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Disco Queen Disco Queen

So what did we discover this week on Star Trek: Discovery? Most viewers discovered they were right about a plot twist finally delivered in “Vaulting Ambition”, one not quite as obvious as last week’s, spotted only a mile away instead of twenty miles away. I liked this twist a lot better however many people saw it…

The Idle Centre of the Universe The Idle Centre of the Universe

Sometimes, despite the best and worst intentions, nothing much gets done. The 1983 Doctor Who serial Terminus has an extraordinary amount of confusion and ineffectuality, partly due to production difficulties. Yet it’s not a bad serial for that, in fact I find it kind of a fascinating, adorable, slow motion…

The Dangers of Cats, Ravens, and Pianos The Dangers of Cats, Ravens, and Pianos

Happy Birthday, Edgar Allan Poe. My favourite anthology horror film from Amicus has a great deal to do with him—1967's Torture Garden. Directed by Freddie Francis with a screenplay by Robert Bloch, based on four of Bloch’s short stories, each segment has keen fantasy logic with some lovely cinematography and…

A Weird House for Weird Humans A Weird House for Weird Humans

Sometimes in a really bad storm the only place you can rely on is the creepy house filled with murderers, madmen, and Boris Karloff. 1932's The Old Dark House is a sterling example of one of my favourite kinds of stories—the one where a bunch of people get trapped in an old house or hotel. In this case, director James…

Disco Lady Disco Lady

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day, everyone. It seems appropriate to talk about Star Trek since it’s well known that King was a fan—even better that Star Trek Discovery has a black lead. It’s only a shame last night’s episode, “Bad Wolf”—I mean, “The Wolf Inside”—kind of sucked.

He Will Start . . . What He Finished He Will Start . . . What He Finished

Let us turn again to the story of Kylo, the troubled young man of royal blood who adopted a new name and evil persona after he was betrayed, choosing also to wear a sinister metal mask. His telekinetic powers aid him in the ongoing intergalactic war. Yes, it’s the 2012 Doctor Who audio play The Acheron Pulse. I’m…

Burn This Disco Out Burn This Disco Out

I somehow didn’t realise until yesterday that a new Star Trek Discovery episode aired last Friday. That’s life without commercials, I guess. I’m used to getting word via studios paying sites to talk about shows and somehow it seemed like there wasn’t a lot of that in this case. Anyway, “Despite Yourself” was one of my…

The Unluckiness of Frankenstein The Unluckiness of Frankenstein

1964's The Evil of Frankenstein really ought to be called The Evil of Zolton the Hypnotist. Frankenstein himself isn’t quite a passive character but calling anything he does evil would seem a bit of a stretch—at worst he’s negligent and rash. The film gets too caught up in shuffling plot chairs but it’s one of the…

Denizens of the Ice Worlds Denizens of the Ice Worlds

Enjoying several Sixth Doctor audio dramas once again lured me back to watching one of his television stories this week, in this case Attack of the Cybermen from 1985. It’s really not bad though it’s more than a little muddled.

The Porthole of Vengeance The Porthole of Vengeance

The logic of revenge operates in a very simple world, stripped of complexity, reduced to the extremes of cause and effect. For 1963's An Actor’s Revenge (雪之丞変化, “Yukinojo’s costume change”), director Kon Ichikawa brilliantly captures this idea visually by employing minimal, very focused lighting. Also a showcase for…

The Lacked Knight The Lacked Knight

If you’re looking for a film that embodies many of the negative preconceptions people might have about old movies, 1954's The Black Knight fits the bill in a lot of ways. A big Hollywood star who couldn’t be bothered to do much work; a screenplay lacking any sense of research, heavily reliant on well-worn formula; a…

2017 and All the Movies (That I Saw) 2017 and All the Movies (That I Saw)

Happy New Year, everyone, it’s time for me to rank all the new movies I saw in 2017. I prefer to simply rank from worst to best instead of doing a Best Of and Worst Of list. I felt like I didn’t see many movies in 2017, I would’ve guessed ten, so I was surprised when the final count was twenty four. Only a couple down…

The Amphibious and Amorphous   The Amphibious and Amorphous  

Reinterpreting classic monster stories as sympathetic portrayals of misfits is nothing new but Guillermo del Toro reaches new heights with 2017's The Shape of Water. An unabashed ode to Creature from the Black Lagoon and, to a lesser extent, King Kong, The Shape of Water teases out the hints of erotic and romantic…

Terra Surprise Terra Surprise

There was a time when a Doctor Who Cybermen serial was just about our heroes trying to stop those dastardly, emotionless cyborgs from conquering Earth. I finished watching through Earthshock again this week, a 1982 Doctor Who serial featuring Peter Davison as the Doctor. As is often the case when rewatching episodes,…

Extreme Correspondence Extreme Correspondence

Nothing brings two people together like swapping bodies now and then. 2016's Your Name (君の名は) is a visually stunning and very sweet romantic comedy anime film about two cute teenagers who meet in a very strange way.

Claws versus Slow Death Claws versus Slow Death

I finally got around to watching 2017's Logan a few days ago. I’m glad I did—I have my complaints but in the main I think it’s the first X-Men film to live up to the potential of the first two Bryan Singer films—mind you, I haven’t seen the Brett Ratner movie or the first two solo Wolverine movies but I feel…

Twice Upon a Revisionist History Twice Upon a Revisionist History

I find myself not especially eager to discuss yesterday’s Doctor Who Christmas special. There were moments I did enjoy but, speaking as someone who feels Steven Moffat doesn’t deserve half the hate he gets, the special left me feeling very glad he’s stepping down as showrunner.

Falstaff, the Birth of Science, and
Deborah Milton Falstaff, the Birth of Science, and Deborah Milton

Happy Christmas, everyone. My gift to you is not one but two new chapters of my infrequently updated web comic, Dekpa and Deborah. That’s for a total of seventeen new full colour pages. They’re set in November 1674 but there’s plenty of snow to give it a Christmasy feel. Also, there’s a cameo from a merry old fat man…

Merry Skull   Merry Skull  

Happy Christmas Eve, everyone. This seems like a good time to talk about all the shows this year that had a humanoid with a deer skull for a head as a protagonist. Really, that’s only one show, Production I.G.’s beautiful The Ancient Magus Bride (魔法使いの嫁), which concluded its first season yesterday. Consistently strong…

To Save a Society in a Doomed Ship To Save a Society in a Doomed Ship

September 2012 saw the release of an exceptionally good Doctor Who audio play, a Fifth Doctor story called The Burning Prince. Writer John Dorney shows exceptional skill for the medium, delivering action naturally through dialogue, and a lot of exposition in ways that engage and keep the listener’s attention. Peter…

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