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Doctor Who: Last Christmas (Review)

There’s a horror movie called Alien? That’s really offensive. No wonder everyone keeps invading you.

Last Christmas is perhaps the most Moffat-esque Christmas Special of the Moffat era.

As such, it is an episode that will inevitably provoke a strong reaction, playing as it does to the writer’s strengths and interests in Doctor Who. As a show, Doctor Who has a long history of crashing genres into one another. One of the most endearing aspects of the show is the way that it can be a completely different show from week to week. One week, it is a western; the next, it is a horror film. One episode is a period adventure; another is a science-fiction comedy. Doctor Who is a show about a mad man in a box who crashes into random stories.

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Last Christmas is quite overt about this. When Shona wakes up towards the end of the episode, we are treated to a glimpse of her “to do” list for Christmas Day, which happens to feature a variety of clear influences on the episode. Strangely, she plans to open her Christmas Day binge with a double-bill of Alien and The Thing From Another World, before taking a breather and returning for Miracle on 34th Street – you really do need a bit of space before properly digesting the truly heavy stuff. (She’s also marathoning the Hugo-winning Game of Thrones.)

Last Christmas is a story that is incredibly (and almost cheekily) aware of its own fictionality. As with so much of Moffat’s Doctor Who, it is a story about stories. And dreams, which are really the same thing. “Time travel is always possible in dreams,” the Doctor observes, to borrow a quote from The Name of the Doctor. Dreams and stories.

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Non-Review Review: Flightplan

Truth be told, I think part of the reason I have a soft spot for Flightplan is simply because Jodie Foster doesn’t make enough films. She’s an actress who devotes so little time to major releases of late that each of her movies is a gem of itself. That’s not to argue that she shouldn’t spend time with her family or pursue other interests, it’s just an acknowledgement that she’s really one of the best actresses working today and – sadly – works all too infrequently. She’s an actress who can add a high level of quality to what might otherwise be a mundane production, and here she manages to turn a rather disappointing thriller into an enjoyable hour-and-a-half of entertainment.

Aisle watch Jodie Foster in anything...

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