Stranger Things

August 1, 2016

There is a very thin line between paying homage to something and being simply derivative. Strip away all the nods to the movies and books that millennials and their older siblings grew up on and Stranger Things falls squarely in the latter category, failing to live as a supernatural mystery in its own right.

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Why would anyone cheat on Beyonce? That was the main buzz emanating from the beyhive as Lemonade spilt all over the Internet. Well, the answer could be, unintentionally, contained within the lyrics of an album that is as ambitious as it is overrated.
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Batman V Superman

May 27, 2016

Let’s start with the good. Batman V Superman, which sounded like an awful idea, actually has a terrific story. The Caped Crusader, following a lifetime of fighting crime in his native Gotham, has lost the will to fight the good fight and has taken to branding his victims, often nonces, insuring them a death sentence when they are committed for their crimes.

Clark Kent is horrified by all of this vigilante behaviour, as it flys in the face of his idealism. But while he has embraced the dream of his adopted nation, his adopted nation is threatened by Superman’s super powers. So, in the wake of a 9/11 style tragedy, they rush to assign blame to him-the other, for acts of terrorism, both around the world and on American soil.

Leading the charge against him is Batman, who suffered a loss at ground zero for which he holds Superman personally responsible. While Lex Luther whips up anti-superhero sentiment with his fascist analogies and talk of the threat posed by idolatry.

The Daily Planet seizes on this, Lois Lane (Amy Adams) fights to disprove it, while Wallace Keefe (Scoot McNairy, a stand out), a former Wayne Enterprises employee crippled in the movies opening salvo, goes slowly insane.

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Blue Eyes

May 27, 2016

The biggest problem for most political dramas is that they are so totally divorced from the world their characters serve. That’s not the case for Blue Eye’s, the grimy, gripping Swedish thriller that looks at the rise of the far-right Trygghetspartiet- or Security Party, in a country world famous for its inclusivity.

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Spin

May 27, 2016

At a time when their is much uncertainty over what shape our political landscape will take, one of the best political dramas of this decade has made its way onto our screens via Walter Presents, and is still disturbingly relevant.

Spin, shot in France in 2012 (with a second series aired in 2014) follows the fortunes of two centre-right political candidates as they battle each other to fill the void left by the President who was assassinated when visiting a factory his economic policies helped close down

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The Family

May 27, 2016

The Family, starring two time Oscar nominee Joan Allen, is the perfect thriller to watch while doing household chores. Because even if you miss out on an IMPORTANT REVELATION, another one will be along in a couple of minutes, which is just as SUGGESTIVE and MISLEADING and SHOCKING. There’s so many of these twits that you don’t have to worry about not picking up on anything important, as that importance quickly wanes as another plot point is frog marched onto the screen, accompanied by the hysterical rising, dirge of a score that Wagner himself would find oppressive.
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House of Cards

May 27, 2016

The problem, as always, with the American remake of House of Cards is that it has no idea what it wants to be. Whatever it does try its hand at has been done better by other shows in recent memory. It’s out-camped by Scandal with its taste for Shakespearean-esque monologues and sex filled power plays; outflanked by Boss when it comes to violent malevolence, and its out-classed by The West Wing, who also best it in showing how the political sausage is made.
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Emotion

March 3, 2016

My Lord, pop music has gotten exhausting. It seems every second song is “AN EVENT”; a carefully structured meme generator on the state of race, gender and sexuality in the world today. Either that or it’s a chance for the artist to lift their head off of a snot and tear-stained pillow and tell the world, through revenge porn lyrics, about the folk -often famous, who didn’t appreciate ‘little ole me’.

Some of the above should be admired, even if-like Beyonce’s Formation, it can be self-aggrandizing and self-serving. Pop has a duty to incite.

But, occasionally, one does wish that there was more bubblegum around, sweet, disposable, throwaway tunes where the singer isn’t proclaiming from the chart tops about how they have matured, how they have reformed or how they have conquered.

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American Crime

March 3, 2016

American Crime is one of the most important shows on television at the moment. It’s not one of the best, nor is it the most entertaining (though it really is terrific). But the issues that this anthology series examines – race, sexuality, class, tribalism -and the manner in which it inverts all these topics, starts a proper conversation, rather than prattling the same important message to the converted masses.

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GIRLS

March 3, 2016

Watching the new series of Girls is like hanging out with mates who’ve outgrown each other. There are shadows of the craic and the bond you once shared, but it’s increasingly difficult to see what you ever saw in one another.

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