Wednesday, 27 March 2019

"Madame Sin" (1972) - From the Video Vault

Like campy spy thrillers? This one was made as Bond-mania was waning. Casting the grand dame was a fun idea. Robert Wagner was a popular leading man, having just finished "It Takes a Thief".

Sir Lew Grade was throwing buckets of cash into film and television in the 1970's. "Madame Sin" was intended to be a television series (each week - another fiendish plot??). At the end of this pilot, the Madame Sin (Bette Davis - on brand - chewing the scenery) is planning to steal the Russian Crown Jewels as she eyes off Windsor castle as a future HQ.

Scottish locations (Isle of Mull)
Brian Eatwell (Dr Phibes films) set decoration - a nod to Bond's Ken Adam (Madame Sin's lair is very "Dr No", it even has an underground aquarium).
Excellent  British supporting cast (plus Roy Kinnear has a funny cameo)

Annoying electronic soundtrack
Even though it is under 90 minutes, the pacing is slow.
The scene with a deaf Wagner trying to communicate the villain's plans is either embarrassing or comic.
Some scenes seem to have been trimmed.

Monday, 25 March 2019

Sofitel Melbourne on Collins - room renovations, at last

Finally, this 1980's five star hotel is getting major room renovations. Goodbye shower over the bath, faded, worn upholstery and dated television cabinets. Rooms facing north (not bay view rooms) seem to be the first to be getting the treatment. There have been 'soft' renovations over the years and the 50th (top floor suites) were renovated over 10 years ago. With St Regis and Shangri-La hotels coming to Melbourne soon, the renovations are crucial.

Prestige Suite

Friday, 22 March 2019

"Kingdom" 2019 Best series on Netflix at the moment?

Think an Oriental "Game of Thrones" meets "The Walking Dead".
With sumptuous production design, sweeping cinematography and suspenseful direction, this six part series is a winner. No wonder Season 2 is in the works. The show is adapted from the web-comic series "The Kingdom of the Gods".
The third episode's mass-zombie chase through the forest track was nail-bitingly good. The final episode in Season 1 was a mere 43 minutes, concluding with a cliff-hanger.

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

"Love Death and Robots" mini reviews

  • Alternate Histories - top episode, naughty but nice
  • Ice Age - delightful tone, nod to "Night at the Museum"
  • Zima Blue - high concept, shades of "Silent Running" (Hi, Dewey)
  • The Secret War - mini epic movie
  • Three Robots - jokey, black, written by a dog-person?
  • The Witness - pervy Hitchcock goes to Hong Kong, high art
  • Lucky 13 - sentimental, but gets away with it, looks like a computer game
  • Helping Hand - nod to "Gravity", incredibly suspenseful
  • Suits - enjoyable hokum "Starship Troopers" meets "The Real McCoys"
  • When the yogurt took over - high culture?
  • Good Hunting - steampunk porn
  • Fish Night - visually stunning
  • Shape Shifters - predictable but still impressive
  • The Dump - not rubbish, satisfyingly silly
  • Blindspot - for Speed Racer/Transformer fans
  • Sucker of Souls - Indian Jones meets Van Helsing 
  • Sonnie's Edge - grisly, for 13 year old boys?
  • Beyond the Aquila Rift - gorgeous to behold, but not much substance, welcome to Netflix.
  • "Love Death and Robots" episodes - ranked from best to worst (1 -18)

    1. Alternate Histories
    2. Ice Age
    3. Zima Blue
    4. The Secret War
    5. Three Robots
    6. The Witness
    7. Lucky 13
    8. Helping Hand
    9. Suits
    10. When the yogurt took over
    11. Good Hunting
    12. Fish Night
    13. Shape Shifters
    14. The Dump
    15. Blindspot
    16. Sucker of Souls
    17. Sonnie's Edge
    18. Beyond the Aquila Rift