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The Woman in Black May 31, 2012

Posted by oldboy in : Cinema, Horror , 1 comment so far

It’s nice to see ‘Hammer’ films back again. It’s a strong comeback here with Daniel Radcliffe leading the picture.

Gone are the dramatic scores and long reveals of Ghosts. The tone of this Hammer feature has changed to keep up with today’s Horror films, taking ques from the most recent offerings of America and Asia. But unlike the silent terror lurking the shadows that may or may not be real in those country’s offerings here we have an out and out ghost film. There is less left to the imagination as to the authenticity of the Ghost as we are shown it fairly early on in the picture even at times unknown to Radcliffe’s character, Mr. Kipps.

The woman in black herself IS quite creepy and she’s not a chick i’d be interested in messing around with. I found it almost unbelievable how calm Mr. Kipps could be around this pissed off Ghost who likes to get in people’s faces or how he can so nonchalance dig around in the mud with his hands for dead bodies in the dark of the night. I think part of the audience’s fear comes from what the character if experiencing onscreen.

The somewhat unfortunate thing is that the most frequent scares in the film are from sudden happenings throughout, such as a slammed door, or bird flying out of the fireplace. These scenes take the emphasis away from the scare factor of the Woman in black and puts it on shock horror moments that try to make you scream in fright rather than feel prolonged fear. I’m more of a prolonged fear type of guy.

As for Mr. Kipps resolution to he Woman in Back, I can say, “nice try”. It seems to be the most likely solution to the problem with most Ghosts in these movies. Find out what pissed them off and then fix it. Why not try grabbing a priest and doing some sacraments too.

Favorite Quote: “I believe the most rational mind can play tricks in the dark.” - Daily>

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles Forever May 30, 2012

Posted by oldboy in : Animation, DVD/Video/T.V., Comic Book , add a comment

If you are any sort of Turtles fan then you gotta see this. I got into the original show “Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles” back in the late 80s after watching it at a Cousins house. Of course it became a massive hit and was the next big thing after “The Real Ghostbusters” for me. Trying to get all the Hero (Ninja) Turtles action figures for christmas was difficult as it was that years big toy seller. Who doesn’t remember people going around shouting Cowabunga! This was the age of dumb teenage slang and we were getting a healthy feed of it from this and the likes of ‘Bill & Ted’, ‘Waynes World’ etc. Hero Turtles introduced young kids to skateboards, pizza and Ninjas with the educational side of the show teaching us about great Italian painters. Their names at least…. As usual some parents groups complained the show was too violent and a bad influence on kids. I didn’t think so even though I did get in serious trouble for giving a karate kick to someones eye.

I started to eat more pizzas although I wasn’t big on Pizzas at the time. My Aunt used to always make a massive Pizza for me which was almost half a meter long. I always appreciated that but there was always still some of it left over in the freezer by the time she made the next one and you know what, she’d still do it today if I were closer to Home.
I was thinking today how the show had an influence on me even now. I was not wholly conscious till now that I actually possess most of the weapons the turtles had, all except for Raphael’s sais.

The animation itself was based on a comic book series and the popularity of the animation spawned three live action movies, a CGI movie and numerous other animated and live action series from America and Japan.
‘Turtles Forever’ is quite fun to watch as it brings together the universe of the original animated Turtles with the newer darker animated series of recent years showing the contrasts between both. It is big on adventure and fun but does take the micky out of the earlier animated series, there is a fantastic homage to the original comics and nods to every single interpretation of the franchise to date.

If you have or had any interest in Turtles throughout your life this would be worth seeing at least once.

Favorite Quote: “I cut two on the way down. Donatello takes out a third with his staff.” - Leonardo

Men in Black III May 25, 2012

Posted by oldboy in : Cinema, Science Fiction, Time Travel , add a comment

Why did I see this… Maybe a hope for a better film than II was which was a mess. Maybe because Josh Brolin is in it and might bring something new to this movie. Maybe because of the time travel aspects since I’m a sucker for Time Travel stories. It is better than II, not as original as the first. Mildly entertaining and passes the time. It’s an ok film, the production values and Will Smith make it better. I was never really eager to see a sequel made the first time round and it’s one of those movie series where I just wonder who did want a sequel to this?

Agent K is erased from the present day time by an evil Alien named Boris who goes back in time to kill him. Agent J is the only one to notice the fracture in the timeline and starts drinking chocolate milk (don’t get it). So in order to save the world he must travel back in time to save K and the world from Boris who is just another two dimensional villain along with all the other Men in Black Villains.

There are a few laughs but nothing that’s laugh out loud. The Aliens in New York joke has been done in the previous movies so they go back to the 1960s to milk that era. There’s a bit of set up where Agent J is warned about the racial prejudices in the 60s, fortunately they only do one gag on this. It’s something that has been done to death in other movies but I didn’t see the reason to point it out before agent J time jumps back to the 60s. Why not just show the gag by itself without the history lesson?

I liked the Alien’s style of the 1960’s New York looking more like cheap looking “man in a suit” Alien costumes from Sci-Fi shows of that era instead of the usual CGI creations. Nice touch.

Josh Brolin is very good as a young Agent K sounding very much like Tommy Lee Jones and at times like George Bush. I wonder if there is a future sequel will they try to work the younger K into it as it seemed to me that Tommy Lee Jones’s character was being replaced by the younger self. Jones is getting visibly older and might not be so interested in running around chasing Aliens anymore. Just starring as one in coffee commercials….

There’s an Alien Character in this movie that helps J and K. This Alien can see the many possible outcomes of future events, which sounds like a pretty interesting concept for a stand alone movie. I found it unnecessary though to add a character that could predict future events when we already have J who traveled from the future with foreknowledge of the past and the two possible futures. The ones with and without K. Which made the precognitive Alien rather pointless here.

The ending is predictable to say the very least and there is a point where you pretty much know what will happen to a certain character. The big finale at the Apollo 11 launch site reminded me of ‘Star Trek Generations’ finale with Kirk, Soran and Picard. Seriously. The Rocket is there. There’s the object that they are fighting over that is key to the Rocket launch, there’s the countdown. Very similar.
This is also the 3rd time I have seen Apollo 11 be used as a plot point. It was used in ‘Transformers 3′ it was used in ‘Doctor Who Series 6′ and it’s used here again.

And sorry but I can’t look at those one wheeled bikes without thinking of that South Park episode that features them….

Favorite Quote: “I’ll tell you the only thing you need to know.” - K

Star Trek Enterprise Season 3 May 23, 2012

Posted by oldboy in : DVD/Video/T.V., Science Fiction, Time Travel , add a comment

Earth is attacked by an unknown Alien race. Earth’s best Starship ‘Enterprise’ is sent on a mission to find who did it and stop a second attack from destroying their entire planet.
We’ve seen this before. ‘Space Battleship Yamato’ and also ‘Crusade’. Having watched all 3 sci-fi shows doing the same kind of storyline it’s interesting to compare each. While ‘Crusade’ never got the chance to complete it’s storyline before being cancelled it did show a ship called “Excalibur” with a giant beam canon like the Yamato on a mission to find a cure to a virus that would kill everyone on Earth in five years. The Yamato had a year to save Earth too from Asteroids and Radiation. Both Enterprise and Yamato faced similar difficulties towards the end of their missions with each ship getting the snot beat out of them.

Season 3 starts off with a rather crappy episode demonstrating the weirdness of the Expanse as a Bermuda triangle type of place. Scott Bakula hams it up by making Archer a complete dick who walks around impatient and angry which seems too sudden and early a transformation. The Macos are, well, a bunch of background actors who display some stunts and military action which looks awfully staged which I find became a problem with later Star Trek series such as Voyager and Enterprise. A fight no longer looks like a fight but a demonstration.

This is the season where the Nick Name ‘Airlock Archer’ cropped up when the once good natured Captain Archer almost kills someone to get information. Again I feel it’s the character going over the top and changing too quickly. We’ve seen Captain Painway do something like this in Voyager which I equally didn’t like. It might be because the writers only know how to write one type of character “angry male”. Janeway is a bit of a lost argument, when female producer Jeri Taylor left Voyager so did the female aspect of Janeway.
In a later episode of Season 3 ‘Choosen Realm’ which is about Suicide bombers taking over the Enterprise, the leader of the group calls Archer out on him almost Airlocking someone. Archer replies that the man wasn’t hurt. Wasn’t Hurt? He almost suffocated a man. Is water boarding ok also because it “doesn’t hurt”? How about the psychological damage done?

There’s a line in the Vulcan Zombie episode ‘Impulse’ that I really like and it’s said by Archer. “”I can’t try to save Humanity without holding on to what makes me Human.”. It’s a nice line and I think one that Star Trek in general tries to uphold, however in Season 3 it’s just words. I don’t believe Archer’s actions match his beliefs anymore. Either he is lying to others or to himself. I’m not arguing that he isn’t in the most difficult position in the world but I feel in a way the Morals of Star Trek lost this time.

T’pol reminds Archer of what he said in the episode ‘Damage’, an episode where I feel Star Trek had the biggest failing in morals. Archer attacks a non hostile vessel to steal Warp Coils. It’s a great episode actually but it didn’t sit with me well.

In May 2004 Scott Bakula did a live online chat with fans on Startrek.com and by luck my question to him on this very issue got through.

What did you think of Archer’s actions in “Damage”? Do you think the ends justify the means? What would you have done in his situation?

SB: I think that it was a challenging, complicated episode and I think any episode of television that can stir a response that’s emotional and controversial is good television. I can’t answer really what I would have done if it were me, because I don’t think you can answer those questions hypothetically. You have to be in the moment and living with that reality and only then are you able to look into your own heart and make those kinds of choices. But I don’t think Archer had any choice.

I couldn’t agree more. I think it’s one of those situations where you can’t really say what you will do until you are face to face with the reality of it. It is a bit of a Kobayashi Maru. If he didn’t attack that ship there was a strong possibility Earth would be destroyed.

While I have problems with the episode in regards to Star Trek’s philosophy overall I still like that it raised a very good and debatable question and it’s probably one of my favorite episodes of the series.

The last 7 episodes of the Season 3 Arc are of movie like quality in terms of story, acting and special effects. It’s a roller coaster ride to the end and I liked how it all finally came together. I liked seeing the relationship between Archer and Degra grow to one of mutual respect. I liked that the Xindi council was no longer a cliche. I liked that the Spheres added a deeper mystery to the overall story and that they tied the Sphere Builders into the Temporal Cold War. It might have all come a bit too late though.

What I didn’t like was T’pol becoming a crack whore. Taking drugs and sleeping with Trip to explore sexuality. I remember reading once that J. Michael Straczynski
was asked to include a character of a similar nature in his short lived series ‘Crusade’ but he refused to appeal to the lowest common denominator of the audience. I think that’s where many Star Trek fans feel pissed off with this series, it had more obvious low brow scenes to attract a younger male audience by showing women in a degrading light.

The most useless changes to season 3 was renaming the series ‘Star Trek: Enterprise’ and give the opening theme tune a faster tempo making it sound like a corny karaoke song. Minor details like this would not attract more fans.

As for the time travel well nothing seems to get resolved this season either. Scott Bakula had mentioned that he had heard that they might deal with this after season 3 but that never happened. The Sphere Builders seem to exist outside of time and are able to monitor different timelines which seems to mean the alterations of one timeline. The Sphere’s themselves might be something that exist outside of time, a bit like Gallifrey. The Xindi have said the Spheres were around for thousands of years but it that were the case why are they so slow to transform the expanse. It seems they have been there a long time and also not there so long. Daniels the useless time traveller tells Archer that effects of the Xindi attack haven’t yet reached his time in the 31st century. Usually changes in the timeline are instant. Take ‘Shockwave’ for example.

Ignoring these nitpicks Season 3 aint so bad. Having a long season Arc on Star Trek was never done before. They had previously wanted to do a Year of Hell Arc on Voyager but the network put the kibosh on that. But when Enterprise was on the air shows like ‘24′ were extremely popular so a lot of season 3 has that format. This was Enterprise’s year of Hell. While I dislike having the new kewl alien race Xindi the overall Arc has a large scale story that is rare to see in this franchise. It makes each episode necessary to see.

Favorite Quote: “It’s not that i’m afraid of dying. I just can’t imagine not being here tomorrow.” - Sim

Enterprise Season 2 May 16, 2012

Posted by oldboy in : DVD/Video/T.V., Science Fiction, Time Travel , add a comment

Season 2 starts with a rather lazy and unimaginative way of concluding part 1 of Shockwave and Enterprise continuing it’s mission of the week episodes just as Voyager and The Next Gen did. The unhealthy trend of rehashing old stories. In previous interviews with writers and producers of ‘Star Trek the Next Generation’ it seems that they were trigger happy on shooting down ideas pitched if they were already done on Star Trek and one of the reasons for ending on season 7 of TNG was partly because of running out of good stories for that particular format. Yet in Enterprise all this seems irrelevant. Rehashed stories include (Vanishing Point, Precious Cargo, Dawn and Judgement. Lets not forget the Borg (face palm). Deary me. Did the producers really expect people would keep watching the same thing over and over again?

We did get some really good Star Trek episodes with Stigma, Future Tense, The Breach and Cogenitor showing that the series can be good when it was allowed to be.

We finally get to see 22nd Century Romulans, with cloaks (face double palm). Everyone was pretty excited about the Romulans and what it could mean for the series. Even the producers had hinted at more episodes later in the season 2. Instead we got Borg and Xindi. The Romulan’s introduction was clearly a way to capitalize on the Movie Nemesis which feature Romulans also and was released in 2002.

Speaking of the Romulan episode ‘Minefield’ Reed has become a bit of a tight arse complaining about the captain fraternizing with the crew because he invited Reed to breakfast, yet in season 1 Reed had no problems having some beer and Cake with Trip and Archer.

As for the Borg, it’s continuity error free. But if Archer can check past instances of Cybernetic Zombies then why can’t Picard have done so too? Perhaps finding a log by Captain Archer about this race invading his ship. Or maybe Picard would have brushed it off as ole drunkard Johnny and his stories.

Season 2 ended with an Attack on Earth. Yes, Romulans! I thought. But no, instead it was another new kewl alien species we never heard of in the previous 600 episodes of Star Trek that take place after ‘Enterprise’. The ratings of Season 2 weren’t great and nearing the end of the season the Enterprise had to turn around towards Earth a few times to get her closer to home. The producers were obviously planning this mid way through season 2. The Xindi attack on Earth itself left me with a bad feeling. The impression a lot of people had was that the producers were trying to do the 9/11 attacks in Star Trek. 7 million people get killed in the Xindi attack and the episode poorly attempts to show the shock of the crew towards this event. Coming a little over 2 years after 9/11, this episode didn’t sit right with me. I felt it didn’t belong in Star Trek. The whole terrorist/shocking event angle was done in DS9. But here they decide to show an attack on Earth and have the crew go gun ho after the people who did it. This really was the George Bush of Star Treks. The show was in trouble and this was the producers solution, to radically change the mission of ‘Enterprise’ from one of peaceful exploration to one of revenge. You can argue that the plot is to stop a second attack on Earth but the general attitude of the characters was how big a hole they could blow in the Xindi. Unfortunately this means that Archer would start to become a bit of a dick starting here where he shouts “Go to hell!” to the klingons as if he were a grumpy old drunk man.

As problematic as season 1 and 2 was season 3 was to be the decisive season of the franchise that would radically change Star Trek andĀ the future of the franchise.

Favorite Quote: “Do you… want to become a casualty of a war that ended 300 years ago?” - Captain Archer

The Avengers May 6, 2012

Posted by oldboy in : Cinema, Comic Book , add a comment

Starting back in 2008 with ‘Iron Man’, ‘The Avengers’ have finally assembled. ‘Iron Man‘, ‘Hulk‘, ‘Thor‘ and ‘Captain America’ get to bounce off each other to comedic and dramatic effect which is a heck of a lot of fun to see and what we have all waited long for.

It takes a while to get going as each hero is introduced and rounded up before the proverbial poop hits the fan and they all head to New York to fight off invading Aliens while leveling the city in the process. I feel it’s missing something though. A bit of heart and soul, it’s some yummy action but I felt like the meal was better than the conversation if you catch my spliff. With some of these Marvel movies you kinda feel the whole thing is a process to get to this point and when we get to this film it sort of feels like a process also of one thing leading to another to bring us to the goods at the end. The characters get familiar with each other a bit too quickly. Visually the movie looks very pretty, the heroes fighting side by side is some nice eye candy and fortunately for onceĀ  the action is clear and visible unlike Bay’s Transformers which was too fast and close to the screen.

I really enjoyed Hulk Vs Thor which brought back memories of Hulk Vs Thor in the incredible Hulk TV series. I think one of the reasons Hulk became the favorite Character of the movie is that he is shown in a more heroic light for once rather than the monster alter ego of a mild manner scientist. In his previous movies he has been shown as a villain to that Banner has tried to rid himself off. It’s a shame we don’t see Edward Norton return to the role and play of Robert Downey Jr. but Mark Ruffalo does a nice job and I think for a movie like this where Hulk is the hero he doesn’t need to enlarge his character.

I was disappointed that Loki is the main Villain here as I find the character to be weak and not villainous enough. The generic alien invasion force weren’t all too profound either and it seems like future sequels might deal with more invading aliens which I think was already well covered in this movie.

DC comics. Where is your Justice League Movie?!? While I really enjoy Nolan’s Batman movies the one good thing about his trilogy ending is that it opens up the possibility of doing a DC movie with Multiple Heroes. It would be great if we had a Batman and Superman movie first followed by a Justice League movie. But they need to get their asses into gear and work on bringing character’s such as ‘The Flash’ to the Big Screen.

It is pretty amazing that Marvel were able to pull this movie off and get these characters and actors together in one film. Hats off to them. I don’t know where they could go for the sequel as it will have to be on a larger scale. I find it hard to even imagine these characters going back to their own series of films. I’d love to see more Marvel Characters feature in a sequel. Spider-man is out so far, maybe Daredevil? I’d like to see more well know characters added. Scarlett Johansson is nice as black widow (don’t like the shorter hair) but she isn’t a superhero that can match the rest of the cast.

Favorite Quote: “Shakespeare in the Park? Doth mother know you weareth her drapes?” - Tony Star/Iron Man

The Cabin in the Woods May 4, 2012

Posted by oldboy in : Cinema, Horror, J-Horror , add a comment

While at the cinema one night to watch a movie the trailer for this came on. It looked terrible. Another teenage horror movie. It looked so bad I couldn’t even be bothered to look at the screen. “Oh &$%* off” I whispered as I waited for it to end. I wouldn’t waste my life on this trash.

Then I start hearing reviews that it might not be so bad after all and that there are some nice twists in the film that anyone who enjoys Horror movies would like. Horror is not my favorite Genre, in particular American Teenage Horror. So I went to see it with an open mind and from the opening scenes I was enjoying it. It doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s not that scary and thankfully it’s not a parody. What it does is give it’s own explanation for all those Horror movies we’ve seen before and pays a homage to them. If you like Old School Horror Movies then this might be for you. In fact I had an urge to watch some ‘Halloween’ and ‘Friday the 13th’ movies after seeing this.

Some people in the cinema seemed baffled at all that was going on and didn’t quite get it, but for myself it was one of those movies that put a smile on my face and I really laughed when at one stage they talk about what’s happening in Japan and show that Japan is having it’s own horror problems. I love J-Horror so that was a scene I totally loved. I wouldn’t mind seeing a Prequel doing a story from Japan’s side.

Favorite Quote: “Am I on speakerphone?” - Mordecai

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