July 8th, 2018

Pretty Smart

Movie Reviews: Menu For Murder + A Question Of Guilt

Menu For Murder (1990)
Julia Duffy, Morgan Fairchild, Edie McClurg and Joan Van Ark star in this mediocre tale of glamorous Encino housewives and PTA murders. This was based on a terrible novel by Valerie Wolzien. Ugly dated clothes are worn, there is terrible ADR and PTA power plays, big hair and the image looks faded.

Susan (Duffy of ‘Wacko’) is a housewife/PTA member with annoying kids and a useless cheating husband. The PTA president drops dead. A detective looks into the bizarre world of upper middle class Encino housewives. There are sexist comments and double denim. The cop asks Susan to help him investigate this bizarre world. Nobody seems overly concerned about the murder. Paula (Fairchild) makes sarcastic remarks and has an unexplained income. Does she have a child? It is unclear.

There is another murder and a malfunctioning hairdryer and a country club. Susan’s useless moron husband takes no responsibility for anything. There is bad acting and terrible police work. This was dated and mediocre. The killer does a speech explaining it all. There is exposition and the ending is ridiculous. Was this a failed pilot?

Best Lines:
“Surprise loaf.”

“Your sandwich is the murder weapon.”

“Don’t drink designer water.”

“Polarity therapy.”

“What in the world is a psychic nutritionist?”

“He asked for a divorce on the car phone.”

“She was not the most loved person.”

“You don’t drink.”
“No, not in public.”

“Bug mobile.”

“Everyone thought you were Donna Reed, now you’re halfway to Madonna.”

A Question Of Guilt (1978)
Tuesday Weld stars in this TV movie based on the true story of Alice Crimmins aka the sexpot murder case. Doris is getting divorced and fighting a custody battle. She has lots of boyfriends, wears tiny clothes, big wigs and drag queen makeup. She is judged. When her two daughters are murdered, she is judged more. She called her daughter fat when the child was missing.

Doris seems to be putting on an act. Nobody comforts Doris. The cop (Ron Rifkin) looking into the case does not like the changing society around him. He is a rabid cop among rabid cops. Doris’ husband admits to stalking and illegal surveillance of her. This is shrugged off. Doris’ mother shows up. There is slut shaming, nobody locks their door and nobody wonders who killed the children. Doris is the cop’s only suspect. Leads are ignored. Doris wants to party and does herself no favours at all.

Doris won’t listen to advice. She is unrelentingly attacked. She seems disassociated and lacks moral fortitude. Lana Wood and Alex Rocco also star. Doris won’t ease up on the make up and wigs even while on trial for her childrens murders. Naturally she is convicted. Did she do it? Was she judged? Probably both.

Best Lines:
“Raid the icebox.”

“Dress more acceptably.”

“The one with all the boyfriends.”

“Now you’re sorry.”

“A broad like this doesn’t deserve to live.”

“Don’t tell me what I am.”

“A whore who doesn’t give a damn.”

“Your kids were in the way of your stinking slutty life so you got rid of them.”
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Scary Books

Book Review: The Best Horror Of The Year Volume Ten, part 2

The Best Horror Of The Year Volume Ten edited by Ellen Datlow, part 2

Whatever Comes after Calcutta
A dull tale of an emotionally broken psycho and people not unreasonably fearful of a witch.

A Human Stain
I’ve no idea what this over-long sub-performing tale was about.

Best Line:
“The logs turned to look at her.”

The Stories We Tell About Ghosts
Children play a ghost hunting game on their phones. It goes badly for one of them. This was excellent and creepy.

A Palaeolithic tomb is found. Cue continuing dread and long-term consequences. This starts well but turns into cliché.

West Of Matamoros, North Of Hell
By Brian Hodge. A band visit Mexico for a publicity stunt and are abducted. There are unsavoury practices, personal drama, jawdropping misdeeds, bitter acrimony and horror unfolds in this deeply disturbing story.

Best Lines:
“Graves no one would ever discover.”

“Never guessing who might be paying the wrong kind of attention,”

“Between the notes, looking back out.”

Alligator Point
This dull tale isn’t horror.

Best Line:
“She couldn’t answer anything they might ask.”

Dark Warm Heart
A vindictive shrew wife nags her husband who has undergone a change. I didn’t like it.

There And Back Again
A monster faces the angry relative of one of her victims. This was okay.

Shepherd’s Business
A new doctor on a remote island finds routine medical business taking a horrific turn. This was good.

Best Lines:
“Not to do so was to be perverse and most likely attention-seeking.”

“The whole island knows it isn’t yours.”

You Can Stay All Day
By Mira Grant. A zoo worker deals with a zombie outbreak. This was excellent.

Best Line:
“He died, and kept on walking.”

Harvest Song, Gathering Son
Soldiers go looking for something and find it. This was unendingly intriguing.

The Granfalloon
Students of the paranormal explore a long closed cinema. This was good and it is told with Wagnerian relish and something has been rendered eternal.

Best Line:
“It’s clothes are those of a Vincent Price villain.”
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Trailers, Quotes and Stuff

‘Murder At Devil’s Glen’ promo
Male entitlement.

‘Rough Air: Danger On Flight 534’ promo
Eric Roberts has plane drama.

Summer cup drink - mmm.
Gluten free cheese & onion roll - yum.
French Brie - yum.
Dark chocolate with ginger & lemon - nice.
Gluten free British Tempura chicken - nice.

I want hardcast resin bookends and a Bordallo pinherio cabbage leaf dish and dip bowl.

What is Tarragon sugar? What are blue potatoes?

They’re rebooting ‘Child’s Play’?

My ‘BSG’ reviews and ‘Deadly Lessons' reviews and MP3s lost with PC.

Who saw ‘Bright Lights, Big City’ (1988) or ‘Meet Joe Black’ or ‘Hitman’ (2007) or ‘Ninja Assassin’ (2009) or ‘Zorba The Greek’ (1964) or ‘Revolver’ or ‘Problem Child’ (1990) or ‘8 ½’ (1963) or ‘The Young Poisoner’s Handbook’ (1994) or ‘Prime’ (2005) or ‘No Child Of Mine’ or ‘The Children Nobody Wanted’ or ‘The Plague Dogs’ or ‘School Daze’ or ‘The Guru’ (2002) or ‘Junebug’ (2005?

‘SciFiNow’ Quote:
“What exactly is this higher power they’ve devoted themselves to?”

‘Smashing Hits!’ Quotes:
“Abandoned to the sex industry and hustlers of the day.”

“With very great difficulty.”

“Studio 54 in London for the poor.”

“Slow jive.”

“We’d played precisely 2 gigs. Ever.”

‘AVClub’ Quote:
“Intense desire to preserve and consolidate the memory of an era before it dissipates,”

‘The Irish Times’ Quotes:
“Self-created power of detention.”

“Impaired capacity.”

“Blame is slung in one direction. It is then batted back in another.”

“Crazed hobo squatter.”

“Self narrated her sex life.”

“Worried about being banished or attacked by their community.”

“Wins media favour.”

“Historical assertions, presented as unchallenged facts.”

“Rubbed a tea-bag on the wall.”

“Ovarian reserve.”

“Number one journalistic hate figure.”

“No foreseeable way out.”

“Stateless warzone.”

“Their home countries do not want them.”

“Under the control of no internationally recognised authority.”

“Once there it was impossible to flee.”

“Lack any kind of official citizenship.”

“Transfer of value.”

“Culturally limited perception.”

“Nor are they qualified to receive baptism for their children. We believe that their outward conduct and lifestyle is at variance with a life of obedience to Christ.”

“Lack of intellectual diversity.”

“Awaiting trials that may never take place.”

“Approved hotels under lock down.”

“Nice, liberal people are incredulous.”

“Changing social norms.”

“Honest though unreasonable belief.”


‘GLOW: The story Of The Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling’ Quotes:
“Fallen dancing girl.”

“Talk bad against him.”

‘American Housewife’ Quotes:
“Raise our idiot kids.”

“I am a jerk and I bask in it.”

“Real pregnant women only drink in secret.”

‘Dr Phil’ Quotes:
“Spiritual endangerment to my husband.”

“Safety plan.”

‘RTE News’ Quote:
“Quintessential tragedy of our time.”

‘Channel 4 News’ Quotes:
“Defiant noises.”

“Caves breathe.”

“Loosen our standards.”

‘Sky News’ Quote:
“Having a little plot.”

‘FTWeekend’ Quotes:
“Tuneless self-indulgence.”

“When Creation boss Alan McGee first encountered Oasis singer Liam Gallagher in may 1993, he mistakenly thought he was a drug dealer.”

“Able to decide how her children are to be educated and what kind of home she is to live in?”

“Did not have control over their own money, children, education or destiny.”

“I miss the future.”

“Activism of the discontented.”
Kylo Ren

7 TV Reviews

American Horror Story 1x02

Home Invasion
In 1968 nurses lived in the house and watched ‘Laugh In’ until a man showed up and murdered them in some poorly judged scenes. Vivien is unaware her husband has run off to see his mistress (Kate Mara). Tate says unacceptable things. The mistress claims to be pregnant. The evil teen bully Leah mumbles and wears a huge hat.

Why is Violet chatting to the snivelling former heinously violent moron who bullied her? Why does Ben treat the monstrously dysfunctional Tate? Shirtless Ben ignores sense. Tate lurks. Ben struggles to sound convincing as a shrink. All his patients seem into brutal power plays. This was not utterly gripping, intricate or fascinating. The burnt man (Denis O’Hare) lurks. Constance brings Violet poisoned cupcakes. Ben and his mistress hang out. Vivien is knocked up. There is no moral decency. Home invaders including Azura Skye bother Violet and Vivien.

There is a bad wronged innocent act. The ludicrously elaborate plot is not brilliantly constructed. Smugly self-satisfied types commit acts of hostility. Ben has no remorse or contrition. Hayden the mistress is a nut. Nobody is morally upright. Ben is actively unhelpful at keeping his family together.

The family are not willing to consider the house is evil. The poisoned cupcakes take out a home invader. Ben has no serious handsomeness. People are human garbage. Tate kills someone with an axe. Vivien decides to sell the house. TPTB are insistent there is a point to all of this. 1x01 intrigued, this is all regressive steps and I think I’m done.

Best Lines:
“Want to come see The Doors with us?”

“I hope you get the clap.”

“You’re on the murder house tour.”

“Trying very hard not to judge you.”
“Me?! You murdered your entire family!”

Designated Survivor 2x06-2x08

Two Ships
A destroyer is damaged, causing an accusation of a hostile incursion. Kirkman is the potential saviour. The Destroyer's senior command was swept out to sea and the kitchen is flooded. There is sap and an unfriendly regime won’t help. Emily meets her dad, who wants Kirkman to promote his corkscrew. No, really. Some women are bothered. It turns out the Destroyer was a spy ship. Alex’s mother shrugs off her crimes. The ship is sinking. Alex’s mother is dumb and a liar. This was not serviceably entertaining. This was dull and the formidable machinery of government weights on Kirkman.

Best Lines:
“Stranded in hostile waters.”

“Toss the food, eat the cans.”

“Wildly overreacted.”

“National humiliation.”

“Affirmative misrepresentation.”

Family Ties
Kirkman yells about Turkey and talks to its made up President. Things are alarmingly uncertain. Kirkman’s brat son Leo resurfaces. No wonder this season was the show’s final act. Kirkman ticks every box on how not to govern. There are unsubtle real world parallels. Kirkman thinks he’s fair and impartial as he faces challenging issues and a media pounding and reputation risk.

Where is Leo’s Secret Service protection as he smacks someone around? The balance of authority shifts. Kirkman is not modestly inspiring. There is a second real world parallel. Reed Diamond guest stars. Nefarious forces cast aspersions. There is unclear character motivation and Leo is a magnet for unpleasantness. There are far-reaching consequences for the stupid Leo as well as the acts of a former POTUS.

Kirkman’s sappy speeches don’t amount to a long-term societal strategy. Kal Penn does nothing and the press are vultures. Kirkman faces the vitriolic fury of the righteously self-certain. NATO is in peril. There are sinister whispers about Alex’s mother. The White House counsel is smug. A reporter is smug and grinning. Leo was honey-trapped. There is a badly acted murder confession. Kirkman yells. Leo whines and Kirkman’s bed buddy is in peril. This was not good.

Best Lines:
“Give the bastard oxygen.”

“Left quite unhappy.”

“A beacon of moral authority.”

“He hasn’t committed a crime.”
“In your country.”

“Co-ordination of testimony.”

“Define large.”

“Nothing nefarious is being orchestrated by my mother in law.”

“A shining beacon of hope and stability.”

“His girlfriend was Mata Hari.”

Emily is harassed by the annoying new guy. No-one notices Air Force One flying to Afghanistan? Seth’s younger brother shows up and Seth faces a drug charge. Kirkman is wildly applauded to soaring chords in Afghanistan. Why is Maggie Q in Afghanistan?!?! The harasser is a secretly married tax cheat. Who hired these people?!? Nobody notices Maggie Q and Mike running around Afghanistan. There is SJW crap. This was not purposeful. Why does the hectoring weirdo new guy have hot women hanging off him? There is no stifling aridity in Afghanistan. This was all sap.

Best Lines:
“Apocalyptically bad judgement.”


“Civilising influence.”

“Reasonable suspicion.”

“You expect special treatment.”

Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds (2017)
This HBO documentary shows the relationship between the dysfunctional mother and daughter in the last year of their lives. They shared a compound in co-dependent dysfunction and now they share a grave. Carrie shows off her lunatic house. Someone carries an emotional wellness chicken. Carrie goes to a convention and charges $70 for an autograph. Photos of her parents wedding are shown. They had a tacky wedding cake.

Carrie’s father Eddie Fisher once had 65,000 separate fan clubs, promoted coke and had more number 1 hits than Elvis and the Beatles. Drugs are discussed as well as Eddie Fisher causing the scandal of the day by running off with Elizabeth Taylor. Debbie bought a Hollywood memorabilia collection that sank her financially. Carrie drinks a lot of coke and works on ‘Force Awakens’ and the studio obsess over her weight.

Carrie’s friend Griffin Dunne wanders on screen. It is casually mentioned that Eddie Fisher’s doctor shot him up with meth. The sickly Debbie Reynolds does Las Vegas shows and seems like a ghastly truculent person who conveys no warmth or empathy. This was dull and depressing.

Best Lines:
“Shared history of weirdness.”

“True anger there.”

“I was too much.”

“I was a type.”

“Make stupid choices.”

“Got stuck on stupid.”

“Look more melted.”

The Handmaid’s Tale 2x12

Post Partum
Nick and Offred end up back at the Waterford’s house with no consequences. Seriously nobody asked what happened or why they were out of bounds? Nick has to hang a portrait of the Commander, Serena Joy and the baby on the wall of the Commander’s study. The moral theology of Gilead is warped. The Commander has delusions of omnipotence. Offred pumps milk. The Waterfords call the child Nicole. Emily is sent to a new posting.

Who decorates the Commanders homes? Emily realises she is in a madhouse. The show is curiously contained and has no social insight. The ravenously ambitious Serena Joy is compelled to silence and it has had a schismatic effect on her marriage. Offred is a womb slave. The Commander enjoys the cultural mores of Gilead and the indisputable fact is that he is as ass.

Eden and Isaac run off. But they don’t get to run far. The Commander rages. Everyone thought Eden was very quiet and would never cause any trouble at all. Handmaiding is a transaction Offred has agreed to. The Commander fixating on Offred is creepy. Emily’s new Commander planned the Colonies. This is badly lit. Eden won’t save herself and so she and Isaac are drowned in a swimming pool. Who dragged the weights up to the diving board? Were Eden’s mother and sister at her execution? This irritated.

Best Lines:
“Things are going to happen for you.”

“Prime the pumps so to speak.”

“You’re running out of chances.”

“A good pious girl.”

“Her own selfish lust.”

“You’re disgusting, I hate you.”

“The common mercy of the state.”

“You want a beating?”
“Try it old man.”

Star Trek Discovery 1x13&1x14

What’s Past Is Prologue
The undeniably brutal mirror universe is full of aggressive hauteur and open hostility and disingenuous mercilessly ambitious types. The toxic and damaging MU Lorca has serious purpose. He’s negatively affected the USS Discovery with his poisoned praise. MU Lorca frees his followers from the agony booths they’ve been in for some time. They just walk it off like he did.

MU Landry supports MU Lorca who is disassociated from moral principles and defies god’s created order. MU Lorca crossed over in an ion storm. MU Lorca shows off his true awful self. Where’s the real Lorca? MU Paul develops a bio-weapon and wears a caduceus pin. People drool and twitch and smoke. The Emperor has aggressive reactions. People have to utter libtard writer tracts. MU Lorca wants to be Emperor.

For a light sensitive species, the Terrans sure like dramatic lighting on their ships. The Emperor has clenched distain. MU Lorca did it all seemingly for nothing. There is fighting and MU Lorca couldn’t be happy in the UFP. There is a trapdoor in the throne room? What happened to MU Burnham? The Emperor and Burnham bond. There is bitter acrimony and idealistic mumbling. The tolerably ghastly MU Lorca is told something important before he’s got rid of. This was not impactful. The real Lorca lost the most. There is slo-mo fighting. Paul navigates the network home. What about the spore that landed on Tilly? This was okay.

Best Lines:
“Lorca is sensitive to light too.”

“Come back from the grave to stage a revolution.”

“10 battalions of imperial guards.”

“Been to another universe and back.”

“Really hoped you were dead.”

“City sized ship.”

“Takes all life with it. In all universes.”

“Energy orb.”

“The loss of all life to come.”

“Discovery is no longer Lorca’s.”

“Very Terran of you.”

“War map.”

“Make the empire glorious again.”

The War Without, The War Within
There is no de-dramatisation. Saru meets the Emperor. What’ll become of Tyler and L’Rell? Are there others like Voq? Sarek, an Andorian and Cornwell show up. Sarek forces a mindmeld on Saru. It runs in the family. Cornwell points out that the real Lorca was reasoned and measured.

The ISS Discovery was destroyed by the Klingons. The real Lorca is presumed dead. Starfleet has noisy desperation as the Klingons are winning the war. The Klingons burnt off a planet’s atmosphere and suicide bombed 1/3 of the fleet. They lack consistency of method. The knowledge of the mirror universe will be classified and destroyed. What about MU Lorca’s tribble?

Cornwell and L’Rell chat. An attack is planned on the Klingon homeworld. The Terran Empire destroyed the Klingon homeworld. Oddly this terrible war was not mentioned in ‘DS9’. Sarek has huge plastic ears. There is an Archer mention and Cornwell pulls a trick. This was okay.

Best Lines:
“Dined on the entrails of his brethren.”

“Terran dictator.”

“Completely outside the realm of sanctioned medicine.”

“9 brutal months.”

“Sawed his heart into pieces.”

“Only true believers left.”

“I see no semblance of him before me.”

“Inconceivable ordeal.”

“My Gabriel is dead.”

“This knowledge must be buried.”

“Starbase 1 is our only remaining sanctuary.”

“Klingons swarm the quadrant.”

“Echo of fate.”

Conquer us or we will never relent.”

“Daughter who is not my daughter.”

“Conquered places Starfleet hasn’t even dared explore.”

“Terran methods of combat.”

“I remain unconvinced.”

“No Starfleet officer has set foot there in this century.”

Quantico 3x06

The Heavens Fall
Nobody recognises Alex or Ryan on an undercover assignment. The plot makes no sense. Jocelyn is in peril. One of the team dies. A bad guy is bad. This was terrible.

Best Lines:
“Target blindness.”

“They go very wrong.”

GLOW 2x03

Concerned Women Of America
Cherry Bang has palpable melancholy in her new job which she will soon be fired from. People protest the show. This was not shatteringly convincing or cunningly intricate. Sam’s awful. The girls have to do a PSA to stop a protest. There is no dignity. This was okay. Debbie has a profound sense of malaise. The PSA is hilarious.

Best Lines:
“Mommies for more wholesome content.”

“Poop baby.”

“Looks like an extra from ‘Taxi’.”

“I haven’t seen any bush since taking this job.”