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A character trait central to many toxic behaviours concerns a narcissistic kind of reality distortion.

Some individuals believe they possess the authority to dictate reality, setting their own terms, to the world around them. They are self-appointed reality dictators. Different from someone deluding themselves, reality dictators may not believe the narratives they create: they are designed to serve their interests when imposed on others. It is others that are expected to believe their narratives. Or at least be unable to successfully challenge them.

The dictator believes they determine what people think of as real or not. Facts are made use…


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2020 has been a shit hammer of a year for cinema. Fuck, it might spell some kind of End. That outsized canvas upon which the dreams of the world’s most imaginative visual artists are thrown could be in jeopardy. The tea leaves may spell D-O-O-M for the boys and girls of the silver screen.

A yearly comparison of global box office receipts paints a high contrast picture with politically unsettling overtones. The top three hit movies of 2019 were Avengers: Endgame ($2.8b), The Lion King ($1.7b), and Frozen II ($1.5b). 2020?


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OK, so here we go.

I’m starting with speed on this idea, putting down some foundational logs, roughly around the site of the camp fire, before shooting off to do some tasks. But first to put something down in black and white, or I fear I never will.

Today I’ve been self-propelled at one thousand miles an hour. Run off my feet every waking moment, right up until this one. My aim was to slow down and do as little as humanly possible. …


Dark skies have been on my mind. I mean, really dark skies: those ones flooded with rich blacks interrupted only by the cosmos, and celestial bodies layered infinitely back in time towards the universe’s moment of birth. Skies where the galactic core of the Milky Way is visible with the naked eye on moonless nights and its endless midriff hangs in the firmament like a natural ghost, arching over our insy planet, charging up every soul on it with who-knows-what. Hovering, alive. Its intentions unspeakable. Skies free of light pollution.

With man-made climate change posing an increasing threat to life…


Christopher Nolan must be a self-tortured perfectionist, because Tenet seems like the product of spending years reworking Inception (2010) into a better form in his mind: thinking of themes he wished he incorporated, simplifications that could be made to the reality distortions at its heart, and new depths of mind-bending complexity the plot could drop into off of it. And yeah, by the end of the film I was convinced: he has taken apart the pieces, re-assembled them into a fresh form, and the result is a better film.

Worth mentioning is the photography. It has a super rich, dark…


Bob Dylan’s new album, wrapped in mystery and dropping unexpectedly like a consolation gift amidst the pandemic (or ‘in the dark, in the wee small hours’, to borrow a line from one of its songs), is a major, lively, and beautiful release. It also marks another shift in musical style and creative direction, just when it looked like Dylan had settled into covering standards from the Great American Songbook.

Lyrically Rough and Rowdy Ways has been described as impressionistic — like layering colourful brush strokes of thought to build tone and emotion, more than to lay down coherent and focused…


All the classic Werner Herzog ingredients are present in this entry into the Bavarian director’s expansive non-fiction filmography, as he travels the globe with volcanologist Clive Oppenheimer in search of active volcanoes and the vibrant cultures surrounding them. There is danger, death, mysticism, and a robust exploration of strange zones in the human condition.

Volcanoes are the glue that binds the film together, the subject that gives a consistent narrative thread to follow, though the film detours into other areas, like the excavation of 60,000 year-old hominoid remains in the Ethiopian desert (the hottest place on Earth based on daily…


This review contains spoilers.

Alex Garland directs his second feature film, following up on Ex Machina (2014) with an adaptation of Jeff VanderMeer’s 2014 novel of the same name.

It is an eery, narratively original and progressive, often disturbing science fiction horror film that follows a team of four scientists into a zone deep within a national park that has become surrounded by a “Shimmer”: a dome of colourful, shimmering light capturing the territory inside it.

What lies inside the Shimmer is a mystery, but it is expanding and taking new territory at a steady rate every day, and has…


Photo by Holly Bartley on Unsplash

During this storm of world-changing events, social media giants have found themselves under the glare of a very powerful light.

No, not the kind of “very powerful light” Donald Trump suggested might be shone into the human body to combat COVID-19: rather, Facebook and Twitter have been placed under the political spotlight in the United States.

This happened after Twitter flagged two tweets from Donald Trump as containing misleading information about voting by mail, including a link for users to follow and inform themselves of the facts.

Trump’s response was typically venomous, threatening to pass laws to prevent such treacherous…


Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

So it’s 70 days into lockdown, or about time I articulated some thoughts on the global pandemic that has shut down most of the world, killed hundreds of thousands, left scores of millions unemployed, and threatens to devastate almost every major economy on the planet.

First, let’s quickly recap some of the basic facts.

COVID-19 infects many people who don’t present symptoms, yet are contagious. That fact, combined with the fact that the virus is novel (there was no existing immunity), makes stopping the spread of the virus insanely difficult. …

James Lanternman

Writing film reviews, political diatribes, and basketball commentary. Brain like a Moose.

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