Avatar (2009)

James Cameron's ego and superego stroll casually through your imagination.James Cameron lost something sometime in the middle nineties. I don’t know what it was but I know where it went: into Terminator 2, the last good film to bear Jim’s name, the place where his wave crested. It had already rolled back by the time True Lies came out, and while I liked True Lies well enough (enjoying, as I do, any  slapstick send-ups of the Action movie, with its pretensions of the mythic…there’s even a soft place in my heart for Last Action Hero, and I’m not ashamed of it) who the bloody hell follows up Terminator 2 with a screwball comedy about a secret agent ubermensch and the Jamie Lee Curtis who loves him?

(Answer: a man who gets his Great Ideas from the Governator.) And who follows that with Romeo and Juliet at Sea? With Titanic, Cameron threw all pretense of originality over the side along with Leonardo. And bless his heart for sending the foppish pretty boy to a well-deserved watery grave. But Titanic also proved Cameron’s real talents lay in fields having nothing at all to do with making good films. The man is first and foremost a technician. Give him a some hardware and a chunk of time and he’ll go Rain Man on that shit…but God help you if you’re a flesh and blood human being. Bless Linda Hamilton for dropping the man faster than a hot rock from the Temple of Doom. Bless her also for warning us all about what he was and where he was going. And curse everyone else for not paying attention. Titanic also taught him that America’s film critic community is so coddled and concentrated on writing proper ad copy that they’ll let any half-hearted, hackneyed sci-fi flick slide, so long as you make it pretty. {More}

Artificial lifeform created: Microbe declares mankind “already dead, you just don’t know it yet.”

Via the Daily Mail:

But the breakthrough, which took 15 years and £27.7million to achieve, opens an ethical Pandora’s box. Ethicists said he is ‘creaking open the most profound door in humanity’s history’ – with unparalleled risks.

There are fears that the research, detailed in the journal Science, could be abused to create the ultimate biological weapon.

And there are also warnings that one mistake in a lab could lead to millions being wiped out by a plague, in scenes reminiscent of the Will Smith film I Am Legend.

Like this:

Your humble author's reaction to the above news.
Your humble author’s reaction to the above.

That fucking tears it. Every crap sci-fi film you’ve ever seen or even heard about is coming true. Soon, the killer robots will feast on our flesh side by side with all the victims of the zombie-sparkly-vampire-apocalypse virus, right before the killer tidal wave washes a bumper crop of giant monsters into the remains of our more-photogenic cities. Indeed, God help us all.

Bang Bang You’re Dead (2002)

"Shouldn't I be shooting grenades out of my wings?"The writers/directors of Duck! The Carbine High Massacre warned us this would happen. Bang Bang You’re Dead is just the “‘made for TV’ movie” the opening title card for their little school-centric rampage picture warned us about. Based on the one act play of the same name by Eugene, Oregon resident William Mastrosimone, Bang Bang You’re Dead attempts to combine the maudlin sentimentality of an ABC After School Special (and, in fact, won a Daytime Emmy Award for its apparent success at just that) with a bit of social realism that’s strictly safe-for-cable. The results are pick-n-mixed to an astonishing degree…but I’ll be damned if the film didn’t almost get me.

Thankfully it doesn’t take long for Bang Bang to remind me of its origins. This is, first a foremost, a Showtime Original Picture (suppress your shudders), produced in association with Viacom, the international media octopus which owns Showtime, Paramount Pictures, Comedy Central, and a whole host of other criminal corporations hell-bent on reducing all of us to uncritical “entertainment consumers.” Few things are more insulting than a film with its own Study Guide…save when that film comes to you from the director of The Babysitter (1995) and the people who own MTV. {More}