warner Bros., R, 148 min) Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, Katherine Waterston, Owen Wilson, Benicio Del Toro, Reese Witherspoon, Martin Short, and Michael Kenneth Williams. Searching for God Knows What What makes a good detective story? For some, the answer is a desire for mystery. The whodunit aspect becomes the key. Each chapter or scene adds weight to the impending sense of cracking the case. The mystery genre, however, provides many offshoots. In particular, the noir genre of detective story creates a brooding sense of drama surrounding the standard case solving formula. The detectives in charge of the case become the main point, transforming the story… Read More →

Book Review: Gone Girl

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl: A Novel by Gillian Flynn (New York: Crown Publishers, 2012. 432 pp) Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Gillian Flynn earned undergraduate degrees in English and journalism at the University of Kansas and a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University. Flynn wrote for Entertainment Weekly for 10 years—4 of which were as the TV critic. Her first book, Sharp Objects, won two of Britain’s Dagger Awards. Gone Girl has been adapted into a feature film. Page-Turner Sometimes there’s nothing better than a page-turner. I usually shy away from page-turners as for better or worse, I tend to label them guilty pleasures—they aren’t deep, literary fiction. But not all page-turners and New York Times bestsellers are created equal. When… Read More →

Television Show Review: True Detective: Season 1

True Detective

True Detective: Season 1 created by Nic Pizzolatto (Home Box Office, Anonymous Content, Lee Caplin / Picture Entertainment) Starring Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, Michelle Monaghan, Michael Potts, and Tory Kittles. Capturing the Mystery-Sized Hole in My Heart Mystery can be an addicting genre. Nothing else on television can arrest the mind like a well-crafted narrative where the parts left unsaid take a life of its own. In its heyday, I would spend hours scouring the Internet after every episode of Lost, trying to discover every ounce of meaning in each scene. For many devoted fans, the rabbit hole that was Lost left a hollow feeling when it became evident that the creators had no intention of bringing everything together into… Read More →

Book Review: Inherent Vice

Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon

Inherent Vice: A Novel by Thomas Pynchon (New York: The Penguin Press, 2009. 384 pp) Thomas Pynchon is a reclusive American novelist. His novels have earned much acclaim, including his most noteworthy, Gravity’s Rainbow, winning the 1974 National Book Award for Fiction. Inherent Vice is currently being developed into a film by Paul Thomas Anderson. When Innovation Isn’t Innovative Isn’t it odd to look back at all the movements we thought would take over the world? While some sneak their way into the foundations of society, others drift away like a dandelion seed caught in a zephyr. Remember MySpace? That was funny wasn’t it? Even longer term, I wonder what our grandchildren will think of our desktop and laptop computers?… Read More →

Book Review: Back to Blood

Back to Blood by Tom Wolfe

Back to Blood: A Novel by Tom Wolfe (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2012. 720 pp) Tom Wolfe is an American author born and raised in Richmond, Virginia. He earned his B.A. at Washington and Lee and his Ph.D. from Yale. Originally a journalist, Wolfe ventured into book publishing as a leader in the literary nonfiction genre. Wolfe lives in New York. In Consideration of Post-Race It’s been said we are headed toward a post-racial existence where WASPs (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants) aren’t the majority and don’t hold exclusive rights to privilege. As the theory goes, before the end of the century—barring any unforeseen circumstances—Americans will have married and reproduced enough times to create an American multi-cultural ethnicity. Thus with… Read More →