Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Heddin Figures

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

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

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

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

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

[END]

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Saturday, 18 February 2017

Haaalloooweeen

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

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

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

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

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

[END]

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Friday, 17 February 2017

TP 5.2

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

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

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



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

[END]

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Thursday, 16 February 2017

Welcome to... The Hole

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

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

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

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


[END]

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Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Rerun of the Caper Crusaders

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

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

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

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

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

[END]

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Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Bay of Islands

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

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



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

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

[END]

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Saturday, 11 February 2017

Haallooween

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

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

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

All in all, that's it for Michael!

[END]

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Friday, 10 February 2017

TP 5.1

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

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

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

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

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

[END]

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Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Spilt

Blah blah M.NS is back blah blah.

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

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

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

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

[END]

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Saturday, 4 February 2017

Hallowen

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

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

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

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

[END]

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Friday, 3 February 2017

TP 4.2

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

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

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

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

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

[END]

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Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Lustice Jeague Dark

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

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

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

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

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

[END]

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