Monday, September 26, 2011

Doctor Who Preview, The Wedding of River Song

It could just be Dress Like a Pirate Day...
(clicky the pic to embiggen)

So the Doctor Who fandom is having shouting matches all over the internet (I must say, polite ones) about theories on the Season 6 finale, and some of the theories make sense and others make my Flesh-boot Doctor seem genius.

Take the above photo. many questions are raised, such as:

1.) Why do River, Amy, and Rory all have Madame Kovarian eye-patches? What are the eye-patches for?
eye-patches are cool, that's why.

2.) Why are the Greys (not sure what to call them now since the race isn't really called The Silence or Silents) submerged in a tank of (presumably) water while all the other ones are running around free?

I'm moisturizing AND I'm doing the dishes... at the same time!

3.) What's up with Rory's get up here? Is this like an alternate time-line version of Rory, like the Micky who worked for an alternate universe's Torchwood?

Super-Rory? UNIT Rory? G.I. Rory? Hot Role-Play Rory?

4.) Are you seriously trying to get us to believe that the Doctor doesn't know how to knit already? What's he need anyway, a cozy for his sonic?

OMG They have a Hello Kitty section!

5.) But I think the most exciting is this photo, which really seems to bring it home that the Doctor ain't messin' about this time...

Hmmm. Well I think after the last episode's finale, everybody's pretty much agreeing that the eye-patch thing must be a way to circumvent the effect the Grey Silents have on you. Other footage from the show seems to suggest a splintering of time, with lots of historical events happening at the same time... as if all of history is taking place in the present. Hence the pterodactyl, the future pyramid thingy, the Romans still being around, and it'd even explain (kinda) how Dorium the merchant returns after being decapitated, but I bet they're going to explain that away with something cuter, like his race doesn't keep anything important like a brain in their head.

All in all it looks to be a very curious episode and could be incredibly good or incredibly awful. Just so long as it's not incredibly average.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Doctor Who Review: Closing Time

Closing Time was a pretty good return to form.

Next week, the Doctor travels to Lake Silenci...

...mmm? Yes, I know it's not much of a review, but while the show was good, it wasn't really much of a show was it? It was... good. It's like when I gave up reading Ultimate Spider-Man. It's not that it was bad... it was just more Ultimate Spider-Man. This was more Doctor Who, more of the character of Craig Owens...

he has a profile on biggercity.

Oh okay. So in the previous Craig Owens episode, chubby chasers finger-banged their poop-holes for an hour over James Corden, who portrayed The Lodger mentioned in the title, with his slight fuzz and chubby cheeks and omghessocute... Well. I gotta admit he's a nice looking fellah, but I've never been one to understand getting your panties all bunched up about movie and TV stars. Well in Closing Time, all those fanfic slash people who wrote about Craig and the Doctor hooking up so that one of them could sonic the other right in his TARDIS probably lost control of their bowels during this scene:

their love is so pure. which the Doctor and Craig have instantaneously been transported into the Cybermen's lair only Craig doesn't realize it yet so the Doctor tries to distract him by feigning a sexual and love interest in his friend and asking if he could kiss him and kind of being absolutely dirty about it. I imagine their bladders also emptied when Craig didn't really fight him all that much.

Personally, the thought of snogging Matt Smith kind of makes me gag, but whatever, I've had worse I guess.

their crotches are really close there.

So they beat the Cybermen and the Doctor gives Craig and his annoying girlfriend (who are NOT married and have a baby, living in SIN) a new living room suite as a goodbye gift.

And then we get to the really good part of the show: one word... spoilers.

River Song, i.e. Melody Pond, Amy's daughter. We did see her parents in this ep, as the Doctor hid from them as Amy signed an autograph for a small fan. Why is she famous? She's the model for a line of perfume, for the woman who's tired of waiting. Cute. Anyway, River's just received her doctorate in (presumably) archaeology, when Madame Kovarian (sp? who the fuck cares) pays a visit. And is it just me, or does Madame Kovarian look like Captain Kathryn Janeway from Star Trek: Voyager?

separated at birth?

Anyway, my thoughts that maybe it was really Future Amy from the Girl Who Waited ep who was really in the astronaut suit was shot out of the sky, as MK and the greys (I guess we can't really call them the Silents or the Silence anymore) put River in it to set up the next episode.

BUT. I still have a theory. It's not really the Doctor who gets killed.

WELL... it is, but it's not. It's a Flesh doppleganger.

I know, I know... this is not a new theory. But what is new about it is how the Doctor-ganger survived his fate. I know plenty of fans think it's this fake doctor from the Rebel Flesh two- parter earlier in the season:

bowties are cool.

So we all think that the Doctor Two (I think that's cuter than Doctor-ganger) sacrifices himself at Lake Silencio so the real Doctor can live. But why? And how did the Flesh Dr. get there when we saw him discombobulate? And where is the Doctor's TARDIS in the first ep? And why was he driving an Edsel? Here, dear Dr. Who fans, are the answers to all of those questions.

1.) The Edsel is the TARDIS. The Doctor fixed the chameleon circuit for just this adventure. After all, a police box was a very British thing... if he was going to "die" in America, he'd need an American icon, and the Edsel is as good as any other transport... distinctly American, a thing out of time. And pretty fucking good looking too.

2.) Why does Doctor Two sacrifice himself? Because of two reasons. A.) the Doctor would, for him, in his place, but B.) because the universe needs to believe the Doctor is dead. So his huge legend dies with him and he is no longer a being who can stop a fleet of attacking invaders with a little speakerphone like he did at Stonehenge with the Pandorica.

3.) How did the Flesh Doctor survive? His shoes.

Remember, they changed shoes so they could fuck with Amy Pond and figure out more about The Flesh and her signal to it. They never changed back, did they? And those shoes the real Doctor were wearing were part of Doctor Two, and each cell of the Flesh contained his whole structure and stuff... you know, like stem cells. That one captain of the humans in The Rebel Flesh said that the Flesh can grow, it's cells can divide. The Doctor kept the shoes, put them in a safe place in the TARDIS, and regrew Doctor Two.


Anyway, we'll all find out next week when The Wedding of River Song airs... I'll hopefully be watching it from Missouri with Dale.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Monday, September 19, 2011

Doctor Who Review: The God Complex

The God Complex. Considering what happens at the end of the episode, this one was really, really disappointing.

The problem really isn't the episode in and of itself. It's a perfectly fine but mediocre episode. There's nothing wrong with mediocre episodes. They have to happen eventually, even in a show that's been hitting it out of the park as much as Doctor Who has. The problem is that a very, very seemingly important thing happens at the end of the episode, and given the story arc we're in, it really changes everything about the show... and you wind up not caring nearly as much as you should.

Let's just recap what's going on. There's this guy:

On the DVD edition, George Lucas is going to dub in the minotaur screaming "NOOOOOOO..."

He's a minotaur, kinda. Later we find out he's very old, way older than the Doctor. He's been in his Labyrinth a long time, his "labyrinth" being a kind of holodeck version of an 80's American hotel with a seemingly infinite amount of rooms, each one containing somebody's personal scariest fear, such as:

Yes, some people shit themselves over clowns. I can understand that. I personally never was bothered by clowns, until working for a cluster of radio stations in Dallas. We'd changed formats of one of the stations to a Regional Mexican music channel, which meant to celebrate, we had an authentic (right) Mariachi band wandering the halls of the station playing La Cucaracha or some such stuff as loud as they could, and also wandering... or rather, stumbling... along behind them was a drunken Mexican clown.

Seriously, I could smell the tequila on him when I got off the elevator. They joined the mid-day guy in the on-air studio (which was adjacent to mine... they shared a window between them), and he did absolutely nothing but stand there, swaying and half-asleep, seemingly only kept on his feet by his handful of helium balloons.

Anyway, so each room is filled with a personalized horror for a future or current guest. Long story short, the Doctor finds other guests, hey what, I'll rescue you, bally ho the TARDIS has gone missing, oh did we mention the corridors change and you can't find an exit, and soon everybody starts dying.

This is me watching the episode.

After one particularly frustrating death for the Doctor, a Muslim nurse/medical student/something (I've not watched the episode twice so I can't remember) who was potential Companion material, the Doctor realizes that the creature isn't feeding on fear, it's feeding on faith, oh dear, Amy has too much faith in the doctor so she falls under the creature's spell, which is eventually broken when the Doctor admits he's not all that and a plate of chips after all, boom the monster is dying, everybody goes home.

Including Rory and Amy. Seems the good Doctor is scared that Amy might die during one of his adventures and he's eager to shove her and her husband out the door so they can get on with their life together. As a going away present he seemingly has acquired a blue flat for them (with TARDIS-blue door even) and a red Jaguar for Rory, which he eagerly accepts. He explains himself to Amy and then takes off, alone.

First off... really? NOW? This is the adventure that makes him say, "Whoa, I better stop while they're still alive!" NOT losing Amy in an alternate time stream and then having to kill her future self? Not fucking up their chance at parenthood by losing their baby so that they grow up together instead of raise her? Not Amy being held prisoner for HOW long while PREGNANT and replaced by a replicate? He kicks them out after this one and they don't get all up in his grill about it?

And the whole Amy's stolen baby storyline isn't even resolved yet. Really? That's how they want to end it?

We know they'll at least be back in the final episode, to answer the question about who shoots the Doctor at Lake Silencio (I still think Amy does... maybe even Future Amy... we never really saw her die, after all). But even if they are back in the TARDIS after next week's comedy relief return of Craig Owen (the lodger from the episode The Lodger), I still think it was a weak point to kick them out.

Mediocore episode. Big ending whose emotional impact was kind of quelled by it. Too bad.

Next week:

Closing Time!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Right, stop that, this is all too silly...

I know what you're thinking. I'm such a big fan of John Cleese, he must be my favorite Monty Python member. I love A Fish Called Wanda as well as Fierce Creatures and even Clockwise is in my collection, never mind the Fawlty Towers box set I bought the day it was released, I must love John Cleese above all others.

I'd be lying if I said John Cleese wasn't one of the funniest minds on the planet. He is. Trained to be a lawyer, I believe, which helped him with delivering lines properly when he joined Footlights and met Graham Chapman, his brief writing partner for the duration of the Monty Python TV show. But no. While John Cleese is one of my favorites, the one who always made me laugh the most was the late Graham Chapman.

From his autobiography, which I was lucky enough to find on bittorrent recently in audio form (oh yes, I know I can get it on Audible and pay for it, but if they insist on giving me a lower bitrate just because it's spoken word, they can fuck right off):

Graham - The Homosexual by tabkendouglas

I don't care if it's Eric Idle's joke there, the way Graham recounts it is hysterical. And every time I hear it I still laugh out loud. Even recounting one of his first meetings with then-drummer for The Who, the now-late Keith Moon, is pretty funny:

Graham and keith by tabkendouglas

The thing is, the autobiography isn't that funny... it deals with Graham's battle with alcoholism, and it's actually kind of one of the things that convinced me there is a big difference between an alcoholic and a drunk. Chapman's descriptions of what he went through during withdrawal, at times funny (like in the beginning, when common furniture seems to be attempting to punch him as he tries to do simple things like making it down the staircase), wind up being more sad than funny very early on. And of course there's the whole story of his coming to terms with his sexuality, which is surprisingly unfunny and stark. He pretty much said to himself, "Fuck all them if they can't deal with it, I'm not going to live a lie anymore." You have to applaud that, if you can't laugh at it.

In the end, though, he inspired as much comedy as he created. In fact, one of the funniest pieces from John Cleese was a eulogy he gave for Chapman himself... I can't tell you how many times I've watched this, and how many times I've known Chapman himself would have nodded with approval at it, puffing on his pipe to make people think he was brighter than he was. (He was extremely bright too... a licensed doctor, you know.)

From time to time I wonder what would have become of him if he'd lived as old as the other Pythons.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Doctor Who Review: The Girl Who Waited

Well, Doctor Who tried really hard this week to make me cry again, but it fell just short of the mark.

"The Girl Who Waited" is another rehash... much like "Night Terrors" was a sort-of rehash of "Fear Her" from the Tennant era, "Waited" could be seen as a reworking of "The Girl In The Fireplace."

Look, I like Jim Steinman. So even when it's an obvious rehash, I can't get upset, so long as it's not just a blatant rip-off. And this one didn't feel like it. It deals with two time streams running at two different speeds, much like the ones in "Fireplace." Amy is trapped in a hospital in a room that compresses time, causing her to live out her life in a day, a facility which was built for people who contract a heinous virus that kills them in a day. The Doctor and Amy's husband, Rory, are in another time stream, this one running at normal universal time, but they can communicate with Amy through a type of magnifying glass... one side shows one time stream to the other.

Basically the upshot is the Doctor locks onto Amy's timestream but things go all wobbly and pear-shaped, and they wind up thirty-six years into their Amy's future when they finally arrive to rescue her.

Amy lives in the Two Streams facility all this time, learning how to hack the computers, the robots that want to give her a "kindness" (euthanize her), and she basically becomes a badass warrior by the time Rory and the good Doctor show up. And she is NOT happy.

Even if this ep didn't get weepy towards the end, it would have been one of the most emotionally charged episodes of recent memory. Amy's anger at the Doctor is tangible, and when she interacts with her past self, her love for Rory seems real as well. Karen Gillian gives an incredible performance as young Amy and old Amy, both with radically different worldviews of their best friend and their true love.

At the end, the Doctor has said that he can save both Amy's (Amies?) but in truth he can't. The TARDIS starts to lose its shit as they both get closer... the paradox can't be sustained. Rory is able to carry young Amy, his Amy, into the TARDIS, but as he tends to his unconscious wife... the Doctor shuts the door in the face of old Amy.

That, dude, was cold.

And THEN he tells Rory, who is adamant that they can save both versions of his wife, that he needs to decide himself which one to save. And here come the hankies. The tender moment they share is heartbreaking, as future Amy says her goodbye, so that Rory's Amy can have all the days of Stupid-Face that she never had. It's a tragic moment. And punctuated as the Doctor callously walks off in silence to let Rory tell his wife that he killed her future self.

Frankly I'm starting to wonder why Rory and Amy are still with the Doctor. He's always being a bit of a cunt donkey.

But it was a wonderful episode. Next week?

Oh I WISH it was another Weeping Angels ep. We'll see how much of a role they play this Saturday night in "The God Complex."

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Texas Chainsaw Masscara

Yes, that's Leatherface. In drag. Leatherface, the transvestite. Leatherface, the big screaming girly femme transvestite. The tagline for this hot mess was "If looks could kill, he wouldn't need the chainsaw." Sometime in the early to mid-nineties, some movie execs looked over their pile of franchises and decided that The Texas Chainsaw Massacre needed a third sequel.

"How are we gonna make Leatherface scarier? Kids today are used to hack and slash."

"How about we make him a nelly, fruity crossdresser who screams all the time like a monkey being raped?"

"Awesome. Green-light."

"Shouldn't we write a script first?"

"You're fired."

My brother saw this one night on Chiller, watched about three minutes of it and was bored. I can't blame him. Most of the beginning of this horror show (and I say "horror" in the saddest sense) is about bored teens out on prom night walking through spooky woods. So he turned it off. Then he was curious about it and looked it up online, and holy shit what a clusterfuck of a movie. We got it from Netflix and watched it together.

It's so awful. But it has some good points. For example, if you hate Renee Zellwegger as much as most people do, you get to see her smacked around, electric cattle-prodded, punched, and tied up and thrown in the trunk of a car while stuffed in a garbage bag. It's almost worth it at that point. And if you ever wondered what all that jazz about Matthew McConaughey yelling at the sky in Texas and acting crazy naked banging bongos on his porch with a stoned out friend of his, you can easily imagine it after seeing his performance in this, as the patriarch of the homicidal family of maniacs. He hoots, he hollers, he punches women. Oh, and he has a bionic leg.

No, they don't explain that.

Anyway, you don't even need to watch most of this movie. Just put it in and fast forward to til you see this:

Yes, that's Leatherface (or as my brother calls him now, Purdyface) wearing a woman's skin and putting on lipstick. Oh, and you should see the pretty blouse he puts on. To be honest, he kinda looks like he's dressing up to go to a Halloween party as Julia Sugarbaker. Oooh! Maybe he'll do the "night the lights went out in Georgia" speech!

I should mention that there's actually precedent for having the killer play Pretty Pretty Princess like this... after all, the original movie was inspired by the story of Ed Gein, the Wisconsin murderer and body thief. Besides making a woman-suit out of corpses, presumably for a fancy-dress ball, he had a shoebox with nine pussies in it. I think the guy might have potentially been a tranny.

From this point on, the film is still a mess, but at least you can make fun of it... we literally had nothing to work with up til that point.

The coup de grace came at the end, though, when McConaughey's character dies after being buzzed by a random passing prop plane (and no explanation is given for that, either) and Purdyface absolutely loses his/her shit, swinging the chainsaw around in circles and screeching like Fran Drescher on a bad acid trip. My brother made the above LOLcap from the movie, as well as the one below, for my birthday:

Wasn't that sweet?

Oh by the way, despite the title... well, let's hope Purdyface's looks CAN kill... because nobody dies via chainsaw in the movie. The end.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Flying the Coop

Okay. Look at that album cover. Is it any wonder I was nervous about this album? It looks like somebody tried to update the classic, wonderful cover to Welcome to my Nightmare with a bad Photoshop job and Heinz Ketchup. So seeing this a month ago didn't exactly stoke my fires. Neither did having Bob Ezrin (who produced the original WTMN) do much... after all, didn't he produce Brutal Planet? Not a bad album, but just not Alice. Or, not the Alice I like.

I have to say, after listening to the album, I'm satisfied. It's half-awesome. Even when it falters, like the ballad (all AC albums have to have a ballad, you know), it's not horrible. And when it shines it's more earworm than those slugs they stuck in Chekov's ear in The Wrath of Khan.

Welcome 2 My Nightmare starts off in a very worrying manner, with the piano riff from Steven, one of Alice's seminal classics. Will this simply be a rehash, Jim Steinman style? No, soon it deviates from the original. In a way it reminded me of that one ST:TNG ep where Captain Picard fell for some piano-playing astrophysicist, and she came buy to jam with him and her roll-up keyboard, and they played with the melody of whatever that classic song was, too lazy to look up all the details right now. It's interesting, and forgiveable, as it's a link to the original album... and then Alice Cooper starts singing.

And he's auto-tuned.

Yes, the song I Am Made of You has Alice auto-tuned. Like Cher's Believe. Alice. Cooper. Auto-tuned.

And it works.

It's a very powerful song, and I just realized that it's pretty much Alice talking blatantly and forthright about being a Christian and what it's meant to him all these years. I guess all the years of the spam email chains of "Praise Jeebus, Alice Cooper is saved!" finally got to him. You know, I'm an atheist, but if Alice's Christianity can make a song this powerful and good, I don't mind one bit.

Besides, if anybody needed help singing, it's Alice. I mean, come on!

The next song, Caffeine, at first listen, was irritating as fuck. But on subsequent listens, it becomes... well, this album's frenetic Under My Wheels track. Pretty good, really.

Next is a revisit to Steven with The Nightmare Returns... you could say that Alice ran out of speed to stay awake, and finally he fell asleep in his Steven personna... and it revisits that motif and builds on it. While I didn't like this when I heard it by itself, on the premiere special for radio stations, I liked it on the album as a whole.

Next is probably this album's Some Folks... a Tom Waits sounding song, The Last Man on Earth. To be honest, it reminds me of the Heat Miser/Snow Miser songs from the Rankin/Bass animated special, The Year Without a Santa Claus. It's pretty awesome.

The rest of the album? I still need to listen to. The song Disco Bloodbath Boogie Fever, which includes Alice's attempt at (cough) rap music, was at first a real horror show. But now, it's kind of effing catchy. I've listened to it a few times. But I'm not sure I'd wanna see it live.

The album ends with an instrumental mashup of riffs from both the original WTMN and W2MN. An interesting piece, but only after you're familiar with the new album.

All in all... not as good as The Eyes of Alice Cooper. But still pretty damn good.