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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