The Cloverfield Paradox

[1.0 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

Our first movie of 2020, and it kind of sucked. I liked the other "Cloverfield" movies just fine, but this one was kind of incoherent.

Also dull. Disclaimer: I did fall asleep on the futon for indeterminate periods while watching. The Pun Salad rules allow inclusion in the blog even for such occurrences.

The plot, as near as I can tell: in the future, Earth is running out of energy. Our only hope: the orbiting Cloverfield Station, which houses the developmental "Shepard particle accelerator"; if the international team of scientists and engineers aboard can get it to work, all will be well.

Unfortunately, it doesn't work. Instead their testing shifts them into a different parallel universe. And taken on board is a young lady who was on her version of Cloverfield Station in her universe. She materializes inside a wall, which means her body is riddled with space station wires and tubes. She recovers, though.

A bunch of stuff follows which disjointed, nonsensical, inexplicable, and (most of all) uninteresting.

The lead actress is named Gugu Mbatha-Raw. That's awesome. Also Ziyi Zhang from Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. Also awesome. Saved it from zero stars.

URLs du Jour

2020-01-03

Some day soon we'll get past the new year/decade material, but today is not that day.

  • Kevin D. Williamson's headline sounds like he might be auditioning for a Hallmark gig: This Will Be Our Year .

    Politics matters, but it is not the only thing that matters, and if we allow political tribalism to cut us off from what’s best, what’s most interesting and innovative and thriving in our nation and in our culture, then we’ll be worse off for it. Conservatives of all people cannot afford to make that mistake, because the Left has better songs. If we are to resolve something for 2020, then maybe that should be our resolution: to bear always in mind that this is not Donald Trump’s America or Elizabeth Warren’s America but ours and Walt Whitman’s and John Coltrane’s and Herman Melville’s and Toni Morrison’s, and that if we really love this country, then that can only be because we love the people in it, the ones who are with us still and the ones who have been, who are “not enemies but friends.”

    This will be our year. It will be the year that we make of it, which is both our great hope and our great, fearful responsibility. I myself will not be awake to hear the cuckoo clock announce the new year. The morning will come soon enough. Maybe I’ll put on A Love Supreme and listen to Coltrane’s great American prayer, which sounds just like a great American prayer should sound, full of beauty and near to chaos. And, speaking only for myself, I will try to do some things better than I have: a little less from my own worst inclinations, a little more from Lincoln’s better angels, a little less shallow outrage and a good deal more from the deep sweet well of American goodness, which is the only possible source of American greatness.

    Although my musical tastes are not the same as KDW's, his points are good. RTWT, really.


  • And even though it's Day Three of the new year, Veronique de Rugy says it's not too late: It's Resolution Time for Congress and the Administration. There are only three, and here's number 3, a biggie:

    Resolution No. 3: Stop growing future generations' tax burden.

    According to the Heritage Foundation, as of today, the debt per capita — that is, for each and every man, woman and child in this country — is $69,200. That's the per-person amount that it would take to repay all the money the federal government has borrowed so far to fund its excessive spending. Unfortunately, this sum, as gargantuan as it is, pales in comparison to what's coming our way. If we include all the money the government doesn't have but has promised to spend (primarily on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid), the figure grows to $240,000.

    Congress needs to prevent this fiscal disaster from hitting future generations. It goes without saying, but Congress should start by halting growth in unfunded spending. There's no good excuse, for example, for Congress to enact irresponsible bills like "Medicare for All." Congress should also undertake serious entitlement reform so as to reduce the amount of unfunded liabilities we face.

    I fear this resolution will be broken very soon. Maybe already has been.


  • Lonely voice of sanity on vaping, Jacob Sullum at Reason: FDA Announces Ban on Flavored E-Cigarette Cartridges, Exempting E-Liquids Used in Refillable Vapes. Click over for the details, but here's the bottom line:

    "By allowing vape shops to continue selling flavored vape liquids, the FDA is preventing hundreds of thousands of ex-smokers from being forced to return to smoking," writes Boston University public health professor Michael Siegel. "It also ensures that this important off-ramp from smoking remains available to adult smokers. However, the battle is not yet over because if the FDA implements the PMTA deadline in May of this year, it will wipe out most of the vaping industry, handing it over to the tobacco companies. The results would be devastating to the public's health, as many ex-smokers would return to smoking and many more would turn to a new black market for these products."

    I really, really, try not to get angry when our local newsbots mindlessly chatter about the "vaping epidemic". Invariably, they invite confusion with Vitamin E acetate-laced products and everything else. And they use that panic to move the goalposts, inviting hysteria over "adolescent nicotine addiction", another bogus concern.


  • Don Boudreaux asks the musical question: Why Take the 'Climate Change' Crowd's Case for More Government Power Seriously?. I usually excerpt, but here's nearly the whole thing for ya:

    I’m tired of hearing that anyone who refuses to embrace every proposal to tax carbon and to otherwise hamper markets in the name of ‘addressing’ climate change is an unscientific ideologue. Of course, some such people are, but it follows neither that every such person is, nor that the embrace of proposals to tax carbon and to otherwise hamper markets in the name of ‘addressing’ climate change is thereby the only scientifically supportable position.

    Those of us who are skeptics of giving the state more power to ‘address’ climate change are not the ones who now have as a prominent spokesperson a 16-year-old child. We are not the ones who cling to a completely unscientific notion of how governments actually operate. We are not the ones who ignore the vast upsides of economic growth, or the full history of that growth. And we are not the ones whose ranks are heavily populated by people making doomsday predictions that are consistently proven wrong – and, in many cases, spectacularly wrong.

    Why should anyone with a serious commitment to thinking rationally, realistically, and scientifically pay attention to a political movement whose adherents made such predictions as those reported by Maxim Lott about the year 2020?

    I'm on the fence about even "sensible" climate-change mitigation strategies, but (like Don) I despair at the blind faith in Government Wisdom exhibited by the "sensible" activists.


  • Megan McArdle has a musical question herself: Has J.K. Rowling figured out a way to break our cancel culture?.

    Before the Beatles arrived and the Sixties really got rolling, American fiction used to abound in novels where earnest young people chafed under the censorious regency of “Mrs. Grundy” and her ubiquitous gossip-wielding hatchet squads. After a wild decades-long interregnum, we have apparently once again decided that our lives should be governed by that still, small voice crying “What would the neighbors think?”

    Not that we care about the people next door to us. Rather, we fret about the opinions of officious strangers, possibly thousands of miles away, who swarm social media like deranged starlings over and over again, in the same pattern: A few thousand souls, left or right, decide that some opinion or behavior, tolerated as recently as last week, is now anathema. Then they descend upon unwitting heretics en masse — as when author J.K. Rowling attracted the mob’s ire in mid-December for tweeting in support of Maya Forstater, who was fired from a British think tank for expressing her belief that biological sex is immutable and binary. “Dress however you please,” Rowling wrote. “Call yourself whatever you like. Sleep with any consenting adult who’ll have you. Live your best life in peace and security. But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real? #IStandWithMaya #ThisIsNotADrill

    Of course, J. K. has (um) much more than enough "forget you" money.