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Star Trek: The Next Generation – Q Who? (Review)

This January and February, we’ll be finishing up our look at the second season of Star Trek: The Next Generation and moving on to the third year of the show, both recently and lovingly remastered for high definition. Check back daily for the latest review.

Q Who? throws down the gauntlet for Star Trek: The Next Generation. It serves as a fitting reminder that Picard and his crew are still amateurs when it comes to space exploration. They don’t even win the day – they suffer “a bloody nose” before limping away from their strange new opponents to lick their wounds. For a crew that never seemed to sweat before, who never seemed like they were under pressure, this is a shocking development.

More interestingly, it’s something unknown in a universe that has become far too familiar. Three of the four episodes leading into Q Who? ended with the crew accepting that there were some things they’d never fully understand or comprehend, and – while it’s unlikely this was intentional – it seems like a nice bit of thematic foreshadowing rather than haphazard plotting. For the first season-and-a-half of the show, it seemed like the Enterprise was always dealing with the familiar, always in control of the situation.

With Q Who?, everything is put into perspective.

Borg to death...

Borg to death…

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Non-Review Review: Sinister

Sinister is a few great ideas, wrapped in a hokey plot and executed in a reasonably efficient manner. To be fair, this latest movie from “the producers of Paranormal Activity and Insidious works best when it adopts a minimalist approach, with director Scott Derrickson and composer Christopher Young providing a suitably overbearing and overwhelming atmosphere. However, the movie runs into problems when it’s forced to play its hand, and when it feels the need to “follow through” on its scares with something more substantial. At that point, the movie becomes a bit clunky, which seems quite a shame – as Derrickson otherwise minimalist approach creates an unsettling canvas to set the story against.

Reel life…

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Man vs. Superman: Chronicle’s Climax & The Scale of Superhuman Violence…

I had the chance to watch Chronicle again over the weekend, and I still found it a boldly fascinating (albeit flawed) film. The construction of the movie as a collection of “found footage” still strains more suspension of disbelief than any of the antics involving the lead three characters, but it remains a thoughtful deconstruction and exploration of the superhero tropes and genre that audiences have begun to take for granted. In particular, the movie’s climax – though filmed on a shoestring – still does a better job evoking a sense of scale than Joss Whedon’s admitted stylish last half-hour of The Avengers.

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A Month on the BBC Global iPlayer

The kind folks over at the BBC were nice enough to give me access to the iPlayer for a month in order to review it. So I’ve spent to past month watching various BBC productions on my iPhone in a variety of circumstances. I’ve streamed them at home, I’ve downloaded and watched them on the bus; I’ve used the iPhone’s speakers and I’ve listened with my headphones; I’ve tried old and new and various types of programmes and shows. I have to admit to being quite impressed with the product, even if I do have some slight reservations.

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A Month on the BBC Global iPlayer…

Thanks to the wonderful folk at the BBC, I’ve been given a month’s subscription to the BBC Global iPlayer to try out the service. The BBC is probably the best national broadcaster in the world, and the international standard for original drama. There’s a reason that so much talent (whether in front or behind the camera) developed there. So the app handily streams BBC content to my iPhone to enjoy at my leisure. It seems perfect for the traveller on the go.

Over the next month, I’m going to be using it, reviewing some content and trying to appraise the service. If you have anything on the BBC you’d like to point me to, feel free to leave a comment below. Any suggestions will be appreciated. I’m looking forward to tucking into a rick library of shows I missed the first time around. I’ll be back at the end of the month with a more in-depth review of the service, and with my own findings. I’m already ready to tuck into Wallander and Sherlock.

Thanks again to the great sports at the BBC for giving me access.

Steve Jobs & Pixar…

A lot of people have already written a lot of very thoughtful and inspiring pieces about Steve Jobs, and what the inventor means to the world. Technology experts, heads of industry, world leaders, columnists, celebrities… everybody seems to have an opinion or an anecdote about the man who made Apple possible. I honestly don’t feel like there’s too much I can add to a conversation occurring all over the world about a man who revolutionised what we thought was possible in terms of media and connectivity through the iPhone and countless other innovations. Still, I can’t help but think of Pixar when I think of Jobs, and I think the animation studio stands as a testament to one of his innate abilities, one that was just as important as his drive for new ideas and his insights into technology: Jobs had that unique ability to spot and judge potential from a distance, and I think it would be unfair not to consider Pixar when discussing the inventor’s legacy.

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My Knight With Danny McBride

After attending the premiere of Your Highness, I got a chance to grab a drink with actor and writer Danny McBride in The Brazen Head, the oldest pub in Dublin. “This place is older than my country,” Danny jokingly observes we take our seats. He promptly explains why we’re gathered in this rather casual faction. “We thought about doing the standard thing, the interview in the hotel room, but we figured it would be a bit awkward with the lights and everything, so we thought we’d just go out and have a drink instead.” And, if there’s one thing about Danny McBride, it’s that the comedian is never awkward. He seems surprisingly at home in this establishment, no sign that he’s been out touring the world promoting his new movie – this could just be a nice after work pint.

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