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The X-Files – War of the Coprophages (Review)

This November (and a little of December), we’re taking a trip back in time to review the third season of The X-Files and the first (and only) season of Space: Above and Beyond.

It is very odd to describe any Darin Morgan episode as “underrated.” And yet, despite that, War of the Coprophages feels like the underrated Darin Morgan teleplay.

Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose had appeared towards the start of the season, featuring a powerhouse guest performance from Peter Boyle. Both Boyle and Morgan would win Emmys for their work on that episode, and Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose is perhaps Morgan’s most conventional script for The X-Files or Millennium. In contrast, Jose Chung’s “From Outer Space” is perhaps the most adventurous and gonzo episode of The X-Files ever produced, coming at the end of the season and relentlessly (but affectionately) mocking the show’s core iconic mythology.

Down the drain...

Down the drain…

In contrast, War of the Coprophages sits in the middle, literally and figuratively. It is positioned almost precisely in the middle of the third season, with Morgan writing the screenplay in an exceptionally short period of time. It isn’t a truly exceptional example of a monster-of-the-week episode in the way that Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose was, but it also isn’t as off-the-walls and bizarre as Jose Chung’s “From Outer Space.” It doesn’t feel like it has as much to say about death as Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose, nor as much about life as Jose Chung’s “From Outer Space.”

And yet, in its own way, War of the Coprophages as an incisive and well-constructed commentary on The X-Files as a television show while allowing Morgan to tackle his recurring themes about society and humanity, and whether the world is what we would like to think that it is.

Bug hunt...

Bug hunt…

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Non-Review Review: Signs

You know what? Even though history and experience has retroactively soured the movie, with M. Night Shyamalan’s career entering freefall and Mel Gibson’s personal problems clouding his career, I kinda like Signs. In fact, I’d go so far as to argue that the movie represents Shymalan’s last good film. That said, it’s a well-constructed and engaging little thriller that is, unfortunately, hugely flawed. Some of these flaws are so fundamental that they’re hard to ignore, but I think that this movie was the last time that Shyamalan demonstrated a real organic talent and skill for film making.

Shine a light on it...

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Non-Review Review: Battle – Los Angeles

Battle: Los Angeles is a movie we’ve all seen countless times, only with a different name. It’s perhaps the most generic and cliché-filled alien invasion movie that I have ever seen, and I think I’ve seen a lot of them. Part of the problem with the film is that it does a lot functionally, but does nothing especially well – but it’s also that it’s so mundanely bogged down in formula that it’s hard to ever engage with what’s going on.

Facing a completely alien foe...

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Non-Review Review: The War of the Worlds

Stephen Spielberg helmed something of a loose science-fiction trilogy in the early years of this century. A.I. and Minority Report are still relatively contentious (perhaps the former more than the latter) when it comes to discussing the place of his modern output in the context of his wider filmography. However, it’s the third film of the three which I’ve always been most fascinated with, despite the fact it has been mostly forgotten on his somewhat impressive list of accomplishments. Never afraid to stick up for a film that most people seem to have just shrugged their shoulders about, I’m going to stand up for the not-quite-so-little-but-not-so-big-you’d-notice-him guy. I think that War of the Worlds is the best film Spielberg has directed in the last decade.

This invasion hasn't got three legs to stand on...

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The Absolute League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol. II (Review)

I don’t think it’s really fair to split up The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen into two separate volumes. I’d argue that they are instead two halves of the same tale. It’s to the credit of this second storyline that it doesn’t feel like a sequel to the original – it feels like the second half of a circle, closing it out.

Out of this world!

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