Review: Star Trek: Generations (dir. David Carson, 1994)

My ex-roommates and I used to have a little ritual. Every Sunday night, we would gather around a TV set with as many friends as possible to watch the latest episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation and, time permitting, Deep Space Nine. The liturgy of our humble adoration was punctuated by commercial breaks that enabled us to dissect each act of each teleplay with the loving care that one normally reserves for picking at watermelon seeds. Critical ejaculations — “Book reference!” here, “Run another diagnostic!” there — were permitted like so many amens, so long as these outbursts did not snowball into fully-scripted distractions from the pageantry before us.

But lately there were grumblings. The ritual had grown stale, boring, and the post mortem on each episode seemed to expose a malignant complacency.

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Review: The Shawshank Redemption (dir. Frank Darabont, 1994)

Prison films are a tricky genre. The prisons themselves become metaphors for the shackles of authority, society, or psychological inhibitions that prevent people from being completely free human beings. We empathize with the prisoners, and never the warden (unless, as in Brubaker, he fights for the prisoners’ rights), because they are supposed to represent that nebulous quality known as “the human spirit”.

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