Saturday, May 28, 2011

Galaxy of Terror (Erin Moran has Crazy Eyes!)

I was motivated last night and finally got to watch Galaxy of Terror, which I had taped about a month ago off of the delightful Turner Classic Movies station. As a Corman fan, the movie sounded familiar to me, but honestly I probably wouldn't have been so excited for it had I not read this review by the amazing Vicar of VHS. Read his site. Do it. Now that my Friday nights are freed up from Supernatural, I have brought this back as my next Friday Night Fright viewing. Which is a just a goofy name I give to watching horror movies while my wife is at work.

Anyhow, on to the movie.

Galaxy of Terror is an ambitious little B movie that has us following the exploits of a spaceship crew sent to rescue some comrades who have fallen to an unknown fate on a distant planet. Well, unknown to them. We know that they're all dead, killed by something or other. The team is made up of such genre luminaries as Sid Haig, Robert Englund and Zalman King, with a side of Edward Albert and Erin "Joanie" Moran, as well as some other folks I don't quite recognize. Oh, and Ray Walston, who has always seemed like he was 70 years old.

Slowly, the team gets picked off in a variety of ways. Space leeches. Shadow Monster. Insect thing. Rape Worm. And more! The worm is one of the more controversial, I guess, scenes in the movie, where a buxom blond who hates worms gets killed by a maggot that is blown up to amazing proportions. Though, where everyone else gets killed in gruesome ways, she gets covered in slime and makes noises like she was being sexed to death. It fits with the things you find out at the end of the movie and is rather tame, really, compared to the tree rape in Evil Dead but still rubbed people the wrong way. Regardless, the team gets whittled down and soon they will come face to face with whatever has been killing them--but will the survive it?

This movie reminds me of why I loved 80s sci-fi, even the bad stuff. It's because that even when the budget is low, they really seemed like they were trying. Here we get some great set design for the ships that actually looks functional and more than just a slab of silver with a button on it. The backdrops are nice too, giving the wide shots a better depth and realism than if they had done the green screen that is commonplace now. Galaxy of Terror also reminded me of Aliens in the way a lot of the scenes were shot, especially the outside scenes with the miniatures and backdrops. Wiki-ing it, I found out that is because James Cameron was an assistant director on it. The more you know. It also says that Galaxy of Terror inspired Aliens, which I think is a bit of a stretch. I would say it owes more to Starship Troopers, but different strokes and all that.

Good acting, good gore and a decent plot help raise this movie up from the depths of others of its ilk. Joanie's crazy eyes alone make it worth it. Seriously. All whites, all the time. Scary stuff. Robert Englund turns out a more heroic role than we're used to from him now, save for the turn in V. And Sid Haig is a quiet thug with crystal ninja stars and foreshadowing. Check it out.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Doctor Who: S6E5

I've been slacking this week. Here I watched the new Doctor Who episode on Saturday and I don't have a post about it until Wednesday. It's with good reason I didn't, as I had some pressing matters to attend to and couldn't get in front of the computer to compose my thoughts until now. That and my daughter let me.

Another solid episode for the season and the first of two parts. Unfortunately, we'll have to wait until after the holiday weekend to see the second part. There is a marathon going on though so that's a plus. Anyway, the new episode finds the Doctor, Amy and Rory at a small castle that seems to be retrofitted with some high tech equipment, some of which is pumping acid out of the location and to the mainland. To deal with this hazardous material, the workers clone themselves using something called Flesh and basically remote control the bodies with their minds while hooked up to a machine. The bodies are supposedly brainless, but there's a solar storm and the bodies seem to have a life of their own, as well as thoughts. In a mash up of The Thing and Blade Runner, the Doctor has to try and keep human and clone from killing each other and figure out what happened and how they can all get out of there.

A solid thriller of an episode. I quite enjoyed it and look forward to the second part. Decent plot and story and there's a fun plot element for Rory, possibly making Amy jealous. I love the way that the show can get such mileage out of a small location like a castle and the claustrophobic nature of the corridors mixed with pipes of strong acid make for a tense time.

Check it out.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Doomsday

In honor of the impending rapture on Saturday, I decided on Friday to watch an appropriately themed movie. Doomsday fit the bill quite nicely, though it doesn't deal with the rapture but instead a virus decimating the world. It started with Scotland years ago and a giant wall was erected to keep the infected inside the borders. Fast forward a few decades later where the virus as reappeared in London. The government decides to send a special team in lead by Major Eden Sinclair, who escaped Scotland when the wall was going up and knows the area well. Turns out that there are survivors beyond the wall, and they might have a cure for the disease and she has to find it.

The movie is a mix of several other futuristic/apocalyptic films, most notably Escape from New York, with the hardass hero leading a team against his or her will, and Mad Max, with bands of crazy renegades running around in questionable costume choices. The mix works well and the story is pretty solid, or as solid as you can get when you're building a wall around a country and sentencing the people inside to death. It's a rather action packed movie too, with some great effects sequences and fights that kept me amused and looking for the blood. Also, there's a hot tattooed chick running around. Never a bad thing to have one of those.

The cast is solid. Mitra is one of a few recognizable faces and does a good job as a bad ass. I always liked her on Boston Legal and it's nice to see her carrying a film. Also, since she's a female hero, it's nice that they didn't put her in some provocative outfit, not that I would have minded, but it wouldn't have made sense from an armoring point of view. Nope, she's geared up properly for the battle a ahead.

It's a fun and rather enjoyable flick, much different from director Neil Marshall's previous films, The Descent and Dog Soldiers, though his stamp is all over it. Definitely worth checking out.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Epic Mickey

I got Epic Mickey for Christmas this year and after months of playing it, I finally beat it. No, it's not that long. I just have ADD with games and got some others and it fell behind in the queue while I beat others. I digress.

For those unfamiliar with the game, you play as Mickey Mouse, who earlier on in his career, jumped into the mirror and entered the workshop of the Sorcerer from Fantasia and messed up a model world that he had. Years later, the repercussions start to be known as a phantom blot of ink starts wreaking havoc in the model, which is actually another world. Mickey gets dragged into the world and now he has to save it to find his way out. To do this, he's armed with a magic paint brush that he grabbed on his way in. This allows him to either use paint or thinner to defeat foes and change parts of his environment so he can proceed. Along with the choices you make, using thinner or paint to solve a problem like a boss can determine how other characters react to you and also the ending of the story.

All in all, it's a satisfying game, though it falls a little short of epic. This is mainly due to the camera. It's clunky and unrefined and makes doing simple things a chore. The camera in Super Mario 64 was more responsive and considering how many third person games out there get it right, there's no real excuse for it. The level design is quite entertaining, at least once you get past the opening levels, where they start to incorporate more from the theme park so it goes from being generic to being steeped very thoroughly in Disney lore. Each level and sections of a level is connected using movie screens that you jump through and enter a 2d platforming world where you try and get to the end of an old Disney cartoon. I could almost go through those all day long. The platforming is easy, but it's just the fun of going through cartoons I saw when I was younger that really grabs me.

It's definitely worth a play, though the camera may make or break you. To be honest, it isn't too terrible until you get to the end levels, where it starts to actively hamper you. Check it out.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Doctor Who: S6E4

Another weekend, another glorious new episode of Doctor Who, as seen on the BBCA channel. Check your local listings and all that jazz. I know a lot of people didn't like last week's episode, because, well, they hate fun. How can you hate something that has the Doctor and pirates. If it were the third sequel to Pirates of the Caribbean, I could understand, but it wasn't so I don't. This new episode should have all of the nay sayers being a bit happier.

In this one, the Doctor is summoned to a strange planet by a telepathic cube, which we haven't seen in the series in years, since The War Games, if the internet is to be believed. Once there, things start to go south in a spectacular fashion, with the Tardis depowering and then getting stolen with Amy and Rory aboard while the Doctor deals with a crazy woman who seems to know him quite well.

All in all, it was a fantastic episode. Writer Neil Gaiman, who has written other things you should probably have read by now, really knocks it out of the park with a tale that delves into the history of the Tardis and its relationship to the Doctor and is fun as all get out. Plus there's the return of the Ood, though they're a stand in for a new creature they just didn't have the budget to realize. Doesn't matter, as it fits in and is nice to see them again. Matt Smith really shines in particular when dealing with all of the revelations in the episode and although it doesn't really advance the story arc for the season, it's an altogether brilliant episode that really showcases what the Doctor is about--traveling to new places and doing the impossible.

Check it out.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Doctor Who: S6E3

Fun episode of Doctor Who last night. Doesn't advance any of the plot points from the last episode, but sometimes you just need the fun one off. And fun it was. The Doctor and his companions land on a pirate ship that is under attack by a strange siren that keeps taking crew members, leaving not a trace on board. Does she want their blood or is there something more afoot?

I don't want to spoil it for anyone so you'll have to watch to find out for yourself. I don't think you'll be disappointed. You wouldn't be missing anything groundbreaking but come on, it's the Doctor and pirates. What else do you need?

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Deck Building: Blue/Black Controlling Infection

I bought the Deadspread deck when it came out for Scars of Mirrodin, mainly because I thought that Carnifex Demon was pretty cool looking. The deck left something to be desired, mainly because I was more interested in poison rather than proliferating -1/-1 counters on everyone. I decided to break it up and use some of my extra cards to change it over to infect. It's a work in progress, but I have a nice shell for what I want to do. I probably won't be able to drop in anything expensive like a Jace 2.0 or a 1.0, or even a Skittles. I'm going to try and get some Phyrexian Crusaders though because they're just too good. Maybe some vatmothers as well. I'm open to other suggestions, as blue isn't really one of the colors that I'm familiar with.

Here's the deck list. It's not standard at all, by the way. It's kind of standard, but I didn't have a ton of counterspells from standard that I liked so I went out of the block a bit. Also, I didn't have enough for 4x a lot of stuff. Hopefully I can round some of the selections out more.

Island x10
Swamp x10

Spells:
Negate x1
Rune Snag x1
Mana Leak x2
Steady Progress x2
Grasp of Darkness x1
Doom Blade x2
Distortion Strike x2
Corrupted Conscience x1
Virulent Wound x2

Creatures:
Skinrender x2
Neurok Invisimancer x2
Plague Stinger x2
Silver Myr x2
Leaden Myr x1
Plague Myr x1
Phyrexian Juggernaut x2
Core Prowler x2
Thrummingbird x3
Vector Asp x2
Necropede x1
Carnifex Demon x1
Septic Rats x2
Contagion Clasp x2
Contagion Engine x1

As you can see, the deck has a bit of an identity crisis. I blame it on not having better infect options free from other decks. I might cut the mana myrs, at least the non-infect ones to get some more land and infect creatures out there. Maybe Ichor Rats so I can get a poison counter on to proliferate. Skinrenders are nice but if I can get some Crusaders, I'm cutting them in favor of the knight. I'm not sold on the contagion engine either. Six mana is a lot for it and clasp comes down earlier and I can activate it twice by the time I drop the engine, though the double proliferate on the engine is nice.

What say you?

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Doctor Who S6E2 "Day of the Moon"

After what seemed like an eternity, or at the very least a really, really long week, I finally got to see the second part of the season premiere of Doctor Who. They left us on a hell of a cliffhanger after the last episode, what with the Silence bearing down on them and Amy shooting at the astronaut.

It definitely was worth the wait. Without spoiling anything, the Doctor devises a plan from a perfect prison to end the Silence, at least on earth. We find out a bit more about Amy's confession about being pregnant and whether her aim is actually worth a damn. Hint from the trailer: it's not.

While answering some questions, it certainly raised other, such as the identity of the little girl, why the Silence had a spacesuit on her, who the hell the Silence really are and if they were messing with shit last season, who River Song really is and more. Really it is just setting up arcs for the rest of the season but done rather well, so we get a conclusion, but we're still left with a bit of am mystery that doesn't need to be solved just yet.

Also, Mark Sheppard is a regular guest on two of the best shows on tv right now. Good for him. Especially since he's just so damn good and his characters are great. Crowley on Supernatural is fantastic and Canton Everett Delaware III is good too. Simply amazing.

Check it out.