Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Short Thoughts: Winners on Netflix

You don't get to say the words "winner" and "Netflix" too often in the same sentence these days.


Here are some movies I've enjoyed on Netflix in the last month or two but that I don't have time and energy to write a full post about.

Salvage. Quiet little British thriller about a military operation gone wrong spilling over into suburbia. Starring the always wonderful Neve McIntosh who gives a stand-out performance in a cast full of pretty damned good performances. Pay attention to the guy playing her boyfriend -- he's doing very nice things in the corner when no-one's looking.

Wilderness. Not-so-quiet British thriller. This is more if you're feeling the need for blood splashing around the screen and lots of yelling. Oh, and "attack dogs."

If you like Sean Pertwee, this one's definitely worth checking out although the whole "juvenile prisoners on a character-building weekend trip" framework is bizarre to the point of unworkability. I'm willing to buy "juvenile prisoners" and I'm willing to buy "character-building weekend trip" --  but maybe not partnered in the same movie? And there's a whole bullying-leading-to-death storyline that is, ostensibly, the trigger for all the violence in the film that appears and reappears at somewhat random intervals.

Don't focus your eyes entirely on Pertwee -- although he gives his usual, slightly exasperated performance here -- there are several of the young characters who are more worth watching. I'm on a network so slow I can't access IMDB (or, indeed, poster graphics), so I can't look up anything like performer or character names but there's Annie from Being Human and the two young (male) skinheads.

Super 8. This one really does deserve its own blog post and I really do want to write one. I put off seeing this because I figured it couldn't possibly be as good as everyone said it was.

Wrong again!

It's totally as good as everyone said it was. I described it to my parents as "the best homage to E.T. and Close Encounters that Spielberg could have asked for on bended knee." And it's better than that, too, because it steps beyond being a nod to bigger and better things and becomes its own thing -- a little awkwardly at times but that doesn't matter because you're so in love with it, you don't care.

Captain America: The First Avenger. Not my fandom. Not my thing. Not going to be my fandom or my thing any time soon.

Thor. Ditto. But a step beyond the above by being directed by Kenneth Brannagh and including Anthony Hopkins and Idris Elba. Has the single most wooden kiss that I have seen in a long time.

Graveyard Shift. A film adaptation of a Stephen King story. You already know so much from that phrase alone, don't you? But this is better than most -- if for no other reason than there's Doc from Deadwood in a leading role as a crazy ratcatcher.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Here are some cool things for midweek because I haven't finished my post on "The Girl Who Waited" yet...
And, finally, an owl getting his/her head scratched:

Friday, September 7, 2012

Friday Fun Times

I think I may have already used this but y'know what? I don't care. This song is that awesome.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Night Not-Very-Terrors

Working it out.
Night Terrors, season 6, second episode of the second half of the season.

To be honest with you, the idea of writing a review of this episode has slowed me down more than once.

I heard wonderful things about it: how scary it was, how clever it was, how apt the title was, what a brilliant script Mark Gatiss had written.

And I won't say any of those things are absolutely 100% wrong -- but I have watched Terrors two or three times now and every time I watch it I come away more strongly convinced of the fact that I paid for something I didn't get.

The story is simple enough but 'ware spoilers if you haven't seen the episode yet.

Small child is having nightmares: weird noises outside his window, in the closet, under the bed, etc., etc. The parents are powerless to do more than soothe and are discussing getting some kind of nebulous "professional help." The child overhears the conversation and, panicking, manages, without meaning to, to get a message to the Doctor. The Doctor arrives quite promptly and, with Amy and Rory, takes on the fun task of searching a multistory council flat for the child in question. Amy and Rory do not find him; the Doctor finds not only the child, but the child's father, and sets about solving the problem. Amy and Rory, meantime, have tried to use the elevator -- bad idea in council flats, apparently.

So far, so good.

My problem with the episode is not that you can figure it all out beforehand -- that's fine. The problem is that the end reveal is...exactly what you've figured out beforehand. And it isn't that interesting. The kid himself does little except pant and stare through the whole episode which makes your chest ache after awhile. The father is a great character to start with who gradually slides into being a cliche by the end. It's a nice difference that it's the father rather than the mother who has to undertake the journey and trials to get back the child but -- it's not enough to make the whole episode feel like it lives up to its publicity.

There are some clever startles -- "scare" would be too strong a word -- but they don't last. The dolls are only disturbing the first time you see them and after that...they lose punch very quickly. This is interesting because they're very similar to the Weeping Angels who simply become more terrifying every time you see them!

It is nice that this is another episode like "The Doctor Dances" where "...everybody lives!" but it doesn't put it up there with the best of this season as far as I can see. It's a solid entry but somewhere in the realm of "The Black Spot" rather than "The God Complex." This is only disappointing because I expected more from Mark Gatiss -- a fact which I'm sure causes him daily heartburnings.