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At least one reviewer liked “The Circle”

What would happen if everyone was connected via social media? What if all their information was public? What if there were cameras literally everywhere to make sure that any and every experience was accessible to all? What if people voluntarily agreed to this world because a slick talking ceo convinced them it was better? These are just some of the questions raised by “The Circle.”

While many critics didn’t like “The Circle,” I actually thoroughly enjoyed it. I think some of those issues came from the marketing of this movie, as the film isn’t really worthy of the title “gripping thriller” that it claimed. “Thought-provoking drama” is more appropriate. The story starts when Mae (Emma Watson) gets a job at “The Circle,” which is like the love child of Apple and Facebook.

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Dallas Buyers Club Review

The film “Dallas Buyers Club”, starring Matthew McConauhey in his Academy Award winning role, is about Ron Woodroof, a man exposed to the AIDS virus who starts a buyers club – a network of infected individuals that help each other get life-saving medication.

The homophobic, free wheeling cowboy Ron contracts the HIV virus through the casual sex he has on a regular basis. The disease, stigmatized at the time as a “gay man’s” ailment, forces Ron into personal hiding, as he’s affronted with homophobic slurs despite his heterosexual lifestyle.

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“The Incredibles” Movie Review

The Incredibles is a wonderful film full of metaphor and visual splendor. Brought to the world by the brilliant storytellers at Pixar, marking their last in a brilliant string of classic films cut short by the stale Cars two years later. The Incredibles is about a family of superheroes who are no longer “legally” allowed to use their powers.  The government hides and subsidizes them to not use their powers. Bob’s family has issues not terribly different from those without superpower but they are content with this life. Bob, however, is increasingly dissatisfied with his role as a spineless bureaucrat. He spends his nights listening to a police scanner, breaking the law, and saving lives. He is offered a secret job stress testing a weapon on a remote island.

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contact

“Contact” Movie Review

In the film “Contact” an astronomer (Ellie), considered fringe by many of her colleagues, discovers a radio signal transmitted deep in space, in essence, discovering alien life.
As the film opens, is clear to see that Ellie is pursuing her life’s dream: contacting intelligent life in space. However, soon after arriving to a large antenna in Central America, her project is shut down by the National Science Foundation (a federally funded program) who sees her work as frivolous. Steadfast, she lobbies for private funding and finds it with an eccentric billionaire who believes in her passion. It’s after this that she makes a breakthrough. On the verge of the government once again “icing them out”, she discovers a mysterious transmission flying through space, hurdling toward Earth.

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they-live

They Live! Movie Review

By Stevie Wang

In “They Live!,” a drifter stumbles upon a conspiracy about aliens who secretly rule over the human race. By wearing a pair of sunglasses, the drifter is able to see that aliens are disguising themselves in positions of great power such as company owners, police officers, and politicians and are essentially governing the human race and working for their own interests. Humans are completely oblivious to their rulers and are kept from seeking the truth due to consumer goods and materialism.

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Sexy Panties and Prison: What Orange is the New Black Can Teach Us About The Regulatory State

Orange is the New Black

Warning: The following post contains Orange is The New Black spoilers.

If you are a fan of Netflix’s Orange is the New Black, you already know that far too much of Season 3 was spent telling the tale of Piper’s Prison Panties. As a fan of the show, I was a bit sad that the screen time invested in this plotline was not spent on some of the more interesting ones. But as a libertarian, I must say that the way this story concluded in Season 4 provides a great parable for how regulation hurts people in the real world.

Let’s start with a quick recap of what happened in Season 3: The fictional intimate apparel company Whispers made a deal with Litchfield Prison that allowed them to use inmates as cheap labor. As one of the inmates selected to sew the sexy underwear together, Piper figured out that by cutting the fabric differently, she could actually make more panties than what Whispers asked of her. This inspires a new business venture: wearing the surplus underwear for a few days and then selling them to people who are into that sort of thing. By the end of Season 3, Piper has established an entire supply chain: numerous inmates wear the underwear, a naive prison guard sneaks them out, and Piper’s brother sells them on the outside.
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High-Profile Kickstarter Campaigns Coming in 2014

Last week, we saw the Kickstarter campaign for Reading Rainbow dominate social media. The timing was perfect, as anyone who grew up in the 80s and 90s was more than happy to throw money at the idea of having Reading Rainbow for their own kids. Sure, some people criticized the idea of a for-profit venture asking for millions of dollars in donations, but it isn’t really a Kickstarter campaign without some good ol’ fashioned negative media.

 

Despite the negative attention that many campaigns receive, most of it is moot if the goals are met and the donors make it rain (less Kickstarter’s 5% cut and Amazon’s 3%-5% processing fee). Which is why you can expect to see bigger, and “better” projects during the rest of 2014. Kickstarter isn’t just for small indie short films produced by your brother’s roommate in college. Nope. Don’t be surprised if you see some of these high-profile projects in the near future.

 

Avatar 2 – $250 million

 

 

If Zach Braff can raise over $3 million, why can’t James Cameron raise a quarter billion? Yes, Avatar 2 is already in production and has a budget/funding/major studio support/blah/blah/blah, BUT this is James Cameron we’re talking about. If anyone could find a way to spend an extra quarter-bill, he could (even if it’s making sure the a character’s retinas sparkle JUST RIGHT). Best Donor Perk:  For $10,000, you can have virtual 3D sex with the Na’vi of your choice. Better start growing out your hair now.

 

Jaden Smith’s “I am God” Project – $500 million

 

 

You don’t wear a custom made white Batman suit to someone else’s wedding without having a God complex. And once he sees James Cameron’s Kickstarter, he’ll be all over Kickstarter like white on…a Batman cowl worn by Jaden Smith. The point of his Kickstarter campaign will be a bit unclear, but it will be full of confounding hyperbole. Since it’s hard to connect the dots and figure out how donating to his campaign proves he’s God, he’ll throw in references to “making his own Avatar, but better” and “painting all trees blue.” Best Donor Perk:  When you donate $100,000 he’ll personally mention you in one of his punctuation-deficient, philosophically confusing tweets.

 

U.S. Government – $1 billion

 

 

Sooner or later Republicans and Democrats will be united with the a bi-partisan realization that Kickstarter can be used to syphon more money from the American people. Republicans will be happy, since tax breaks for the wealthy can continue, while the Democrats will be excited at the prospect of looking “hip” to the kids. The only downside is we’ll have to ignore the fact that the cost to produce and run the Kickstarter campaign is projected at $1.5 billion.

Best Donor Perk:  $500 gets you an American flag t-shirt. (What do you expect? It’s the U.S. government. Also the t-shirt is made in China.)

 

Boko Haram Ransom Campaign – $1 katrillionzillion

 

At its core, isn’t Kickstarter already set up for ransom negotiations? “You want to see a sequel to you favorite movie? Give me fifty bucks, or I’ll never release it!” It’s only natural that it would eventually be used for real kidnappings. Plus, Boko Haram has already had success with viral videos, so they’re already dominating social media. Might as well tap into that Vine fame and make some serious money with Kickstarter.  Best Donor Perk: $1 million gets you a “100% promise to never kidnap your village or take over your country.” Money well spent.

 

Satan’s “I’m not such a bad guy” Short Film – $10,000

 

 

After taking a Robert McKee’s Story seminar, the Lord of the Underworld is inspired to follow his dreams of being a filmmaker. The story centers upon a down on his luck writer, who is perceived by the outside world as a bad guy. From what I understand the script is okay with some quirky characters (especially his hispanic roommate Jesús), but suffers from a lack of stakes and clear plot points. Best Donor Perk:  You can be listed as an Executive Producer and hang out on set for just $2,500. You also get the perks from the previous levels, including a digital copy of the script, blu-ray DVD, and poster signed by the cast, crew, and Lucifer himself. If you’re low on cash and want to contribute, you can score a “thank you” in the final credits simply by pledging him your soul.

 

But what about the rest of you, who have brilliant ideas (iphone wallets ARE the future) but aren’t high-profile enough to convince strangers to send you buckets of digital money? You’re in luck, because my research partner, Crystal Hubbard, and I are working on a list of sure-fire steps you can take to ensure a successful Kickstarter campaign. Stay tuned! (aka just keep your RSS feed reader linked to Smash Cut Culture).