Cathode Ray Zone

–Arts and Letters for the Modern Age–

Culture

The Trump Effect

The Trump Effect

Of all the things to do with Trump, the man himself is the easiest to understand. That a personality disordered degenerate and criminal will do anything to avoid paying the piper is hardly surprising. What mystifies is the behavior of those who intersect with Trump:...

Our Own Naked Sun

Our Own Naked Sun

In The Naked Sun (1957), Isaac Asimov imagines Solaria, a low-population world in which residents live on estates so large that one never encounters one’s neighbors in person. As robots are employed in virtually every manner of labor, these estates are also almost...

Yearbook

Yearbook

It was a big deal that time of the year, when our high school yearbook came out. In truth, it was a big deal all year: when the staff was being determined (you had to be elected to work on the yearbook); while photos for it were being taken; and as the year’s theme...

Childhood with Aba

Childhood with Aba

It’s been several months now, since my father – “Aba” – died, and the memory of these last, difficult years has receded just enough for some of the earlier, happier ones to begin to re-emerge.   Aba loved childhood and was very good with children, and my...

Nothing Applies

Nothing Applies

Wetson’s was a Long Island hamburger chain that was established in 1959 to be a McDonald’s clone, in a market that McDonald’s and Burger King had yet to enter. Once they did, in the early 1970’s, it wouldn’t be long before Wetson’s would go out of business, but at its...

The Varieties of Social Media Experience

The Varieties of Social Media Experience

Hearing how “exhausted” people are. “I bet no one remembers X!” where X is something that easily 80 to 100 million people are well-acquainted with. “Imagine X-ing, Y-ing, and Z-ing,” where X, Y, and Z are things most people (other than the writer) are fine with....

Rikki-Tikki-Tavi Talks

Rikki-Tikki-Tavi Talks

A delightful film that’s not without its dark side, Nandor Fodor and the Talking Mongoose follows a paranormal investigator looking into the case of a talking mongoose on the Isle of Man in the 1930’s. Simon Pegg in perhaps his best role to date gives Fodor a...

Landscape of Near Future

Landscape of Near Future

Landscape With Invisible Hand unwinds with a very unique atmosphere that at once combines social satire and science fiction. A noticeable Bradbury vibe exudes over the story. In the near future after first contact, the Earth is filled with floating cities housing the...

Summer Short Takes

Summer Short Takes

Only In Theaters The engrossing documentary Only in Theaters chronicles the Laemmle theater chain. This film encompasses over eighty years of movie theater ownership by a single family complimented by clips from classic films. If you’ve ever attended foreign or indie...

Christie World Premiere

Christie World Premiere

Perhaps one of the greatest honors a deceased writer can aspire to (if in fact the dead aspire to anything) is to have one of their books adapted for the stage. In the case of Agatha Christie, whose output includes the world’s longest running play, The Mousetrap, it...

The Leaning Tower of Arm

The Leaning Tower of Arm

Any movie revolving around a prank always works better when there’s a phone involved. Consider 1965’s I Saw What You Did, where a couple of bored teenage girls prank call people with pseudo-malicious intent only to have their victims hunt them down. Flash forward to...

Oppenheimer or How I Learned to Love the Bomb

Oppenheimer or How I Learned to Love the Bomb

The first test of an atomic bomb occurred at 5:29 a.m. on July 16, 1945 in the New Mexico desert. It was code named Trinity. J. Robert Oppenheimer was the head of the multi-headed hydra of science research called the “Manhattan Project.” There were multiple locations...

The Existential Quandary of Sydney Pollack

The Existential Quandary of Sydney Pollack

Sydney Pollack would be remembered if he’d only acted in films, rather than both performing in, directing, and producing some of the best movies made over the last 50 years. Some of the films Pollack acted in include: Eyes Wide Shut, Michael Clayton (which he also...

Asteroid City – What Wes Has Wrought

Asteroid City – What Wes Has Wrought

Wes Anderson is a name director in an era when comic book heroes are box office hits along with the occasional indie shoegaze crossover hit.   While Anderson doesn’t command the clout of a James Cameron or Christopher Nolan, he can dependably deliver quaint...

Destiny Dials Faint Originality

Destiny Dials Faint Originality

Non-stop bustle provides the new Indiana Jones film a swift kick in the knapsack. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny remains just as presumptuous as its elongated title. Dial of Destiny the longest film yet in the saga of the archeologist cum world-weary...

Days of LPs Passed

Days of LPs Passed

If you bought record albums in the 1960’s or 70’s, Squaring the Circle (The Story of Hipgnosis) will superglue you to the screen. Let it be said there’s a vast difference in gleaming the cube as opposed to squaring the circle. Art students Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey...

Superheroes Were for Children

Superheroes Were for Children

If you were a kid in the 1970’s and loved superheroes you were lucky, because your childhood coincided with Marvel’s magnificent Bronze Age, with the even better Silver Age only proverbial minutes behind. These are just three of who knows how many comics I bought at...

The Flash: Worlds Collide in Multiverse Madness

The Flash: Worlds Collide in Multiverse Madness

The Flash accomplishes what many of the Warner Brothers inspired Detective Comics movies previously attempted: to provide a sense of fulfillment to the comic book genre while also expanding the possibilities of the multiverse concept. While not exactly a new concept,...

The Attachment Diaries Mashes Genres

The Attachment Diaries Mashes Genres

Poetry exudes from every pore of The Attachment Diaries (El Apeco), an Argentinian film with a unique look and unquestionably freaky vibes. The first half of the film unwinds in austere high contrast black-and-white until a shift to a golden hued color scheme...

Docs Put Viewers in the Catbird Seat

Docs Put Viewers in the Catbird Seat

Albert Einstein: People like us who believe in physics know that the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion. Yogi Berra: It's deja vu all over again. It Ain’t Over presents more than a mere baseball documentary. A...

Opinions in Cyberspace

Opinions in Cyberspace

There’s a (somewhat) old saying, “Opinions are like a**holes. Everybody has one,” and it’s as true now as it was forty years ago. What’s different now is that you have to hear everyone’s opinions; all of the time; whether you want to or not. Perhaps ‘all of the time’...

Master Gardener Turns Over New Leaf

Master Gardener Turns Over New Leaf

If you’ve seen one Paul Schrader film, you haven’t necessarily seen them all.  The opening shot of Master Gardener has Joel Edgerton as the enigmatic Narvel Roth at a desk writing in his diary. This is practically a stock Schrader moment as seen in his recent...

Blackberry Legacy as First Smartphone Explored

Blackberry Legacy as First Smartphone Explored

BlackBerry opens with a clip from the BBC Horizon series, a show dedicated to science and philosophy, where Arthur C. Clarke talks about the future. The year is 1964. “The traditional role of the city as a meeting place for man will have ceased to make any sense. In...

Narrative and Immersion

Narrative and Immersion

It’s no secret that I am a pretty committed gamer, something that has been true since 1979, when I first began playing Dungeons and Dragons. I was in the sixth grade, and the game resonated with me in a way that previously only novels and movies could, but with a...

Richard Thomas Takes Flight in Mockingbird

Richard Thomas Takes Flight in Mockingbird

“The audience is talking about us but we’re also talking about the audience,” says Richard Thomas, currently starring as Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird. The stage production, adapted from Harper Lee’s novel by Aaron Sorkin, is currently touring North America...

Sisu Walks the Walk

Sisu Walks the Walk

It’s the rare action film that draws a line in the sand and then proceeds to cross said line with a vengeance. Sisu walks that walk. A title card informs the audience that Sisu is a Finnish word that means “stoic determination” or “guts.” In other words, this movie is...

Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Jersey Lily

Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Jersey Lily

Have you ever noticed that the fictional Sherlock Holmes has a chip on his shoulder the size of the Rock of Gibraltar? In the play, Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Jersey Lily, that’s a good thing. The plays that have been adapted from Sir Arthur Canon Doyle’s...

‘Dead Ringers’ Gives Birth to Confusion

‘Dead Ringers’ Gives Birth to Confusion

Dead Ringers, which released in 1988, was a very Cronenbergish excursion into the macabre, based on the true story of twin-brother gynecologists and starring Jeremy Irons in one of his most skillful performances. The movie won plaudits for its storyline as well as its...

Guy Ritchie Makes War not Love

Guy Ritchie Makes War not Love

Technically, Guy Ritchie’s new film is called Guy Ritchie's The Covenant. Perhaps this is to distinguish it from other films with that title, which frankly sounds like a religious thriller but in this case is a tightly constructed action flick set in a world of modern...

Music Docs Set Record Straight

Music Docs Set Record Straight

Documentaries are a strange genre of movies. The presentation of facts and myth can often be twisted to suit an agenda, yet at the same time the barrage of imagery transports the viewer to another reality in a satisfying manner that narrative films can’t always match....