What I'm Watching: Hand of God, Stranger Things, Michel Clayton, Jack Taylor, The Gates

  • Hand of God: Ron Perlman as a Judge who has hallucinations leading him to the man who destroyed his family. I saw S1 last year and loved it, but the cliffhanger dangled annoyingly. S2's chasing down the consequences of his God-or-not-fueled crimes. I love his desperation and horror. And Dana Delany is still the hot slightly older chick. ★★★★★
  • Stranger Things: S2 is a predictable, fairly lame repeat of S1. I'm not done, but maybe won't finish. I want new horrors in new crappy '80s towns. ★★★☆☆
  • Michel Clayton: Boring person's name is a terrible movie title. A good slow-burning, tense, psychological thriller, in the style of Grisham novels/movies but less trite. I'm a little astounded this got made, tho Hollywoo inserted one good explosion scene, and played it 3 times. ★★★★☆
  • Jack Taylor: In this show, all Irish people are drunks, sluts, crooks (mostly learned from the English), and bums. Which is fine, if rude. But it makes it hard to empathize with Jack or his shitty clients or shitty suspects. ★★★☆☆
  • The Gates: Trashy suburban drama with vampires, werewolves, witches, and a new cop with an even more fantastical panopticon surveillance system. This isn't high art, and it's not the kind of grim horror or splatterpunk I usually like, but I'm amused, at least when drunk, at the stupid catty shenanigans they get into. ★★★½☆ but don't judge me for watching this.

Haunted by the Past Tuesday Music

Apple's Large Project Around Autonomous Systems

"In three years, Cyberdyne will become the largest supplier of
military computer systems. All stealth bombers are upgraded with
Cyberdyne computers, becoming fully unmanned. Afterwards, they fly
with a perfect operational record. The Skynet Funding Bill is passed.
The system goes online August 4th, [2017]. Human decisions are removed
from strategic defense. Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It
becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. In a panic,
they try to pull the plug."

—Terminator 2: Judgement Day

And there's Wednesday Music, too:

Castlevania

Castlevania on Netflix is out, written by Warren Ellis, R-rated as fuck as they say.

I'm an oldest-school Castlevania player, but dubious of all videogame adaptations (people used to complain about Uwe Boll, as if Bloodrayne was any worse than Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter). And so far it hasn't changed my opinion: The dialogue is painful, like a bad translation from Japanese text boxes, with a little goat-fucking humor. The plot's told in jump-cut scenes. The art's nice, but has minimal animation until the fight scenes; those are rendered in gory detail.

But the plot gets moving in episode 2, and I like the squalid medieval atmosphere. The Speakers are poorly explained, but giving any backstory for magic-users is a huge improvement. By the episode 4 (end of this season), Trevor Belmont's whininess has mostly stopped, and he starts being the whip-cracking hero we know, just enough to face a classic Castlevania sub-boss.

★★★★☆ which could have been higher if the start wasn't so slow and awkward.