Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Daughters of Darkness

Halloween episode, so let's dip into scary monsters. The scariest of all? Daughters of Darkness.

A newly wed couple is slowly heading back to his home in England, although he's not that excited to, so they hang around at a hotel. Another pair turn up, the Countess Elizabeth Bathory and her servant. He's uncertain, and a lot of a prick, and she's uncertain about everything, and the Countess plays on and with everyone. The Countess picks up her, makes him into a toy, but eventually has a problem with sunlight.

This film is "adult" in that it has nudity and violence. And the Countess enabling an abusive husband. It also has a number of sub plots that don't go anywhere. Like his mother. Was there something up with that I didn't get? And the hotel concierge and police inspector hovering around which pays off in... actually, that doesn't pay off either.

The Dracula imagery is sort of there, but there are a few shots where the director Harry Kümel just said "sod it, let's make it obvious. Get it! GET IT!!!". And then the ending feels like "we need to wrap this up, give the bad guy some come-up-pance, and also leave the movie open ended," so subtlety definitely isn't a hallmark of this movie.

So definitely not a horror movie I was aware of. Not incredibly sure I'd recommend it to others, but nor one to stay away from.


Read more!

Monday, 29 October 2018

Doctor Who 11.03

It's the "Historical With Famous Person" episode. And, because it's New Doctor Who, of course it can't be a straight historical anymore.

Okay, let's start with the point I was worried about... yes, they didn't have the Doctor or companions put Rosa up to it! They even avoided the moment after Rosa said "I haven't done anything." Instead, they address the moment head on, and have the Doctor make sure it happens... and have her front and centre (well, screen right) when it does. Yes, I like that. I'll take that.

However... while yes, the city/area was racist AF, you can hear the dial squeaking as they turn up the stereotypes. Angry white man? Check. Angry white man cop? Check. Angry while man bus driver? Check. Angry racist time travelling greaser? Check. Although he was a weird one. Couldn't kill people and yet didn't have a problem zapping things to the future? So why not zap Rosa? And then they have a clunky scene where the Doctor tells Ryan how to use it and...

Which brings me to the biggest problem I have with this episode, which is a presentational one. The TARDIS crew just stand around expositing with no reaction from those around them. Particularly when on busses. Yaz talks about being treated as Mexican. They chat with Rosa about how things work. They openly discuss their plan while executing it. And then, at the end, Ryan gets on the bus with a weird gadget, says he got rid of someone and the driver merely tells him "use the back entrance"??

And speaking of Ryan, again this could easily have been a Doctor/Ryan episode. Replace Graham with the Doctor for the fishing scene, and Yaz with the Doctor in the "racism isn't over" bit. And... I'm not really feeling the Doctor really did anything in this episode. Imagine Capaldi letting any of the racists get away without a good telling to.

As an episode about Rosa Parks, it was good. As an episode of Doctor Who... less good.

Next time: A Yaz episode? IDBI! (as Steven would say)


Read more!

Monday, 22 October 2018

Doctor Who 11.02

Okay, the accent is beginning to grow on me. Although now I'm noticing that she is fussing with her hair occasionally.

I'm still now sure about this Doctor. As this episode is immediately after the previous one, it's hard to say that everything is stablised. Hopefully, now she has the TARDIS back, we can get a "normal" episode and see what that is like. But if I have to say something... I don't want to leap to "manic depressive", but if she could find a middle setting, that would be great. Either overly eager or apologising the moment anything goes wrong, just calm down Doctor!

I'm gonna jump too far, and say that we already have too many companions. You could get rid of Yaz and Graham and not lose too much. Ryan is who these two episodes have focused on, so let's go with that.

As for the actual plot... again rather thin on the ground. And somehow we are to take the scarfs from Journey as a threat? I can't get the enthusiasm up for it. Otherwise, this is just a rather pointless trek across a boring alien planet until we get to the TARDIS... and I would need to see more of the TARDIS before I can get enthusiasm up about that either.

Okay, it looks like the Stenza will be our arc villains... but I'm not that threatened by them. So they put teeth in their bodies, but... aside from that they could be any other generic villain. Should have made them the Sontarans... although after Patternoster Dan, they don't exactly have a threat level any more. But, hey, I'm sure they'll turn out to be a major menace the Doctor has a hard time defe--- nah.

NEXT TIME: Rosa Parks. Well, I'm sure this will be a well considered and dignified... nah, who are we kidding? All I ask is that this episode doesn't have that the Doctor or companions tell her to go sit at the front of the bus, but it is still something she does because of who she is. (Although this episode could be after that incident for all I know.)


Read more!

Monday, 15 October 2018

Doctor Who 11.01

Mondays are my DW posts, so let's keep that. Which means for this season, I'll be watching the episode when it comes out, then watching it again before reviewing.

Okay, new Doctor, female Doctor... sure, I'm in let's see. However... that accent though...

Plot wise... this isn't that great. It's been pointed out that the first story of a thing like this should have a simple plot so we can concentrate on the actors. And yet, it feels like Chris still wanted a full on story (which wouldn't be that far off a Torchwood script, to be honest) and so we get all this business with a warrior and cheating technology and taking a huge time to track down one person, and a completely pointless scene with some guy throwing salad at him. And also lots of teeth because I think Chris wanted something offputting? Eh, just looks like a mask to me.

So let's go to the companions. We know there are going to be three companions with the Doctor, and we are introduced to a group of four, of which one we know doesn't become a companion. Now, this could be a Jackie case of someone staying at home, but that isn't likely as the episode pans out. Which means... we get a rather pointless death that doesn't really have an impact of them as they get over it really quickly so they can get on being companions. We'll see if this comes up again, but at the moment it's not looking great for Grace being meaningful.

But we do have a diverse range of companions. And that's largely what it feels like Chris is going for. Female doctor, black man companion, black female companion, and old white companion (who isn't Wilf no matter how they try).

And now I'll spin to the Doctor. Oooh, female, shocking! And yet... this is the first episode. The Doctor isn't really set as a personality yet, so I can't really say if I'm buying her or not.

Which means that for the companions and the Doctor I'm not really going to comment on them more until I see more episodes. Let's hope for the best.

Next time: Okay, this tells me two things. 1) I have no idea what the next episodes are doing. 2) They are banking on me being excited by a number of actors, most of whom I have no idea who they are, so... not really? Not a great job for hyping me up.


Read more!

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

China's Van Goghs

Hey, a documentary as part of the Film Society. This one is China's Van Goghs.

So Van Gogh was quite the painter, yeah? And people like to have copies of his paintings for themselves. In particular, in the same oil on canvas way. You can't print that (yet). So who creates them? In the Defan area of China, there are lots of people who spend ages of times cranking out many copies of Van Goghs and other famous people. We meet some of them, and see them going through the arduous process of creating them. We also follow some to Amsterdam where they meet their client (a not entirely wonderful souvenir stall), see the original paintings, and visit some famous Van Gogh locations.

When they say "made in China", you don't quite think of the process behind it, but for these paintings there is no simple way of creating an oil painting other than painting with the oils. The whole town is dedicated to this venture, which means there are many people who paint other people's pictures for, in the main lead's case, 20 years. And only now, at the end of the film, do we get to see them try some original work themselves.

On the one hand, it's quite a niche area they've got. But I do wonder how fulfilling it is.

It did rekindle my interest in documentaries, so I'll be checking out some more soon.


Read more!

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Tomb Meh-vader

Here we are again.

Yep, here we go. You can guess that this movie is based on, but it's more than just Tomb Raider. The leading lady is named Alabama Channing! Get it?? But as I've said, they are more female positive with the roles than other movies. However... it is obvious that they really didn't care.
 Did they leave the stickers on so they could return them afterwards?
 When traipsing through the ancient Chinese forests, remember to stick to the sign-posted routes.
 The classic shot...
and reverse shot.
 That is the ultimate guardian warrior... with his plastic vest falling/springing away.
 Please ignore the helping rods holding the set up.
And as we leave this tomb, behold the magnificent CGI...

Read more!

Thursday, 4 October 2018

100% Shadow

Okay, Shadow of the Tomb Raider update...

100% complete! As in all the collectables, missions, challenges, etc. All done.

At least, until the next update of DLC. But I have the season pass, so that's all good.

And yes, I did have to look things up, because some of them were so easy to overlook.

However, I do now have New Game + to try. And I probably will. What that gives you is that you have all the skills and upgrades you've already acquired available right at the beginning. And considering there are still some skills to unlock (which I could get if I did some really pointless grinding), yeah, okay I will. And I should be able to breeze through a lot of it, so it should be a lot quicker than the... 31 hours I've already spent! Of which 19 hours was the main mission, then another 12 getting to 100%.

The completion score was overly detailed, so I was at like 80.46% when I finished the main mission. Really? Do we need to be that precise?

Anyway, it's now done, New Game + awaits. And if I can up the difficulty, I might give that a go, because, as I mentioned, it's been mainly puzzles, and I know all the solutions now. (Although I can't say I'll remember them.)


Read more!