1-20 of 25 items from 2014 « Prev | Next »
Andrew argues that Doctor Who series 8 could do worse than look to Hinchcliffe/Holmes story The Ark in Space for inspiration...
4C or not 4C? (Yes, it's a cryptic start, but frankly we don't have enough production code puns on the website). Let us speculate, just for a change, about what series eight of Doctor Who holds in store.
Is Peter Capaldi's Twelth Doctor going to be a less risky version of the Sixth? Initially unlikeable, but with the audience warming to him as he progresses?
Is Clara going to become a more rounded character, with the writers raising their game to reflect the quality of Jenna Coleman's performance?
Will you read a comment along the lines of 'Actually there were twenty six seasons of Doctor Who already, so I don't see why you're referring to it as “series eight”'?
Maybe, maybe, and yes.
For those of »
From Lori Grimes to Wesley Crusher, Den Of Geek's writers defend some of TV fandoms’ least-loved fictional characters…
The force of geek love is strong. So strong, in fact, it’s basically a Newton’s Third Law of Motion kind of deal. Each instance of geek love leads to the simultaneous, opposite force of geek hatred. Wherever a TV character is adored, another will be despised. For every fan of Angel, there’s a critic of Riley Finn. For every Rick and Shane fan, there’s someone shouting “boo” at Lori Grimes. For every Captain Picard nut, there’s a person scribbling devil horns and moustaches on pictures of Wesley Crusher. Geeks love and geeks hate. It is known.
As a great mind once said though, “hate leads to suffering”. That’s why »
Andrew examines what it really means for Capaldi era Doctor Who to be described as going 'back to basics'...
“It seems to me the episodes that we're doing now seem more like classic Who. We're going back to that style.”
So says Ben Wheatley in an interview with io9. The Capaldi era is being styled as a 'Back to Basics' approach (those words being used by Capaldi to describe his costume), with the Radio Times reporting 'a clean slate' of storylines for series eight, and a Doctor who – in the words of Steven Moffat - “is not apologising, he's not flirting with you – that's over.”
Do you have salt ready? Take a pinch. What does 'Back to Basics' mean, anyway, for a show that's fifty years old and is built around regular upheaval? Is Capaldi going to kidnap some teachers in monochrome? Are there bases under siege? Shall we rip off Quatermass some more? »
Sandwiched between the final bouts of Alan Hansen punditry (why couldn’t it be Mark Lawrenson retiring?) the new Doctor Who trailer not only kept Alan Shearer off our screens for a minute, but it also had loads of sounds and images. All the better to send our brains into modes of frenzied speculation and anticipation: Capalday is coming.
The trailer suggests two things: monsters and moodiness. There are Silence-handed flame-wielding staring synth-skins, a robot in a castle (most likely from Mark Gatiss’ episode), a ginger-haired thing that spooks Clara, a woman (possibly Clara) falling through the series eleven title sequence, a horse, some explosions, some other explosions throwing new character Danny Pink off his feet, and yet more explosions wracking the Tardis.
So far, we’ve seen a »
A slow-burn indie horror that'll give you nightmares, Andrew checks out Honeymoon...
Honeymoon is a small-scale horror film, featuring only four speaking characters, that feels familiar in many ways but delivers an unnerving experience nonetheless. While the newly married couple, a cabin in the woods, and odd behaviour following some apparently innocuous incident aren't exactly novel in genre-films, the combination here is delivered efficiently enough to pack a punch.
Featuring Game of Thrones' Rose Leslie and Penny Dreadful's Harry Treadaway as a young American married couple, Honeymoon really takes its time to invest in their relationship. The first half an hour is dedicated to showing how in love they are, and while this may seem excessive there is merit to this approach. There's a lot of subtle storytelling going on, although initially the slow pace and non-horrific scenes of happy, young, highly sexed people being in love might »
The first thing to consider here is if you're a fan of Michel Gondry (the writer/director of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) or Noam Chomsky (linguist/activist/Gangnam Style parodist). If you don't like either of them, it's probably best to give Is The Man Who Is Tall Happy? a miss. If you like one but aren't aware of the other, then this is a good starting point for their work, giving you an idea of both men and their interests.
The film is simply this: Gondry, who we all hope will one day finish his adaptation of Philip K Dick's Ubik, holds several interviews with Chomsky, films parts of them, and provides animation for the rest. The animations are akin to a stream of consciousness, colourful and dreamlike protuberances and stretching body parts accompanying the recorded conversation. »
Andrew finds lots to like in this thoughtful movie about Dylan Thomas
Set Fire To The Stars, directed and co-written by Goddard with actor Celyn Jones, is visually impressive, but also immeasurably more lyrical and thoughtful than you might be expecting. This is less of a surprise considering its subject matter: the story of Dylan Thomas's first visit to New York (his death in the city was dramatised in the recent BBC drama A Poet in New York, with Ewen Bremner playing the same role Elijah Wood does in this film).
Here, Jones plays Dylan Thomas, visiting 50s New York (Swansea), Connecticut (Swansea) and Yale (also Swansea) at the request of Elijah Wood's lapsed poet, the academic John Malcolm Brinnin. Through a combination of monochrome, »
While Bridesmaids allowed Kristen Wiig to provide a platform for herself as a lead, it might come as a surprise to find that her co-star here – Bill Hader – has never played one himself. Like Wiig, you may recognise him from Saturday Night Live or from myriad supporting and scene stealing roles in other comedies.
The Skeleton Twins sees Wiig and Hader play twins – Maggie and Milo - whose lives have not worked out as they'd hoped. After seeing each other for the first time in ten years, they rekindle their bond and try to support each other as their lives continue to fall apart. Due to their years of working together, Wiig and Hader’s relationship as brother and sister is hugely plausible. Aided by their comic abilities - »
There is a certain timeslot from days gone by, in your local independent cinema, that Castles In The Sky utterly belongs to. The weekend afternoon matinee slot, designed specifically for families, that I remember from my time working in a cinema as the 'Tired Daddy Doesn't Want to Answer His Five Year Old's Innocent Yet Fiendish Questions' slot. Also it rained popcorn. Now this slot mostly consists of variable animated fare put on at 10.15 in the morning by chain cinemas who don't appreciate the sanctity of the lie-in. This is a shame, as Castles In The Sky evokes the nostalgia of films like Memphis Belle, despite being tonally more similar to movies such as the 2005 Lassie picture.
Anton Corbijn's third film, based on John le Carre's novel, sees the late Philip Seymour Hoffman as Gunther Bachmann; the leader of a Hamburg based anti-terrorist squad. After the 9/11 attacks were planned in the city, they have a remit to operate outside of German law so as to prevent a similar atrocity from occurring again. In the midst of an on-going investigation, a Chechnyan Jihadist, Issa Karpov, arrives to complicate matters.
While it would be inaccurate to call this a thrilling film (save for the tense finale sequence, which manages to hinge on something normally banal), it's an involving and fascinating look into counter-terrorism, very far removed from the glamorous trappings of a Bond film. It's thoroughly grounded in a dingy, everyday reality, with Hamburg's industrial heritage never far from the screen. »
Andrew counts down some of the best roles of Sean Bean's career, from the ones you'll know to the ones you probably won't...
Love him, fear him, smell him: the man breathes fire. And acting.
But what is Sean Bean? Well, adhering to a skeptical epistemology, we simply don't know, but for the purposes of this article he's the bloke who played Errol Partridge in Equilibrium, still to this day his defining role in Equilibrium.
While everyone at Den of Geek loves Equilibrium slightly more than they love each other, Sean Bean is only in it but for a moment. Unfortunately he mistakenly believes that holding up a book in front of his face will stop a bullet, when all he had to do to stop Christian Bale from shooting him was impersonate a puppy. Really, it's hard to argue that the film wouldn't be considerably »
A likeable cast and competent director can't quite make this story about sad people being sad any more entertaining...
Lynn Shelton's previous works – Humpday, My Sister's Sister - may have dallied in your local arthouse cinema, but her latest effort didn't make the same sort of dent as these when released in America last year. It has in its favour a respectable cast full of people you like watching (Ellen Page, Scoot McNairy, Allison Janney, the voice of Raphael in the 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Josh Pais), but despite the wealth of talent involved Touchy Feely fundamentally fails to engage.
My Sister's Sister's Rosemary DeWitt stars as Abby, a massage therapist who develops and aversion to human contact. What follows is ninety minutes of depressed and repressed people slowly failing to talk about what's bothering them. It's well acted – presumably when the performances are uniformly restrained this has been »
Want to find out more about the origins of the X-Men? This new documentary goes straight to the horse's mouth...
With X-Men: Days of Future Past imminent, this documentary is an interesting glimpse at the history of the comics the film series is based on, with one writer’s work looming large above all others.
Chris Claremont's X-Men is a simple talking heads compilation, put together simply and without any attempt at visual complexity. Nor does it need to do so. Among the most interesting aspects is the way it edits a discussion between Claremont, Louise Simonson (editor and writer on various X-Men related strips), and Ann Nocenti (editor of X-Men and related strips) with the reflections of then Marvel editor Jim Shooter. Hindsight has given them time to reflect, though Shooter's methods still seem to have left his contributors with a grudging respect at best.
Claremont and Simonson are also interviewed alone, »
A new documentary about the real life superheroines fighting for positive role models for girls. Here's our review...
Kristy Guevara-Flanagan's documentary jogs through a history of American comics, feminism, and culture, leavening its depressing content with a fundamentally optimistic tone.
While its 79 minute running time doesn't leave much scope for nuance, Wonder Women certainly provides enough material for the viewer to start pondering the issues it raises. It entertains along the way too, with an impressive array of talking heads ranging from Lynda Carter to Jane Espenson to young fans of the present day. It's also well made, with simple, effective editing, and the animation of static comic book pages giving it a nice visual aesthetic.
Moving in chronological order, taking in the advent of superhero comics, the Great Depression, the background to »
Feature Andrew Blair 30 Apr 2014 - 06:07
So the Jedi have returned again, as is their wont (they basically do it in every film), and this time they've brought some younglings with them. The cast of Star Wars: Episode VII - well, most of it - has been announced.
Accompanying Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and Kenny Baker will be John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson and Max von Sydow. Oh, and John Williams is doing the music again, because Star Wars wouldn't be Star Wars without John Williams.
The New Faces
Of the new names, we have Ming the Merciless himself - von Sydow - and Andy Serkis. They're experienced pros and bring with them reputations for, »
Odd List Andrew Blair 25 Apr 2014 - 06:29
They're despicable, smug and downright unpleasant. Andrew lines up his pick of 50 biggest unpleasant, sometimes heroic folk in cinema...
Nb: This article contains swearing and spoilers for numerous films. Bear in mind that it may be not safe for work, and if you haven't seen a film mentioned in a particular entry, do consider skipping to the next one.
Conflict drives drama. Unpleasant people create conflict. Thus, cinema is crammed with huge, provocative arseholes/assholes (we went with the latter on the headline, but now we're in the article, we're going more arse than ass). There are obviously too many to list, but we've provided you with a thought-provoking array of multi-faceted bell-endery. That said, feel free to copy and paste the phrase, "Nice list, but you forgot x" to save time when placing comments below! The 'nice' bit is not compulsory.
Review Andrew Blair 23 Apr 2014 - 06:31
Ousting the Peter Gabriel song from the top of search engine results, Bellwether Pictures second film (after 2012's Much Ado About Nothing) is notable for its release strategy (digital rental) and for being from a new script by Joss Whedon (with Brin Hill directing). Many will doubtless choose to rent it for this reason alone. For those who are on the fence, consider the following:
Say 'Paranormal Romance' and there's still a residual image of a greased-up buff guy standing next to a wolf on a book cover. Say 'Romantic Comedy' and there's still an image of two self-obsessed own-fart-sniffers trampling over other people's lives to get married. Whedon has concocted a paranormal romantic comedy, though the emphasis is on the romance.
Romantic comedies are, by their very nature, »
Review Andrew Blair 3 Apr 2014 - 13:44
Could A Handful of Stardust be the best of the Time Trips ebooks to date? Here's Andrew's review...
This review contains spoilers.
This is a romp, a colourful and deliberately Ye Olde Speaky one at that. You can practically hear The Devil's Gallop playing between chapters. It feels like the Sixth Doctor and Peri have found themselves in a Tenth Doctor pseudo-historical, smuggling in educational tidbits amongst the tales of doomed races, heretical astronomy and evil men with goatees.
As is traditional, the Master's plan could've worked perfectly if he hadn't got the Doctor involved. He could've just helped himself to the necessary equipment and sodded off without attracting any attention. Unusually, he »
Feature Andrew Blair 21 Feb 2014 - 06:16
Casting announcements for superhero movies always cause a lot of uproar, but maybe we should wait for the film itself...
The main cast of The Fantastic Four has been announced as Miles Teller (Reed Richards), Kate Mara (Sue Storm), Michael B. Jordan (Johnny Storm) and Jamie Bell (Ben Grimm). Initial reaction has not been favourable, however, initial reaction has arguably not been thoughtful either. The movie is already being assigned disaster status by some after only a debunked synopsis and initial casting.
The more pithily astute have observed that Kate Mara and Michael B Jordan are playing characters who are sister and brother in the comics, but are not of the same ethnic background. But surely the important words here are 'in the comics'. This is not the comic, it is a movie based on the comics. Can anyone honestly say that it makes any important, »
Review Andrew Blair 10 Feb 2014 - 07:00
Andrew takes a look at the third of the Doctor Who Time Trips series, Nick Harkaway's Keeping Up With The Joneses...
This review contains spoilers.
Reading Nick Harkaway's entry in to the Time Trips series led me to two main conclusions. Firstly, reading this will enhance your knowledge of adjectives. Secondly, since 2005, prose Doctor Who has had an increasing problem with its deployment of whimsy.
Keeping Up With the Joneses takes elements that we've seen on television and twists them into new shapes. The plot, while comprised of familiar elements, is at least imaginative in its combinations. A downside would be that it requires a hefty does of exposition at the finale stage, so while the story is an intriguing runaround (and, being set largely inside the Doctor's ship, is also a more interesting proposition than Journey to the Centre of the Tardis).
1-20 of 25 items from 2014 « Prev | Next »
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