Make a cover that's mostly black space.
"The only winning move is not to play."

That's also good advice if you feel yourself being drawn into an argument on the internet! Hello friends and welcome to a slightly late edition of the Tagline, I wanted to give Tron some time in the spotlight by its lonesome, and it looks like everyone got their money's worth. Now that time is over though, and it's time for us to move exactly one year ahead, to 1983, where a computer program was deciding not to try and take control of mankind, but rather to just blow it straight to hell. Today's feature film is WarGames, a film that I think is more or less forgotten along with things like the Cold War and Matthew Broderick. In this film Broderick starred in one of his first major roles as David Lightman, a generally delinquent high school student who prefers to spend his time hacking computer systems, only not in the really dumb way that Hackers did. One day while idling his time away by dialing every number in his town with his modem, he finds a computer that won't identify itself, and decides to investigate further. David eventually finds a way to access this computer, but doesn't realize that this machine is the supercomputer at NORAD that controls the nuclear missile silos of the US, and is continually running launch scenarios, and learning from these simulations. David engages the computer in a rousing, friendly game of "Thermonuclear War" which I think we can all agree is a really fun game to play on a sunny afternoon when you have nothing else to do. David chooses Russia as his side, proving that Matthew Broderick is a communist, and does not realize that in doing so starts the computer with its metaphorical finger on the metaphorical red button down a path that leads to mutually assured destruction. Oops.


Tron (1982)

Yeah the cover's pretty similar too.
"Trapped in a fight to the finish inside the video world he created."

Hello all, welcome to a new week at The Tagline! Summer is meandering towards its conclusion, and I am slowly being driven insane, so I thought now would be an opportune moment to explore a movie that features less preposterous science fiction than Hackers. To that end, I will be talking about Tron today. Yeah maybe it was a lame joke, but seriously, today I'm reaching back deep into history so that we can have a chat about the original Tron, a movie that spawned a franchise over the course of several decades, and eventually a sequel in 2010, which some people who clearly had never seen the original didn't like (and I'll talk more about that in a little bit). Originally conceived in 1976 by its director and writer Steve Lisberger, Tron was intended at first to be an animated feature, but as time went on and no one picked up the production, the emphasis slowly shifted towards backlit animation mixed with live action and computer animation, which was what ended up happening when Disney eventually picked up the film (yes it was always Disney, some people didn't know that I guess? I shouldn't be surprised but...) There it developed into the work that would eventually spawn a fairly prolific franchise, including a cartoon and a number of games. It's important to take this movie in a little bit in context of when it was made. In 1982 computers were very much not the mainstream, and even video games in their earliest form (Pong being a major inspiration for Lisberger) were an extremely niche attraction. It was the director's hope that he could sort of open up that world, and eventually that DID happen, though at the time Tron was not extremely successful (that being said it wasn't a flop either, it almost doubled its money).



Back in black?
"Justice Is Coming."

Hello friends, welcome back to Tagline: Guest Suggestion Edition! On Tuesday we all had the great pleasure of experiencing Hackers, a movie that had about as much in common with real hackers as I have in common with a Tyrannosaurus. Today we're going in the total opposite direction, back to the old west with Tombstone, a movie about Wyatt Earp (Played by Kurt Russell, maybe the only man to live who looks MORE ridiculous with that mustache than the ACTUAL Wyatt Earp) that has as much historical truth to it as more or less any other Wyatt Earp movie or story I suppose, which is to say not very much. This particular film focuses on specifically Earp's time in the eponymous boomtown of Tombstone, where people mostly seem to busy themselves by getting drunk and then shooting each other, which doesn't seem like a sustainable enterprise. Meanwhile, leaving behind life as an officer of the peace in Dodge City, Wyatt and his brothers Virgil and Morgan are trying to go into business for themselves. They decide to do this in the most obvious way they can think of, by becoming promoters at a saloon, and (presumably) this includes things like running the in-house gambling and also being pimps. Sounds like good old-fashioned American heroes to me! Along with the Earps Doc Holliday (Portrayed here in an awesome performance by Val Kilmer) rolls into town as well, to be sickly and look like he's about to die from Tuberculosis, but still scare the ever-loving crap out of everyone because he's so great at shooting people (Historically he mostly seemed to have a record of challenging African-Americans to gunfights with little to no provocation so try not to think about that I guess)



"Hack The Planet!"

Hello everyone, welcome to a fresh week of excitement here at The Tagline! Last night, in a moment of weakness I asked my Facebook for movie suggestions, and I don't know why I was surprised at the outcome. While there were a fair number of varied suggestions (many of which you will most likely see over the coming weeks) there was also a public outcry for me to review Hackers, a thing that I desperately did not want to do (as you may remember, earlier this year I reviewed another 90s cyberthriller, Sandra Bullock's The Net). Still, as reluctant as I might have been, the people spoke, loudly, and some of them said cusswords at me to emphasize their point, which I returned in high volume (which is to say I swore loudly, at my computer screen). The end result was that I decided I had to watch Hackers, in all its mysterious computers of the early 90s glory, only not actually because I question whether the people who made this movie had ever seen a computer. If you were not around in the 90s, or just suppressed this part of them feverishly when trying to craft an idyllic picture of your past, cyberthrillers pretty much had their day at the early to mid section of the 90s, when computers and the internet were just common enough that people knew they were a thing, but had no idea how they functioned or what mad wizards operated them. People mostly STILL don't have any idea, but they know at least what computers look like and that you can browse Facebook on them. Hackers stars Jonny Lee Miller (who mostly went on to a career in TV, but remember him in Aeon Flux?) as Dade Murphy AKA CRASH OVERRIDE, a high senior with a past as a hacker (when he was like 10) that gave him both a record and a reputation. Despite his bad history with the law and the net, he can't stay away from those tasty, crispy cyberwaves, or what the fuck ever they decide is thematically appropriate slang in this movie. Dade immediately falls in with a group of hackers upon moving to NYC and arriving at his new school, and that's when things start to get complicated. He finds himself quickly caught up in a complex web of plots and futuristic looking 3D animations, as his friends become the targets of a set-up that will allow inveterate asshole Plague (Fischer Stevens who was most notably also in The Super Mario Bros movie ouch) to steal 25 million dollars from the company he works as security for. Everyone needs a scapegoat I guess!


Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Shadow Recruit? Look how bright it is!
"Trust No One."

That's good advice no matter what you're doing! Hello everyone and welcome back to another exciting week at the Tagline! Today I would like to take a moment to detour back into the land of those damn dirty commies trying to attack Amurka the beautiful, and really who knew how to do that better than the late great Tom Clancy himself (This was actually the last movie he wrote before passing away last year). For those who are not familiar, because really why would you be, Jack Ryan is a character who is not new to the silver screen. As the central protagonist in a large number of Tom Clancy's novels, Ryan has been featured in film a total of five times if we count this movie, and portrayed by four different actors. In the Hunt for Red October he was portrayed by Alec Baldwin, and later in Clear and Present Danger AND Patriot Games by Harrison Ford. Though we'd like to try and forget, in The Sum of All Fears Ryan was portrayed by Ben Affleck, that last one being a generally pretty crap movie. Each movie takes a look at Jack Ryan at a different point in his career, working as a CIA analyst to thwart various plots to destabilize the American government and also as a result the rest of the free world. This latest entry puts our new Captain Kirk, Chris Pine, in the role, as a sort of re-imagining of Jack Ryan's origin story. Because the original Ryan was born in like 1951, this tale was updated to incorporate the 9/11 attacks as the inspiration for Ryan's urge to serve, and then get shot down in a helicopter. At that point it's looking like ole Jackie boy is done barely after he begins, but his determined physical rehabilitation, coupled with a pattern he'd discerned in enemy movements before his helicopter was shot down, attracts the attention of Thomas Harper (Kevin Costner, keeping busy this year) who recruits Jack into the CIA, placing him in a Wall Street firm as a covert agent, looking for suspicious financial transactions that could indicate terrorist activity. Eventually something really suspicious crops up, and then it's off to Russia for some good old fashioned espionage.


Guardians of the Galaxy

This IS a badass poster though.
"All heroes start somewhere."

Hello former friends and colleagues, welcome back to The Tagline! Originally I had planned to put off seeing Guardians until a little later (mostly just because I knew it would be in theaters forever and I wanted to see some other things that were less likely to stick around) but circumstances shifted and I ended up seeing it over the weekend. If you've lived in deep space for the past week or so... I imagine you still were picking up a lot of chatter about this movie, as roughly the entire internet has been orgasming about it basically since it was released, or some time that was significantly BEFORE that. Still, some background. Guardians of the Galaxy represents a relatively gutsy gamble on the part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, focusing on a group of interplanetary misfits who end up... guarding the galaxy I guess. First among them, as the unifying force that makes them a team, is Peter Quill, aka Starlord (Chris Pratt, having a busy year between this and The Lego Movie), who in the movie is abducted by aliens approximately 3 minutes after the movie starts, and 10 seconds after his mom dies from what looked like cancer. The movie jumps forward to his adulthood, where he has become a Ravager (who are like space pirates I guess? They are the guys who abducted him) and steals stuff from places while banging ladies who are interesting colors like pink why not. A particular salvage brings him into conflict with Ronan the Accuser, who if that sounds like a guy you don't want to be in conflict with to you, you've got a good sense for guys who hang out in giant space ships waiting to kill you with a fucking hammer. The guy's space fortress is called the Dark Aster for crap's sake. This is clearly a dude lacking a sense of humor, which is too bad for Starlord because that's one of his strongest attributes? I guess. Starlord's lot is tossed together with a motley group of cock-ups, including Gamora (Zoe Saldana gets green, maybe she liked the looks of her roomate at Starfleet Academy), who has betrayed Ronan and Thanos in order to prevent disaster, Draxx the Destroyer (Dave Batista, as in the pro wrestler) who seeks revenge against Ronan for the death of his family, and the duo Rocket (who is a talking raccoon voiced by Bradley Cooper) and Groot (a humanoid tree voiced and motion captured by Vin Diesel). 
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