It's amazing how similar these movies feel while being different in the set up.
A dudebro is depressed about not being able to kick off his dancing career, and sees an ad for a contest to get a show at Las Vegas, so of course we now have our plot. First, they need a video dance, then they get there for a (quick montage) of initial dancing, then go on to dance in the finals and such. There's a revelation about how the entire thing is a set up, so they decide to go all out and claim the victory for their own. Now, I haven't seen it, but I'm fairly sure they violate several of the conditions of the contest, but no-one cares about that.
So, yet again we have a dude-bro story... can we get a woo-girl story some time? At least the second one nearly was... speaking of, Andie is back, because... the producers offered her money? And Moose, of course, because we must have Moose. But it's really about Sean, a complete dudebro.
This feels more random than others. Let's have a dance, but then change the story up and have another dance, then move things around for a different dance, and so on. And the production is just ridiculous, and there's no way to justify some of the dance transitions in the movie. Give it up, and just put on the dance.
That's it for this set of movies, although it's time for the next one?
Saturday, 31 December 2016
It's amazing how similar these movies feel while being different in the set up.
Friday, 30 December 2016
Another new season, so of course another new telepath has to break out. How many ways can we tell that story? This is Secret Weapon.
The breakout is just an excuse for the military to join up with a reluctant parascientist to investigate the TPs. Reluctant, that is, to join with the military, when he's now getting friendly with the TPs. The military, as exemplified by Colonel Masters, nicks the new kids (Tyso), Stephen, and even gets Elizabeth to work for him. In order to stop this, John must let other authorities find out about them, and it's amazing how easy the PM is to kidnap.
Despite this being the introduction of Tyso, he's hardly in it outside of the first episode. And the main impression I get is... give the kid a haircut! Stephen also gets put aside quite quickly, leaving it to Elizabeth and John. Considering how much of a vunderkin Stephen generally is, this is quite different.
On the commentary track, we have Peter and Nicholas as usual, but also Ann Curthoys (Tricia Conway), who I think comes back in a later episode. I have watched all these stories before, but I'm quickly running out of the ones I remember.
Wednesday, 28 December 2016
I put off seeing this immediately. And with the irritating prats who also saw this movie with me, I should have waited longer. Just because there is loud music doesn't mean your commentary goes unnoticed!
We start with a ruined childhood, because apparently you can't be a major character in a Star Wars movie without having something screwed up happen to your parents! From there on it... we get a heist story. I'm not surprising anyone with this, but then this movie isn't surprising any body with this either. This feels middle of the road, it's almost more like an episode of the Star Wars Rebels cartoon (in fact, I wouldn't be surprised if this was an adapted script from that series, some of the characters felt familiar).
And yeah, the experience wasn't great. There a group of kids not too far away that liked to talk during the loud action scenes (so often), I could hear them talking but not what they said. And there were a few "jokes" in the movie that just got too much of a reaction out of one of them. Calm down mate! I don't want to go on about "movie etiquette" but damn!
The acting was all fine, but nothing too amazing, and the production was fine and... WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?? Peter Cushing's "performance" is straight from the depths of hell of the uncanny valley. I've seen too many video game cut scenes in my time to accept it for even a moment. And was I the only one to keep mishearing "Erso" as a particular swear word?
So yeah, not overwhelming, or even whelming (...which is actually the same thing...).
Tuesday, 27 December 2016
Stephen Moffat takes on comics, and provides his usual style of take. Ready for an hour of references?
Because of a stupid plot device, a kid gets superpowers, and now we are directly ripping off Superman. Not even slightly subtly, not with any particular new thing to say about it, just normal Superman story that you've already seen in the movies. Not even going into the comics, just the movies will give you more than enough to understand this!
Not content with that, we get an alien invasion in which people are replaced with aliens to take over their insides... wait, did Moffat decide to take on RTJ and redo the Slitheen? The Doctor references zips in heads, so Moffat clearly did this deliberately, and...
This all culminates in a story that really does nothing special. In many ways I was also reminded of Partners in Crime, with an evil corp trying to possess the world, although that was mainly the opening (non-boy) part. But we are so quickly introduced to characters, Grant and Lucy, that we are supposed to care about... but these are the cliches I can't bring myself to care in the slightest for. And then there's Nardole... really, did we need Matt Lucas back? Did he hold something over Moffat to return? Was this always the plan to give him more of a role? He's just there for the Doctor to talk to (which is the point of him... but that's the whole point of him, there's nothing else to his character). Can we bring back the lettuce?
I couldn't really believe I was watching this. What the hell, Moffat? What? The? Hell?
Next time: Bill comes in... and we get the same stories we've already had?
Sunday, 25 December 2016
Strangely enough, in a way that's not strange at all, I read Doctor Who biographies. So of course I would read Peter Davison's Is There Life Outside the Box?
This has moments of his past year while he is acting and writing the book and is used as segues back into the past to get into his history. We get the standard chapter about his parents and then onto his life. While we do get a lot of his acting career, we don't get everything (do we really need it?), and for Doctor Who... there is a chapter on it, but it's treated lightly. As Peter points out, he's been interviewed about it so much, and there's all the DVD commentaries, etc., there's nothing more he can really say that hasn't already been covered. From there we go on to his death... I mean this year, with him being affable and just present in his families lives... but he is still acting!
This is an easy read, in that the pages flowed by seamlessly as I was reading. I enjoyed all of it. Of course, I could have had more Doctor Who reminisces, but I can understand and agree with his reasoning. Also I did want to read about All Creatures and his other work. I should get around to watching that some time, as well as Campion (which I'm slowly listening to).
However, he is only 50, so there might be another volume? (Perhaps with more DW to fill the gaps?)
Saturday, 24 December 2016
This movie seems to take one moment from the second movie, and then make the entire movie around it.
Over in Miami, there is a dance crew breaking out flash mobs in the city, in order to get those YouTube hits. In the second movie, it was merely a way of saying "hey, we're here", but here's it's all about getting the views to get 10 million (although the view count doesn't work as the movie thinks it does). As well as this, a rich daddy's girl wants to be a dancer (I'm surprised they took until the fourth movie to get to this), and she joins up with the crew. But some people take it too personally and threaten to undo everything they wanted to say. (The link to the previous movie is by having some of the Pirates turn up for cameos.)
There might be more plot that than the previous movie, and I'm not going to make any racial references ('cos pretty much everyone in any leading in this movie is white... in Miami...), but let's talk dance numbers. Or rather, fully professional set up set pieces. And the crew are talking about needing to get money from the competition, but with how much they must be splashing out to set up their mob routines, I don't think they'll going to make any kind of profit.
As ever, the dance sequences are good, but in no way can be justified in the fiction. I'm waiting for one of these to have the movie just be one long dance number.
Friday, 23 December 2016
This is a Stephen heavy episode, and also features him in a kilt. From the commentary of other episodes, there may have been other factors behind this being written. This being The Doomsday Men.
There's a big peace treaty being signed, but the Doomsday Men aren't interested in this happening. The TPs find out about it, and that the grandson of the head guy is at a school, so Stephen is sent to join and find out secrets. Which he manages to does very easily, even given that the plot must of course have it happen. It turns out they intend to take over a space station, and threaten the earth. The Men manage to do that, but the TPs turn his grandson against the idea and it quickly falls to pieces.
And I mean the model does. Not literally, but the effects in the last few minutes of the episode are extremely terrible. Yes, dated effects and all that, but it looks extremely silly when the they are on a platform with (unbelievably) large gears turning the station, which are jammed and then we see the whole model suddenly start spinning. It works about as well as the comedy traffic cop (ie that doesn't work either).
Then there's the big plot whole whereby in the previous story they made a big deal about how they can wear AE suits with camouflage and comfortable environment controls, but make Stephen dress up in an actual kilt. (Which the commentators point out.)
That all said, this is a decent story where the world is saved because of the TPers. Again, it could have been edited down successfully, but what we have is worth watching.
Wednesday, 21 December 2016
With Readings down, I went to Embassy instead to see this. Man, those seats... I need to sit with nothing in front of me...
Anyway, the Doctor turns up in period New York and the suitcase bomb goes off... well, let's some animals out. Which enables them to go on a fun chase/montage sequence later in the movie to get them back! Yay! But then there's also a bad guy in the area, and so he and his assistants might work to uncover that while repeating the Ministry trial scenes from the last book. I do want to comment about the ending, but without spoilers, I will say it's surprising the Doctor hasn't done that more often.
Okay, yes, Eddie Redmayne is not the Doctor, but he was channeling Matt Smith's portrayal perfectly. At least in this case, we get some realistic American accents. But still just as tried as redone plots as the series itself.
DW aside, how does this fare? Eh, it's all right. I was never enamoured of the HP universe, so I wasn't craving this like some other people. It passed the time pleasantly enough... and apparently there will be more of them. Joy.
Monday, 19 December 2016
Doug Walker reviews Disney movies every December, and this time he has taking on sequels. I liked Mulan the first, so wanted to see it myself before his review.
Mulan and hubby come together to help China again... by escorting princesses. Also, after the marriage, Mushu loses his position, so let's split them up! ...there's a brief moment while he isn't going to give into the trope, but no, he has to give into it... We get the three comedy warriors from last time, and the cast is complete... and you can tell exactly what is going to happen.
Which is the big problem of this movie. After the big epic of the first movie, this just feels far too small in scope. Now, fine, they were hardly going to go with a full on army/battle again, but this is too much in the other direction. And the plot is just too obvious that you are just waiting for the beats to come. And speaking of music, it felt like it was a retread of the first movie with comparable songs, and in one case the same song.
I liked the first movie, and this didn't feel like a worthy sequel.
And what did Doug think?
Saturday, 17 December 2016
That classic trope of having the third movie being in 3D. Although since I watched this in 2D, it took a while for me to realise "that was supposed to be in my face! Supposed WAAAH!"
The plot is... completely incidental. There's a light sprinkling of a suggestion of a plot, and they connect to the Step Up world by bringing in the character from the past movie of... Moose... really? Although they then bring in the rest of the non-leads of the MSA crew. Anyway, there are a lot of dance battles, and that's all the movie features.
Again we have lots of dance crews doing their things. Complete with sudden dancing in the wet. We can't really pretend this isn't set up and spontaneous for a movie, right? This takes a lot of rehearsal, and it's great to watch, but I do want some kind of story, otherwise I'll just watch the Hip Hop International competition. That said, there's one sequence of Moose and Camille dancing together that just cannot be justified in the movie.
Although the leads are white, they aren't breaking up interracial relationships this time, because they aren't in any. Well done, movie, slowly growing up, but growing up.
Dancing has increased, but now could we get more story happening?
Friday, 16 December 2016
With this we continue with some form of continuity, with the return of Peter from The Medusa Strain. But this is A Rift In Time.
The TPs need to go back to 1 A D in order to save Peter from his gladitorial capture. But, as it turns out, their powers have been removed, because one of the people, Gaius, is a time traveler. He's set up a steam powered machine, and leaves... however one of the slaves knows too much about it, and changes the future/present day. So then they need to go back to the past, but the new present wants to preserve itself, and the latter lot are doing far better in Roman times than the TPs.
This story makes a bit of a meal of it all. Including a lot of eating, an explanation of time paradoxes, and monkey suits. And although this is four episodes, there is only enough material for three. By which, I mean the recaps are so long there might well have been only three episodes edited out to four.
The resolution is a bit pants. It is kind of set up, but the final result is more useful coincidence in a way that has nothing to do with the TPs doing anything.
There could have been more with the changed timeline, but clearly they wanted to do more of a Roman costume drama than anything actually interesting. That said, if this was better edited, it might be a far better story.
Wednesday, 14 December 2016
Another movie with a name of a twenty year old movie came out, and like that, this one is better than the big American piece.
Amy Adams interacts with an alien and forms too much of an attachment... only there's more than one alien, and it's just about how to talk to each other. Various countries decide to attack the aliens, so that's going to go well. Fortunately, of course, one person can save everyone, and guess who that is?
The first note: this is a very slow moving film. If you've seen the trailer, you know the basic set up, and this film takes ages to get there. Like with ID, this does take it's time to reveal the ship, but when they eventually do, it's almost incidental (I, at least, was busy looking at the great scenery when I realised what the film expected me to look at).
Then there's the point of the movie. I'm not so sure that I missed it so much as it was badly aimed. It could be about talking with foreigners, but the movie is more about Amy Adamns' daughter, and I'm not sure how that is thematically tied in to the rest of the movie. I got what was going on long before the character did, but the film ham-fistedly ties to be clever about it and just feels painful.
This could have been a great movie. I'm not saying it is even good.
Tuesday, 13 December 2016
Right, back to the proper horror of Aokigahara Forest with this rather more straightforward spooky movie.
Maiko wants to go back to the forest where her mother committed suicide and put her spirit to rest. On Halloween, of course, but other than the date, this has little to do with that particular coincidence. With her goes a small group of student documentarians, as well as three pranksters. They meet a friendly guide, get pranked, and then finally weird things happens as the pranksters get their come-uppances. Then weird things continue to happen to the four, until finally Maiko gets her chance with her mother, and isn't it everything we expect it to be?
I can see why people are saying The Forest was based on this. A young woman goes into the forest to seek out someone, starts seeing hallucinations, undergoes revelations about her past, and then gets a happy ending? But the approach is completely different, in this movie the person is also dead, that that other script is just a lot tighter with the characters.
This is also a mash up between Japanese horror and American horror, and the Japanese parts are well done. We get some atmosphere, and decent effects ala JH, and we are treated to more subtle displays of horror. Unfortunately, it then mixes in the American horror, which is more about killing off stupid Americans one by one, and stupid over the top villains, which is completely on display here.
Yeah, this is why I prefer to stay with just Japanese Horror...
Monday, 12 December 2016
Once more into the Aokigahara Forest, with a movie that doesn't know if it's trying to be drama or supernatural something.
A man enters the Forest, most likely to commit suicide, but finds another man in there, and quickly decided to help him. While doing so, we flash back to the man and his wife, as she is diagnosed with cancer, and then treated. However, in the forest, they are unable to find a way out, and barely manage to survive. Eventually we find out what happens to the wife (which I saw coming a scene early), and the man. Awww....
The part with the wife is drama. Not bad, a bit on the obvious side, we can see where it's going, and there it is. The part in the forest... was the forest trying to do something with them? Did they just get naturally lost? Was the other man real? We'll never know... because the movie didn't really care. Yes, it's about the man finding the will to live on without his wife, and beyond that the movie wasn't putting much of an effort in.
We get a subdued performance from Matthew McConaughey, a brief performance from Naomi Watts, and a better on screen presence in the form of Ken Watanabe. But not much presence of light, the forest is dark, and that's what you're not going to see, dammit!
A more downer of a film, probably not on my general list, but let's see what they do with the last go.
Sunday, 11 December 2016
I vaguely remember seeing a trailer for this, and I like J-Horror, so I gave this a go. However, there is a very obvious problem with this movie.
One sister of a pair of twins (save on casting!) realises her sister is in trouble. The sister in trouble, Jess, decided to go walking in Aokigahara Forest, which is known for people going in and committing suicide... so did Jess do that? Sara, the other sister, goes into the forest, with a guide and a random stranger she just met, and guess what happens... did you say supernatural stuff that makes her doubt everything around her? Yep, that's the one. And by the end I think we get some kind of twist, but it's a little bit of a mess.
Okay, let's get to it. This movie so clearly wants to be a Japanese Horror movie... however, it isn't even slightly a Japanese Horror story. One of the key features of JH is atmosphere, and this movie completely fails to do that. There are a number of spooky moments with sort of jump scares, and not one of them got to me even slightly. Leave it to the professionals... or at least actual Japanese... guys.
There are two other movies based on the same idea of the forest, so guess what's up next?
Saturday, 10 December 2016
We're stepping up once more, and with this the title worked so well because they had a two/to to play with.
We start again with someone, a young woman in this case, in the urban street dancing, and to not be shipped off to Texas joins the MSA, so we back in there. However, rather than about the MSA dance, although there is one, it's more about The Street competition. She's thrown out of her crew, so starts her own. Fortunately there are a group of MSA students that want to funk out, so they get together, then it becomes about the MSA not wanting anyone involved in the Streets, and the other crews not wanting them in the Streets. But, at the end, it's a big dance off, because of course it is.
Again we get a lot of professional dancing. And I don't care how great you are at improv dancing, there's no way you're ready to dance like that in the rain without practicing. Still, this was more "urban" dancing, so I was willing to accept the good styles, especially if, as I think, they got actual dance crews involved.
Also again, we get a racial connotation where by the two main leads are in sort of interracial relationships, but come together to stay in their own race. Really, movie? Can't we get past that? Well, we could start with not having the two main leads as white, that would help.
Better than the first one, I will go with, so clearly every movie is only going to get better!
Friday, 9 December 2016
Already we are onto the second season, with a change of the main cast. This is considered one of the better episodes, and it does works well. It's The Blue and the Green.
We start at a school as we introduce the main plot of the episode, and a new Tomorrow People. Despite that TP are supposed to be young, we get the rather adult Elizabeth M'bondo. She breaks out at the end of the first episode, and by the start of the next episode she completely accepted it and we settled down the main story. Which is one of the school boys has painted a picture which can make people crazy, because it turns out he's an alien and needs violence energy to hatch properly. Which takes five episodes to play out, but they do keep things going. We also get a replacement for the human friends, with Ginger's younger brother Chris as the new hard man.
One aspect that's quite different here to other series is that the TPs work out how to help the aliens rather than stop them. The aliens need violence, but the TPs aren't going to kill them to stop them, so have to allow them to get the energy. And yet getting the energy would leave people dead, so how can the TP get out of it? As it happens, there is some useful footage from people being in nuclear tests where they were lying down all over streets, so they are able to put everyone to sleep and act out violence in their dreams. Which works, huzzah!
Listening to the commentary, this is clearly the one they did first as Nicholas and Peter are here to begin with, and Phillip comes in with episode five. They have fun mocking each other but do have fond memories of it all. It is a decent episode, based on a historical moment, and shows off nicely how different the TPs can be.
Wednesday, 7 December 2016
Action! Accounting! Average!
Ben Afflick is a man with a disability with other heightened senses... senses for maths! And he also grew up with a gun, so when the money trail comes to an end, he grabs a rifle instead. Which makes all this sound rather more exciting than it is. This is just... generic. Nothing exciting happens, and the point of him being an accountant just means he gets the clues himself as opposed to someone else handing them to him to work out. Then the action sequences happen, because we need to have plenty of those.
It's hard to say more beyond all that. It's competent enough, but nothing surprising. Yes, there are obvious Daredevil parallels, but that just shows up how superficial both stories can be treated. There's no ninja with sais here, just a tiny diminutive Anna Kendrick.
Frankly, just go check out Seth McDebit instead.
Tuesday, 6 December 2016
The movie that was supposed to be on after the earthquake was delayed, so clearly no-one wanted to go into town. Anyway, it was moved to last night, and ended up wrapping up the 2016 Film Society screenings. This was in one of the previous film festivals, and fortunately screened now. It's Ever The Land.
Tuhoe is a Maori tribe in the North Island, and, like other tribes, were screwed over by the Crown. As part of them getting a settlement, they spent $15 million on building a building that would be used for their own purposes. We follow various people involved in building the building, from the architects to the builders to the Tuhoe overseeing it, to the Tuhoe helping work on it. The building is part of the Living Building Challenge, to ensure it is minimally environmentally impactive (although we're never told if the building ultimately meets the challenge or not). We end with the Tuhoe settlement with the Crown and the opening of the building.
This is one of those observational documentaries, in which the camera runs and they capture footage, but there is no talking heads to explain anything. So we pick up what we can, although there is helpful (actual) radio broadcasts that explain a few main points. This also means that we get natural audio, so if there is noise going on, or it's over a phone, the audio can be quite hard to pick out.
Overall, it's a good movie, and the building is impressive... but if I'm being honest, it looks a bit dull.
Saturday, 3 December 2016
I like some good dance choreography, so let's go for the set of movies that is set up on that idea. First up, first step.
The story isn't that amazing. A guy from the wrong side of the tracks ends up interacting with the right side of the tracks. While doing so, he, of course, falls for a girl and ends up having to weigh his street background with the more upscale lifestyle. And, conversely, she has to weigh up being a proper girl with being attracted to this bad boy chap. All while dancing to a show case moment.
What was more interesting/notable to me was the racial aspect. In that while the street is given as a multitude of black people, the 'hero' of the picture was a white guy, Channing Tatum in this case. Phew, because as it happens the hero girl is also white, so we don't need to deal with any interracial aspects. Managed to dodge that bullet. As it happens there is an interracial couple amoungst the b-plot characters, but she soon realises that he is a dick, and falls instead for someone of her own colour. Whether or not the movie intended to present this picture, it's there for people to read, and just made me sigh into my hands.
But, hey, we are here for the dancing. There is a lot, and it's done well. That said, it was clear these were well choreographed pieces with lots of rehearsing from the actors, so in character wasn't quite believable that they were that good, but that didn't seem to bother anyone involved. Basically, it all felt too polished for the story the movie was telling...
So far, not an impressive start to the series. Let's see where we go from here.
Friday, 2 December 2016
Speaking of stories where nothing happens, we have The Vanishing Earth.
There are disasters around the earth, and Ginge gets kidnapped... and that's the first episode. If you don't care about the saps, this is a long way of nothing happens. And in the second episode, the TPs looks around the fair.... and so it isn't until the third episode that the story actually kicks off, and then in the last episode there's a tremendous run around that feels like they had to pad more out.
There are a couple of notable performances in this. Nova Llewellyn is quite the looker, and she gets paraded around in mini skirts and a leotard outfit. Kevin Stoney stands around watching everyone, doing his inimitable eye brow action. And then there's John Woodnutt as Spidron, dressed up as a KKK member.
The start of episode two is an early example of the long reprise, but there are far, far, far worse moments to come. Ultimately, this is one and a half episodes of story spread out over four episodes.
Wednesday, 30 November 2016
I saw the first, so now to see what happened before.
As I said, it was largely going to be the story we already got, and indeed we do. A mother and two daughters are running a seance scam, but due to a Ouija board, they find out the younger daughter is able to contact actual spirits. Creepy! And, of course, there is nothing wrong that can go with that!
Well... this isn't really any different to any other current horror house movie. Spooky things start happening, and kids are creepy. Shock! The only reason it needs to be set back then is that they can use the scam setting a lot easier. But otherwise, this could be any time.
And I didn't really feel like it fed into the other movie that well. There were several elements that needed to be set up, and it wasn't until the last twenty (if that) minutes that it tried to suddenly put the pieces in place, regardless of them fitting the current story or really set up the later/earlier story properly. One example, in the first movie we get that the sisters are actually together, but here they aren't, until the final moment when they have to be to set up the next/previous movie.
Really, it is about as superfluous as you'd expect.
Sunday, 27 November 2016
This is one of them puzzle games. It feels a little like Machenarium, etc., in which you are doing puzzles with a small robot.
You get grabbed underground and… have to do things. I never got the sense of a goal, and then I thought we were trying to fix some big machine, but then it turned out all we were trying to do was escape. The puzzles weren’t that incredibly hard, although there were one or two where I just didn't understand what was going on, but managed to luck my way past.
There is also DLC, which is a completely separate story, in which you are sucked underground with a companion (that you are immediately separated from), and then you need to get them back and escape. This does lead to a few sequences which are basically cut scenes while you watch the other character do puzzles that you could be doing.
The controls take some getting used to. You fly with WASD or arrow keys and activate your tractor beam with space or mouse button. I kept thinking the tractor beam was a 'switch of, switch off' thing, and not a 'while button is pressed' deal. And there was also a form of inertia that kept making me go silly places. Fortunately, you can’t die and can’t, or at least I didn’t, screw yourself up enough to not ever solve it.
Nice game, but again not one I'll probably go back to again, even for the achievements.
Saturday, 26 November 2016
One more chef based movie, this one about the eatery Shopsins.
Kenny Shopsin is a "character", and chef of the eatery he runs with his family. It's definitely a matter of his way or not at all, and even insists of not seating parties of five people. We get to spend a lot of time with him and... he gets taken to run a bigger restaurant, with still his style of cooking. While a good thing, you can tell he's going to bitch the entire way.
If you don't like Kenny, you aren't going to like this movie. Me... I can tolerate him in a way that says 'he's definitely a character', but I'm glad I don't have to deal with him. On the other hand, I'm sad that I won't get to eat there with his weird take on basics.
Definitely more chef movies to see, but this isn't a bad way to finish.
Friday, 25 November 2016
This follows directly on from the first story, but this is The Medusa Strain.
It's the 26th Century and a ship captures Jedikiah, the android that's been floating around for 500 years. Fortunately, they have time travel, but only telepaths can operate the engine. Now they do have Peter, a rather underage boy that wears very a open flimsy top, so oo-er, and he is tricked to go back and grab a Tomorrow Person, Carol. The others will try to find them, but completely fail for the rest of the story. Eventually, Peter and Carol manage to save themselves, so hurrah! And we'll never see Jedikiah again...
One point to note here... David Prowse! "Coffin will help." With silver covered nipples. And the effects... are not great. The commentary points out some particular worthy moments, such as the spaceship that has a disposable drink cup in it, and that there are four cages, so there must be four people who get put them in (this is something I now notice, there are X many items, and they were built, so they will be used!).
But now this feels just overlong without anything really happening. This could be half as long, but maybe stretch to three episodes? Either way, we don't need four.
Thursday, 24 November 2016
Amazingly this isn't The Asylum, but it was on Syfy, so that tells you everything you need to know right there.
For reasons tornadoes are popping up, grabbing stones, and then dropping them on people. Because that’s what weather does. There is a scientist type guy who isn’t treated well by authority, whose kids are in danger, and comes up with a weird idea to solve everything. (Actually, I wrote that before I finished watching, but feel no need to change anything.)
Yes, another terrible disaster movie. And the tornadoes are the cheapest looking CGI effects I've ever seen. Like whenever they cut away to the tornado, I just can't believe how fake looking it is. Is it possible to put negative effort into something?
Still, at least they have William B Davis in this. Otherwise, there's no reason to watch this.
Wednesday, 23 November 2016
This is one of those movies that will make you say "well, that was convenient".
Our lead is a call girl, and she attends a new client who can’t quite get it up. However, they spend the time together, and he shows her his old-timey viewing machine. And one of the women in that looks just like her. She comes back, and gets more creeped out as we find out the place has a history of a creepy guy that lived there, filmed his own sex acts and killed people (with no bodies found - you know what is going to turn up). Eventually, there’s a confrontation, and the lead gets away, but then she dies except she doesn't...
I'm not sure about that ending. It could be the 'it was all a dream' ending, but it feels more like they had two different endings, couldn't decide which to go for, and put both in. Either way, it was just a nothing ending on top of a nothing film. It couldn’t decide how scary to be, so a lot of the scares just aren't trying that hard. And the creepiness fails to evoke any feeling at all.
The best thing I can say for it is: it is short.
Tuesday, 22 November 2016
It's the story of the independent movie movement of the 1960s, 1970s. This is Easy Riders, Raging Bulls.
This covers a lot of what is considered to be the classic movies, including Easy Rider and Raging Bull. This has to cover a lot of material, and it manages to do it well. Although, I have to admit... I haven't seen these movies. There are a lot of talking heads from big names about their time at the time, and now I do want to see some of them.
While this is nearly two hours, the time slips by easily. The movie is well made and draws you in, and I definitely wanted to know what happens next. Possibly because of the time since, it feels like the people are a lot more honest than usual, although no doubt some parts are covered lightly, but this is a good example of how to do a decent documentary.
Now I've seen it, and not to say that you can't see if if you want to.
Monday, 21 November 2016
Today marks ten years of me writing this blog... with my first post being about removing freckles. Hard hitting! Anyway, this blog has largely been a way for me to express my creative energies and talk about things I want to talk about. It's not been to get an audience (which is just as well), and now it's taken on the aspect of being my external memory store of things I've seen.
However, after ten years, of nearly a post a day... that's a lot of writing. And now it's beginning to feel like "I need to feed the blog, I can't do this other thing, I need to do something to blog about." And when something starts to feel like work...
I'm not getting paid for this. And I want to do other things, things which don't automatically need to be translated into a blog post. I want to put these creative energies elsewhere.
So, I'm not giving up the blog, indeed I already have some posts lined up, and I want to continue some things, such as the TV series. But I won't be posting a post a day. There will still be posts, popular movies (I still have things to sync with other blogs!), terrible movies I inflict on myself, books I read, games I play, etc... but not everything will be up here, and posts will be when I want to do them.
Ten years... that's a lot, but time for something else.
Sunday, 20 November 2016
A Steam game for those of us with some degree of OCD! A controllable level, hopefully.
This is a game where you clean up things… that's it. There’s a mess of body parts and blood and trash around some sci-fi setting level, and it’s up to you, the janitor, to clean everything away. You get buckets of water and large trash cans, and a special gun to wipe out bullet holes. (That last one trips up a lot of people.) Then it's just you to go through and get to all points and make sure everything is clean. At the end, you sign out and hopefully score enough for a promotion/pass the level.
That's the game, and all levels are basically this. There are very few points where you can die (there are a few), so this is just walking around the level, picking up rubbish and getting rid of it. This is really one of those zen games you play while doing something else (basically listening to podcasts or similar).
There is some sort of story, but you’ll probably miss most of it unless you know about it going in. While you can redo the levels again from the start each time, I can't say I’m that invested in going that far.
I've played all the levels, and even the two add on games Santa's Revenge and Shadow Warrior. I don't feel like replay, even for achievements, so on to something else.
Saturday, 19 November 2016
I asked previously for a documentary that talks about getting Michelin Stars, and this is one such documentary.
A reporter joins chefs as they battle for a first or third Michelin star. The lengths they go to, the amount they seem not to care. Often they say "we just want to serve food to customers", but they all do hang hopes on getting that star (much like writers and actors and such do over their awards). Some chefs care too much, and some do indeed seem to handle not worrying too much. Oh, and he even manages to talk to the present of Michelin and one of the British inspectors.
This is more of the documentary I wanted to see, to actually see behind the scenes (a little) at what chefs get up to when it comes to earning or keeping the stars. And this focuses more on that than the meals they prepare. There are still moments of the meals, but that is less the point.
So yes, I would definitely say check this out.
Friday, 18 November 2016
Yes, a new series about an old series. This one is going to take a while as we go through each story of The Tomorrow People. This one is The Slaves of Jedikiah.
We start with Stephen breaking out, becoming a special kid... which is something we kids all thought of at the time. I'm sure I wasn't the only one thinking of a fist unclenching, hoping to become a Tomorrow Person. Anyway, as this happens, Jedikiah intercepts Stephen and wants him for his own purpose. Fortunately the rest of the TP are on the case and eventually manage to track Stephen down and bring him back... but It's A Trap! Jedikiah is wanting more TPs but has to settle for ending up with Kenny, the kid who isn't long for this series. Everyone ends up on a spaceship as a Cyclops needs TP help to power his ship, but the ship is breaking up... it's a rush to try to save the Cyclops while defeating Jedikiah and getting everyone else back to earth.
It's a hell of an opening. We are presented with three TPs who are already out and about, and have even been off planet, and casually know about other species, which comes up at the end of the story. Stephen is our entrance into the world, but I have to say there's a lot delivered about telep* powers suddenly dumped on us, but we are able to take it, because, as I said, as kids, we want to be special ones with powers.
It's all played rather straight, and is a rare show that has kids in a mature drama with no frequent comedy moments (although there are some, especially the End Laugh). It's a start to a great series.
Thursday, 17 November 2016
Indie movie, I’m guessing, and there's only one good thing about it.
A trio of students are filming a project for film class, and have to film 'behind the scenes' (which is a better explanation for the camera footage than some we get). They decide on cyberbullying, and focus on a particular local case. Tracking her down, they get to some strange people, and eventually a strange place. Which is underground. And labyrinthine. And we’ve seen thing before. Run, chase, scream, and the killer helpfully brings the footage out to share with people.
This smacks of film made on the cheap, and doesn't really strive to be anything exciting. The acting is… on screen, and the costume is… a mask, and that’s about all you can say for it.
The best thing? The opening/closing music:
Wednesday, 16 November 2016
It's a movie about privileged kids! Who guard a haunted school! From burglars! And ghosts! And uhh…
To show off the best students, three boys and three girls, the best of two schools, are to patrol the boy's school because… that’s what they do. At the same time, two burglars want to get in to The Archive to get… something. The actual object is mentioned when I was looking at something else, so I have no idea what it was, but it doesn’t matter. Oh, and there are ghosts from students who died 350 years ago who are creeping around the school still because… because. And it turns out that some of the students are actually not nice but evil and plan to do evil, and the others have to survive, and…
Gah! The phrase here is 'overegging the pudding', way too much put in. Which, at only 90 minutes, is impressive and shows off that pudding and padding aren't just one letter different. The two burglars are nearly comedy, and the supposed best girls who are near soldiers still get to scream a lot, because female? And everyone is largely defined by their ethnic stereotype.
Just a mess of a movie, don't worry about it.
Tuesday, 15 November 2016
Instead of going and seeing a movie yesterday, I spent the day keeping an eye on the news. [Note: links live at time of writing.]
I even checked overseas sites, and indeed Australia, US and UK reported on us. (Although for some reason, UK likes to put us in the Asia category... what?)
Anyway, for those that didn't click links, there was a 7.5 earthquake around 12am Monday morning (that's between Sunday and Monday). I just happened to be awake when it hit, and it went on for a while. It did feel slow, and I just lay there, but I can confirm that in my place is fine, nothing fell off (even cans precariously balanced on a shelf). Unlike other places in which there was a lot of trouble. (Fortunately, my place is on rock, so it's less of a problem.)
But now there are aftershocks. And the CBD is closed (hence why I decided to not go to the movies). And my work is on the waterfront, and may be closed for a while.
Yikers. Will stay tuned...
Play us out with a song:
Monday, 14 November 2016
It's a horror movie with a "twist". But the big puzzle is… what exactly is supposed to be suspended here? Belief? People? Just supposed to have generic suspense itself?
A young woman is bullied in school and spends her time drawing a psychopathic killer going around murdering people. We see this art world as people are killed, but then it seems that it is really happening? Or it is just recasting the people around her into the world? Eventually, yes it does seem that this is really happening as per the art… or is it?
Uh… yeah. This completely failed to grip me because it completely failed to actually be entertaining. I just starting skipping forwards, and lost nothing of the plot while doing so. There is a reveal that does sort of explain everything… but even then, no not really, not without severe amounts of unreliable narrator. At which point you should just give up pretending to try to follow the movie because there's no way you can.
This features… some people? Doing acting? And basic effects of blood spurts. And… there you go.
Or rather, don't bother going, because there’s nothing there when you arrive.
Sunday, 13 November 2016
Monster attack time… and it's bees! Or wasps! Or wasps infected by bees or something? Whatever, they are flying insects and that's what matters.
It's a party to celebrate an old woman when an attack starts with people getting infected and running around in panic. As people get infected, people sized bugs emerge from their bodies so that’s fun. A small group of them house in the house, and then it’s a matter of “character development” while we wait for the bugs to get in/the people try to get out and get eaten by bugs. And, of course, one of them on the inside is infected.
Has Lance Henriksen given up and just doing whatever comes to his agent now? And the other actors aren't looking like they are doing this because their careers needed a boost. As a monster movie there's nothing here that hasn't already been seen a thousand times before… and yet it won a Jury Award for Best International Film at a Film Festival? Nope, not seeing it.
According to IMDB they were trying for humour as well as horror… again, nope, not seeing it, and you shouldn't bother either.
Saturday, 12 November 2016
Le Cirque is a new restaurant with a lot of history, and a rather famous (in the circle) owner.
Sirio Maccioni is a famous restaurant owner who runs some very popular, and rather expensive, restaurants. And then he decides to shut one down and open up Le Cirque in the Bloomsberg Building. We follow him, and his three sons, as he tries to get it up to his standards, while, at the same time, his sons are trying to set up the business for them to take on, as he can't run everything. Then there are the all important New York Times star reviews, which basically decide if your restaurant is good (three or four stars) or the utter pits (two stars, at least going by their reaction).
Sirio is a good example of "obstreperous", wanting things his way, and talking over anyone who disagrees with him. This makes it hard for his sons, and I sided with them about their reality of having to take control over matters.
The two star review (they are re-reviewed later) pointed out that they treated people differently, depending on how well known/famous they were, and the review was right, which one of the sons accepted, Sirio less so. So yeah, I can see why they got that review.
Sirio and co were never going to end up with a dead business, we were going to see just how non-terrible it was.
Friday, 11 November 2016
Let's wrap this season up with the two last episodes.
Krysis: Now first off, I do like this episode title. I think there was a better story to associate it with than this though. Of course we are going to think of The Last Day, but this is more original than that. What if Kryten had a mid life crisis and wanted a zippy red number? And that's about it. They meet another cleaning droid, and I hope you like the joke of the droid being better than Kryten, because they continue it on, and on, and on. But not to worry, after some more jokes, they manage to scrap together a meaningful scene to make a point, but even that gets hammered on too long.
Can of Worms: Hey, it's a Cat episode. Certainly there's a lot of possibility there, and this hints at it. But, however, this is not a good Cat episode. Indeed, it's not even a good episode. It's a Polymorph story, so there are two things going to happen: 1) lots of shape changing, and you'd think the effects would be better by now, and 2) emotions will be played with, and conveniently there's a machine to alter people's emotions. Then, after all the set up, everything is quickly dealt with in the last minute. Urgh.
Well, we know that there is a 12th season planned, but really without Rob Grant, let's please not?
Thursday, 10 November 2016
It's Benedict Cumberbatch with his greatest acting challenge ever... a believable American accent!
To be honest, this does follow the first few issues of the comic rather well. Strange is a surgeon, gets into an accident, goes to Eastern philosophy to get healed, deals with an ex-student and Dormammu... I have read the comics, so I was waiting for it to unfold. Now, this isn't a complicated story, it's an origin story so we aren't going to get too deep, but it tells it well. The final "fight" seemed a bit unbelievable to me, but when [bleep] was revealed, I went "yep, I buy it now".
Of course there is a lot of effects here. From the trailer it looked like "what if we took that effect from the Inception trailer and made a movie out of it?", and to be honest there was a lot of that effect, but there are also lots of other effects. This is probably the most obviously effects heavy movie. So much blue screen.
And, okay, let's talk about the "white casting" of Tilda Swinton. To be honest, my main complaint is that she isn't old enough to be The Ancient One. Get Diana Rigg or Joanna Lumley or any of the other Avengers ladies to do it! They'd be great! And as for BC's accent... it reminded me of Hugh Laurie's House voice, only far less convincing...
I'm still surprised people leave before the credits are over. When you go see this (if you haven't already), make sure you stay.
Wednesday, 9 November 2016
It's a major selling point that Michael Moore put this film together in 11 days. Thinking of his previous documentaries, that's a short time to put together interviews and graphics and such. But this is what he wanted to do to help get the voters out. What would like be like under Trump?
What this is is a stage show, with Michael berating the audience for an hour. And it's not much about what like would be like under Trump, but it's about Hillary Clinton. Why do people not like her? She's done good, and she is going to be able to do what has to be done!
And that's what this is. Rah rah, here's why you should consider Hillary. Yeah, Donald has promised to break the system that's putting you down, but that's not going to be long lasting. At least Hillary isn't going to be as bad as him.
When this posts, America will be mid-voting. I doubt this documentary would have done that much to change people's minds, but he gave it a Michael Moore shot.
Tuesday, 8 November 2016
This is the documentary that came out to rock the foundation of Hillary's campaign to be President. It's about where the money comes from.
The story is repeated more than once in this movie. In some area of the world, some people want concessions to allow them to make a lot of money in a way that the Clinton's outspoken political views would be against. Bill is paid lots of money for a speech, and then Hillary arranges for that person to get concessions. Money trumps morals, basically.
And yep, this happens. I have no doubt that there are some very shady things in the Clinton's past and probably present. However... I would contrast this against pretty much any other politician and point to several lobby groups that pay politicians to forward their agendas. How is this different?
Which, to be direct, is not an excuse for Clinton, but to point out that there's lots of corruption around, and there is an obvious reason why they are in the spotlight at the moment.
And when you compare to the other guy, this isn't anywhere near as bad...
Monday, 7 November 2016
Michael Moore does a lot of documentaries, but I wasn't aware of this one.
Michael is thinking there are some good ideas in countries in Europe that America should adopt, and so heads overseas to check them out. In Italy he sees the idea of the paid vacations, in Finland, the idea of no homework, and other ideas in other places. These are all great ideas and America should take them on board (he "invades" the country to take the idea back). Except then he shows that these were American ideas all along...
Certainly there is a lot less political discussions that in his previous movies. In some ways, this is just a nice tour of European cities (he does point out there are problems in these countries, but he's focusing on the good things). Yes, there are a few moments when you go "this works really well, why the hell isn't everyone doing this?", but mostly it comes down to treating people decently. Which sounds simple, but is painted as something America just doesn't want to do. (I said this wasn't all political, not that it was unbiased.)
A rather basic documentary, which I found out about because of another documentary he's doing.
Sunday, 6 November 2016
It's the latest attempt to pretend Tom Cruise is over 6 foot and 200 pounds!
Jack hits it off over the phone with the new female leader of the Military Police (a role he had), so heads to base to check her out. Just, as it happens, she's been caught up in a smear campaign to get MPs out of the way of shady non-military dealings. As part of this, Jack finds out he has a daughter, and she is also caught up.
On the one hand, this is pretty much in line with the book. At least, as far as I can remember it. I feel like I now need to relisten to the audio to find out how Lee laid it all out, because... on the other hand, this feels very choppy. Jack finds out he has a daughter... cut to him watching her. What? How did he trace her so easily? It's a thing in the book, and just jumped over here. Along with many other plot moments, because you need to get to the significant scenes, which involve the two leads yelling at each other or the fighting.
And speaking of that... no, I can't buy Tom as Jack in these fights. I can buy Tom as Tom in these fights, and they are scaled for him, but for a big beefy guy that Jack is supposed to be? Those fights would not go like that. And Cobie Smulders gets decent action pieces too, although there is one moment which definitely demonstrates that you shouldn't have a ponytail. The drama between them... isn't bad, but I believe Cobie more than Tom.
I still feel that Dwayne Johnson would make a better Jack, but as long as you can tolerate Tom in the role, this... is just a barely above average movie.
Saturday, 5 November 2016
At Frankford High, Wilma Stephenson teaches a touch culinary arts class, and this is one year with them.
Wilma is immediately presented as touch as nails, and she lives up to it too. We also meet several of the students and go into their lives. We follow them through school and eventually to them trying to get culinary scholarships (which you can already tell not all of them are going to get, because this isn't that sort of documentary). We see the students cooking and the students trying to get by in the rest of their lives. They all have a story, we get it and the cooking.
I'm not sure if the maker of this documentary was very cynical or very passionate. My cynical sense says "hey, here's a group of black kids with trouble stories, trying to do good, easy documentary!". This film feels over padded, with too much focus on the students. But I'm not sure if that comes from "I care about these kids so much I want to put in as much of them as possible" or "I don't care about this, so just shove all the footage into it." Either way, this should have had a more strict editors.
But this is about the cooking and the kids and Wilma. We get that Wilma is tough because she cares, and in the end the kids do their best to live up to her and to themselves. And although only some of them were "good enough" for scholarships, for damn sure, they'll be better and more dedicated to what they are doing than I'll ever be.
Friday, 4 November 2016
Okay, where to now?
Give and Take: Uh, the main joke in this episode relies on them never seeing what is on the back of the bot, despite approaching it from behind! Gah! Soo stupid! And then there's the science ship with crazed doctor (Quarantine) and going back through time in a stasis field (Stasis Leak), are we just ripping off all the episodes now? But the very worst thing is that this involves a time paradox which is carefully set up to be consistent from the start of the episode but breaks down at less than a moments notice. (In white text: Lister has his past kidneys removed to replace his current lack of kidneys... which couldn't have then been taken out by the doctor bot!) And Kryten's lying mode reminded me of Arkwright.
Officer Rimmer: Rimmer gets to be an officer! It feels like this is from elsewhere, but I can't think of where immediately. Aside from being an ass, Rimmer gets to make multiple copies of himself... hang on (sigh), Rimmerworld. And then it goes wrong and you can pick on either DNA or Polymorph as other inspirations, with finally Rimmer needing to stop himself being eaten (white text: despite being a hologram unlike the copies!). This does have some rather naff effects, with the head error being just... ergh.
Thursday, 3 November 2016
The sequel is out, but I never saw the original. Didn't even know there was an original. So here it is!
Two girls play with a ouija board, and we cut to a grownup version... and you can tell she ain't got long for this movie. Indeed, I gave her five minutes and had thirty seconds spare. Her friends gather and one decides that the best idea is to use a ouija to contact her. Guess how that goes! Can you tell which members of the cast of this movie are on the block to die next? Strange things happen, and then they find out that there were spookier things going on (which, I'm guessing, is the story of the prequel), Fortunately, they manage to deal with it... but unleash something worse. Yay!
There's nothing excitingly new here, and you can tell that the most when you can spot and time how long until people die. This is retreading familiar ground, and the ouija board is just feeding into the delusion of it actually does something. (They have a brief moment of skepticism, talking about the ideomotor effect, but it doesn't last). The effects are decently done, but again nothing special.
I can't say I'm surprised they turned this into a franchise, but it's not like it needed one.
Wednesday, 2 November 2016
This is the remake I'm talking about here, and it's taken me this long to see it.
A group of kids go off to a cabin in the woods and get killed off one by one... hang on, that's a pretty common horror trope... but hang on further, was Evil Dead the first movie to do that? It can't be, right, but right this minute I can't think of an earlier one. [Ahem, Night of the Living Dead probably could be counted as a cabin where a group of people are killed off, but that's seen more as a zombie film than a cabin-killer film.] Anyway, this is a remake of that classic and...
Where's the humour? Not to say the first movie was side splittingly funny, but it didn't take itself seriously, whereas this movie is trying to most of the time, except for when it is doing deliberate nods to the original (hey, remember this bit? Pretty kooky huh!). Oh and they included the tree rape scene, because of course we needed that again.
Speaking of the cast... is anyone going to speak about this cast ever again? I can't say that I recognise any of them, but I presume at least some of them found work elsewhere? At least the effects team had a little fun, when there was the brief moments of evoking the original with the fountains of blood etc.
We didn't need a remake, and this wasn't a great one.
Tuesday, 1 November 2016
Halloween night at the Film Society, so let's get a spook on: Night of the Demon.
It's a scientistic investigation into Karswell's Cult. The first one wants to get out after Karswell shows off the power, but is killed by the Demon... or was it just an accident? An American scientist, our male lead, turns up, along with our female lead, the first guy's niece. Karswell predicts his death, and together they do some investigation and she does what she can to get him some protection, but of course he's having none of it. In the last twenty minutes, we get the secret to survival and then it's a matter of how can that be pulled off?
Oh yeah, I like this. It's a good movie, very well done. Well, except the actual demon, but even the director didn't like it, and was forced to use it. Niall MacGinnis is great as Karswell, the very personal bad guy (he's even Bobo the clown, keeping the clown theme running).
It's 60 years old, but this is a classic.
Monday, 31 October 2016
For some reason scary clowns are in the news at the moment, so that and it's Spook time, it's time for an absolute Klassic!
It's Crescent Cove, and a strange light comes down from the sky. It turns out it's a large circus tent, and inside are Klowns! They go on to terrorise the town, killing a lot of people before Debbie, her boyfriend Mike and her other boyfriend Dave can deal with it all. (Come to think of it, a lot of people die to the Klowns, but then there's a bunch of people there when they come out at the end... town genocide, no big thing.)
This is pure comedy gold. And doesn't go into sleezy comedy either, which it could easily have done so. Instead we get funny moments of people having their heads punched off, and other people being cocooned into candy floss and their blood drunk! Hilarious!
This also features a great performance from John Vernon, who isn't interested in putting up with anyone's shit. And there are a bunch of other people who... I'm not sure went on to do anything else of note? But the other stars of the show are the Klowns, with clearly great prosthetic faces. And very well done teeth.
And then there's that great theme song:
Sunday, 30 October 2016
This was the movie that used the doll that was featured in the Conjuring... and I haven't seen it before! I've seen other movies reference this, but somehow missed the actual thing.
A mother to be is decorating her baby's room and the father decides that what she really needs is a creepy old doll. Mere moments later, the neighbours go crazy and attack them, but fortunately the baby is fine. After the baby is born, they move into an apartment block where other creepy kids are around, and the doll makes a come back. Weird things continue to happen, and finally we get a long sequence of the mother screaming in panic and running about, and this somehow is a climax.
Okay, this might be a spoiler, but it's really annoying... the doll doesn't actually do anything! Fine, lots of supernatural evilness happens, but we don't get the doll's head turning, or eyes darting about, or even it scampering about the place. Nothing! What a rip!
Anyway, we do at least have Tony Amendola, so there is a good performance in this, and Alfre Woodard also captures the camera, but they aren't the leads, who are largely bland. Even while screaming. The effects are... on screen, but fortunately the camera doesn't dwell on the creatures so they remain creepy.
Not really up to the Conjuring movies, this feels like a disappointing spin off.
Saturday, 29 October 2016
In this documentary, we talk to chefs who own Michelin three star restaurants.
That's pretty much the basics, and what we get. There is a range of chefs, and we see the work they do to maintain their restaurants. It's not a simple life, but these foods are...well, "pretentious" often comes to mind, but I'm no culinary expert. We do have one of the culinary experts from Michelin with the occasional bit of interview, but it's mainly about the various chefs.
I would have liked a bit more look into what makes the restaurant three star worthy. As one person points out, most people even in the know would be hard pressed to distinguish a three star restaurant from a two star one. But then Michelin are hardly going to give away secrets, although they do say it's not that complex. We also don't see any restaurants being assessed, which could have made for a nice narrative through line.
These restaurants are way above me, but it looks like someone enjoys them.
Friday, 28 October 2016
The latest series of Red Dwarf is out and... so far it's been largely blah but not terrible (quick reminder: the last series started well, but ended poorly).
Twentica: It's an episode where the crew end up time travelling into the past, which is slightly different, in which they need to make some device of the era and... hang on, didn't see I see this episode? Lemons. The whole schtick with the booze room floozies being about science goes on too long. But at least we got Kevin Eldon.
Samsara: It's a ship with a strange drive that changes the laws of reality that changes the way people have to behave... hang on, this is Justice isn't it? We pair up Cat with Lister and Kryten with Rimmer... a pairing that will recur later. This is a thin story where they need to have flashbacks with the real story while the others get some comedy and exposition scenes only.
Let's be honest... these chaps are getting older and Doug isn't the same without Rob... as I said, this is blah but not terrible.
Thursday, 27 October 2016
We had that you can't breathe, and now we have that you can't speak.
A group of young adults are partying on a boat when one gets his foot cut, so they go to the nearby deserted village. Only it isn't entirely deserted, and everyone needs to be quiet or they'll be captured... and immediately they are entirely incompetent and barge around making all kids of noise. And so they slowly get taken. There is also a lot of bickering between the friends and one is pregnant and sees little girls... they try to escape the big bad, and it goes about as well as you'd expect.
The best part of this movie is the location. It's nice and creepy, and should be used in a better movie. The movie tries to be different with giving us backstory exposition in animation over real footage, but that just makes it hard to make out exactly what's supposed to be happening.
This movie does try some different narrative techniques, so there's that... but to be honest, I just kept thinking of this:
Wednesday, 26 October 2016
No, this has nothing to do with the current Ouija movies, just another movie using the gimmick.
We have a daughter coming home (to a house in the middle of nowhere) and finds her crazy mother has used a ouija board, and the mother then kills her. Cut to... another daughter, who goes off with her boyfriend, and his friend, and finds the house. Of course they give the ouija board a go, and immediately she's haunted by the old lady. And so, people start dying. She's cracking up, but it's really the old woman of course, but she is responsible. Thus, she finds a way of dealing with it...
There's nothing new here. What this does have that's special is editing, in that it's quite bad. Scenes just cut from one to another without any real sense of transition. And cutting to and from dream sequences doesn't help either. And the special effects aren't really much, outside of the make up effects on the old woman.
Nothing to see, move along, just another group trying to make a movie and not catching anything spectacular.
Tuesday, 25 October 2016
It's a beast of the wolf attacking people, a real supernatural beast... or is it?
France in the 18th century, a Knight and his servant travel the land to track down a vicious beast. Along the way, he finds a young woman and immediately falls in love with her, but her family are rather crazed. And that's the set up for most of the movie, dealing with them wanting to be in love, with occasional breaks for action beats involving fighting and/or wolves.
Not to totally give away spoilers, but I was thinking of the Hound of the Baskervilles by the end. And the person who is evil is the obvious choice as the person who is behind everything, so we aren't making huge leaps of plot here.
It's pretty good, with Mark Dacascos and Vincent Cassel being actors I recognised amidst the other French actors. It's also pretty good production values... except for the CGI beast which looks like and obviously added in CGI beast.
This movie definitely feels long and could do with more than a little trim...
Monday, 24 October 2016
This is one of those "let's try to be titillating" movies that just is softy than soft core. Oh, and it involves a really crappy clown doll.
A sorority is closing down for the holidays with only a few women left. A clown doll is possessed by a scummy dean who decides that the best thing to do is to kill them all. And he proceeds to do so as the girls pretend to get into sexy situations in front of the camera... The ending scenes are nearly decent, but they don't make up for the rest of the film.
The true horror of this movie is not the story, but the effects. The clown doll is absolutely horrendous and how it's "animated" is just... aarrgh! So often the actress has to hold the toy doll and murder tool in place. Oh, and the person who inhabits this scummy doll is Eric Roberts. I mean Eric Roberts is a creep. I mean Eric Roberts is playing a clown doll creep.
It wants to be a "bad" movie, but it's just a bad movie. Just... don't worry about it.
Sunday, 23 October 2016
It's the spooky month, so let's watch some horror movies. First up is an indie film that seems to be the Capgras Delusion made into a film.
Two friends meet up as one visits from out of town, and that friend from out of town is on a mission. He's seen his girlfriend transform, so is now aware of monsters that inhabit people, infecting them. He wants his friend to help, but there are other people in his friend's life that might not be all that they seem. Fortunately, he's getting phone calls to give him pointers. There's a battle coming, they are invading, and he is ready for the call.
This is a simple film, only a few actors, with MacLeod Andrews carrying the weight as the man with the knowledge. For a long time, ans as this is a horror/thriller movie, we aren't sure if what he sees is real or not. Any moment the walls of reality as we know could come down, or maybe Wyatt is the threat.
But, for all that, it feels too simple. We could do with more of the horror than just the occasional tease. A character piece is all very well, but for this, give us a good shot with the full effects running. Oh well.
Saturday, 22 October 2016
I've commented before I have a lot of chef movies to watch... so let's watch them! This one is about Paul Liebrandt.
We follow Paul for nearly ten years. He starts (in the movie) is a bistro, and it's clear that he's a chef far above working there. So, not surprisingly, he eventually quits. Later we catch up with him in Grit when the restaurant gets a low score, so he's not longer there either. Then we get him starting a new restaurant Corton, and will this be better?
We get the usual chef moments of him creating and getting annoyed by staff. But he is unusual that he does the lower end restaurants, whereas usually we are with the chef while they are in their high end place. So that's interesting to follow. I was surprised we jumped around time so much, and yet it wasn't that much longer than a hour, but it is a contained enough story.
There are some extras of extended interviews, and two bits of creations. Which are presented with music, and without commentary, so I have no idea what I'm looking at, so this feels like "we came up with this, but didn't finish it, so here's an extra!".
Not a bad start to this series, with more of a rise of a chef than we usually see.
Friday, 21 October 2016
And that, as they don't say, is that. In that I have no idea if there is a fourth season planned (and there certainly could be one), but after this season...
Bojack is on the press trail, giving speeches and promoting his new movie Secretariat. Amidst this there are other plot lines happening but... and here's my problem. It just didn't feel as grabbing as season two. Todd is just as annoying, and Princess Carolyn gets an arc I don't care about, and there's more past events revealed, and Bojack is still dealing with some events from season two, but...
I thought this season was going to be a total waste, but then the last two episodes... wow, easily the best of the entire series. I definitely won't say what happens, but there were great character moments as well as actual plot happening. If the rest of the season was like this...
But it's not. So it nearly ends with a whimper, but manages to pull out a bang.
Thursday, 20 October 2016
Never mind what MC would do later, there's a sequel to be had right now!
Delos is back with a new world to visit, including a future world! In which people pretend that skiing down a hill under red light is like skiing on Mars. Big surprise, there's something shady going on. Bigger surprise, it's obvious what's going on after ten minutes but there's over 90 minutes of movie!!!
One strange take in this movie, which shows that the writers of this didn't get the point of the previous one, is that the robots are largely aware they are robots. Well, good to know there's no sense of immersion then. But then, we spend a large part of the time behind the scenes anyway with two reporters who manage to get into special areas by ducking down some stairs, and putting a fake face on a helmet.
Yes, we have Peter Fonda, who I don't think I've actually seen in many things, and Blythe Danner, who I kept thinking was Katherine Crawford. Oh, and Yul Brynner is back in the same role, for, I'm sure, the same reason he was in the first one.
And while I correctly predicted the final gesture of the hero, I kinda wish the ending was left more ambiguous, but this is Hollywood and you can't have spinning tops.
Wednesday, 19 October 2016
With the new TV series, let's go back to the original.
Guests go to a new fantastic holiday park where science has brought to life exciting attractions for people to interact with. Only it goes a bit wrong and lots of people end up dying...
Hey, wait a minute... which Michael Crichton movie did I just describe? While not saying the Jurassic books rip this off, it is a basic repeat of the exact same formula. Good to know MC gets really creative as an author.
Richard Benjamin gives a good performance as about the only good person in the entire movie. We also get a top billing Yul Brynner, whom I'm sure only got top billing to get the crowd in, it's not like his character gets a lot to do. And there are a bunch of other people but I can't remember the character names, let along recognise the actors.
As the formula told in 90 minutes, it's decent. Later we'll get it stretched out over several books and movies. And now a many episode padded out tv series. Joy.
Tuesday, 18 October 2016
I got Doctor Who Magazine back in the day, when it wasn't on screen, and it was filled with Seventh Doctor stories. Evening's Empire was Part One in one issue and then... the other parts never showed up. Other stories were published instead, and eventually everyone moved on as one of those stories that was abandoned... until now. It was released as part of Doctor Who Classics, and now is released as part of the latest Graphic Novel range, which of course I picked up. (As I have all the GNs from DWM.)
In this story, some women around Middlesbrough are going missing, with the Doctor and Ace investigating, along with some members of UNIT. Ace also goes missing, and finds herself in an Empire, courtesy of one Alex Evening. The Doctor manages to enter, but he can't save everyone.
One thing I remember in particular is some of the imagery. Cutting from pouring from a jug to pouring into a cup, and the black of coffee to the black of night, there are some great transitions. The story itself is written by Andrew Cartmel, so expect a Dark Doctor, and the art is by Richard Pears Rayner, who redrew some of the pages for this collection, so this is a Director's Cut.
That all said... I feel like the story is a bit of a let down. From the revelation to defeat is rather quick and easy, so it's all build up without the right level of pay off. At last we have a conclusion, but Andrew Cartmel has done better work.
Monday, 17 October 2016
The latest DB movie is, of course, going to do well. But how well is it?
Robert wakes up in a hospital and immediately goes on the run, trying to solve puzzles. And by solve puzzles, I mean "go here, immediately find the next 'clue' and immediately deduce the next location to go to". Of course there's a woman to run around with Robert, and a bunch of people chasing him... and which story is this again? Indeed, while watching, I couldn't remember which bits were to be in this movie and which was in the Last Word. Who is on the side of the good guys? Who's on the side of the bad? Who is played off as one and then is revealed as the other, despite it making no sense?
Yes, we are in Dan territory, and Ron Howard is taking whatever cue he can to do huge imagery that may or may not be related to the actual movie. And he also has to have parts of the book, but that's perfunctory. Really, although I can't remember much of the puzzles in the book, it feels like Ron wasn't that interested in telling that story and just wanted to get to the next action piece. Which are also not that great. Frankly, the word that comes to mind is "luke warm", which describes everything about this movie.
This movie feels phoned in, but that's all right, after Da Vinci Code, so did Dan with the next books.
To be honest, after watching this, I do want to do a parody of this featuring Cthulhu and Lovecraftian mythos...
Sunday, 16 October 2016
I'll put this upfront: this isn't a BP whitewash film.
We get introduced to the men of DH, and they are running tests on the drill. They are concerned, but the people in charge (the BPers) are pushing them until finally the drill is set off... and off it goes. As with big true disaster movies, it takes a while before the disaster really kicks off. Then it's flame and horrendousness everywhere. (And the implication of a fair few deaths, although only 11 people actually died.)
Marky Mark is one man on the platform, and as he's our hero we can guess he's gonna save some people before making it home to his family. Kurt Russell, on the other hand, doesn't seem to have a family, so can you guess who is going to sacrifice himself? (Note: this is a guess before the end of the movie, so don't consider this spoilers... unless this does actually happen, but you won't know until you spoil yourself. I'm not going to say.)
I don't know what they used as a set (presumably some filming was done on a real rig?), but it looked impressive. If it was CGI enhanced, it was well done. There were a few problems with that the drill was loud but the dialogue wasn't, so that was fun to interpret.
A movie more about how heroic people can be than the spill itself.
Saturday, 15 October 2016
There's an MGM film which features an alien/human hybrid woman that wants to have sex with lots of men, who is chased by a small team of people. No, it's a movie that's ten years before that one, this is Lifeforce.
A space craft investigating Halley's Comet finds another ship in the comet's cone. Inside are dead large bats and three nude figures. Of course they free the figures, and the lead female wipes out the ship. The three figures end up on earth, and immediately the female overpowers any nearby males and escapes into London. The one surviving spaceman joins with a Colonel from the Special Air Service to slowly track her across the country, where those attacked come back to life and drain the life force from others. So, as one person points out, Vampires and Zombies! It's not so much that people win, more that they survive the encounter and see the vampires off.
This features Peter Firth, playing a character not a million miles away from the one he would play in Spooks. There is also basically a cameo from Patrick Stewart, who doesn't exactly get to show off his acting chops, more his ability to lie down. The lady is Mathilda May, and she is full frontal naked more often than not. The male lead is Steve Railsback, who... I don't remember ever seeing in anything else.
There are some great puppet effects here, which deserves to be seen. Aside from that, we aren't talking about a great entry into cinema history here, but one that definitely precursors the series I've been talking about.
Friday, 14 October 2016
The second season is rated a lot higher, so let's see how it goes.
One thing this season does better is mixed up the stories. While there is still an overall story arc about Bojack trying to feel happy, we aren't just with him as he does the Secretariat movie, but also there's the Diana and Mr. Peanutbutter story, there's the Princess Carolyn story, there's the Todd story (but fortunately not too much of a Todd story because he is the weakest character of the show).
I am surprised by the sense of continuity there is in the series. One or two elements crop up every now and then but are just there subtly until they finally land, and because they've been subtle, they land well and not beaten over your head. The characters are well developed too, and actually maintain believable cohesiveness despite that they do need to get up to zany things at time.
So I'm saying that this season did work a lot better for me. It wasn't all about Bojack but spread out over the cast, which makes it better. Bring on season three!
Thursday, 13 October 2016
How quickly can a show backpedal? Let's find out!
Lots of things happen where nothing happens for the last few episodes. We get positions stabilised, and an action scene or two, but it doesn't really mean anything. Then we get to the final episode, the climatic battle... and you'll be amazed how quickly the show smacks that reset button. Aside from bringing in characters from the early comics, was there a point to this series?
The later episodes bring in a lot of continuity points that even I recognise. Luke Cage is referred to as a powerful bulletproof black man that doesn't need to fear, the basic design of him. And he gets referred to in song as a Hero for Hire (his comic series). And I'm fairly sure we see Diamondback and Misty in costumes from the series too (but I can't be certain about that).
We also get Clare Temple (as played by Rosario Dawson) showing up, because she must be in every series? And she gets a reference as "Night Nurse" finally too. And I might be reading too much into it, but I think she gives the nod to the Iron Fist next series...
Decent acting is the main highlight of this series, because the story isn't quite there. Oh, and the music too. That's really good.
Wednesday, 12 October 2016
It's the mid season twist, in which everything changes.
Well, sort of. Certainly there are changes, and I can't say I saw any of them coming. However, I don't really feel like it mixed things up in an innovative way and raised the stakes. Villains move around, as they do in the middle of these series, but I can't say they got bigger/more impressive, just that they changed. The series also changes up how it deals with Luke, but even from a non-meta viewpoint, it doesn't feel like it's really going to stop him that much anyway. More like a minor pause while people reposition themselves.
As such, the middle of this series just isn't that impressive compared with that the first part of the series did. I can't really say that it's paddling in place, but it doesn't feel like it's going anywhere. I'm no more feeling there's a huge arc to defeat than there was before, just some names have changed.
No doubt there'll be big events happening in the last batch of episodes, but let's hope it actually scales up to a proper challenge to overcome.
Tuesday, 11 October 2016
I'm not sure if it is obviously inspired by Romeo and Juliet or if it's just me, but this is Geronimo. (No, not the Indian, although if that was a reference, that's another one I'm not getting.)
Imagine if Romeo had eloped with Juliet and their families basically went on the war path for each other. Only they are just a family on each side, in particular Juliet's brother, who are looking for them. Inbetween them all is Geronimo, who just wants everyone to chill out and not get so hung up. It's young love, they're just crazy kids, get over it. But the brother just won't let it go.
Yeah, I'm fairly sure this is supposed to be R&J after all that, which is amazing that I managed to pick that up. Anyway, Céline Sallette is Geronimo, the social educator trying to keep the peace, and while she is often out of her depth, she's willing to get stuck in and actually try to calm things down. Compared to her, the crazy kids on both sides come across as that on any level you want to compare them.
A bit over long, but it keeps the story going well.
Monday, 10 October 2016
The latest Netflix Marvel series is out, and it's about a man that would risk his neck for his brother man.
Mike Colter owns this role, and his portrayal of Luke is fantastic. Just getting that out there to start with. Luke is in Harlem trying to lead a quiet life (after JJ!) working in a barber shop and a nightclub. Events start to unravel when an exchange of money from the bad guys gets interrupted by some punks who figure they can get some themselves. Luke is pulled in to find one of them, the son of Pop, who owns the barber shop, and from there comes up against Cottonmouth. Who isn't interested in dealing with Luke in any sense, and is quick to scale up reaction...
We get the set up, but also a fair bit of plot. A lot of the cast changes in just the first five episodes, so this isn't a series that will have the same players again and again (unlike some other Netflix Marvel series that could be mentioned). Episode four is the obligatory flash back episode, and we even get a nod to the original Luke Cage outfit... not that I know anything about the comics. Which is also why I don't recognise all the names when we see them. Apparently Misty Knight is an important person?
Given all this, I really don't know what they are going to do with Iron Fist when it's his turn.
Sunday, 9 October 2016
Now it's time for the latest remake of this Japanese movie.
It doesn't get especially complicated with its story. We get the introduction of the bad guy, then the slow introduction of the good guys, then a lot of action scenes.
Which is where some of the problems reside. This is a very slow start. In the earlier version, we know they are good because they take non-white folk to be buried with the white folk despite what others think, but here it's just them going about their jobs. He's a bounty hunter and he collects his bounty, and that's all there is to it. Then once we've collected everyone, we get to town and have some action pieces. The first one is pretty good, but it's just the precursor to the main fight. And the main fight goes on for a long time. A very long time. So much so that I was getting fatigued by it and wanted something to break it up. Just shots of people shooting each other doesn't really make for great film-making, and there wasn't character progression either to keep narrative going.
Denzel Washington was largely playing the same character he usually plays, and does his usual acting with his tongue and mouth (ever watched that? it's moving like all the time). Chris Pratt doesn't feel like he's stretching either, and neither do the other characters. At least Vincent D'Onofrio put on an unusual voice. Haley Bennent actually puts on a performance, and as such does the best in the film.
Ultimately, it's just another remake, nothing spectacular for me here.
Saturday, 8 October 2016
This is... The Awakening! Which I'm not even sure is really in the same universe as the other movies.
A scientist and another guy made the scientist a daughter that partially used alien DNA, although she didn't seem to have the growth spurts of the others? Anyway, she gets into an accident and her alien side comes to the fore, so of course they go to Mexico... where the other guy is. And he's been making himself more of these creatures, only they look far worse. It turns out Miranda is dying of old age, and so to help her they kill another woman... and now she's even more alien!
This movie does have Dominic Keating in it, but other than that, I can't say I recognise anyone. I also can't recognise any action, because there is bugger all of it. There is ponderous amounts of faux moralising about creating alien creatures and about what they have to do, and then there's a lot of wandering around in Mexico, and lots of unsexy sex.
And eventually the movie, and this series, dribbles to a close. A pathetic half-breed of a film, incapable of interesting anyone.
Friday, 7 October 2016
This is one of those cartoon series that everyone must see. Like a lot of other cartoon series that people must see that I haven't. But now I have watched season one.
The premise is an actor who had a hit show in the 90s is now washed up and trying to regain glory by writing his autobiography. But that's not working, so he gets a ghost writer, and so falls in love with her, but she is marrying his best friend, and... lots of other standard domestic comedies that you have seen in tonnes of other places.
But here's the twist! The lead is actually a horse! A horse that is talking and walking on hind legs like any other person! And there are other animals doing the same! As well as normal humans, so some are human and some are animal... Woo! Innovative! (I don't recall any normal animals so don't know how that works.)
If I sound unimpressed that's because I am. Aside from the animal aspect, this is just typical comedy fodder that I usually avoid these days. This series is supposed to be amazing so... I'll continue to watch, but I'm not getting it.
Thursday, 6 October 2016
I got the movie on BluRay, because it deserves the great resolution, and this was apparently one of the few imprints which have language subtitles for the Korean and such. Odd that this is such a rarity.
Anyway, aside from the movie, also on the disc is some behind the scene featurettes. Quite small talking head features that you'd expect to get from the director and main cast members. There is also an Q&A from one of the screenings, and we also get an animated feature that is easily a prologue that should have been released. (For all I know, it was.)
The better feature on the disc is about the original comic. It follows the pairing who worked on the second volume as they come into contact with Bong Joon Ho, and then as they go through the development of the movie and its screenings. They talk about the comic itself, about how it was obscure until this film made it popular, and about where they are now. It's a long piece, but it's a better behind the scenes look than the other pieces.
Also on the disc is a commentary from film critic Scott Weinberg, who brings in some of his friends as well so it's not just him. They talk about themes and characters, and get into the movie's meaning. It's clear they really enjoy the movie, so if that's what it takes to do a commentary, why not me?
Anyway, good comic, good movie, and good features.
Wednesday, 5 October 2016
I've already talked about the movie, but now I can talk about the movie in the presence of the graphic novels. When this movie came out, vol 3 (as recently discussed) wasn't written, so it's mainly vols 1 and 2 that inspire the story.
Oh, by the way, spoilers for the movie and the comics.
Neither of the comics are set in the tail section, and at best we get a glimpse in vol 1. But the movie starts, and most of it is, in the tail section. It takes a while to break out into the rest of the train, whereas we start in basically the guard section in the comic. Then is the prison section, and yes, people are put in lockers. There is no Yaketami Bridge, but then there isn't a huge fight sequence either. In the first part of the train, there isn't a school in the comics, but there is a song (not this one, as Wilford was entirely invented for the movie).
So, yeah, a big plot point is that they are out of bullets, never a problem in the comic. And because we aren't in the tail section, we don't get protein bars either. The flash back we get of the tail section seems a lot more crowded than what we see in the film.
Anyway, yes there is an agriculture section, a fish section, rather decadent sections (with sex more on the menu than we don't see in the movie). The front of the train is just one engineer, but he isn't a dick like Wilford. However, he does want Proloff (the character Chris Evan is 'based on') to take over the train, and it feels like the train is a living thing. In the comic, Proloff agrees.
As for the explorers of volume two, the closest you get is the Revolt of the Seven, and at the end as the kids escape. And the discussion of a bear (polar in the film, not typed in the comic) is given as a great moment of being outside. And that's about one of the happier endings of the Snowpiercer adventures too.