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183. Koe no katachi (A Silent Voice) – This Just In/Ani-May 2020 (—)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney and with special guest Graham Day, 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 year, we are proud to continue the tradition of Anime May, a fortnight looking at two of the animated Japanese films on the list. This year, we watched a double feature of Hayao Miyazaki’s Tenkû no shiro Rapyuta and Hauru no ugoku shiro. We’ll also be covering a bonus on a recent entry on the list next week, Naoko Yamada’s Koe no katachi.

This week, the third and final installment of this year’s Ani-May, Koe no katachi.

Teenager Shoya Ishida finds himself haunted by guilt over his merciless bullying of his deaf classmate Shoko Nishimiya six years earlier. Coming back from a suicide attempt, Shoyo makes an awkward attempt to reconnect and reconcile with Shoko, but are either of them prepared for the strong emotions that this reunion will provoke and the consequences that it will have for their friends and their families?

At time of recording, it was not ranked on the list of the best movies of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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New Podcast! The Time is Now – Season 2, Episode 15 (“Roosters”)

I have had the immense good fortune to appear on The Time is Now quite a lot lately, but was particularly flattered to be invited on to talk about Owls and Roosters, the big “mythology” two-parter in the late second season of Millennium. It’s an honour to join Kurt North for the second part of this conversation.

Owls and Roosters are two of my favourite episodes of television, because they demonstrate everything that Millennium did so well. They’re incredibly densely packed with information, in a way that really captures the sense of modern living – a constant influx of often contradictory stimulae that the individual often struggles to parse or process. In many ways, the second season of Millennium has aged remarkably well, capturing a sense of information overload in a manner that resonates even more strongly today than it did on broadcast.

As ever, you can listen directly to the episode here, subscribe to the podcast here, or click the link below.

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180. Sorcerer – World Tour 2020, w/ The New Wave (#—)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, and this week with special guest Tony Black, 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.

This time, a special treat. William Friedkin’s Sorcerer. And we’re crossing over with The New Wave, as a bit of a teaser for their launch.

Four men drift idly around a deadend town in the heart of South America, when an unlikely opportunity strikes. A terrorist has caused a fire at an American oil well, and the company is offering a lavish payday to anybody who can help. The only catch is that to earn that money, these four men will have to drive extremely volatile nitroglycerine across some of the most treacherous terrain imaginable. Those who survive will have enough to escape the hell in which they’ve found themselves, and those who don’t won’t care.

At time of recording, it was not ranked on the list of the best movies of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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New Podcast! The Time is Now – Season 2, Episode 13 (“The Mikado”)

I was delighted to get invited back on The Time is Now to discuss The Mikado with the inimitable Tony Black.

The Mikado is an interesting episode of the second season of Millennium. In some ways, it represents a conscious throwback to the “serial killer of the week” format that defined so much of the first season. In some ways, it’s the ultimate example of the “serial killer of the week” format, pitting Frank Black against a stand-in for the Zodiac. However, in other ways it feels very much in step with the second season as a whole. It’s a story about information and rebirth, two core themes of the season as a whole. Either way, it’s a highlight in a season full of highlights.

As ever, you can listen directly to the episode here, subscribe to the podcast here, or click the link below.

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New Podcast! The Time is Now – Season 2, Episode 12 (“Luminary”)

The Time is Now is officially back from its Christmas hiatus, and I was thrilled to join writer Joe Maddrey for a discussion of a highlight from the second season of Millennium, Luminary.

Of course, Luminary was loosely inspired by the real-life story of Christopher McCandless. The teenager famously journeyed into the Alaskan frontier in the hopes of finding a spiritual truth, only to die alone in the remains of an old bus. McCandless was something of a folk icon of the late nineties, most notably inspiring projects like Into the Wild. On the surface, this might appear like a strange fit for Millennium, but that story resonates with the themes of millennial malaise that run through the series. The result is one of the best episodes within a phenomenal season of television.

As ever, you can listen directly to the episode here, subscribe to the podcast here, or click the link below.

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New Podcast! Make It So – Re:Discovery, Season 1, Episodes 1 & 2 (“The Vulcan Hello” & “Battle at the Binary Stars”)

The first season of Star Trek: Picard has wrapped, and so Make It So: A Star Trek Universe Podcast has turned its gaze backwards, looking at the start of the Kurtzman and Goldman era of Star Trek. I was flattered to be invited to join the wonderful Kurt North to discuss The Vulcan Hello and Battle at the Binary Stars, the two-part premiere of Star Trek: Discovery.

I’m generally quite fond of the first season of Discovery, although I think it comes a little off the rails towards the end of the season. However, I unequivocally think that The Vulcan Hello and Battle at the Binary Stars comprise the best first episode of any Star Trek series. They are a bold statement of purpose, largely serving as a eulogy for the Berman era of the franchise, typified by Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Enterprise. Instead, these two episodes offer an immediate and distinct vision of what modern Star Trek might look like. There’s an incredible and infectious confidence at play, including a conscious effort to update the trappings and sensibilities of the franchise for a new era of television.

Anyway, it was a huge honour to be invited on, and I hope you enjoy. You can listen to the episode here, or click the link below.

“You Understand Me Now, Don’t You?” Guy Ritchie’s “Snatch” and the Chaos of Miscommunication…

This Saturday, I’ll be discussing Snatch on The 250, the weekly podcast that I co-host discussing the IMDb’s Top 250 Movies of All-Time. However, I had some thoughts on the film that I wanted to jot down first.

“Have I made myself clear, boys?”

“Yeah, that’s perfectly clear, Mickey. Yeah… just give me one minute to confer with my colleague.

“… did you understand a single word of what he just said?”

Guy Ritchie is an interesting director, in large part because there seems to be very little that actively defines “a Guy Ritchie film” outside of a few stylistic quirks.

Films like Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch, Revolver, RocknRolla and The Gentlemen suggest a director fascinated with “hard men”, and some of this sensibility undoubtedly carries over into his blockbuster filmography, most obviously in the rambunctious stylings of Sherlock Holmes and most painfully in the attempts at grit in King Arthur. However, Ritchie has also spent a lot of time working as a director-for-hire on mainstream blockbusters worlds apart from that hypermasculinity, such as Swept Away, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. or Aladdin.

More than that, Ritchie’s work is more often recognised for its visual flourish rather than its thematic coherance, the director adopting a high-energy approach to camera movements and editing. Ritchie’s emerged from British independent cinema in the late nineties, and his work shares more than a few passing similarities to the work of young and hungry filmmakers working on the contemporary American scene. It is perhaps too much to describe Ritchie as “the British answer to Quentin Tarantino”, but it’s not entirely unfair either.

This is what makes Snatch such an interesting film. It is Ritchie’s second film, one that notably added some transatlantic flavour to the sensibilities of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Indeed, it’s tempting to write Snatch as an inferior copy of that earlier film, as a reiteration of that striking cinematic debut with extra Brad Pitt thrown in for marketability. After all, this was a particularly common line of criticism when the film was released. While there’s certainly some substance to this accusation, it overlooks the way in which Snatch makes its arguments much more clearly.

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177. Portrait de la jeune fille en feu (Portrait of a Lady On Fire) – This Just In/World Tour 2020 (#226)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, and this week with special guests Aoife Barry, Rioghnach Ní Ghrioghair and Charlene Lydon, 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.

This time, Céline Sciamma’s Portrait de la jeune fille en feu.

Marianne is a portrait artist who is summoned to a remote island and assigned a strange task. The Contessa would task Marianne with preparing a portrait of her daughter Héloïse, which might be sent to a waiting suitor in Milan. There is just one complication; Héloïse has refused to sit for any portrait painter, and so Marianne must paint the young woman without her knowledge. However, as Marianne studies her subject more intensely, she finds herself more and more drawn to this isolated and lonely soul.

At time of recording, it was ranked 226th on the list of the best movies of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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176. Mou Gaan Dou (Infernal Affairs) – World Tour 2020 (#—)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, 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.

This time, Alan Mak and Andrew Lou’s Mou Gaan Dou.

Trouble is brewing in Hong Kong. Crime boss Hon Sam has managed to evade the clutches of Superintendent Wong Chi-shing once too often. There can only be one explanation: Sam has a mole buried within the police department. However, as the police close in around him, Sam becomes convinced that Wong has is own embedded operative. What follows is a tense game of cat-and-mouse as the lines between cop and criminal – and self and other – blur

At time of recording, it was not ranked on the list of the best movies of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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New Podcast! The X-Cast – Season 5, Episode 20 (“The End”)

It’s season finale time on The X-Cast, so it was a privilege to be invited back on to talk about the fifth season finale The End. And it was a delight to join Tony Black for that discussion.

The end of the fifth season was the end of an era for The X-Files. The series would light up the multiplex over the summer with The X-Files: Fight the Future, and would return to the airwaves later that year as a changed show, with the production team having moved from Vancouver to Los Angeles. It was a transition that fundamentally altered the core dynamics of the show, and remains highly contested to this day. The End would be the last episode of The X-Files to be produced in Vancouver until My Struggle I, and a large part of the episode is about bidding a fond farewell to the show’s extended family in that area.

Appropriately enough, it seems like this episode marks a similar turning point for The X-Cast. I was caught completely off-guard by it, so I’ll let you listen and year for yourself. You can listen to the episode here, or click the link below.

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