Sunday, July 19, 2015

Movies: An Honest Liar

It's hardly a surprise to anybody who knows me that I'm a big of the work of James Randi and his foundation The James Randi Educational Foundation and the work they've done. Learning about his Million Dollar Challenge for claims of the supernatural was a big nail in the coffin of my personal credulity. So I was pretty interested to hear that a biopic had been made of his life.

Of course, it's less than exhaustive; you can't easily cover 86 years in an hour and a half. It covers mostly the broad strokes of his life and work pretty well from his time as a stage magician to his work debunking psychic fraudsters and even touches on his time touring with Alice Cooper in the 1970s. Most of the movie will be old news to people in the skeptic community; the Carlos hoax, project Alpha, and Uri Geller are bound to be pretty well-known.

The last part of the movie focuses on an awkward bit of his personal life that hasn't been as well-covered, and has caused him a fair bit of trouble.  While he's done much in his life to cut through deceptions of other, this segment of the film makes it clear that Randi is only human in the end.  Flawed, perhaps, but who isn't?  Some may view the issue as being one that somehow detracts from his role as a prominent debunker, but his work speaks for itself and should be viewed on its on merits rather than hanging on one man's imperfections.

Bottom line: Liked it, would suggest seeing it, but don't expect anything really new from it.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

A New Era Begins

I've suddenly felt the urge to write again, and I figured that so long as I've got this just sitting here I might as well use it. It's been a long time -- five and a half years -- since I posted anything at all. For now, I've thrown everything from way back when into the archives. Some may resurface, though I haven't really decided yet.