July 28th, 2009

Scary Books

Harper’s Island Ep 8 Review


I’m a wedding guest, get me out of here!

Shea’s deficient parenting skills may get everyone killed as Madison is missing. Why didn’t Shea watch her child? Someone is shot, someone is hit with arrows and a main suspect dies. Meanwhile the poor yappy drug runs around the woods all cold and shaking.

The Sheriff falls foul of a trap in the woods, people creep around in the dark, Cal finds a skull in the incinerator and Henry finds Richard stuck to a tree. Also somehow all the phones and power have been cut off. Where are all the other island residents while the wedding guests run around screeching?

Chloe sensibly makes a list of all the missing presumed dead. The twits don’t leave. This was okay, but I thought this show would be better.

Best Lines:
“If you’d killed yourself the first time, none of this would be happening.”

“You’d better run, next time I see you you’re dead.”
Scary Books

Veronica Mars Season 1 Ep 9 Review

Drinking The Kool Aid

Veronica broods over Jake Kane possibly being her father and the threatening photos that someone sent Lianne. Shame the whole threatening photos plot was dropped in favour of making Lianne an unrepentant drunk. Veronica helps Keith investigate after one of her classmates joins a possible cult.

The Moon Calf Collective is a group of happy clappy hippy types and 09er Casey Gant has undergone a personality change since joining. He used to be a jerk, now he’s nice and “renouncing the toxic death style of late stage capitalist society.” Veronica is sure the Collective is a cult as she muses on their “forbidden barn” but she soon finds the Collective welcoming, warm and cuddly.

It seems Casey’s parents want to break him from the Moon Calves as he is due to inherit $80 million dollars and they want him to keep them in the style to which they are accustomed. Casey’s dragged off and reprogrammed back to being an 09er.

Meanwhile Veronica does a sneaky paternity test on Keith, mocks teen poetry, recalls how she once wanted to marry Vanilla Ice and is excluded by people in class. Keith proves yet again that he’s a lousy investigator. This was an okay ep.

Best Line: “Alien lobotomy boy.”
Scary Books

Anyone remember Maximum Bob?

'Maximum Bob' was a tv show from 1998. A good show that didn’t last. This off the wall comedy drama based on an Elmore Leonard novel got exactly 8 episodes. Bob Griggs (Beau Bridges – when did his career overtake his brother’s?) is a demented, publicity mad judge from Florida. He earns the nickname ‘Maximum’ Bob for sentencing a man to death for drinking beer. Adding to the show’s oddness are weird twins, possibly insane rednecks, swamp monsters and Maximum Bob siccing an alligator on his possessed trophy wife to cure her hydrophobia. This was weird but funny. Did anyone but me watch it?
Scary Books

Movie Review: Elizabeth (1998)

You could almost think of ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’, ‘Elizabeth’ and ‘Elizabeth: The Golden Age’ as a trilogy of movies. Almost. Anyway Queen Mary (Kathy Burke) rules England. There is no mention made of the short lived Edward. Mary is ill and mentally disturbed during her last desperate days. So Elizabeth (Cate Blanchett – ‘Aviator’) ends up in the Tower of London as the powerful Duke of Norfolk (Christopher Eccleston of ‘Doctor Who’ and ’28 Days Later’) doesn’t want her to inherit.

As Elizabeth looks pale and tragic, Dudley (Joseph Fiennes) wanders around with his shirt undone being generally useless and pouty. Wasn’t Dudley in the Tower of London for years for plotting to make Jane Grey the Queen instead of Mary? Mary’s husband King Phillip of Spain pops up for a nonspeaking cameo that makes him look like a Carry On character before he abandons his unloved wife. Mary has more hysterics before dying. Elizabeth is now Queen and proclaims: “This is the Lord’s doing and it is marvellous in our eyes.”

Norfolk stalks around court in his bloomers making angry faces but not actually doing anything. Elizabeth’s advisor Cecil (Richard Attenborough of ‘Jurassic Park’) nags her, the French ambassador de Foix (Eric Cantona) nags her, a priest (Daniel Craig – long before he was James Bond 007) wants to kill her and the sleazy Dudley takes her to bed to make sure that though she’s a Queen, she’s no virgin.

Up in Scotland, Mary of Guise (the mother of Mary, Queen of Scots) is a danger to Elizabeth. Someone tries to assassinate Elizabeth via a poisoned dress. Mary of Guise very conveniently dies. Elizabeth has had enough of being bossed around, kicks Cecil to the curb, proclaims “I am my father’s daughter” and creates her own personality cult.

This was thoroughly historically inaccurate and not as good as the TV series ‘The Virgin Queen’. Still it was okay and notable film and TV actors pop up everywhere: James Frain of 'The Tudors', 'True Blood' and 'The Cape', Edward Hardwicke, Emily Mortimer (of ‘Scream 3’), Geoffrey Rush, John Gielgud and even pop tart ‘singer’ Lily Allen has a brief role as one of Elizabeth’s Ladies In Waiting.

Best Lines:
“She was born a bastard! She will never rule England!”

“That whore your mother. My father never did anything so well as to cut off her head.”

“My sister is not yet dead, her bed is still warm.”
“His Majesty finds it already cold.”

“I am Norfolk.”
“You were Norfolk, the dead have no titles.”

“I am married. To England.”
Scary Books

Book Reviews: Not of Woman Born + The Forest of Hands & Teeth

Not Of Woman Born edited by Constance Ash

This average sci-fi anthology collects various tales of high tech reproduction.

Stories include:

Judith’s Flowers
In the not too far future, a grown up designer baby who had an unorthodox upbringing wonders who she really is and where she belongs. This is good but the narrator is way too whiny.

A Gift to Be Simple
A religious group are dying out until they decide to find a high tech way to replenish their flock. This was okay.

One Day at Central Convenience Mall
Programmed retail clerks slave away at their jobs and then one breaks the mould. This was good.

Dead in the Water

A woman has to decide whether to have a designer baby. This was okay.

Raising Jenny
A woman agrees to give birth to and raise the clone of her late mother. She never got along with her mother and is determined to be the ideal mommy. But as the clone child grows up, our narrator learns a lot about motherhood and nature vs nurture. This was good but the whole concept of mothering your dead mother’s clone was a bit icky.

Bouncing Babies
A woman who earned ten million for donating her eggs is horrified when the first baby born of her eggs is returned and declared inadequate. Now with her payment repossessed and her eggs branded substandard, what is she to do? This is a funny story.

Of Bitches Born
What is the effect of cloning dogs on dog sled racing? This is a bittersweet tale of a man who is the last racer to use naturally born huskies. This is good.

When actors and models age or get sick, their managers just replace them with younger, dumber clones in this bitter tale of La La Land.

Daddy’s World
Jamie lives in a fantasy land paradise where everything is fun and he has lots of magical creatures as friends. Then he notices that his younger sister is now older than him and that she is angry all the time. Then his sister tells him the terrible truth about his existence. This is a dark and creepy story of how a father consumed by grief destroys his family and won’t let his son rest in order to have the perfect son and family he is entitled to.


The Forest of Hands & Teeth by Carrie Ryan

Mary lives in a village in the middle of a forest. Her village is enclosed by fences and governed by rules. The quasi-religious Sisterhood know best, the Guardians will serve, the fences must be tended and the Unconsecrated will never relent.

Mary pines and sulks for a life outside her suffocating village and its endless rules. She longs to escape the Unconsecrated and go to see the ocean that her mother has told stories about. As time passes she becomes aware that the Sisterhood has secrets and that there are definitely other people outside the village.

Mary’s desire to escape is granted in horrific fashion. One day the sirens wail, the village has been overrun by the Unconsecrated. Mary and a few others manage to escape to the paths in the forest. Where will they go? Is there anywhere to go to?

This is good, the first in a series. Ryan wonderfully evokes life in a world where generations have passed since a zombie apocalypse. Mary however comes across as whiny and selfish. Still maybe she’ll undergo some character growth in the sequel ‘The Dead Tossed Waves’.

Questions need answering: what did the Sisterhood know? Who built the village and the intricate system of fences and gates? Why do the Unconsecrated still number so many if they eventually fall apart in time? I look forward to finding out the answers in future novels.
Scary Books

Trailers, wonderful wonderful trailers!

The Forest of Hand and Teeth book trailer
I know this is a book trailer, but it is not good at all. Show us zombies!

SG:U official Trailer
A brand new show and a brand new setting and the first person we see is Richard Dean Anderson. Sigh. Not pretty. Not pretty. Anyway this looks okay, methinks the two name cast members won’t live beyond the pilot ep. Look at the fate of Robert Patrick in ‘Stargate: Atlantis’. I will give this a cautious try, but ‘SG1’ and ‘SGA’ never failed to disappoint. One glimpse of Rodney McKay and this show is dead to me.

Day One trailer
It’s aliens isn’t it? This looks lame and makes me miss ‘Jericho’. This looks so derivative, I don’t think I’ll bother.

Jennifer’s Body trailer
In every school….there’s a vampire monster. This looks hilarious in a ‘Heathers’ meets ‘Mean Girls’ meets ‘An American Werewolf in London’. It has Amanda Seyfried, Adam Brody and Megan Fox. I’m so there.

Best Lines:
“Jennifer’s evil.”
“Yeah I know.”
“No I mean she’s actually evil. Not high school evil.”

“I will finish you if I have to.”
“Yeah okay, you can barely finish gym class.”

Jordin Spark’s Battlefield music video
I like this song.

Waxwork (1988) trailer
An okay trailer for a very funny horror comedy. It has David Warner, evil waxworks and dumb teenagers getting bumped off. If only they’d listened to movie trailer voiceover guy: “Don’t step over the rope!”

Popcorn (1991) trailer
Oh this is a terrible, terrible trailer. It looks awful. ‘Popcorn’ is a funny horror spoof, like ‘Scream’ but this trailer is dire.

Motel Hell (1980) trailer
Stay at this motel and you’ll never check out. This is an okay trailer; I’d like to see this film. It looks cheesy and common sense would dictate that you wouldn’t stay at a place called Motel Hell.

Blood Ties (1991) trailer
Not the cancelled TV show based on the Tanya Huff novels. This is a TV movie that was a pilot for a vampire soap opera that didn’t get made into a series. They should try again, vampires are in now. Anyway this is an okay trailer but the TV movie is great. A neat twist on the legend.

Cluck's Outback Roaster Combo/Oceanic ads
What this vid has to do with season 6 'Lost' is making me confused. Did they change history? Is Hurley now a burger franchise opener? Who would eat that nasty looking combo meal? Oceanic is crash free and still in business? My brain hurts.

Kate on America's Most Wanted segment
Kate's wanted for killing a co-worker of her stepfather? She blew up his office, not their trailer? What? What? What? Brain, hurts. Roll on season 6 of 'Lost'.
Scary Books

Spooks: Code 9 (2008) Review, Part 1

This ‘darker and edgier’ spin-off of the BBC show ‘Spooks’ was absolutely slaughtered by critics when it aired. It is unsure whether it has been renewed or cancelled. It’s not as bad as the critics made out. Viewers didn’t exactly embrace the show as the core concept of the show invalidated the so far seven seasons of ‘Spooks’. If they hadn’t made it a ‘Spooks’ spin-off, it might have done better. It’s not that bad, honest.

Episode 1
The Code 9 of the title refers to the fact that at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games, someone detonated a nuke. Chaos ensued. 100,000 died, many more are dying of radiation sickness, numerous people were displaced and MI5 lost 25% of their staff. Now they are recruiting smug, snotty, mouthy twentysomethings to fight a new generation of baddies.

It is now 2013 and the just trained officers are on duty. They are Jez (reformed hoodie), Rachel (former cop), Rob (former med student), Vik, Kylie (psych student/radiation poisoning victim) and Charlie (mathematician). The team (minus Jez) all live together in a house which doesn’t seem very smart. The UK has changed: ID cards, checkpoints, sectors and secured food supply compounds are part of everyday life.

An assassination is being planned, the team race to prevent it. Various people wander in and out of scenes to drop massive exposition dumps of dialogue. However the search for the assassin goes horribly wrong as the team didn’t know who the real target was. Soon bodies stack up and a mystery needs solving.

This was okay. Our ‘heroes’ come across as almost unbearably smug especially Rachel. The writers try to give depth to Jez by revealing that his family have been missing since the blast and that he is still searching for them. This show does have flaws but it is watchable. The writers never address the fact that the team enjoy the great power they have over other people’s lives a bit too much.

Best Lines:
Authorities have commenced Operation Sassoon, the mass evacuation of London and surrounding areas.”

“I must have missed the scene where Jason Bourne was stacking shelves.”

“Did you supply a great big gun to an assassin called Jermian Lee recently?”

“One of Britain’s most feared assassins is a 15 year old kid with a burger fetish?”

Episode 2
Jez shags an informer which turns out to be a really bad idea as she’s playing him. In a nod to the post-blast Britain becoming very ‘1984’ there are big screens everywhere that broadcast alert systems. Jez’s informer hacks into the alert system to use the screens to broadcast footage from the secret Windsmere prison.

Jez panics and the team try to track the informer. They don’t know who she is as it turns out she’s using the ID of someone missing since the blast. Then the informer strikes again by triggering a deadly stampede at a train station. Rob tries to find her by going undercover at a relocation centre. His ham fisted efforts do yield some results and Jez has a show down with the informer.

After giving Jez ‘depth’ in ep 1, now we get some ‘depth’ on Rob as it is hinted that a medical school friend of his died under mysterious circumstance. Rachel acts like a snot and it is revealed that people who work on the clean up squads in London steal ID from the dead to sell on the black market.

This was okay and the ongoing main plot arc gets some more hints added to it. Why does a CGI Union Jack fly across the screen from time to time? TPTB did this show no favours by giving it the tagline “For Queen, for country, for kicks”. Which only served to make this show come across like an unholy mish-mash of ‘Spooks’, ‘Hollyoaks’ and ‘Skins

Best Lines:
“No matter where you live, your water is safe to drink.”

“We don’t know who she is, we don’t know where she is, we don’t know how she did it.”

Episode 3
There has been no real sense of danger or urgency to this show, but it finally kicks off in this ep. There is massive demand for illegal radiation sickness pills. The pills are coming out of Prospect Towers, one of the most dangerous resettlement complexes in the country. After partying at a night club, again, Jez and Kylie go in undercover to find the druglord Zero.

Prospect Towers is a bleak hell hole ruled by Zero. His spotters, dealers, muscle and runners are everywhere. But who is he? Jez tries to smoke him out while Kylie chats to Lizzie, a refugee from London. There is a real sense of paranoia in this ep as someone watches the team in their offices, while at Prospect Towers; a riot erupts during an attempted police raid.

Kylie chats to Lizzie about how she was only one mile from the bomb and how she is dying of radiation sickness. How did she pass the MI5 physical is what I want to know. Jez meets Zero and learns the nasty truth about what’s really in the fake pills. Now Jez and Kylie have to get out of Prospect alive. This was good, the hints of what life is like in this bleak 2013 are well done.

Best Lines:
“Protestors looted hospitals and pharmacies desperate to get their hands on rumoured stockpiles of medication.”

“Him and Jez used to, um, rob houses together apparently.”
“He sounds trustworthy.”

“The radiation in my blood is slowly killing me.”
“How long have you got?”
“Nobody knows.”

“You’ve been disrupting municipal harmony.”

“Never thought I’d see the day that fur was harder to get hold of then charlie.”

“Only junkies buy drugs. Everybody buys pharmaceuticals.”

Episode 4
Informers are being murdered and it seems someone is using a website meant to track down people displaced by the bomb to find protected witnesses. Also Rachel and Charlie hunt down a smuggler known as Ghostman while Rob is grilled about his friend’s death. Also the team go clubbing, again.

The clubbing scene are really annoying, you don’t see Lucas North from ‘Spooks’ out clubbing do you? He’s too busy brooding and showing off his prison tattoos. The character of Rob annoys, where to start with him? He’s got a thing for Rachel, he’s a terrible med student and he may be a murderer.

As Kylie has gunplay with people hanging off of cars, Rachel learns some shocking and game changing information about the 2012 incident from the Ghostman. This was good.

Best Lines:
“I need all my brain cells, they’re handy for thinking.”

“I wouldn’t touch your bloke. God knows what he caught off you!”

“Two informers dead and one of your team in hospital after a drunken brawl? Not an exemplary week.”

“It would make them sick to see what you’re doing in their name.”

“I need a scar.”