Saturday, 31 October 2015

Friday the 2th

Here we go. Jason, hockey mask, and machete killing everyone for... hang on, still not there.

Near Crystal Lake, a group of camp counsellors are getting together for counsellor training, and for some reason Jason decides to come back and kill them all. Even less sex than last time! And Jason's just wearing a sack on his head too.

We start with the Final Girl of the last movie being killed, so that was good that she survived for a great comeback. The Final Girl here shows quite a bit of determination and genius, taking on the role of Jason's mother to keep him at bay.

But why is Jason on a rampage? They aren't at Crystal Lake, and it appears the events of the last movie (released the previous year) was five years ago, to let Jason grow up a bit. But it feels more like "we need a slasher to slash people... off you go!" rather than any real reason. Why tie it into a franchise?

So Jason isn't a punishment yet.


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Friday, 30 October 2015

Kitchen Nightmares

Before he was causing hell in hotels, Gordon Ramsey was suffering Kitchen Nightmares.

Each episode he would visit a different restaurant that was having problems, and then over the course of the week he would encounter one problem after another, until finally on the last day they managed to pull something together to be workable. And then he'd pop back a while later to see if they succeeded (usually) or not (some times).

Basic reality TV format, with the foul mouth chef providing some fun for the viewers as he cusses out various owners. The kitchen usually needed to follow the rule of "smaller menu", as it was typically bloated, so that's a good thing. And the rest of the place might need a whipping to get the staff into order too.

The box set I had was three seasons, and a sort of 'revisit' season/extra disc. The revisit consists of the original episode, with more of a tacked on big about the follow up. Quite disappointing when you are watching them in a row like I was.

Still, there look to be an American version (still with Gordon complaining), so I might see about them some day...


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Thursday, 29 October 2015


Listen to this... and try to hear something without any man made machines around. Soundtracker tries to do just that.

Gordon Hempton is a sound recorder, and has been doing so for a while. What he likes to capture are the sounds of nature, the wind in the fields, the sounds of the birds, that sort of thing. But, more often than not, while he's doing so these days there's a train or an airplane, or something cutting through the soundscape. Eventually, there's a particular sound he wants to capture to encapsulate this, the sound of a bird and a train, together. We follow him as he tries to get this, until the final moment when it all comes together.

There is truth in this documentary, right now as I type this I can hear an airplane in the sky. Just trying to find peace and quiet can be quite an effort. Still... the movie does get heavy handed about hammering home that point at times. And then there's the incidental music. If ever there was a movie in which the natural sound should be playing, this is it.

Interesting, and provoking a few thoughts.


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Wednesday, 28 October 2015


Oh, finally got around to seeing the movie that stayed in the theatres for AGES.

The minions are in fact a race of creatures that... are minions! They find bosses and work for them. Eventually, three of them strike out to find a new boss, and encounter Scarlet Overkill. However, it doesn't work quite as nicely as they would hope, and they have to survive their new boss more than help her.

This is ninety minutes... and it feels longer. Not so much padded out as just going on and on without anything interesting happening. The characters aren't that interesting either. Gru immediately sold his screen presence, Scarlet's got... nothing. And the minions are just their usual babbling selves, not even slightly funny.

I gather this was an insanely popular movie, but not tickling my tastes.


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Tuesday, 27 October 2015

A Raunting at the Hectory

Oh, a movie based on Borley Rectory? All right then, bring it on! [Oh, and standard disclaimer: the Rectory was demolished several decades ago, so don't bother the current residents.]

Reverend Lionel Foyster and his wife Marianne are living at the Rectory, when new handyman Frank Pearless turns up. While Marianne finds comfort with Frank, some minor strange things start occuring, and then they find the dead bodies.

This is actually a three hander about a couple and a new man in their life, and it incidentally takes place at the most haunted house in England. The ghost/haunting aspect of it is really on the side line, and the focus of the story is about the relationships. In Borley history, there really were those people, and there was a relationship not that far from what's portrayed here, and there was a few strange incidents, but nothing like this.

I think the writer/director knew of Borley, and put together this play with... actors? using the haunted history as a hook. But definitely not for an actual story. This goes nowhere and does nothing with it. Still, looking at his credits, I've seen other movies of his which are about the same.


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Monday, 26 October 2015

Doctor Who 9.06

What was the point of this episode? There was one interesting character moment, but did we need this whole episode to get to that?

Oh look, it's the return of a character we never thought we would see again... except we all knew we would. And now we have another character that was around during the 20th century to account for. Does she know Torchwood? What about UNIT? Do those places know about her? Did she have a hand in any major events? Is she the Minister of War? (That last one... I doubt it.)

But that's all to come. First we have this quirky adventure. You can tell it's quirky because the house breaking into sequence is nothing but quirk, from the crawling around, to the just missing being spotted, to the music... oh, that quirky music.

Except, as I said, for the one character moment of Ashielda no longer remembering who she was, and the toll it takes on her mind and personality. (Although that never seemed to bother Captain Jack - and does mentioning him mean we get a cameo from John Barrowman? Unlikely as he's tied up in Arrow, but he could have popped over between seasons.) She's gone through hardship and now tries to cover over everything, but just can't quite get there. [And that other medical chip gets wasted pretty easily, and no I don't think we'll see that actor again, unless he's another famous person I don't recognise.]

This episode ends up being more set up than actually settling anything. And now we wait for the inevitable return.

Next Week: It's the sequel to The Time Of The Doctor everyone wanted!


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Sunday, 25 October 2015

Snow Crash

Another Neal Stephenson book, this one probably more well known. And it's definitely shorter, so that's better.

Hiro Protagonist and YT get involved with the search and use for a virus, an unusual one which can infect computers and people. It roves through different companies that control the country, and it comes down to a few brief moments to save everything.

So pros: an actual plot this time! Still lots of exposition, but in actual service of a story. Woo! And we get a different world that is fairly well realised, within its own limitation. And, as I said, it is shorter, which is great.

Two big cons however: Raven. He's the bad guy and seem to appear anywhere in the world or in computer space at less than a moments notice, and, of course, is 'super bad ass' so can't be dealt with only survived. A bit too author protected. And the other thing... this featured a lot of cyberspace... and I can't believe any of it. Cyberspace doesn't work like that. Moving around doesn't work like that. And objects don't interact like that. I just couldn't buy any action scene in the cyperspace environment.

Good in some ways, but so very late 80s in others...


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Saturday, 24 October 2015

Friday the 1th

[New movie series time... let's hit Jason and Freddy, in release movie order.]

Hey, it's that movie that's all about sex and teenagers at Camp Crystal Lake! Only... not at all.

It's the first day reopening of an old camp ground, so people have come together to help it up. But eventually they start getting murdered in horrible ways, what is going on? Is this a slasher come to revenge on them all?

Well, we know now, because people go on about it, that it's Jason's mother. But what people don't go on about is how we have a female serial killer! Even these days this isn't common. And we also don't get any kind of explanation until the end when we find out that some previous camp counsellors didn't look after the mom's kid (was it their job too?), the kid died and the mother went crazy. There isn't a lot of sex, it's just the mother going after people now that people are here.

However, we do get a Final Girl alive, and hints that the activities at Crystal Lake aren't over...


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Friday, 23 October 2015

First Big Bang

There was an earlier pilot of the Big Bang Theory and it got onto the net... and somehow I saw it.

It features roommates Leonard and Sheldon, getting money at the sperm bank. They then meet an attractive woman (not Penny), feed her and she stays at their place. Leonard and her have a bit of a spat and then they make up. The end.

Yeah... I can see there's a lot of things that need changing. The characters of Leonard and Sheldon are pretty much there, although Sheldon isn't quite insular enough. I'm not sure if Katie would have worked, but you have to admit they did well with Penny.

But the mainstay of the show is there. Namely putting on nerdface and being misogynistic. They've got that working perfectly.


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Thursday, 22 October 2015

Back and Forth To the Future

[I left it until today because of America and Time Zones.]

This will be going around on the internet if you haven't see it already, but 21 Oct 2015 is the day of hoverboards, self tying shoe laces, and faxes. Hmm... I don't think we quite got there....

But hey, there's a lot of time travelling, so maybe we're just in the wrong one? There are, after all, around seven different timelines. As found on the School of Movies Back to the Future podcasts.

  • Twin Pines: Where we start, McFly family is unhappy, Biff's in charge.
  • Lone Pine: McFly successful, Biff is a lackey. However, Marty and Jennifer will get into an automobile accident, because Marty ain't chicken. In the future, Marty Jnr is in trouble.
  • Just Say No: As above, but Marty Jnr doesn't go to jail, the others do.
  • Almanac: Old Biff gives the almanac to Young Biff, and we get dystopia 1985.
  • Storm: Book is burned. Marty is still on for the wreck, but then lightning hits the Delorean.
  • Shonash: Doc ends up in the past, saves Clara, but dies, making later/earlier Doc to send Marty back.
  • Eastwood: Doc saves Clara, Marty saves Doc, Marty no longer having chicken issues, Marty and Jennifer are back in the present, and Doc and Clara have a time travelling train.

Easy, eh?

It's all fun, just don't try to work it out too hard...


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Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Iye Oragans

This movie has a small reputation as rather offensive to... religious people? Atheists? Eh, I'm not entirely sure.

A scientician is trying to definitively prove the evolution of the eye, because that will disprove god... or something. It's not something anyone really argues about anymore, but this movie seems to think its important. Anywho, his girlfriend dies, but fortunately he immediately gets another one. And then they have a kid. And the kid has eyes that exactly matches someone else... and apparently the kid also has emotional memories of this other person. Then the scientist goes on a search for the new kid version of his old girlfriend... reincarnation is real, science is wrong and god is real? I guess? Meh, it wasn't totally clear.

So it's a big thing about how evolution is turned upside down or something, but something about this movie (probably because it's not that good a movie) failed to click with me, and I just accepted this movie as taking place in a universe where reincarnation happens. In which case, finding proof of that just makes the scientist look like an idiot for doubting it for so long. So at least something in this movie comes across as foolish!

Not a great movie, and definitely not one to keep me awake at night with theological ponderings.


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Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Eyes Without a Face

It's old movie horror... yep, I'm in there. Let's check out Eyes Without a Face (got no human grace).

A doctor with mad talents loves to graft bits onto other bits. His dream comes true when his own daughter is hideously disfigured in a car crash (when he was driving), and needs a new face. Currently, she interacts with the world through a mask (and involves really over emphasised head gestures to make the point that she's acting!). However, the doctor's assistant helps by kidnapping young ladies and then he whips their faces off to put on the daughter. Surely nothing can go wrong, especially when the police get involved! (And while they seem competent, they just don't get enough evidence that anything bad is happening. Huh.)

This is considered classic horror... and yet, while I was watching it, I kept thinking of the MST3K episode 'The Brain That Wouldn't Die', which came out two years later. And feature a very similar plot, only done stupidly because it was an American knock off. This, not so much scary, and even the scarred face make up wasn't frightening. But then I'm jaded and cynical.

Oh well, let's go out with a song:


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Monday, 19 October 2015

Doctor Who 9.05

I don't have any interest in Game of Thrones, so that Maisie Williams is in this and she's famous in that doesn't mean anything to me. Much like the rest of episode.

Hey, it's Vikings! But because we can't have a Pure Historical any more, it's also aliens! And the armour (which fortunately means they don't need to CGI in heads all the time) looks like a cross between the Judoon and the Sontarans. Actually I would have been more impressed if that's what they were, but instead they are the Maya or some such (I haven't looked the spelling up). A powerful force... that is ten guys in armour and one guy in cod cyberpirate. Production values!

In many ways this feels like a filler episode. Small village, the Doctor has to fend off an alien invasion, he finally comes up with a plan. Same as every other episode. But then someone dies, which fails to surprise anyone because we saw the episode title. Fortunately, there was a miracle plot device right near by to save her, so that's lucky! And I immediately caught the 'it will always repair her' line and consequences... and I'm guessing the other device will probably be used to save the Doctor or Clara?

Still, I am interested in that one moment where they acknowledge taking the face of an actual person. Not done since Destiny of the Daleks. However, why this happens... smacks of a return of the Time Lord Victorious. Careful, Moffat, no-one wants that.

Next Time: I have no idea who that Maisie Williams looking person in the mask is. No idea at all. (Please don't make that be a surprise moment in the episode.)


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Sunday, 18 October 2015


Another Neal Stephenson audiobook... and this one was around five years to listen to? Maybe, certainly felt like it went on and on.

The plot... not really. There are bits about crypto-analysis, and then there are bits about gold, and it takes place in two time settings... but it's hard to say there's anything going on. There's certainly people talking about things, because there are so many pages going by, but I can't say that exciting events are keeping me involved.

With this being speculative fiction, there's the line again between being something interesting to read to those who know something, and keeping other audiences entertained. Given this was over 15 years ago, and that I have some crypto knowledge anyway... I can't say that discussion kept me enthralled. And I don't see it appealing to a general audience either.

But then he's a popular seller, and I'm not.


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Saturday, 17 October 2015

Roocky Balboa

Sixteen years later, and I hope people wanted to follow up with Rocky’s life… and the numbers would say, yes they did.

We start this movie with extended amount of continuity referencing. Which sort of works for me because I’ve just been watching these movies, but on the other hand I don’t need reminding. Hopefully people who saw this did want reminding because there is certainly a lot of recapping of events going on. Rocky has a new place of work (unfortunately, he never recommends the rye or the kaiser), but the allure of boxing is still there. And like in the third movie, another would be champ wants a chance to fight him. The movie doesn’t pretend that Rocky will win, but we still get the montage and an extended fight sequence (although only 10 rounds now). And throughout it all Rocky remains upbeat.

This film is part nostalgia, part highlights of previous movies. While it is nice to catch up, I’m not really sure we needed to revisit him. His story was told in the previous five movies, and this isn’t adding much. Stallone still gives a good performance, but this comfy shoes territory.

Hopefully Creed will mix this up a bit. If we must go back, let’s go somewhere new.


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Friday, 16 October 2015

Lie to Me Troi

The final season, and it turns out to be a shorter season as well. And I can't say I'm surprised why.

This set of episodes doesn't really feel like it evolved a lot from the previous seasons. Yes, there are some character changes (with some very bad dialogue to cover it), but there's nothing different happening here. These episodes could easily have been in season one. Once you hit season three, you should be doing great stuff, really making the in bed audience happy... but there's nothing there.

It's some time since I saw the season, and there's just nothing impressive that comes to mind. I remember about... two character moments, but that's it.

No wonder it got cancelled.


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Thursday, 15 October 2015

The Marshion

Oh great, just what we need. Another movie with 'camera watches everything' footage trope. And then the movie isn't even consistent with having surveillance cameras and sometimes it's actual cameras. Which can be steady cam 'documentary' style, or can be fixed shot. Make yer damn mind up, movie!

So we start on Mars, with a small group of people. But rather than killing them off one by one, the movie makes the dramatic step of just isolating to one guy immediately. From then, it's 'let's scare the one guy time and again!', and you'd think he'd get used to it, but no, the movie keeps up the thrills of throwing another moment at him to deal with. There's the final battle where the guy finally has to get away, but then it's all about these other people, as if the movie forgets who the main person is!

So Matt Damon is, of course, on screen most of the time, and we have the moment when we can compare how he looks topless at the beginning of the movie and then after time has past (and that's not a body double, no, not at all), so that's a nice touch. For the other cast, I recognised them but didn't put names to them until I saw the credits, at which point it was 'oh, that's who that is!'

As for the adaptation... yeah, they cut a lot of the book out, but then they had to. You couldn't go into the detail, and I doubt the 'Hollywood executives' would let the film be too scientific so they wouldn't alienate the movie going audience (known to them as 'idiots'). I'm fine with that, but that means you should go read/listen to the book to really get the full experience if you liked the movie and haven't read that.

It's a different thing to the book, and looks nice, but I doubt it's going to stick around as something amazing.


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Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Van Gogh

[This should have been yesterday's post. Oh well.] It's an indepth look into the final days of Vincent Van Gogh... yep, that's what it is.

We join Vincent as he goes to Auvers to a doctor, and spends his time there painting and not really getting along with people. (But getting the attention of young women of course.) And so time goes by... and then eventually, over two and a half hours later, we reach the end of the movie.

This is a 'slice of life' movie, which means that there's just stuff happening, and there doesn't need to be a plot, because this is just list. Isn't there a saying somewhere that says "this should be the most interesting point in the character's life"? Because this just goes on and on.

Yeah, no, not really.


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Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Cruse of the Wytching Tree

Ah, a British horror movie. Clearly all things British are better, so this will be fantastic!

While her husband is in a coma, the wife decides to continue to buy a farm, and move her two children in. But, wouldn’t you know it, the farm was the site for where a witch killed nine (or ten, it gets a little confusing) children, and everyone is still around. After not much happening for 30 minutes, the scares finally start up, and seem fairly decent, but aren’t really sustained for the movie. At 1 hour 40, it could do with being trimmed down, and getting on with it.

My main complaint, and take into account I can’t act in the slightest, is that these actors just aren’t good. Not a single person is believable, but that’s helped by not being able to believe the direction either. The majority of this feels like an am-dram, so it’s hard to get even slightly invested.

Not a good movie, aside from a couple of scenes.


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Monday, 12 October 2015

Doctor Who 9.04

Part 2, and we start with a starter on Bootstrap Paradox. Which tends to a) suggest Steven Moffat's heavy hand, because he loves it, and b) that this scene was added to help pad the episode out. And possibly c) the writer couldn't come up with a better idea?

As with last week, this felt like half an episode stretched out. I hope someone does a 'fan edit' to trim this down to a great 45 minute episode that it should have been. And the conceit of going back in time to change the past should have been saved for a better episode. Not to mention to cheat of the bootstrap paradox. Did we need that? Couldn't we have said that 'I was thinking of using a hologram all along' was the Doctor's idea, rather than this? It would suggest there's a bigger element in play (ignore the Minister of War hint) that I doubt will ever come up again.

The performances were decent, but the outside location suggested that 'we got this locale cheap so are going to use it'. At least it wasn't a quarry... although that would, again, have been better. And then there's the monster. Is it okay that I had to pause to have a giggle when I first saw it? The parallel with the Impossible Pit continues... and is that what the production team thought they were doing? Retelling that story? Is that why this is a two-parter?

Oh, and the Doctor didn't die. This is my surprised face...

Next Week: Aliens? Or historical? Make up yer mind!


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Sunday, 11 October 2015

A Bootiful Moind

I've been meaning to get around to watching this... and this is that time I got around to!

And so we meet John Nash, weirdo and person hater. He slowly shows off he's brilliant, then gets to do important things with math (don't ask what that is, just assume it's something important, because it's not like the movie thinks anyone in the audience will get it). But unfortunately the line between genius and madness is thin, and John hops across it like he doesn't even know it's there. Because he doesn't. And so the second half is his descent and rise from that madness until his death this year... no wait, this movie is several years ago, so it ends with him still alive.

Russell Crowe is decent enough, and there is a slew of other actors in this that will make you go 'I know that guy from somewhere' (unless you are better at recognising actors than I am... and you probably are). I don't know how true to form this movie was, no doubt it was in the broad scope but played fanciful with minor details.

This is a decent movie, and I now know more about John Nash.


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Saturday, 10 October 2015

Roocky V

I wasn’t sure where this series would go next. The answer seems to be back to the beginning in many ways. And the last moments of the film seem to suggest this is the last one? But clearly that is not the case. Still, this is still written by Stallone, but not directed by him.

Rocky has lost all his money, so they are back in the old home town, and barely getting by. Rocky’s son, Rocky, is getting picked on at school and wants attention from his dad, but his dad has a new friend in the form of Tommy Gunn. Gunn is a mean fighter, and Rocky trains him up for decent fighting, but a promoter Duke wants the money, and uses Tommy to get there. After the TV fight, it all comes down to a more personal grudge match between them that Duke wishes he could make money from.

The most amazing character arc in this movie is Rocky’s son, Jr, who goes from rich kid to punk in about 30 minutes. I’m not sure I entirely believe that Rocky would put Gunn over Jr, so that part of the story didn’t work terribly well for me, Jr just ending up too unbelievable. At the end, the street fight is a nicer personal touch than a prize fight.

This remains a likable series, so let’s jump forwards to the next one!


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Friday, 9 October 2015

Jonathan Norrell and Mr Strange

Based on a book which I kind of now want to read, this is a seven part series done by the BBC, because, I’m guessing, they could delve into their costume department for everything.

Magic has faded in Britain, but Mr Norrell can still perform a good trick. And with his resurgence another player steps forward, eager to learn from the master, and Jonathan Strange enters the picture. As Jonathan learns, Norrell is quite strict about what kind of magic can be done, and what can’t. Dealing with fairies is right out (although, psst, he did himself to help bring a woman back from the dead). As Jonathan gets deeper into using magic in warfare he gets into the old ways, and soon comes up against the king of the fairies and against what Norrell has done.

There is a lot of mythology here, but it is presented well enough that it’s easy for those of us used to this sort of thing to keep up. Norrell is nearly presented as the villain, but more of a pitiful one (and it’s clear the fairy king is keeping a hand on goings on), and Strange clearly has the grasp on magic although it can be faltering. Both are presented with challenging how far they are willing to go to find out the answers they want, and we are with they as they go.

Magic is also presented as quite powerful, and CGI is in full reign to present it. It works well, although does give magic a rather imbalanced idea as so powerful why isn’t everyone trying it?

I could easily see a second season, but I gather there would need to be another book first?


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Thursday, 8 October 2015

The Hoose of 1oo eyes

It's not a found footage film, it's... actually, it's a 'here is some footage' film, which is nearly as bad. At least it's shorter than most.

A pair of killers have set up tons of cameras in their house, and they make snuff films... and now they plan on doing a three-killing-snuff-movie-in-one-night! First problem, getting three people... then filming them having sex, because that's important? Then it starts falling apart as not everyone is interested, and the husband and wife killers are two different psychopaths, and soon everyone is dying, and...

As I said, at least it's short. Beyond that... it's not very good. And at least the sex is shot sot core style, I don't think you even see the woman's breasts. The effects are nothing amazing, but they are perfectly serviceable.

A very disposable movie that tries for shock, but doesn't produce anything of note.


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Wednesday, 7 October 2015


There is a game I've been working on for a while. It's a nice cruisey game that I got for a reason, but that didn't end up happening. Either way, though, I played Submerged.

You are a girl who escaped with her younger brother, who is ill. You arrive at a city that's been largely consumed by water and plants. The aim of the game is to scour the city and buildings, and find supplies to aid your brother, but the city is slowly claiming a hold on you...

The mechanics are very straight forward. You move about, and she does all the jumping and such as needed. You just indicate the direction. She's quite the nimble wee thing really. And there's a boat to control, which can be sped up with collectible upgrades. What's also collectible is the story of the city, and your own story. You collect the city story, but you get your story as the missions go on. These stories are told with images and little four character blocks of text... which look to be simple replacement code for English, so I could decipher them if I cared enough (I don't).

The biggest annoyance is the severe need for a run button. And while you can never fall off, I would also love a way to dive off a building down to the water to get quickly back to the boat. Especially needed when backtracking to get all the items... which I did! I 100%d all of this! Woo!

The main reason I got the game was... I can't controller. I never got the knack. So a game where I can't die? Yep, sounds good... however, it also felt ackward, so I soon went back to keyboard. Oh well.

A peaceful game, not that challenging, just patience to go around the entire city and pakour the buildings.


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Tuesday, 6 October 2015


During the second world war, Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg met for some meeting, and people aren't sure what it was about. This is an answer.

Bohr and his wife host a meeting with Heisenberg, and we get to see them interacting... although we don't see the meeting itself. But then they are back together many years later (which didn't actually happen) and they discuss the meeting, and the ramifications.

This is based on the play by Michael Frayn, who posited that the meeting was concerning the ethical role of physicists providing support of any kind to military power. I think it would have worked better as a play presentation, because it's basically a three hander in which there's a lot of people standing around talking. It is adapted here to be changing locations about every minute to provide something visually interesting, but instead becomes distracting.

Of note is that this features one of the most English of actors (as least, going by the role he would play) playing a patriotic German, namely Heisenberg as played by Daniel Craig. I think that Stephen Rea gave a better performance as Bohr.

It's an interesting ethical discussion that I'm not sure works on screen.


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Monday, 5 October 2015

Doctor Who 9.03

It's me, isn't it? This series isn't made for me in the slightest. However, the problem with that is... I'm not sure who it is made for.

We have another two parter, which I wasn't aware of. But we leave with the most obvious possible cliffhanger ever. Which is nice from the point of view of telling a decent longer story... but this isn't a decent longer story. This is half an episode padded out to a full length. The whole schtick around Cass reading the lips of the dead? That was obvious from about minute two of the episode, but then they spent a lot of the episode repeatedly running around corridors for no reason, and finally get to the lip reading.

Now, while I may be able to buy that because she's reading the lips of someone speaking English, we hear English words... but what about that alien geezer? He's speaking English? (That might be addressed in the next episode.) But even better, whatever planet the pilot comes from also happens to refer to constellations by what they look like from a particular angle, and also happens to refer to that exact same sequence of stars as a sword. Convenient. (If we find out later that it's a completely different arrangement of stars they call The Sword, then good, but I don't see that happening.)

Anyway, we have a trapped base in which the Doctor and Rose turn up... I mean Clara. I'm sure no-one is thinking of The Impossible Satan Pit Planet at all while watching this.

The whole mystery around the ghosts and the message on the wall... who is interested in that? Who is this episode for that they think an entire episode should be devoted to it? Just what the hell is up with the Production Office? I'm just not seeing it.

Next time: I'm sure this is the end of the series. No doubt about it.


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Sunday, 4 October 2015

The Beginner's Guide

This is a new computer game, from the creator of the Stanley Parable... and when you make a game like that, where do you go for The Beginner's Guide?

As with other people, I don't really want to talk about the game itself, because it's better to go in cold. Don't worry, it's quite gentle.

However, this has to be one of the closest I've seen in the "is it a game?" genre? There's definitely some walking around, and some light puzzle solving... but it's with a narrator, and it very easily could be a movie. I'm not seeing it being a different experience on a replay (although I have only placed it this once). Even Dear Esther or Stanley Parable could mix it up a bit, but this is going to get the same beats at the same time, so...

Unless this adds achievements, I can't see me replaying this, so as a one off thing, is it worth it? Let's just say, I'm glad I got it on the opening sale, and wouldn't be offended by anyone waiting for it to be even cheaper before picking it up.


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Saturday, 3 October 2015

Roocky IV

I’ve heard about this one, so I knew a little of what to expect. Then, about ten minutes in, I knew exactly what was going to happen.

Apollo gets on the pride train when the Russian Drago comes to town, and insists on fighting him. While I could see the general shape of that outcome, I was surprised by how far they went. So then Rocky has to stand up, and just like in the second one, we get him and Adrian talking about why does Rocky have to do this? And again, eventually, Adrian comes around. Cue montage and fight as this is the shortest Rocky movie so far.

This series has been willing to kill off characters, which makes a change from a lot of TV series. While this is ‘East meets West’, this feels a lot more personal, as the motivation has to do with how the individual characters feel, and isn’t driven by the needs of being a title holder or anything.

That all said, there was no way the movie was going to end any other way than the way it did. This is a bit of a change up, but still predictable.


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Friday, 2 October 2015

Lie to Me Deux

Second season is usually the time when they start bedding down the characters and developing what the longer term arcs they want to...

And yet this entire season feels a lot like "case of the week", with hardly any character development at all. What there is (and there is a little) is like two episodes of the twenty-two we get this season. There are some really obvious movements because 'men and women have to get into relationships' because what else is television for? (You know what? One thing I didn't mention about Mind Games is that it had a gay character in it, and nothing big was done with it! Yeah, let's have more of that instead of usual heterosexual hookups.)

Anywho, it's still decent, but it is just more of a continuation of season one than mixing thing up or producing really solid episodes. Still, there's one more season to go, so we'll see...


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Thursday, 1 October 2015

Ghost Mine

It's the second book after Black Horizon, finally out. It's Ghost Mine.

Ben continues to want to be a part of Gemini Force, and this is the next set of adventures. In that they are very definitely separate adventures that happen to occur one after the other. The main event, and the one the book is named for, is a mine disaster in Africa and Gemini Force get involved even though they aren't entirely wanted, because of reasons that I won't give away.

The problem for me is this book is all about Ben, and a whiny 16 year old from a privileged background isn't that interesting a character to read about. (And yes, when he constantly goes on about how he wants to be part of GF, he is whiny.) This does feel like the ultimate build up is him becoming a part of the team, which is just an obvious track and so no real tension is there about that. Outside of that, it's amazing just how capable Ben manages to be, because of course the hero has to be for kids to be interested... oh wait, no, just makes it feel like he's too powerful.

There's a third book to come, and I'll check that out, but hopefully the characterisation of Ben can be brought into an acceptable range.


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