Christmas wishes abound from fellow Imagination Connoisseurs, as do suggestions for improving Star Wars, saving Star Trek and appreciating Filipino cinema. Looks like Christmas Eve is just another day in paradise here in the Post-Geek Singularity. 

Merry Christmas to the Post-Geek Singularity

Hello Rob and PGS – because we all know that’s cooler than STD, right?

Thomas Bartholdi’s owl may or may not have had too much eggnog when he delivered his letter today.

Greetings, and Merry Christmas. I hope everyone yourself and Lys have a wonderful Christmas. If this letter arrives late then I can only blame that bloody owl again. (Yes, I’m totally a wizard.)

I hope all of PGS has a great Christmas and a happy New Year.

Honestly don’t even know what this letter was going to be about. Do it on Christmas movies? My eight year old self shouts. Talk about that really fat holly guy who breaks into your house by a chimney. That’s magic for you?

I will say that my favorite Christmas movie has always been the Mircle on 34th street the classic not the remake as much. Though I do love John Hammond as Santa Clause, I prefer the older film more.

Christmas story is another great movie.

So letter right? Maybe a Christmas story of my own. A trip back into the memory vault. Oh that one works. I believe I was around ten or eleven. We had gotten a Christmas tree and had put that fake snow on it. All the gifts were under the tree like they of course should be.

We opened presents. I got Jurassic park toys, movies, and Star Wars books. Probably toys too.

My brother got a plane. He opens it and sets it up. It’s remote control plane though on a small scale. Yet, he goes for indoor flying and slams right into the tree, fake snow everywhere.

That’s when a squirrel jumps out of the tree and goes crazy, like it was mad. I barely even seemed to care I had a T-Rex toy. But, I wouldn’t change anything in the world because I had a great Christmas story or two as a kid.

Again happy holidays to all.

Your friend,
Thomas B.

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Cheers to: WINE-ning About Filipino Movies.

Hi Rob and to the Post Geek Singularity.

Merry Christmas to you all. First of all, I’m glad that the contact form is back on the website so that I can send letters again.

Anyways, in this letter, I’m going to introduce a new segment in my letters. It’s the unofficial spin-off, “WINEning about Filipino Movies,” where I will discuss some Filipino movies that I would like to showcase to the worldwide audience of The Burnettwork. The only difference here is that I’m not drinking wine (or am I?). Now, let’s dive in to the first installment of “WINEning about Filipino Movies” from yours truly: Mike F, the self-appointed guardian of Filipino cinema.

Apocalypse Child (2015)

For the first installment, I am going to discuss the 2015 independent drama film “Apocalypse Child” directed by Mario Cornejo (pronunciation: kor-ne-ho) and starring International Emmy award-nominated actor Sid Lucero.

The film is set in Baler, Aurora (the surfing capital of the Philippines). It centers on Ford, a surfer who may or may not be the illegitimate son of Francis Ford Coppola when he filmed Apocalypse Now in the Philippines during the 70s, as he finds himself in a love triangle as he looks for answers and reconnects with an old friend.

The film does not focus if Ford is actually the son of the director or not. It’s more about his journey and his relationships with his mother, girlfriend, his estranged best friend, and his estranged best friend’s fiance. It’s also about truth and how we would often go to our own version of the truth and how we present ourselves in that way. And then there’s also surfing. I do not surf, but this film makes me want to go to the beach right now and surf.

I like the film a lot because the characters here are flawed and yet they’re so well-written because we get to see their journey throughout. It is very character-driven and I love that we get to see the journey of every single of them. The cinematography was beautiful (especially on the surfing scenes) and it really makes you want to go to Baler.

The performances by the cast were amazing, particularly Ana Abad Santos, the actress who played Ford’s mother. It’s just a well-made drama film that I highly recommend for everyone to watch. For people in the US, you can watch it on Tubi or Popcornflix. You can also rent it on Fandango Now or iTunes.

I think you would also like this film, Rob. I hope you’ll check it someday. Because of that, I would give it a bottoms up scale of 3.75 glasses out of 4.

Anyways, that is all my letter for now. I hope you enjoyed the first installment of “WINEning about Filipino Movies.”

I was gonna discuss the latest episode of Star Trek: Discovery but I have a feeling that you already discussed it. Without spoiling what happened, all I can say is that was awful.

It’s like Alex Kurtzman and the writers were like “Oh let’s do this because it’s so cool.”

Also, I feel like they made the episode to save a bit on the make-up budget (I’m sure you guess what I mean there).

Anyways, thank you, stay safe, and Merry Christmas.

Mike F.

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The difference between “Winter Movies” and “Christmas Movies.”

Hi Rob, moderators, and Post Geek Singularity,

I know I mentioned in my previous letter how my next letter would be a review for Wonder Woman 1984, but a thought occurred to me and I wanted to bring it up now.
There are a lot of Christmas movies, but something I’ve been thinking about, is there are also, what I call, “winter movies”.

What I mean is, they are not movies relating to the winter season, like Home Alone or It’s A Wonderful Life, but just release during winter.

For example, two of Ivan Reitman’s movies, Twins and Kindergarten Cop, released in December, but have nothing to do with Christmas, so I just consider them to be “winter movies”, since that was when they came out. With the exception of Solo: A Star Wars Story, the Disney Star Wars movies released in December, so I just refer to them as “winter movies”.

Some of Barry Levinson’s movies, like Rain Man, Toys, and Wag The Dog, don’t really have anything to do with Christmas, but released in December, so I think of them as “winter movies”.

I consider some of Steven Spielberg’s movies, like Color Purple, Hook, and Adventures Of Tintin, to be “winter movies”, since they don’t really have anything to do with Christmas, even though there are scenes with snow in Hook. James Cameron’s Titanic and Avatar released in December, but are not Christmas movies, so I call them “winter movies”.

That said though, I do admit to being mixed on this idea, since usually a lot of movies with Oscar buzz release around December, like Shape Of Water and La La Land, so I don’t know if “winter movies” would be a proper term for them, since December is usually the time of “Oscar season”.

Anyways, that was just something I was thinking about. I don’t know how you and others feel about it, but I would love to hear all your thoughts.

Thanks, live long and prosper.

Omar

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Appreciating AGUIRRE: THE WRATH OF GOD

Hey Mr RMB,

For quite some time now, I have a weekly meet up with an older friend of mine (he’s turning 60 next year. I turned 34 a few days ago). We both share the love for movies and music and we both learn from each other. His expertise, obviously are movies from the 60s, 70s and 80s. And I’m, well, a 90s child with biggest tendencies to Scifi and comic books.

The reason I write you today is our tonight’s movie, which impressed me that much, that I had to tell you about it: on today’s Watchlist was Werner Herzogs first movie with Klaus Kinski ‘AGUIRRE. THE WRATH OF GOD’.

WTF did I just watch? This was the slowest movie I ever saw, but not one minute was boring. I don’t have enough words to describe this experience. I mean, imagine this struggle to carry a few hundreds of people through the Amazonian rain forest, down from Machu Picchu (without actually showing Machu Picchu. Why?).

The opulent costumes, canons, animals. They built rafts to go through the wild rivers of South America. I struggle to understand, why Mr Herzog put all this insane effort into making the movie. And speaking of insane. Can you imagine, to be in the middle of nowhere for a few months together with Klaus Kinski?

This whole thing was insane!

Right after we saw AGUIRRE, we watched the documentary ‘MY BEST FRIEND’. Mr Herzog telling anecdotes of Kinski. What a joy. Werner Herzog should record all his anectodes as an audiobook. Could listen to him all day long.

As a german myself, I’m in the lucky position to listen to his English and German interviews and documentaries. After I saw this two gems tonight, I can proudly say: Werner Herzog is my favorite fellow German!

Next week we’ll watch ‘Fitzcarraldo’. THEY DRAGGED A FREAKIN SHIP THROUGH THE AMAZON? This is what I call dedication for filmmaking! Who else would do such things? Noone! Just these 2 german maniacs. Herzog and Kinski!

Can’t wait to see this.

Greetings from Lippstadt Germany,

Kamil

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Why superheroes should not be hopeful and optimistic.

First I would like to point out that this is an opinion, not some researched fact, this is my personal opinion, I’m not saying everybody needs to follow this as a guideline, but this is what I personally enjoy.

Some people think the very definition of superheroes is that they should be inspirational figures on how to be, sort of like preachers, or religious texts, guidelines for how to live your life, people who instill a moral compass in us.

I disagree.

I believe heroes being hopeful and optimistic does not instill good values but is satisfying nothing more than a lie.
This concept encourages a fantast which because it is a fantasy is bad influence on people.

“Oh but who cares in the end it’s just trash entertainment right? It’s not important, like those real jobs out there…”

I disagree, while there are more important jobs, entertainment still has a value and should be treated with care, not for an excuse to do political propaganda or whatever the hell you feel like.

When companies tell their creators to not portray Batman with a gun or to have Superman teach people of the dangers of racism, that makes a lot of sense from a point of view, but in the end it’s cencorship. Not creative freedom.

And no matter how much we force values onto others, it’s still a fact that characters like deadpool and peter quill or shows like the boys are fascinating to people.

We are all attracted to bad guys.

AND THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT.

Because we don’t need our entertainment to tell us what to think, we should be grown up enough to be able to figure that out ourselves, to think cencors actually know what people should think is arrogant.
To think that entertainment with good values will make people behave is also not accurate, I haven’t done studies but I’m pretty sure if all entertainment followed certain guidleines we would still have bad people in the world.

And that’s the point, evil can’t be cured through good values being instilled in us by Disney or Wonder Woman.

So why hide from it? The moment you start keeping it real and portray fiction inspired by the actual state of things, we lose that cencorship, but we also reach out to people in a different way.

Watching a movie is suddenly not a chore, it’s a choice, something we can enjoy and be fascinated by, not haunted by.

I don’t think a person that has been raped will find solice in comics that are not allowed to portray rape.

But a world that embraces darkness could probably be way more relatable.

Comics like Watchmen, movies like Man of Steel all put mud on the superheroes, suddenly they aren’t perfect anymore.

Even in marvel, Captain America is not perfect, he is confused and makes mistakes. Iron Man is not the best example of how to be, he even have other characters berate him for this.

But are we really gonna pretend this makes them worse characters? Worse movies because they were allowed to be portrayed as flawed people?

People who continues to only live in perfect dream worlds will lose touch.

When Achilles raises his hand towards an army in the 2004 movie Troy, a cencor could have told him that lookls like a Nazi salute we need to remove it.

But it wasn’t a nazi salute and it made sense in that movie, and the movie doesn’t shape people becoming nazis.

If I ever make stories I will make sure I try to do what satisfies the story, not what satisfies an agenda.

Emil J.

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Why even bother with CGI when a good make-up might suffice?

Hi Rob.

I write today because after seeing The Mandolorian, I can honestly say I am tired of using CGI to make an actor look like another, and that I genuinely think make up effects would have worked better.

CGI-Tarkin from ROGUE ONE

I first noticed this after seeing ROGUE ONE and seeing CGI-Tarkin. Originally I thought: “Hey, that’s cool.” But then I recognised who played Tarkin. It was a British actor, Guy Henry. I recognised him from a British hospital drama, Holby City.

All I kept thinking is: “They didn’t really need CGI. A good make up artist could easily make this man look like Tarkin and it would have looked so much better. And been cheaper too.”

So I ask myself “why bother with CGI?” For any actor it cannot be hard to find another actor who is similar looking and just use make up for the effects. No need to use CGI at all.

Craig S.

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You know what the Star Wars sequel trilogy needed? A Dungeon Master.

Hey Rob,

Regarding Star Wars, imagine if the sequel trilogy had been 20% better. Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni might not be given the current freedom to explore the post RotJ time period.

There are things to like about the sequel trilogy. I found Rey surviving day to day on Jakku interesting. I think Adam Driver is an incredible actor, and found things to like about his performance in each movie.

Here’s my main complaint about how the new trilogy went: Han got to go on an adventure, Luke never left sulk island, at least physically.

Let’s talk about Rian Johnson. I really like Knives Out. He can make good movies. I don’t think he was a good choice for a film franchise. We’re dealing with modern mythology. Each step needs to be taken with great caution.

A very disappointed – and we presume, naughty – Luke Skywalker, stuck on “Sulk Island.”

JJ put Luke on the island because JJ didn’t know what to do with Luke. So now Rian has to figure out why Luke is there. That’s fine. I don’t understand why Luke’s hope isn’t restored, so he can do something. OK, I think to myself, this sucks, but we’ll get ‘em next time. Then Rian kills Luke. That was it, Luke is done.

I spent the last 30 minutes of The Force Awakens asking myself, where’s Luke? He should show up now. Now! Double so with The Last Jedi. My expectations were successfully subverted – I had expected to not be completely disappointed.

Imagine if the writers of an Avengers movie turned in a script that had Tony sullen, reclusive, and never got off his island the whole movie. That would be odd, right?

I feel bad for Mark Hamill. If it was an RPG, he never really got to roll to attack, to roll dice, to take action of any kind.

Consider this lens: You’re playing Dungeons and Dragons or a Star Wars table top RPG. You have Player Characters: Rey, Fin, Poe, Rose. There are Non Player Characters: Maz Kanata, Vice Admiral Holdo. They exist to give information, quests, etc.

Rian Johnson, the Game Master, has Maz give a quest to get the code breaker. Fin and Rose try, but it turns out it was counter-productive. Don’t they feel stupid! But it was the Game Master that gave them the pointless quest in the first place. I guess they, along with Poe, were supposed to just sit in their bunks while the NPCs do everything. That’s how adventures work, right?

I mean Holdo does save the day. There’s a reason Game Masters aren’t supposed to have their own character.

I like the original characters introduced in The Mandalorian. I’m not against new characters, new threats; but everything needs to be handled with care.

I wanted to like the sequel trilogy, and do like parts. You can’t blame the art department or cinematographer or the costume designer for anything. The problem, in my estimation, was the lack of a road map. Where are we? Where are we going? I trust that the new streaming shows have a better idea of where they are going.

Collin

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Canon confusion seems to have turned Star Trek into a Star Wreck.

Hi Rob and the PGS,

We all know the Discovery writers sent Discovery, 900 years into the future due to all the issues they had to deal with canon and basically not have their hand tired by it.

But listening to your episode on Fan Service (#582), it made me realise they have gone and got their hand tired all over again. With Terra Firma, Part 1 & 2, by reintroducing The Guardian of Forever. They have created a huge problem for themselves with the wider Star Trek Universes, beyond how they depicted the Guardian.

The writers of Discovery have sent Emperor Philippa Georgiou back in time to when the Discovery left, so she can have her own show with Section 31. However, by sending her back, she now has the knowledge of the 33rd century, The Temporal Time War, The Burn and any other information she has learn with her time in the future.

So, with this knowledge, she can now change the future by making sure these events do not happen. Which means that the Discovery is now set in another alternate universe.

This is the problem writers have created for themselves: They have showed that Georgiou had changed, so she would do whatever it takes for the Federation and the people she will come to care for, to prosper in the in the 33rd century and not live in some sort of Mad Max Universe the Discovery now find itself in. Whatever she does, that affects the future will not have an effect on the crew of the Discovery.

For the simple fact, they travel into the future before Georgiou can change it. This means that anything she does will create a separate universe to the one the Discovery is in.

Like I said it has created a huge problem for the writers as they now have another universe to play with.

I have no issues with alternate universe in Star Trek, as the original show established this with the mirror universe in the season 2 Episode Mirror, Mirror. Then we got The Next Generation season 7 Episode Parallels, and finally Star Trek 09. So the Multiverse is well established in Trek.

But given the writers issue with keeping with canon, they are going to have problem with keeping to their own canon and universes, as now they have multiple to keep track of.

With my count their will, be 6 universes in Star Trek that we spend a large amount of time in.

1. Classic or Legacy Trek. (Everything from Enterprise right up to Nemesis.) Universe.
2. The Mirror Universe seen in TOS, DS9 and Enterprise
3. Discovery, Picard and Lower Decks, Strange New worlds and Section 31 Universe. (which personal I see were the Kelvin Universe came from.)
4. Discovery’s Mirror Universe. (This is vastly different to the one seen in Classic Trek.)
5. Kelvin Universe.
6. Discovery in the 33rd Century Universe.

However, saying that I don’t think the showrunner or writers are aware of this issue they have created for themselves. After all, in Season 2. Burnham sent her mother back to a future where all life is dead. She then Stopped Control which would have gone on to kill on life in the galaxy. Therefore, changing the galaxy’s future and trapping her mother in nightmare universe.

When Burnham and Discovery travel to the future it would have been this new one, they had created. But some how her mother ended up in it. She should not be there at all to hold her daughter hand in Unification III.

In short whatever the writers do to correct their mistakes, they just create new problems for themselves, which they just cannot correct with a satisfactory answer for the viewers that question these problems.

What do you think Rob?

Peace and Long Life.
Dean M.

P.S This will most likely be my last letter for this year. So, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and everyone in the PGS a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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