Antiphospholipid Syndrome Movie Reviews
If you or a member of your family has Asperger's Syndrome, this DVD can give great insight into the what and why of behavior and thought processes of individuals with Asperger's. Tony Attwood is a great clinician and observer.
Godell's crew pulls it together in the end, saving the plant and their corner of North America - but not before Richard and Kimberly catch their abject terror on camera. Unfortunately for everybody (and the continent) nuclear plants are covered by the same national security laws that apply to Area-51 - and the government impounds the tape. While Richard goes "underground" with his tape - stealing it and taking it to anti-nuclear physicists (they're the guys who explain the title) - Kimberly tries to pick up the story by going after Godell himself. Lemmon's Godell is the perfect vet - polite, but not quite ready to help Kimberly bury the plant he loves. Unfortunately for Ventana's builders and owners, Godell loves the plant more than they do. Snooping for info he hopes will clear any doubts about the plant, Godell only finds the shoddy safeguards and oversight that plague it. Tipping off the plant's owners that he's found serious irregularities, Godell is waylaid by sinister guys in dark cars before he can present his proof at a public commission about nuclear power in California. Blocked by "the company", unable to connect with the media and ostracized by his peers (led by Wilford Brimley), Godell takes one final and desperate stab at the plant.
"China" wasn't really topical when it was filming - we know that nuclear power has risks, but so does anything else connected with large-scale power generation. The story actually raises some interesting questions: though nuclear advocates can raise the fact that Ventana's safeguards and the professionalism of those who run it avert disaster as advertised, it's not clear whether we should have to rely on US Navy-trained engineers to a) keep our TV's and blenders running while b) keep California from becoming unlivable for 600,000 years. Instead, not only does the script remind you what side it tilts too, but manages to do so repeatedly without giving you anything to follow their lead. (The covert army that protects Ventana is a tad implausible; also, while Ventana's secrecy is supposed to be maintained by the government, the feds seem nonexistent in this story. The script never explains the government's total apathy about the future of southern California, relying on an almost instinctive distrust of anything big and corporate that was old decades before Enron.) On the other hand, the middle of the flick leans in a direction away from being a simple "cautionary tale", with Kimberly developing some surprising powers to win Godell to her side. The story hints that Godell is a bit of a rouser himself (when they first part ways, he reminds her to think of him next time she blows her hair) before returning us to story about snooping reporters vs. evil corporate minions. Normally, romance spoils serious stories, but "Syndrome" is too serious for its own good. Instead, like Godell, it gets desperate in the end. Suffice it to say that this flick has Jack Lemmon's first on-screen death, and boy do they make up for the delay. Less believable is the relationship between Adams and Kimberly. Sure, you can't choose who you work with, but how did Adams (all long hair and beard) get stuck with Kimberly, who's lucky to report off-course hot-air balloons?
I don't think time has been kind to this flick. Even though recession, Enron and the rise-and-fall of another era of cheap gas make it nuclear power look attractive as it did in the late 1970's, this movie just doesn't radiate.
The film is about the collaboration of a reporter (Jane Fonda) with a director in the nuclear power plant against the running of the plant, after a dangerous event that could have harmed hundreds of thousands of people by radioactive means. Although it seems to start interestingly enough, the tension does not develop at equal rate. One expects a huge or at least somewhat bigger event to happen; but instead gets an unreasonable exaggeration of the initial event, which just does not satisfy the audience.
Michael Douglas plays the cameraman who works with Fonda in shooting reportages. He is the one who gets suspicious of the seemingly perfect control down in the plant, and plays a major role in the investigation of the plant. The movie is not bad; but it doesn't carry forward how it starts. That creates a disappointment. And as I mentioned, one cannot appreciate the social impact truely, if he/she hasn't lived during the years of nuclear danger. Good acting, but a little insatisfactory story for the young ones...
As the plot goes, PG&E (Pacific Gas & Electric) has been running the Ventana Nuclear Power Plant for a short time, and is looking to add additional plants in their operating area. They are about to break ground on a second nuclear plant and wish to put the public at ease with the idea of nuclear power as a viable source of energy by allowing a T.V. news crew (played by Jane Fonda, Michael Douglas and another fellow) to tour the Ventana plant.
While in the visitors booth, in full view of the plant's control room, the news crew witness an emergency that causes the reactor to "scram", subsequently shutting down the plant. Without authorization, Douglas captures the entire event on film. When the drama subsides, PG&E's media suit gives the news crew a watered-down explanation for what just happened.
Fonda, with her first piece of "hard news", hopes to air the story immediately, but is stone-walled by the news station's management. It soon becomes clear that PG&E has gotten word of the film's existence and successfully stops it's airing on television. Shortly thereafter, Douglas steals the film from the station's film vault and secretly shows it to a couple of renouned physicists. What he finds out is very chilling, indeed.
Jack Lemmon plays the Shift Supervisor at Ventana, coming off excellently as a loyal, dedicated company man, who must balance his feelings for his beloved plant, with his growing concern that the plant may not be safe to operate. Digging deeper, he discovers significant evidence that PG&E and its sub-contractors have by-passed safety regulations in the construction of the plant. When he presents this evidence before his superiors, he is amazed to find out that they only care about getting the plant up-and-running again to make money.
The rest of the movie you will have to see for yourself. It exposes the reality of corporate greed and fraud. It gives you a sense of what a whistle-blower in today's world might go through to get their story out. Some companies are killing us and we don't even know it. For example, PG&E (a real company, for those of you who didn't know) recently settled a class-action law suit for contaminating ground water, it's employees and nearby residents with carcinogins. It made many people sick and some died. Many more will die from the long-term effects of expose. You may remember the movie that was inspired by the story: Erin Brokovich.
I was about 12yrs old when The China Syndrome came out. It's just as scary to me now as it was then. I also understand why some of today's youth don't see it that way. Most movies today require extreme graphics and violence to get their message out to an audience. The China Syndrome will seem a little dry to some. If another event, like Three-mile Island or Chernobyl occurs, and it will, then this movie will make more sense to them. It's not the nuclear energy I fear; It's the people who profit from it who scare me.
The Immunity Syndrome-The giant amoeba episode has less going for it than its companion on this disk. While the hook is probably slightly more intriguing than Obsession's, this is really a 'face value' episode. It doesn't pack any subtle messages. If the episode were more engaging, I'd say no problem, but unfortunately this one is pretty dull. McCoy fans will appreciate his prominent role in this one though. (2 stars)
OBSESSION PRELIMINARY BRIEFS:
Moral, Ethical, and/or Philosophical Subject(s) Driven Into The Ground: Obsession (no, really...); dealing with guilt; priorities; Making the right choice when caught in a dilemma
Expendable Enterprise Crewmember ('Red Shirt') Confirmed Casualty List: Four dead, one injured
Oh, what to do: destroy a gaseous vampire-cloud that has killed half a starship crew and will doubtless kill endless more beings in the future, or transfer and deliver a highly-perishable vaccine to a world stricken with a deadly plague that could claim millions of lives? As might've guessed, that's the little dilemma ol' Jimmers has to turn around in his head here. Throw in his guilt over hesitating to destroy the same creature years before-- a seeming error that claimed the lives of several shipmates-- and the son of one of those crewmen, and Kirk is firmly entrenched in the stickiest of wickets! Fortunately, ol' Jim manages to overcome his single-minded obsession towards the deadly cloud-being, and saves the day once again! But not before he has that obligatory moment of self-doubt over the course of action he's taking, which naturally is chock-full of that Shatnerian method acting that you all know and love! McCoy's confrontation with Kirk following this precious moment adds a bit more meat to the ham sandwich with one of the series' most memorable bits of character-developing dialogue!
Also thrown into the mix: Thanks (once again) to his differing half-Vulcan physiology, Spock manages to survive the vampire cloud's shipboard attack with narry a missing red corpuscle (mainly 'cuz he doesn't possess any)! And there ain't many just-in-the-nick-of-time transporter rescues that are more suspenseful than the one that puts the final punctuation on this eppie's climax! Tricky stuff, that anti-matter...
THE IMMUNITY SYNDROME PRELIMINARY BRIEFS:
Moral, Ethical, and/or Philosophical Subject(s) Driven Into The Ground: A Macrocosm of the Immune System
Notable Gaffe/Special Defect: The shadow of the camera man can is just noticeable as he pans/dollies in for a close-up on Kirk's reaction to McCoy's intercom statement that the crew is "all dying".
Expendable Enterprise Crewmember ('Red Shirt') Confirmed Casualty List: none
Continuing this disc's "killer-parasite-creatures-that-must-be-stopped-at-all-costs" format, the Enterprise enters and must destroy a giant space amoeba that threatens to destroy life on other worlds. Thanks to a little shuttle-bound research from Mr. Spock and a dollop of anti-matter, the Enterprise endeavors to act as a galactic antibody to keep the horrible cosmic disease from spreading even further out through the ether!
This particular show highlights the advantages of DVD technology: the high-pitched whining sound that pops up when the Enterprise enters the amoeba's outer membrane caused me to react in a similar manner as the crew did when the noise hit their ears- a bit annoyed, and a tad nauseous. Now, THAT'S interactive TV!
OBSESSION deals with Kirk's past and one of his greatest fears that has somewhat haunted him over the last 11 years. A mysterious vampire cloud, that feeds off the red bloods cell of humans, attacks the Enterprise crew. With it's distinct sickly sweet smell Kirk realizes it is the same monster that attack and killed his crew mates years ago when he was a Lieutendant. Upon realizing that this monster is alive Kirk drives himself into obession (hence the title) in an attempt to destroy this creature. He even disregards his orders to deliver greatly needed drugs to another planet. Kirk also punishes Ensign Garrovick (played by Stephen Brooks) (which Kirk sees a younger version of himslef in him) after the Ensign attempts and fails to kill the monster when disobeying Kirk. This episode really developes Kirk character and how (at times) he can be so self critical. OBSESSION is a slightly above average episode of Star Trek but barely. Without the nice dramatic moments between Kirk and Garrovick, plus Spock and McCoy's confronting of Kirk's actions, this episode wouldn't be so special.
THE IMMUNITY SYNDROME has stood up suprisingly well over the last thirty years. The story was very well written and scientifically accurate. The concept of The Enterprise discovering a single celled organism of massive size in the body of space is a really creative idea. To think that space is a body, that single cell is a virus and humans are mere antibodies in the whole thing is such a diverse concept. As the Enterprise encounters this massive cell that drains energy out of everything (including humans), the crew gains information of the cell and realizes it begins to reproduce like a virus, and pretty soon it will plague the depths of space unless it is destroyed. THE IMMUNITY SYNDROME is another one of those Star Trek episodes that would've been average had it not had a few special moments. This episode is actually very good the acting is well done and the story was well written and concieved.
In conclusion Star Trek Volume 24 has two good episodes with a few special moments. This DVD is worth getting but you may want to check out other more classic Star Trek episodes before this. Recommended.
ELAAN OF TROYIUS © PRELIMINARY BRIEFS:
Moral, Ethical, and/or Philosophical Subject(s) Driven Into The Ground: The advantages of proper etiquette; love versus duty
Expendable Enterprise Crewmember ('Red Shirt') Confirmed Casualty List: one dead
Well, it ain't like you've seen this particular plot on the show before: Kirk falls for the babe-of-the-week, in this instance Elaan, an arrogant and ill-mannered alien princess who is betrothed to the ruler of a world that her people are at war with. Kirk falls for the babe, with the help of Elaan's pheromone-laden tears that the good captain wipes away. The babe attempts to take advantage of the situation by attempting to use Kirk to destroy her foes. Kirk becomes torn between his new romantic interest-who wasn't supposed to be his in the first place-- and his duty to his ship and crew. As expected, his devotion to his command wins out, though not without a little agonizing over what he'd given up. Spock and McCoy have a brief exchange of words over the proceedings right before the closing credits roll. Fade to black-or rather, black with white spots. Yep, just another day at the classic 'Trek script recyclery-whoops, I mean Gene Roddenberry's office at Paramount studios...
THE PARADISE SYNDROME © PRELIMINARY BRIEFS:
Moral, Ethical, and/or Philosophical Subject(s) Driven Into The Ground: friendship versus duty; a complex man's desire to live a more simple life
Notable Gaffe/Special Defect: After uttering "I am Kirok!", Kirk pounds on the stone obelisk, causing one of the raised-relief hieroglyphics on the monument to fall off.
Expendable Enterprise Crewmember ('Red Shirt') Confirmed Casualty List: None
REVIEW/COMMENTARY: Keeping with this particular volume's theme, Jimmers once again falls for the hottie-of-the-week, a woman from a tribe of primitive American Indians apparently placed on some far-off globe by an advanced alien race. Throw in a bit of amnesia on the part of Kirk (with the help of a strange monument-like device), and a jealous medicine chief who is forced to give up the hand of the lovely lady to Kirk, and you have a somewhat different twist on the hackneyed 'James-Kirk's-Ill-Fated-Romance' formula. Not particularly original, to be sure, but at least you get to see a few memorable moments of sniping between Spock and McCoy as the former assumes command following Kirk's mysterious disappearance, and attempts to deflect an asteroid that is hurtling inexorably towards the planet. Will the Enterprise save the day again? Will 'Kirok' become Kirk once again? Well, apparently the answers are 'yes' and 'yes'-- if I recall correctly, this intrepid trio did do a couple eppies and half a dozen theatrical flicks after this adventure. Sorry if I ruined it for ya there. But hey, I gotta give it to ya straight up, ya know?
Tidbits: This episode, the second of the season to be produced, was the 13th to be aired. This ties Bread and Circuses for the longest lag of the entire series, and is probably mostly due to the 'high tech' scenes involving the 'Klingon' ship making rapid passes while firing on the Enterprise.
The Paradise Syndrome-While I agree that several 3rd season shows revisited plots from prior seasons, it's also true that the final season produced some unique offerings stylistically and substantially. The Paradise Syndrome, in which Kirk lives with an indigenous tribe, is one example. Two aspects in particular make this episode unusual. First, I can't think of an episode which spans a longer period of time (months). Second we have extensive cultural immersion, involving just one crew member who can't even remember he belongs on a starship. Other peculiar aspects are the funky score and some disturbing scenes such as the final violence which ultimately excuses Kirk's to return to his ship.
While the tragedy here is not as effectively conveyed as in say, The City on the Edge of Forever, the final, extreme events are emotionally involving. This is one of Shatner's richer performances, even as he ultimately remains wed to his ship. A less sappy romance, without the hackneyed 'spurned rival' subplot, and better acting from the beautiful Miramanee could have made this a truly exceptional episode. Also annoying are the gratuitous 'meanwhile, aboard the Enterprise' scenes so common in the 3rd season, where we usually see feckless and out-of-character bickering about zero-hours and the like. Still, a slighly above average episode, for its novelty primarily (3.5 stars).
Tidbits: This is the episode which should have closed with Spock
saying'forget.' Several aspects of the asteroid subplot, including
plot constraints that it introduces, fail to meet even the low
plausibility standards of Star Trek.
Although it is not necessarily a terrible episode of Star Trek, to be honest I have never been to fond of ELAAN OF TROYIUS. The story is rather weak as is the totally unconvincing love story between Kirk and Elaan The Dohlman Of Elaas. The story basically has Kirk and the crew trying to get the two planets (who have been at war for many years) Troyius and Elaas to be at peace with one another by wedding the royal members. However of course the ship turns into a battelfield between Elaan and Petri the Troyan negotiator. Elaan and her guards act completely barbaric and Krik tries to teach her some disipline. Of course Kirk falls in love with Elaan after he touches her tears and they make him her love slave. It's pretty far fetched if you ask me and thats why this episode suffers. The love story is simply not realistic and in the end Kirk acts if he lost true love to the Troyan leader. Uhh? he was seduced and became a tool! There was no love! I'm sorry but I just think this episode was just downright lame besides Elaan isn't that attractive in my opinion. Still this episode is worth one view, you never know you may like it?
There is a good scene with The Klingon battle cruiser but other then that this episode is a dud to me.
On the otherhand THE PARADISE SYNDROME is one of the third seasons finest episodes. Kirk and the crew beam down to a planet that is being threatened by a collision by an asteroid. They find Natives American inhabitants as well as a strange Alien Obelisk. Kirk accidently gets trapped inside the Obelisk and triggers a device that gives him amnesia. Found by the natives Kirk states he is Kurok (from his damaged memory) and the natives believe he is a god from the Obelisk. He seems to settle in fine with the natives as he becomes the new tribe medicine chief and marries the priestess Miramanee. Meanwhile on the Enterprise Spock and the crew attempt to figure out how to stop the asteroid from colliding with the planet. This episode was extremely well written and the casting was superb. Some nice acting scenes between McCoy and Spock, and Kirk and Miramanee make THE PARADISE SYNDROME one of the best episodes from Star Trek's final season. The ending has a nice tragic effect to it as well. Superb!
Overall Volume 29 has some good and some bad in my opinion but it's all classic Trek so it is worth getting regardless. Besides PARADISE SYNDROME is a lcassic Star Trek episode that is well made especiallt for the third seasons stabdards. Recommended.
"The Stendhal Syndrome," set in Italy, tells the story of police detective Anna Manni. Anna's latest case involves a serial rapist who with his last two victims added murder to his resume. Regrettably for Anna, this criminal has now set his sights on her. His first move against Manni entails luring her to a museum where she falls victim to an odd psychological malady called the Stendhal Syndrome. Named for the famous French writer Stendhal, this mental affliction causes the sufferer to undergo nausea, headaches, depression, and severe hallucinations when confronted with works of art. In Anna's case, the trip to the museum turns into nothing less than a bizarre interaction with a painting in which Anna perceives herself actually entering the picture for a quick dip in the ocean where see encounters a smoochy fish. Subsequent episodes include walking into a painting of a waterfall and entering a picture only to find herself at a murder scene. The rapist soon plays a cat and mouse game with Anna, driving her nearly mad with his attentions. The game wears Anna down, causing a rift with her policeman boyfriend and requiring periodic visits to a psychiatrist to work through the trauma she suffers at the hands of her adversary. Director Argento plays games with the viewer as well, concealing the implications of Anna's experiences with her stalker until the end of the film. "The Stendhal Syndrome" runs for a lengthy two hours, taking turns which are at times fascinating or boring.
The most basic problem with "The Stendhal Syndrome" is Argento's uneven pacing and a lack of plot coherency. All of the best effects appear in the first thirty minutes of the film, thereby letting the rest of the movie fall into a rather boring montage of scenes until again picking up steam in the last ten minutes. Don't get me wrong; I think this movie is worth watching, but I also feel it is worth watching only for a limited number of scenes. "The Stendhal Syndrome" just doesn't work as a coherent film. The plot is hazy at best, with Argento providing more questions than answers. I once read that Argento's plots often sink into a quagmire of confusion, and if this is so, maybe that explains what happened here. All I can say is that a few scenes possess incredibly great power, while the majority of the movie lags far behind. You get the sense you are watching a genius at work, but that he's a lazy genius who lacks the fortitude to carry a great idea to fruition.
Sergio Stivaletti did the special effects for "The Stendhal Syndrome," and they are quite impressive. The scenes where Anna suffers through a Stendhal episode look good considering this movie probably didn't have a big budget. Moreover, many of the graphic effects produce cringe worthy moments that should warm the heart of any serious horror connoisseur. An interview on the DVD with Stivaletti discusses in depth the problems and successes of the effects work that occurred during the course of the movie. This was the first time Stivaletti ever used computer graphics, and he did a good job overall.
The biggest surprise with this DVD is its release by Troma films. Troma, if you're not aware, is a studio dedicated to producing the worst Z grade junk in film history. One thing Troma does know how to do, however, is release DVD's with lots of extras. There are interviews with Dario Argento here, along with an interview with "Cannibal Holocaust" director Ruggero Deodato (why? I don't know), a bunch of trailers for low-grade schlock like "The Rowdy Girls," "Teenage Catgirls in Heat," "Killer Condom," and "Terror Firmer," and yet another one of those Troma Intelligence Tests. Aren't all of these extras great? Maybe so, but Troma technicians botched the transfer of the film. "The Stendhal Syndrome" is awash in haze, murky shadows, and grain. In short, the movie doesn't look as good as it should. Troma knows better.
I won't let the uneven "The Stendhal Syndrome" get me down. All directors have their difficulties, and this film, while far from great, isn't bad either. Asia Argento does a fair job in the lead, although it's difficult to imagine her as a police officer. Be sure and pay attention when Asia dons a blonde wig. She looks so much like Traci Lords that it's scary. Good effects, good gore, a great if repetitive score by Ennio Morricone, and an occasionally interesting plot make "The Stendhal Syndrome" a must see for Italian horror fans.
Troma could have helped this movie gain a five-star. But the video quality is scarce and all but clean and the audio track is forgettable. Good job with the extra features, with a commentary section by Sergio Stivaletti (special effects), an interview with Ruggero Deodato (Cannibal Ferox), Lloyd Kaufmann interviewing Argento and Dario being interviewed in Stockholm (find an easter egg!). Senseless, but funny, some Troma tests and trailers.
Could have been a Master DVD. Could have.