Starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey
The Dark Tower novels were a favourite of mine as a teenager. I picked up my first Stephen King novel when I was 12 and ravenously turned the pages of what ever book of his I could get my hand on. But there was something about The Dark Tower. Something about the last gunslinger and his Moby Dick like obsession for the Man in Black and that ominous Dark Tower. Here was this epic fantasy story that somehow combined Clint Eastwood Westerns with wizards and portals into 20th century New York and giant cyborg bears. And it worked. And I loved it. I’ve always regretted not finishing the series when the wait between books grew too long and I found it harder and harder to make time to read books without pictures. But I never stopped being fascinated by that mysterious tower that stood in the centre of all things.
Adapting The Dark Tower is an ambitious project. I don’t believe a straight up retelling would work on the big screen. So I’m glad director Nikolaj Arcel didn’t even try. This is not the movie I was expecting. It’s not the movie I visualised in my head as I followed Roland’s journey to the tower. It’s different. And as I write this on my way home from the cinema, I think I like it.
We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks
An Alex Gibney Film
Back in the 90s, one of my favourite “guilty pleasure” movies was a film called Hackers. It’s an early film of Angelina Jolie’s where her and a bunch of outcast friends are hackers, rewriting the rules of the Internet like 21st century wizards. Was this movie an accurate portrayal of the Internet and those who would hack it? Of course not. But I love it none the less. And the world of hackers was no less real just because Angelina Jolie rocked a keyboard like it was nobody’s business.
Perhaps the most well known, and most controversial, name in the hacking world is Julian Assange. To some he is an anarchist hero of the information age. To others he is a cowardly traitor putting lives at risk. Love him or hate him, he is someone you should know about. Because the issues his life brings up will come to define the Internet Age. We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks takes a look at the life of Assange and explores the ethical issues his actions have brought up. Alongside Assange’s story is that of Bradley Manning. He may not be as public a figure as Assange, but Manning’s story is just as important.
I’ve done my time in the front lines of the retail industry. I’ve worked the cash register and answered phone calls. I’m sure it’s a common experience for retail employees to have experienced their fair share of… unusual customers. People who ask for all kinds of crazy, unrelated products. Or just say things that are widely inappropriate for the social situation. I can only begin to imagine how much worse it would be in the kingdom of the nerds. Our Valued Customers is a webcomic created by a comic book shop employee. He takes the things said to him or overheard in the shop and turns them into comics. And these comics are equal parts insightful and disturbing.
The comic that I’d like to discuss fulfills both those criteria. It gives a great insight into our lives. But of course it has a bit of a disturbing feel. And it all has to do with thought balloons in comic books.
From an adult perspective, sometimes trying to talk to a teenager is like trying to pull teeth – dificult, tedious and painful. I’ve watched many adults try to talk to some teenagers. It’s not uncommon to watch the adult back away with fear and confusion saying that they just don’t know how to communicate with teenagers. And it’s not because there’s nothing going on inside that adolescent brain. More often than not that teenager is more clued in than anyone gives them credit for.
Take a look at the kids on the street. No they never miss a beat.