Duke Reviews
Douglas Trumbull’s Brainstorm

What Up Yo.

Duke has come out of retirement.

He picked up his pen and began putting word to paper again for you, the VoicesFILM soldiers … The ones who were mad as hell with the film world…

And screamed!



Oh, how I missed his words…

and how they would stir within me



HE IS HERE!!!!!!!!


Eh em.


Duke presents us with his very first film review, the film he has chosen for this momentous occasion is 1983’s “Brainstorm

This is his brand, this is his show, he doesn’t dabble in mediocrity.
His memory with film is unparalleled and photographic. He is a warrior for the finest of celluloid, the forgotten films that we here at Voices: FILM & TV celebrate.

And gasoline?
It runs in his veins.

In fierce honesty, our meeting was fate 20 years ago. Our friendship has been strong since then…

He is Duke.

He is, my friend.

Please welcome him, we are lucky and privileged to have his words here.

Duke here.

So there I was at 3AM. Online as usual and a Singapore Sling with Mezcal on the side within arm’s reach. The American Spirit yellow is hanging from my lip, it’s smoke curling up in my face making me squint as I looked at the screen. I was clicking on sites at random like an angry spider on his web going from thread to thread, not caring where it took me. Left …. Right … it didn’t matter I just went. Then something caught my eye. It was a article on a science website. Apparently some Walter Bishop type scientists were able to transfer the memories of one mouse into the mind of another. Or so they say. I’ll let you be the judge.

The experiment consisted of two mice (mouse 1 & mouse 2) and two identical mazes. Electrodes were attached to their heads to monitor brain activity . Phase I – Both mice were sent into the maze the same number of times. Both mice completed the maze in about the same time. Phase II – They then let mouse 1 run the maze over and over again while mouse 2 didn’t. Eventually mouse 1 was able to cut the original Phase I time in half as he learned the maze. Phase III – The scientists then connected the electrodes of mouse 1 as the sender with the electrodes of mouse 2 as the receiver, effectively linking them and sent them both back into the maze. Apparently it took mouse 2 half the amount of attempts to reach the completion time of mouse 1 from Phase II. Their conclusion was that the memories of the knowledge of the maze from mouse 1 were electronically transferred to mouse 2 via electrical impulses. As I read that, long dormant neurons in my brain awoke like smoldering embers of a fire being blown by the wind. Embers that made me think of a little gem of a movie called “Brainstorm”. For those who know this movie sit back and enjoy the ride, for those who don’t … get in.

“Brainstorm” came out in 1983 and I don’t remember it doing well at the box office at the time. When I first saw it there were twenty people in the theater with me and it was a 7PM show. But like any gem that’s first pulled out the ground, it’s doesn’t look like much until you polish it. Back then and in the years that followed, with movies like this, that polish had a name. It was called VHS. The movie had an ensemble cast Christopher Walken, Louise Fletcher, Natalie Wood and Cliff Robertson. All of them great actors. While mostly remembered as Natalie Wood’s last movie (I’ll save that discussion for another time) looking back, in my opinion, it was ground breaking not only in terms of technological vision but story as well. I don’t care how bad the execution of a movie is, if it’s got a good story I’m there. This movie has both great execution and a great story. I won’t go into the film in too much detail so all you readers who have never ridden in a convertible before will go in with a fresh mind. I’ll just give you a teeny, tiny taste.

The movie centers around Michael Brace (Walken), his wife (Wood) and his colleague (Fletcher) who work for a large corporation headed by Robertson. They’re all working on a project to create a device that’s able to tap into a person’s mind and record their experiences and memories. Walken and Fletcher are the software developers and Wood runs the Engineering Division in charge of building the device. Walken and Fletcher have a good chemistry and you really get the sense they’ve known each other for years. Walken and Woods are equally as good as they convey their marriage is strained and it’s like only their work is keeping them together.
Christopher Walken And Natalie Wood
The movie is great on many levels to those of you who know and to those who will see. In the first half the movie you see the whole development process of the device. Going from a giant and bulking mess of steel and wires looking like Professor Brown’s mind reading device (wait is this where those writers got the idea?!) from Back to the Future to eventually being no bigger than a pair of today’s headphones. This brings a certain believability to the device when you watch it evolve. I especially liked the POV scenes of the person wearing the device and experiencing someone else memories. At first the recordings were light hearted and harmless like riding a roller coaster, eating ice cream and some others which I’ll let you discover on your own. There’s an important subplot scene which takes place that I won’t divulge but it is crucial to the movies second half.

The second half of the movie can be summed up in four simple words … the government gets involved. You know this can’t be good. They come in and take over the project. They see the device not for its recreational potential but as a tool of espionage and as a weapon. Once Walken finds this out he gets trademark Christopher Walken pissed! The result is him being locked out of the project and has no access to the mainframe. But because of the previously mentioned important subplot he needs that access. The games is on! Does he get access or doesn’t he? You’ll have to watch it to find out. I need to get more ice for my Singapore Sling.

Duke out.


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