Advertisements
    Advertisements
  • Following Us

  • Categories

  • Check out the Archives









  • Awards & Nominations

  • Advertisements

Non-Review Review: About Time

About Time is pretty much vintage Richard Curtis. I don’t mean that in a bad way – certainly not in an entirely bad way. Curtis knows how to structure a romance, has a gift for distinguishing characters in a large ensemble, and has the capacity to employ sentimentality to calculated and devastating effect. About Time has moments of brilliance and emotional punch, framing the main character’s inexplicable ability to time travel in delightful metaphorical terms.

At the same time, Curtis has his weaknesses. Most notably, there’s the sense that his lead characters are all variations on the same character – with more cynical pundits suggesting the base model might be Curtis himself. Similarly, his ensembles are constructed efficiently as a collection of quirky characters who do quirky things quirkily, living out the most quaintly British of lives involving afternoon tea and indulging in the most stereotypical of exclamations (“just a tick…”, “oh gosh…”, etc). There’s a sense that Curtis’ world exists inside old-fashioned post cards more than in anything approaching the real world.

More than that, though, Curtis labours his point just a little bit too much, as if worried the audience might miss the whole “we’re all travelling in time” metaphor and the “secret to being happy” philosophy if it isn’t explicitly articulated in a voice-over monologue set to an upbeat pop song.

Time enough at last...

Time enough at last…

Continue reading

Advertisements

Doctor Who: Vincent and the Doctor (Review)

To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the longest-running science-fiction show in the world, I’ll be taking weekly looks at some of my own personal favourite stories and arcs, from the old and new series, with a view to encapsulating the sublime, the clever and the fiendishly odd of the BBC’s Doctor Who.

Vincent and the Doctor originally aired in 2010.

But you’re not armed.

I am.

What with?

Overconfidence, this, and a small screwdriver. I’m absolutely sorted.

– Vincent and the Doctor

One of the strengths of the revived series has been a willingness to engage with a variety of writers. While Andrew Cartmel may have tried in vain to convince Alan Moore to write for the final years of the classic show, Russell T. Davies and Steven Moffat have managed to draw a wealth of diverse talent to write for the revived series. Sometimes this didn’t always work out (Life on Mars creator Matthew Graham wrote Fear Her), but it did mean that the series could boasts scripts from figures as diverse as Neil Gaiman and Richard Curtis.

There’s something to be said for the diversity the format of the show allows. Vincent and the Doctor is really unlike any other story the show has ever tried to tell, but it still manages to feel like Doctor Who. Which is something pretty spectacular, and worth celebrating. Doctor Who works best as a vehicle for any and all kinds of stories, where the audience isn’t always exactly sure what it is going to get.

An artist's eyes...

An artist’s eyes…

Continue reading

Non-Review Review: The Boat That Rocked

This is a movie that ends with a rendition of the classic Bowie pop number Let’s Dance, because it couldn’t fit it anywhere in its linear narrative amid all the time-specific pop and rock tunes. The movie has quite a bit in common with that most financially successful of songs from the Thin White Duke. It’s light, it’s breezy and it’s catchy, with just a hint of some extra darkness that is rarely found among its light and fluff compatriots. It’s also the work of an intensely talented artist (and, indeed, artists) who probably should be doing more innovative and important work, but we almost can’t blame them because it’s so much fun. Almost.

Quite a board walk...

Quite a board walk...

Continue reading