Tuesday, 25 April 2017

A Flickering Truth

This is a film about literally digging up the past, over in Afghanistan. This is A Flickering Truth.

Ibrehim Arif is a film maker from Afghanistan, and he returned to unearth The Afghan Film archive, a collection of Afghan films. Which the Taliban and others destroyed some of, and generally let it go to pot. He gets workers to help clean it up, although criticising the way they work, and we get clips sprinkled throughout of various films. Finally, after getting some of the films sorted out, he goes on a Film Festival... to the safer parts of Afghanistan...

This is a documentary by New Zealander Pietra Brettkelly, and this is one of those documentaries where we follow the people. To be honest, the main reason I knew what was going on, ie the context of this film, was because I read the film description. Given that, it was great and I could follow along easily, although I'm not sure someone who didn't is going to be able to get what's happening. Some explanation would be useful.

So I would recommend this movie, but I would not recommend going in blind.

[END]

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Monday, 24 April 2017

Doctor Who 10.2

Ah, the tricky second album... er, second episode after the reboot.

So it's another colony world... how many have there been now? It feels like a few. Even the Doctor notes he's been involved with more than one. But this one features emoji robots, because we must reference the very latest and freshest of memes.

And then...nothing happens. A lot of nothing happens. Whole stretches of nothing happens. And after nothing happens... there's another batch of nothing happening.

Eventually we get other people, and a rushed episode ending in which the Doctor quickly patches something together, and we assume everything is fine? Sure, we wouldn't want anything to start happening now.

Peter Capaldi continues to channel Pertwee, and Pearl Mackie is still decent as Bill. But again, nothing's happening so it's hard to say anything more than they were in it.

Yep... that was an episode, I guess.


Next week: Future episode and now a past episode? Yeah, I remember this formula. Then there's a two parter, right?

[END]

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Saturday, 22 April 2017

Second Marx

Already Chico and Harpo are feeling more like inserted-schtick that useful additions. With only the second movie, Animal Crackers.

The plot involves Captain Spaulding (as per Groucho) returning from a hunt overseas. At the same time, a famous painting is being unveiled. But not one but two different groups of people see this as a chance to having their own fun with the painting, and so we end up with paintings all over the place and lots of running around. As is common it seems.

Already I like this more as it has the musical moments integrated into the plot, so it really is more of a musical. Groucho even gets to have a bit of a sing and dance (in his own style), but quickly it settles down to being all about the paintings. Which it doesn't help that the movie is in black and white as there is no chance of the viewers able to tell which is which, we need the characters to announce that.

As before, we get random bits of business from the Brothers, which makes me wonder how much was in the original musical as it feels tacked on in many places. Were the scripts written for them, or did they just do it on the night (not that it was improvised, but was it worked out while filming?).

So the movie improved, but the Brothers got on my nerves.

[END]

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Friday, 21 April 2017

Wonder First Falls

Ah yes, this fantastic series. And now I have the time, I'm going to talk about all 13 episodes.

We get introduced to Jaye, a 20 something Gen Y who is incredibly disaffected, in a dead end job she doesn't care about, still living in the same town she grew up in (at Niagara Falls). At least she is living in her own trailer park, unlike her older brother and sister who lives at home with her parents.

And then the plastic smooshed face lion talks to her. About which she has a 'sode. She eventually gives in to what the animal wants. And thus is the series in which Jaye helps a random stranger per episode. She has a black friend, and sort of hits on the bartender.

Jaye is great, the maximum sass gen y'er most of us think we are. And this is written and shot as quirky as all get out that it immediately charms. This is an amazing pilot that shows off the "coincidence" that lies at the heart of all of what Jaye ends up doing.

A great opener, and one that immediately engages and makes you want to see the rest of the series.

[END]

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Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Lif

A sci fi horror set in space? I am listening... Remember that one scene in Species in which they make pure creature and it tries to escape quarantine? Think of this movie as that extended and in space.

On the ISS, they get a sample from Mars, and it contains Life (title drop!). However, it escapes as people refuse to properly do quarantine protocols (despite talking about them a lot). And this has to be the holey space ship ever as the creature can get anywhere from anywhere, through fire suppressant systems and even thrusters ... wut? As you expect, it comes down to us versus it, and there's only one way that can come out...

Ryan Reynolds plays someone competent, so we got to get rid of him. Otherwise, there are some decent performances here, but noone really is going too hard acting wise. The production is nice, and the creature is a good effect, but it feels like it's missing emotional connections all over the place. And so, doesn't really stick around in the mind.

For me, the leader is always Event Horizon... and this is no Event Horizon.

[END]

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Monday, 17 April 2017

DW 10.1

It's back... and I have to say this new episode works well to resetup the series and introduce Bill... and foreshadow the season arc that will no doubt end up disappointing us all because this is Moffat we're talking about.

We get this story through Bill's eyes, but fortunately we get enough of the Doctor, and the Doctor being the Doctor, not to have to put up with, say, 45 minutes of a shop clerk hanging around with her boyfriend. Instead we get Bill set up as a brave new companion, and Moffat ticks off the checklist to get us to engage with her... but what the hell, I'm willing to let that slide, because yes, I am on her side. And the story isn't that complicated either, although it doesn't end out well for Heather, but again this is reintroduction time, so I'm fine with that.

I'm less interested in the whole vault thing, because I see that being teased the whole season and being a damn squib, because I've seen other seasons. This does also make it look like we'll be on earth with trips to other places, and wasn't that the last season we just had? Time and Space really are far behind us, aren't they?

So I'm buying this first episode, but we'll see if the series can keep it up.


Next time: Look, just call it New New Earth and be done with it.

[END]

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Saturday, 15 April 2017

First Marx

Yes, that's right, from horror to... comedy! I never clicked with the Three Stooges, but I do enjoy the antics of the brothers. And so I've got twelve to get through, so we start with The Cocoanuts.

Groucho is running a hotel, and is trying to sell off land in Florida. While this is going on, a couple decide to try for some robbery and then end up in a bad marriage situation. Unfortunately, they have the brothers to deal with, so do they have a chance?

There are a few things that stood out while watching this. This is a movie with small sections of plot, usually with Groucho doing his fast paced speech, while there is also various entertainment sections going on. There are many choreographed sequences, and they are quite well done, so this is no small amount of effort to set up and film. We also get stars Oscar Shaw and Mary Eaton signing various songs for us. Oh, and Kay Francis.

We also get action from the brothers, with them largely bringing out their party pieces of talking or various musical notes. Zeppo is definitely sidelined, with only a handful of lines. He does get into the business with the others, but feels just there to full out the scene.

The mix between plot and dance took me by surprise, so let's see if this is a standard or a one-off.

[END]

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Friday, 14 April 2017

TP 8

This is season eight, which is just one four part story. Clearly they knew they were going out and decided on one big band. This is War of the Empires.

The Thargons and the Sausons are the empires having a war, and they are battling near a closed world, also known as Earth. The TPs are trying to stop them, and when the earth becomes threatened, they step up their efforts. However, we need a nation on earth that is friendly, but otherwise an arrogant brutal warmongering... and that's not British, so say hello again to the Americans! They join forces with the Sausons(*) for a bit, but the TPs convince them to help eventually to see them all off. While the TP try to get the Galactic Federation involved, but instead end up evicted, so it's up to them to deal with everything.

(*)I think. I quickly lost track who was who... btw, this is one lot of them (the others are just people in military outfits with gold paint everywhere):


But, hey, speaking of the Galactic Federation, we have this lot:
I've got pictures of each alien in the full post (click through to see them.)







Galactic Council, eat your heart out! And we have even less information about who any of this lot are except Timus and the chairbeing.

Anyway, this story is all go, and actually the TP are right in the thick of it from the word go and remain relevant all the way through. They drive a lot of the plot, and it's up to them that earth survives. This is great, this feels like a decent story and... okay, there are still too many TPers to get properly served, and we could easily lose one without noticing, but it's still good.

This is a good story to go out on, and aside from those stupid aliens, I would recommend people checking this out.

[END]

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Wednesday, 12 April 2017

BatmanGO

Well, after how great the original Lego movie is, and how bad current Batman movies are, of course this must happen.

Hey, do you get that Batman is all grim dark and lonely? What if he had his own Robin to counter that? What if even the Joker was all chuckles and sunshine? What if there was one Batman gimmick, could an entire movie be built around that?

Which is what this movie tries to do. Oh, it's so hilarious how Batman refuses to recognise how bad his life is, no, he's the best, get it? Oh the humour! (The only one who gets it worse is Green Lantern, because LULZ! That's still funny!!!!!!!!!)

We do get good voice actors, but this does feel a lot like "hey, let's throw this person in there". So much so, I was looking through the cast list going "oh, that person was used". In fact, I'm suspecting more that people only got some things out of the movie because they noticed who the actor was, not because "I recognise that voice, which means this..."

Anyway, I wasn't that taken with it. It felt like a long take at a joke that has already been told better before.

[END]

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Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Song from the Second Floor

Okay, this film looked interesting in the brief summary and one aspect of being in the film society is seeing unusual films, but... Songs from the Second Floor.

There are a few narratives floating around this, some seeming bigwigs skipping town, a magician who fails a trick, and mainly a furniture salesman who's business burns down. Against them is a backdrop of a city with stuck traffic and the salesman who sees ghosts and...

Okay, let's get to the point: I didn't get this. I didn't get any of this. There were many moments where the audience was laughing, and I was legitimately confused as to what they were laughing at (some bizarre moments I could tell, but others...).

This is a Roy Andersson film, and that's said as if it means something. But if there's something I'm supposed to get, I completely missed it.

Not a movie for me.

[END]

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Saturday, 8 April 2017

H(a^10)ll(o^10)w(e^10)n

After that masterful depiction last time, someone decided to let Rob have another go.

Surprising absolutely no-one, Michael didn't die last time, nor did Loomis, or Laurie or even Annie... so this movie was made to fix all that? We get a flashback that establishes that there is a drive in Michael that is tied to the idea of a 'white horse' (according to the opening definition, and 'white horse' should have been the subtitle of the movie, but apparently not). This is the reason why Michael is on the rampage, at least in this movie, which took him three years?? to pop back up. And then a lot of the movie is spent... I have no idea. I do remember checking that it was halfway through the movie and nothing had happened (a few token random deaths), but nothing towards an actual plot... a lot like the first movie!

Anyway, we finally kill off characters that were around in the first movie, so this part of the franchise is clearly over (because it's not like Michael would ever come back to life again... right?), but that feels like the reason we got this second movie, to kill off those characters. We do get fewer horrible female deaths (note: fewer, not none), so I guess he's improving there?

In the end, we didn't need these movies, but a glance at the box office shows that they got their money back, so that's all that matters.

Next time... something entirely different.

[END]

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Friday, 7 April 2017

TP 7.3

Ah, now this one I remember fondly, but they say memory cheats. This is Living Skins.

There's a new fashion sweeping the world, bubble suits, that fit so comfortably that it's like you are wearing a second skin and never want to take it off... not creepy at all. However, the TP quickly realise that this is a living organism, and we see plenty of large orange weather balloons bouncing around. However, the skins are good at taking people over, and the TP are bad at getting it off them, but John isn't having a problem... because he has a cold. And thus the world is saved, because John gets everyone sick!

This does have some nasty and quite silly images. In the nasty column, we get the suits moving around by themselves, and Andrew seemingly getting suffocated. We also get the TP quite easily being taken over, so it's not like we can rely on them, and it's only because of John's cold they got away from it. On the other hand, we do have the large balloons bouncing in a clearly roll-back way, and the TPs often being revealed in underwear, no to mention the actual PVC outfits themselves...

But overall, this is a good episode, and reminded me of Blue and the Green from way back. Although TP these episodes are far more quick to decide if aliens should be helped or hurt, we don't have time for indepth shades of grey anymore.

[END]

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Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Ghest in the Sholl

If this movie makes me want one thing, it's to reread the comic. So there's that.

Major Mira Killian is a ghost (brain) in a shell (cybernetic body), and is a member of Section 9, which goes after more unusual crime. Events kick off as people from Hanka Robotics, whom built the Major's body, are killed off, and in seeking answers Major finds out more about herself and what went into creating her.

Okay, this definite has parallels to the comic, with origin mixed in (can we please just do a movie that just dives into the universe and assumes the interested audience already knows the origin? Especially superhero movies). And yes, although she is Mira Killian, there is Motoko Kusunagi, who is played by a Japanese actor... and that ScarJo is cast says more about the nature of the Robotics company that about whitewashing in Hollywood (although there is that undeniable aspect too). That said, I will also say I do like the casting of many of the parts, especially 'Beat' Takeshi Kitano as Aramaki. In the team we also have Batou, Saito and Ladriya... although she disappears from the movie halfway through, huh? Was there a scene cut?

But overall... I have to say this really felt emotionless and, well, dull. And lacking in subtly. And Tachikomas. Definitely need more Tachikomas.

And then there's that it was shot in Wellington, so a lot of outdoor scenes looked familiar while also being CGI'd to heck and back. That was just a weird feeling to deal with.

[END]

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Saturday, 1 April 2017

H(a^9)ll(o^9)w(e^9)n

Okay, so there's nothing new we can do with Michael? So someone decided to retell the first movie again. Only longer.

Michael has a messed up childhood, and goes on a killing spree. Wah, how terrible! And then, fifteen odd years later, he breaks out of the asylum and... goes on a killing spree. He's got one schtick and he sticks to it.

So this is a remake. So much so that the second half of the movie is by and large an exact repeat. This is after the first half, in which we find out all about Michael's homelife and how he is the way it is. Which the first movie did in about five minutes... and did it so much better.

Then we get to the repeat, with one big twist. There's young women having sex, and then get extensively beaten up while partially or totally nude. This movie (and frankly I can't not look at Rob Zombie here) has a hate on for women, and decides to punish them to a ridiculous degree. The men, grabbed, choked, done. The women, thrown around, through things, stabbed and bloody and everything... dear gods, no, that's too much.

I can't say we needed this movie. But I'm guessing some studio needed the money.

[END]

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