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Posts posted by R.CAllen

  1. Terrible! Fumbling towards profundity and failing at it miserably (sole possible exception : The Tempest quotation) in nearly every instance.


    • Why introduce a magic fix-it machine and have scenes elaborating upon how the magic fix-it machine works and not bother to include a single line about how the one thing we all REALLY need to fix can't be fixed with the magic fix-it machine? Either have Raffi & ... Rios (?) (I literally forgot the character's name for a minute there, I can remember that Doctor Julian Bashir scuttled his number one spot at graduating from Starfleet Medical School because he deliberately confused a preganglionic fibre for a postganglionic nerve but I can't remember the name of a guy I've spent the last seven weeks watching) talk about it in the scene where they're repairing the ship or have Alison Pill's character mention it in the Picard Manoeuvre scene!


    • What happened to Narek? Did they leave him on the planet? Wait, is the version of Isa Briones who is eeeeevil now dead or just knocked unconscious? Are all the remaining Borg still on that planet? Did they leave Doctor Soong's pervert son in control of this nascent civilization that has just experienced its first intracommunity act of murder? Is Narissa still on that planet or are we expected to believe she's dead for real dead even though we didn't see her dead body? Wait, how did Narissa know Seven of Nine's backstory?


    • The whole thing hinges on whether or not Isa Briones' character, Soji (Sohji?), chooses to trust humanity or not. She eventually decides to do it. Why? What makes her stop moving holograms around on the planet's surface? Because ... Picard moved some holograms around on the ship? This is the sort of thing TNG inter alia used to spend its final moments of each episode wrapping up in a nice neat li'l bow and this show just decides to outright ignore instead. It's not enough to have Picard talking about the rights & responsibilities of being alive, it's not enough to have him deliver a few lines to her over Zoom, this is what everything's been building towards and it can't be given short shrift.


    • Why is everyone so inexplicably chummy at the end? Is Raffi bisexual? I'm perfectly fine with a major new character of this here Star Trek being a paranoid drug addict conspiracy theorist bisexual grandma who is now girlfriends with Seven of Nine but I'd like to have had that particular element established prior to the final moments of the season, y'know. Why are Rios and Alison Pill's character making out? She murdered her ex while brainwashed, buddy, you gotta give her some space!!!


    • omigosh the thing with the order of nuns who have taken the exact opposite of a vow of silence being secretly tied into an evil ancient conspiracy (which is what the Qowat Milat are, we see in the opening flashback of episode 8 that everyone who goes to Secret Planet With Eight Suns are women!) is just a rip-off of a gag from Pratchett & Gaiman's Good Omens. You gotta get better things to rip off if you're doing a Star Trek! TOS is classic movies & the stage, TNG is anime and, yeah, still classic movies, DS9 is probably the most original Trek per volume, VOY & ENT have a lot of horror in 'em, DSC, uh, I guess gets kind of anime in its second season. PIC is just ripping off nerd stuff, really prominent nerd stuff the audience is probably familiar with already, and that combined w/its approach to self-reference within the franchise itself is part of what keeps it all stultified and lifeless and boring.


    What was the moral of the story? I can't decide what the moral of this Star Trek story is! I've narrowed it down to maybe four choices!
    a) don't summon a giant metal octopus. If you're ever tempted to summon a giant metal octopus, then, DON'T.
    b) you can not trust refugees. Or, uh, halfbreeds!?
    c) it's good to die.
    e) all of the above?


    [Edit: Wait, the climax of this whole story was just an identical fleet of ships helmed by a character we barely saw up until now facing off with, sequentially:


    * an identical bunch of flowers
    * an identical bunch of mirage'd spaceships
    * an identical bunch of real starships


    until she and they gave up and went home! Just some goddamn StarCraft level plotting, spawning zergs, Command & Conquer type BS, Picard & Co. mined enough tiberium to field just the right amount of troops to force the baddies into a draw! Dumb!]


    - there's an obvious unattempted fix to the Doctor Agnes Jurati, Murderer problem that they could have gone with and is still available for the future. But in order to do it from now on they'd have to continue the plot of Season 1 into future seasons and I get the feeling it'll be a real Armin Tanzarian situation for nearly everything they covered so far. (More generously : every season as a whole will be kind of like an individual episode of Star Trek, one single story in a string of stories; so next season will be a new plot, this gang of adventurers dealing with something new, and they'll try to avoid any focus on the details of who killed whom for what reasons years ago.)


    - That being said, well, Season 2 of Picard is maybe gonna star Angus Imrie (the guy who played a Young Patrick Stewart in Joe Cornish's The Kid Who Would Be King), open with a shot of Sir Patrick Stewart sitting at home on his couch saying the words, "I remember when I was a young captain on the Stargazer" (his wife will hold the phone), and the rest of it will be filmed entirely in Iceland with a crew wearing hazmat suits.


    - Look, the very real prospect of me and mine spending our final days on this here earth empty-eyed, febrile, and coughing our lungs out is somewhat diminishing my ability to speculate and/or hope for what comes next on Star Trek : Picard. Maybe some Klingon stuff!? I'd love an episode that was just Picard trying and failing repeatedly to return to his long abandoned habit of doing a captain's log, sort of a Secret Honor (1984) deal, a one-hander where Patrick Stewart really got to show his stuff for an hour. But, far more than that, I'd love for everyone I love to. not. die. just. yet.

  2. Gonna be tough to do Season 2 of this thing when, what, probably Patrick Stewart, Michelle Hurd, Santiago Cabrera, Jeri Ryan, Brent Spiner, Orla Brady, Tamlyn Tomita, and Kurtzman himself are all, like, dead or hooked up to a makeshift ventilator. And even if they all make it through alive and in good health (an outcome that I naturally want and wish for) good luck squeezing in pre-production, shooting, and post into one of the few six week periods of intermittent relaxation of suppressive measures over the next year'and'a'half!

  3. Brent Spiner returning to the franchise's narrative twice over mostly just to play relatives of Data's creator is kind of a neat choice. Assuming there isn't a twist coming and he's going to be shown next episode to be literally and not merely figuratively Data then this is actually one of those rare times the show managed to upend my expectations in a way that I also found really fitting, apropos. Put him in a wig and heels next time [1] and have him be Mrs. Soong!

    LOL @ them establishing Narissa as the threat for the last episode and now having the Romulan commodore be there instead for the end of this one. LOL @ them ending two episodes in a row in quasi-identical fashion, with the sight of a Romulan snakehead going after our heroes last week and now with the sight of a fleet of Romulan warbirds going after our heroes this week!!!!!

    I liked Raffi and Picard's conversation. I do think that Jean-Luc Picard genuinely does feel something akin to love for his second in commands, for his Number 1s (Numbers 1???). Jack Crusher, Will Riker, the kid in the episode where he gets stuck in an elevator and treats 'em all like his crew, her, I think they all matter to him.

    Predictions :
    - I don't know who the unfinished golem is going to be. Maddox, undoing the murder and alleviating the pain of what Agnes has done? Data/Soong? Picard? Is Picard going to go from being a living man with a machine heart to being a machine man with a living heart? I'd naturally lay my odds on Maddox, I assume everyone else would to (certainly makes sense if they want to keep Alison Pill a part of the main cast) but I think the other two possibilities are more enriching.

    I wonder if adding a laugh track to STP would help with watch-ability?



    I actually really like the sound design / scoring for this show! The music is really nice, the theme is good (the opening credits are, uh, garbage otherwise), even the ambient noises and little boops & bleeps by devices have the right feel to 'em. Much better than Discovery, at least, which fails on this level while succeeding at others Picard hasn't managed so far.


    If I were suitably aphasic and had no ability whatsoever to comprehend spoken language and thus couldn't parse the dialogue's meaning, and if I shut my eyes while watching the show, I bet I'd really enjoy it. Kind of like those mental patients in an asylum who'd watch Reagan give press conferences on TV and laugh at his punchlines (wait, did that really happen? Or was that just in a novel I read?). Patrick Stewart's calming tones!!!


    [1] Like there's going to be a next time. Well, one can always hope. Still, Brent Spiner is 71 years old! Stay safe! Avoid the Crystalline Entity!



    I started going to gym. From around Wednesday December 18th to Monday March 16th I went to gym a grand total of 108 times! I went to gym so much, so often, and for so long that gym quit on me. Gym quit before I did! Gym just sent me a little e-mail; said it had to shut down, said it had to be properly sanitized, said it was not available for use under any circumstances.


    I think we all know why gym did this. I choose to consider it my first victory against gym. [Correction : no, it is my ONE HUNDRED AND NINTH victory against gym.]


    In recognition of my historic triumph over gym




    in the hope of providing just a little more in these particularly trying times of whatever merest minute-st scintilla of comfort or insight or cautionary example or quote unquote value my words have ever had to you


    I now present my treadmill movie/tv diary, hitherto unavailable to all but ultra-premium subscribers. Below (but placed behind a spoiler box for your convenience and lightly redacted for reasons of privacy & redundancy) are its one hundred and twelve entries! Every movie, every television show, every ... YouTube (?), every podcast, is listed along with the year of its initial release. Roughly seventy percent of the entries even have brief commentary attached! (No letter grades, tho, I went a little Montessori-style for my time on the treadmill and the elliptical and the stationary bike.) (Also, for much of the serialized entertainment I neglected to mark down which episode it was. Sorry!) Free to all.




    The exercise episode of THE CHRIS GETHARD SHOW (2017)

    A rewatch. Obviously apropos to the circumstances of viewing and just classic bit after classic bit a'bumping against each other.


    Thoroughbreds (2017)
    Solid! Unafraid of silence.


    DICKINSON (2019)
    Great! I think the appeal of this to any individual audience member can be easily demonstrated by the dance scene and the John Mulaney as Henry David Thoreau scenes. If you like those, you'll like this show. (Maybe also : Zosia Mamet as Louisa May Alcott saying, "Yeah. That's an actual fact about me.") Toby Huss great in this'n, as always.


    Shattered Glass (2003)
    A rewatch. Hayden Christensen plays a character whose enthusiastic and outstanding service to a venerated legacy institution is called into question by his own possible moral lapses --- and every step he takes to extricate himself from these circumstances only forces him into deeper and deeper trouble; the movie is a tragedy about a liar among other liars who merely lies in the 'wrong' way. So, it's Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, just w/way better acting! An absolute murderer's row of talent in this film, top to bottom favourites : Hank Azaria, Melanie Lynsky, Peter Sarsgaard, Steve Zahn, Chloë Sevigny, Rosario Dawson.


    Knives Out (2019)
    Look, a minor flaw in an otherwise outstanding piece of work will be far more apparent than a handful scattered throughout middling-pleasing stuff. Which is to say this : Chris Evans' service for a summer as Christopher Plummer's research assistant needed to be established earlier in the film (not, like, to make a big thing of it : just have Michael Shannon spout something about how his prick brother couldn't even hack it working for the old man for more than six weeks while he's helped the business grow & thrive for ten years; everyone is talking about Ransom on and on and over and over before he shows up so it shouldn't be hard) rather than having Ana de Armas ask him about it and then confirm immediately afterwards that she knew that about him but had merely forgotten it. Other than that, well, I've been a complete mark for Rian's stuff since the beginning (I mean, Brick (2005?) is like a Darth Sockimus premise brought to life but it works, it's great, it's so good!!!) so me liking this a lot comes as no surprise.


    Frozen 2 (2019)


    The Irishman (2019)
    Rewatched the first seventy-five minutes of this on the treadmill and then finished off the remainder of it cooling down after. Great way to see it again! Much like Mr. Hoffa, well, I too enjoy my ice cream. Was awfully tempted to eat some ice cream while watching but wouldn't that defeat the whole purpose of the quote unquote working out? Probably not - not really aiming to lose weight here or gain muscle, just get the health benefits of regular exercise everyone seems to think is unambiguously proven beyond a reasonable doubt (show me the longitudinal co-twin control study w/o disqualifying flaw conducted in our sinful hell of an earth and I will backtrack, I will believe you that alcohol can be good for you too, go ahead, bring it on) - the other big craving watching this is for the good grape juice & the bread to dip it in which makes up Joe Pesci's repeated repasts. That's what this movie is about in the end. It's a conflict between ice cream sundaes and Communion. And it's about Martin Scorsese realizing, belatedly, that ice cream sundaes are the true body of Christ!


    The Spirit (2008)
    Rewatch. Yeah, this still bangs, this still slaps, this still whips, this still whatever verb the kids use nowadays. You're either on board for Frank Miller doing his Looney Tunes interpretation of Eisner's seminal work or you're not, I am, I was then and am now, they should bring this back for a Netflix TV show. (I'd add in a few little bits and bobs : I think it'd have been great to cut away mid-sentence from The Spirit on top of the elevator monologuing aloud to the HPoAs' beneath him listening to his muffled speech in puzzlement; and I think the lack of the classic cityscapes-as-credits/titles really detracts from the whole). ScarJo in this after ScarJo in Taika Waititi's film is a fun contrast!


    Rewatch. Sitcoms in general tend to come pretty jokepacked but I think that moment for moment this is practically unequalled.


    Prevenge (2016)


    I Kill Giants (2016)

    Look, I'm just happy to see Joe Kelly cash a paycheck, okay? I think his run on Superman was underrated, certainly didn't have the art it needed on every issue. I was going to call him the David Michelinie of his time but, actually, they're both the same age! (Wait, what, that can't be right. Okay, no, I'm an idiot. Joe was born in '71 and David is 71.)


    Allied (2016)
    I can't hear it when they whisper and can't figure out how to get subtitles onto my tablet, okay? Good enough w/o being actually good. Brad Pitt, one of our last real movie stars (I don't always think of him in that fashion but only a movie star can get the mileage he does out of small pieces in this film : when he stops to take a sip of coffee after killing that Nazi before fleeing the scene, well, that's a total movie star move) and 9/11 truther Marion Cotillard (my jet fuel would sure like to melt her steel beams!) are in this, haven't reteamed since tho despite having reasonably good chemistry together, also Jared Harris and Lizzy Caplan and Simon McBurney. August Diehl, also, highlighting how the movie is basically Zemeckis & Co. stitching together a movie out of other better movies.


    Always Shine (2016)
    Persona (1966) with coeliac disease.


    I saw the one about the trimates (narrated by Sandra Oh!), the one about the lone wolf stuck on an island off the coast of Vancouver, the one about colour perception, and the one about the Arctic.


    SUPERSTORE (2020)
    Is ... David Wain sick? Has he started doing P90X or something? Was he on this show before and I just missed it or does he look really different? Is it just the ravages of time or does he look really ill - or like he's lost a lot of weight?


    THE GOOD PLACE (2020)
    Aww, this is almost finished! There's been a noticeable drop-off in the quality of the show's endings over the past few years, for a while there in the first season or two every single episode ended amazingly.


    The Perfection (2018)
    Whelp, running on a treadmill sure does wonders for my movie-watching brain because I found each and every one of the surprises surprising!


    Creed II : The Constant And Unwelcome Presence Of Sports Commentators In This Lacklustre & Moribund Sequel Does Not Enhance The Proceedings One Iota, And, In Fact, Diminishes The Whole To The Point That It Makes One Want To Shout At The Screen, "Shut Up! Shut Up And Let Me Watch This Movie! Stop Telling Me What's Happening And What It Means! Who Needs This?" (2018)



    In The Fade (2017)
    Fantastisch! Five stars! Recommended! Beautiful split diopter shots!


    A Simple Favour (2018)
    What's that meme on twitter/tumblr of the blonde bottlefeeding the brunette with the mascara streaked face? That's kind of what this movie is, just, uh, repeated over and over frame by frame for way too long. (Parenthetically, cheered by the cameo appearances of Chris Owens (Young Cigarette Smoking Man & Jeffrey Spender from X-Files!) as a cop, Patti Harrison (the woman just incredibly disappointed at the poor reception of her joke in that one sketch from I Think You Should Leave) as a fashionista, Olivia Sandoval (Janet from Lodge 49) as the insurance agent, well, basically, because this is an Allison Jones joint everyone in it is supergood, I could go on).


    First Man (2018)
    Justice for Michael Collins (Lukas Haas)! He's barely a part of things - other than offering Gosling some gum he may as well not be in the movie! I mean, yeah, the movie is about Neil and Neil's wife and Neil's daughter, sure, but it still manages to find something for Buzz Aldrin (Corey Stoll) to do & be in the narrative.


    LODGE 49 (2019)
    I saw this the first go'around in the usual stationary fashion (although I watched it in an upside down order; started with Season 2 carrying on to the finale and then went back to the beginning w/Season 1. I'm glad I did it that way, actually, because there are a handful of minor aesthetic missteps in the early episodes of the show that'd probably have turned me off it if I'd come to it from the beginning w/fresh eyes.) but rewatched much of Season 2 comme ça, sweating away. What a great show!


    THE NEW POPE (2020)
    Hell yeah! Saw the first season of this'n twice - probably among the best shows ever. The new episode kinda comes close to putting its full weight behind the long simmering (mixed metaphor much, uccch) theory of Lenny maybe being the literal Anti-Christ. I know it sounds like a Mark Millar comic but it, uh, sure fits. (The other alternative is that we are seeing what we're seeing, yeah, Lenny is a saint blessed by the literal one true God, he heralds the return of the Bleeding Christ, the stone that breaks all hearts, and the ultimate reconciliation of Ecclesia, Synagoga, and Masgidion.)


    De Palma (2015)
    Rewatch. The great thing about this is seeing Brian De Palma slowly and intermittently open up about his life and you realize his life and his movies are, like, the same thing (his cold distant dad was an orthopedic surgeon who cheated on his hot babe of a mom, he used to go see his dad perform surgeries and then later would follow his dad around w/a knife trying (with success, too!) to find evidence of his affairs --- and as he grew up he became a sort of remote observer and occasional participant in the lives of the great and the good but never the king of the castle for long enough to matter; the successes didn't last, the marriages didn't last) in between the meat of the thing, just De Palma going one-by-one through his cinematography. This may be the best (or only!???) movie Noah Baumbach's ever gonna make. But what do I know, I mean, I liked Mission to Mars (2000), still like it even now, Mission to Mars (2000) > Interstellar (2014), no question.


    The Night Comes For Us (2018)
    Watched the last fifty minutes of this, haven't seen the first hour and ten minutes of it since the movie came out. Not the best way to watch a movie, no.


    Good Time (2017)
    Great! Matt Furie is the John Amos of this film!


    Resolution (2012)
    Good enough! Probably enhanced by the circumstances of viewing, seeing as nearly each step was bringing me pain and I was figuratively (literally?) praying for the movie to end so I could just stop, please God, let me rest.


    SUPERSTORE (2020)
    There's a great gag in this'n' (a guy perplexedly selects cereal with his own face on the packaging) and Dean Norris stops by. Do you think Mark McKinney's continuing role on a network sitcom for all these years makes any difference to the terms of the divorce settlement Dave Foley has with his ex? The initial terms of that was predicated on the money Dave was making back in the 90s - which he justifiably claimed he'd never no way no how be able to make again - but if Mark can do it (although, one assumes Mark's not making what Dave was making, that was then and this is now plus wasn't Dave the main guy on Newsradio whereas Superstore's main guy is ... Ginsberg from Mad Men? Ugly Betty from Ugly Betty? Wait, who is REALLY the sine qua non of this show? Is it Lauren Ash? I think it might be Lauren Ash; I don't think the show works w/o Lauren Ash.) then why can't he? There are people I can ask about this who would be able to give a good guess at the answer; not sure why I'm typing these words out here and now.


    THE GOOD PLACE (2020)
    Wait, was that the end of the show? No, the Internet is telling me there are two more. Is Jason Mendoza from Jacksonville going to be revealed to in actuality be an emanation of the one true Godhead, lost & amnesiac within his own flawed creation? I think since we met his dad it's way more of a longshot than it used to be. For quite a while that was my assumption, that was my uchh blecch 'fan theory', that's where I assumed the show was going.


    Saw the final two episodes of this after the first three in the last calendar year. Those were watched stationary, sitting down, just pleasantly absorbed in seeing unintelligible nonsense being artlessly thrown at the screen. I haven't seen the Supergirl show in a few years, so now there are all new people on it (including ... Brainiac 5? The guy who is apparently Brainiac 5 is doing a tremendous accent, kudos!), everyone's in new costumes and w/new haircuts; I never saw more than a few episodes of Flash and I think maybe one or two episodes of the Forgotten Heroes show, don't think I've ever seen even a minute of Arrow, basically I've given the Berlantisphere a fairly wide berth. So this television event wasn't really for me (I mean, it's an unending spool of nerd bait & cameos and tie-ins and references, it's all totally for me, I just haven't been watching enough of it so far to care) but I kind of liked it nonetheless. Maybe way more than if I'd been an eager & attentive fan of all these five or six different television shows inexpertly knitted together into an inadequately sized blanket which simply can not retain body heat --- if these five episodes were your only protection against the cold, well, you'd freeze. But as a treat, as a special little treat, they're not too bad! Come on, folks, we gotta kick these Shadow Demons again and again and again! Come on, let's all stand in a circle around the Anti-Monitor and fire bullets at him and Care Bear Stare him and shoot blue lasers out of our eyes at him --- pourquoi? Oh wait, they made that pretty clear, we were doing it for Oliver. And for Marv, but not for George???? Did George Pérez get a cameo in this and I missed it? Was he too sick to travel to Vancouver? Gosh, I hope he's okay. Did you know comics basically kicked Marv Wolfman out for trying to start a union? But it's fine because a lifetime later he gets to see his stuff ripped off for the small screen and even play around a little with it, too. Fun! Everything's so fun! *gunshot*


    Fat City (1972)
    Great! Good use of 'The Look of Love' during that bar scene! The bar scene itself - great!


    Dark Waters (2019)
    There's a bit at the beginning where Anne Hathaway is making some spaghetti - that spaghetti looked delicious! Feed me some of that spaghetti, Anne! Feed me it though it be poison! (Robbed of a Best Picture nom, yeah. That scene at the end where Mark Ruffalo shouts "The system is rigged. They want us to think it'll protect us, but that's a lie. We protect us. We do. Nobody else. Not the companies. Not the scientists. Not the government. Us." probably did in its chances real good; Hollywood is way more comfortable with the vague noblesse oblige instincts embodied by the Tim Robbins character than the real thrust of what this movie is, that we're all doomed, we're all damned, we're all sinned against and sinning, we're all sick, we're all going to die, we did this to ourselves. This is the world we've made! We could've made a better one but we didn't.) (I kinda think both Anne Hathaway and Bill Camp deserved Best Supporting nods, too, and Mark Ruffalo for Best Actor, yeah, maybe a win for him, also.)


    The Kid Who Would Be King (2019)

    Pleasingly clunky albeit, yes, inessential. I think I watched this in, what, three chunks? Four? Couldn't really hold my attention. I wouldn't swear to it in a court of law but Patrick Stewart's voiceover comes out of King Arthur's mouth during the intro so I was surprised when he turned out to be who he turned out to be (also, uh, the character only really really needed to be Patrick Stewart for maybe two of his scenes). I'm not really the target audience for this, if you're grown & liked Joe Cornish's last flick you're not really the target audience for this neither, the target audience for this is ... maybe nine years old?


    AVENUE 5 (2020)

    What was that Douglas Adams book that he didn't write, just worked on the computer game that it was adapted from, Starship Titanic? That's what this reminded me of.



    This show has been overburdened w/praise for years and years so once a while back I gave it a chance and watched six or seven episodes, all the ones that seemed interesting or potentially promising from the ImdB summaries, across season after season of it, and each and every one was terrible. Bloated, repetitive, untrusting of its audience; every single episode no matter when it was from looked and felt like it was written, shot, edited, and scored on a Palm Treo by the unfunny half of a college sketch group. This new stuff isn't any better but at least it looks better, y'know? I think whatever scam they were pulling where they hoovered up all the money in salary and left nothing for production, below the line costs, what-have-you, really worked for them. Over the course of decades! And now everything's caught up to them, it's a High Flying Bird world now, and you can make anything look great for not very much money at all.


    The Bedford Incident (1965)

    Wasn't feeling it. Although, uh, is this where half of Ron Moore Trek & BSG comes from? Oh, and that's a young Donald Sutherland in the sick bay, folks, watch this movie if you want to see a young Donald Sutherland in glasses!


    THE NEW POPE (2020)

    Hell yeah! Cardinal Gutierrez (Javier Cámara) for life! Cardinal Newman for life! Ghost Pope for life! Malkovich for life! Let's keep the living things alive!


    I, Daniel Blake (2016)




    Wakefield (2016)


    SUPERSTORE (2020)


    THE GOOD PLACE (2020)




    The Florida Project (2017)


    AVENUE 5 (2020)


    Take Me (2017)


    THE NEW POPE (2020)


    Hazard of the Game (1980)


    Vox Lux (2018)
    I liked this but given the sweaty structure, inadequately distributed voiceover, inconsistent accents, heavyhanded writing, bad music, and general undergraduate thesis feel of the film's points I'm gonna have to chalk up my approval as an artifact of the treadmill. Just happily plodding along interested in what's gonna happen next to Natalie Portman, I suppose. Oh, nothing happens? Cool!


    Black Narcissus (1947)

    Hell yeah! It's a cinema!


    THE TERROR (2018)

    'God lies in all realms.'


    STAR TREK : PICARD (2020)

    Second episode is a bit better than the first. Is Alison Pill's character gonna be revealed to be a robot? Yeah, I bet she is!


    youtube: bad? (2020)
    Yet another bit of potential evidence that each and every innovation offered by the Internet postdating approx. 2002 or thereabouts is naught but the work of Satan or The Devil or The Evil Inclination or The Angel of Death, possibly all four working together in concert. (Also, of course, has a counter-argument in that a suitable alternative title for the piece could have been 'podcasting: good?').


    THE TERROR (2018)

    4th episode, also fifth, sixth, a bit of seventh. 'God grants us many gifts in this world but God does not grant us ghosts.' - paraphrased.


    THE GOOD PLACE (2020)

    Awww. Good ending! It didn't make me cry but Ted Danson trying to piggybackride on Kristen Bell did make me laugh so good enough!


    SUPERSTORE (2020)
    Has the show only done two wedding episodes? I think so - just Cheyenne's and this'n. Am I forgetting a wedding episode? Gonna have to look at ImdB and check if I missed one.


    The Literal President Of These United States Sundowning Before Our Very Eyes (2020)
    Every once in a while I do this to myself, my own v. particular form of self-harm. This time it was an event in Grand Rapids, Michigan followed a few hours later by a rally in Des Moines, Iowa.


    THE TERROR (2018)

    Rest of the seventh episode. I feel like the worst kind of dumb dumb bottom-feeding clickbait-crafting übernerd when I watch a work of semi-serious television drama and think to myself 'Hey, that guy should play The Joker, he should be The Joker and he should fight Batman!' but, yes, Adam Nagaitis should play The Joker. I think the last time I felt this feeling was maybe 2011's THE SHADOW LINE, but then it was twice over in quick succession, Rafe Spall as The Joker and Freddie Fox as The Joker. Geoff Johns' Three Jokers, kids, coming soon to a theatre near you!


    The Bizarre World of Fake Martial Arts (2020)


    Jackie Chan's Kung Fu is "Fake" and That's Okay (2019)


    THE YOUNG POPE (2020)


    THE TERROR (2018)

    'Are we brothers then, Francis? I should like that very much.'


    STAR TREK : PICARD (2020)


    THE DEVIL'S CROWN (1978)


    BROOKLYN-99 (2020)


    THE DEVIL'S CROWN (1978)




    THE DEVIL'S CROWN (1978)


    AVENUE 5 (2020)


    THE DEVIL'S CROWN (1978)


    STAR TREK : PICARD (2020)


    THE DEVIL'S CROWN (2020)
    The seventh episode. Has my favourite bit toward the end : "Well, mum, we passed the Mount of Olives and went down into Jerusalem. Those on horseback as usual got in and kissed the Holy Sepulchre and Saladin let them see and kiss Holy Cross. We thought we could on foot. Saw the tomb where God's body laid. I was gonna leave a silver penny but a man said the Saracens stole 'em so I gave it to one of our prisoners in slavery there. I saw Mount Calvary where God died and kissed the ground. And Mount Zion on the left where God's mother went and kissed it, and the holy table where God sat and ate, and kissed that too. Then I went with the others to Siloh and saw her tomb and kissed it. Then I went in great fear into the cave where God was when those who took him slew his precious body. This place I kissed and wept and you'd have wept because the devils kept their horses there which is why I wish we'd won Jerusalem and not come here because they let us."


    SUPERSTORE (2020)

    Scott MacArthur guest-stars! My growly boy! Love a good growly boy on a TV show! Angus Sampson (Fargo), he a growly boy! Chris Sullivan (The Knick), he a growly boy! Put more growly scowly gruffies on TV shows!


    THE DEVIL'S CROWN (2020)

    I think this was one of the ones that has my other favourite scene : the one where the German Emperor, Duke Leopold, and King Philip are bargaining for Richard's ransom.




    THE DEVIL'S CROWN (2020)



    So far the two new episodes have been somewhat disappointments (haven't disliked it so much since the episode w/the shallow Instagrammer that ended w/her crying for no reason, that character wouldn't cry over nothing, she'd have a real crying jag over something trivial) but this show is a real favourite, a Twilight Zone for our times, and I'll keep watching 'em so long as they keep putting 'em out. This one is better than the last one, on second thought, mostly because after a moment's consideration it becomes clear that it does not end happily at all (the intimacy co-ordinator has pulled her own lil' magic trick on this poor guy, stretched him out to match her existing lines, and it's only a matter of time before he reverts to his original shape), it's just we're conditioned to think kissing & laughter in an ending means everything's going to be okay. This is probably one of the greater things about the non-diegetic dancing stuff that caps each episode, too, it forces the audience to try & assimilate what they've actually seen before because the final moments can feel simultaneously jarring but somehow also soothing (does that make sense? no, but what I mean is that my brain sees the slow-mo incongruous dancing and tries to contextualize the spectacle of The Guy w/what came before and CAN'T while simultaneously being amused because, hey, fun party time on screen) and out of that clash arrives a pleasing sense of finality to each week's little short story.


    AVENUE 5 (2020)


    Sam Morril - I Got This (2020)

    Great voice! The ending is well structured enough, at least, tying back to two bits earlier w/o calling too much attention to itself by doing so.


    Manufacturing Consent : Noam Chomsky and the Media (1992)
    Towards the beginning, where in a public speech he calls the NY Times, and I'm paraphrasing here : "lapdogs to a naked emperor", well, hah!


    STAR TREK : PICARD (2020)


    BROOKLYN 99 (2020)


    SUPERSTORE (2020)



    Jon references THE TERROR, there's an alligator / crocodile joke I liked, a dig @ the city of Houston too.



    I like how in 1977 the words 'Clone Wars' were nothing more than a dumb piece of unnecessary background detail (the sort of thing from earlier drafts that just got cut out of the script mercilessly) and then that was it for years, nothing in Empire, nothing in Jedi, a smattering here and there in licensed material, and now since about '03 or so it's been all Clone Wars all the time, over and over again. Sometimes it goes away for a little while, takes a rest, a lil' breather, but before you know it the Clone Wars are back in business baby. Just gonna be more and more Clone Wars until civilization gives up the ghost, nothing can stop 'em!


    I liked seeing the tarantula guy again (was he a cyborg last time? I think he was a liiiiittle bit of a cyborg but got more so this time around, not going to bother checking on the wiki) and sure it's fun enough to listen to Dee Bradley Baker yell @ himself for twenty minutes. I watched it while running at a fairly full clip on the treadmill so I don't really know what happened during it (they're doing a sorta riff on Dirty Dozen or Kelly's Heroes or what-have-you; they shot a bunch of robots, gonna have to go into outer space and shoot a bunch more robots next week) and can't really speak to its quality.


    THE PROBLEM W/APU (2017)

    Hari Kondabolu's own parents not being 100% on board w/his point of view on this thing is kind of funny, I think. Not sure if it undermines his point (or affirms it???) but it's probably the best bit in the whole documentary. I don't know. Is it a hate crime? Would it be less of a hate crime if they stopped (apparently, they have, Hank Azaria's not going to do the voice no more)? Isn't the damage already done; are the children of today even aware of The Simpsons, like, at all? There should definitely be some sort of meet'n'greet at some point, no matter how long it takes to happen, narratively we need as an audience for someday down the line a greying Hari and a wizened Hank to sit together and break bread and discuss their respective crimes. It's clear that Hari's mad at himself, mad for letting himself feel bullied, mad for the years he spent doing jokes at his own expense, and that's what this is really about.


    AVENUE 5 (2020)


    A delight!


    STAR TREK : PICARD (2020)

    Wait, Rios is played by the same guy who was Isaac Mendez (the guy with the drug habit whose eyes would go white and then he'd paint the future) from Heroes? Raffi is played by Michelle Hurd from ... well, she's Garret Dillahunt's wife! Robot Girl is played by Isa Briones who was born in ... okay, just going to go lie down for a while.





    Well, I came away from the first three episodes eager to learn what Hamlin wanted to have lunch w/Jimmy about and also excited by Kim's turn towards the dark side so I guess I'm gonna stick w/this show to see what happens next!


    SUPERSTORE (2020)

    Tawny Newsome guest-starred! And also Timothy Simons' mom from Veep!


    BROOKLYN-99 (2020)
    Look, I think Vanessa Bayer is a straight dime, no question, Dawn Lazarus on SNL is one of the best things ever, yeah. But I think the freedom the show's gotten from living into its golden years and switching networks might not be the best thing for it - that pegging gag a few weeks back, the blurred/bleeped profanity this week, I don't know ... it's not really a welcome addition to the formulae.


    'The Child', the Season 2 opener. As clumsy as it is, well, still better than what we got thirty-one years later!


    Uch. Like a parody of the show, really.


    STAR TREK : PICARD (2020)
    Come on, man!


    AVENUE 5 (2020)


    BROOKLYN-99 (2020)




    CLONE WARS (2020)




    UNRAVELED (2020)
    The Kirby episode. Good enough, but the way they did it is nothing but a well you can only draw from once.


    Oh, that's what lunch was about. And looks like Kim's not all the way to the dark side, just dipping her toes in the water some.


    INSIDE NO. 9 (2020)



    Good enough! The 'Geordi falls in love w/murderer' old movie rip-off from Season 6.


    STAR TREK : PICARD (2020)




    Their Mark Leidner interview.


    A Podcast Interview W/A Rabbi I Kind Of Know (----)
    I kind of don't, though? There's kind of a saying, sort of, "It's a shame. Those who you can talk to, you can't daven with. And those who you daven with, you can't talk to." I've bungled it, but yeah, that kind of maybe gets across how he straddles that particular divide.


    Radio War Nerd (2020)
    Ep #222, their interview w/'Annibale' who is quarantined in Italy. This may be the last entry of Treadmill Movie/TV Diary - the gym's closed for the duration!



  5. I hold out hope for Worf nonetheless. Not you, not your promises, not the nerd Internet, not CBS All Access itself can take the hope of Worf away from me. (... I guess if we don't get him this year then they have to dole out him and Geordi for one of each of the upcoming seasons, respectively, in order to dovetail w/the abbreviated list of the TNG cast offered by Picard's houseguest/lifepartner in the 2nd episode.) (... Then again, of course, there's probably not going to be another season of this show. Or of any TV show. Well, maybe it's best to just optimistically assume a healthy delay of at least a year for any imminent expensive popcultural products not already mostly completed.)


    I don't think it's a coincidence! I accept it as a given that the characters are being manipulated by some sort of emergent AI system. This is textual within the show itself because something is clearly communicating with Robot Girl disguised as Her Human Mother and it prompted her to go back to Picard in the pilot and that same something deepfaked a 'Picard' to Rafi to get her to realize Maddox was on Freecloud. And it's extratextual because they need to string together the show's implausible plotting and overly laboured connections in a way that satisfices so it's going to be Robot God Of Her Robot Planet Is Responsible For Bringing Them All Together.


    What I found more coincidental/implausible than this guy being involved in this thing from the very beginning is that this guy and this guy's five extant holographic semi-sentient consciousnesses, what, they all never saw a picture of the Robot Girl they've been going after for this entire season in any way, shape, or form!? The show makes a point of having the ship scan the Borg Cube with such a degree of fine detail that Rafi (the actress plays every one of her scenes like she's a completely different person in each; could probably be chalked up to the fact the character's a recovering junkie but even accounting for that, still, no consistent performance) spots the Stupid Clue Symbols scrawled on a piece of paper but it doesn't see ... like all those photographs Robot Girl had of herself in her room that were so important to a previous episode!? The ship makes a holo-replica of Picard's château which includes his records from thirty years ago but doesn't include the painting hanging on the wall w/her face on it (no, wait, there was a whole thing in the first episode over there being two paintings - one w/her face that was only in San Francisco, one w/it hidden that Picard kept in his château; okay they might have actually given this more thought than I assumed, sorry, sorry for doubting the creative prowess of one highbrow novelist and one work-for-hire jobber and two guys w/a string of bad nerd projects between them)!?

  6. - This time the TNG ep I watched before the new one was 'Aquiel', from Season 6. It's generally regarded as something of a clunker, by fans of the series and even by the team who made it, and little more than yet another among a string of episodes focusing on Geordi's lovelife that ends unhappily for all involved. I don't think I've ever seen it before. It's solid stuff! It could easily have been nothing but a dismissible rip-off of an old movie (the wiki told me it was Laura from 1944, and even still, I mean, it's not like that's too bad of a thing for a Star Trek to be; half of TOS was just dismissible rip-offs of old movies) but it's actually pretty good. It's a murder mystery but what's been murdered here isn't really a person, per se, it's a concept. That concept is what the Enterprise kind of stands for, open and honest communication among a community of equals, and so probably the crux of the episode is the scene where Picard effortlessly manipulates the Klingon governor into co-operating with the investigation. The coalescing organism that did the murder is an exploitative and imitative model of this mode of communication, one that destroys memories, destroys trust, and so when Riker tries to pressure Geordi into disbelieving in Aquiel's innocence, when the Klingons bluster and threaten, and, yes, when Picard uses his status as Arbiter of the Rite of Succession to make the Klingon governor do what he wants, they're acting more like the shapeshifting tomato sauce thingmabob than themselves. Geordi's choices in this episode are seen as aberrant, by both the audience and his fellow crewmembers, but he's openly and enthusiastically trying to right a wrong, uncover the truth, and care for the abandoned. The worst thing he does is towards the end, when he offers to put in a good word for Aquiel so she can transfer aboard, thus potentially elevating her above other worthy candidates for the post. She rightfully says she wants to get there on her own merits, which is both correct on the face of it and maintains the status quo to boot. In fact, I think she makes a way better candidate for a hypothetical long-term future relationship for Geordi than Doctor Leah Brahms, who can be inferred as his wife in the possible future shown in "All Good Things".


    - This week was just terrible. An unceasing explainasaurus, just characters discovering things and explaining them to each other over and over again. What actually happened in this episode? Most of the main characters are on the ship, on their way to Place #1, they change their mind and head towards Place #2, then eventually decide to give in and go back on their way to Place #1 instead. The two main characters who aren't on the ship spend the episode in a dark room looking at and manipulating holograms. The remainder of the episode is taken up by the villain whose flashback opens the episode and who spends the majority of her time just shooting people again and again. I found it all less compelling than an episode of TNG whose highlight were the two times Jonathan Frakes pets a dog! Nobody pets a dog in this episode! Reg E. Cathey doesn't guest-star in this episode (it'd be a miracle, too, considering he's been dead for a year or two by now! I didn't recognize him in 'Aquiel' under all that Klingon make-up but that was him. Tommy Carcetti's politico from The Wire did a Star Trek!)!


    Predictions :

    - I've been trying to figure out how the show would interrelate its seemingly unending supply of male-female Romulan pairs and I guess it's clear by now that Narek (absent from this week!) & Narissa are going to end up being the kids of the two Romulans who Picard has been playing house with for all these years. It's exactly dumb and obvious enough for this dumb and obvious show to do!


    - Captain Worf of the Enterprise to the rescue in the season finale, please, thank you. I don't want it to be Worf in control of a Klingon fleet or anything like that. I want to see the Enterprise again and I want it to be with Worf as her captain.

  7. - I was watching (well, technically, re-watching : I did see it sometime ago in reruns and may even have caught it on first airing as a toddler, who knows) the Season 2 TNG opener "The Child" just before putting the latest episode up. Remarkable how the shakiest rendition of a dusted-off script by a show still finding its feet managed to just completely trounce what came after it, seriously, it was way better than what came out thirty-one years later. It's even kind of the same story, no matter the overlapping characters, both episodes are about people dealing with death, the sudden and unexpected insertion of a supranormal being into a settled status quo, and the making of conscious and deliberate choice as to what one's future will be! But "The Child" managed to do it in forty-five minutes while ALSO introducing two new characters (Guinan and Doctor Pulaski) and setting up so much else for the remaining series (Geordi as Chief Engineer, Wesley's ongoing character arc) and, crucially, didn't chose to cut away from the main narrative to indulge in thematically unrelated and incoherently shot martial arts 'action'! Oh boy, the Zhat Vash and the Qowat Milat are really throwing down! How 'exciting' is that? Literally less exciting than watching some ancient pal of Gene Roddenberry glancing at a repurposed prop and woodenly reciting a few lines about radiation threatening the entire ship, that's how exciting it was.


    - I never really bought the idea of Troi & Riker getting shacked up and settling down (they're both such grown-ups on TNG about how, sure, they might have loved each other once but now they're different people who want different things and have this really sweet friendship instead - the marriage in Nemesis is so dumb, Worf being there for that wedding is so dumb, they didn't come to HIS wedding, actually if memory serves the plan was to bring in some of the crew for that specific DS9 episode but they couldn't get everyone to agree to show up, only Frakes & Burton & Spiner, so they scrapped it but as far as I'm concerned that's pretty much who'd pop by, Picard is too stuffy for any social event not mandated by his duties, Beverly is too work focused to take time off, Deanna wouldn't want to possibly cause offense by being the glamorous ex (she'd send a sweet gift, though, and her and Jadzia would probably have got along together great), but Riker would absolutely want to go to show there are no hard feelings and because he loves to party, he probably goes to every one he gets invited to, and Data would just not have the good sense to say no and Geordi would attend because he's a needy needy man who craves any excuse for human contact) but the idea that their first go at domestic bliss after so long apart really did not work out for the best, that they suffered this tremendous loss instead that just has reshaped their lives from that point forward, well, I liked that! I think that works.


    - Okay, so I thought Riker explained away his home's advanced self-defense features to Picard by referencing their planet's trouble with the Xindi and for once I was going to praise this show for correctly deploying its deepcut references to unloved areas of the franchise (because the last time we've seen Troi and Riker was the ENT finale, and that was awful in all kinds of ways this particular episode just was not, so it serves as an acknowledgment of the damage repaired from that particular misstep) but a brief turn around the wiki shows he was talking about the Kzinti instead. It was just more of the same!


    Predictions :

    - I think it's obvious at this point we're going to see Brent Spiner again as a human version of Data and/or the resurrection of B-4. I mean, we might not see it this season but that's where the show is going.

    - Still holding out hope for Michael Dorn! Even kind of want to see LeVar Burton in command of the Endeavour, just like in that one dumb episode of VOY!

    - Human heart for Picard question mark

  8. The Gentlemen (2019)



    More like, uh, c-word!? AmIright or amIright? Not sure what I expected, to be honest, roughly twelve percent of this movie is one of a handful of top-shelf actors just spouting the c-word over and over and/or solemnly intoning the word "respect" shortly thereafter. It all has the trademark Guy Ritchie zhuzh (and the movie's dénouement begins w/a bombast flex on his behalf, literally just him looking @ the audience and being all "I am Guy Ritchie and here is what I have wrought!") but certain aspects of what he usually brings to a film are noticeably absent or subdued this go around : fewer needle drops, much less overt heterosexuality, the Qabbalah monster has apparently been exorcised too. And there's the not-entirely-unwelcome element of him changing w/the times, softening in some respects (nearly every line of dialogue is downright comprehensible! the racism is, uh, not quite as racist as it used to be - the racism often features the closest Guy Ritchie can get to a sly wink and some actor being all "Yes, I know what I'm saying and how it sounds but I don't mean it meanly" or, rather, "Eee, the wee gaffer's gone off his barmy codge, wut!" or what have you) and there's the addition of a sort of open and honest commercialism in this movie (f'rinstance, there's literally a rap video during the end credits!) that I sort of all kind of liked!? If even Guy Ritchie can change, and grow, and become something more than he's been in the past, well, there's hope for the least among us. (Is there? Maybe not? All I know is this movie got a grand total of one (1) laugh out of me. That was when Charlie Hunman told Hugh Grant, "It's hot", after Hugh Grant love actually'd his notting hills.)




    Ordinary Love (2019)



    Hell yeah! It's a cinema! Unafraid of cliché, of repetition, of breaching its own realist cinematic language when called for, unafraid of risking its main characters appearing unsympathetic, appearing ugly, appearing unfinished. Unafraid of anticlimax! Just a fearless goddamn piece of work on every level. Liam Neeson salting his soup ONLY when Lesley Manville went to the door to pick up the mail was in and of itself worth the risk of spreading the coronavirus to the audience of genteel elderly retirees who piled into the tiniest theatre in the local multiplex to see this with me. Thank you, old people! Make sure to suck on some zinc lozenges!!!




    Portrait Of A Lady On Fire (2019)



    Pretty pretty good. Not sure if it was worth dying of the coronovarius in six weeks time (I know what you're gonna say - I'm not an old person, they're the ones who are most at risk of croaking from covid-19 but I can tell deep in my back teeth I'm gonna beat those odds, your boy is gonna be the first of the statistically anomalous under-40s to start kicking the bucket, I will be among that first wave, youbetcha) yet a lovely picture nonetheless. Sky and sea and skin! If I go, tell the world I was a Sophie shipper, I was rooting for the plain jane to win out the whole time, wanted her to come out on top, get the love that was merely sublimated up to that point between Marianne and Héloïse, and once the movie took its turn towards the full CINEMAX® route, well, leaving her out of that, I was disappointed.



  9. You're welcome!


    The bit that first popped into my head when I was trying to force my dumb brains to scrounge up something for them to be watching was a v. similar one that I couldn't find online (because I couldn't quite remember who it was, either the Muppet or the guest host) but which I realized today was the other semi-famous Rita Moreno bit, not her singing "Fever" w/Animal, but this'n which opens her episode.

  10. Makes sense to me, man. Good taste, smarts, the works!


    After all, what could anyone possibly NOT enjoy about, say, seeing Narek do the Zhal Makh on Soji while Narissa watches but during the Zhal Makh (which, of course, consists of Yut Makh, Lu Shiar, Qlam Wath, Vri Glam, and Rok Khan) Narek takes out his tan zekhran to kill Soji with but before he does so breaks his Zhat Vash training first and tells Soji his name is actually Chaya!?

  11. Yeah, generally speaking I tend to associate the popcultural avatars of any given user of any online platform w/the statements tied to them (not necessarily the names themselves, tho, if @DarthVader420 tweets 'wait are you telling me a CAT made this ketchup!? #smdh ' I just think that some guy, some shmo who four hundred and nineteen other people got the idea to be Darth Vader before him, he's the one who tweeted it but if there's a picture of Darth Vader there I'm all like 'Omigosh! I guess Luke & Leia's pops has a half-developed opinion/joke about a condiment which he has chosen to share with us!') but in this case I found it really really jarring.


    Why would Fozzie make this joke? Piggy and Kermit are his co-workers, his friends, he's known them for over FIFTY YEARS, since they were babies [1], it's really inappropriate for him to speculate about their sex life! Even in jest! And it doesn't even make sense! Muppets don't have genitals! Doctor Honeydew doesn't even have eyes (neither do Janice or the Swedish Chef) you're telling me any of them have a doinkus or a vereen or some sort of hermaphroditic doinkus / vereen combination? You're telling me Beaker is shlurping Bunsen Honeydew's nonexistent doinkus ("Meep meep meep!") while the entire Electric Mayhem band watches? You're telling me Statler is topping Waldorf up in the stage left balcony box while Sweetums & Ruth Buzzi manhandle each other to music? Can't happen! Impossible!


    [1] Yes, I am well aware that Muppet Babies (1984-1991) is an apocryphal text which merely adumbrates in cartoon form the vivid fantasy had by Piggy in The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984) of her and Kermit and the assorted company growing up together. I know it's non-canonical, little more than a reticulated polyfoam Infancy Gospel! I know!

  12. - Goddamn, deep cut to Season 1 of Star Trek : Voyager right there @ the end. You'd think what with the long established idea of, like, subspace transporter platforms (I think that's what the evil Ferengi used in the final season of TNG to hop on board the ship and spook Picard when he was doing his evil son plan thing, hold on, is that guy Jason Whatshisname gonna come back and be on this show too? Calling it now, that guy or his mom is gonna get referenced sometime before the finale, you betcha) and the way that technology was used in two of the Abrams films for v. similar purposes that'd just be what they'd go for to establish how these two get away from the Romulans at the end but, nope, it's the stuff from the "how would YOU like to be Prime Directive-d, huh, guys? Not so fun when the shoe is on the other foot is it now!! This is an important lesson!" episode.

    - is Picard sundowning? Is the thing that whatshername, Rafi, said about his unchecked id or whatever actually how Patrick Stewart is choosing to play him? He's clapping in praise, he's dishing out hugs for Hugh, wait isn't this kinda what David Paymer was talking about in the second episode? Yeah, I think it fits actually.

    - Lots of dumb dumb secret ritual stuff and spooky dream nonsense and hidden true name (Chaya? Come on, Ayelet & Michael & Kirsten & Akiva! Chaya is a girl's name for girls!) stuff this week. I guess we were saved from having to see that happen last week. I didn't think I'd miss it and I guess I don't. Go back to cutting Robot Girl & Romulan Spy & Romulan Spy's Sister Who Was Roger Sterling's New Wife On Mad Men back out of the show!

    - The thing about not letting the perfect be the enemy of good (which Picard was also mea culpa-ing to the Romulans a few weeks ago about) is a little bit extratextual, I think. They know they're making a badly structured show strung together with baling wire and missing bits and pieces (was there a scene with Agnes & Romulan Ninja Guy before where they established his idiosyncratic use of the phrase "in butting" and they just didn't air it? Wait, what happened to her? Was she completely missing from the second half of the episode?) but it's the best they can manage, they're trying their hardest, come on, have some sympathy for them! What else are you gonna watch? The other Star Trek show, or the new Star Trek show, or the other new Star Trek show, or the five other Star Treks they're planning on doing too?

    - okay, the guy saying "Locutus!?", that was funny; I'll give them that. I think I'm actually liking the show more and more the longer it goes on and the faster I run on the treadmill while watching it.

    I don't remember the Reman Viceroy ever being mentioned in Enterprise. At least the Ron Pearlman character. If it was mentioned, it might be "a" Viceroy, as in the Reman Head of State, who is subservient to the Romulan Praetor?

    BTW, I am skipping over Picard plot points, so if I misunderstood, sorry.


    Yeah, you're right! I checked the wiki and my wires got a little crossed there. There is a character I was thinking of who is a reference to that movie (played by Brian Thompson! The Alien Bounty Hunter on The X-Files!) but, yes, it's not the Ron Perlman-in-a-monster-mask dude.

  13. I think part of what I dislike about this show is just how goofy the structure feels (this week especially so because Robot Girl & Romulan Spy's B-plot was nearly completely absent; the characters didn't even appear) and the awful sense of mismatch generated because every other televised Picard story is basically over-and-done-with inside of 45 minutes but this one just keeps going and going and going. It's like what Chuck Jones thought of Space Jam (1996), Bugs Bunny shouldn't have needed any help and should have had the whole thing wrapped up inside of seven minutes. Why can't Picard just solve this problem in a single episode with plenty of time allotted for a secondary character to experience and solve a somewhat related but more personal problem of their own? Come on, Picard! You're better than this! Just aim your ship at a sun and go back in time to save the dead robot girl! Or, better yet, go further back in time and save the Romulan civilization itself! Or, y'know what, screw it, go back far enough in time to stop the many many wars the Federation has been in and keep Beverly from becoming a widow besides! I can conceive of no problems w/this approach on any level, either within the text itself or as effective storytelling! Do not correct me!


    And yet this episode was still fairly neat, possibly even the best one of the series so far, a relatively straightforward action adventure story wherein the conflicts and pains of the past of our series' regulars are illuminated by the conflict and pain of the past of the episode's special guest star! Fun! I think that heightening and twisting and détourning the Seven / Janeway relationship so now she's locked into a cycle of sexy revenge w/this new crime boss figure (as opposed to her previous cycle of sexy give'and'take w/an alternately pleasing and alternately withholding mother figure) is a great endpoint for Seven of Nine's character! I was kind of worried the show would feel such a slavish devotion to continuity that it'd bother to address the Chakotay situation that the final episodes of Voyager's final season unnaturally slotted her into but it seems like it's only Nemesis (2002) and Star Trek (2009) which exerted an unnatural pull on the showrunners' collective psyche(s).

    Ron Perlman would be great to come back as another character, possibly even another Reman, but I think the Viceroy was killed by Riker in Nemesis.


    If memory serves there's a nigh-incomprehensible action sequence and Jonathan Frakes just ... kicks him down a Jefferies tube? I know they mentioned the character again a few years later on Star Trek : Enterprise (2001-2005) which of course took place chronologically earlier so is no proof either way yet considering how this show seems to love its relatively deep continuity pulls (Icheb! Tranya! Mot! Quark!) nothing can really be ruled out and so any recurring (or even stand-alone) element of the Star Trek mythos could arguably be playing a role in the ongoing plot. (Also, uh, I was kidding!?) ((But, no, yeah, if it turns out to be that guy then YEAH I CALLED IT ALL ALONG I WAS SERIOUS THE WHOLE TIME NO JOKE ONE HUNDRED PERCENT REAL.))

  14. I had a lot more to say back when the finale aired but in order to say it I typed it out in Microsoft Word, and copying'n'pasting it in here doesn't maintain the formatting, so I would have had to go through the three pages and manually italicize everything again. I was too lazy to do that then so you were all spared. UP UNTIL NOW! Don't blame me for the following; blame Darth Krawlie, blame Tank, blame yourselves!


    I guess on the whole I really liked the first three episodes, the Tim Blake Nelson one, the black'n'white flashback one, and that's kind of it. 5 outta 9. Not half bad! Literally.


    - I think the pilot (... is Lady Trieu even mentioned or alluded to in any way during this'n?) can be compared'n'contrasted w/the Season 2 premiere of The Leftovers and I think both of these show's final moments are equally in dialogue with each other.


    - I haven't really been paying much attention to how this show's been received out there in the wider world (I mean, unless N6's review write'em'up counts - it's certainly a well articulated understanding of what's to be seen, as is so typical and consistent of his work that to make note of it here and now feels less like praise than condescension on my behalf, regardless, I sincerely enjoyed reading it) but it's difficult to imagine anyone who really really liked the comic, appreciated it for what it was, really really liking this show (well, not so difficult, it takes all kinds). Watchmen (1986-7) is arguably the best comic book ever because of the very particular way it puts words and images together; ultimately, that's what makes it special, a capital-M Mature attitude towards superheroes is supplementary to the way it's being told, it reinforces the how of it rather than being what it's actually about. It could've been about granary suppliers! Moore tried to do a Watchmen about regular people in regular world, yeah, it was called Big Numbers and he did it with Bill Sienkiewicz (sp?) and they gave up a few issues in but it could have arguably been the better work. Decades later, I am like three-fifths certain there's a flex on that particular comicbook in this show's pilot! Anyway, Watchmen (2019) is not as good at being a television show as Watchmen (1986-7) is at being a comic book. That's probably true of every adaptation of justly celebrated material, but, wait, no! Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is just as good as a TV show, as a movie, and as a novel! It can be done. It just probably can't be done w/Watchmen and maybe can't be done with the v. specific creative and commercial talent involved in adapting it today, in the Year Of Your Lord 2019. Or maybe I'm wrong, talking out of my butt as usual, there are certainly ways in which the show takes advantage of being in a TV show landscape in the same way the comic takes advantage of being a part of comics culture (is the extratextual associations of an actor playing other characters in a one-to-one correspondence with how the 'cast' of the comic are based on the Charlton characters or maybe how the Laurie-Jon Mars sequence is ripped off of Baron/Rude Nexus? Could be!), maybe there's way more to this show than I gave it credit for? Nope!


    - Trying to put the above paragraph in a single sentence, well, the show's not as gifted at being a show as the comic is at being a comic so all that remains is to praise it for the mere mechanisms of its plot and that's a tougher sell. Watchmen (1986-7) is a superhero murder mystery in a world on the verge of apocalypse. This show is ... what? The exact same thing, maybe? I don't buy that it's about race, any more than Quentin Tarantino's movies are about race just because he uses the n-word a lot in his films (obvious exception aside) and I don't buy that it's about Our Times Now any more than Shane Black's films are about Christmas just because that's when they take place (again, obvious exception(s) aside). It sort of gestures at those things, but not in any way that feels coherent or with any kind of understandable summarizable thesis statement. As the kids say in their essays, what is Shakespeare trying to say? Is this show's finale just the love story of a torture-happy cop and her brainwashed, caged, suicidal husband and how they defeated a well-intentioned supervillain with the aid of some co-workers and a mentally unstable mass murderer? Is this show as a whole just a kind of game of keep'away involving three varieties of painted figures : a gold one, a blue one, and a silver one : show you the gold one first, keep the blue one away from your eyes for a while, throw the silver one into the sewer, and explain away the gold one last?


    - Have read a few interviews, though, and I saw that dumb letter he wrote to the fans around when he got the job (as dumb letters to the fans go, though, it's a distant second to Zach Snyder exhorting the fanbase to go see the movie a second time just as Sally Jupiter fell in love w/Blake). I kinda liked how, for a while there a few years back, Lost's particularly appealing elements were sort of messily fractionated off by the shows made by each of the co-creators. Carlton Cuse's Colony had the sci-fi premises and conspiracy theory worldbuilding and action/adventure elements and Damon Lindelof's Leftovers had the all-timer performances and active preoccupation w/the numinous and great needle-drop after great needle-drop. What am I saying? I don't know. I hope Carlton Cuse's next show after he was done with his show is better than Lindelof's next show after he was done with his show (this one! Watchmen! (2019)!), I hope Cuse goes from strength to strength. I kinda hope Lindelof chucks himself in a lake. Knowing how bad you are at making a Watchmen TV show (and seeding that same show w/little digs at yourself) doesn't excuse making the show bad! It makes it worse. It'd be way better if he thought he was great, fired on all cylinders (what was it Snyder said in false modesty? Something like 'I guess if at the end of it Alan Moore watches it on his DVD player in London and is like 'Well, they didn't %*#~ it up too bad' we'll have succeeded' - if that was the idiotic attitude he'd taken to being an accessory to theft on a massive scale and, as he acknowledges in the show and especially and explicitly in the finale, the hubris of trying to step to this material, well, then I'd what? Who knows?), as it is now I'm probably not going to watch his next one. Gonna have to rope me in by adapting beloved nerd properties from here until the end of all things, Lindelof, if you'd just let anyone else out there bite the bullet on this'n I'd have been eager to see what your next thingum was but now that you've done this show it'll be a nope from me unless it's, like, a Star Trek.


    - I was watching the sequel to Zombieland (spoilers(?) for the sequel to Zombie's Land! quit reading this post if you want to enjoy a piece of entertainment free of me talking about it, actually, that has v. general applications as well) and there's a bit in it where they meet a new person, named Madison, played by Zooey Deutsch, and she's been hiding out in the freezer of a Pinkberry in the mall for the past ten years, her and Jesse Eisenberg bone while him and the Emma Stone character (they're all named after locales, even the minor one-off characters from ten years ago in the first movie) were on a break, later on they're all driving in the car on their way to do something or other and she starts to sweat and vomit and so they think she's been bit and is turning into a zombie so they dump her in the woods and we hear (but don't see) Jesse Eisenberg shoot her. Oh, the movie opens w/three little pieces of explanatory info-dump delineating that there are new kinds of zombies in the world, in the, uh, Zombieland. So I automatically assume that, either


    1) no, she's not actually been bitten by a zombie (we haven't been shown that happen as an audience) and that she's either had an allergic reaction to the food she's eating (because her character was established as vegan, the make-up on her zombie face looks more like it's trying to convey that sort of thing than zombieness)




    2) yeah, Madison was bitten by a zombie years and years ago and that she's some new kind of zombieness we've never seen before and she was staving off the disease by keeping her body cool in the freezer and now that she's spent a day or so outside of that environment the base-level zombieness has returned, but will eventually recede as ... I don't know, it gets dark and cold enough outside, and she'll make her way back to the main group in the clown-themed ice cream truck that was shown in that same area right before the whole inciting incident kicked off.


    Now (2) didn't happen, natch, but something about the length of time in between when this character left the narrative and then re-entered the narrative made me certain, like dead certain, that's what we were seeing. I think if I'd been forced to put a probability on it at the earliest point it would have been 50/50 but the longer this character was out of the movie it became like 10/90 for me. (And when she does come back into play, yeah, she's driving the clown-themed ice cream truck! Why is it a ice cream related vehicle if she's merely had an allergic reaction to the trail mix? I don't know!)


    My point is that the way I process stories, especially goofy make'em'ups involving the make-believe with a lot of moving supranormal parts, seems to be one in which the greater the delay in offering me an expected answer the more and more likely my brain is to reject an immediate and understandable set of resolved premises and settle on something needlessly ornate & bizarre in its stead. If it was something simple then the question would already be answered and we'd be moving on to new questions, no? If a character says Professor Plum did the murder, and we haven't seen Professor Plum in handcuffs yet, then, uh, it must be ... forgive me, I've forgotten who the characters in the Clue board game are.


    Anyway, that's my 'defence' about why I was wrong about lots and lots of thing. Except I'm not wrong all the way, yet, because if they can rope Trent Reznor and some of the cast into coming back they've got a real shot at further and future seasons of the show, ones that fulfill some of my Predictions, and then there'll be an opportunity for me to make more Predictions (f'rinstance : pretty sure Angela's foot just goes splat into the water, pretty sure that what Jon/Cal meant by giving her that egg was now if she goes through an Intrinsic Field she'll come out like him, NOT automatically giving her the full suite of Doctor Manhattan abilities instantaneously but prepping her for that as an outcome later on - this allows for ongoing ambiguity in the story about whether she just ate a raw egg comme ça Rorschach, if there's maybe some other bit of food in the house that has Doctor Manhattan powers, if she's just making meaning out of nothing and Jon was just speaking about a hypothetical possibility that he never realized --- this is all assuming there's a 2nd, 3rd, 4th, season; if that's the last episode of this particular iteration of the Watchmen franchise then of course what we saw is what we saw and no more, again, Leftovers finale is rather helpful here) and be wrong about those. Exciting!

  15. ME FOR THE PAST SEVERAL YEARS, OVER & OVER IN MY MIND: The popular appellation of 'Mary Sue' to any character appearing in any canonical mass-market source-authentic media is a category error on multiple levels and, honestly, arises more out of an inability to correctly separate audience & artefact than from any genuine attempt to understand fiction itself!

    ME: Hah hah great! Uh, weird that everyone associated w/creating you wasn't remotely the age you were around the time TNG first aired so I suppose TECHNICALLY you don't count as authorial insertion but, I mean, still ...


    Festschrift! Paradigmatic! Our boy Michael Chabon sure wrote this week's episode, yessir.


    Look, if Seven of Nine is going to show up as the surprise stinger for the end of an episode there needs to be a scant little something setting that up during the episode! No, talking about Fenris Rangers twice doesn't count! Marketing (or the credit sequence) doesn't count! Naming the planet Vashti almost counts, for reasons somewhat too esoteric to get into! Literally all that was needed would be to change, like, maybe only a noun or two in that Former Senator's little speech (from Wahlburger-class or whatever he said to Intrepid-class) or a mention of Admiral Janeway during the flashback sequence or literally anything, anything at all, to give the tiniest set-up to that pay-off! This is kind of my same problem as the Borg Cube reveal for the pilot, yeah, and it's all probably due to these folks thinking they're making a ten-hour-long movie rather than episodes of television. (Or, like, a lack of forethought & money too : that's what probably explains the dumb scenes of Robot Girl & Romulan Spy sitting in a sparsely populated room having a drink together and then sliding down a hallway together laughing joyously rather than having those scenes be them in a proper nightclub dancing; and that's what probably explains the absence of communication or attempted communication between Our Ship and the Old Romulan Warbird during the space battle sequence, there was juuuust a scene before it w/Picard & Romulan Ninja Boy where he emphasized the need to not kill people and suddenly they're firing on that ship w/o at least trying to negotiate something first!? I mean, Worf'd be pleased but it kinda goes against everything Picard is as a person and what was literally just made clear to the audience.)


    Longshot predictions on who the main bad guy(s) manipulating events is gonna turn out to be :

    - Professor Moriarty

    - I think I already said Lore and Sela, but, yeah, I think it could v. well be either of them

    - the Ron Perlman villain from Nemesis (2002)

    - someone from the Mirror Universe


    - some of the older pre-Soong androids from TOS

    - the "we seeeeeeeek peeeeeeacefulllllllll co-existence" worm aliens from that great Season 1 episode of TNG

    - Vash

    - the Bynars

    - Spock Two, the giant clone of Spock from the planet Phylos

  16. Wait, Jlo didn't get a Best Supporting Actress nod for Hustlers? Unfair!


    Wait, Taika Waititi gets Best Adapted Screenplay over Greta Gerwig for Little Women? Unfair!


    Wait, Parasite won 4 Oscars including Best Picture but didn't win Best Production Design? Once Upon A Time In Hollywood did instead? Somewhat unfair!


    I came here and no thread.
    Weeks ago when the nominees were announced I assumed there'd be a Nightly thread on the subject so I wrote up a quick post in my word processor. (Why? I can't seem to get spellcheck to work in the browser anymore so I like to tippy-type my posts up beforehand. Why do I care about accidental spelling errors? No one knows!) But then I checked here, and there was nothing, so I just threw it on the pile with all the many many many many other stuff I've written ostensibly for this dumb website over the past two decades but don't bother to post (you're all spared! you have no idea how often I deliberately bless you w/my silence, Nightly! Not often enough, true, but more often than you'd think!) or forget about posting.
    So, here you go :

    Ford v Ferrari - lol in what world is this the best picture to come out this year


    The Irishman - hell yeah


    Jojo Rabbit - lol in what world is this the best etcetera


    Joker - haven't seen it; no real interest neither unless it focuses on The Joker's use of the Surfing Experience & Ability Transferometer to steal the talents of Skip Parker so he can become Surf King of Gotham, as it is it looks more like an even dumber version of how Geoff Johns used to take time off between arcs of his Flash run (w/the great Brian Bolland covers!) to do a little origin story for, like, Mirror Master and end up showing Mirror Master snuffing cocaine off one of his magic mirrors all because Mirror Master was abused as a child (in front of a Mirror!)


    Little Women - hell yeah


    Marriage Story - haven't seen it, no real interest neither


    Once Upon A Time In Hollywood -

  17. I liked the last two episodes way more than the first one. Gonna chalk that up to seeing them while huffing and puffing away on the treadmill; that can kind of tend to improve the viewing experience for me, oddly enough.


    Predictions :


    - Alison Pill's character is obviously a Starfleet plant (possibly unknowing - she might just be dosed w/nanites or whatever) and is also, unless I miss my guess, a robot too


    - I don't think this even counts as much of a prediction because they went extra out of their way to make it obvious within the text of the show itself but, duh-doy, the Skype call between Picard and Vape Lady was a deepfake just like Dead Robot Girl's call with 'Her Mom' and both are being orchestrated by whoever's pulling the strings (Lore? Sela? The New AI That Also Did Mars 9/11?) in order to ... get their hands on Picard's Locutus-powers?


    - if it turns out that this show is all about giving us a Borg origin story and they end up turning out to be an offshoot of the Romulans or a third missing extreme of a Vulcan-Romulan-??? triad which is why the Osh-Kosh B'gosh ® are so afraid of robots and AIs then I'm going to need someone to roll Kirsten Beyer and Michael Chabon up in a nice warm blanket and rock them gently until they calm themselves right down and can learn how to approach this material in a rewarding fashion. I skimmed an article on a nerd news site about how Patrick Stewart wanted the show to be all about new things and not have any of the old concepts or actors in it and was gradually convinced (and/or coerced; he is, like, a hundred years old) to let it be what it is, old home week half the time and deep nerd dives for the other half, and if this is where they're going w/it then, y'know what, he was right and Alex Kurtzman (who seems to have 9/11 weighing heavily on his brain just as much as Robert Orci and Damon Lindelof) and Akiva Goldsman and Gene Roddenberry's Offspring and all the rest were wrong. The Borg don't need an origin story! I don't want to see the origin of the Borg! I can just watch the exact middle of Star Trek : First Contact (1996) for a Borg origin story, in the discussion between Brent Spiner and Alice Krige, perfectly placed right after Patrick Stewart explains the Federation to Alfre Woodard! That's the exact level of explanation required for the Borg, who they are and how they came to be in a few brief sentences, you don't need anything more for them!


    - David Paymer in a returning/recurring role as Picard's consigliore for Season(s) 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 please



    Remember the Night (1940)



    I do think this counts as a noir! It's not just the casting, not just the way it looks; Preston Sturges' script has been butchered enough that the ending is actually an unhappy one : these two doomed lovers, each unable to get the other to do what needs to be done, each w/their own sense of propriety mangling the circumstances that would actually make them both happy into ones that leave them miserable. She's going to prison! It's a story about two city mice, more by habit than by birth, forced to return to the country that bore them and faced with the possibility of actual happiness fleeing right back into their respective cages. The sharp cynicism typical of the genre isn't there on the surface of the movie, it's mostly just witty repartee, but I do think it's there, yes. And there may be no gunplay (but plenty of guns, or rifles at least) but I still think it counts as a noir. They even flee to Canada (I have a pet typology for noirs : I think they're all either about fleeing south to Mexico or fleeing north to Canada, occasionally every now and then you get one where they're about fleeing to Europe). I'm counting it! It counts! (Regardless : it's a good flick!)




    Nightmare Alley (1947)




    Ends badly and @ inordinate length. Some good scenes (when they're in the truck driving together near the beginning, Tyrone Power doing his shtick for the hobos nearer to the close) but mostly unimpressive stuff. Helen Walker, as the psychologist grifting the grifter, is p. good; Coleen Gray is hot hot hot (so hot sparks are a'flying!), and the way Joan Blondell pronounces 'tarot' had a certain odd appeal : wait, I'm just putting together what this movie w/3 heavily featured female parts and a focus on the supranormal is about about no wait I lost it. Maybe it's worth a re-watch? I don't know.




    Caged (1950)



    The roll call scenes, the picture's cynicism (a hallmark of the genre, yeah, of course, but seriously : they can't reach a doctor over the phone because he's having a poker game and his secretary insists he's "off on a case"; the mother's absolute refusal to raise the baby, a brutal beating that is all the more horrifying in its impact for how the audience fails to actually see it), I can't decide if the thing w/the kitten is a touch too far or not but on the whole, yeah, this was a great movie. Probably the origin story of too many fetishes ("Thanks for the haircut!" indeed) to count.




    Ruthless (1944)




    Nope! Basically just Citizen Kane with a bad head cold.




    Body And Soul (1947)




    I probably shouldn't feel the need to take a nap forty-five minutes into a movie, but, then again, that may be more on me than anything to do w/the picture. Not half bad! The flashback, the montage showing Garfield's simultaneous material rise & moral fall, and boxing scenes are all v. well handled. I still can't pin down who Joseph Pevney (guy went on to direct fourteen Star Treks; actually he may be the unheralded hero of the franchise because at a quick glance all the episodes he did are the ones that are everyone's favourites and/or the ones that made a big impact on pop culture, Marc Daniels cleans up the rest w/Khan and the Mirror Universe and the one they ganked to make the first movie but otherwise most of what makes Star Trek itself was directed by Pevney) reminds me of. I think the story has quite a good deal of heft to it, actuellement, would be entirely different if they re-cast Canada Lee and John Garfield, as is, the movie is about way more than it's about because of this. I didn't much care for the love story in this'n, but I think what's off about it may come pre-baked into the larger premise of what makes the movie special, can't really get into it w/out elaborating @ further length.




    Born To Kill (1947)



    I have two-and-a-bit pages worth of notes on this movie so, uh, it's gonna have to suffice to say that I liked it but I'm not sure others would.




    Where The Sidewalk Ends (1950)




    Boo! Ends happily enough for the main characters (albeit improbably, Gene Tierney forgiving this guy for putting the frame-up on her father just because HIS father was a criminal doesn't really pass muster) but inappropriately for the genre. I'm not sure if Preminger just straight up re-uses a shot of a taxicab pulling up to an apartment building or merely stages the two events similarly (like he does w/the rest of the sequence) for intended effect. This is one of the ones that couldn't really hold my attention but the language of it is primo noir : lot of mugs, hoods, dusters, nickel rats, jams, heels, people get "all knocked up" and there's a "rub him out" and, according to ImdB (I missed it) "all bummed up like a barrelhouse vag".




    Blast Of Silence (1961)




    77 minutes! The narration is not so much over the top as it is several dozen AUs above the top; between the top and the narration lie three heavenly vastnesses so far beyond our mere mortal understanding that to name them with human tongue is but insult to the Creator : first, the רָקִיעַ, where the amshaspands dwell, next, the שְׁחָקִים, where fiery thrones and frosty dominions rotate in their spheres, last, the Unknown Regions, which is gloomy because it borders upon the iniquities of man. What I mean is, well, the narration is a little much! There's also a fair amount of bongo drumming in the film, about twice what I'm comfortable with in the average flick. Basically, this movie is just a guy moidering another guy, then moidering the guy he was originally sent to moider, then going back home to get moidered hisself. Is it a masterpiece? I don't think so but I'm not your boss, I'm not your mom, this isn't Noir University and you're not taking Noir 101 with me, there's certainly a rough appeal in how the movie strings together words into sentences like "Without a gun in your fist you're nothing" and "A killer who doesn't kill gets killed.", it's shot and edited and scored nicely enough, makes a decent Christmas flick, go with God.




    The Captive City (1952)



    The opening chase leading into the framing device is great. During the phone call shots everyone seems a shtickle too close to the camera (do I dare doubt Robert Wise? I guess so). It is a beautiful looking and edited picture otherwise : the stark bleak darkness of the outdoors in the door-opening shots, the way the discovery of Mrs. Sirak's body is handled, the narration, I mean, the narration is often the most iffy parts of these movies but this one nails it. Ends w/a U.S. Senator staring straight into the camera and earnestly exhorting the audience to, uh, fight crime.




    Crossfire (1947)



    Kind of a waste of Robert Mitchum. Robert Ryan being the murderer doesn't seem like such a stretch, he's the first guy who shows up in the picture who isn't a cop or the vic's girl. The opening, what w/the moider and then the police interrogating the dame in the same room as the corpse is done well enough but eventually things just start Rashōmoning out of control.




    Brute Force (1947)


    This is one of those that couldn't really hold my attention. Even so a handful of really good bits made themselves apparent : the moment about ten minutes in when Munsey enters the mess hall and the entire room hushes & stills; planning their escape while whispering in the chapel; conversations between the Doc and Munsey; the prisoner seeing the guard coming by being on the look-out w/his shaving mirror. And, of course, yeah, the torture and the ending. I don't much like each of these guys flashing back to their dames; cut this picture to the bone, get it down to fighting weight, lose all that excess and have it be seventy-four minutes long and it'd probably rate a lot higher in my estimation.




    The Big Clock (1948)


    A bit of a snoozefest. Charles Laughton and Elsa Lanchester are great in it, though. There's a good bit w/the window in a door, Ray Milland seeing his pursuers coming his way and then sneaking around in the shadows. It does feature one of my favourite things from old movies : when a night on the town is represented by extra-diegetically showing the neon signs of the visited places overlaid on top of, like, champagne bottles going off (I think I like it so much because it's v. comics-y) or what-have-you.




    Gun Crazy (1949)


    Extremely good! Very hornt! Even when accounting for this particular genre's high H quotient this film is nonetheless amongst the most horny I've seen in noirvember so far. Peggy Cummins has a real Geena Davis vibe to her and John Dall's skinny dope-y look plays well against that; they make a real good couple, they look like a couple that could exist today. There's a bit w/a baby, that baby is kind of not a good actor, that baby is just v. psyched to be hearing adults in conversation around it and really really wants to go with Peggy Cummins in the car as part of the police chase in the final reel, go back to Juilliard instead, baby!




    Criss Cross (1948)



    Takes nearly an hour to get itself good and going. Yvonne De Carlo (Lily Munster from The Munsters! Moshe's wife from The Ten Commandments!) has a stylish albeit understated dress sense in this'n. Skippable.




    Union Station (1950)



    Noir, as a genre, is about crafting environments populated by stark dichotomies : cop vs. criminal, man vs. woman, sin vs. virtue, black vs. white. Through the clashing of these polar opposites meaning is generated, elaborated upon, and then eventually dismissed. The questions asked (and, more often than not, left unanswered) by noir are stark & simple --- What are we? What will we do under pressure? Can mug ever trust dame, can broad love mook?


    This is perhaps best epitomized by this particular movie in a manner so simple & perfect it left me practically flabbergasted w/delight : a guy gets run over by a stampede of cows! The movie's not much good but the cow scene is a real treat! And, yes, I think it is the genre at its best. No noir movie has ever been more noir than this one, death-by-cow is genuinely among the best ways to kill a man in a noir movie.




    Where Danger Lives (1950)



    I didn't notice the long uninterrupted shots w/o cuts - which makes them good! Mitchum spends what feels like a lot of the picture lurching about, grabbing his head, unaware of what's going on. Her taking the rap for him @ the end after trying to shoot him, good. There's a cut in this'n that feels v. modern, ahead of the period, where Faith Domergue is holding up her diamond bracelet and saying "It's worth" ... and then we immediately cut to the pawnshop owner mid-sentence saying "Nine thousand dollars". Claude Rains & Ralph Dumke are in this'n.




    Tension (1949)



    Can't really remember what I thought of this'n (I liked the opening?). It does the mirror thing (a character is looking at themselves in the mirror and then looks away and by the time they look back again someone else has shown up in the mirror) and that's always something I enjoy in movies.




    Ride The Pink Horse (1947)



    Ride The Pink Horse? More like Paint The Face Brown!


    Wanda Hendrix's accent in this is SO BAD. There's a bit (she finds the injured Robert Montgomery and says "I will stop the bleeding" and furnishes him with a makeshift tourniquet) where she actually sounds like she's doing a Werner Herzog imitation. Andrea King has been dressed like something out of the 80s. Thomas Gomez has the line of the movie (and the genre!) when he says in reply to Thomas Montgomery insisting he's gonna get the money : "Yeah. Lots of people gonna get lots of things. But they don't.".




    The House on 92nd Street (1945)



    A full fifteen minutes or so @ the beginning is just loud declarative voicover explaining what the F.B.I. is, what it does, what it's for, how it works, where it is, what World War II was, who fought in World War II, where World War II happened (in ... World?), to the point that one begins to wonder if the movie was maybe made by and for space aliens. Five minutes later the titular house fulla Nazi spies is properly established and the movie gets going in earnest but by then it's too late. Also, every once in a while, in this movie about the F.B.I the F.B.I will just stop, take a smoke break, put on the projector in their dark office, and watch scenes from the movie we were just watching!




    Detour (1945)



    Solid! The movie leaves some questions pleasingly unanswered (some, indeed, unanswerable) : is it moider? is it love? who can hear the music? what's a cuspidor? can a woman be a goon (always seemed like kind of a gendered noun to me but I guess it isn't, or at least wasn't in '45)? I don't know, man, I don't have much to say about this'n, it's sixty-eight minutes long, go ahead, give it a watch, decide for yourself what you think of it!




    Angel Face (1952)



    Much of the movie is fairly tame, just Mitchum sorta bouncing between Jean Simmons & Mona Freeman, but that ending! Wow! Even though it's set up so well (she wants to confess and be punished for her crimes but simply can't, she wanders through the empty home, the shot of her looking out over the gully) it still comes as such a shock & surprise!




    Out of the Past (1947)



    Shave away the Virginia Huston solo scenes in the latter half of this movie (not to mention the flashback structure accompanied by narration, earlier) and I think it'd work a lot better for me. A beautiful looking picture - their warm breath in the cold air, the smoke trailing off the cigarette butts, the framing of Mitchum as he moves through corridors in and out of light & shadow.




    Gilda (1946)



    I wasn't really feeling it! Can this thruple survive the internal pressures of Rita Hayworth's hairstyle, legs, and general demeanour combined with the external pressures of a tungsten monopoly? Uh, I guess it sort of does? Needed either way more musical numbers or one fewer.




    Dark Passage (1947)



    Bogart & Bacall are playing things so subdued and close-to-the-vest but all the minor guys (Shimen Ruskin, Clifton Young, Leonard Bremen as the driver, the heavy, and the bus ticket clerk; respectively; oh, and Agnes Moorehead too) go so big and broad. It works! Bogart is kind of the original of a type in movies & tv, the guy who when he gets angry gets angry in a crybaby way, Olyphant is that way, Justin Theroux is that way, I guess it's sort of a staple of HBO shows in general maybe?




    The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)



    This is another one of the classics that didn't quite grab me and, yeah, yet another one that may have left grooves on David Lynch's young brain. Lana Turner's introduction and dénouement is so well handled, the violence generally speaking isn't (w/the exception of John Garfield just whaling away on Alan Reed, the voice of Fred Flintstone hisself), noirvember favourite Audrey Totter has a brief role and she makes the most of her small part. See it or don't see it? Well, that's between you and your pastor, hombre.




    Affair in Trinidad (1952)



    Couldn't really keep my eyes open for this one (w/the exception of the musical numbers, which are, uh, bloodrushingly good). Kind of boring overall, to be honest. And yet no movie where a guy gets his monocle knocked clean off can be entirely bad.




    Raw Deal (1948)



    Great looking! But just kind of turns out kinda all right for the narrator? There's a trick the movie pulls repeatedly, where she interrupts her own narration, that's something I always like. Raymond Burr plays a great heavy, natch.




    The Big Combo (1955)



    Cornell Wilde delivers one of the great lines in all of noir in response to being told "I know how you feel" after the death of his girl : "Nobody knows how another person feels." Lee Van Cleef is in this'n but for the longest time I just did not recognize him, I blame the lack of 'stache. There's a great death scene, too, when they execute McClure. I don't know, man, I wasn't really feeling this one.




    Stranger on the Third Floor (1940)



    Amazing! Perhaps the first one of these ever made (the shortest too, maybe) and practically unequalled!




    Call Northside 777 (1948)



    Reminded me a lot of Kurt Busiek's Astro City. The Chicago setting and Polishness of it all probably accounts for that but there's something of it in there beyond that, a certain shared quality, the overcoming of cynicism in a weary world. I don't know.



    The Breaking Point (1950)



    Wait, which one was this again? I think this is one of those classics that I wasn't really enthused about but it's been a few weeks since I saw it and once I forget to sum up my initial impression of a film, well, if it wasn't one I loved or outright hated then any attempt to recall what I felt about it is an exercise in futility. Ralph Dumke was in it, I can tell you that much, he played the rich husband. Patricia Neal has a fairly heavy Chloë Grace Moretz vibe to her.




    Crashout (1955)


    Not too bad! Wastes no time getting started and the ending is a killer. Lacklustre love stories towards the end, the presence of each in turn kind of drawing away power from the other and the second one is just downright improbable (Beverly Michaels warms up tout suite to this guy who has held her, her son, and her elderly mother at gunpoint : but not to the level of absolute infatuation and Stockholm Syndrome-y where it would feel plausible; she just treats him a little too kindly and cuts off a kiss w/him a little too late). Beautifully shot.




    99 River Street (1953)



    Skippable. Handles the voiceover poorly, even accounting for the genre's peculiarities re:voiceovers. The leads don't really shine at all, Peggie Castle is probably the best of 'em but she gets killed early enough in the picture (which feels way too long at a mere 83 minutes) that she doesn't get the time she needs. Ian Wolfe, who I thought was in a bunch of these but ImdB doesn't cough up too many so he must just seem real familiar to me because he was the holographic Mr. Atoz from that episode of Star Trek where Spock gets trapped w/a cavegirl in the past (and was also in the ancient Rome planet one, too, but I remember him from All Our Yesterdays) has a bit part in this'n as a director.



  19. No promises but, yeah, I'll stop watching if they don't have that done by the third episode.


    I mean, the show probably isn't going to even happen anyway[1] so the whole point is moot.



    Obi-Wan dual wields both lightsabers facing down a krayt dragon by the third episode or I'm out.

    Respectfully disagree, Obi-Wan's a traditionalist. He's got his lightsaber and he knows how to use it. Dual sabers is a flashy show-off Anakin move.


    I have three (equally respectful!) counter-arguments :


    1) It'd be rad as hell!

    2) It'd be rad as hell!

    3) It'd be rad as heeeeeeeeeeeeeyeeeeeahhhhhhheeeeeell!


    [1] Obviously, if Ewan McGregor doesn't want to do it they should offer it to his twin brother Gordon McGregor who did such great work in The Island (2005), Last Days In The Desert (2017), and Fargo Season 3.

  20. Bad Boys For Life (2020)


    Did I miss Bad Boys III : Whatcha Gonna Do? (2009) or did they just inadvertently assign the perfect title for Bad Boys IV to this movie? Why did I fall asleep in the middle of an action movie? Why did they go back and do re-shoots and make the Main Bad Guy Will Smith's son but forget to take out the scenes where they were clearly establishing the big twist being that Main Bad Guy was a cop? Why did they make Vanessa Hudgens look like a young Demi Moore? Why did they choose some random director to imitate Michael Bay but forego nearly all of his signature pathologies? Why was DJ Khaled in this movie? Why did La Croix and Gatorade pay for product placement? Why did they think these two guys who are nearly like Three Stooges level of broad comedy could be burdened with existential angst and ennui over their place in the world - they invade Cuba w/o consequences in the last one but you're expecting me to believe that they have to face the ravages of time's cruel hand and fate's even crueller machinations? Why'd they kill Joe Pantoliano if they wanted to do sequels? Why didn't they use the robot drone with machine guns more? Final scene of the movie should have had Will Smith and Martin Lawrence cradling and singing to the robot drone not some dumb baby!!! (Oh, and mid-credits scene should have had the robot drone floating behind Will Smith when he visits his son in prison). (Oh, wait, final question : what was that great re-mix of "Rhythm Of The Night" during the club scene?)


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