May 14th, 2017

Sergio Balleseros

Code Black 2x16 + Blindspot 2x20 Reviewed

Fallen Angels
The ER sees the worst US viral outbreak in years. The foster brat whines. The brat is out of touch with her emotions. The staff whine and have no mental distance. There is sap and bad acting. There is a worrying trend towards conspiracy theories. The medics do not try to mitigate the damage, instead they make things worse. There is arbitrary plotting. Rob Lowe is smug and is unimaginably dumb. The plot is fairly obvious. The staff defy the CDC and refuse to co-operate with constraints. People can’t cope. A hysterical woman is hysterical. I loathed this ep. There is no narrative drive as the stupid medics trigger chaos. The medics are nasty, petty individuals and glory in their syrupy sentimentality.

Best Lines:
“Here in downtown.”

“Loss of mental capacity.”

“She’s not a piece of medical waste.”

“I need you to choose bigger.”

“First circle of exposure.”

“They lost the virus.”

“Something’s not right.”
“You mean like the blood all over the floor?”

“Fluid born contagion.”


In Words, Drown I
In an impenetrable plot undercover angry is in jail. Jane hangs out with her wretched violent nut job evil brother. Kurt learns Jane is still keeping secrets from him and RAGES. There is another Taylor Shaw mention. Angry is confrontational and where is angry hiding the phone while in jail? This was not hugely impressive. Ronda Rousey guest stars as an inmate. There is emotional distance, silence and resentment.  Blondie elicits neither interest nor support. Rousey has no toughness, hardness or charisma. This was mediocre with no high dramatic scenes. I can see why I dropped this show, I only watched this ep because of Rousey.

Best Lines:
“They don’t always wait til you’re not in it.”

“The razor wire on the fence.”

“Very not ideal.”
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Scary Books

Trailers, Quotes and a 2004 Tape Tale

‘Fargo’ promo
No, I’ve an inability to engage with this show.

‘Miss Parker and the Vicious Circle’ (1994) promo

‘Alien Covenant’ TV spot
I’m not watching this.

72% dark choc with orange - okay.
Escargots de France - okay.
Dark chocolate with orange - okay.

‘Timeless’ cancelled, shrug. ‘The Catch’ cancelled: yay!

‘Torchwood’ is continuing as audio-dramas. No thanks.

‘Agents of SHIELD’ has been renewed. HOW?

‘Insidious’ is not that good a film. ‘Insidious Chapter 2’ is a mess. Where did the ghostbusters get the green tranquiliser? What about the investigation into Elise’s murder? What about Josh’s body dying because he was possessed? What about Josh’s other 2 children inheriting his astral projection? The sequel is a supercilious predictable parody of itself.

Best Lines:
“It’s not the house, it’s Josh.”

“I’ll come back for you mommy!”

“Why don’t you ask your dice what I have behind my back?”

‘Poirot: Cat Among The Pigeons’ Quotes:
“Prepare for ingratitude.”

“Probably use chickens for currency.”

“Terms most unsubtle.”

‘The Irish Times’ Quotes:
“Did not go away simply because he wanted them to.”

“Late bronze age doctrinal theology.”

“Industrialised childbirth facilities.”

“I’m not sure I like him very much.”

“I wonder why this woman hasn’t been murdered long ago.”

“He is no longer useful to the family.”

“Don’t want him under their roof any more.”

“The mistaken belief that he had the capacity to fix it by meeting your needs.”

“You should probably have achieved a lot more in your life by this point.”

“Retreats from society.”

“Economically illiterate.”

“Ran away with another man.”

“Locked me in a toilet.”

“Annoying to teach.”

“Needs were neither identified nor met.”

“Age-inappropriate responsibilities.”

“Due care and decency.”

‘CSI’ Quotes:
“Guys without showers.”

“Modes of ingestion.”

“You all right? Guess not.”

‘BBC Newsline’ Quote:
“Rowed over money for sex.”

‘Quadruplets and Homeless’ Quotes:
“Miserable git.”

“What is it I don’t get?”

“They’re blatantly showing that they hate him.”

“He’s not welcome back.”

“Keeping his drinking down to manageable levels.”

“Makes me feel appreciated.”

‘Dr Phil’ Quotes:
“I don’t believe she was the victim at all.”

“Hit her to calm her down.”

“Here by my grace.”


“Impose your will upon her.”

“No more talking back.”

‘RTE News’ Quote:
“Significant and negative.”

‘GoRail’ Quotes:
“International brotherhood of pudding-makers.”

“Bearing no resemblance whatsoever to her past output.”

“Formative days on the Irish pub and club circuit.”

“What talent do you wish you had - talent?”

“Reflect back the truth to power.”

‘The Simpsons’ Quotes:
“You’re a has-been nobody likes.”

“Why aren’t you forgiving me?”

On ‘Neighbours’: Where is Brad when Piper is in hospital? Tyler screws up again. This was aggressively generic. Mark lacks all charm and charisma and discovers Shane’s relative used to be a cop. Aaron and David have utter disillusionment with each other. Finn does bad things to Elly.

Best Lines:
“I don’t think I’m wanted here.”

“Unlawful assault.”

On ‘Hollyoaks’: Tegan’s not pregnant and steals pills. Leela is the WORST. This has no coherent story. Holly is incredulous and uneasy. Nancy and Grace look like stumpy drag queens. Hunter and Neeta do a Macron. Exclusion is threatened. Holly has no commanding confidence. Nick berates her. He’s emotionally harmed her. This was inauspicious. Courtney is pregnant?!?” How does she cope in the Lomax house with the steep stairs and no ramps? Warren smirks. Holly’s at the edge of despair. It’s Maxine and Patrick all over again. Sally fancies Neeta. Nancy is a redhead now, Courtney keeps the baby, Joel broods and Cleo has absolute disregard. Terrifying oik Warren has posturing narcissism. Goldie learns something. This is not an intelligent and soulful exploration of Chester life. This is not piercingly intelligent.

Best Lines:
“It’s art miss.”

“Not a bad lad.”

“Robbing little scrubber.”

Cleared out a tape from 2004. It began with an ep of ‘The Others’ entitled ‘Souls On Board’. This supernatural show had naff opening credits and a plane is haunted. The psychics are on a plane and face never ending torment and hate. Or something. This was naff. Then came a ‘Xena Warrior Princess’ ep ‘Legacy’ in which Xena brings down the hammer on Romans on behalf of sand-people or something. This was not admirably provocative. Then came a ‘Popular’ ep ‘Joe Loves Mary Cherry’ in which Harrison and Nicole plot and have delusional rage. I do not care. This show was highly stylised but not sleekly produced. Characters have a permanently glazed and hollow look.

Finally there was a ‘Charmed’ ep ‘A Call To Arms’ in which Paige still doesn’t have a job. Phoebe whines and is ungrateful. Leo goes crazy and the false and malicious Sheridan resurfaces. There is bad acting and Daryl is ill-thanked for his help. This was all inaction and was not even intermittently interesting.

Best Lines:
“Are you following me?”
“Yes I am.”

“What have we gone and done now?”

Book Reviews: The Master Of Time + The Manitou + Coffee With Groucho

The Master Of Time by David Wingrove
This bitter, cynical and brutal banality bores. This was not precise and has no clearly identifiable threat. The ‘Roads To Moscow’ trilogy ends here in dullsville. Book 1 was good, Book 2 was unreadable and this is just ridiculous. It lacks coherence and is full of sexual violence. People intervene in time and there are reprisals and it is all rubbish. It all ends in complete devastation and there is no human decency. This was not bold or ambitious.

The Manitou by Graham Masterson
Dignity-shredding rubbish.

Coffee With Groucho by Simon Louvish
A small bio and a fictional interview with Groucho Marx are in this okay very small book.

Best Lines:
“All German acts became suspect.”

“The laughing stopped.”

“Well they laughed at that in 1902.”
Illya K

Movie Reviews: The Return Of The Man From U.N.C.L.E + The Love Witch + 6 others

The Return Of The Man From U.N.C.L.E: The Fifteen Years Later Affair (1983)
This 80s reunion movie/failed pilot for a new show is not good. Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin have long quit UNCLE and haven’t spoken in 15 years apparently. The font and logo for UNCLE have changed and the music is horrible 80s synth. The opening credits are like a bad parody. This was so 80s and not in a good way.

Solo (the late Robert Vaughn looking old), Illya (David McCallum), the new UNCLE head (Patrick MacNee), some random woman (Gayle Hunnicutt), some other random woman (Carolyn Seymour) and JB (George Lazenby) run around the idiot ball plot as do a bunch of inept new UNCLE agents played by untalented no name actors. Mr Waverly is dead. A bad dude busts out of jail and rampant criminality is afoot. The new agents find it difficult to manage. THRUSH hang out in Libya (no comment). THRUSH lackeys in orange jumpsuits and black berets lurk. This was even worse than the 2015 movie.

The new agents do not know who Solo is. Why did Solo leave UNCLE? It is never explained and we are to assume it is just the sort of selfish thing he’d do. Solo now wears a ruffled tux and gambles in a back room in Las Vegas with criminal types. He runs up debts he can’t pay. Meanwhile Illya runs the fashion house Vanya’s (New York London Paris Vladivostok) and is famous and adored. They live in the same city but haven’t seen or spoken to each other in 15 years. The slash fans hated this. Why haven't they spoken in 15 years? COME ON!

Solo sleazes and a woman (Hunnicutt and her bad 80s perm) gets slapped around. There is bad ADR and Solo still has his communicator pen. Vaughn hams it up. This was not very challenging. Solo hangs out with the bad perm and her 80s eyeshadow. There is a chase and Solo needs an assist from JB (Lazenby, who has more charm and humour than Solo in his cameo). And yes it is meant to be that JB. Solo lives in a tacky apartment and has a photo of him and Illya on the wall. It is obviously a 60s publicity still.

Solo’s woman is a THRUSH plant, like duh. There are dated references and Solo is recalled to UNCLE to help save the day. He learns Illya left after a betrayal. He looks up Illya; the fact that Illya is Russian is referenced several times. That makes one overlook the hideous 80s attire. Illya and Solo have their usual slashy interaction. Illya punches Solo for being a jerk, finally. That has been coming since 1964. They hunt down Janus the evil betrayer and the other THRUSH mooks.

A dated looking watch is worn, gadgets are handed out which aren’t used and then Solo and Illya split up to save the day. Solo holds his communicator pen like it is a nose hair trimmer. There is clunky 80s tech, Solo is dumb; there is dramatic gun cocking and rampant plot illogic. This was ghastly grim nitwittery. The various baddies maliciously commit bad deeds. Nobody has a socially acceptable way to express themselves.

Things are left hanging for the new series, which never came to be. Illya speaks Russian and drinks vodka. Solo sniffs said vodka. Solo is orange, Illya has bad hair and there is a joke about how many times Illya has been tied up. Still this was a letdown and TPTB wasted the Solo/Illya dynamic.

Best Lines:
“Both before your time of course.”

“Without revealing a single emotion.”

“A name I haven’t heard for 15 years.”

“I don’t care where he is or what he’s doing.”

“A capitalist of your means.”

“Bad capitalistic habits.”

“Don’t you know that hurts?”

“We need you desperately.”

“I need Illya Kuryakin.”

“Trouble used to follow him around in those days.”

“Whatever the problem is, the answer is no.”

“Your persuasive rhetoric.”

“Your sense of morality.”
“Oh, that old thing.”

“What happened to the beautiful girls who used to work for UNCLE?”
“They’re in the UNCLE home.”

“Please do not wear it in the shower or in the rain. It explodes when immersed in water.”

“These bullets, which also happen to be grenades.”

“What happened to the special UNCLE guns we used to carry?”
“They’re in the special UNCLE wing of the Smithsonian.”

“I’m looking at the threat right now, waiting for him to take a bath.”

“You should have shot straight at me all those years ago.”

“I will if you will.”

The Love Witch (2016)
This was bizarre crap. Elaine a witch with OTT eye make-up does a voiceover-over and wants to be loved. This was not tender or brilliantly astute. Elaine talks in a baby voice and can’t act. There was some fervent anticipation for this but this was just crap. There is singing and this was annoyingly self-conscious. Apparently it was intended to be feminist but the director got the tone wrong. Elaine is menacing, selfish and has unknowable nihilism. This was pretentious and surly. Everything is shiny, primped and spotless.

Elaine is tediously motivated and there is no quest for true values. This was not undeniably propulsive. The director bathes in liberal congratulation. The plot is all naked implausibility. This was not hard-edged and dynamic. Elaine has a cheap looking Book Of Shadows and cheap looking potions. She is a corrosive, ugly and negative person. There is more bad acting, unneeded scenes and this has no dark promise and is totally objectionable.

Men stumble around in dad clothes. Elaine has deep insecurity and no empathy, purpose or motivation. She’s not strong, raw or vulnerable. She has no self-criticism. This was terrible and I don’t care about her emotional landscape. The film just will not end: there is singing, endless rituals, a ren fair, death and Griff (Gian Keys) being wooden.

Best Lines:
“It’s a bit garish.”

“I had a nervous breakdown after he left me.”

“I still have intrusive thoughts.”

“I give the rainbow to you.”

“I make natural soaps, candles and things.”

“Gets pretty hard to care.”

Hear My Song (1991)

Alien (1979)

Aliens (1986)

Alien Resurrection (1997)
Muddled and ill remembered and poorly received.

The Wizard Of Oz (1939)

The Bounty Hunter (2010)