Monday, 31 August 2015

Scarf face

So this is one of the big ones, one that people refer to all the time. And now I can check it off.

Tony Montana is a Cuban, newly arrived in the United States, and ready to make his mark. Which immediately means getting in with as much crime as possible, in particular the drug trade. Not content with just being another mook, he forces his way up the ranks and takes over top dog. However, principles get in the way, and so does coke-fuelled insanity, and it all comes tumbling down.

(I can't be the only one thinking of Casino during this, right?)

This is a great performance from Pacino, no doubt. All the characters are believable, and I can see how they get from one point to the next. It's no big surprise to see Tony crash down, giving us a complete story arc that feels satisfying.

I have other big titles on the list, I suppose I should get around to them too, eh?


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Sunday, 30 August 2015

Dont Blin'k

Remember how Cabin in the Woods meant that we never have any crappy 'going to a cabin for a horror movie' movies ever again? Me neither unfortunately, and so we get this movie.

A group of young adults go to a far off cabin, and then start disappearing one by one as people no longer see them...

And that's about it. Don't ask for an explanation, because even the movie admits it can't come up with one, so never mind that. Now you see them, now you don't. And so we are left with watching the movie get rid of them and we watch as they break down and... you know there's a reason movies have antagonists, it gives the movie something to focus on and provide a contrast to what the 'heroes' are going through. With out that... this just seems empty.

Although we do have Joanne Kelly giving a different performance to her Warehouse 13 role... and hasn't her career just vanished? There's also Zack Ward and a cameo by Robert Picardo. Director / writer Travis Oates did well there.

This could have been good, but I kept thinking I could be watching Phantoms instead.


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Saturday, 29 August 2015


Hannibal was a great series... but that's definitely the past tense there.

With the end of season three, that's it. Although that was more like season 3.1 and 3.2, because after being cancelled they suddenly had to skip to the actual Red Dragon storyline that was supposed to be a whole season. And that 3.2 was a lot better than 3.1.

The problem is entirely in season 3.1. For me it just wasn't doing anything interesting, it was just disappearing so far up its own pretentiousness it broke the meter. And that's this series we're talking about, where it's build on a solid foundation of self-importance and uses walls of pomposity.

Then 3.2 got better... but, strangely enough, still felt like it was dragging on a lot. Focus on characters is good, but doing nothing but cycling the same character moments over and over again is getting too much.

So yes, I'm glad it's finished. Bryan Fuller was doing worthy things with it, but got too caught up, and now the toy's been taken away from him. And no doubt it'll be resurrected in some other way before long.


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Friday, 28 August 2015

ZX Vega

I helped set off the ZX Vega... and actually have a ZX Vega! While I never had a spectrum myself, we did have a Timex Sinclair 1000 (which is like a ZX81). My cousins had one, so it was "oooh, colour! and sounds!" And now I have one myself!

Well, not really. The Vega is a Spectrum emulator, but instead of a full keyboard, we have a d-pad, four large keys to do the basics of select and fire and such, and four other buttons, one of which is for accessing the Vega menu, the others just being spare buttons.

Now, for Arcade games, that's not too bad, although one game at least has the controls 90 degrees off. But for Adventure games, which is basically text games, imaging trying to text with two buttons, one to select one of four letters, the other changes what letters are selected. Now image trying to enter something like "give apple to peasant"... yeah, I give up before they even begin. At that point, I want a full keyboard emulator please!

But there are the adventure games, and I'm quite good at the logic ones, like X=Y=Z (move the box along a path by putting down special tiles) and the like... but for most of the adventure games... here's a spoiler... they suck. Terrible graphics, terrible controls, and terrible story. And most of the games are ones you've never heard of before.

It's nice and all, but feels very gimmicky, and that won't last.


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Thursday, 27 August 2015

Even Almightee

I saw Bruce... a long time ago, and wanted to see this Steve Carell movie for a while now.

Steve Carell plays... his usual sort of character, and he's become a congressman. Coincidentally, god chose exactly this moment to turn him into Noah... and the rest of the movie is slowly building up Steve believing this, even though we know he is, and we've seen the trailers, so there's no surprise here, except for the surprise of how long the movie is milking this out. Eventually there's a flood and everyone dies, happy ending!

As one would expect in this movie, there's a lot of talk about god's plans and how he interacts with people. By setting up "opportunities", aka doing nothing and saying something happened. And the big flood is sizeable... in that it's smaller than an overflowing river, which the first flood was. And speaking of the flood, despite all the attention to the bible given in this, no mention is made of the fact that it's two of every unclean animal, and seven each of the clean ones. The verse was right next to the one they kept referencing!

But it's all mildly amusing, and I was mildly amused. Not a waste of a time, just a simple watch.


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Wednesday, 26 August 2015


As I’m sure other people asked, did we need to remake this?

Family moves into a house, there is a slow increase of spookiness, the young daughter gets taken, we’ve seen all this. And this is like an edited version of the first movie. With some less care. This just gets straight on with it, by and large, no real built up, just a couple of incidents that are just a little odd, then full on ghost-a-palooza.

There are a few changes, of course, because they have to update it, and I do like some of the performances given… but it just isn’t the charm of the first movie. Oh, and the indication is that Evil Power Lines are behind everything.

Better off watching the original again.


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Tuesday, 25 August 2015

I'm Not Harry Jenson

No I'm not, I tells ye. But I did see the movie which also states I'm Not Harry Jenson.

Stanley is a murder author, usually writing crime novels, and is working on a book about serial killer Harry Jenson. But it's getting too much, so his agent sends him on a trek in the bush with a group of others to clear his head. However, there's a murder, and he's got blood on his shirt, and just what is going on? Will any of them make it out alive, and is Stanley really not Harry Jenson?

Hey, this is a New Zealand movie, filmed a lot down south (although one part of bush looks a lot like another, so could have been anywhere)! And it's quite good. From the description, I wanted to see this, and this is a good Film Society choice. Actor-wise, we have Ilona Rodgers! And Cameron Rhodes! And Ian Mune! And others!

Definitely a good film with a good level of suspenseful atmosphere.


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Monday, 24 August 2015


Of course being a computer hacker means you are in great physical shape and go globe trotting around the world. That's what happens in real life? Right?

A plant in China is hacked, and then the New York Stock Exchange so China and the US get together a taskforce, which involves getting out of prison The Best Hacker Ever. Despite it being about hacking, this involves a lot of running around, and guns and stuff, because we need this to be action sequences. (There is in fact very little computer screen time. There are moments of people typing away at computers, but mostly it leads to exposition speeches.) (Oh, and hacking is this highly graphical process that involves flooding chips with particles of light.) Eventually the movie changes into a complete action flick, and it's all about who's the best physically, because hacking.

Okay, so when you are hacking things around the globe, it does make sense to go to those places, which fortunately lead to highly scenic areas and lots of action sequences to shoot. But nothing explains why the hacker is Thor. Still good performances from Wei Lang and Leehom Wang.

At over two hours, this feels too long, and next time how about a hacker movie that was actually about hacking?


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Sunday, 23 August 2015

Shark+Octopus vs Whale+Wolf

Seriously SyFy? Seriously? What, are you guys just throwing darts at a board of creatures now? Really? This pairing?

Sharkypus turns up and eats a few people, getting the interest of a local voodoo man. Meanwhile, a scientist injects a man with genes, and now he's part whale, part wolf. Then it's just a matter of the creatures turning up in various places, and battling each other, while the humans try to either keep out of the way or put an end to either or both of them.

What the...? Okay, first let's deal with the insanely cartoony mad scientist in this. She's over the top, with a cartoon sexy nurse, and just casually goes around injecting people with things. Which turns them in large CGI creatures. Because... science? And then Sharky and Whaley fight because... actually, there really is no reason for it. They say it's a dominance thing, but when you have a shark/octopus creature on land, and a whale/wolf that is happy on both land and see, there's only so far you can pretend anything.

I'm sure they'll make more, and it's not like they are making movies featuring lava flows that release spiders... oh come on!


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Saturday, 22 August 2015

Dragons at Crumbling Castle

There isn't much new Pratchett for me any more, but one piece is old Pratchett. Or rather, young Pratchett as his younger writings are collected for publication.

This features around a dozen stories, including a piece that is familiar to those of us who've read The Carpet People. There's accompanying art, and a font choice whereby words that a shouted get made into large text... which is rather unnecessary in my opinion. This also reads like young writing, in that it's very much "and this happened, and this happened, and this happened". Oh, how he has changed.

Still, these are enjoyable reads (and it's more than I've done), and there are odd touches that you can see resonate with ideas in later books.

Aside from the font decisions, this is quite worth the read.


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Friday, 21 August 2015

Hitsmans 47

I saw the first Hitman movie... so long ago I can't remember what happens in it... which is good as it has nothing to do with this one!

Due to some complicated quickly explained backstory, the search is on for the man who creates Agents. And to do that, they need to track down this young woman... (go on, guess at the connection, you won't be the least surprised). John Smith from the Syndicate and 47 from... whatever shadowy agency he's from... are both after the woman, and through her to the man responsible for creating super soldiers. There are secrets to uncover, and disguises worn and... who is this movie about again?

First out, I like this movie. It's decent enough, and while not brilliant by any means, it isn't terrible. But the plot is a mess. For a while the main star is the woman. Then the Hitman is in it. Then it's a different pair of characters... just what is going on here? And the motivations are just all over the place too. Why go to these places around the world? Because there are nice set pieces to set there, that'll do.

Plot aside, as I said, the movie is decent enough. I don't know how it completely stacks up against the game, but considering the game usually consists of "work your way through this level and kill someone", that's not the easiest thing to spin a complicated story around.


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Thursday, 20 August 2015

The Martian

A friend recommended this to me, so I did know about it before I heard it was a movie. But still didn't get around to listening to it until now.

Mark is trapped on Mars, and has to survive. Fortunately, he does have a habitat to hang out in, and just so happens to have nearly the best combination of skill sets needed to survive, as well as the type of personality to want to carry on and not give up. With all that, he must overcome a number of puzzles to get food and water, and eventually try to find a way back home.

I did enjoy this book, but people have said "this is like that one bit in Apollo 13 where they do the air filters" and it is. I'm not sure exactly how they will portray this in the movie. While there are some action pieces, there is also tons of Mark just sitting around working out the numbers. There's a lot of detail, and I'm sure the book is probably right, but even I was glazing my eyes a bit as it went on.

Definitely a good listen, and we'll have to see what Hollywood does to it.


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Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Hot Girls Wanted

This was screened at the film festival... not sure how many people owned up to seeing it. It's a documentary that talks to young women go into amateur porn, and does not feature sex.

There are two main girls this documentary follows, with some others thrown into the mix. Rachel and Tressa are the two we are largely following. The focus of this documentary is on the amateur porn scene in Miami, and how there is a huge turn over of young girls. This movie follows the acceptable narrative of the young women who go into porn for cash and to escape their parents, only to regret it, and eventually go back home. Because that's the only one that movies can show. (Where's the documentary about the big stars in the industry?)

As this has a narrow focus, it's not that surprising, and the movie is really pushing for "this is a bad thing and everyone wants out once they are in". So much for progressive documentary, but this is mainstream press.

Do I sound negative? It's because this isn't the most unbiased documentary (which makes it like every other documentary), and there are plenty of better stories than this.


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Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Billy Liar

I wasn't sure I would like this movie, but I was willing to give it a go. (There are some movies coming up that just do not interest me at all.) This is Billy Liar.

Billy has dreams, he has aspirations, he's the prime minister of his own country... which means he's a layabout. As a young man he does has a job, but not one he takes seriously. He also has a girl on his arm. And another girl on another arm. And maybe a third arm or more? He thinks he's got his big chance writing for a big time comedian, and so we're with him on the day when he finally decides to pack in his old job, and move to London with one of his girls. Only, will it go his way?

Billy isn't presented as a hero, but not really an anti-hero either. Just someone with ideas, but not the actual talent to really pull it off. He's somewhat relateable, but mostly just a screw up, and we get to watch that unfold on screen. Which isn't that exciting. Yeah, I was right in that this movie wasn't really for me. Since I wasn't that attached to Billy, while I did kind of want him to succeed, I can't say I was that surprised when he didn't.

There are other movies for me.


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Monday, 17 August 2015

Justice League Guds and Munsters

Ah,another DC animated movie. And, as ever, it’s pretty good!

What is Superman was partially sired by Zod and raised by Mexican refugees? What is Batman was a vampire? What if Wonder Woman was a bitch? From this beginning, this movie tells a tale of the three of them being seen as gods, and then portrayed as monsters. But who is the truly monstrous one?

As this is an Elseworlds story, yep, you can expect a lot of death, and this movie has that of well known characters in spades. This is a decent story, but it does share the common problem of other DC animated videos in that it takes over half the story just on set up. And then the second half is a big fight. The specifics may change, but that’s the basic template they are working with.

Still, it’s an enjoyable story, and worth watching.


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Sunday, 16 August 2015


Just to show it’s not just Americans making knock off horror rubbish, we get this entry from Eastern Europe, that bastion of common sense.

A group of three American film makers come to Outofthewayiva to film a thing about some old cannibalism, but are trapped when one of their guides does a runner (or so it seems). Clearly, they decide to summon a spirit, and call forth an old cannibal spirit that starts to mess with them. And then leave dead cats around. Slowly they get stalked and picked off one by one because one must Trope and Trope Hard!

There’s just nothing new here. Yes, okay, we get the ‘foreign cultural’ basis, but other than that this could be placed anywhere and just be another generic ‘found footage in the woods’ movie. Which it is.

Nothing here to see, move along.


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Saturday, 15 August 2015

Burmuda Tenticlees

This was on the SyFy, so let’s go in warned, shall we? Frankly the title alone is enough to warrant being ignored.

The president (because we are automatically supposed to care because it’s the president?) on Air Force One is flying through the Bermuda Triangle when the plane is struck by lightning, and he is ejected. Cut to later with a squad led by a reckless risktaker, up against an admiral he’s disobeyed before, has to go rescue him. Only there are tentacles coming up from the ocean, and turns out there’s a huge alien creature down there, so let’s blow it up!

The tentacles were really weird, in that in the long shots they are bigger than the ships and the heads are larger than planes, and yet in close up with humans, they are the right size to spear them. The hell?

But if that’s the worst this movie does… only, of course, it isn’t. What this felt like to me was a bad episode of Stargate Atlantis, only I’m sure SGA probably did do this and did it better. And, for some reason, this stars Linda Hamilton. And Trevor Donovan does his best Casper Van Dien. Even Jamie Kennedy is in this, although looking nothing like himself (which could only help).

Straight to video trash.


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Friday, 14 August 2015

The Men from NUNCLE I Prithee

Guy Ritchie? Spy movie? 60s? This is gonna be gud!

In the Cold War it's East vs West, and we watch as Solo extracts a young lady from East Berlin... and then hilariously, he's teamed up with the Russian agent that he was up against! There's a nuclear bomb in the making, and so Napoleon and Illya need to get it together to track it down, but will they be able to over come their Odd Couple nature?

Despite that... it is... I don't want to say boring, but it's not what I was expecting. There are a couple of action scenes, but they get undercut by lots of tensionless moments. And it feels, at times, like every scene has a different director and tone guiding it. It's just... it feels odd.

It's been a while since I've seen any Man episodes (and I have the entire collection to watch some time in a nice... or rather cheap cardboard case). But this doesn't feel like what I think the series was like. Certainly Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer don't feel like they have the back and forth of Robert Vaughn and David McCallum (and I'm disappointed there's no cameos by them!).

It just doesn't feel like a good action spy movie, let alone anything inspired by a classic tv series.


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Thursday, 13 August 2015

Dat Suger Film

It's been described as the sugar version of Supersize Me... and that's fairly accurate.

What effect does sugar have on our bodies? Clearly to answer that you go from no sugar to a complete sugar diet. Well, actually, and this is part of the point, Damon goes to "healthy" foods that contain a lot of hidden sugar. (Particularly Fructose.) Predictably... it's bad for him. He also visits an Aboriginal town and pops over to America, and talks to people who agree with him that sugar is bad. And one person who disagrees with that that the film shows is just as guilty as any smoking stooge.

Yeah, this movie is rather biased. Not that surprising, and neither is the fact that a lot of it is true. Sugar is bad for us in doses, and we aren't doing anything about that but grabbing another spoonful. I like to think I've cut out a lot of sugar in my own life, but I could easily do far more in that area.

This film is basically as you'd expect.


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Wednesday, 12 August 2015

The Spoon, the Bowl and the Knife

This documentary looked interesting, so I Kickstartered it.

This is about Wille Sundqvist, a Swedish craftsman who works on wood with axes and knives. He’s done a few books about cutting with Swedish techniques, and this covers examples of him creating a ladle and a bowl, as well as talking a bit about his knife. While ostensibly not a woodworking film, it does go through and show various grips as it if was a demonstration film. And I am surprised just how well he can craft the items (especially with that shaking hand he has going on).

It’s a nice documentary, although it could be longer. It came in a nice looking packaging as well. Not sure if it is possible to get this documentary anywhere.


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Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Triple Sharking

First 2 heads, now 3 of them? I can see where this franchise is going... straight to the bottom of the ocean.

Because of pollution in the ocean, there are mutated sea creatures, including a three headed shark. Which proceeds to attack everything. And that's about all the set up these movies need. And because it's near the ocean, there's plenty of excuses for young woman to shake their young bodies, and flash breasts. After several attacks, they find a way to get the shark to fight itself, and everything's fine (ignoring the high body count).

Two points of interest here. One, Danny Trejo, whatever he does is worth watching. And he even uses a machete (I don't know if that was deliberate, but odds are that's likely). The other point is the shark. It's CGI all the way, and... it looks pretty good. Far more realistic than, say... the acting, although that's a low bar. I wonder if there are three headed plush shark dolls? If not, merchandising opportunity ahoy!

You get what you expect from this movie, and no-one expected a lot.


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Monday, 10 August 2015


That's that skype horror movie you've heard about. The most terrifying thing? It's all on Macs!

A young man and women are skyping each other when their friends join in... and there's a mysterious other person also on the call (and neither of them accepted the group chat). Today's the day of the anniversary of Larua's death, and it seems someone has access to her accounts and is causing problems for the friends. One by one they have deep secrets exposed (which, to be honest, are the typical young person in college teen angst rubbish that no-one will really care about after a while), and then, they are logged off of life (yeeeaaahhhh!).

This works quite well. We see the movie through the computer screen of Bailey, and we see her skyping and the conversations she has over other channels such as facebook and instant messaging. (Although I didn't believe for a moment the actress on screen was also doing all that typing, that just doesn't work.) There's a nice atmosphere built up, and it doesn't try to explain anything, which makes the horror work better (because there's nothing explained for us to feel comfortable about). And the cast list is also kept small, as is the camera work (skype cams all round!).

Decent horror movie, although quite short run time.


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Sunday, 9 August 2015

F4ntast4c F44r

I saw this the other day, with a monkey as it happens, and I'm sure he'll have more interesting things to say than I will.

Young Reed is a scientific genius and builds a transporter in his garage. Later, he builds a bigger one, and gets pulled into a big scientific institute, where he proceeds to build even a bigger one. Note that this is a 100 minute movie, and this takes the first half of the movie. By this time, every other superhero movie would have given them all superpowers by now, but not this movie! They finally visit zero and get powered up, except Sue who has to be included in another way because women, amiright? (Sue gets to do one thing in this movie, and that's about it...) At last, everyone has powers, we can get on with it! Except military, so let's draw this out for more time, until finally we have about ten minutes in which to fit in a superpower battle.

This movie is dark and grim (yes, no I'm not going for any joke here), and... worse, slow and boring. We want to see a superpower movie, not 'watch people play with computers for an hour'. But that's what we get. Oh, and remember the trailer in which some funny moments were given? None of that happens. In fact, even some of the lines from the trailer that do crop up have been changed. What was the point of the trailer again? Oh, to get us to go and give them money, regardless of what the film is like. In that regard, well done, you succeeded.

This movie desperately needed humour, and there was none in sight. Instead it's a dreary trudge that, in basics, replicates a lot of the 2005 movie. We don't need another origin movie, and this is all set up for that.

We all know Fox did this to keep the rights away from Marvel, so seriously Fox, why are you bothering? If you insist on another movie, at least do something interesting and have a Fantastic Four/X-Men cross over movie.


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Saturday, 8 August 2015


It's all about the bass, in particular the machine that puts out the bass beat and other drum sounds, the 808.

When the TR-808 was released, it was used by... pretty much every hip hop and beat sound ever. From Marvin Gaye to Beastie Boys to Afrika Bambaataa (who largely started it) to Phil Collins, everyone's used it. We get to hear the songs and the artists talk about how great it is. At the very end, we find the secret to the sound was defective transistors and the 808 stopped production because they stopped being defective. ;)

What I would have liked was to see the 808 being explained, how was it used, what it can do... instead, it seemed like everyone is expected to know this. It also seems that the producers couldn't get one, as we get the same shots of it over and over as if they only had one quick pass to grab shots.

I also wouldn't be surprised if this was a television documentary, as I could tell where ad breaks were.

Overall, not so much a movie for me.

Even Maddy hears the 808 drums.


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Friday, 7 August 2015

Michael Smither: Prints

This is actually a part of a series, and it says a lot that I don't hear about that until part 6 Michael Smither: Prints.

Michael Smither is an artist that has supposedly retired from gallery showings (and has gone 7 since), and Tony Hiles teamed up with him to show the artistic process in action. In this part, we see screen prints in action as we spend three days at the screen print workshop and see the care Michael Smither puts into making sure the prints as close as he can get. And he does this with a light touch, with humour, and poking a non-zero amount at the printers who actually do the printing.

And afterwards, Tony Hiles was there for a brief Q&A. Probably not the best of questions, but I don't think I was the only person to hear about this now, and half the questions were about the prints themselves which the artist needs to answer.

That all said, I look forward to getting the full 10 year box set.


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Thursday, 6 August 2015

Fifth Alias

Here we go, the last season (although I'm not sure when they knew it was the last season) so time to resolve every single plot thread. Like Rimbaldi, that's been going on for so long, we're going to get an amazing pay off, right? Right? ... anyone?

We start with the death of Vaughn, and then introduce some new characters, who are sometimes in the opening credits, sometimes not. We get a French female thief who was a previous contact of Vaughn with her own arc... and she gets killed off before the end of the season. We get random white guy agent to replace Vaughn, and he gets into a near love interest with the new girl who was working for an agency that claimed to be a part of the government but was really an enemy organisation... yep, they mirror'd Sydney's opening situation. These bad guys (with Fred before she was in Angel) are the main protagonists, before they join up with Sloane and he takes over. By basically killing off the other bad guys because who cares about them?

And then Vaughn turns up, actually alive! Wha? And then the next episode, we gather that the main characters knew this and arranged for him to be put somewhere safe, only they forgot to tell the audience any of this so carry on like there wasn't a scene or episode missing explaining that.

And finally at the end we bring back Sydney's mother, and macguffins and try to have a lot of action to pretend there's something going on and they aren't just hurriedly trying to wrap everything up.

Flash forward to years later, kids are around, and they are still secret agents, and end scene with them laughing...


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Wednesday, 5 August 2015

The Assassin

Ah that classic story of the woman sent to assassinate her previous betrothed. How often have we seen that? This is The Assassin.

This is set in history (so expect wire-fu), and we have a princess returned to her territory of Weibo (and yes, I kept thinking of Weebo), under instruction to assassinate the governor, to whom she had previous been betrothed to. From there, we get the cat and mouse game of her tracking him slowly, with her heart causing her (emotional) problems and...

Okay, confession time. I'm not 100% well, it was a dark theatre, I could lie back (sort of) in my chair... and I may have dozed off more than once. In my defence, this is a VERY slow movie, and huge slabs of nothing happens at a time, and I wasn't the only one who did fall asleep.

Much is made of how this looks, but I think I prefer the visuals of, say, House of 1000 Daggers.

So didn't end up being the movie for me...


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Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Rouge Neightion

I can't do NZIFF films forever, so a short interruption for the latest Ission Mimpossible.

The IMF are declared rogue (like in the previous movies?) and have to go after an organisation led by some guy, and this involves them going all over the world and... actually, not really having big set pieces. If anything, this is a more low key action movie. While there are action sequences, they aren't really that thrilling or amazing or... worth watching, to be honest.

While we have our usual cast of dudes, there's a lot of screen time dedicated to agent Isla Faust, played by Rebecca Ferguson. The standard set up for her shots are have her look as slinky as possible... and maybe have some action, but if you can show off her legs, then that's the shot. (There's a really gratuitous part in the opera.)

Otherwise... I have to say this film is largely forgettable. There are bits I guess I can remember from the movie (I'm writing this up the next day), but I'm remembering scenes from the previous movies more. Not a good sign.


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Monday, 3 August 2015

Merchants of Doubt

This film was so popular it sold out and they put on more screenings! Which weren't as well known, so although it was in the Bergman theatre, there were still some seats empty for Merchants of Doubt.

By now, I think most skeptic people who seek out that sort of thing know that the big companies are full of it, and this is another documentary to back that. The tobacco industry did a lot to combat smoking kills and brought about flame retardant necessities which were not necessary at all. A lot of the climate denier is political and who cares about the science? We get the view of the skeptics, but also some rather unapologetic apologists who are trying to discredit everything with every breath and statement they make on camera.

One particular take is trying to compare the illusions of MoD with magic tricks, and get Jamy Ian Swiss involved for the magic side. I don't know if that was in the book, but it felt incredibly forced into the movie. I get the analogy, but it's weak.

I can't say this movie told me anything I didn't already know... but depressingly these movies are still needed to be produced.


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Sunday, 2 August 2015


Stanley Milgrim did a lot of psychological experiments, the most infamous being the Obedience tests. Find out about them and more in Experimenter.

This is a stylised documentary in which many situations from Milgrim's testing life are reenacted. We get the Obedience trials, in which a person continues to shock someone because a person in a coat told them to. We also get some of his other experiments, but that's the main focus of the film, and the one that the film is talking about the impact of. Stanley himself often addresses the audience to explain what he was thinking and what conclusions he drew from it all. That's a nice inclusive touch. We follow him throughout his career and those experiments keep coming up, and continue to be relevant. The main point about them is... these were not the results anyone was expecting.

Also there is discussion about ethics. Is it ethical to mislead people like he did? This is the way we find out what's going on with people, but is that what we should be doing? (While the movie doesn't even hint at this point, I'm going to bring it up, what of the medical knowledge discovered by the Nazis? - yes, this means I lose.) It's a tough thing, and one that I suspect is still being debated hotly.

A decent film, check it out if you can.


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Saturday, 1 August 2015

The Lobster

If you aren't in love, you're turned into an animal... this is what happens in The Lobster. (This really feels like it was based on a novel, but nope, this is original.)

David realises his wife doesn't love him, so moves into the hotel of single people, and in 45 days he will be turned into an animal (a lobster in his case) if he doesn't find someone to love. We get how that part of the world works (within the context of the world, not how the world got there) when David does get together with someone... and then goes out on his own. And then finds his true way. And the movie ends... a really terrific way, that I don't want to give away, but is absolutely brilliant.

Everyone in this movie feels really stilted and you begin to wonder how any of them find anyone, let alone live with them. As I mention there's no discussion of how the world got the way it is, but everyone is willing to accept it. We get good performances, and quite a few people I recognised from other things.

Weird movie. Good... but weird.


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