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The Hidden (1987)
Before The Men in Black came the Man in grey
Hugely enjoyable film predating MIB by 10 years and with a similar theme.
However this film is deeper - 'The Hidden' at one level is just a body hoping alien but at another the alien possession is symbolic of our continuing lust for more and better things - plus the urge to do just as we want when we want that probably resides in most of us.
Of course we do our best to keep these urges 'hidden' away but like the alien they sometimes claw their way to the surface.
Perhaps a slight weak point is when we discover that the alien is an Altairan (like something out of a 50's SciFi film). In this respect - with reference to what 'The Hidden' really represents - sometimes it's better not to know!
When you have a good script and the story driven by good well acted characters any situations the characters find themselves can generate tension and excitement because you have empathy with them.
Michael bang bang thud thud blow everything up in sight Bay either doesn't understand this or doesn't care.
Aliens succeeded as an action film because you cared for the characters - this new Transformers film fails at every level but will make a ton of money because Hollywood is programming us to want more bang bang thud thud.
Some cold turkey is required to get mainstream audiences off it.
Films as bad as this are like substance abuse
Star Trek: Voyager: Threshold (1996)
Star Trek Meets 'The Fly'
Tom's eventual change into a slimy lizard like creature had all the hallmarks of the film 'The Fly'.
Bits of Tom start falling off with a real Jeff Goldblum moment when his tongue detaches and he gives a confused yet almost cynical grin to the crew.
After kidnapping Janeway (a la Jeff and Geena) he mates with her (unseen) and this produces some offspring (although the whole process only takes a few hours) on a jungle like planet.
But unlike 'The Fly' the offspring look cute (well anything would compared to a maggot).
Perhaps in some future episode or film the Federation will return to the planet to check on progress. Maybe the lizards will have built their first rudimentary Warp core by then.
Yep it was that bad.
TV Burp for Adults
This show is really funny - Charlie has the ability to look at things as they are - then comment on them as things they are not (although I sometimes end up wishing that the comic 'realities' he creates were actually real)
I'm not sure how he gets away with some of the comments - but 'risky' shows like this can always be 'hidden' on BBC 2 where our Politicians are unlikely to find them. (A recent survey suggested that the average Political figure here in the UK only knows how to find ITV 1 - ITV 2 and the porn channels on Digital)(The above average one can also find ITV 3 & ITV 4)
The supporting cast are great too with the comedian Diana Morgan (as Philomena Cunk) doing a spot on impersonation of scientist Brian Cox in the first episode.
This show is something to really look forward to.
Hans a hero for our time
What type of person do you need to fight Trolls? Would the Avengers cope?
Well I guess The Hulk would have empathy and end up sitting with them in a group therapy session discussing size - looks - aggression and the complications these cause when trying to find love.
Black Widow wouldn't go near because of the smell (Hawkeye would stay with her for company). Iron Man? - ultraviolet weapons just aren't sexy enough. And as for Thor given that he is also part of Norse mythology his own prime directive wouldn't allow him to interfere.
So where does that leave us?.. Enter Hans - the droll and pragmatic Troll hunter. Nothing fazes our Hans - A three headed monster? - just turn it to stone. A cave full of furry Trolls belching and farting? - hold your breath and run. A giant Troll? - lure it in with gospel music.
In fact he's so pragmatic that I could imagine his response to being sent to North Korea to sort out Kim Jong-un would be 'Oh well - yet another s****y job with no overtime'.
Mr Fury - I would give this guy a ring if you want to defeat Ultron. And his Reward for saving Mankind? A new caravan should do it.
Where was the drama?
Little Steve Moffat he sat on a Toffat scripting the Doctor his way. Along came a great writer who sat down beside her and banished his stories away.
Sorry for gender change above but I had to get it to rhyme. Oh my goodness I know it's Christmas but this was soulless. You just can't throw in every monster under the sun and hope to make it exciting. For this you need mature interaction between the characters so you can have empathy with them.
This just seemed to be full of lazy writing - half baked ideas and again too much buffoonery.
I didn't find it involving except at the very end when Peter Capaldi appeared and Jenna Coleman at last expressed some genuine emotion.
Come on now Steven time to move on so we can get some emotion and excitement back into the series.
Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor (2013)
An Unearthly Child vs Day of the Doctor
Having just watched An Unearthly child I was struck but just how much more serious and Adult it was compared to the 50th anniversary special. If I do have a gripe with the special it's how some of the drama was spoiled by too much buffoonery
There were times when I longed for the straight faced acting of William Hartnell to bring back some believability to the unbelievable.
I do fully respect the views of all of the viewers who loved the 50th but my own hopes are that Peter Capaldi will bring some gravitas to the role. I'm now going to have to step into my own Tardis to escape the wrath of millions of Doctor Who fans
Doctor Who: Destruction of Time (1966)
Darker than Dark
I remember watching this episode on its original broadcast and being terrified. Yes that's what Dr Who is supposed to do but this set new standards in fear.
The one part that has always stuck in my mind was the activation of the Time destructor which led to the horrible death of Sarah Kingdom played by Jean Marsh. Seeing her age and crumble to dust was almost too much to bear - although some would argue that this is what happened to her in Upstairs Downstairs anyway.
There is now a reconstruction of the episode on YouTube and it's very well done as it successfully bought back the terror of the original broadcast.
Who needs a Tardis
Agree or disagree - nobody does drama like the BBC. This was a nostalgic pleasure from beginning to end.The production and acting were excellent with David Bradley giving a really sympathetic performance in the role of William Hartnell.
The rest of the cast were really good too and captured the spirit of the excitement that must have been generated for such a radical show.
I loved seeing colour versions of all the old props and who couldn't smile at seeing a Cyberman enjoying a cigarette between takes. There were other moments that reminded me of the times when the show was first out - with children pretending to be Daleks.
I was 5 years old in 1963 and still remember watching the first episode. That makes me 55 now - the same age as William was when he first played the role and also Peter Capaldi the new Doctor.
Of course I'll never have a time machine to revisit the 1960's but with a great program like this to take you there - Who needs a Tardis.
PS I hope you spotted the cameo roles by four of the good Doctor's original companions.
Devil Girl from Mars (1954)
Be sure to count the spoons
It's no use reviewing films like these if you're going to compare them with modern day releases. They are what they are - cheap perhaps but made to make money out of 'less expecting' 1950's film goers.
In a world where we can do almost anything with CGI - features like this had to rely on good old model work and actual mechanical effects.
There are some real howlers in the script - but that's all part of the charm.
The actual flying saucer is a real hoot -"It's like something from another planet!"
It's landing is very noisy - so not surprising to find that the sound editor is one Gerry 'Thunderbirds' Anderson (Credited here as Gerald Anderson)
In some ways there is a connection with Forbidden Planet. In Forbidden Planet a Starship crew come across a naive sheltered beauty who doesn't quite understand what the Men are really looking for and what she wants.
Well here the Devil Girl knows exactly what she wants - and has come to get it!