Monday, 9 June 2008

Movie News: [REC]2

One of my favourite films of recent times is the Spanish movie [REC].

For those who don't know it, check out my review. Basically, it did a better job than Romero's Diary of the Dead. Blasphemous but true nonetheless.

Quite how they'll follow the first film, I don't know.
Word of warning: Don't watch the US remake trailer for Quarantine. It stupidly gives away key scares, including the ending.

Review: Battlestar Galactica Episode 4.09 "The Hub"

If you missed last week’s BSG (4.08), Lee Adama somehow managed to talk Baltar’s gun-toting old lawyer into letting Lee become the new president of the colonies. Bill Adama confessed his love for the kidnapped president, finally. Athena was thrown into the brig, then released – because that’s what you do with Athena. It was discovered that the Six in Galactica’s brig was pregnant and that she was routinely boning her cyclopean fellow Cylon, Saul Tigh. Adama stepped down as admiral and appointed Tigh his replacement. Like that's a good idea.
So, this week's episode; "The Hub".


In pursuit of the enemy's Resurrection Hub, a misfit team of Viper pilots and Cylon rebels become uneasy collaborators as they formulate a battle plan.

Story Outline:

No one line synopsis could describe this television masterclass. It was full of subtleties and textures like a fine piece of art. An overwrought description? I don't think so. Like the very best BSG episodes, The Hub contains battle scenes, character, high drama, and the mortality of humanity reflected in the strife of the characters. It is also about resolution.

The story picks up where episode 4.07 ended, with the captured base star going FTL. The base star's hybrid is conforming to the mission originally stated by jumping the ship closer to the Resurrection Hub; a mighty beast of a ship that contains all the information and technology to manage all the cylon resurrection ships. Destroying it means that all the Cylons become mortal, like us mere human beings. But before the hub is destroyed, the number three cylon, De'anna, must be resurrected and brought back for questioning about the final five cylon's identities; because she has seen them.

Each time the ship jumps, President Roslin finds herself talking to Elosha, the long dead spiritual leader of the colonies. Elosha shows Roslin her dying self on a deserted Galactica and tells her that she has stopped loving people and switched off to what makes her a woman. Adama, Starbuck, and Apollo are weeping at her bedside, waiting for her to die.

Meanwhile, on the base star, confused as to what the hybrid is doing, the rest of the boarding party are trying to communicate with the hybrid. Baltar thinks he is making progress, but it is an Athena that works out that the hybrid is chasing the Hub.

During a mission brief it is clear that the human pilots heavily mis-trust their cylon equivalents, especially as part of the mission is for the cylons to tow the "cold" vipers to confuse the base stars.

Going against the agreement with the cylons, Roslin takes aside Helo and orders him to bring De'anna straight to her upon capture and return to the basestar. Helo is not comfortable with this, but says that he will comply. He's a soldier to the last. Roslin cites human security, but I reckon that Helo knows this decision will come back and bite them.

At the hub, one of the Cavils has already brought De'anna back, to get her to mediate between the cylons who are at civil war. De'anna responds to the revelation that humans and cylon collaborators are on their way to destroy the hub, by killing the Cavil.

Cylon heavy raiders arrive, towing colonial vipers behind them. The vipers are powered down to stealthily approach the hub, to then disable its FTL drive. De'anna is rescued and the assault team get back to the base star. During the battle, Baltar attempts to casually convert a cylon centurion. As he is relating a story about mastery and slavery, an explosion rips the centurion apart causing shrapnel to slice open Baltar's mid-riff. Roslin discovers him, immediately attending to him and administering morphine whilst applying a compress bandage to stop his bleeding. During this time, Baltar confesses to being complicit in the Cylon destruction of the colonies, albeit unaware of what was happening until it was too late.
Roslin responds by removing Baltar's bandage, allowing the wound to remain open.
As the base star jumps, upon the assault team's return. Roslin receives another visit from Elosha who points out that what Baltar has done is not all bad and who is she to determine who should live and who should die. Panicking that she might have been responsible for Baltar's death, she hurries to try and save him.

Despite what she has learnt about herself and her actions, Roslin still insists that she speak to De'anna, freezing the cylons out of the discussion. De'anna toys with Roslin, and points out that information is all that she has left to bargain with, especially with there being no back up to resurrect to.

The base star jumps back to the Galactica's previous coordinates, where Adama is waiting in a raptor. He meets Roslin and she tells him that she loves him.


This was an episode of resolutions. The cylons become mortal, and we finally get to see what Roslin would do if she ever found hard evidence about Baltar's involvement in the destruction of the colonies. Possibly, we are witness to Roslin's final moments on board a Galactica that has found Earth. (speculation on my part).

I don't get moved by just any movie, TV show or piece of music but, boy, did this episode kick me in the nuts. Despite Roslin's sometimes caustic attitude, seeing her weak and helpless in her deathbed is still not an easy image. It can be related to by a great many people, sadly. Cancer is a major killer, and it's easy to be moved at seeing a strong person debillitated by the illness. Seeing Adama breaking down by her bedside, cradling Roslin's corpse, was also not an easy thing to watch, unaffected.

The scenes where the hybrid screams "Jump" leading to scenes of Roslin in full introspective mode were well done. Wether these were visions or Roslin's self-analysis remains to be seen. Quite why she should be accused of insensitivity as a leader, I don't know. Perhaps Roslin's sub-conscious is judging her actions.

Roslin is a complicated character that I don't tend to like a whole lot. Mary McDonnell plays her faultlessly and her performance was another great highlight of this episode. James Callis never ceases to amaze me with his acting. In this episode, he went from bragging to dying. His calls for Roslin to stop removing his bandage were chilling, and a counterpoint to the repetitious nature of the base star hybrid;

"Please don't do this to me"

I was convinced that it could have been James Callis' final scene as Baltar, given that season 4 is the last.

Another chilling scene that would have been best followed by an ad break, to lengthen tension, was when De'anna toys with Roslin and makes it look as if Roslin is one of the final five. Bear McCreary's music punctuates the viewers shock and realisation of...well, nothing.

Edward James Olmos turns in yet another great perfomance, despite his limited contribution to this episode. So does the VFX team, with another realistic battle sequence.

Lastly, special mention must go to the beautiful score by Bear McCreary. His score often underscores a good scene, to make it great. None more so than in The Hub. The theme running through the sequence of the hub mission is haunting and comparable to his theme for Kat in The Passage. It really gets across that the destruction of the hub doesn't necessarily make us better human beings for it. The expression on Helo says that, too. More can be read on Bear's blog. I can't wait for his Season 4 CD to some out for this particular peice of music.

Overall, The Hub gets an 8/10 from me.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Overview: X-Men

Take a trip on the X-Jet over to Flash-Bang, to my article on X-Men. It's the first of three overviews taking a look at the X-Men trilogy.

Friday, 6 June 2008

Review: Jumper DVD

Check out my review to the DVD of the film Jumper, right here

Thursday, 5 June 2008

McG sets the T4 timeline straight

This in from Dark Horizons;

Director McG has updated his official blog for the sci-fi action-thriller "Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins" and has denied the ending spoilers that have spread like wildfire online this week. Here's a full copy of his post:"We're in the middle of week five. The New Mexico wind is kicking the shit out of the crew but providing a perfect backdrop for our post-apocalyptic world. Sam tore a muscle on the left side of his ribs in a fight sequence. Neither of us wants to use a stunt double.This movie takes place several years after Judgment Day, but prior to 2029. Just like it took a long time to get an HD plasma screen in our world, it took Skynet a lot of research and development to get to the T-800, and this movie explores that "space between." We have all been fascinated with the world after Judgment Day. Here it is.In this film, there are Hydrobots that patrol the water, Transports that move human prisoners around, Harvesters that collect human beings as lab rats for Skynet and Aerostats that survey all that is going on with the resistance the world over.We've started shooting the T-600 - the bigger, grimier, nastier version that preceded the T-800. Like Reese says, they're easier to spot but they pack a mini gun and carry kick ass fire power. They're eight-foot tall killers that prowl the badlands looking for anything with a heartbeat to terminate.Stan Winston, Production Designer Martin Laing and ILM came up with the designs and that thing is on Kyle Reese's ass throughout the entire picture. Wanted to achieve that bummer, rubbery skin, prosthetic look that cloaks an unrelenting machine with a singular focus of killing. More to come...Also, I realize my name is ridiculous. I was born Joseph McGinty Nichol. McG is short for McGinty. I have been called this since the day I was born to create separation from my Uncle Joe and Grandpa Joe. I realize it sounds like some Hollywood nickname, hip-hop choice. But the truth is, this is simply my name - for every day of elementary school, every zit-filled day of high school. I have been taking shit for it ever since. I get it, I would think it's lame too. But it's just a name, and to change it now would seem fraudulent. Oh yeah, don't get too uptight about the prospect of the film being PG-13. We have entertained the idea of a PG-13 rating largely because Batman Begins, in my opinion, was made compromise-free. So we'll see. The movie comes first and it will be protected at all times...By the way, there are only three people who know the ending. The unknown future rolls toward us."

Thanks to McG's blog, I have a more relaxed view of the production. I take the view (like my views on the Star Wars prequels and the Indy4 movie) that I'd rather someone had a shot at producing a decent movie than not, as the original films still exist to watch. New botched movies won't spoil my enjoyment of the Cameron classics. I still think that T3 is an entertaining movie.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Terminator 4 in trouble?

McG giving the Terminator franchise one up the ass

I just had to post this article from aint it cool news, written by "Moriarty"

I’m not much for the nerdstalgia that has turned every single studio in town into a remake/reboot factory. I think it’s short-sighted and stupid, and in the long run, we’re cannibalizing our business by only indulging this pathetic need to destroy every single franchise we ever cared about. It’s all driven by marketing departments and research groups, and there’s nothing honest or organic about it.
My biggest question to the studios is this: what are you going to be remaking in 20 years? If you refuse to greenlight original visions right now, and all you’re doing is this cinematic grave-robbing over and over and over and over again, then what are you going to do 20 years from now?
At some point, this cycle has to end. Either that, or we’re on our way to being the music industry, and that’s fucking terrifying.
For those of you who feel like there are still unanswered questions about the world of THE TERMINATOR, or who just can’t get enough of seeing James Cameron’s original story expanded way past the breaking point, you’re going to finally get your wish and see the future war in the upcoming TERMINATOR: SALVATION, which is meant to kick off another trilogy of films.
Will it? Well, if the ending that today’s spy sent us is any indication of what to expect, I don’t think a sequel is going to be something anyone needs to worry about. Instead, the filmmakers might want to consider the Witness Protection Program.
Why? Oh, man, just read the following, and keep in mind: this is a rumor. I don’t have the T4 script here, and I’m not saying that this IS the ending. Just that this rumor is so batshit crazy I had to share it with you guys, and I’ll start digging to see what I can come up with. If this is how it ends, then the destruction of this franchise is complete, and James Cameron can rest assured that he remains the only person to ever make any TERMINATOR films I give a shit about.
Take it away, Dr. Silberman:

"Alright so the main character is a cyborg named Marcus. For some background, Marcus was a criminal who was executed in 2003. He donated his body to Project Angel which was involved with SkyNet. They take his body and make a terminator out of him so he's a terminator skeleton but has living muscle/skin and a beating heart too. At the end of the movie John Connor is fighting a T800 model 101 and loses. He dies and the top resistance people come up with a plan to help the resistance keep fighting on. The resistance feels that it's important to keep the image or idea that John Connor is still alive so the resistance keeps going. So they rip off Marcus' skin and put John Connor's on the skeleton so now Marcus is John Connor."

It sounds terrible! I agree with most of Moriarty's initial points, that Hollywood is currently grave robbing old ideas, and not always for the good of the people who made the films popular in the first place. I disagree about T3. Although not as great as the first two films, it was still entertaining and I loved the ending.

The Sarah Connor Chronicles isn't a bad TV show, yet this new trilogy will trash the show's logic.

I'm open minded enough to hope that McG sees sense and changes this piss-awful ending. Assuming that it really is a spoiler.

Monday, 2 June 2008

The MOLF is down!!!!!

My most frequently visited forum is the Marillion OnLine Forum (MOLF for short). I don't spend much time on any other forum. I've made a good many friends in the real world from using it and it works as a one stop shop. It's largely populated by intelligent people so a great many views are posted on a multitude of subjects. There's the usual downsides; people who can't take a joke, Mods that sometimes make questionable decisions hidden behind anonymity, fans that take their fandom far too seriously, people hiding behind a double-login, and the usual WUMs (Wind Up Merchants). But overall, the experience of using the forum is a good one.

I tend to use it everyday, so shock of all horrors, since yesterday it's been out of commission. I feel slightly lost without it, sad to say. I want to see what my friends think of the Stephen Moffat penned episode of Doctor Who; see if anyone has received their tickets for the Foo Fighters this coming Saturday.

Cynically, I'll be interested to see how much is "lost" when it gets up and running. The Tangerine Dream forum has suffered from being rebooted in the past.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Review: Aliens Vs Predator 2: Requiem Unrated DVD

See what I thought of this DVD here.