Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Cras 3

Okay, there's one point in here that I'm reacting to the most. Anyway, this is the third in the series, and it's largely good.

Hey, it's a Cars movie, and it's about racing! Lightning McQueen is out there on the track, but then a new car makes the scene and outraces him. Because this car is New Technology and McQueen is Old Technology. Yeah, that's one thing, but that's not the bad part. Frankly, in any sports event as time goes by, people get better at it and the top field these days would completely overwhelm the top field in the past.

Anyway, McQueen needs to train, so Cruz Ramirez (a female trainer) trains him, but he can't get better. However, he does see Cruz doing well, but it's her beating him that puts him down. So he needs to accept this and move on to the next part of his life. A lot of the movie is around that, and you can see it coming and it's completely not subtle.

So then we get roles moving around and Cruz has a chance, and... she's put down by the lead racer because she's female... WHAT? Where did that come from? These are CARS. Different sexes don't even make sense! And yet females = inferior is completely throughout this movie. All the racers are males, but there's no reason for that. Why can't females race? Are they using different fuel? Are they too pink? (Note: none of the female cars are pink.) What? Where the hell did that come from?

The McQueen arc is good, but Cruz's arc is fumbled at the most important point. Get screwed, movie, get screwed.

[END]

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Monday, 17 July 2017

TELOS: Citadel of Dreams

I like Dave Stone so picked this up way back when. But couldn’t remember any of it when it came time to rereading it. So I could go in fresh.

It seems that the way to approach these Novellas is to not feature the Doctor in them. Okay, this is only the second one, but both minimise his presence. This story really focuses on Joey Quine, a resident of the City and his abilities. There are a few other characters, but it is mainly his story and how he deals with the trouble the City is going through.

Dave, as Dave is wont to do, tries to be cute with the writing, with telling latter parts of the story earlier in the tale. I’m still not entirely sure what happened at the end, despite this being a second read, and the obvious hook doesn’t seem to add up, but neither does the second obvious interpretation.

It feels like Dave is trying to be more clever than actually getting down to telling the story, so we have a lot of set up and description, but not much actually clearly happening.

A story with bigger ideas than execution.


[END]

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Saturday, 15 July 2017

Universal 1925

I haven't read the book, but after this I'm thinking I should to find out how much the musicals ripped off from this or both from the book. I'm, of course, speaking of the Phantom.

The Phantom haunts the opera, and makes sure his young pet, Christine Daae, is the main singer. He finally gets up the courage to make his move on her, and is extremely creepy acting towards her reluctance. Eventually he kidnaps her entirely as she is going to go off with Raoul, her boyfriend, and Raoul chases after them. Ultimately, the Phantom tries to escape, but only the final escape is possible.

Lon Chaney gives a good performance. And that's a rather iconic facial prosthesis that works a lot better than either of the musical masks (then again, Lon doesn't have to sing). Mary Philbin as Christine seems really vacant. Christine isn't supposed to be the most mental capacity person, but even so, Mary is putting on a real vagueness. Norman Kerry is a good Raoul, and there are other decent performances too.

Last time the monster was incidental. This time, the monster is core to the story. I feel like we should hopefully aim for a better balance that gives a decent story in which the monster is a good part if not the lead role.

[END]

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Friday, 14 July 2017

Wonder Thirteenth Falls

And that's a wrap on this series.

The bulk of the episode is Jaye and others held hostage at a store. But while she is hostage, she can't say her final goodbye to Eric. It's around that point that a) Eric realises he doesn't want to be with Heidi, and b) Heidi doesn't really want to be with Eric. But that revelation is saved for the final few minutes whereby we get the pat lines of "I had to leave so I could come back" and so on.

This does make me wonder (hah!) if the cliffhanger to the first series was supposed to be Eric and Heidi leaving, and only after the show got cancelled they quickly tacked on that ending to wrap things up. It would explain why the store looks a little different, and only Jaye and Eric are in the scene. It has a certain feel of "let's quickly get this done because we don't have another chance."

That aside, the rest of the episode is as typically upbeat and nutty as the rest of the series. And I'm glad we got at least this much of the series. Hopefully you'll want to check it out now.

I'm not sure what's next, or I might just take a break for a while.

[END]

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Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Spdermon Hamcombing

Not only did I see this, but I also got patience as well!

While this isn't an origin story, it is an introduction story, so we are basically at the post "I got bit by a spider and now I have powers bit!" scene. Peter is having to deal with having powers, and not knowing what to do with them, but getting in over his head anyway. And having friends find out about it. Oh, and the Vulture is in this, although he's never called that. Because what this movie is really about is who is Spider-Man? Is he Peter, or is he the Suit? Don't worry, they make that point abundantly clear that even I can get it.

Tom Holland is fine as Parker, but anyone could have been the bird man (see what I did there???). And there are a lot of supporting characters that... I have no idea if they are supposed to be anyone, aside from Flash. And I didn't pick the character they slipped in, although I did wonder if they would become relevant.

There are some great scenes where we have Peter jumping around or crawling on different surfaces that were quite believable. Maybe they used a rig in some places? But the CGI was very well put in.

Overall, this is an opening story, so there are many things we need to check off the list, so hopefully next time we'll get something meatier?

[END]

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Monday, 10 July 2017

TELOS: Time and Relative.

[Let's keep this Doctor Who train rolling, with going to the novellas I never got around to reading.]

This is the most explosively original novel ever!!, and it could only have been done by the one and only Kim Newman!!!!

At least, according to the hype at the time this came out.

What we have is a story set before the first episode, and tells a story from the point of view of Susan. And while Ian and Barbara are sort of mentioned, this whole thing is something that is never brought up again during the entire time they travel together (which is true of all the books and audios set during any of the tv episodes…). This story is about the Cold and it taking over the school / city / country / world.

Kim goes a long way towards saying that no-one notices what’s really going on, because everyone always ignores the strange otherwise no-one would be anywhere. This does get to feel a little too on point, and gets in the way of an otherwise decent story.

Because it is still good, and well told, of a time before the series. Nowadays, this isn’t an original gimmick, but at the time it was different.

Also it took me too long to click on the significance of the names of Susan’s friends.

So as a start to the Telos Novella range, this is pretty good, although I would debate the emphasis on the novella length being the most important defining quality.


[END]

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Sunday, 9 July 2017

Universal 1923

Okay, let's dive in the Universal Monster series. First up is the Hunchback.

A young gyspy woman is caught up in a triangle between an aristocrat and an archdeacon. A peasant revolt is riled up and gates are stormed. Also, there happens to be a hunchback who happens to be in the city as well, but he doesn't really do much in the story.

This is start of Lon Chaney's monster career, and it's plain he's in a mask. But he seems to be having fun and that's what counts. This reminds me a bit of the Marx Brothers' film in that there's a focal point to the movie that advertised, namely the monster, but there's a plot going on while every now and then the monster comes on to do his bit.

We'll see how this progresses, and this is only the start, but it's not an auspicious beginning.

[END]

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Friday, 7 July 2017

Wonder Twelfth Falls

Kinda of a filler episode really. There are some character moments, but if this episode never happened, you wouldn't know that you missed it.

Sharon, Jaye and Muhandra go to the local native reservation and get mixed up in the local politics of who will be the next wise woman (note: in a very light hearted, suitable for comedy, way). Jaye talks to the dead woman (before finding out she was dead) and hears there may be a way to stop the voices, so has a vested interest in getting the grandson into the wise man act. However... wise man he is not. Meanwhile, Sharon comes up against an old college law "friend" who is the legal advisor for the tribe, although she ends up as the wise woman.

This is one of those episodes that tries to be different, but I don't know how well it succeeds. I hope there were native Americans involved in the writing, otherwise this is just another example of culture appropriation. Now this is at the less offensive end, but still trades in stereotypes for easy lazy comedic effect.

For the second to last episode, this isn't trying anything powerful.

[END]

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Thursday, 6 July 2017

Despackle Him 3

Yeah, so I saw this. I was going too inevitably, so may as well get it out of the way.

Gru has a brother! That's about the main conceit of the film, and they pad it out for a long time. The most amazing thing is that he isn't the villain, even when there is the inevitable split. Instead that goes to Balthazar Bratt (was he in earlier movies? I can't remember, but wouldn't be surprised). And there's a small subplot involving the girls and Lucy, sort of, but since the actresses playing the kids are older, they are given more to do while trying to remain the same they always were.

But the best part... there are hardly any Minions in it! They get some small scenes, but somehow does become annoying (although they try hard).

Overall this movie is rather simplistic, but it works well enough. Because of the focus on Gru and not the Minions? Certainly that helps. It feels like they didn't really have an idea for a plot, but some character moments, so built a movie around that. Which is nice but does make the movie feel rather lacking in point.

Decent performances, with provisos for the kids. But...

This doesn't really expand on anything, even with the introduction of the brother, that it's just a lightweight movie.

[END]

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Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Erasurehead

Didn't go to the Film Society, so in honour of peaking twins, I decided to check out classic Lynch.

So the story is... um... something about a guy getting trapped into marriage because of his mutant baby, and has dreams of a more exciting life... I think. It's not entirely clear what's going on (he said understatedly). His marriage breaks down and he decides what to do about his kid.

So yeah... it's weird. But the main issue is that it just so quickly becomes incomprehensible that I just gave up and let it wash over me rather than try to get indepth analysis. That said, I'm sure there is indepth analysis already, and... in fact, here's one.


Just obviously weird so I didn't get drawn in. But I will Mulholland Drive some time...

[END]

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Monday, 3 July 2017

Doctor Who 10.12

They should have called this episode "Make Work", because that's most of the plot with the Cybermen in it.

Okay, can someone tell me please, what was the point of the Cybermen? In particular, what was the point of them being Cybermen? They could have been any "fill in the generic baddy" and the episode would have been the same. Sure, we might not have had different "classic" Cybermen designs, but did any of that matter? Of course not!

It's supposed to be all about the Master, and, well, Missy. But the problem here is that John Simms just shows no interest in playing the Master. He seems to have had more fun last week as Fu Manchu. Here he barely seems to be on screen, and conveys no presence at all. And Michelle Gomez seems to be hamming it up and just doing whatever random thing enters her head. Still, at least the Master is "dead" now, and can never return.

And then there's Bill... I will give that Moffat did put in a feature that does indeed call back to the first episode. However, that's an amazingly crap out that is just as rubbish as when Clara went off with Me.

Which leaves the Doctor. Who doesn't want to regenerate, so is whining more than when he was Tennant? Does the man never have any dignity?

Ultimately, this is Moffat wallowing in nostalgia, and it doesn't produce a good episode for us.


NEXT TIME: Did I say this was Moffat playing with nostalgia? Then what does that leave for Christmas?

[END]

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Saturday, 1 July 2017

Twelfth Marx

This is the last Marx movie I have, and it's been a different way of comedy. We finish off with A Night in Casablanca.

A rather different start with a hotel manager being killed. In comes Kornblow who takes on the job, although not without some minimal problems. However, there are Germans about, and they are the ones who want the hotel, and so want to put Kornblow out. There is also treasure being stored, which is found out. The Germans make a run for it, and we get an extended packing scene and then a plane chase. Of course the good guys win!

This does have more story running through it, so that's good. However... it is less comedy than other movies, so that's not as good. On the other hand, we do have a (younger) Dan Seymour.

So this is the lot I've got. The very first movies were a little uncertain, there were some decent movies in the middle, but then they kind of just devolved into similar styles with no real decent meat to them. It's a definite set of movies to get through, but I do have something even more strange in mind for coming up (not sure if it's next or not).

[END]

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Friday, 30 June 2017

Wonder Eleventh Falls

This is it! This is the one! The explanation!

But first we gotta get confused by pronouns. "Save him from her." So of course Jaye thinks she needs to save Eric from Heidi. And Heidi, from the perspective we is, is acting pretty sketchy, buying pills from behind the bar (although if you recognise the pills, you can see where this is going). As it turns out, while Heidi to effect Eric, it was only really a certain part of him. Jaye is rather upset by this and breaks into Dr Ron's office to interrogate the monkey (not a euphemism), and now can you guess who "him" is? And while Jaye does what she is commanded, it is because she will finally find out why they talk to her.

Because she listens.

That's it! This was supposed to have been called "Joan of Arc syndrome" and was going to form the basis of season three, but no...

After all this time, the explanation is simple, but it fits. And she is slowly starting to get other people to believe her, because a professional psychiatrist now believes that at least she believes this is happening.

Oh, but what we could have had in other seasons...

[END]

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Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Transfarmers

something something CGI something something Marky Mark something something racism something something shambling incoherent mess

So the heroes are hiding out in a junkyard, when the bad guys turn up and they have to leave. Then in Act 2, we are in England where Cade teams up with English Hottie to run around and go to miracles places for a MacGuffin. Fortunately in Act 3 they somehow manage to survive long enough to save the world.

There is a group that fights called the TRF, but I'm 90% sure they never actually explain what that stands for.

Oh, and there are some CGI blurs called robots hanging around, but no-one pretends they are important, or even part, of the movie. There were more than one moment I confused one grey mess for another grey mess and went "aren't they supposed to be...?" before remembering other grey messes existed. And physics takes a break so hard... I can't even think of a comparison to explain just how badly physics gives up towards the end (not that it ever really tried to hang in there much anyway).

Yeah, so given all that, what else is there to say? There is some actual interesting mythology set up, but it's not paid off, because we need to keep making movies, there were annoying cameos, there were good cameos, there were moments of racism and sexism... what did you expect?

[END]

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Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Destiny

Another Fritz Lang movie (although I still haven't seen Metropolis), this is Der müde Ter.

Two lovers arrive at a town, but it happens to be a town where Death lives. And Death takes the chap, because it's his time to die. The woman is rather distraught, and pleads with Death to give her love back, so Death says if you can stop these three deaths then that will happen. And so we get three different stories ending in deaths (with no obvious way the woman could have done anything). Then the woman sacrifices herself to be with her true love. Aw...

Bernhard Goetzke is really good at Death, and has a great grave face. He just does not give a, and is the sort of character you can believe does what needs to be done, despite what his own feelings might be (including, for example, killing toddlers).

The production is pretty good too, with four different lands well portrayed (if somewhat with stereotypes), and different script for each land too. There could have been a different colour palette, but I can see that becoming too garish.

Definitely a good watch.

[END]

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Monday, 26 June 2017

Doctor Who 10.11

Oh ye gods. I have complained before about set up episodes, but this...

Okay, there are a few problems. I do like the gravity/black hole means that time is different at the different ends of the ship, but this seems to be applied inconsistently. I suspect it passes differently at plot time, rather than at a scientifically sorted out rate.

But then why are we supposed to believe that the Cybermen came out of the skeleton crew? Yes, they are descendants, but they became so advanced medically they can do transplants? And none of them interacted with the blue guy to say what was going on? And they knew about time differential, so not hearing anything from the people going to floor 507 shouldn't be that strange? (And will that floor come back to mean anything next episode? I doubt it.)

And then there is Zathras or Kalid or whatever his name was. Why did the Mondasians put up with him? At the end, we gather he's in charge, but at no point do we see anyone being deferential towards him, so what's up with that?

However, none of this compares with the biggest problem... that this ENTIRE episode is made irrelevant by last weeks end trailer which what the end of THIS episode reveals!!! Yep, we spend over forty minutes getting to where we knew the trailer was taking us anyway! The only thing is that Bill is now a Cyberman, and the Master is real, but Mondasian Cyberman? Was waiting for them. The Master? Knew he was going to turn up somewhere.

Are the people doing the trailers aware of what should or should not be given away about the upcoming episode?


NEXT TIME: Well... we went back to the standard new model Cybusmen pretty quickly. And it looks like a team up is the order of the day.

[END]

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Saturday, 24 June 2017

Eleventh Marx

Right, another middling movie, this is The Big Store.

Tommy wants to sell his shares in a big department store, but it is in financial trouble (not that he knows). And as it happens, Flywheel comes in as a detective/body guard, and soon he and Ravelli and Wacky get caught up in store business. Eventually things come to a head and a big run around to stop the evidence of the bad guys being bad guys from being given to the bad guys.

This movie gives a set up, the department store, then gets out of the way for most of the movie while we get various set pieces with the Brothers, and then the story comes in at the end to wrap things up. It should be obvious that I liked a good story through-line, and so most of this movie feels irrelevant. And we also get some musical moments that are, again, set up but entirely incidental.

And we are really getting less and less Groucho big verbal scenes. What's up with that?

[END]

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Friday, 23 June 2017

Wonder Tenth Falls

This is it, the return of Eric's wife Heidi, hinted at all throughout the series. And she's played by Jewel Staite!

The end of the last episode revealed Jaye getting to the bar to see Eric and Heidi kissing, with this episode showing the set up that it was just Heidi kissing Eric. Heidi spends the episode trying to get Eric back, and even pretends to have amnesia at one point. However... the voices are on the side of the two of them hooking back up, and Jaye finally gets to the church to find them getting married again, because Eric wants to give this a proper go. Oh noes!

This is the episode that breaks Jaye in many ways. Not only does she have to help Eric and Heidi, she also finally confesses to Aaron what's going on, and gets his help to free her from the animals. (He points out that her trailer is full of stuffed animal toys... which talk to her via their animal faces.) That doesn't stop the voices, which need to take advantage of other animal icons as they turn up, and they are all for Eric/Heidi.

This does feel like quite the stress, but I know where this is going so agree this is a good story direction.

[END]

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Wednesday, 21 June 2017

The Mummmy

Hey, it's tiny Jack Reacher! And he's in Africa releasing mummies!

A woman did bad things in Egypt and was mummified, and is released in the present day and causes more trouble. And Tom Cruise is her pawn, and we follow him around as he is Gormy McGormFace and stumbles from incident to incident until finally the CGI is used up.

So this is the start of the Dark Universe, with the Mummy kicking things off and hints of other monsters. And... they didn't try hard. We all know they want to jump into the multi-movie deals of other big studios, but... this just feels like they put out a movie because they felt like getting into it, as opposed to doing a project that they really wanted to do.

(Yes, there is a nod to the Brendan Fraser Mummy, and I want to go back and watch those again, because they are actually fun, unlike this.)

I do like the double iris eye effect (although I'm fairly sure there are shots where they didn't bother to adjust it). And... um... there were other things in there...

Not exactly an endorsement, but no doubt we'll get more pumped out yet.

[END]

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Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Edoras

I wasn't able to see the film because I had been in Christchurch. However, while I was down there I went on a tour to Edoras!

This involved going out to Mount Sunday, where Edoras was put. I stood in where the Great Hall was (note: it wasn't there any more). And to prove it:


Other photos are available.

However... basically that's all there was to the tour. We spent about four hours going out there, spent some time on the hill, then had (a lovely) lunch. With the other tours, I went to various locations. This was just the one place...

So I can't really recommend it, unless you really want to complete the tours.

[END]

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Monday, 19 June 2017

Doctor Who 10.10

There are so few female DW writers, we had to go back to one of the few female writers from the original series.

I'm going to start with: so much of this felt redundant. The opening teaser with the kids? Redundant. Bill spending time with the Romans? Some how passing two days without doing anything? Really? How about we just get to the point? But no, we need to establish time wibbley wobbley ness so that the Ninth Legion can hang around. But did we even need that? And somehow the music echoes through time, although the door wasn't even open when that happened? (Was there supposed to be a Grendal imagery thing there?)

But even then, even with all this stuff just taking up place in the story, we still have time for a Missy scene at the end that hits at being mysterious and also sets up even more material for shippers (like they needed any).

I could draw parallels to Survival, but I don't think I need to as many of them are obvious.

Maybe I'm just in a bad mood, but I wasn't impressed by this at all.


NEXT TIME: What? Is that supposed to be the Editor? Because bleached haired Simon Pegg immediately makes me think Editor. [Although possibly I can't tell the difference between Simon Pegg and John Simm?]

[END]

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Saturday, 17 June 2017

Tenth Marx

Okay I was a bit distracted during this, but still found this very middling. Go West, young man, Go West.

The Brothers head west and get caught up in a land grab for the railroads. A young man is trying to get with a girl, and his fortunes come down to selling a particular land parcel. Which the Brothers get a hold of, but then so do the bad guys. It comes down to a chase of train verses wagon to get the claim home (I think, I lost track in the middle).

Again this seems like some disjointed scenes. We start with a bit with the Brothers, but then there's a noticable change as the plot suddenly starts. From there, there is a lot of a run around, and classic music pieces from Harpo and Chico, before a big finale of silliness. So in that regard, this is all quite the same as before.

Which is fine, but not amazing.

[END]

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Friday, 16 June 2017

Wonder Ninth Falls

Yep, Jaye and Eric are in a relationship... and so is everyone else!

While at a zoo, Jaye causes birds to fuss and get the zoo guide to be moved... and later fired. However, because of the voices, Jaye helps to capture the birds from the zoo in order to help them mate. And use it as a metaphor for her own relationship. Which is also the same metaphor for the zoo guide's relationships. And then there's the Mahandra/Aaron relationship, which starts here. And there's the Sharon/Beth relationship... this is a relationship heavy episode.

(In fact, the Sharon/Beth thing was supposed to pay off in the next season... which they never had. Indeed, there were a few seasons elements planned, which will now never happen...)

Most of the episode is about Jaye's inability to handle relationships properly and wants Eric to break up with her, although she doesn't want to break up with him, because otherwise she'll end up tearing his heart out (as it were... although they show it literally as well). It's rather heavy handed, to be honest.

And then this episode ends up with a cliffhanger for the next episode.

[END]

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Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Wonderous Wo Man

It's a DC movie, so clearly this will be a dour mess. And I guess I have to hate this because I'm a man? Oh well, it's not worth bothering then.

Flash back time to young Diana on Themyscira as she sees the other women fighting (with slow motion!) and wants in. She finally gets her wish, and becomes a badass fighter. Then World War I intervenes and Diana goes out into the world with Captain Steve Trevor, a man so great he got two first names! And so the world gets introduced to...

Well, actually, she's never called Wonder Woman at any point, so I'm guess she is the one this movie is about, but I could be wrong and it could all be Lucy Davis' character?

Actually I am now wondering what accent Diana should have. She is supposedly Greek, so Gal Gadot is giving me something that isn't American english, but it does sound weird after heading a mainlined accent from other series for so long. But hey, she does a great job.

Because, yeah, this is a good movie. It avoids a few obvious movie plot points, and doesn't go down the entire super villain route, while still having a super villain. And, amazingly, it makes me want to go back to BvS:DoJ, if only for her scenes.

[END]

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Tuesday, 13 June 2017

That Man From Rio

In the veins of wanna be Bond spoof, we have this French/Italian movie: That Man From Rio. (Although considering the man goes to Rio, he's hardly "from".)

Coming home to Paris for a week's leave, Dufourquet finds his girlfriend being kidnapped and taken to Rio. He follows, and is caught up as three statues are sought for and many crazy antics are had.

This is very light hearted and there are some very laugh out loud moments. It felt a little long, especially after I was sure we were an hour in and it was only 40 minutes. Still they do have various moments to pass the time, and the final battle isn't with the bad guy like you'd think it is.

Oh, and speaking of bad guys, this features the bad guy from Diabolik! Yes, I'm recognising Italian actors from low grade action movies in the 60s now...

Anyway, a romp, a veritable romp, and Jean-Paul Belmondo (who plays Dufourquet) is able to run for a long time!

[END]

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Monday, 12 June 2017

Doctor Who 10.9

It's a Victorian on Mars episode... oh, of course, it's Mark Gatiss! I should have expected that. (And I could have sworn that he was in the episode as the Sergeant Major but it seems not, unless that was a cover name.)

So we have that a troop of British men found an alien space craft and didn't get spooked/try to destory it? Even more, we have that one of them was able to FIX THE SHIP??? What the hell? Then we get the episode of them being rather calmly on Mars (did they all just happen to produce Victorian era space suits?). And then they were all willing to kowtow to an alien queen? Huh? How British are they?

That huge batch of plot holes aside, this isn't a bad episode. It's nice and straightforward, which I appreciate after the last barrage of episodes. Admittedly, the Ice Warriors sound even more Klingon than before (although I am rewatching TNG at the moment), and what is up with that new sonic blaster special effect? Especially when it looks CGI whenever they cut to the bundle afterwards. Good human characters and well acted. And they got Ysanne Churchman back??

Then there's Missy... do they have a plan for the character? But that subplot line feels like "we need to get Nardo out of the way for the episode, and have Missy turn up on board".

So a decent episode, I doubt they'll keep it up.


NEXT TIME: Another "alien happens to be in Earth's past" episode?

[END]

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Saturday, 10 June 2017

Ninth Marx

This is... rather average for the Marx Brothers really. Nothing stand out, but nothing terrible either. Here we are At the Circus.

A circus owner owes $10,000, and is able to get the money... but has it taken from his. But it's all right, Chico and Harpo are on the case, and they call in their lawyer friend Groucho. While they are unable to get the money back (involving various runarounds), Groucho is able to convince Margaret Dumont to pay for the circus, although she thinks she's getting something else. Fortunately, the circus is a hit, although the bad guy has a few problems.

There are a few classic bits, with Harpo doing his music (again with an African American troupe), Chico gets a moment on the piano, and Groucho gets a song... but he doesn't get the full on speeches he used to have. The word play is minor banter and hardly any real part of the scene any more.

Average movie, but that's about it.

[END]

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Friday, 9 June 2017

Wonder Eighth Falls

This is probably my least favourite episode... and yet there are some really enjoyable moments in here!

We start with a Russian bride (not mail order) turning up and waiting for her man. Who turns out to be a boy (we find out later he has issues from his mother dying). We get relationship turns as Jaye and Eric are sort of a couple but Jaye denies it, so Eric sort of flirts with the bride and the boy falls in "love" with Jaye and there are lots of things not quite said until it finally comes to a head with Jaye and Eric kissing (and the Russian bride and the boy's dad going... a bit further).

Interestingly, there's very little import from the voices/toys. They direct Jaye out to where the woman is, but that's it, not a peep more from them. We so however get some "witticisms" from the bride who doesn't speak English well, such as "I need a bigger Peter". Ahem, yes, well.

This should be a turning point in Jaye's relationship, but we'll see if there is continuity in the scripts.

[END]

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Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Pirates Tell No Tales

This is a movie we wanted? Well, it's a movie some company think we wanted. Or rather, a movie they thought would earn them money, is a more realistic reason it got released.

Remember how we all cared about what happened in the third movie, especially that ending? Well we better do, because the movie is predicated on us wanting that to be resolved. And on wanting to see Jack pair up with another male/female couple who are going to be in love. Was that the first movie? That's also this movie. (And, admittedly, to some level, is every movie in this series.) We do get something different with the ship that (sort of) eats other ships, which I think they could have done more with.

However, there is one small problem. In front of one of the other movies I saw, they had a segment of this movie (the scene in the lifeboat), and... well... I didn't find it even slightly amusing. Which didn't give me a lot of hope for the rest of the movie. Which I was right not to.

This is a two hour movie. But it wasn't entertaining.

[END]

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Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Childhood trauma

There was a movie I saw when I was a kid that put in deep emotional scars. Because despite being an animated movie, this is in no way a movie for kids. I'm speaking of the rabbit epic: Watership Down.

I did read the book a while ago, but saw the movie when I was a kid, and whenever I heard "Bright Eyes", oh the emotions. And yet...

This is about a group of rabbits that sense that danger (of encroaching development of man) is coming, and so need to find a new place for a warren. As they cross the land, they encounter various dangers from other creatures, and also from other rabbits. While they do find an ideal spot, there is still much work to set up actual rabbit families, and the locals aren't interesting in giving up their does.

This is a lot better than I remember. Despite the dark (and it gets INCREDIBLY dark, especially the opening!), there are less rabbit deaths than I remember, and even the song is more bittersweet and happy than what I recall.

If you plan on showing this to your kids, first of all why would you? Secondly, don't let them watch it alone (which I did). And do watch it before the kids do so you can help them get through the harder moments.

Because this is a good movie to watch.

[END]

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Monday, 5 June 2017

Doctor Who 10.8

And this is the completion to the so-called trilogy. And it reminded me a lot of the Silence.

In that this is just as stupid as them. How did the Silence get defeated? Through getting people to turn on them. How are the Monks defeated? By getting people to turn on them.

But my first and main question is: where is the others? Like where are the other companions? UNIT? SJS and her adventurers? You can't claim that the Doctor didn't interact with them in the rewritten history, just that people don't remember them... so others don't remember the Doctor? I'm sure Martha might have something to say about that, let alone the others. That's just rubbish.

However, this is a Doctor and Bill story and.. oh that big confrontation scene is so mishandled. Not only do we need to buy that the Doctor has decided to join the Monks (which I didn't even for a moment), you need to get the Doctor somehow dies (did he used up a regeneration?), and then the scene needs to spin on a pin to become comedy "hey, wasn't this funny?" (which it doesn't do successfully at all).

But at least... this trilogy is over now? It feels like they wanted to get the Sound of Drums/Last of the Time Lords epic sense, but completely fail to pull it off. And speaking of Missy, I do like that her "good" isn't the Doctor's good, but I hope they aren't going to do a Missy cameo scene each episode until Simms turns up.

Not a great episode. I spent most of the time waiting for them to get on with it.


NEXT TIME: Ice Warriors? And ol' British Colonial Forces? Unfortunately it already feels like pants.

[END]

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Saturday, 3 June 2017

Eighth Marx

Um, I'm not sure what happened here. This is an RKO picture... and it's definitely not good. Room Service.

Groucho is Gordon Miller, who is putting on a play but is having a little financial trouble. He's staying at the hotel of his brother in law, but has racked up quite the bill for him and his actors. News comes of a backer and he has to stall the hotel director enough to put it through... which he sort of does? Enough to get a play going, but then they have to stall more to get the play completed, and go to death and back.

This is a "bottle" movie, whereby the majority of this takes place in the hotel room. We get some antics, some word play, and some... huge amounts of nothing funny happening. Was this not supposed to be a comedy? We don't get any 'logues from Groucho, no big pieces from Chico, not even some harp playing from Harpo. Instead we get long scenes of earnest people trying to make do with their situation, and hardly be entertaining about it.

(The trivia says that this was not written for them, and in that respect it shows dramatically.)

This is the only RKO picture, so we should be back to the proper stuff next time.

[END]

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Friday, 2 June 2017

Wonder Seventh Falls

This series is set at Niagara Falls, so it's inevitable that we get a barrel episode.

A woman, Millie, who went over Niagara Falls as a young woman happens to come back and Jaye and Mahandra decide to try to make a bit of a come back tour. However some other woman, Vivian, turns up and claims she was the one who actually went over the falls while she just took the credit. So Jaye talks Millie into going over the Falls again, because someone should do something real with their life. Millie decides to come clean... but then dies, and so Vivian steps into her shoes and takes the credit as the Falls woman... having to maintain the charade.

And here we have Rue McClanahan and Louise Fletcher! While they are at odds character wise, it looks like the actors have a lot of fun on the set. While I could be imaging it, I like to think that shows through on shows, and it's good that actors enjoy their time.

[END]

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Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Johnny Wickenstein

Hey, it's another action movie with Keanu Reeves.

It's more action... with even less plot. Everyone is an assassin and they have a whole code of ethics thing they work by, so it leads John to going to kill someone even though he wants out. Also, he wants his car, so there's that as well.

This is just as slick as the first movie, so there are amazing moments to watch. But that's really all there is. There is a thin veneer of a story to link these together, but it isn't worth thinking about too much.

Keanu is still good, he's clearly keeping up his fitness training. Ian McShane is the other big reason to watch this, not because he's a fighter, just because he's always smooth as ever. There is a woman in this... but because this is a male fantasy movie, she's mute, although she is able to kick a lot of ass.

There is a set up for a third movie, so we have another set of movies starring Keanu and fighting that didn't need to more than a first movie.

[END]

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Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Black Girl

This is actually two movies from director Ousmane Sembene. The first, main, movie is Black Girl.

This is about Diouana, a young woman from Dakar. She gets to be a children's maid for a white family, then leaves that life to go back with them to France. However there, there are no children, and she is expected to be the maid for all their whims. She's not happy about that, and takes her leave.

This get very dark at the end. It's not a happy-go-lucky film by any stretch, but I can't say I was expecting that. I don't know if this is supposed to be a typical experience, or just a one off, but I'm hoping others have it better? The more likeable moment is when the Dakarians refuse to take the white people's money.

With this was shown Borom Sarret, which follows a taxi driver (well, a cart with horse driver) who doesn't have the best of luck. Ousmane isn't the cheeriest of people, but it isn't quite as down beat ending as the other movie (although it definitely is not a happy ending).

Upcoming is a documentary about Ousmane, so having seen this will help.

[END]

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Monday, 29 May 2017

Doctor Who 10.7

And Stephen Moffat continues to be involved... and thus this continues to not appoint (the opposite the disappoint?).

Again, not a huge point to this episode. The whole bit about the pyramid and the armies are completely pointless and take up time while the main point of the episode, getting Bill to give over her consent and get the Doctor unblinded, is basically done in a side plot.

Again this is just set up for the next episode. It isn't tense, it isn't subtle, the set up is obvious, and then the only few minutes where anything surprising happens is when the Doctor sort of saves the day and the clock goes backwards, but that's just to finish getting things in place.

In fact, I've just realised, the Doctor is assuming a lot that the aliens are using the cameras and that no other place happens to get their cameras up and running quickly. And then let's hope that the virus isn't sticking to anyone's clothes or in Nardo's lungs, but then the clock went backwards, so let's never reference that problem again. (I would complain that the character doesn't think that 118.9 is odd, but they go out of their way to point out he's got a hangover and she can't see properly.)

Doctor Who has never been shy of convenient coincidences, but when the whole episode is based around setting it up, screw it, it's no good.


NEXT TIME: What a hodge podge of images. I refuse to make anything of it, aside from this possibly being worse than Wedding of River Song.
[END]

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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]

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