April 14th, 2014

Scary Books

Movie Reviews: The Quiet Ones + Rebecca + Phantoms

The Quiet Ones (2014)
This mediocre Hammer film is set in 1974 Oxford. A creepy professor (Jared Harris) and three idiot assistants study a troubled, manipulative woman who is the source of paranormal activity. This had promise at first but is weirdly edited and bears a passing resemblance to another (and superior) UK horror ‘Long Time Dead’. I was disappointed and don’t get me started on the terrible cheap looking CGI. All the characters are loons with no moral invigoration who jabber flabby verbiage. So who cares?

Rebecca (1940)
This was a disturbing tale of a creepy, murderous, brooding, confrontational, seething domestic abuser named Max (Laurence Oliver) and his wet second wife (Joan Fontaine) who lives in the painful shadow of Max’s deceased first wife Rebecca. This is a morass of fatalism, an OTT soundtrack and is boring and lacks bonhomie.

Best Line:
“I don’t want to go to the asylum.”

Phantoms (1998)
This terrible film is based on the only good book Dean Koontz ever wrote. A woman with loo brush hair drags her bemused, emotionally needy sister Lisa (Rose McGowan) to her small town home. Soon traumatic events start happening (worse than gentrification) as everyone in town is dead. The sisters react with banal conversation and excruciatingly bad acting that is torment incarnate. Five minutes in and I loathe this relentlessly bad movie. It is blighted and full of datedness that does a disservice to the novel. Creepy cops (Ben Affleck and Live Schreiber) suddenly show up. They’re diligently awful dudebros. Something profoundly weird is going on but you don’t care due to the plethora of morons and creeps uttering ineloquent chatter. An expert on this sort of thing (Peter O’Toole, the only actor with dignified reserve) shows up. Sadly even O’Toole can’t bring any creative potency to this pathetically inadequate film which is repellent and full of absurdities, bad SFX, yelling, stuff blowing up, echo chamber voices, strobe lights and Peter O’Toole orating down a manhole.

Best Lines:
“One maniac couldn’t have wiped out a whole town.”

“They weren’t quite that rude, no boot through the bottom.”

“Chaos, chaos in the flesh.”

“How do you fit into this?”
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Trailers, Quotes and Stuff

‘Plastic’ trailer

‘Sabotage’ trailer
This Arnie film looks good.

‘Prey’ promo
John Simm stars as a cop on the run accused of murder. This looks good.

‘Hollyoaks’ Spring 2014 promo
Yawn. Fraser will soon be dead? Yawn.

‘Hinter Land’ promo
Not a clue what this BBC4 drama is about.

Raspberry and Chocolate frozen yogurt = not so hot.
Walnut cake = nice.
Cotton Candy ice cream = horribly ineffective.
Grapes = good.
Gin & Tonic choc = okay.
Honey choc = yum.

‘The Green Hornet: Legacy’ was abysmal.

Reviews of ‘Blood and Beauty’, ’Kindling The Moon’, ’The Empire of Time’, ’The Borderlands’ and season 2 of ’Continuum’ forthcoming.

I won’t be reviewing ‘Fearful Symmetries’, ‘Don’t Look Back’, ‘We Were Liars’ or ‘Cuckoo Song’.

I am reading ‘Night Film’.

‘2 Broke Girls’ Quote:
“My thong may be on backwards.”

On ‘Hollyoaks’: Ste is arrested and menaced into taking the fall for Fraser’s latest murder. Teegan is dumb. Leela was the one who snitched on Ste. Trevor goes all Hulk smash on a phone. Joe is useless. Sinead demands justice for Katy. So the smug cow Lindsey is suspended for her gross incompetence. Lindsey responds by eye-rolling and sulking.
Scary Books

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D 1x15 +The Blacklist 1x17 +The Americans 2x05 +Da Vinci’s Demons 1x02 Reviewed

Yes Man
The Asgard bint Lorelei takes up with a biker gang led by Rooster (Dylan Bruno of ‘Numb3rs’). The team don’t care about Deathlok and his magic leg. Fitz whines and Coulson thinks he’s wily but he’s not. Sadly Skye is not dead. Lady Sif shows up to catch Lorelei. My expectations for this show are slowly rising. Coulson doesn’t want Thor to know he is alive. There is no mention of Loki or his ‘death’.

Lorelei gets people killed and makes off with Ward. There is a mention of the Kree, events escalate, Coulson is snappy and his default setting is as a tool of immense magnitude. Ward and Lorelei go at it. Coulson tries to do ‘threatening’ and comes across as an insolent toddler. May’s face doesn’t move, Fitz is not relevant, Ward fancies Skye and Fitz gets punched out. ‘Odin’ wants Lorelei, May denounces and dumps Ward. May bristles and is spying on Coulson. This was okay but why is Skye the creator’s pet?

Best Lines:
“He’s past help.”

“Asgardians are allies.”
Loki wasn’t.”

“Fine doesn’t look like this.”

“I’m tired of this Rooster. Make it stop.”

“You mistake me for someone who fears you.”

“Coulson knows.”

Ivan (no 88)
Red has somehow found Jolene’s grave. Liz gives Tom a tacky toy. Ressler’s made an abrupt recovery from instability. Liz has no caution around Red. A hacker is after the NSA’s Project Skeleton Key. The show slowly, very very slowly advances the Tom narrative. Liz learns Jolene was of ill-repute. Liz walks in on Tom in his evil man-cave and doesn’t realise it is him even after he punches her in the face. A teenage boy is the hacker and a stalker. He is also boundlessly annoying. Why is Tom reconnoitring Liz? The stalker with a crush bores. Liz presupposes a lot of things and is a short tempered egoist. Meera’s purpose on this show has been dismantled. Everyone does dull surprise acting. This was bad and implausible. The hacker is indefatigably stupid. Could Tom be less obvious? Liz comes to a slack jawed realisation about which of the contrasting views of Tom is true.

Best Lines:
“Should I be worried?”

“A place inhabited only by scary people and reckless teenagers.”

“You better type fast.”

“Watchpost is compromised.”

“What do you need?”

The Deal
The snatch of the scientist went awry due to Mossad, now the Jennings new handler shows up to annoy. Philip gets thorny. Elizabeth visits Martha pretending to be her sister in law whilst wearing an ugly wig. Elizabeth spews lofty rhetoric to save the grubby reality of Philip and Martha’s marriage. The dishonest and craven Stan bores. Philip and the captured Mossad agent have a grindingly portentous conversation to give Philip depth and dimension. Martha is disintegrating messily and Elizabeth has to talk her out of filling in the job application form. Martha has no intrinsic worth or interest as she boasts about her porno sex with Philip.

Elizabeth has no idea of appropriate behaviour. There is no moral certainty here. Gaad is on his way out. This ep was not compelling or spine-tingling tense. Oleg gets speculative. Elizabeth gets poignant. Nina is beguiling Stan whose fondness for her bloats his egocentricity. The scientist is put on a slow boat to Russia to Philip’s callous indifference. The scientist wails unpervasively. Yawn.

Best Lines:
“Mr KGB man.”

“What does he do?”

“Let me put on my big surprise face.”

“Your name isn’t your name is it?”

“You’re not a man. Whatever you once were, whoever you were, they trained it out of you.”

“What a nice bed you must have to sleep in at night.”

“I don’t have anything to give you.”

“Funny. I don’t think he very much wants to go.”

The Serpent
Leonardo dreams as his friends grave rob. Leonardo does an autopsy on the man executed in 1x01 and finds a key. Lorenzo and his mistress Donati act cruder. Leonardo’s father is disinterested in his provoking, cacophonous, undeterred, unruly, unconventional and carousing bastard son. This show tries for atmospheric but all one can wonder, is how did the prat become such a cultural symbol?

Leonardo works on a pipe organ musket for Florence and at first tastes the bitterness of failure. Nico is menaced by the Vatican’s lackey Count Riario who is mirthlessly undynamic as he shows off his Widow’s Tear device to Nico. This conspiracy view of history has no cohesive thread. Donati seems to be spying for the Vatican under duress. Riario boasts of being Sixtus IV’s bastard son. Riario and his invasive rottenness prompts acrimony. Lorenzo menaces Leonardo. Riario looks like he has lice living in his pores. The things that call themselves Lorenzo’s courtiers bore. Leonardo ponders the key and his other friend used to be Owen on ‘Being Human’. A beggar is all-knowing. Leonardo looks for a book.

The Papal guard reek of squalor. Lorenzo’s wife Clarice stands around. There are mentions of the future Sistine Chapel, bank debts, a Pisa Archbishop and provocations. Rome and Florence have antipathy. Leonardo has no ownership and deserves the scorn in which he is held. He is vacant and vacuous. The Vatican is rowdy and sordid. Lorenzo stages a floorshow at his party. This was unenthralling and full of braying by the narcissistic Leonardo. This was insufficiently stimulating despite the big reveal at the end.

Best Lines:
“The Papal nephew and attack dog.”

“Your already compromised character.”

“Be sure to clench.”

“Would you mind skulking around making the proprietor apprehensive?”
“Why me?”
“Well, because you reek of dishonesty.”

“You offend me.”
Scary Books

Book Reviews: Dark Mirror + Q&A

Star Trek The Next Generation: Dark Mirror by Diane Duane
This 1994 novel was a good sequel to the iconic ‘TOS’ episode ‘Mirror Mirror’ in which Kirk and Co paid an unwanted visit to the Terran Empire. Sadly this book was later invalidated by the ‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’ mirror universe episodes. The crew of the Enterprise D are studying hyperstrings in a purgatorial area of space when they are stolen into the mirror universe by the greatest menace they will ever face: themselves. The crew view their mirror doppelgangers with incomprehension, but the only way to get home is for three senior officers to sneak onto the ISS Enterprise and be traumatised by what they find there. Picard is too in love with his own sadness at his harsh mirror doppelganger and his toxic reputation and vile acts. Troi finds her mirror doppelganger is a filthy sadist who pouts moodily while wearing street-hooker attire and showing off bare whore legs in slag heels. The slutty and uncontrolled mirror Troi indulges in sexualised abominable behaviour, Troi is kind of envious. Geordi strumps around realising his mirror doppelganger acts like something that sniffs around petrol stations at night.

They get deliciously nostalgic for home as they encounter the manky, unwanted and unloved mirror Wesley, mirror Worf who chokes on his own shame and exploitation, mirror Barclay who enjoys fear, risk and exhilaration and mirror Riker who is a  profoundly annoying Milk Tray man gone wrong. The society that created these inhuman types is revealed as a shabby, sordid, highly toxic, lurid, abhorrent, blinged up, blow hard oligarchy that somehow manages to run a pervasive, unequal, chaotic Empire with over powered starships crewed by the nastiest pieces of work in existence.

Appalling unspeakable things have been done in this dark, dark place yet the doppelgangers are mad sad self deluders lost in a slew of resentment and denial about the cesspit Empire that is such an unmanageable mess even the Milky Way itself has effectively cast off the Empire. The crew must plot an escape and foil their doppelgangers amidst emotional punches, provocations, epic hubris, intolerance, violence and mumbling creepers lurking around corners. This was consummate fun as the unsavoury adversaries are foiled as the philistines they are, techno babble is revelled in and Picard urges an Empire subject to create a more pluralistic society.

Best Lines:
“It’s not always safe to say no to Commander Riker.”

“His face had a calculating look about it, like that of someone who spends his life anticipating trouble and isn’t entirely disappointed when it finally arrives.”

“Planet surface was cleansed of alien life-forms, later relocated to orbit around Gamma cephen prior to resettlement by approved species.”

“He gets what he’s brought down on himself.”

“You haven’t had a scruple for years.”

“They had now succeeded in exterminating, or dominating, almost all life with which they had come in contact.”

“The simple, quiet, patient dark, in which everything ended sooner or later.”

“There are literally no more worlds to conquer.”

Star Trek The Next Generation: Q&A by Keith R.A. DeCandido
This 2007 novel interrupted the Borg onslaught saga to tell yet another tale of Picard and the shameless, reviled Q. It seems there has been meaningful depth, quality and content to Q and his semi-transgressive behaviour all along. Q the notorious trickster has a plan. Shame it is interrupted by the banal, ludicrous Crusher/Picard goofing romance. Then by Miranda Kadohata doing the logistical problems of being a working mother and First Officer. Then by the terribly serious new security chief Leybenzon who causes much iliberal antagonism. Both Leybenzon and Kadohata would be killed off in later books but the core characters are sadly sacrosanct. Exposition is dumped, a non-terrifying threat engages in misbehaviour. This was a deficient tale with a paucity of interest, cloying plot devices, Picard indulging in pathetic self-delusional rudeness and Q being vindicated amidst tedious action and DeCandido’s horrible way of writing. This book was such a dog, it could win at Crufts.

Best Lines:
“No forward motions designed to unconvincingly intimidate?”

“Picard had other methods of dealing with Lore if the android ever got delusions of grandeur.”