Thursday, January 31, 2013

Some doors are better left closed

SPOILER WARNING!!! This post spoils tv series The Lost Room.

This weeks tv post is not about Star Trek. The Lost Room is Scifi Channel three episode long miniseries. One episode is about one and half hour. It has more potential than it can deliver. Or it was meant to be beginning of something longer. There is some sort of closure but almost everything is left open.

Detective Joe Miller get key that makes all doors door to mysterious motel room. From motel room he can go to any door. First this sound great but soon he finds out that dangerous men want to have key. His daughter disappears to room and Joe start to learn more about the room. Joe is accused of kidnapping his daughter and soon framed of murder of his partner. Joe finds out that there are other powerful items too and different groups searching for them. Bus ticket transports person who is hit with it to front of abandoned house in middle of nowhere. Pen burns a person. And so on.

Joe finds out that the room is 10th room of abandoned motel that only have 9 rooms. It is hinted that room might have been there but is has been removed from this reality and it never was there after it was removed. Items are everyday items that were in room when room disappeared. One of the items is man no-one knows and who don't age or can die. Even his wife doesn't know him or remember ever been married. What happened is left totally open. It just happened and now room never existed in this reality. This might be better because no explanation could be satisfying. Mystery is more interesting. I would have liked some hints about what happened.

Ninth room is haunted. This have something to do with combining items. Manager of motel is somehow caught in room and haunts there. No explanation about that is given either. It just happened. I think you are starting to see pattern. Mysterious things just happen and nothing is explained. This starts to become annoying. concept of mysterious room taken away from this reality is interesting concept. Problem of series is that rules of the world are not explained. Items destroy lives of those who have them but little is explained why this happens. Somehow those items are like the ring in Lord of the Rings. They give power but become whole life of who owns them. Joe seems to be one of the few who don't want to have items. He only need them for getting his daughter back.

Not explaining thing was annoying but story is interesting and from time to time items are used cleverly. Problem is that too much is left open at the end. Story is closed in some sence but it could be easily opened again if someone want to continue where series ended. Maim characters can't return to their previous lives and I like to know what happens to them after this.

Monday, January 28, 2013

There are some places in the universe you don't go alone

SPOILER WARNING!!! This post spoils movies Alien and Aliens. DISCLAIMER! I am not biologist. If reliable source says something else, believe it.

After slow scifi horror from Ridley Scott Alien movies went to war with James Cameron. One Alien was replaced with army of Aliens and civilian starship crew with group marines. Movie was much more action packed. Sigourney Weaver returns to her role as Ripley. For many this is favourite of Alien movies. This is easiest of them all. Others require more from viewer. My opinion is that this had overkill in action. It didn't hurt this movie too much but it hurt later movies when this set expectations for them and they chose different route. It would have been hard to make better Alien action movie.

In this movie we see what is problem of Aliens as species. Aliens seem to be too lethal for host species. They will kill all host species and after that no more new Aliens. Aliens are easy species to destroy. You just have to sacrifice colony which have infestation. This movie would have been short if humans had done that. It is also easy to see why army want Aliens as weapon. They could be sent to enemy colony. Wait until Aliens win and then destroy them from distance or let enemy to sacrifice own colony. It is hard to see how Aliens have survived as species. Sure they can stay long times as eggs. Killing of all possible hosts makes sure that they stay localized. And if they ever got to everywhere they would become extinct because they kill all hosts.

As I told in my Alien post I think Alien is best of these movies. Aliens comes close behind. I like first ones realistic touch more than this action fest. I honestly did remember that Michelle Rodriquez acted as Vasquez. She does Vasquez in so many of her roles that I remembered her being here too. IMDB tells that she would have been eight years old when this was filmed. That tells how well this movie has aged.

If you wonder headline of this post, it was in movie poster. I didn't want to use tag line "This time it's war". For next post I have to think something else. I am not sure if I make own post for third movie or do I combine last two in one post. I am one of those few who actually liked third movie.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Star Trek - Where no man has gone before

SPOILER WARNING!!! This post spoils Star Trek episodes The Man Trap, Charlie X, Where no man has gone before and Naked Time.

Where no man has gone before is second pilot of series. Pilot version of episode hasn't been released. It was later made into real episode of same name. In early episodes all pieces haven't found their places and these episodes have things we don't see in later episodes.

The Man Trap is horror episode and in missed opportunity to be philosophical. It is episode about shape shifting creature that is last of its kind. Problem is that it kills crew members. Most notable thing about these killing is that killed persons doesn't wear red shirt. That wasn't introduced to series yet. Episode end with crew killing creature knowing that it was last of its kind. Only one person was against this but he was killed by creature during episode. McCoy killed creature only after he saw it was ugly. Star Trek was really searching for its form during this time. In later episodes this would have been more philosophical story and this ugliness thing would have been used otherwise.

Charlie X is another episode with horror flavor in it. I also have some filler scenes like one musical scene. It is about powerful teenager who takes Enterprise and crew under his control because world doesn't work as he wants. We get happy end where Charlie is taken away by aliens that gave him the powers. Charlie was too powerful to live among humans so he had to live among aliens.

Episode Where no man has gone is somewhere in middle of first pilot and actual series. We have some crew members who we never see again and some regular crew members are missing. I story one of the crew gains god like powers and becomes danger to rest of the crew.This is first episode we see Kirk in fist fight and where he has ripped shirt. Where no man has gone before and Charlie X were prototype episodes for later episodes where Enterprise meet super powerful entities and can't survive only with raw power.

The Naked Time is character building episode where we learn more about characters when they lose their control. Episode was remade in Star Trek: The Next Generation with name The Naked Now. Along with character building this episode introduces time travelling to series. After this episode Star Trek found its formula. This is probably why this story was remade in The Next Generation.

By themselves these episodes weren't that interesting. I wanted to write about them because in these episodes because pieces weren't in their places yet and episodes had thing we don't see in future episodes when they had found the formula. Rest Star Trek posts will be of one episode and go through only the most interesting episodes which have more philosophical or moral or ethical content in them. Or have something else interesting I want to write about.

Monday, January 21, 2013

In space no one can hear you scream

SPOILER WARNING!!! This post spoils movie Alien. DISCLAIMER! I am not biologist. If reliable source says something else, believe it.

Alien is one of those movies almost everyone knows. I decided to watch whole series to know when Ripley become lieutenant. One of my Facebook friend mentioned that she was lieutenant and I started to wonder when did this happen. What is better way to find out than watch all four movies. Because movies are worth commenting I will post something about all of them. Currently I am not sure if all will got own post or if I combine last two.

Movie is best known for HR Gigers Alien design and chest burst scene. Alien design is pure HR Giger - dark, surreal and erotic if not kinky.  To get to more deeply to chest burst scene I go deeper into Alien biology. Phases of Alien are egg, facehugger, chestburster and adult alien. This kind of life cycle is not unheard in biology. Some species have more phases and more gruesome phases to host species than Alien. What is special to Alien is that it can use different host species. Normally species need specific host species and without host species, species itself dies. As I am not biologist I don't know if there are any species that can use more than one host specie.

Problem with Alien is facehugger phase. Facehugger keeps host alive while chestburster grows. Facehugger needs to know its hosts biology to be able to do that. There are species that can control host much more but in these cases it is specific host specie. Facehugger seems to be able to control all species. Or then it just try to control all species and we have only seen succesful attempts. With amount of eggs we have seen this could be the case. I haven't seen Prometheus yet. So I don't know if it has answers to this problem.

I am not saying that Alien is a bad movie. It is one of  my favourite horror movies and my favourite of Alien movies. All Alien movies have original and different kind of director. For me first one is most complete movie. Some may find slowness of this movie as weakness. For me it is realism. Sequels have more directors style in them and their greatness is based more on how you like directors style.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Star Trek - The Cage

SPOILER WARNING!!! This post spoils Star Trek episodes The Cage and The Menagerie.

Original Star Trek appeared to Finnish Nexflix in HD. Could there be any better excuse to watch the series again? I will write something about selected episodes. I hope this gives you new perspective on these episodes and help you see why Star Trek is so loved among scifi fans.

The Cage is first un-aired pilot of Star Trek. Today most interesting part of episode is how much things changed before we got Star Trek we know and love. Only two actors of this pilot returned to actual series. Majel Barrett was Number One, one of very few females in this episode. She returned to much minor role in actual series. Leonard Nimoy plays character named mister Spock but Spock in this is quite different character than in actual series. He looks same but in this he is minor character. Other characters didn't make to actual series.This episode was darker than actual series and didn't have same utopia adventure feeling that actual series had. Main character is captain Christopher Pike who don't like to see females on bridge. Probably he didn't want to see any non-white persons either. I saw only one non-white in whole episode. This is quite different from actual series where we had Sulu and Uhura on bridge and on second season there were also russian Chekov.

In story powerful aliens capture captain Pike to create new slave race. Aliens haven mental powers which allow them to read minds and control others mentally. They can make other see and feel just what they want. This has made them forget how to operate and fix their own machines. They need slave race to do that. They try to control Pike by rewarding good thoughts and punishing bad thoughts. In the end Pike manages to escape and aliens find out that humans love freedom too much to be slave race. This means end for aliens because humans were their last hope. They didn't want to work with humans as equals because they didn't want humans to be destroyed by mental powers as they did. Some footage of this episode was later used in two parter The Menagerie which continues story of this episode.

This episode was darker than episodes in actual series because this didn't have humor of actual series. This also suffered from absence  Kirk-Spock-Bones trinity. This operated more on single character captain Pike who was much darker and one-dimensional character than Kirk. Supporting characters were even more one-dimensional. Story was quality Star Trek but cast and characters weren't as good as actual series cast and characters. This kind of Star Trek would have had its fans but could newer have become phenomenon actual series came to be.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Adventures of Tintin

SPOILER WARNING!!! This post spoils movie The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn.

Source material for this movie is quite one-dimensional. In comics Tintin just goes from one situation to another and characters don't have more than one characteristic trade. Tintin comics are also quite dated. I don't know how much todays kids read them. This makes me wonder why Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson and Steven Moffat wanted to do this. Steven Moffat is current main writer and executive producer of Dr Who. He also co-created BBCs Sherlock. Spielberg and Jackson should be better known. If not, Jackson is man behind Braindead and Bad Taste and Spielberg is friend of George Lucas. Both may have made something else too.

Movie is little more than technology demo. It looks really good. But that is only good thing about it. I blame source material for this. I don't know if this was done on purpose or not but movies makes Tintin world  quite dark. Movie is colorful and bright but content have dark aspects. Man is shot at Tintins front door and that doesn't seem to bother anyone because that happens so often. Landlord lady likes Tintin even when she has to witness these shootings and Tintin have to carry his gun when he goes to open the door. Killing and violence doesn't seem to be big deal in this world. It seem to be so casual that you don't even have to think about it.

Alcohol consumption also seem to be no big deal. It is totally ok to drink so much that you get hallucinations. At one point Haddock got sober. That was bad thing because he forgot important things. He and Tintin were losing because of this. When he got more alcohol and went drunken crazy everything was fine again. Nobody said nothing about mess and Tintin and Haddock got important clue. I think this kind of things happen so often that it is normal. There was one scene where drinking almost got them in trouble. But that was almost and drinking saved them in the end. Good lesson for all kids in the audience.

Other thing I have with this movie is that random things happen too conveniently at right time that Tintin can do anything and still survive. This is worst in scene where Tintin and bad guys chase the last piece of paper. In this chase Tintin constantly choose routes that make no sense and would end the chase if something unexpected didn't happen. This problem is in many movies that use CGI in action scenes but this was the worst I have seen. You lose all believability when you go too far.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


SPOILER WARNING!!! This post spoils Joss Whedons Dollhouse.

What would it be like if human body was like computer, brains hard disk and personality operating system? What would happen if you could upload new operating system from distance? First question was asked in Dollhouse. We didn't get good answer for second because Dollhouse was cancelled after two seasons.

Dollhouse is place where young and beautiful people are programmed according wishes of customer. Most times it is high class escort service where you can select body and personality that is uploaded to body. Yes. New technology is used for sex. Sometimes dolls are used for real work when someone needs special skill set and personality. When dolls are not working they are in child like state in dollhouse. Dolls have made contract with dollhouse and they are given their original personality after contract is over. Dollhouse works underground and only selected few are chosen to be customers.

This kind of service have lot of ethical and moral problems. Not to mention technical problems. Everything doesn't go as planned and customers have different kinds of reasons to use service. Series discusses these things quite well. But because series was cancelled after two seasons it didn't get to other uses for this technology. Or philosophical questions like what is the person same person after real personality is uploaded after contract is over than person that made contract in first place. Series just assumes that personality is software or operating system that can be saved to disk and then be uploaded to body. Answer to that question would be very important for me if I ever had change to use this kind of technology. I wouldn't want my personality to die to make copy of my personality to live.

In world of Dollhouse there are many people who don't think this kind of thing. They use this technology to gain immortality. They just upload their personality to another body or in some cases many other bodies at same time. Now answer to that philosophical question comes quite interesting. There is also moral problem in this. Why others should die to give immortality to someone else in their body?

With bonus episodes of both seasons we see where this technology leads to. When uploading can be done from distance this technology is turned in to weapon. You could turn other people your slaves or turn half of your enemies into raging mad men who attack other half of your enemies. When both sides have this technology, the end can only be total disaster. End of Dollhouse world is zombie apocalypse where zombies don't even have to bite you. You can be turned into zombie from distance and there is little you can do about it.

Joss Whedons Firefly is legendary for its much too early cancellation. This is another similar series for same man. In this we could at least see more of it before cancellation.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

HBO Nordic update and more ViaPlay vs Netflix

My HBO Nordic rants seem to get constant traffic. So I think I could give update on issues. HBO Nordic gave up and gave  one month free trial time for its service. At least they told that. I tried to get that but found out that my invitation code didn't work any more. I guess it was too much that I went to read terms and conditions first time. This was after they told me to use my free month without any commitments. It is just same unprofessionalism that HBO Nordic have shown all the time. It is still invitation only and you have to have Samsung devices to watch HD content. HD should come to computers soon. Based on their track record that could mean any year. At the moment it is same to me if they got their act together or not.  I might check what they have on march, but I don't  hold my breath waiting that they have their service running them.

ViaPlay will get huge boost when NHL finally starts. I think I will get their sporting package which contains TV and movies. Currently I have TV and movie package. Some people have got here looking for comparison between ViaPlay and Netflix. It is quite easy to do. ViaPlay have NHL and some newer movies like John Carter and Avengers is coming this month. You can also save some of content to iPad for offline watching. ViaPlay also shows how long you can movies and tv-series will stay on service. Netflix is better on everything else. Better usability, more better content, supports more devices and so on. Finnish library is not as extensive as American but it is still better than ViaPlays. I haven't tried these with my PS3 yet. I should connect my PS3 but I have been too lazy to do that. If I have to choose between ViaPlay and Netflix, it would be Netflix. But both are so cheap that it is not too expensive to have both. Those have so much interesting content that I don't need to get HBO Nordic any time soon.

This was one of those extra rants and useful only for those in Nordic countries. Next thursday you will get regular post. It will be about Dollhouse. On monday you will get my take on Tintin movie.


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Monday, January 7, 2013

Polar night

SPOILER WARNING!!! This post spoils movie 30 Days of Night.

30 Days of Night is vampire story where vampires go to enjoy polar night and attack small town in Alaska. Polar night is over 24 hours night which happens when you go close enough to northern or southern pole. In right place you could get more than 30 days of night. It is interesting that this isn't used more in vampire stories. Problem with 30 Days of Night is that they got time before and after polar night wrong. In movie day before and after polar night is full day. In real world those days are few minutes or less. Before polar night day is bit shorter than day before and after polar night each day is bit longer than day before.

It would have been exciting to see humans moving and doing their things during short day when vampires had to stay hidden and when night came trying to get back to safe places. How much more options that could have given? It could have been battle between humans and vampires. Now it was more like humans trying to hide from vampires and fighting only when they didn't have other options. I think this was lost opportunity to make something great.

It is not all dark and cold for people living close to poles because during summer there is polar day or midnight sun which lasts similar times as polar night. For vampires this means that they have to move between north and south all year looking for winter and night.  Or then they have to stay on places where day length doesn't go to extremes.

Polar night mistake doesn't bother people who doesn't know how it goes. But I know how it goes it was big let down at the beginning of movie. Otherwise movie was refreshing. Vampires weren't young and sexy as seems to be case in every other modern vampire movie or tv series. This was more horror and blood and guts. Sequel 30 Days of Night: Dark Days goes bit deeper on how vampires seek the night and use polar night. Too bad that it is straight-to-video quality.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

That escalated very quickly

Another post about blogging quite soon. I changed my mind about this kind of posts. There is little change coming to this blog. I am still aiming to schedule my posts on Mondays and Thursdays. What will change is that on Monday I will post about movies and on Thursday about episodes of tv series I am watching. I already have written or have quite solid idea of posts until half way of February and almost know from which movie I write in those other posts. First tv-series I will watch is the most legendary scifi series of them all - The Original Star Trek. I should be able to write around 400 words from many episodes. I don't even try to write all of them, only those which have something interesting to write about. On current plan that will be followed by Stargate and Stargate Atlantis. All depends how I like series and if Netflix is kind enough to keep them in their service long enough. One reason why I made this change is that I really want to watch these.

Currently this is just I plan and it might not work. So Thursdays posts might not be there every week. TV series posts may also start with post about Dollhouse. I have some plans about that post and might write that to give me time to watch several episodes before starting to write about Star Trek.

I have one question to my followers. Would you like to know the movie or the episode week before I publish post about them? This could be easily done since I aim to have some backlog and know the schedule for  few weeks ahead if everything goes according the plan.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

As long as arctic stays cold

SPOILER WARNING!!! This post spoils movie The Blob(1958).

The Blob is first leading role of Steve McQueen. It has sequel. Movie don't have other reasons to stay in movie making history. It shows how hard it is to make interesting movie about deadly red jelly. nowadays most interesting part of movie is what it shows about time it was made and how different it is to similar movies today.

Movie seems to happen in small village where everyone knows each other and everyone is white. There is one cop who thinks kids are no good but everyone else is one big happy family. Kids go to apartments and closed shops without hesitation. Police takes kids to crime scenes. When kids do something wrong police ask them to not do same thing again and greatest punishment seems to be calling parents. I am not sure about size of place where this movie happens. It seems like small village until movie theatre scene at the end which seems to happen small or midsize town.

Only problem between kids and cops is that kids have done too many pranks and cops expect this to be prank too. Story of crying the wolf too many times. Role of women in this movie is to be saved or to be killed by monster because they can't act rationally in scary situation. It was also kind of cute how doctor tried to kill the blob by shooting even when he should have known that the blob won't be killed that way.

In the end the blob is flown to arctic where it will stay frozen and we would be safe "as long as arctic stays cold". One more reason to stop global warming but that wasn't the thing at the time. In modern films army would have captured the blob and tried to turn it a weapon. Not flown it to arctic where anyone could have taken it.

Another totally different thing to modern films was that blob left everything clean. In modern films there would have been blood, guts and bones everywhere. That would have changed the movie and police would have believed kids earlier.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy new year

This is unplanned post. I didn't want to discuss about blogging. But I needed to create post with this mysterious code EG88DZMCSEZA. This is for proving that I write this blog. I started to promote this blog and some sites want to know that it is really me who is writing here. Please let me know if you know places where I should tell about this blog.

Now that I had to write this post, I could use this to tell my plans for this blog. From now on I will schedule my post to be posted on Mondays and Thursdays. I aim to create backlog that I can publish twice a week. First of these posts will come next thursday. Reason for this is that I think it is best for this blog if posts come regularly, not in groups and with long caps. Releasing schedule may change depending how much backlog I can create. If there is something urgent or otherwise time dependent I will post it immediately.

I won't be making best films of 2012 post. I have seen only Dark Knight Returns in cinema this year. It had its moments but also too much stupidity to be named one of best movies of year 2012. I haven't seen Skyfall or Avengers yet. Avengers should come to Viaplay at beginning 2013. You can expect my comments on that movie after that. And honestly I can't name any other movies that came this year at this point. But as you have seen this blog is about older movies and next one is quite old.

Next post will be normal post. Sorry that I spammed you like this. Happy new year and see you next year.