July 15th, 2018

Pretty Smart

Star Trek Discovery: Succession 3 Reviewed

Captains Tracey and Decker show up in the mirror universe. MU Qo’nos is not devastated. MU Amanda was a rebel. There is a mention of the Khitomer raids. Alexander is decadent and unpopular. Robot woman is named Airiam. Why were there Vulcans on the Enterprise in MU Kirk’s time and not now? The Terran Empire logo is everywhere.

MU Cornwell misses MU Lorca. MU Burnham doesn’t miss or mourn MU Georgiou. MU Kor lurks. The rebels’ plans go awry. MU Airiam has a plan. Alexander has long desired MU Burnham’s humiliation. Serious disorder will result from all of this. This was okay.

Best Lines:
“Despite what you may think, I take no joy in it.”

“You soil our homeworld with your presence!”

“The Butcher Of The Binary Stars.”

“You should be dead. I wish you were.”

“I don’t want to hear you say Gabriel’s name ever again. You lost that privilege when you got him killed.”

“Polish the palace floor with his entrails.”
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Scary Books

Movie Reviews: Suburban Gothic + Annihilation + Super Dark Times

Suburban Gothic (2015)
Matthew Gray Gubler, Kat Dennings, Muse Watson, Sally Kirkland, Jeffrey Combs, John Waters, McKenzie Philips and Ray Wise star in this bizarre comedy. An orange dude (Gubler) moves back in with his parents. This was narratively incoherent. The eccentric town is dull of eccentrics.

The weird dude reunites with a bartender (Dennings). She and this movie try too hard to be weird. Orange dude’s father (Wise) is vile. A body is found on their property. Ghosts show up. A vile doctor (Combs) swears and the orange guy sees dead people. There are sex jokes, Denning has had her lips done, Waters has a hilarious cameo and Combs’ character is called Dr Carpenter.

This descends into sap and lies. The body in the lawn is obviously plastic. There are naff VFX and a bizarre happy ending. This was okay if not great as it tries for a grander phantasmagorical quality.

Best Lines:
“I don’t know how to speak Mexican.”

“More European approach to fashion.”

“Criticism of everything I’ve ever done in my life.”

“You dress like a drug dealer.”

“Forbidden me to enter the property.”

“Transformational period.”

“Drinking makes me do things.”

“Started a cult or something.”

“Vagina grave.”

“I hate you so much.”

“Get my fanny pack.”

“Dildo licker.”

“The wagon from the nut house is coming to take you away!”

~
Annihilation (2018)
This is an arty scifi movie based on the arty book. The mysterious Area X has an effect on the people and places who encounter it. Is it alien? Brooding women and mythic mysteriousness are present in this okay film. People talk about the Southern Reach and there is non-linear storytelling.

A man returns from Area X, the only person ever to do so. So his wife and four other women head into Area X to explore and find answers. What happened to previous expeditions? The expedition encounters weird plants and growths and an alligator. Weird surgery is seen.

There is shrieking and an empty swimming pool with mutated people in it. A bear monster eats someone. There are weird visuals and weirdness and bones and crystals and the lighthouse is reached. There is a bizarre southern accent and a bizarre ending. What happened to the heroine and her husband? Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Tessa Thompson star in this weird okay film.

Best Lines:
“Nothing comes back.”

“Out in the garden, pining.”

“Screw you.”
“Okay.”

“The only survivor was barely surviving.”

“His insides were moving!”

“She was never coming back.”

“One by one all gone, except you.”

“Or if it wants.”

~
Super Dark Times (2017)
This film has staring and weirdness and four swearing teenagers watching scrambled porn, hanging out and talking about ‘True Lies’. The teens look as if they’ve awoken in a builder’s skip in this film which takes place in some undefined time in the 1990s. The teens have irked encounters and brittle frustrations and they are apparently without humour, affection or warmth. This is not psychologically rich. The teens smoke weed and wave a sword around.

Things go awry and there is a major injury under-reaction and death. The teens cover up their crimes. A hot girl is pined over. Bold effortful things are not done as the teens do transparent and unconvincing things to evade responsibility. There is crazed overacting and panicked uncertainty and no legal considerations. There are hallucinations, awkwardness and suspicion. Where is everybody in this town as teens commit violence? What was with the deer? This was okay implausibility.

Best Lines:
“I am the guy.”

“Immortal like Highlander.”

“What are you a clamper?”

“The Silver Surfer is the loneliest dude in the galaxy.”

“The Punisher is pretty haunted.”

“Melon soda.”

“I need my friend back.”

“LAME!”

“What bitch?”

“If anyone asks. We’re not friends.”
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Trailers, Quotes and Stuff

‘Wellington Paranormal’ promo
Ha.

‘Summer Of ‘84’ trailer
A serial killer lives next door to some annoying teens. Maybe. A line from ‘Disturbia’ is ripped off.

‘Extinction’ trailer
Dreams predict the future. No.

Best Lines:
“It is just in your head!”

“What’s happening out there has been headed our way for a very long time.”

‘The Package’ trailer
Ha ha ha ha ha.

‘Daredevil’ clip
The annoying Foggy finds out.

Best Line:
“I will mess you up.”

How It Ends’ trailer
The world ends. There is mumbling and Theo James. Maybe.

‘Z Cars’ opening credits
What?

‘Jem’ opening credits
So very 80s.

‘Mary Queen Of Scots’ trailer
Margot Robbie plays Liz I in this film. Mary has a bad Scottish accent, she had a French accent. Mary and Elizabeth have rivalry and Mary is extremely rude to her cousin. They never met despite what this trailer says. This looks okay.

Best Lines:
“Men lesser than ourselves.”

“Whims of women.”

Mint Rush tictacs - nice.

Who read ‘Where The Wild Things Are’?

I want to go to the Owl-Petting Café.

‘Harlots’ got a 2nd season?

Recall ‘Three To Tango’ or ‘The Company’ or ‘Night On Earth’ or ‘Real Women Have Curves’ or ‘Gas Food Lodging’ or ‘Grace Of My Heart’?

I didn’t like BBC1’s ‘Keeping Faith’.

What is a trifle bar?

Who recalls ‘The Strip’?

‘The Irish Times’ Quotes:
“Lock hospital.”

“Expelled never to return.”

“Do not have a friendly relationship.”

“Angry explanations.”

“Alibi warning.”

“Wearing vests in public.”

“On no account were they ever to be irritated, inconvenienced or displeased.”

“The foreman, nominally their superior, was terribly afraid of him.”

“History was against us. And them.”

“Unsettling her staff in a menacing, Ray-Liotta-at-the-end-of-Goodfellas kind of way. His only joy seems to come from shooting elks.”

“Big House idolatry.”

“Crisis status.”

“If you don’t take, you don’t get.”

“An old lady whom few people liked.”

“We’re lucky he didn’t throw a chair,”

“Paternalistic entitlement.”

“Concession to secular thinking.”

“We enjoy hating things.”

“Emotionally incontinent.”

“Vice-related violations.”

“Dirty glamour.”

“Preaching faithfully.”

“The discipline was too sexist.”

“Frightened of something uncertain.”

“The middle classes had abandoned Manhattan in favour of the suburbs and satellite towns, leaving the city to fester as unemployment and crime reached historic highs.”

‘Tales Of The Unexpected’ Quotes:
“If you were 21 and Mr Universe.”

“It’s our fault he married her!”

‘The First Georgians’ Quotes:
“The type of dress that had been fashionable in the real world 60 years ago.”

“The drivers of taste.”

“Empty glitter.”

“Snail fungus.”

“Lasting reputation.”

‘Dr Phil’ Quote:
“Self-delusional.”

‘FTWeekend’ Quotes:
“A room that can only be reached via trapdoor.”

“Dissatisfied about being dissatisfied.”

“Life satisfaction.”

“Repetitious wardrobe complex.”

“Enclothed cognition.”

“Negotiate identity.”

“My linen cupboard was lined with pale grey wallpaper printed with images of 18th-century wedding veils.”

“Last-ditch desire to feel needed.”

“Transforming it into a cliché.”

“Malarial conquistadores on their little ponies.”

“Upspeak.”

‘Total Bellas’ Quotes:
“Been wearing a thong since middle school.”
“That’s the trashiest thing I’ve ever heard.”
Scary Books

Book Reviews: Into The Black Nowhere + Bannerless

Into The Black Nowhere by Meg Gardiner
This novel is not darkly satisfying. What is glass spall? This sequel to ‘Unsub’ isn’t as intense as that book. Caitlin Hendrix is now an FBI agent working at the Behavioral Analysis Unit. A serial killer (quite obviously based on Ted Bundy) is roaming Texas and the FBI have to stop him.

The serial killer is revealed less than a third of the way in. The rest of the novel is spent with the FBI trying to stop his twisted fantasy. Gardiner makes many digs at serial killer groupies and one suspects she has experience with and disproves of ‘Hannibal’ fangirls and fanfic. There are detrimental consequences to everything and the serial killer is your garden variety omnipotent psycho into cutting up women.

Best Lines:
“That was what normal women did: trusted.”

“Bait agent.”

“Kidnap kit.”

“There’s no going back, no pretending he’s innocent.”

“Impact splatter.”

“Statement kill.”

“If a psychopath can’t have what he wants, he’ll destroy it.”

“Devalued anything loving.”

“Got himself some clothes that made him look like a trucker.”

“Desolate place to lie for eternity.”

“Believe, and die.”

“He wasn’t grateful to her.”

~
Bannerless by Carrie Vaughn
The first in a post-apoc series that was inspired by the author’s short story ‘Amaryllis’. A long time after The Fall, various communities scratch out a living by working to the limits of human capability to survive. When a murder occurs, a woman questions the adaptive tendency of humans and the aggrieved denials that anything is wrong with the utopian society they live in.

The bitter resentments of the chillingly resourceful, generally hostile survivors are laid bare. This was not innovative or audacious as the unpretty inhabitance of the ruined future is laid bare in maddeningly unhurried fashion. This was dull as silent and fearful people oscillate between despair and rage leading to a logical culmination of events. Ultra angry types live on a dark and dangerous edge in the unrelentingly harsh future. This has no poignant charm as it shows the enormous consequences to a humanity that has run out of options. Fragile civility cracks and this was boring and I won’t bother with the sequel.

Best Lines:
“The last who remembered.”

“Neighbors hadn’t wanted him.”

“But that had been a very long time ago.”

“What the ruins were really like and what kind of people could possibly be living there.”

“She had friends, had lots of people to talk to. Right up until she didn’t.”

“Enact such a shunning.”

“No longer serving any kind of purpose.”

“Going into places where you’re a stranger and no one likes you.”

“It had all been so awful for such a long time.”
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Kylo Ren

Designated Survivor 2x09-2x15+White Collar 3x01-3x04+The Handmaid’s Tale 2x13+Quantico 3x07 Reviewed

Three-Letter Day
Kirkman hands out letters. Alex is in trouble and she grows stupider by the episode. Reed Diamond guest stars and may be running for office. A Death Row inmate is helped. Seth is a jackass. Secrets and lies are revealed. Alex and her Cinderella hair demands special treatment. Hannah suspects MI6 guy. This was inept.

Best Lines:
“Indicator species.”

“Staking his professional credibility.”

“Manifest injustice.”

“Ketamine sting gone bad.”

“Solar compass.”

“Spatial memory.”

“Rare designer drug back in 2001.”

“Pretty worthless when he was alive.”

Line Of Fire
There is a massive fire in a National Park. The White House has a public engagement department? A cult called The Church Of The Witnesses Of The Covenant refuse to excavate federal land during the fire at Christmas. They have issues over a medical case.
Alex is snotty and refuses to admit she did wrong. Reed Diamond and Dillon Casey and Kristoffer Polaha of ‘Ringer’ and Emma Bell guest star. Alex is of questionable stability. MI6 guy is not popular.

The new guy bullies a child choir. Alex testifies. There are endless scenes about the sickly child needing surgery. TPTB make Reed Diamond a bad guy. FFS. Alex rants self-righteously. Hannah doesn’t listen to sense. MI6 guy nearly dies. Alex and her family get away with their crap. Alex is hit by a truck. Hilarious! A truly bad cover version of Only You plays.

Best Lines:
“As good as lost.”

“Can leave but won’t.”

Grief
Some time has passed. Kirkman sees a shrink. Alex was killed by a trucker who was texting. No conspiracy here. Wouldn’t the car have withstood the hit from the truck? Hannah is on probation. No-one misses MI6 guy. The White House obsesses over Cuba. There is a hostage situation and a made up Cuban leader. The White House advises invading Cuba. Emily whines. There are flashbacks to the brats finding out Alex is dead. Leo brats. There is plotting. Kirkman menaces the killer of his wife. This was dull. MI6 guy resurfaces.

Best Line:
“Unresolved emotion.”

The Final Frontier
Kim Raver guest stars in this ep which is not suspense-filled. Kirkman displays hostility. The White House git displays implacable hostility towards a tech-entrepreneur (Raver). MI6 guy man-spreads. There are unwieldy conversations and no emotional depth. MI6 guy has fallen into disrepute. Hannah’s constantly trashy. The ISS is in peril from a hacker.

Aaron is oafish. MI6 guy is purposefully cryptic. Hannah is jaw-droopingly dumb. This ep is inherently frustrating. Hannah is resentment fuelled. Kirkman has melodramatic solemnity. Hannah is cold and rigid and prickly and has become intensely unlikeable and utterly charmless. MI6 guy has a seedy past. There is no dignity and humility.

New guy whines about unfulfilled dreams and promises. The plot is uproariously improbable. Kirkman’s daughter has malaise and dissatisfaction. Nobody is nagged by unease. This was alarmingly trivial and full of astonishing banality. Hannah manifestly fails. This was full of sap and Kirkman is a moron. The White House staff are jackasses. The jerk makes a spectacle of himself. The footage of Kirkman menacing Alex’s killer in jail gets leaked.

Best Lines:
“Over-caution.”

“No hurt plan.”

Original Sin
The video of Kirkman menacing the man who killed his wife is a national scandal. There is a sitdown protest in the White House. Kirkman is blamed for displacing people. Kirkman’s useless brother shows up. Nigel Bennett of ‘Forever Knight’ guest stars. The hacker is the big bad du jour. Hannah is dumb and MI6 guy is in peril. Russians mutter about MI6 guy. Kirkman’s brother is an ass. Where was he when Kirkman got shot on live television?!? A laptop blows up. Kirkman’s brother (the Roger Clinton of the family) whines. This was okay.

Best Lines:
“God I hate the free press.”

“Opposition was beyond him.”

“More freedom than you deserve.”

In The Dark
Kirkman looks for a VP. The new guy is rude to the Japanese. His racism and rudeness is shrugged off. There’s a power cut. There is a clue in the hacker code. MI6 guy vanishes. Kirkman faces off with annoying people. There is sap. New guy gets away with his garbage behaviour. This was bad.

Best Lines:
“National debt clock is never going to reverse.”

“Principled opposition.”

Summit
A North Korea expy does a missile test and the leader’s son defects and wants his girlfriend helped. Hannah the only FBI agent in the USA snots. Kim Raver guest stars. Emily wants people to sign loyalty oaths. What does new guy actually do? The White House deals with leaks. Kirkman gets a girlfriend (Raver). New guy annoys. Hannah berates the defector. Seth berates. Why are we supposed to feel sorry for new guy? The ex-POTUS Moss is the leak. Moss berates Kirkman. This was okay. Emily breaks up with Seth for dumb reasons. This was okay.

Best Lines:
“What are you afraid of?”
“Him.”

~
On Guard
Neal and Mozzie have the stolen u-boat art. Peter annoys. Neal carries on criminal consulting. There is exposition and no flair or imagination. Peter annoys. There is no moral contagion or emotional debate or moral standpoint. Neal has forgotten his dead girlfriend. Neal’s new girlfriend Sara and her call girl hair bores. Peter never has great confidence and trust in Neal.

Matt Bomer, Tim DeKay and Hilarie Burton star. One feels pure unrelenting hatred for Peter. There are misperceptions. Peter is an enemy of individual thought. Peter has no legal consideration. Neal wears a hipster hat. Peter’s podgy wife goes on about art deco. Peter acts illogically. There is fencing. Why doesn’t Neal take off his ruined tie?

There is plotting. Mozzie whines. Neal strains credibility. There is a clash of wits and trust. Neal was prepared to leave Sara without a look back. He shrugs that off. Everyone overlooks the fact that the Nazi loot is stolen. There is stupidity. Peter sneaks around Neal’s place. Peter obtains the u-boat manifest. This was okayish.
                                                                                                                                                                                                     
Best Lines:
“Uncanny ability to wreck expensive cars.”

“French grip.”

“What if it didn’t burn?”

Where There’s A Will
Peter and Neal look into a forged will. Peter badmouths Neal constantly. The will leads to a treasure map. Mozzie sets up a treasure cam. There are new opening credits and exposition flies. William Sadler, Anna Chlumsky and Danny and Chris Masterson guest star. Danny Masterson’s acting hasn’t improved since ‘That 70’s Show’.

Peter babbles about the u-boat’s manifest. No one talks about the art’s original owners. Peter acts like he is on Mescaline. Mozzie acts blind. There is a kidnapping and a planetarium and a centuries old book. A book is ruined, walls are knocked down and this was unsubtle and dumb. Neal finds out about the manifest. This was okay.

Best Lines:
“Ripped from a Salinger novel.”

“Distress text.”

“Nothing illicit is afoot at the sundial.”

“Everything points to something.”

“Mrs suit.”

“You are art crimes.”

“Tulip tree stock.”

“I like the idea of stars.”

Deadline
Peter asks Diana to translate the manifest. Helen, a bitchy journalist is in peril and she fires her PA. Diana goes undercover as her new PA and uses her real Manchester accent. Neal gets his shirt off. Sara lurks and wears hooker heels. Helen is awful. Neal goes on about high quality paper stock. Diana slaves for her boss. Who talks like these people? This was not extremely competent. Neal is plotted against. This was bad.

Best Lines:
“Contraband cheese.”

“Put the hel in Helen.”

“I shredded the garbage. The feds like to rummage.”

“You’re overqualified and too old.”

“Give Prozac to her parrot.”

“I want new locks. The kind the White House have.”

“Covert recall.”

Dentist Of Detroit
This is full of boring flashbacks to Mozzie’s childhood and has a wasted guest appearance by Ernie Hudson. How do Mozzie and Neal afford the unlivability of Manhattan? The Detroit mob is in town, they have Kierkegaardian soul sickness. Things go hideously wrong. This was not whimsical, just full of depressingly hackneyed narrative turns.

Mozzie tries for reliably peculiar but is just boring. Peter is still plotting unpleasantly to bring about Neal’s downfall. There are unsurprising revelations. This was not pacey and bores despite its pretty packaging. This was satisfactory and was over-complicated by plot developments. Mozzie is increasingly desperate.

Detroit mobsters take an arrogant stance. There is no carefully constructed plan. Neal has a gleeful willingness to be bad. The mobster is obviously meant to be a bad person and the ep presents him as an exemplar of everything that is wrong. He’s just laughable.

Peter is authoritarian and has disapproval. There is no enormous élan for this ep. Peter tries for a moral message. This was all creakiness. There is no delightful conflict. Things don’t go deliciously wrong. There are diabolical schemes and no coherence or panache. What is a street lottery?

This was depressingly ordinary laziness and full of drably artificial conflict. Peter’s mildly psychotic obsession with Neal drags on and on. This ep is a chronicle of the insignificant and it is imbecilic entertainment. This was leaden and Peter and Neal fake fight. This was dull.

Best Lines:
“Are you actively trying to die?”

“Assault with intent to intimidate.”

“Had a thing for blood feuds.”

“We should all be shocked.”

“Good deeds are the seeds to good actions.”

“People loved us. Except the ones who owed us money.”

~
The Word
Offred babbles. Rita is sad. People mumble about the fates they’ve created. Eden died due to the pious instructions of Gilead. Rita stays quiet. Offred broods on the fact that all that’s left of Eden is her conservative items of clothing and a bible. Serena Joy is not so culturally traditional. Eden’s bible was note filled. So she could read and write.

Offred incites trouble again and achieves nothing. Gilead is not based on biblical truth. Eden’s death is gravellly concerning for Serena Joy who has cold intensity. Offred has no sense. Eden’s father apologises to Nick. The devastating price of Gilead.

The Commander has petty vindictiveness and is an enemy of individual thought. Eden ran to her family with Isaac and her father turned her in. Offred is shocked. Why is Offred so damn stupid?!? The Commander slaps Offred, she slaps back. Nick holds Holly. Eden and Isaac’s bodies hang on the wall. Serena Joy and other wives worry about their daughters. Why is this show so underlit? I cannot see what is happening.

The martha in Emily’s new posting is called Cora. Emily’s Commander doesn’t hold the ceremony. Serena Joy challenges the founding myth of Gilead. What is the covenant? Serena Joy reads. So the Commander has her hauled off and mutilated. Emily stabs Aunt Lydia. There’s a mirror in Emily’s room - don’t TPTB remove them? Emily freaks out. Serena Joy lost a finger.

The Commander doesn’t know where the tea is kept. Offred rolls her eyes and spits abuse. How did Emily’s Commander explain Aunt Lydia? Rita reveals the existence of a martha network that can get Offred and Holly out. What about Nick? Offred is so slow and stupid it defies belief. Serena Joy loses her sole reason for living. What’ll become of the Waterford household now Offred has run away yet again? What about Nick, Rita and Serena Joy?

Offred is selfish and dumb. The Commander looks at a map. Offred wrote something on a wall instead of running. The Commander hears the commotion of Offred’s escape. Serena Joy tries to stop Offred but then lets her go. The drama is undercut by the bad lighting. Why are the marthas helping Offred? They got more done this season than she did. Emily’s Commander is part of the Resistance? He gets her out. Offred’s dumb. What’ll happen to Emily’s Commander? Offred inexplicably stays behind in Gilead. Now she has none of her children. Emily takes Holly aka Nicole to Canada. WTF? What does Offred plan to do now? This makes no sense.

Best Lines:
“Heretics don’t get to rest in peace. Here they use them as animal feed. Aunt Lydia told us that at the Red Centre.”

“There won’t be a marker anywhere.”

“Godly home.”

“She will obey His Word.”
“She cannot read His Word.”

“What are you going to do when they come for your daughter?”

“Look what we made.”

“I put my faith in Gilead.”

“Live by the laws of scripture.”

“Don’t get caught.”

“Call her Nicole.”

“God send me an obedient woman.”

~
Bullet Train
Shelby and Alex and co hang out with math people. Is Alex knocked up? There is malicious flouting of sense. People are eroded of empathy. Ryan rages. The gang are menaced on a train. Roger Bart guest stars. People babble about a prototype gun that makes no sense. Harry annoys. Alex reveals she hasn’t spoken to her mother in years. The gun is ridic. Jocelyn is exculpated from blame what she did and is back at work despite killing a fellow agent. There is a ridic crisis response. Someone FINALLY points out what a gang of jerks the gang are. No to this.

Best Line:
“Project werewolf."