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How to make a great film with little money
Well this great film was made for an inflation adjusted $40m. Now compare that against the $300m spent on Justice league. Of course some DC fans may claim the Justice League is the better film and worth every penny but I'm sure there would be millions of Aliens fans who would disagree.
Cameroon here demonstrates how to make a tiny budget go a long way - and even in 2017 most of the effects still stand up - and in my opinion many are far more impressive than modern day expensive CGI could produce.
It is impressively directed - acted and scripted - with not an ounce of flab on it. Now compare it to Justice League which is a poorly edited - erratically directed and acted mess.
It makes you wonder where all the money goes on these modern day Hollywood flab-busters.
So if you want to enjoy a great example of professional film making that will excite you - look no further.
Justice League (2017)
A Hollywood by the numbers film
Wooden acting - Check. Breathtakingly bad CGI - check - Poor lifeless script - Check - Scrappy editing - check.
I can see some fans like this film but they need to understand that they would have come out with an even bigger smiles on their faces if this film had been made properly.
By the number quips punctuating the appallingly rendered CGI action sequences and shallow characterisations (sorry Aquaman) end up making this film drab. I had no empathy for any of the characters.
If we look back to the Superman film of 1978 - it was full of colour - entertaining characters who we cared for and had a sharp witty script.
But these modern day Hollywood moguls have let one side of the superhero badly down. The Marvel side has fared pretty well but something seems to have gone wrong with DC (except Wonder woman)
If there is a next film the producers need to invest in a clever intelligent script and throw out any demands for one written for kiddie audiences.The director should insist that real locations are used (where possible) - so the actors don't get bored having to pretend they're somewhere other than in front of a green screen. But above all invest emotion into the film.
DC fans deserved better than this - Snyder -Terrio - Whedon - hang your heads in shame.
Beware cheap alien costumes.
For a moment I thought we were back in TOS territory - but no - it was our old friend Harry. He's up to no good (of course) he's in debt (of course) and still trying to getaway from Stella (no chance).
Yes the episode was a bit derivative - but can you think of one of all the various Star Trek series that doesn't have at least one episode featuring the manipulation of time?
I do like Discovery although it's yet to fully find its identity (Well STNG struggled at first being in the shadow of TOS).
I think the ending was slightly fudged as it might have been better not to reveal that in reality the crew knew how to gain back control- and let Harry - and us - expect the Klingons to be waiting in the transporter room.
Had this of happened the look on Harry's face might have equalled his expression at the end of I Mudd.
So on to his loved one - Stella Grimes - even her surname invokes what life must be like with her.
I see that some reviewers are still giving Discovery just 1 star - perhaps they'd already spent a night with someone just like Ms Grimes - and this is the only way they can rate their experience.
A link to Billion Dollar Brain
A very enjoyable episode with some very surreal funny moments. However it is linked to the film in the title - the 1967 spy thriller with Micheal Caine playing Harry Palmer.
Near the opening the camera pans along white tankers which turn out to be rather large models.
Now these are the ones that were used in the Harry Palmer film - easily identifiable as they still have their black and white snow ploughs on the front.
I'm not sure why they were included - perhaps just to give Mother's HQ a surreal look.
Date with Disaster (1957)
Low budget thriller from a different era
An interesting film if only to see an example of very low budget British film of the late 1950's.
It had some good actors but they were let down somewhat overly simple plot and clunky script.
Still it's always a pleasure seeing a young Shirley Eaton and William Hartnell is always good value for money.
Viewing the UK as it was also holds attention with relatively empty streets with about 15 million less people around. Old fashioned cars and clothes except for one futuristic event. When the police car gives chase at the end a police constable says that he has no idea where the bad guy (chased by the good guy) went to.
However the police drive across London and over the Thames and somehow find the very street where the bad - and good guys - cars are parked. Perhaps they had computerised tracking drones in those days (or perhaps it was just lazy writing as they needed to tie the film up quickly before the £200 budget ran out)
The Expanse (2015)
Great action adventure space series
My physio recommended this - so having subscribed to Netflix recently I had the chance to catch up on it.
It really is good - I like it because it's a plausible take on the future 200 years hence. No warp spaceships that can stop immediately from multiple times the speed of light without leaving the crew as a atom thick slice of human tissue on the wall - just craft that look as though they may exist one day.
I love seeing known objects in our very own solar system being used a bases and mining asteroids that as we know really are teaming with priceless metals.
Perhaps in 50 - 100 years time we really will have the technology to take advantage of all the wealth out there in the belt. If we can harness nuclear fusion to power plasma engines up to speeds of say 450,000 mph then the solar system really will open up for us.
Note to Netflix - I know the Syfy channel is going to fund a 3rd season - but if they don't want to pay for a 4th perhaps you can step in.
Star Trek: Discovery: Lethe (2017)
Who can you trust?
Well clearly not the Klingons - or at least some of them. This was a decent episode which delved into more of Michael's relationship with her father.
Lorca is an interesting captain with seemingly ambiguous motives. He's edgy and is single minded when it comes to staying in command of his ship. For example was he fully aware of the risks when he suggests the one person who is threatening his captaincy (Admiral Cornwell) take Sarek's place on a peace keeping mission to the Klingons?
I can see that there are again some very negative reviews from fans who are quite frankly seeing red - but this is a new take on Star Trek where the unfortunate disposable members of the crew are now wearing blue.
Space: 1999: Earthbound (1975)
RIP Roy Dotrice
Roy appeared in one of the best - and at the end - horrifying episodes of Space 1999 as an unwanted soul on Moonbase Alpha.
He was a really talented actor who brought a real presence to his role as Commissioner Simmonds who was selfish - deceitful and would stop at nothing to get back to Earth.
Fans will know where his single mindedness ended up - phone home for help is one thing he certainly couldn't do
Roy will be sadly missed.
As clear as Mudd
It was lovely to see my old pal Harry Mudd reappear although he's going to need all his 'charm' to escape from his current predicament.
I can see that some reviewers hate this series - but Star Trek has to evolve and so the fans have to too. I've been watching it since 1969 (in the Uk) when it started out as a space adventure series initially focusing on the psychological effects of space travel and exploration on a crew - before developing into what we know today.
It's still finding its feet - but so was TOS for the first batch of episode. It is violent at times and has strong language including the dreaded 'f' word - obviously still the go to word for expressing anger or frustration even in the 23rd century.
Personally I'm looking forward to the episodes after the Klingon arc when hopefully they'll be out exploring the unknown. Let's pray the creative team have thought up some really nasty surprises amongst the new alien species they're going to meet.
So what are we going to find in episode 6? Well why don't you ask Harry - he's a man you can really trust - but can he answer the question of why Lt Stamets' reflection was left in the mirror when he walked away?
Dark with balls.
I've been following Trek since 1969 and was a bit dubious about this new series - but it feels real as though you are in space because the actors have made their characters believable - colourful - p'd off - angry - neurotic and possibly insane.
The opening of E3 reminded a bit of Blake's 7 where a band of convicts come across a mysterious ship.
I like the odd retro touches on the control panels and the effects in general are pretty good although the Discovery looks as though she could have done with a tad more rendering.
When Michael was flashing through the galaxy it looked as though she appeared on Janus 6 for an instant as I thought I recognised the underground mining buildings.
So I'm really looking forward to the next episode - I can't see any space maidens appearing and being seduced by a captain anytime soon - besides which Discovery's chief has a new 'pet' to look after.