gominokouhai: (Khaaan!)

How did Kirk know he had to steal the Enterprise? Last thing he knew, Spock and his tube were burning up into their component atoms in the upper atmosphere of the Genesis Planet, to the tune of Amazing Grace. As far as Kirk knows, there's no body for him to rescue.

In the novelization, Saavik secretly adjusts the torpedo's orbital parameters to give Spock a soft landing. That's not the case in the movie, since David and the crew of the Grissom are surprised to find the tube on the surface. The gravitational fields were in flux, David says. That's remarkably fortunate, because otherwise it would have made for an incredibly awkward conversation with Spock's dad.

Sarek's logic is uncertain where his son is concerned )

Of course none of this would have happened in the first place if Chekov knew how to count to six.

gominokouhai: (Default)

I aten't dead folks! Been busy being awesome. I know you understand.

Awesomer yet and on general release RIGHT THE HELL NOW, gratis to stream or torrent: Death Knight Love Story! In a world... suspiciously similar to the World of Warcraft universe... one corpse... forcibly resurrected in an unholy ceremony... escapes the dread legions of the Lich King. Can she learn to love again? Find out this summer this holiday season right the hell now.

Starring: BRIAN BLESSED as the Arthas the Lich King! JOANNA LUMLEY as Lady Mirabeux! JACK DAVENPORT OFF COUPLING as Zielieck! ANNA CHANCELLOR as Miria!

And, in a very brief cameo in the first couple of minutes, yr. corresp.!

On which note, I'm just going to leave this here:

  • I was in Death Knight Love Story with BRIAN BLESSED
  • who was in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves with Christian Slater
  • who was in Murder in the First with Kevin Bacon
Thus, as of yesterday, I have a Bacon Number of 3, which is ONE BETTER THAN HITLER.

For what it's worth, if you're keeping count, then if you're terribly charitable about the strictness of your definitions, we established last time that I also have an Erdős number of 8.

Go, link, share, watch etc. Did I mention it has BRIAN BLESSED as the Lich King?

gominokouhai: (Khaaan!)

Okay, so when Chekov and Captain Terrell beam down to investigate the planet for suitability for the Genesis Project, they think the planet is Ceti Alpha VI. Then, when Khan explains that THIS IS CETI ALPHA FIVE, he says that Ceti Alpha VI asploded—secretly!—fourteen-and-a-half years ago. This is stated as the reason why Ceti Alpha V looks a lot less hospitable than it did during TOS, and it's presumably the reason why the crew of the Reliant weren't capable of accurately counting to six.

Planetary systems are numbered from the inside out. Ceti Alpha Prime would be the planet nearest the star, Ceti Alpha II would be the next one out, then Ceti Alpha III, IV, and Ceti Alpha V would be inside the orbit of Ceti Alpha VI. So when the Reliant warps in on its planetary survey mission, they count planets Ceti Alpha one two three four five six... and beam down to the wrong one.

If Ceti Alpha IV had asploded, they might be forgiven for getting the name of Ceti Alpha V wrong. There would still be the pressing issue of a suspicious-looking additional asteroid belt that wasn't on the charts. But when Ceti Alpha VI asploded, six months after we were left here, the only planets that change their name are Ceti Alphas VII and onwards. The only way for Chekov and Terrell to end up on Ceti Alpha V in a system that, unknown to them, has the sixth planet missing, is if they were actually trying to beam down to Ceti Alpha VII and they still fucked that up.

This has bugged me for thirty years, and no amount of Ricardo Montalban's acting can change basic planetary physics. No, Ricardo, stop trying to distract me with your chest. This isn't even basic planetary physics, it's basic planetary arithmetic.

Also, did the star chart not have a big X marked on it, with Here be incredibly dangerous genetically engineered criminals from the 20th century? Did Kirk not actually tell anyone when he established a colony of psychopaths in a habitable system at the end of `Space Seed'? Carol Marcus does mention, only fifteen years afterwards, the galactic problems of population and food supply. Did Kirk hide a bunch of incredibly powerful, genetically-engineered lunatics on a valuable planet, and then try to act surprised when an innocent survey vessel caught hell for it later?

I used to own The Nitpicker's Guide to Star Trek (unsurprisingly), and it went on at length about Kirk apparently forgetting to notify Starfleet about the nest of big-titted maniacs he left carelessly strewn about the galaxy. It didn't mention that Ceti Alpha V cannot be mistaken for Ceti Alpha VI. The guy who wrote the Nitpicker's Guide also failed to count accurately to six. This bugs the hell out of me.


Wed, Oct. 27th, 2010 16:49
gominokouhai: (Default)

Hello Paul, your Star Trek costume has arrived. Bloody hell, my life just took a weird turn. However it's just a top, so if you could please wear black trousers and shoes... welcome to the wonderful world of movie stardom. Please provide the bottom half of your own spacesuit.

Has anyone seen my legs? They don't appear to be below my waist, where I normally keep them.

Playing the Star Trek psycho (it's just occurred to me: That Scene with Janet Leigh wouldn't have worked nearly so well with a sonic shower) tomorrow and Friday, and then, on Friday, I have to change out of the Starfleet uniform and run off to audition for a completely different piece. Specifically, I need to stop killin' dudes, cross town, and do a romantic scene with a beautiful twenty-year-old. I can't see this ending well, and not only because the romance is written by Dostoyevsky.

I mean that quite literally. Dear old Fyodor Mikhaylovich is not particularly renowned for his mastery of the screenplay as an artform, largely due to his untimely death some years before the genre was invented. This script is lifted straight out of the book into a single fixed scene, one set, one shot, no direction, and no regard given to how films work. I gather this company have previously only done stage work: it shows. More work for me. Would be a good part, though.


At regular pays-the-bills work today I've received a single-sentence email (Can you please confirm that we have a reservation with you for 2 people for 2 nights Nov 11-12) in 100-point Arial text, taking up four screens and requiring me to scroll. I don't respond well to being shouted at. I've considered answering in 200-point ALL CAPS AND BOLD FOR GOOD MEASURE, or maybe whispering a reply in Flyspeck-3. Neither option amuses me sufficiently. I think I'mma sophisticate this up.

my dear mister price
your reservation stands firm
like the ancient oak

Better idea: commission Brian Blessed to phone him up and reconfirm.

gominokouhai: (Default)

Apparently they're remaking The Day of the Triffids. I loved the book: I remember reading it on my way home from school. That wouldn't be a particularly interesting story, but I cycled.

The franchise is rather beloved across the pond, witters patronizing Yank David Ehrlich, and maybe the closest thing the British have to a genuinely iconic monster. I'm not so sure about that. We've got Daleks and Cybermen. We've got Sontarans, Haemovores, Silurians, Sea Devils, Rutans, Terileptils, and the Nestene Consciousness. I could go on for some time in this vein, from Autons to Zygons, so perhaps I should move on.

The British need a mobile nettle as their iconic monster? We've got Mr Hyde. We've got freaking Dracula. (Okay, Bram Stoker was Irish. It's close.) And we gave the world Margaret Thatcher. We're doing pretty well for monsters.

The 1962 movie took huge liberties with the book and is notable only for having Janette Scott in it, whom, it should be noted, I really got hot when I saw. Based on the trailer, though, it seems that all she gets to do is swoon over Howard Keel. I think I can safely give that a miss.

I'm off to watch the 1981 BBC adaptation again. There are two seconds of sub-par special effects and one bad hairstyle, but apart from that, it's pretty much perfect.

gominokouhai: (Default)

Today I was accosted by a black-market delicatessen. Ratty-looking bloke pulls me aside as I'm leaving the supermarket, asks me if I'm looking forward to Christmas. (The answer, as ever, is no.) He offers me all manner of otherworldly festive delights. I am resistant. He suggests I might like to buy something for the Missis. While he's talking, a packet of corned beef falls out of his jacket.

You're selling me corned beef for Christmas? Happy Yuletide, Darling. I bought you this token of my affection from a dodgy man at the bus stop.

Vaguely related: yesterday in the Scotsman there was a letter complaining that the letters complaining that Christmas starts earlier every year are starting earlier every year. I am tempted to take this further opportunity to determine the depth of the Scotsman's call stack.


Cut for: spoilers for the third <cite>Alien</cite> film, and use of the R-word in a non-triggering context )

(Ever the voice of reason, [personal profile] scotm informs me that Brassed Off wasn't made until four years after Alien3, so such an elevator pitch is unlikely. The solution is obvious: David Fincher travelled back in time after seeing Brassed Off to pitch Alien3 to Fox. The residual time-dilation effects are why the film runs so slowly.)

The dramatic possibilities of grimdark Brassed Off in space, with gore are legion, and were totally neglected in Alien3. I think it's time we explored this vision now.

Disaster strikes tightly-knit community of the mining planet of Sheffield-426. The colliery has been shut down because of the xenomorph attacks. Destitution is rife; also, eviscerated corpses are everywhere. There's a comic-relief mortuary worker who's the only person still in employment. Fortunately, the Space Miners rediscover their spirit—and perhaps even a little romance—when they find they can defeat the alien with the power of SONG! Pom, pom, parp.

It's scared of fire! Quickly, play the trumpet section from The Crazy World of Arthur Brown!

I wanna introduce you to a personal friend of mine. This is an M41A Space Tuba, with over- and under-mounted thirty-millimeter trombones.

In Space, nobody can hear you do the glissando from the Wallace and Gromit theme.

I think I've figured out where Alien3 went wrong. In the first film, it crept around killing people. In the second film, it turned lights on and off, so it could operate simple machinery. The aliens were getting smarter. In the third film, the alien kills off all the characters in descending order of interestingness, leaving it a bloody mess full of insipid redshirts by the half-way point. Thus, the xenomorph provides literary critique on the script of the film itself. Presumably, by Alien Resurrection, the alien has become intelligent enough to write fart jokes into new episodes of Doctor Who.

gominokouhai: (Default)

Lalalala mimimimimimi.

Sex and the City 1 )

One star. It does a couple of things, but it does none of them remotely well.

gominokouhai: (Default)

I have just accepted the commission to review popular current movie sensation Sex and the City 2. Mostly because no one else at the movie enthusiasts' site wanted to go and see it, and with good reason.

As a result, I am now researching the Sex And The City franchise. At gone midnight on a Friday. Because no one else will. Mostly this involves watching Sex and the City 1. I'm five minutes in, and it's terrible.

Pay? What's that?

Just because you're not being paid is no reason not to be professional.

gominokouhai: (Default)

Independently-ratified journalistic integrity FTW.

I totally got published on a website I don't run myself. Form an orderly queue, ladies, there's enough pajh to go around.

Reminds me, I must get on with my Erasing David review.

Four Lions

Thu, Apr. 29th, 2010 16:38
gominokouhai: (Default)

Apparently Chris Morris says that attempting to create controversy is one of the most boring things you can do. It seems odd, then, that he never sits down and thinks: for my next project, I'll write about the droll antics of a cartoon dog. Instead, for his first feature film, he's taken on the popular subjects of Islamic extremism and suicide bombing. A rollicking good time is guaranteed for all.

Morris is doubtless going to receive unending flak from the same people who spectacularly missed the point of Paedogeddon by claiming that it was making light of a taboo topic. But terrorism is comedy and has been for some years now. Remember the Glasgow Airport attacks? Two idiots drove their car into a bollard, a wee jakey baggage-handler having a fag break kicked them in the nutsacks, and they fell over. While on fire. That's not terrorism, that's slapstick. With a provenance like that, a film like Four Lions can't fail to have comedy value. But is it good satire?

It doesn't have to be. Morris' satire is uncompromising and uncomfortable; it goes beyond amusing into disturbing when he depicts a bunch of bizarrely stupid people, then turns the mirror around and says, That's You, That Is. You squirm in your seat and maybe come away with a different view of the world, but you don't laugh. This is why I've always preferred The Day Today to Brass Eye; it's sillier, and it bites less. No one can deny that Morris' satire bites with the viciousness of the deadliest shark, but you don't always want to settle down and watch a fun comedy only to find, halfway through, that your arm's hanging off.

So in tackling the very current and pertinent subject of Islamic terrorism, Morris has wisely chosen to use it only as a setting. This isn't a film about terrorism, it's a film about dysfunctional group dynamics. The characters are jihadists, but they might as well be a five-a-side football club or a scout group engaged in some crazy caper. Actually, thinking about it, they might as well be The Young Ones. There's the bossy one, the thick one, the cool one, and the slightly-saner one. As they bumble and bicker their way through doctrinal disputes and IED manufacture, we get to see some wonderfully-drawn character moments and learn convoluted new insults amongst the immensely quotable dialogue.

The plot follows our eponymous Lions through the tribulations of martyrdom: building suicide bombs, trial runs, selecting targets, and avoiding detection. Everything is presented in such a straightforward way that when they finally start to execute their plan in the final reel, it comes as a jarring shift in tone. The awkward juxtaposition of domestic comedy with real horror perfectly mirrors the characters' own feelings towards the end of the story, and thus was probably intentional on the part of the filmmakers. Morris may not always be subtle, but he knows his craft.

There's some incredibly effective use of hand-held camerawork to create an immersive feel, and not in the usual, tired manner in which they lazily emulate the fly-on-the-wall documentary. Since the characters spend half of the film pointing cameras at each other, when your point of view wobbles it simply means that you're standing in the living room with them, a fifth uncredited co-conspirator with another camcorder. The performances are genuine and natural: the characters are just blokes who happen to be making explosives on their allotment.

If anything, that's the message of the film. Terrorists are human beings, just like you: which means that, just like you, they're incompetent, clueless, and foolish, vainly stumbling through life in a harebrained struggle to find some sense to make of it all, an attempt that's ultimately doomed to be an utter failure. Most of the kneejerk criticism from the tabloids is going to be about the fact that the film portrays terrorists in a sympathetic light, but what it's actually doing is portraying people with bitter, nihilistic cynicism, in a heartwarming sort of way.

The climactic scenes are set at a major public event such as that where terrorism might conceivably take place (no spoilers here). They feel like a bit of a copout, as if it's an attempt to cram some extra humour into the film by having everybody in silly costumes at the end. If so, it's a wasted effort: the film is hilarious without help. I laughed a lot. And because it wouldn't be a Chris Morris production unless it made me feel horrendously uncomfortable in some way or other, I laughed a lot, realised with horror what nightmarish events I was laughing at, and then started to laugh at that instead.

It's a very British film. I think it's a very important film, but only in an incidental way. Mostly it's a film with brilliant characterization. If it horrifies us then it's because we find ourselves relating to and engaging with monsters, but we did that in Frankenstein, Downfall, and Dr Strangelove. Sometimes it's good to stare into the abyss, and to realise that the abyss is pathetic.

Just like you.

On stones

Sun, Jun. 15th, 2008 15:17
gominokouhai: (Default)

Somebody has left a pamphlet in the office about the evils of caffeine. I'm very glad they did. It reminded me that I have a cup of tea brewing. Mmm, tea.


Today's constitutional crisis, threatening to rock the very foundations of the Scottish establishment[0], is that Our Eck reckons that the Stone of Scone is a fake. I'm not sure what constitutes fake when we're talking about rocks. Is it secretly made of plastic? Is it just rock veneer on a cardboard facsimile? Is it somehow less rocklike that we've been led to believe?

I've always thought it was a pretty stupid national symbol in any case. Down south, they have the Crown Jewels in all their resplendent finery. Up here we have a chunk of rock, and we're proud of it.

Mind you, Edward I the Scots-Hammer went to the trouble, in 1296, to raise an army and come all the way up here in order to steal the same said chunk of rock. Who's looking foolish now?

And theories persist that instead of the historic throne of Scottish kings, he was given a toilet seat instead. Who's looking foolish now? I've often wondered how that would have worked. Let's imagine it together, in Braveheart-style glorious Technicolor™-o-vision:

Lights! Camera! Irish Army Reservists! Action! )

From the article, Professor Ted Cowan says: How credible is it that you can just make a replica of something like that in five minutes because Edward I of England is coming to steal the real one? Actually, it's really very credible indeed. It's a rock. You can find them just lying around.

The Professor, we're told, is one of Scotland's most senior historians. And yet he doesn't seem to know the scarcity value of rocks. I think Edinburgh isn't what it used to be.

[0] Pun not intended, I swear.

gominokouhai: (Inspector Fuckup)

It's another late-night IM conversation, click at your peril )

I would have got it eventually, by the way. And it has been six years since I've seen it.

gominokouhai: (Default)

Saw Beowulf yesterday in glorious 3D-o-vision™. Got the nerd glasses and everything. Should have sat farther towards the back of the theatre, really, because the bit I was looking forward to was when everyone in unison slips on the nerd glasses and, in unison, goes oooohhhh.

Also, if I'd sat farther back, I would have been able to throw things at the junkie sitting behing me who thought that the entire film was an opportunity for him to provide a running commentary to his mates. I didn't say anything, because I was too busy going oooohhhh.

Spoilers, but spoilers for a millennium-old piece of our common literary heritage )

Just as Beowulf is now a flawed hero, Beowulf as a film is flawed but heroic. The directorial shortcomings of the movie are the sort of thing that will be fixed when there is less starry-eyed obsession with the tech, and that will come as the tech matures. It indicates to us—and, hopefully, to Hollywood—that there's still no substitute for a rattling good story and a process of catering to the audience's expectations, or subverting them as required.

And it demonstrates that there's hope yet for my career as a prettyboy action-hero starlet.

And it has Angelina Jolie, dripping wet and naked as the day she was born, lasciviously schmoozing the camera in glorious 3D-o-vision™. And the film is a 12A. If I was twelve years old when I watched this, I would have died on the spot. I'm still feeling a little bit wobbly as it is.

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