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Non-Review Review: Broadcast News

Broadcast News feels like it has lost a bit of its bite as the years went on. Originally released fifteen years ago, it undoubtedly seemed like a prophetic commentary on trends in news media, voicing an understandable unease at the line blurring between merely reporting the news and “selling” it to an eager and unquestioning population. Back then, these trends were undeniably present and one could sense a none-too-subtle shift in the approach to news. Unfortunately, it looks like those trends are to stay, and I think that has aged Broadcast News considerably. It doesn’t feel like James L. Brooks’ telling media satire is attacking a coming change so much as it is making one last stand against it. It’s still a very clever, very powerful and very well put together piece of film, but it sadly feels like it’s fighting a battle lost long ago.

That, perhaps, makes Broadcast News the most depressing comedy I’ve seen in quite some time.

They let an Tom, Dick or Harry host the news…

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Trailer for Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom…

This has been doing the rounds for a few days, but I’m still quite excited for Aaron Sorkin’s upcoming HBO drama, The Newsroom. While I’m not quite as fond of The West Wing as most are, I’ll concede that the dialogue and characterisation of the first four seasons were almost flawless, and I’m a huge fan of Sorkin’s work on both The Social Network and Moneyball. Taking place inside a network news show, The Newsroom should allow Sorkin to explore the culture of news broadcasting, and should provide ample fodder for his superb cast. Seriously, look at it – you’ve got Jeff Daniels, Emily Mortimer, Alison Pill and Dev Patel. It’s starting on HBO in June, and I can only hope it’ll be coming to Sky Atlantic shortly thereafter for us Irish and UK television junkies.

This is getting added to the planner, even though I’m already well behind on the other shows I’m following (and trying to catch up on retroactively). Check out the trailer below.

Non-Review Review: Crimson Tide

I love Crimson Tide. It comes from a time when, through my nostalgic eyes, Tony Scott could do no wrong. This was the nineties, when Scott was after directing the under-rated True Romance and on his way to helming the solidly entertaining Enemy of the State. Sure, there was also The Fan in there, but we really don’t talk about that. Part of the appeal of Crimson tide, beyond it’s wonderfully powerful basic premise, is the fact that concept could work as either a powerful Aaron Sorkin stage play, or as a bombastic Michael Bay production – the set-up is such that either approach is possible with the material. Scott manages to straddle the middle, offering a tense action thriller which isn’t afraid to ask a few probing questions about the nature of the chain of command and the morality of blinding following orders.

It's long and hard and... ugh, you get it...

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Ex Machina: The Deluxe Edition – Volume I (Review)

In an effort to prove that comic books aren’t just about men in spandex hitting each other really hard, this month I’m reviewing all of Brian K. Vaughan’s superb Ex Machina. And in June, I’ll be reviewing his Y: The Last Man.

I don’t think that any creator has had quite the success of Brian K. Vaughan when it comes to original comic book series over the past decade (okay, maybe Robert Kirkman). Both of his famous original books recently came to a close after runs of over fifty issues each, and are both being collected in superb deluxe editions. Ex Machina doesn’t quite have the same dramatic hook or clarity of focus as Y: The Last Man does, but that’s not to say that it isn’t a stunning example of pulp fiction – wonderfully well-written social fantasy which is cleverly observed and even more smartly constructed.

All cogs in The Great Machine...

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Jumping the Sharks at the Smock Alley Theatre

Jumping The Shark is the moment when an established show changes in a significant manner in an attempt to stay fresh. Ironically, that moment makes the viewers realise that the show has finally run out of ideas. It has reached its peak, it will never be the same again, and from now on it’s all downhill.

tvtropes.org

Jumping the Sharks is a small, quirky play. Essentially a one-man one-act play following the triumph and decline of a Hollywood big shot as he waits in what must be limbo while outlining the seven core stories, it banks a lot on the central performance of Don Wycherley. Wycherley, an actor you might recognise from Perrier’s Bounty or Sweeney Todd, gives the play his all as former television executive and now dearly departed Nick Cross, managing to seem a convincing and charming conversationalist on a sparse stage. His delivery is truly impressive, inviting the audience to overlook some of the sleight of hand the play uses, and helping the hour breeze by.

Swimming with sharks...

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Non-Review Review: The Social Network

Blessed are the geeks, for they shall inherit the earth.

– The Bible. It’s in the back somewhere.

I’m blogging about The Social Network. How post-modern is that?

Should it be the anti-social network?

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