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Showing posts from September, 2019

Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, season 1

I want to review The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (2019). However, given its size and dearth of content, I thought I might make it a weekly series for the next month or so. The point of this post will be to give my generalized impressions for the entire show. No spoilers, here; I'll save those for future posts.


The broadest compliment to AoR that I can pay is that it is generous. It has much to recommend, and little to discourage. This applies to fans of the 1982 original, and potential new viewers who have never seen a cult classic nearly forty years old. Depending on how avid these older fans are, they may be familiar with the extended lore the show is based off of, and will undoubtedly be curious in what directions the show's makers have taken it in. For fresh recruits, all of this will be new and there's a lot of it.

AoR doesn't simply introduce new characters; it introduces whole new places, complete with unique flora and fauna. However, these additions are cent…

My Two Cents: "Donner and Blitzen" (Rob Halford and Family)

Judas Priest front man and metal godfather Rob Halford has decided to do a Christmas-themes metal album, Celestial. The single "Donner and Blitzen" can be found, Spotify. It's also available on YouTube.


My two cents: What a treat! The dotted rhythm reminds me a bit of "Redeemer of Souls" and "Lightning Strikes," and the chorus is rhythmically similar to "Judas Rising." The title refers to Donner and Blitzen, Santa's foremost reindeer. The song uses short-but-hefty words like "power," "icon," and "glory" to regale the listener as D&B tear through the sky (much like their namesakes, thunder and lightning). It's a Christmas chant, but one imbued with divine might.

Consider these lyrics (transcribed by ear so there might be mistakes):

For one holy night, their incredible flight  Arriving on earth, the immaculate power!  Donner and Blitzen, tear through the sky!  Raining good fortune, love from on high! 

"Alien: Ore" (2019) Q & A, Ambrose Gardener, part 2

As the end of of my ongoing Q & A serieson "Alien: Ore," this final interview is with Ambrose Gardener, who played Clark Witchell. 


Getting the Role, cont.
Nick: Did you choose Clark knowing he was going to die?

Ambrose: In the beginning I didn't see myself as Clark. I felt drawn to Kolton, but the Spear sisters saw something that I didn't which motivated me to explore Clark's world even more. The fact that he was going to die on camera made the role that much more exciting—Death by xenomorph? Any day! Call me, thank you.

Clark, shortly before his death (image courtesy of Suzanne Friesen).

Nick: Once you learned that he was toast, how did this make you feel? Did you imagine yourself dying in a similar fashion to John Kurt or other actors from the franchise? [editor's note: I ask this because some of the most memorable moments in the franchise are people being killed by the monster.]

Ambrose: I could not wait to get to that scene. I imagined Clark's death in…

It: Chapter 2 (2019) Review

Having seen the latest Steven King adaptation, It: Chapter 2 (2019), I wanted to give my thoughts on it. Spoilers galore!



The movie opens with two nameless men at the annual Derry carnival. The shorter of the two plays a game, while his taller friend watches. When the short man wins, he smirks and hands his prize to an upset little girl (who lost). She has a noticeable birthmark on her right cheek, and looks wanly up at him—until he hands her the little stuffed toy. Then, her face brightens.

The actual victor is crowned with a beaver hat by his friend. The short man replies, "Actually, I was never into beaver," and promptly kisses him. It is reciprocated, and the pair carry on, arm-in-arm. However, some spectators nearby take heed and make their disapproval known, calling the couple sexually-motivated slurs. The short man returns fire: "Meg Ryan wants her wig back!"

After a bit of saber rattling, the short man is lead away by his partner. They walk down a bridge, a…

"Alien: Ore" (2019) Q & A, Ambrose Gardener, part 1

To commemorate the end of of my Q & A serieson "Alien: Ore," this final interview is with Ambrose Gardener, who played Clark Witchell. Happy Friday the 13th (with a full moon, no less)!


"Alien: Ore" Interview, Ambrose Gardener
Nick: My name is Nicholas van der Waard. I have my MA in English Studies: the Gothic, and run a movie blog centered on Gothic horror, Nick’s Movie Insights. Joining me for this interview is Ambrose Gardener, who played Clark Witchell, in "Alien: Ore." Apart from being an actor, he also does video editing for short films, helps friends and other actors to create self-tape auditions, and is practicing musical scoring.

Ambrose, outside Britannia Mines (courtesy of Greg Massie).
(to Ambrose): How long have you been acting? Can you tell me about some of your past experiences?

Ambrose: I made a conscious decision on January 1st, 2015 to really commit myself to acting. Everything that had happened up to that date was leading me towards it.…

"Alien: Ore" (2019) Q & A, Vancouver FX, part 2

As part of my ongoing Q & A serieson "Alien: Ore" (2019), this interview is with Vancouver FX, the company involved with the practical special effects, on-set. 


The Current State of Special Effects, cont.
Nick: I'm a huge fan of special effects from older movies, ranging from The Terminator (1984) or Häxan (1922). There's something of a time stamp to these effects, but also a particular level of inventiveness. Do you think digital technology streamline the effects, making them "easier," but robbing them of their charm and personal flavor?

Dallas: The old classics will always be there to guide us as we create new creatures and effects moving forward. I go back and watch the originals often for inspiration and to study styles of the time. This whole industry is built off these amazing artists who came before and laid a foundation using practical effects. Whether practical or digital, none of it is easy to create; it takes time and specialized artistry. When …