Total Oblivion

"A fast-paced, suspenseful dystopian picaresque, part Huck Finn and part bizarro-world Swiss Family Robinson..."



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Skinny Dipping

Long-listed for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award and finalist for the Crawford Award. Title short story listed for the 2000 O. Henry award.

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Goblin Mercantile Exchange

Futures, Options, and Swaps (the weblog of Alan DeNiro)

Quintet (1979) review (and a n.b. on THX1138)

This movie is ready for a reassessment. Take the film on its own terms-if you are expecting high science fiction Mannerism you are going to be sorely disappointed. People have talked about the one-dimensionality of the characters-but the whole POINT of the film is that humanity, at this decrepit, terminal stage of their existence, has […]

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Tue, November 30 2010 » Movies/TV » 1 Comment

Review of Avatar (3D)

The question should be seriously asked, how do [cognitive sciences] compel us to redefine the most basic notions of human dignity, freedom? That is to say, what we experience as dignity and freedom is it all just an illusion, as they put it in computer user terms, a user’s illusion. Meaning, for example, when you […]

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Sun, December 20 2009 » Movies/TV » 8 Comments


Alrightey, Twilight. A hobby of Edward’s is collecting cars. He owns a Volvo S60 R and an Aston Martin V12 Vanquish as a “special occasion” car. I’m just trying to put down my thoughts about it because when the later books get filmed it’s going to get far far worse before it gets any better. […]

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Tue, July 28 2009 » Movies/TV » No Comments

John from Cincinnati

“I’m just saying give me the weight. That’s all I’m saying. I’m here. Let me take it.” -Mitch, episode 10 One of the best shows I’ve ever seen, even though the last few truncated episodes (out of only ten) definitely have the echoes of the HBO executives screaming off screen: “Pencils DOWN! Pencils DOWN! Uh…You […]

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Fri, June 5 2009 » Movies/TV, Skinny Dipping in the Lake of the Dead » No Comments

a Hugo nominee for sure

I can’t wait to watch that documentary about sending Tom Cruise back in time to kill Hitler.

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Thu, December 11 2008 » ?!?!?, Movies/TV » 2 Comments

“We’re Not Corporate Titans”

One of my favorite recent genres of TV commercials is the “passive aggressive, angry oil company commercial.” The tone is “Look, yeah, yeah, you think we’re part of the problem, but we’re actually part of the solution too! So piss off!” This Chevron extended clip is a minor masterpiece in the genre. It sounds like […]

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Mon, June 9 2008 » Movies/TV, Polis » 1 Comment

This Collection of Mobile Phone Movies Should Be Wicked Cool

Behold, the 1st Ballardian Festival of Home Movies. There are prizes and everything.

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Thu, February 14 2008 » Movies/TV » No Comments


The French Crash. Update: Okay I should probably unpack this a little more. I’d meant the Oscar-winning-film Crash and not the Ballard book, but nudging an analysis of Cache to incorporate the latter would be really intriguing. First of all, there’s a lot to respect, actually, in Cache. I’m a huge fan of Michael Haneke’s […]

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Tue, October 16 2007 » Movies/TV » 2 Comments

Fall TV Preview: Burning Question

So which show is worse? Kid Nation or Torchwood? Both deal with the emotional lives of nine-year-olds-one more intentionally than the other!

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Mon, October 8 2007 » Movies/TV » No Comments

Black Book

There’s a scene at the end of Soldier of Orange, Verhoeven’s last Dutch Resistance picture, in which the protagonist, Erik (Rutger Hauer), comes across one of his old friends that he had lost contact with through the war. Erik has worked directly for the Queen, risking life and limb, and ended up becoming a bombadier. […]

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Mon, April 30 2007 » Movies/TV » 1 Comment

“Brush Your Teeth!”

Priceless. I don’t think I need to see the movie now. I’m good.

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Thu, April 5 2007 » ?!?!?, Movies/TV » 1 Comment

Flesh + Blood

Saw it this weekend. One of the most fucked up, disturbing, fascinating movies I’ve ever seen. Had a good quotient of Indiana Jones villians (okay, only one, but Ronald Lacey is a doozy). It also has Nancy Cartwright (voice of Bart Simpson!) in it! Everyone in this film is amoral, but some are more amoral […]

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Mon, March 19 2007 » Movies/TV » No Comments


Oh! And we also saw over the weekend Targets (1968), with Boris Karloff. Highly recommended-the perfect antidote to some of the mindlessness of Oscar weekend, and a penetrating, moving study of Hollywood image making, the meaning of horror in contemporary society, and the schisms between real and imaginary violence.

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Mon, February 26 2007 » Movies/TV » No Comments

and the lifetime achievement award goes to Gleek

Well, I watched the Oscars last night (or the second half of it, at least) and those shadow-puppet players should have Wonder-Twinned themselves into the shape of a paper bag with eyeholes. Worse even than last year, which I really didn’t think possible. My favorite moment-the last montage (besides the dead people montage). It was […]

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Mon, February 26 2007 » Movies/TV » 1 Comment

liveblogging insanity

We’re watching as we speak the Czech, 1988 version of Alice in Wonderland, with the creepy stop-motion animation-holy jaysus is this movie weird. Has anyone else seen this? There is a march hare spreading butter onto a pocketwatch. Oh right, he’s in a wheelchair contraption. Now there’s a ferret-like thing the length of the table […]

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Mon, January 15 2007 » Movies/TV » 9 Comments

A Tale of Two Prestiges

I really want to see The Prestige in the theaters. (I mean, Bowie as Tesla!!!). However, do check out the two versions of the novel cover. The first is from the trade paperback that came out in the late nineties: Truly a beautiful cover. Here is the ARC-lite version that came out for the “movie […]

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Mon, October 23 2006 » Fiction, Movies/TV » 8 Comments

Snakes on a Plane

Par for the course, the Monday Morning Quarterback from Box Office Prophets has the best banter about particular hits and flops; in this case, of course, Snakes on a Plane: David Mumpower: That’s the part of movie promotion that is going to happen for any potential blockbuster, though. What made Snakes on a Plane an […]

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Wed, August 23 2006 » Movies/TV » 1 Comment

The Possibility of a Demon

Saw demonlover the other day (and spoilers ahead!!!!!!), and though a few parts of it already seem dated after just a couple of years, I really loved the movie: its clinical textures and oscillating performances. Lost in Translation without the romanticism and a triangle of languages (French, English, Japanese) vying for attention. In Demonlover, fluency […]

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Mon, July 24 2006 » Movies/TV » No Comments

open questions with answers of “Yeah, maybe”

I wonder if it’s time for a speculative (or otherwise) ezine inhabiting myspace and myspace only. I wonder if Hex is a better show than Buffy. I’m really beginning to wonder about both of those.

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Fri, July 14 2006 » Computers/Tech, Fiction, Movies/TV » No Comments

Friends and Crocodiles

I got the DVD for Friends and Crocodiles yesterday, and I was worried, upon a second viewing, that the movie wouldn’t live up to the first time I saw it on BBC America-that both in narrative and theme it would be gossamer-thin cotton candy. But it held up remarkably well, and might have been even […]

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Thu, June 15 2006 » Movies/TV » 1 Comment