Stalin’s Dead

The Death of Stalin is a 2017 political satire comedy film.
It stars Steve Buscemi, Simon Russell Beale, Paddy Considine, Rupert Friend, Jason Isaacs, Michael Palin, Andrea Riseborough and Jeffrey Tambor.

Based on the French graphic novel La mort de Staline, the film depicts the Soviet power struggles following the death of dictator Joseph Stalin (Adrian McLoughlin) in 1953.

Mainly went to see this because it was directed and co-written by Armando Iannucci, who made ‘The Thick of It’ and the USA version, Veep.

It feels like a toned down version of his TV series. There is less foul language. Some of it was a bit difficult to follow, but the humour in the situations were apparent and overall would give it a 3/5.


Time Titan

The Time Titan of Tomorrow
(Space Team #8)
by Barry J. Hutchison (2018)

He and his Space Team are broke. Forced to take low-paying gun-for-hire jobs just to keep the food replicator working, their prospects are not looking good.

When they pick up a distress signal from a luxury space cruiser, they think their luck might be about to change. And it does. Sadly, not in the way they’d hoped.

Another enjoyable outing from Cal & his gang. It’s never all that clear what his objective is, but it’s how he does it and bumbles through that is enjoyable and fun.

You will need to have read the previous books as a few characters from previous stories turn up at the end.

Good Place 2.7

Episode 20 – Janet and Michael

This is all about Michael fixing Janet. Turns out she has a manual. It even has a self-destruct section. In the end he can’t kill her and she consults Eleanor. Eleanor recognizes it as the ‘ex-boyfriend’ problem and tells her to get a new man, which she creates. Derek.

Michael: Hey, you know who could use some torturing right now? Chidi.
Vicky: [gasps; excited] Oh. I love torturing Chidi.
Michael: I know!
Vicky: No, actually, I had this great idea the other night, thought it was worth exploring. Picture this: [with an expansive gesture] Needles.

Janet’s Diagnosis:

Michael: Ninety-nine point seven… trillion degrees… Little bit on the high side, but no biggie.

Michael: And still no blood. Oh, thank goodness.


Michael: [reading] “In the event of continued malfunction, hold down Janet’s nose and insert paperclip into small hole behind left ear.”

Tahani & Jason:

Michael: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. You two are sleeping together?
Jason: Only when we’re done having sex.


The Crescents (The Book of Deacon 5)
by Joseph Lallo (2017)

Generations of war have been put to rest. The D’Karon scourge has been wiped away. All that remains for Myranda, Deacon, and the other Chosen is the long, slow road to recovery for their weakened kingdom. It is no small task, as dark magic has taken a terrible toll on the land. Crops struggle to grow. The scars of war are slow to fade. But from across the sea comes hope.

This is the second book by this author that has disappointed  me. The Book of Deacon trilogy and Jade were excellent, Also the first Free-Wrench, but the third I didn’t finish. The problem is this the pacing is just too slow and nothing interesting happens for ages. So it’s goodbye Joe.



Good Place 2.6

Episode 19 – The Trolley Problem


Chidi teaches the trolley problem thought experiment, leading to Michael creating a ‘real’ version for Chidi to go through. It’s good gory fun, and he is not happy. Eleanor eventually calls Michael out as reverting to his torturing past.

Tahani and Jason take on Janet as ca couples Councillor, but it only causes Janet to glitch. Then earthquakes happen.

Chidi: Michael. You’ve been kind of quiet. What do you think about all this?
Michael: Well, obviously the dilemma is clear: How do you kill all six people? [reveals a drawing of the situation he describes, the sole figure on the alternate track having a speech bubble reading “You got us all! Great work!”] So, I would dangle a sharp blade out the window to slice the neck of the guy on the other track as we smush our five main guys.

Tahani: So in a way, you’re sort of like a therapist?
Janet: Absolutely not. A therapist is a trained medical professional with the ability to absorb and process complex ideas about human emotion. I am simply a vessel containing all of the knowledge in the universe.
Tahani: Close enough. Jason and I are sleeping together.

Eleanor: Look, see, buddy? None of this was real.
Michael: Well. They’re fake people, but their pain is real. Does that make sense? There have to be stakes, or it’s just another thought experiment.
Chidi: This is awful.

Jason: Tahani, what do you value about Jason?
Tahani: Well, he’s thoughtful. Picks flowers and brings them to me. Often they’re ones I’ve just planted, but…
Jason: That’s how I know they fresh!

Michael: I screwed up. I’m owning it. I mean, I’m a superior being; I ought to act like one. Right? So. I really thought about each one of you, and I got you something that will make you happy. I call them “opposite tortures”.
Eleanor: Do you mean “presents”?


Good Place 2.5

Episode 18 – Existential Crisis

Michael realizes he could be mortal

For the first time, Chidi  get’s into mortality and death. Michael doesn’t take it so well. But he compensates with a mid-life crisis, featuring a very hot Janet-ette. Tahani and Jason get together.

Eleanor: Dude, you broke Michael!
Chidi: No, no, this is good! He’s having an existential crisis! [Eleanor looks confused and disapproving] It’s a, a sort of anguish people go through when they contemplate the silent indifference of our empty universe. [Michael looks up at him in horror before returning to his catatonia] Look, the good news is, if he can work through this, it’s the first step towards understanding human ethics!
Eleanor: And what if he can’t?
Chidi: Oh, then he’ll be a lifeless shell of misery forever and we’re all doomed. [cheerfully] Okay! [props Michael up] I will be right back. Gonna go grab some Camus!

Michael: Yeah. It really tugs my nuggets. [Tahani and Jason look shocked] I worked so hard on my torture ideas and theirs are so basic… these millennials, they have no work ethic.
[Tahani and Jason look confused]
Michael: Oh. Sorry, uh, a millennial is someone who’s only been torturing people for a thousand years. Millennial.

Chidi: Before I can teach Michael to be good, I have to force him think about what we used to think about: That life has an end, and therefore our actions have meaning.
Eleanor: That’s what you used to think about? I used to think about how it’s weird they don’t make pants that are just one big pant leg for both your legs.
Chidi: …You mean a skirt?
Eleanor: [Beat] No! The- you’re not getting it, and my thing is different, so, shut up.

Michael: [showing a tattoo on his forearm] It’s Chinese for “Japan”.


D’Arcy Carden (Janet)

Good Place 2.4

Episode 17 – Team Cockroach

Things slow down for an episode of scheming, negotiation and finally agreement. Michael can’t be trusted, so is his plan what he intends ?

And we finally get to see how Tahani dies.

Even though Michael sees humans as “cockroaches”, he agrees. The neighborhood is rebooted with Vicky taking on the role of the top point earner and honorary mayor. The humans and Michael meet in secret and are joined by Janet, whose programming compels her to make humans happy; thus, she will support the only real humans present.

Eleanor: You wanna team up? You’ve been torturing us and lying about it!
Michael: Oh, let’s not get all caught up on who lied to whom or which one of us created an entire fake reality in order to cause eternal misery for the others; that’s ancient history.
Chidi: It was happening until twenty seconds ago.

Jason: We team up with Michael.
Eleanor: Okay. Hot take, but I like your confidence. Tell me why.
Jason: He has a bow tie.

Michael: Everyone in the Bad Place Bureau of Human Affairs gets randomly assigned a human body so we can get the feel of how best to torture you. I gotta say, it took me a long time to get used to the hanging bits.
Eleanor: Gross.
Michael: Oh, get your mind out of the gutter, Eleanor, I was talking about my testicles.


Good Place 2.3

Episode 16 – Dance Dance Resolution

This show is burning through plots like there is no tomorrow. Probably because every time Michael resets the game (802 times) Eleanor or another member of the team figures it out (even Jason).

It’s definitely getting weird and crazy (I Like it).

Now it appears that Michael has switched sides (what does that mean).

Tahani: I always have to have my sashes custom-made, due to my height and bosom size.
[Eleanor looks at Tahani’s bosom]
Tahani: Also, apparently sashes are out this season! Diagonal line really draws one’s eye to the chin-bloat. [walks away from an offended Eleanor]
Eleanor: Go fork yourself, you mean giraffe!

Jianyu: I can’t go! I’m too young to die! And too old to eat off the kids’ menu! What a stupid age I am!
Tahani: I’d never survive down there! They should take Eleanor! She’s a pear shape, she’d fit right in!
Eleanor: Oh, excuse me, you wish you could have a bite of this pear.

Janet: No, no, no, no, Michael, please, please, please! Please don’t kill me, I have so much to live for!
Michael: I’m sorry, Janet. Gotta reboot you every time I start over.
Janet: [cheerful] Oh, I know. I’m not actually upset. It’s just the automatic fail-safe mechanism that kicks in every time you approach the plunger. Go ahead. [chuckles; Michael reaches toward the button] Michael, you monster!

Michael, Attempt #127: This is your soulmate, Greg.
Michael, Attempt #146: This is your soulmate, Glenn.
Michael, Attempt #218: This is your soulmate, Tahani. [Tahani poses]
Michael, Attempt #291: This is your soulmate, Lerf.
Michael, Attempt #333: This is your soulmate, a golden retriever.


Good Place 2.1-2

Episode 14 & 15 – Everything Is Great!

Everything is reset for this season. And it’s even funnier than before. Because of the major revelation at the end of Season 1, the perception of the premise of the show has changed. Now the major  conflict is between Michael and the four humans. Because we know the characters, the jokes work even better.

Eleanor: Listen to me very carefully. My name is Eleanor Shellstrop. We need to talk.
Chidi: About what?
Eleanor: Just shut your mouth, smile at me, and walk over here.
Chidi: Okay, you’re definitely my least favorite person I’ve met so far.

Good Place 1.13

Episode  13 – Michael’s Gambit

Michael at work

Judge Shawn decides that they can choose any two of the four to go to the Bad Place.

Many arguments are made for who should go and who should stay, with Real Eleanor deciding to take one place. As arguments become more heated and frustrating, Eleanor has an epiphany: the four of them have been torturing each other not by accident but by design, meaning they’ve been in the Bad Place all along.

Jason: Let’s look at this ethnically.
Chidi: For what I hope is the last time, it is ethically.
Jason: You guys helped me and Eleanor, right? But we’re bad. So you helping us was bad. It’s basic consequentialism: The morality of an action is soley judged on its consequences.
Chidi: Great. The one time you actually remember something from class.

Jason: Oh yeah. Didn’t you raise like a thousand dollars for charity or whatever?
Tahani: Uh. Sixty billion, actually, so.