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The Evolutionary Perspective
Category Archives: Immortality
Posted: July 21, 2020 at 12:01 pm
Immortality or Bust follows the 2016 presidential candidacy of Zoltan Istvan from the Transhumanist Party. If someone believes that immortality is possible and wants to run for president, their name better be Zoltan.
Transhumanism is the belief or theory that the human race can evolve behind its current physical and mental limitations with the help of science and technology. Now, whether you believe in Transhumanism or not, it does not make this documentary in less interesting. Zoltans life story sounds like a sci-fi film.
In his twenties, Zoltan Istvan traveled the world on a sailboat by himself with five hundred books aboard. In his more recent years, he had the idea to drive across the country in a coffin bus (Yes, a coffin bus) to raise awareness of Transhumanism. While doing so, he also reveals that he was running for president in 2016. At this point, just about anyone run for president, except Kanye West, he was a bit late to the party.
During the documenting of his trip and candidacy, we are given information about how technology has evolved and how it relates to human life. At one point, Zoltan talks about a heart that runs on wifi and is meant to be a life-long replacement for a human heart. We are also taken into a facility that houses frozen human bodies in hopes of waking them up/bring them back to life when science has a way of doing so and curing whatever illnesses they may have.
Zoltan talks about a heart that runs on wifi and is meant to be a life-long replacement for a human heart.
This idea of wanting to extend life is one thing, but to be immortal is something I really question. Why would anyone want that? There are far too many ethical and moral issues that come with this idea. The documentary explores these issues a bit, but not enough. It is definitely a one-sided argument and an agenda-driven documentary. With that being side, it is still quite interesting. Zoltan (along with others) gives his reasons for wanting to look further into technology to help evolve the human lifespan. Although some might have decent reasons, some are just hilarious. Zoltan often uses sex as reasoning. He talks about being able to have a heart that can withstand sexual interactions when you are older and then talks about how technology can and has made way for people to experience sexual activities while being in completely separate locations.
There is somewhat of an uneasy moment in the film. The film opens with Zoltan and his mother crying, but it is not clear why. It is not until the end of the film. It is made clear. They are crying over Zoltans fathers dead body. I get that this can push his argument further, but its also something very personal that a normal human being would probably not want on camera.
Immortality or Bust could be a documentary that is meant to sway a persons view on Transhumanism, but it is also a story of an interesting man with interesting (or far-fetched) ideas. It is surprisingly a quick watch even though it is a little more than an hour and thirteen minutes in length. Much of the documentary will also make you think of classic sci-fi movies that show how technology can change the world. Its not a good thing when Zoltan keeps mentioning Jurassic Park in his argument. We all know what happens there.
Posted: at 12:01 pm
Keanu Reeves is an actor that has countless franchises to his name. From mainstream commercial films to critically acclaimed drama or indie hits, Reeves has done it all. Most recently, Reeves is having a career resurgence with the massive John Wick franchise. Not to mention his return to previous franchises in Bill And Ted and The Matrix. And now, the iconic actor is adding comic book creator and writer to his credits. Keanu Reeves BRZRKR comic book is a brand new title coming in October.
The brand new comic book titled BRZRKR is coming from Boom! Studios, written by Reeves himself. The title will be a twelve-issue limited series featuring co-writer Matt Kindt from Folklords and Bang!, as well as acclaimed artist Alessandro Vitti of Marvels Secret Warriors fame. The new title will also feature colorist Bill Crabtree from BRPD and letterer Clem Robins from Hellboy. The new violent series is about an immortal and his journey through time to discover more about his origins.
BRZRKR is Reeves debut as a comic book writer. The series is about Berzerker, a man who is half-mortal and half-God cursed with immortality. Being around for centuries, and fighting in every war he can find, his long life is at the expense of his sanity. His one true purpose is to discover the reason behind his existence, the secret behind his immortality, and how to end it. Its a common theme in stories featuring immortality such as Highlander and the recent Netflix movie The Old Guard.
The story of Keanu Reeves BRZRKR comic book sounds like a typical immortal story. An undying badass who seeks death due to his ability to not die. Brutal and violent are always the best ways to describe these stories. It also feels like theres a resurgence in this type of content, with Charlize Therons The Old Guard also dealing with familiar themes. But theres another aspect of BRZRKR that conspiracy theorists will have a field day with.
As famous as Reeves is for his on-screen talents, his off-screen personality is also quite infamous. Reevess personal life is full of tragedy, and his personality is also unlike most celebrities. This makes him very relatable and well liked by fans, but also makes Reeves the target of many memes. One such meme was when Reeves was photographed eating lunch alone on a bench, spawning the sad Keanu meme. Coincidentally, one of the covers for BRZRKR seemingly replicates that meme with the protagonist sitting on a bench in the rain.The cover has a very melancholy vibe.
Theres also the long-running inside joke about Reeves being immortal himself, given how well hes aged over the decades. So a comic book story created by Reeves himself about an immortal warrior seems fully like its leaning into all those stories and theories about himself.Which is kind of brilliant if you really thinkabout it. And very on-brand with Reevess self deprecating and quirky personality.
One of the best things about Keanu Reeves BRZRKR comic book is the eventual movie or series that well be getting. With Reeves penchant for franchises, it almost feels like a foregone conclusion that BRZRKR will become a live-action movie or TV series. Especially seeing how the protagonists look is modeled exactly after Reeves himself. Not to mention the fact that Boom! Studios also has a first-look deal currently in place with Netflix.So it definitely feels that thecomic book is a precursor to the eventual live-action franchise.
Keanu Reeves BRZRKR comic book is set to release in October.
So what do you think about Keanu Reeves as a comic book writer? Let us know in the comments below.
Shah Shahid is an entertainment writer, movie critic (so he thinks), host of the Split Screen Podcast (on Apple Podcasts & everywhere else) and filmy father on a mission to educate his girls on decades of film history. Armed with uncontrollable sarcasm and cautious optimism, Shah loves discussing film, television and comic book content until his wifes eyes glaze over. So save her by engaging him on his own blog at BlankPageBeatdown.com or on Twitter @theshahshahid.
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Posted: at 12:01 pm
This year, thanks to the global pandemic, Netflix has proven to be a much-needed distraction for those stuck inside. During the second quarter, the company added more than 10 million new subscribers worldwide. And now one lucky person could end up winning 1,000 free months of Netflix service. That works out to more than 83 years of service. You read that right. Who knows? COVID-19 might be eradicated by then. Netflix calls it the immortal account.
To win the contest, you need to play a Netflix original game based on its new action film The Old Guard. This is themotion picture version of a graphic novel written by Greg Rucka. Starring Charlize Theron, the film is about a team of noble mercenaries who just cannot die. And this immortality is the reason why Netflix is giving away 83 years of service. As the streamer asks, But how long is immortality, really? Netflix cant promise a truly eternal subscription to its service, but it can offer the closest alternative: 1,000 months of service, which comes out to a bit over 83 years.
The grand prize winner must ring up the highest score while playing Netflixs The Old Guard video game. You must be at least 18 years of age and reside in one of the 50 U.S. states or the District of Columbia. The contest ends at 8 am PT on July 20th which means that time is a-wastin. You can play the game as often as youd like until the contest ends, and the top 10 scores will be posted on a leaderboard.
The grand prize winner will receive a special code good for 1,000 months of free Netflix service covering two screens. The person who achieves the second-highest score wins the second prize consisting of a code good for one year of free Netflix service for two screens. And the entrant who manages to get the third-highest score playing the game wins a code that can be used to obtain six free months of Netflix for a pair of screens. The codes must be redeemed within one month of their activation which is expected to take place on July 20th. The ARV (Approximate Retail Value) of all of the prizes adds up to $10,169.82.
The Old Guard video game mirrors the events of the movie and in the game, you play the lead character looking to fight off your enemies using a one-handed Labrys. The latter is a giant, double-bladed ax. Netflix hints that getting killed in the game slows you down, so to ring up a high score, you need to defeat enemies quickly, without getting hit.
While Netflix is the most popular subscription streamer in the world, the companys estimate for new subscribers during the current quarter was 2.5 million. That is less than half the 5.27 million expected on Wall Street and the company is blaming the shortfall on short-form video app TikTok. Netflix told stockholders that TikToks growth is astounding, showing the fluidity of internet entertainment. Instead of worrying about all these competitors, we continue to stick to our strategy of trying to improve our service and content every quarter faster than our peers. Our continued strong growth is a testament to this approach and the size of the entertainment market.
If the U.S. government gets its way, TikTok will be banned in the statesbecause it is owned by Chinese firm ByteDancer. The U.S. is concerned, as it is with all apps and products owned by a Chinese company, that ByteDancer is secretly collecting information that it sends to a server in Beijing. The company has denied this and no evidence to support the allegations has ever surfaced.
Besides TikTok, a number of new streamers could prove to be competition for Netflix. Disney+, launched last November, is off to a strong start. HBOMax and NBCUniversals Peacock are also available to iOS and Android users.
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Posted: at 12:01 pm
While Meryl Streep is often adulated for her dramatic turns Sophies Choice, The Iron Lady, The Deer Hunter the actress is no stranger to comedy. Several of her more humorous characters remain fan favorites. Meryl Streep can do it all, and getting viewers to laugh out loud as tears stream down their faces is one of her many talents.
Possibly the best campy cult movie of the 1990s, Death Becomes Her depicts a rivalry between two best friends turned enemies, with Goldie Hawn and Meryl Streep leading the way.
Meryl Streep plays actress Madeline Ashton Menville, who discovers a potion that prevents aging perfect for an actress reaching the end of her prime. Yet, Madelines rival, Helen Sharp (Hawn), discovers the potion too. And, the immortality treatment comes with its consequences for both. For starters, they have to spray paint on some skin every now and again.
RELATED: Meryl Streeps 30-Year Marriage Gives Her Relationship Insight Anyone Could Benefit From
As for best scenes, theres a moment in which Madeline cocks and shoots Helen with a big ol gun. Helen Sharp goes flying ten feet in the air, landing in the pool. Upon the realization that she may be dead, Madeline exclaims, These are the moments that make life worth living with a sense of joy and relief. Each word slowly slips through her mouth with a subtle air of superiority. Its just juicy.
Miranda Priestly is a woman on top of the world; she has it all, and good enough is inevitably subpar, while anything less than ingenious is idiotic. All those around her are committed to fulfilling her every unreasonable wish. She is a little empty on the inside, yet, as a result, her observable disposition is filled to the brim with wit, sarcasm, and unpredictability.
RELATED: Devil Wears Prada Is Becoming a Live Musical and Fans Are Living for It
There are many great Miranda Priestly scenes. The comment that its just drizzling amid a thunderstorm that cancels all flights is at the top of the list. Yet, who could forget when she schools Anne Hathaways character on cerulean blue and the path from designer decision to bin in a discount store? Fashion is never just stuff.
Meryl Streep captures Julia Childs energy perfectly, and the accent is on point too. She conveys the chefs loveable nature and determination to succeed. As for funny moments, what beats when she explains to her husband that what she loves to do is eat, going on to note that shes so good at it, as she says shes growing right in front of him. The scene is not only funny but quite beautiful, as it takes a moment to focus on the characters marriage and the humor and dynamic that defined the couples relationship.
The entire Mamma Mia movie is funny, using ABBA songs as both catalyst and commentary to drive the plot and reflect on it. The movie works because its an ensemble film, in which everyone steps up to the plate. Donnas funniest scenes often include her two best girlfriends, because the chemistry between the three actresses is palpable. Who can forget when all three girls are getting massages?
Meryl Streep dives into comedy headfirst, unafraid to venture out of the dramatic world to inspire a few laughs. And, when she does, she raises the bar. Her comedic timing is impeccable and her delivery is always perfectly in tune with whomever she is aiming to create.
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Posted: at 12:01 pm
Director Gina Prince-Bythewood's latest movie is called "The Old Guard." She's also directed "Love & Basketball" and "The Secret Life of Bees." Alberto E. Rodriguez/Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images hide caption
Director Gina Prince-Bythewood's latest movie is called "The Old Guard." She's also directed "Love & Basketball" and "The Secret Life of Bees."
From Gilgamesh and the Holy Grail to "Altered Carbon," the hunt for immortality has been fodder for great fiction.
But "The Old Guard" has a different spin on the old story.
Netflix's new action drama tells the tale of a group of immortal warriors who keep saving the world. But they're starting to question whether the world is still worth it, after witnessing atrocity after atrocity for hundreds of years.
The film is directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, a Hollywood veteran who has directed films like "Love & Basketball," "The Secret Life of Bees," and "Beyond the Lights."
She joined us to talk about her film and what being the first Black woman to direct a major comic-book movie means for her and the industry at large.
Like what you hear? Find more of our programs online.
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ATEMS graduation allows Class of 2020 to rise from the ashes of a broken year – Abilene Reporter-News
Posted: at 12:01 pm
Jeff Howle was able to deliver one of the most appropriate lines in high school graduation history Saturday morning.
As principal of the Academy of Technology, Engineering, Math and Science, which has the mascot of the Phoenix, Howle stood in front of his students, the Class of 2020and told them to rise.
ATEMS graduates move their tassels during commencement Saturday morning. The ceremony for the Academy of Technology, Engineering, Math and Science, whose graduation was delayed for over a month due to the pandemic, held their ceremony at Shotwell Stadium.(Photo: Ronald W. Erdrich/Reporter-News)
Not from their seats, but from the ashes of their destroyed senior year, cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Not from their seats, but from their youth and naivete.
This group truly embodied the spirit of their namesake, the mythological bird that achieves immortality through its death and resurrection.
"My message to you all as we have gone through this worldwide pandemic together would be this:often the living of life is our greatest accomplishment," Howle said. "Never again should we take for granted sitting down at a restaurant, going to a friends house, seeing your grandparents, going to watch a game, going to the movies (or) going shopping at a store."
Robert Tinney walks back to the seats after graduating from ATEMS at Shotwell Stadium on Saturday.(Photo: Ronald W. Erdrich/Reporter-News)
Howle completed just his second year leading the faculty at ATEMS. But it was enough time for him to understand the group of students who stood in front of him as individuals but also as one.
He recognized the personalities they are, from athleticism to seriousness, competitiveness to politeness and from the Rubick's cube to the Lewis hair.
And their quirks. Such asDaniel Smith, who attended Saturday morning's graduation ceremony in uniform. Just not the uniform that one might expect.
As a re-enactor in several groups in town, including Abilene Axis & Allies, Smith wore a Soviet Union major's military uniform under his cap and gown.
It's nothing new. He's been participating in events since before high school and his classmates have just come to expect it from him.
"It's been my passion and my hobby for a long time," Smith said. "I like it, I feel comfortable in it and everyone knows me for the uniform. I've been wearing it since about eighth grade."
With a graduation toy stuffed in his jacket, Daniel Smith salutes in his Soviet major's uniform which he wore beneath his cap and gown at the ATEMS commencement.(Photo: Ronald W. Erdrich/Reporter-News)
It's not the only uniform he'll wear in his life, though.
While he reenacts as a Soviet, he's about to be a real-life U.S. Marine.Smith ships out for basic training later this year, he said.
There was a sense of accomplishment, Smith said. But, like the Phoenix, it's not where you've been but where you're going that is important.
"It's the start of new beginnings," Smith said.
Photojournalist Ronald W. Erdrich contributed to this report
In the age of COVID-19, the Abilene Reporter-News will continue providing public health content free to all. But while that information is vital, that's only one portion of the overall picture. Please consider, if you're able, purchasing adigital subscription to ReporterNews.comto help support the hard work provided by Timothy Chipp and the rest of the staff needed to tell Abilene's entire story, like this one. Without you and your support, this operation is impossible.
Posted: July 17, 2020 at 8:46 pm
In the nineteenth century, poetry was immensely popular, a deeply revered art form, and one of the most highly regarded American poets was William Cullen Bryant. Among other things, school children across America read and recited his poems "Thanatopsis" and "To a Waterfowl"widely regarded as classics. Although he was from Massachusetts and lived most of his adult life in New York, he was also familiar with central Illinois and had family members that he visited in Jacksonville and, later, Princeton. So, a few of his poems relate to our state.
But I have also noted, over the years, that poems by him appeared now and again in the "Macomb Journal." His focus on coping with death was clearly one theme that engaged many readers, but in fact, there was controversy over whether he accepted the traditional Christian belief in immortalityand that provides a glimpse into the mindset of people during his era.
Bryant was born in 1794 at Cummington, Massachusetts, and he started publishing poetry in periodicals while in his early teens. His first small book, titled "Poems" (1821), appeared two centuries ago, when he was 17. He eventually moved to New York, where he edited the "New York Evening Post" from 1829 until his death in 1878and became a revered American poet.
In 1832 he came west to visit brothers who lived in Jacksonville, and with one of them he rode to Springfield and then north along the Illinois River. That experience provided inspiration for "The Prairies," a poem that celebrated our states most famous topographical characteristic and was often reprinted in newspapers and books. In it, he not only views the Illinois wilderness in mythic terms, as an Edenic garden of dazzling beauty, but also meditates on the mysterious "mound builders"who had lived here centuries earlier but had "vanished from the earth."
Bryant visited on other occasions and wrote Illinois-inspired poems called "The Painted Cup" and "The Hunter of the Prairies." The latter associates freedom with the prairie landscape and presents the white hunter as a kind of American Adam, united with the unspoiled wilderness.
Later, after Lincolns assassination, Bryant wrote a notable tribute poem, "Abraham Lincoln," which was read to the throng of mourners in New York City on April 24, 1865. He declares that the great mans "proudest monument shall be/ The broken fetters of the slave."
But his most famous poem was, and still is, "Thanatopsis" (which means, "meditation on death"). It appeared in the "North American Review" in 1817, when the poet was in his early 20s. As that reveals, the theme of death was already important to young Bryant, and it remained so throughout his life. Influenced by British Romantic poets, he often wrote to commune with nature and the divine spirit that lay beneath it all. In a poem called "The Death of the Flowers," for example, he links human mortality to the cycles of the natural year, and in yet another often-reprinted poem, "A Forest Hymn," he declares that wooded areas were "Gods first temples," and they are still a "Fit shrine for a humble worshipper to hold/ Communion with his maker."
Raised in an old New England family, Bryant was aware of the frightening Calvinistic view of death taught by the Pilgrims, which emphasized the Judgment and everlasting punishment for sinners, so he sought a more positive relationship to God by appreciating His creation and understanding humanitys relationship to it. Thats why he says, in "Thanatopsis,"
Of the last bitter hour come like a blight
Over thy spirit, and sad [death] images
Of stern agony, and shroud, and pall,
And breathless darkness, and the narrow house
[i.e., the dark, narrow grave]
Make thee shudder, and grow sick at heart,
Go forth under the open sky, and listen
To Natures teachings. . . ."
And he asserts that death is a reaffirmation of our interconnection with everything else, not a condition of ultimate separation. For after all, at death each of us will "mix forever with the elements," and beyond that, we will join with all other past humans, who now lay within the earth, "the great tomb of man." And remember, he says, that all who are living "will share thy destiny," for the old and the young "Shall one by one be gathered to thy side." So, death should not be approached with fear, as he indicates at the close of his famous poem:
"So live, that when thy summons comes to join
The innumerable caravan, that moves
To the pale realms of shade, where each shall take
His chamber in the silent halls of death,
Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,
Scourged to his dungeon; but sustained and soothed
By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave. . . ."
Bryant does not specifically refer to God in the poem, but after all, the creator of everything is the one who inspires the "trust" that he mentions. Nevertheless, some Christian readers felt that the noted poem did not affirm immortality like it should have. For that reason, someone wrote a poem called "Vision of Immortality," labeling it as a "sequel to Thanatopsis," and signed Bryants name to it, and that was printed in a great many American newspapers. Of course, it is a kind of "Hymn to Immortality," talking about how the dead shall awaken to "the dawn of the immortal day." Among the periodicals that carried it, in 1852, not realizing that Bryant never actually wrote it, was Macombs first newspaper, the "McDonough Independent."
Of course, that reveals how much the 19th-century mind was focused on affirming the afterlife. And in a sense, while "Thanatopsis" remained very popular, that issue continued. In fact, after Bryant died on June 12, 1878, the "Macomb Journal" carried a front-page article in which noted preacher Henry Ward Beecher criticized "Thanatopsis" as "pagan poetry." But on June 27 the "Journal" editors also printed a little-known poem of Bryants titled "The Two Travelers," in which a person who is heading toward death affirms that he "Shall sleep, to rise, refreshed and strong/ In the bright day that yet will dawn." So, the editors wanted to reassure Macomb readers that the great poet, who had a lasting impact, did affirm immortality.
And it was such a huge public concern that, on July 4, 1878, the "Journal" reprinted an article from "Harpers Weekly" titled "He Believed in Immortality." It quotes an 1876 letter from Bryant to one of his readers, which declares, "I believe in the everlasting life of the soul." And he also affirms "the life to come of those who are dear to us here." So, it was reassuring.
It would be impossible today for any American poet to create such a stir, but in the death-haunted, poetry-loving, overwhelmingly Christian 19th century, whatever a beloved poet thought about such a key aspect of religious belief was obviously a matter of deep concern.
Writer and speaker John Hallwas is a columnist for the "McDonough County Voice." Research assistance was provided by WIU archivist Kathy Nichols.
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Posted: at 8:46 pm
A surprising development in The Old Guard sees a character stripped of their powers - here's why it happened and what it means for the future.
Warning: SPOILERS forThe Old Guard.
A twist in the third act of The Old Guard sees the leader of the immortals, Andy, lose her powers - here's a breakdown of why that happened and what it means. Based on the titular comic book series by Greg Rucka and Leandro Fernndez, The Old Guard was released via Netflix in July 2020. Rucka returned to pen the film adaptation and Gina Prince-Bythewood served as the director. Charlize Theron starred Andy (aka Andromache of Scythia), alongside a cast that included KiKi Layne and Chiwetel Ejiofor.
The Old Guard centers on a group of immortal mercenaries that have spent varying centuries fighting on the behalf of humanity. When they are approached by James Copley (Ejiofor), they begrudgingly accept a mission to rescue a group of kidnapped children. Unfortunately, the mission turns out to be a trap that ultimately leads to Joe (Marwan Kenzari) and Nicky (Luca Marinelli) being captured by the ruthless Steven Merrick (Harry Melling). As her friends are experimented on to determine the source of their powers, Andy leads the charge to rescue them. To that end, she eventually teams up with a new immortal named Nile Freeman (Layne). Andy and Nile also enforce the assistance of Copley and Booker (Matthias Schoenaerts) as they seek to atone for their respective betrayals. Andy's efforts, however, are further complicated when it's revealed that she has been rendered mortal.
Related: The Old Guard Ending & Sequel Setup Explained
The new development was first revealed when a stab wound she received didn't heal as it traditionally had. Andy's newly vulnerable state was also hammered home when she was shot by Booker. Though several characters questioned how it was happening, The Old Guard refrained from offering a definitive answer. In fact, the film didn't delve much at all into the technicalities of the immortality - both in terms of what caused or what removed it. The scientists experimenting on the immortals to unlock the secrets drew a blank. As far as they could tell, the subjects seemed entirely ordinary. The immortals themselves believed that each of them just had a set, preordained time and that their powers would fade the moment they'd reached it. The comics also offer little illumination on the matter, with Andy never facing such a power loss in the issues already released. Nor was there much interest in the idea of exploring what makes the immortality tick. As Rucka told Polygon:
"[The mythology] was something that I had no interest in exploring in the comic. In the first The Old Guard story, I didn't want to waste time or real estate, because comic book pages - that's your premium, that's what you're spending to tell your story."
Rucka was much more interested in exploring the personal and emotional toll that such an extended life has on people. The detail of the characters eventually losing their power was simply a device used to add some stakes to the action. Though they are functionally immortal, they can eventually die. As a result, the characters of The Old Guard still go into every battle with it potentially being their last. The removal of Andy's power is likely a more visceral extension of that, serving to visually increase the tension going into the final showdown. Furthermore, the stakes will already be high from the outset when Andy is finally confronted by the vengeful and still-very-much-immortal Quynh. That being said, Rucka did concede that "when you're making a movie, you're a little more obligated to at least promise answers to questions." As such, definitive answers regarding Andy's power loss and the overall source of their abilities could come in future The Old Guard installments.
In the meantime, much of why Andy lost her immortality can be found in the themes of the film. At the start, Andy was losing faith in humanity and questioning the purpose she'd held onto for centuries. Believing that the world was moving too fast and now beyond saving, she was ready to lay down arms and quit. After losing her immortality, however, a monumental shift occurred. Firstly, in line with an element of destiny conveyed as being in play, her new fragility led to her being reminded that a more compassionate side of humanity exists. It also reminded her of just how tenuous and precious life actually is. As such, she was left at the end of The Old Guard more determined than ever to fight for and protect innocent lives.
More: What To Expect From The Old Guard 2
Kevin James Adds Himself To No Country For Old Men Coin Toss Scene
John Atkinson has been a news and feature writer for Screen Rant since late 2018. Before that, he had articles published across a number of different outlets. A graduate of the University of London, John was raised on a small island by television and movies. As such, he pursued a career in screenwriting and film journalism when it became apparent that actually becoming Spider-Man was impossible. John's fondest wish is to one day produce a film of his own. Until then, he's more than happy to spend countless hours just talking about them. John's love of film and television defies genre and sometimes even logic. Nothing is off-limits to his passion - be it Marvel, DC, Rian Johnson's Star Wars, or Tommy Wiseau's latest cinematic offering. Away from screens, John can often be found in a park reading mystery and/or fantasy novels, jumping up and down at various music events, or thinking too deeply about Keanu Reeves' career and why Edgar Wright doesn't have an Oscar.
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Posted: at 8:45 pm
One Good Thing is Voxs recommendations feature. In each edition, find one more thing from the world of culture that we highly recommend.
The Old Guard, Netflixs newest blockbuster, is actually multiple love stories in a big action flick coat.
Based on the 2017 comic book written by the indomitable Greg Rucka and drawn by Leandro Fernandez, The Old Guard is ostensibly about a group of killing machines who can never die. But its really about the aching loneliness of being a killing machine who can never die.
Andy (Charlize Theron), a.k.a. Andromache of Scythia, has been alive to know this better than anyone. The story is set in the present day, but Andys birth predates the Ancient Greeks. She has over time learned that the only way to survive forever is to never let mortals get to close to her. Booker, another of Andys fellow immortals, tells Andy from personal experience that watching your kids die isnt something you want to reckon with. And it becomes one of the first things Andy teaches Nile (KiKi Layne), the newest addition to her chosen family of immortal soldiers.
Joe (Marwan Kenzari) and Nicky (Luca Marinelli), the couple that rounds out Andys never-dying family, are the lucky ones among the group because they have each other, forever and always.
Joe and Nicky arent the main protagonists in director Gina Prince-Bythewoods film, but since the films release on July 10, theyre the characters who have garnered a lot of attention because of how rare it is that gay men are featured in action movies. Even rarer is that were allowed to watch Joe and Nicky share a passionate kiss and other physical moments of affection throughout the film.
And The Old Guard takes their love story a step further. Straight people are regularly part of myths and legends but LGBTQ people rarely feature in them. The times that queerness does pop up in popular, mainstreamed ancient histories, myths, and legends, it can sometimes come across like its written in code, or is found buried in footnotes, or is glossed over as brotherly love or friendship, not romantic affection.
That The Old Guards Joe and Nicky are unapologetic about their love allows queer people, and gay men in particular, the opportunity to see that throughout all of history, weve been there all along and in such a mainstream, typically heteronormative medium, no less. That representation in itself is not just thrilling, but revolutionary.
Since the movies Netflix premiere, theres one scene in particular that viewers have discussed over and over, rising above the battle axes and bullets. Midway through the movie, the villains who are seeking to steal the secrets of immortality capture Joe and Nicky after an all-out assault on Andys team. While transporting them to the lab where scientists plan to poke, prod, and experiment on them, a security guard mocks Joe and Nicky, asking if theyre boyfriends. Its likely that to some queer people watching, the mocking isnt unlike stuff weve heard on playgrounds or even in adulthood.
Youre a child, Joe snaps back. Hes not my boyfriend. This man is more to me than you can dream. Hes the moon when Im lost in darkness, and warmth when I shiver in cold. And his kiss still thrills me even after a millennium. His heart overflows with a kindness of which this world is not worthy. I love this man beyond measure and reason. Hes not my boyfriend. He is all, and he is more.
Joes response is equal parts snappy retort and love poem. At its heart is a simple message: that straight people might not ever fully understand what its like to be gay and to find love. Their love is not better nor more profound, but innately different. Their love is forged from generations of being taught that its unnatural, forbidden, and wrong by a society that, for many centuries, has relegated queer people to the margins and encouraged us to be people we arent.
The Old Guard gets at this adversity through Andys own broken love story, another queer romance. Andy and Quynh fought together through thousands of battles, and its implied that the two womens love is more than just platonic. When captured and tortured for being witches, Quynh is separated and thrown into an iron coffin at the bottom the ocean.
You are too powerful together, the guard tells Andy, as Quynh is pulled away.
The guard could have meant that their combined immortality was too frightening. But he also could have meant that that these two women and their love for each other is something to be feared, too. From then on, Andy lives every day carrying the weight of losing Quynh.
Its so clear that neither the guard who separate Andy from Quynh nor the one who taunted Nicky and Joe can even begin comprehending that queer love is just as powerful as any other kind. It may not immediately look like a heterosexual romance, but it is no less meaningful.
Joes declaration of passion for Nicky also invites the viewer to imagine the 1,000 or more years theyve seen and spent together. I, for one, hope they got to see spectacular, silly, beautiful things. We learn that they met fighting on opposite sides of the Crusades, have been by each others side for so very long, and will ostensibly continue to endure even after all of us turn to dust.
Thankfully, Joe and Nickys mythic queerness is far from the only foray into the genre in fact, The Old Guard has a perfect complement in the novel The Song of Achilles.
A week before Netflix released The Old Guard, I was on vacation at home, because that is how we vacation now and finished reading Madeline Millers The Song of Achilles. I was already a fan of Millers after reading Circe, her retelling of the immortal witch and temptress from The Odyssey.
The Song of Achilles is Millers first novel, from 2012. She gives life to the myths of Achilles from his companion Patrocluss point of view, telling a story about love that endures when forces of nature, fate, and war are determined to tear you apart.
Growing up, I knew Achilles had that pesky foot thing and played a part in the the Trojan War, but all I really knew about Patroclus was that he was really good friends with the very heterosexual Achilles in 2004s Troy.
Beyond that not-great movie, Achilles and Patrocluss homosexuality has been debated over and over, usually coming down to dissecting Ancient Greek culture and the semantics of gay. Miller sees it simpler than that.
I would also add, more specifically, that I think the culture is ready for the kind of love story that transcends gender and time, Miller said in a Q&A about the book on her website. I did not deliberately set out to tell a deliberately gay love story; rather, I was deeply moved by the love between these two characterswhose respect and affection for each other, despite the horrors around them, model the kind of relationship we all can aspire to.
Miller has an uncanny ability to make you nostalgic for voices youve never heard, places youve never been. Her novels leave you wistful for true love youve never had the chance to lose.
The Song of Achilles is something you should read if you think that The Old Guard, which spends most of its runtime on focused on Andy teaching Nile about life, should have been about Joe and Nickys infinite love above all else. It expands on the themes touched upon Joes speech and the supernatural aspect of immortality thanks to gods, goddesses, and deities.
But The Song of Achilles is easily beautiful enough to stand on its own. Though Miller says she didnt deliberately set out to create a gay love story, its a fantasy that unravels and justifies the feelings and vulnerability of the LGBTQ experience, gay men in particular. Just as The Old Guard does for new Netflix viewers or long comic book fans, this novel indulges the desire to want and be loved, no matter your sexuality. And The Old Guard and The Song of Achilles both reassure queer readers that weve always existed even when we havent always been seen in the ancient history books.
The Old Guard is streaming on Netflix.
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Posted: at 8:45 pm
In 1996, Roslyn Heights native Don Cohen published the book My Father, My Son, cowritten with his father Dr. Max Cohen and comprising over a decade of letters written between generations, sent from Dons home in Connecticut to Maxs Long Island residence.
Now, nearly 25 years later, the Cohens letters make up another book, The Inside Ride: A Journey to Manhood. This second volume comprises writings from late 1990s until Maxs death in 2011, with aforeword by Dons son Jared and an afterword by his daughter Emily.
Father and son would use the correspondence to analyze their relationship as they faced new experiences in their lives.
Don worked as a marriage and family therapist, while Max was a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst with a practice in Garden City. Their contrasting schools of thought would lead to often witty, always thoughtful insights from both sides of the father/son divide.
The earlier book had been a success, and took the Cohens on the talk show circuit while bringing the usually quiet Max out of his shell, Don says.
It was funny, he really was resistant to the whole project at first, but he couldnt say no to me, Don said.My fatherhad been much more introverted than me, so to see him really enjoy being on talk shows and being interviewed with me was pretty cool.
But, he says, the relationship took a turn in the year 2000, when they got into an argument in their letters.
He gave an opinion about how I was raising my son which I didnt particularly like, Don said. We wrote some pretty angry letters back and forth. You think youve written this whole book together and everythings fine and dandy, but theres still more stuff to think about.
It took a few years to get back to being father and son again, Don says, but the two still made memories like taking Max to his boyhood home, Coney Island, and visiting a statue of beloved baseball players Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese. The letters would start up again, too,
Then, in late 2009, Don suddenly stopped receiving letters from his father. Concerned, he drove down to Long Island for a visit, and Max told him why he stopped writing.
He told me that hed been diagnosed with Parkinsons disease, and he wasnt physically able to write back, Don said. So I came up with a way for him to write.
Don would drive down semi-regularly to visit Max, with a letter in tow. After he read it, the father would dictate a response, which the son would handwrite.
I didnt want to stop the letters, Don said. I couldnt lose that connection with him.
Don would visit his father for another letter on July 24, 2011, his 87th birthday.
Having my grandchildren and my children is what makes life meaningful, Max wrote that day. Its about love and feeling you have an impact on others. You want to feel like you matter to the people who are important to you, and that they too have the same effect on you. At this point, Donald, I have nothing more to say.
It would be his last, as Max died that September.
In the following years, Don would begin working on a follow-up to their father-son volume, albeit with a different, more mature perspective.
I became a man whos now going through a lot of the same things that he went through with me, Don said. So I had a different understanding and insight now about what it was like to you know be a father with older children, and then to be a grandfather. It gave me a deeper appreciation for some of the things that I challenged him on in the first book.
Now retired with his wife Dee, a native of Sands Point, Don says he is the proud grandfather of two grandsons and three granddaughters, who range from ages 1 to 9. He adds that he hopes they can use the book as a way of getting to know their familys past.
Theyll get to know what kind of relationship that their grandfather had with their great-grandfather, Don said. Theyll get a model of inspiration of a family legacy. Theyll learn a lot about where they came from and where theyre going. And hopefully, itll be passed down through generations.
He adds that hesees the book as a legacy piece.
My father said that his kids were his immortality, Don said. Now I see that my kids and my grandkids are mine.
The Inside Ride: A Journey to Manhood is available through Amazon.