May 10th, 2016


Book Reviews: Triggerfish Twist + The Movie Set + The Devil's Heart

Triggerfish Twist by Tim Dorsey
This 2003 novel is a prequel to the very first Serge novel ‘Florida Roadkill’. It is 1997 and Serge, Coleman and Sharon move into a nice neighbourhood as part of a scam. The Davenport clan have also moved in and so begins the cataclysmic descent of an ordinary street. Sharon is alienating, savage and uncaring. Coleman gets high a lot and Serge sees it as his civic agenda to kill those not on the morally correct course. Despite the whimsical tone and flippant style, there is a slow drip of sexism. This isn’t searing, expansive storytelling. Serge does a simulacrum of genuine introspection. There is glibness, raucousness and fateful decisions. But there is no dark glamour, raw fluency or unknowable internal logic. This was kitschifed crap and not a riveting drama.

Best Lines:
“They respectively majored in English, philosophy, English philosophy, French poetry, art history, and no declared major, and they all expected to and easy high-paying jobs immediately after graduation without trying.”

“The falling out with the previous tenant had been particularly nasty. Serge stared down at the carpet, where obscenities had been written with hydrochloric acid. Off to the side, an old bloodstain had been worked on with bleach.”

“Where’d you learn that?”

“All the windows had been nailed shut and aluminium foil Super Glued to the glass.”

“Most are ex-cons or junkies or deranged from inbreeding. Five have died violently, three are back in prison, two have gone insane from untreated venereal disease, and one writes book reviews.”

The Movie Set by June Flaum Singer
This 1985 novel sees 5 nice girls start out in life, but nice girls don’t survive in the movie set. 5 bizarrely named girls meet at college in the 60s. They go on to make bad horrible marriages, bad horrible choices, suffer cruel divorce trials, domestic violence, illness, diseases, misunderstandings, bizarre sex, interactions with Howard Hughes, destructive hangers on and a warped relationship with Hollywood. This has self-martyrdom, arson, histrionics, social climbing and is bottom shelf trash. I read it in 5 hours while sick off school once.

Star Trek The Next Generation: The Devil’s Heart by Carmen Carter
This 1994 novel sees Picard come into possession of a mythical artefact that everybody wants. People act out of character. Picard is addled and distracted by the artefact and acts in self-indulgent ways. This instability is not unprecedented.  Worf does blunt coercions and dominance. Picard turns into an animalic Gollum, Worf is an implacable ass and people talk in ways both mannered and blank.

The artefact provokes both awe and bewilderment, but its powers seem both fantastical and illusory. This was theatrical but unmemorable. There is no clear narrative just well-rehearsed ennui, strong responses and no oozing menace. Picard acts miserable, sulky, desperate and avariciously ambitious. This prompts disaffection. This was a plain unpalatable, uninteresting, silly read.

This belongs in the ranks of naff ‘Star Trek’ novels like ‘Best Destiny’, ‘Spock’s World’, ‘The Wounded Sky’, ‘The Tears Of The Singers’, ‘The Vulcan Academy Murders’, ‘Ishmael’, ‘Killing Time’, ‘Pawns and Symbols’, ‘Battlestations!’, ‘Chain of Attack’, ‘The IDIC Epidemic’, Time Trap’, ‘Vulcan’s Glory’, ‘The Cry of the Onlies’, ‘The Rift’, ‘Ice Trap’, ‘Death Count’, ‘Shell Game’, ‘The Great Starship Race’, ‘The Big Game’, ‘Descent’, ‘Metamorphosis’, ‘Vendetta’ and the ‘Rebels’ trilogy.

Best Lines:
“Much of the knowledge brought from Iconia was lost forever as precious books were burned as fuel. A few of the elders fought to save those relics; they were burned as well.”

“I begin to see why it has such morbid names.”

“I do not fear the dead, but neither do I seek out their company.”

“Who am I to come between a man and his rock?”

“She walled herself up alive rather than let the Ko N’Ya fulfil its destiny.”

“I can rake the Pagrashrak from out of the rubble of your blasted ship and the corpses of your dead crew.”

“This fleeting channel into another galaxy was gone, and it would not return for another five thousand years.”
To Light The Way To Bed

Trailers, Quotes and Stuff

‘Colony’ 1x06 promo
The Resistance do crap, Snyder runs and Katie is stupid.

Best Line:
“Snyder is the devil.”

‘Center Stage: On Pointe’ trailer
They made another one! The term hater is used and there is screaming and no.

‘Puppy Surprise’ ad
This is still a thing?

‘Bridget and Eamon’ promo

Best Lines:
“Very London.”

“I don’t care anymore.”

“No one cares if you’re unhappy.”

“That’s just typical of you.”

‘The Forgotten’ (2014) trailer
This UK horror has grubby flats, a father and son, mumbling, no wallpaper, odd noises, a rude girl, more mumbling and cops. No.

Best Line:
“It’s not right this place.”

‘Buster’ (1988) promo

‘Man About Dog’ (2004) promo

‘Flags of our Fathers’ (2006) promo

‘Hollyoaks’ promo
Silas and Lindsey rampage.

‘Slasher’ promo

Strawberry Fields tic tacs - yum.
Domino’s Texas BBQ gluten free pizza - yum.
Raw organic handmade no dairy no soy gluten free Sour Cherry & Vanilla 60% cacao chocolate - okay.
Goats cheese balls and Frank’s red hot sauce - yum.
Hunky punky chocolate dairy free ice cream alternative - nice.

The new show ‘Feud’ sounds interesting

Regietheater - the cult of the intrusive director.

Are any pets being rescued from the scorch zone of Fort McMurray?

Wooden sole clogs are coming back?

‘Super Mario Bros’ (1993), ‘Street Fighter’ (1994) and ‘Doom’ (2005) were horrid.

‘Rogue’ Quote:
“You subtly change the cultures you encounter to suit yourselves.”

‘The Sunday Telegraph’ Quote:
“EastEnders in a field.”

‘FTWeekend’ Quotes:
“If anybody gets the idea of popping out for a pint, and I find out, he is finished with this squad for ever.”

“The players were even given lessons in how to cut their toenails for fear that a poor clipping technique would lead to a septic toe.”

“His downfall was absolute.”

“Too good. Take it away.”

“This narrative of discovery is undercut by the presence of existing populations.”

“Arcane bitters.”

“Pyres of bores.”

“Enhancing their monstrous aspect.”

“Sculptural concrete architecture that spread across the late 1950s and the late 1970s.”

“Fierce, almost aggressive style.”

“Big things of life somehow disguised in the small.”

“Dream of dark terrible things.”

“Vaguely mystic prettiness.”

“Adapted his script from novelty mugs.”

“Puts dirt and pain into his subject’s voice.”

“Colour worlds.”

“Without conveying the mood and spirit of why it was created.”

‘Henry VI: Part One’ Quotes:
“A viperous worm that gnaws the bowels of the commonwealth.”

“Saucy priest.”

“So stern and tragical.”

“Fatal this marriage.”

“Smooth runs the water where the brook is deep.”

‘The Sunday Times’ Quotes:
“Taking over a particularly obedient mob.”

“An ideology and occasional coherence that Trump utterly lacks.”

“He’d like to punch a protestor in the face or have him carried out on a stretcher.”

“No ability to inspire or rally anyone.”

“An unlikeability problem.”

“Sitting at home and complaining.”

“Unconventional practicality.”

“Bourgeoisie thought.”

“I have never met two more “ITV” people in my life.”

“I cannot fault this line of argument.”

“Too many rather stupid pictures of young men standing around on beaches in their underpants.”

“Loo-chain diamonds.”

“Using artiness as an excuse for opacity.”

“Making sure no one who attended her recitals wrote nasty reviews or laughed.”

“Fiendishly overacted.”

“Tooth-meltingly saccharine.”

“Pompously effortful.”

“He was finally dispatched to Ireland, “the Tudor equivalent of Siberia”.”

“About whom there was public suspicion.”

“Extensive distress.”

‘Sky News’ Quote:
“In no way under control.”

‘The Simpsons’ Quote:
“Let there be crap.”

'Dr Phil' Quotes:
"She spent our mortgage money on Kip Moore tickets."

"What are you 12?"

On ‘Hollyoaks’: Diane screeches. Ste and Harry report Lockie missing and wonder about Cameron’s ministrations. TPTB refuse to engage with sense.
Scary Books

8 TV Reviews

Agent Carter 2x07

Whitney Frost plays the grieving widow. Her mobster buddy (Ken Marino) runs around. Peggy makes bitchfaces and is heinous. Is Sousa and his bland personality type her future husband? Why does Dottie never use her Russian accent? Dottie is menaced by Vernon (Kurtwood Smith) who misuses a real life anecdote. Nobody cares about Violet. Why is Mrs Jarvis putting up with Peggy and her crap?

Peggy is fractiously thankless. Jarvis is moronic. Dottie is stubbornly dark. Jason’s hostilities are fanned. Peggy makes looks of smug privilege. WTF is Leviathan? Was it ever made clear in season 1? Dottie’s inner socialist stews. The gangster and Vernon cower to Whitney. Dottie is caused profound distress and unhappiness by Whitney. Poor Dottie is too often maligned by others.

Whitney is far more interesting and steely than the ultimately facetious season 1 baddies. So where does Sharon Carter come from if Peggy’s brother is dead? TPTB have an over-reliance on Jarvis and his emollient tones. Does Peggy not care about Angie anymore? SHIELD is still not being set up, Howard Stark is due to be murdered by Hydra in 44 years and somewhere poor Bucky is currently being brainwashed by Hydra. Nice work saving the world Peggy.

Mrs Jarvis is resilient, upbeat and compliant. Peggy is a desperate attention seeker and Whitney plans substantial harm. Jarvis is a thumpingly bad character. What became of the Captain America radio show? Why is Peggy so beloved? Where did Jason get the suit? There are incongruous chats. Peggy is just a bitch. Jarvis tries to get dangerous but is just so extra. Whitney menaces Jason and Mrs Jarvis.

This was okay if not exactly deft storytelling. Whitney’s scar looks like leaden eyeliner. Peggy has condescending assumptions. Whitney rants. The gangster lurks. Mrs Jarvis is inept. Sousa learns the risk principle. Mrs Jarvis is shot. Peggy locks Dottie in the trunk of a car. So much for them unexpectedly allying and bonding. Dottie gets away. So it wouldn’t be until Hawkeye that a Black Widow was recruited to SHIELD? Oh nice work, Peggy. Sousa loses his job.

Best Lines:
“I’ve pulled out my own teeth, my own nails, my own hair, I burned my own flesh with a blow torch. I’m no Nazi harlot.”

“No one questions her story for one moment.”

“You’re trying to act tough, but you’re terrified.”

“That pretty blonde monster.”

“What does Peggy Carter want?”

“Sudden and inexplicable appearance.”

“Move befitting a prowler.”

“Is this supposed to be a rescue?”

“It’s a force of destruction.”

The Durrells 1x06
So ends series 1. Will there be a series 2? Oh I hope not. Hard bitten Nancy whines and dresses inappropriately. Sven (who never existed) annoys. Larry is 22. He acts like he is 45. Sense is maddeningly off-limits. Louisa has a laissez-faire attitude to sense. Larry wants to move out, he and Nancy did have their own house at this point in time. This does not avoid clichés and is not a true embodiment of Gerald Durrell’s vision. This was not remarkably imaginative.

Louisa wants Nancy gone. Larry deduces Sven’s big secret. Nobody has commercial efficiencies and this is fatally chequered by being crap. Gerald opens a petting zoo, then he plans to let his animals go and then he changes his mind. Nancy whines and is not a beguiling companion. The Countess shows up, she did not exist either. This was ruinous total crap. The book is very poorly served. Louisa dumps Sven. Everyone is caked in fake tan. Nancy leaves and it ends. This was utterly ghastly.

Best Lines:
“Do what I do: shout at them.”

“It’s illegal and rightly so.”

“I am very unlucky, look at my life.”

“Mindless allegiance.”

“It’s not about her.”

Agents Of SHIELD 3x18

The Singularity
Joyless Couslon is a tool. The real SHIELD would have stopped this. There is a flurry of bad acting. Coulson and his self-deluding deceptivity switches between being offensive and being repulsive. There is no dramatic intrigue. Coulson is turpitudinous. Daisy is sanctimoniously mocking of the late Grant Ward. Even Hive shrugs off Ward. Coulson and his macho posturing is ugly, thuggish, loud, demanding and gratuitously rude. Simmons offers Fitz duty sex. Where did Fitz’s brain damage go?

Daisy is a corrosive obsessive. Talbot rants. SHIELD doesn’t help anyone except themselves. They’re just megalomaniacs sure of their moral superiority. May, Coulson and Fitz are all racists. SHIELD is decadent, decaying callousness. There is techno-fear and SHIELD misread Hive. Hive and Daisy bother the poor man’s Gerald Butler who yells. Lincoln rants. Fitz and Simmons bore. Mack is ever-useless. This does not even arouse vague interest. Nobody draws appropriate lessons.

This was bluntly bad, drained and listless. John Hannah shows up as a doctor. Coulson has a shield, which is naff. Hydra is taken down off screen. Fitz, Simmons and Mack are tools and no one has quiet dignity.

Best Lines:
“You’re attracted to danger.”

“That’s a rather ominous thing to say.”

“Feel’s a little 90s.”

“Stop trying to save me.”

Z Nation 2x13&2x14

Adios Muchachos
This has no verisimilitude and is of little intrinsic worth. It’s like the 2010 Queen Vic fire on ‘Eastenders’ - a big lot of nothing. There is no cure. Murphy is an ass and I really don’t care about Vasquez. The cartel guy bores and nobody has an intrepid attitude. Murphy’s roguish attitude bores and shows he is cold-hearted. Roberta has calm confidence. Things go awry. There is bad SFX and this was abhorrent. Murphy snarls abuse and this was not brilliant or charming.

Best Line:
“Bad Kurian!”

Day One
There are flashbacks to pre-z days. Citizen Z was a hacker and his name was Simon and he was recruited because of zombies. The gangs’ makeovers have worn off. Roberta was National Guard and then the zombies came. Doc was an addiction counsellor. Addy was at an ice hockey game and Mack was one of the players. 10K was in the woods with his dad. 10K can’t act, at all. Vasquez yells and Lord I detest him. There are voiceovers and Murphy in jail was annoying. This was good. Murphy is outrageously unpleasant and entirely irrational.

Best Lines:
“How did it come to this?”

“Let’s hug it out.”

“This sucks. Even for us. This sucks.”

“What can you want?”

“It’s prison, nothing’s private.”

War & Peace (1972 - 1973) 1x11&1x12

Men Of Destiny
It’s 1812 and Napoleon plans to invade Russia. He’s truly terrifying in his stunning ferocity and feral presence. His defining instinct is to be confrontational in a troubled interview with a former friend. Napoleon wanted to create the EU. Andrei is an arse and his son finally shows up. Mad Dad eats what looks like Instant Whip. Did that exist in 1812? Mad Dad drools over Maria’s companion (the 1812 Ginger Alden). Natasha has a new pallor. Pierre blathers. This was relentlessly mediocre full of inaccuracies and a lack of internal logic.

Best Lines:
“Pray god, it never will.”

“Napoleon knows no other form of friendship.”

“That worthless woman.”

Fortunes Of War
This created no serviceable sense of enjoyment. Men shout, Natasha’s brother Petya joins up and Maria is intensely appalled. Mad Dad has no moral obligations, does unholy shrieking in his outdoor voice, won’t evacuate and finally dies. The much berated Maria continues to self-martyr. You want to smack the guarded timidity out of her. The aristocrats barely concealed contempt for their serfs comes back to bite them. There is no existential dread. Maria provokes exasperation. Things get precarious. The French have a complaining tone. Nikolai yells in a forceful way. This was inconsistent. People make knowing expressions and there is a lack of conviction about sobering times.

Best Lines:
“He’s not as clever as we are.”

“How dare you come in here with your hats on!”

Legends 2x03

The Legend Of Curtis Ballard
Kate is just the worst. Flashbacks to 2001 reveal her awful father and real name. Flashbacks to 1991 show Curtis’ back-story and how he became FBI. Kate ignores the sinister background of her new friends and their portentous talk. Martin has to recalibrate his plan. Yawn.

Best Lines:
“She’s our in.”

“Bible boys.”

“We should be leaving.”

“You must know there’s something wrong with all of this.”