Advertisements
    Advertisements
  • Following Us

  • Categories

  • Check out the Archives









  • Awards & Nominations

  • Advertisements

New Podcast! Scannain Podcast (2019) #25!

It’s time for the Scannain podcast!

This week, I join Graham Day and Jay Coyle to discuss what we watched, the week in film news, the top ten and the new releases. Graham has rewatched The Shining. Jay has watched Cléo from 5 to 7: Remembrances and Anecdotes, Cabaret and Victor/Victoria. I have watched What We Left Behind. There is also a lively discussion of Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

In terms of film news, the Galway Film Fleadh has announced its full line-up. The makers of the documentary Gaza have donated their prize money to the Gaza Red Carpet Festival Appeal. The Gaze LGBT film festival also unveiled its line-up. The SXSW hit Extra Ordinary was purchased by Cranked Up Films. Donal Foreman’s The Image You Missed is now available on Vimeo on Demand. Also, Hollywood is having (another) existential crisis this summer.

The top ten:

  1. Godzilla: King of the Monsters
  2. Child’s Play
  3. Diego Maradona
  4. X-Men: Dark Phoenix
  5. Brightburn
  6. Rocketman
  7. The Secret Lives of Pets II
  8. Men in Black International
  9. Aladdin
  10. Toy Story 4

New releases:

  • Yesterday
  • Drive
  • Support the Girls
  • Apollo 11
  • Metal Heart

You can listen to the podcast directly here.

Advertisements

Star Trek: Voyager – Drive (Review)

Star Trek: Voyager has always had a pulpy sensibility, perhaps more than any other Star Trek series outside of the original.

There is something very retrograde about Voyager, something that harkens back to the plotting of old B-movies. The Communist paranoia of Cathexis or In the Flesh, the goofy science-fiction high-concepts of The 37s or Innocence or Tuvix or Rise or Macrocosm, the monster movie stylings of Threshold, the exaggerated campy horror aesthetic of Darkling or Revulsion or Alice. Even older science-fiction staples like the body-swap episodes Vis á Vis, Body and Soul or Renaissance Man. There is a reason why Voyager felt so comfortable doing an episode like Bride of Chaotica!

Photo finish.

With all of that in mind, Drive seems lie a perfect fit for Voyager. It is admittedly an absurd premise, a story about a racing tournament organised by four alien species as a testament to the fragile peace that they have built. Inevitably, Paris gets involved with the Delta Flyer. Inevitably, the crew uncover a wave of shady double-dealing that involves sabotage, attempted murder and terrorism as part of a plot to destabilise the entire region. It is completely and utterly ridiculous, feeling like the kind of low-budget trash that an audience member might stumble across flicking through the channels very early one weekday morning.

And yet, there’s a certain charm to it. Drive is a deeply flawed episode, with all manner of serious plotting and character issues. However, there’s also a sense that the production team are enjoying themselves. At a point when so much of Voyager feels like it is going through the motions, there is a certain appeal in a piece of pulpy entertainment that relishes its own existence.

The event wasn’t marr(i)ed.

Continue reading

New Podcast! Not Another X-Files Podcast Podcast #602 – “Drive”

I was delighted to be invited to join Carolyn and Vanessa for the latest episode of Not Another X-Files Podcast Podcast, discussing Mulder’s impromptu roadtrip.

The guys had just finished coverage of The Lone Gunmen and the eleventh season of The X-Files, so I joined them to talk about the second episode of the sixth season, Drive. Any long-time reader of the blog will know that Drive is probably my favourite episode of the sixth season, and probably the last of my top ten X-Files episodes chronologically speaking. (I’m still sleeping on Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster and The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat.)

It was an absolute pleasure to do a guest slot with the guys, to talk about everything from the O.J. Simpson car chase to the American frontier to the amount of highway in California. You can check out the podcast here, and past episodes here. Or click the link below.

New Podcast! The X-Cast X-Files Podwatch – Episode #61 (The Beginning/Drive)

I’m thrilled to be a part of The X-Cast X-Files Podwatch, a daily snippet podcast rewatching the entirety of The X-Files between now and the launch of the new season. It is something of a spin-off of The X-Cast, a great X-Files podcast run by the charming Tony Black. Tony has assembled a fantastic array of guests and hosts to go through The X-Files episode-by-episodes. With the new season announced to be starting in early January, Tony’s doing two episodes of the podcast per day, so buckle up. We’re almost there at this point, just winding down from The X-Files: Fight the Future.

My first appearance (covering the first episodes) of the sixth season teams me up once again with Tony himself. We’re discussing the first two episodes of the season, The Beginning and Drive, two episodes very clearly flowing out of the feature film. Indeed, Drive is one of my favourite X-Files episodes of all time.

Continue reading

The X-Files – Drive (Review)

This July, we’re taking a trip back in time to review the sixth season of The X-Files and the third (and final) season of Millennium.

In many ways, Drive feels like an episode that tackles the move to California head-on.

After all, the plot of Drive essentially finds Mulder trapped in a car heading westwards through Nevada and into California. The episode even lingers on a “welcome to California” sign, tacitly acknowledging the massive change that had taken place behind the scenes between the fifth and sixth seasons of The X-Files. It is a very clever way of addressing a major change to the production of the show, one that is candid and open about the fact that things are inherently different now.

"Running out of west..."

“Running out of west…”

More than that, Drive figures out how to build an episode of The X-Files around the change in production location. The sixth season often finds the production team struggling to find the right tone and mood to match the new location; after all, the show cannot simply pretend that it is still filming in Vancouver. California is sunnier, hotter and drier than Vancouver ever was – the sixth season of The X-Files spends a little time trying to adapt to those new filming conditions.

This challenge is arguably most obvious in the string of (literally and metaphorically) lighter episodes in the first stretch of the season. The sixth season is quite controversial among fans of the show because there is a period of time where it seems like The X-Files might transform itself into a quirky romantic sit-com. Episodes like Triangle, Dreamland I, Dreamland II, How the Ghosts Stole Christmas and The Rain King would be the lighter episodes of any previous season; they seem to pile in on top of one another at the start of the sixth season.

Feels like going home...

Feels like going home…

In contrast, Drive is very much a quintessential episode of The X-Files. It is a classic episode of the show. It is scary, it is tense, it is meticulously constructed. There is humour to be found, but the stakes feel real and personal. Writer Vince Gilligan very shrewdly plays into the constraints of the new Los Angeles production realities. A lot of Drive takes place during the day on long desert roads. It takes advantage of California’s impressive interstate system, with twenty-five highways covering almost two-and-half thousand miles.

However, Drive is more than simply a demonstration that The X-Files can still work in its new home. Drive is a superb piece of television in its own right. It is highly regarded as one of the finest episodes of The X-Files from the second half of the run. It is notable for a wonderful premise, a great script, and a mesmerising guest performance from Bryan Cranston. Drive would be the first collaboration between writer Vince Gilligan and actor Bryan Cranston, but not the last.

Drive of your life...

Drive of your life…

Continue reading

My 12 for ’13: Only God Forgives & Neon Nightmares…

This is my annual countdown of the 12 movies that really stuck with me this year. It only counts the movies released in Ireland in 2013, so quite a few of this year’s Oscar contenders aren’t eligible, though some of last year’s are.

This is number 7…

Few films this year have stayed with me as vividly as the rich and disturbing visual and aural landscape of Nicolas Winding Refn’s Only God Forgives. It’s a decent into a neon hell, a world half-inhabited by the damned and stalked by demons. With Cliff Martinez’s pounding score still echoing through my head long after my last viewing, Only God Forgives is a haunting piece of cinema, a nightmare captured on digital.

onlygodforgives6

Continue reading

Non-Review Review: Only God Forgives

Only God Forgives is a journey into hell. It’s an unpleasant, uncomfortable, terrifying, surreal, macabre, haunting, eerie and beautiful exploration of brutality and violence. Nicolas Winding Refn’s latest film isn’t anywhere near as accessible as Drive. It isn’t just bereft of sympathetic characters, it doesn’t even feature any characters who lend themselves to empathy or recognisability. Ryan Gosling’s Julian is so introverted and withdrawn that it’s often difficult to determine the difference between reality and his surreal dream sequences.

Then again, given Refn suggests the man is living in his own private hell, perhaps there’s not too much difference any way.

Wanna fight?

Wanna fight?

Continue reading