I enjoyed Season Two a lot as it seemed to contain the right balance of action, suspense and narrative. The end of the Season Finale was a bit of a surprise though and the start of the third Season has kept the generally miserable theme up.
Four episodes in and it really is miserable and totally different to the premise of the first two Seasons. It’s a bold move and works for me. The political elements of resistance and occupation really work.
The psychological aspect also gets a shot in the arm, the Gaius sub-plot is a lot more enjoyable now he’s with the Cylons.
It wasn’t a terrible episode but it was partly reminiscent of The Pit and the real problem was once again in the script. Having made a song and dance about the fixed points in time and created some really drama and tragedy having the Doctor go back in and save the day was actually just lame.
You go from feeling for this character who can achieve so much and yet cannot intervene here to feeling like the rulebook gets torn up whenever it’s inconvenient. Even the hubris argument isn’t really convincing because for Classic Who the Doctor was a renegade for changing time anyway and in the new version there was a strong incentive not to mess around with time to avoid unravelling the Time War.
Almost as disappointing as the big Master reset button but I’m still looking forward to the Christmas Special.
Here’s the thing, recommendations are usually generated from ratings but are you meant to rate something according to how good it is or how much you liked it?
I don’t like Silence of the Lambs but I recognise it is a good film. It is just I am squeamish about a lot of things. If I rate it low then it implies I don’t think it is any good but if I rate it high then I am likely to get recommendations for other horror films which is something I am definitely not interested in.
I wanted to see the film after reading an article in Wired that mentioned that the film was shot on physical models that were stop-framed rather than being the computer animation I had assumed.
The story is a children’s tale that is similar in content and theme to Gaiman’s Mirrormask. The film has strong echoes of Science of Sleep in its hand-made puppet aesthetic, Wallace and Grommit in the stop-motion, Burton’s Nightmare before Christmas and Corpse Bride in appearance and Betelgeuse in plot.
It was the first theatre 3D film I’ve seen and while it felt like a gimmick in Coraline (only the opening minutes seemed to use the technique in an interesting way) I was quite impressed by the unobtrusive nature of the technology.
I really enjoyed the film, it made me laugh, looked great and while its structure and story progression is quite fixed the result is an emotionally satisfying narrative.
I found this an excellent Coen Brothers comedy with a large, excellent ensemble cast. It mixes middle-age infidelity with government politics and physical exercise. The core of the film is a kind of slapstick comedy of mistaken identities but there is a dark slightly cruel undertow to the whole thing.
All of the turns are excellent and while the plot might be a little lightweight it is really a peg to hang a cast of fools.
It was a relief to watch a thriller film where the protagonists aren’t involved in gun or fist fights every ten minutes. It has good pacing and manages to combine contemporary concerns with references back to classic journalism films like All the President’s Men.
However its depiction of newspaper writing fails to really be convincing as it often seems to have to many “hold the press” cliches. Worse still for a film about politics there really is very little politics in it. Ben Affleck’s Congressmen has a few hobby horses but absolutely no political philosophy to speak of and no-one ever talks about policy, party or even deal making.
The journalists are the good guys taking down an evil corporation and their paid political stooges and even the honest politician is ultimately self-serving and corrupt. The net result is characters that are one-dimension and a dull cynicism about the political establishment that does not try to address any of the tough issues of a representation democracy governed by rules laid out in the 18th Century.
It fails to even engage with the American mercenary industry and its consequences, despite the supposedly central position this element of the plot is meant to occupy. It even appears to suggest at one point that what matters is not what private security companies do abroad on behalf of the U.S. government but actually the risk they represent to domestic liberty. At this point the navel gazing is really unbearable and you have to go back to it being a slick well-made thriller that is better than most of the fare currently playing at the multiplex.
One of the weirdest aspects of this film was that the opening credits are amazing and probably overshadow the entire film. You could probably leave after 15 minutes and have a pretty good idea of what the film is about.
For comics fans the film borrows liberally from several different X series and mashes up a reasonable version of the Wolverine soap opera for the screen. The biggest difference is that secrets that took years to reveal and retcon into existence are revealed in minutes. The film seems to assume you know the story so there is no point teasing you about it.
As a film it has some good action sequences and Hugh Jackman is as charismatic as ever but the ultimately the plot is overloaded with too many ideas and it all degenerates into ever more excessive set-pieces.
Charlie Brooker’s new program is nowhere as successful or funny as previous incarnation Screenwipe because its focus on current affairs rather than pop culture ephemera makes him look like the poor man’s Jon Stewart.
The most interesting aspect about the whole programme is the time he provides to other people like Peter Oborne and Adam Curtis. Even hearing Ben Goldacre summarise his views (again) on the media’s culpability for the MMR scandal was good.
This is the kind of thing that C4’s Three Minute Wonder should carry.
A few people have asked me whether there really is a difference with BluRay or not. Recently we watched No Country for Old Men and it is possible to compare the standard and high definition versions of the shots between the extras and the film itself.
For the closeups and interiors there probably wasn’t a whole lot of difference but for the big panoramas of the desert it really did matter. The standard definition version of the shots seemed quite flat compared with the HD picture. There was a lot more depth to the BluRay picture.
The weird thing about the death of characters in Lost is that while dead characters make as many comebacks as ghosts, dreams and visions as dead characters did in Buffy their death feels much more permanent. When you get intimations that a character like Jin or Claire has died there is a sense of loss (relative of course, this is still television).
I think that’s because when a character dies in Lost they don’t actually return as the character you originally emotionally invested in. The involved storyline involving the character actually comes to an end.
You also have comparatively minor characters like Boon that seem to get sacrificed or punished as a consequence of the actions of the main characters. The surprising thing about these deaths is that they often occur before the character’s narrative arc is complete.
That might simply be due to real world factors about the actors and the rigours of shooting big American serials but an interrupted story arc means that the viewer has a sense of a story being interrupted prematurely.
Had a bit of ZOMG moment at the end of the show when the baby’s identity is revealed. I’m also trying to figure out who exactly the Oceanic 6 are. We’ve seen Jack and Kate obviously, Hurley at the start of the Season, then Sayid. Probably Sun and Jin. Although there is the mysterious person in the coffin from Season 3.