TV: Doctor Who – Series One

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Written by Russell T Davies, Mark Gatiss, Robert Sherman, Paul Cornell and Steven Moffat, starring Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper

Something about a box that’s bigger on the inside. Weird kind-of pepper-pot monsters that can’t go up stairs. A man who can change his face. Doctor Who was, to all intents and purposes, dead, and it lived on only through select ideas that had permeated themselves into British pop culture. Quite what possessed the BBC to bring it back, we’ll never know, but I think all parties are glad they did, especially considering that doddery old ’60s show now makes up 10% of the BBC’s worldwide profits. Continue reading

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Film: Source Code

2011, Directed by Duncan Jones, written by Ben Ripley, starring Jake Gyllenhaal

If you know nothing about Source Code, you shall enjoy it all the more. As such, this may be the blandest, least explanative review anybody shall ever read of any film. While it’s perfectly possible to have a great time watching it having read the blurb on the back of the DVD box, for the best experience, know nothing, and keep it that way until the film begins to twist and starts to turn. Know nothing until you know it all. Continue reading

TV: Doctor Who – Series Seven, Part One

The cast/crew bit: written by Steven Moffat, Chris Chibnal & Toby Whithouse, starring Matt Smith, Karen Gillan & Arthur Darvill

The ten-word synopsis: The Doctors’ final few adventures with the moving-on Ponds.

Amy Pond is the longest-serving Doctor Who companion ever. Her 33 stories trumps the 22 of both Jamie McCrimmon and Rose Tyler, with her husband, Rory Williams, actually being her next-closest competition on 27. As such, it was always going to take a brave man to write them out, and a great man to do them justice. Thankfully, Steven Moffat is that man, and delivers a satisfying 5-episode ‘Goodbye’ to the Ponds with some aplomb. Continue reading

Film: Looper

The cast/crew bit: written/directed by Rian Johnson, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis & Emily Blunt

The ten-word synopsis: 2044: a futuristic assassin has to assassinate his future self.

We are living in a post-Inception world. Ever since Christopher Nolan not just got the backing to make possibly the most ambitious film of the last ten years, but also made it a success, studios have been clamouring to find ‘the next Inception’. Last year we saw the likes of The Adjustment Bureau and we’ve only just been hit by Total Recall, which was a pretty desperate attempt to cash in on the sudden interest in smart action movies. Neither of these matched either the box-office or critical success of the Nolan film, with the dream-bending masterwork looking further and further out of reach. Not so much anymore. Rian Johnsons’ Looper is the first of the new breed of smart sci-fi thrillers to not only match Inception blow-for-blow, but to also surpass it with a few sneaky hits of its own. Continue reading

TV: Doctor Who – Series Five

The cast/crew bit: written by Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss, Toby Whitehouse, Simon Nye, Chris Chibnall and Gareth Roberts, starring Matt Smith, Karen Gillain and Arthur Darvill

The ten-word synopsis: Matt Smith takes over from Tennant as the Time Lord.

In 2004, former Coronation Street writer Russell T Davies was gifted the chance to bring Britains’ best-loved science-fiction series back to life after a 14-year hiatus. By the end of 2005, Doctor Who was one of the most popular programs in the UK and had inspired a new generation of loyal followers to the way of the Sonic Screwdriver Continue reading

Film: The Watch

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The cast/crew bit: directed by Akiva Schaffer, starring Ben Stiller, Jonah Hill, Vince Vaughn and Richard Ayoade

The ten-word synopsis: Some A-listers & Moss off the IT Crowd fight aliens.

Simply sticking three of the biggest names in Hollywood comedy together should be a recipe for success. Ben Stiller has a huge pedigree of comedic talent, Jonah Hills’ got a knack for crude delivery and Vince Vaughn’s been in enough funny films to mask the fact that he’s actually just a bit annoying. So why oh why, should The Watch, which slings the three together against the backdrop of an alien invasion, need a relatively obscure, young British comedian to make the film watchable? Continue reading

Film: Donnie Darko

The cast/crew bit: Written & directed by Richard Kelly, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Drew Barrymore and Patrick Swayze

The 10-word synopsis: Troubled teenager finds himself haunted by an apocalypse-predicting bunny.

It may seem like an odd port of call for a comparison to Richard Kellys’ chilling horror/fantasy/sci-fi drama, but Donnie Darko feels like a cinematic version of the Mona Lisa. This is a film put together with such craftsmanship that you can’t help but admire each and every brushstroke or craftily-placed fat man. It’s unlikely that you’ll ever see another film with such a carefully built-up world as Donnie Darko. Designed and planned to within an inch of its life, this is a film that feels like somebodies lifes work, which, considering débutante director Kellys’ subsequent pictures, it seems to be. Continue reading