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Ben Babcock

5 Articles Tagged with “entertainment”

  1. Some thoughts on Hidden Figures, the movie

    I just returned from watching Hidden Figures, and I have some thoughts! Going to try to keep this short (I’m tired), but this is more than 140 characters, and I don’t like threads. That’s what blog posts are for. Also, I already reviewed the book, so read that for more information on the basic premise and why it’s so exciting. I’m going to try to restrict myself to gushing about the movie itself. And yes, I’m going to gush. Hidden Figures was excellent, sublime even. I’m not sure I have words to describe how much I enjoyed it.

    First, this movie is a brilliant piece of American propaganda. It really is. It captures that “can-do” attitude that American movies always like to evince about their history, the sense of American exceptionalism, dedication, and hard-working spirit that has them “win” the space race (eventually). Yes, the movie does this by showing how Americans of all races and colours come together to achieve orbital flight, and then the moon landing. But this is unquestionably a movie that celebrates the triumphs of a booming, technologically-savvy post-WWII United States. This does not do much for me, personally, as a Canadian and someone…

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  2. You should watch Haphead

    Recently one of the vloggers I follow, Nicole Coenen, tweeted about a video series she’s in. It’s called Haphead, and it’s an 8-part miniseries set in 2025 about young people, video games, and the pace of change.

    I’m a science fiction fan (big surprise, that), so I was immediately intrigued. I started watching the first episode … and I was hooked. As in, it has been a while since a TV show has so effortlessly drawn me into its world and made me want to watch more. I watched the next two episodes immediately afterwards, and I would have watched the remaining four (there are six released as of this post), except I had to go to work. From the opening shot of Maxine, her father, and the security guard standing on the train platform, to the music and the dialogue, Haphead is a really nicely put-together series.

    It’s filmed in Ontario! And it’s set in Ontario, with lots of neat little references throughout.

    The trailer above gives you a taste of what the series is about. Maxine and her friends get a below-minimum-wage job helping to produce haptic feedback cables, which let people interface with video games…

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  3. Panto, panto, pantomime!

    (Title shamelessly adapted from Peeta as portrayed in How the Hunger Games Should Have Ended.)

    Last Friday I had the privilege of accompanying my roommate and her ten-year-old daughter to a pantomime performance of Aladdin. After a delightful dinner out of pizza, we walked down to the Theatre Royal in Bury. We found our box in the upper circle and settled in to await the beginning of the show, marked by the arrival of its sinister villain,

    This was my first experience with a pantomime. For that reason, I have nothing to compare it to (except my own, less than recent, experiences with other types of theatre). I’m glad I didn’t miss out! Pantomime is a distinctively British tradition of theatre which combines elements of fairy tale, particularly European and Arabian folklore, with musical theatre, comedy, and sexual innuendo. The male lead is usually portrayed by a young woman, and an older man plays an older woman—often the lead’s mother—as the "pantomime dame". Panto, as it is so lovingly abbreviated, also involves audience participation. Rather than sitting with rapt silence as Scrooge cowers from the Ghost of Christmas Past, we the audience are instead expected to shout, boo,…

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  4. What Mass Effect means to me

    I’ve been meaning to write this post ever since I bought Mass Effect 3 on the day it came out back in March. Other, arguably more important, matters interfered, such as finishing school and looking for a teaching position for the fall. I was wildly successful in both endeavours, however, and now I am reaping the benefits by enjoying a restful summer (thus far). One thing I want to do this summer is write some more substantial blog posts. So here are my thoughts on the Mass Effect trilogy of video games and what they mean to me as a gamer, reader, writer, and all-around science-fiction fan.

    When I bought my Xbox 360, Mass Effect had just come out, and I kept seeing these intriguing commercials for it on TV. It promised an escape from linear gameplay. It promised to let me take charge of exploring the galaxy in my ship with all my cool alien buddies. My original intention behind purchasing an Xbox 360 was that it might give me something to do on the infrequent occasions when I had friends over—it did not exactly work out that way, although to this day I have only managed to get…

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  5. Back off! Get your own franchise!

    I've given it a great deal of thought, for it's a complicated subject. However, I now believe that rebooting Star Trek is not a good idea.

    The new Star Trek film, premiering this Friday, is a "prequel" in the sense that it takes place prior to the original series, but not a prequel in the sense that it actually results in an alternate timeline.((Yes, time travel--prepare for headaches.)) This allows J.J. Abrams to effectively shed the burden of forty-three years of Star Trek continuity and boldly go where Star Trek has never, never gone before.((Namely, Spock and Uhura. Yeah, that's right.)) Well, for the record, I think J.J. Abrams is wrong.

    Yes, yes, I'm well aware that for many people, J.J. Abrams is God, and oh-em-gee-how-could-you-say-such-a-thing?!

    I'm not against rebooting Star Trek's continuity per se. After all, Ronald D. Moore reimagined Battlestar Galactica, and that turned out rather well. Star Trek arguably has a more developed universe than Battlestar Galactica, however, which requires far more careful handling than simply overwriting the timeline. In that respect, Star Trek is more similar to Dune.((Seriously, who are you trying to fool, Brian Herbert?)) It's not the reboot that worries…

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About Me

I’m a 27-year-old math and English teacher back in Canada after two years teaching in England. In my free time, I read books! When I’m not reading, I’m writing, coding, or knitting.

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About this site

I started coding websites, in bad HTML on Geocities, in 2004 in a fit of whimsy. Since then I’ve learned PHP/MySQL, coded my own blog software, and rebuilt this site several times. With the exception of the blog, it’s currently running on the exquisite Symphony CMS. This website is hosted by HawkHost

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