Blake’s 7 [Redux] // S01E06 – Seek, Locate, Destroy

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EXT: POWER PLANT SOMEWHERE IN SURREY

Blake wanders around dirt patches and random industrial edifices like a kid [me] waiting for his dad to stop fucking around with that fibreglass mould inside the hangar.

A robot on wheels appears and fails to spot Blake due to only using its face to do the checking.

Blake comes out of hiding and tells Vila to teleport down and open the gate.

 

INT: LIBERATOR TELEPORT ROOM

Vila contractually complains a bit, grabs his toolkit and stands on the pad.

‘Tell Blake to be careful,’ says Jenna.

‘What about me?’

‘And tell him Callie and I have come up with some targets for our next mission…’

‘Am I not important?’

‘And tell him we understand why he ignored us this time, and why he went down to the planet while we stayed here and why he insisted on meeting in the sauna last night and why he had to sit between Callie and I and why Avon was on his lap and…’

‘I was stretching, actually,’ corrects Avon. ‘Near his lap, not on.’

‘Can’t you tell him all this yourself, over the comm?’ asks Vila.

‘He won’t listen to me,’ answers Jenna with a frown.

Vila says ‘ah’ and looks at Avon, who nods and beams him down.

‘Do you think it worked?’

‘Your pursuit of more screen time? As long as they don’t introduce a sociopathic, power-hungry yet slinky female villain twenty minutes into this ep, sure. It worked tremendously.’

Jenna sighs. ‘I should’ve stayed on Earth and become a lobbyist.’ Continue reading

Mandy [SPOILERS]

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Director: Panos Cosmatos

Cast: Nicolas Cage, Andrea Riseborough, Linus Roach, Bill Duke, a bunch of real life cultists, The Cheddar Goblin

Plot: Red and Mandy live a peaceful life in the Shadow Mountains, a place that is idyllic during the day and nightmarishly red and misty at night. One day, Jeremiah Sand and his cult get lost on the way to the recording studio and pass by Mandy, who chooses the worst possible moment to look interesting. Sand decides that he must possess her so sends his goons to summon some demonic bikers and kidnap her.

Subplot: An overweight kid has a gnawing sense of dread as he suspects his new friends don’t like him as much as they say they do.

Subplot 2: Bill Duke sits in a trailer, worrying that ‘Fuck Off’ isn’t clear enough.

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Is there nothing else out there like Mandy?

I don’t watch enough movies to make that claim, but it is weird, and slow-paced, and it does have those moments that transcend expectations and make you think, J J Abrams would never have done that.

Instead of reviewing it, I’m gonna point out all those moments, in no real order.

Calling the satanic bikers using the rock of ??

As with most of the film, there’s no exposition about what the rock of ?? does or how it works or how Jeremiah Sand came across it, the cultists just park their van in the middle of a blood forest and blow on it. Then wait.

While waiting, the blond cultist who always has his mouth open, winds down the window, looks out at nothing, winds it back up again, pauses, winds it down again, looks out at nothing etc. The cultist who blew on the rock is caught in the foreground slowly losing his patience and maybe what’s left of his mind. In most other films, there would’ve been dialogue. In this one, nope.

When they’re not glued to their leader, these cultists hate each other. Continue reading

DS9 Redux: His Way

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NOTE: This one’s quite long, quite sleazy and turns most Trek characters into pervs. Don’t read if the idea of Odo having sex upsets you.

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Vic Fontaine stands on the same set used for Federation sex parties, singing slowly to a tedious beat. The musicians in the background look tired, as if they’ve been playing since Season 1.

Dax, Worf, Bashir, O’Brien, Kira, Odo, Worf, Dax, Worf, Bashir, Odo, Kira, Worf, O’Brien and Worf stand at the bar watching him.

Worf checks his watch, grimaces then leans over to Jadzia. ‘When does it end?’

Dax puts a finger to her mouth.

‘It’s been an hour already…’

‘Worf…quiet.’

‘How can one man sing for so long?’

Vic seems to notice the Klingon turning against him, and the song ends. He walks over and lets Bashir introduce him to everyone.

‘This is Dax and Worf…’

‘Hey…how long have you guys been married?’

Dax and Worf look surprised. ‘How did you know we were married?’ asks Worf.

‘Easy, when you’ve been around as long as I have, you notice things.’

Vic notices the Chief staring at a pretty extra nearby. ‘Hey, buddy, don’t worry…’

‘Huh?’

‘It’s okay to touch, just don’t let the wife catch you.’

The Chief nods. ‘I’ve waited so long for someone to say that…you know, I’ve been poking the same woman for eight seasons now.’ Continue reading

The Expanse season 1 [Spoilers]

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Plot: a group of ice haulers from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter go from ship destruction to ship destruction, pinballing themselves into a conspiracy, possibly a web of it, to start an inter-planetary war.

War between?

Mars, Earth and the Belt, which are all probably representative of specific nations on Earth, not sure which ones.

I suppose Earth might be the US, Mars might be China/Asia and the Belters are the entire third world.

Or it might be real world politics simplified into three groups.

Though what does that make Russia?

The OPA [Outer Planetary Alliance]?

Characters:

Holden the unofficial ship captain [Does most of the talking, so much of it that other characters just start looking towards him whenever they need to make a decision]

Naomi the vice captain/possible former OPA operative. Has a British accent, but is not from the usual crop of rich kids e.g. Daisy Ridley, Keira Knightley, Felicity Jones.

Amos the muscular, pragmatic grunt. Not homophobic and at home in sleazy bars cos that’s where he grew up.

Alex the pilot, who flew for Mars and gets a costume out of it in episode 3.

Chrisjen the UN rep who will defend Earth and deliver lines badly at all costs.

Miller the working class cop who has only ever killed one person before episode 8, and about 23 people two episodes later. Continue reading

The Tomb of Ligeia 1964 [thoughts + spoilers]

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Starring: Vincent Price, a possessed cat

Director: Roger Corman [Masque of Red Death]

Screenwriter: Robert Towne [‘Swing Shift’, ‘Mission Impossible 2’, Lloyd Bridges Show]

Plot: A reclusive widow with an aversion to sunlight, who is supposed to be in his 20’s but is instead Vincent Price in his early 50’s, allows an impulsive young woman from a mansion nearby to hang around his own mansion twice before she falls in love with him and they get married. The only problem is the dead wife of the man is buried in the back garden and she’s some kind of Egyptian witch who isn’t fond of sharing her husband with anyone. Her plan; ring a bell very loud and snarl at the new wife when in cat form.

Subplot: an admirer of the young woman tries to use his brain to figure out what’s going on and rescue her from her dangerous + exciting marriage so he can then trap her in a stable and tedious marriage with him. Opening line of Tomb of Ligeia 2? ‘Into the living room and knit me a sweater, sweetheart.’

Sub sub plot: a cat tries to regain control of its brain after being possessed by a dead Egyptian witch, but ultimately fails and is relieved when Vince Price strangles it to death.

Any good?

As with all Corman-Poe-Price films, it’s watchable, though it doesn’t achieve the greatness of The Masque of the Red Death, probably because the main horror comes from a possessed cat.

Possessed cats are neither interesting nor scary. Continue reading

Nirvana in Fire [defies weird translated title to be decent Chinese historical drama]

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Nirvana in Fire [not sure what the Chinese title is, but don’t try directly translating anything from Chinese, you’ll end up with weird results] was the most popular Mainland drama in 2015, even the most popular of the last 10 years if you believe the hype machine, which I didn’t mostly cos the only other Mainland drama I know is the one where Fan Bing Bing became the Empress of China.

What’s it about?

The plot’s hard to layout as there are so many characters [you’ll be lost in the first few episodes. In fact, in Hong Kong most people are still lost after 35 episodes, which has led to terrible ratings and a desperate attempt by TVB to get it over and done with as fast as possible, mainly by showing double episodes on Saturdays and Sundays. It’s all pretty sad as a] it’s a good drama and really not that hard to follow if you pay attention, and b] the average audience for TVB has been revealed to be either braindead or only half-watching.]

Those were long brackets.

Basically, the story’s set around 500AD, I don’t know the official name for this period, but it was after the Three Kingdoms and before the Sui/Tang dynasties, and generally is an underexposed era for historical dramas. Basically, China was split in half [north and south] and those regions were further split into mini-kingdoms. The one in the drama is made-up but they talk about the Wei, which was real, and the other big kingdom at that time was the Jin, either northern or southern, I’m not sure.

I actually like dramas that are set in unfamiliar periods, though to be honest most periods of Chinese history are pretty unfamiliar to me. I know the vague details, but not the specific player names or the majority of main events/rebellions/coups etc.

Nirvana in Fire focuses on a main character, Mei Chengsu, the leader of the Jiangzou Alliance [basically a bunch of criminals, rebels and outlaws, kind of like Mance Rayder and the wildlings in Game of Thrones], who travels to the capital to make an unfavoured prince the next Emperor. He does this through manipulation and meticulous planning, sometimes unbelievably meticulous as every small character seems to be one of his spies and no one else realises it.

Secretly, and this is revealed early on so not really a spoiler, he’s the son of a general who was labelled a traitor by the current Emperor 13 years earlier and massacred.  Actually, the Emperor was just going by what he was told by others, so it’s not completely his fault, and he’s suspicious by nature so he’s not a hard guy to manipulate. Continue reading

Daredevil on TV – season 1 [spoilers]

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A year too late with this, but I watched season 1 of Daredevil and these thoughts came into my head either while watching or afterwards when I probably should’ve been thinking about other things like Cantonese and Dracula 2…

As with most things that can be discussed, the thoughts are mostly problems, but I did like the show overall and respected the writers’ decision to have two hour long scenes of uninterrupted dialogue every episode, even if the dialogue wasn’t always good enough to warrant it.

Rosario Dawson really did take a long time to exit his apartment in

episode 10, didn’t she?

Of all the gangs, the Russians were the first to go

If you’ve ever met a Russian, you’ll know this was ludicrous. They would’ve been hanging on with their fingertips, even if they’d had their hands chopped off.

Russians will do things that no other gangster will, except maybe Mexicans, and can take punishment like no other can

except a scripted TV hero or

John McClane.

I know, I might just be basing this on Eastern Promises and Red Heat and

Russian porn and Running Scared and The Equalizer and…

Actually the only Russians I’ve ever met were a prostitute in HK and an angry dinner lady in Moscow airport and

no, I did not fuck the prostitute

[or the dinner lady] Continue reading