By Roy Mathur, on 2023-11-20, at 23:58:05--01:24:44 GMT, for Captain Roy's Rusty Rocket Radio Show
We are still in post-Halloween catch up mode, though the revisits will return shortly.
I'm late again, thanks to extreme tiredness from my latest London walk, but at least that means I have had the time to watch the Doctor Who Children in Need Special 2023 earlier tonight.
Before we launch, here's some follow-up. The most absurd thing I said in 510 was to agonisingly explain why I'm not part of any particular musical genre youth culture fandoms. I didn't mention the most glaring reason; age. Yes, there are aging punks, though the majority of us drift into the middle-ground. To be completely honest, for me that is not maturity, but because getting into those tight clothes would do me a mischief.
But what about attitudes? Though the reactionary old are a trope, for others age isn't without it's benefits and we become less close minded. I love being that way. Not all aging is terrible. My compliments to old wizards.
My review of The Flash in 510 was too short. I said, "...the main character is great, as is Keaton's Batman, the FX, the dialogue, but the story is a forgettable time travel paradox that's been done to death..."
I should have said what it's actually about and that is the Flash attempting to extricate his father from the frame for the brutal murder of his mother. It only half works out.
Miller did the Flash very well---funny, charming, hyperactive---as he always was at the cinema. The conceit used for clearing his father's name was clever. Apart from those few positives, I thought the film's plot was forgettable. The film did poorly and when you combine this with Miller's issues, it is incredible that Warner Bros. still have him in the running for the role for the foreseeable future.
Paramount Pictures 2023's latest sequel to the MI series, produced by and starring Tom Cruise.
I saw this a few weeks ago, made some notes, then promptly forgot about it in the mad shuffle to organise the Halloween Hammer House of Horror revisit.
In MI7, a high tech Russian sub is tricked into blowing itself up by its own AI. Ethan goes hunting for the two-piece AI activation key, meeting up with Ilsa (Rebecca Ferguson) in a big shootout in the desert. Later, he assembles the old team of Luther (Ving Rhames), Benji (Simon Pegg), and a new recruit; a crook he crosses paths with called Grace. Everybody wants the key for it's power, but Hunt's plan is to track it down and use it to gain access to the AI's source code to kill it.
There's a supervillain Gabriel (Esai Morales) who framed Ethan many years ago, there's sexy super assassin Paris (Pom Klementieff), there's a McGuffin hunt, there's fighting and action, an AI plot that anyone with a background in IT will laugh at, and there's that stunt I first reported in 498. The club 80--90s-style nude dancers in the club scene was tacky. The computer FX for the AI seemed William Gibsonish to me. Benji's buckling up in fear of self-driving cars was as topical as the AI main plot. The White Widow was a really crap villain, though her comedic incompetent psychopathy was an intentional part of the plot in the last couple of films. Splitting such a simple movie into two is artistically without merit, just pure economics. The scene in which Tom Cruise motorcycles off a cliff, then base jumps is spectacular. It is unbelievable that so much hard work went into setting it up and repeatedly practicing such a dangerous stunt, yet it was over in a few seconds.
So much talent in the cast and crew to bring us the usual MI formula of an exotic Bond-like travelogue (Bond-like, minus the imperialism), beautiful women, an evil supervillain, a terrible super weapon, wrapped in an incredibly simplistic zeitgeist-tapping AI plot that is utter nonsense. It took me out of myself for a few enjoyable hours and then I forgot all about it.
What can I say? Season 7 is more of the same very clever, very funny, and very sordid comedy about Rick Sanchez, a scientist and his long-suffering grandson.
The more I watch this, the more I come to the very obvious conclusion I should have come to long ago. That is that Rick is an evil supervillain. However, his charisma turned my eye.
I'm a few episodes in and the violent, horrific, monstrous, obscene hilarity continues.
In this Netflix miniseries, Mike Flanagan uses all of Poe's work to weave a story about a jaded family of opioid billionaires. Poe's character names, sections of stories, and Easter eggs abound. C. Auguste Dupin, Fortunato, Prospero, Hop-Frog, The Premature Burial, The Masque of the Red Death, The Black Cat, The Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Cask of Amontillado, etc.; all feature to a greater or lesser extent.
An ensemble cast of his regulars including Rahul Kohli, Samantha Sloyan, T'Nia Miller, Ruth Codd, and others play members of the Usher family, based on the Sacklers, with a pinch of the Maxwells for extra spice. The Usher clan leader, Roderick Usher (Bruce Greenwood), his sister Madeline Usher (Mary McDonnell), and their creepy lawyer, Arthur Pym (Mark Hamill) weather attacks from all fronts; government investigations, an informant inside the family, and some kind of ambiguous Death or Satan-like figure; Verna (Carla Gugino); an anagram of Raven (I read that post-watch), all seemingly bent on seeing the Ushers destroyed in terrible ways.
I usually don't like fast loose "based on" adaptations of other work, except Mike Flanagan is good at them. Though it looks like he used Poe's work as a vehicle mostly to viciously attack Big Pharma and socially annihilate the real-life Sacklers, whose civil trial is ongoing, but probably aren't going to face substantial legal consequences. I have talked about Flanagan's work many times before; see The Haunting of Hill House (222), The Haunting of Bly Manor and Midnight Mass (413), and The Midnight Club (459). I have also talked about the original sources too many times to mention.
Watching Rick and Morty (for light relief; what is wrong with me?), immediately before watching The Fall of the House of Usher, followed by Invincible was a heavy trip. I don't know how it worked out that way, but it did, and after an exhausting day traipsing about 10km (2023-11-15) for shopping because we don't currently have a car.
In season two episode one, we see Invincible teaming up with Omni-Man to murder, maim, and enslave the people of Earth. Only it's a parallel Earth, while our Invincible is still coming to terms with his father's betrayal. Eventually, he rejoins the post-massacre reformed Guardians of the Globe to fight the Mauler twins, who are building a mind melding machine for a beneficent dimension jumper. The battles ends with a victory for the Guardians, but at what cost? Well, I'm sure we'll find out. The Guardians new leader, the Immortal, after Cecil puts him in charge, is understandably deeply suspicious of Invincible.
Invincible is great, but it is so depressing, even moreso than other violent superhero dystopia shows like The Boys. Whereas you can be simultaneously apalled and laugh at Rick and Morty and be awestruck and laugh at The Fall of the House of Usher, Invincible is engrossing watching, but hard to take and wearing. However, one can't argue with the tone because the central idea is that a mixed-race teenager discovers his father is a genocidal sociapathic space Nazi.
Because of the mass slaughter that is happening in another part of the world, I no longer have the heart to directly comment on current affairs in the podcast anymore (probably to most people's relief). And so, rewatching this episode featuring the Doctor choosing to annihilate Pompeii in order to stop an extraterrestrial invasion stuck a discordant chord. The 2008 episode was a bad choice for a rewatch.
It also put the Doctor in a position at odds to the one he took against the Brigadier's genocidal campaign against the Silurians in Doctor Who and the Silurians (1970; pod 182). Why didn't he try harder to negotiate with the Pyroviles? Three (Pertwee) would have.
One of the last scenes made me chortle. One of the criticisms of New Who is that the Doctor is too omnipotent, too godlike. Then we see that to a middle-class Roman family, he literally has become a household god, placed in a shrine after saving them from the volcano.
The tenth or fourteenth Doctor (David Tennant), or whoever he's supposed to be, is back for a few minutes, a few days prior to the 60th anniversary, to promote the BBC's Children in need charity drive.
In this story, the TARDIS materialises and crashes full-tilt into the side of a Kaled weapons laboratory. Then we watch a time paradox in action as the Doctor inadvertently for names the Daleks, gives them their "Exterminate" catchphrase, lays an Easter egg callback by saying this is the "Genesis of the Daleks", and replaces a damaged murderous looking claw/captive bolt pistol limb with the far less sinister iconic toilet plunger.
It was comedic pantomime by design, as is the tradition of these short sketches. The adult pre-travel chair Davros (Julian Bleach) is a hammy villain and his lab assistant, Mr Castavillain (Mawaan Rizwan), is hilarious in his nervous enthusiasm. I loved how the TARDIS lodged itself in the wall. I enjoyed the obvious, but very funny time paradox silliness.
The Beeb have told us to expect Doctor Who: The Daleks in Colour. Not like Werewolf by Night in Color reported in 510, but "The first Dalek story dazzlingly colourised and weaved into a 75-minute blockbuster." ("Weaved..." out of the original BW 7-parter from 1963). We can see this on Doctor Who Day Thu 23 Nov 2023, marking the 60th anniversary of the show live at 19:30 on BBC FOUR and, no doubt on BBC iPlayer after that.
Now you know how I'll be spending Doctor Who Day. NB I won't be reviewing it because I already reviewed the original in 34 (2014).
Reminder: the first 2023 Special is two days later.
In addition to the above, according the BBC,
"...thanks to the ingenuity of the fans, sound recordings of these missing episodes survived and were returned to the BBC. Combined with narration from the stars of Doctor Who, here's a chance to listen to three adventures starring the first two Doctors."
These are from the stories Marco Polo (see pod 35), Mission to the Unknown (see pod 48), The Daleks' Master Plan (see pod 50), and The Wheel in Space (see pod 126). Doctor Who: The Missing Episodes are available on BBC Sounds website and app now.
As reported in 488, 505, 509, 510, and possibly in every of my pods until the end of time, here's an update on November 1st's big upload of the classic series of Doctor Who and other Who-related material to BBC iPlayer.
I also remember the Beeb saying that documents about the series would be uploaded to their website. Though I know nothing of that yet, I can tell you that many of the scripts and production documents are already there and have been for years. We talked about this before, and if you dig, you can find them on clearly forgotten parts of the BBC website full of broken images, but with valid hyperlinks links to .pdfs.
Let's just say there's enough stuff to last fans for many years to come if the show ever goes belly up again. That is, providing the Beeb don't take a page out of the streamers playbook, change their minds, and pull everything in the future. Though I'm sure the pirates won't let that happen.
Again, if you need an excuse to jump into my classic Doctor Who revisit started in 2014, this is it.
Another reason to subscribe is to catch up with my new revisit show, started over Halloween, in which I take you back to the trashy thrills of 1980's Hammer House of Horror.
My club skipped a week to avoid the Armistice Day crowds. I'm glad they did because I missed the chaos caused by neo-Nazis in Central London on the 11th, thanks to the ex-Home Secretary recent empowerment of them. I'm embarrassed that someone with a similar background to my own can be so toxic, but human nature being what it is, I am sadly not at all surprised. Of course, I sent her my signature whiny violin, cropped from a medieval Italian mural, in response to her whiny letter to the Prime Minister. Good riddance.
Politics aside, my delayed club meeting was rescheduled for the 18th and that mean another day walking around London. The long walks, as I found a three days earlier, are taking their toll. I don't know if it's a good or bad thing, but decrepit old git that I am, Google Fit tells me I'm blasting those wimpy Couch to 5k'rs right out of the water.
There was a very heavy police presence that day. There were out-of-town coppers from the West Midlands, Staffordshire, Yorkshire, and Wales milling about. I don't know whether it was in expectation of protesters, counter-protesters, looting, or all three. Whatever the reason, apart from the insanely crowded streets, my day in London went smoothly.
For the second time since obtaining one, the RADAR key I have for IBS came in handy in finding a toilet, while waiting far too long for a free cubicle.
I also found out, at last, what those weird doors set into the walls of Trafalgar Square are. A passing street cleaner told me they were toilets. I don't know though, toilets? I've seen cleaners shove their big cleaning carts in there. It's not as if anyone would steal them if they were left outside. It all sounds a bit dubious to me. If you know the mysterious doors I'm talking about, please confirm whether or not these are simply staff toilets. Being a Whovian, there is something TARDIS-like about their inside volume.
Like the MI films, the show will go on forever. Eleven years and counting.