Sunday, June 28, 2009

Women are different. Screw the feminist critique. Women are just different. I'm the stay at home parent. I am a bloke. I'm not the blokiest bloke you'll ever meet, but I'm still a bloke. Despite my best efforts both my girls have become seduced by the pink side of the force. The house is full of Barbie, Disney Princesses and other pinky pukeness.

Just now Holly (7) stood, staring into her new (pink) stuffed to bursting point wardrobe and said:

"I've got nothing to wear!"

Where do they learn this shit?

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Arse!  Now my fucking sewer is blocked!
Things are stopping in our house at the moment. I have no idea why but over the last few weeks two DVD players have given up the ghost (one in the middle of a movie), a couple of CD players have decided they are only going to play the CDs they like*, the kids' computer just refused to even switch on, the toaster died a couple of days ago and, the same afternoon, the Sky-box remote controller somehow managed to get confused and think it was the TV 'sremote controller - all it would do was switch the TV off. Not on again. Just off. Then the Kettle died. Argh!

Oh - and the speedometer on the car crapped out on me on the way to Oban the other day. I was barrelling along, looked down and found I was (at least according to my dashboard) stationary. I pulled in at the next lay by and re-booted the car. I'm convinced 90% of everything can be fixed by switching it off and then back on again. (The other 10% involves duct tape.) It worked and I drove off at 30 miles an hour, and the speedo agreed with me.

I have also managed to fix the toaster, though that took a little more work. I had to saw a bit of the internal structure in half with a padsaw to get the casing off. (I laugh in the face of your fancy security tamper-proof screws! Hahaha!) And then, after prodding it relentlessly for half an hour, while marvelling at the fact that my toaster had two microchips in it, bent one of the components so it actually came into contact with the other component it was supposed to come into contact with - and now it works again. Hurrah! All that work to rescue a £5 Tesco toaster. (Why are there microchips in there?)

Flushed with sucess, I took the back off the kids' computer and peered into it as if I knew what I was looking at. (I don't.) I had a good look to see if there were any obviously exploded components. (There weren't.) I wiped the thin layer of dust from the bottom of the case with a wet-wipe - and put the case back on.
I turned to Merriol, said: "I dunno, what I'm doing in here. I think we're just going to have to buy them another one," and pressed the On button just to see what would happen. And the thing started up as if it had just come out of the factory. I should threaten inanimate objects more often.

The Sky remote got over its identity crisis the next day and is as good as new.

The CD players are holding out though; they still refuse to play anything other than The Smurfs Go Pop, and anything recorded by Simon and Garfunkle. I'm not sure what their demands are but I refuse to be blackmailed. We're buying a new CD player. Or rather we're buying another new CD player because as I typed this I remembered we did buy a new CD player last month - and had to take it back when it died on us after three days. The shop had run out of that particular model which allowed you to plug a USB stick into the side of it and we couldn't get another.

The DVD players we've bought to replace the two that died turn out to be the only DVD players on the planet for which there is no region hack. Which means I now have shelves full of crappy Region One movies bought from the States which I cannot watch - even if I wanted to. Which I now suddenly do. Because I can't.

I've been all over the web and all of the hacks I have found that are claimed to work - don't.

If you happen to know the region hack for a Technika DVDRAW08 please let me know. And if you know any way of hypnotising CD players into stopping sulking I would be grateful for that too.

*They have lousy taste.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Hide! It's My Time Of The Month Again

  1. Robots - Predictable but fun. The kids liked it and I enjoyed the scenery.
  2. The Green Slime - Most of which was spent staring, in horrible fascination, at the hero's hairstyle.
  3. Clockstoppers - predictable teen SF with more plot holes and science fiction stupidities that I could count - but not terrible.
  4. Fascination - more French naked ladies in a rented châteaux, only this time they're bourgeois lesbian vampires not aliens. And the plot made more sense - unless you asked yourself questions like, why are these two naked bourgeois lesbian vampires trying to have sex without actually touching each other? Mind you this is not the only movie. Most 'lesbian' sex in films seems to take place between actresses who appear to be in different countries to their partners - though maybe this is the way real lesbian sex is, I have no idea. I willing to do the the research though.

  5. Night of the Bloody Apes - coo! Thanks to the mighty power of the Internet I get to see a film banned in the UK (well, until 1999 at least).

    A doctor's son is dying from Generic Terminal Non-specific Movieitis. To save his life Daddy hits upon the idea of giving him a blood transfusion from a gorilla - and just to make sure his system can cope with the more 'vigorous' blood, he gives him the gorilla's heart for good measure. Meanwhile, a sexy masked female wrestler, Lucy (who gains a good thirty pounds every time her stunt double steps into the ring) is having a crisis of confidence after putting her opponent into a coma. As chance would have it her cop boyfriend is assigned to find the missing ape.

    The morning after the operation, the 'cured' son undergoes one of those movie transformations which involves the poor actor remaining motionless for hours while eager make-up artists glue hair all over his face (only stopping every couple of minutes to have another frame of film exposed. It used to happen to Lon Chaney Jr a lot, apparently to help Lon keep his head in the right position as he got turned into the Wolfman, they used to make the 'pillow' on the bed he always seemed to end up lying on, out of plaster so it was a solid lump with a Lon Chaney Jr's head-shaped dent in it). In this case the whole process must have taken about twenty minutes because not only does our hero's head change but his entire body does too, suddenly he's not a feek and weeble invalid, he's a huge muscley Mexican wrester with a bad hair do and a shaven chest. He escapes. One (graphic) murder of a showering woman later, he's back strapped to Dad's basement operating theatre. To reverse the process Daddy needs a living human heart, luckily he has the coma wrestling girl from scene one lying about. (Everyone waits expectantly to see what the transsexual Mexican wrestling Gorilla transformation will be like).

    Gratuitous nudity

    Our monster escapes again and three bloody deaths and one rape (in which our victim enthusiastically kicks great swathes of artificial grass about to reveal the studio floor) later and he's got her heart in his chest. It works! - for a bit, then the son transforms back into the monster, rips the head off the lab assistant, tucks his dad up in bed (I kid you not!), scalps a cop, kills a couple of doctors, kidnaps a child and gets shot to death on the hospital roof. "It's really sad." says the heroine. The End.

    What I suspect got this film banned for so many years (apart from all the rather gruesome gratuitous violence) was the fact that the heart transplant operations in the movie used footage of real heart transplant operations. Strangely shocking seeing real blood and a real human heart beating in someone's hands with all this sweaty Mexican nonsense going on around it.

    Curiously the Monster is shirtless but his trousers come up to his sternum. It always baffles me about the mores of these movies that it's okay to show open heart surgery, naked women, clothed women getting strangled and raped, people getting their eyeballs poked out. But showing someone's belly button? No, now you're going too far. Other curiosities include one of the props, a book, which turns up in just about every set. It's never opened, used, or even mentioned, it's just there, on every desk in Mexico.

    And why every beat cop in Mexico has a cod Irish accents is another mystery.
  6. The Apple - every now and then I just get totally lost for words. Back in the dark days of the eighties Cannon Films nearly took over the movie world. They owned Thorn EMI, cinema chains, movie studios, the works. Coming from practically nowhere they achieved all this by promising the Earth to anyone with more than $50 to invest, some interesting accounting practices, and sheer fucking chutzpah. And they made movies. Loads of movies. 43 in one year. None of them were any good and only the ones starring Chuck Norris and Charles Bronson took a cent after their first week.

    The Apple was their big musical.

    I have never seen Can't Stop the Music, the Village People's only movie, but I'm going to make a stab and say The Apple is probably ten times camper, twenty times worse, and has to be much funnier.

    The Apple has a paper thin story. In a totalitarian DiscoFuture (1994) where everyone wears silver suits with huge shoulders, And cars look suspiciously like late 1979 models with transparent domes and huge fins pasted on to them, a sweet innocent girl singer is seduced by the dark side and signs to the biggest agent in the business, the Satanic Mr Boogalow.

    Please allow me to introduce myself, .
    I'm a man of wealth and... oh...

    Her true love doesn't sign but instead wanders about for a bit trying to remember what his acting teacher told him to do in what was going to turn out be his only movie appearance; he gets drugged and has his brains fucked out at a Disco Orgy and finally meets a bunch of Hippies led by Joss Ackland (trying manfully to pretend he isn't in the movie by hiding behind a huge beard). The girl sees the error of her ways and walks out on Mr Boogalow and she and her boyfriend live happily in the park with the lovely flower people - aaaaaaah! BUT! Just as the Disco Police lead by the evil Mr Boogalow and his lawyers are about to arrest the "Refugees from the sixties" for helping her break her contract, and two minutes from the end of the movie, our wooden hero looks skyward and mumbles 'I'm sure Mr Topps will come and rescue us...' to which his missus looks somewhat puzzled - as does everyone in the audience - because this is the first time anyone has heard the name 'Mr Topps'. Cue heavenly music. Enter badly matted flying Gold Rolls Royce, Enter Joss Ackland (again) in a white suit and long blond wig (this time trying to hide behind a very dodgy Southern accent) who whisks them all off to heaven. The End. Seriously, that's it. A real, genuine unabashed Deux Ex Machina ending.

    Chariots of the Acklands

    According to the IMDb the audience at the premier were given complimentary copies of the soundtrack. They threw them at the screen causing 'extensive damage' (to the screen presumably, I don't think we can hold them responsible for damaging the movie. Far too late for that). I don't blame them for throwing things but can't help thinking they would have been better throwing them at the director.

    You can catch the trailer here:

    To be fair to the movie (why AM I doing this?) the ending might not have originally been quite as Deux Ex Machinistic as the final result. The trailer seems to contain at least one (wedding?) scene with the Hippies that doesn't appear in the movie. My DVD has a run time of 86 minutes, the theatrical release was 90, but even if those missing 4 minutes did set up a mythical Mr Topps it could have only been in the last few minutes of the film. Still pretty DEMish.

    EDIT: I just realised the difference in running times between DVD and theatrical are almost certainly due to differing frame rates (cinemas project film at 24 frames per second, TVs run at 25 FPS - 30 in the US) but it turns out there is a longer cut still in existence and I do need to get out more don't I?
  7. Madagascar 2 - Took the kids to see it at the local community cinema. I would have enjoyed it a lot more if I hadn't nearly had a stand-up, knock-down fight with the digital 'projectionist' who wouldn't/couldn't see the problem with projecting a 16:9 movie at 4:3. "It just looks fucking WRONG! can't you see that? The shot, early on, when we see the little lion's POV of the gun barrel. The holes in gun barrels are round! - not oval!" What was even more depressing was that no one else seemed to notice. Or care. It's amazing how many people don't notice - or care - that whatever they are pointing their faces at is all squished up, or stretched out stupidly wide. I say 'pointing their faces' because they can't be watching it or they would notice. Wouldn't they?
  8. The Atomic Submarine - Movie acting 101: Don't tread on the next guys lines. It is (or was) standard practice in Hollywood movie acting to leave your lines 'clean'. Don't start talking till the other person has finished, especially if you are in a setup that you know is going to be intercut with another angle of the same scene - ie same dialogue but with another actor's face filling the screen. The gaps in-between the lines when nobody is speaking are what the editor needs to seamlessly splice the different shots together. He may overlap the sounds to make it appear as if both people are speaking at once, or stretch the silence to increase the mood of the moment, or alter the timing of a gag, but he needs it clean to start with.

    This is a very clean movie. Almost every line of dialogue has a second long pause at the end of it before the next one comes in. Sometimes there are pauses in the middle of lines. Too. Which is odd.

    Whole swathes of (admittedly banal) dialogue in this movie came over so ponderously slowly that I thought I was watching a rough cut. But when the dialogue in question is of this quality you can forgive almost anything. The scene is a small corner of studio space made to look like the ward room of the Atomic Submarine USSS Dogfart by having some pipes and lockers placed against a wall:

    Scientist #1:.
    (Bringing in a photograph of a UFO that looks
    uncannily like the underwater thingie that has just attacked the sub.) I knew there was something familiar. Take a look... This picturewas taken by an amateur astronomer over New Mexico. I have had it since I served on the Air Force evaluation board for UFO reports.

    Explaining Acronyms Officer:
    Unidentified Flying Objects.

    Then this is a flying saucer!...

    Scientist #1:
    That was the popular designation - yes.

    Weren't all the sightings in the sky? not underwater?

    Scientist #2:
    This would explain why there were never any reports of
    landings. It's quite possible that whoever or whatever inhabits this craft is not a land creature at all - but some sort of marine life...

    Another Officer:.
    That would make our little green men

    - actually little green fish.

    Undersea Flying Saucers.... Hmmmm.

    The driver of the underwater flying saucer is wonderful a gloopy eyeball on a stick with tenticles that must have cost at least tens of dollars (most of the SFX budget went on filming the producers sons' toy submarines - presumably, from the quality of the footage, in the producer's bathtub) and is undoubtedly the inspiration for the one-eyed aliens in the Simpsons.

    At last Commander, we meet - as your people say... face to face!

    That's a face?

  9. The Bamboo Saucer - A hot-shot test pilot is buzzed by a flying saucer, looses his job, and becomes obsessed with proving he wasn't seeing things. He is recruited go on a secret mission to 'Red' China where reports have arrived of a downed saucer similar to the one he described. The (US) military wants the saucer destroyed rather than let the pesky Commies get their hands on it. In China our gung-ho heroes meet A bunch of Russians on the same mission. An uneasy truce develops between the two parties and at the end the three surviving members fly the saucer to Switzerland (via Mars and Saturn) with a fervent plea that all mankind unite. And you know what? It's not bad. It's not great, don't get me wrong, but for a film that starts so badly - the opening shot is a stock footage pan of a plane taking off which we are expected to believe is the view out of a window. I don't know about you but my windows don't move to follow the action outside. It slowly develops into vastly different movie. The first couple of reels are pretty standard Cold-war, Commie-bashing rubbish SF - including a cutaway of this rather wonderful graph showing the test plane's altitude:

    A graph showing the pilot is so out of control of his experimental .
    jet aircraft that he apparently goes back in time for a bit .

    But by the time we get to the end the mood has changed completely with both Russian and American finding common cause (and yes, Love) and nearly everyone ends up dead (including our 'star'). The three characters that are left alive are trapped in a runaway spaceship they cannot understand, seemingly doomed to crash into Saturn. But they figure it out. Not that there's aren't some real howlingly bad bits along the way - I mean really, what are the chances of an alien spaceship's door mechanism being triggered by the hum of a portable electric razor? And whoever wrote the line:
  10. The Strange World of Planet X - In 1958 Eros Films released The Strange World of Planet X (as well as the dementedly awful Fiend Without a Face). Just to prove the Brits could make bloody awful SF films too. In Planet X a government scientist and his assistants (one of them a WOMAN!) are trying to do something to something else with gigantically powerful magnetic fields. As it happens this is not a good idea because they accidentally dent the Heaviside layer and let in Cosmic Rays. These rays makes a tramp attack a girl in the woods and makes insects get really close to the camera so they look huge and then eat people standing further away. The movie is not exactly action packed. It's short; only 75 minutes but feels a lot longer. People just talk and talk and endlessly talk in that clipped British acting style that has, thankfully, long disappeared. Long takes (not in itself a bad thing) with stage trained actors taking turns delivering their lines towards each other before they forget them (preferably without moving their lips):

    "I have to say this now."

    "I'm glad you said that because I have to say this to you. Oh, and I have deliver a plot point."

    "Well I have a plot point of my own to deliver as well."

    "Really? Do you? That's rather good of you."

    "Would you like a cup of tea?"

    "Most kind, but no thank you. I have to go and get shot in the chest by a mad scientist. I have to attempt to persuade him from repeating the experiment and possibly dooming the world."

    "Do you?"

    "Yes, I do."

    "Sounds painful."

    "I expect it will be."

    "Well, Cheerio, old chap."

    "Cheerio. It's been nice acting in your general direction. I say, doctor Misguided, be a good fellow and put down the gun would you!"

    God it was boring. The script must have looked like a telephone book. So many words and so drearily delivered. Thank god for our hero Forrest Tucker who, being an American actor, managed to get out some of his lines as if he actually meant them - even if he knew they were garbage. Anyway, it all comes right at the end when the creepy stranger, Mr Smith, turns out to be a benevolent alien come to explain everything (at great length) and rescue everyone by painfully bad special effects.
    That's three movies in a row with Flying Saucers using magnetic lines of force for propulsion. Spooky.
  11. Parts: The Clonus Horror - (MST3K) Much as I enjoy Mystery Science Theatre 3000's riffing on crappy crappy movies, they do sometimes get it very very wrong. They got it wrong here. MST3K works well when the audience is complicit, when the movie is undeniably dreadful and deserving of derision. Parts: The Clonus Horror is not a bad a movie (but could easily have been so much better). Clonus doesn't deserve deriding like this. The central premise is good and the story credible (well... just.) In short, after a few brief establishing shots showing a presidential hopeful on the stump who we know we will be coming back to later (because he is played by an actor we recognise) we find ourselves in a strange happy place with lots of happy healthy people jogging and biking and being happy. Occasionally one of the happy people gets to go to a mythical 'America' and is never seen again. One of the happy healthy people starts to question what is really going on and discovers that he is the clone of an important person, and so are all the other happy happy healthy people (clones of different famous people that is- they're not all clones of the same person. he might have noticed that a lot earlier). They are, he discovers, mere collections of walking spare parts, kept in happy ignorance till their organs are needed by their wealthy 'parents'. As used to happen, but is no longer the case in American movies, the good guys don't win. The bad guys win. The hero ends up in a body bag awaiting dissection, and everyone who has helped him along the way is disposed of by the evil henchmen of the corporation in charge of the project. Chief amongst them is the presidential hopeful of the opening sequence (I told you!). It's not brilliantly done but it was good enough for Dreamworks to clone it as their 2005 movie The Island (starring Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson). When The Island came out the director of Clonus threaten to sue the hell out of them. He submitted 90+ points of similarity between the movies, a judge said he had a case, and Dreamworks settled out of court for a substantial sum. What lets Clonus down is some pretty bland acting from an uncharismatic lead, and a lack of budget - though they did pretty well for the quarter of a million dollars they did have.
  12. Earth Alien - aka Endangered Species. Eric Roberts is a cop chasing down a serial killer who turns out to be an alien hunter. Eric is helped by a mysterious stranger who turns out to be the Warden of the game reserve we know as the planet Earth. American cars it turns out are made out of napalm and nitroglycerine and explode if you look at them too hard. Turns out that the wintery look to the movie was more to do with it being shot in Lithuania, with a few American props dropped here and there, than anything else. Turns out I will watch any old shit if there is gratuitous nudity in the first ten minutes and the promise of more to come.

    Some more gratuitous nudity.

  13. Inspector Gadget - 48 hours after watching this with the kids I have no memory of it whatsoever apart from the music. Do be do be di do do doo, do be do di dooooo... which I knew before hand anyway.
  14. Riders to The Stars - First directorial chore by Richard Carlson (who you may remember from such films as It Came from outer Space, Creature from the Black Lagoon, and as a career high point, eloping with Bette Davis' daughter in The Little Foxes) in which top scientists are recruited for a secret project by aged venerable Herbert Marshall (who I last saw wielding a fire extinguisher at killer robots in Gog - but who may wished to be remembered more for a career high point role as Bette Davis' husband in - The Little Foxes.) All attempts to shoot a rocket into space have failed due to their coming back to earth with their molecular structure changed by the bombardment of Cosmic Rays. The metal is brittle and smashes like glass. Somehow meteorites don't get changed this way, the 'iron and steel' (sic) of which they are made is somehow invulnerable. Ergo... (scientists pace before blackboards racking their brain for a solution) ...somehow they must have a protective coating which gets burned off in the earth's atmosphere! What we need is a bunch of volunteers to sit on top of stock footage of V2 rockets and go capture an meteor before it looses the protective coating and bring it back for analysis. At this point the writers neatly and cleverly get round the gaping circular logical plot hole flaw in their story by skillfully ignoring it and hoping nobody will notice. Three scientist eventually get chosen and blasted off to scoop up meteors. Two of them (one of them played by the director) die. One returns (much to the relief of the female scientist and Herbert Marshall who turns out to be his dad). Herbert takes one look at the meteor in the scoop and announces it's "crystallized carbon - Rockets and space stations will be able to stand the bombardment of cosmic rays with a coating of crystallized pure carbon"..

    "Diamond" breaths the lady scientist.

    And with the image of the 1950s American space program launching blinged up V2s firmly stuck in my head (far more securely than anything the makers of Inspector Gadget managed to stick in there), I'm going to bed.
  15. The Brain From Planet Arous - John Agar is a nuclear scientist whose body is taken over by the disembodied criminal brain of the title. Agar get to go "Mwahahaha!" a lot wearing scary contact lenses.

    Are we having fun yet?

    Everyone else gets to act at thin air a lot when another disembodied brain from the planet Arous turns up and hovers around talking to his concerned family.

    For great periods people talk to the top right hand corner of their living room because the director told them that that is where the special effects guys would later place the floating brain - unfortunately he forgot to tell the special effects guys that this is what they were supposed to do (that or the money ran out) and so the poor actors spend a lot of on-screen time talking to lampshades.

    Spot the Brain Competition.

    Using your skill and judgment mark with a cross where
    you think the center of the giant floating brain should be.

    As it happens this second brain is a good disembodied brain come to save the world from the evil disembodied brain (both played by the same prop but with different voices) so, instead of taking over a human being, it merely possesses the family dog, popping out every now and then for a chat. I guess he had to pop out because having elderly actors talking to thin air is obviously cheaper than trying to teach a dog to talk. The evil disembodied brain has to pop out of our hero's head too. Once every 24 hours it has to stock up with oxygen. Our heroine leaves John a note and an axe. Brain pops out for a breather and John reads the note. Whack whack whack! End of movie, apart from the brief scene where the actress has to do kissing with John Agar again - which makes her wonder why she bothered.

  16. The Adventures of Baron Munchausen - Terry Gilliam's finest baroque and roll masterpiece.
  17. Endangered Species - (a different one). Many years ago, when I had vague ambitions to be involved in the making of movies, I conceived a (to me) brilliant way of making interesting feature films for very little money. Out there are thousands of wannabe movie makers all making short, low budget movies which they hope will be their calling card to bigger things. My idea was to take a bunch of these short movies, shoot some sort of framing device, preferably in some budget reducing confined location - five people stuck in a lift tell each other stories? - and release it as a feature film. Basically I had re-invented the Portmanteau movie and, done right, it could have been a very cheap way of making a semi-decent movie. You could even get the wannabees to cough up a submission fee to have their short even concidered for inclusion - after all, this was their way of (possibly) getting a (shared) director's credit on a REAL FEATURE FILM! Get enough submissions and you could be in profit before you've shot a frame of the linking footage. I did actually pitch this idea to a few people but nothing ever came of it.

    Now someone has done it. And it's fucking awful.

    Three short movies 'interwoven' with a linking story. Unknown to the mass of humanity, time traveling aliens are amongst us fighting for control of the future - an idea lifted almost verbatim from Fritz Leiber's Big Time stories. Where this movie differs from my idea (apart from the fact I would have used good short movies of which there are many) is that it tries to interlink the stories. Characters from the framing story watch, comment on, and talk to the characters in the previously shot films, a technique which, instead of weaving the disparate footages together, has the opposite effect.The intercutting actually heightening the vast differences in quality and style. It makes the movie even more fragmentary than it already is (for instance, one of the segments looks like it was made in the eighties and the quick contrasting of the clothes and hair, then and now, is startling). I will however have a fond memory of this movie for a moment of inspired low budget movie set dressing. The 'hero' of one of the segments (a Hispanic teenager called 'Fritz' no less) arrives in Las Vegas in the van the director's cousin borrowed from work just for this shot. To disguise the fact that they've borrowed the van, someone had the brilliant idea of getting some gaffer tape and sticking pages of the script over the logos and phone number...

    Fucking awesome, dude! No one will ever notice!

  18. In the Dust of the Stars (Im Straub Der Sterne) - a change from the usual diet of American SF trash, Soviet Block SF trash! A group of cosmonauts answer a distress call from a planet only to find their help is not needed - or so it seems. The decedent bourgeois inhabitants they first encounter turn out to be the evil exploitative oppressors of the real inhabitants. Battle is joined and though victory is not theirs by the end of the movie, the newly invigorated downtrodden proletariat masses have a martyr and the leader of evil overlords knows he is staring eventual inevitable defeat in the face. Not very subtle but joyously different from the standard American Commie-bashing fare about loss of identity and soulless monsters consuming our vital bodily fluids. There was some gloriously odd costuming too, from the ludicrously outdated Flash Gordon black PVC minikilts of the bad guys, to the red leather flared cat suits straight out of an Abba fetishists wet dream worn by the females in the crew. Crank up the oddness with a villain whose hair is a different colour every time he's on, a spaceship that looks like the Post Office Tower, split screen scenes of mass hypnotism, and lots of fun with large snakes in a hall of mirrors, an utterly out-of-nowhere, non plot-driven naked dancer... (Full frontal communist nudity! "See! You, capitalist running dog, scum! We got boobies over here too!") you get the idea. Odd. Very very odd.


  19. Arthur and the Invisibles - Which I enjoyed a lot more than I was expecting to, but by god! the script needed editing. One of those films in which everyone delivers vast amounts of exposition very rapidly.
  20. Eolomea - More Soviet Block SF. A little more sedate and certainly a lot less camp than the leather fetishists of In the Dust of the Stars. In this one spaceships ships are mysteriously vanishing. People investigate by standing around and talking to one another and there are some flashbacks to two characters' summer love affair - and it was all a bit dull. Turns out the ships weren't vanishing at all, just refitting before setting out to discover if there is life 'out there' beyond our solar system. A mission which is undertaken in a sense of noble purpose and self-sacrifice which is rare in American movies. (Other than the relentless corporate blandness of Star Trek). Not that I'm saying there isn't self sacrifice in American movies but it does tend to be more along the lines of: "It's no use captain (cough) I'm done for - you get the kids and Betty-Lou to safety. I'll hold them off here..." In Soviet SF there is a feeling of optimism. That Science, rather than unleashing endless mutated monsters and things man was best not knowing, is uplifting and ennobling. There are things we do not understand and they may well be wonderful. Let's find out. The future will be better, comrades, if we all work together! (I am getting an uncontrollable urge to lean forward at an unlikely angle with my chin pointed at the future while a flag flutters behind me. I wonder what Cultural Revolution SF was like - if there was any.)
  21. Zathura: A Space Adventure - What jolly fun! despite the fact that our DVD player finally gave up the ghost just before the third act. Luckily I had bought its replacement this afternoon, so, after ten minutes wrestling cables and wondering just why I still have a Betamax player, I had it plugged into the insanely complex rat's nest of cables behind our pile of obsolete audio visual equipment we watched the end. The kids loved it. So did I. Mind you I have never seen Jumanji which, apparently, it closely resembles (it started life as the sequel). Jumanji has Robin Williams in it. I have seen enough Robin Williams movies in my life. (Including the one I am in.) I don't need to see any more.
  22. AfterShock - Totalitarian post-apocalyptic future, kick-boxing, John Saxon, kick boxing, sub porn movie music, more kick boxing. I fall asleep. I wake up; John Saxon is still alive - so is the bloke with white trousers and the sword. When I wake up again John Saxon is dead and the alien who dressed like Nancy Reagan is going home (as she arrived) via the medium of a smoke flare filmed backwards. Hero in white trousers, astride a low powered motorcycle, rides off into the sunset (ie out of the disused paper-mill where they shot the film). I fall asleep again but stay awake just long enough to notice there is someone called Chuck Skull in the credits. Another 50p well spent in the Save the Cancer shop.
  23. Martians, Go Home - not very funny (though I did laugh) adaptation of Frederick Brown's very funny novel of the same name. Which I now have to go read again.


Missing CD? Contact vendor

Free CD
Please take care
in removing from cover.

Copyright (c) 2004-2007 by me, Liam Baldwin. That's real copyright, not any 'creative commons' internet hippy type thing.

(this copyright notice stolen from

eXTReMe Tracker