Clownhouse (1989)

Clownhouse (1989)
Screenplay by: Victor Salva
Directed by: Victor Salva

I’ve never really understood the fear of clowns. I’m a fan of proper clowns, the ones who have mastered the art of the profession, the kind you see in the high-class French-style circuses. I’m not so much a fan of the buffoonish American clown, but I’m certainly not a coulrophobe. I did find Stephen King’s It scary, but I saw that when I was eight or nine – murderous spider-clown hybrid monsters scare nine year-olds.

One thing this film does well is explain why the main character is scared of clowns; he says that the make-up they wear hides their real identities and what they’re really thinking. This is exploited somewhat when the clowns do their tormenting later in the film, as the amused expressions on their faces don’t match the expressions you’d expect to see on the face of murderers.

I didn’t find the clowns’ attack to be particularly scary, even in the sense of “American horror”. (“American horror” is what I use to refer to the tendency in American films to startle you and pretend that you were scared, as opposed to horror films from the rest of the world that actually invoke fear.) A webpage about the film I read before watching it seemed to have seen a different film to me, describing a scene that no other webpage describes and which was not in the film – if that scene had been there, I might have been a little more intimidated by the bad guys. As it was, they just ran around and killed one guy who had no character development anyway.

I quite liked Sam Rockwell’s performance, which is saying a lot as I’m not a fan of his later performances at all.

Futari wa PreCure Episode 21

fwpclogo
Episode 21: “A shocking date! The truth about Kiriya”

That was intense! I was almost in tears by the end of it, although I couldn’t understand why the Dark Zoner didn’t take the chance to attack the girls when they had Kiriya’s Prism Stone.

I feel strongly about death on TV, in movies or in books. Far too often characters are killed and the death is treated like nothing – I’m glad that Kiriya’s demise seems to have some lasting impact on the girls, even though it was one for which they were not responsible (as opposed to the deaths of Pissard, Gekidrago and Poisony). No-one cares about Pissard anymore, but Kiriya’s decision will have an ongoing impact on how and why the girls choose to fight, and that’s how it should be.

Underbelly: The Golden Casket

ugc
Authors: John Silvester & Andrew Rule
Publisher: Sly Ink

ISBN: 978-0-9807-1703-7

This book is interesting, but not quite up to the same par as the numbered Underbelly books.

Where the earlier books contained exhaustive information about the crimes featured and occasional updates about crimes featured in earlier books, this book relies too much on anecdotes from the authors. We have an extensive section authored by Colin McLaren about his own experiences and at least two other sections built from the authors’ experiences. I’m much more interested in facts about the crime.

That said, there’s still plenty of information about the crimes in general and the behind-the-scenes workings of the investigations in particular. The book isn’t in any way bad, it just isn’t the exhaustive reference source its predecessors were.

Futari wa PreCure Episode 20

fwpclogo
Episode 20: “Which is the real one? The two Honokas”

Where was Poisony hiding all that power? She reminded me of Katrina from Quest for Glory IV and V, especially when she revealed her vampiric self in IV. The red, prehensile hair of course reminded me of Marvel’s Medusa. But yikes, she was one tough cookie. How the girls managed to defeat her was just plain lucky.

Poisony’s remarks were a really good commentary on the show as a whole. She was right, the girls have been winning purely from luck and courage/spirit. The bad guys have had decent plans that have been foiled simply because the girls will it strongly enough. By rights, the Dark Zone should have won very early on. That’s a criticism I’ve shared of the show. I liked that they totally subverted the commentary by having the girls win in a pretty lucky but also clever way.

I also liked that the show hinted at a twist, then ditched it, then actually followed through on it, then showed it made no sense, then went a different route. It kept me guessing for half the episode about how the mystery of the two Honokas could or would be resolved!

The Killing Room (2009)

killingroom2d
Screenplay by: Gus Krieger & Ann Peacock
Directed by: Jonathan Liebesman

What an awful, awful film.

This is the film you make about MK-ULTRA when your knowledge of the programme is limited to a summary of the Wikipedia article, written in a foreign language, that you half-read a few years ago. Not only is its representation of MK-ULTRA not even on the same page as the information we do have about the programme, it isn’t even a good thriller or horror film.

It feels like the writers and director thought Saw was a bit too deep and meaningful and thought MK-ULTRA sounded cool so they offered up a dumbed-down version of both.

I spotted every “twist” and “shock” from miles away, except for the “major twist” at the end, which relies on a totally wrong assertion of what apoptosis is. And even if you accept that, how do you go from someone being willing to sacrifice themselves for someone with whom they’ve bonded in an intense situation to claiming that same person is guaranteed to be a suicide bomber? It’s just nonsense.

Terrible. Awful. Waste of 90 minutes.

Futari wa PreCure Episode 19

fwpclogo
Episode 19: “Too scary! Dark Zone’s final trump card”

If Irukubo is so powerful, why didn’t the Dark Zone just send him in first, instead of Pissard? I thought it was a bit of a cop-out that a new power we’d never heard of before – the innate power of the Garden of Rainbows – chose this episode to appear and help the girls right after it just happened to be mentioned. It defeated the whole purpose of introducing Irukubo, I feel.

I didn’t like the fighting between Mipple and Mepple, either – it felt like a contrivance to have them both eventually show their hope and courage, respectively, and that’s exactly what happened. This was not the series’ best episode so far.

New Warriors Vol.5 #5

New Warriors Vol.5 #5
Writer: Chris Yost
Penciller: Nick Roche
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Nick Roche’s art isn’t even remotely on the same scale as Marcus To’s. It wasn’t bad in and of itself, but when compared to To’s work, it was awful. Things kept looking flat or oddly-stretched. Water Snake is growing on me – I’m curious about her flashbacks/visions, and I hope she isn’t Namorita, especially because despite what Vance says, she looks nothing like Namorita, but maybe that’s just due to dodgy artwork.

Futari wa PreCure Episode 18

fwpclogo

 

Episode 18: “Heart-throbbing! Midterm tests are a love labyrinth”

At first I was really impressed with Honoka boldly marching into the boys’ school, but Kiriya had a point. She doesn’t know him or his situation, not really – how can she know how he’s feeling? I still think it was right of her to defend Seiko, but maybe instead of yelling at Kiriya she could have asked how he felt about the situation first. With Poisony looking over his shoulder, he can hardly be expected to be accepting confessions of love.

Speaking of Poisony, I was also confused about how the PreCures escaped and it took a while for it to sink in. She must know that Kiriya has foiled her last two plans. I’m torn now between hoping he becomes good – and ends up with Seiko or Honoka – or that he turns out super-evil.

Avengers Read-Through #002

av2

 

Poor Hulk. The ending to this issue has always left me a bit upset. I’m not the world’s biggest fan of the Hulk, but he got a really raw deal with the Avengers; they obviously never really trusted him, or befriended him. They were rather rude. Not that other heroes were nicer to their teammates – the way Reed Richards speaks to Ben Grimm is Sue Storm is just as bad.

My favourite part of the issue is the goof-up below. Remember, at this point the Avengers didn’t know each other’s secret identities, with the exception of Ant-Man and the Wasp knowing one another and Rick Jones knowing the Hulk is Bruce Banner. Rick should have known nothing of Don Blake secretly being the mighty Thor!

identitycrisis

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal Episode 1

smcrystal

 

Episode 1: “Usagi – Sailor Moon – “

This episode had me alternating from sympathy for Usagi – her family seem really unpleasant – to wanting to shake her by the shoulders myself and tell her to get her act together. I also felt sympathy for Luna, being trodden on as she was.

I came to this with the notion that Furuya Tohru was reprising his role as Tuxedo Kamen, and the revelation that he isn’t was really disheartening. Add to that that I don’t feel any great attachment to any of the characters yet, despite my sympathy for Usagi and Luna, and I’m not yet terribly impressed by the show. It looks very pretty, at least?