Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Clone Wars: Evil Plans

My friends and I are watching Star Wars: The Clone Wars.  Every Tuesday, we will be featuring an episode from the series which began in 2008 (as opposed to the one that started in 2003).  All are welcome to join us for all or parts of the fun.

Episode: "Evil Plans"
Series: Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Season 3, Episode 8
Original Air Date: November 5, 2010
via Wookieepedia
While helping Padmé prepare for a state banquet, Anakin sends C-3PO and R2-D2 out for last minute supplies.  First Threepio, then Artoo are abducted by Cad Bane's henchmen.  Bane is after the floor plans for the Senate building, which he assumes are stored in the droids' memory banks.

Bane's machinations are interesting but overall, "Evil Plans" is not a very good episode.  The writing is weak, much of Threepio's dialogue being particularly clumsy.  Obviously, this droid pair are essential to the Star Wars saga.  Artoo is a frequent plot device and Threepio provides comic relief and translation, an underappreciated element of any science fiction universe.  But Clone Wars stories fall flat when they rely too heavily on the droids as protagonists.

However, there was some nice Coruscant world-building this week.  Bane's droid 360 separates Threepio and Artoo by convincing the latter to visit the Droid Spa.  Artoo enjoys an oil bath and de-carbonization buffing while his friend is tortured for information by Bane.  The spa attendants SN-D1 and BO-N1, droids themselves, are both voiced by Angelique Perrin.
SN-D1 via Wookieepedia
BO-N1 via Wookieepedia
Perrin was born in Brooklyn, New York, though she was raised in Greensboro, North Carolina.  In addition to her acting, she has done extensive work as a radio announcer in Los Angeles.  Perrin is also the voice of Adi Gallia.  She performed in seven Clone Wars episodes overall.
via Behind The Voice Actors
If you would care to join us for all or part of our travels, sign on to the list below.  Please visit the other participants today.  Next week: "Hunt for Ziro."

 

Friday, May 20, 2016

Family Movie Night: Trouble in Paradise

Title: Trouble in Paradise
Director: Ernst Lubitsch
Original Release: 1932
Choice: My Wife's
My Overall Rating: 4 stars out of 5
via Wikipedia
Trouble in Paradise is the latest installment in our family's ongoing screwball comedy series.  Lily (Miriam Hopkins) and Gaston Montescu (Herbert Marshall) are professional thieves in Venice who fall in love while trying to scam each other.  They team up and head to Paris where they target Madame Mariette Colet (Kay Francis), a perfume mogul.  Monescu becomes Colet's personal secretary and, of course, she falls in love with him.  Things really get complicated as Monescu develops feelings for her, too.  Meanwhile, Colet's other suitors grow suspicious.

One thing I've been noticing a lot in older films is the use of miniatures, especially in town- and cityscapes.  It makes sense.  The film industry of the 1930s and '40s probably didn't have big helicopter budgets.  Building panoramas was undoubtedly cheaper and easier.  George Lucas gets lots of credit for the use of miniatures in Star Wars but it's good to be reminded that he was hardly the first.

I was also interested to learn of this movie's influence on Wes Anderson's work.  Both Anderson and Ralph Feinnes have both mentioned it as an inspiration for Grand Budapest Hotel, a film that's getting a lot of love in the Mock Squid Soup film society these days. 


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Clone Wars: Assassin

My friends and I are watching Star Wars: The Clone Wars.  Every Tuesday, we will be featuring an episode from the series which began in 2008 (as opposed to the one that started in 2003).  All are welcome to join us for all or parts of the fun.

Episode: "Assassin"
Series: Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Season 3, Episode 7
Original Air Date: October 22, 2010
via Wookieepedia
"Assassin" is an Ahsoka story and a particularly important one for developing her relationship with Padmé.  The padawan has been assigned to protect the senator on a trip to Alderaan.  During the visit, Ahsoka has visions of assassination attempts by the bounty hunter, Aurra Sing.  In this case, Jedi intuition proves to be all too accurate.  Padmé shows Ahsoka a great deal of trust and patience in this story, suggesting an almost sisterly bond between the two.
via Wookieepedia
Jedi librarian Jocasta Nu makes a brief appearance early in the story, her third of four Clone Wars appearances.  The character first appeared in Attack of the Clones, played by Alethea McGrath.  In The Clone Wars, she is voiced by Flo DiRe.
via Avatar Wiki
Flo Di Re appeared in 1998's Mighty Joe Young.  Earlier in her career she had guest spots on several popular television shows including The Facts of Life, Murder She Wrote and Seinfeld.

If you would care to join us for all or part of our travels, sign on to the list below.  Please visit the other participants today.  Next week: "Evil Plans."

 

Monday, May 16, 2016

On the Coffee Table: Logicomix

Title: Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth
Writers: Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos H. Papadimitriou
Artists: Alecos Papadatos and Anne di Donna
via Wikipedia
Logicomix is a graphic novel biography of philosopher/mathematician Bertrand Russell.  It's an ambitious work, weaving in and out of various spots in the timeline: Russell's early professional life, a lecture years later as Britain was debating whether or not to enter World War II and the 21st century Athens of the book's creators.  The artwork is excellent, including some interesting temporal play within panels.

I have to admit that most of the philosophical and mathematical discussion was over my head.  My wife is a big fan of symbolic logic so I think she enjoyed it more.  Russell himself, however, is a compelling figure.  His encounters with mental illness in both his family and his profession shape much of his personal story.  His intellectual brilliance did not extend to his personal life, in which he was quite a disastrous husband and father.  The story's ultimate philosophical conclusion is a satisfying one.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Mock Squid Soup: June 2016 Blog List

MOCK! and The Armchair Squid are proud to present Mock Squid Soup: A Film Society!

This month, everyone gets to throw a movie of their own choice into the pot.  The week before our gathering, on Friday, June 3rd, everyone is invited to post three clues about his/her movie for others to guess.  Our next regular meeting is Friday, June 10th.   No need to sign up twice.  I'll use the same link list for both.  If you are interested in joining us, please sign on to the list below.






Friday, May 13, 2016

Mock Squid Soup: The Dish

MOCK! and The Armchair Squid are proud to welcome you to Mock Squid Soup: A Film Society, meetings on the second Friday of each month. This month, each of us is choosing another society member's movie to review as listed in The Mock Squid Soup Film LibraryThe Dish was first reviewed by angryparsnip.

Title: The Dish
Director: Rob Stich
Original Release: 2000
My Overall Rating: 4 stars out of 5
via Amazon
The first moon landing has been called the most simultaneously shared event in human history.  On July 20, 1969, people all over the globe crowded around television sets to watch Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin take their first steps on the lunar surface.  It was a crowning achievement for the scientific community, the product of years of hard work and countless centuries of dreaming.  As The Dish demonstrates, the TV audience might have missed the whole thing if not for the effort and good fortune of a small group of scientists operating a radio telescope in Parkes, New South Wales. 

Sam Neill and Patrick Warburton star in this remarkable story.  The film is shot on location so we get to experience the actual dish - still very much in use - on an intimate level.  The staff sit on the dish during their smoking breaks as it is raised and lowered.  They practice cricket in its bowl.  The security guard gets spooked by grazing sheep in the fields surrounding.  We are witness to the charms and occasional embarrassments of small town politics as the mayor and his wife play host to both Australian and American dignitaries as the landing nears.  It takes a little while for tension to enter the story but when disaster strikes, it hits hard. 

Not surprisingly, the real magic comes during the landing itself.  I wasn't even born yet in 1969 but the emotional impact of the moment is transcendent, clearly evident in every face on screen.  The filmmakers had the good sense to include authentic footage from the time period, too.

The movie is sweet, its imagery stunning and its characters charming.  It could certainly hold its own with other space exploration films like The Right Stuff and Apollo 13.  Its lighthearted feel would make for a nice change of pace in that mini film fest, too.

Trivia challenge again for June!  Pick your own movie to share.  Post three clues on Friday, June 3rd.  Post your reveal and review on Friday, June 10th.  Meanwhile, please visit my friends today:




Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Clone Wars: The Academy

My friends and I are watching Star Wars: The Clone Wars.  Every Tuesday, we will be featuring an episode from the series which began in 2008 (as opposed to the one that started in 2003).  All are welcome to join us for all or parts of the fun.

Episode: "The Academy"
Series: Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Season 3, Episode 6
Original Air Date: October 15, 2010
via Wookieepedia
This week's episode has a bit of a Hogwarts feel to it.  Ahsoka has been assigned to teach a class at Mandalore's leadership academy.  Four of her pupils - restless and hungry - take it upon themselves to investigate the planet's black market food trade.  Wouldn't you know, corruption runs at the highest level of government and the young sleuths quickly find themselves in over their heads.
via Wookieepedia
One of the four students is Korkie Kryze, nephew of Duchess Satine.  Korkie will be back in Season 5.  He is voiced by Whit Hertford.
via Wikipedia
Whitby Flint Hertford was born November 2, 1978 in Provo, Utah.   He was a reasonably successful child actor, appearing in Jurassic Park, The Addams Family and Beaches.  As an adult, he is active on both screen and stage, where he has acting, directing and writing credits.

If you would care to join us for all or part of our travels, sign on to the list below.  Please visit the other participants today.  Next week: "Assassin."