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The X-Files – Milagro (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.

The teaser establishes the mood quite quickly. It is a rather striking opening sequence for an episode of The X-Files, focusing on a writer staring at a blank page. The sequence cuts through time as the writer searches for inspiration, trying to take his cue from the index cards helpfully arranged on the wall. Eventually, the writer makes a grand gesture. He reaches into his chest, and pulls out his heart. It is a very effective opening sequence, one that makes it clear that Milagro will not be a normal episode of The X-Files.

The sequence also makes it clear that Milagro will not will it be a subtle piece of television. The teaser is not a particularly elegant metaphor, but it is an effective one. What is writing but tearing out a piece of yourself? Sometimes you have to wear your heart on your sleeve; sometimes you have to put it on the page. The teaser to Milagro is a very earnest piece of work from Chris Carter, a clear acknowledgement that what follows is a deeply personal piece of work.

Burning heart...

Burning heart…

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A Little Gold Man, Far Away: Oscar Season as a Spectator Sport…

In case you hadn’t realised, Oscar season is in full swing. We’ve already had the Toronto International Film Festival. There’s already a front-runner in the form of The Master. The seemingly obligatory voting controversy has already been reported upon. Newspapers and on-line film websites are already launching their coverage of a race that won’t be over for another five months, despite the fact that many would argue the race probably already has a winner. And that discounts those websites already set up specifically for the race, which are (understandably) kicking into overdrive.

And I… find myself having difficulty mustering too much enthusiasm about it.

The show goes on…

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Non-Review Review: Martha Marcy May Marlene

The feature debut from director Sean Durkin, Martha Marcy May Marlene, is a shockingly powerful piece of cinema. Deeply unpleasant and uncannily unsettling, Durkin’s debut is occasionally a bit awkwardly paced, but is intensely gripping for most of its runtime. While the film is making waves for a breakout performance from Elizabeth Olsen, it’s John Hawkes who steals the show as the enigmatic and sinister cult leader, known only as Patrick.

A cult film...

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Non-Review Review: Winter’s Bone

In many ways, Winter’s Bone is the Best Picture nominee most typical of the modern Oscars (or, at least, the criticism of the modern Oscars). While The Fighter echoes the every man appeal of Rocky, The King’s Speech is the archetypal historical and “triumph over adversity” tale, The Social Network is classic morality tale with a modern sheen and True Grit is the nostalgic entry, Winter’s Bone speaks the “indie” attitude that we’ve seen become dominant in the past decade. It’s a film rich in atmosphere and mood, with a bleakness that threatens to escape the screen and devour the audience whole, but it favours this lush approach over pacing and engagement. To say it is glacial, is an understatement.

The road ahead is bleak...

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