Thursday, 28 December 2017

Doctor Who 10.X

So this is the last hurrah of Moffat and Gatiss? Beware fangasms... and not that great a story really.

We get the first and latest Doctors, because both are regenerating. And from that one coincidence (which isn't really explained, but we can blame the TARDIS) this story spins out. The Captain's time shenanigans are disrupted and while trying to fix it, the Testimony get involved with the Doctor. What evil plans are afoot?

And it turns out that the Testimony are a non-evil version of what Missy was doing a few seasons ago. There are so many stories these days that are about resurrecting people done by people at the end of the universe, it should be its own Trope page (although I can't find it).

Which means that there isn't a big bad to fight this episode, instead we are getting character pieces. The only problem with that is that the characters are one note. The Captain is Honourable. The First Doctor is Chauvinistic. The Twelfth Doctor is Denying. And Bill Potts is Generic. We should have better from Moffat on this last outing, but nothing really stands out.

David Bradley is decent as William Hartnell, and there is a line to explain why he looks different (although that doesn't stand up when they recast Ben and Polly as well without explanation). I don't recall the first Doctor being so racist/sexist, but clearly Moffat knows better. Mark Gatiss is in standard Officer role, not a great stretch for him. Pearl Mackie is good to see back, but again doesn't get to do anything that amazing. And for Peter Capaldi's final performance... he gets a better out than David Tennant did, but I spent most of the time thinking he needed a hair cut.

As a finale it feels like this is more for Moffat than it is for the audience.

Next time: Jodie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Talking 'bout last Jedi-ration

Yes, I took the time to catch up with the latest thing everyone is talking about. But I did wait a week to see it, 'cos I don't care that much.

I'm not going to talk plot, because so many people bitch about spoilers that I can't be bothered. And, frankly, most of you are probably decided on either seeing it or not (if you haven't seen it already), I never pretend my opinion will sway someone for or against going.

Basically, I did enjoy it. It did go on far too long and easily could have ended many scenes before the final end, but now that I know what to expect, I could probably relax into a second viewing more easily and be able to take the pacing.

That said, apparently people hate this movie because... I'm not sure? It's not Star Wars-y enough? Because doing their own thing which isn't an entire copy of Empire is a bad thing? I don't get it. Yes, I will say there were some moments I didn't think were SWy, but there were plenty of other times that were.

Acting is fine. Production is fine. Story is... I have no idea where they are going with any of this other than "good will fight bad", but I assume there will be another planet killer in the next movie?

Yeah, decent movie, and the Porgs aren't as irritating as you might expect.


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Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Dis Artist A Ster

Since I have seen the Room, I am ready for this... but I am not ready for this.

Greg Sestero met this wacky guy by the name of Tommy Wiseau and falls under his charisma. Tommy drags them out to LA, but neither of them hit it big, so they decide to make a movie together. This is that story of making that movie.

I haven't read the book this is based on, although I do have it. And now that I've seen this movie, I think I'm more ready to get into it. Because one thing you can't do in the movie is waste a lot of time getting to the Room, and I get the sense there is a lot more that happens before hand.

What this movie basically is is an overview, where one scene stands in for a whole series of moments. Even when they get to 'the movie' itself, there are a lot of moments that are skipped over lightly, and we only get one or two scenes of Tommy being an ass when there was a lot more, and they skip to the reaction quicker that real and...

That's the nature of this movie, to get the basic story down. It's a weird story, and you definitely have no better idea who Tommy is after seeing this, but you do get the sense that Greg had no idea what was going on. The Francos do a good job portraying them, although it is weird seeing Greg and Tommy having facial similarities...


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Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Universal 1943B

We have brand new splashy colour, so let's celebrate with remaking one of the first movies we did! This is Phantom of the Opera.

Christine is a subtle hit at the Opera with both the lead baritone and the lead policeman both vying for her affections. This is played for comedy quite a few times. A leaving violinist tries to sell a concerto, thinks it has been stolen, and goes on a rampage... and lo we get an origin for the Phantom! The Phantom has his hand in a few issues to get Christine to be the lead, but they put someone else in to enrage him. One sabotaged chandelier later, the Phantom takes Christine away, the baritone and policeman follow and get her back. One more comedy scene, and we're out!

Definitely less of the actual Phantom in this one. While we do get an origin, and the Phantom does kill people, far more time is spent on actual Opera with tons of colour everywhere and full on operatic singing. (I have no idea if these common operas of the time, I know I had little idea what was happening in those bits.) And we get the triangle with Christine being played for laughs, and the Phantom's threat is much reduced.

It's pretty, but a rather unusual take on the supposedly psychotic murderer threatening a building of people.


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Thursday, 14 December 2017

Universal 1943A

It begins! The Dark Universe! At long last the cross over everyone wanted! Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man!

Wouldn't you know it? The Wolf Man isn't dead after all, he was just having a bit of a nap. But searching for a proper way to die he finds not Dr Frankenstein, but Baroness Frankenstein and the Monster. There is a mad doctor though, and instead of helping them to die, decides that powering them up is a better way to go. But when the monster goes after the hottie Baroness, the Wolf Man steps in and we'll never have another crossover again.

Lon Chaney returns as the Wolf Man, meaning someone else gets made up as the monster (Bela this time, but doesn't look quite right). Ilona Massey is back, this time as the Baroness, but she has an even less strong character than last time.

Amusingly, Dennis Hoey is playing Inspector Owen. Such a pity the character wasn't Lestrade (Dennis basically plays him that way), then we would really have a full on cross-over worthy of the name!

Did we need a cross-over? Not really, but I suppose it is a way to mix up the standard monster movie formulae.


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Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Universal 1942B

Speaking of dragging out the series, we get another entry in which no-one stays dead. The Ghost of Frankenstein.

We start with another ransacking of the castle, but that just leads to the monster being uncovered by Ygor. Ygor takes the monster to another Frankenstein, and after some soul searching the doctor decides to destroy the monster, then immediately decides that a better idea is to put a new brain in the monsters head. Unfortunately, they still can't brain properly, Ygor is now in there, and everyone gets thrown around. And now he is dead... sure.

Bela Lugosi is back, but now there won't be any more monster. We no longer have Boris, but Lon Chaney as the monster. And other people I don't recognise as the main cast members.

This feels like they are just dragging it out (insert your own reanimation metaphor here). Clearly they can't get sadder from here.


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Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Universal 1942A

Let us continue to binge on the invisible formula series. This is Invisible Agent.

Frank Raymond, grandchild of the original Invisible Man, refuses to give up the formula no matter what. Cut to... World War II, and Frank agrees to go behind enemy lines and dig up secrets. So we then get a mixture of spy thriller and spy comedy as one character bumbles his way through invisible interactions and another ruthlessly goes after Frank. Various Nazis die until Frank and the token woman can escape.

Hey, Peter Lorre... playing Japanese? Huh? Interestingly Ilona Massey (the token woman) gets billing over Jon Hall (Frank), and although she is rather dragged around, she is the reason they get away in the end.

I'm not sure if they were trying for anti-war, or what, but this doesn't add anything to the Invisible mythos, and the movie can't decide if it wants to be serious or comedy.


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Monday, 11 December 2017

Universal 1941B

[Okay, change of schedule, I'm gonna put these out when I watch them.]

In many ways this is a call back to the basics of "gypsy people causing trouble in small towns", but they are the good guys here. This is The Wolf Man.

In random manor in small town, a chap gets a telescope.. and immediately pervs on a beautiful woman in the nearby town. He makes moves on her, won't take no for an answer, but she isn't really putting up a huge fight even though she's engaged. Later on a stroll, they get attacked by a wolf, and he gets bitten. Surprise, surprise, he's a wolf man now. Everyone knows about the legend of the wolf, and the recently arrived gypsy man got killed, but the gypsy woman is understanding, it's the wolf's fault. The town is upset, people die, and eventually the man's father beats him to death. At least he is at rest now.

This isn't exactly reaching new heights of story telling. It's a basic take on the nature of the beast in man. The gypsy's do get done well, and Bela Lugosi starts as the gypsy man (thus explaining the accent) called Bela (in the most amazing casting effort ever). Lon Chaney is the wolf, and as the wolf looks like the standard "attach lots of hair" wolf make up.

Not a high pick for me, just middle of the road.


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Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Just-meh League

So, this is the big event we were supposed to be hyped up for... and yet, when it was over, and I asked myself how I felt about it? I didn't feel that delivered to.

A big bad comes to Earth, and various Defen... Aven... heroes have to gather... and gather... and gather some more... then pause to gather even more... and then... FIGHTEND.

One thing about the Avengers is that we had already established who these people were, so we could get on with getting them together. In this, we had to basically introduce three different people, give enough backstory/context so we knew their deal, and then get to fighting. And... they just weren't that interesting. This is supposed to be the Justice League, the premier group of heroes of the DC, getting together. It felt more like "we have these characters lying around, so let's stick them together". These didn't come across as the best hope for humanity, they were just the people around who got together for a movie.

And the big villain? Steppenwolf. You might be forgiven for never having heard of him, because I'm a DC reader, and I like big cosmic stuff, but I had no idea who he was. When it comes to Darkseid (who is named checked) and Apocalypse (which is only obliquely referred to, but not named), there's Darkseid, Desaad, Granny Goodness... and Barda and Mr Miracle are from there too... Presumably they are saving Darkseid for after they see what Thanos does?

As for production... the CGI was NOT GOOD. Cyborg looked like a floating human head pasted onto a badly placed mechanical body, and various capes and such and various superheroes looked badly animated often.

Not to say this is a terrible movie. Some humour is snuck in (in the same way it was for Suicide Squad), and it makes sense enough for what is happening. It just isn't the great DC needed it to be.


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Friday, 1 December 2017


Another Netflix, another series. This one being a part of the Marvel Netflix series (which I think is completely separate from the TV shows and may actually get mentioned in the movies at some point?)

White guy with guns kills all the people, and then what happens to him? It turns out there was something in his past that came up and now he must take even more revenge.

Actually, this is quite decent so far. Yes, we are talking about someone who decides that killing is the answer, unlike every other 'hero', but we aren't presented with a lot of shades of grey with the people he kills so far. This is good characterisation so far, and we have other people brought in and they aren't the worst either!

But the big problem is... this is generic. It's well done generic, and I was eagerly moving onto the next episodes, but... it's hard to say what happened beyond 'hunt down the next person to kill'. Aside from setting up one character for next time that if I was a Punisher watcher, I'm sure I would have picked up on before looking him up on Wiki.

However, yeah. I don't really have enough to say to break it into many posts, so there is just this one saying 'decent but hard to point out anything new'.


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Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Muurduur on L'Express D'Orient

Okay, so I've read the book. I was disappointed by the David Suchet version. Let's see what Kenneth Branagh brings to this.

I don't really think I need to recite anything about the plot here. Poirot ends up on the Orient Express because of nepotism, and after a random person gets on board the train and stabs up a bad man, they spend a lot of time interrogating all those innocent train guests. But the mustache must have its day.

And it is a rather splendid mustache, with a sleeping hammock of its own. Whenever it is on screen, the eye is drawn to it, and everyone else pales in insignificance. I'm only slightly exaggerating here, but I was often distracted by it.

One big selling point around this film is the cast, as demonstrated by the names plastered all over the poster. Kenneth Branagh, Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Penelope Cruz, Judi Dench, Olivia Coleman... okay, probably only I spotted the last there, but I remember the British Comedienne. And there are others too.

Performances are good, but the big scene stealer is the scene itself. The train is well made, and the scenery is gorgeous.

But the best point in the film's favour... even through I knew the story, they still unfolded it well, and I was caught up in it!


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Saturday, 25 November 2017

Universal 1941A

After the recent crime and monster movies... how about a comedy, why not? This is The Invisible Woman.

A scientist is working on making people invisible, backed by an increasingly skeptical rich ladies man. A woman volunteers, becomes invisible, and immediately takes out revenge on her modeling agency dick boss. However, a gangster wants to be invisible to return home, so steals the machine and later the professor, but the invisible woman is more than capable of looking after herself even though she puts it on for the rich guy.

And yeah... this is a rather fun comedy, with slapstick humour (what else when you have invisible people around to do wacky things) and people being knocked out with a comedy large mallet and so. After all, you couldn't have a delicate woman being violent and killing people, like the other invisible movies.

But everyone seems to be having fun, and it's a nice light romp that had me smiling the whole time.


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Friday, 24 November 2017

Red Dwaf XII.VI

This is it, the final episode, so the best the series will be...

This episode exemplifies a lot of the problem with this series. It's an episode of two halves. In the first half, we get some time/space shenanigans, in the vein of White Hole, but then in the second half, that's thrown away so we can have Rimmer Dimension Jump so they can bring back cameos. Great to see those cameos, but there's no real point to them.

Not to say that all the episodes ever have a fundamental shift of the characters or anything, but even in the previous episodes, we get some idea that the characters have done things and possibly changed in some way. Here... not so much. The need to press the reset switch is so overwhelming at the end that it's like it's pressed several times throughout the episode just to be sure we end at the right place.

'Disappointing' would be a good word. Again the first half had promise, but it's just a lead in to do something else. Which isn't as good.

Which is what Red Dwarf has become.


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Wednesday, 22 November 2017


This has been a while since a one of these, so yeah, let's check it out.

Some detectives are on the trail of some bodies turning up. And five people are caught in a trap by one Jigsaw. Can the trapped people get out or will they be killed off one by one? Will the detectives find out what's going on, or will they be caught up in the games?

Wait a minute... I remember this movie. This was the second one. A group of people needing to work together. Cops running around. We find out there are timeline shenanigans going on. Yeah, I've seen this.

And this, in comparison, feels like a tame version of that. The deadly traps aren't that interesting (or are too stupid to give any credit too). Big revelations just ruin the mythology (as such) further. And the acting isn't really that exciting either. There are no stand out performances, and...

Really, it wasn't worth bringing this back. But no doubt there will be more money sequels.


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Saturday, 18 November 2017

Universal 1940B

Even though he died in a fire, that doesn't mean that we can't have The Invisible Man Returns.

Actually this is someone else who is given the Invisible formula, but after that the movie basically retreads a lot of the original. Effort is done to make an antidote, but in the mean time he runs around being a dick and escaping from the police.

And as there isn't really anything new, this feels like it's just the same movie, but with even less to say. The villain isn't as charismatic, the police are just as dumb, and the girlfriend is still unreasonably willing to accept whatever happens.

Can we have a better take on this please? (He asks, knowing what the next movie he will watch is...)


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Friday, 17 November 2017

Red Dwaf XII.V

This episode starts so well.

The ship has been missing some updates, so when they occur the ship now becomes the property of M-Corp. And Dave can't see anyone who isn't M-Corp property. I'll give you three guesses as to who then Dave can't see. And then something about how corporations charge you for everything, because that hasn't been done before.

The first half of the episode is great. Interesting set up with the M-Corp and what happens to Dave, but then the second half just is either stuff we've already covered in better comedies, or boring plot stuff that manages to be extremely boring. The wrap up is again nice and easy, although right at the end there is one call back that...if it's funny, it's only because it's OG writing.

So far this season is running one and a half good episodes, with one to go. Not great odds.


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Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Thor Thagnathok

Marvel time, and this time Taika is involved, so I'm already more favourable towards it.

Thor finds out the threat of Ragnarok is around, and in attempting to stop it finds out that it might be too late, and also Hela, the Goddess of Death, has been released. While trying to stop her, he ends up on a random planet, and slowly puts together a team. If you've seen the trailer, you know who is involved, and really there's not much more to say.

This is indeed a lot of fun. Thor is really lightened up for this, partly because Chris Hemsworth was complaining about how unfun it was, and partly because Taika is the director. (And yes, Taika has a role, as such.) Chris seems to enjoy himself, as do the other cast members. Although I'm not 100% convinced that Jeff Goldblum didn't just wander on to set, they painted him up, and he managed to say some stuff that could be used in the movie.

And from this we got to get into Infinity Wars... okay, I'm still in.


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Monday, 13 November 2017

Twoman vs Bat-Face

Oh yeah, I forgot this was out. So.. surprise?

Two-Face is created in the opening segment, but he's also defeated during the credits, so that's all right. Instead we spend time with the great villain King Tut... and then Bookworm... but surprise (again), it was really Two-Face all along!

This doesn't really feel like 66 Batman, but again an Adam West Batman in a more modern adventure. Things are kicked off by Hugo Strange, but a modern take on Strange, not Warden Crichton, who was in charge of the penitentiary where the criminals were housed. He had a mockingly naive take on trusting/reforming criminals, whereas Hugo Strange is basically playing Emile Keller and has a device to extract the evil out of people. That doesn't feel very 66y to me.

Neither does what happens to Two-Face. It's a very cartoon thing, certainly, but again not a 66 thing. Even being hammed by William Shatner doesn't help.

But speaking of actors, Adam West takes it as seriously as possible. And while Burt Ward is back, his Robin feels very incidental. More effort is given to Julie Newmar's Catwoman... and hey, Lee Meriwether is here too, and gets a Catwoman moment as well!

While the previous movie felt "what if Batman mocked modern style?" this feels more like "what if Batman straight up was more modern style", and doesn't work as well.


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Saturday, 11 November 2017

Universal 1940A

Hey, again with the lack of monster, but with the crime thriller, with a bit of a sci-fi twist. This is Black Friday.

A professor gets into a car accident with a bunch of hoodlums leaving him in hospital and the lead criminal dead. However, the lead criminal knows where the money is, and the friend of the professor is a morally flexible doctor who decides the best way to save the professor is to put the criminal's brain into the professor's body, with the benefit of maybe accessing where the money is. When stressed about the criminal's past, the professor becomes the criminal and goes on a killing spree of his old companions, until many many people are dead.

This does have the hook of the brain transplant (which doesn't explain how the new brain has both sets of memories...), leading to the crime thriller. Karloff is the doctor, and Lugosi is one of the crooks, so while Karloff does have something interesting to do, Lugosi just feels like "bad crook #7" and doesn't add anything with his presence. This looks to be due to actor casting shuffling around that leaves Stanley Ridges with the meaty role.

Anyway, I like their crime thrillers, so I'm on board with this.


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Friday, 10 November 2017

Red Dwaf XII.IV

Okay, I'm gonna skip to the end here... this is the most pointless episode in this series (okay, only so far).

There's a problem and they have to abandon ship, but not take the various vending etc machines. Which have only ever turned up in random moments, but they have a whole episode about them now. The point being there will be someone who represents their interest, so cue electioneering jokes. Like, for the rest of the episode. And since we'll never heard of these machines again, you can just guess how important this will turn out to be. (At least, I'm guessing, but I doubt I'll turn out to be wrong.)

There is a surprise guest, which makes me feel a lot of this episode was set up to bring the guest back, but then the exact same jokes are rolled out, so really? Did we need that?

And then we have the problem all these episodes have had of an overly long unfunny skit that is irrelevant to the episode, and a quick tie up of events that dashes an ending off in under a minute. All the episodes have done this, and this one is particularly bad given how useless the entire episode feels.

So... I'm not a fan of this episode.


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Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Geo Sturm

Hey, somehow this Syfy movie ended up on the big screen. Someone made a mistake?

Someone made a network of satellites to control earth's weather... and basically you can tell the rest of the plot from there. Something goes wrong, people need to put themselves in danger in order to find out the next elements of the plot (such as it is). Various cities get destroyed, but none of them matter until it is somewhere in the USA. And the hero makes a sacrifice at the end.

Ultimately... this movie is just dull. It does nothing different to the bajillion other disaster movies before it, expect that it has a larger budget to be boring on a bigger scale. Gerard Butler gets out his lines (although apparently he kept forgetting them), and Jim Sturgess pretends to be an action star. Abbie Cornish gets the better part, so she isn't featured much.

Really, I can't even recommend this as a big dumb movie to enjoy. It's just a bunch of nothing that can't sustain the interest.


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Tuesday, 7 November 2017

2 Stranger 3 Things

Three more episodes, and we are out!

We start off with more Eleven plot... and this feels so incidental. I have no idea if there is going to be a third season or not (probably), and if so this feels like a set up for a third season story, but that leaves it not really part of this season.

Then we get basically a two-parter ending with various groups rushing about and doing things to achieve the end. There's a decent/satisfying mixture of characters and plot points swapping around at the end that I did enjoy it, however...

Last time, I made the observation that it felt like a movie idea that was padded out to eight episodes, and this time it was padded out to nine episodes. Sean Astin and Paul Reisner are good adds for this season.

And just checked, there will a third season, with them wanting a fourth and fifth, so we'll continue to have padded movies for a few more years yet.


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Monday, 6 November 2017

2 Stranger 2 Things

Okay, the next three set of episodes.

The menace is built up and we get some actual development of the monster. Well, okay, not actual development of the monster itself, but development of the threat of the monster. After all this, still have no clue where any possible big bad fills in. (It's only because I watch with subtitles on that I know they are shadow creatures.) And Dustin gets to act real dump so the plot can advance.

Which is just one of those really annoying things. Dustin has to act in a clearly stupid way or otherwise sensible results might happen and then bang goes the story. Although the other kids aren't exactly helping a lot either.

And then there is a the other plot around Eleven which is going nowhere so hard I wonder why they even bothered to include her in this.

So while things are happening, and it feels like the story is developing, as we head into the last chunk I'm not feeling that this needed to be nine episodes.


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Sunday, 5 November 2017

2 Stranger 1 Things

The first season seemed to be immediately popular so of course there is a second. In this season I've seen... three episodes so far of the nine, so let's talk about them.

The theme so far is... introduction. We get some hints about the upcoming plot line for the season, but most of this season seems to be reintroduction. Which helps to a degree because I can't remember most of the characters, but we also get a new one. Or rather two, but the other guy I can never tell from one of the other chaps, and speaking of chaps there are two kids I can't tell the different half the time either.

But anyway, we get a lot of "hey, there are these people from the first season" and... not much else. Yes, there are hints, as I said, but they are really drawing it out and while we have a creature from Evolution just ready to go, but we are so eeking this out that either this is the most boring tease ever, or there is a bigger twist coming. I do hope the later, but even now I'm not sure I'm going to be surprised.

Come on, let's get on with this.


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Saturday, 4 November 2017

Universal 1939B

Not a monster movie, per se, because man is the real monster all along. It's political thriller time with Tower of London.

Richard the IIIrd has plans on the throne, and we get to see the various machinations he puts into place to get there, with the help of his executioner friend Mord. Lots of people get caught up, and there is more than one battle sequence, but he's a bastard to wins... for a while.

Okay, this isn't Shakespeare (and there's a set of movies/plays I should get into sometime), and while it isn't really my thing, and not usual Universal fare, I kept with it. As Richard III is Basin Rathbone (so not the standard hunchback either), Karloff is Mord, and some new guy named Vincent Price is Duke of Clarence, I wonder if he'll move on to do anything interesting?

While taking a break from straight monster movie is a thing, hopefully we won't get this too often.


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Friday, 3 November 2017

Red Dwaf XII.III

Well, I can see what they were going for. However...

After five minutes of driving a terrible joke into the ground, the crew encounters a ship on which criticism is forbidden. Of course they can't keep their lips shut, so are stuck right in it. And guess what gets them out?

So yes, the episode does nearly have a point about criticism doesn't always help. Then makes the point of "#notallcriticism". Then throws that all away for the gags. And because we don't have any criticism allowed, we get a man in a dress and other men in pink outfits, and aren't we supposed to laugh at that?

There is a good bit of make up for Chris Barrie, but otherwise most of the choices of this episode is just weird.

Again it feels like a familiar retread of old ideas, but just done badly. Halfway through the series and the score is 1/3.


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Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Happpy Death Dayy

The main gimmick of this movie is that the lead dies and then comes back to life at the start of the day. Sound familiar? A bit. They even lampshade Groundhog Day at the end. But you know what? This is no Groundhog Day.

So yeah, the woman Tree wakes up in a guy's dorm room, goes about her business, then is killed. This keeps happening. What makes it worse is that it's her birthday. She struggles to find out who is killing her by... failing to not get killed. But at least she works it out. Or did she?

This is a stupid, stupid movie. And not a good stupid. This is a bad stupid. An angering stupid. She stays on campus and gets killed so she... stays on campus. Hello? First thing to do would be to go far, far away. And why is this happening? I'm going to reveal that... this isn't revealed, because the director wants to do that in the sequel. Sequel? This shouldn't have gotted a first movie!

This is just bad and stupid. Some might be able to enjoy how stupid it is, but it just made me mad.


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Monday, 30 October 2017


So, the latest Dan Brown, let's talk about it.

It starts off with a Prologue that announces that Science has disproved all religions. Oh, so that's going to go down well. And we spend the entire of the book teasing what that revelation is (because that's how Dan Brown works). But here's the thing... it's not that exciting. The revelations aren't going to surprise anyone, and it certainly isn't worth the build up of the book to get there.

Although there isn't much build up either. Langdon spends time wandering around trying to find the next set piece. And there isn't much treat from the villain of the piece either. Instead we get tons of flashbacks to how he got there, but not really much in the way of credible danger.

Frankly, this is, as Dan Brown books go, this is one of the most boring/worst.


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Saturday, 28 October 2017

Universal 1939A

Suddenly, after two years, we jump up to a 100 minute movie. Wasn't expecting that, but we would be getting there anyway. And we do it with Son of Frankenstein.

Rather than "everyone survived!" we have it that the son of the original Frankenstein turns up at his old castle because... because. But, speaking of everyone survived, Ygor is still around, and he has the monster nearby. Wolf (the son) is taken with the monster, and decides to get it up and running, and then, surprise surprise, terror and death is unleashed! And there's no way the monster survives this one!

Basil Rathbone is the titular son, and he plays it while accompanied by a pencil thin mustache that wouldn't notice most of the time. Bela and Boris are around as Ygor and the Monster... but I didn't even suspect it was Bela as Ygor, so well does he play the role. Lionel Atwill is the inspector with a fake arm that would, in any other movie, be played for laughs but is played with sincerity here. And Donnie Dunagan is a classic example of a child actor.

There is quite a slow development here, and the performances do carry the movie through. I hope this level of characterisation keeps up.


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Friday, 27 October 2017

Red Dwaf XII.II

It's a Kryten episode! Woo! And... it isn't terrible!

The short version: Kryten and the crew get grabbed by a ship of mechanoids (of the Mechanoid Integration Liberation Front...), and while Kryten is freed, the others are made to pay for making Kryten a slave.

Even the jokes in this episode are less overstated. Chris Barrie gets to put on a better performance, and show off his vocal range a bit more. While this does feel a little like a gimmick episode ("what if we made everyone this?"), it mostly works.

However, the ending falls over really badly. Like "hey, we've only got a minute to go and need to hit the reset switch" badly.

Outside of that, a thumbs up episode.


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Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Rade Blunner 24013232894

I haven't seen the original in a long time, so went in very little knowledge (frankly, I remember Daryl Hannah, and Rutger Hauer..and there was some other chap there?). But since I was willing to test my bladder, I went in, spent too much, and saw this one.

K is a cop that hunts Replicants... and finds out there was something that Replicants shouldn't have been able to do. And since I haven't seen the trailer, I'm not going to reveal anything more. Suffice to say there are some leads where you think 'we are supposed to think this' and I wasn't sure if I was supposed to think that because that's what it was, or we were supposed to think that because then it could be turned around.

But, howie, it's long. That's my main take away. There are some long lingering shots. Very well shot, and some great work on sets and the like, but wowie there were many, many pauses in the speeching. Now, you can say I've been ruined by watching on double speed (pauses for you to say that), but I can still appreciate a well timed scene.  This just felt like the director had pauses to show off that he could have pauses.

Still, it is a nice looking film. I'm not entirely sure of what below the surface thoughts I was supposed to have, but no doubt someone is just itching to point out all the bits I've missed (and put them up in video in "Here's what you missed in BR2049!")

Oh, acting-wise, Ryan did a good job of now showing emotions. And Harrison did a good job of nearly looking awake. Grammys for all!


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Saturday, 21 October 2017

Universal 1937

Wait a minute... this isn't a monster movie! But it does have Boris Karloff? And it is... Night Key.

David Mallory invents a new detection system, which is an improvement on the previous system he made. However, Ranger basically stole his old idea for his own profit (store protection via electronic circuits) and buys David's new idea (breaking light beam) but plans to sit on it. David is incensed by this, and goes on a spree... breaking into Ranger protected stores and moving the merchandise around, signing Night Key. However, crooks get their hands on the device and David must do what he can, with his daughter in danger.

While not a monster movie, it is a great crime movie. This is rather more light hearted fare too, and... I really enjoyed this. Boris Karloff gives a great performance and Jean Rogers is... so dreamy!

I hope there are more like this to come. While I like the monsters, it's nice to have this to break it up.


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Friday, 20 October 2017

Red Dwaf XII.I

Season 12, and we now have as many seasons without Rob Grant as with, and it just hasn't been the same since he left.

After poker shenanigans (which involves laughter after each and every line), we get to the space station with the bulk of the plot, meeting various evil people who have now been cured: Joseph Stalin, Messilina, Vlad the Impaler, and, of course, Adolf Hitler. We spend most of the time with Adolf, because he is the campiest one, and even have an overlong guitar jamming session between him and Lister (who can play?). But of course it goes badly so someone is still evil. And... it's the one you expect.

They go really heavy on the jokes, and... well, over load them into the story. This reminded me a lot of the Waxworld story in which we have an excuse to meet various famous people from history and have fun with them.

Not a great start to the season, but I've seen worse episodes. And will I see more of them?


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Monday, 16 October 2017

TELOS: The Dalek Factor

This is it. The big story to wrap everything up. Simon Clark writes the last novella, although it is the longest and at what point is “novella” not even applicable any more?

While giving nothing away, this features Daleks. Well, sort of. It’s about Thals who are hunting Daleks and are possibly finding them on this planet. However, one things after another happens, and along the way they come across a mysterious figure who seems to know a lot, but can’t remember, but call him Professor. The whole thing is mysterious, but eventually we find out what’s really going on and… that doesn’t make it better.

Okay, confession time? I didn’t really find the Daleks scary. Not on screen. Now, I have seen them (as a prop) up close and moving around during the music show, so they can have presence. But not on screen. And certainly not in a book which is really trying to set them up as the ultimate evil… but casually kills them with one shot. Not much of a threat then?

And then Simon is trying to something different with the Doctor (which Doctor is it?), and slowly has him get with what the audience already immediately realise (frankly, and this is not a spoiler, I would have been far more impressed if he is revealed to be the Master).

Yeah, I can’t really be surprised this series was cancelled.


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Saturday, 14 October 2017

Universal 1936

It's the return of... no wait, no it's not! A villain we thought dead actually remains dead! (For now at this.) This is in fact about Dracula's Daughter.

With Dracula dead, perhaps his daughter might have a chance to turn her life around. While she reaches out to Jeffrey Garth, he is distracted by other matters, and she can't help herself. Garth slowly manages to put things together, and maybe, just maybe, the threat of the vampires can't be dismissed that easily. A final pursuit leads back to Transylvania, and the final scene doesn't play out as you'd expect.

Gloria Holden gives a rather commanding performance as Countess Marya Zaleska (Dracula's Daughter) (hey, credits, spoilers!). Otto Kruger is Garth, and is quite believable. Others are on screen and are not complete inept comic relief as per some other movies I've seen.

This takes the idea of a sequel quite seriously, but of course there can't be any other kin of Dracula lying about.


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Friday, 13 October 2017

Batmanning 66.3

This is it, season 3, the last season. And the final words are "What happened to Batgirl?" "Who knows? Who ever knows?" [And trivia, the final villain is Zsa Zsa Gabor as Minerva.]

So, speaking of Batgirl... we have Batgirl now! And she is clearly an addition to the series, made painfully obvious in the opening titles which have two slides of sudden Batgirl moments. She even has an amazingly stupid theme. (And this is nothing on Yvonne Craig, who is... I think restrained heavily into her outfit?) But so often we get huge slabs of time spent with Batgirl that you begin to wonder who's series this is.

But talking of the series, they do something extremely different. At the end of each two parter, they have a brief teasing scene of the next villain, either a specially shot moment, or (more often) a clip from the next episode. And yet despite being told 'this villain is around' they are always surprised in the next episode when that villain turns up.

We also take a special three parter set in Londinium where the good guys help out venerable Ireland Yard... I see what they did there! Compare with the most sexist episode pair ever as Nora Clavicle ousts Commissioner Gordon and replaces all the staff with women, which every man (and even Barbara) despairs over. The hell?

However, that's it. (Aside from the movies.) I don't care that these are camp, I enjoyed them... but I doubt I'll be watching them back to back again like this any time soon...


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Wednesday, 11 October 2017

The Over du Change

A New Zealand film? Based on a Margaret Mahy novel? Okay, I'll give this a go.

A school girl, Laura, has to look after her younger brother while her mother works (and her father isn't around). She gets warnings and feels that Jacko will be in trouble. Certainly they meet a creepy man, but he likes Jacko a lot. But then bad things start to happen, and only she can do something about it.

This has a lot of a feel of an abbreviated adventure about it. I do wonder how much extra the book had? Because there is a lot of "conveniently, this happens", where Laura just so happens to find the local witches and just so happens to do the right things at the right time and... yeah. It's only 90 minutes, so it feels like there is more that could have been done.

This movie is the introduction of Erana James as Laura, and she carries the movie well. Although Lucy Lawless gets a higher billing, she isn't more than a cameo. But we do get a really creepy performance from Timothy Spall. And Nicholas Galitzine seems to be channeling Robert Patterson.

Overall, this is a very YA take on a YA adventure.


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Monday, 9 October 2017

TELOS: Blood and Hope

Finally we have a Fifth Doctor novel! But because this is Iain McLaughlin, we are in fact tying in with his Big Finish audios and have Peri and Erimem.

The Doctor and crew land in the American Civil War, and immediately they are split up with the Doctor ending up with the Union and Peri and Erimem with the Confederate. Where Erimem is seen as non-white and thus is a slave/property. Iain mixes Peri’s story with letters from soldiers to explain the setting and detail the Doctor’s side of the story. Of course nothing is simple as they try to get together, and Peri in particular has quite a struggle.

I was reminded a lot of the Rebel’s Gamble, the choose your own adventure where the Doctor and Peri are in the American Civil War (although the Sixth Doctor, natch). That aside, Iain does get into detail with some of the war events and it is not presented in any way that promotes it as a glorious battle.

A decent story, but I would have liked more Doctor in it.


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Saturday, 7 October 2017

Universal 1935C

What? No Karloff? No Lugosi? Are they allowed to make movies without them? This astounding possibility is Werewolf of London.

Would you believe it? You are out in the mountains in Asia and just so happen to get bitten by a werewolf. What are the odds? But back in London, Dr Glendon is looking into various things, but is told about a special flower that can put off Lycanthropism. Unfortunately, not for long enough, and soon he is back to attacking people by moon light while in a wolf form. People still insist on having parties and such, but eventually he is tracked down and told he's a bad dog.

When you talk werewolf, you need to talk effects. But first let's talk plants. There's a scene where people are wandering around a display and we see a not at all felt Venus Fly Trap closing on a perfectly stationary fly. And then there's the large plant that isn't folded material that eats a frog. While these are good, it is really obvious what they are.

So onto the werewolf make up. There is one transformation scene where whenever Glendon passes behind a pillar, he transforms more. That's really good. And then there's the classic locked off camera with mix from one transformation to another, and while you can spot it... what the hell, these are good effects. We aren't going to be winning Face Off any time soon, but I'm gonna buy it.

Not a bad movie, but the bulk of it is just repeating stalking and attacks, so it can't hold attention that way.


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Friday, 6 October 2017

Batmanning 66.2

Season 2 is quite impressive in that there are a TON of episodes. Like two actual seasons worth.

What we get is largely the same though, in that they are two episodes with campy guest villain of the day. What is interesting is the odd extra bit.

Like the wall crawling guest spots. Did you know what Batman is in the same universe as Lurch from Addam's Family? (And that Lurch actually talks!) And that Batman knows Colonel Klink and Colonel Hogan.

And after establishing around with "Same Bat-time!", they start playing it up with things like "Same Cat-time!"

We also get a three parter episode, with two exciting cliffhangers as Joker and Penguin. And yes there is the special episode with the Green Hornet and Kano cross over (this is after previously having a Green Hornet related wall crawling cameo).

We also get a hint or two that Commissioner Gordon has a daughter named Barbara...


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Wednesday, 4 October 2017

K2: T'GC

It's the sequel no-one really asked for, and if they did, did they really want this?

If you've seen the trailer, you've seen the basic plot. Kingsman gets blown up, so they go to America and the Statesman happen. I don't think they reveal too much who the villain is? But it gets revealed early that it is Julianne Moore, so there is that. Really... there isn't much of note that happens. We get various scenes that happened to be in this movie, and there isn't anything surprising to surprise you.

Performances are fine, production is similar to the previous movie and... did we need this movie? It felt like no-one really put any effort into anything, up to and including the return of Colin Firth's character.

I have no doubt that this will make its money back, and so we'll probably get another one, but we didn't need this, so I can't say I'm waiting for a third.


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Monday, 2 October 2017

TELOS: Companion Piece

Here’s something different, Robert Tucker and Mike Tucker wrote a Seventh Doctor story! But, no, it really is different, because it doesn’t have Ace in it!

The Doctor and Cat land in a future religious settlement who are freaked out there is a Time Lord around. The Inquisition is called, and the Doctor and Cat are captured, in various ways, and are taken away.

And the plot is all over the place. The pacing is terrible. Was this a first draft they never spent any more time on? We bounce between the Doctor getting so much tortured you’d think Kate Orman wrote this, to philosophical discussions about the nature of Roman Catholicism in the future. Although they aren’t very good discussions, despite what the opening foreward would have you believe.

I’ve seen this duo do so much better and that final twist… were we supposed to work it out before the end, ‘cos I realised it a while before, so I’m not sure how surprised I’m meant to be. Not a great story.


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Saturday, 30 September 2017

Universal 1935B

Ah, not "based on", not "from the story of", but "suggested by". Why are we not using that term more? Anyway, this is the suggestion of The Raven.

A doctor is called upon to save a young woman, and falls in love (more likely lust) with her. But her father has other ideas, and when a genius has a woman taken away from him, we get our thin connection with the poem that is quote by Lugosi throughout the movie. Lusogi is the doctor, and gets his own servant in the form of Karloff (see below), with the idea of kidnapping the woman and killing the father (via the pendulum of the pit). But, wait, the monstrous servant feels betrayed by his supposed saviour/master and turns against him! And quickly have a less than minute scene to wrap up the leads living on.

This is removed from the story (suggested by!) and so becomes largely a basic run on "stay at evil person's lair, then escape". No-one really feels like they are putting in a huge effort. It's not terrible, but it's not great either.

As this seems to be a common image (although this was my own screen cap).


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Friday, 29 September 2017

Batmanning 66.1

I didn't just pick up the Batman 66 episodes, I picked up the big deal pack with cards and a Batmobile! And I didn't get any old versions, I got the BluRays!

So, who is the first villain Batman faces? The Clown Prince? The Felonious Feline? The Bent Bird? No, it is the Prince of Puzzlers, the Riddler! (As opposed to the Puzzler, who would turn up later.)

In fact, Joker would be after Penguin, who's up next. In this first season we get such classic villains as Zelda the Great, False Face, and Bookwyrm... and whole one of whom would be in more than one pair of episodes.

What is interesting here is how the format of the show is still settling. We are used to the "Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel", but it isn't until about halfway through the season that it sticks around. And the beginning of the second half is a full recap of what happened in the previous episode, instead of just "Batman is in this trap". And remember the classic person sitting up sticking their head out of the window? We get that only once, at the end, in this season.

That aside, this is still the classic series we remember. The most remarkable thing is just how much the actors commit to their bits. Adam West points out that the comedy comes because they treat everything so seriously, despite it being Bateverything and Holy everythingelse.

Camp? Yep. But fun? You betcha!


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Wednesday, 27 September 2017


It seems that the most important fact about this movie is that it is by Darren Aronosky... I'm not sure I have seen his other films, so that doesn't matter to me.

It seems this is one of those movies where you can't talk about the plot because spoilers. If you say so. What I will say is: that escalated quickly.

I will also say that I didn't get the imagery that was alluded too all over the place until the end, and now I'm over-trying to fit everything into the movie.

So what can I say? The point of view of the movie is Jennifer Lawrence, and the camera follows her exclusively. This does help ramp up the tension as there is a lot of reassuring things happening just out of her view, so we get the knock on effect of "that's good over there, but we are over here where that isn't happening", and that gets unsettling. Not so much that I believed she wasn't a proper adult who could take care of herself, but the movie is very much putting her in the endangered position.

So yes, a good movie. But don't expect an easy watch.


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Monday, 25 September 2017

TELOS: Eye of the Tyger

“So we can set stories during any part of the tv series right?” “Yes, exactly, so how about a-” “Then have I got an Eighth Doctor story for you!”

Fyne is a proper Britishman, in that he is in India, in charge of the natives, and imposing his view. As it happens, he is attacked by a tyger and gets a nano-tech virus in him that turns him into a Tyger-man. The Doctor takes him away and they end up in a fight between officers and farmers. Of course Fyne decides that the officers are the ones in the right, and does what he can.. although not what he should.

This feels like more of a lightweight story, especially after the last few. This moves along, although jumping from India to an asteroid is a bit jarring, and feels more like Paul McAuley wanted to establish a companion before getting to the adventure he wanted to tell. And possibly imply furry sex, I’m not sure.

This is very “novella”, on one hand it’s too lightweight, on the other it’s good to have something more straightforward.


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Sunday, 24 September 2017

Universal 1935A

Is this the first case of an unwarranted sequel? Despite everyone dying, they still all live! This is Bride of Frankenstein.

For those of us who can't remember what happened, we start with the three authors, Mary, Shelly and Byron, talking about the previous movie. Mary then goes on to say what happened next. Fortunately Henry and the monster weren't dead, phew, so we can go on. Henry's pupal, Pretorius, comes to him asking to join with him, and create a woman, but Henry isn't interested. The monster, meanwhile, roams the countryside, befriends a blind man, and learns how to speak. He then captures Elizabeth, forcing Henry to work with Pretorius. And with five minutes to go, they whip up a bride, and everyone lives happily ever after! Or die, because that worked so well last time.

Okay... so we have that Henry lives, unlike the book, Elizabeth is still alive, unlike the book, someone else knows how to create life, unlike the book, and a female monster is made, unlike the book. Other than that, yeah, a perfect sequel!

Aside from that, Karloff makes the monster far more interesting once he can speak. And Ernest Thesiger is great as Doctor Pretorius. Although the movie never names who plays the bride, so we'll never know it was Elsa Lanchester (who plays Mary the author).

This has a fine last act. It's just the first two that drag this out.


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Monday, 18 September 2017

TELOS: Frayed

Remember how Kim Newman blew our minds for daring to set a story before the series? Stephen Cole says “hold my beer”. I mean, Tara Samms… yes…

It’s an outpost under siege, so we are in familiar territory. Into this situation comes an old man and his granddaughter. Who is that? They are given the titles/names the Doctor and Susan… Yes! Bam! How did they get their names? This is how!

The under siege aspect is fairly commonplace, with the humans being trashy to each other as well as trying to fight the enemies. There is a second plot as well about a strange dream space where people lose their mouths. It takes a while for the plots to connect, but they finally do… and in fact the enemies have nothing to do with the dream plot, which is kinda unusual. Usually plots are tied together, but Tara takes a brave step away from that.

But basically, the gimmick of the names makes this story annoy me far too much.


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Saturday, 16 September 2017

Universal 1934

Another Edger Allan Poe adaptation, and while I haven't read the original story, I'm guessing this is adapted even more abstractly than Murder on Rue Morgue. This is The Black Cat.

A couple and a random doctor are on a bus that tips over, so they seek shelter for the night at the local castle, which happens to be owned by the frenemy of the doctor. The owner has this habit of turning women into statues, and has designs on the latest woman, having previously done this to the doctor's wife and marrying the doctor's daughter. The man just wants to leave, but the butler stops him, and the woman is taken for evil purposes. The doctor barely manages to get her to safety, and capture the mad owner, but gets shot by the guy trying to leave. The couple does eventually leave, with the castle blowing up behind them.

You may have noticed a certain conspicuous absence in that recap, namely that of a cat. There is a black cat in a few scenes, and the doctor is terrified of it, but that's about it. Aside from being held, it parts no part in the narrative. I'm guessing, given Poe, it had more of a role to play, but here it is rather superfluous.

Although what we do have is Lugosi (the doctor) and Karloff (the owner) in the same movie and at odds with each other. That is great stuff, and the scenes they share have a definite frisson to them. I hope this happens more in the movies to come, but it is quite enjoyable here.

Better than I was expecting.


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Friday, 15 September 2017

Star Trek the Next 7!

This is it! The last season! Prepare to meet all the relatives!

There are some fantastic episodes here, such as Parallels, Thine Own Self, Lower Decks, Masks, Preemptive Strike and of course the last one.

However, we also meet Geordi's mother, Deanna's sister, Data's mother, Worf's brother (his other one), Crusher's grandmother, and Picard's son. (And sort of Riker's other father, but I like The Pegasus, so I'll give that a pass.) It really is ridiculous how many relatives turn up, even the writers comment on how silly it got.

But then we have All Good Things and well... that makes up for a lot (although it does have a HUGE plot hole in that the phenomena was created by the three different Enterprises doing the tachyon beam, but it was the Pasteur in the future that did the beam, but the Enterprise).

And that was TNG. As I've said before, you get a range of authors, you get a range of quality of stories. As evidenced even harder in the Star Trek novel range.


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Wednesday, 13 September 2017


All right, I gave in and went to see the latest Stephen King adaptation. While I gave up on the Mist, I did sit through all of... the first part.

A bunch of losers are losers in the town, and when a clown decides to target them, the rest of the town shrugs and looks the other way. Slowly stalking them, the kids eventually come together to tackle it, and I'm sure we'll never see it again.

We got to a point in the movie where it was probably the end of act 2, and I felt like "that's it, okay, the movie's over, right?" But no, it went on, and I had no idea where it was going. So I guess I'm saying that this movie is too long.

Now, it is a decent movie, and we have decent kid acting, and the camera is intentionally creepy over Beverly's body (and no, for those who know the book, no that scene is not recreated in the movie). I think this will end up working well as a double feature when (if?) we ever get part two.

This does make me kinda want to read the book again (I think I read it ages ago), so there is that...


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Monday, 11 September 2017

TELOS: Fallen Gods

I got this book back in a convention back in 2008 from Kate Orman and Jonathan Blum directly… and got it signed! So I better give this a good review?

This is a classical story, in that it is set in classical times. Not really Roman/Greek, but evocative of that period, and with their own gods (fallen gods, as it happens). Not surprisingly, this is the Eighth Doctor, but there is less torturing him than you would expect (but not zero). We get that the gods have been helping people, but this is unfolded slowly, so I won’t give anything else away. However, the focus is on the Doctor and Alcestis and...

Speaking of Alcestis, I wonder if this was the author’s take on doing Wonder Woman? She is a rather powerful woman, who is in depth in the matriarchal part of the society, and she can fly and sort of has super powers. Certainly this is the most in universe explanation of Diana we will probably get.

This feels like a lot longer than just a novella, and yet the ending is rather abrupt (outside of the personal battle, defeating the enemy is easy). To be honest, I could have done with it being a shorter.


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Saturday, 9 September 2017

Universal 1933

Another one of the classics, cited by Richard O'Brien himself. Claude Rains was The Invisible Man.

In a remote inn, a strange figure turns up in jacket and bandages, and demands a room. He is Griffin, a science assistant who perfected invisibility, but now is seeking a way to return to normal flesh. However, while invisible, he indulges in a little harmless murder spree or two and is hunted down to his death.

This I like. In particular, although we have a mad scientist, he is a scientist driven made by the invisibility process, he didn't start that way. So, in a way, he's as much a victim of circumstances as anyone else. Interestingly they have the girlfriend who might be able to talk him down, but even before they get together onscreen we get that Griffin is already too far gone into science to be turned back (which adds to him as a tragic figure). However, tragedy aside, the movie is set on killing him, and pretty nastily too.

There is a lot of invisible acting, with strings clearly pulling things (not that I saw strings) and people pretending to be strangled. I'll accept that, though.

Definite thumbs up, check this out!


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Friday, 8 September 2017

Star Trek the Next 6!

Now Star Trek has never really been consistent in terms of story ideas from one episode to the next, but this season really throws things at the wall.

We bring back Scotty, we have a human Q, go full Western (directed by Patrick Stewart!), learn there are four lights, go into Picard's history, get the better Riker, and bring about Kahless. However, we also get kiddy Captain, a stupid chase to realise the answer was inside us all along, and... the dog did it (even the writers acknowledge how stupid that was).

It's not that these are terrible episodes or brilliant episodes, just that they are merely meh and woo! in such close companion and in such contrast to each other they seem better or worse than they are. Again we get great examples of how Star Trek could do horror, with set ups of people aren't who they say they are, and various examples of mental break down, but it just goes into Star Trek territory too hard to be horror.

And the effects really don't help. Did they remaster the screen smashing in Frame of Mind at all?


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Monday, 4 September 2017

TELOS: The Cabinet of Light

Right then, how esoteric can we get? Have we have a novella that doesn’t even feature the Doctor at all? No? Well, then let’s see how far we can get away from that idea.

It’s… sometime, rather noir-ish, as that is the style of the story. Lechasseur is a fixer who is drafted in as a detective to find the Doctor. In the process, he finds rather strange characters with their own reasons for wanting the Doctor, and more particularly, his cabinet of light. Things eventually go a bit pear/mystical shape, and it eventually turns out all right?

As for which Doctor this is… actually, it’s a future Doctor, possibly based on Nick Briggs? Actually… it’s not the Doctor. Even though this was written when there was only McGann, it’s not the Doctor. Even though we’ve had nuWho and Big Finish reinventing the Doctor all over the place, this still isn’t the Doctor. Not just because he smokes, but that’s a good a signifier as any.

In fact, this is really just a pilot for the Time Hunter series of books, and after reading this, I don’t want to have anything to do with that.


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Saturday, 2 September 2017

Universal 1932C

The opening card says Karloff's character is the same as from Frankenstein which matters because... I have no idea. This has a classic starter, but I went in with interest in The Old Dark House.

Three people are caught lost in the country and end up at a dark and creepy house, where they are reluctantly taken in by the strange inhabitants... and that's about it really. We spend the time with them while they are in the house and crazy people be crazy and there's a bit of running around and such, but...

There's no monster. There's not really any real threat either. Just people being mad. But it isn't anything that hasn't been better told elsewhere. Even having Karloff around doesn't help. I mentally checked out before halfway and it couldn't drag me back in.

Oh well, they can't all be winners.


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Friday, 1 September 2017

Star Trek The Next 5!

While this has a few episodes that strike the memory... most of these are pretty forgettable.

Oh dear Disaster. Oh Dear The Game. Oh Dear The Masterpiece Society. Oh Dear The Perfect Mate... although that last one is where we find out that Holodeck 4 is the one to go to. On the other side, we introduce Ensign Ro, Matt Frewer visits in A Matter Of Time, Ethics has Worf trying to commit suicide, and I, Borg... is also in this season.

We also have Cause and Effect, one of the time travel episodes most people remember. With the trick of a script being shot four different ways. Spock enthralls fans by being teased for a whole episode before he turns up for the next one, and causes all sorts of interesting questions as to what happened to him during Star Trek Nemesis... And Darmok is the other one people remember, which raises questions about how people communicate, although I wonder how those people teach themselves about their own metaphors? And there's Inner Light, in which Picard has a lifetime in a day (with pointless flashbacks to the bridge.)

And while watching the Bluray the main things I remember are... they thought this was the next Borg story worth telling. And Patrick Stewart learnt some of how to play the flute, but it was just him fingering while other music played.

As for the new effects? They didn't help Time's Arrow...


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Monday, 28 August 2017

TELOS: Shell Shock

It took this long to get a Sixth Doctor adventure and… it doens’t feel like one. Simon A. Forward is trying something rather different with this story, and it feels incomplete.

The Doctor ends up on a beach and Peri ends up dead, and there are crab soldiers. Beyond that, we keep going with the crab soldiers for a while, with a big enemy eventually turning up to kick off the end scenes and then the story finishes.

The problem is that this feels like it has some ideas in it, and the story was written to get them together, but the story isn’t working as that’s the only thing it has going for it. And the ideas aren’t really that good. (There is a horror of war concept, and crab soldiers starter, and that’s about it.) Even the big deal of The Memory doesn’t come across so I’m not sure if Simon worked it out properly.

Then there’s the Doctor, which hardly feels like any Doctor, let alone being played by Colin Baker. Maybe Troughton would have been better, but then you’d have to deal with his companions, and what Simon puts Peri through is hard enough for him to deal with for one companion.

Not a great story, let’s roll on shall we?


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Saturday, 26 August 2017

Universal 1932B

Before Cruise, before Fraser, there was... The Mummy!

A mummy is uncovered but also a box that is warned not be opened... so they leave it alone and this movie is over! Or someone opens it, Imhotep wakes up and takes off (there is a great moment where the person who sees this completely fails their sanity check and goes crackers). Later (as in some years later) this random guide who looks like a revived mummy points at the tomb of the queen and plans to resurrect her, using the body of the nearby hottie of the lead. The lead is too busy getting caught up in the possible threat of Imhotep to notice a mere guard, so Imhotep gets his way... until she basically says no and he dies.

Seriously, spoilers and all that, but the bad guy is defeated by the lady saying "hey, lady god, can you get rid of this guy?" Deus ex nilhio really. And this is after a movie of... I can see why various reboots put action sections in, because in this movie there is a lot of talk about how menacing Imhotep is, or how dangerous this thing is... but talk is all we get! There are two moments that at best are action beats, but not even then.

At least Boris Karloff gets some good make up, although the amount of desiccation on his face varies from shot to shot. He gets a marvelous threatening presence and a wonderful low toned voice to his speaking... but that's all there is.

So it does build some atmosphere, but doesn't pay it off well.


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Friday, 25 August 2017

Next Generation The 4!

Some decent episodes and getting rid of Wesley, okay, this is a season I'll pay attention to.

There are definite possibilities for Star Trek to do Horror. It can do a great set up, you've got lots of psuedo-scientific ideas to draw on... the only problem is when it goes there, the episode starts focusing more on one particular character and then we slide into just another character story and the horror aspect goes out the window. Which should be good, character development yay!, but just ruins the tone of the episode. You've got Clues, Identity Crisis, and the great episode Remember Me as examples. This says to me we really need a good future sci-fi/horror series, but we don't have one.

We also have some decent comedy episodes with The Nth Degree, Qpid (to an extent) and Data's Day. And dramatic episodes like The Loss, The Drumhead and Half A Life. (And Riker has to take one for the team in First Contact.)

So yeah, some good stuff here, even if the Klingon opera ramps up more.


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Monday, 21 August 2017

TELOS: Wonderland

Okay, let’s put a story during the druggie hippies days… and make it as depressing as possible. Thank you Mark Chedbourn.

I hope you like Haight-Ashbury, because we get that a lot. Most of this story is flashback to the Summer of Love, as told by Summer, in a story involving drugs doing weird things to people, and the Doctor eventually getting involved. “Eventually” as he is presented as presented as very aloof, with Ben and Polly being the more relatable people of the crew. However, we get the non-flashback parts, and they are so down, it’s like a bad acid trip we are stuck in. (I guess, I don’t know acid trips.)

It’s not terrible, and Mark does seem to capture the time and language well, but it just feels miserable most of the time that I just don’t care. It became a bit of a slog to get through parts of it...although the end “twist” is well enough done. But speaking of the ending, Mark does give into Trope at the end.

And with this story we get a repeat use of the Second Doctor before we get either the Fifth or Sixth.


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Saturday, 19 August 2017

Universal 1932A

Right, let's loosely base a movie on the book. Let's just add a new character and change the nature of the villain. Murders in the Rue Morgue.

Visiting the local carny, two couples meet a human ape (which is a lot like a normal ape, expect he has a good PR man) and his PR man Dr Mirakle. One of the men is also interested in the local murders (in the Rue Morgue!), and Mirakle takes a rather too interested interest in his damsel. Eventually the good guys realise that the murders are due to people being injected with ape blood, and Dr Mirakle sends the ape to get the dame. However, the ape kills the doctor and the guy kills the ape. No-one says "'Twas Beauty that killed the Beast", but I kept expecting it.

Dr Mirakle is the sort of inserting you get when you say "we have an ape, but what we really want is a human protagonist, even if they had nothing to do with the original story". Although this does give a good chance for Bela Lugosi to ham it up on screen.

Again we have a problem with a lack of sound. While some scenes get natural sound, most of the time we get large slabs of silence. Come on, Universal, get rid of that!


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Friday, 18 August 2017

Next Generation The 3!

And so we get the full on cast for the rest of the series, with minor variations of minor members.

And yet, when I'm scanning through the episode listing, all I can think now is "ugh". Mainly because the character sentiment overrides the actual story. That said, we do have some good episodes. Powerless Q, return of Tasha Yar, the introduction of Vash and Barcley. And there are a few with actual interesting character motivation, such as The Most Toys which leads to Data's gun fire. And Sarak in which Picard has to do a long take.

But we also get the start of the Klingon fascination and endless Empire development. I don't find the Klingons that interesting, and now we are about the head deep into their mythology. Sigh.

And of course we end on a big cliffhanger of the Borg. Now I do have the BluRay set and such, but can't say that I was more impressed by the Borg now than before. Although this is largely set up to the big set piece next season, which, as is pointed out in the documentary/commentaries, was not meant to be written by Michael Piller, but they kept him on...


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Monday, 14 August 2017

TELOS: Rip Tide

Wow, this is the longest novella so far. It’s even longer than most Target novelisations! And yet…

We are at an English beach down near Cornwell (if it is at an actual place, I’m not going to know that). We follow lifeguard Steve and his sister Nina as they encounter some odd figures and slowly strange events happen. One odd figure is Ruth, and the other is the Doctor.

It takes a while for the Doctor to actually be in the story. In fact, it takes a while for the story to be in the story. Louise Cooper takes her time setting the scene, and there are some scenes that are very well described indeed, but mostly it just feels like a lot of time is passing without anything happening. That is not a gripping novel. Oh, and since I’m critiquing, we get scenes where the third person perspective changes from character to character from one paragraph to the next. Now that is given as a classic example of bad writing, and that’s for a point because it is very jarring.

Nice description, but it goes on longer than needed.


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Saturday, 12 August 2017

Universal 1931B

The same year, another classic, Frankenstein.

Henry Frankenstein has odd ideas about surgery and with the help of Fritz he pulls together a plan to pull together a man. His friends find out about this, and want in, and they all witness the birth of the creature. However, it's a terrible thing that goes wrong, so they have him put down. Only the creature escapes and crashes a little girl, the wedding and then a windmill.

While this is another talkie, and there is a lack of musical score, this works a lot better because there is actual background sound throughout most of the scenes, creating a great atmosphere. This is why I say we don't need musical scores. Admittedly they could turn down the lightning a tad, but there's there's a decent soundscape happening that keeps things going.

Better performances too, including from Edward Van Sloan and of course Dwight Frye. And Boris Karloff may not get many lines, but he can leer with the best of them.

Definitely the better of the two movies this year.


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Friday, 11 August 2017

Next Generation The 2!

On to the two most notable changes: Whoopi Goldberg and Riker's beard!

Let's immediately point out two episodes, The Measure of Man and Matter of Honor. These are great episodes with drama in different directions. However, we also have Time Squared, and one of the worst episodes I tried to rewrite it as a Doctor Who story The Royale. This is a season of differences, we have the one and only flashback episode, but then we also have Unnatural Selection.

Yes, I'm going to come out here on the side of Pulaski. Diane Mulder gives a great performance, and I far prefer her over Beverly Crusher. But I'm in the minority and there were salary disputes involved, and fans demanded the return of Beverly. Oh, and as I mentioned, we also get Guinan the mysterious bartender, who would have a random collection of plot required abilities over the seasons. And large hats. Mainly large hats.

And then there are the Borg. The remastering here should make this look a lot better, but it makes the matte painting really obvious and they retained the props and the quality of the shot of the props, so not really. Oh, and this was back when the Borg were potentially a menace, unlike the nerfed appearances they would make later.

With Pulaski checking out, what is the point watching any more really?


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Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Batomic Londe

So kickass female hero? I have to see this right?

This is more spy thriller than action flick, as we are when the Berlin wall is coming down. The Mcguffin is the standard "list of spies" which Theron is sent to find, and we get a ready supply of unreliable characters to get in the way and possibly help. To be honest, you've probably guessed most of the plot already just from that, but we do have action scenes.

Kinda. There are a couple, and a big set piece, although (I really am too cynical) I spent a bit of time going "and that's a hidden cut there" and working out how the scenes were put together. And although it isn't cut to music in the same way that Baby Driver was, there is a lot of 80s hits here.

And I'm also guessing the IMDB trivia/goofs page will be chocka with millions of tiny little anachronistic moments most of us don't care about.

Decent performances, but overall this felt more middling than the action movie people were thinking it was going to be.


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Monday, 7 August 2017

TELOS: Foreign Devils

This is a bit more like a classic DW story, this time told by Andrew Cartmel. No particular gimmick of language or concept, just a story told short. (Because it does sort of feel like a longer story that’s been truncated a bit.)

This also features Carnacki, a creation of William Hope Hodgson, who might well have out Lovecrafted Lovecraft if he had lived longer. It’s pretty good characterisation, and this volume contains The Whispering Room to compare with.

This is a horror story that ramps up from strange death to being in the void. In this is the Second Doctor and Zoe. Jamie is around, sort of, but is basically out of the story. And often Zoe is viewed as a creature to be leered upon (but methinks the author doth protest too much about that).

In that this is a more standard adventure it is a departure from the standard fare so far. But that this is a good story I welcome it, which makes this the better of the stories so far.


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Saturday, 5 August 2017

Universal 1931A

It's been a few years, and there are quite a few changes, and we get into it with a big name, Dracula.

While we know the story, in this version we start with Renfield coming to Dracula and falling under his power, and they move to London. While the ship crew is rather... dead, and Renfield is insane (complete with eating spiders). Dracula meets the Harkers and co and is rather quicker in killing. However Van Helsing is on the case, and when Mina is threatened they instantly manage to track down Dracula's casket and stabby time.

This is a quicker retelling of the story, and... it feels very sterile. We have actual dialogue now, not just a music score, and... Now, this goes against things I have said, but without a musical score the scenes are just large parts of empty air with odd bits of dialogue. Yes, Bela Lugosi gives a good performance, although mainly when in a single shot with the right light setup. And Dwight Frye is an early Jim Carrey. But Edward Van Sloan is not a good performance.

As an early talkie, they've got some way to go.


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Friday, 4 August 2017

Next Generation The 1!

I watched the Original Series a while ago, so I would get around to TNG. However, not just any TNG, but the BluRay Remastered Sets!

Season 1 gets a lot of stick, for episodes like Code of Honor and Angel One and... yeah, deservedly so, really. But then it has episodes like The Last Outpost, Datalore, and.. well, there are adequate episodes. A lot of episodes have some good ideas, like Home Soil and Too Short a Season, but don't quite manage to put it off entirely.

Now, we do get a different take on the whole crew, and the idea of the Captain not being the one at the center of away missions (which would last only as long as Patrick Stewart didn't complain to the writers). And, to be fair, they did have too many characters, but what they did to Yar was just stupid.

And this is the remastered. Call it 'memory cheating' but the amazing new picture quality isn't that amazing. Sure, you can tell when it's gone back to the old style footage, but the cleaned up version still has quality issues to it. As for the new effects... without the old side by side, it's hard to tell that it is amazingly new. It's been ages since I've seen the episodes, so I'm not blown away by how good they look now.

Due to the VHS released, I am familiar with a lot of these episodes, and not that avid about these episodes, so only good things to come?


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Monday, 31 July 2017

TELOS: Ghost Ship

Oh yes, we are going with gimmicky writing style. This is a story as told with the Fourth Doctor narrating… and you wouldn’t for a moment believe that this is him, even though this is supposed to be him in full on moody mode. This is more reminiscent of writing of a hundred years ago, which is fitting as that is the time period this is set in, what with being on a ship with ghosts.

A whole lot of time is spent on the Doctor claiming he doesn’t believe in ghosts and then is presented with ghosts, so needs to go and hide his head. At yet, when it comes to it, we get to the moment where there is an explanation, and just *sigh* let’s get on with it. This is Doctor Who, after all, so there must be an explanation, which does kind of undermine the existential dread the Doctor is supposed to feel.

Keith Topping doesn’t always produce the best stories, and this is right up there with other stories of his I’m not enthralled by. I can’t say that this is a great example of why people should be reading these novellas.


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Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Babby Drivr

Okay, Edger Wright, you have my attention. Let's go!

Baby is a driver (I know, spoilers right), and is roped in for jobs to get people away. After one job, he's out, and falls in love, but then he's dragged back in, and it goes about as well as someone who is dragged into a job he doesn't want to do in an action movie will go.

Right, this is a bit of a confession. This is slickly put together but... the fun seems mis-aimed. This isn't to say that Edger should never make a film without Pegg and Frost, but like Scott Pilgrim, this is more of a concept put together than an actual movie. The scenes are deliberately and intentionally cut to music, which means the movie is bending to the requirements of the beat than the inherent pace of the plot.

It's a decent enough movie, but please get back together with your friends and have more Cornettoes.


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Monday, 24 July 2017

TELOS: Nightdreamers

Is this the series of even more gimmicky writing styles than the actual novels? In this case, we get a play as novelised by Tom Arden.

On the moon Verd we have a fantasy medieval setting with technology, so we get electro-torches and the like. The moon also happens to be falling apart and pulls the Doctor in. We get various stock characters and a story that involves a lot of running around and, frankly, wouldn’t be out of place as panto. Tom is clearly going for Midsummer Night’s Dream, but also had ideas for Doctor Who that didn’t mesh at all well.

And, to be honest, despite his credentials listed at the end, this doesn’t feel like a well written story at all. It’s like he read some other descriptions of stories and then hurriedly bashed out a story and plopped the points down.

Ultimately this feels like a story that was written by someone who had the core idea of “Jo’s getting ready to leave”, and threw in other concepts… and didn’t put it together properly.


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Sunday, 23 July 2017

Universal 1927

Okay, I have no idea about what this movie is going into it and... it's quite charming. This is The Cat and the Canary.

It's been 20 years since old crazy West died, and the relatives have gathered for a reading of the will (actually... does that work? can you say "nothing happens for twenty years? anyway). Annabelle is named as the heir, but she has to spend a night in the old castle... er mansion, and the others are also there, and has to be declared sane by the local (rather crazy himself) doctor. However, odd things are happening, and people are all too quick to believe the worst of her.

Okay, we have a decent story, and hey, the monster has a definite presence, but isn't overwhelming the story. I like it! This is good integration! And, as it happens, this is a bit of the comedy. The leading man, Paul, is a coward and prone to slapstick, but still manages to come through... although remains a fool. Annabelle is pretty, and certainly isn't exactly a strong woman, but she's no wilting flower either.

This movie gets on with it, and does it well. It has fun with it, but has the monster aspect too. These days we would think we needed more to make this a horror house, but this works by itself.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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?


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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Tuesday, 4 July 2017


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...


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