Monday, June 29, 2015

Dark Touch (2013) – Review

The “creepy child” is one of the staples of horror films, and in writer/director Marina de Van's Dark Touch we are introduced to a very creepy one indeed.  That the film’s center theme is about child abuse is certainly a bold choice, a great topic for a horror film and kind of makes it a step-sister to Brian De Palma’s Carrie, but unfortunately the de Van’s movie derails itself about halfway through and never recovers.

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The plot concerns eleven year old Niamh (Missy Keating) who we first see fleeing down a road on a dark and stormy night (are there any other kind of nights in horror movies) and she has clearly been traumatized by something. She arrives at the neighbors Nat (Marcella Plunkett) and Lucas Gatlin (Pádraic Delaney) in a hysterical state and bleeding from the mouth. They return Niamh to her parents because they are completely blind to the fact that Niamh is clearly an abused child.

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She bit a chunk out of her tongue again? Oh what a scamp my Niamh is.”

I’m not sure where in Ireland this movie is supposed to take place but it is a dreary hellscape populated with child abusers, incompetent authorities, a couple of well-meaning but criminally stupid people, and one telekinetic time bomb just waiting to go off. The colour palette for the film is beyond subdued to the point where almost every piece of wardrobe is a drab washed-out grey.

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Are these kids in school or prison?

When one night the house seems to come alive and brutally kill Niamh’s parents we are left wondering if it was evil spirits in the house or something more dangerous. The police believe it to be a gang of psychopaths and that Niamh’s statement “It was the house” to be just the workings of a child’s traumatized mind. Turns out they were half right as the murders were due to the workings of a child’s traumatic mind. Whenever Niamh gets upset things move and people get hurt. When Nat and Lucas take newly orphaned Niamh into their home they paint a target on themselves. The film then takes a strange twist as Niamh “sleepwalks” one night and with her telekinetic powers murders an abusive mother of two of Niamh’s classmates.

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So she is Carrie the vigilante superhero now?

At this point we are still on Niamh’s side as we can sympathize with her and understands how the horrible things done to her have damaged her psyche, but then when she mind whammies a bunch of children at a birthday party before setting a pile of dolls on fire we start wondering, “Just what is her deal?” She has telekinesis and mind control abilities and uses them against other children for… reasons?
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And now she has The Woman in Black "forced suicide" power.

Later she Pied Pipers all the kids in town, leading them into the school and then collapses the building, killing them all. This leaves us without a clue as to the what and why events are happening. I’m not one who needs everything spelled out for me, and ambiguous evil can work great in a horror movie, but there has to be some rhyme or reason to what is going on. and the last act of this movie goes right off the rails leaving the viewer with nothing to grasp onto. I don’t care that we never learn how Niamh gained these powers, but her abilities and motives change so rapidly and come so far out of left field it leaves one confused and stranded. The final showdown is between her and the Gatlin’s who she wrongly believes killed their first daughter and she is joined by the two school kids she saved earlier, who are either mind controlled or willingly decided to join Niamh in some kind Manson Family affair. We don’t know and we never find out. So at the end we are just left depressed and confused.

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"I'd explain my brilliant plan, but I'm just so bored."

Marina de Van has created a very atmospheric and moody piece, but it seems like we are missing many key bits of information, and that maybe an entire middle act was lost to the cutting room floor. There is a kind and sympathetic social worker at Niamh’s school that appears to be one of the few people Niamh bonds with but she and her husband, also a teacher at the school, vanish from the movie never to be seen again giving all their scenes together no real purpose. There is a seed of a great movie here but it was sadly overwatered by the weirdness Marina de Van kept powering on and it died on the vine. I give the director credit for trying to do something different within the genre but the lack of any resolution of any kind hampers the film beyond my tolerance levels.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Battlestar Galactica: The Lost Warrior

Have you ever wondered what Shane would have been like if Alan Ladd had to shoot it out with a robot instead of Jack Palance?  Well that’s a question writer Donald P. Bellisario thought to answer when he penned this episode, and I think maybe he should have kept that answer to himself. The Battlestar Galactica pilot and the two part follow up Lost Planet of the Gods were both solidly written science fiction episodes; space battles mixed up with Egyptian and Mormon mythology worked well together but deciding to throw westerns into the mix was maybe a bit of a misstep this early in the series.

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This episode begins with Apollo (Richard Hatch) on a long patrol where he attempts to lead a Cylon squadron away from the Galactica’s location. He is successful at fooling the Cylons but unfortunately he runs out of fuel and has to make an emergency landing on the planet Equellus in the Hatari Sector. Moments after making a successful safe landing Apollo meets a young boy named Puppis (Johnny Timko) and his over-protective mother Vella (Katherine Cannon) who live on a nearby ranch. It seems Apollo has landed on a planet that is almost as technological advanced as the American Old West circa 1800; they ride horses, gamble in saloons, but apparently never developed firearms as their guns use air canisters.

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You can tell it’s a Space Western because of the metal cowboy hats.

The turd in the punch bowl of this idyllic western life comes in the form of Lacerta (Claude Earl Jones) a fat evil man who demands tribute from the poor beleaguered farmers. His “protection racket” is enforced by the mysterious “Red-Eye” who is indestructible and has killed all who have stood against Lacerta. When Apollo lays on eyes Red Eye he is shocked to discover it is a Cylon, and confused because a Cylon should be wiping out all the humans on Equellus, and not following the orders of some two-bit Boss Hogg.

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Red-Eye and his silly armored horse.

The Cylon sports multiple dents, most from the unfortunate people who thought an air rifle could penetrate Cylon armor, and one bigger dent on his head that apparently gave him amnesia when he crashed on this planet ten years ago. (I wonder if Brad Bird was a fan of this show and took some of these ideas when he made The Iron Giant) Puppis’s Uncle Bootes (Lance LeGault) is excited to learn that Apollo is a Colonial Warrior because his laser pistol is the one thing that can end Red-Eye’s reign of terror. Apollo gives some bullshit reason about not wanting to alert possible Cylons in the area for not using his gun on Red-Eye, of course the real reason is to pad out this episodes running time because there really isn’t much of a plot. We do occasionally cut away from this riveting storyline to find out how Boxey (Noah Hathaway) is handling his missing step-dad.

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Card Shark Boxey takes everyone’s jellybeans.

Meanwhile back on Westworld a drunken Bootes is fed up with losing his herd to Lacerta and informs the villainous crook that he will no longer be giving him any more tribute. At a signal from Lacerta Red-Eye insures that this will most definitely be the case and blows the poor drunk rancher away. Apollo, Vella and Pupis had run into town to stop Bootes but were too late, and finally we get the showdown between Red-Eye and Apollo that really should have happened the second Apollo saw the walking toaster. So in a completely anticlimactic fashion Apollo finally faces off against the Cylon, worse is that when Red-Eye spots that his opponent is sporting a laser pistol the Cylon actually says, “Uh-oh.” That's comedy folks.  Then of course Apollo beats him to the draw sending Red-Eye flying back in a shower of sparks.

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Maybe if we all clap and say "We do believe in Cylons" he will return.

This was a poorly written episode of television; this would have been a lame episode of Gunsmoke but for a science fiction show about killer robots it’s beyond the pale. We have Apollo bonding with this kid because he hasn’t seen Boxey for two days, he starts making moves on the mom even though Serina body is barely cold, and then we have the fake drama of Commander Adama (Lorne Greene) not wanting to risk lives on a search party for Apollo because he’s afraid people will call it favoritism. That’s some hard-core bullshit right there.

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But sir, he’s one of the show’s main characters. We have to go find him."

We never learn much about this planet’s history or how they are connected to the 12 Colonies, only that ten years ago a Colonial pilot was shot down over it and eventually married Vella only to be killed a year later by Amnesia-Cylon. When Apollo gets fuel from Vella’s husband crashed ship he leaves but only after telling Puppis he will return some day. How in the hell can he make that promise? He’s rejoining a rag-tag group of ships that are fleeing across unknown space from hordes of killer robots, how could that be possibly be conducive to him ever returning to this backwater planet?

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Mom, he was totally shitting me, wasn’t he?

What is never addressed is that these people are all going to die if a Cylon scout ship ever stumbles on this planet, and being the Cylons are in the neighbourhood searching for the Galactica the odds of this happening have increased dramatically. So Apollo may have saved this small community from a ruthless thug and his pet robot but he’s also probably doomed this whole planet to extinction. Well done Apollo.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Maggie (2015) - Review

What do you do if your parents start to smell delicious? This is one of the key questions that crop up in the Arnold Schwarzenegger film Maggie, a film that tackles the zombie genre in a very different light.


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We’ve seen hordes of the undead shambling across countless landscapes in both movie and television shows but in this film, director Henry Hobson tries to narrow the focus down to one core element, “What would you do if someone you loved was infected?” Now of course the dilemma of a friend or loved one being bitten by a zombie is nothing new to the genre, it’s just that in the case of Maggie the emphasis is solely on that question and not so much the “survival horror” aspect found in most zombie movies. We actually find out little of what is going on in this world; some kind of crop plague is decimating the Midwest and a "necroambulist virus" outbreak that turns the infected into cannibalistic creatures, but other than a few news broadcast tidbits not much is explained. This is a small scale drama, not a big budget horror film.

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Not that we don’t still get some standard apocalyptic shots.

The movie begins with Maggie Vogel (Abigail Breslin) having run away from home after contracting the virus and her father Wade Vogel (Arnold Schwarzenegger) desperate to find her and keep her safe. He manages to find her after she was picked up by the military and taken to a nearby hospital, even luckier for him is that the doctor on staff is a friend who allows Wade to take his infected daughter home. The American government has instituted quarantine for victims of the virus where once the disease has reached a certain stage the infected are placed into isolation wards for the duration of their very short and miserable last days.  Locked up amongst mindless zombies is not something she looks forward to.

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“Just take a deep breath and say 'braaaains".”

Wade loves his daughter and will do anything to keep her safe but this isn’t an 80s Arnie action flick, so don’t expect to see him strapping on bandoliers of 60 calibre bullets and mowing down zombies and evil government baddies. No, this is Arnold doing his best to prove that he isn’t just a musclebound action hero but an actual real actor, and he does a pretty good job here. Grizzled looking and world weary, this tortured father is completely relatable. Along with Maggie’s sympathetic stepmother Caroline Vogel (Joely Richardson) we get a good feel for this family tragedy. We do get a couple moments were Wade has to step up and kill “walking dead”, but in one case it’s the four year old girl from next door who he used to babysit.

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I'd certainly charge more than ten bucks an hour to watch her.

It’s moments like this that give the film its emotional weight as more and more evidence smacks Wade in the face as to what he will eventually have to do as Maggie’s condition progresses. The only real downside of the film is that it does kind of go for a cop out ending when it would have been so much better if they hadn’t robbed us of the very thing this whole film was leading up to. The cast all do fine jobs but Abigail Breslin especially stands out as a young woman who, as her body begins to decay and family start looking tasty, has to deal with not only her own fears but of the fears of those around her as well. In conclusion this is certainly a film worth checking out as it takes the zombie genre in a very nice dramatic direction, but it really could have used a ballsier ending.

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Maggie, the world's most sympathetic zombie.

Tarzan’s Savage Fury (1952) – Review

Tarzan’s Savage Fury has Lex Barker once again as the titular jungle man, but we have another Jane which makes this four Jane’s in just four movies. One has to start wondering if maybe Tarzan is constantly replacing his mate after losing her to one of the many jungle dangers and then just brainwashing a new one into believing she is Jane. I think that could make for an interesting movie, Tarzan sneaking into English manor houses to make off with his new Jane, but sadly that is not this case with this movie as it is far from that interesting.

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As in the last film Tarzan’s Peril this series is sliding back into the old tropes that made up the bulk of the Johnny Weissmuller films; white man enters jungles with nefarious reasons, Jane at some point will be endangered, then Tarzan will kill the villain and rescue Jane.

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Though in this one Jane gets a death trap right out of a Saturday movie serial.

This entry begins with two men hunting; Lord Oliver Greystoke and his guide Rokov (Charles Korvin), and just as Lord Greystoke is about to bag himself a lion Rokov shoots him in the back. Turns out that Rokov is a villainous Russian agent who needs Greystoke’s name to acquire a large amount of diamonds but the actual man would be in the way. Enter Edwards (Patric Knowles), a spineless English traitor who Rokov has brought along to take the place of the now deceased Lord Greystoke. The plan stems from an old diary that belonged to Tarzan’s father who was the Eighth Earl of Greystoke, in this journal were references to the Waziri tribe and their vast supply of diamonds. To protect the Waziris Tarzan’s father tore out all references to their locations so Rokov needs Tarzan’s help in finding this mysterious tribe.

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Step One: Trick Tarzan Lord of the Jungle. Step Three: Profit.

Next we are introduced to Joey Martin (Tommy Carlton), a jungle boy who since being orphaned of his parents by lions, seems to just tribe hop and is now currently being used as bait for crocodiles. Joey and other children of this tribe jump into the water, splash around to attract crocs and then just as they are about to be eaten the men of the tribe pull them to shore via a safety line. The strangest thing here is how excited the kids are to be doing this, they even fight for their turns, and until Joey’s line gets snagged on a submerged branch everything seemed like another day in the jungle to these guys. Lucky for Joey that Tarzan (Lex Barker) was nearby to pull off a last minute rescue.

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Not sure where this falls in under Child Labor Laws.

Tarzan reprimands the natives for this barbaric practice and even lays the beat down on a couple of them, what is sad is that Tarzan takes Joey away from them but doesn’t seem concerned about the other kids who were used as bait. The only rational here is that the other kids were black and Joey is decidedly not.

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We white jungle orphans have to stick together.

Joey’s not keen on returning to the local mission, so Tarzan brings him home to Jane (Dorothy Hart) with an almost “Can we keep him?” attitude. What is never mentioned in this series, as it was also abandoned in the Weissmuller one, is that of the character of Boy who Tarzan and Jane adopted in Tarzan Finds a Son (1939) and as Joey Martin is dropped after just one appearance one wonders why they even bothered with another jungle boy. He really adds nothing to the plot as most of the film’s running time has to deal with Rokov and the fake Greystoke, and if his part was excised completely it would hardly be missed.

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Tarzan, you have to stop bringing small boys home.

Eventually Rokov and Edwards arrive at Tarzan’s home and the movies actual plot can get going again. It’s from Rokov that we learn that Tarzan’s father was a doctor/missionary and that he actually took his wife and young son on these African expeditions that eventually took their lives and orphaned their boy. Rokov informs Tarzan that his father befriended the Waziri and now they wish Tarzan to re-open relations so that England can get a hold of the massive amounts of diamonds they are rumored to have. This is not about greed but for England’s military complex as the diamonds are needed for tools and such for weapons of war. Tarzan claims to have forgotten where the Waziri live, though it is clear that he does remember but is not a fan of gun production so has decided to play dumb. Unfortunately, Jane falls for Rokov’s story hook line and sinker and she uses her womanly wiles on Tarzan to get him to change his mind.

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Just lay back and think of England.

With Tarzan finally on board they form up a safari and press on to find the Waziri tribe, and because this a jungle adventure movie there are many dangerous travails for a little group to overcome.

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Tarzan must face off against intimidating stock footage.

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A bearer will have a nasty encounter with a crocodile.

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A long hike across the harsh African desert.

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And of course the requisite angry cannibals.

During all this travelling Rokov commits acts that make Tarzan want to toss him off a cliff, getting one of the bearers eaten being the biggest one, but because of his promise to Jane he lets these things slide with but a few threats. It’s when the group is attacked by cannibals and Edwards catches a blow dart in the back that things start to look really bad, but then the Waziri show up and the cannibals flee for their lives.

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Even cannibals are no match for hats of this caliber.

So the Waziri witch doctor throws some bones and declares that the intruders must be killed, but lucky for our group there is an old native who remembers Lord Greystoke and his little boy, and for some reason taking Tarzan to Greystoke’s old cabin to find a Bible will back this up. So Tarzan leaves Jane and company behind while he treks off with this old dude, and of course things go badly for those left behind. Thanks to Cheeta finding Greystoke’s passport, that clearly reveals Edwards to be a fake, Rokov accelerates his plan to acquire the diamonds.

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Grabbing the jewels, murdering the witch doctor, and running. Brilliant plan.

This results in Jane left holding the bag and Tarzan miles away. Can Joey the jungle boy reach Tarzan in time? Will Rokov escape with the diamonds? If you’ve ever seen a Tarzan movie before the answers to those questions are pretty obvious. What this film does bring to the party that is a bit new is the name dropping elements from the Burroughs books; Greystoke, Tarzan’s family name has not been used before even if they completely screw up the origin story, the Waziri warriors are right out of the Return of Tarzan though in the books they are Tarzan’s best friends and work almost like his jungle entourage.

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This film is called Tarzan’s Savage Fury but there really is no fury here, savage or otherwise. This was director Cy Endfield last film in the United States as he found himself under the gun of the House Un-American Activities Committee and was blacklisted in Hollywood, but he went on to make such fun films as Mysterious Island and Zulu, which is at least some small compensation.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Battlestar Galactica: Lost Planet of the Gods - Review

After the success of the Battlestar Galactica pilot, ABC rushed the series into production, much to the chagrin of producer creator Glen A. Larson who had hoped to have time to properly ready the series for the long haul.  This accelerated schedule is one of the key reasons one tends to see the same stock shots of Vipers and Cylon Raiders flying around. Reusing footage was the only way they could make the deadlines and stay on budget.

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Lost Planet of the Gods was a two part episode that aired September 24th and October 1st 1978 and continues where the pilot movie ended with Baltar (John Colicos) being pressed into service by the new Cylon Imperious Leader and given complete control over a Basestar with an IL-Series Drone named Lucifer (voiced by Jonathon Harris) as his second-in-command.

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Don’t you think naming your evil robot Lucifer is just a bit too on the nose?

Meanwhile, aboard the Galactica, Apollo (Richard Hatch) announces over dinner that he and Serina (Jane Seymour) are getting hitched. The one person not totally happy with the news is Starbuck (Dirk Benedict) who is a little jealous as he’ll be losing his wingman to marital bliss. He’s also a bit terrified that this may give Athena (Maren Jensen) ideas about their “relationship” and thus threaten his bachelorhood. And speaking of Starbuck’s love life, there is still Cassiopeia (Laurette Spang) wandering around the edges, only she’s seemed to have changed careers. In the pilot she was a socialator, which in the world of Battlestar Galactica means space prostitute, yet all of a sudden she’s a nurse to Dr. Salik (George Murdock).

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Between Johns I took a correspondence course at Caprica Med School.

We get to see her in action when Colonial Viper pilots Boomer (Herbert Jefferson Jr.) and Jolly (Tony Swartz) return from a patrol, where they had discovered a Cylon base hidden on a nearby asteroid, and returned with a nasty virus. Because they were so anxious to join Apollo’s bachelor party they skipped decontamination and end up infecting all the pilots. This results in all the pilots falling into comas and having to be stabilized in cryo-chambers.  All the pilots, that is except Apollo and Starbuck who were out on a different patrol and came back late. The reason they were tardy is that they discovered a “magnetic sea”, a massive portion of space barren of stars or planets that when entered you have no bearings and can easily get lost in.

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I’m either in a black void or the rear-screen projection is on the fritz.”

With a Cylon outpost in one direction and a possibly endless void in the other things look bad for the last survivors of humanity. Much to Colonel Tigh’s (Terry Carter) surprise, Adama (Lorne Greene) orders the Galactica towards the void. Adama had found some ancient scripture in “The Book of the Word” that mentioned a black void and star that lead to the planet Kobol, the birthplace of humanity. I’d certainly fly the last vestiges of humanity into an abyss based on something I read in the Bible.

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Dude, you’re Lorne Greene, not Charlton Heston.

Problems keep piling on as Dr. Salik informs Adama that the only way to save the afflicted pilots lives is to go back to the asteroid and find the source of the virus. That is a bit tricky as all the pilots but Apollo and Starbuck are in comas. Earlier we learned that a bunch of people have been going through training to become shuttle pilots. When Apollo learned Serena was one, he went into a whole “No wife of mine is going to be a pilot” spiel, but now Adama orders these rookie shuttle pilots to jump into Viper fighter crafts and fly a combat mission against a Cylon fighter base.
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Strange how all the rookie pilots are young and attractive women.

Amazingly enough these women manage to take out a squadron of Cylon raiders without a single casualty. This certainly lowers the threat level of the Cylon Empire because if they can be taken out by a group that has had a total of fifteen minutes flight time then they seriously suck at their jobs. And this is no sexist slam, nobody would be able to do this, this would be like if someone learning to fly Cessna was all of sudden tossed into the cockpit of an F-16 Tomcat and was expected to take on Russian Migs. Then again, during another patrol Starbuck manages to be captured by a Cylon squadron without either side firing a shot. So I’m not sure if anybody in this universe is good at their jobs.

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Oh felgercarb!

With Starbuck assumed dead (which you can’t blame the people of the Galactica for believing this, as getting captured alive while in a Colonial Viper seems vastly improbable) Serena decides she wants to get married now. I guess she assumes their days are numbered and she wants some good marital sex before she dies. Could that be foreshadowing?
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Space Weddings have a surprising number of candles.

Just as the happy couple seal the deal a star appears in the void that leads the Galactica to the dead planet of Kobol. Turns out ruins of Kobol looks a lot like the Egyptian ruins of Luxor and Adama uses his fancy medallion to open the Tomb of the Ninth Lord of Kobol, only to find Baltar waiting inside. Baltar explains that he has always been on humanities side, you’d have to be insane not to be, and that he wants Adama to pretend to surrender the Galactica and then surprise attack the Cylon home world and destroy that evil empire once and for all. Adama doesn’t believe Baltar for a second, even after Starbuck shows up having been released on Baltar’s orders. Adama is sure that somewhere in this tomb is a key to where the 13th colony went, and just when they are about to give up, the star’s light shines in the tomb and through the crystal of Adama’s medallion and reveals the hidden resting place of the Ninth Lord of Kobol.
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Spielberg totally ripped this off for his Map Room in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Unfortunately, Lucifer had grown impatient waiting for Baltar to deliver the Galactica and orders an attack on Kobol. When the Cylon raiders strafe the ruins, the hieroglyphics that would have revealed the route the 13th colony took are destroyed and Baltar is pinned under a massive stone slab. Adama, Apollo and Serena escape the tomb but just as they make out Serena catches a laser blast in the back from a Cylon centurion.

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Note: Jane Seymour's character was originally supposed to be dying of some form of space cancer and was to have died in the pilot, but the producers changed their minds and decided to keep her on as a regular so they cut out all the footage showing her sick. This was a surprise to Seymour who had no interest in being in a weekly series so she had them kill her off in this episode.

For me the most fascinating aspect of this episode is that we are never sure if Baltar was being sincere with Adama or if he was planning a double cross. Having been betrayed once by the Cylons and almost losing his head it is completely possible that he was being straight with Adam and wanted revenge on those walking toasters. Instead poor Baltar is left trapped in an ancient tomb screaming,“You have not heard the last of Baltar!

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"Seriously, you haven't."

The day is saved when the now recovered pilots swoop in at the last minute and drive off the Cylon raiders, and the battlestar Galactica is once again free to continue its long search for Earth.

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Directed by Christian I. Nyby II this is one of the better episodes of the series as it deals with a bit of the lore of the thirteen colonies as well some fun action. It also contains some great stuff from John Colicos as Baltar, everyone’s favorite Judas. There is some unfortunate sexist stuff between our male heroes and the female pilots but sadly those kinds of jokes were very indicative of television in the 70s. Overall a really good episode.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Time Lapse (2014) – Review

If you have made a time machine, or inherited one, or even just come across one by accident…DESTROY IT. This is advice that could save your life.  I’ve seen countless movies involving time travel of some kind or another and nine time out of ten it ends badly. Even Back to the Future ends horrifically if you think about too hard. In writer/director Bradley King’s Time Lapse we get a temporal thriller that adds a heaping helping of paranoia into the mix.

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 Finn (Matt O'Leary) and his girlfriend Callie (Danielle Panabaker) share a place with their best friend Jasper (George Finn), and though Finn is a struggling artist currently fighting an artistic mental block while his long suffering girlfriend works a dead end job, and Jasper blows his money on drugs and the dog races, they seem to be living an okay life. Finn makes his money as the apartment complex’s building manager and one day the landlord calls and asks that they check in on a neighbour who hasn’t paid his rent in some time.  That newspapers are piling up outside his door is not a good sign, so Callie offers to go and see if he's all right.  She discovers something rather disturbing.

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"So are we thinking spy or a serial killer?"

Apparently the missing Mr. Bezzerides (John Rhys-Davies) has been taking hundreds of pictures of their place with some enormous camera.  But their neighbor, being some kind of Peeping Tom isn’t the weird part; it’s when they find out that the camera he uses seemingly takes Polaroid pictures of events 24 hours in the future that things begin to get a bit crazy.

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The Time Camera, only slightly bigger than the original Polaroid camera.

Callie finds Mr. Bezzerides journal which reveals that something he saw in one of the “future pictures” led him to believe he was going to die. He had decided to break the cardinal rule of time and causality by changing the future in the hopes of preventing his own death. At first our little band doesn’t believe this time camera is for real, but when evidence too hard to ignore builds up they quickly come to grips with the possibility. Things get scarier when they discover the dead body of Mr. Bezzerides in his storage locker, its flesh is burnt and desiccated but the suit he is wearing looks fine. Based on this and the notes in the journal, and the bizarre appearance of the corpse, they come to the conclusion that they have to make sure the events in the “future pics” comes to pass or they themselves could end up like Bezzerides.

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Destiny can be a bitch.

Good hearted Finn wants to notify the police of the dead Mr. Bezzerides while Jasper immediately sees the money potential in such a device. Jasper says there is no need to call the cops because if they had they’d already be looking at a photo of the police investigating the death. So obviously they don’t call the police.  So with that bit of logic they decide to cover up his death and Jasper uses the camera to win money from betting on the races. Even Finn uses glimpses of his future paintings to inspire him because copying a picture you did in the future is not cheating. Right?

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If Leonardo da Vinci had built a time machine he totally would have done this.

Sadly that may not be the only cheating going on here, and this is when the movie starts to really get interesting. One of the photos pops out showing Jasper and Callie kissing while Finn paints off to the side, seemingly oblivious. This evidence of his best friend making out with his girlfriend obviously upsets Finn but going by their theory that those events MUST take place, or end up as dead as Mr. Bezzerides, they have to follow through with it.

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I have to cheat on you to save the space time continuum," is one of the oldest lines in the book.

So to keep themselves from being killed by “The Forces of Time” they go ahead and stage the kissing event for the camera, but this leads to an interesting question, what were the original events that led up to that kiss? How drunk would you have be to cheat on your boyfriend when he’s only bloody five feet away? Or has that picture always been of them kissing because they found the picture of them kissing, and were forced to re-enact it?

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"This chicken and the egg shit drives me crazy."

At this point events begin to spiral out of control as paranoia and danger seeps into the cracks of their relationships, threatening to destroy everything and everyone. Toss in an evil bookie (Jason Spisak), who is very interested in how Jasper keeps winning, and you have a recipe for disaster.

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It seems that 2014 was quite the year for time travel movies; there was Michael Spierig's fantastic sci-fi thriller Predestination, but then we also got the incredibly stupid Project Almanac, so with Time Lapse it makes it two excellent films to one terrible one, which I guess isn’t too bad.
I simply loved this film; the characters and ideas put forth by Bradley King are not only clever and well thought out but take into consideration the most dangerous element of time travel…the people themselves. If absolute power corrupts absolutely can you think of a greater power than the ability to shape your future via temporal alterations? Rent it, buy it, view it and then go back in time and view it again.  You won't regret it.

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I give this film a big temporal thumbs up.

Note: John Rhys-Davies had two scenes in this film but they unfortunately hit the cutting room floor, so alas he is but a corpse in the final cut.