Monday, September 21, 2015

DOA on TV: And We're Off!

Doctor Who  The Magician's Apprentice

I'm not clear here who was the magician and who was the apprentice.  Doctor Who/Clara or Davros/Dr. Who?

I have seen no episodes with The Master (I haven't seen all the runs of Who) that I recall, but I just despise the Missy character and was not happy to see her again.

Clara has grown on me, but I didn't care for her bit here super analyzing the frozen plane dilemma with some brain trust peeps.  Once reunited with Who, she was wonderful.

In a bit of purest sacrilege, I also don't like the tinny voiced Daleks with their idiotic incessant "exterminate" whine.

Colony Sarff, a being composed of deadly snakes, now he was interesting.

I loved Peter Capaldi rocking out with his guitar, riding atop of tank.  Best entrance ever.

Fear the Walking Dead: Not Fade Away

Our group tries for normalcy under the imposed martial law.   From the opening we know it's been nine days since the lights went out in Los Angeles and elsewhere.  There's no water, landline phones, nothing, and the occupiers aren't providing much information.

They do say they're working on getting services restored, and health checks will continue.  These folks are one of 12 safe zones south of the San Gabriel Mountains.  This stuck with me so I looked for a map to see how much area that covered.  Not really so much land area, and they don't say how many people are in each safe zone.

They also said that it was great news that a six mile area around the safe zone had been cleared.  When Madison goes sneaking through a fence with her handy fence cutter to see what that zone is like, she finds the dead lying all over in the streets, some clearly not diseased, just shot.

When Travis reports to the head military goof that some sort of signal seems to be coming from the deadened zone, the guy looks up, dismisses the idea, and goes back to golfing in the street  (a common thing for apocalypse honchos to do, note the Governor, season three The Walking Dead lofting golf balls at zombies).

Later that night, Travis sees lights from the house, then sees the place lit up with gunfire, which can be heard even at the distance.  He is so enamored of the security the military brings, but I'm hoping he sees that he is responsible for those deaths.

Madison, in addition to sneaking outside the fence, goes whacko on Nick and beats him for stealing drugs from a dying neighbor.   I understand that she is cracking under the strain but, just yell at the kid.  Man.

Alycia just has to butt into every conversation.  Agh.

Ofelia changes out of her sweetie pie dress and slinks out to find a soldier who might give her mom new meds.

Liza, who keeps sneering at Travis for trying to fix everything, is right out there on the front lines going door to door using her nurse-in-training skills to help out.  When ratted out by a real doc who comes to town, she hops on a truck and leaves everyone behind in order to travel with Griselda (who is going to get surgery for her foot-wink-wink) and Nick, who is apparently a risk of OD-ing and needs to be removed.   I see nothing good ahead for those folks, since soldiers come and forcibly take them at night--why at night? and relatives are not allowed to come along for the ride.

The only good things that can come from these events are that Liza gets some crash course medical training that will be valuable later, and Daniel and Madison will unite to try to get them back, and I think they make a formidable pair.  Through them, we'll also get a bit more of an idea of what is happening in the larger world.

My last thought is, in the chaos of the times, how did they get a big chain fence up around this community in so little time?

Gotham: Rise of the Villains: Damned If You Do...

This season is Gotham, Rise of the Villains.  All of the neo-natal villains from season one--Penguin, Joker, Riddler and more are coming into their own.

Jim Gordon is tossed from the force by the commissioner.  Gordon goes to Penguin to ask for help getting reinstated and he wants Commissioner Loeb removed.  Penguin want Gordon to do a favor too, collect money from a reluctant mob boss.  He refuses, but basically Bruce Wayne shames him into going to do it for the long term good of the city.   Wise beyond his years is Bruce.

Jim does the deed, ends up killing the mob boss, but he gets Penguins help and is reinstated by new commissioner Essen. Yay, now things will shape up.

Horribly, there's a new uber villain in town with a psycho sister in tow with big ninja moves (Theo and Tabitha Galavan).  I don't mind a passle of silly over the top villains, because this is the comics, folks.   I hate uber, untouchable, smarter than everyone villains though.  Boring and ugly.

Worse yet, Uber dog has set loose a team of scum from Arkham Asylum which includes Barbara the super psycho which puts my beloved Dr. Leslie Thompkins in danger.  Yech.

Great scenes with Bruce determined to get into the Batcave and getting yelled at by Alfred for trying to make a fertilizer bomb using an Internet recipe.  Thanks to Alfred's own skills, they blow open the door and find a spider webby cave with an old computer and a note to Bruce from his dad.  The doorcode was Bruce, doh.  To the Batcave!

Minority Report: Pilot

This has taken the place of Sleepy Hollow after Gotham and I found the commecials for it to be just cringe worthy.  Ha!

The story doesn't quite match the film, and yet it was quite enjoyable.

Three children with precognition are trapped by the goverment for a decade predicting crimes.  Theyr'e released after the program doesn't quite work out but are not to bring any attention to themselves.

Cue the entrance of Dash, who sees visions of murders and can draw rather bizarre caricatures of the killers.  He sees these just barely enough in advance to try to stop them but he can't ever successfully get to the scene in time.

He decides to ask for the help of detective Lara Vega, who has retinal implants which help her recreate crime scenes and scan areas for heat signatures among other things.  The high tech available to the cops is fun to see.   They were able to create a 3D sketch from Dash's drawing of a killer, then go after that person.

The show was unexpectedly fast paced, compelling as a crime story, with Vega and Dash being a good pair working together.

An interesting twist going forward is that Agatha, the precog sister who sees the future as a larger picture without details, sees something bad coming of Dash working with Vega. Maybe his death, maybe the recapture and imprisonment of the three siblings.  Arthur, the sibling who sees names and dates and places wants to help Dash but fears Agatha may be right.   Dash himself sees the details of the murder, but not locations, names or any general idea of what surrounds the crime.   Only the three together get a good picture of what is to be.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Jungle Book April 2016: First Trailer

This looks so spectacular. The article says that only Mowgli is live action, and not CGI, but you sure can't tell it from the trailer.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Fear the Walking Dead: The Dog

 Travis and his family and the Salazars are forced to flee the barbershop when the walls begin melting.  They've been sitting there all this time and nobody in the family has packed anything, no survival supplies.  If there was a mob outside wouldn't you expect the worst and prepare a bit?

There's some nice sniping between Travis and Daniel.  Despite Daniel saying if people break in, they all run, and in different directions, as soon as the door is opened he says "everyone stay together" and they all flee as a group.

Griselda has her foot deeply injured when a big sort of grandstand falls on her.  Everyone runs back to help her and Travis carries her to the nearby truck.  I've read some comments tonight about the truck remaining intact in the riot situation, but that truck is a real piece of junk.  Maybe it wasn't worth the effort.

Plans to drop Griselda off at a nearby hospital fall through when the area is cordoned off by police and shots are fired at patients who won't "stand down".   It does make sense that hospitals would be one of the first settings to get overrun.  It reminds me of the Walking Dead scene where Shane sees hospital staff being shot by military personnel, I suppose they just had no clue how this all spread and figured the people working closely with the sick were all infected.

                              Poor Paul, a hacking cough one day, really a mess the next day

Meanwhile, the Clarks are playing Monopoly by candlelight while they wait.  A strange noise at the patio door turns out to be a dog.  They let him in, covered with blood.  Before they can process this the dog runs to the front door and barks.  There they see a shambler out front.

Nick suggests they go next door and get a gun from their neighbor's house.  The thieving weasel used to go next door for daycare, so he knows they have it. 

The neighbors have a bizarre maze in their back yard they make their way through, Nick leading the way, easily plucking a key from under a mat on the porch.

I understand they're totally freaked, but to so easily go break in, and go rooting around, sheesh.  They did call out and didn't get a response.  Lights blink on then off adding to the creepiness.

While Madison and Nick work to load the gun, Alicia spots the shambler going into their open back patio door.   Growls and then a shriek from the dog.

Just then, Travis and company pull into the drive way.  Run run, back through the maze and over the fence hollering all the way. Travis hears nothing through the open back door.  He is treated to seeing his former neighbor bent over the dog, particularly harrowing once the lights come on again fully all of a sudden.

Alicia is sent back by Nick to get the ammo which got left behind.  As she's grabbing it she sees feet under a swinging door, with dark, rotten looking legs.  She runs for it with the zombie neighbor in hot pursuit.  This time, when she's running through and screaming everyone hears her, no problem, and she makes it to safety.

Madison arrives with the gun, but it takes Daniel to take first a glancing shot, then a right up front, head blowing off shot.

Unbelievably Travis and Madison are upset that he did this, though we know he saved everyone by acting decisively.

The Clark family is packed and ready to leave, but Travis talks them into leaving in the morning in one of those defining type moments.  The show isn't The Walking Desert, right, its Walking Dead, L.A. Style.

As they pull out, leaving the Salazars behind (Daniel says a cousin will come pick them up), Madison sees her neighbor's husband returning.  She tries to get to him and stop him from a run in with his zombie wife, but no, Mrs . Zombie is all ready for a big hug.  The spouse is saved by the arrival of National Guard (?) who swarm the place, and the whole neighborhood.

                                 Parting was such sweet sorrow, Patrick and Susan reunited

Martial law is in effect as the Guard question the Clarks as to their contact with possible Infected, and house to house searches reveal which homes are clear and which have been infected.

Travis is all happy now that they're here, feeling they're safe now and everything is under control.  Daniel knows better, of course.


Madison  wins the most annoying of the episode, edging out Nick.   Apocalypse Monopoly, great idea.  Prissy insistence Alicia leave the safety of their little snug kitchen group to go put the game away because of house rules....  If she was going to clunk her zombie friend with the hammer she just needed to do it, not have some goofy farewell.   I thought she was a beetch in that little conversation with Liza.  Liza tries to put out an olive branch so they can work together to keep the kids safe, and Ms Stone Cold brushes it off and lets Liza know that Travis will be "broken" if she dies and he has to "put her down".  She just ooozed he's MY Man Now stuff. 

Nick , wearing the clothes still that he stole from the old man at the hospital, hasn't showered or put on his own clothing.  All he wants is "moar medicine".  I think he rooted around at the neighbors looking for drugs, and unleashed Susan on Alicia, and there he was scooting around at the end of the episode with a screwdriver trying to break into a barred home for more.  He was terribly offended that some of the schoolhouse break-in drugs were being left behind for Griselda, who was in actual pain.  Wretch.

Alicia may have had zero obnoxious moments this episode.  Big step up.

Liza was great.  She thinks fast on her feet, never whines, is tough, is adaptable.  I am liking her.

Christopher joined Alicia in having almost no bad moments.

Travis  I want him to get along better with Daniel, be nicer to Liza, and not try to talk down zombies.

Daniel  He has a cranky old man thing going, but in a pinch you want him right there by your side.  He is going to ace the apocalypse.

Griselda  As much as she's in pain, she is coasting along, and has faith Daniel will get them through everything coming up, because he's done it all before.  She's not quite right about that of course, but clearly the two of them know how to survive and they'll show their daughter a few things shortly.

Ofelia   Never try to ride out the apocalypse in a pretty dress, girl.  She seems a delicate flower so far.

The Dog   (sniff)   He needed to lay low, not bark and bring Zombie Paul into the yard and house.  Poor pup.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Figure A: Tomatoes

I did nothing with my vegetable garden this year except move raised beds around and plant a few tomato seedlings.  Miraculously, the seedlings thrived and better late than never, have put out some nice tasty little tomatoes.  

Back to full production in the spring.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

I'm glad to have caught this at the theater, though late in its run.   The Mission Impossible movies are perfect for the giant screen and mega-sound systems.

Warp speed action, light humor throughout, incredible stunts...bring on the popcorn and a large red Icee.

The "rogue nation" of the title is an organization called The Syndicate.  It seems to be behind disasters and assassinations all over the world.

Led by a classic reedy villain type named  Solomon Lane, the organization has recruited "officially dead" operatives from every intelligence organization on earth.

Even with the resources at his disposal he can't get through security to reach a certain bit of information he wants.  He needs Ethan Hunt and the IMF, and he sets in motion a convoluted plan to get them involved.

One of the things I like about these films is that it is a pleasure to see how the IMF team works together.  While Ethan is the brains behind the operation and the front man, he'd never get any of his schemes off the ground without this group.  They're just perfect clockwork.

I loved Ilsa Faust, the very best female agent I've ever seen, and I just kept thinking she needs her own movie.  Slick, smart, brave, ten steps ahead of everyone though she appears ensnared, man, she was so perfect.

DOA On TV: Fall Shows 2015

Here you are, carefully selected, the very best new and returning shows for this fall.   I included names, premier date and station.

Gotham     9/21 Fox
Minority Report    9/21 Fox
Supergirl   10/26   CBS
Legends  11/2   TNT
Childhood’s End    12/14   Syfy

Marvel Agents of Shield 9/29  ABC
The Flash 10/6   CW
iZombie   10/6  CW

Survivor   9/23  CBS
Arrow  10/7   CW

Heroes Reborn  9/24   NBC
Sleepy Hollow 10/1   Fox
Elementary   11/5 CBS

Grimm   10/30   NBC
The Man in the High Castle  11/20  Amazon
Marvel’s Jessica Jones  11/20  Netflix

Ash vs Evil Dead  10/31   Starz
Doctor Who    9/19   BBC America

Once Upon A Time 9/27  ABC
The Librarians  11/1    TNT
Fear The Walking Dead (Sept 13, 20,27, Oct 4) AMC
The Walking Dead   Oct 11  AMC
Talking Dead  Oct 11 AMC

Returning sometime…
Penny Dreadful (No Date Set)  Showtime
12 Monkeys  Syfy  Date TBD

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Duncan Hines Perfect Size Golden Fudge Cake

You may have seen the commercials for these little six inch cakes.

While the size is nice, the flavor is lacking.   Too super sweet, very artificial, and I almost want to say chemical tasting.  I hoped the use of real butter in the cake and frosting would give it some character.

Back to my cookbooks, perhaps halving recipes once I know them well.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Magnolia Bakery Chocolate Buttermilk Layer Cake

We were in NYC last week and had cupcakes from the Magnolia Bakery in Grand Central Station.

Heaven in a bite sized bit of frosted cake.   I couldn't stop thinking about the taste and ordered a couple of Magnolia Bakery cookbooks when we got home.

What lovely chocolate perfection.