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The X-Files – Eve (Review)

The X-Files owes a conscious debt to Twin Peaks, in quite a few ways. David Lynch’s landmark television series perfectly blended the mundane with the surreal, creating a world that managed to be both incredibly familiar and hauntingly ethereal. One of the hallmarks of Lynch’s approach to Twin Peaks – and of his work in general including, most obviously, Blue Velvet and Dumbland – was the sense that there was something quite horrid and rotten lurking beneath the flowerbeds and picket fences of those lovely suburban houses.

Eve is the show’s first real exploration of suburbia, hitting on all manner of rich Cold War anxieties and fears lurking just behind those neatly-trimmed hedges.

Breaking up families...

Breaking up families…

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Non-Review Review: The Red Riding Trilogy

The Red Riding trilogy is a triumph of British television drama, and proof that the British channels are capable of producing home-grown drama that is of the highest possible quality. Demonstrating that HBO doesn’t hold complete dominion over quality drama, the Red Riding films were of enough quality to earn a limited theatrical release in the United States. I know that a high profile and commercial success isn’t a universal guarantee of quality, but it is certainly worth noting when discussing these three films exploring crime and corruption in the three “Riding” administrative zones. (For the record, the three zones are “North”, “East” and “West.” There is no “South”, which feels appropriate given the themes of the trilogy.)

Mingling fact and fiction into a head noir-ish cocktail, Red Riding is highly recommended for those who like bleak and sophisticated drama.

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Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain: Ignorance, Bliss and Entertainment…

Occasionally, I like to do a bit of research. That might shock some of my more regular readers. If I’m covering a particularly topic, I like to have a bit of background knowledge that will allow me to offer some nuanced or informed commentary. Hopefully, I might be able to tell you something you didn’t know – after all, hopefully the time spent reading my review isn’t wasted if I can tell you something you didn’t already know, regardless of whether our opinions agree or disagree. Also, it’s just nice to know these things because they can help my understanding of a particular film.

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Non-Review Review: The House of Flying Daggers

Yimou Zhang’s House of Flying Daggers is a wonderful visual and auditory experience. It’s a sumptuous feast for the eyes and the ears, a truly beautiful piece of film that really needs to seen to be fully appreciated. While its plots and characters aren’t quite as rich as the wonderfully saturated surroundings, House of Flying Daggers remains a film that really seems to bask in light and colour, almost soaking in those elements, with each frame seeming like a stunning work of art.

Bamboozled?

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Non-Review Review: Boyz N The Hood

Boyz n the Hood remains a powerful, moving and depressing piece of cinema. Director John Singleton has arguably failed to match this impressive debut effort, but there’s no shame in that. Most directors will go entire careers without offering a film that so effectively captures a slice of life. Reportedly based on a lot of the director’s own experiences growing up in South Central L.A., it’s a very strong and very personal piece of film, and one that hasn’t been diminished in the years that followed its release.

As happy as Larry?

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What Does It Take To Get You To See a Movie Twice In the Cinema?

Going to the cinema is expensive. In fact, it’s been getting progressively more expensive these past few years, which seems to be a contributing factor in steadily decreasing theatre attendance. (The behaviour of fellow patrons and lax enforcement of basic cinema etiquette might be another.) Still, there’s something inherently romantic about a trip to the cinema, seeing the lights go dark and the images projected on a big screen, as they were intended to be seen. While a home cinema system offers its own perks, there’s just something inherently appealing about the real deal. Last Friday, I had the pleasure of seeing Cabin in the Woods with my better half – the second time I’d seen the film. I very rarely double-dip on cinema trips, but there were a variety of factors that alleviated my guilt. What does it take you to see a film more than once in a cinema?

Cinema is a cottage industry...

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Gideon’s Daughter (Review)

The wonderful folks at the BBC have given me access to their BBC Global iPlayer for a month to give the service a go and trawl through the archives. I’ll have some thoughts on the service at the end of the month, but I thought I’d also take the opportunity to enjoy some of the fantastic content.

Stephen Poliakoff’s companion piece to Friends and Crocodiles, airing just a month after that original drama film, Gideon’s Daughter feels like it owes a lot to a bunch of fascinating central performances. While Robert Lindsay provides the only on-screen evidence of a link between the two projects, reprising his role as an embittered old writer here, Poliakoff’s two stories are thematically linked, as the author focuses a lot of his frustrations on meaningless celebrity culture. This time, however, he sets the stories in the late nineties, allowing him to explore what he undoubtedly sees as the vulgarity of the millennium celebrations and to subtly examine the national outpouring of grief offer the loss of Princess Diana, while telling a rather simple story of a father and his daughter.

All tied up...

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