Paul Levinson's novels include The Silk Code & The Plot To Save Socrates; his LPs Twice Upon A Rhyme & Welcome Up. His nonfiction including Fake News in Real Context, The Soft Edge, & Digital McLuhan have been translated into 15 languages.
Review of 'Counterpart' 1.7
A truly masterful Counterpart 1.7 last night; a perfect spy science fiction story in many overlapping ways. First, it occurred to me as we watched the young Clare in spy training on the other side that there's a strong something of The Americans in Counterpart. Except, whatever Elizabeth's original name was in The Soviet Union (I forget) as she trains to be the adult Elizabeth in America, passing as an American, the ante in Counterpart is much higher, because we get Clare training not to be some rival or enemy nationality but her alternate self. This, again, as I've said before, comes from this deft mix of spy story and science fiction story.
Review of 'I Thought You Would Last Forever'
I Thought You Would Last Forever - the English title of Ya dumal, ty budesh vsegda, a 2013 Russian feature-length time-travel romance, now streaming free with English subtitles on Amazon Prime -- is no Anna Karenina. But it tells a pretty good time travel story of broken hearts and quietly heroic attempts to repair them, and is imbued with the fatalistic but deeply human Russian spirit.
Review of 'The Cloverfield Paradox'
Well, there really wasn't any paradox in it (things going very wrong does not equate to paradox), and the story was at least much horror as science fiction, but The Cloverfield Paradox on Netflix was pretty good science fiction of the alternate-reality variety anyway.
Review of 'Alistair1918'
Alistair1918 from 2016 is charming, special, altogether superb little feature movie (on Amazon Prime) with a frame on time travel you don't find very often if at all. The Alistair in the title is a British soldier on the Western front in 1918, who gets blown into a wormhole and ends up in present-day Los Angeles. There's no action at all in France. It's all in LA, where Alistair is befriended by a wannabe documentary film maker — Poppy (played by director Annie K. McVey) — who works with her estranged and skeptical husband, a dedicated young cameraman, and eventually a French scientist (Sophie, played by Amy Motta who appeared on Mad Men) who understands time travel, in an effort to get Alistair back to 1918 and his beloved wife.
Review of 'Counterpart 1.4'
A really superb episode 1.4 of Counterpart last night—my favorite so far—in which the two Howards switch sides. Again, the acting of J. K. Simmons is Emmy-worthy. Here the kind Howard from our world has to play the tough Howard from the other side, and vice versa, and both do it just right. This series is a pleasure to see just because of Simmons' acting.
Review of 'Absentia'
I binged Absentia the past few days—it was on AXN in 2017 and is now on Amazon Prime. It starts out with a scenario we've seen before (FBI agent Emily Byrne, played Castle's Stana Katic, shows up after presumably being held hostage for six years, and declared dead), but soon takes off in vivid and less conventional ways. Her husband Nick Durand (well played by Patrick Heusinger), also an FBI agent, has happily remarried, and the two are raising the son Durand had with Emily. Like The OA, The Missing (season two), Thirteen, and other reappearance stories, Emily's return continues or sets off a new series of terrible crimes.
Review of 'ARQ'
Hey, I recently watched ARQ—more than a year after it was first released on Netflix—a time-loop Groundhog Day meets I don't know, Terminator movie, about a couple in a facility near the end of the world in some desperate battle, obliged to relive a few hours over and over again, because every time they're killed by masked then unmasked intruders, they wake up in the same bed, together, with memories (usually) of what happened to them in the earlier loops. This is because the guy is the programmer of a machine that can (presumably) run forever because it keeps regenerating its energy, by thrusting itself and those in its vicinity a little bit back into the past.
Review of 'The Man from the Future'
This one's from Brazil, in Portuguese, from 2011, by way of Netflix in 2016, and I recently watched it as part of my time-travel movie and TV extravaganza. The Man from the Future - O Homem do Futuro in Portuguese - stars Wagner Moura as an accidental time-traveling scientist who finds himself some twenty years in his past — in 1991 — and in a position to change the course of his personal history, and get the girl (played by Alinne Moraes) he's loved all of these years, but lost for some reason at that crucial moment in 1991.