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Millennium – Maranatha (Review)

This February and March, we’re taking a trip back in time to review the fourth season of The X-Files and the first season of Millennium.

Maranatha provides a nice close to Chip Johannessen’s four scripts for the first season of Millennium.

At its core, Maranatha is a story about stories. It is a tale about mythmaking and storytelling. It is about a monstrous man who seeks to transform himself into a creature of legend, brutally slaughtering innocent people in order to feed the idea that he is something much more than a corrupt political official. As such, the story sits quite comfortably alongside Johannessen’s other three scripts for the season, each of which is about storytelling or mythmaking in some form or another.

The power of Antichrist compels you...

The power of Antichrist compels you…

In Blood Relatives, James Dickerson attends the funerals of people he never knew, pretending to have been a part of the lives of the recently deceased; he tells stories and memories that never happened. In Force Majeure, Frank Black encounters a radical group of people who believe in the story of the end times; whether true or false, this story provides meaning to the life of the otherwise lost Dennis Hoffman. In Walkabout, Frank Black tries to piece together his recent history, constructing a narrative to account for out-of-character behaviour.

Maranatha serves as something of a culmination of this approach to Millennium. It the story of a sadist who seeks to elevate himself to the status of legend, dictating and shaping his own narrative through fear and manipulation.

"I wanna take his face... off!"

“I wanna take his face… off!”

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Non-Review Review: Devil’s Due

The single biggest problem with Devil’s Due is that it’s boring.

There are a lot of other flaws. It’s really creepily xenophobic. It has little interest in the female character carrying this baby. It is completely uninterested in the “found footage” thing, but still commits to using it. It is really just a bunch of clichés that we’ve seen done much better elsewhere. Its protagonists rank incredibly low on the intelligence scale for horror movies, which sets a pretty low baseline to begin with.

However, the most frustrating flaw with this reproductive horror is the fact that it’s just deathly dull.

The belly of the beast...

The belly of the beast…

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Saw Franchise Dies a Painful Death…

What makes this particular painful about this story is that they’ve caused all the fuss over director Kevin Greutert over what is essentially a lame duck film. You could make the case that the writing’s been on the wall for the Saw franchise since the second movie which began a steep decline into ridiculous torture porn (so I enjoyed the first one, so sue me) or even since the last one which underperformed financially. Which is tough to do on a film that has a budget of your average 1970s Doctor Who serial, to be frank. Anyway, despite the seemingly large investment that making Saw VII in 3D would seem to represent (even crappy 3D ain’t cheap), it looks like Lionsgate are calling it a day. Saw VII will be the last of the franchise.

Brace (geddit?) yourself...

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Getting a Sense of the Censor…

The Irish Film Classification Officer, the ever-fantastic John Kelleher, made an appearance on The Right Hook (which is an institution on evening drives in our car) discussing IFCO’s decision to give the controversial arthouse flick Antichrist an 18’s certificate. Over the course of the interview with George Hook (who – though I love him dearly – showed himself to be more than a little out of touch, stating that swear words from Mark Wahlberg as his most extreme cinematic experience), the man who formerly held the title Irish Film Censor outlined his office’s understanding of their role in Irish life. And I whole heartedly agree.

Probably the best censorship board in the world....

Probably the best censorship board in the world....

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Cannes in Review

Well, it’s almost over. The Cannes film festival – generally praised as the height of sophisticated cinema – will wrap up on Sunday evening. I may have been a bit negative in my coverage of Cannes this year – with jabs at Lars von Trier and Quentin Tarantino who were screening at the festival – but I’m absolutely delighted with how the festival seems to have gone, and with the weather the way it is over here, I figured it was time to run some good news.

Things I like about Cannes #1: I like that it's always sunny in Cannes...

Things I like about Cannes #1: I like that it's always sunny in Cannes...

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Try Harder, Von Trier

Okay, I get it. We’re sick. We need help. We’re a culture obsessed with violence and pain and suffering. I miss the days when the gory slasher (or torture porn or gorn, depending on your preference) was solely the affairs of one-week-wonders produced on shoestrings and making a bit of money for studios to pump into other projects. However, with the autuer circuit’s growing fascination with paracinema (making the low brow high brow), it seems that these disturbing little films have become an arthouse favourite. Lars Von Trier’s effort at Cannes with Antichrist seems to have shown that critics are growing tired of it, but what on earth convinced artsy directors that this was a good genre to tackle?

This is another sort of gorn. It is also the only worksafe image we have on the topic.

This is another sort of gorn. It is also the only worksafe image we have on the topic.

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