Red Dwarf Cast in action S1

(image placements in progress)

Kristine Kochanski (Clare Grogan). Rimmer in crewcut. Cat courting NB belt

Olaf Peterson (Mark Williams) & crew ... "Holly" Hologram (Norman Lovett)

Red Dwarf S1 3*

Red Dwarf BBC TV I first heard mentioned by Big Bang Theory nerd Sheldon, whose flatmate Leonard is sweet on blonde neighbor Penny - single with pals Howie and Raj in Season 1, get girls by Season 7. Like original Odd Couple, slob squabbles with snob. Leonard/ Lister is shy, short, chunky, yearns for girl; counterpoint foil Sheldon/ Rimmer is smart(er), tall, thin; in both, aspirations over-reach abilities, crude rude interaction is adult, silly. Crash course spans Season 1 to revival X 2012.

My favorite RD effect is real, not computerized, when Lister's mouth widens sliding down behind quarantine glass to freak out Rimmer, but couldn't find on Youtube; found April Fool. Library loan Season 1 2002 dvd of 1988 season has fun extras; episodes are online, among other TV shows.
The pilot "The End" written in 1983, was inspired by Dark Star scifi spoof.

Dave Lister (standup comic, non-actor Clapham-accented Craig Charles) is lowest maintenance-man Class 3 slob - breakfasts on beer milkshake and vindaloo, smokes ciggy in ear. While in stasis three million years, his smuggled black feline evolves into a humanoid descendant - swanky selfish tom Cat (dancer Danny John-Jules) "Ow. Ah. Eeah. How'm I lookin?". Only these two/189 crew survived radiation leak on grotty mining spaceship Red Dwarf (8' model). Control with 6K IQ, AI face Holly (Norman Lovett complained past mere voice-over) can sustain a single hologram for company, chooses room-mate Arnold J Rimmer (Chris Barrie), unfortunately obnoxious stiff-neck Class 2 Technician.

Visitors are memories, video recordings (no discs yet), holograms (Clare Grogan as love interest Kassie Kochanski), germs Paranoia (Lee Cornes) and Confidence (first TV appearance of Craig Ferguson, now double US citizen, TV talk host), dying Cat priest, toaster, meal machine. Against dull grubby grey (shade conflict was true), incongruous analog cinema-tape reel containers and Cat's lavish suits stand out dramatically. Despite the odd ruffle, jewel glint, contrasting chest hankies, his sinuous slim carriage lends cheery elegance, where paunchy over-hill Elvis-Elton-Liberace are gaudy and sad. Olaf Peterson, swarthy tattooed Swede (tartan cap in dim disco) is skinny teenage Arthur Weasley from Harry Potter.

X-rated for dialog topics. Futuristic-sounding expletives are smeg, gointz, gimboid, tot. Hol echoes the repeat phrasing that's always puzzled me in shows and life "Emergency. There's an Emergency going on. It's still going on. It's still an emergency. This is an emergency announcement ... "

Pictures (until I figure out how to place more than one on post)

1. The End - Hol revives Lister, three million years in stasis after radiation leak.
2. Future Echoes - Deja vu travel time blips show twin boys in Lister's future.
3. Balance of Power - Lister takes chef exam to outrank Rimmer.
4. Waiting for God - Hol translates cat smell Holy book proving Lister is cat deity.
5. Confidence & Paranoia Sick - Lister hallucinations come alive.
6. Me (squared Two) - Rimmer holograms disagree.

Bonus Disc:
Takes thought to find Smeg-ups (sink-toilet gizmo) and Japanese-dubbed pilot episode (goldfish aquarium) from knick-knacks in messy bunk-bed room menu choices, innit. Worth the work, not just bleeps and pratfalls. Real cat Frankenstein escapes cage (explains why actual footage reveals Lister's white-enclosed privates bobble from his shorts, and milk flee saucer), aged actor stumbles "the righteous path of stubble-ess (slobbiness is a word?)", Rimmer: "I've been thinking ... no, I haven't", Cat can't find mirror to admire self, Rimmer can't find pencil to report Lister. Not sure if Japanese have accents that convey class, or how jokes fare that depend on local slang (also here correct scientific term), such as verruca (plantar wart remover) cream for footless man. "Syonara, unbelievable, dangereuse, my shadow, catto, oolala, crispy" need no translation.

Collector's booklet is more lively, says embarrassment over gazpacho cold soup incident from life. Many Boring extras. Models and Launch. Babies cry, then their polaroid develops).
Deleted (as usual, with good reasons besides time) and extended scenes (beer can)
Music (guitar) great from sweetly or starkly simple to sweepingly symphonic. The theme "Fun fun fun in the sun sun sun" makes sense at the start "no kind of atmosphere, all alone here". Audio (speaker-sided talking toaster) I skipped, good for those who like audio books. Clips, Trailer (Hol screen-portrait), Photo Gallery (pinup).
Launch = talking heads with trivia: Allan Rickman and Hugh Laurie liked the Lister part. Pure luck that a budget space in Manchester for "dangerous, edgy" spot took on London 3x (confirmed, several sources) 3-year (unconfirmed, single source) reject.

Mostly boring, though reassuring Lister ate milk powder instead of crew ashes. The three actors dwell on their youth (23), changing: thickness of the one-off silvery forehead-glued one-off cutouts, depth of Prince-Charles-like side part approaching Rimmer's ear, height of Rimmer's curls escaping gel as day wore on. May explain why images of later shows have inked stencil template H. If babies keep crying, adlib relevant remark. I found "bonan matenon" IS Esperanto for good morning.

Hanna 2011 1*

Hanna is a teen (Saoirse - Irish for freedom, sounds like Sasha - Ronan) raised alone in an Arctic -40 Finland forest by her father Erik (Eric Bana), with an encyclopaedic knowledge of languages, unarmed combat, hunting, "adapt or die". Trailer. Outside a frail slender pale blue-eyed blonde wisp; inside strength propels muscle. We fight fear alongside her. 1* disappointed by sad "You didn't prepare me for this"; he was better than some parents.

When she is ready to turn on the signal beacon, CIA agent Marissa Wiegler (Cate Blanchett), artificial hard high-heeled redhead, will lead sadistic and skilled operatives to kill them first. Run, fight, run, enemy tortures innocent bystanders, run, fight, death. A brutal action thriller without usual macho male Big Guns shoot Bad Guys, compensated slightly by little girl kicks fierce.

Scenery spans arab Morocco 140 degree desert muzarin, Spanish campfire dance, opera and didgeridoo in Berlin graffiti slum, to Grimm's fairytale theme park. Music calls to her soul; speed excites her; noisy appliances, modern conveniences, and simple social skills confuse her. Even in the beginning in the lab, she doesn't want to kill anyone she doesn't have to, she shakes her head and walks away. Symbolism from the start, girl shoots deer in the head because she misses the heart, is carried to the final scene. (Wo)men are animals who kill anyone different as a threat? Kind of backwards happy ending, especially when sacrifice easily predicted. Why was that inevitable?

Alternate ending overlaid incongruous bright (lonely) hope onto a frightening framework.
Deleted scenes proved good editor.
Anatomy of camp Escape from real tunnels in disorienting kaleidoscope to electronic theme

Commentary by director Joe Wright

He intended this film to be a fairy tale, a few intense visual images, implausible unreal acceptable, with a character who discovers music. I did not feel a balance. The ending, walking out of the wolf's mouth, was just wierd. I suspected something I couldn't put a finger on. His "circle motif" was uncomfortable subconscious repetition, never explained.

I recognized actors but couldn't place them, maybe because I'm such a BBC fan. Australian Eric Bana is in Munich, Hulk, and Star Trek films. Fake wig Marissa stand-in is Michelle Dockery, Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey TV series. Sadistic whistling German rogue assassin Tom Hollander was Cutler Beckett in Pirates of the Caribbean. Sophie's mom, Olivia Williams was in TV Dollhouse series. Sophie's dad, Jason Flemyng, was Danny Quinn in Primeval.

A normal child's yearn for adulthood is in an extraordinary setting. Deep emotions convey in few words. As a North American, I missed the British bad-teeth director giving the wicked witch perfect Yankee teeth and taste for blood. Glad to hear producer Leslie also thought Erik should have gone into the snowstorm with a fur coat, not cloth suit. I'm glad I did not recognize a singing to lightbulb homage to Blue Velvet; all I remember about that film is feeling creeped out.


I was hoping for explanations I did not get. Why did the father have to die? Why did she return to Mr Grimm when she heard the answers to the torture? Why a deer at the end? I disagreed that Marissa was unravelling then wanted to adopt Hanna to atone at the end. Previews hinted she was the mother. Whew. She was bad through and through. I like the premise, little girl wins, not the cost.

EarthSea 4*

dvd 2004 Earthsea, from Ursula LeGuin 1980+ series, is an 4* awesome vista of spectacular British Columbia Canada mountain cliffs, green trees and moss, blue sea and sky, schooners great and small, sails flapping, computer castles, in 1001 islands, an imaginary medieval time of cape, crown, sword, staff, horse. Trailer. Humor is humanizing, lighter and better than Tolkein or Rowling, less loss of loved ones, plus moral of self-acceptance. Fun at School.

Blacksmith's son Ged (Xmen Iceman Shawn of the Ashmore identical twins), bright blue eyes in hobbity rufflable red-gold curls aspires to more than a peasant's future. He has dreams and visions of a lovely brunette Tenar (Kristin Kreuk) beckoning him down an dim stone maze. On his departure from the village, his white-haired teacher Marion (Betty Philips, not voice) gives him a necklace to wear always, her only possession when washed ashore, memory lost, in a great storm. Evil King Tygath (Sebastian Roche, royal English accent amid plebian NA voices) conquers with Kargide troops and schemes with lover luscious blonde priestess Kossil (Jennifer Calvert, home Vancouver to London) for immortality by releasing the destructive Nameless Ones. Legend says the Amulet of Peace to heal Earthsea was broken and lost long ago, when a similar pair enacted the same plot, and a great storm destroyed much.
"Of course the other half of the amulet isn't secreted away in some flowery meadow next to a babbling brook (where the film began)" scoffs Ged, heading down into tombs below bloodthirsty horde headquarters, following advice of a delightfully lithpy toothy growl of dragon Orm Embar (unaugmented Peter Kent).

The quest passes through a world of great natural beauty, (Stargate Digital Vancouver) special-effect vicious spooks, and the aforementioned tricky riddling fiery dragon. Although not elevated by any unusual spark of distinction, this is the fairy tale classic we've always known, a lovely legend of faith and redemption, to sweet madrigal song chorus and rhythmic drums. Title track.
DVD dated 2004, probably no sequels, too bad.

Spoilers to the plot, not the end:
Treacherous Kossil poisons the temple leader Reverend Mother Thar (Isabel Rosselini). Animal husbandry expert Ogion (Danny Glover) gives Ged secret name SparrowHawk, but the boy is too impatient and heads for the island Roke school of magic led by English-accent Arch Magus Nemril (Alan Scarfe in own white beard). His pride and ability challenged, he gravely errs. From the temple guardians, he releases the soul-devouring Gebbeth (Mark Acheson) who kills all in his path to consume Ged. But steadfast pal Vetch (Christopher Gauthier) diverts his attention from food to help.

Scene Selection has sound track on every choice, an unusual bonus I like

The World of Earthsea made real
Five days to midnight, not much of a trailer

Director Commentary
Robert Lieberman covered skin, tempered violence, hid dragon's body, left out lesbians. Subtlety has better effect than soapbox shouting of LeGuin. I'd puzzled over some oddness of Ged's father's voice. Turns out a heavy Scot brogue was dubbed over, as was the old lady Mary for an older soft English quaver, and a soldier. The director seemed unaware of the British high-class accents cast those who (thought they) were. Threw me when cameo venerated religious icon Lady Elfarren (Amanda Tapping) spoke normal Canadian, not her TV Sanctuary British accent. Juxtaposed against a modern phrasing and slurring is an archaic style I'd prefer more.

Deliberate incorporation of light crackles, flickers (3K candles), livestock, birds, water in every shot, real smoke guns, huts, cracking floorboards, 3K+ scrolls, magnified eye, amalgam of known cultures (Africa, Middle East, Moorish), avoiding look-alike long white hair and beard and pointy hats (our 21st century earth still has magic-users who look like Ogion), make us unconsciously accept sets and costumes as reality. Styrofoam has come a long way. I was unaware of the re-used sets; it lends continuity. Costumes add to my sense of reality: linen, leather, brocade, silk, fur, chain-mail. His sense of clown white makeup diminishing the scariness of the Shadow, teeniness of dungeon doors, the foreboding formidable. corresponded to mine.

Avoiding heavy melodrama or slapstick cartoon, the director strikes the right balance. What to do if a rat won't go though a hole and has to be stuffed through? Write extra lines and crack a tubby joke. Traditional closing scenes bring the cast together; on 1001 islands, a magic beam lights everyone. I used more trailers than my usual review, because none seem to correctly convey the balance of scenery, action, humor, and caring (too much silence, indoors, dreamy romance, or dark) in the original.
Spoiler Trailer better scenery gives away end
Tales from Earthsea is an 2010 anime version

Gift of the Night Fury 3*

Full. Short sweet Winter Festival Snoggletog tale about the Viking village of Berk. All the dragons fly away, leaving nothing to celebrate. When Hiccup gives Toothless a tail replacement that allows independent flight, the Night Fury takes off too, and stays away, even when the boy finds the other runaways.

Extras: Gobber's Training Secrets demonstrated for six types, 4 deleted scenes (storyboards plain), Game, How to sketch baby Gronkle, Snoggletog party howto, Previews for Kung Fu Panda 2 (KF Fighting, TV series, Secrets of Furious Five dvd, game), Puss in Boots, plus songs from Shrek (I'm a believer), How to train your dragon (Fly High), Madagascar (Move It, Penguin Xmas), MegaMind (medley).

Harry Potter Deathly Hallows 2*

Starts, middles and ends with death (see spoiler), chases in between. Professor Dumbledore's legacies give hints for students Harry, Hermione, and Ron to find and defeat evil Lord Voldemort. In a magical muggle-oblivious England of little green and much grey, they run, pause to solidify evidence, get attacked, escape, run again. Dark, dark, and more dark. Featurette 1* sad, confusing 3* effects.

Settings: Dursley's 4 Privet Dr, sky, Weasley's, wedding, Sirius' refuge, cafe, Ministry, woods, rocky shore, seaside, cemetery, village, old lady's cottage, forest, Luna's, enemy stronghold, cellar prison, beach ... Voldemort and minions pursue everywhere.

Clues: Horcruxes, Gryffindor sword to destroy horcruxes, birth-place Godric's Hollow, bar-circle-triangle symbol for three Hallows

Spoilers: Deaths: witch teacher of Muggles course, Mad-eye Moody, house-elf Dobby

Gnomeo & Juliet 5*

Lady Gaga sings with Elton John in my favorite scene the night flower meeting Preview Animated garden gnomes are in a split duplex: Capulet red magnificently courageously vital Juliet, and Montague blue, her equal, Romeo. (James McAvoy). (Means more in British accents - The Manchester United "Reds" and Chelsea "Blues" have near a century of competition in English Premier League soccer football.)

The motherless maiden, and fatherless garden rulers' only children are lucky daredevils. Elton John (he modified himself) songs both pump up emotion for important events, such as race between houses, and midnight raids, our couple disguised in black, and hint truth in the background, "How wonderful life is when you're in the world". I'm not a fan of musicals where people burst into song and dance unreasonably; this hits the spot. Spotted tracker doggy "Shroom" and Cuban plastic flamingo Featherstone (Jim Cummings - TV Tigger, Pooh) add more humor. Spoonerisms at the start, sweetness throughout.

The casting is impeccable. Delightful to recognize red cantakerous curmudgeon Richard Wilson from One Foot in the Grave's similar Victor Meldrew, again over the fence (also Doctor Who's Dr Constantine, Merlin's mentor Gaius). Lead roles are voiced by James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, parents Lady Bluebury Maggie Smith and Lord Redbrick, oh well, Michael Caine. Juliet's frog nurse Nanette Ashley Jensen I didn't remember from Phlegma the Fierce (added to the wonderful animated film, not in Book 1, How to Train Your Dragon). Who could do a better Terrafirminator than a real wrestler, like Hulk Hogan? Jason Statham, known for fierce fictional race-car driving, fills the same role in red Tybalt. Patrick Stewart is Shakespeare statue. Parton is the one and only Dolly in the world.

Spoiler: At the chorus finale, I couldn't help mourn the death. Thankfully, in the Disney world, clay bodies can be glued.


Features show setting is Stratford-on-Avon. Opening, endings, deleted scenes were unused for good reasons. Worst part is repeated "see what you think" by director. GSI investigators, ruse wedding, quarrelling weathervanes just hohum in storyboard versions. I expected to see London in the credits, but Toronto? Nelly Furtado?

Did you know Don Featherstone invented the pink plastic flamingo in 1957, produced in pairs, signed on the backsides, and much other garden kitsch sculpture? Hunh.

The True Story of Puss 'n Boots 1-2*

Polish Trailer with funny scene is not Shrek Banderas, but does have silly song charm if you change expectation to French animated musical with English songs: "I'm so pretty" from West Side Story, Greensleeves, and classical themes: William Tell, Beethoven, Danube waltz. Clever inventions are ostrich carriages (reminiscent of Flintstone Rock Vegas dinosaurs), fly-swatter sceptre, two chase fight scenes, one on a conveyor (only similarity to Shrek).

Choose French audio for lips to match words, without bro, slang, hemm-hawwing. Queens say biggie, hat's off, bupkiss, and yup? William Shatner voices lead, but the high squeaky, repetitive, smarmy tones are undistinguishable and unpleasant. Architecture is mosque-like, other credits French and E. European.

Like classic Russian tales, youngest miller's son pony-tailed Peter inherits the large, nearly as tall talking cat, on condition he makes special stored red leather into tall boots and His older brothers get the mill. He and the Princess are supposedly magnificent dancers. Puss promises the boy's royal crush will result in marriage. At the first inn stop, the pixie-cut masked princess executes her dream passion, first and only real dance in the whole film. The rest are just poses. Why do women all have big hips? French?

The evil chamberlain in a creepy beetle carapace-like cape wants to marry her. Magic candies transform competing suitors into warty toads for a mountain castle dwelling ogre, who hulk-like grows giant octopus tentacles, but dreams of one day becoming a swan. Jamaican chimp pianist is our team's inside man, taming the monster with music.

Extras (in English) Shatner interview has silent question pages. Slide show has 17 stills that summarize plot ending with full cast bow Trailer covers full story. Phase4 previews: Gruffalo, Jane Lynch Disco Worms, Antonio Banderas (finally!) The Missing Lynx, Forrest Whittaker Dragon Hunters (How to Train a Dragon off-take, Not Original!).