TV review: Black Mirror Season 4 (2017)

I recently watched all six episodes of season four of the series Black Mirror that was released in December. I reviewed the three earlier seasons here. For those not familiar with the series, it was conceived by caustic British news and media critic Charlie Brooker who along with Annabel Jones are the showrunners. It is a science fiction anthology set in the near future, with each episode being independent of the others. The series focuses on how technology influences people’s lives in unpredictable ways, dealing mainly with neuroscience, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality innovations.
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Film review: Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens (2015)

I wrote recently about how I had abandoned watching the Star Wars series after being disappointed with Start Wars I: The Phantom Menace but a review of the latest entry Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi suggested that it had somewhat progressive politics that might make it worth watching. But my son-in-law, who is an aficionado of the series, suggested that before watching it, I should see Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens because otherwise the plot of the latest film would be hard to follow.
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Three Billboards and Oprah Winfrey at the Golden Globes awards

I noticed that the film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri won four awards at last night’s Golden Globes awards show for Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell, best drama, and best screenplay. I had reviewed this film favorably when it came out last month. It is widely tipped to do well at the Academy Awards show next month as well.
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CamperForce documentary on elderly migrant workers

North Randall mall that is located close to where I live was at one time the largest mall in the country and its opening was a celebrity-studded event. But like many malls that do not cater to high-end customers, it has fallen on hard times and became a ghost mall with all the stores moving away. So the impoverished city of North Randall was delighted when Amazon announced its intention to lease the property, raze the largely abandoned mall, and put up one of its giant ‘fulfillment centers’ that would reportedly bring in 2,000 jobs.
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If Ellsberg is a hero, why not Snowden?

There is a new film The Post starring Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep and directed by Stephen Spielberg that resurrects once again the story of Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers and the legal case that was won by the Washington Post and other newspapers that prevented the suppression of them. Nick Gillespie writes that in an interview with the BBC Arabic service’s Sam Asi, Spielberg, Hanks, and to a lesser extent Streep, praise Ellsberg as a hero for his actions but avoiding doing so with Edward Snowden.
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Film review: The Thin Blue Line (1988) and the conviction of innocent people

This highly acclaimed documentary by Errol Morris has been on my to-see list for the longest time but I never got around to it. I watched it last night and it deserves all the accolades it received. It is also a grim reminder of how in America, at least in some jurisdictions, so many innocent people are executed or incarcerated for decades because the police and prosecutors care less about the truth than ‘notching up a win’ and closing a case as quickly as they can.

The case so well illustrates that when police and prosecutors severely distort the judicial process in order to get a conviction, it is not just that an innocent person is deprived of life and liberty, as bad as that is, but that a whole lot of random innocent people suffer because of it. In their zeal to convict an innocent man of murder, the Dallas police and prosecutors let the real killer walk free and subsequently commit a string of violent crimes for a decade that ended with another murder. It was only after he was arrested for that second murder that the crime spree ended. The authorities are thus indirectly responsible for all those crimes.
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