Wednesday, September 02, 2015



  1. Frozen - Friday night choice of Number One Son (aged 6) - who has seen it before so has no excuse. Not as bad as I was dreading but the SONGS! Dear Gods! (Probably - almost certainly!- the first use of Fractals in a Disney movie in the lyrics to Let it Go: "My soul is spiralling in frozen fractals all around...") A couple of non Disney moments struck me as I watched it. For though this looks feels and sounds like a 'Classic' Disney fairy tale there is a great chunk of 21st Century feminist subtext going on here: the sudden sexualisation of Elsa as she builds her Fortress of Solitude was remarkable. And the Act of True Love that makes everything better in the end is not the expected heterosexual kiss but the heroine sacrificing herself for her sister. Very modern; almost interesting. If only it wasn't stuffed full of bloody awful songs!
  2. Voyage of the Rock Aliens - as bad as that title sounds the reality is worse.
  3. Humanity's End (2009) - About 5 minutes in I remembered where I had seen the director's name, Neil Johnson, before. He'd directed a piece of shit called Demon's in my Head which (it turns out after a bit of poking about in my diary and the IMDb) I watched some ten years ago.* As it happens Johnson made Humanity's End, a zero budget Battlestar Galactica wannabe, ten years after he made Demon's in my Head. He hasn't improved as a director or scriptwriter. The story is confused and doesn't make any sense, is badly told; the characters, not even paper thin, do stupid things and swap sides for no apparent reason, and have rambling, 'WTF is this all about?' inducing conversations at the drop of a hat. It's just a bunch of ideas and lines from other films piled up together in the hope that something will gel. It doesn't. A (very naff) self-published novel made flesh.
  4. Saint (2010) - stupidly gory Dutch horror film about a demonic Saint Nicholas who, every 32 years when a full moon falls upon December 5th, terrorises Amsterdam. Not often you see a film in which our hero is rescued from police custody by a horse falling from a rooftop onto a police car and then rescued from the horse's demonic owner by someone waving a flame thrower. I almost enjoyed it.
  5. Headspace (2005) - urban horror that started well but slowly slipped into very familiar territory and lost it when they finally showed the monsters - which looked very like the Creature from the Black Lagoon with horns.
  6. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006) - overlong but entertaining enough.
  7. Terrornauts (1967) - very dull piece of British SF which suffered the indignity of having TWO comic reliefs in the shape of Charles Hawtree and Patricia Hayes.
  8. Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva (2009) - an anime based on a puzzle game my 13 year old Number One Daughter plays on her DS. A confusing opening had multiple layers of flashback (which probably meant something to people who knew the games but left me sitting there in the dark for 15 minutes waiting for the film to start) the middle was like Scooby-do on acid and the last five minutes were an agony of 'don't know how to end the movie' flopping about - with a post credit sting that I don't think got get us back up through all the layers of flashback. Number One Daughter enjoyed it.
  9. Death Note (2006) - another Japanese film that starts with a weird disjointed flashback opening just like Professor Layton. After a few minutes I came to the conclusion the central character was an unmitigated arsehole and couldn't wait for him to get his comeuppance - it didn't happen. And it didn't happen very slowly. With lots of slow zooms and dolly shots to cover up the fact that not a lot was happening. Number One Daughter (who has read a couple of the books) enjoyed it.
  10. Beyond the Rising Moon (1984) - dull sf film which aimed, at times, for meaningfulness and missed.
  11. Twelve to the Moon (1960) - probably the dullest 'first men on the moon' film I have yet seen, though it does garner a few brownie points for having a mixed ethnicity crew (the non Caucasian members of which actually survive till the end of the film!) and messages about world peace and forgiveness. (The bad guy turns out to be the snarky French member of the crew who is thwarted by the snarky Russian member of the crew and the angry Israeli member of the crew dies in a Noble Act of Self Sacrifice with tortured German member of the crew, who is the son of the Nazi commander responsible for the extermination of the angry Israeli member of the crew's family etc. etc.). But, by golly, it was a grind getting to the end. There were, as was obligatory in space films of this period, unexpected meteor showers along the way which did nothing to alleviate the boredom. The end (the aforementioned Noble Act of Self Sacrifice) involved our heroes knocking up an atomic bomb out of bits lying about their spaceship and dropping it down the Popocatepetl volcano which will, somehow, by the magic of WTF 1950's movie science, unfreeze the whole of North America which has been plunged into an instant ice age by moon people.
  12. Starship (aka Lorca and the Outlaws 1984) - six years before making his masterwork, Battlefield Earth, ("This! This is the one I will be remembered for!") director Roger Christian made this flaccid, tedious piece of SF poo. I think it was about an evil corporation wanting to massacre all its employees and replace them with robots and the only people who can stop them are three, young, unemployable actors and a robot. Leaden-paced but with sudden out-of-nowhere bursts of confused, badly-staged action which made the film both boring and baffling at the same time - an interesting combination. The show culminated in a superb piece of Ed Wood like stock footage abuse when a couple of (very) long shots of quarry blasting were meant to stand in for the cataclysmic explosions bringing the down the evil guys' base - or something. I was too bored and baffled to be bothered working out what was going on at the end apart from noting that our hero couldn't even pull a lever convincingly. Apparently 1980's pop sensations Toyah Wilcox and Peter Gabrielle were in it but I must have blinked and missed them.
  13. Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey (1991)
  14. Danger Diabolik (1968 )
  15. The Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - not as bad as I remember it, but not good.
  16. Cry Baby - again. I have no idea how many times I have watched this silly little film. This time I watched it with Number One Daughter who seemed to find it as funny as I did consequently I found it even funnier because I was watching it with her. Most movies improve with communal viewing.
Abandonised during May:

Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus. I managed to get to the point where our three maverick marine biologists - trying to solve the problem how to contain a thawed-out Giant Prehistoric Shark, capable of leaping clean out of the sea and biting chunks out of long-haul passenger jets cruising at several thousand feet - took it in turns to peer down a small microscope for a few seconds. Crap, even by the Asylums's low standards.


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