January 25, 2012

Babble On, part 7: "The Parliament of Dreams"

In "The Parliament of Dreams", religious festivals take over the station, Commander Sinclair reconnects with an ex-girlfriend, and Ambassador G'Kar goes on the run from an assassination contract. G'Kar also gets a new ambassadorial aide, Na'Toth (Caitlin Brown). Delenn finally gets one of her own - Lennier (Bill Mumy).

This episode is very much a mixed bag: for every element that works, there's one that doesn't. In the interests of fairness I flipped a coin to see which I would talk about first. Heads came up, so: the positive points, and then the negatives.

January 13, 2012

The runners-up of 2011

While I posted my ten favourite films of 2011 a week or two ago, they were by no means the only films I liked. Here are another 11 films I saw last year that are definitely worth your attention. As with last time, some of these were produced and released overseas in 2010, but were only released here in Australia in January and February 2011.

January 6, 2012

Blog Space Nine, part #1: "The Homecoming" Trilogy

During a post-Christmas sale I managed to pick up a cheap copy of Season 2 of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, which happens to be my favourite Star Trek television series. In the mid-1990s there was one of those ridiculous science fiction fan rifts between fans of DS9 and fans of Babylon 5. It's not entirely unsurprising: both series started at about the same time in 1993 and both were set on space stations filled with various alien cultures and strange visitors. Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski even managed to stir up his end of fandom with continuing accusations that Paramount deliberately created DS9 to take the shine and appeal off his own series. This is not, by the way, an accusation I agree with, but I will openly admit I haven't seen the series outline, bible or proposal for either show. I will say that I always found Straczynski's accusation that Paramount stole his shapeshifter storyline rather odd, as if shapeshifters had never been seen on screen before.

January 5, 2012

Fantastic Voyage (1967)

There's a fantastic logical flaw in Fantastic Voyage that never occured to me the first time I watched it. A team of five are miniaturised in a submarine and injected into the body of a critically ill Russian defector. They have 60 minutes to reach his brain and remove a life-threatening blood clot. At 61 minutes they will return to normal size. It's a relatively silly premise, riddled with scientific inaccuracies and laugh-out-loud errors, but it's written and performed with integrity so it's fairly easy to go with.

The logical error in the film spoils the climax, so I'll put it under a cut for you.

January 4, 2012

Stargate (1994)

Stargate is one of those films that seemed extraordinarily popular at the time, but now seems half-forgotten. In many ways it's now perceived as a sort of prologue to the far more prolific, long-running television franchise that it inspired. It's a curiosity; the sort of film that one views with an air of "oh, this is where it started", and with an odd sense that it's Kurt Russell playing Richard Dean Anderson's part rather than the other way around. This is a pity, because while Stargate is by no means a classic film it remains vastly superior to the rather tepid TV dramas that followed it.

January 1, 2012

2011: 10 Favourite Films

This is not a "year's best" list as such. Rather, this is a "year's favourites". Unless you see close to every film released in a given year, it's almost impossible to gather a list of best films. This list is instead the films I liked the most out of the 2011 films I saw. You may note that several films in this list were produced in 2010, and were released internationally in that year as well. In Australia a lot of these films were released in January and February 2011, hence their appearance here - for Australian viewers they were 2011 films.