This Week in Geek (19-25/07/09)


Getting relatively low on my unread Doctor Who New Adventures, I picked up a few more from eBay. I had up until Conundrum, then First Frontier, so I procured myself the seven books in between. That would be: No Future, Tragedy Day, Legacy, Theatre of War, All-Consuming Fire, Blood Harvest and Strange England.


DVDs: First, I flipped the HBO mini-series John Adams. Like most people, especially living outside the United States, I didn't know much about Adams beyond the fact that he was the second president of the USA. In fact, I knew a lot less about the American Revolution than I thought I did. Flawless performances by Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney and a truly authentic, unromanticized feel to the 18th century made this really special. You'll chuckle along with Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, you'll cry along with the Adams, and you might even want to read David McCullough's book it was adapted from. The extras include a bio piece on McCullough's life, a short but good making of featurette, and a text option with historical facts which are far too infrequent.

On Kung Fu Fridays, watched The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (originally released as Master Killer in the West, ridiculous since the lead character refuses to kill). A brilliant martial arts film that takes its time setting both the world and training of Shaolin, and pays off tremendously in the end. Gordon Liu keeps impressing me - LOVE the three-section staff - as does director Lau Kar-Leung and his policy of not cutting away until you've seen 8 to 16 moves in camera. Crazy. The commentary track by critic Andy Klein and the Wu Tang Clan's RZA is disappointing because it's mostly about appreciation, and less informative than usual. The making of (in Chinese) and interviews are better. Not sure what the live clip of the WTC is doing there though.

Finally, I flipped Attack of the Cybermen, largely because I wanted to make cards from it. If you don't know about this 6th Doctor/Peri adventure, it's no great loss. It's terrible. There are worse stories, but this is the kind that, the more you think about it, the more awful it becomes. (What's the opposite of "growing on you"?) Very badly written with unmotivated reactions, irrelevant characters and tasteless violence, it's at once continuity porn AND gets the continuity completely wrong. Often, the people involved in the production agree with the fanbase and don't mind telling us in commentary tracks and documentaries, and the like. They don't this time, defending Attack from criticism. The DVD also has a bit on Cybermen through the ages and features on a lead cybernetics professor that WILL CREEP YOU OUT.

Hyperion to a Satyr, entries this week include:
Act I Scene 1 according to Zeffirelli
Act I Scene 1 according to the BBC
Act I Scene 1 according to Kline

New Unauthorized Doctor Who CCG cards: 47, covering both Destiny of the Daleks and Attack of the Cybermen. That's what I call a bad Doctor Who marathon!

Someone Else's Post of the Week
One of my friends from my hometown (and fellow Whovian) has started a nice little sarcastic blog that points and laughs at news items every day. It's called Kraft Diner and Limonade (sic). Good luck with it, Joelle. And I don't want an iphone either.


Nizbel said...

8 to 16 moves, that's awesome!I HATE when there's a shaky action scene! Nothing worst than that! Stay on focus damn it!

Siskoid said...

Sometimes, there's a cut after 4 moves, for pacing reasons, but I've counted on that goes past 18!

Mot run between 6 and 12, I'd say.


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