Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Underlord

Okay, film about heroes going up against Nazis, with JJ Abrams' name plastered all over it. I'm in.

The Americans need to take out a radio tower so that planes can help provide cover in a strike, so a team is sent in destroy it. After suffering some losses, they get there, only to find there are other strange things going on, including a doctor and evil commandant and... I went in without seeing the trailer, and took a random stab at the "mad science" that we'd see.

I wasn't 100% right, but I was close enough. So go for the obvious guess and that's what we get. Which makes this movie rather humdrum in that respect.

There is a lot more of characterisation, with lots of focus on the few remaining Americans that get there, as well as the French lady that joins them. However, I couldn't tell you the character names, and indeed, because he was played by Iain De Caestecker, one chap I just called Fitz. This isn't to say I couldn't distinguish them, they do get their own individual bits and pieces, just that they spent more time on those various tics than establishing their basic identities.

Oh, and I'll check the IMBD trivia on this, but a black soldier in an otherwise white troop, led by a black sergeant? Really? ... checked, and this is listed as a Goof. Yeah.

So overall some good character moments, but rather blah on the plot.

[END]

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Monday, 12 November 2018

Doctor Who 11.05

I keep forgetting this episode. Between when I first saw it and rewatching it for this, I kept thinking the most recent episode was the spider one.

I'll give interesting characters in this episode. Not just one note, but a whole two notes! No, really, actual characters that I can recall (even if their names are just random bashing of the keyboard). Okay, male pregnancy might be an obvious switcharoo take, but it isn't one we've seen that often. And the general/engineer sister/brother dynamic worked well. Even the male medico was well done and reasonable in the face of the Doctor. (Including a hint to the overall arc.)

However... the plot. It really isn't anything exciting. There's a reason I kept forgetting it. There's nothing to it! Base under siege from... CGI koala? That creature did not look good. And "Pting". Chris is just taking the piss, isn't he? Was this just written as a bottle episode?

Oh, and what was up with the Doctor being injured for so long? She should have been the first one up, but nope, they have her grip her ectospleen often as a running bit that paid off... never?

So characters good, plot not.


Next time: Well, I'm sure they'll treat this subject with tact and cultural sensitivity... (and they actually might!)

[END]

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Friday, 9 November 2018

Wonderous Woman 1970s edition

Think Wonder Woman. Think mid 1970s. Are you thinking of Lynda Carter? Well, I can't blame you. But the correct answer is Cathy Lee Crosby.

A bad guy is running drugs... money... kidnapping? I actually can't remember. Something happens and money needs to be handed over, which happens by donkey. Diana Prince gets involved, and beats people up and tracks the donkey to the main bad guys, chases them down and he gives up.

A spotty recollection? That's because this wasn't exactly breaking gangbusters in the innovation genre. Although Cathy Lee is Diana Prince... everyone knows already that she's Wonder Woman? What? And her super abilities involve jumping out of the way of a car and performing karate. Frankly, this could have been any spy movie, even with the twist of a female lead. There is the invisible jet (although we don't see it) and they do mention Themyscaria and there is an "evil" Amazon. (Although as it happens [he said, reading the Trivia section] Wonder Woman was depowered when this movie was made.)

But this isn't exactly a super hero movie. It's barely an interesting spy movie. Was this a pilot? Did Lynda Carter get the series that this spawned? Most likely. Although Cathy Lee did get to fight Lynda in an episode of the series, so there is that.

[END]

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Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Fireworks Wednesday

What? But Monday was Fireworks night! No wait, I'm talking about the movie shown on Monday night. Fireworks Wednesday.

Rouhi, bride to be, does cleaning work. And on the Wednesday before the New Year, she works in an apartment. However, the wife is acting weird, making Rouhi get an appointment with the neighbour who runs a beauty salon in her home, and the husband is fighting with his wife. Yes, it's domestic fireworks as drama unfolds. We follow different characters around, and the tension does ramp up, especially as we get late night shots of the fireworks around the city and Rouhi in a strange man's car.

In IMDB this is listed as "Drama, Mystery, Romance." I'm not sure about Mystery, and feel inclined to add in "Thriller". This is about the nature of faithful husbands and what wives (or wives to be) think about them. Although given the way we follow characters around, this isn't clear until way later what is going on, and at one time I had to convince myself that a lie a character told was actually a lie and didn't happen that way because it would be believable.

I was tempted to see an earlier movie by director Asghar Farhadi, A Separation, and now I might more actively seek it out.

[END]

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Monday, 5 November 2018

Doctor Who 11.04

Ah, back to everyday Britain Sheffield. And spiders. I remember the last time the Doctor fought spiders... so, regeneration then?

So this is a Yaz episode... is it? Is it really? We get a moment with the father and sister, then they are completely irrelevant. There's a shot from the trash that suggests a spider will come out and attack them, but... the trash ends up being completely irrelevant. Even when they later get the to big "trash under the building" scene, it looks like it could have easily just been a postcard and some off screen dialogue for all that seeing that trash pile meant anything. Even when calling the spiders, the trash pile is just a big mess of mess that I couldn't see any spiders if they were there.

Oh, but there is also Yaz's mum who... is on screen. Really, Yaz's family don't really have much character. Heck, Martha's family is more interesting, and they didn't get as much screen time to start with either! Once again, we find out more about Ryan than Yaz herself, and then this episode picks up on the Graham sadness that gives him more character than Yaz either. Aside from her being a police woman, what else do we really know about her? Not a lot. (I'm also wondering if this episode was shot before the first episode with how generic Jodie is acting.)

And the only other character to talk about is.. Jack Robinson. Who is clearly a take on Trump, but such a bad take what the heck was Chris thinking? And that end scene with "I'm an American and I have a gun, why don't you have a gun?" To be honest, the only way this will be worthy of continued consideration is if Jack comes back and he's paired up with the Stenzil (or whatever they were called). [If people know this, please don't tell me.]

This feels like a "baby's first writing assignment", and Chris should be better than this.


Next Time: Sci-Fi Base Under Siege trope?

[END]

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Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Daughters of Darkness

Halloween episode, so let's dip into scary monsters. The scariest of all? Daughters of Darkness.

A newly wed couple is slowly heading back to his home in England, although he's not that excited to, so they hang around at a hotel. Another pair turn up, the Countess Elizabeth Bathory and her servant. He's uncertain, and a lot of a prick, and she's uncertain about everything, and the Countess plays on and with everyone. The Countess picks up her, makes him into a toy, but eventually has a problem with sunlight.

This film is "adult" in that it has nudity and violence. And the Countess enabling an abusive husband. It also has a number of sub plots that don't go anywhere. Like his mother. Was there something up with that I didn't get? And the hotel concierge and police inspector hovering around which pays off in... actually, that doesn't pay off either.

The Dracula imagery is sort of there, but there are a few shots where the director Harry Kümel just said "sod it, let's make it obvious. Get it! GET IT!!!". And then the ending feels like "we need to wrap this up, give the bad guy some come-up-pance, and also leave the movie open ended," so subtlety definitely isn't a hallmark of this movie.

So definitely not a horror movie I was aware of. Not incredibly sure I'd recommend it to others, but nor one to stay away from.

[END]

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Monday, 29 October 2018

Doctor Who 11.03

It's the "Historical With Famous Person" episode. And, because it's New Doctor Who, of course it can't be a straight historical anymore.

Okay, let's start with the point I was worried about... yes, they didn't have the Doctor or companions put Rosa up to it! They even avoided the moment after Rosa said "I haven't done anything." Instead, they address the moment head on, and have the Doctor make sure it happens... and have her front and centre (well, screen right) when it does. Yes, I like that. I'll take that.

However... while yes, the city/area was racist AF, you can hear the dial squeaking as they turn up the stereotypes. Angry white man? Check. Angry white man cop? Check. Angry while man bus driver? Check. Angry racist time travelling greaser? Check. Although he was a weird one. Couldn't kill people and yet didn't have a problem zapping things to the future? So why not zap Rosa? And then they have a clunky scene where the Doctor tells Ryan how to use it and...

Which brings me to the biggest problem I have with this episode, which is a presentational one. The TARDIS crew just stand around expositing with no reaction from those around them. Particularly when on busses. Yaz talks about being treated as Mexican. They chat with Rosa about how things work. They openly discuss their plan while executing it. And then, at the end, Ryan gets on the bus with a weird gadget, says he got rid of someone and the driver merely tells him "use the back entrance"??

And speaking of Ryan, again this could easily have been a Doctor/Ryan episode. Replace Graham with the Doctor for the fishing scene, and Yaz with the Doctor in the "racism isn't over" bit. And... I'm not really feeling the Doctor really did anything in this episode. Imagine Capaldi letting any of the racists get away without a good telling to.

As an episode about Rosa Parks, it was good. As an episode of Doctor Who... less good.


Next time: A Yaz episode? IDBI! (as Steven would say)

[END]

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