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The X-Files – Vienen (Review)

This October/November, we’re taking a trip back in time to review the eighth season of The X-Files and the first (and only) season of The Lone Gunmen.

It feels strange to see the black oil after such a long time.

Technically, the last time that the black oil was brought up was in Two Fathers and One Son, where it was retroactively confirmed to be the “Purity” alluded to in The Erlenmeyer Flask. However, the last time it was an active plot element was really The X-Files: Fight the Future. After that, it lost amid plot developments involving gestating aliens and faceless rebels. So, in a way, putting the black oil at the centre of Vienen feels just a little surreal against the backdrop of “super soldiers” and other more immediate concerns.

Explosive action!

Explosive action!

Vienen feels very old-fashioned. Even the structure of the episode harks back to the first season mythology episodes, when the show was allowed to use aliens and conspiracies without the burden of tying them to a larger narrative. It features the black oil, but Vienen feels closer to Fallen Angel or E.B.E. than Tunguska or Terma. Trying to tie it into the larger plot of the mythology is an exercise in futility, but that is not the point here. Vienen is no more or less a mythology episode than Empedocles, despite its inclusion in the “mythology” DVD collections.

It is an excuse to bring back an iconic baddie for one last run-around with Mulder, continuing the orderly transition of power from the what the show was to what it might be in the future.

You should really use a dipstick for that...

You should really use a dipstick for that…

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Non-Review Review: The Grand Seduction

This film was seen as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2014.

The Grand Seduction is nowhere near as cynical as it needs to be, and nowhere near as cynical as it thinks that it is. The story of a small Canadian town harbour in desperate need of a doctor in order to win a lucrative contract from a nebulous oil corporation, The Grand Seduction sets itself up as a vicious satire of these sorts of communities. Trying desperately to convince a visiting doctor to stay in their small community, the locals fashion themselves an endearingly quaint façade, manipulating their guest to get what they want.

thegrandseduction

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Tintin: Land of Black Gold (Review)

In the lead-up to the release of The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, I’m going to be taking a look at Hergé’s celebrated comic book character, from his humble beginnings through to the incomplete post-modern finale. I hope you enjoy the ride.

Land of Black Gold is certainly an interesting Tintin story. It was begun during the Second World War, but suspended while Hergé’s paper, Le Soir, was investigated under suspicion of collaboration. Following the war, the author returned to complete the work, updating the adventure to remove some of the more obvious political elements, and to retroactively insert some of the more modern characters into the tale (Captain Haddock has a small role, and Cuthbert Calculus appears only via letter). However, despite all this interesting shuffling around, and the fact the story was begun in one political climate and finished in another, it’s surprising how relevent Hergé’s exploration of Middle Eastern politics remains.

Thompson and Thomson get their just deserts, eh?

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