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Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Naked Now (Review)

To celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and also next year’s release of Star Trek: Into Darkness, I’m taking a look at the recent blu ray release of the first season, episode-by-episode. Check back daily for the latest review.

I stand by my original observation that it was a smart idea to set Star Trek: The Next Generation a century after Star Trek. After all, Gene Roddenberry’s original Star Trek was over two decades old by the time that Encounter at Farpoint aired. Twenty years is a long time in entertainment – it can feel like a century. The world had changed since Star Trek appeared, and setting the story in a brand new world with strong (yet not strangling) ties to the beloved original series allowed the best of both worlds.

However, the problem with the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation is that it doesn’t quite realise this yet. It’s busy trying to do “Star Trek”, even though times have changed. The Naked Now, the second episode of the series, is the perfect embodiment of this problem. Star Trek: The Next Generation should have been establishing its own identity, rather than trying to simply emulate its predecessor.

Flying off into the sunset…

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Non-Review Review: Dark Shadows

I really liked Dark Shadows. Of course, the film comes with the proviso that it’s probably nothing at all like anybody is expecting, at least based on the trailers. While there are elements of a comedy about a vampire lost in time, Tim Burton is far too busy constructing an elaborate spoof of a gothic melodrama to every really develop that thread. Instead, it’s a movie that seems wry and self-aware more than it is side-splittingly hilarious, an old-fashioned homage to the melodramatic horrors of old rather than a compelling story in its own right. I don’t think anybody could argue that this is truly “classic” Burton, measured against Ed Wood or Batman Returns. However, it is a director who seems to be having a great deal of fun playing with some rather esoteric toys.

Collins family values…

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That Pivotal Second Viewing…

As a film blogger, I tend to write reviews of films that I have never seen before. I occasionally take the opportunity to share my thoughts on classic films I have seen countless times, but most of my writing covers films I’ve only seen once. In some cases, that will be the first and only time that I see a movie. I have, for example, no desire to ever site through This Means War again. However, I occasionally find the second viewing of a film to be a much more enlightening and inspiring film, whether it crystalises my original opinion or perhaps even prompts a re-evaluation of my earlier thoughts. It’s interesting how different and distinct a film can appear each time you happen to watch it.

Twice the excitement...

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Gotham After Dark: Batman Noir

We’re currently blogging as part of the “For the Love of Film Noir” blogathon (hosted by Ferdy on Films and The Self-Styled Siren) to raise money to help restore the 1950’s film noir The Sound of Fury (aka Try and Get Me). It’s a good cause which’ll help preserve our rich cinematic heritage for the ages, and you can donate by clicking here. Over the course of the event, running from 14th through 21st February, I’m taking a look at the more modern films that have been inspired or shaped by noir. Today’s theme is “comics noir” – noir filtered through comic book panels.

More than any other mainstream superhero, Batman is strongly linked with the film noir tradition. Dating back as early as his first appearances, straight through to Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, the Caped Crusader has always inhabited a world which seems as fragile and broken as any noir protagonist. Just because he trades a trench coat for a cape (which, you’ll note, he makes a point to wear around him rather than just behind him) and a fedora for a cowl, don’t underestimate Bruce Wayne’s flirtation with the darker side of cinema.

The Dark Night?

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Non-Review Review: Batman Forever

Was that over the top? I can never tell!

– Edward Nygma, aka The Riddler

Yes, Edward, that was over the top.

“Yeah, Tommy, you got something juuuust here….”

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Non-Review Review: Batman Returns

I adore Batman Returns. It tends to be a rather polarising film, and certainly a polarising Batman adaptation. It was famously too dark and too weird for mainstream audiences, with too much creepy and freaky stuff serving to distress the parents of children who gobbled up Batman-themed Happy Meals. I think it holds up the best of the four Burton and Schumacher Batman films, because it finds a way to balance Burton’s unique approach and style with that of the Caped Crusader. While Burton’s Batman occasionally struggled to balance the director’s vision with a relatively conventional plot (to the point where Vicki Vale stuck out like a sore thumb, and the movie wasn’t the most coherently plotted of films), here there’s a much greater sense of balance at play, and a feeling that Burton isn’t compromising, and yet is working with the characters.

Shine a light…

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