Merry Christmas 2022!
Greetings, its Christmas Eve once again and as usual I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas! I hope you take it easy tomorrow and enjoy the festivities with plenty of eating and drinking sprinkled in during the day. I believe there was a strong Write Wise challenge this year to celebrate the season which is always something I look forward to. I certainly had fun writing ‘Festive Fright!’ and returning to ‘Dark Legacy’ with Alan and Adele taking centre stage once more. My next update will be on the 31st December 2022 as we bid farewell to one year and welcome in another but in the meantime, have a Merry Christmas!
Quote of the Day
Midnight. Merry Christmas, Holmes.
Dr John Watson
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Greetings, ‘Space Force’ is a Netflix original sitcom that ran for two seasons from 2020 to 2022. With a total of 17 episodes before its cancellation, the series is an easy and, in my opinion, an enjoyable watch. It was created by Steve Carrell and Greg Daniels and is based upon the most recent military arm of America, the United States Space Force, which was brought into creation by President Donald Trump in December 2019. The show has a sizeable cast of established actors and actresses such as Steve Carrell, John Malkovich, Lisa Kudrow and rising personalities including Tawny Newson, Jimmy O. Yang, Diana Silvers and Ben Schwartz. The music was conducted by Carter Burwell who is known for his numerous collaborations with the Coen brothers.
The plot begins with Mark Naird, an Air Force Lieutenant General, who is recently granted the rank of full four star general. With his new position, Mark believes and hopes that he will be promoted to the role of Chief of Staff of the Air Force. This turns out to be untrue. In a shocking moment for Mark, he is taken aback when he is declared the first Chief of Operations of the United States Space Force. As the most recent military wing with no accomplishments behind it to garner a reputation, the Space Force and, by extension, Mark are not taken seriously by the other arms and they are often belittled by them. Naird and his family who were contented with their lives are forced to relocate to Wild Horse in Colorado due to the new job as that is where the Space Force headquarters is based. One year after the hiring and there isn’t much going well for anyone in the Naird family. Erin, Mark’s teenage daughter, misses her old friends and hasn’t been able to adjust to her new life at all while Maggie, Mark’s wife, has been locked up in prison for a crime that is never explained.
Mark continues to press on ahead with his role despite his struggles which include trying to be a good single parent since Maggie has been sentenced to a few decades behind bars and his lack of respect from his colleagues in other divisions. To show politicians and the general public that Space Force is not a waste of tax payer’s money, Mark decides to launch a satellite named the Epsilon 6 into space. There are numerous setbacks with the satellite and a few politicians have been invited to watch the launch in person. With a deadline fast approaching, Mark is pushed into a corner and goes against the trusted advice of his scientists, including his main confidant Dr Adrian Mallory, when he commits to launching the satellite. Despite some concerns of making an embarrassment out of Space Force in front of the gathered politicians, the Epsilon 6 successfully makes its journey in to orbit. Mark and Adrian celebrate that night but come to realise a situation of dire political ramifications is on the horizon when a Chinese space craft is caught intentionally dismantling the Epsilon 6 and there are calls within the US government to retaliate.
Even though the series had an initially mixed reception before a much better rated second season came to the streaming site, I enjoyed this show from start to finish. This could easily have went on for a few more series in my opinion and it is unfortunate that it concluded on a cliff-hanger as I would have liked to have seen how it was going to be handled. Saying this though, the first season also ended on another cliff-hanger and the plot points were resolved off screen and addressed in the opening of the second series so it may have been anti-climactic. The characters are well fleshed out and easy to root for, this was the case for even some of the characters who were specifically designed to be somewhat annoying, as ‘Space Force’ balanced light humour and heart superbly. I would encourage you to watch this if you are looking for an easy going comedy.
Quote of the Day
We've got a computer. It's going to do lots of magical things, like make Harry Crane seem important.
The Quiz Part 14
Greetings, ‘The Quiz’ returns for the 14th year in a row with questions covering entertainment, events that are both current and historical as well as one question on our very own Write Wise. Last year proved to be a bit difficult for the contenders with Mark and Joh tying first place with 6 points out of 10 and Aaron not far behind on 4 points. It is quite possible that there will be a shake up in the rankings this time around with one or two tricky questions that could trip some bloggers up in their quest to win. As is always the case, the answers are below the questions and are located underneath the ‘Spoilers!’ tag. Please remember to put your scores in the comments and best of luck in your quizzing!
1. ‘Gone with the Wind’ was one of the first motion pictures to make use of the expletive ‘damn’ in its script but what was the famous line, which contained this word, that Rhett Butler uttered to Scarlett O’Hara in the concluding scene?
2. Who said this? – “Yes, I am, uh... I met him fifteen years ago. I was told there was nothing left. No reason, no, uh, conscience, no understanding and even the most rudimentary sense of life or death, of good or evil, right or wrong. I met this six-year-old child with this blank, pale, emotionless face, and the blackest eyes, the devil's eyes. I spent eight years trying to reach him and then another seven trying to keep him locked up, because I realized that what was living behind that boy's eyes was purely and simply...evil.”
3. Which British monarch was the subject of the 2018 film ‘The Favourite’ and the queen who oversaw the Third Indian War?
4. Place these Indiana Jones Films in the order of their release dates – A. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade B. Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Arc C. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull D. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
5. In what year was ‘Casablanca’, staring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, released?
6. What is the title of the ‘Karate Kid’ spin off television series that is named after Miyago-Do’s opposing team in the first film?
7. Name the character.
8. Unscramble the letters to reveal an actress – EFYA WYDAANU
9. Do the Write Wise entries ‘Demons’, ‘Guardian: The Lone Wolf and the Pack’ and ‘The Imposter Series: The Curse’ all contain a character with lycanthropy?
10. Which business magnate bought the social media platform Twitter in 2022 after a successful hostile takeover bid?
1. “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”
2. Dr Sam Loomis
3. Anne, Queen of Great Britain
4. B. D. A. C.
6. Cobra Kai
7. Dr Herbert West – The Re-Animator
8. Faye Dunaway
9. Yes – Terry Holloway, Dr Bernard Charles and Bruce Harper all have a werewolf alter ego
10. Elon Musk
Quote of the Day
I don't pass sentence. That's for the courts to decide. But this time - this time - I am sorely tempted to do the job myself!
Batman: The Animated Series
Army of the Dead
Greetings, ‘Army of the Dead’ is a 2021 film by Zack Snyder, the director behind some notable titles including ’300’, ‘Watchmen’ and ‘Sucker Punch’ as well as being involved in the DC Cinematic Universe. This film is an interesting concept as it manages to serve simultaneously as a zombie flick and a heist film set in the colourful background of Nevada’s Las Vegas. It stars an ensemble cast with Dave Bautista being the most well-known member as he became a household name due to his role as Drax in Marvel’s ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ back in 2014. Ella Purnell, Omari Hardwick, Ana de la Reguera, Theo Rossi and Matthias Schweighofer are also portraying main characters. The music was composed by Tom Holkenborg who has worked on many previous projects such as ‘’Mad Max: Fury Road’, ‘Deadpool’ and ‘Godzilla vs. King Kong’.
The story begins when a military convoy heading from the mysterious government facility, Area 51, is travelling along the road and collides with a car just outside of Las Vegas. The cargo, a type of zombie, manages to break free from its restraints in the wreckage and makes its way into the desert. Soldiers comprising the convoy attempt to recapture the zombie but are ultimately killed by it in their efforts to do so. With no one left to stop the zombie, it makes its way to the helpless city of Las Vegas and the ignorant population who are unaware of the carnage that is headed their way. The situation quickly spirals out of control and the military fail to supress the zombie virus that spreads through the casino city. As such, they resort to the last possible course of action which is to quarantine the location with a large makeshift wall.
Six years after the incident and it has been decided by the President that he is going to launch a nuclear strike on Las Vegas to deal with the contained zombie threat. Upon hearing the news, a casino owner called Bly Tanaka approaches a mercenary, Scott Ward, who had lived in Vegas with a simple proposition. Bly wants Scott and a trusted team to break into the quarantined area to retrieve 200 million dollars from his own casino before it is destroyed by the nuclear warheads. Ward agrees to the terms and teams up with a diverse group with specific skills such as a world renowned safecracker and a tried and tested helicopter pilot. With the assistance of his estranged daughter who works in a nearby quarantine camp, Scott is smuggled past the security defences set up by the U.S. government and the group find themselves in the ruins of the city that is ruled by the walking dead.
While I enjoyed this movie for the most part, I wouldn’t classify it as a must watch for cinephiles although I wouldn’t consider myself a big fan of Snyder in the first place since I only really like his adaptation of Alan Moore’s comic book ‘Watchmen’. I certainly thought some parts were pleasantly fun and displayed a unique touch such as the zombie tiger which was an interesting reflection of the showmanship of the desert city. A problem I had with the movie, though, was the characters as most of them were generic and there was little emotional impact to be felt at their often bleak fates. The one character who stood out favourably to me however was Dieter, the German safecracker, played by Matthias Schweighofer. He was also the central figure in the prequel spinoff film named ‘Army of Thieves’. I have yet to see that movie but I will probably look into it at some stage.
Quote of the Day
Hi, I'm Chucky. Wanna play?
Chucky / Charles Lee Ray
The Good Place
Greetings, ‘The Good Place’ is an American comedy series that ran for four seasons from 2016 to 2020. There were 53 episodes made in total. It was created by Michael Schur, one of the creative forces behind the smash TV hits of the American version of ‘The Office’ and ‘Parks and Recreation’. He was also a co-creator of another rating success, the police based comedy ‘Brooklyn-99’. ‘The Good Place’ stars Kirsten Bell of ‘Veronica Mars’ and Ted Danson who is famed for his performance in the globally renowned ‘Cheers’. William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil, Many Jacinto and D’Arcy Carden are also among the main cast. The music was composed by David Schwartz who had previously worked on providing the score for ‘Reaper’ and ‘Arrested Development’.
The story begins when Eleanor Shellstrop opens her eyes to find herself sitting in a chair in an empty waiting room. She has no memory of how she got there or where she even is but she is quickly brought up to speed when a person, who identifies himself as Michael, welcomes her into his nearby office. Once inside, Michael breaks the news to Eleanor that she was killed when a line of shopping carts rolled down a hill and pushed her into oncoming traffic. He advises Eleanor that she has been brought to the Good Place after her death since she had worked tirelessly as a lawyer defending convicts on death row during her life. Michael explains that admittance into the Good Place, a heavenly utopia of which he is the architect, is based on morality points that are collected during a person’s life and these are determined by every choice they made on earth whether they be morally good or bad. Eleanor is told that her actions on earth earned her a particularly high score and she is informed that those who earn negative points are damned to spend an infinity being tormented in the Bad Place.
After the welcoming, Eleanor is introduced to her soul mate, a Senegalese ethics professor called Chidi, who she will share a house with for all eternity. Michael leaves the two alone and once he is gone a panicked Eleanor reveals the truth to Chidi that everything Michael believes about her is completely wrong. In her life, Eleanor was an amoral and uncaring individual who sold a dietary supplement to the sick and elderly while she knew the product didn’t work. Chidi, an indecisive man, is immediately unsettled by the news and is eventually persuaded to keep her secret despite the ethical complications that it raised. The two try to keep calm and interact with other residents of the Good Place, including socialite Tahani Al-Jamil and Buddhist monk Jianyu Li who has taken a vow of silence, but things start to go badly wrong with the Good Place as it suffers glitches such as unusual weather patterns. Michael, the architect, is perplexed by this but the deeply uncomfortable Chidi and Eleanor realise that it is her presence that is causing the havoc around them.
I thought the premise for this show was really quite unique and I like how it brought up ethical and philosophical theories in an entertaining way which, if done wrong, could have easily bored the viewer. There is a twist ending at the conclusion of the first series that is very impactful and it is an easy detail to miss due to how cleverly the story is crafted. The characters, which form a considerably large cast, are very likeable and they do learn to grow as people as the series progresses. As ‘The Good Place’ has a fairly low number of episodes, I believe that it doesn’t overstay its welcome and that it covers enough ground to satisfy audiences by having shown all that needs to be shown by the end of it. I would recommend this programme to anyone looking for something light-hearted and a bit different from other shows.
Quote of the Day
It's disgusting the way they splash this stuff all over the newspapers! What is journalism coming to? You're laying on top of the queen with her legs wrapped around you. And they call that news. They can't kick you off the force, Frank! It's just not fair
Captain Ed Hocken
The Naked Gun
Ethel and Ernest
Greetings, ‘Ethel and Ernest’ is a 2016 animated film from the late British cartoonist and author Raymond Briggs and it is a biographical adaptation of a book from 1998 based on the lives of Raymond’s parents. Briggs is perhaps best known for his festive cartoons such as ‘The Snowman’, a short that is without words bar the well-known rendition of ‘Walking in the Air’, and the ‘Father Christmas’ films starring Mel Smith as Santa Claus. Naturally, the plot for this movie is much less fantastical as it is a dramatic retelling of the lives of Ethel and Ernest Briggs from the 1920s to the 1970s. Among the voice cast is Brenda Blethyn as Ethel, Jim Broadbent as Ernest and Luke Treadway as Raymond. The music was composed by Carl Davies who also created the score for the ground breaking documentary ‘The World at War.’
The story begins in London during 1928 when a young Ethel, a lady’s maid with strict notions of what prim and proper behaviour constitutes and that it should be adhered to, catches the eye of the local milkman Ernest. After some time in which the smitten Ernest tries to garner Ethel’s affections, the two hit it off and they are married within a few years. Despite not being particularly well off, they manage to scrape together enough money to buy a suburban house that they would live in for 40 years. With Ethel giving up her profession to become a housewife, the Briggs become a family unit in 1934 when Raymond is born. The three are able to enjoy a few blissful years together but there are dark clouds on the horizon that threaten that peaceful life.
The dreaded fear that many hoped to avoid had become reality when the Second World War comes to the fore and Ethel and Ernest decide to evacuate their son to the countryside as London is rocked night after night during the blitz. Ernest does his part for his country and helps out in the war by becoming a fireman, tackling the fires caused by continuous Luftwaffe bombing raids. The traumatic years eventually do come to an end with the surrender of the Axis powers and the Briggs are once again reunited with their son. As the years go by, the ageing parents struggle with the rapidly changing society they find themselves in whether it be difficulties with technological advancements such as television sets becoming more common in British households or long held social mores being challenged by more liberal minded youths.
Despite some of the horrific years that ‘Ethel and Ernest’ cover, I’d describe it as being a fairly gentle film that can be quite poignant at times during its more emotive scenes. The eye-catching artwork in particular brings a uniqueness and charm to the story. Like one of his other works, 1986’s ‘When the Wind Blows’ in which an older couple try to survive a nuclear strike that had been launched on Britain, an iconic British signer made a song specifically for the film’s soundtrack. David Bowie had performed an original song with the same title as the film for the opening scenes of the earlier movie while Paul McCartney sang ‘In the Blink of an Eye’ during the credits of ‘Ethel and Ernest’. I enjoyed both of these films, which Raymond stated were both based on his parents, and I’d encourage you to check them out if you haven’t done so already.
Quote of the Day
You already know enough about me. Any more and you're going to get a headache.