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New Escapist Column! On How “The Black Queen” Captures the Inevitability of Political Violence…

I am doing weekly reviews of House of the Dragon at The Escapist. They’ll be dropping every Sunday evening while the show is on, looking at the Game of Thrones prequel as it progresses from one episode to the next. This week marked the season finale.

One of the interesting tensions of the first season of House of the Dragon is the way that the show has somewhat weighted the audience’s sympathy. The show is undeniably in favour of Queen Rhaenyra’s ascent to the throne. However, what is interesting about The Black Queen is the way in which the episode is built around the idea that the individual intent of any one individual, no matter how decent or how powerful, is not enough to stop the mechanisms of state violence. Rhaenyra may not want a war, but what Rhaenyra wants may not matter.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

Non-Review Review: Bohemian Rhapsody

Bohemian Rhapsody is more invested in being a fairly standard music biopic than with being a slightly more specific Queen biopic.

There’s a weird sense of familiarity that runs through Bohemian Rhapsody, which has nothing at all to do with its central characters and everything to do with the kind of story that it is telling. If anything, Bohemian Rhapsody will appear completely foreign and alien to dedicated fans of Queen, or anybody with even a passing knowledge of the bad’s history and discography. Instead, it will feel most comforting and familiar to the aficionados of the old tried-and-true biographical feature film formula memorably lampooned by Walk Hard.

Spotlighting its subject.

Bohemian Rhapsody repeatedly brushes up against conflicts between history as it occurred and the rhythms of that standard narrative template. In every single case, Bohemian Rhapsody chooses to side with the narrative template rather than the historical record. It is debatable whether there is anything inherently wrong with this, to be fair. This sort of film-making is an act of adaptation. It is often necessary to conflate, distort of fabricate events in order to convey an essential truth about some real-life person or character, because real life is not a narrative, despite best efforts to impose one upon it.

However, it is one thing to manipulate or distort the finer details of a narrative to hint at a deeper truth. It is another thing entirely to warp reality to fit an assembly blueprint that reveals next to nothing about any of its subjects.

A pale reflection of the man himself.

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Non-Review Review: Snow White and the Huntsman

Snow White and the Huntsman can’t help but feel like it misses the mark. Its intentions are clear, its objectives very firmly set. It’s an attempt to “reclaim” the age old fairytale for a more modern audience, to revisit all the tropes and the plot devices from the story we all know and rework them so that they speak to today. The result is a massive misfire, as the attempt to craft a feminist fable from the story of Snow White makes the same fatal misstep as Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland: just because you put a sword in the hand of your leading female, and just because she wears a suit of armour, does not immediately reinvent her as a feminist icon.

Not quite queen of our hearts…

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Two New Snow White & The Huntsman Clips…

Hi. The guys at Universal just sent over these clips from Snow White and the Huntsman, which is opening here and in the States on the 1st June. They’re two behind-the-scenes videos and worth a look. Meanwhile, the nice folks as Universal Pictures Ireland have also given us two goodie bags to give away – enter the competition here.

Cheers, hope you enjoy.

Non-Review Review: Mirror, Mirror

With Mirror, Mirror, director Tarsem Singh’s record remains unbroken. He’s still a director with a unique and appealing visual style that is struggling to find a proper output. Here, Singh’s stylish direction struggles against a somewhat tired premise and lazy script, managing to create a feast for the eyes that feels strangely lacking in substance. It’s a bit disappointing, if only because there are some interesting and fascinating ingredients, but they’re overwhelmed by tired cliché, a weak central performance, and a script that feels like it was filmed on the first draft.

Belle Swan...

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Snow White & The Huntsman Trailer

Hi there. Just a quick one. The guys at Universal sent over the new Snow White & The Huntsman trailer earlier, and I’ve included it below. It’s certainly a bit darker and grittier than the other Snow White reimagining being released this year, Mirror Mirror. I’m actually looking forward a bit to both films, if only because they have two very distinct visual identities, and I am interested in fairytale reimaginings and deconstructions. I have to admit to quite liking the imagery with Charlize Theron in the bath of milk. While some might argue two Snow White films within the space of a month is over-saturating the market, I suspect make an interesting comparison. What do you guys think? The trailer’s below.

Non-Review Review: The Special Relationship

The third part of Peter Morgan and Michael Sheen’s superb “Tony Blair trilogy” seems perfectly timed. In fact, being honest, I’m surprised that HBO couldn’t muster up enough enthusiasm for a small-scale cinematic release, what with Blair’s political memoir A Journey doing the rounds at the moment (I’m working my way through it and it’s probably the best political memoir I’ve read since Churchill). Blair is easily one of the most fascinating political leaders of the last few decades, and Morgan does well to juxtapose him against perhaps his greatest political influence: Bill Clinton. Still, all that being said, and with this reportedly the final part of the trilogy, it might have been best to focuse on his relationship with the leader who most strongly defined his legacy. However, Morgan has admitted time and time again that he simply didn’t want to write Bush. While I’m happy with what we got, it doesn’t exactly feel like a fitting coda.

Bro's before interns accusing you of gross impropriety...

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