Movies I’ve Seen – Summer 2021 Edition

all ratings out of 10….

Nomadland – 8

The Marksman – 5

The Neverending Story – 7

The Suicide Squad – 7

The Thomas Crown Affair (1968) – 6

Pig – 7

Bullitt – 6

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood – 7

Colossus: The Forbin Project – 6

Live Free or Die Hard – 5

The Hitman’s Bodyguard – 6

Black Widow – 7

Samurai Rebellion – 9

The Tomorrow War – 5

In the Heights – 7

A Quiet Place II – 7

The Shootist – 6

Power Enterprise: The Voyage Continues

Today John Burton, Chris Woods, Peyton Woods, Warren Banks and I played what I think was the 285th session of Power Enterprise the roleplaying game.

It was a real trip revisiting this game that I created in the 80’s and refined over the years, and playing with the original crew and a representative from the new generation!

269 DO YOU BELIEVE IN MAGIC? (cont’d from 268) (2021/08/28)

The lead Mouvetran “thinker” alien speaks to the group via the ‘flora-link’ attached to the back of Spykos’ head. The thinker suggests the group come to the Mouvetran base and be a part of the research. It explains “Perhaps if we join our minds together we can accomplish great things. Unlock the secrets of the planes. I’ve already done the hard part, I’ve found a way to capture magic. I understand some creatures of this realm are immortal, impervious to harm and death, or they were before I took their magic. Perhaps we can find a way to harness these powers and bestow them upon yourselves and your collective.” The group agrees and will head towards the base which is at the edge of the big lake to the East. They then disconnect the flora-link and Spykos is disoriented but okay. 

Olympus’ doggy notices something in the woods behind them, and it is discovered that a group of elflings has followed them, offering to help them with whatever their quest is, along with some delicious vitality-giving berries. The group lets them tag along. Nomad offers some of his magic items, a flame-throwing crossbow and an invisibility cloak, to the earthlings, since the foes are invisible to his senses. Olympus takes the cloak. 

the alien base

When they reach the lake they see a towering tripod-like vessel, 100’ high or more, with the doors open and a bunch of Mouvetrans waiting for them. Nomad, who cannot see the mouvetrans or the ship, does detect a roiling energy ball hovering above the lake, and the group deduces that there’s some magical nexus in the top level of the base. Olympus uses the invisibility cloak to sneak into the vessel, which is surprisingly de-powered and all the doors are in the open position. He climbs up the shaft of a non-operational lift, and sees a research lab with bagmen, geranium men, minijens, and katyr technicians. He senses the thinker and the thinker psionically detects him as well, and asks him to wear a flora-link as a gesture of good faith. Olympus rebuffs the offer but offers to go get the rest of his group. When he climbs back down to the doorway, he sees a human worker with a flora-link, telling the Tenejen that she should be there to help facilitate communication with the Earthlings. 

Solaris, Moses and Sliderman are beckoned to the craft and when they arrive the geranium men move to don flora-links. A fight breaks out! It seems the mouvetran tech is failing, as the mouvetran energy weapons keep sputtering, leaving the aliens with punching and stabbing weapons. The elflings too gather to assist, even though they cannot see the foes. Meanwhile, Spykos disappears into the woods (again) and Olympus’ marble doggy is killed in the fray.

The horde of geranium men

After all the mouvetrans are dealt with, Sliderman notes that the human (now hiding in a side room) looks very similar to his patron, Felix Smets. The heroes pull the flora-link off her and she explains that she is Smets’ twin sister, an expert in the field of dimensional physics. She was recruited to work on a project and the next thing she knew she was a mouvetran slave. She tells the group all the ways that they could stop the project, and the heroes climb up the shaft to the lab, where there’s a line of geranium men protecting the machinery, along with minijens and bagmen and katyr technicians. They plow through them but Olympus and Ujurak are being drained of magical power, especially after the thinker cranks the machine up to 11. Solaris is pitched down the elevator shaft by a minijen, Olympus magic cloak stops working, and Ujurak is unable to maintain his rock form, reverting to human form. They continue to pound on the mouvetrans, setting the magic device on fire and finally smashing it. The force field holding the magic nexus is disrupted and a huge explosion of magic blows everyone back.  With the anti-magic field down, the mouvetran ship begins to register for the locals, and the elflings dance the dance of victory. The heroes are infused with random magical energy, giving them new powers. Sliderman uses the scroll of planar travel to get them back to earth, but it seems like something has gone wrong, for when they return to Earth, the skies are filled with ash and the city is in ruins!!

CAST:

Sliderman (Peyton), Solaris (John Burton), Olympus (Chris), Ujurak (Warren)

Nomad, Spykos the Nephilim giant, Dr. Felicia Smets, elflings

Mouvetran thinker, minijens, bagman, geranium men, a Tenejen, a Katyr soldier and many katyr technicians

Overdue Who Review: Robots of Death

Gosh I wonder who the bad guys are in this series? Robots of Death has not one but two persons of colour, who sadly are killed by ep 2 (of four episodes). Everyone, including the robots, has a futuro-baroque fashion sense, which is both incongruous and kind of refreshing to see something different. The robots don’t have a ‘robot voice’ but they do have robo-vision, when we see their victims through their eyes kind of like Predator. And of course when they go evil, it initiates the evil red glowing eye effect, as per their programming, I’m sure. The Doctor comes up with an ingenious plan to take out the robot controller, as well he should. Not too bad, overall, even though automatonophobia is misnamed as robophobia.

Next up: The Talons of Weng-Chiang (oh lordy)

Overdue Who Review: Face of Evil

Season 14, 4th story, January 1977.

I thought this was going to be one where the Doctor had visited the planet before and created a terrible legacy, like violating the Prime Directive, which interfered with the natural development of the local society, but it turns out that the computer that they worship like a god is only partly the Doctor’s fault. And he references the past trip to the planet but they should have made this a revisit to a planet we’ve seen before. Anyway, it’s a fairly decent plot and this is the introduction of the companion Leela, of which I am a fan. I liked this one.

Next up: The Robots of Death

Overdue Who Review: Deadly Assassin

Season 14, Serial #3, 1976

Is this the first episode without a companion? At first I was excited but by the third (of four) episode my attention waned. I think this is the first time we visit Gallifrey the home of the Time Lords, and no surprise they’re all narrow-minded, stuffy white geriatrics. The Doctor is framed for murdering the president of the Time Lords (what?) by The Master, who looks like a ghoul from Fallout because he’s past his 12th regeneration or some such sillyness. There’s a deadly game of cat and mouse inside a psychic matrix where the danger of death may or may not be real. The climax is reduced to eyeroll-inducing fisticuffs.

Also there’s a panopticon, which is pretty cool.

Next up: Face of Evil

Overdue Who Review: Hand of Fear

Season 14 ep 2 1976, Fourth Doctor

“The Hand of Fear” should have been called “Eldrad Must Live!” and includes a non-white actor for a change, though not in a significant role. In which the Doctor calls a pod of whales a school, tells a peon to go collect an obviously dangerous artifact and pays the price for it, and has an oops moment with an actor’s bosom. Looks like it was filmed in a milk plant but it was an actual nuclear power plant. Companion Sarah is dressed like a toddler and spends most of the time screaming and being a liability, hailing back to the early season companions. This was her last episode before coming back in a 2006 Tennant episode. I enjoyed that the Doctor worked to save the villain, even though it would obviously turn on him. A few clever and enjoyable turns.

Next up: The Deadly Assassin

Overdue Who Review: Masque of Mandragora

Season 14 ep 1. Fourth Doctor

Back to a 4 episode story. An energy thingy uses the TARDIS to bring it and our heroes to 15th century England for some Shakespearian noble intrigue and an evil cult (not the good kind of cult) with prophecies and ‘magic’. The resolution is pretty lackluster and again the Doctor gloats over a pile of corpses. I liked the previous one better.

Next up: The Hand of Fear

Overdue Who Review: Seeds of Doom

Season 13, ep 23, February 1976. Fourth Doctor

Not to be confused with the Seeds of Death episode from some years prior.

All the usual Who tropes, this one in particular has so many old white men it’s hard to keep track of them (at least the psychopathic killer had a goatee). 6 episodes means longer than most stories from this season (13), and there’s an excessive amount of quips in the denouement. Just like Ark in Space was Alien 4 years before Alien, this was The Thing 6 years before The Thing (but 23 years after The Thing From Another World)

Next episode – season 14 The Masque of Mandragora