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Review: Kingsman: The Secret Service

29 January 2015 3:59 PM, PST

Is it possible to have a conversation about British culture - and its perceived idealism's in film - without mentioning James Bond? The valor, the silk-induced accent, the martini (shaken, not stirred, of course) - no matter what you draw on, one thing is certain... Mr. Bond oozes class, and has been representative of her Majesty's fine isle for as long as people took interest.

Skip forward to 2015 and things have changed. Mr. Bond - now in his eighth reincarnation - is evolving around his audience. Given the success and popularity of darker, more perturbed action heroes (such as Christopher Nolan's Batman, or Zack Snyder's Watchmen), so to has James bittered. Articulation and swagger are met in equal measure with substance abuse and insomnia, resulting in a spy that's as crazy as he is co-ordinated...and we love it!

And so, when the concept of the British spy »

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Complete Buffy reviews: Something Blue

29 January 2015 9:29 AM, PST

If you paid attention to your Gcse science – unlikely, I know – then you may remember all that jazz about magnets. In particular, the weird way in which two like-for-like magnet poles repel each other rather than attach.

Having just flicked through the Ladybird Guide To Science For Five-Year-Olds (I was always rubbish at science), I'm reminded of this notion when reviewing the Buffy and Angel episodes back to back. While Angel has generally gone all dark and broody, lately, quite a few of the episodes of Buffy The Vampire Slayer have gone the other way. We've had the brain-dead pointlessness of Beer Bad, the half Thanksgiving tutorial/half Buffy's Kitchen antics of Pangs, and now, along comes Something Blue, an episode that at times threatens to take tweeness to the max.

In a way, Buffy The Vampire Slayer's gradual leaning towards frothy storytelling makes sense. It's still a »

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Complete Buffy reviews: Pangs

28 January 2015 11:54 AM, PST

We've had Christmas. We've had Halloween. Now it's the turn of the Thanksgiving special episode to take a seat in Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Pangs is the story in question – fans of both this series and Angel had a teaser of sorts in the concluding moments of the previous Angel episode, The Bachelor Party. Angel's friend, Doyle had one of those mind-cracking visions which paved the way for Buffy to make her first cameo appearance in the spin-off show. So what better opportunity to bring Angel temporarily back to Sunnydale?

"The mantra of “Want. Take. Have” doesn't belong in this season of Buffy, and Pangs explores this wistful notion in greater detail."

It's a common theme of this episode in that the characters are experiencing pangs for things or people that are far out of their reach. Buffy wants a nice normal family Thanksgiving, but can't have the real »

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Complete Buffy reviews: The initiative

27 January 2015 12:45 PM, PST

The Initiative arguably marks a new phase of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Oz has left the building, casting off yet another of the early years remnants. Only Buffy, Xander, Willow and Giles remain – although James Marsters finally graduates to full-time member and reluctant hanger-on of the Scooby Gang. It's also the story where squeaky-clean curtain head Riley starts to fit into the puzzle. Which can only mean that the series reveals what all these mysterious Commandos are all about.

With the dawning of a new era, both in this season and of the whole show, it's mysterious that The Initiative episode is a bit flat. I guess that any episode which revolves around a bunch of dull army goons wouldn't ever score highly on my list of quintessential ways to spend 45 minutes with the telly. Army and sci-fi rarely go together well, resulting in lots of tedious gun battles and laughable machismo. »

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