Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Throne of Blood

Well, I can't say that I haven't seen MacBeth (which I have seen before), because I've now seen Throne of Blood.

Returning from battle, two generals encounter a spirit that foretells their fortune. In particular, one general shall become lord of the manor, but the other's son will secede him! The general gets paranoid, aided by his even more suspicious wife, until he makes the fortune true by blood, but then by blood shall he pay.

Another Akira Kurosawa movie and... I have to admit, I got severely bored during this. Despite what people say about Shakespeare being the end all and be all of plays and such, he can't engage me with his prose. Even when translated via Japanese. I do want to watch more of S's plays, but can I please have a version that actually tries to do more than present actors indulging themselves?

(It seems that for actors, if you haven't done Shakespeare, you aren't a real actor. And if you have done Shakespeare, then everything else is rubbish in comparison. So why do we have anything other than Shakespeare then?)

Anyway, I'll take The Hidden Fortress over this.

[END]

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Monday, 22 May 2017

Doctor Who 10.6

Oh, Moffat, Moffat, Moffat... I said this would happen.

I almost thought that Moffat was going to do something really surprising and have Doctor realise he was in a television series. Otherwise... we are just in a parallel universe and it doesn't really matter. It just becomes at what point do we realise it? To be honest, I didn't work it out until the end when they revealed it, but the general point still stands that once you are in a parallel universe, your interest drops dramatically.

Minor pick: they made a universe in which there's a book pointing out that this is a simulated universe? Which isn't in the real world, so the whole Vatican thing isn't there in the real world? Oh, and the TARDIS apparently doesn't translate Italian any more?

Anyway, given all that... this episode isn't bad. It's built around one gimmick that then gives away to another, which is a nice mystery episode, but nothing comes of it rather than "Hey, Doctor, this is how you know the information for next time, which we don't usually explain".

And then there's Missy. Who is in the Vault. I said the Vault would be entirely disappointing, and this is that, mainly because it was given away by fans long before anyone could really get invested in it. It looks like Moffat's trying to change the arc from the Vault to these Aliens, but I doubt they'll last more than the next episode, and then let's all remember how exciting the Silence were last time.

Quick test: would anything change if we remove this episode and next time the Doctor has simply heard of these aliens before? I doubt it.


NEXT TIME: I haven't been keeping track... is this supposed to be a part two?

[END]

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Saturday, 20 May 2017

Sixth Marx

With this movie, we have no longer had one movie a year, and Zeppo has left the troupe. A Night at the Opera.

There's a love triangle in this movie, where Lassparri is the lead singer and is in love with Rosa, who is in love with the chorus singer Ricardo (and he loves her). Lassparri is taken to New York and takes Rosa along, and Ricardo stowsaway to get there. Eventually, Lassparri is taken out allowing Ricardo and Rosa to be the stars.

Oh, and the Marx Brothers are in this as well, but you could be mistaken for not realising this is a Marx Brothers movie. They are around, and get bits to do, and this is definitely trying to be a comedy in places where they happen to be on screen... but everything stops for the above plot and it feels like it is in a different movie. It doesn't help that they are singing operatically in the main plot which feels completely at odds to the comedy the Brothers are doing. Even their comedy gets subsumed in the name of the plot.

I thought this was one of those classics (with the egg skit) but... it feels awkward.

[END]

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Friday, 19 May 2017

Wonder Fifth Falls

This is one of those mixed timelines episodes which flashes back and forth.

All of a sudden, Jaye's family has a French maid from Canada, ends up deported back, and Jaye and her brother go to get her. We also get the start of the brother Aaron, an atheist theologist, noticing Jaye talking to talking objects. This will continue through many episodes, and yet Aaron comes across the one who is crazy (because we know Jaye isn't).

Aaron is played by Lee Pace, who has quite a good career, most recent in Halt and Catch Fire. Other notable actors outside of guest stars are William Sadler as the father, and Neil Grayston as the mouthbreather, aka the assistant manager at the store Jaye works at.

But speaking of guest stars we get Colin Fox in a small scene but very well done. There are great guest stars in this series.

[END]

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Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Alien-2: Covenanent

Because Ridley Scott actually noticed the reaction to his previous movie, he made this one instead of continuing the story no-one was interested in.

A ship is travelling through space when it gets a signal from a planet, which is goes to only to find...

Okay, many of you can probably fill in the gaps, but that's a factor of the fact that nothing in this movie is surprising. There is no revelation that shocks you and you spend a lot of time going "and then this happens" until it finally does.

That said, it's not like these people are completely stupid. They behave well enough and with intelligence, with the main problem being they are just completely unaware of what it is they are unaware of and so can't counter it. At least in the first part of the movie, then we are just watching any other latter half Alien movie.

Acting wise, it's pretty good. At least until the mentioned second half when the acting as well as the plot becomes generic.

Aesthetic wise, and here is where I think Ridley really took on the feedback, the ship feels more like a step between Prome and Alien. One could say that Weyland spent the money on the expensive doodads, and now what's left for others is lesser downgraded tech. It's nice but it's a story I'm placing on it, it's not stated anywhere (but then the author is dead, so it's fine).

But mainly... this movie is PONDEROUS in the amount of time it takes to get anywhere. Remember in the first film it took ten hours to get to the eggs? Yeah, strap in boys, you are in for a long ride...

[END]

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Tuesday, 16 May 2017

A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence

It's the third Roy Andersson movie about being a human being and, er... This is A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence.

This has only a few recurring characters, and everyone with an on screen role in this movie is, to a man, a pale faced dour individual. I'm not sure if that was make up or just everyone is pasty faced in Sweden. This movie is about death, and we get that through everyone just having a miserable time. There are some very absurdist moments, but on the whole...

I have no idea what was going on and any time. To be honest, the movie could have ended at any point and I would have been just as wise as as I was when it did actually end.

Well that's done now, and this is not a set of movies for me.

[END]

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Monday, 15 May 2017

Doctor Who 10.5

ZOMBIES... IN.... SPAAAAAAAAACE!

This is a simple base under siege story... and it doesn't do anything interesting with it. To be honest, the biggest surprise was that only Bill was brought back, not all of them. It could easily have been said "for cost reasons, we are deactivating people until we can get profit and then reactivate them" and then everyone lives! And certainly no-one's particularly sad at the end at the number of deaths, and indeed it's positive "we're gonna go complain!" at the end. Really?

And wait a minute... it's half the episode before we meet the rest of the crew. So we have a bit of the Doctor and companions running away from the zombies... and then a section with the Doctor and companions running away from the zombies. Including a bit in which Bill dies, so we know that's not going to be permanent.

Really, what's happening by the end of the episode. We have that "the Doctor tried to evade his responsibilities and is punished for it", but why now? And the whole episode just for that pay off?

This episode just feels over done.


NEXT TIME: Big build up to giving away the surprise guest star/ending. Oops.

[END]

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Saturday, 13 May 2017

Fifth Marx

And this is a classic most people have seen. For Freedonia! Duck Soup.

Freedonia is over budget, and will only get money from a wealthy patron if Firefly is placed in charge. And so he is! However, Firefly is rather incompetent and soon they end up going to war... and everyone is even more incompetent then.

This is a Groucho heavy movie, with him in most scenes. While Chico and Harpo are around, they get less to do, and neither of them really do their party pieces with regards to playing music. They get some schtick, but it's rather incidental.

Yeah, basically, I wasn't as impressed by this as I thought I was going to be. At least the story got on with it and parts were entertaining enough, but it felt rather too random with how it set up scenes and finally got to the war parts.

Better luck next time?

[END]

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Friday, 12 May 2017

Wonder Fourth Falls

The writers need to make a short expression do a lot of work, and this episode is a great example of that.

The key phrase that drives the episode is "Bring her back", which also comes "Bring her back to him." The main character is a would be nun and a priest, so we get to bring her (nun) back to him (the priest), and then to Him. And by the end we find out the her ends up being the priest's unknown daughter.

Jaye makes the point "you should be clearer with your pronouns", but then the episode would be shorter as Jaye gets the point immediately. Then again there is a lot that happens because of various interpretations of the saying.

Oh, and we also get an exorcism, so this is a great moment.

[END]

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Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Gu2rdi2ns of the G2l2xy

One problem I have with how people talk about the Marvel movies is that people start with "these movies are good relative to other movies" (which they are), but then switch to "these movies are good" as an absolute, then move onto "this is a good movie", no matter what the movie is like.

Given all that... this feels like an average movie, although I know there are people already raving about it.

With this movie, we dive into more backstory and find out more about Peter's father. Whom I'm pretty sure is different in the comics. And we spend a lot of time with them catching up. There is also other races doing things, and...

Okay, there are huge chunks of this movie where not a lot happens. I can already hear "character development", but it feels more like "story stalling" with five or ten minutes being spent to get one beat that could have been done in seconds. This isn't terrible, but I have a hard time feeling like there is anything really momentous happening, either in the wider universe or in the character lives. There are a few revelations and character turns, but this feels more like a reaction to the audience reaction of the first movie and having to redo some of the characters to make them more of what the audience what, and less about the actual characters developing as they would.

I could say more about "hey, that's this character" or "I was expecting this to happen" but feel that details might be spoilers.

I'm sure you will check it out if you already plan on it, so know that if you haven't yet, you won't have a bad time.

[END]

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Tuesday, 9 May 2017

A New Leaf

A light comedy. I needed that, and quite enjoyed it. End of review? This is A New Leaf.

Henry Graham is a playboy but has run out of money. With a need to do something, he is given the idea of marrying someone, and discovers the easily manipulable Henriette Lowell. While he sees her as a rather useless specimen of womanhood, he nevertheless takes pain to care for her, and even sorts out her rather criminal household staff. Eventually, they go on a holiday overseas, and this provides the perfect opportunity for Henry to get rid of his other half.

This is Walter Matthau displaying fine form. Even though he's a rich layabout, yeah, we come to like him. But we also like Elaine May and I, for one, could see the movie going either way at the end. It's good that there's that uncertainty, which gives a good chance for a character beat involving a leaf token.

We also have Doris Roberts as part of the household staff, whom I recognised but had to look up to remember she was Mildred Krebs in Remington Steele.

So yes, a good comedy, well recommend a seeing.

[END]

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Monday, 8 May 2017

Doctor Who 10.4

Hey, a good horror episode... right up to the reveal.

The key, as ever, is atmospheric build up, and this sets it up well. The cast get separated, creepy moments without explanation occur, and strange sounds abound. I'm in!

And then... the bugs come out, and it all goes to pot. They're just...too sci fi. Having it being proper dryads would have been something more interesting. Instead we get CGI bugs decomposing people, and then, at the end, (nearly) EVERYONE LIVES! Sigh.

Still, David Suchet is absolutely brilliant as ever. And at the end when he goes childlike, that's amazing. (So much for the hint that he was more than he seemed though... and that doesn't explain how he popped up all over the place, unless the bugs transported him through the wood without ever converting him?)

It's a good half an episode, but then it falls flat.


NEXT TIME: Zombies? Spacesuit zombies? Meh...

[END]

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Saturday, 6 May 2017

Fourth Marx

A shorter movie this time, but one that works better. This was supposed to be a follow up to the last movie, but real life events with the Lindbergh baby made them change it into Horse Feathers.

Professor Quincey Wagstaff (Groucho) is the new dean of Huxley college, but is told by his son Frank (Zeppo) that their football team is in trouble. He goes to a speakeasy to get some ringers (which are grabbed by the other college first) but do get two people, the Ice man Baravelli (Chico) and Pinky the Dog catcher (Harpo). Meantime, Frank is hooking up with the college widow Connie Bailey (Thelma Todd), but she is actually working for the other college and is trying to get the college signals. Baravelli and Pinky are sent to kidnap the two ringers, but are caught by them. It all ends up at the football game as the Brothers come together to slapstick their way to a victory.

Now this is more like it! Antics, and plenty of them, but mixed in and actually helping the plot. There were some great moments, and seeing Harpo in a metal cab being led by a horse (yes, referencing the Roman gladiator) made me laugh whenever it was on screen. The whole thing felt better integrated and everything flowed well. Although I'm not sure Thelma entirely enjoyed herself, especially when she is dogpiled at the end.

Let's keep cranking these out, eh?

[END]

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Friday, 5 May 2017

Wonder Third Falls

Jaye, meet real Gen Y. While comedy, we also get a rather dramatic/horror stalker...

Bianca is an aspiring journalist... who is not even slightly getting anywhere with journalism. She attaches herself to Jaye and follows her around... and slowly starts to become more like her... and then becomes a better Jaye than Jaye is, even to her friends and parents. Jaye becomes... rather insecure over this, and takes on Bianca's job of doing an article. So Bianca gets the credit without having to do work... Gen Y!

This is great horror/comedy, with the journalist aspect a reveal halfway through the episode showing off why Bianca is stalking her. This would otherwise lead Jaye into self reflection about her own life, but instead we get that Jaye is actually happy with her life how she is.

Bryan Fuller should give that horror thing a real go.

[END]

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Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Fate of the Fastious

Cars and babes and incredibly stupid plots involving driving, it's another movie in the franchise.

For reasons, Dom is having to go rogue against his old team/family, so we get many a scene of people not believing that Dom really did go rogue, and scenes of Dom looking stoic. (Which involves Vin Diesel looking wooden and emotionless... I'm just saying that to leave the obvious joke out there for whoever wants it.) This all culminates in a stupid plan and if you've seen the trailer you know what's coming.

While I'm not saying this is rote, it definitely doesn't feel outstanding and original. We do have Dom being against the team, but the scenes could be any ridiculous stunts out of any of the movies, only ramped up for current production values.

However, the main issue I have with this is that there are too many characters. Yes, okay, we have recently written out Han and Brian, but we have so many others come in to replace them that I can't remember who many of them are and what role they play. Hell, two of the characters are doing the same job, a sure sign of character redundancy.

No doubt there will be other movies in this franchise still to come.

[END]

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Tuesday, 2 May 2017

You, The Living

It's another Roy Andersson movie. Well, it can't get worse, can it? This is You, The Living.

It's another collection of people and disjointed scenes. We get a few of them telling us their dreams... which we then get to see. There are people playing instruments, a guy getting a haircut, and a woman wanting to marry a band lead...

And, yeah, I still have no idea what's going on. Especially that ending. What the? However...

I did actually, well not necessarily enjoy, but didn't mind at all. I don't know if this is a lighter movie, or I knew what to expect, or I was just in a better mood. But I was able to let it wash over me and relax into it more.

There's still another one to go, so there might be a chance I actually work out what's going on at some point?

[END]

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Monday, 1 May 2017

Doctor Who 10.3

Yep, it's an episode set in the past... but I'm mainly trying to think if this is more Beast Below or Meat.

Once again we bring up but quickly gloss over the problem of characters being black. And that there are kids stealing that doesn't bother anyone. And there's a Lord chappy who somehow got this alien creature in the Thames chained up? And worked out how to make use of it in productive ways. And large fish that aren't explained that somehow manage to whiz around fast enough to make a blur but don't get in each others way.

So am I just picking this to pieces? Small things aside, how does it work as a whole? Um... not that impressive really. This feels very light, with more of an excuse to put in some pretty speeches.

Actually, is this Empty Child with the kids being the only ones involved in what's going on?

Anyway, this just feels like a not-much episode, with a hint at the end at the larger plot arc. There you are.


Next time: The Haunting was a terrible movie, why would they make an episode out of it?

[END]

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