Thursday, April 26, 2007

Meet the Robinsons

Saw this a couple of days ago, in the 3-D version. And the animation and 3-D effects were absolutely great.

Unfortunately, the story didn't do the effects justice. I visited the IMDB and was quite surprised to see it rated as highly as it was - over 6.5. Not that I place any credence on quality as judged by what IMDB users think - judging by their message boards they're bombarded by pre-teens who like to put each other down...

Anyway, Lewis is a young boy, aged 13, who was abandoned by his mother on the steps of an orphanage when he was just a baby. He makes disasterous inventions which succeed in ruining any chance of getting adopted, and he's inventing at all hours of the day and night which prevent his roommate Goober from getting any sleep.

Lewis decides to invent a device which will recall his memory of 13 years ago, so that he can remember what his mother looks like and find her. He invents the device...and then Bowler Hat Guy - a black clad villain who looks like Snidely Whiplash and acts like Jim Carrey's Riddler - comes on the scene and sabotages the machine so that he can still it, and make a fortune.

Lewis runs away from this latest debacle, up to his roof top hideaway, where he is accosted by a boy (Wilbur) who says he's from the future. They have to save the world from the Bowler Hat Guy.

Lewis gets on board the other boy's time machine and travels into an Utopian future...which all of a sudden turns into a distopian one...

The first 15 minutes of the movie are mind-numbingly slow, as the premise is hammered down - Lewis is always looking back, wanting to find his mother, instead of looking forward, to new parents, new events, etc. Just as I was getting sick of his whining and wishing he'd just get over it, the 'adventure' part of the story begins...and its not until the end of the movie that the moral, to indeed 'get over it and go forward' is brought home.

There's quite a bit of filler that got on my nerves, even though as set pieces they were all right - singing frogs, a search for the garage that takes entirely too much time and is supposed to be funny but in no way is...and a vicious Tyrannosaurus Rex that can't capture Lewis because it has a big head and teeny tiny arms. (Yes that is a very funny scene. And then there's a bowler hat with many spidery steel legs, looking like a creature out of a ninth Doctor Who episode.

If you want to see it - see it in 3D. You get to keep the pair of cool glasses that they hand out for the film.

With A Whimper to the Grave

starting on bBC Radio 7 on Thursday, April 26.

Episode 1 of 3.
Aliens threaten the Earth, and 'Sixth Sensers' are getting involved. But the British Government has a cunning plan.

Episode 2 of 3.
Tom is trapped amongst the Aliens and the Government is keen to keep him there, but Sally finds an ally at the MoD.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Silent Scream

Sequel to Before the Screaming Starts, Wally K Daly

Episode 1 of 3.
Three weeks until Armageddon, and Earth is preparing for an alien intervention.

Episode 2 of 3.
The threat of alien invasion moves ever closer.

Episode 3 of 3.
Will the aliens succeed in their plans to dominate Earth?

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Trouble With Lichen

A sci fi serial by John Wyndham... I can't believe I haven't been recording it here.

Well, you've missed 4 of 5 installments.

The secret of long life has been uncovered but, due to Francis' reticence, Diana must face the intense media pressure alone. Episode 5 of 5.

Basically, scientists discover how to extend life using an extract from a certain lichen... but there's not enough to go around...

Shambleau complete

Begins on BBC 7 on Saturday, April 21, 2007

A sci-fi thriller by American author CL Moore. A space bounty hunter lives to regret rescuing a young woman from attack. Episode 1 of 3.

CL Moore's space thriller on Mars continues. Northwest Smith discovers the secret power of the alien women he rescued. Episode 2 of 3.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Press Release: Recon 2022

Just got this press release in my email, and thought I'd share it here before working it up on The Thunder Child. Too bad it's taking place in England!

World Premiere of RECON 2022 at Sci-Fi London Film Festival

MONTREAL, CANADA, April 17, 2007 – Movie Seals Productions is delighted to announce that their latest sci-fi/action film RECON 2022: The Mezzo Incident, the sequel to the award winning RECON 2020 : the Caprini Massacre, will have its World Premiere at the renowned Sci-Fi London Festival in England on May 5th, 2007.

Directed by Christian Viel ( Evil Breed : the Legend of Samhain, Recon 2020, Deaden), the film stars Anderson Bradshaw (Gothika), Heidi Hawkins (Evil Breed), Deke Richards (Deaden), Carmen Echeverria (Undressed), with special appearances by Berge Garabedian (aka JoBlo) of fame, John Fallon (aka Arrrow in the Head ) and scream queen Suzi Lorraine.

From a screenplay written by Christian Viel, John Fallon and William Alexander, the action packed story picks up two years after the events of the first film, and introduces a new cast of characters as well as bringing back familiar ones. After the gruesome events on Caprini, Sharp (Anderson Bradshaw) and his elite team of toughand witty space Marines must now head out to the icy planet Mezzo to investigate further Ma’har activities. What they will encounter will defy their imaginations as they tackle giant man eating snow worms, an underground city of Cyborgs, a slew of murderous alien entities and maybe, finally, the ever elusive Ma’hars.

Director Christian Viel and actor Anderson Bradshaw will be attending the premiere held on Saturday, May 5th, at 9:30 PM at the Apollo West End Theatre and stay for a Q&A following the movie.

The same day, in the morning, Christian Viel has been invited as a guest speaker for the Sci-Fi Film School alongside with fellow low budget indie filmmaker Neil Oseman to discuss the tricks of the trade with attendees. This presentation will be followed by a special screening of RECON 2022.


Sci-Fi London is the UK’s only dedicated SF and Fantastic film festival, will run its 6th edition May 2-6, 2007 at the Apollo West End, London. As usual, it has an eclectic mix of movies and events including four world premieres. Alongside the festival Cine-Express: the first London Cult Film Conference will take place. About 50 international cult film specialists, critics, plus practitioners from the movie industry take part in the program.

Recon 2022 Official website:

Movie Seals Productions website:

Sci-Fi London 2007 program:

Festival description of the film:

Film School:

Before the Screaming Begins

BBC Radio 7 starts Wednesday

Episode 1 of 3.
Sci-fi thriller by Wally K Daly. Tom Harris' wedding anniversary takes a dramatic turn when he's abducted by aliens.

Episode 2 of 3.
Wally K Daly's sci-fi thriller about what happens when people return after disappearing into a flying saucer.

Episode 3 of 3.
Wally K Daly's sci-fi thriller about what happens when people return after disappearing into a flying saucer.

The Kraken Wakes by John Wyndham

Stephen Moore reads this book in 15 parts, starting (repeated) today at BBC Radio 7.

The story is quite good, but I must say I don't care for Stephen Moore's reading style. He doesn't do a good job with different character's voices, they all sound the same. .... although when the ship was trying to outrun the ABomb explosion in Chapter 7, he did get quite an amount of urgency into his voice that worked well.

Episode 1 of 16.
Stephen Moore reads John Wyndham's second novel. On their honeymoon cruise, Mike and Phyllis witness a strange phenomenon.

Episode 2 of 16.
The authories send down a probe to examine what might lie at the bottom of the sea. They get far more than they expected.

Episode 3 of 16.
The authorities are baffled when ships from three different countries disappear without trace.

Episode 4 of 16.
Two more atomic bombs are sent down into the deep but they fail to go off. Then the sea changes colour.

Episode 5 of 16.
Mike and Phyllis travel to their cottage in Cornwall, where they hear some disturbing news.

Episode 6 of 16.
Mike and Phyllis have friends to stay at the cottage, and realise the extent of disbelief at recent events.

Episode 7 of 16.
As hysteria subsides a little, a more concerted effort is mounted to counter the threat from beneath the waves.

Episode 8 of 16.
A bizarre occurrence on a Brazilian island sparks Mike and Phyllis' interest.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Tragedy at Virginia Tech

A troubled (mentally ill) Korean-American student, Cho Seung-Hui, killed 33 innocent people yesterday, including himself, on the campus of Virginia Tech.

I just walked past someone listening to Rush Limbaugh a few minutes ago, and Limbaugh was urging everyone to just turn off their TVs for the next couple of days. He does this periodically - telling people to depend on him for news, because the "drive-by media" has their own agenda. (In this case, gun control).

And, in essence, he does have a point. I don't watch TV anyway, but on my computer my Google headlines kept changing, first 1 person killed, then 22, then 33...I just couldn't believe it.

Since I didn't watch the news I can't say for sure what was going on, but based on what happened when OJ Simpson went on his little jaunt in his SUV, the media were all over the campus... speculating on everything and making it sound like news even though it really wasn't.

Well, in this day and age that's what they have to do. There's no longer sitting around waiting until all the facts have been gathered - no, it's instantaneous "news" people want, and the truth suffers for it. I'd like newspeople to go back to reporting news, not going out and making it.

The news outlets on the net have been sharing the bios of some of the people killed... terrible losses, all of them. They made a point of saying Seung-Hui was a legal resident - and had been for 13 years. This is a good thing as normally whenever an illegal alien kills someone there's always people who say, "See, if we didn't let all these illegals in, this innocent person wouldnt' have been killed," conveniently forgetting that most people killed in the US are US born and bred, and wives killed by husbands or vice versa...

(Which is not to say that I don't think illegals should not be kicked out of this country. They should. Come in legally! Learn our language and customs. Blame must go to American businesses who have subsidized the process, however, and our government which has looked the other way.)

Anyway, now comes the issue of gun control. My own feeling is that if one of those other people had had a gun the rampage could have ground to a halt real quick...

My final statement is a plea... if you're getting to the end of your rope and feel like you have to end it all...please please please do some research and take some KNOWN drug dealers or rapists or murderers with you, not innocent people who just happened to be in your way as you're walking by.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Peter Cook and Dudley Moore had a tv series many years ago, and did a 7 and a half minute spoof of the Thunderbirds, where they portrayed all the characters as if they were marionettes. It's hilarious.

Paradise Lost in Cyberspace - Complete

Begins on BBC Radio 7 on Tuesday, April 11, 2007 (Repeat from a few years ago.)

Paradise Lost in Cyberspace

Episode 1 of 6.
The future - everyone lives happily until they're 70. But due to a clerical error, George Smith is scheduled to die at 69.

Episode 2 of 6.
Lucky old George Smith. It's not everyone who has their own compulsory death broadcast on national television.

Episode 3 of 6.
Has George really escaped, or will his visit to Mrs Cookson return to haunt him?

Episode 4 of 6.
Armed with a new face, an array of OAP gadgets and help from Mrs Cookson and Andrea, George locates Big Jeremy in Central Admin.

Episode 5 of 6.
Now a fully fledged OAP, George goes on a mission with Andrea Sunbeam and Mrs Cookson. It does not go according to plan.

Episode 6 of 6.
The future of the OAPs and indeed the whole of civilisation hangs in the balance.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

School discipline: Spanking, clothespins, or handcuffs?

Was listening on the radio today when some talkshow host mentioned that a 13-year old girl had been arrested, *handcuff* and taken to the police station for 3 hours because she wrote the word "ok" on her school desk.

And I'm thinking to myself, if I'd done that when I was a kid, I would have been spanked.

But oh, no, spanking is physical abuse and damages the psyche.

I wonder what being arrested by police officers, handcuffed, and taken out of your school in front of all your peers does to your psyche. Especially when you'e 13 years old. I'd be willing to bet this girl never trusts the police again - assuming she ever did. And never trusts her teachers. And will be razzed unmercifully by her schoolmates... probably drop out of school and turn to drugs, all because "spanking" is bad for kids.

Journey Into Space: The World in Peril complete

Just begun on Saturday at BBC Radio 7...which means its going to take 20 weeks to finish this entry!!

Journey into Space
The World in Peril:

Episode 1 of 20.
Jet and the crew get back to Earth, only to find their problems just beginning. Classic sci-fi from Charles Chilton.

Episode 2 of 20.
World in Peril: Jet and Lemmy take a look at the asteroids around Earth. But as they get closer, a strange sound is heard.

Episode 3 of 20
Jet and his crew get on the trail of the alien visitors.

Episode 4 of 20.
The World in Peril: After an attempt on their lives, Jet and the crew race against time to get back to Mars.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Nancy Pelosi

Okay, I suppose since its Easter break...or spring break... politicians are off on one of their many, many paid vacations this year...

Nevertheless what the heck is Nancy Pelosi doing in Syria? When the President specifically asked her not to go? Talk about undermining the country and showing weakness to enemies...seems to me if the President doesn't send a politician somewhere - that politician doesn't go! Who is paying for that trip? Pelosi, or we the tax payers?

American politicians should stay in America. Ambassadors - and presidents - are the only ones who should do any travelling. And wait til your own party's president is in power, instead of going around undermining what your president is trying to do.

Not that I think Bush hasn't made dreadful mistakes in Iraq...but the Dems are only going to make it worse by pulling us out....we're in a lose/lose situation either way and yes the blame for that does lie with Bush...

Back to sci fi... Paradise Lost in Space (from BBC 7) is really good, bittersweet comedy...

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Damn pointy-headed people

For about six months, or even longer, I've had links to my Lady Vols basketball site on Wikipedia page for Pat Summitt. Over the past 3 days I've gotten over 3,000 hits from that page! Well, it's all over now, as some officious twerp went in and removed the link. All that's left now are two links to official sites. So I guess fan sites aren't worthy of being listed on Wikipedia, that fine collection of truthful and trustworthy material...

And I had my own entry for The Thunder Child, a professionally published webzine, also for several months, and some officious twerp has decided to remove that as well! Irks me no end.

It's a pity Wikipedia is so popular - the page on Pat Summitt, for example, has practically nothing on it - which is why people went to my site to learn all about her. Should I put my biography of her on Wikipedia? I don't think so! So Wikipedia has deprived thousands more people the opportunity to learn about Pat Summitt, one of the greatest coaches of college basketball ever!

For those who'd like to check it out:

Biography of Pat Summit
Lady Vols: The WCBB Standard Bearers

Lady Vols win record 7th title

The Lady Vols beat Rutgers relatively easily last night, bringing Pat Summitt her 7th championship in her 33 year career. It had been 9 years since her team last one, back when Chamique Holdsclaw was on the team, and they won three in a row. Candace Parker said she's coming back for another year - so there's a possibility that they might be able to repeat...and if Parker stays around it might be possible for a three-peat!

I watched the entire game. It started out slow and ugly, as no one could get the ball to go into the basket, but the Lady Vols set the tone early because they kept getting all the rebounds. And their rebounding superiority continued throughout the game.

I noticed on two occasions - but only two - that the refs let the Vols 'star' get away with something. She got 2 pts on what should have been an offensive foul, and Shannon Bobbitt ran over someone and the other girl was called for the foul. But overall it seemed like a cleanly called game (although the TV coverage never once showed a replay of *any* of the fouls so that watchers from home could see it in slow mo...)

Rutgers did seem to give up with 2 minutes to go, down 8. They should have played trapping defense, trying to force turnovers, but instead they just hung back and played regular defense. The announcers were puzzled about it, and I admit so was I. Throughout the year the Lady Vols had demonstrated that they didn't handle the ball well under very aggressive pressure....

But, it's a win.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Paradise Space - radio at BBC 7

First aired in 1995.

Paradise Lost Space

Norman - Tony Robinson
Max - David Haig
Stella - Louise Lombard
Makarri - Michael Troughton
Captain Rossiter - Dan Strauss
Jane - Carla Donser (sp?)
Tony - Jeff McGivern
written by Colin Swash, produced by Richard Wilson

Episode 1 of 6.
Norman is an idealist with a hand grenade. Max is a cheerful bore. They will soon ruin the lives of some friendly aliens.

Episode 2 of 6.
A call from CID puts Max in a desperate position when he and Norman begin to sample the Oblivions' Sublime fruit.

Episode 3 of 6.
As the Oblivions have so much time on their hands, it couldn't hurt to introduce them to a game of tennis, could it?

Episode 4 of 6.
The dangers of tennis are now apparent to the Oblivions - but Martinis? What could possibly go wrong with Martinis?

Episode 5 of 6.
When Norman introduces the Oblivions to foreplay, one thing inevitably leads to another.

Episode 6 of 6.
The UME spaceship arrives at Oblivion dispensing culture to the aliens, and Norman and Max make a sacrifice.

Tony Robinson (most famous as Baldrick in the various Blackadder series)

50th anniversary of the death of Conrad Veidt

Today is the 50th anniversary of the death of actor Conrad Veidt, on April 3, 1943. He died of a heart attack on a golf course in Los Angeles... having unfortunately smoked heavily all his life...

Depending on your point of view, Veidt is most famous as Cesare the sleepwalker in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919), or as Major Strasser in Casablanca, which co-starred that Bogart guy. He is also much beloved as the hero - yes, the hero!, the ambitious and love lorn Jaffar in Thief of Bagdad. Veidt made over a hundred films, lots of silents of course including The Student of Prague. Two classics from England are Spy in Black and Contraband, both with Valerie Hobson.

A popular actor in Germany, Veidt - who was not Jewish - married his third wife, a Jewish woman named Illona Prager, and brought her with him when he emigrated in 1933 after Hitler's rise to power - first to England and then to the US, where, ironically, he would be typecast in Nazi roles during the war. Had he lived during the post-year Wars, his star would be so much higher now...

But it is not his many movies that I find so admirable about the man, but what he did in the first few years in England. He starred in two movies with sympathetic Jewish characters, The Wandering Jew and then Jew Suss. Goebbels was so enraged that Veidt would do this that he banned all of Veidt's films from Germany and declared him persona non grata - as Veidt knew he would. That took a lot of courage.

My own website dedicated to Conrad Veidt, The Conrad Veidt Society, is in the re-design stage, nevertheless there's lots of good info there..including a clip from The Man Who Laughed (with make up that inspired The Joker of Batman fame). Follow the links on the links page for other sites devoted to Veidt.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Pat Summitt's Lady Vols Beat North Carolina

"Oh, ye of little faith" would be a more apt title for this entry, as that was me last night, but I'm learning you've got to title these entries well if you want search engines to find them....

First off, anyone who is a new fan of Pat Summitt, winningest coach in the College basketball game: Pat Summitt Biography. It goes from her childhood to 1997 in detail - the time covered in her two books. After that info is more of a year to year, accomplishments nature...

Anyway, last night the Lady Vols were down by 12 with 8 minutes to go, and I just turned off the TV. I simply didn't think they had the mental toughness to come back against the Tar Heels. But, they did.

Unfortunately, how they came back was by free throws - during those last 8 minutes they went to the line twice as much as the Tar Heels did. Articles about the game reference this. However, if you read The Summitt (hardly a biased source, of course) the Tar Heels had been fouling the Vols all game and were finally starting to get called for it. And there are several pics uploaded showing players hanging off Parker in what are obviously fouls.

That of course, begs the question, why did the refs let the Tar Heels get away with murder in the first half, but start calling those same kinds of plays fouls during the last 8 minutes?

The Summitt has the answer - the Tar Heels were simply too tired at the end of the game to keep up with the Vols (even though they'd gone on a 20-something run just before that to build that 12 point lead).

But, everyone, even on other boards, is saying the Tar Heels made bad shots at the end, and of course Ivory Latta threw up two three-point shots that missed in the last minute - instead of giving the ball to their designated 3-point shooter who had been inserted for just that purpose. But Latta never looked for a teammate - she was going for her shot each time. Had they gone in she'd've been a heroine...

Latta did do her trademark "flex pose" around the 8 minute mark, after one of her 3 point shots - wasn't T-ed up for it though. I really dislike it and though I'm sorry for Sylvia Hatchell, I'm glad Latta lost!

The Lady Vols now face Rutgers, who also play a very physical style of defense ala the Lady Vols... Rutgers has also beaten UConn, LSU and Duke (albeit by 1 point), and C Viv and Pat Summitt are great friends. If Pat has to lose she'd obviously want C Viv to get her first NCAA title out of it instead... but here's hoping the refs will let them play - all game long - and that the Lady Vols can pull it out. Much as I'd like to see a few poor sports on the Summitt have to shut their yaps, it's silly to let that influence my opinion about the team itself - whom I want to win!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Everything Old Is New Again

or... People are the same everywhere, and always have been...

I have dozens of VHS tapes in my bookcase, of movies I taped over the years that I didn't want to watch at the time, and need to feel "in the mood" to watch them before I watch them now. And I rarely feel in the mood.

Today, I put in a tape, the label of which said, Torchy Blaine. I assumed, and I think with justification, that the movie on the tape would be Torchy Blaine (Torchy being a female reporter).

But not so, it was instead the last third of a movie called Julie, which starred Doris Day in a drama role, as a woman on the run from her abusive husband, Louis Jourdan. It ends with them on an airplane, and he shoots the pilot and co-pilot (himself being shot in the process) so that she has to land the plane herself, after a bit of training from the suffering co-pilot who eventually dies, and then with the help of a guy from the Tower.

I actually had the sound down throughout it all, so I don't know if Day's character had by any chance some pilot training in the past..but that's beside the point. The point is I went to the IMDB to see what was up with this film, and saw that it had 3 external reviews, one of which said:

"Take one part Sleeping with the Enemy (1991) and one part Airport 1975 (1974), add America's sweetheart and you've got an overwrought, low-budget, woman-in-peril thriller that will satisfy any fan of cool cinema trash."

And I'm thinkng to myself, "whaddya mean, take one part a movie from 1991, and one part a movie from 1974, when the movie you're talking about was made in 1956?" It is they who obviously stole, borrowed, etc, from this movie, not the other way around.

There are actually only about 10 movie plots everywhere, and only about 10 movie characters, and they're all recycled over and over and over again...