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Nobby-W

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I liked Moonrise Kingdom, though I don't remember it very well, and really enjoyed Grand Budapest Hotel. It doesn't hurt that the latter is based loosely on Stefan Zweig; I should read more of his work.

This weekend I watched most of Capricorn One, a space-program thriller from 1978 written and directed by Peter Hyams (who also did Outland, Timecop, The Relic, and End of Days). I don't know if the concept of 'spoiler' applies to a movie that's over 40 years old anyway, but I won't give away much that the theatrical trailer didn't. The basic idea of the film is that NASA's first manned Mars mission has to be faked. The life-support system for the ship is faulty and would kill the astronauts within weeks of their takeoff. NASA is struggling along anyway, and the president has informed them that any screw-up will mean the cancellation of the program. So they decide to stage the landing on a set. The astronauts--James Brolin, O.J. Simpson, and a young Sam Waterston--don't know about this in advance; just before launch they are whisked away to the secret base and informed of the ruse (as is the audience) while their crew-less spaceship takes off. They grudgingly go along with the plot, though only after the NASA honcho played by Hal Holbrook switches from appealing to their loyalty to the space program and threatens their families if they don't cooperate.

Needless to say, things don't go as planned. A NASA engineer realizes there is something fishy going on in mission control and informs his friend, a reporter played by Elliot Gould. At this point, the script starts going off the rails. Rather than doing something sensible like transferring the engineer to some distant facility, the shadowy powers-that-be behind the stunt kill him and then erase any evidence of his existence. NASA claims they never heard of him and when Gould shows up at his apartment, he finds someone else living there, with all kinds of evidence that she's been the tenant for at least a year. None of which makes much sense, since it requires more and more people to be part of the conspiracy. Gould survives several assassination attempts in the course of the film, which also seems unlikely.

I won't say more about the plot, except to say that it combines forward motion and interest with increasing implausibility. The cast is pretty good, though many of the actors were more known for TV roles by the late 1970s than for films, I think. One thing that I found particularly jarring, as an old space-program nerd, was the lack of imagination that the film displayed towards the space vehicle itself. The launch rocket is just a Saturn-V, which is perhaps forgiveable (file footage and all that), but the capsule itself is just the Apollo rig, and the Mars lander is nearly identical to the L.E.M. None of which makes much sense. It's not like the film-makers couldn't have drawn on actual plans drawn up by NASA and others for what a Mars mission might be like.

View attachment 38030

I'm pretty sure I've seen this on on TV at some point. The use of the LEM as a prop was just as jarring to me as well. It felt a bit low-effort, although I think it was because they got hold of a real LEM prototype to use as a prop, perhaps saving a few bob in the process. One wonders how much influence the studio itself had on that decision.
 
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Lofgeornost

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I'm pretty sure I've seen this on on TV at some point. The use of the LEM as a prop was just as jarring to me as well. It felt a bit low-effort, although I think it was because they got hold of a real LEM prototype to use as a prop, perhaps saving a few bob in the process. One wonders how much influence the studio itself had on that decision.
That could be the case. I wondered if it was simply underestimating the audience--thinking that they would expect any lander to look like the LEM, even though it would have burned up on entering the Martian atmosphere. Or just not caring about the reactions of space nerds in the audience who would realize the error.

There are a lot of other problems with the plan, like the fact that the astronauts will not show the effects of prolonged weightlessness on their 'return,' and that they will not have any Martian soil or rock samples with them. But none of those are as visually in-your-face as the LEM.
 

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Because I needed something light and distracting, I decided to watch Muppet Treasure Island.

Whoever cast Tim Curry in this deserved a bonus. Bless him, he is chewing all the scenery.

Saw this for the first time in a while, it was fun. Muppet Christmas Carol is still my fav Muppet film though.
 

urbwar

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Watched The Harder They Fall. I liked it. Followed that with Bright: Samurai and Soul, which was ok, but I didn't find it to be as good as the live action film
 

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We don't really follow the MCU anymore. There's just the occasional part of it that seems fun that we actually check out.
After doing a little googling, I did watch this one. The two movies have just blurred together into one in my mind. The Ant-Man movies are definitely good choices if you want to watch a fun corner of the MCU without committing to the whole thing.
 

3rik

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After doing a little googling, I did watch this one. The two movies have just blurred together into one in my mind. The Ant-Man movies are definitely good choices if you want to watch a fun corner of the MCU without committing to the whole thing.
I also feel the insect theme and these protagonists being able to change size brings something refreshing to the whole superheroes thing. We also like the recent Spiderman films for their light-hearted, humorous touch.
 

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Watched part of the Brooks triple feature on TCM last night.

Skipped Young Frankenstein because I watch it at least once a year and don't want to kill it through over-exposure so first up was High Anxiety, Brooks' riff on Hitchcock and a few other thrillers, one of those movies I've seen bits of but never the whole thing.


The first half hour or so was solid but not remarkable and then the magnificent Madeline Kahn shows up and the last hour gains momentum with lots of great set-piece jokes, particularly for film fans.



Up next was Blazing Saddles which I had to have seen 20+ times as a kid on TV, uncensored too btw, but haven't seen in forever. I know it is popular these days to claim that BS would never get made today but that seems like a major misread of the movie, which like Brooks' The Producers is mocking racists, America and of course Westerns.



It all makes sense when you realize that Richard Pryor was one of the writers on the script, making all the satirical racial material and the fact that the charming Cleavon Little is smarter, more handsome and better in bed than anyone else in the movie. This is my favourite scene.



Overall the movie stands up really well with Wilder, Korman and Kahn (again) all doing some of their best work. Only topped by Brooks undeniable masterpiece Young Frankenstein.

My second favourite scene. Kahn is sexy and hilarious burlesquing Dietrich here.



And just because let's not forget Kahn's hilarious ad-lib in Clue.

 
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Baulderstone

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Watched part of the Brooks triple feature on TCM last night.

Skipped Young Frankenstein because I watch it at least once a year and don't want to kill it through over-exposure so first up was High Anxiety, Brooks' riff on Hitchcock and a few other thrillers, one of those movies I've seen bits of but never the whole thing.


The first half hour or so was solid but not remarkable and then the magnificent Madeline Kahn shows up and the last hour gains momentum with lots of great set-piece jokes, particularly for film fans.



Up next was Blazing Saddles which I had to have seen 20+ times as a kid on TV, uncensored too btw, but haven't seen in forever. I know it is popular these days to claim that BS would never get made today but that seems like a major misread of the movie, which like Brooks' The Producers is mocking racists, America and of course Westerns.



It all makes sense when you realize that Richard Pryor was one of the writers on the script, making all the satirical racial material and the fact that the charming Cleavon Little is smarter, more handsome and better in bed than anyone else in the movie. This is my favourite scene.



Overall the movie stands up really well with Wilder, Korman and Kahn (again) all doing some of their best work. Only topped by Brooks undeniable masterpiece Young Frankenstein.

My second favourite scene. Kahn is sexy and hilarious burlesquing Dietrich here.



And just because let's not forget Kahn's hilarious ad-lib in Clue.

I recorded all three of these for my nephews over the Thanksgiving weekend. I also avoided watching Young Frankenstein. I haven't seen it a very long time, so I want it to still be fresh next week.
 

urbwar

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Started to watch Occupation: Rainfall, the sequel to Occupation. So far, it's a very different film, as there are multiple alien races living on Earth, and the bad guy aliens are more entrenched on Earth than the first film showed. Not sure how I feel about it yet, as they recast some of the characters
 

hawkeyefan

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It's run by a fellow named Steve Conte. When I was going to the Kubert school, that was our primary comic shop and we would load up in my friend Brian's van and drive over there from Dover once a week, almost every week for two years. I even briefly worked for him doing some organization of back issues in storage. Still have a Shirt from that store and have very fond memories of it.

33507854618_46dc166abd_c.jpg


If you ever go, let me know (Steve wouldn't recognize me by my online name, I'll tell you my name from then in private)

Literally walking distance to my in-laws’ place. Small world.
 

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Watched the two part Batman: the Long Halloween animated movie, with Jensen Ackles as Batman. I think it could have cut most of the parts with the supervillians and concentrated more on the Mafia in Gotham element. There's a good few changes from the comic series, especially in the identity of the Holiday killer and their motivation which is overall "tidier" than the original series, as well as connecting other characters into Falcone more. Overall I quite enjoyed it and preferred it to the comic series plot wise.
 

Ralph Dula

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I finally remembered SyFy’s Day of the Dead cane out, and after watching bits and pieces of various episodes I sat down and watched the first two.



I’m not impressed. They’re making a point of having every main character flawed or with dark secrets, to the point that when one of them started ripping into minor characters (one of a trio of bits with such forced references to politics that I almost stopped watching) that I thought I’d prefer to watch a show about the minor characters than the one talking. The show flip-flops on how to kill zombies, the first episode intriguing me, as having the brain utterly destroyed in one zombie’s case wasn’t enough to stop it, with another also surviving major brain trauma, while in a later episode any blow to the brain stops them. There’s also a sequence straight out of Evil Dead, and zombie behavior that changes as the plot demands.



They seem to be trying to set up multiple ideas on why the dead are rising, not very well. There’s also some unintentionally hilarious bits involving the main potential source of zombification, such as a cop showing up on-scene and knowing without being told exactly where the incident took place, a zombie who apparently only attacks the cop and nobody else, and a great bit of “Kill the woman before she talks to anyone else,” forgetting the whole “could have called people at any time with a cell phone in the hours before” thing.



I’m starting episode three, and one of the characters is holding the idiot ball so hard I’m amazed she hasn’t popped it. It’s like a train wreck I can’t look away from.
 

urbwar

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Still making my way though Occupation: Rainfall. It's definitely not as good as the first film.

Meanwhile, I watched a short film on Tubi called Saiya. It's about a woman with superhuman abilities who was trained by some secret organization to be an assassin as a child. The intro implies their powers came from the "Gods", which is an interesting angle.

She meets a young girl whose father was killed and mother kidnapped, so she decides to rescue her. There's other metahumans, but they're mostly cannon fodder. There's some first person shooter style action, and some good use of combat teleportation. The FX are ok for a low budget film. I kind of hope they do more with this.


After that, I went into a movie called Haphazard (also on tubi). Low budget action film set in SE Asia where a CIA operative (among others) are trying to find something from a satellite that crashed. The movie itself is kind of meh, but the fight scenes aren't bad.

 

TristramEvans

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Watched the two part Batman: the Long Halloween animated movie, with Jensen Ackles as Batman. I think it could have cut most of the parts with the supervillians and concentrated more on the Mafia in Gotham element. There's a good few changes from the comic series, especially in the identity of the Holiday killer and their motivation which is overall "tidier" than the original series, as well as connecting other characters into Falcone more. Overall I quite enjoyed it and preferred it to the comic series plot wise.

The score particularly impressed me, maybe my favourite since Elfman's iconic turn at the batsong
 

Godfather Punk

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... if you like Wes Anderson's quirkly style.
This thread and a suggested clip on YouTube made me realise today that Wes Anderson is a different person from the Resident Evil W.S. Anderson.

Anyway, after being mildly disappointed by WW84, I decided to watch the Linda Carter series and having now seen the pilot... it hasn't aged well.
 

Séadna

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The score particularly impressed me, maybe my favourite since Elfman's iconic turn at the batsong
The part that really surprised me was Batman. Ackles has a voice that sounds like Batman, but also like a voice a human being can actually have. Along with that he's not actually dark/raging/broken/etc or all that stuff they often go for. He's just motivated to fix the city. And he wasn't even prepared for detective work. I found it very refreshing.
 

TristramEvans

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The part that really surprised me was Batman. Ackles has a voice that sounds like Batman, but also like a voice a human being can actually have. Along with that he's not actually dark/raging/broken/etc or all that stuff they often go for. He's just motivated to fix the city. And he wasn't even prepared for detective work. I found it very refreshing.

Yeah, it reminded me very much of the pre-Dark Knight Batman of my youth, where he's more of a , I dunno, "normal Hero" rather than a brooding maniac

Really enjoy the use of Calendar Man in the Hannibal Lector role too. Forget who voiced him, but I really liked the performance
 

Ralph Dula

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I ended up binging all six episodes of Day of the Dead. Terrible throughout, but I have to share I was watching the establishing shots in each episode and thinking “WTF part of PA is this supposed to be? I know it wasn’t shot on location, but this is nothing like any part of PA I know.”

Then there was a mention of the National Guard (a plot hole in itself, as they were waiting on State Police, not the NG, in an earlier episode) and Pittsburgh was mentioned. I thought “OK, I don’t know that part of the state, so maybe this is more accurate than I think.”

I look the show up and find out it’s set where my parents are from, and where I spent a fair portion of my youth.

Yeah……
 

Dammit Viktor

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Watching the series finale of Princess Tutu and man... I have feels. I do not have thoughts, but I have feels.

Glad Bards get resistance to psychic damage in this edition.
 

3rik

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The Clone Wars gets better as the seasons progress. Seasons six and seven are some of the best Star Wars material to ever be released.
We're already enjoying it well enough to keep watching, in spite of the occasional overly silly looking droid and the way some of the characters are drawn.
 

Lofgeornost

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Overall the movie stands up really well with Wilder, Korman and Kahn (again) all doing some of their best work. Only topped by Brooks undeniable masterpiece Young Frankenstein.

My second favourite scene. Kahn is sexy and hilarious burlesquing Dietrich here.
Yeah; I like Young Frankenstein better as a film, but I think Lili von Shtupp is my favorite Madeline Kahn role in a Brooks movie.
 

urbwar

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I started watching Almost Human, the sci-fi police show featuring Karl Urban and Michael Ealy. Saw it was on Tubi, so I started checking it out. 3 episodes in and I'm enjoying it so far
 

Lofgeornost

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I saw another episode of the Nova series "The Universe Revealed," this one on black holes. Despite some great visuals, it was disappointing. I've not read much about black holes since maybe the 1980s, but I didn't find that I learned much, beyond some interesting conclusions from the Chandra X-ray orbital telescope about the activity of the black hole at our galaxy's center.

That actually points to one of the problems with a documentary on this subject. That black hole is (roughly) known as Sagittarius A*, which is pronounced 'sagittarius a-star.' Now, a* is clear enough as a written symbol, but the phrase 'Sagittarius a star' is much less so, especially for a general audience (people like me) unfamiliar with the terminology. Simply hearing the phrase, one could imagine it meant 'Sagittarius A star'--that is, a star named Sagittarius A--or even 'Sagittarius, a star' (i.e. a star named Sagittarius as opposed to the constellation of that name). It would have been much clearer if the spoken version was 'Sagittarius A asterisk.' But that's a minor gripe and you have to take the technical terms as you find them, I suppose.

The real flaw of the episode--the whole series, really--is that it concentrates so much on visuals and 'sense of wonder' that its actual content is too general or not well enough explained. For instance, towards its end, this episode took up the issue of Hawking radiation from black holes and the information paradox. Now, I will freely admit that I do not really understand this paradox--I understand enough to describe it in general terms, but its deeper meaning is far beyond me. But the episode just plopped it in, asking 'what happens to all the information from matter the black hole has absorbed.' This is the first time the series used the term 'information' in this quantum-mechanical technical sense, rather than in its normal English usage. There was absolutely no introduction for it or context to explain what the 'information' was. Admittedly, really explaining it would have required more time than a 50-minute TV episode anyway. But I think the show could have helped its audience reach a duffer's understanding of the problem--basically, the little I have--in a couple of minutes.

Instead, the producers seem to have put their energy into the visuals. The paradox is raised by a senior astrophysicist, but not in a lab or a studio--instead, in a gorgeous ruined church, probably somewhere in the Scottish Highlands. It was lovely, but had bugger all to do with black holes, as far as I could see. She produces a piece of paper with Hawking's equation written on it, strikes a match, and burns it up, all the while discussing the paradox. The episode had previously used the image of the match striking as a sort of segue between different parts of the documentary, along with a few other images.

So, pretty and visually exciting. But I'd have rather had a more staid and informative approach.
 

Séadna

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For instance, towards its end, this episode took up the issue of Hawking radiation from black holes and the information paradox. Now, I will freely admit that I do not really understand this paradox--I understand enough to describe it in general terms, but its deeper meaning is far beyond me. But the episode just plopped it in, asking 'what happens to all the information from matter the black hole has absorbed.' This is the first time the series used the term 'information' in this quantum-mechanical technical sense, rather than in its normal English usage
Not all physicists actually think it is a paradox. Information is also probably not the best word since it has more to do with objectivity than information per se.

In essence quantum mechanics describes the world from the "1st person", giving the probabilities some agent/being will observe this or that, rather than providing an objective 3rd person mechanical description of the world*. This break from 19th century physics, no longer directly describing the world, is the background to this paradox and without it the paradox would make little sense.

Black Hole radiation "contradicts" this to some degree as it seems that some properties of this radiation, such as its intensity, are objectively true and do have a mechanical description. It's only really a problem if one thinks everything has to be fundamentally subjective. Although this is a common opinion in the String Theory community, most physicists believe many systems, for example the objects of everyday life, have an objective description. Hawking himself didn't see it as an issue for example.

*It's stronger than this, one can prove that assuming quantum theory is right no such description exists
 
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Lofgeornost

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Not all physicists actually think it is a paradox. Information is also probably not the best word since it has more to do with objectivity than information per se...
Thanks. Your brief post provided a lot more explanation than the episode did--it said less about the 'paradox' than say the Wikipedia page on the subject.
 

Séadna

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Thanks. Your brief post provided a lot more explanation than the episode did--it said less about the 'paradox' than say the Wikipedia page on the subject.
I had a look at the Wikipedia page. It contains ten errors in its opening paragraph, not to mention a fundamental error in describing the Copenhagen Interpretation. I'm not down on Wikipedia, in loads of areas I've looked at it's great, but its physics articles are very bad. As you mention in your post it says "information" without really explaining what that is.

I think it's very hard for a programme like this to actually convey some topics since all along they're explaining stars and galaxies, but then run into a point where you need quantum theory, but there's no real scope in the programme to explain that massive shift in what physics is.
 

Lofgeornost

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I had a look at the Wikipedia page. It contains ten errors in its opening paragraph, not to mention a fundamental error in describing the Copenhagen Interpretation. I'm not down on Wikipedia, in loads of areas I've looked at it's great, but its physics articles are very bad. As you mention in your post it says "information" without really explaining what that is.
Yeah, that's my feeling about Wikipedia in general. It's good for some things, like information about TV shows, movies, or albums. Its historical articles can be very hit-or-miss, depending on who wrote or revised them. There was a study published in Nature long ago (2005) that claimed Wikipedia was not too much more faulty on scientific topics than general encyclopedias like Britannica. But I don't know how strong entries in such print encyclopedias would be on more difficult topics in physics.

I think it's very hard for a programme like this to actually convey some topics since all along they're explaining stars and galaxies, but then run into a point where you need quantum theory, but there's no real scope in the programme to explain that massive shift in what physics is.
That's no doubt true. The episode did spend some time noting that black holes create problems for understanding because of the differences between classical physics and quantum physics. And maybe that's about all one could do in the time they had available.
 

Baulderstone

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Yeah, that's my feeling about Wikipedia in general. It's good for some things, like information about TV shows, movies, or albums. Its historical articles can be very hit-or-miss, depending on who wrote or revised them. There was a study published in Nature long ago (2005) that claimed Wikipedia was not too much more faulty on scientific topics than general encyclopedias like Britannica. But I don't know how strong entries in such print encyclopedias would be on more difficult topics in physics.
I find Wikipedia works best as a starting point. You can't trust anything it says, but going back the sources it lists can give you more credible information.
 

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I find Wikipedia works best as a starting point. You can't trust anything it says, but going back the sources it lists can give you more credible information.
There's also subjects where it really is excellent. Like if anybody ever wants to learn Ancient Egyptian history whatever community wrote that whole area of the encyclopedia are amazing. It's like hundreds of books and articles cross referenced and digested into readable form. And free.

In my experience it just varies so much because it's really a collection of communities devoted to specific topics, so how good a given topic is depends on the make up of that community.
 
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