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Gravity January 8, 2014

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The Film that makes you want to drink for the right reasons. Going into gravity I knew little about it and tried to keep my expectations low. I’m not the biggest fan of George and Sandra so I wasn’t overly hyped to see it. But after seeing it I was telling everyone I knew to go see it. It’s easily the best film of 2013. It totally ups the game for all sci-fi movies from now on as to how they film scenes in space. People praise JJ Abrams work on Star Trek for how he shot the exterior scenes of Ships in space but this film shows the Alfonso Cuarón is the visionary director. Taking cues from films like ’2001′ he re-introduces the physics and danger of space travel.

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Doctor Who series 7 part 2 November 20, 2013

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Part II of series 7 comes off a lot stronger than part one. When it shines it really shines. When it doesn’t it has me wondering if it’s time to give the show a rest.

The Christmas Special The Snowmen was an excellent episode. It had me laughing out loud in places as it did my parents who never watch this sort of thing usually. If it can get all of us in the same room and all of us enjoying it that’s something quite special in my view. Great to see Strax back. He was very funny in this. I loved the allusions to Sherlock Holmes too and

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Star Trek Into Darkness August 26, 2013

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Before you read on this review will contain spoilers FOR EVERYTHING in this movie and Star Trek.
Star Trek into Darkness AKA ‘Star Trek on Acid’ is the 12th film in the Star Trek franchise, a number which I remember ‘The Simpsons’ mocking 20 years previously with the title ‘So very tired’. Fortunately Star Trek Into Darkness is anything but that. But is the fast pace action of the film necessarily a good thing?

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Cyber City Oedo 808 February 12, 2013

Posted by oldboy in : Animation, DVD/Video/T.V., Science Fiction, Anime/ Manga, Best Ever , 1 comment so far

A favorite anime of mine which I first viewed in the early 90s late at night on the UK Channel 4 back when it used to show anime on weekends. Back then anime was still a bit of an underground cult, it wasn’t as accessible, an unknown among many people and had slightly more respect before the days of Pokemon.

It blew me away the first time I saw it. The animation style, the characters, the stories. It was dripping of Cyberpunk and opened up a new world of anime to me. Viewing Cyber City Oedo years later represents to me what I miss in Animation these days. The colors in animation today are dull, pale tone, the characters look less human, more otherworldly in appearance. Cyber City Oedo was colorful, vivid, the characters were designed closer to that of real people. The action was in your face. Less artistic and more like a real action film. It didn’t pander to a general audience. But I guess being an OVA film it can get away with that.

The story revolves around 3 criminals released from prison in the year 2808. They work for the special service section of the police catching other criminals in the attempt to reduce their own prison sentences which are into hundreds of years. To prevent them from escaping they each wear an explosive collar around their necks (oh yeah!) and if they fail their missions they’ll be feeling quite light headed after too. The first two episodes are of excellent quality. The third loses it’s way a bit in terms of story, animation quality and even the english dub seems a bit off. It’s a little closer to Kawajiri’s other offerings.

Part of it’s cult status is not just the animation and story but the UK dubbing which took some liberties with the dialogue, although in my own estimation it makes for some kick ass and at times hilarious lines such as..

“You wouldn’t recognize a goddamn vampire if one jumped up and bit you on the end of your fucking dick. So just get off my back.”


“Eat this dick splash!”

The UK voice cast delivers these lines with all the gusto they can muster and it wasn’t surprising to hear this kind of dialogue in dubbed anime back in the day. Added to that was a legendary soundtrack by Rory McFarlanes which forgoes the slightly generic Japanese anime theme of the 80s and replaces it with something suiting it’s Cyberpunk setting. Most fans seem to love it and would rather have that version on DVD than the original Japanese music.

The setting of the series is in a futuristic Oedo and the characters and setting reflected that. The stories are varied from People trapped in a Tower (ala Die Hard). Robots with Psychic powers (ummm..) and Vampires (vampires). There was a rich world of storytelling opened up in this SF Cyberpunk series but…. this is all we got. Just 3 episodes. I’m still as disappointed now as I was 20 years ago when no more episodes were broadcast.

In my opinion this is a MUST SEE animation that is still riding the cult status two decades on.

Favorite Quote:“You fuck this up and i’ll pop all your collars for sure.” - Hasagawa

Edge January 24, 2013

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Suzuki Koji has mentioned in past interviews that while he was writing ‘Ring’ he didn’t know where the story was going or how it was going to end. I don’t know if he has the same method of writing with his other works but I certainly got that feeling with ‘Promenade of the Gods’ and here too do I get the feeling that it might have been the case. While it doesn’t fall flat on it’s face like ‘Promenade of the Gods’ it does have an ending where the main character is able to solve ‘Edge’s mysteries due to the discovery of a third nipple.

I admire the passion at which Suzuki writes about this stuff. He throws tons of scientific theories at us from the creation of the universe to quantum theory to mathematical equations and historical disappearances of civilizations. It’s heavy going at times but if you have any interest at all in history, the world and science then this is an interesting read, but not entirely as fun as I hoped. He does go to great lengths to explain things in detail and there’s even a bibliography at the back of the book that has everything he is referencing. I did find a lot of the stuff interesting, in particular Wave functions ability to collapse through Human’s perception of them.

If Star Trek 09 is at one end of the spectrum of science making sense (in that it explains nothing) then Edge is at the opposite end. In fact reading ‘Edge’ explains Star Trek 09 better!

In some ways ‘Edge’ resembles another book of his, ‘Loop’, but ‘Edge’ gets bogged down with characters having long discussions that introduce more and more theories. You get the feeling half way through that you’re being set up for disappointment as you can’t possibly write an ending that will satisfy everything brought up in the book. In a way then it kind of loses focus but in some respects the ending brings us right back to the heart of the story.

Story similarities aside, there are other things that link this with ‘Loop’ and the ‘Ring’ World. Character’s get a citrus/lemon smell before they disappear. Much like we read in Ring where some characters got a similar smell before their death or before having an uneasy feeling of a future event. The connections to ‘Loop’ seem to be that both our main character Sae in ‘Edge’ and Kaoru in ‘Loop’ get the sense that they are being watched by the sky above. There is also a mention of an underground military facility in Arizona which has hundreds super computers linked together. Arizona is located right next to New Mexico and for those who read ‘Loop’ you’ll remember that this story also featured a similar underground facility in New Mexico with computers linked together. The proposed cover design for this by Peter Mendelsund also matched the design of the covers for the Ring books by Chip Kidd. But now the cover has been changed to something less eye grabbing.

I still think Suzuki’s best work is when he writes Horror/SF I hope Vertical decides to translate and publish Suzuki’s newest Novel ‘S’ which is a return to the world of Sadako!

Dredd 3-D November 14, 2012

Posted by oldboy in : Cinema, Science Fiction, Comic Book , 1 comment so far

Stylish, uncomplicated, great soundtrack and has that Chick who played Sarah Connor in the Terminator series as the main villain.
I’ve known about Judge Dredd growing up, was familiar with the Character but had never read a comic which featured him although I had enough interest to go see the Sylvester Stallone flick back in the early 1990s. But Mr. “I Am the LAW!” didn’t really do it for people, neither did Rob Schneider apparently.

This new movie just called ‘Dredd’ is a better film even if it looks less of a big budget movie and most of it takes place in the same building for the movie’s duration. It’s a far more gritter character this time and seems closer to the comics say fans. Karl Urban is pretty great as Dredd and I like that for the entire film the mystery of the character stays behind the helmet and the intimidation stays on the outside.

I had no choice but to see this is 3D. Was pissed off that I had to pay extra for something I didn’t want. I wonder how many others this might have put off because ‘Dredd 3d’ (yes 3d is part of the title) seemed to be mainly shown as a movie in 3D with little options for film goers to see it in anything else. I’ve personally had it with 3D as have a large part of the movie going audience. It’s a format that is not suited for everyone. Worse though is not having the option to watch it in 2D. So paying extra for something you don’t want is going to push people away. It’s unfortunate because it’s a film worth seeing and a film worthy of a sequel. But it seemed to have shot itself in both feet before even getting made because the funding that the film got was guaranteed by it promising to be filmed in 3D. While other Hollywood mainstream movies might get away with that it won’t work for a lower budgeted un-fondly remembered character.

It was the positive word of mouth that got me into see it. Shame if there is no sequel. So I want to do my part and say, Go see it people!

Favorite Quote: “Ma-Ma is not the law… I am the law.” - Judge Dredd

Mickey Mouse buys Star Wars and plans to make Episode 7 by 2015 October 30, 2012

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I was just about to drop off to sleep to have sweet dreams about a hot girl I saw dressed as a Vulcan starfleet officer at the weekend when I read this.

Lucasfilm has been bought by Disney with Disney planning to release Star Wars Episode 7 in 2015.

What.the.F**k. This is insane.

Biggest news of the year! I hear half of the Star Wars fans screaming “NOOO!” and the other half cheering (the prequel fans).

I had not imagined Lucas would do this, it had been rumored but it was considered just that. It seems Star Wars will be a long lasting legacy that will expand well into the future and beyond with new movies and likely branching into live action TV eventually. Having Disney behind it will push it into new realms.

Episode 7, not directed or written by Lucas but instead will be directed and written by someone chosen by Disney. Well we ended Episode 6 with Ewoks. Seems like a good starting off point….

Well who knows what episode 7 will really be about. At this stage I think Movies take presidence over the Expanded Universe. I would love to see a continuation in some way with Luke and Han but I doubt those character’s would have a big role unless they are recast. Who knows. It might even be set in the far future. In any case we are in for a crap load more Star Wars.

Looper October 26, 2012

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Looper is a pretty darn satisfying Time Travel movie which cinema has been lacking the past few years. It’s by no means a perfect time travel movie and it does have some pacing problems but it’s on the right track.

Starring Bruce Willis and Joesph Gordon Levitt who has been Willisfied in this movie which might, in my opinion, put off some female fans.

The film is directed by ‘Brick’ director Rian Johnson who had also previously collaborated with JGL on the same film. ‘Looper’ does start off with some film Noir undertones, particularly with the deep brooding voice over by JGL. I rather liked that and it’s visual style. In some ways it comes off as a slightly lower budgeted SF film but the story concepts are the glue that holds it all together. Near the beginning there was what I thought a throwaway line about people with telekinetic abilities. Rather a pointless addition I thought until midway through the movie we get some ‘Akira’ style happenings thrown at us and i’m smiling at it all.

My favorite part was probably the coffee shop scene between Willis and Levitt. The older version talking to the younger version coming off as a ‘father berating his son’ type of conversation. Excellent. I too probably would bitch to my younger self about his attitude.

Time Travel aspects.

The film would incur many plot holes if we were to accept this as a single timeline that is altered by time travel events. It would better to reason that quantum theory applies and we have here multiple timelines and each character is within their own individual timeline or stream or whatever you want to call it.

Timeline 1: Bruce Willis version. An aged Joe is sent back to be killed. He is killed by the character who will become the older Joe (Bruce Willis). 30 years pass and the day comes when it’s his turn to be killed. But now things change and the character takes matters into his own hands. He decides to escape and in going back in time makes a conscious plan to kill the Rainmaker, a criminal mastermind who is closing people’s Loops.

Timeline 2: Joesph Gordon Levitt’s character’s timeline. The one which we follow in the film. His older version comes back through time, attacks him and escapes to search for the Rainmaker who at this time is still only a child. Joe finds Rainmaker and in trying to protect him Joe kills himself in order to stop his older self from killing the young child who would later be known as the Rainmaker.

Things get tricky here. If we deal with quantum theory then it makes sense that the timeline can be altered. BUT! JGL kills himself in order to prevent his older self from killing the Rainmaker, yet if these characters are from different/separate timelines then the actions the character takes against himself should NOT affect his older self who is related to another younger version from his OWN timeline (timeline 1). So younger Joe’s cuts should not appear on old Joe. Old Joe should not disappear when young Joe Kills himself. If young Joe kills his younger self then his older self never existed to come back in time and cause this whole mess in the first place and so Joe would not kill himself, thus we have a paradox and according to Doc Brown or ‘The Doctor’ the universe might well explode.

Timeline 3: Rainmakers timeline.We might suppose in timeline 1 Rainmaker turns out as is, a complete dick. In timeline 2 he might actually be ok and a calm dude thanks to the interactions with JGL’s young Joe character. But what about the Rainmaker from Timeline 1 of older Joe who was shot by the old Joe we see in the movie. Did the very first Joe have no knowledge of him? Or is this a 3 spin paradox in which we need to pass through 3 timelines in order to return to the first and repeat. Messy….

So much like Quantum mechanics the film itself does have some plot holes. It doesn’t really spoil the enjoyment. I only thought the pacing and some antagonists such as Kid Blue didn’t really work. Kid blue seems set up to just die. Having Bruce Willis kill kids too didn’t really sit right with me. Would someone really go and kill Hitler if he was just a child and hadn’t done anything yet?

Favorite Quote: “Then I saw it. A mother who would die for her son, a man who would kill for his wife, and an abandoned child headed the wrong path.” - Young Joe

Doctor Who Series 7 part 1 October 15, 2012

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Oh dear, this isn’t good. There has been a bit of a backlash from fans as to the quality of this series going from must see show of the week to maybe see sometime show just for the sake of it. I wouldn’t go that far myself but it has been so far the weakest first half of a series since it’s return in 2005.

So what went wrong.

There seems to be mixed feelings from fans as to how last years series 6 turned out with a long running arc dealing with River Song taking up a chunk of the series. I quite liked it for the most part but the vocal majority might have influenced the Moff this year with his plan to do Doctor Who episodes as complete stand alone episodes having the quality and story of a movie crammed into 45 minutes.

This is NOT what we got.

Asylum Of The Daleks

So a great way to start the season with the return of the Daleks and not just the most recent Daleks to appear but the Moff said they were bringing back EVERY Dalek model since the show started in the 1960s

This is NOT what we got.

I hardly saw any of the old models. None of them appeared as moveable characters onscreen, they were background filler covered in dust and cobwebs making them indistinguishable. As an episode that heavily promoted the return of ALL of the Daleks this aspect was a let down.

The good parts were that now Daleks of some kind can now look human, an interesting new development which striked terror into me and I felt the Daleks overall were scary this time. Skaro was cool too.

Unexpectedly the Doctor’s future companion shows up in this. I did not like her one bit. Witty genius has been done. As has the “Rory and Amy have an argument” thing…
As has this damn “Doctor Who?” stuff. OK we did this cliche years ago yet it keeps cropping up frequently in episodes throughout series 6 and 7.
This episode was not the most inventive Dalek story and I expected a little more from the life long Doctor Who fan Moff on this.

Dinosaurs On A Spaceship

Such a fun concept that couldn’t even keep me awake through my tiredness. There seemed to be an effort to make the episode more exciting than it actually was. A Kiddish episode that ends with the Doctor letting someone die as payback.

A Town Called Mercy 

The Doctor acts weird in this episode as we see him waving a gun around. Are we dealing with a post ponds Doctor?Meaning this is a Doctor meeting the Ponds before their eventual fate which he is aware of? Or is it a prelude to the Valeyard.

The good thing I liked was the brief talky moments where the Doctor is compared to the Villain and that when self righteousness is brushed aside the dark deeds of the Doctor aren’t so dissimilar.

The Power Of Three

A nice episode with Doctor spending time on Earth with the Ponds. Would have liked to have seen more funny Doctor on Earth moments.

The Angels Take Manhattan

As a Weeping Angel episode this was fairly weak and the “don’t blink” rule isn’t in full force in my opinion as they are able to escape the angels far too easily. The focus is mostly the end of the Ponds and perhaps it was wrong to include the Weeping Angels in an episode where the main focus wasn’t on them. I mean putting the Angels in it already gives people a good guess as to how Rory and Amy will buy the farm.

As for the time travel inconsistencies, well, jesus……here we go…

So in the end Amy and Rory are trapped in the past. I believe 1938. The Doctor says he can never go to 1938. Then can’t he go to 1939?

The Doctor sees their Gravestone. No date on it except their age at their death. The Doctor says that this is a “fixed point” that is unchangeable in time.

Pretty F’ing useless having a time machine then!

I jest of course…
Hasn’t the Doctor watched Bill and Ted? He could have gone back in time and put that gravestone there himself. If Amy’s name can appear on it, the Doctor could surely make it disappear. Do a ‘Back to the Future’ on it and it’s erased. The magic headstone tells me Rory and Amy weren’t originally part of that timeline so where’s the paradox? It’s not like Rose’s Dad. It’s not a fixed point. They aren’t living in their own timeline, they weren’t originally part of those Historical events. Even consider the Butterfly effect (time ripple) of having two people from 2012 (2021?) living in 1938 who never should have been there to begin with. The consequences could be catastrophic.

After all this we still don’t know why the Doctor uses Guns now and kills people.

A weak start to series 7 and it’s been a really off year. This is the blandest series yet. I’m still watching though. I still believe in the Moff.

Favorite Quote: “I’m not running away from things. I’m running to them before they flare and fade forever.” - The Doctor

Star Trek Enterprise Season 4 September 8, 2012

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Season 4 would be the last series of Star Trek Enterprise and so far the last of the franchise. Things were already looking pretty grim for the series ratings wise and it was looking touch and go for a while whether or not the series would even get a season 4. However the odds were a little more in favor for season 4 as it would bring the episode count up to 98 close enough to 100 to put the series into syndication.The show was moved to Friday nights in the US much like the original series was in it’s 3rd season. A position where it’s ratings had little chance of increasing.

B&B seeing blood in the water took a back seat to production and Manny Coto took lead of the series. His plan was to produce mini episode arcs that spanned 2-3 episodes each. This would save cost on production and would represent a mini movie within the series. He being a big fan of Star Trek tried to fix the continuity issues of the series and brought in writers such as Judith and Garfield Reeves Stevens to write some episodes of Star Trek.

Season 4 starts awkwardly leaving Manny Coto in a bit of a hole he needed to Dig himself out of. Space Nazis! The whole Temporal Cold War storyline up until this point had been a complete mess and the two part episode ‘Storm Front’ did little to change that fact.

The in episode continuity even makes a bigger mess of it. Reed mentions that Vosk must be stopped from starting the Temporal Cold War. What? Nobody said that. Did he mean the “time war”? Somehow Vosk’s future actions are what cause the mess to begin with and I can’t be bothered trying to explain this. It makes no sense, really and truly. A pretty poor start to series 4.
Brent Spiner returned to Star Trek as Arik Soong. As a bit of a ratings booster and probably as a favor to producer Brannon Braga whom he would shortly work with on a new sci-fi series (that got cancelled).

For all the good season 4 did something about it seemed a little off early on. I don’t know if it was the 3 episode story arc or the lower budget but I can’t quite put my finger on what exactly was wrong. It was lacking some bit of intensity that the previous seasons had. Take the Augments arc. The main villains are pretty much a bunch of models with grunge type clothing, they had no screen presence. Of course at this stage I was being completely awed by Battlestar Galactica.

Things got awesome for Enterprise with the Vulcan Arc though and suddenly I felt like I was watching the Star Trek series I had wanted to see. The first episode of the Arc was written by the Reeves Stevens and they blew it out of the water. CBS, put these magnificent writers in charge of the next series and your pockets will never be empty.
Some puzzling things. Where did the Trip/T’pol relationship spring from? I know they had a bit of a fling in season 3 but come season 4 there seems to be some kind of relationship that we didn’t see form clearly. Unless we consider the one night stand in season 3 to be an actual relationship development.

The return of the Romulans was done so well, first in the Vulcan arc and then in the Coalition Arc. It’s quite an impressive idea to use Warbirds outfitted as Drone ships to attack others vessels and a nice way of planting the seeds for the unseen Romulan War. We also get the first hints of the Federation with a coalition of different Alien species as a response to the Romulan threat.

‘In a Mirror Darkly’ was a fun episode and was a bit on the fannish side, as some people might call fan wank. But never the less it was fun. Watching it by myself I thought it was just ok but watching it again about two years later in Tokyo with a few drinking buddies at a guest house it became a lot more enjoyable as the two other guys had no idea what was going on but loved all the twists and even shouting “yay Enterprise!” when the constitution class Defiant came on screen.

The final two episode worked on by Manny Coto and his crew was the Terra Prime two parter that was seen as the last hurdle humanity had to overcome, themselves. It would have been a perfect way to end the series but instead we got….
“These are the Voyages….” The final episode of Star Trek Enterprise written by B&B who called this a “Valentines to the fans”. The fans called it “a kick in the balls and a slap in the face”.

If we had ever gotten a Season 5 would would have seen such stories as the Borg Queen Origin, The Romulans as major villains, the return to the Temporal Cold War, Shran joining the crew of the Enterprise, The Kzinti, the first starbase, the return to the mirror universe and a possible crossover episode with Doctor Who! Bugger we missed that!

Favorite Quote:Up until about a hundred years ago, there was one question that burned in every Human, that made us study the stars and dream of traveling to them. Are we alone? Our generation is privileged to know the answer to that question. We are all explorers driven to know what’s over the horizon, what’s beyond our own shores. And yet the more I’ve experienced, the more I’ve learned that no matter how far we travel, or how fast we get there, the most profound discoveries are not necessarily beyond that next star. They’re within us, woven into the threads that bind us, all of us, to each other. A final frontier begins in this hall. Let’s explore it together.” - Captain Jonathan Archer

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