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New Podcast! The X-Cast – Season 5, Episode 1 (“Redux I”)

The X-Cast just kicked off its season coverage, and I’m back with Tony Black to discuss the first part of the fifth season premiere Redux I.

Redux I was famously the second-most watched episode of The X-Files, behind Leonard Betts. It’s easy to see why. Not only was the episode following on from an edge-of-the-seat cliffhanger involving the supposed suicide of the male lead on one of the buzziest shows of the decade, but it was also the launch of the season that would lead into the feature film adaptation, The X-Files: Fight the Future. As such, it was a pretty daring move on the part of Chris Carter to devote so much of the premiere to purple prose monologues playing over Mulder walking down grey corridors.

I think this is a pretty fun and interesting discussion. Redux I is always an episode that I’ve have complicated and conflicted feelings about, and the podcast was a nice opportunity to work through some of those strange emotions. Anyway, I hope there’s something worthwhile in here.

You can listen to the episode here, or click the link below.

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136. Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation – Independence Day 2019 (-#45)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, and this week with special guests Jess Dunne and Luke Dunne, The 250 is a (mostly) weekly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users. New episodes are released every Saturday at 6pm GMT.

This time, Kim Henkel’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation.

Prom should be the best night of Jenny’s life. However, an unexpected detour winds up taking Jenny and three of her friends on an unexpected detour down the back roads of rural Texas. While exploring, the teens stumble upon a horror nestled snugly at the heart of the Lone Star State.

At time of recording, it was ranked 45th on the Internet Movie Database‘s list of the worst movies of all-time.

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The X-Files – Redux I (Review)

This May and June, we’re taking a trip back in time to review the fifth season of The X-Files and the second season of Millennium.

Redux I hits on the same problem that haunted The Blessing Way. It is very hard to structure a three-parter that bridges two seasons of television. The biggest problem is the second episode, which has the unfortunate position of having to serve as a season premiere while carrying the baggage from the last season finalé and remaining unable to resolve anything. So the episode inevitably becomes an exercise in spinning wheels as the show saves all of its potential resolutions for the third episode.

A particular cynical commentator might suggest that Redux I plays as Chris Carter’s twisted take on Aaron Sorkin. Sorkin is famous for his sequences of characters walking through corridors while trading witty banter – a very nice way of keeping physical movement in the midst of largely dialogue-driven plots. This would become a defining feature of The West Wing, the show that Sorkin would launch in September 1999. Redux I seems to prefigure the style, albeit with a twist. There is lots of walking through corridors as characters talk to themselves in monologue.

"Wow, and I though my filing system was bad..."

“Wow, and I thought my filing system was bad…”

Redux I plays as a collection of voice-over monologues transposed over sequences of Mulder wandering through corridors in the Pentagon. One immediately wonders how the Department of Defence could have staged such a complex and convincing hoax against the American people when they cannot find one lost FBI agent inside the Pentagon. The drab setting makes for a shockingly dull episode; the majesty of the Yukon Mountains is lost, replaced by long sequences of grey walls and red doors.

Redux I has more than a few interesting ideas, but its structure is a mess. Sitting between Gethsemane and Redux II, the episode has no clear sense of purpose or momentum; no drive or ambition or excitement.

Don't worry, it could still make sense...

Don’t worry, it could still make sense…

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The X-Files – Musings of a Cigarette-Smoking Man (Review)

This February and March, we’re taking a trip back in time to review the fourth season of The X-Files and the first season of Millennium.

“No great man lives in vain. The history of the world is but the biography of great men.”

– Thomas Carlyle, On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History

Light 'em up...

Light ’em up…

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Non-Review Review: Savages

I am torn. Savages feels as if Oliver Stone somehow found a way to stream his thoughts on celluloid for the world to devour at their leisure. It’s bright, vibrant, random, illogical, contrary, obtuse, surreal and visceral – often all at the same time. It’s far too uneven to earn an unqualified recommendation, as it’s a disorienting mess of a film at the best of times. However, it’s also consistently interesting, a strangely compelling. Savagesmight be too all over the map to ever be consistently great (or even good), but it is never boring.

That’s a savage mask!

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Win! Savages Goodie Bags!

With thanks to the always lovely folks at Universal Pictures Ireland, we have some goodies to give away for Oliver Stone’s latest film, Savages. The cartel thriller has a phenomenal cast (including John Travolta, Salma Hayek, Benicio Del Toro, Taylor Kitsch, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Blake Lively) and opens in Ireland on 21st September 2012. It’s the story of two guys growing dope in Southern California who find their existence threatened when a Mexican cartel decides that a merger would beneficial.

To find out more about the movie, check out their facebook page here.

We have some prize packs to give away, each one including:

  • Sunglasses
  • Windbreaker
  • Bandana

If you’d like a chance to win these goodies, simply answer the question below.

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Playhouse Presents: Nixon’s The One (Review)

I can’t help but feel just a little bit disappointed by Nixon’s the One. Sky Arts have been producing a series of television plays as part of Playhouse Presents bringing together a wealth of talent including Emma Thompson, Richard E. Grant, Tom Jones, David Tennant, John Hurt, Stellan Skarsgård, Stephen Fry and Olivia Williams among others. Nixon’s the One, the third in the series of ten plays, caught my eye because it was a re-enactment of various exerts from Nixon’s infamous White House tapes, brought to life by a talented cast. While the approach is fascinating and Harry Shearer makes a convincing Nixon beneath far too much make-up, the play is simply too short to capture any real portrait of America’s most controversial President. It drops some interesting insights, but doesn’t have enough room to expand or develop them beyond what we already knew of Nixon.

Just dossier-ing around…

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Non-Review Review: The Iron Lady

Margaret Thatcher is a complex character. She’s certainly a divisive political figure, but I think that her detractors and her supporters would both admit that the woman isn’t a two-dimensional pop psychology case. The biggest problem with The Iron Ladyis the way that it attempts to offer a simplistic analysis of Thatcher, presenting her as a failure of a wife and a mother who compensated by running her cabinet and her country like a stern matriarch. While Streep gives a solid performance, and director Phyllida Lloyd tries her best to make the movie visually engaging, it feels a bit cheap and shallow. It doesn’t help that the movie trots out the familiar Oscar-baiting bio-pic clichés as if it were assembling an IKEA cabinet. Whatever you may think of Thatcher, she deserved more nuance and complexity than The Iron Lady affords her.

The Broad(bent) strokes...

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Non-Review Review: Platoon

I think now, looking back, we did not fight the enemy; we fought ourselves. The enemy was in us. The war is over for me now, but it will always be there, the rest of my days. As I’m sure Elias will be, fighting with Barnes for what Rhah called “possession of my soul.” There are times since, I’ve felt like a child, born of those two fathers.

Oliver Stone Charlie Taylor meditates on Vietnam

I honestly think that Platoon might be my favourite war film ever made. It’s almost certainly my favourite Vietnam film ever made, despite my considerable respect for Apocalypse Now. However, though Stone’s classic is steeped in allegory and metaphor (see the above quote), I think that it works better as a personal account of the conflict, rather than Coppola’s attempt to capture the surreal nature of the war on celluloid. Stone actually served a tour over there, and I think that there’s a lot of his own personal perspective poured into the film, which makes it feel like quite a raw and powerful piece of cinema.

War is dirty business...

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Right Here, Right Now: Thoughts on Kathryn Bigalow’s Osama Bin Ladin Project…

It’s interesting that the piece of news which grabbed me most coming out of the whole news cycle around the assassination of Osama Bin Ladin by US troops in Pakistan wasn’t any of the discussion over the legality of the act, nor the debate over whether assassination is now an acceptable tool of foreign policy. It was the near-instantaneous announcement that Kathryn Bigalow would be working on a feature film adaptation of the killing, an adaptation that reportedly has a mostly finished script and a lead actor already. Perhaps it’s a stunning illustration of just how quick the news and media cycle is, but I wonder how quick we feel the need to turn history into cinema.

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