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San Diego, CA – This weekend at San Diego Comic Con (SDCC), after a seemingly interminable wait, fans of Amazon’s hit series The Man in the High Castle finally have the answer to their biggest question: when is the show coming back? To the audience’s delight, Amazon confirmed that season three will premiere on October 5th, 2018.

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To further whet their fans’ appetites, the series’ showrunners also released a new trailer for the upcoming season during their panel at SDCC. 

SDCC 2018 & The Longer than Expected Road to High Castle Season 3

Season two of the show debuted in December 2016, after which there had very few indicators of when season three would see the light of day.

In February of 2017 Amazon Prime renewed High Castle for its third season, and filming began in late June of last year.

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Additionally first reported by Deadline, Amazon publicly released their order to renew the series for its fourth season as well. No date for its release has yet been revealed.

At this weekend’s San Diego Comic Con, The Man in the High Castle announced not only the answer to the most burning question – thats is, when season 3 will debut –  but also shared its first substantive trailer regarding season three since October 2017.

Though only a minute in length, the powerful sneak peak will further stoke the flames for the show’s ravenous fans.

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New High Castle Trailer: Further Exploration into Science Fiction, and a Mobilizing Resistance

This newest trailer for High Castle season three covers an exceptional amount of ground and leaves the audience with little question as to what the newest installment will focus upon.

The clip depicts further collaboration between Juliana Crain and Hawthorne Abendsen – the so-called “Man in the High Castle.”

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Specifically, they are working to combat the Greater German Reich’s experimental weapon which allows them by means of technology to traverse the series’ multiverse; all courtesy of Nazi R&D. This marks the shows most forward foray into The Man in the High Castle‘s science-fiction origin up to this point.

Moreover, it depicts a revitalization of the American resistance against the respective occupying Axis powers Germany and Imperial Japan. 

The Man in the High Castle is one of Amazon Prime’s most watched series, based on Philip K. Dick’s novel of the same title published in 1962.

The series is set in the United States, in a fictional 1962 in which the Axis won WWII – and occupying a defeated US.

To enjoy the sneak peek, click at the top to watch the newest trailer for High Castle season 3!

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The Man in the High Castle is exclusively available for streaming on Amazon Prime

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Paul K. DiCostanzo is the Managing Editor for TGNR. He is a noted public speaker, an emerging historian of the Second World War, a vocal advocate for Crohn’s Disease/Ulcerative Colitis, and highly regarded interviewer. Prior to TGNR, Paul has a background in American National Security and American Foreign Policy. He has served as the Managing Editor for TGNR since March 2015.

CadreCinematique

Mourning Filmstruck

The death of Filmstruck is the latest symptom of our rapidly devolving film culture: This is a look at what we’ve lost, and what lies ahead.

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Filmstruck logo
Image Credit: Filmstruck

The demise of Filmstruck is a major loss to the world of cinema. If you were to log on to film Twittertm – that specialist ghetto of cinephiles (“or what you’d call film buffs” as Matthew remarks early in the late Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Dreamers) you would realize that many of us are in mourning for a rapidly depleting film culture.

Across the country, most Americans do not have access to an art house theater, and it’s even less likely that they would have access to a repertory theater. Those in New York City can pick their poison between the Metrograph and Film Forum and Village Quad Cinema. Heck they’ve even got the NiteHawk in Williamsburg. Those in LA have the New Beverly. Most of us, however, are just plain out of luck.

Two years ago Filmstruck seemed like the solution. A collaboration between Warner Brothers and the Criterion Collection, Filmstruck was a hand-curated outfit that seemed like film school on a Roku. From Rohmer to Ozu, Sembene to Akerman – world cinema was at your fingertips. You want to spend 83 minutes with Alma from Persona? Sure can. You could check in with Guido Anselmi or Sam Spade or Mabel Longhetti or any of several versions of Orpheus by just pressing a button…and now it’s gone.

A Half Remembered Dream Factory

Claudia Cardinale in Frederico Fellini's 8 1/2Francinex/Cineriz

Claudia Cardinale in Frederico Fellini’s 8 1/2

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Every day we seem to forget more of our history. Hollywood is no exception. Often they seem to be leading the way. Hollywood has always been America’s dream factory, and there are some real talented and nice people out there – people who care desperately about movies.

Yet, because of the vagaries of corporate America, and the rush to the all-mighty dollar that capitalism surely compels, Hollywood has become a system that is ruled by puffed-up Harvard MBA’s in slick two-button suits looking for ten percent profit on the next remake.

Now, I don’t really have anything against these people, it’s just that many of them don’t really know or give a lick about the classic days of the industry, the history of world cinema, or even current world cinema beyond their own distribution pacts. They only worry whether their new one hundred million dollar piece of content is going to be allowed to play in China, and whether it will allay some its substantial budget with international pre-sales.

In turn, we have the creation of these monster conglomerates through very big mergers such as Disney buying Fox, or in our case AT&T buying Time Warner, which has led directly to AT&T shutting down Filmstruck.

See, they want to invest only in core businesses that will generate substantial return. This makes complete sense from a business perspective. Except, in the olden days of Hollywood the guys that ran the place, like Louis B. Mayer and Irving Thalberg, saw the picture business as more than just a profit machine. They understood they were creating a product that was intangible – a motion picture, not a widget.

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Ingmar Bergmans 'Persona' | Cadre Cinematique

Sure, they were interested in making money, they damn well weren’t commies, but at the same time they were making something near Art and they were passionate about it.

Cinema Homogenized

Lillian Gish in D.W. Griffith's Broken BlossomsD. W. Griffith

Lillian Gish in D.W. Griffith’s Broken Blossoms

There was a time when it felt like cinema could change the world. In his review of The Dreamers (to circle back), Roger Ebert reminisces that back in ’68, Chicagoans were lined up on the sidewalk in the rain to see Godard’s Weekend. Imagine that now? Wouldn’t happen.

AT&T closed Filmstruck because they believed it was niche. Great cinema like Casablanca and King Kong, The Seven Samurai and Weekend, which all those people lined up for all those years ago, is now just niche content.

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What’s the use of going to a movie theater if movies are just content no different from a YouTube video? Hollywood has forgotten its heroes. Cinema seems to have forgotten what cinema is all about – stories that move us or elucidate the world around us – or even sometimes elucidate feelings or emotions so deep-seated they would never stir without that silver-screen mirror.

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Agnes Varda's HappinessAgnès Varda

Agnes Varda’s Happiness

The last three movies I watched on Filmstruck were the creepy Japanese ghost story Tokaido Yotsuya Kaidan (1959), the vibrantly alive magical realist bossa nova-driven romance Black Orpheus (1959), and Mikio Naruse’s masterful Floating Clouds (1955). Maybe my feeling towards Filmstruck and cinema itself is like Naruse’s lovers’ warmer brighter past in French Indochina – a deeply romantic paradise to which we can never return.

I certainly hope that’s not the case. I hope the future of cinema and the future of repertory streaming services spreads out before us like a mighty bounty.

To ensure this, we all have do our part. Watch movies. Buy movies.  All movies.  Become cine-literate in everything. Especially the classics.

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Preservation in the Post-Filmstruck Era

Lourdes de Oliveira in Marcel Camus' Black OrpheusDispat Films/Gemma/Tupan Filmes

Lourdes de Oliveira in Marcel Camus’ Black Orpheus

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What’s next? The terrific physical media company The Criterion Collection is starting their own streaming channel. Will it succeed? Only if enough of us are interested in preserving our globe’s sometimes shared, sometimes divergent cultural heritage.

Mikio Naruse's Autumn Has Already StartedMikio Naruse

Mikio Naruse’s Autumn Has Already Started

Films are doorways into past and future worlds. These stories have shaped us, and allowed a plethora of fascinating cultures to share their preoccupations, hopes, and fears with other, sometimes very different people, in every far-flung nook and cranny of this astonishing world.  These dreams, stories, and feelings are too important to be allowed to just fade away.

Please preserve them.

Write to David B. Sporn at dsporn@tgnreview.com

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Entertainment & Arts

The Man in the High Castle Universe: How the Axis Won WW2

Exactly what the hell went so wrong to create the High Castle dystopia? Second World War historian Paul K. DiCostanzo examines the possibilities.

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With the interminable wait for season three of Amazon Prime’s portrayal of Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle concluding on October 5th, we pose the singular question underlying the series thus far: How could the Axis powers have defeated the United States and its Allies in The Man in the High Castle Universe? The following interpretation is one possible “universe” of Man in the High Castle. One in which we explore the biggest question for most viewers: How the Axis won WW2, or more specifically, “How did the US lose World War II?”

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As the show straddles the genres of Alternate History and Science Fiction, the world of High Castle is based on counter-factual history. That being said, the scenario below is projected from historical events that could explain the tragic collapse of the Allies and ultimate rise of the Axis powers.

The Man in the High Castle Universe: What went wrong?

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(A stark contrast in the two above maps that mark the conclusion of the historical and fictional WW2)

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For an American living in the 21st Century, the victory in the Second World War is even more fundamental to their worldview than even the American Revolution of 1776. It is, after all, the founding story of the modern United States and the rest of the world as we know it.


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The concept of the Allies losing to the satanic enemy of Nazi Germany and its Axis collaborators hits home in primordial fashion. It is a concept so deeply disturbing that the dystopia such a defeat would create is generally unthinkable. Yet in the High Castle universe, that is exactly what happened. So, what exactly went wrong in the High Castle timeline?

How the Axis won WW2: The Man in the High Castle Universe Historical Contradiction

In the High Castle universe, many well known events of the Second World War have outcomes clearly contrary to the viewer’s universe. In both the series and the classic novel, details are scarce as to exactly how the Axis managed victory over the Allies.


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The Complete Guide to The Man in the High Castle Season 3 - Premiering 10/5


Putting aside the little information divulged by the show so far – including Nazi Germany’s clear development of the first strategic nuclear weapon – what happened to the Allied nations that allowed this disaster to occur? While there are several distinct possibilities, one must start with the life of one Sir Winston Spencer Churchill.

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10 Things Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 Must Do to Avoid Epic Failure

Season 2 of Star Trek: Discovery is the swing season for the series. These are several directives to ensure this newest season gets it just right.

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Over the past two months new information about the greater Star Trek franchise have hit fans at warp speed. Between the announcement of a new series featuring Patrick Stewart and the contractual standstill leading perhaps to the fourth film in the Kelvin timeline’s demise – there has been no lack of blockbluster headlines. However, the project which will shortly eclipse all the rest is the upcoming sophomore season of Star Trek: Discovery with viewers paying particular attention to where the showrunners wish to take the series. Not to be left out, the following are ten guidelines – directives as it were – to ensure Star Trek: Discovery season 2 will not fall on its face. We begin with the introduction of a new-familiar face: Mr. Spock.

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1. A Tale of Two Spock’s: The Delicate Introduction of Ethan Peck in Discovery Season 2

Star Trek: Discovery season 2 Ethan Peck and Zachary QuintoWikicommons

The two Spock’s: Ethan Peck & Zachary Quinto

I fully concede the pragmatic reality of the entertainment industry, and that Zachery Quinto was very unlikely to assume the role of the prime universe Spock in Star Trek: Discovery season 2 – but I cannot help stopping and thinking, “What the crap?”

With the announcement that Ethan Peck will play Spock in Star Trek: Discovery season 2, there are now two actors, in the prime of their career, portraying effectively the same character at the same time: Quinto on the big screen and Peck on my iPhone. Lets all be honest with ourselves, that’s really friggin’ weird.

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Though Alex Kurtzman and the current Star Trek braintrust were nothing less than effusive in praise for the talented Peck, there are greater factors at play by having more than one Spock.


“We searched for months for an actor who would, like them, bring his own interpretation to the role. An actor who would, like them, effortlessly embody Spock’s greatest qualities, beyond obvious logic: empathy, intuition, compassion, confusion and yearning. Ethan Peck walked into the room inhabiting all of these qualities, aware of his daunting responsibility to Leonard, Zack and the fans, and ready to confront the challenge in the service of protecting and expanding on Spock’s legacy. In that spirit, we’re thrilled to welcome him to the family.” – Alex Kurtzman, Star Trek: Discovery Executive Producer


The Reality of Dueling Spock’s

To be fair there has been a Spock duo before, however those were very different circumstances. It was clear for those who have eyes to see that it was a passing of the torch. The beloved Leonard Nimoy, in the best of Star Trek tradition, played the role of a venerated character sanctifying the newest Trek foray with his saintly presence. What Trek fans are dealing with now, whether they yet realize it or not, is a competition that is at best irksome.

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Depending on their performance, as well as their dictated place in the narratives they inherit, one of them will ultimately be accepted as THE Spock while the other will be relegated to “Other Spock,” a second class citizen in Trek canon. Not only will this be unfair to the actors who portray him, it is a profound disservice to the character himself to assume this baggage.

The best one can hope for under these circumstances is that Peck will knock this role in Star Trek: Discovery season 2 out of the park. In the end that is always what will matter most and that each “Spock” can be appreciated in there respective spheres.

Speaking of troublesome duplicates…

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Solo: A Star Wars Story REVIEW

In this newest incarnation of Disney-era Star Wars films, Solo: A Star Wars Story adds to the questionable new legacy.

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Solo: A Star Wars Story
Image Credit: Disney/LucasFilm

Solo: A Star Wars Story is out, and since its release the film has proven to be as polarizing as other Disney-era LucasFilm installments for the franchise.

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For Star Wars fans of every generation, the back story of the series favorite smuggler and scoundrel has possessed a certain mystery. Within the scope of the live-action film adaptation of the iconic saga, the audience has only been given minor snippets of Han’s past.

Solo: A Star Wars Story – The Down Low

Solo: A Star Wars Story begins to shed light on his epic brotherhood with Chewbacca, the genesis of the Millennium Falcon, and his early exploits with one Lando Calrissian. With so much on the line presenting his personal history front and center, could it possibly live up to the hype?

Also by popular demand, some have inquired how I think about and analyze movies when I review them. For those interested, these are my insights into how my reviews are created.

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As with every adaptation of Star Wars, no one fan is ever lacking an opinion regarding every detail – major or minor alike. What did you think of Solo: A Star Wars Story? What did you love? What would you have changed? Would you have made the movie at all? Is Disney/Lucas Film saturating the market with four feature films in the last three years? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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HBO’s Westworld Season 2 Big Reveal: Delos’ Secret Business Plan is Replacing God

Make no mistake about it, you heard it here first – Delos’ big secret business plan is breaking into the immortality industry and cornering the market.

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HBO Westworld season 2
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Tonight HBO debuts the long awaited and highly anticipated second season of Westworld. The 16 month hiatus since the conclusion of season one has been filled with many questions and theories spun by the series’ ravenous audience. Yet with all of the many thought provoking narrative and intellectual details, one question persists that supersedes all others: What is Delos’ top secret business plan that has lead them to try and sneek out of the park a massive amount of ambiguous data that the story has yet to define? The answer is clear: Delos is going into the business of selling immortality to the highest bidders.

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Westworld Season 2 – The Quest for the “Code”

Season one of Westworld concluded with several unanswered questions. One big question is: what type of data about their guests has Westworld’s parent company Delos been collecting and why is it so important?

The first season mainly described the data – referred to as “the code” – by stating what it is not. Lee Sizemore (Simon Quarterman), Westworld’s Head of Narrative, finds this out in his never ending ambition to ingratiate himself to those higher-up on the corporate totem pole. In his first attempt, Sizemore implies to Westworld Quality Assurance Director Theresa Cullen (Sidse Babett Knudsen) that he understands Delos’s “real interest” in Westworld lays far outside playing cowboy. Theresa confirms that “this place is one thing to the guests… and something completely different to management.” (“The Original”) However, when she presses Sizemore to explain to her what “management’s real interests are,” his bluff is laid bare, and Theresa provides no further details. (“The Original”)

When Sizemore next plies the Executive Director for Delos’ Board of Directors, Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson), with his theory that the code is a “trove of blackmail” that Delos has collected on the park’s many high-profile guests, Hale scoffs dismissively at this peon – insisting Sizemore is “not thinking big enough.” (“The Bicameral Mind”)

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So what is the enigmatic intellectual property known as “the code”? Theresa Cullen, who was recruited by Delos to smuggle this critical information out of the park, believes the code refers to the sophisticated programming technology—“the hosts’ minds, the storylines”—that give the androids the appearance of life. Charlotte Hale cuts her short, however, because that code is not what she is talking about. Charlotte is referring to a second code, one that has to do with an ongoing “research project” that involves over three decades of data collected by the hosts on the guests to the park; one whose inestimable value far supersedes that of the Westworld park itself. (Trompe L’Oeil)

Guests of Westworld are Both Customers and Research Subjects in the Quest for Immortality

So, what information have the hosts been collecting about their guests? In short, everything. To continually provide a seamless premium park experience, a host must dynamically evaluate their guests at all times, constantly absorbing and analyzing behavioral, emotional, and general cognitive data that a guest unwittingly provides through the steady stream of moment-to-moment interactions with a given host’s artificial intelligence.

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This psychological data is also paired with physiological information obtained by Delos from their guests as part of their requisite pre-arrival screening process. When these sets of data are amalgamated, one discovers that the second code, the data Delos is dying to exclusively control, is the code of consciousness itself. Such a distillate of individualized sentience could then be downloaded into a new artificial body not unlike a host, whenever the natural body nears death and thus confers and transfers immortality. Such a venture, if successful, would be no cottage industry. Immortality would be an industry that Delos would establish an unassailable monopoly over.

The Subtle yet Substantive Evidence from Season 1

Dr. Robert Ford (Sir Anthony Hopkins), Westworld’s Co-Founder and Park Director, cryptically foreshadows Delos’s designs in the first episode of season one, musing to his number one Bernard Lowe (Jeffrey Wright) that, “we can cure any disease, keep even the weakest of us alive, and… perhaps we shall even resurrect the dead. Call forth Lazarus from his cave.” (“The Original”)

Ford also calls Delos out on their literal death-defying designs in his final confrontation with Theresa Cullen. Cornered by Ford’s obstinate unwillingness to cede any such information – and by extension his exclusive control of the hosts – Theresa warns Ford that he has been “playing God for long enough.” In response Ford specifies, “I simply wanted to tell my stories. It was you people who wanted to play God with your little undertaking.” (Trompe L’Oeil)

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It is significant that Ford makes this particular accusation, as he was the one who pointed out to Bernard and the host protagonist Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) that, in Michelangelo’s “Creation of Adam,” the shape behind God’s body is reminiscent of the human brain. Thereby suggesting that God’s gift of life to Adam was in fact the gift of his mind. If Delos can successfully transfer minds from one organic human body to another inorganic human appearing host without constraint, to Ford, they truly are playing God.

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HBO and Westworld Writers Providing Clues Far and Wide

The final evidence that this is Delos’s master plan derives from the fictional company itself, and a site developed by Westworld’s creative staff for dramatic immersion. On a website developed for “Delos Destinations”, a visitor can go through the process of signing-up to visit the park. A crucial pre-visit procedure is a screening survey in which they ask questions to assess aspects of your personal psychology, not unlike the questions the host Angela (Talulah Riley) asks of younger William (Jimmi Simpson) when he first arrives at Westworld in the episode “Chestnut.” Some questions seem pretty standard, others are more interesting, then you arrive at this doozy:

HBO Westworld season 2

[/media-credit] The silver bullet?

Westworld Season 2 & Delos master design – in short

While so many of us are anxiously awaiting the first installment of Westworld season 2 later tonight, it is reasonable to conclude that we will not receive all of the answers we want immediately. Given the masterfully constructed and detailed narrative produced thus far, there is every reason to believe that the show’s writers will continue to reveal them drop by proverbial drop.

To that end, it also seems very unlikely that Delos’ top secret plans are another tired trope of developing super military technology, or some other highly tread path. While such ambitions are certainly logical given the technology as the audience has come to understand it, Westworld has an incredible track record of sophistication and creativity that would make such worn possibilities difficult to accept. Yet given how this show has so heavily focused on themes of creation, hubris and literally subverting every fundamental boundary of life – the monopolization and monetization of cheating very death itself would only be fitting for their master design.

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Westworld Season 2 Premiers on HBO & HBO Now @ 9:00PM EST, on Sunday 22 April

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