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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