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Doctor Who: Resolution (Review)

Despite being positioned as a New Year’s Special and being the only episode of Doctor Who broadcast in 2019, Resolution functions as a season finale to the eleventh season.

This is both a good thing and a bad thing. In terms of working relatively well, Resolution helps to compensate for the damp squib that was The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos. It provides a sense of spectacle and threat that was sorely lacking from the last episode of the broadcast season. It also wraps up a number of thematic threads from the season and even provides a much more effective bookend to The Woman Who Fell to Earth than simply bringing back an underwhelming antagonist.

Calling the Dalek out.

However, there are also problems. Most obviously, the fact that Resolution functions as a slightly-delayed series finale makes The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos seem even more pointless. There was no need for The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos to serve as such a half-assed bookend to The Woman Who Fell to Earth, given Resolution would do a much better job. The storytelling real estate in The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos could easily have been given over to literally anything but the episode that was broadcast. That’s deeply frustrating.

There is another issue as well. Writing a New Year’s Special that also serves as a season finale is a risky move. The End of Time, Part II attempted this, and struggled to find the right balance, mostly be eschewing the holiday elements in favour of providing closure with the larger Davies Era as a whole. Resolution tries to strike a more effective balance between being an epic season finale and an episode that can be watched by the whole family after gorging on a massive dinner. This creates an internal tension that Resolution never quite resolves.

Digging deep.

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Non-Review Review: Gravity

Gravity is a phenomenal piece of filmmaking, and one of the highlights of the year. It’s a bold and visually stunning survival movie, built around the most simple of premises with incredible craftsmanship. It’s a lean and well-constructed thriller that manages to effortlessly capture the impossible isolation experienced by those flying in the void. Never over-wrought or over-strained, Gravity is an absolutely beautiful accomplishment for all involved.

Floating in a most peculiar way...

Floating in a most peculiar way…

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Non-Review Review: The Summit

This film was seen as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2013.

The Summit is a powerful exploration of the infamous loss of eleven lives within 24 hours on K2. This is the largest disaster in the history of K2 mountaineering, and – as The Summit concedes – that we won’t necessarily ever know the full details behind this tragic loss of life. However, while the incident serves as a bit of a flashpoint, one big event that it is impossible to overlook, The Summit drops an absolutely fascinating piece of information early one, and one which contextualises that horrible accident.

Apparently one in every four people to make it to the summit of K2 doesn’t make it back down.

thesummit4

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Non-Review Review: Patriot Games

Truth be told, I think Patriot Games stands as one of the best American spy movies produced in the last thirty or so years. It helps that it has, for my money, one of the great leading actors in Harrison Ford, but I also think it works because it tries to explore something of how the American espionage services work, while functioning as a thriller in its own right. It’s easy to reduce the American intelligence agencies to mere window-dressing in a conventional action movie, or to heavily politicise the organisations as part of a political drama, but I think Patriot Games works best because it’s a spy movie that actually feels like it’s a thriller about the intelligence gathering community.

Family man or Company man?

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