Saturday, 27 May 2017

Seventh Marx

This is... nearly two hours! Quite the long movie. This is almost going back to the original movie of mix of performances and comedy. This is A Day at the Races.

The Standish Sanatorium is having trouble, so they get Dr Hackenbush in as the new chief of staff, although he happens to be a horse doctor. Judy Standish is trying, and her beau Gil has picked up a new horse. Tony and Stuffy want those crazy kids to get together, and after, eventually, Hackenbush fails, everything is pinned on the horse to win. And the hijinks they go through to get the horse into the race is a thing.

This is... quite good actually. We get a decent story happening that allows for comedy, and it mixes it up enough to keep it interesting with first the doctoring part, then the horse racing part. We also get some entertainment as Gil sings, and there's a ballet show. And, rather oddly it feels now, a dance sequence with a group of African Americans that ends with the Brothers going into blackface. Hurm.

A good mix of a movie, well worth watching.

[END]

Read more!

Friday, 26 May 2017

Wonder Sixth Falls

Ah, speaking of guest stars.

Jaye lives in a trailer park, and one fellow member is Fat Pat, who is extremely overweight. Another member is Marianne Marie. Jaye gets embroiled in their lives and it turns out that Fat Pat isn't fat at all. She tries to help him, but comes across as too nice. Which is a theme for this episode, whereby Jaye is Jaye, but while doing what she's told ends up saving babies and such. We also get a great spiel from Pat about how hard it is to be fat.

Fat Pat is played by... Eddie Kaye Thomas, who I watch a lot in Scorpion (yes, I can actually stand watching that series). And Marianne Marie is Beth Grant who has... been in so many things.

It's always amusing to watch a series and go "hang on, I know that person, they are now famous", and I was surprised when I saw Eddie.

[END]

Read more!

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Got Eut

It took several months, but this movie finally got here. In the mean time, I heard nothing about it, outside of minimal talk... and that was worth going in blind!

Chris is a black boyfriend to Rose's white girlfriend. She takes him home to meet the upper class white parents, and he's not sure about this at all. We get to meet the parents and their black help, but it's fine, it's fine. It's not creepy at all. Despite all the many, many moments that come off as amazingly creepy.

And I don't want to say any more.

This is very well done. My big key point for horror style movies is "atmosphere!". And this builds it up so well. And even I could follow along with all the unspoken moments and get what it meant. Although do expect a lot of shots of Daniel Kaluuya looking askew at a lot of parts of scenes and other characters. Even the IMDB page has it as the video frame. Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener are great as parents, Stephen Root is fine as always, and Allison Williams reminded me of Jennifer Carpenter.

Anyway, if you haven't seen it yet, definitely see it, probably preferably before reading this review.

[END]

Read more!

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Throne of Blood

Well, I can't say that I haven't seen MacBeth (which I have seen before), because I've now seen Throne of Blood.

Returning from battle, two generals encounter a spirit that foretells their fortune. In particular, one general shall become lord of the manor, but the other's son will secede him! The general gets paranoid, aided by his even more suspicious wife, until he makes the fortune true by blood, but then by blood shall he pay.

Another Akira Kurosawa movie and... I have to admit, I got severely bored during this. Despite what people say about Shakespeare being the end all and be all of plays and such, he can't engage me with his prose. Even when translated via Japanese. I do want to watch more of S's plays, but can I please have a version that actually tries to do more than present actors indulging themselves?

(It seems that for actors, if you haven't done Shakespeare, you aren't a real actor. And if you have done Shakespeare, then everything else is rubbish in comparison. So why do we have anything other than Shakespeare then?)

Anyway, I'll take The Hidden Fortress over this.

[END]

Read more!

Monday, 22 May 2017

Doctor Who 10.6

Oh, Moffat, Moffat, Moffat... I said this would happen.

I almost thought that Moffat was going to do something really surprising and have Doctor realise he was in a television series. Otherwise... we are just in a parallel universe and it doesn't really matter. It just becomes at what point do we realise it? To be honest, I didn't work it out until the end when they revealed it, but the general point still stands that once you are in a parallel universe, your interest drops dramatically.

Minor pick: they made a universe in which there's a book pointing out that this is a simulated universe? Which isn't in the real world, so the whole Vatican thing isn't there in the real world? Oh, and the TARDIS apparently doesn't translate Italian any more?

Anyway, given all that... this episode isn't bad. It's built around one gimmick that then gives away to another, which is a nice mystery episode, but nothing comes of it rather than "Hey, Doctor, this is how you know the information for next time, which we don't usually explain".

And then there's Missy. Who is in the Vault. I said the Vault would be entirely disappointing, and this is that, mainly because it was given away by fans long before anyone could really get invested in it. It looks like Moffat's trying to change the arc from the Vault to these Aliens, but I doubt they'll last more than the next episode, and then let's all remember how exciting the Silence were last time.

Quick test: would anything change if we remove this episode and next time the Doctor has simply heard of these aliens before? I doubt it.


NEXT TIME: I haven't been keeping track... is this supposed to be a part two?

[END]

Read more!

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Sixth Marx

With this movie, we have no longer had one movie a year, and Zeppo has left the troupe. A Night at the Opera.

There's a love triangle in this movie, where Lassparri is the lead singer and is in love with Rosa, who is in love with the chorus singer Ricardo (and he loves her). Lassparri is taken to New York and takes Rosa along, and Ricardo stowsaway to get there. Eventually, Lassparri is taken out allowing Ricardo and Rosa to be the stars.

Oh, and the Marx Brothers are in this as well, but you could be mistaken for not realising this is a Marx Brothers movie. They are around, and get bits to do, and this is definitely trying to be a comedy in places where they happen to be on screen... but everything stops for the above plot and it feels like it is in a different movie. It doesn't help that they are singing operatically in the main plot which feels completely at odds to the comedy the Brothers are doing. Even their comedy gets subsumed in the name of the plot.

I thought this was one of those classics (with the egg skit) but... it feels awkward.

[END]

Read more!

Friday, 19 May 2017

Wonder Fifth Falls

This is one of those mixed timelines episodes which flashes back and forth.

All of a sudden, Jaye's family has a French maid from Canada, ends up deported back, and Jaye and her brother go to get her. We also get the start of the brother Aaron, an atheist theologist, noticing Jaye talking to talking objects. This will continue through many episodes, and yet Aaron comes across the one who is crazy (because we know Jaye isn't).

Aaron is played by Lee Pace, who has quite a good career, most recent in Halt and Catch Fire. Other notable actors outside of guest stars are William Sadler as the father, and Neil Grayston as the mouthbreather, aka the assistant manager at the store Jaye works at.

But speaking of guest stars we get Colin Fox in a small scene but very well done. There are great guest stars in this series.

[END]

Read more!

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Alien-2: Covenanent

Because Ridley Scott actually noticed the reaction to his previous movie, he made this one instead of continuing the story no-one was interested in.

A ship is travelling through space when it gets a signal from a planet, which is goes to only to find...

Okay, many of you can probably fill in the gaps, but that's a factor of the fact that nothing in this movie is surprising. There is no revelation that shocks you and you spend a lot of time going "and then this happens" until it finally does.

That said, it's not like these people are completely stupid. They behave well enough and with intelligence, with the main problem being they are just completely unaware of what it is they are unaware of and so can't counter it. At least in the first part of the movie, then we are just watching any other latter half Alien movie.

Acting wise, it's pretty good. At least until the mentioned second half when the acting as well as the plot becomes generic.

Aesthetic wise, and here is where I think Ridley really took on the feedback, the ship feels more like a step between Prome and Alien. One could say that Weyland spent the money on the expensive doodads, and now what's left for others is lesser downgraded tech. It's nice but it's a story I'm placing on it, it's not stated anywhere (but then the author is dead, so it's fine).

But mainly... this movie is PONDEROUS in the amount of time it takes to get anywhere. Remember in the first film it took ten hours to get to the eggs? Yeah, strap in boys, you are in for a long ride...

[END]

Read more!

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence

It's the third Roy Andersson movie about being a human being and, er... This is A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence.

This has only a few recurring characters, and everyone with an on screen role in this movie is, to a man, a pale faced dour individual. I'm not sure if that was make up or just everyone is pasty faced in Sweden. This movie is about death, and we get that through everyone just having a miserable time. There are some very absurdist moments, but on the whole...

I have no idea what was going on and any time. To be honest, the movie could have ended at any point and I would have been just as wise as as I was when it did actually end.

Well that's done now, and this is not a set of movies for me.

[END]

Read more!

Monday, 15 May 2017

Doctor Who 10.5

ZOMBIES... IN.... SPAAAAAAAAACE!

This is a simple base under siege story... and it doesn't do anything interesting with it. To be honest, the biggest surprise was that only Bill was brought back, not all of them. It could easily have been said "for cost reasons, we are deactivating people until we can get profit and then reactivate them" and then everyone lives! And certainly no-one's particularly sad at the end at the number of deaths, and indeed it's positive "we're gonna go complain!" at the end. Really?

And wait a minute... it's half the episode before we meet the rest of the crew. So we have a bit of the Doctor and companions running away from the zombies... and then a section with the Doctor and companions running away from the zombies. Including a bit in which Bill dies, so we know that's not going to be permanent.

Really, what's happening by the end of the episode. We have that "the Doctor tried to evade his responsibilities and is punished for it", but why now? And the whole episode just for that pay off?

This episode just feels over done.


NEXT TIME: Big build up to giving away the surprise guest star/ending. Oops.

[END]

Read more!

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Fifth Marx

And this is a classic most people have seen. For Freedonia! Duck Soup.

Freedonia is over budget, and will only get money from a wealthy patron if Firefly is placed in charge. And so he is! However, Firefly is rather incompetent and soon they end up going to war... and everyone is even more incompetent then.

This is a Groucho heavy movie, with him in most scenes. While Chico and Harpo are around, they get less to do, and neither of them really do their party pieces with regards to playing music. They get some schtick, but it's rather incidental.

Yeah, basically, I wasn't as impressed by this as I thought I was going to be. At least the story got on with it and parts were entertaining enough, but it felt rather too random with how it set up scenes and finally got to the war parts.

Better luck next time?

[END]

Read more!

Friday, 12 May 2017

Wonder Fourth Falls

The writers need to make a short expression do a lot of work, and this episode is a great example of that.

The key phrase that drives the episode is "Bring her back", which also comes "Bring her back to him." The main character is a would be nun and a priest, so we get to bring her (nun) back to him (the priest), and then to Him. And by the end we find out the her ends up being the priest's unknown daughter.

Jaye makes the point "you should be clearer with your pronouns", but then the episode would be shorter as Jaye gets the point immediately. Then again there is a lot that happens because of various interpretations of the saying.

Oh, and we also get an exorcism, so this is a great moment.

[END]

Read more!

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Gu2rdi2ns of the G2l2xy

One problem I have with how people talk about the Marvel movies is that people start with "these movies are good relative to other movies" (which they are), but then switch to "these movies are good" as an absolute, then move onto "this is a good movie", no matter what the movie is like.

Given all that... this feels like an average movie, although I know there are people already raving about it.

With this movie, we dive into more backstory and find out more about Peter's father. Whom I'm pretty sure is different in the comics. And we spend a lot of time with them catching up. There is also other races doing things, and...

Okay, there are huge chunks of this movie where not a lot happens. I can already hear "character development", but it feels more like "story stalling" with five or ten minutes being spent to get one beat that could have been done in seconds. This isn't terrible, but I have a hard time feeling like there is anything really momentous happening, either in the wider universe or in the character lives. There are a few revelations and character turns, but this feels more like a reaction to the audience reaction of the first movie and having to redo some of the characters to make them more of what the audience what, and less about the actual characters developing as they would.

I could say more about "hey, that's this character" or "I was expecting this to happen" but feel that details might be spoilers.

I'm sure you will check it out if you already plan on it, so know that if you haven't yet, you won't have a bad time.

[END]

Read more!

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

A New Leaf

A light comedy. I needed that, and quite enjoyed it. End of review? This is A New Leaf.

Henry Graham is a playboy but has run out of money. With a need to do something, he is given the idea of marrying someone, and discovers the easily manipulable Henriette Lowell. While he sees her as a rather useless specimen of womanhood, he nevertheless takes pain to care for her, and even sorts out her rather criminal household staff. Eventually, they go on a holiday overseas, and this provides the perfect opportunity for Henry to get rid of his other half.

This is Walter Matthau displaying fine form. Even though he's a rich layabout, yeah, we come to like him. But we also like Elaine May and I, for one, could see the movie going either way at the end. It's good that there's that uncertainty, which gives a good chance for a character beat involving a leaf token.

We also have Doris Roberts as part of the household staff, whom I recognised but had to look up to remember she was Mildred Krebs in Remington Steele.

So yes, a good comedy, well recommend a seeing.

[END]

Read more!

Monday, 8 May 2017

Doctor Who 10.4

Hey, a good horror episode... right up to the reveal.

The key, as ever, is atmospheric build up, and this sets it up well. The cast get separated, creepy moments without explanation occur, and strange sounds abound. I'm in!

And then... the bugs come out, and it all goes to pot. They're just...too sci fi. Having it being proper dryads would have been something more interesting. Instead we get CGI bugs decomposing people, and then, at the end, (nearly) EVERYONE LIVES! Sigh.

Still, David Suchet is absolutely brilliant as ever. And at the end when he goes childlike, that's amazing. (So much for the hint that he was more than he seemed though... and that doesn't explain how he popped up all over the place, unless the bugs transported him through the wood without ever converting him?)

It's a good half an episode, but then it falls flat.


NEXT TIME: Zombies? Spacesuit zombies? Meh...

[END]

Read more!

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Fourth Marx

A shorter movie this time, but one that works better. This was supposed to be a follow up to the last movie, but real life events with the Lindbergh baby made them change it into Horse Feathers.

Professor Quincey Wagstaff (Groucho) is the new dean of Huxley college, but is told by his son Frank (Zeppo) that their football team is in trouble. He goes to a speakeasy to get some ringers (which are grabbed by the other college first) but do get two people, the Ice man Baravelli (Chico) and Pinky the Dog catcher (Harpo). Meantime, Frank is hooking up with the college widow Connie Bailey (Thelma Todd), but she is actually working for the other college and is trying to get the college signals. Baravelli and Pinky are sent to kidnap the two ringers, but are caught by them. It all ends up at the football game as the Brothers come together to slapstick their way to a victory.

Now this is more like it! Antics, and plenty of them, but mixed in and actually helping the plot. There were some great moments, and seeing Harpo in a metal cab being led by a horse (yes, referencing the Roman gladiator) made me laugh whenever it was on screen. The whole thing felt better integrated and everything flowed well. Although I'm not sure Thelma entirely enjoyed herself, especially when she is dogpiled at the end.

Let's keep cranking these out, eh?

[END]

Read more!

Friday, 5 May 2017

Wonder Third Falls

Jaye, meet real Gen Y. While comedy, we also get a rather dramatic/horror stalker...

Bianca is an aspiring journalist... who is not even slightly getting anywhere with journalism. She attaches herself to Jaye and follows her around... and slowly starts to become more like her... and then becomes a better Jaye than Jaye is, even to her friends and parents. Jaye becomes... rather insecure over this, and takes on Bianca's job of doing an article. So Bianca gets the credit without having to do work... Gen Y!

This is great horror/comedy, with the journalist aspect a reveal halfway through the episode showing off why Bianca is stalking her. This would otherwise lead Jaye into self reflection about her own life, but instead we get that Jaye is actually happy with her life how she is.

Bryan Fuller should give that horror thing a real go.

[END]

Read more!

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Fate of the Fastious

Cars and babes and incredibly stupid plots involving driving, it's another movie in the franchise.

For reasons, Dom is having to go rogue against his old team/family, so we get many a scene of people not believing that Dom really did go rogue, and scenes of Dom looking stoic. (Which involves Vin Diesel looking wooden and emotionless... I'm just saying that to leave the obvious joke out there for whoever wants it.) This all culminates in a stupid plan and if you've seen the trailer you know what's coming.

While I'm not saying this is rote, it definitely doesn't feel outstanding and original. We do have Dom being against the team, but the scenes could be any ridiculous stunts out of any of the movies, only ramped up for current production values.

However, the main issue I have with this is that there are too many characters. Yes, okay, we have recently written out Han and Brian, but we have so many others come in to replace them that I can't remember who many of them are and what role they play. Hell, two of the characters are doing the same job, a sure sign of character redundancy.

No doubt there will be other movies in this franchise still to come.

[END]

Read more!

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

You, The Living

It's another Roy Andersson movie. Well, it can't get worse, can it? This is You, The Living.

It's another collection of people and disjointed scenes. We get a few of them telling us their dreams... which we then get to see. There are people playing instruments, a guy getting a haircut, and a woman wanting to marry a band lead...

And, yeah, I still have no idea what's going on. Especially that ending. What the? However...

I did actually, well not necessarily enjoy, but didn't mind at all. I don't know if this is a lighter movie, or I knew what to expect, or I was just in a better mood. But I was able to let it wash over me and relax into it more.

There's still another one to go, so there might be a chance I actually work out what's going on at some point?

[END]

Read more!

Monday, 1 May 2017

Doctor Who 10.3

Yep, it's an episode set in the past... but I'm mainly trying to think if this is more Beast Below or Meat.

Once again we bring up but quickly gloss over the problem of characters being black. And that there are kids stealing that doesn't bother anyone. And there's a Lord chappy who somehow got this alien creature in the Thames chained up? And worked out how to make use of it in productive ways. And large fish that aren't explained that somehow manage to whiz around fast enough to make a blur but don't get in each others way.

So am I just picking this to pieces? Small things aside, how does it work as a whole? Um... not that impressive really. This feels very light, with more of an excuse to put in some pretty speeches.

Actually, is this Empty Child with the kids being the only ones involved in what's going on?

Anyway, this just feels like a not-much episode, with a hint at the end at the larger plot arc. There you are.


Next time: The Haunting was a terrible movie, why would they make an episode out of it?

[END]

Read more!

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Third Marx

The previous two were stage plays adapted, and this was straight made for the screen. This is some Monkey Business.

The Marx Brothers are stowaways on a ship, but get discovered and run around for a while. There is a sort of a plot with a mafia dude wanting to get into business with a rich dude, and they get various Brothers to help them. Or rather "help" them. When the rich dude wants to present his daughter (think coming out party), the mafia dude kidnaps her, and the Brothers have to get her back.

The Marx movies aren't the biggest for plots, but this takes 20 minutes to even get to what plot there is. Before then there is a lot of running around the ship and some gags, but it feels longer. Just running around isn't that funny. (Not that I'm a big slapstick person.) The plot remains light and is just an excuse for getting various scenes set up for the Brothers to do their bits. Groucho and Chico have their verbal sparring match, Harpo does physical comedy, then later at the party Chico does his piano piece and Harpo his harp piece. Zeppo gets the serious part (with putting moves on the rich dude's daughter), and he gets to sing, but he is definitely not given much/any comedy to play.

In this movie is Thelma Todd, who was sent to be in a Marx Brothers movie because she wasn't following the studio line properly. And I don't know any trivia about the other players.

While I do appreciate what the Brothers can do, I would like them to be incorporated more into the actual storyline... and for there to be an actual storyline.

[END]

Read more!

Friday, 28 April 2017

Wonder Second Falls

This has an opener that shows off how great the coincidences are. A pink flamingo tells Jaye to get off her arse, and she accidentally causes the car to crash into her father who ends up in hospital (and it will turn out that a random test will reveal something dangerous that is well caught now).

The bulk of the episode is around Jaye sort of helping old school frenemy Gretchen throw an early school reunion and must help then tear her down. We get to see Jaye just give up an accept her role (in a hilarious way of course), and then, of course, it works out in a way you wouldn't expect, but it does work out. We also get Jaye's sister is hooking up with her new girlfriend although she does so at home when her sick father is there.

There are some great one liners in this, and this episode features Chelan Simmons, whom you've probably seen in something. (Later she would return as a character with the same name in Hannibal, and considering that Bryan Fuller likes making an extended universe, this is likely the same character.)

This is a good character building episode.

[END]

Read more!

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Lagon

This is the best Xmen movie... according to the internet, so there's no need for anything more to be said.

In the future, Logan will be old... and that's the movie folks! Okay, there's more where he's trying to get money for him and Charles (who is also really old) to a boat, but hears about a young girl and his help is asked for. Eventually, reluctantly, he gives it, and so we go on a road trip to a safe place. Nothing happens, and no-one dies...

Okay, so it's good, but I wouldn't say it was great. There's a lot of talking, nearly a promise of an action scene... and then it's more talking. Which can work, but it often comes down to Logan monologuing, and no matter how Hugh Jackman tries to sell it, an orator Logan ain't, so it gets weary to listen to. And Hugh does get to put on some different roles as Logan, so I'm sure he enjoyed it.

So, for me, this was too long. I'm not a huge X-fan, and can give or take Hugh as Logan, so... this was a movie I saw.

[END]

Read more!

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

A Flickering Truth

This is a film about literally digging up the past, over in Afghanistan. This is A Flickering Truth.

Ibrehim Arif is a film maker from Afghanistan, and he returned to unearth The Afghan Film archive, a collection of Afghan films. Which the Taliban and others destroyed some of, and generally let it go to pot. He gets workers to help clean it up, although criticising the way they work, and we get clips sprinkled throughout of various films. Finally, after getting some of the films sorted out, he goes on a Film Festival... to the safer parts of Afghanistan...

This is a documentary by New Zealander Pietra Brettkelly, and this is one of those documentaries where we follow the people. To be honest, the main reason I knew what was going on, ie the context of this film, was because I read the film description. Given that, it was great and I could follow along easily, although I'm not sure someone who didn't is going to be able to get what's happening. Some explanation would be useful.

So I would recommend this movie, but I would not recommend going in blind.

[END]

Read more!

Monday, 24 April 2017

Doctor Who 10.2

Ah, the tricky second album... er, second episode after the reboot.

So it's another colony world... how many have there been now? It feels like a few. Even the Doctor notes he's been involved with more than one. But this one features emoji robots, because we must reference the very latest and freshest of memes.

And then...nothing happens. A lot of nothing happens. Whole stretches of nothing happens. And after nothing happens... there's another batch of nothing happening.

Eventually we get other people, and a rushed episode ending in which the Doctor quickly patches something together, and we assume everything is fine? Sure, we wouldn't want anything to start happening now.

Peter Capaldi continues to channel Pertwee, and Pearl Mackie is still decent as Bill. But again, nothing's happening so it's hard to say anything more than they were in it.

Yep... that was an episode, I guess.


Next week: Future episode and now a past episode? Yeah, I remember this formula. Then there's a two parter, right?

[END]

Read more!

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Second Marx

Already Chico and Harpo are feeling more like inserted-schtick that useful additions. With only the second movie, Animal Crackers.

The plot involves Captain Spaulding (as per Groucho) returning from a hunt overseas. At the same time, a famous painting is being unveiled. But not one but two different groups of people see this as a chance to having their own fun with the painting, and so we end up with paintings all over the place and lots of running around. As is common it seems.

Already I like this more as it has the musical moments integrated into the plot, so it really is more of a musical. Groucho even gets to have a bit of a sing and dance (in his own style), but quickly it settles down to being all about the paintings. Which it doesn't help that the movie is in black and white as there is no chance of the viewers able to tell which is which, we need the characters to announce that.

As before, we get random bits of business from the Brothers, which makes me wonder how much was in the original musical as it feels tacked on in many places. Were the scripts written for them, or did they just do it on the night (not that it was improvised, but was it worked out while filming?).

So the movie improved, but the Brothers got on my nerves.

[END]

Read more!

Friday, 21 April 2017

Wonder First Falls

Ah yes, this fantastic series. And now I have the time, I'm going to talk about all 13 episodes.

We get introduced to Jaye, a 20 something Gen Y who is incredibly disaffected, in a dead end job she doesn't care about, still living in the same town she grew up in (at Niagara Falls). At least she is living in her own trailer park, unlike her older brother and sister who lives at home with her parents.

And then the plastic smooshed face lion talks to her. About which she has a 'sode. She eventually gives in to what the animal wants. And thus is the series in which Jaye helps a random stranger per episode. She has a black friend, and sort of hits on the bartender.

Jaye is great, the maximum sass gen y'er most of us think we are. And this is written and shot as quirky as all get out that it immediately charms. This is an amazing pilot that shows off the "coincidence" that lies at the heart of all of what Jaye ends up doing.

A great opener, and one that immediately engages and makes you want to see the rest of the series.

[END]

Read more!

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Lif

A sci fi horror set in space? I am listening... Remember that one scene in Species in which they make pure creature and it tries to escape quarantine? Think of this movie as that extended and in space.

On the ISS, they get a sample from Mars, and it contains Life (title drop!). However, it escapes as people refuse to properly do quarantine protocols (despite talking about them a lot). And this has to be the holey space ship ever as the creature can get anywhere from anywhere, through fire suppressant systems and even thrusters ... wut? As you expect, it comes down to us versus it, and there's only one way that can come out...

Ryan Reynolds plays someone competent, so we got to get rid of him. Otherwise, there are some decent performances here, but noone really is going too hard acting wise. The production is nice, and the creature is a good effect, but it feels like it's missing emotional connections all over the place. And so, doesn't really stick around in the mind.

For me, the leader is always Event Horizon... and this is no Event Horizon.

[END]

Read more!

Monday, 17 April 2017

DW 10.1

It's back... and I have to say this new episode works well to resetup the series and introduce Bill... and foreshadow the season arc that will no doubt end up disappointing us all because this is Moffat we're talking about.

We get this story through Bill's eyes, but fortunately we get enough of the Doctor, and the Doctor being the Doctor, not to have to put up with, say, 45 minutes of a shop clerk hanging around with her boyfriend. Instead we get Bill set up as a brave new companion, and Moffat ticks off the checklist to get us to engage with her... but what the hell, I'm willing to let that slide, because yes, I am on her side. And the story isn't that complicated either, although it doesn't end out well for Heather, but again this is reintroduction time, so I'm fine with that.

I'm less interested in the whole vault thing, because I see that being teased the whole season and being a damn squib, because I've seen other seasons. This does also make it look like we'll be on earth with trips to other places, and wasn't that the last season we just had? Time and Space really are far behind us, aren't they?

So I'm buying this first episode, but we'll see if the series can keep it up.


Next time: Look, just call it New New Earth and be done with it.

[END]

Read more!

Saturday, 15 April 2017

First Marx

Yes, that's right, from horror to... comedy! I never clicked with the Three Stooges, but I do enjoy the antics of the brothers. And so I've got twelve to get through, so we start with The Cocoanuts.

Groucho is running a hotel, and is trying to sell off land in Florida. While this is going on, a couple decide to try for some robbery and then end up in a bad marriage situation. Unfortunately, they have the brothers to deal with, so do they have a chance?

There are a few things that stood out while watching this. This is a movie with small sections of plot, usually with Groucho doing his fast paced speech, while there is also various entertainment sections going on. There are many choreographed sequences, and they are quite well done, so this is no small amount of effort to set up and film. We also get stars Oscar Shaw and Mary Eaton signing various songs for us. Oh, and Kay Francis.

We also get action from the brothers, with them largely bringing out their party pieces of talking or various musical notes. Zeppo is definitely sidelined, with only a handful of lines. He does get into the business with the others, but feels just there to full out the scene.

The mix between plot and dance took me by surprise, so let's see if this is a standard or a one-off.

[END]

Read more!

Friday, 14 April 2017

TP 8

This is season eight, which is just one four part story. Clearly they knew they were going out and decided on one big band. This is War of the Empires.

The Thargons and the Sausons are the empires having a war, and they are battling near a closed world, also known as Earth. The TPs are trying to stop them, and when the earth becomes threatened, they step up their efforts. However, we need a nation on earth that is friendly, but otherwise an arrogant brutal warmongering... and that's not British, so say hello again to the Americans! They join forces with the Sausons(*) for a bit, but the TPs convince them to help eventually to see them all off. While the TP try to get the Galactic Federation involved, but instead end up evicted, so it's up to them to deal with everything.

(*)I think. I quickly lost track who was who... btw, this is one lot of them (the others are just people in military outfits with gold paint everywhere):


But, hey, speaking of the Galactic Federation, we have this lot:
I've got pictures of each alien in the full post (click through to see them.)







Galactic Council, eat your heart out! And we have even less information about who any of this lot are except Timus and the chairbeing.

Anyway, this story is all go, and actually the TP are right in the thick of it from the word go and remain relevant all the way through. They drive a lot of the plot, and it's up to them that earth survives. This is great, this feels like a decent story and... okay, there are still too many TPers to get properly served, and we could easily lose one without noticing, but it's still good.

This is a good story to go out on, and aside from those stupid aliens, I would recommend people checking this out.

[END]

Read more!

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

BatmanGO

Well, after how great the original Lego movie is, and how bad current Batman movies are, of course this must happen.

Hey, do you get that Batman is all grim dark and lonely? What if he had his own Robin to counter that? What if even the Joker was all chuckles and sunshine? What if there was one Batman gimmick, could an entire movie be built around that?

Which is what this movie tries to do. Oh, it's so hilarious how Batman refuses to recognise how bad his life is, no, he's the best, get it? Oh the humour! (The only one who gets it worse is Green Lantern, because LULZ! That's still funny!!!!!!!!!)

We do get good voice actors, but this does feel a lot like "hey, let's throw this person in there". So much so, I was looking through the cast list going "oh, that person was used". In fact, I'm suspecting more that people only got some things out of the movie because they noticed who the actor was, not because "I recognise that voice, which means this..."

Anyway, I wasn't that taken with it. It felt like a long take at a joke that has already been told better before.

[END]

Read more!

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Song from the Second Floor

Okay, this film looked interesting in the brief summary and one aspect of being in the film society is seeing unusual films, but... Songs from the Second Floor.

There are a few narratives floating around this, some seeming bigwigs skipping town, a magician who fails a trick, and mainly a furniture salesman who's business burns down. Against them is a backdrop of a city with stuck traffic and the salesman who sees ghosts and...

Okay, let's get to the point: I didn't get this. I didn't get any of this. There were many moments where the audience was laughing, and I was legitimately confused as to what they were laughing at (some bizarre moments I could tell, but others...).

This is a Roy Andersson film, and that's said as if it means something. But if there's something I'm supposed to get, I completely missed it.

Not a movie for me.

[END]

Read more!

Saturday, 8 April 2017

H(a^10)ll(o^10)w(e^10)n

After that masterful depiction last time, someone decided to let Rob have another go.

Surprising absolutely no-one, Michael didn't die last time, nor did Loomis, or Laurie or even Annie... so this movie was made to fix all that? We get a flashback that establishes that there is a drive in Michael that is tied to the idea of a 'white horse' (according to the opening definition, and 'white horse' should have been the subtitle of the movie, but apparently not). This is the reason why Michael is on the rampage, at least in this movie, which took him three years?? to pop back up. And then a lot of the movie is spent... I have no idea. I do remember checking that it was halfway through the movie and nothing had happened (a few token random deaths), but nothing towards an actual plot... a lot like the first movie!

Anyway, we finally kill off characters that were around in the first movie, so this part of the franchise is clearly over (because it's not like Michael would ever come back to life again... right?), but that feels like the reason we got this second movie, to kill off those characters. We do get fewer horrible female deaths (note: fewer, not none), so I guess he's improving there?

In the end, we didn't need these movies, but a glance at the box office shows that they got their money back, so that's all that matters.

Next time... something entirely different.

[END]

Read more!

Friday, 7 April 2017

TP 7.3

Ah, now this one I remember fondly, but they say memory cheats. This is Living Skins.

There's a new fashion sweeping the world, bubble suits, that fit so comfortably that it's like you are wearing a second skin and never want to take it off... not creepy at all. However, the TP quickly realise that this is a living organism, and we see plenty of large orange weather balloons bouncing around. However, the skins are good at taking people over, and the TP are bad at getting it off them, but John isn't having a problem... because he has a cold. And thus the world is saved, because John gets everyone sick!

This does have some nasty and quite silly images. In the nasty column, we get the suits moving around by themselves, and Andrew seemingly getting suffocated. We also get the TP quite easily being taken over, so it's not like we can rely on them, and it's only because of John's cold they got away from it. On the other hand, we do have the large balloons bouncing in a clearly roll-back way, and the TPs often being revealed in underwear, no to mention the actual PVC outfits themselves...

But overall, this is a good episode, and reminded me of Blue and the Green from way back. Although TP these episodes are far more quick to decide if aliens should be helped or hurt, we don't have time for indepth shades of grey anymore.

[END]

Read more!

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Ghest in the Sholl

If this movie makes me want one thing, it's to reread the comic. So there's that.

Major Mira Killian is a ghost (brain) in a shell (cybernetic body), and is a member of Section 9, which goes after more unusual crime. Events kick off as people from Hanka Robotics, whom built the Major's body, are killed off, and in seeking answers Major finds out more about herself and what went into creating her.

Okay, this definite has parallels to the comic, with origin mixed in (can we please just do a movie that just dives into the universe and assumes the interested audience already knows the origin? Especially superhero movies). And yes, although she is Mira Killian, there is Motoko Kusunagi, who is played by a Japanese actor... and that ScarJo is cast says more about the nature of the Robotics company that about whitewashing in Hollywood (although there is that undeniable aspect too). That said, I will also say I do like the casting of many of the parts, especially 'Beat' Takeshi Kitano as Aramaki. In the team we also have Batou, Saito and Ladriya... although she disappears from the movie halfway through, huh? Was there a scene cut?

But overall... I have to say this really felt emotionless and, well, dull. And lacking in subtly. And Tachikomas. Definitely need more Tachikomas.

And then there's that it was shot in Wellington, so a lot of outdoor scenes looked familiar while also being CGI'd to heck and back. That was just a weird feeling to deal with.

[END]

Read more!

Saturday, 1 April 2017

H(a^9)ll(o^9)w(e^9)n

Okay, so there's nothing new we can do with Michael? So someone decided to retell the first movie again. Only longer.

Michael has a messed up childhood, and goes on a killing spree. Wah, how terrible! And then, fifteen odd years later, he breaks out of the asylum and... goes on a killing spree. He's got one schtick and he sticks to it.

So this is a remake. So much so that the second half of the movie is by and large an exact repeat. This is after the first half, in which we find out all about Michael's homelife and how he is the way it is. Which the first movie did in about five minutes... and did it so much better.

Then we get to the repeat, with one big twist. There's young women having sex, and then get extensively beaten up while partially or totally nude. This movie (and frankly I can't not look at Rob Zombie here) has a hate on for women, and decides to punish them to a ridiculous degree. The men, grabbed, choked, done. The women, thrown around, through things, stabbed and bloody and everything... dear gods, no, that's too much.

I can't say we needed this movie. But I'm guessing some studio needed the money.

[END]

Read more!

Friday, 31 March 2017

TP 7.2

We're still in Scotland, with a pair of chaps that are ready to show whatever it takes. This is Achilles Heel.

Two aliens come to earth to get Barnum, a very rare element that can remove TP powers. There happens to be a seam at Loch Ness, and Andrew and Hsui Tai are there and ready for action, which means they get hit with the no power thing first. The other three are in about five minutes of the story, tracking the ship the aliens came in, but get caught and the others have to rescue them.

The people playing the aliens are willing to give it a go. At one stage, they are lounging around in towels. And they are more than willing to play with day glo plastic props. Let alone trying to play off not quite understanding customs,

But the main problem, and this goes back to the point I made last time, of what to do with five people. Three of them are basically written out, while the focus is on just two. While the next story will no doubt have the five of them, I can believe the cast will be whittled down a character or two.

Not a bad story, but definitely not getting more than two episodes of out this.

[END]

Read more!

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Skongl Island

Hey, remember those great island sequences from the Kong movies? Just imagine if the whole movie was that!

There's a new island found because of new satellite technology (in 1973), so we better get there before them Ruskies! However, it turns out there are huge giant creatures, and so the scientists and the army guys better survive long enough to get off the island, and/or get revenge.

And this feels like "hey, let's set up some giant creature moments... and that's all we need, right?" Because there isn't much else other than these moments. The 'plot' is just there to string these moments together, and don't hold your breath for any great character development or... anything else, really.

Yes, let's mention that these creatures also wouldn't get that size. We see a huge spider and mention large ants, no, that can't happen. Indeed, tell me Kong couldn't be that big, I'd believe you, but this is supposed to be the same universe as Godzilla... which I would like to rewatch, but I would prefer to see the "white dudes removed" edit of that. Another movie I kept thinking of: Lost World.

There are, because of course there are, bunch of monster-verse movies coming out, and this one feels like 'hey, we have moments of this monster'... I doubt this will be the last of these,

[END]

Read more!

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Persepolis

A true story of growing up in Iran, as told through the medium of animation. Great film to watch: Persepolis.

Marjane Satrapi tells us about her life, being a child in Iran as war broke out, and then revolution happened. As she grows up, she moves to France but doesn't have a great time. She returns to Iran, but even them is an outsider. Eventually, she has to leave one last time.

The animation style is simple but effective, and the story is compelling. Marjane doesn't pull punches about her life and we see the people who inspire her as well as those that make her despair (and some unfortunate love encounters).

I like this a lot, and recommend people checking it out.

[END]

Read more!

Saturday, 25 March 2017

H(a^8)ll(o^8)w(e^8)n

Of course they found a way to bring him back. But was it worth it?

We start with the death of Laurie Strode... er, spoilers I guess? Anyway, they reveal that instead of Michael, it was some random dude with a crushed larynx! [Although they don't explain how that chap had Michael's endurance or couldn't take his mask off...] But with that out of the way, we can get on with the movie, which is a 'stupid people enter a haunted house in which a killer strikes'.

I'm not sure if this is the first movie to do that, but it certainly feels like it's as generic as it comes. Sure, it's the Myers house, but outside of that one piece of context, this could be able of a hundred other cam-investigation movies I've seen. Well worse, in some ways, as to avoid seeing death one actress has to go to extreme lengths to avoid accidentally being able to see the screen.

Two cast members of note: LL Cool J, trying to be mainstream still, and not pulling it off. And Katie Sackhoff before she was a clone, with a really weirdly wide mouth. But I wouldn't say this movie is worth watching because of them.

Well, that is the end, until it gets rebooted, sort of.

[END]

Read more!

Friday, 24 March 2017

TP 7.1

It's a new season... so yeah, let's have a new TP! Which seems to be the only thing of note in this episode. This is Castle of Fear.

In Scotland, an old drunk sees a ghost... courtesy of a young lad. And the TPs are dreaming of the same ghost. Later the kid ensures an American team sees the Loch Ness Monster, and so do the TPs again, but now they decide to investigate up north. The kid's father thinks that Andrew is possessed by demons and locks him away, but manages to get away. The TPs track him down to a castle, and they have an imaginary battle. And everyone's friends!

Just to reiterate, the big climax is two imaginary forces having a battle while the main cast look on and gurn. I'm sure the local reenactment troupe enjoyed it, but it isn't shot well, and there are no stakes, so there is no interest in this at all.

This brings us back up to five TPs, and they've shown they'd had trouble with more than three, so let's see how they deal with it in the upcoming episodes.

[END]

Read more!

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Iron Fisty 1.1.1

This is it, the big pay off. This is what everything has been building to... uh?

In this last set of episodes... I have trouble saying who the big menace of the season is. The series is "how about this guy? No? Here, try this guy". Nothing feels big, even the personal emotional investment isn't really there, and the series itself doesn't know what to do with itself.

This extends to the characters, who aren't really anything either. Nothing amazing happens, and you can spot all the character turns before they happen, and really... even Danny Rand, the big hero, is a large lump of sod all.

That said Gao continues to impress, and she should get her own series... although the writers will then make everything terrible...

So that was Iron Fist, and it isn't going to break records.

[END]

Read more!

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Iron Fisty 1.1

Okay, now onto the next four episodes (so that leave four to go).

There are some interesting scenes, I'll give it that. However, in terms of story... the problem I'm facing is that it feels like a lot of the scripts is "here's a great idea for a scene", and it was bunged in. So it seems that this was written as one script at a time with no idea of the overall story is. But this is one complete package, so how is that possible?

Much like the other series, it seems that the middle part is just bubbling along. While there are scenes, not a lot happens. For example, episode 5, some nice set pieces, but the plot is advanced not one iota. There are some character changes... but then they are undone, so what was the point?

Is 13 episodes too long? The Defenders series will be 8 episodes, and while I was initially disappointed in that, this might mean we get a tighter story.

This is feeling like there's a lot of padding. Hopefully this will pick up in the last set of episodes?

[END]

Read more!

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

The Hidden Fortress

Another Kurosawa classic, supposedly inspiration for a certain Lucas movie, but I don't care about that. Come watch The Hidden Fortress.

Two peasants, escaping from a war, find a source of gold, but in trying to get it they end up with a general and helping a princess get back to their province. Along the way they run around a lot, get caught up in a fire festival, and get threatened with death more than once.

You know, nothing is mentioned in the trivia, and there's no reason that it would be, but I would swear that the two peasants are Abbott and Costello in Meet the Princess. It very much is comedy hijinks with those two,  although there isn't quite the same wordplay. Still, I found their part of the story far more engaging that the more serious general and princess (although Misa Uehara is a very attractive princess).

That all said, this is a little long. Perhaps cut out all the non peasant bits?

[END]

Read more!

Monday, 20 March 2017

Iron Fisty 1

Next Marvel Netflix series time, and it's that great story about one white guy who learns the way of foreigners to be the best of them. You know, like Dr Strange. This is just discussing the first five episodes.

Wow, talk about your slow roll starters. Remember the first Iron Man movie? Stark came back from overseas and had that press conference, and then got back to the company. Now imagine that one moment taking FOUR episodes! Yes, we have to set up characters, but dear me it takes its time. It's not until the fifth episode that there's an actual sign of plot! (Just as well I got to five before this write up.)

This is another series where I know nothing of the comic, so I have no idea how faithful any of this is. But it feels like they've decided to set up their own take on everything so have to introduce everything as it is in their universe. But by four episodes, we've had so much character discussion that everyone now feels set in stone. Perhaps if there had been some plot to break it up?

So, what's the big plot we get anyway? It's drugs, because it's always drugs. And the Hand is involved, because of course it is... can we jump to the Defenders series where the good guys all come together to fight the Hand, 'cos that's what's obviously coming. And with Night Nurse involved, this series could easily become the Defenders anyway, she just needs to phone a few people.

Hopefully the next set of episodes pick up because it's not feeling like much so far.

[END]

Read more!

Saturday, 18 March 2017

H(a^7)ll(o^7)w(e^7)n

Hey, Jamie Lee is willing to come back! Quick, write any old thing to put her in!

This very nearly has a plot to it. Laurie has been traumatised by Michael, and is trying to put her life back together, but is confronted by her past. Put like that, it's got a lot of potential and handled well, it could work out nicely. However, we also get a bunch of kinds, and a teleporting serial killer, so it quickly comes about the blood and the killing and the running and... sigh. We get a nearly tender moment between Laurie and Michael... but then there's the axe. At least this is a definitive end and no more Halloween/Michael Myers movies...

Although it seems there was a scene for continuity, it's clear the previous movies didn't happen. This also means that Michael, stupid though it was, never gets a backstory. Which brings up the point from the last movie, Freddy and Jason have tons of backstory, and  more gets added each time, and yet Michael is and remains just a guy who killed his sister then going on a killing spree... and that's it. There's keeping it simple, and there's making it one-dimensional.

As such, it all adds up to nearly being able to do something interesting, but fumbling because it has to be a mindless serial killer movie...

[END]

Read more!

Friday, 17 March 2017

TP 6.3

Okay, um... this episode is just really lackluster, with one of the worst things you've ever seen. This is The Thargon Menace.

Two Thargons land on Earth and the TP get involved and hear their tale of woe. However, they are also found by island dictator Papa Min. Unfortunately, the Thargon cops are also looking for them, and tell an opposite story to the two of them. Who is telling the truth? Actions speak louder than words, and the two give Papa Min a big weapon to rule the Earth, although that's only an excuse to get the parts to get away. Eventually the TPs join the cops and put paid to the runaways.

Let's get to it. The Thargons are a wet lot in total, the more realistic touch of the dictator helps, but ultimately the cheapness sinks it. And speaking of... I don't care how much passion was put into this, how much it might be a puppeteer trying to do the best he can with what he has, how much care and effort was put into it... this is a thing called Thing.



When I first saw this, I had to pause the DVD I was laughing so hard. And whenever I saw the paused screen, I laughed more. It took several minutes for me to be able to go on. And see the rest of the disappointing episode.

Not a good story at all.

[END]

Read more!

Saturday, 11 March 2017

H(a^6)ll(o^6)w(e^6)n

This movie is cursed! Cursed! Because it is the Curse of Michael Myers... although the subtitles of these movies are never shown.

This does sort of carry on from the previous movie, but they jump five years and now the young girl from the previous movie is giving birth? Whut? Finally, after all these movies, and I was just thinking about this as I watched the movie, we get some kind of backstory explaining why Michael is the way he is. We know the deal of Jason and Freddy, but not really Michael, he's just a guy that goes around killing people. No, it turns out he is the being that will sacrifice his family on Halloween as the token for not sacrificing the rest of humanity (the idea does crop up, look up some of the darker meaning behind the winter solstice celebration some time).

But this... whut? Again, it's quite stupid, and they try to tie it into a Norse rune and a cult, the leader of which was the man who was wandering around last time, and... it doesn't really make any sense, to be honest. There is hint of another kid hearing voices like Michael did, but doesn't pan out. As does neither the baby.

Did they think there was going to be another movie? This does feel like they tied up some threads, and gave us story, but there are new plot elements that are left open, so...

But I doubt the next movie will care about any of this.

[END]

Read more!

Friday, 10 March 2017

TP 6.2

As with Godwin, any series that lasts long enough will end up with a Hitler episode. This is Hitler's Last Secret.

Mike seems to be the easily brainwashed one, and this time is getting into the Hitler craze and wants to obey him. As it happens, there's a bunker that contains teenagers whose ages were halted and now are around many years later looking after sleeping chambers. And who happens to be in one? Hitler! But, Hitler is in fact a shape changing alien from another planet (not Jedikiah), and is ready to come back. People's genes have been changed and now they all want to obey him. Fortunately, John has a stun gun and that's all that's needed to overcome the new reich.

I have to say this is a decent two-parter. They combine Hilter with a mixture of science for keeping characters young (to keep the program aimed at a younger audience) and throw in that Hitler is an alien. And they express disapproval of the whole Nazi paraphernalia, so it would hold up even today.

It's a shame the small scale, but still it's well done and a lot better than I was expecting a story involving Hitler to be.

[END]

Read more!

Saturday, 4 March 2017

H(a^5)ll(o^5)w(e^5)n

[Let's not get crazy with the title here.] With the great ending of the last movie, how can we follow it up? By completely undercutting it in every way possible.

Surprise, surprise, Michael wasn't killed in the last movie, and is back next Halloween. Jamie, the little girl from the last movie, can partially channel him, and that's why she attacked last time. Not because a little girl could become a killer, no, of course not, so we need to have any excuse, and it's that she's linked with Michael. She's aware of him stalking around, and so reacts when he stalks others. Which is about all he does. We follow several young adults as they go about their Halloween escapades with Michael hovering in the background. And so around two thirds of this movie is wasted with nothing happening. Even when there is a kill, it feels like nothing happens. Finally, Jamie is used as bait to draw Michael out so there is a sort of chase at the end, and then he's put down and Loomis dies (or does he? I'll find out next movie). However...

We've had this "subtle" other figure trailing Michael, with the same tattoo on his wrist as Michael has. And he breaks Michael out, so clearly the writers have a definite idea about the next movie already.

But nothing really happens in this movie. We don't advance the character arc of Michael. We don't have anyone of interest turn up that we care about when they die. Troy Evans is the only point of real interest in the whole movie, but I wouldn't say you should watch the movie for him.

This feels more like a transition movie: let's deal with Jamie and set up the next movie. Here's hoping that's a better one!

[END]

Read more!

Friday, 3 March 2017

TP 6.1

Another new season... and a new Tomorrow Person! Elizabeth is sidelined (as was pregnant), and we get Hsui Tai. This is The Last Gods.

In a Tibetan Temple, Hsui Tai is the latest reincarnation of a god, and possibly Mike is too. The first episode is spent getting this connection established, and part two is running around getting tied up and stunned. There's a lot of huge amounts of stunning in this. And we find out that the religion is really about power of those in charge, and they sacrifice children to keep that power. But everything wraps up nicely.

This is shot on only a few sets, the main lab, which is redesigned to now have Tim's balls on a table and jaunting wrist straps, and the temple set. Because there's is also a lot of outside shooting in a field as the characters go gliding for no readily apparent reason other than it was something for the characters to do?

The story is nice... ish, but brief again. Two parters are quite a stretch to make something decent and TP isn't quite there. It's more like just one episode of content with padding.

However, the seasons will continue like this for a while.

[END]

Read more!

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Haaaallooooweeeen

John Carpenter and Debra Hill weren't involved in this... could explain a lot. Anyway, guess what, you'll be surprised... Michael is back!

It turns out a fight isn't that dangerous, with both Michael and Loomis surviving. Ten years later, there's Laurie's daughter, Jamie, who becomes a target. Michael is being moved, breaks out, and immediately heads for the daughter... somehow knowing about her... and kills a LOT of people, even armed people, along the way. Does he have a cone of silence centered on him? Anyway, there's a lot of running around, and pauses where we think they are safe, then more chasing, then more safe then more chasing... ye gods! It eventually ends... I think.

I will give that the end moment is about the only good moment of the entire movie, although I'm not sure that's ever picked up on? (Given that the rest of the titles seem to be about Michael. I will find out.) Other than that, we have unbelievable Loomis and Michael surviving the end of the second movie, unbelievable loads of deaths happening off screen, and then the usual complete incompetence as Michael tries to get his actual target.

This is a retread of previous Michael movies. The end note promises a great change... we'll see if that happens, but I doubt it.

[END]

Read more!

Friday, 24 February 2017

TP 5.3

The last story of the season, and they all fit on one DVD. So this either indicates how short they are, or that Big Finish is losing interest. This is The Heart of Sogguth.

Mike and his band are picked up by a new manager, but it turns out that manager is the leader of the cult following Sogguth, and he wants to use the band to get the beat of their cult out to the world. John joins the cult to find out more, but fortunately Elizabeth is resistant to the beat. Which is why John has to kill her. It comes together as Sogguth is summoned...

This is a lot better. While not really a TP menace, it is a menace, and the TPs are in trouble as they try to counter it. It also features Mike's band, redubbed from Flintlock to the Fresh Hearts (which reminds me of Hearts that Hate). While Nicholas Young claims this is realistic, not really, it does take on some darker edges and provides an actual episode with some meat in it (although that doesn't stop them from an overly long recap).

And, of course, because we have Sogguth, we think Lovecraft, although we never see the actual creature. This could work as a CoC style module, although it might need to be beefed up a bit. Still, potential.

A decent end to the season.

[END]

Read more!

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Heddin Figures

Three Black women work for NASA but they are rated lower than the computer equipment they are being replaced by.

We follow Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson. They are computers for NASA, which means they do computational work. And that they aren't stupid by any means. But being Black and being women, they are way down the pecking order. We follow them through various events as they get involved in getting an astronaut into orbit and not so much challenge the system as just try to get by being themselves, which is hard enough in the system.

We get many, many incidents of them being Black and being degraded. We also get moments of them getting slightly raised and being treated as human beings. And while that is nice, and this is movie speak for how the entire crew of people got treated, I can't help but feel this is just a little on the twee scale and that it couldn't work out as nicely as it does (so far as it can be called 'nice').

Which means I want to read the book to find out more about the true story.

So in that regard, the movie works to raise interest, even if it is very stylised.

[END]

Read more!

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Haaalloooweeen

Blah blah, we all know about how this was thought of as an anthology series. The real shame is that after this, they didn't keep to it.

Halloween is coming, with fun masks for kids! Only it is slowly revealed that there is an evil power behind this, and the lead, a doctor, eventually manages to uncover this. And then reveals he has amazing powers of being able to operate computers he's never seen before to defeat everyone!

This is actually a lot better than the previous two movies. It's a nice story, and goes really dark in that it actually kills kids, something rarely done is any movie, let alone a decent one. And the ending gets to be ambiguous, something America apparently can't handle...

On the flip side, was someone writing an Auton story and made the script into a movie? Really, this works as that, with a factory making masks out of their own material (okay, just normal rubber, but it could easily be plastic), with control circuits to take over everyone at a predetermined signal. It even has a doctor as the lead! This easily could have been Autons Take America!

Anyway, is this the peak of the series? If so, I've lot a long way to go not at the top...

[END]

Read more!

Friday, 17 February 2017

TP 5.2

Well, after last time, they are now off planet... but it's not getting better. This is A Much Needed Holiday.

The TPs are sent on holiday to another planet (which is a clear studio set) to examine archaeology ruins, but as it happens an alien race is on this planet making the local young boys into a slave force. (A lot has been said about Roger's proclivities towards having young boys in rather skimpy outfits, but I'll leave that to the commentaries.) Of course, the TPs have to get involved, and it's only through them that the small team of aliens are overthrown.

Another planet, another rebelling. According to the commentary, this was in a novel, then a Look In strip, and now an episode. And yet... it feels like a low cut rate knock off Doctor Who episode. Complete with rather rubbish looking aliens (in that the aliens look like they are wearing rubbish bags, with silver foil heads and hands).



This just feels so generic, it a) could be in any series, and b) wouldn't be a good episode in any series.

[END]

Read more!

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Welcome to... The Hole

One tourist attaction up in the Bay of Islands is a hole in a rock. This is a very large rock, and the hole is formed by the sea eroding away. I wanted to see this, but, as I mentioned, my prebooked cruise was cancelled.

Fortunately, when I got to Paihia, there was a Explore store right there, advertising quick trips! In a smallish boat, we would speed along, bouncing away, out to the Hole and back. Normal trip: three hours. This trip: two hours. Done!

We saw a few items also on the trip, so it wasn't just the Rock, and you can see pictures in this album. We also went into another cave right beside it that will soon become its own hole (and it was amazing to see it inside, lots of pictures there).

And, of course, I took video of the hole trip itself:


[END]

Read more!

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Rerun of the Caper Crusaders

I'm a fan of the Adam West Batman, and really need to get around to watching the BluRays some time... but until then, I could reminisce a bit with this new movie that is an animated return to that era.

As ever, Batman and Robin are relaxing when the Fearsome Foursome of Joker, Riddler, Penguin and Catwoman arrive on the scene to cause mayhem. While being put into the first of unnecessary slow death traps, Catwoman tries to drug Batman into being Evil, but it doesn't take... yet! Then, as time goes on, Batman goes Dark(tm), and takes it out on the villains in a very not-60s way. Robin must save the day, but can he get Catwoman to help?

This does feel very 60s... although the story is off. There are a lot of nods to the series, and more than one jab at the Nolan movies, but Batman going Dark doesn't fit with how camp the series really would have done it. So while there are echoes, it feels off.

Adam West and Burt Ward of course return to voice the roles, as does Julie Newmar as Catwoman. I'm guessing her presence is why Catwoman gets more of an arc here, with the other three villains being largely interchangeable outside of their schtick lines. Clearly they are older, hence the animation, but their voices, while evocative, definitely show their age.

A hint tease of the series, but ultimately not that satisfying.

[END]

Read more!

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Bay of Islands

Over the Waitangi weekend... I went on a cruise! From Auckland, we spent a day at sea, then a day at the Bay of Islands, then another day at sea, then back at Auckland. The cruise itself was much like the last one (indeed, it was the same ship!), and I just spent time relaxing and reading, so I'm not going to talk about that.

Up at the Bay of Islands, the ship anchored in the bay and sent tenders into port. We were supposed to dock at Waitangi itself, but we were advised that there was a police presence, and we shouldn't go there (we were there on Sunday, with actual Waitangi day being the Monday... and it turns out that it would have been fine to go there, as some people did!). So instead of there, we tendered straight to Paihia.



It reminded me a lot of Picton, as a small port town for ship tourists, but nothing really major in itself. As such... I didn't really spend a lot of time there. There was something I did want to do, but with Waitangi closed there were repercussions, including the prebooked cruise being cancelled (at least, I'm assuming this is the reason). Still, that didn't end up stopping me... (to be continued).

You can see the (not that exciting) trip back from Paihia to the cruise ship on the tender, if you want.

[END]

Read more!

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Haallooween

This movie sort of feels like "the first one worked, let's make more" and part "here's stuff we didn't fit into the first movie."

This movie picks up where the first left off, first by recapping, and then going onto the next scene where Michael has disappeared (first proper example of his supernatural abilities). Laurie is taken to a hospital, where Michael follows, and so we get sexy highjinxs of doctors and nurses, and deaths of doctors and nurses. Dr Loomis runs around for a while before heading towards the hospital himself, and then he and Laurie meet up and confront Michael, leaving Laurie to get away while the doctor makes sure Michael will never survive again...

And we also get the exposition that Laurie is a previously unknown sister of Michael. This is the part that feels like it could have been in the first movie (and might have helped provide some motivation there), but also feels like a patch placed on to allow them to continue with her in the main role for this movie. And since they stay in 1978, it even more feels like "let's continue because we can't think of anything else." Although I will give that they build atmosphere better here, with menace before the kills, so this is easily a better movie than the first. And then they realise guns don't work so need a bigger ending.

All in all, that's it for Michael!

[END]

Read more!

Friday, 10 February 2017

TP 5.1

Boom, another season... and no mention of what happened to Stephen or Tyso. This is The Dirtiest Business.

Russians have found their own kids with ESPs, and for some reason have one of them in London, when she escapes. The SIS, with their own limited ESPers, think the TPs are responsible, and so end up involving them. Mike finds the young lady, Pavla, and tries to help her, but the Russians are onto them. There is a lot of chasing that gets her captured by the SIS, then... it ends!

This is only two episodes, and while the story works a little better being concentrated into just that long, the subject matter is less interesting. True, there is a lot of potential in finding out how other agencies around Earth handle the developing powers, but what there is of that could be squeezed into less than one episode. To be honest, the TPs shouldn't be getting involved in the "dirtiest business", because it doesn't fit with their characters.

That all said, we get a brilliant back and forth. Mike and John go off to Pavla, Elizabeth asks why those two. John replies "Mike is the only one she'll talk to, and me... don't ask awkward questions."

Still, that's not enough to make this episode interesting.

[END]

Read more!

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Spilt

Blah blah M.NS is back blah blah.

Some girls are trapped, because they have no ability to react to surprises. And then stay trapped because one of them says they should be. Um, what? After a long time, eventually we get a final confrontation, and then...

Okay, I'm going to say it, I didn't get the ending. (Not the ending-ending, that's whiplash, but the ending to the story.) Clearly I'm missing something, so I'll probably look it up online as no-one would be able to explain it without severe spoilers to those that don't know it.

Anyway, aside from that, yes James McAvoy gives a great performance. To be honest, if you've seen the trailer, you've seen the bulk of the movie, and what we get is pretty much what is condensed in that. Betty Buckley is good as well. The others... Anya Taylor-Joy doesn't do her character any favours, yes there is a backstory, but I'm not on her side.

Good promise of a movie, but can M.NS keep it up?

[END]

Read more!

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Hallowen

Yes, let's attack that other classic horror series with a man in a mask serial killer. I'm not sure which I've seen, but that won't matter because we start at the beginning.

We start with a kid killing his sister, and then getting committed. Now really, is that any way to act? Just declaring him insane and locking him up? Hardly politically correct. But 15 years later, his masterplan goes off, as he escapes and goes back to terrify the neighbourhood. By which, he picks on baby sitters, although the kids are left alone. Oddly, none of the kids are out trick or treating, although we do see a few. Instead they are inside watching some movie that the baby sitters are fine with. What kind of society is this? Oh, and the killer kills them one by one, showing off skills of stealth, mechanics, architecture and extreme agility (considering how he gets around cars and houses so easily). Then Donald Pleasence comes in at the end and solves everything in a minute, yay!

I'm not saying this is tame, per se, but we spend a lot of time building up the home life of the baby sitters, when it doesn't come into play that much, other than they are friends. The atmosphere of the killer isn't really built up either, as he straight out kills some and it's not until the end that he becomes incompetent and chases Jamie Lee Curtis around. Then ended with a bang, not exactly a major pay off there. John Carpenter has done better work.

Not an amazing start to the series, but we have so far to go...

[END]

Read more!

Friday, 3 February 2017

TP 4.2

This one isn't written by Roger Price, and it shows because... this is DULL. This is Into the Unknown.

The TPs hear a distress signal from out around Pluto and find a shuttle in distress. They rescue the pilot and patch him up in time for the main ship to get a signal to the shuttle and call it back. The TPs stay on board, and end up at the main ship, where they find that a) the ship is locked to fall into some kind of hole, and b) there's been a coup. Nicholas helps free the ship if they send the shuttle off, then escapes... but finds the shuttle is headed for the hole anyway... and then they travel through the hole... then back in time for the main ship people to destroy themselves, huzzah!

The third episode is "and then they travel through the hole" in which NOTHING happens. Not to say a lot happens in the other episode, but we get even more nothing in this episode. The concept of the story could have been interesting, but it comes off like a bad TNG episode, only at least that would have been half the time.

This is the exit of Stephen (and Tyso?), but nothing much is made of it. Usually the next episode has a one line explanation, usually "they've got to the Trig", so I'll watch out for that.

TP doesn't do great outer space episodes, and this isn't breaking that pattern.

[END]

Read more!

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Lustice Jeague Dark

This is the latest from WB DC Animation... and it's immediately better than the live action movies!

Ordinary people are seeing others as demons, so while the Justice League are interested, magic is involved. So Batman goes off and gets Constantine, Zatanna and Deadman, and they team up to hunt down a few suspects. And, of course, the answer involves deep history with characters and turns on building off that...

Gah! This is so much better!! Anyway, they have Matt Ryan as Constantine! It's good to see that they are keeping him involved, but dammit, this just makes me want more of him. And he gets to be a severe bastard, so they are keeping the continuity constant.

Speaking of continuity, they don't feel the need to introduce everyone, although we do get a couple of origin stories. This is what you do, either a) assume the audience knows, or b) don't make the story depend on those unspoken elements. We are already in the DC universe, we know there are superheroes with lots of weird powers and abilities, so let's just have these people show up and deal with it. I can follow, even if I don't know everyone involved! (Although... I do, but haven't been keeping up with what they've done with some of the major heroes.)

Frankly, the DC movie departments are the wrong way around. At the least, get the animated guys to write the live action movies!

[END]

Read more!

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Revengue of the NEEEERDS!

This is the actual final one, although I wouldn't be surprised by any announcement of a fifth one, or a reboot...

Booger's getting married, and of course his new family are upper class, anti-nerd types. Lewis and the crew from the next generation turn up, but it's mainly about Lewis and Booger, Jeanie and her family. There are attempts to sabotage the wedding, with claims of a daughter, and a tape of infidelity... but of course the bad guys get their comeuppance, and the leader of the family reveals who he is and gives in to his true self... a nouveau riche!

Actually, this is a fairly decent movie. There aren't childish pranks passing for comedy, and while we aren't talking sophistication here, it's a high-class low brow comedy. The actual arc of Booger evolves the character, and the other characters are actual supporting cast, as opposed to trying to one-up with their own gimmicks. And we get another decent female character beyond Betty with Jeanie, played by Corinne Bohrer, so... yes.

This actually counts as a movie not to be avoided! It took them some tries, but they got there in the end.

And with that over, let's head back to more usual territory.

[END]

Read more!

Friday, 27 January 2017

TP 4.1

We start a new season, and we have yet another Tomorrow Person. This is One Law.

Mike Bell is a.. well, chav, really, but he has a magical ability to open locks. Some unscrupulous people find out about this, and in various ways force him to help them open locks for wealth. The other TPs return from the Trig and find out there's someone else running around with abilities, and track Mike down. They rescue him, but then he raises more than a little suspicions when he seems to team up with the bad guy... but it's all a ruse.

Mike Holoway was a kid in a band at the time, thus famous, thus a good pull for crowds for this show. However, this story shows that they couldn't really find enough for four people to do, Tyso is incredibly sidelined, and Stephen isn't up to much, so with five people some kids are going to have to leave. But that's to come. For now, we focus on Mike and the others hang around looking useless.

And speaking of useless, back in the day, an extra wasn't allowed to speak (then you'd have to pay them more!), so we get silent acting from Mike's mum and sister, and extreme shocked, yet completely silent, reaction from a meals on wheels lady. Very ridiculous.

The story is a bit too common, with just normal jewel thieves, to really raise an interest for the TP series, but the point here was to bring in Mike, so that job is done at least.

[END]

Read more!

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Thunderberps

Yeah, it's not a new film, deal with it. And I doubt I'm going to say anything new about this either.

The Tracey's are lured away by the Hood, but fortunately the Kids(tm)! are on the island to confound them. Which they do by getting captured while the Hood gets away with what he wants, so that's good. The Hood is off to cause trouble in England, but is defeated by the Kids(tm)! because of course he is, even though the final defeat of him is rather confused. But hey, that's not new. Yay, the Kids(tm)! are all right!

Yeah, as has been said, we have the kids, not the Thunderbirds. Indeed, the machines are only in a third of the movie. That seems to be missing a very important point about seeing a Thunderbirds movie. But I will say this... if you ignore the Kids(tm)! scenes (and you will want to), this actually does feel rather like a Thunderbirds episode, so I can see how that might work. Instead of putting team out of the way while the Kids(tm)! have the movie, just split the team, and you'd have the same story really. Only without the annoying Kids(tm)!

However, aside from the Kids(tm)! the other worse part is the cutting. It feels about a cut every five seconds. Ye gads, that is terrible.

People wanted a Thunderbirds film. And still do, I think.

[END]

Read more!

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Revengue of the NEEERDS!

And we progress further, from sexual objects to... well, basically sidelining them and not featuring women at all. This is good?

This is some time later, so this is the Next Generation, with a new set of nerds at Adams. The Tri-Lambda's are doing well, but the Alpha Betas are complete idiots. Two old ABs turn up (including the bad guy from the first movie), the bad guy becomes dean, and nerd hating renews. Lewis is still around, but now he's Lew, and becomes "friends" with the bad guy. However, eventually Lewis is disillusioned by the friendship, becomes a proper nerd, and strikes back at the hate. But behind the bad guy is a badder guy who orchestrates Lewis' downfall, until finally... the bad guy reveals he is a nerd and sides with the nerds!

I've seen saying 'bad guy', because while he's played by Ted McGinley, I cannot remember the character's name. And frankly none of the characters are memorable, and just feel like second-rate versions of the nerds from the first movie. And speaking of that... this whole movie feels like a second-rate version of the original movie. There is a sort of original plot line involving Lewis, the bad guy, and the lead female from the first movie, but other than that it's basically a repeat.

And there are women in this movie. There's the lead female, there's another chick that hits on Nu-Lewis, and... a couple of others, but they are just in the background. There's no boobs on display here (not even in a wet tshirt like the second movie), so I'm guessing this is progressive for the times. Now if they could only pass the basics of the Bechdel test...

We didn't need this updated version, but then we didn't need the second movie either, so I can't imagine anyone would let a small point like that stop them.

[END]

Read more!

Friday, 20 January 2017

TP 3.4

We get quite the returning cast for the last episode of season three. This is the Revenge of Jedikah.

An Egyptian tomb is opened, and a mummy takes over the body of the archaeologist. Cut to a copy of Stephen being on TV, drawing the attention of the real Stephen. The TPs slowly realise Jedikah is involved, and being a shape changer, they don't know who is real and so who can they trust? Jaunting around too much, John and Liz are attacked, and Jedikah finally has the other two at his mercy.

As well as Jedikah, we also get back Professor Cawston, Tricia Conway (who becomes a proper TP), Evergreen (Tyso's sister), and Colonel Masters (who is barely on screen before he's shot so they didn't get that actor back). And Philip Gilbert appears as his clones again. Gathering all these up, at the end of this, all the TPs are whisked away to the Trig and Jedikah is left a real man...

This is clearly an end of the series, with an opening left of "possibly coming back". This is a good ender, and would have made a good complete set. However there are some good stories still to come, so onto the next season.

[END]

Read more!

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Maona

I saw this at a somewhat empty Embassy. Certainly, I was up the front rows in the pit, and there was no-one else in there, so I wasn't bothered by the annoying children. Great way to watch a movie!

Moana grows up in an insular society and questions who she is. Eventually, she gets away to have a journey where there are problems and finally a big battle. With songs. Which, by and large, could describe nearly any movie (and any Disney movie when you include the animated and songs bit). But to get to the point...

I enjoyed this! Yes, some parts felt rather generic, but this was well told, and yes, I even got emotional at times. Auli'i Cravalho is great as Moana, although I did have a little problem at times differentiating the Rock from Maui. And, of course, I already knew some Maui myths, so enjoyed that too. The songs... yeah, if there is one point in this movie I could have skipped, it would be the songs, they were really the parts that highlighted just how generic some parts were.

Anyway, great movie, and preceded by a short, the moral of which is never listen to your brain.

[END]

Read more!

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Revengue of the NEERDS!

I will give that this movie is 100% better in its treatment of women. Now they are merely sexual objects, not actual characters that get dumped on!

The Nerds need to represent their school at the gathering of fraternities in the beach area of somewhere, but of course the Alpha Betas of another college don't want them there. And for some reason Ogre is back and with the other ABs? Anyway, the Nerds are mocked, but set up their own base to work from. The fraternities try to get physical requirements added to representation (which the Nerds won't meet), but the Nerds get that struck down, but are a part of another amendment to throw out any frat that disgraces their college with anything illegal. Can you see where this is going?

Yep, the ABs frame the Nerds in a way that is easily refutable, and the Nerds get marooned on an island with Ogre, at which point he basically joins them. (This is where we get the 'bush!' line, referring to weed in this case.) They make their way back and get back just in time to not get thrown out, and for Lewis to punch out the lead jock. (Again with the other Lambda Lambda Lambda people giving them a chance, in a way that seems racist, but again we've had no race issues?)

Gilbert is barely in this, perhaps the actor decided it was too stupid, but is around for basically a day of filming. Lewis, the other main nerd, who got the lead babe in the last movie, and even though is still with her?, gets the lead babe in this movie too. Wut? And from belching last time, we get spitting this time.

But this does seem like just another dumb frat boob comedy movie, with the unpopular people against the popular people. With even less effort put in. The frame up is stupid, and even the lead bad guy can't be bothered putting up a defense when confronted. However, this is after the Nerds smashed through the hotel with basically a tank, so, I'm thinking they still disgraced their college and should be thrown out anyway? But I seem to be the only one to notice that.

Okay, with decent into generic-ness, we're done, right?

[END]

Read more!

Friday, 13 January 2017

TP 3.3

It's the comedy episode... a lot of comedy... some might say too much comedy. It's A Man For Emily.

It's a ship of The Momma, Emily and Elmer, and they arrive at the Earth. They get a bad impression from seeing too many Westerns, but send Elmer down to get food... and so the TP get involved to help sort of the resulting mess. However Emily decides she wants John as her own manboy, but can he can get out of it?

The main problem is that it is a comedy, and everyone is treating it as much. The TP actors themselves are completely playing it up, with Peter Vaughn-Clarke grinning inappropriately in every scene, and Nick Young having to ham it up in the last episode. And then there are great lines like "Friendly as well as fat." Why did they think was going to get a sequel?

Amusingly the commentary, because the discs are produced by Big Finish, features Peter Davison as well as Peter and Nick. This is his first televisual appearance, and after this he wanted more... (although he doesn't say too much about this in his autobiography). The three of them take not just the piss but other elements out of this too. It's a great listen.

Certainly this episode doesn't stand up, but the commentary does.

[END]

Read more!