Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Magic Bullet Holes Affair

Somewhat noticeable damage.

I think it's a goof, at least a distracting detail.

I noticed it when rewatching The Man From U.N.C.L.E. TV episode The Four-Steps Affair.  One night a wounded U.N.C.L.E. agent (one of the good guys for those not aware) seeks help at a secluded home in the countryside owned by the seductive Angela who is really a Thrush agent (one of the bad girls.)

Angela has a portrait studio on the second floor with a large sliding window.  Angela lures the U.N.C.L.E. agent in front of the window, urging him to sneak away on the roof. As soon as he slides open the window bright studio lights snap on, silhouetting him, the perfect target.  

A Thrush agent waiting outside opens fire with his automatic weapon, bullets drilling into the doomed U.N.C.L.E. agent and everything behind him.  An array of large holes erupts in the wall.  Shelf splinters.  Cups shatter.  Water sprays.  Palette suffers a few flesh wounds.

Top U.N.C.L.E. agent Napoleon Solo drives out from New York City into the Hamptons looking for the missing agent. I don't know how long it takes before he appears on the scene.  According to Google travel time from the Big Apple to the Hamptons is about two hours.  I'm assuming that along the way Napoleon stepped on the gas to get there sooner.  Traffic would be lighter late at night.  But let's say it takes him two and a half hours before he meets Angela.

She tries the same window trick with Napoleon, this time pointing to a shadowy figure outside that she claims is the missing agent.  Of course the second time ain't a charm and she ends up being swiss-cheesed.

I have a problem after Napoleon enters the room.  What happened to all of the bullet holes from the previous scene?  He doesn't notice anything out of place?

OK, maybe there was enough time to fix the intense damage.  The Thrush Clean-Up and Repair Rapid Response Team did the job in record time.  Including scrubbing the floor to erase any evidence of major U.N.C.L.E. agent bleeding

But didn't Napoleon notice the shiny new plaster, the smell of fresh paint, the immaculate condition of the floor?  Sherlock Holmes would and he ain't any superspy.

It's impossible to suspend disbelief when it tries to suspend you like a noose around your neck.

I still enjoy the first season of U.N.C.L.E., owning a DVD set.  But that doesn't stop me from saying "Oh, c'mon!"

For example in the first episode Thrush knows that a tailor shop serves as a secret entrance into U.N.C.L.E. HQ.  Thrushies penetrate the HQ in an attempt to kill the director.

So if that front is no longer a secret why do U.N.C.L.E agents still go through the routine of entering through a hidden door in the tailor shop's dressing room?  Trying to dodge bill collectors?

Friday, May 27, 2016

Pick A Procreator

Venus needs men.

After the last one dies off it's decided to restock on fecundating males.   Assigned to this mission are Gamma and Beta, two curvaceous babes in swimsuit space suits.  They rocket off into outer space to fill the reproductive needs of Venusian women with ticking biological clocks.

In case you're unaware women on Venus look just like women on Earth -- well, that is,if all terran females filled the requirements to win a Miss Universe contest.  But the main point is that Venusian women are completely similar to Earth humans, ergo, no compatibility problems with DNA and interlocking body parts.

So with the right stock next door one would think they would go to Earth and grab what they need.  Instead Venus sends its rocketship to Mars and other worlds, rounding up four different bipedal bizarros.

There's Taugul who looks like a radiation-deformed Kewpie doll, his brain swelling outside his skull.  Next is Uk, a fanged critter with one eye in the center of his forehead.  With a flexible stalk Uk can move his eye into various positions, even extending it.  Venusian women:  Do you know where Uk's orb has been?

Any arachnophobes on Venus?  Apparently not because this dubious selection of ET males includes Crassus who looks like a cross between a tarantula and a fright wig.

Saving the oddest for last is Zok, the walking dinosaur skeleton.  That's right, no flesh.  So how will he impregnate a Venusian woman?  Apparently they pulled a boner with this one.  Then again, maybe they did pull a boner and he passed the test.

Further details can be scraped up by watching the 1960 Mexican film, Ship of Monsters,  a singing-cowboy-alien-babes-monsters-on-the-loose-blood-sucking-vampire-sci-fi-horror-comedy train wreck available online via YouTube.   Or you can save time by finding reviews through Googling that succinctly describe the plot.  A good example can be found over at the Atomic Monsters site,

Thus fully informed you can decided which one -- Taugal, Uk, Crassus or Zok -- will provide the best genetic material.  I rule against Crassus because his arachnid factor might only produce Venusian females of the black widow type.  Thus Venus runs out of men again.

(A tip of the space helmet to Dave Heran who introduced me to this goodbad film, i.e., a movie so bad that it provides good entertainment.)

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Don't Fokr Closed Captioning

(C) 2016 Ray X

Yes, I'm still using steam engine technology, a VCR.  And until my budget situation changes I'm stuck with videotape for recording TV programs.

But the VCR includes closed captioning which can be activated.  My hearing is a bit off. Instead of blasting the audio from cult movies, disturbing other renters around me, I hit CC and follow the story that way.

But note it's hard to understand what is happening with the captioning is nothing but garbled nonsense.  "Godzilla is stomping Tokyo" becomes "gxR metyT ghhu."

So I'm watching "Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle For Earth" (1992) and when I switch on CC it's the worse indecipherable crap I've ever seen.  For example check out this image from the movie:

(To enlarge click on image.)

Of course all the ads are OK, perfect captioning.  But I don't think a G-Fan with a hearing impairment wants to know about the latest douche product as opposed to following the movie's plot.  Why bother to caption when all you provide is meaningless text?  Enough of this fokring around.

Diversity Or Cynical Capitalism?

An image from the first Fantastic Four movie, the never-released-to-the-public low budget 1994 version by Roger Corman.  Despite its great flaws it got the FF basics right.  And unlike the three that followed it, this movie is entertaining  (in its own way.)

I won't waste time writing a disparaging review of the latest Fantastic Four movie (2005).  I wasted enough time watching it.

Instead I want to focus on one controversy that erupted before the movie was released.  The FF are a superhero family even though only two of them are related by blood.  Susan Storm (Invisible Woman) and Johnny Storm (Human Torch) are brother and sister, blond-haired Caucasians.

For the 2015 FF movie it was decided to make Johnny Storm black.  No problem there per se; in this new version Susan was adopted by Johnny's father.

But why was this change made?

Over the years I've heard many cynical stories about dumb decisions made by movie studio executives.  There's the story of a Superman fan turned author trying to pitch a script for a movie about his comic book idol.  During his discussion with an exec with thumbs-up-or-down power the author mentioned the name "Kal-El" a few times.

The exec asks: Who is this Kal-El you're talking about?

But it's not just superhero movies.  The first film version of the Poseidon Adventure (1972) was a big hit, raking in tons of money.  Studio execs -- for humanitarian reasons, of course -- wanted to make a sequel.  They approached one of the original movie's stars, Gene Hackman, to be in the sequel.

Gene Hackman asked the execs:  How can I return?  My character died in the first film.

Simple, replied the execs.  The survivors of the Poseidon disaster are lifted by helicopter from the wrecked ship to terra firma.  When the they debark Gene would run up and say: "What happened to my twin brother?"

I wonder regarding the recent Fantastic Four film disaster what the studio execs were thinking when trying to fix the unbroken FF concept.  Two baby-faced barely-weaned studio executives hold a private meeting. Before they got their jobs via nepotism they had worked the line in a sausage factory, an appropriate background for their present roles.  Neither one reads books, even comic books, because reading hurts their brains.

Maybe the meeting went down something like the following.

*  *  *

EXEC  #1:  The survey came in.  There's money to be made by appealing to black viewers.

EXEC  #2:  That survey was done by the same company that said a majority of consumers preferred new Coke over Classic, right?

EXEC #1:  Yes, I heard they do great work.  Anyway we got to make one of the FF black to draw in those extra bucks.

EXEC #2:  How about the Thing?

EXEC #1:  He's orange.  If we make him black it'll screw up the trademark and the toy line.  According to a survey people like orange.  It's a sunny happy color.

EXEC #2:  How about the Human Torch?  He'll still be red when he's on fire.

EXEC #1:  OK, that could work.

EXEC #2:  I got a brilliant idea.  The Human Torch says "Flame on!" when he goes into action.  But we could give him a better cry, one more edgy.

EXEC #1:  Such as...

EXEC #2:  A great slogan I heard about from the 1960s.  "Burn, Baby, Burn!"

EXEC #1:  Yeah, that sounds sexy.  More so than that stupid "Flame on."  No controversy there.

*  *  *

Then the execs move to another topic, discussing a survey claiming there is great profit potential in appealing to old Jewish movie goers.  Ergo, Woody Allen as Conan the Barbarian.

Whatever the execs really decided about the FF I doubt promoting diversity was at the top of their list.

Diversity should be genuine, not part of a greedy marketing ploy.