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Non-Review Review: Oculus

Oculus is torn between two extremes. On the one hand, it’s an ambitious horror film that engages with questions of perception and subtext, while throwing all manner of horror tropes together to form something of a horror movie stew. On the other hand, it rather quickly devolves into a fairly generic horror film that coasts on gore to unsettle the audience and always takes the easiest possible scare. Oculus is at its best during its muddled and exposition-filled opening acts.

While certainly flawed, these segments have an endearing substance to them. In contrast, Oculus is at its worst in the obligatory third act run-around.

All work and no play makes Rory Cochrane a dull boy...

All work and no play makes Rory Cochrane a dull boy…

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Doctor Who: The Angels Take Manhattan (Review)

The decision to build Steven Moffat’s third season of Doctor Who around a series of done-in-one stories has been a bit of a mixed blessing. Asylum of the Daleks was suitably madcap Saturday tea-time telly, and A Town Called Mercy was an affectionate homage to Americana, but Dinosaurs on a Spaceship barely had room to breath, overloaded on cool moments with little room left for plotting.

The Angels Take Manhattan suffers the most from this sense that it is being compacted. Watching the episode, it feels like Moffat is trying to cram too much story into a single forty-five minute episode. It makes the viewer long for the days when Russell T. Davies would gleefully run his episodes over the allocated forty-five minute slot. Here, Moffat’s big high-concept “timey wimey” ideas and his farewell to his two companions eating up so much of the run-time that the plot itself still feels like an afterthought, running on contrivance and coincidence rather than anything more substantial.

That doesn’t mean it isn’t an affective farewell to Rory and Amy, or that it doesn’t draw fantastic performances from its central quartet, but it does mean that The Angels Take Manhattan is never quite as sturdy as it should have been.

A walk in the park…

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