Archive for August, 2013

This week we saw the first episode of “Under the Dome” on channel five and here is my review.

It is based on Stephen King’s novel set in the fictional Chester’s Mill, it’s about a small town that inexplicably finds itself sealed off, snow globe-like, by a sky-high transparent dome.

Well first I have say haven’t we seen this story before??? Mmmmm Oh yes I know it’s  “The Simpsons” Movie. Did the producers of “Under The Dome” really think no one would notice? I just couldn’t stop myself thinking about the Simpsons and half expected Homer Simpson to appear.

Anyway, back to “Under the Dome”.

In the opening moments of “Under the Dome” an impenetrable dome falls over the fictional town of Chester’s Mill. A light aircraft hits the invisible wall, explodes and tumbles out of the sky, a cow is sliced clean in half and the residents quickly realise there is no getting out… or in. Families are separated, emergency services are unreachable, and food and fuel are strictly limited.

Because things would otherwise get very dull very quickly, all the people trapped inside have secrets: “Big Jim” Rennie (Dean Norris), power-mad dignitary and possible propane smuggler; his psychotic son Jim Jr (Alexander Koch), who has the girl he’s loved since the third grade chained up in a fallout shelter; Dale Barbara (Mike Vogel), a criminal seen burying a body in the first scene who insists that everyone call him “Barbie”; and Julie (Rachelle Lefevre), an improbably sexy local newspaper editor whose husband is stuck on the other side of the dome – or is he?

This was a great start to the series and is an interesting premise. What happens to a town (or us for that matter) if we are cut off from the rest of civilization. The acting, story and effects are good. The story rattled along, and it was crammed with familiar Stephen King themes: the ravens, the dank woods, the clinker-built houses, the sheriff who sleeps in his own cells.

But why didn’t anyone try digging under the dome? Why isn’t the army trying to blow it up. Come to that, why didn’t the local rednecks start firing their guns at it? And why is that light is able penetrate the dome when radio waves and sound waves can’t.

I have not read the Stephen King novel so I don’t know what is going to happen but how long will we put up with stories in the town before we find out what the dome is or become bored with the whole thing.  I just hope it doesn’t become another “Lost”,

What do you think?

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Oblivion, my review.

Posted: August 20, 2013 in Gossip/News/Reviews - Film

Here is my review of “Oblivion” which I saw Last night (Released at cinema on 19th April 2013).  Please don’t read if you have not seen the film, spoiler alert.

Oblivion is post-apocalyptic science fiction film based on Joseph Kosinski’s Radical Comics-edited unpublished graphic novel of the same name. In the year 2077, Tech 49 Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) is one of the last drone repairmen stationed on Earth. According to Jack, the planet was nearly destroyed sixty years earlier, during a war against a race of alien invaders known as Scavengers (“Scavs”). The Scavs destroyed the moon, causing massive earthquakes and tsunamis, and then launched their invasion. They were only defeated by the use of nuclear weapons, which left most of the planet irradiated and uninhabitable.

The few surviving humans migrated to a colony on Titan, which is powered using energy harvested on Earth by giant ocean-borne power stations that generate fusion power from seawater. From Tower 49, a base standing above the remains of the northeastern United States, Jack and his partner and lover Victoria “Vika” Olsen (Andrea Riseborough) work as a team to maintain the autonomous drones that defend the power stations from the few remaining Scav bandits. They receive their orders from Sally (Melissa Leo), their mission commander, who is stationed on the “Tet,” a massive tetrahedral space station that orbits the Earth. Jack flies recon and repair missions to the surface, while Vika supervises from Tower 49. The two expect to leave Earth and join the other survivors on Titan in two weeks. Although Jack and Vika had their memories wiped five years prior for security purposes, Jack has recurring dreams about meeting a mysterious woman at the Empire State Building in a time before the war, which occurred before he was born. Additionally, Jack keeps a secret retreat in a forested area he sometimes visits.

A Scav signal beacon transmitting coordinates is followed shortly by the crash of a pre-invasion American spacecraft. Drones arrive at the crash site and kill much of the crew, but Jack manages to rescue a woman, Julia (Olga Kurylenko), recognizing her as the woman from his dreams. Julia says her ship—the Odyssey—was a NASA  mission, the objective of which she refuses to reveal, and she and Jack retrieve the ship’s flight recorder. They are captured by Scavs, who are revealed to be humans living in what remains of the Raven Rock Mountain Complex. Their leader, Malcolm Beech (Morgan Freeman), claims that the alien invasion was a lie and demands Jack to reprogram a captured drone to destroy the Tet by delivering an extremely powerful nuclear weapon. When Jack refuses, Malcolm releases the captives but urges them to seek the truth in the so-called “radiation zone” that Jack is forbidden to enter.

They encounter another Jack known as Tech 52 and the truth is that the Tet is in fact an alien artificial intelligence that seized Earth to exploit the planet’s resources, and Jack and Victoria are just two of many thousands of clones of their original versions (astronauts from 2017) that were created as soldiers to carry out the invasion of Earth. The Tet uses drones programmed to kill humans on sight, thus forcing the survivors to disguise themselves as the Scavs. The Tet now uses clones of Harper and Olsen to maintain the drones and thereby maintain its dominance. Jack agrees to reprogram the stolen drone to destroy the Tet. When leaving the underground stronghold with the reprogrammed drone, they are attacked by three other drones. The drones enter the base and wreak havoc inside, destroying the reprogrammed drone and wounding Beech in the process. The humans finally manage to destroy the three drones, but are forced to find another way to deliver the nuclear bomb to the Tet. Jack proposes delivering the bomb himself. To throw off suspicion, Julia suggests that she accompanies Jack, since Sally had requested him to bring her to the Tet.

During the flight, Jack listens to the Odyssey’s flight recorder, which reveals that he and Victoria were originally pilots on the Odyssey mission to Titan, which was reassigned by NASA when the Tet was discovered near Saturn. Sally was their supervisor at NASA mission control, with other personnel, including Julia, on board in cryogenic capsules. Upon approach, the Tet drew them in with a tractor beam. Recognizing that capture was imminent, Jack was able to jettison the sleeping crew members, who orbited for sixty years in suspended animation until Beech sent the signal to recall their craft.

Jack enters the Tet, where he is met by a sentient tetrahedral structure that had adopted the persona of Sally. Jack opens the sleep capsule to reveal Beech; Julia simultaneously emerges from another sleeping capsule at Jack’s secret forest retreat. The two men trigger the nuclear bomb and destroy the Tet at the cost of their own lives. The destruction of the Tet also deactivates the remaining drones around the world.

Three years later, Julia is living with her young daughter in the forest retreat on the recovering Earth. A group of survivors arrive there, and Tech 52 emerges from the group. A voice-over by Tech 52 reveals that his previous encounter had re-awakened memories of Julia, and he had searched for her since the Tet’s destruction. Having the same latent memories as Tech 49, he then reunites with “his” family

I have been looking forward to watching this for a while and must say I was rather disappointed at the outcome. Don’t get me wrong this was an ok film, it’s not bad but then again it’s not brilliant either.  The acting’s great, especially from Tom Cruise who is brilliant. The first 40 minutes concentrates on just two characters immersed in routine drudgery on a post-apocalyptic earth which is good but it’s a shame the 2nd half doesn’t build on this.  The mystery is enticing. But it never grabs you, and the effects, while efficient, lack a wow factor and sense of scale. But it feels as though something is missing but I am not sure what.  The problem is that the film seems to be stuck in 2nd gear. it’s watchable rather than jaw-droppingly exciting. You’re reminded of an old horror “B” movie where, for budgetary reasons, you only ever see one monster, while the actors gasp, “And there are thousands more… just over there… ” Sure, a good story is more important than flashy visuals, but sometimes flashy visuals can help sell a story.

What do you think?

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Over the weekend the family (me, wife and our son Oscar) watched Doctor Who.  As you know I am a huge fan of Doctor Who but now Oscar, who is only 6, loves doctor who too and now he keeps saying “When can I watch another Doctor who?”.

Until the revamp in 2005 Doctor Who was always Tom Baker for me.  I lost interest in it when Sylvester McCoy and Colin Baker were in the roles.  But had my interest renewed in 2005 when the series was reinvented with Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor. Ever since then I have been watching it religiously.

And now Oscar has started watching doctor who. He saw episode 10 of series 7 back in april 2013 and he was hooked straight away. When the series ended in May the first thing he said was “when can I watch another Doctor who?”. So we decided to catch up on the all the old doctor who from series 1 (2005). We have been watching the odd episode each weekend.

But last weekend we had a huge marathon session which we all enjoyed including Oscar. We watched most of series 4 (with David Tennant as the Doctor) and all the specials leading up to the regeneration into Matt Smith.  And now we are up to series 5 with Matt Smith and Oscar still wants more.

He just loves it, and he understand a lot for his age. He gets that the doctor is a time lord and is immortal because he can regenerate. He is transfixed. There are some things and some story lines he doesn’t understand, but then again there are some I don’t understand either :). I think Its amazing and shows the huge influence that doctor who has on every one. I mean there are not too many programs that the whole family can enjoy and will keep a 6-year-old and 43-year-old engrossed. can you think of any? And that’s whats so brilliant about Doctor who, its science fiction for everyone.

And its British.

We can’t wait till the 50th Anniversary special on the 23rd November this year. I know its only about 3 months away but we still have to keep putting up with Oscar asking “When can I watch another Doctor who?”.

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