Not So Grand Finale on Civil War Gold

DATELINE: History Waterlogged

Hackley malignedMuch Maligned Charles Hackley!

As we come to the end of Marty Lagina’s substitute Oak Island gold hunt series, there is no joy in Michigan. We have come to the final episode of Curse of Civil War Gold for season one.

When last we saw Kevin Dykstra, he seemed to have broken a hip during a dive yet is released by the hospital a day later on crutches with a diagnosis of fracture and pain. That won’t stop him.

Wine mogul Lagina was not so sympathetic: he immediately suggested bringing in professional diver John Chatterton who was known as the buzz-killer on Curse of Oak Island.

The genuine disappointment rankles on Dykstra and his crew who sit glumly in their expensive chartered boat while Chatterton takes over. Dykstra even hesitates to accept the money man’s choice but knows better than to complain about millionaire backers.

In his own good fashion, Chatterton does not disappoint. He takes over and selects a different place to search than shown on the previous week. Dykstra’s boys sit on the boat like the proverbial monkeys, seeing and hearing and speaking no evil.

Of course, Chatterton finds nothing and returns to Florida with a shrug. It leaves Dykstra with egg on his face and a shell-case for a crutch.

No sooner had Chatterton left, suddenly Mr. Dykstra can do one more dive. Alas, his 80’ chartered boat shrinks to the size of something belonging to Captain Quint from Jaws.

One more dive before winter and bad ratings close in, the gold hunters take video that shows what they claim is a gold bar in soggy lake bottom. It is enough of an enticement to convince Marty Lagina that the series deserves a second season.

To whet our appetite, they suggest Secretary of War Edwin Stanton was behind the plot to steal the Confederate gold.

Whether viewers agree, only History Channel knows for sure.

 

 

 

Two Godfathers in Righteous Kill

DATELINE:  Pacino & De Niro as Cop Team

two godfathers

Al Pacino and Robert De Niro have made several movies together. We were surprised by the 2008 entry called Righteous Kill from 2008. When this is all we will ever receive from the two legends in tandem, we take it gladly ten years later.

You have a special treat with this movie. The two legendary actors play New York detective partners. They must’ve flipped a coin to see who got which role. We suspect they have equal numbers of scenes, but play off each other quite well. Nothing less could be expected.

Their Lieutenant played by Brian Dennehy, notes that they must have about 120 years experience between them. Yes, they seem a little long in the tooth and beyond retirement age. This is especially noticeable in De Niro’s love scenes to a girl more than half his age.

Their foil cop detectives are played by John Leguizamo and Donnie Wahlberg, more age-appropriate detectives. They play mincemeat for laughs to the stars. Pacino calls them gay Starsky and Hutch.

There are many 60s and 70s references in this movie, like it should’ve been made 25 years earlier.

However, the stars will not disappoint their fans. Short of them playing mobsters, these roles are the best they probably could find in a script together.

The mystery about the serial killer may easily be figured out,  But the fun is watching Pacino and De Niro act up a storm.

Righteous kill pushes all the right buttons. It is formulaic, yes, but De Niro and Pacino transcend.

To prove we watched every minute including the credits, we can tell you that Pacino and De Niro each has a hairdresser; each has his own make up artist; each needs a personal Stand-in, and each has a personal driver, But Pacino has two personal assistants to De Niro’s one.

The movie is a game of one upsmanship.

 

 

 

 

Mona Lisa Mystery: Mother of Heavens!

DATELINE: Plausible Theory about Mona’s Secret

mona

A documentary on Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” is always worth a glance, but we nearly clamped down on this one immediately. Secret of Mona Lisa is fairly entertaining documentary theory, despite a few missteps.

It falsely noted that the painting has been famous for “centuries,” not exactly true as it has been only well-known since its kidnapping in 1911. Before that, it was not well-protected or well-considered.

Then, the documentary narrator noted that Leonardo died at the “advanced age of 67.”  Pardon us? Perhaps they meant that 67 was advanced in 1520. We hang tough.

It’s flatly called The Secret of Mona Lisa, to no surprise.

The point of the hour-long special was to come up with a plausible theory on Mona Lisa’s true identity. For years experts have grappled with the notion she was the third wife (albeit young trophy wife) of a rich Florentine silk merchant.

What businessman pays for a painting and never collects it? And worse, would he let his wife wear her worst, most colorless togs for the sitting?  Of course, some experts think this is not the portrait of La Gioconda, the businessman’s wife; that particular portrait may actually be lost.

However, there are no records of payment, collection, transfer, or disposition until after Leonardo’s death when his boyfriend and young companion, Salai, lists a Gioconda picture among his after-effects. That one is definitely lost.

So, the Louvre picture is an entirely different portrait, misidentified as Mona Lisa Gioconda, the merchant’s spouse.

We have considered for years that Leonardo painted himself in women’s clothes for this little subject. Then again, all Leonardo’s subject faces look alike, as if he used the mirror to save on model costs.

The film comes up with the best theory of Mona Lisa’s identity that we have ever heard: though again, there is no record of it being commissioned by one of the Medici family as a picture of an illegitimate son’s dead mother.

She is, in fact, a representation of all motherhood for Leonardo, perhaps his own mother, as he too was out of wedlock born.

Since in later years, we ourselves commissioned a painting of our long-gone mother in her youth to hang in our home, we know the idea is not so far-fetched. Old men like to see a picture of their youthful mother who died long ago, too young.

In that sense, this little documentary struck a chord with us.

 

 

 

 

 

Small Time Crime, Cheap

DATELINE: Big Town Movie

small town crime Superior Entertainment!

Billed as a darkly comic crime drama, we had visions of billboards along a highway with Oscar performances.

On top of that, this would-be up-dated film noir movie was being streamed for less than a dollar. If you want to convince people you have a bad movie, that will go a long way to achieving the effect.

Small Town Crime, whatever its price, is actually an interesting movie. Not quite an all-star cast, it has many familiar faces and highly competent actors who give us a detective story with a twist of lemon.

We failed to see any dark humor in an alcoholic policeman thrown off the force and desperately trying to solve a murder as a civilian to win back his job. John Hawkes looks even more weather-beaten and exhausted than Robert Mitchum or Humphrey Bogart in the role of laconic dick.

Slowly, as he recovers from his alcoholic haze, he seems to become the reformed detective he wishes he could be.

We were thrilled to see Octavia Spencer as star and producer. Add Anthony Anderson, Robert Forster, and Clifton Collins, and you have a cast worth watching. The good guys are delightful when they form their alliance. And who would not want to team up Clifton Collins and Robert Forster?

To reform his reputation and act the role of a hero, disgraced detective Mike Kendall (Hawkes) must go through the usual physical pains along the way. This is first-rate noir, even in color and mostly during the day in Utah where setting is suitably empty with beauty and sordid with criminals.

The film builds to its climax and grows in its appeal as a thriller.

 

 

To Utah & Back: Episode 4

 DATELINE: Curse of Civil War Gold

If you keep wondering when representatives of philanthropist Charles Hackley will sue the producers of this series for defamation of character, we are with you.  We are up to Episode 4 of The Curse of Civil War Gold and the defaming of Mr. Hackley continues full force.

The only curse from this series we see so far is the one put on viewers.

Gold panner Kevin Dykstra continues his unfounded assault on a 19th century banker who invested in a Utah gold mine, built a railroad, and according to speculation, brought Confederate gold out west to launder it.

There’s no gold like fool’s gold.

Evidence is in short supply, but conspiracy theory abounds. If you are wondering if this series can sink any lower, you should tune in next week when it literally hits bottom of Lake Michigan.

As for this week, what can you say about a group of grown men who drive 1700 miles to Utah and back in one week? Their excursion in the desert lasts about three days, and not one is apparently spent in a motel. Nor is there money for flying.

What’s interesting is how totally unprepared they truly are.

Indeed, they go out to Utah without a plan or previous research. When they get there, they ask passers-by for information. They never heard of the Internet.

Without any discernible information of reliable and valid import, they head out to the desert looking for railroad tracks. There is no local guide, no one with experience or expertise in desert conditions.

They have a gun and three campers and all-terrain vehicles to go looking for a needle in a haystack (their description).

Yes, they traipse through the mountains looking for old mine openings, no matter how dangerous or condemned.

One intrepid younger brother of Kevin Dykstra has the temerity to tell him not to enter a dangerous cave where a mountain lion has made its lair. (There are three brothers on this series, outdoing the Laginas by one).

Can this series deteriorate any faster?

Marty Lagina better give these guys food money, though not one looks like he is starved.

At hour’s end, they have no evidence for their efforts in Utah. They must go to Marty Lagina with only a silver coin found by old friend Gary Drayton.

Lo and behold, as they enter the palace of Marty Lagina, intimidating in itself, they discover he is not impressed with their lack of evidence. However, someone told him about the show’s ratings.  There’s gold in the History Channel audience.

He will finance another few episodes. Whether we have the interest to pursue them may be the bigger question. So many words, so little hard evidence. Ho-hum.

Trump: Not a Pretty Picture

DATELINE:  Overexposure of the President

AvenattiMickey Spillane Avenatti

We have not seen any hush money, and Trump’s lawyer has not threatened us with castration, so here goes:

Those who remember history know that the sex scandal element that brought down Michael Jackson and caused him to pay millions in punitive damage was a picture worth a few more dollars than words.

Michael Jackson, under court order and police escort, had to allow photos of his privates, which could be clearly identified by his accusers. Yes, the photos were spot on.

Now we hear from Stormy Daniels’ lawyer, the Mickey Spillane of crime, Mickey Avenatti, that his accuser can prove l’affair d’amour fou by describing the pigmentation of the pig.

If the thought of an obese president “perched” on the edge of his bed is not enough to make you think of snuff movies, the idea that we may hear that Trump’s best defense is to allow photos ‘where the sun don’t shine.’

Mr. Trump can take some consolation that the pictures of Michael Jackson have never been leaked, not even by Wikileaks, one of Trump’s favorites leaks. No, we don’t want to see Trump taking a leak in hand.

You may need more than Depends to hide the image from your mind’s eye.

If there never was a scene in which Mr. Trump was given thirty lashes with a wet newsmagazine on his Trump rump, we may need to have the pictures to disprove it.

At least now we know where the media can hurt Trump on his red rump, according to his Snapchat.

The question is not to be or not, but whether Stormy weather may sink the Trump brand.

A photo of Trump’s genitalia may not be a pretty picture, but Mickey Avenatti seems willing to pose the question for animal crackers. Infra-red pix may finally send the only woman who matters in Trump’s life, Melania, to give him a swift kick to his exposed  scrotum.

 

 

 

Civil War Gold: In Plain Wrapper

DATELINE:  History Channel’s Lack of Glitter

Those amateur gold diggers are still trying to impress Marty Lagina, no easy mark when it comes to wheedling his money out of his winery, on Curse of the Civil War Gold. The hapless hunters of the new series insist that Jeff Davis’s stash of gold was stolen and dumped in Lake Michigan.

Now, if only someone would believe them!

The latest episode, number 3, is called “In Plain Sight,” but nothing is obvious, except the lack of logic in the entire gold hunt operation.

Leader Dykstra never really tells us where his ideas come from: just old research. So, it’s hard to know why he is so convinced that there is a tunnel under a street connecting two banks, or why he mistrusts a 19th century Michigan philanthropist, accusing him of money-laundering, receiving stolen goods, and deceiving everyone.

When Mr. Dykstra gathers his amateur crew to take down a foundation wall under the old bank where he contends the gold was hidden, it nearly falls on them. Talk about idiocy. Marty Lagina has a moral obligation to either give them money, or have them locked up.

Oh, there was no evidence in the bank vault—and it didn’t belong to Al Capone either. Those who don’t remember Geraldo Rivera are doomed to repeat history.

We enjoyed Marty Lagina saying that the new cast reminds him of his own Oak Island searches. The big difference is that they are broke, and he has a gold business in grapes. Yep, Marty already has his millions and seems unwilling to cough up the moolah for these alleged researchers.

Of course, the old standby comes into play: yes, it’s those pesky Masons who have taken the Confederate gold, and left all kinds of symbols in the town architecture for treasure hunters where they hid the gold. These guys find a giant X right in the center of town.

We are exasperated with blaming the Masons for everything from Oak Island to ancient aliens. If our great Uncle John was still with us, we’d put his 33rd degree Masonic feet to the fire to see what he knew about this stuff.

Hernandez Doc Part 2, Revisionists’ Whitewash

DATELINE:  Innocent at Last Laugh!

 

scary

It only took 24 hours before participants began to regret their roles in the documentary Aaron Hernandez Uncovered. Several Boston media people expressed concern that their words were misused or taken out of context.

Former Patriot and one of the experts cited, Christian Fauria, disdained the “shady” nature of attorney Jose Baez’s production. Two conservative radio personalities also expressed the concern that the final product did not come out the way they expected.

So much for cogent experts and their insights, as Jose Baez faces the camera, in consulting producer’s hubris, to state he could have won the verdict in the first trial. He felt that Hernandez was one of three potential killers—and the prosecutors wanted to fry the big fish, Patriot star Hernandez.

We hate to tell consulting producer and blowhard Baez, but jurors can find someone guilty of murder without a weapon because they decide what “reasonable doubt” is.

Shayanna Hernandez certainly celebrates her obtuseness by expressing disappointment that Robert Kraft, owner of the Patriots, who was always so nice to Hernandez, had the temerity to tell the truth, even if it did not help the murderer. She never married the player, and did dirty work to protect his income, and lists herself as Mrs. Hernandez in the credits.

Re-enactments also showed all three stalking Odin Lloyd before Hernandez shot him. Of course, two of those present insisted that Lloyd and Hernandez went off into the dark together for whatever purposes Lloyd presumed.

Baez insists that there was no motive for Hernandez to shoot people, but that he was merely the victim of his concussed career. This ignores the ends Hernandez would pursue to keep his gay sex life from being revealed—and alienating his cadre of semi-macho fans and media sycophants like Kirk Minihane.

Baez managed to win an acquittal for the double homicide charge, which likely makes him accessory to something.

Some might call the Hernandez tale a Greek tragedy, but it more likely is in the sham tradition of a Fox News special.

 

 

Aaron Hernandez Uncovered and Covered Up

DATELINE:  Strange Case

strange

When hotshot celebrity attorney Jose Baez becomes the producer of a documentary on his dead client, you know he will make his retainer fees one way or another.

Aaron Hernandez Uncovered, Part 1 gathers together a unique and motley crew to assess the innocence of the former Patriot star who was an alleged serial killer.

You might also question the cast of interviewed experts and their lack of objectivity—from the moronic sports media who set themselves up as knowledgeable about all facets of gay life to psychological suffering. They might better serve us by admitting they know nothing.

We certainly can understand the position of Hernandez’s girlfriend and mother of his child. She has an unenviable and unavoidable role as his defender. Like Custer’s wife, she will be a formidable force for decades to come.

If anything, from his earliest years, Aaron was regarded as a meal-ticket—from his father who died too soon, to the series of pals and gangsters who saw him as a mark too easy.

We too are guilty of having written about Hernandez and exploited his troubles, with a sarcastic and mean-spirited approach day-by-day during his two trials. You’d be surprised at how unpopular our blog has become, accusing us of emotional sadism.

We noted what Jose Baez tells us as gospel truth and insight, is likely the opposite in reality.

Warning signs are never far away in hindsight. Hernandez had plenty. We could likely learn more from the people who have chosen NOT to participate in this documentary: many Patriot teammates who knew him best.

Where was Tom Brady who trained with Hernandez and even invited him to California for a pre-kill visit? Gronk never befriended him, keeping a distance, and Wes Welker’s run-in was a predictor of a dangerous character. It’s in our book.

Tebow, the Pouncey Twins, and other enablers at Florida never agree to speak in this film.

Kraft and Belichick have taken to revisionist history, which excludes anything Hernandez, having nearly been roped into his trials.

Part One is painfully and skillfully adept at skirting the gay issues that are likely at the heart of his troubles, starting with his endowment that gave him a free ride in the gay world. He was a big man on campus and in the locker room, and he was proud to publicize it.

Featuring the most flattering pix of Hernandez, the story slants away from psychopathia: according to Baez, spindly and epicene Carlos Ortiz was a bodyguard to Aaron. He tended to like slight men who compared to his bizarre ideal of tattoo macho mesomorph.

Groundwork is laid in Part One to note Hernandez was a ‘walking concussion’ poster child. Concussions made him do it, and you can blame the NFL and football violence for that.

 

 

Civil War Gold De-Railed

 

Drayton

DATELINE:  More Gary Drayton Please!

In the second episode of The Curse of Civil War Gold, we learn what it’s like to conduct a treasure hunt on the cheap in a show called “Right on Track.” Not even the narrative voice of Robert Clotworthy can save this mess.

Because Marty Lagina has not come through with funding, the alleged treasure hunters continue their amateur hour shenanigans. We presume Marty will cough up some bucks or this show will not be on much longer, or would not be on TV at all.

This series is apparently an exercise in what happens when people over-extend their reach. Without trust in real experts, these hunters make bonehead decisions—and seem to be lucky beyond belief. It’s anti-intellectualism in America writ big.

Of course, maybe the unwashed public loves this kind of fraud: High school teachers gone amok, and President Trump gone bonkers.

Kevin Dykstra is the leader with his brother, in a blatant imitation of the Lagina brothers, and he assembles a group of family and friends to excavate a beach along Lake Michigan in a truly ridiculous effort. Without real knowledge or safety, they begin digging in the sand. Most nitwits know this is a recipe for disaster. Dykstra’s minions cannot overcome the leakage into the pits they dig.

Information tells them that the stolen steam engine from 1869 is buried there, derailed after unloading Confederate gold into the lake. It may be feasible, but with plans like those excavation ideas, no one will find much of anything.

In the meantime, kingpin Marty Lagina sits in his palace with a checkbook, demanding more proof. If you love this kind of thing, you may be in your element.

A new style of colorized Civil War photos starts to look like comic book illustrations, also used recently on the Oak Island series. We are in familiar territory here. We doubt that can stretch this into a five-year plan, but History Channel works in mysterious ways.

We still say, give Gary Drayton, metal detective, his own show.

Kingpin Whitey Bulger on History Channel

DATELINE:  King Whitey & Crown & Anchor Gay Bar!

Jimmy  Rough Trade Whitey Bulger

Leave to History Channel to insult women with their series called Kingpin during Women’s History Month. The good news for women is that the first episode, of Kingpin features no women.

Indeed, the episode glorifies the bloody thughood of young Jimmy Bulger who rose from boy prostitute to homicidal maniac. Oh, you mean they didn’t mention the fact that Whitey Bulger started out as a frequenter of gay bars in Boston in the 1950s. The moniker Whitey came from his alabaster skin and blond hair.

The producers also left out the salient fact that Whitey’s brother was one of the most powerful politicians in Boston for a generation, the founder of the St. Paddy’s Day roast, Billy Bulger of South Boston.

Apart from general inaccuracy and consulting a bunch of stiffs who are thrilled at Whitey’s shenanigans, the series is nothing short of appalling. Boston ought to sue History Channel for slander and libel.

We remember that Boston was not Chicago in the 1920s. Crime was localized, however violent.  People like Howie Carr, radio celeb and sometime author, know better, but jumped at the chance to be on screen.

Carr knows better than anyone how Whitey, known as Jimmy in his more refined circles, was a frequenter of Jacques, one of the more notorious gay bars of the the 1950s in Bay (aka Gay) Village, among his foibles and indiscretions.

Cutie-pie and rough trade Jimmy carried on in P-town too, at the Crown and Anchor Bar, where he stayed with its owner often. There, too, he canoodled his affair with movie star Sal Mineo. Oh, they left that out too?

sal Sal Mineo

You don’t want to alienate the audience for this kind of drivel. They wouldn’t cotton to affairs among the cognoscenti when a bloodbath would do.

You can check out most of this stuff in books (try Mafia & the Gays) on the Mafia and Whitey, including one by Howie Carr.

How Many Oscars to Put Up a Billboard?

DATELINE:  Ebbing Tide!

McDormand

Two major Oscars went to the star actors of Three Billboards Near Hibbing, Minnesota, or was it Ebbing, Missouri?

We think the ridiculous title seemed laughable at first, but becomes seriously apt by the end.

Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell play borderline sociopathic and violent characters who are held in check by the small-town sheriff played by Woody Harrelson.

Audiences have been deeply bothered by a racist cop (who may be latently gay) and vindictive mother of a murdered girl who become, weirdly, sympathetic, owing to the brilliant performances of Oscar winners Rockwell and McDormand.

The audience faces a story wherein characters repent and try to mend their nasty ways. It’s not looked upon with much favor. It becomes far worse if they turn into outright vigilantes, leaving us with complete moral and ethical ambiguity. We seem to forget Bruce Willis has just released his remake of Death Wish, the ultimate film about taking the law into one’s hands, just to entertain us.

The Oscar winners are surrounded by other tour de force actors, playing small-town Missourians to the hilt. And, there were likely no other stars who could have played the leads: we doubt that Meryl Streep or Tom Cruise could have pulled it off with such aplomb or lack of glamour.

The story has absurdist elements that make for that most deplorable of all genres: dramedy or black comedy, with fewer and fewer laughs along the way.

Perhaps life is not so black and white as good guys and bad after all, but our movies usually refuse to reflect this. This film challenges its audience to live with moral ambiguity in their art, as well as in life.

This is the first movie in quite some time in which characters mention Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde in the same scene, among other quirks, making this the most intriguing film of the year.

 

 

 

Grapes & Gold of Wrath: Civil War Curses

DATELINE:  Look Away, Look Away, Dixieland!

ClotRobert Clotworthy

If there is a revelation about Civil War gold in this new series, the big goldmine belongs to Marty Lagina. He has put his production company with Ancient Alien and Oak Island narrator Robert Clotworthy’s dulcet tones behind a new show, Curse of the Civil War Gold.

Marty Lagina admits as he exits Oak Island for the season, that he has money to burn. Why does he need a gold treasure when he already owns one? For the first time in five seasons on Curse of Oak Island, we are treated to a visit to his business on the new series, which happens to be a giant winery in Michigan.

There’s gold in them thar grapes.

So, Lagina finds a group of high school teachers with a penchant for getting rich slowly who come to him for funding. It is a surprise that Marty allows them into his inner sanctum boardroom. His office kingdom is right out of the movies, and these obsequious gold diggers beg for money.

The formula is the same:  two brothers, their close friend (also a history teacher in a Michigan high school). Since this is hardly the kind of eclectic, adventurous crew we find on other adventure reality shows, Marty Lagina throws them Gary Drayton, his Australian metal detective, the only real holdover from the Oak Island show.

Lagina will appear as a deus ex machina, or Professor Kingsfield, at the start and finish of each episode, putting down his cynical pronouncements.

When the Michigan high school teachers set off for Dixieland and Georgia where Jeff Davis was captured, we wondered how the locals will take to Yankee hunters wanting to find the Confederate treasure.

This is an enterprise borne out of greed and likely to be as unpleasant as suggesting that J. Wilkes Booth and Jesse James were members of a Masonic-style Knights-Templar wannabe group known as the Knights of the Golden Circle, behind the gold curse.

A bunch of pro-slavery advocates with gold to hide, the KGC and their gold cache should be justifiable confiscation, kind of a government asset forfeiture.

Will a bunch of mundane Michigan high school teachers take the prize? This series is betting you care. Marty Lagina is crushing his grapes before their time.

 

Wrap Up Oak Island: Stuff Dreams Are Made Of

DATELINE:  Like a Hunt for the Maltese Falcon

Falcon.jpeg

If ever a season of hope was upon Oak Island, the fifth year of the series dig was it. Yet, the curse of the treasure hunt was that hope may be their worst enemy.

As the team of hunters gathered at the end of The Curse of Oak Island for an assessment, we came away yet again with a great respect for 94-year old Dan Blankenship. He cut through all the discoveries and made a simple pronouncement. He felt 90% of what they found was on the surface, not under ground.

He wondered about the expense. Yet, he was also even as he comes around the bend toward a century of life, allured by the mystery of the place where he has spent half his life.

We went around the table at the faces of we have come to know quite well: Dan, the wise elder, to Gary Drayton, our metal detector, to Alex Lagina, the hot young nephew of the expedition leaders, to his bearded cousin—and a couple of historians who lead the scribe element of grand expeditions from Alexander the Great to Lewis & Clark.

Dumb luck was lost to dumb decisions, that made the dive team into a 75-foot shaft disheartening. The wish for a steel plate over a treasure chest is the stuff of dreams. If Oak Island is just another Maltese Falcon, we are satisfied with the adventure of it all.

Will there be another season? You can bet your Nielsen ratings on it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life in 2049 Once Again Falls Short

 DATELINE: Disappointing

 sean Young 2049

Sean Young with Body Double and Advanced CGI

If Blade Runner 2049 is any indication, Los Angeles is not going to improve any from the first Blade Runner. We believe it seems to snow much of the time.

If we are going back to the future, give us Looper. It looked like a place we’d like to visit, not this horror.

Last time we caught Ryan Gosling, he was singing and dancing in Los Angeles. This time around, he appears to be a replicant, or some derivative thereof. It’s hard to tell a Tyrell replicant robot from the latest bioengineered creatures.

Gosling is an unhappy, soulless creature. No time to sing and dance here.

There are still ‘blade runners’ hired to exterminate these illegal older versions by newer versions. What we have here is the revolutionary notion that these machines can procreate semi-humans. That inspires the new Tyrell model mogul, in Jared Leto’s odd performance.

It’s complicated.

It’s also a mess of a movie, running nearly three hours of unremitting Dickensian darkly future predictions.

You have a remarkable cast, including Robin Wright as the head cop—and appearance by Edward James Olmos in the retirement home, and Sean Young appears as her ever-young self in a cameo that must take CGI to the limits. She doesn’t look a day older than the 1982 movie. She’s now 58. Pee Wee Herman should be jealous.

Harrison Ford is around mostly for decoration because you don’t have a movie without him as Deckard, older than dirt.

If the movie doesn’t leave you comatose, you may be a replicant. If someone believed that this film would stand up to the frequent re-views like the original film did, you’d be deluded. This is not the classic, brilliant first movie. It’s a shake-your-money-maker mind-numbing sequel.

Fans of the first film paid homage by giving this one an Oscar for special effects.