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Showing posts from July, 2015

You just can’t leave dead bodies laying around about the place, you know.

The Avengers 2.4: Death Dispatch
So Mrs Gale is needed. I can’t say I’ve ever been a huge fan of Honor Blackman’s performances, perhaps because many of her roles tend to the stern or austere. But she’s congenial and relaxed throughout Death Dispatch, and has instant and inviting chemistry with Macnee. The plot is merely so-so, but they carry the proceedings with aplomb.

Said plot involves One Ten (Douglas Muir) directing Steed to replace a diplomatic courier stabbed in the back during the opening scene (he dies instantly, which is lucky); the aim is to “Give the murderer a second chance”. What follows is a travelogue from Jamaica to Bogota to Lima and finally Santiago as Mrs Gale more than efficiently acts as Steed’s cover and protector. As such their travels are engaging, but anything involving Santiago and the guy who wants to get his mitts on the diplomatic goods is a bit of a dud.

Miguel Rosas (Richard Warner) seems to think he can engineer a political takeover, which doesn’t bear mu…

A question of, "Who's to guard the guards themselves?", aye Steed?

The Avengers 2.3: The Sell-Out
The final Dr King episode has a lot more going for it on paper than it’s able to pull off. It has the potential to be something of a Tinker Tailor-esque affair, complete with four possible suspects for the informer (including Steed, “But then, I’m Caesar’s wife”), but it ends up rather static and disinterested. Still, King’s departure is properly foreshadowed and the supporting cast includes some strong performers.

Steed is assigned to protect French UN negotiator Monsieur Roland (Carleton Hobbs), but is under suspicion himself from One Twelve (Arthur Hewlett of State of Decay, the old giffer who ends up on the Vervoids’ revolting compost heap in The Trial of a Time Lord and Blake’s 7’s The Keeper); we don’t see his usual boss One Ten, although he pops up in the next, first Cathy Gale episode). We eventually learn Harvey (Frank Gatliff, The Monster of Peladon and Blake’s 7’s The Harvest of Kairos as well as three more Avengers episodes) is dealing the secre…

I could tell you a few queer things about this business.

The Avengers 2.2: Dead on Course
The premise of Dead on Course feels much like archetypal (later) Avengers fare; dastardly goings-on in an isolated village are a mainstay of the series. For the most part this keeps the episode afloat, but it lacks the quirkiness of the show’s future format and so draws attention to the daftness of the scenario by playing it all a little too straight. And with this title, a few years later and it would involve murderous intrigue on a golf course.

Still, there’s a fair bit of intrigue in Eric Paice’s teleplay; this isn’t one where it’s clear early on who’s doing what and why. Sure, we know something’s suss about the convent as soon a man dressed as a nun answers the door (Steed doesn’t seem to notice), but the subterfuge of Donal Donnelly’s barman O’Brien is such that even after he is exposed as the ringleader it’s difficult to swallow that he actually is.

Dodgy killer nuns (with machine guns!) is about as Avengers as they come, although this one is set in …

I want you to break into a place and steal some shit.

Ant-Man (2015)
(SPOILERS) Ant-Man is good fun, low stakes and likeable, but its definitely a lesser Marvel effort. This has nothing to do with the scale of the superhero in question. Rather, it’s the lack of zip director Peyton Reed injects into the proceedings. There’s nothing much wrong here, and there are regular laugh-out loud moments (mostly courtesy of Michael Peña) but the overriding sense is of a middling movie: serviceable and for the most part unremarkable. Reed, replacing Edgar Wright after his kind-of-not acrimonious parting of ways with the studio, has done a resolutely competent pick-up job.

One only has to look at Joe Dante’s Innerspace to see how much fun can be had with the micro-world, and when Reed gets on board with the prevized set pieces that were (probably) part of Wright’s vision for the picture, there’s more than enough flair and exuberance to ignite the proceedings. Elsewhere, however, his basic shooting style and static approach to scenes makes Ant-Man drag qui…