On Sex

On the Basis of Sex is a 2018 American biographical legal drama film based on the life and early cases of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who served as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court from 1993 to her death in 2020.

Directed by Mimi Leder and written by Daniel Stiepleman, it stars Felicity Jones as Ginsburg, with Armie Hammer, Justin Theroux, Jack Reynor, Cailee Spaeny, Sam Waterston, and Kathy Bates in supporting roles.

Despite the historical nature of the story, this plays out as an old fashioned legal drama. You know the outcome, getting there is the intriguing part. And you get a cameo from the lady herself.

Dig

The Dig is a 2021 British film directed by Simon Stone, based on the 2007 novel of the same name by John Preston. It reimagines the events of the 1939 excavation of Sutton Hoo.

It stars Carey Mulligan, Ralph Fiennes, Lily James, Johnny Flynn, Ben Chaplin, Ken Stott, Archie Barnes, and Monica Dolan.

An old fashioned BBC drama. By now there must be parts of the UK still in pre-war times just to shoot these films. Fiennes does a fine job as the old codger who started the dig. There is an ample supporting cast to fill the gaps.

However the most disappointing part was that we didn’t get to see the extent of the treasure uncovered.

There is a full scale replica of the burial ship being made.

But the most famous piece, the mask was not shown. Perhaps it was uncovered later.

Contest

Contest
(Dane Maddock #12)
by David Wood (2019)

 

Dane Maddock and Bones Bonebrake travel to the Mojave Desert to help launch an adventure race, they make a baffling discovery- a dungeon room hidden high in the desert hills, and beyond, a previously undiscovered network of caverns that seem to go on forever.

Again this story has a few too many characters and plot threads to make it enjoyable. Not his best.

Unknown Galaxy

A Galaxy Unknown
(A Galaxy Unknown #1)
by Thomas DePrima (2010)

This is the epic story of Jenetta Carver. As  young ensign on a starship she is  awakened in the middle of the night by an alarm and the message to abandon ship.

It’s Military Science Fiction, and fortunately we don’t get half the book following the main character through training. She evolves, changes and adapts through her adventures. This is a good example of the ‘Show, don’t Tell’ axiom.

The story itself is rather unlikely, she escapes multiple times in true ‘Pulp Fiction’ style. Defeats her enemies and wins the day.

It’s fast, fun action and makes me want to read more in the 12 book series.

 

Rev Ferrett

Originally heard on the TV Show ‘Press’ (previous post).

Reverse ferret is a phrase used predominantly within the British media to describe a sudden reversal in an organization’s editorial or political line on a certain issue. Generally, this will involve no acknowledgement of the previous position.

The term originates from Kelvin MacKenzie’s time at The Sun. His preferred description of the role of journalists when it came to public figures was to “stick a ferret up their trousers”.

This meant making their lives uncomfortable, and was based on the supposed Northern England stunt of ferret-legging (where contestants compete to show who can endure a live ferret within their sealed trousers the longest).

However, when it became clear that the tide of public opinion had turned against the paper’s line, MacKenzie would burst from his office shouting “Reverse ferret!”

 

Press


Press is a six-part British television drama series first aired on the in  2018.

Created and written by Mike Bartlett, the series depicts two rival British newspapers and the lives of their senior employees.

The series was cancelled after one series.

Full of actors I knew nothing of, this hooked me from the start. Probably because of the very British sense of drama. It depicts two newspapers.

The Herald is a left leaning publication, going after ‘worthy’ stories with all the gusto of investigative journalism. The Post is more conservative, focusing on entertainment and shock, with little concern for the truth.

Through a series of news stories, characters plot and scheme to get the story and one over their rival. And at the end, they are just as intractable as in the beginning.

Guardian Review

Independent Review

 

Moya

A Compendium of Spacecraft #6

From Farscape

Moya

Moya is a female Leviathan transport vessel; a living sentient bio-mechanical space ship. 1,000m long, 250m wide and 200m high, she has a sentient Pilot controlling the ship.

She has no weapons and is capable of only one defensive maneuver, Starburst. The ability to starburst is a faster than light drive system that is unmatched in its ability to evade pursuers.

A starbursting Leviathan cannot be caught unless its drive system is disrupted just as it begins ignition. Once a Leviathan has entered starburst, it can travel enormous distances in far less time than most other vessels.

 

HHGTG HOG

A Compendium of Spacecraft #5

from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Heart of Gold

For some reason I had always though of this as a black ship, almost invisible against the blackness of space. However, in the book the Heart of Gold was described as huge, 150 meters long, and shaped like a sleek running shoe. It was perfectly white and mindbogglingly beautiful.

In the television series it was oddly shaped:

Then in the movie it was just a spherical blob:

either way, it was the first spacecraft to make use of the Infinite Improbability Drive.

The craft was stolen by then-President Zaphod Beeblebrox at the official launch of the ship. The ship picked up Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect, who were floating unprotected in deep space, having just escaped the destruction of earth.

 

Overboard

 

Overboard is a 2018 American romantic comedy film directed by Rob Greenberg. The screenplay was written by Greenberg, Bob Fisher, and Leslie Dixon. The film stars Eugenio Derbez, Anna Faris, Eva Longoria, John Hannah, and Swoosie Kurtz. The film is a remake of the 1987 film of the same name, with the genders of the lead character roles reversed: Here, a struggling, working-class single mother convinces a rich playboy with amnesia that they are married.

Here’s the thing; critics are miserable buggers. If it’s dark and depressing they think ‘Oh, the humanity, how insightful into the soul’, give it an award. They hate comedies.

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 24%. On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 42 out of 100. But audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of “A–” on an A+ to F scale, while PostTrak reported filmgoers gave it an 83% overall positive score.

The film grossed $50.3 million in the United States and Canada, and $40.9 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $91.2 million, against a production budget of $12 million.

Just shows what critics know! It was a success.

I watched it only because I know of Anna Faris from her sitcom ‘Mom’. The success is mainly due to the  assured hand of director Rob Greenberg, who’s credits include ‘Scrubs’ and ‘How I met your Mother’. He gets the most out of the able cast, but it’s Derbez who does most of the work.

There are a number of laugh out loud moments. But ultimately you know it will end in a cute romantic ending (and it does).

 

 

Nikita

Nikita is an American action thriller drama television series that aired from September 9, 2010, to December 27, 2013. The series is an adaptation of Luc Besson’s French film La Femme Nikita, the second such adaptation after the 1997 TV series La Femme Nikita.

The series focuses on Nikita (Maggie Q), a woman who escaped from a secret government-funded organization known as “Division” and, after a three-year hiding period, is back to bring down the organization.


The writers must have read ‘Death Becomes Her’, as it’s the same premise. And an old trope. The young teenager, gone bad, taken in by the mentor and trained to be a deadly weapon. Despite high production values, it does suffer from character and story problems.

The only episode I have seen, the first is just confusing. There are jumps between plot threads and it’s not clear just what is going on.

Secondly, being an American series, everyone is impossibly good looking. Even the thugs have style and grace. If this was a British series, the bad guys would look bad and grimy.

And because of this, the main protagonist is a slim model of a girl.

This makes action sequences of her taking on two or more big guys even more implausible than usual. And everything goes her way. Start a shooting war in the middle of a high class party and only the bad guys will get shot. Everyone will miss Nikita as she walks out.

But the scene that put the nail in the coffin of this series for me is at the end when the tough agent apprehends her, points a gun and manages to get himself shot by her as he ‘has feelings’ for her. Give me a break. This only happens to keep the story going. In another scene she eludes four gunmen by using a dressed mannequin to fool them. Where did she get this at such short notice.

So poorly plotted, with uninspiring action sequences and a lack of tension or intrigue.