Saturday, 21 June 2008


Doctor Who [new]
4x11 Turn Left
See here for my thoughts on this story.


CutThroat Island (1995)
[2nd watch]
I first (and last, to my memory) saw CutThroat Island on its original release in 1995, in a cinema that we don't go anywhere near now -- because it's absolutely miles away! Goodness knows why we even went there then, but I suspect it was the only place still showing the film and, at that time, I would still have been obsessed with Lego Pirates and Monkey Island (in many ways I still am) and therefore desperate to see any new cool-looking piratey film. Back then I thought it was utterly brilliant, of course; 13 years on and it's clear that, spectacular action sequences aside, most of the film's production values (script, acting, direction, make-up, design...) are at cheap US TV movie levels. It's not all a loss though, as there's still fun to be had -- mainly, it's a joy to see real stunts done by real people in real situations, considering that a modern film's idea of a "real stunt" is having a real person doing something in front of a green screen. Some times, the old days really were better.


The Art of Hellboy by Mike Mignola
Introduction by Scott Allie
Pages 9-101
Pancakes (original art)
Pages 104 & 105
The Vârcolac (Dark Horse Extra version)

Devil May Care by Sebastian Faulks writing as Ian Fleming
Chapter 20 [the end]
In Paris, Bond's mission seems to be over... until Gorner catches up with him! It'll be no surprise who wins, of course, and, like his henchman, Gorner receives a nicely brutal death, with a distinctly filmic final touch. And finally, the truth about Scarlett is revealed...

Doctor Who - Decide Your Destiny: Second Skin by Richard Dungworth
See here for my thoughts on this book.

"Doctor Who - Decide Your Destiny: Second Skin" by Richard Dungworth

Thus far, Richard Dungworth has proved to be easily the best author in the Decide Your Destiny series, so you could almost say I'm looking forward to this, his third (and, to date, final) book for the series. In Second Skin, "you find yourself on a twenty-third century space station, [where] you soon realise a dangerous alien parasite has taken over most of the people on-board. Can you and the Doctor destroy it before it reaches Earth?" Ooh, tense.

Dungworth doesn't disappoint (ooh, alliterative). Once again, his book is filled with genuine and appropriate choices. There's a real feeling that what you choose to do has an effect on what happens and which story you see, and a quick scan over the course different options offer seems to confirm this is true -- no "choose door A or door B" actually leading to the same room here! All this in spite of only having 94 segments (down from the usual 100+) and four endings. As for the plot, it's a Who-like story of a technology company gone wrong, and an alien parasite turning ordinary people bad -- cue saving them without killing anyone. The first half was mostly running around escaping these half-humans, but that may well have been the choices I made as much as anything -- several times a choice I didn't take would've led to meeting the only pure human on the station, so perhaps the running would've been over sooner if I'd gone that way.

One thing I did stumble across, which I've not had before in this series, was a point where neither choice offered seemed to make any sense; the segments they pointed to didn't flow from the one I'd just read. Obviously there are a number of possible explanations -- it could be a formatting error, or a typo, so that they're pointing to the wrong pages; or it could just be an awkward jump in events, which really shouldn't exist (especially with just 94 segments, there's room to spare for duplicates with a sentence that explains the jump). It's a somewhat irritating error, if you hit that segment, because the sudden incoherence occupies your mind and takes you out of the story. As it's Dungworth, I'll give it the benefit of the doubt and assume it's some sort of accident rather than poor writing.

Second Skin isn't my favourite entry -- to be honest, it's going to take a lot to top the battle at the end of Alien Arena -- but it plays well and has a decent story. Certainly one of the series' better books.

Days til New York...


On July 12th I'm going off to New York for about five weeks. While the blog will still be updated, expect the odd gap while I'm travelling (and possibly while away too). As I won't have access to most/all of things like my DVD collection, I intend to finish many ongoing 'tasks' by then, such as watching season one of Babylon 5. This daily countdown is an aid to both you and me in seeing how long there is to go...