Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of The Crystal Skull - REVIEWED

I hope when I’m 65, I’m still running around, looking quite well, getting in with the laides and finding Crystal Skulls. For Harrison Ford’s Indiana Jones is back and it seems not a moment too soon.

Apparently this film has been in ’development hell’ since the early 90’s but I think the film has benefited from, undoubtly, plenty of rewrites. The filming style is similar to that of the last few films and coupled with new CGI effects it looks perfect.

It isn’t just the effects that are good, the acting is top notch. Although I do think John Hurt and Jim Broadbent, two of Britain’s finest actors, were underused. Newcomer Shia Labeouf impresses as Mutt Williams, Cate Blanchett dons an hilarious wig and Ray Winstone a dodgy tache! Karen Allen returns as Marion Ravenwood and looks remarkable. But it’s Harrison Ford who really shows that he can still do it. Rambo, Rocky and Die Hard have all made recent returns for veteran actors but it’s this film, which is the most believable. Considering the plot, that’s saying something! Ford plays the older Indiana superbly and his grey hair rather suits him!

There are nice nods too for Marcus Brody (Denholm Elliot) and Henry Jones Sr. (Sean Connery). Denholm Elliot sadly died in 1992 and Sean Connery’s career died after he made ‘Entrapment’ with Catherine Zeta Jones, so he has retired and refuses to appear in anything else! Thank god he has, this film wouldn’t have been half as good if he made an appearance! (Just my own personal dislike, sorry!)

The film makers have been criticized by using that long running plot device – The Cold War. Its rather unnecessary as the Soviet’s are on a similar mission as the Nazi’s were in ‘Raiders of The Lost Ark’. Whether this is a purely creative decision or a continuation of anti-communist propaganda, who knows. I was quite disappointed that they didn’t delve much into 1950’s America. It seemed when they weren’t in a classroom or a café they where on a high-speed chase!

However the lovely stuff far outweighs the poor stuff. As said, the effects and direction are just amazing, the acting is the best we could hope for and the story is more than passable. All in all it’s a loveable romp with an old gentleman. That sounds a bit wrong doesn’t it?

With any Indiana Jones film, the plot isn’t realistic but if you take it with a pinch of salt, you’ll love it! Rumours have been circulating that Shia LeBeouf is going to star in his own spin-off of movies and after the ending and his performance, that certainly would be welcome!


Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Cheers Russell, Welcome Steven

We knew the time had to come but it was a little bit of a shock when the BBC announced that Doctor Who producer, Russell T Davies (or RTD, if you’re just lazy) was bowing out, after the 2009 specials. Whether this was an actual leak or a ‘tactical leak’ by the Doctor Who team, we don’t know. However, the man taking over is Steven Moffat who has written the episodes The Empty Child/Doctor Dances, The Girl in the Fireplace, Blink and the forthcoming Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead.

Whether or not you liked RTD or not is irrelevant, even his biggest critics can’t really deny that he has done a superb job in bringing the show back. I don’t think anyone would have done any better than RTD and it’s his great ability to surround himself with the right people that have made the show a success.

His writing at times has been controversial. The much talked about ‘Gay Agenda’ is a sticking point, as his apparent fixation with making The Doctor ‘a god’. Some fans are also disappointed that he has made The Doctor some kind of loathrio, something which you’ll never link with William Hartnell’s doctor!

For me, RTD’s best episode has been the perfect opener – Rose. He maintained that quality with the final two episodes of both series 1 and 2. The casting of Christopher Eccelston, David Tennant, Billie Piper, John Barrowman, Freema Agyeman and Catherine Tate and many of the supporting cast, have been inspired. However, his best introduction was that of the ‘story arcs’. How shocked and surprised was we, to see that the whole of the series was linked! He’s maintained this and fans now expect the twists and turns that Doctor Who has produced these last couple of years! And despite many people trying to spoil it for us, we are always surprised!

Even in this new age of technology, RTD as still stuck to the same basic formula that has made Doctor Who a success over the last 40-odd years. A CGI effect later and we are a world away from the 60’s. But Doctor Who has never been fancy and doesn’t go overboard on special effects and that is another reason why our program is so brilliant.

RTD will go down in television history as the man who made Doctor Who great again. Our favourite program as never been as popular. Now the torch has been passed on to Steven Moffat, a talented writer who has written television hits such as ‘Press Gang’, ‘Coupling’ and more recently ‘Jekyll’. Soon he will be working with Stephen Spielberg on ‘Tin-Tin’.

He is already popular with fans and his appointment has been met with great apprehension. Let’s hope that he can continue what has been a fantastic start to the new era of Doctor Who.

Cheers Russell, Welcome Steven

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf

“I didn’t need drugs to be transported away from the mundanity and frustrations of life – I had the Mind Robber on VHS”

Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf

Being a Doctor Who fan, for many, is a way of life. Like any way of life, some people abandon it, some fall out of love with it and some never leave it. Toby Hadoke never left it.

‘Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf’ was (and still is) a part of Toby’s regular stand-up routine. It’s a life story set in the background of the Saturday evening battles against the evil of the universe. It tells of the joy we all feel when our favourite television program flickers into life. How we get away from real life and go, well, anywhere, with our hero – The Doctor.

We are given a tale of growing up, being bullied, going to university, getting jobs and having kids. All of these connected in some way with his obsession of a television program.

Struggles of a childhood which were spent in the company of the good Doctor, when his Dad left home or whenever Star Wars ‘fans’ had a pop. It isn’t just Toby’s tale that is unique. Many fans during those glorious years of the 70’s/early 80’s, will reminisce the same. Even those turbulent times in the late 80’s and the years without Doctor Who and the false dawn that was the 96 movie. Right through the novels, audios and fan conventions.

Even today, with Doctor Who being ‘cool’, there is still the same love, the same sense of pride. It’s now acceptable to be a Doctor Who fan. A new generation of children and families are tuning in. Toby’s obvious delight at his young son inheriting his love for Doctor Who is evident, maybe Toby would like to share his Dalek toys now? Ok, maybe not!

Doctor Who memorabilia such as books and audios are selling more than ever, fan conventions are being sold out as quickly as top West End shows. The show is watched by people all around the world, thanks to their ‘red eye flights’. DVD sales are stacking up in their millions. Has Doctor Who ever been so popular? How long will it last? Who cares, I know I’m a Doctor Who fan for life, even if they do bring The Kandyman back!

Funny, witty and cleverly written, ‘Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf’ is the fan’s fan audio and is well worth a listen. Louise Jameson also stars and Colin Baker makes a voice-over cameo. You can grab the story on CD and if you can catch him live, I would strongly recommend you do so!

Doctor Who isn’t a television program, it’s a way of life.


Monday, 19 May 2008

Doctor Who Series 4 Episode 7 - The Unicorn and the Wasp

A giant wasp, a vicar and a brassy thief known as ‘The Unicorn’, all of whom are playing out a game. No it isn’t a seedy club, it’s the latest Doctor Who episode!

‘The Unicorn and The Wasp’ is set in 1926 as The Doctor and Donna gatecrash a garden party - they run into Agatha Christie (Fenella Woolgar). Its worth mentioning that Felicity Kendal (The Good Life and other various crap comedies, which Americans seem to find funny), Tom Goodman-Hill (The druggy copper in ‘Ideal’ and the bumbling government bloke in ‘The League of Extraordinary Gentleman’) guest star alongside Christopher Benjamin, who previously appeared in the classic Doctor Who episodes, ‘Inferno’ (as Sir Keith Gold) and ‘The Talons of Weng-Chiang’ (as Jago).

The episode itself is almost a parody of the ‘murder mystery’ genre, keeping with the Agatha Christie theme. It’s definitely the most comedic 45 minutes of the new series and this episode benefits from that refreshing change.

The story, thanks to its ‘Cludeo’ plot, centres around the murders of a number of characters. When it seems that one of the guests can turn into a ‘Vespiform’ to kill, none of the guests have a decent alibi.

Enter Agatha Christie. Fenella Woolgar plays her magnificently and at times upstages The Doctor, which is very rarely done. Apparently, Fenella had met the Grandson of the novelist, to get a feel for the character. Credit must go to the writer of the episode, Gareth Roberts, for doing a great job with this as well.

Top moments include, everything with Agatha in, The Doctor getting poisoned and Donna trying to help him. The Flashbacks of Colonel Hugh being a dirty old man and The Doctor in a Belgian forest!

However, the monster’s transformation has been criticised by the fans. Although I have no problem with it to be honest. It is an alien wasp after all!

We eventually learn that it was the Vicar ‘Whodunit’ and that he is the son of a Vespiform who had his wicked way with Lady Eddison (Felicity Kendal) 40 years ago in India, the mucky cow! So after more or less solving the mystery, Agatha gives chase to the Vespiform, after learning that it was her books that gave the wasp the information to kill. But its Donna, who continues her murdering streak (after killing that poor fat woman in the opening episode) by throwing the necklace, which our Thief – The Unicorn (Felicity Jones) was after, into a lake. The link (which had materialised between Agatha and the Vespiform) was severed but Agatha was to lose her memory and go missing for 10 days. Which is what happened in real life, apart from the alien wasps of course!

As an episode, it’s a lot of fun, not to be taken too seriously. It’s certainly better than its series 3 counterpart, 42, anyway!


Next Time: The Doctor and Donna visit the largest library in the Universe, which seems to be deserted. I wonder if they mean the centre of London? You’ll be met with the same level of friendliness anyway.

As mentioned, it was more of a comedy this week, which is precisely what's on next week, as its Eurovision! Which means no Doctor Who for 2 weeks. Cheers BBC, what do we pay our TV licences for again?

'Silence In The Library' Trailer

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Doctor Who Series 4 Episode 6 - The Doctor's Daughter

By the time young, teenage Doctor Who fans had wiped away the stickiness from their television screens, thrown away those tissues and unlocked their bedroom doors, we had witnessed a momentous occasion in Doctor Who.

Georgia Moffett, the real life daughter of Peter Davison, plays ‘The Doctor’s Daughter’. Picking up right off from last week, The Doctor’s severed hand is the reason they land on the planet Messaline. We learn later that it had locked on to Jenny’s DNA, much later from when they arrived. Confusing? You bet!

You are in either two camps with this episode. You either love it or hate it! Personally I think its okay, I neither love it nor hate it (I’m awkward that way)! There where some great moments. The Hath where brilliantly done, Donna (again), Martha and Tennant, especially, have easily justified RTD’s casting abilities.

But it was Ms Moffet that really impressed. She is most notable for playing the tearaway daughter of Insp. Sam Nixon in The Bill and daughter of Ozias Harding (or Coronation Street’s serial murderer ‘Tricky Dicky’ - Richard Hillman, if you prefer) in ‘Where The Heart Is’. So I suppose playing The Doctor’s daughter was a stroll in the park!

But wasn’t she good? As the episode went on she grew more and more into the role. I don’t know what the future holds but I’m sure she’ll be back. Before anyone even attempts to ask, no she isn’t the mother of Susan! As she was ‘born’ as a result of the actions of Tenth Doctor, the first Doctor wouldn’t know anything about it.

The episode itself was done well. I suppose it could be confusing if you haven’t seen much of Doctor Who. All this ‘timey-wimey’ nonsense! The planet holds two factions of people. Humans (again!) and fish-humanoids called ‘The Hath’. Both these factions had been at war for generations, in search of the ‘source’, which would give them control of the planet.

Unknown to them of course, they had only been at war for a week. The heavy dead count and a readily available cloning machine, meant that everyone barely survived 12 hours. Credit must go to guest star Nigel Terry as Cobb, the leader of the humans, for a great star turn.

As Magnificent Martha catches up with D+D and Jenny, they smash the ‘source’, which turns out to be a device to make the climate on the surface of the planet, breathable. But as Cobb thinks he has the last word by shooting Jenny, its David Tennant who shows precisely why he is considered to be one of our best talents. His emotional speech was perfectly delivered, I suppose Stephen Greenhorn (the writer) deserves some praise too!

So as this series keeps up this consistent run, I’m excited! I’m sure the future of Jenny, who sort-of regenerated just after The Doctor left, has already been planned by RTD.


Next Week – Donna, a working class London girl, pretends she reads Agatha Christie novels and watches those boring murder mysteries on ITV!

'The Unicorn and the Wasp' Trailer

Big Finish Doctor Who 107 - The Haunting of Thomas Brewster

Do the guys over at Big Finish know how to write a totally shite audio? Once again they have pulled the ‘rabbit out the hat’ with this fantastic story 107 – The Haunting of Thomas Brewster.

Everything about this story seemed to be right, from the acting to many twists and turns this roller coaster takes you on! The story starts off, partially narrated by a Victorian orphan - Thomas Brewster. Obviously, from the story title, he’s being haunted but why and what are The Doctor and Nyssa up to? Well you’ll have to listen to it won’t you!

This joins the other 5th Doctor and Nyssa audios, The Game, Spare Parts, Renaissance of the Daleks and Circular Time as my favourites from that particular partnership. I do love it that much!

I suppose its one of those stories you’ll have to listen carefully. It isn’t as straightforward as other Big Finish stories, I suppose that’s what makes it so good! The production values as always are fantastic, a special mention goes to the ‘ghost’ - I don’t think I’ll listen to an audio at night again!


Next Time – The 6th Doctor and Evelyn come up against an old adversary in ‘Assassin in the Limelight’.

Friday, 9 May 2008

The Eighth Doctor Adventures Series 2 - Episode 4 - The Skull of Sobek

"Too much perfection's dangerous."

On the isolated planet of Indigo 3, far out in the wastes of the Blue Desert, lies the Sanctuary of Imperfect Symmetry. It is a place of contemplation and reflection. It is also a place of death.

Something from another time, from another world, has found its way inside the hallowed walls. Something with a leathery hide, a long snout and sharp pointy teeth.

Tick tock. Here comes the crocodile...

I was a little bit disappointed with this audio. Not to say it was poor, it wasn’t, it just failed to match the highs of the previous 3 stories.

The Doctor and Lucie land on a planet where everything is blue! Elements of an ancient war, from a nearby planet, seem to have mapped themselves out on the blue planet. The Doctor and Lucie stumble across an old sanctuary, the occupants of which are determined to keep people out, but why?

There are some decent lines for Paul McGann, Sheridan Smith and top guest stars Art Malik and Barbara Flynn, to chew over. Sadly the story falls short of the standard set in the Eighth Doctor Adventures series. Its more disappointing if you take into account the calibre of the actors who star in it.

It still is a decent listen though, so don’t hesitate to check it out if you’re a fan of the EDA audios!

On a positive note, the production values, as always, are top notch. The music in particular, seems to be slowly improving and credit must go to all those involved.


Next Time – The Doctor and Lucie bump into some ‘old friends’ in 19th century Sweden in ‘Grand Theft Cosmos’.

Sunday, 4 May 2008

Doctor Who Series 4 Episode 5 - The Poison Sky

I’ve got nothing but praise for the second part of this story, everything just seemed to be right. From the episode title to that ending, everything was as perfect as a Doctor Who episode should be.

After (doing the obvious) smashing the car window, to save Bernard Cribbins, (the best ever guest star in Doctor Who!) The Doctor heads back to the UNIT base and Donna heads to the TARDIS.

But as the Doctor tries to plead with the Sontarans, Mad Martha helps them to ‘transmat’ the TARDIS onto the Sontaran ship. Of course, The Doctor had all this planned, as was the glimpse of Rose on the TARDIS monitor, I think!

This episode was a reference heaven. From a mention of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart being a ‘fine man but he’s stuck in Peru’ to the Rutans and The Doctor’s ‘Are You My Mummy’ quip. It was all there!

Sadly Doctor Who still can’t do soldiers. British soldiers always wear their berets in the correct manner and never ‘retreat’ – they ‘withdraw’! By comparison, the Sontarans were done brilliantly. I enjoyed the interaction of them and that war chant, I think that Helen Raynor has finally shown us what the Sontarans are really about.

I don’t know what kind of home video RTD has got of the head of BBC commissioning, but the effects are once again, simply breathtaking. All those wobbly sets and plastic Dinosaurs are a thing of the past!

Back to the episode, as The Doctor twigs that Mad Martha, isn’t Martha and Donna goes around whacking Sontarans. Luke ‘the boy genius’ finds out that the Sontarans don’t need him and as The Doctor builds an ‘atmospheric converter’, in record time (?), he sets fire to the sky, removing all the poison gas, which as engulfed the earth.

The Doctor wants to become a suicide bomber but its Luke who transmats to the spaceship and replaces The Doctor, to blow up the ship and himself.

A wonderful two-parter, one which I’ll be watching over and over again. The Sontarans where simply superb and credit goes to Christopher Ryan.


The ending was unexpected to say the least. The Doctor, Donna and Martha being trapped in the TARDIS as it sets off into space. Who is waiting, yep, it’s The Doctor Daughter, but is she? Well, yes, she’s actually the Daughter of 5th Doc Peter Davison. I can see this is going to get confusing!

Next Week: The Doctor’s Daughter is set to become the ‘most perved’ by Doctor Who geeks, young and old!

'The Doctor's Daugther' Trailer