Player Piano (Book Review)

I just finished reading an amazing book and I thought to tell you about it.

I don’t read as often as I would like or as I should, but I finally got around to finishing something I started a few weeks ago — Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut. This was my first time reading Vonnegut, and as chance would have it, Vonnegut’s first novel as well.

The story takes place in New York, ten years after World War III. It’s a dystopian future where machine has outranked man in social and functional hierarchy. After the men left for war, leaving the homes and factories deserted, machines were built to substitute the lack of manpower. When the war ended, the technology was further expanded to allow the mechanization of any and all possible functions. If a human could do it, a machine could do it better.

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Annihilation (2018)

Starring: Natalie Portman, Oscar Isaac, Tessa Thompson, Gina Rodriguez, Jennifer Jason Leigh

Genre: Based-on-a-book, Thriller, Fantasy, Science fiction

I saw this film at the behest of Twitter, touting it as “powerful” and “energetic”, the best new-release sci-fi/thriller of late. To the credit of these random tweets, it wasn’t all hot air. The film was indeed a nice ride – and a female driven cast to boot!

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Game Night (2018)

Starring: Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, Kyle Chandler, Jesse Plemons, Kylie Bunbury

Genre: Comedy, Mystery, Crime

Game Night was super fun!

I almost have no criticisms because it was such a good time watching the film in theaters, laughing with strangers, even on a Monday night after work.

Let me start off by saying it doesn’t need a sequel. I repeat, this movie does not need a sequel! With that said, it looks like it’s setting up for a sequel, le sigh. Why do filmmakers (producers?) have to ruin a good thing by repeating itself? Like the Oscar Wilde quote, “They spoil every romance by trying to make it last forever.” Oh well, I’ll probably watch the sequel if it happens.

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Roman J. Israel, Esq. (2017)

When I first saw the trailer for this movie, I knew I wanted to see it. There was something refreshing about it, something different. I actively seek movies with Denzel because I enjoy watching him on screen, I trust his judgment in action. And though he gives a great performance in this film, it doesn’t absolve the story of its other sins (of which there are many). My expectations were high and soon dismissed.

Let’s start with the good,

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The Duel (2016)

Starring: Woody Harrelson, Liam Hemsworth, Alice Braga, Emory Cohen

Genre: Western, Crime, Drama

Channel: Amazon Prime Video

Problems present early for The Duel, with the movie poster showing the opposite name over the two lead actors.

Set in 1860-1880s Texas, the film opens with Woody Harrelson as Abraham Brant, responding to the duel against Jesse Kingston over the treatment of Mexican (and Mexican-American) people in the town of Helena. In this form of duel, the “Helena duel,” players tie hands as not to escape the other, and wield a knife in the free hand to stab their opponent to death. Brant wins and uses his victory, hateful politics and mystique to become the powerful leader and “Preacher” of the small Texas town.

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The Post (2017)

Steven Spielberg is a great example of a director whose film catalog I could watch and study for the artistry and expertise if not just for the sheer enjoyment. “The Post” is no different, and though it doesn’t rank in my top three Spielberg movies (Saving Private Ryan, Minority Report, The Color Purple), it is still a solid film with strong performances.

The IMDB synopsis for this film reads as follows:

“A cover-up that spanned four U.S. Presidents pushed the country’s first female newspaper publisher and a hard-driving editor to join an unprecedented battle between the press and the government.”

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