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Julia's Eyes

Spanish thriller about a woman who believes she's being stalked by the same thing that killed her sister (and made it look like a suicide.) Oh, yeah, and her eyesight is deteriorating (as was her sister's.) This is genuinely creepy even while dependent on hokey and annoying behaviour to carry the plot forward. But then, it is a Spanish thriller. Produced by Del Toro even though the only monsters in it are human (whoops, spoiler!.)

Don't watch this if even the idea of eye injury freaks you out.

Like most of the Spanish horror/thrillers I've watched, it's not brilliant but it is better than most of the recent English made thrillers.

This is Jinsy

One episode of this aggressively weird comedy series set on the mythical island of Jinsy. Similar to League of Gentlemen and Psychoville but even more removed from the real world. The actual world-building is good (weird customs and slightly different technology) but the funniest thing in the episode was David Tennant's performance as a Lionel Blair style MC. After Broadchurch it's easy to forget what a great comic performer he is.

Requiem From the Darkness

Anime series about an author in historical Japan investigating traditional Yokai hauntings for his book and coming across a trio of perhaps supernatural vigilantes who exact justice for the crime underlying each haunting.

I've only watched three episodes and they adhere to the same formula, though an overall arc is appearing (the vigilantes are working for someone or something that wants them to kill off the author - they are not sold on the prospect.)

Has an expressionistic fluid style of animation that gives it a dream-like appearance though it is ultimately a supernatural tinged version of Criminal Minds (at the heart of each story is a psychopath who's psychology is analogous to the Yokai/Spirit that the author is investigating.)

Monster House

Dan Harmon cowrote this CGI Spielbergiana. A trio of suburban kids find they have to take down an assertively haunted house before Halloween gives it an unlimited food source (of trick or treaters.) There's a bit of an edge, especially around the relationships at the heart of the film, that show touches of what Harmon brought to Community. Produced by Robert Zemeckis though the Spielberg protege it reminded me of was Joe Dante.
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Made for television 4 years after the book was published

And, yes, Ray Bradbury did sue.

Most bizarrely, it was written by Bea Arthur's first husband!
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[livejournal.com profile] murasaki_1966 and I just finished watching The Lost Room - a SciFi (or is it SyFy now?) channel miniseries with Peter Krause (from one of our favourite shows - Six Feet Under.)

On the one hand - it's not that great. It has some good actors (Julianne Margulies, Kevin Pollack, Ewen Bremner, Dennis Christopher) - in fact better than I would expect from a SciFi/SyFy production - but it felt underwritten and almost cursory in some places.

On the other hand - I don't know of anything like it (as far as TV goes.) It reminded us both of Tim Powers (one of our favourite authors) and it's definitely stayed with us. While I think the mythology (unique to the show) could have been better handled, it's definitely different to most shows and verges on grappling with some very interesting issues (especially about faith.)

One of the striking elements of The Lost Room is how quickly the characters adapt to the supernatural goings-on (I'm not going to describe the show to those unfamiliar with it - it's probably better watched cold.) Of course, they're presented as undeniably strange but it's refreshing to see a fantasy series where the main characters don't waste valuable time denying the reality of what's happened to them. In many ways it appears influenced by the New Weird movement 

In a way it reminds me of a short lived series called Strange Luck and also Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere -  but I guess what I'm really asking is: aside from those examples does anyone know of anything similar?

Despite its flaws, The Lost Room was definitely one of the most interesting SF/Fantasy series we've seen. If you don't know of it (and you're an SF/Fantasy fan) - it's very much worth seeing.

Oh - and there's going to be a comic book continuation.
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[livejournal.com profile] warren_ellis was right

This is my next favourite TV show



More stuff here
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First it was Larry Gelbert,

now it's Troy Kennedy Martin, writer of, amongst other things, Edge of Darkness.

They will be sorely missed.
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So... I bought an Apple TV yesterday.

(Why? Because I was tired of hooking up my laptop every time we want to watch Leverage or Bill Maher or[livejournal.com profile] murasaki_1966  wants to watch the Iron Man trailer.)

(But doesn't it only play stuff bought through the iTunes store? And aren't we, in Australia , limited in what we can purchase due to rights issues? And to play other stuff don't you have convert it to the Apple TV format and move it across?)

Well, that's where Boxee comes in.

With Boxee running on the Apple TV, I can access the video files (and audio and photos) on my laptop (and external drives) over the wireless network and stream them across.

Theoretically.

So there were a few issues:

One major thing I didn't realise (because I - gasp! - didn't do enough research) - the  Apple TV is designed for high-end high def tvs (the rest of us apparently deserve nothing but Jobs' pity and scorn) so:

a) it only accepts component video, not composite video

b) it's intended for wide-screen tvs.

c) it doesn't come with any cables.

Fortunately our obsolete Sony Wega does have component inputs. Unfortunately they're being used by the DVD player. Fortunately when I switch our DVD to composite video, I'll be able to run it through my Neuros OSD (which I need to do anyway.)

Fortunately the Wega has a widescreen mode. Unfortunately we have to change the mode everytime we switch to the set-top box (a Toppy 5000, thanks for asking.) Fortunately the update this morning seems to have got rid of the need for widescreen mode.

So not as bad as I thought.

Boxee (and XMBC) is easy to install using a patch stick. In fact I had to reinstall it this morning after the  Apple TV updated itself. Took five minutes.

So  what's the point of all this?

I can now watch Youtube, Comedy Central and various other video feeds through our tv without any further jiggery pokery. I can watch all the tv shows and obscure foreign films (yay Executive Koala) that have somehow wound up on our assorted hard drives without farting around with plugging the laptop in and getting Front Row to run properly.

A few issues:

Boxee automatically looks stuff up, identifies your files and groups them into either movies or television. It doesn't handle individual episodes of tv anthology  shows too well (e.g. it thinks Pigeons From Hell, the notorious episode of Boris Karloff's Thriller is Posse from Hell, a western.)

It doesn't read all my external drives (because one is partitioned - this will be fixed up in the next project - a file server.)

But for the most part it works and it works well. There's nothing like watching a segment of the Daily Show whilst ironing this morning, just because you can.



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The Sarah Connor Chronicles had one of the best first episodes I've ever seen.

If the rest of the series keeps up with that kind of quality, it's going to be up there with BSG and Firefly.

I honestly wasn't expecting it to be that good (or that clever).

Well done, Josh Friedman!

(I now return you to your regularly scheduled friends list)
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Prisoner (aka Cell-Block H) - The Card Game!

(there's also Lost, Star Wars and Indiana Jones card games as well!)
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