This Week in Geek (30/09-06/10/13)


This week, I got Republic of Doyle Season 4 and How I Met Your Mother Season 8 on DVD, but I'm most excited about the subscribers' early pdf release of Cubicle 7's Third Doctor Sourcebook.


DVDs: A friend recommended Homeland to me, which I'd ignored up to that point fearing it was just another NCIS-type show about the Homeland Security Office or something, and finding out it was "by the producers of 24" did not fill me with interest. I didn't even realize it was a cable show with cursing, nudity and no commercial interruptions. My bad. Season 1 was actually quite engrossing. The series is about a POW coming back from Iraq and the (secretly bipolar) CIA agent who believes him to have been turned by a major league terrorist. Homeland's greatest success as a thriller is to keep ambiguity about the truth of the matter alive for an extended period. It's greatest success as a character drama is how no main character is exactly sympathetic or unsympathetic. There are no real heroes or villains in this world. Very strong acting from Claire Danes, Damian Lewis and Mandy Patinkin, and it somehow makes any of the preposterousness one associates with thrillers quite acceptable. The DVD includes cast and crew commentary on the pilot, a good number of deleted scenes, a making of that goes from concept to execution (with bloopers during the credits), and a short scene that acts as prologue to Season 2.

A few months ago, I got Painted Skin: The Resurrection to play at one of my Kung Fu Fridays, specifically during Halloween Month. Then I realized it was a sequel! Unfortunately, the original Painted Skin seems to currently be out-of-print, with Amazon not even listing high-price alternate sellers for the release. So I broke my cardinal rule and downloaded the film from the Internet. In other words, don't expect any notes about DVD extras. Painted Skin is a supernatural thriller/romance about a fox spirit/demon (Zhou Xun) who eats her lovers' heart to maintain her youth and beauty. She's is adopted into a young lord's family and positions herself as possible concubine, though the lord's wife (soulful Xhao Wei) stands in her way. The plot is complicated further by a lizard demon in love with the fox, the fox really falling for the lord, and demon hunters showing up in town, including master martial artist Donnie Yen. The acting is good, the plot tragic and properly suspenseful. The flaws are on the production side of things. Some of the CG is fairly weak (there isn't a whole lot of it though) and the music is noticeably cheesy (a frequent occurrence in Chinese films). Next week: The Resurrection!

I discussed Doctor Who's Dragonfire at length last week (a good intro for Ace, though not an airtight story), but what about the DVD extras? Well, the usual trapping are there, including production notes, deleted scenes, an isolated score, a photo gallery and a commentary track. The latter is supplied by an entertaining mix of Sophie Aldred (Ace), Edward Peel (Kane), writer Ian Briggs, script editor Andrew Cartmell, composer Dominic Glynn and self-critical director Chris Clough. The making of uses most of these, and has a strong focus on Ace's beginnings. As was done in other releases, comedians analyze the show through a comedic lens, and it's nice to see these aren't all bash-fests, as Dragonfire gets a pretty positive rating. Finally, there's a featurette in which the present day practical effects supervisor looks at clips from old Doctor Who effect sequences and comments. Not uninteresting, but it could have done with one (ONE!) sequence from Dragonfire to tie it to this release.

Hyperion to a Satyr posts this week:
IV.v. Laertes' Return - A Midwinter's Tale

Your Daily Splash Page this week features a splash from every DC title, alphabetically, from Sgt. Rock to Shadowpact.



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