August 2015 news

N/A (newsletter)
created: 17 July 2015; modified: 08 Sep 2017; status: finished; confidence: log; importance: 0

This is the August 2015 edition of the gwern.net newsletter; previous, July 2015. This is a summary of the revision-history RSS feed, overlapping with Changelog & Google+ & LW media threads; brought to you by my donors on Patreon.

Writings

  • None completed

Media

Books

Nonfiction:

Film/TV

Live-action:

  • RED: Bruce Willis action movie; too incoherent and unimaginative to be worth watching as an action-movie, too serious and too grim to work as a parody. (For the former: in the intro scene where Willis is attacked by a hit squad late at night, he walks into a kitchen to get a drink, and they bust in; then he starts killing them from behind, having somehow learned about them and teleported behind them. Apparently he’s psychic.) As far as the latter goes, the movie is only funny perhaps once every 30 minutes as its various rape innuendos turn out to not be hilarious at all, and it only truly embraces the satire at the very end as an epilogue, which is far too little far too late. It’s completely mediocre an action-movie, so naturally, there are two sequels. Wouldn’t you rather rewatch Die Hard?
  • Lady Jane: a costume drama romance which tries to cast the 9-day puppet as a Protestant martyr-heroine doomed by her utopian reformist tendencies and tragically forced to be executed when her father leads a revolt to try to restore her to the throne. Needless to say, you’ve never heard of Queen Jane the Reformer because there was no such thing: while she was maneuvered onto the throne somewhat as described, she did seem to have genuinely loved her husband, and Queen Mary did try to spare her life, almost the rest of it is a tissue of romantic absurdity. Her husband was a fine young man, not a dreamer driven to drink by the injustices of Henry’s expropriation of the monasteries; the debasing of the coinage was not the work of some unspecified malign and corrupt politicians but driven by English exigencies and global economic forces whose solution is not so simple-minded as order the Mint to make coins with higher silver content and was hardly a concern of Jane’s at the time and for that matter, the two of them were well-educated enough that it’s impossible to believe for even a second that they didn’t know what was going on, which the movie tries to make into a huge dramatic arc in setting them up to elope into exile right before she is crowned; her father’s revolt did contribute to her death but I’m not clear it was intended to put her back on the throne; etc. The anachronistic posturing is so over the top that I expected by the end to hear Jane advocate for separation of church & state and for representative democracy. Even Captain Picard can’t rescue this movie. Toward the end, our main amusement was debating whether the actor playing Dudley was the same one who played Wesley in The Princess Bride since from some angles, he looked the same, but he otherwise looked chubbier and had a fatter face and fluffier hair; turned out he was.

Music

Postrock: El Ten Eleven, Fast Forward:

Touhou: