12 Days of Christmas – Black Mirror 1:3

“Sorry I go a bit weird and wonky sometimes”

On the third day of Christmas, Black Mirror gave to me…three cheating lovers

The Entire History of You
is the final part of the first series of Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror and finds itself somewhere in the middle of the preceding two episodes in terms of its sci-fi/reality interface. Here, future technology has advanced so that people have ‘grains’ implanted that record memories and allow them to played back whenever but the story it is used to tell is an all-too-familiar one of human jealousy.

Toby Keggell’s Liam is an unhappy lawyer whose miserable state of mind after a difficult work appraisal leads him to suspect his wife, Jodie Whittaker’s Ffion, of having an affair with a former lover called Jonas, a suave Tom Cullen. It played out eerily effectively, especially in the look on people’s faces when ‘recalling’ but never really took flight into as superlative a piece of television as episodes one or two. Continue reading “12 Days of Christmas – Black Mirror 1:3”

DVD Review: The Last Days on Mars

“Do you think any part of us survives after death?
‘I don’t know. It’s a little bit above my pay grade'”

I wanted to like Ruairí Robinson’s 2013 The Last Days on Mars, I really did, but despite attracting an (inter)stellar cast (Romola Garai, Olivia Williams, Liev Schreiber) to its blend of science fiction and outright horror, it just didn’t work for me. It’s not quite intelligent enough to be a real chin scratcher but equally it isn’t schlocky enough to be trashy fun either, rather the film languishes in the rather dull terrain inbetween.

Set in the 2040s on a research base on the planet Mars, a research team is coming to the very end of their six month trip but a late discovery that they may have found some form of biological life throws a spanner in the works. Instead of preparing for the approaching spacecraft to take them home, one last mission goes out to get one last sample and naturally it goes wrong, with terrible consequences for all of the crew. Continue reading “DVD Review: The Last Days on Mars”

Short Film Review #42

How To Get Mugged 



At barely 3 minutes long, Cecilia Fage’s How To Get Mugged is a brilliant example of how to do a comic short, focusing hard on getting the concept right and then exploring it without exploiting it. Too often, comedy stretches out a joke far too thinly but there’s no such fear here as two new Hackney residents are accosted by a mugger but react in a far different way to what you might expect. And given that that mugger is played by the luscious Philip McGinley, I know a good few people who would have reacted in yet another way to being accosted by him 😉

Continue reading “Short Film Review #42”

DVD Review: Weekend

“You know what it’s like when you first sleep with someone you don’t know” 

There’s unfortunately still a paucity of interesting work that explores aspects of just being gay, rather than centring on coming out, gay-bashing or repressed love, which makes Andrew Haigh’s 2011 film Weekend all the more refreshing for its frank normality. Russell and Glen meet on a Friday night and what starts off seeming like a regular one-night-stand turns into something altogether more significant, as that special spark ignites between them and they spend a potentially life-changing weekend together, despite or perhaps because of the knowledge of they only have this weekend to share.

The film received immense hype from critics and several friends alike on its limited release last year and since I didn’t get to see it, I naturally found myself a little wary (after all, how can something be declared good if I haven’t given it my seal of approval!) and this wasn’t helped by the pedestrian pace of the opening third of the film and its rather soap-like tone, it wasn’t grabbing me at all. But slowly, it develops and matures into a really rather affecting story as the two lovers confront their preconceptions about each other, about themselves and about what they are looking for from life and love.  Continue reading “DVD Review: Weekend”