Collateral attractions: HACF 4.1 and 4.2

•August 20, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Lee Pace has really strange feet in Halt and Catch Fire, 4.1.

Lee Pace was back on our screens tonight for the fourth and final season of Halt and Catch Fire. And even with that depressing 90s grunge haircut, he still looks incredibly charming.

It’s funny to think back to blogging the beginnings of this show and how much time I spent writing about the computers. I think that was its selling point at the time: Mad Men about computers, and the first season seemed to move in that direction. I missed the second season entirely, and then blogged intermittently about the third season and now here we are, almost at the end, and the show hardly seems to be about computers. That is: I realize this show was about the end of the browser competition, with the NCSA’s Mosaic apparently beating out both Joe’s Lodestar and Donna’s Millennium. (IRL Mosaic was the progenitor of both Netscape and IE). But over time, the tech has become incidental to the story lines and now the computers now seem entirely secondary to the personalities. Of the seasons I’d seen, I still think the first was the best, but these two episodes were quite strong and suggest that they may finish the series on a high note.

Picking up from where they left off, Gordon (Scoot McNairy) has a successful ISP company, Joe (Lee Pace) is working (with Cameron — Mackenzie Davis) on a browser, Cameron is avoiding working on the browser, working on an adventure video game, and ending her marriage to Tom, with whom she went to Japan, and Donna (Kerry Bishé) is a high-powered venture capitalist. Gordon and Donna seem to have joint custody of their daughters, one of whom (Haley — Susannah Skaggs) is a closet HTML coder. Boz (Toby Huss) is retired and scrambling. The season plot looks like it’s going to revolve around the competition between the four to develop something like Yahoo or Google, and if past seasons are any indication, they will all fail.

It’s really impossible for me to care about Joe and Cameron (will they get back together?) as season three wore out my interest in the Cameron character and I’ve never thought Mackenzie Davis could act. I still go back and forth about who I like better, Donna or Gordon, but in these episodes I really admired Donna even if I felt the portrayal was a bit campy and I would have liked Gordon not to have been so much living in his own world as he was. The mystery of Joe at the middle of all of this — the big visionary who can’t really code himself — is still appealing to me on some level. Or maybe it’s just that I think Lee Pace is really magnetic.  The daughter could be interesting. I have never cared about Boz.

In the end, what I liked most about these episodes is what I have liked best about the show since the beginning — the way it recreates the atmosphere of the past. I loved the device of the day long phone call (I remember doing that; I would never do it today; I hate phone calls now, maybe because I spent so many hours on the phone in the early 1990s). The way all of that was shot, with the limitations of being stuck in an apartment in range of a cordless phone, or tethered with a conventional phone to a limited range. The sound track was fantastic. And Blue Man Group! The Fresh Prince of Bel Air! and the last six weeks of the period when people still admired John Updike!

Go, Donna. I am putting my money on you to end up on top.

Reminder that Guylty’s Richard Armitage birthday do starts on Sunday

•August 19, 2017 • Leave a Comment


Sense paraules

•August 18, 2017 • 4 Comments

[That’s Catalonian for “without words”.]

I saw a list today of everything that’s happened in the US and the world in the last three weeks and it’s done a lot to explain my general feeling of malaise. Today: the attack in Barcelona. I admit — I turned off the news after a while this time and watched screwball comedies from the 1940s instead. I don’t hurt any less for Barcelona than for any of the other places. I just am running out of ways to deal.

Barcelona, we mourn for you.

Places I would like to kiss Richard Armitage: Pilgrimage edition (3)

•August 18, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Richard Armitage as Raymond de Merville in Pilgrimage.

Places I would like to kiss Richard Armitage: Pilgrimage edition (2)

•August 18, 2017 • 2 Comments

Places I would like to kiss Richard Armitage: Pilgrimage edition (1)

•August 18, 2017 • 6 Comments

Richard Armitage and Tom Holland in Pilgrimage (2017).

A few more Pilgrimage reviews

•August 18, 2017 • Leave a Comment

“At just over 90 minutes, this is far more an edge-of-your-seat genre flick than the moody period piece it may look like from far. We’ll call this one a medieval Mad Max.”

Cinematographer Tom Comerford’s majestic, grandly composed widescreen Irish landscapes roil with mystery and beauty in a movie constructed of finely balanced visual details. [¶] But the rest of “Pilgrimage” remains a relatively suspenseless, emotionally uninvested Christian tale rife with orchestrated bloodshed of the sort that HBO’s “Game of Thrones” would reject for visceral quality assurance purposes.”

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