Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Persepolis

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

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

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

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

[END]

Read more!

Saturday, 25 March 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

[END]

Read more!

Friday, 24 March 2017

TP 7.1

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

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

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

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

[END]

Read more!

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Iron Fisty 1.1.1

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

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

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

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

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

[END]

Read more!

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Iron Fisty 1.1

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

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

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

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

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

[END]

Read more!

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

The Hidden Fortress

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

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

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

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

[END]

Read more!

Monday, 20 March 2017

Iron Fisty 1

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

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

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

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

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

[END]

Read more!

Saturday, 18 March 2017

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

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

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

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

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

[END]

Read more!

Friday, 17 March 2017

TP 6.3

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

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

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



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

Not a good story at all.

[END]

Read more!

Saturday, 11 March 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

[END]

Read more!

Friday, 10 March 2017

TP 6.2

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

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

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

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

[END]

Read more!

Saturday, 4 March 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

[END]

Read more!

Friday, 3 March 2017

TP 6.1

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

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

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

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

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

[END]

Read more!