Wednesday, 28 November 2018

The Mog

Hey, it's that movie that came across as an upscale SyFy shark movie! ...and it so is!

Jason Statham stars as someone who had a tragic incident in his past and no longer goes into the sea... so of course he is pulled back to the sea as he has to dive once again to save some idiots that decided to investigate the bottom of the sea. There's a big shark down there and it follows them back up, and so we have scenes of a boat being attacked... then a bay of people... then a boat again... and it just repeats until they decide the movie is over.

The main reason for this movie is, of course... the Chinese market. As demonstrated by a lot of the cast being Chinese, although the lead is a white Englishman. There is also a kid, and even a dog, because of course there must be. However, it was shot in Australia and New Zealand, so it's all kinds of international.

But mainly there is a really chap script. Frankly, production aside, this is exactly the sort of thing that SyFy would come up with given the budget. Big shark, which comes back time and again. A suggest of character development. And idiot people dying. What more could you want?

If nothing else, I'm sure the author of the book liked the paycheck that came with this movie.


Read more!

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Shadow of the HELL NO

I've played a lot of Shadow of the Tomb Raider. I enjoy it. I've played on Normal, Hard (on New Game+), and Easy... because you can't start another New Game+ from a New Game+ save, you need a normal game save, and it auto fills the three slots you have with the latest saves.

Fine, I did it for a third time so I could Very Difficult on New Game+. NG+ keeps all your skills you got and upgrade weapons (once the weapon is unlocked in game). Great. I've also now even done the first DLC (The Forge). And if there was a time to do Very Difficult, now is the time as I know where everything is.

So, a couple of things about Very Difficult. You don't auto-heal in combat. Survival Instincts don't work. And you can only save at Base Camps. Again, fine. I know where everything is, so this just means I need to be able to do large sections of the game at a time.

So start it up, doing the first bit, get into the first section of the game. Jump about, do puzzles, even do one of the Missions. Get the dagger. And then do a combat section. Where I die. Okay, great, I'll tackle it a different way next time.

Except when it starts up (which takes longer to restart after a death than normal)... I'm back at the beginning of the level. Not only does it not save between base camps, it doesn't even Checkpoint! And nothing I've collected or done (such as the missions) are remembered! And guess where the first base camp is? Hint, after the combat and after more jumping in which it is very easy to die.


Not saving, so I have to do sections of the game at once, fine. But no checkpointing along the way, when the game has those little bugs that can kill you, not to mention one hit kills... way to kill any interest in playing the game Squeenix...


Read more!

Monday, 26 November 2018

Doctor Who 11.07

Let's cut to the chase... this is not a good episode. It starts all right, but very quickly goes downhill.

This is a masterclass in Chekov's Unorginality. Mention that no-one goes on the conveyors? Guess what's going to happen. No-one goes to area 999? Yep, that's immediately trouble. Present someone sweet? Yep, they're gonna die.

There is no a lot of effort put into this episode. I guessed it was the computer asking for help pretty much immediately, and the end threat being evil bubble wrap? When that plot element was starting to be revealed I wondered "Was this Autons? That would be brilliant, something no-one saw coming!" but no... it's just exploding bubble wrap. And Charlie's big plan was ruined by the Doctor telling the computer to send the robots back to the starting point and then "do what everyone does with bubble wrap"? The hell? And no-one seriously tried to get Charlie out.

And side point [which was pointed out by not me], what was Charlie trying to do? Get more humans in charge. What happens at the end? Judy is going to put more humans in charge. Win for Charlie!

Other notes: the computer decided that the Doctor's best place was in cleaning? Although, as it turned out, she should have gone there, so this is another clue from the computer that was missed. But what does the computer want with liquidised people? And only one robot went for Charlie? Not others? The computer managed to put "Help Me" on a slip but nothing more?

In the grand tradition of comedians on Doctor Who, of Hale and Pace, Mitchell and Webb, we have Lee Mack.. oh, and he's dead. Claudia Jessie is playing soppy sweet, and, yes, that's to make us care before she's dead. The Companions are just generic. And...are those robots rejects from the Space Whale episode?

But just how bad the episode is is summarised by the whole conveyor sequence. No. Just... no.

Next Time: In some ways, I'm rather surprised they took this long to get to a proper witch episode. Although I am aware of The Witch Hunters.


Read more!

Friday, 23 November 2018


With the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina out on Netflix, I was reminded of the previous tv series. Which started with a tv movie in 1996.

Sabrina turns 16, and with that gains witch powers. However, she's also a teenager at school, wanting a hot boy who already kinda of has a hot girlfriend, so there's high school high jinks involved as she tries to win him while avoiding her. And, of course, there's a boy friend who wants to be a boyfriend, because...

Boy, this is ninties as all get out. From the way it's shot to the hair and clothes, it's ninties all over. And boy howdy is this an upbeat and chipper movie. The 'painful' parts are "oh no, the hot boy overheard me talk about his butt" and "can I get him to like me for the dance?" (Yes, of course there's a dance. High school!) The witch part isn't that much of a problem. "Oh, I'm a witch? Okay then!" One character might find out... but is 'dealt' with.

Melissa Joan Hart is perky as Sabrina, but Hilda and Zelda are not as I remember (as they are different actresses). And Salem isn't a puppet. What?

After this... I might still check out the tv series again, but I'm not leaping for it.


Read more!

Monday, 19 November 2018

Doctor Who 11.06

Okay, first of all, I know sod all about the Petition, so I'm not going to talk about that aspect of it. However, I do have things to say.

Quick question: if the Doctor hadn't turned up, what would have changed? She wouldn't have been the one to marry them, and... maybe pass on the information about Manish shooting the holy man? But that raises the biggest question which I'll get to in a moment. Anyway, it wasn't an evil plan, in fact they aren't the demons (this episode isn't being subtle), so not much would be different. This really is a "here's a historical moment we get the TARDIS team to watch" story.

As for the evil demons not being evil... how did the Doctor not realise that the holy man was shot? She sonic'ed him and everything, and bullets aren't exactly subtle, even in the 1950s. This is just willful ignorance on the part of the script to hold back the reveal. The whole alien plot is extremely tacked on and completely unnecessary.

Just as well we have the characters. This is a simple human drama, with ideological conflicts behind it all. It's well told and, as long as we ignore the aliens, this is great. (Although they missed a bit of when the group splits overnight into men and women, the Doctor should have gone the wrong way until reminded.)

And yeah, an actual episode about Yaz, and Ryan and Graham don't overshadow it. This is the first proper Yaz episode!

Next Time: A warehouse? How sci-fi!


Read more!

Wednesday, 14 November 2018


Okay, film about heroes going up against Nazis, with JJ Abrams' name plastered all over it. I'm in.

The Americans need to take out a radio tower so that planes can help provide cover in a strike, so a team is sent in destroy it. After suffering some losses, they get there, only to find there are other strange things going on, including a doctor and evil commandant and... I went in without seeing the trailer, and took a random stab at the "mad science" that we'd see.

I wasn't 100% right, but I was close enough. So go for the obvious guess and that's what we get. Which makes this movie rather humdrum in that respect.

There is a lot more of characterisation, with lots of focus on the few remaining Americans that get there, as well as the French lady that joins them. However, I couldn't tell you the character names, and indeed, because he was played by Iain De Caestecker, one chap I just called Fitz. This isn't to say I couldn't distinguish them, they do get their own individual bits and pieces, just that they spent more time on those various tics than establishing their basic identities.

Oh, and I'll check the IMBD trivia on this, but a black soldier in an otherwise white troop, led by a black sergeant? Really? ... checked, and this is listed as a Goof. Yeah.

So overall some good character moments, but rather blah on the plot.


Read more!

Monday, 12 November 2018

Doctor Who 11.05

I keep forgetting this episode. Between when I first saw it and rewatching it for this, I kept thinking the most recent episode was the spider one.

I'll give interesting characters in this episode. Not just one note, but a whole two notes! No, really, actual characters that I can recall (even if their names are just random bashing of the keyboard). Okay, male pregnancy might be an obvious switcharoo take, but it isn't one we've seen that often. And the general/engineer sister/brother dynamic worked well. Even the male medico was well done and reasonable in the face of the Doctor. (Including a hint to the overall arc.)

However... the plot. It really isn't anything exciting. There's a reason I kept forgetting it. There's nothing to it! Base under siege from... CGI koala? That creature did not look good. And "Pting". Chris is just taking the piss, isn't he? Was this just written as a bottle episode?

Oh, and what was up with the Doctor being injured for so long? She should have been the first one up, but nope, they have her grip her ectospleen often as a running bit that paid off... never?

So characters good, plot not.

Next time: Well, I'm sure they'll treat this subject with tact and cultural sensitivity... (and they actually might!)


Read more!

Friday, 9 November 2018

Wonderous Woman 1970s edition

Think Wonder Woman. Think mid 1970s. Are you thinking of Lynda Carter? Well, I can't blame you. But the correct answer is Cathy Lee Crosby.

A bad guy is running drugs... money... kidnapping? I actually can't remember. Something happens and money needs to be handed over, which happens by donkey. Diana Prince gets involved, and beats people up and tracks the donkey to the main bad guys, chases them down and he gives up.

A spotty recollection? That's because this wasn't exactly breaking gangbusters in the innovation genre. Although Cathy Lee is Diana Prince... everyone knows already that she's Wonder Woman? What? And her super abilities involve jumping out of the way of a car and performing karate. Frankly, this could have been any spy movie, even with the twist of a female lead. There is the invisible jet (although we don't see it) and they do mention Themyscaria and there is an "evil" Amazon. (Although as it happens [he said, reading the Trivia section] Wonder Woman was depowered when this movie was made.)

But this isn't exactly a super hero movie. It's barely an interesting spy movie. Was this a pilot? Did Lynda Carter get the series that this spawned? Most likely. Although Cathy Lee did get to fight Lynda in an episode of the series, so there is that.


Read more!

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Fireworks Wednesday

What? But Monday was Fireworks night! No wait, I'm talking about the movie shown on Monday night. Fireworks Wednesday.

Rouhi, bride to be, does cleaning work. And on the Wednesday before the New Year, she works in an apartment. However, the wife is acting weird, making Rouhi get an appointment with the neighbour who runs a beauty salon in her home, and the husband is fighting with his wife. Yes, it's domestic fireworks as drama unfolds. We follow different characters around, and the tension does ramp up, especially as we get late night shots of the fireworks around the city and Rouhi in a strange man's car.

In IMDB this is listed as "Drama, Mystery, Romance." I'm not sure about Mystery, and feel inclined to add in "Thriller". This is about the nature of faithful husbands and what wives (or wives to be) think about them. Although given the way we follow characters around, this isn't clear until way later what is going on, and at one time I had to convince myself that a lie a character told was actually a lie and didn't happen that way because it would be believable.

I was tempted to see an earlier movie by director Asghar Farhadi, A Separation, and now I might more actively seek it out.


Read more!

Monday, 5 November 2018

Doctor Who 11.04

Ah, back to everyday Britain Sheffield. And spiders. I remember the last time the Doctor fought spiders... so, regeneration then?

So this is a Yaz episode... is it? Is it really? We get a moment with the father and sister, then they are completely irrelevant. There's a shot from the trash that suggests a spider will come out and attack them, but... the trash ends up being completely irrelevant. Even when they later get the to big "trash under the building" scene, it looks like it could have easily just been a postcard and some off screen dialogue for all that seeing that trash pile meant anything. Even when calling the spiders, the trash pile is just a big mess of mess that I couldn't see any spiders if they were there.

Oh, but there is also Yaz's mum who... is on screen. Really, Yaz's family don't really have much character. Heck, Martha's family is more interesting, and they didn't get as much screen time to start with either! Once again, we find out more about Ryan than Yaz herself, and then this episode picks up on the Graham sadness that gives him more character than Yaz either. Aside from her being a police woman, what else do we really know about her? Not a lot. (I'm also wondering if this episode was shot before the first episode with how generic Jodie is acting.)

And the only other character to talk about is.. Jack Robinson. Who is clearly a take on Trump, but such a bad take what the heck was Chris thinking? And that end scene with "I'm an American and I have a gun, why don't you have a gun?" To be honest, the only way this will be worthy of continued consideration is if Jack comes back and he's paired up with the Stenzil (or whatever they were called). [If people know this, please don't tell me.]

This feels like a "baby's first writing assignment", and Chris should be better than this.

Next Time: Sci-Fi Base Under Siege trope?


Read more!