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The video links provided with these reviews may or may not work but I will try to keep them up to date. I don't post here often as I am not a reviewer but sometimes I love or hate something enough to want to talk about it.

Updated on July 11, 2024, to rename the thread and remove irrelevant posts.

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Movies that I like

Every so often, I'm going to post some links to movies and TV shows that I've seen and really like. There is so much crap out there, it is hard to know what is worthwhile and what isn't, outside of the few mega hits which you can't help but know about because every dumb ass is talking about it. Doesn't mean that the stuff that you hear and read about is actually good but, occassionally, the unwashed masses do get it right.

These links that I'm going to give you are best viewed with Alleycat Player but you can certainly go straight to the source if you want (beware of popup ads and other crap).

Nice animated movie about a bull grown too big for his britches. The goat is likely everybody's favourite comic relief character:


Pretty cool battle epic apparently based on a manga comic called GUNNM. I know nothing about manga but I know Japanese art when I see it. The one thing I really don't like about the main character is her big eyes which spook me the fuck out:


I have only seen 30 mins of the Joker so I don't know if I like it yet. When the movie originally came out, all you could get from the pirate sites was a crappy headcam version with advertising. Good links are now available:


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Just started watching The Witcher. Looking good but the plot seems a bit complicated. Maybe the writers are setting the stage for some epic stuff to come. Henry Cavill, of Superman fame, plays Geralt of Rivia. Good choice, I think. The character is gruff and untalkative, just the way we like our heroes:


The Mandalorian is okay, I guess. Maybe works better for a Star Wars fan. My favourite character is the IG-11 droid. Hope to see it again in the next season because it was epic in the last episode of this season. And why is the season only 8 episodes long?


Dark Matter is an awesome space opera series from a few years back. It isn't hard sci-fi but I find this to be more believable than Star Trek ever was. Though you don't find out till the third season, the timeline is 600 years in the future. I really like the way they sculpted the sets. Everything looks strictly functional and even a little dingy. The draw for me is the chemistry of the crew. They are nasty criminals who have forgotten their past so they try to follow their good side. An optimistic statement on the inherent goodness of human nature. We hear too much about how bad we are. The series was created by some guys who previously worked on Stargate. Unfortunately, Syfy cancelled the show after the third season. I'm not actually pissed about that, as I usually am about cancellations (Stargate: Universe in particular). I think this one ran its course and finished on a high note:





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Mike Hammer with Stacy Keach

Many actors have played Mickey Spillane's timeless gumshoe but none has been as perfect for the role as Stacy Keach. His portrayal of the classic character is itself classic. There will never be another Mike Hammer, just as there can never be another Perry Mason (Raymond Burr nailed that one down for good). Stacy's series ran for two years from 1984. In 1997, 26 more episodes were produced for syndication:

https://tubitv.com/series/3958/mike_hammer_private_eye (only 9 episodes)


I wish I could find more episodes but I looked hard and came up empty-handed although a couple of full-length features like Murder Takes All can be found on YouTube. Darren McGavin has always been one of my favourite actors. He played Mike Hammer from 1958 for two seasons but I don't remember him as Mike Hammer. I'll always remember him as The Outsider (1967) and Kolchak: The Nightstalker (1974).



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YouTube embed. Click thumbnail to play.

This is the first in a series on the dilemma of copyright. One of the arguments in favour of copyright is that creativity will flourish by virtue of strict control over copying. This ignores a centuries-old truth that great works are, almost without exception, built upon prior art. Geniuses are not born in a vacuum.

Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FYHky4CYq0Q

Part 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CB1KE5dbOZo

It is interesting that there is a gap of more than a year between part 2 (July 2018) and part 3 (December 2019). Writer's block? Or did it take that long to get permission to use all of those movie clips that appear in the last part? If this is what was done then it reveals the whole problem with copyright (not to mention the problem of YouTube's automated Content ID system). We live in an odd time. Everybody steals from copyrighted works but nobody wants to admit it. The biggest defenders of copyright are themselves thieves. Even the MPAA has been caught using copyrighted songs without permission in their promotional material. Everybody does it because we are, by nature, sharing creatures. After all, sharing and cooperation built our civilization.

The reason why I have posted those videos is that there some relevance to the Alleycat Player which I allow people to freely take and copy as they like. Of course, it would be difficult for me to claim a copyright in any case because I have chosen to remain anonymous. Or, closer to the truth, I am anonymous because I wish to relinquish copyright. The idea of telling people that they are not allowed to copy my work is repugnant to me. My work is based on the prior hard work of others. When I am stuck on a problem, I search the Internet for a potential solution. I stand on the shoulders of giants every time I do that. I cannot pretend that even one single line of code which I have written is utterly original. That is impossible.

Every version of my little project has been posted to create a timeline whereby others might learn how a work is created. The earliest version is quite pathetic because I knew not what I was doing. Though I have over 30 years of experience in programming, it was not in Javascript or HTML. Every new environment is like starting over. The project progressed by virtue of being able to copy what others have done. I did a lot of original work by hacking web sites but none of that would have been possible without prior art to learn from. Or without the tools which I have shamelessly used without attribution or payment. Whatever people may think of my work, it would not exist without the spirit of sharing which exists in abundance because that is the only way it can be.

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How legal is Alleycat Player?

I have no fucking idea. The law is clear as mud on the issue of scraping websites. If it is public information (that is, not protected by a password) then it is probably safe. On the other hand, scraping gigabytes of data could trigger a response by the target, as in this case:



Then there is this app which mimics the Instagram API and has been removed from GitHub:


While Alleycat doesn't do anything on this level (it only scrapes for video data), it certainly does some amount of mimicking, especially when it uses the Local Proxy Server to fake the referrer. I suppose if Alleycat were to get wider recognition, some attempt could be made to shut it down. That is why I encourage people to copy and reuse the code.

There is a long-standing campaign to take down Youtube music rippers:



Just posting information which leads to piracy can get you in trouble:


The Popcorn Time app is here: https://popcorntime.app

In Canada, there are safeguards in place to block copyright holders from abusing legal loopholes:


Back in October, there was a big shutdown of pirate sites (Openload, Streamango, Verystream and Rapidvideo):


Openload was the big 800-pound elephant. It was nearly as big as Netflix. However, as you can see from the offerings in Alleycat Player, there are still a lot of sites still available. Perhaps they just aren't big enough yet to bother shutting down? Some sites have been shut down in places like Lithuania and Malaysia but they were a lot bigger than you would expect. In those areas of the world, the draw is Hollywood films dubbed in the local language. The potential audience is huge.

As for IPTV, there have been too many takedowns to count. Sellers of set-top boxes have been hauled into court and sued for millions. Other sites have given up their user logs to the authorities but it is highly doubtful that end-users will be chased down. This, however, is worrisome:


Most of the IPTV sources in Alleycat Player are legit because they are available directly from the horse's mouth. The questionable links are all in the US, UK or Canada but I actually have no idea how the suppliers of those links stand legally. They've all been in operation for at least a year.

Additional reading:



I'll post more articles as I find them. This is obviously of special interest to me.

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Piracy News this week










It is interesting that the parent company of Pornhub is going after pirates in the midst of a campaign to shut down Pornhub. Rather than making the changes at Pornhub being demanded to keep child porn and rape videos off the site, they are chasing after pirates who are illegally distributing videos from Naughty America and the like? That is a seriously fucked up world view.

A lot of people have been calling for the censorship or eradication of Pornhub or of porn sites in general. That is a bad idea because it can only hide the problem. As it is, porn sites are wide open to public inspection. Censorship would force them to go underground and that would be worse. The right approach is not government intervention but public exposure. Shame them, boycott them, scream about the issue on social media, whatever. Let the people decide what is right and wrong, not the government.

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Here I am again with some more video and movie picks. It's been a whole two years since I offered some contagion movies to "celebrate" the start of the plandemic lockdowns. Then I locked down. Seriously, I haven't been anywhere in all that time except to do groceries or the occassional bank run. I just could not stand the atmosphere of paranoia out there. My area (Ottawa, Canada) started the mask madness in August 2020. The mandate was lifted a few months ago but I still don't feel comfortable. It's like surviving a zombie apocalypse and then learning that there's no zombies anymore but you can never be sure that there aren't still a few out there. The sense of uneasiness doesn't ever really go away. I still see some covidiots walking around with a mask because they just cannot admit that they got scammed. The sunk cost is so high that it is difficult to face reality now.

This first video pick is very apropo given how the media lied to us about the flu. A lot of people are finally starting to understand that their entire world view has been concocted for them. We were warned about this repeatedly by the liars themselves. This episode of the BBC series Thirty-Minute Theatre is called The News-Benders. Interestingly, this was at a time when the BBC had a "philistine policy" (as one writer noted) of erasing video tapes after airing. Someone with a sense of its historical value saved this tape from extinction.


Direct video link: https://archive.org/download/TheNewsBenders/The%20News-Benders%20%281968%29.mp4

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This Russian film is a joy to watch. The name is Attraction: Invasion (or Attraction 2). The production value is quite high and some of the CGI scenes are among the best I've seen. It's a sequel to the earlier film Attraction. It seems that the aliens from the first film left the planet but now some of them have returned. There is a good AI and a bad AI battling for control with a good alien trying to save Earth from annihilation.



The sequel is dubbed in English but I couldn't find a dubbed version of the original. This one has English subtitles.

https://vidnode.net/videos/attraction (subtitles separate)

https://mixdrop.co/f/o740njj0al8j1z7 (subtitles embedded in the video)


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YouTube embed. Click thumbnail to play.

Instant Karma - I was browsing through my voluminous collection of links to find the next movie for posting and I came across this short vid. This will make you laugh and cringe at the same time. He died so it's a bit hard to laugh about it but geez...

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I recently watched Minority Report because people keep hinting that it depicts some kind of a dystopian future of pervasive surveillance but it is really not that. At first, I thought the "pre-crime unit" would be some sort of AI that tries to anticipate future crimes from current surveillance data and then has them arrested for "pre-crimes". I was interested in that angle but I still never got around to watching the movie. Then I heard that there were these humans called "psycogs" who dream of future events and my interest dropped to zero. That's not dystopian. It's just a fantasy. We're not on the verge of creating a race of pre-cognitive humans but we are on the verge of putting our fates in the robotic hands of some kind of AI.

One major issue that I had with the movie is that it never explains how it's okay to keep the three psycogs in captivity and in a semi-coma. Like, did they lose their right to bodily autonomy? Besides that, it makes no sense to build an entire law enforcement bureaucracy around this. The psycogs seem to be an accident of nature and not replaceable. Dumb.

The movie is also overly long. It should have been cut down to 2 hours at most. Much of the action is just pointless. The movie would have been a lot better if more time had been spent exploring the philosophical and moral ramifications of the "pre-crime" approach to law enforcement.



TV series (it lasted one season):


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I saw this movie some months ago but I couldn't remember the title. Well, I thought, it's a zombie movie so it shouldn't be hard to find. I know that it was listed on imdb.com so I looked there. No luck. Not showing up on Wikipedia either. After several hours of fruitless searching, I finally hit this page:


The name is Zombie Dawn. Daaamn! How could I forget a title like that? And why is it missing from just about every zombie movie list? It's from 2011 so it should have been noticed by now. Funny how this shit works (or doesn't work) sometimes. Anyway, this is a good film made in Chile, reportedly for a mere $22,000. The story:

Something bad happened in the Frontier Zone that decimated the population of an unnamed country. Fifteen years later, a biologist and a geologist are escorted to ground zero by a motley crew of fucked up mercenaries but nobody is really sure why. Everything goes wrong and it ends like Night of the Living Dead (everybody dies).

Muerte Ciega with English subtitles:




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Roswell, New Mexico is an interesting TV series for a few reasons. Firstly, it's a remake of Roswell which aired from 1999 to 2002 and it is based on a book series called Roswell High. I have only just started to watch the original and, so far, I don't have much of an opinion to offer. The show didn't do so well despite attracting an enthusiastic fanbase. Secondly, the remake has higher production values than the original (not surprising) and is heavy on the sci-fi angle right from the start (the original was mainly a character drama in its first season).

Thirdly, and importantly, the wokeness agenda is quite evident right from the first episode. After having devastated the Supergirl series with wokeness (especially in the third and sixth seasons), I was interested in seeing how they would approach this in Roswell, New Mexico. Fans of the original show are shocked by the blatant wokeness, as you can see from the comments on IMDB (linked below). The wokeness is mainly pro-immigrant, pro-gay and anti-racist but they avoid the temptation to talk about "whiteness" or "white supremacy".

The wokeness comes in spurts and is jarring because it is clearly not part of the script as originally written. I gather that the writers are not woke but were forced to add the extra lines by the show's producers. Woke writers don't know how to write a good script. They can't do humour and they lack the empathy needed to build sympathetic characters (important for the audience to care about the story). At this point, with the show in its fourth and final season, the wokeness agenda seems have to been dropped except for the overtly gay scenes. Originally, we had one of the three aliens depicted as bisexual and now we have two. Are they planning to make the third one gay too?

The pro-immigrant agenda clashes with the details of the story. The main character's father is an "illegal alien" (the official terminology for law-breaking border crashers). He owns a restaurant and has been in the country for 30 years. This hardly works to convince the audience that immigrants live under an imminent threat of deportation. Also, the fact that the aliens with super powers are a genuine threat to humanity works against the idea that illegal aliens are just good people seeking a better life for their family. Like I said, the wokeness crap is just thrown in and was never an intended part of the story.

Anyway, watch the show if you can work around the wokeness when it pops up. Turn away when the gay dudes start kissing if your disgust meter is still in working condition. Other than that, I think it's pretty good although I still have trouble with the concept of aliens with super powers. A bit of restraint would have been nice but that's how I generally feel about all of these "super-hero" shows. I enjoy the idea of having super powers but, damn, can we at least try to make it a little bit plausible?





Each of these links covers the full season:





The original episodes:




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This post continues from the previous one since I have now finished watching Roswell. I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed the first season but the show goes off the rails around the middle of the second season and never really recovers. There are a lot of filler episodes where the writers are just tossing ideas around to see what will stick. The most egregious of these sub-plots is the flying saucer incident which isn't really an incident aside from Max and Liz getting arrested for holding up a convenience store. I'm not giving out any spoilers here. It's a pointless sub-plot that goes nowhere and the flying saucer is never mentioned again afterwards. On top of that, we are introduced to another alien. I was hoping to see this new character developed further but he ultimately just walks off-stage mumbling something about his life being ruined.

The flying saucer actually looks like a flying saucer as opposed to the non-descript ship which shows up near the series finale. It is a reconstruction of the original which crashed in 1947. I guess the military has some really sharp people working for them since they were able to rebuild the whole damn ship from the twisted bits of metal we saw earlier at the scene of the crash. The entrance to the ship's hangar is hidden in the back of a convenience store, hence the reason for the heist. They couldn't just sneak in at night? Anyway, somebody moves the ship to another location and Max needs to find it again so he goes to Los Angeles to find the alien. For some reason, Max thinks that this guy knows where the ship was moved to. We learn that the guy does know so Max enlists him as the pilot but, of course, the ship doesn't actually work. This shit is so retarded that I felt compelled to write something about it. It is almost worse than the wokeness in the remake.

In my previous post, I complained about the plausibility of super-powers. I can suspend my disbelief to a point as long as an effort is made to explain the source of the powers. For example, I'm fine with Superman's powers being sourced from the yellow sun (as opposed to the red sun of his home planet). However, I have a problem with the idea of his offspring somehow inheriting his powers. Bending the laws of physics (in particular, the law of conservation of energy) is a real sticking point for me but I try to work through it somehow. That said, I find that the Roswell, New Mexico remake scores better in the plausibility department than the original show. At least, the show tries to limit the powers to psychic healing, psychic projection and telekinesis. The original includes the transmutation of matter.

As long as we're just doing parlour tricks, I can live with the transmutation of matter but the show really starts taking it a bit too far. In season 3, episode 10, I started to feel like I was watching Bewitched only with hand gestures and not the wiggly nose. Isabel touches a car to change its colour from black to yellow. It's not the colour change that I have a problem with. It's the racing stripes. Later in the same episode, Max refills a keg of beer with a wave of his hand. I must have missed the part where he feeds everyone with a fish and a loaf of bread. The real kicker is yet to come.

In the very next episode, the writers must have realized that they were pushing this too far. Something seemed off when the show began with the credits. Then the show started spoofing Bewitched. Literally. Where the show credits would have normally appeared were the credits for I Married An Alien. Mind blown. Jonathan Frakes was the show's producer and I'm willing to bet that this was all his fault.

My final beef is what they did with Tess, portraying her as a mass murderer at the end (though she slightly redeems herself). The best part of the original show isn't the story. It's the characters and the sympathy that I felt for them. The remake misses the mark with that because the characters come off like little bitches. On the other hand, the story isn't full of filler. The final season is still ongoing and I hope it ends on a high note.

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