BCH

CIPC #249: Ogroff

If you are an avid reader of this blog, you know that I have seen a fair amount of god awful movies. You have seen me dissect family friendly crap like Think like a dog, loud brainless action flicks like Independence day, and excruciatingly boring teen drivel like Twilight. Perhaps you thought I’d scraped the barrel with Wing commander but no, my friend, no. This barrel is much deeper than you think. Near its bottom reigns the absolute darkness of the abyss, where the kraken sleeps its uninvaded sleep. Every now and then, an angler fish can be seen swimming by in eery silence as it preys on even more primitive bottom-feeding life forms. These in turn live on the dregs and waste of the thousands of feet of life above them. They feed on Ogroff.

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CIPC #248: 8 out of 10 cats does countdown S20 E2

The origin of 8 out of 10 cats does countdown is a bit convoluted. The show Countdown, in which participants have to solve anagrams and do basic arithmetic, started in all the way back in 1982 and has been running ever since. 8 out of 10 cats, on the other hand, is a comedy panel show that has been in the air since 2005. They went their merry ways separately until in 2012, for some unknown reason, BBC’s channel four decided to have mash-up day, in which several pairs of programmes were fused. The result was a bunch of comedians playing a game with words and numbers — and it was an immediate hit. It was such a success that the show, which was supposed to be a one-off, has been running for twenty seasons.

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CIPC #247: House of Frankenstein

By 1944, when House of Frankenstein was released, the Universal horror movies their monsters and their stars already had a reputation. And this movie had quite a few of them: a very impressive Boris Karloff as a mad scientist, Lon Cheney junior in his usual role as the wolf man, and John Carradine as Dracula. Unfortunately, the plot is not good enough to keep much interest; it is too silly to be taken serious but not funny enough to work as a comedy. But there is are two good things: it is freely available on the internet archive, and there’s a chess scene in it.

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CIPC #246: Endeavour S4 E1, Game

Long after Morse there was Endeavour. It deals with Endeavour who was there long before Morse. I realize that that’s a rather opaque introduction for people not familiar with the series. Morse was a television series we have talked about before. It was named after the main character, detective chief inspector Endeavour Morse. A dozen or so years after that series had ended, a prequel was made about Morse’s younger years in the late sixties and early seventies. This prequel got his first name as a title and it is what we will talk about today. The first episode of the fourth series deals with a computer research group in Oxford that is organising a chess game between Jason, their machine, and an eminent Russian professor named Gradenko.1 There are also some murders, but they are less interesting.

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CIPC #245: Sporza article

Usually, I talk about classy, old movies, or vintage advertisements, or perhaps an episode for some widely popular detective series. But this is an emergency. On October 21st, less than a week ago, the official broadcaster of the Flemish community, published an article online about a dispute between two major international football organisations: FIFA and UEFA. Apparently, these two federations can’t agree on what’s the optimal calendar for international football. I know, it’s hard to care about, but some people manage. I didn’t even try, but I did notice the picture that accompanied the article:

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CIPC #244: Le château de verre

Today’s subject, a French film from 1950, is a good example of how getting a bunch of talent together does not necessarily yield a great movie, even if there’s not really anything wrong with the project. The director, René Clément, was one of the most respected European directors of his age and he does a good job here.  Michèle Morgan and Jean Marais, who play the main roles, were highly respected actors and they do their work well. But they have nothing to work with. The problem lies with the scrip. It would be a stretch to call it bad, it’s just that there’s so damn little of it. The whole plot fits on a stamp — and you don’t even have to write very small: a woman goes to Paris for an affair.1 Before we get to that, her husband can be seen playing chess with another woman:

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CIPC #243: Luther S1E1

Luther sounds like it should be a documentary series about the eponymic theologist and his ninety-five theses, or perhaps about his royal namesake. But no. It is about a certain John Luther, played by Idris Elba, who works as a detective in London. Yes, we are back to the good old crime series. Obviously, chess pops up. In fact, it pops up where it should: in the first episode of the first season, right after the opening credits have ended. That way, you can skip the rest of the series.1

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CIPC #242: Lego chess sets box covers

I can imagine Nintendo disappearing. I can imagine Hot Wheels disappearing. But I can not image Lego disappearing. The ingenious connecting system, the sturdy material, and the simple, modular pieces allow for limitless possibilities of combining and recombining to your heart’s content. You can make whatever you want from Lego. So naturally, you make a chess board and pieces. The Lego company has pre-emptively released a couple of sets just to satisfy the obvious demand for a Lego chessboard and pieces. For these sets, they had to come up with box art. For some of them, they just put the pieces in their starting positions. For others, they got a little more creative. That’s where I come in.

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CIPC #241: Hogan’s heroes S4 E21, Up in Klink’s room

A prisoner of war camp in Nazi Germany is a rather unlikely setting for a comedy sitcom and perhaps it would be hard to get it greenlit nowadays. But back in the sixties this was apparently not a problem, because not only did Hogan’s heroes run for six seasons, it also won two Emmy awards. Robert Hogan is the main character, who leads secret operations for the allied forces from a prisoner camp. The camp is lead by Wilhelm Klink,1 assisted by an incredibly stupid sergeant with the stereotypically German name of Schultz. Klink and Hogan have a weird relationship, where Klink has a grudging respect for Hogan but thinks himself smarter and Hogan has a friendly contempt for Klink and knows himself smarter. At the beginning of the twenty first episode of the fourth season, the two are facing off on the chessboard.

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CIPC #240: Lewis S5 E3, The mind has mountains

If you read this blog, there is a good chance you like dissecting chess positions that occur in movies or television series. But maybe you don’t like spending watching movies. Well, then I have the episode for you! Just a couple of minutes in, the credits are barely over, before a single person has died, we see a game of chess being played. As it turns out, the people in the picture below are participants in a clinical trial for a new anti-depressive drug.


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