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Star Trek – A Taste of Armageddon (Review)

To celebrate the release of Star Trek: Into Darkness this month, we’ll be running through the first season of the classic Star Trek all this month. Check back daily to get ready to boldly go. It’s only logical.

It’s amazing to think that A Taste of Armageddon and The Return of the Archons were produced on consecutive weeks by the same television show. Both are politically-charged pieces of pop culture, heavily influenced by the realities of the Cold War, but they adopt two completely different philosophies towards the conflict. The Return of the Archons is a story about the need for freedom and individuality, and how the struggle for those inalienable rights is a battle that must be fought. While it’s debatable whether Landru is a representation of the forces of communism, the episode is unquestionably about the triumph of Western liberal values.

In contrast, A Taste of Armageddon can’t help but feel a little cynical about the whole damn thing.

A shooting war...

A shooting war…

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Non-Review Review: X-Men – First Class

X-Men: First Class is easily the best thing to emerge from Bryan Singer’s X-Men movie franchise since X-Men II, all those years ago. Jane Goldman’s smart script and Matthew Vaughn’s confident direction help inject life back into the franchise that stirred up this current superhero blockbuster fad, providing one of the finest examples of the subgenre. Although the movie does occasionally veer a little bit too close to (and, once or twice, right into) camp, it’s also a clever, brave, bold and exciting action adventure, which provides the best characterisation of the series to date.

We've got it covered...

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X Marks the Spot: Taking the X-Men Back to Relevance…

I am quite looking forward to Matthew Vaughan’s upcoming X-Men: First Class, which looks to be the first “retro” superhero film. You could, of course, make the claim that the accolade belongs to Watchmen, which was set in the eighties, but it was an alternate eighties at that – where Nixon was President and big blue men wandered around with their glowing privates on display. However, it’s fascinating that the X-Men are the film franchise to really do that, to actually construct a period piece set amidst the Cuban Missile Crisis while John F. Kennedy was squaring off against the Soviet Union. Perhaps it’s ideal, because the sixties and seventies were undoubtedly the time at which the mutant metaphor was at its most potent.

Click to enlarge...

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Now That’s First Class: X-Men – First Class & Superhero Nostalgia

I have to admit that X-Men: First Class is a movie that I find myself in a wild state of flux over. At times, I’m delighted by the sensational casting, the fantastic director and the wonderful artistic design that we’re seeing. However, I am equally curious as to what the point of a prequel is, or why Bryan Singer jumped ship so quickly. At times, it’s one of my most anticipated movies of the coming year, while at others it’s just another film awaiting release. Somewhat lost amid the announcement that Bane and Catwoman would be the villains of The Dark Knight Rises, Fox released a slew of information about their newest X-Men film last week. looking at eth photos, I can’t help wondering whether the superhero movie genre is on the cusp of the nostalgia-fest which has swept their comic book counterparts in recent years.

He always had a magnetic personality...

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Non-Review Review: From Russia With Love

This post is part of James Bond January, being organised by the wonderful Paragraph Films. I will have reviews of all twenty-two official Bond films going on-line over the next month, and a treat or two every once in a while.

Dr. No demonstrated that Ian Fleming’s suave British secret agent could make it to screen. Sean Connery’s James Bond was on the pop culture map, but perhaps just short of becoming a pop culture icon – that was a sequel or two away. Of course, a second movie was pushed into development, with a rich library of Fleming’s novels to adapt – as faithfully or as loosely as the producers might like. When President Kennedy, one of the other “coolest men of the sixties”, announced that From Russia With Love was his ninth favourite novel of all time, it seemed th choice had been made. Rumour has it that Alfred Hitchcock was at one point intended to direct the film, but Terrence Young’s From Russia With Love is still a wonderfully iconic Bond film, which represents a pretty large step from “an entertaining espionage movie” to “globe-spanning spy franchise”.

Bond was already making a splash at this stage of his career...

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