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Living Long Enough to Become the
Cyberking Living Long Enough to Become the Cyberking

Ten years ago this Christmas, the Tenth Doctor Doctor Who Christmas special was “The Next Doctor”, a title that was slightly a tease for audiences expecting David Tennant’s imminent departure from the role. Instead, David Morrissey guest starred as a man who thinks he’s the Doctor in 1851 London, a belief shared by…

The Wonderful Spirit of Time Travel The Wonderful Spirit of Time Travel

In 1918 a man shows up at the dilapidated London flat of a poor single mother and offers her a job as caretaker of a haunted manor. He doesn’t tell her it’s haunted, he entrusts this knowledge only to her two elder children. He’s a lawyer and a ghost himself; he’s The Amazing Mr. Blunden, which also happens to be the…

Compulsive Correction Compulsive Correction

Many have drawn comparisons between some of the most extreme political rhetoric of to-day with Puritanism but 2018's First Reformed makes the connexion with extraordinary eloquence and consideration. Written and directed by Paul Schrader, it’s a bit like a cross between Taxi Driver (which had a screenplay by Schrader)…

Aliens Hate Sleep Aliens Hate Sleep

Having experienced some sleep deprivation lately, I watched one of the episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation where the crew have trouble sleeping, the sixth season episode “Schisms”. Not a great episode or a bad episode, it’s kind of the epitome of average, but if you like TNG, it’s a pleasant enough time on the …

The End of Débuts The End of Débuts

In 1958, Queen Elizabeth II decided to discontinue the long tradition of débutante balls presided over by English royalty. That same year, a Vincent Minnelli movie called The Reluctant Débutante was released, in which Sandra Dee became one of the last young women to “come out” in the ceremony. The film isn’t wistful…

From the Street Sweeper to Kingpin From the Street Sweeper to Kingpin

God minds the stable and Satan offers the only chance for a better life in the 1967 Spaghetti Western Day of Anger. Featuring some of the best music of the genre with a score by Riz Ortolani (borrowed by Tarantino for Django Unchained), the film features some provoking and unusual moral contemplations, a surprising…

With Maisel Frosting With Maisel Frosting

I’m three episodes in on the new season of The Marvellous Mrs. Maisel. Every episode is like a slice of cake. The pitch perfect snappy dialogue from Amy Sherman Palladino and the wardrobe are so sweet, both coming through as a loving rendition of mid-century films I really dig. The wardrobe was never this perfect in…

The Doctor versus Tooth Face, Round Two The Doctor versus Tooth Face, Round Two

To-day’s new Doctor Who was the season finale, delivering a plot with markedly less emotion than any in the Russell T. Davies or Steven Moffat eras. Generally I wished finales from the revived series wouldn’t try to hit such high notes but this first finale by showrunner Chris Chibnall has shown me the folly of…

Low Fat Star Wars Low Fat Star Wars

There’s a new way to digest Star Wars now with Galaxy of Adventures. A series of shorts released by Disney on YouTube, they use audio of the actors from the films to recreate or create scenes in a vaguely anime style but with cheaper 2D cgi. I watched them this morning—it didn’t take long, they’re all under two…

Jekyll's New Sedative Jekyll's New Sedative

So you’d like to see a Jekyll and Hyde movie but you wish it didn’t have to be so darned exciting. Maybe you’ve wondered, what’s with all the running around and shouting? Bah! Well, 2017's Madame Hyde just might be the Jekyll and Hyde for you. A French film, it was released this year in English speaking countries as …

Beaming Around and Around Beaming Around and Around

As usual, Montgomery Scott set a good example when he wore his pants close to the natural waist in “Relics”, the sixth season episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. If you have a gut of any considerable size, you shouldn’t allow the waistline of your pants to cradle it. I’ve been seeing this around town. It’s not…

A King and a Beggar A King and a Beggar

An adventure film starring Errol Flynn, Claude Rains, and Alan Hale with a score by Erich Wolfgang Korngold can’t fail to be good. But 1937's The Prince and the Pauper isn’t as good as it could’ve been, and many of the choices made to adapt Mark Twain’s novel are hard to understand. Two of the most emotionally…

Evidence of Having Seen Movies Evidence of Having Seen Movies

In 1981 Brian De Palma released his cocktail of Hitchcock and Antonioni to unenthusiastic audiences, a movie called Blow Out. Taking the basic premise from Antonioni’s Blowup and throwing in quite a few Hitchcock references, particularly to Vertigo, De Palma never reaches the heights of his influences, in craft or…

The Perils of Fancy Footwork The Perils of Fancy Footwork

Sometimes, no matter how much you dance, people still think you’re a pirate. Even the title of 1936's Dancing Pirate implies he’s a pirate. But Jonathan, the film’s protagonist, is really a dancing instructor who was pressed against his will into service on a pirate ship, but no-one in the little Spanish Californian…

Nice Place for a Mirror Universe Nice Place for a Mirror Universe

Wow. Okay, to-day’s new Doctor Who, you’ve succeeded in making me want to visit Norway. Just look at that. Though I was disappointed when they missed a very obvious joke when the Doctor said, “Three locks on a deserted house in the middle of nowhere.” Someone, maybe Michael Palin or Terry Jones, should’ve said, “No,…

The Running, Problem Solving Dead The Running, Problem Solving Dead

Zombies are bad but at least they’re slow and they can’t operate machinery. Unless you’re talking about 1980's Nightmare City (Incubo sulla città contaminata). These walking dead are different from the living only in that they don’t speak, many are covered with grotesque sores, and they have a violent, insatiable…

When the Books Read You and the Doors
Unlock the Keys When the Books Read You and the Doors Unlock the Keys

I read the new Sirenia Digest to-day, which featured the above very appropriate image from Frederic Leighton and a Caitlin R. Kiernan story from 2009. Not new but I hadn’t read it; “The Key to the Castleblakeney Key”. A very good story; in addition to the usual influence of H.P. Lovecraft I also felt there was…

Secretary with Benefits Secretary with Benefits

Expend some sympathy, if you will, for the poor man who’s spent his life devoted to making love to beautiful women who then finds Brigitte Bardot is contractually obligated to have sex with him in between taking dictation for his new novel. Such is the sad fate of a man named Jerome in 1969's Les Femmes, a…

Letters for Krabappel Letters for Krabappel

I wouldn’t describe Bart Simpson’s behaviour as generally virtuous. This might seem like an obvious statement but I’ve been watching third season episodes of The Simpsons lately and marvelling at how different it is from animated comedy to-day, even other shows from Matt Groening. There’s plenty of examples of kids…

The Inevitable Formal Dance The Inevitable Formal Dance

Can you escape the pain of existence by avoiding interpretations of it? Two people make the attempt in 1972's Last Tango in Paris (Ultimo tango a Parigi), a beautiful film by Bernardo Bertolucci, who passed away yesterday.

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