The Weekly Review: February 11 – 17


TV Update


I can’t decide if I really, really like Netflix’s foreign import Babylon Berlin, or if I just kind of, sort of, like it. It’s one of those shows that defies a standard “review,” not least because – I admit it – I’m not always quite sure of what I’m watching.

It’s a German production, and therein lies the problem: You need to brush up on your German history to follow the complex plot. And I don’t mean World War II history, but rather pre-Hitler Germany, with its confusing confluence of socialist-Stalinist-capitalist influences.

But there’s a lot to like about this 16-part series, including:




The characters.   Leads Volker Bruch and Liv Lisa Fries (pictured above) are photogenic, charismatic, and sympathetic. Sure, Bruch plays a drug addict and Fries’s role is a part-time hooker, but hey, they’re Donny and Marie compared to the seedy characters in their orbit. Speaking of which, the supporting cast is superb, especially Peter Kurth (below) as corpulent, maybe-good-maybe-bad cop Bruno Wolter.



The visuals.   It’s an expensive ($40 million) production, and the money shows. The cabarets, mansions, and tenements of 1929 Berlin are rendered in magnificent detail.



The music.   It’s strange yet mesmerizing. It’s Marlene Dietrich singing “Falling in Love Again (Can’t Help It)” — not literally, but that captures the spirit.




I will never understand the appeal of watching B-movies on the Syfy channel. The other day, the network ran Lake Placid 3 which, as far as I can tell, is attractive for two reasons and two reasons only: laughing at the cheesy special effects, and ogling naked starlets. Yet on SyFy, sex and nudity are edited out.

Here is what you’ll see of starlets Kacey (Clarke) Barnfield (the brunette), and Angelica Penn (the blonde) on the SyFy version of Lake Placid 3:



Here is what you’ll see on the DVD:




BuzzFeed has a scary article about the future of artificial intelligence and how we humans are probably all screwed. Actually, there are quite a few articles and books about the future of artificial intelligence and how we humans are probably all screwed.

Soon, we’ll be seeing videos in which Trump (apparently) confesses that he is in fact Russian, and Obama (apparently) confesses that he was a woman named Marissa before having a 1980s operation in Denmark – and we won’t be able to tell that the videos are fake.




Today’s false story that we planted on the Joker’s Updates bulletin board to get a rise out of Big Brother fans:



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