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New Escapist Column! On “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” and the New Age of Disposable Media…

I published a new piece at The Escapist yesterday. One of the big news stories of this week concerned the apparent (albeit accidental) censorship of an episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier on Disney+.

While the matter was eventually resolved following news coverage and outcry on social media, there is something unsettling about how easily that mistake happened and how readily it could have been missed or overlooked. It underscores the risks of trusting companies like Disney to serve as the digital curators of their own legacy, particularly in a landscape where so much of film and television has alreayd been lost. In some ways, it suggests that the transition to streaming has rendered film and television truly disposable in a way that they haven’t really been in almost half a century.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

227. A Clockwork Orange (#104)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, and this week with special guest Aoife Martin, The 250 is a fortnightly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users.

This time, Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange.

Alex is a teenager growing up in a dystopian Britain with a taste for “the old ultraviolence.” However, when things go very wrong for the young delinquent, he finds himself offered an unlikely opportunity for redemption. He just has to volunteer for a highly controversial new therapy.

At time of recording, it was ranked the 104th best movie of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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New Escapist Column! On the “Necessity” of the R-Rating for “Birds of Prey”…

I published an In the Frame piece at Escapist Magazine last Friday, looking at the debate around the “R-rating” that Birds of Prey earned.

Following the film’s release, there’s been a lot of a debate around Birds of Prey, particularly in light of its box office performance. One of the more interesting arguments has been around the film’s age rating, with several pundits arguing that the film did not “need” to be rated R, that it could have been cut to a PG-13 movie without losing anything of value. This is an interesting argument, one that deserves a little interrogation. After all, the scenes which likely earned Birds of Prey its R-rating – certainly the scenes singled out as unnecessary by such critics – are essential to its identity. They make the film unique and distinct.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

164. Cats – This Just In (-#34)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, and this week with special guests Phil Bagnall, Jenn Gannon and Luke Dunne, The 250 is a (mostly) weekly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users.

This time, Tom Hooper’s Cats.

Abandoned by her owner in a surreal wasteland of early twentieth century London, the young cat Victoria finds herself drawn towards the neighbourhood’s feline inhabitants on the night of a most special and peculiar celebration.

At time of recording, it was ranked 34th on the list of the worst movies of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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Millennium – Somehow, Satan Got Behind Me (Review)

This May and June, we’re taking a trip back in time to review the fifth season of The X-Files and the second season of Millennium.

Somehow, Satan Got Behind Me is Darin Morgan’s last script for Millennium.

It is an interesting script. It not as straightforward (and linear) as his scripts for Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose or Jose Chung’s “Doomday Defense”, but it is not as outwardly complex (and intricate) as Jose Chung’s “From Outer Space.” These descriptors are all relative, of course. Somehow, Satan Got Behind Me is a Darin Morgan script through-and-through. It is clever, well-constructed, and thoughtful. It is one of the most eccentric episodes in a season full of eccentric episodes.

Little devil...

Little devil…

However, Somehow, Satan Got Behind Me remains rather hard to pin down. It doesn’t feel as cohesive or as singular as Morgan’s other scripts. Morgan tends to build his episodes around big thematic tentpoles. There are ideas and themes that reverberate across and throughout Somehow, Satan Got Behind Me, but the nature of the script means that the episode lacks the unity of purpose that viewers have come to expect from Darin Morgan. Somehow, Satan Got Behind Me is a rollercoaster of an episode, which seems to hop from one idea to another.

Of course, that would seem to be the point. Somehow, Satan Got Behind Me is a bold and experimental script in its own way. Morgan has essentially constructed a set of four interlocking (and occasionally thematically overlapping) short stories that are built around his own core themes and ideas. These are small and intimate tales, lying at the intersection between the mundane and the surreal. As such, it seems like the perfect place for Darin Morgan to take his second bow.

A demon crying on a toilet. What more could you want?

A demon crying on a toilet.
What more could you want?

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Sometimes I’m Not Proud to be Irish…

Today is Arthur’s Day. I find myself almost subconsciously putting “St.” in front of that, because only saints have days, right? Anyway, only in Ireland could we sell a day around a guy who invented “the black stuff”. I think Guinness should be proud of marketing the whole thing so well. Anyway, this being perhaps the second most Irish day of the year, I thought I’d reflect very briefly on being Irish. I recently praised the forward-thinking work of former Irish Film Censor John Kelleher in attempting to remove our nation’s reputation for frankly backwards censorship – not an easy task when you consider we’ve got our own blasphemy law. Anyway, Kelleher rebranded his office the Irish Film Classification Office (IFCO), because he saw his role as classifying movies (rating them) as opposed to cutting or censoring them (“I don’t believe in censorship for adults”). It appears that it hasn’t taken too long for the office to return to its roots since his departure, the video nasty I Spit on Your Grave has been banned in Ireland by the office of the film censor.

I spit on your freedom of expression...

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“Concerned Parents’ Group”: The three most dreaded words in the English Language…

It looks like the moral guardians have been out in force. The New York Times yesterday featured an opinion piece focusing on the evils of red band trailers, just one of the more modern marketing gimmicks. Apparently – and brace yourself here – kids can lie about their age and watch these things. I am… shocked. Shocked and appalled. Next thing you know they’ll be lying to get their hands on booze. The second, and more predicable, piece of news that broke yesterday was parents groups campaigning against Kick-Ass. That’s sorta expected, seen as it features an eleven-year-old assassin. Surely we’d all been expecting some sort of objection to the pint-sized killer, but – and brace yourself again – she used “the c-word”. You’ll have to excuse me while I hyperventilate.

Kids these days are such c-words...

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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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“It must be hard to love political correctness…”

There’s nothing like a little bit of political correctness gone crazy to get the blood flowing. I’m amazed it’s taken me this long to find a story that piqued my interest enough that I would cover it. Ask and you shall receive and all that. Last week’s hubbub over the trailer for Warner Brothers’ film Orphan is exactly what irritates me about our current PC-focused state of mind. For those who don’t know, Orphan sees an adopted little girl proceeding to wreak havoc on a small suburban family. The trailer was released last week and prompted a huge outcry from various interest groups for including the line, “It must be hard to love an adopted child as much as your own.” Because apparently every line spoken in movies must be the unadulterated truth, right? No characters would ever make a subjective statement about their own incorrect world view, would they?

Creepy children never go out of fashion...

Creepy children never go out of fashion...

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