Thursday, January 31, 2013

Random Movie Report: The Twonky

Arch Oboler had good reason to resent television. As everyone knows, American radio networks more or less abandoned radio theater when TV came along, transferring all their talent and money to the boob tube once they realized how big it was going to be. Oboler, a star writer for Lights Out!, didn't make the transition to television easily but found it impossible to go back to what he did best, as the networks began to discard radio drama. So Oboler looked to film, and decided to take a stab at the medium which had caused him so much pain. The Twonky is a weird little satire that's all the more fascinating because it doesn't quite gel. Oddly enough it's not the transition to film that trips Oboler up; instead, the story has fundamental flaws that you'd expect he'd be able to overcome.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Random Movie Report: Tarantula!

Tarantula DVD cover and Amazon link

Spiders are creepy, and big spiders creepier still, so they tend to make great movie monsters. Sure, you lose the portion of the audience which has actual arachnophobia, but you can't make an omelet, etc. After Them! introduced the concept of giant insects spawned by radiation, a film about a giant spider was inevitable, but Jack Arnold's Tarantula!, to its credit, isn't just a ripoff. It's got an original, kinda goofy storyline, and while it sometimes stretches plausibility even by the standards of a movie about a giant spider, it captures contemporary paranoia about atomic science pretty well, and delivers some very memorable moments.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Frasierquest 5.10: Where Every Bloke Knows Your Name

Frasier's new hangout spot

Frasier:  You've got to be careful what you bring down to the pub with you.

Daphne:  Tell me about it!

I was slow to jump into "Where Every Bloke Knows Your Name", since I recalled it being a gimmicky episode without a lot of substance to it. The episode revolves around a faux-British pub that Frasier takes over, and with that you get all the phony accents and broad stereotypes you'd expect. But amidst the wackiness there are a few good emotional beats, and it's really only nearabouts the end that the story gets too shaky. It's definitely a step down after a great Christmas, but still decent television.