Doctor Who: The Three Doctors

*Dedicated to William Hartnell, Verity Lambert, Sydney Newman and everybody else who willed this show into the universe. Thank you.*

There’s something pratically melancholic about this story. It was crafted to celebrate the show’s tenth anniversary, delves deep into the Time Lord lore, and showcases the impressive set design allowed by a BBC budget, but there’s this air to it looking back. This would notably be the very first time that multiple incarnations of The Doctor met and, although it wouldn’t be the last, it would be the only time that this occured for the late William Hartnell. It’s a tale well known to many Whovians but always worth recounting. Bill (as he was affectionally reffered to) took on the iconic role in 1963 at the age of 66 in and maintained it until Patrick Troughton took over 3 years later, in part because Bill’s ability to remember lines was fading. That’s reportedly why, when returning for this episode in 1973, he is relegated to appearing via television in the TARDIS which is cleverly explained in-universe as The First Doctor geting stuck in a time eddy. Regardless, it would be his final performance and he barely lets it show. That twinkle in the eye that he was known for remains and his bickering with the other incarnations never comes off as too harsh. It’s a comforting thought to know that he was around to celebrate ten years of a show that he helped to create.

The show itself had gone through several changes in those ten years, not least in terms of the cast. Jon Pertwee had already been in the titular role for several years, taking over Doctor duties from Patrick Troughton in 1970, and had even gone through one whole companion with Dr Elizabeth Shaw. At the time of The Three Doctors, he is accompanied by UNIT employee Jo Grant and remains marooned on Earth by his race the Time Lords which in-universe was due to his meddling with the time continuim but was in reality due to budget constraints at the BBC. UNIT (the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce) had cropped up during The Second doctors time on Earth, led by Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, but became a mainstay during The third Doctors Earthly exile (still led by “The Brigadier”). A large amount of this story takes place at or near UNIT HQ, which is located in a large manor house, starting with the intoduction of a creature made from anti-matter. It’s been displacing people and objects into a black hole and is simultaneously attacking the Time Lords, meaning they are unable to provide The Doctor with any assistance.

The presence of the Time Lords was not overbearing in those first ten years. They had only appeared in three prior stories (The War Games, Terror of the Autons, and Colony in Space) and their home planet hadn’t even been named yet so their being here signifies how large of a threat this anti-matter is. They have enough temporal power left to pick The Second Doctor from his timestream and place him in the current day, as well as The First Doctor (even if he does get stuck in the aforementioned time eddy). Through displays of wit and intellect, The Third Doctor and Jo find themselves in the black hole, standing on a planet that shouldn’t exist and confronting a seemingly all-powerful Time Lord known as Omega. He is already known to The Doctor, being a legend on his homeworld who created time travel and was apparently lost to a supernova, but Omega needs his help to break through back to the main universe. Gradually, the rest of the team find their way into the black hole (a team consiting of The Second Doctor, The Brig, Seargeant Benton, and scientist Dr. Tyler) before a face off between the two Doctors and this Time Lord legend.

Even after just ten years, there were several fan favourite villains. The Daleks, The Master and The Cybermen had all cemented themselves in the shows history so it wouldn’t have been a surprise to see them here. Instead, the story provides Omega – a character who had literally never been mentioned before but was supposedly integral to Time Lord society. Yes, this gathering of characters is a celebration of the show but it’s also something new and exciting. It’s a part of that legacy and, as is clear from 2023, would be integral to it’s continuation. The now iconic response to the TARDIS being bigger on the inside gets it’s first use here, as does (obviously) the idea of the now popular multi-Doctor story. It’s the first time that The Brigadier enters that magnificent time travelling machine and Omega would go on to be mentioned for the following 50 years.

It’s classic Doctor Who. Equal parts comforting and pushing the limits of the time. It’s also a sign that it was destined to last at least ten more years.

BBC One - Doctor Who, Season 10, The Three Doctors


Ranked: The Star Wars Saga (V2)

From a franchise standpoint, there’s no real cause to update the list I made 4 years ago. The ranking remains the same, with the only new additions being The Rise of Skwalker and the animated Clone Wars feature film, however that list never felt complete to me. Each installment was only given a couple of lines describing my opinions but, despite the film part of the franchise making little advancement, I’ve made some of my own. I feel like my work has improved in quality since then and so it it seems fair to me to craft a list that comes across as perhaps slightly more professional. Of course, this list will also be out of date some day but until that day comes, here is my subjective ranking of the Star Wars saga.

#12) The Clone Wars (2008)

Acting as a backdoor pilot to the highly successful animated show which ran for 7 series, there’s no denying this film’s importance. However, that wasn’t the initial purpose, with it being comprised of several episodes that were initially intended for the show. Perhaps as a result of this, it feels clunky in it’s storytelling with a finale that doesn’t feel like a finale. There’s still plenty to enjoy in the characters, music and backgrounds, but that pacing really holds it back. [REVIEW]

#11) Episode II: TheAttack of The Clones

The prequel trilogy, as a whole, has never been as good as the original trilogy, even if many of my first Star Wars memories do feature them. They’re not particularly well written, which is made more noticeable by the lack of good direction, and the romance between Anakin and Padme never clicked for me. All of that is at it’s most prominent here, even if there is still aspects to be interested by, particularly with Obi Wan and the lore surrounding the clones. [REIVEW]

#10) Episode I: The Phantom Menace

The most child-friendly feeling of the saga, which is both a blessing and a curse. It gives this installment more of a pantomime feel, particularly when it comes to characters such as Jar Jar Binks and Nute Gunray, but while trying to grapple with some heavy lore. It’s a story which features murder and slavery. However, it also features some of the best additions to the Star Wars mythos with Qui-Gon Jinn and Darth Maul as well as some of composer John Williams finest work in Duel of the Fates. [REVIEW]

#9)Episode III: Revenge of The Sith

The last of the prequel trilogy, and the best of them in large part due to it’s place in the narrative. It’s an explosive conclusion to the trilogy both on a character level and on a galaxy-changing one, with Order 66 cementing it’s place as one of the most brutal protocols in sci-fi history. It also has the least romance, although the rest of the issues that hold the prequel trilogy down are still present, particularly the line deliveries. [REVIEW]

#8) Solo: A Star Wars Story

An origin story for Han Solo Set 10 years before A New Hope, released in 2018 between to sequels, and harmed by constant script re-writes and director changes. This installment had a lot working against it. The result is muddled, as you’d expect a project like this to be, but it still manages to tell a cohesive story with interesting enough characters and features some excellent action, like an episode of the TV Show Firefly but with less gravitas. The most unfortunate aspects remain that Alden Ehrenreich gives a terrific but under-viewed performance as Solo and that the tale sets up a whole seedy underworld of crime led by Darth Maul that we’ll likely never get to see on screen. [REVIEW]

#7) Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker

A lot has been said about the mild lack of cohesive narrative in the sequel trilogy and it all came to a head with this release. It didn’t go as people expected, bringing back a character that some felt should never have returned whilst providing conclusions for other characters that some felt came out of the blue. I disagree with both those points and find this to be one of the most ridiculous entries in the saga, in a positive way. It can be silly, even fan servicey at times, but at the last installment of the Skywalker Saga, it’s earned that right. It’s not perfect but it’s a darn good time. [REVIEW]

#6) Episode IV: A New Hope

The original is not always the best, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. Star Wars, as it was known for the first several years of it’s life, became a cultural phenomenon over night and literally changed cinema but, in comparrison to most of what came after, it’s a little plain. It’s a simple story, told expertly, but these days it’s simplicity makes it the most neautral installment of the franchise. It’s the perfect baseline. [REVIEW]

#5) Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Creating a whole film around a percieved plot hole from A New Hope still seems laughable to some. However, it’s one of the most grounded stories in the Star Wars canon, with endearing characters that mixes the best elements of both the old and new era of the franchise. It has the budget to flesh out that lived-in feeling that the originals whilst demonstrating the power of The Empire and the fear held by the galaxy in it’s grasp. [REVIEW]

#4) Episode VII: The Force Awakens

In the wake of the Disney buy-out of Lucasfilm, and the still less than positive reception of prequel trilogy, this installment needed to work. It required a cohesive story, decent acting, and good set-pieces. It provided all of that whilst also showcasing the promise of the story that seemed destined to follow, even if that story had a mixed reception. It was A New Hope for a whole new generation of fans and precisely the kind of boost that the franchise required to remain popular. [REVIEW]

#3) Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

If The Force Awakens was safe, then The Last Jedi was the total opposite. Some of the biggest twists and turns of the entire franchise are present here including the excellent characterisation of Luke Skywalker and the fate of Supreme Leader Snoke. It’s wrapped in a story about those who suffer the most from war and those who profit from it, as well as featuring some of the most gorgeous cinematography the IP has to offer. [REVIEW]

#2) Episode VI: The Return of The Jedi

This is how you end a story. Despite continuing in other forms of media, for the general public this was the end of the iconic tale for 3 decades, and it pulled it off marvelously. Neatly wrapping up Luke’s struggle against The Empire, Darth Vader’s seeming lack of empathy for his son and the galaxy’s desire for freedom, it got to succeed in it’s mission twice. Once when it was first released in 1981 and again in light of the conclusion to the prequel trilogy. It’s open-ended enough that it can spark more tales but not so open-ended as to feel unfinished. [REVIEW]

#1) Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

It’s not easy to balance the grim darkness of Empiric rule with the optimism of a brighter future. However, it’s a task that this installment achieves perfectly, as Luke struggles between the life of a Jedi and seeming inevitabilty of becoming a sith like his father. In parts, it deals with familial trauma and predistination, whilst in others it’s a brilliant sci-fi adventure with stellar action. It even manages to provide a believable romance between rougish Han Solo and graceful Princess Leia, as well as another amazing score by the legendary John Williams. If this franchise has one constant truth, it’s that John Williams will provide score that is equal parts ethereal, uplifting, exciting and dangerous. [REVIEW]


The Super Mario Bros. Movie

How do you successfully make a movie based on a video game? It’s a question that Hollywood has been trying to answer since the first Super Mario Bros movie in 1993 and, according to general consensus, one that they’ve only figured out how to solve recently. Popular opinion seems to be that the so-called “video game movie curse”, where beloved IP’s only lead to unliked and/or unsuccessful motion pictures, has finally been lifted.  Although, discussion of “The Curse” never mentions the countless adaptations from elsewhere, such as the ever expansive list of Pokemon releases from Japan or the direct-to-video OVA (Original Video Animations) like 1996’s Sonic the Hedgehog. It also never includes 2001’s Lara Croft: Tomb Raider which made $274million at the box office or the Resident Evil series which, regardless of opinion, was seen as popular enough to run for 6 installments. Recent winners like Pokemon: Detective Pickachu,  The Sonic the Hedgehog Movie, and even the television adaptation of The Last of Us have all been praised by critics and fans alike with The Super Mario Brothers Movie from Illumination Animation finding itself added to the list.

The story sees Brooklyn-born Italian-American plumbers Luigi and Mario transported to the mystical Mushroom Kingdom where they become separated. Luigi finds himself in the clutches of the villainous Bowser, whilst Mario seeks the aid of Princess Peach, herself worried about the arrival of Bowser, to rescue him. Along the way, they and their new friend Toad, seek help from the reluctant Kong family, form lifelong friendships, and destroy plenty of property. The most impressive aspects lie in how this world has been adapted from the original source material as well as the presence of references from across this IP’s nearly 40 year history. Making a cohesive and functioning society from very base elements is no easy feat but it’s one that the production team have accomplished, seemingly with ease. The floating block platforms, presence of items like bombs and coins, and event the various flaura and fauna all fit into this world seemlessly. As with all Illumination features, these references are animated beautifully, in a way that deserves to be seen on the largest screen you can find. There’s also plenty of subtle character moments and visual gags to keep an eye out for too.

One of the most impressive aspects is the score, composed by Brian Tyler. From the very first frame, the iconic Mario tunes are re-orchestrated to provide that hit of nostalgia in every emotional plot beat and all the moments in between. Whether it’s the royal fanfare for Princess Peach or the ambient score for The Shadowlands, these repurposed scores serve several purposes. Of course, the major breakaway is new song Peaches performed by Bowser which is a song of longing and, at this point, a major part of promotion for the film. It’s the one time where the character sounds the most like Jack Black but this moment provides some decent insight into our surprisingly soft-hearted villain. However, this is still an Illumination picture, so there’s a roster of popular mainstream music too. Take on Me, Holding out for a Hero, and Thunderstruck all get their needledrop moments which may draw some viewers out of the moment but will cause plenty of heads to bop.

The Super Mario Bro. Movie may be overflowing with references and needledrops but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As a company, Illumination is known for producing films that are likely to entertain whole families but primarily seem to be targeted towards a younger age. They feel designed to be safe and comfortable, which means that the stories are never as complex or deepset in emotional stakes as something like a PIXAR venture. However, as that kind of media goes, this is definitely one of their more entertaining releases. It has a certain level of love and respect for this iconic franchise, which hopefully will continue with any future Nintendo-related releases.

Travel through the warp pipe and see what all the fuss is about


Where I’m At

I have no real obligations as a writer. Since I started this blog 5 years ago, I’ve only ever had to answer to myself which means that nothing published here has ever had a deadline. However, I’ve tried to maintain a standard since the beginning. I figured I could do one article every single week and, for the most part, I’ve been able to achieve that. Since then, I’ve gathered a small number of readers, and even been lucky enough to have had some articles published professionally (not on this blog). I’m very proud of what I’ve accomplished so far and, even if it doesn’t get bigger from here, I know I gave this a decent shot.

I’ve tried to remain as private as I can. It’s why I concocted the pename “Misqueerio” and didn’t have my face featured on my social media to begin with. However, as I’ve settled into having an existence online, I’ve moved past that. Both my name and face are featured in all my social medias and I even gave away my location recently while sharing a GoFundMe for my hometowns very first Drag event (which you can donate to, if you’d like). Despite this privacy, I’ve always tried to be honest with those who read my work and those who publish it, which is why you’re reading this.

The last 6 months have sucked. It started with the conclusion of a 5-year-long relationship between me and my fiance. I was preparing for Halloween and Christmas, as well as dealing with some ongoing stomach issues and a decent amount of casual bigotry among other (more private) things. Most people would have slowed down to deal with it but instead I carried on, whilst trying desperately to keep myself afloat. The stomach issues landed me in hospital for a few days in February and I’d barely recovered by the time I left for The Glasgow Film Festival at the start of March (which was one of the greatest fortnights of my life so far). Needless to say, I’ve been burning the candle at both ends. Issues with my physical health have only been excacerbated by my sheer exhaustion, which in turn isn’t doing my mental health any favours. My time in Glasgow, followed by a subsequent couple of weeks recovering, has provided some much needed time to re-assess where I am and what I’m doing. The conclusion I’ve reached is this…I need to slow down.

This means that you likely won’t see a review every week going forward. I’m not going to push myself to write when I don’t need to, except for those appreciated occassions where somebody else requires me to do so. I remain for hire but, as for this blog here, articles will be published whenever I have them. In particular, there are some Doctor Who articles in the pipeline that I’m excited to write and there will still be a blend of classic film reviews with new film reviews. I just need to put myself first for a while and I hope you’ll stick around for what comes next.


Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

*The latter half of this review contains clealry marked spoilers. The first half is totally spoiler free*

Ant-Man has been underappreciated in his time. His movies did well, as MCU films tend to, but the primary focus has always been on the primary sextet. Scott Lang is seen as a goofball and lovable regular Joe, who only has powers thanks to his suit, but if the Avengers ever had a heart…it’s him. His third solo outing Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania maintains that heart and humour but falters in the way that so many Marvel projects do.

The story sees Scott stuck in a rut. He hasn’t done any avenging since Endgame, his daughter Cassie has taken to secretly attending protests, and his girlfriend Hope Van Dyne is a highly successful business woman who has literally saved lives with her work. When the Pymm Van Dynes are sucked into the Quantum Realm by an all-powerful being named Kang, who seeks to escape this realm and rule the multiverse, Scott must either help him to save Cassie or stop him to save everyone. That father/daughter bond between Scott and Cassie is as strong and beautiful as it’s always been, in large part due to the performances from Paul Rudd and Bonnie Langford (taking on the role from Emma Fuhrmann). Cassie isn’t really rebelling or acting out against her father, she’s just helping people and hiding it from him because she knows how protective he is of her. In a plot thread like this, it would be easy to paint her as slightly arrogant or have Scott be infuriated with her but that never happens. There’s a small amount of friction, but Scott quickly understands how important this is to her and that the best way to keep her safe is to teach her how she can be.

The other major draw is the visuals. There’s been some discussion surrounding the quality of visual effects in Marvel movies of late and it’s understandable. There is a noticeable difference in the standard of green screening, even when compared to just 5 years ago. Backgrounds feel a little flatter and characters feel more separated from them but, for this too, there are understandable reasons. It’s now well publicised that Marvel Studios overworks their effects artists and that they have been known to request extraordinarily last minute changes. Sadly, it still hasn’t reached as many people as it should because the general public still seem to be pinning the quality of effects on the artists instead of the studio. This should stop. With that in mind, the visuals of Quntumania are amazing. The Quantum Realm is vast, visually interesting and features some interesting looking flora and fauna. Yes, the characters can stand out and the visuals of former MCU instalments may be more gorgeous but if Marvel won’t cut the artists some slack then I will.

These issues aren’t the only Marvel staple at play here because the action sequences are the same as they’ve always been. They aren’t bad by any means, they’re actually fairly memorable between the sentient buildings and the ants. The final fistfight between Kang and Scott feels particularly impactful because it’s so personal, fuelled by rage and determination. However, the way that the remainder of the fights are shot and edited is so standard. 31 feature films in and it feels like these elements haven’t changed since Avengers Assemble in 2012. That particular instalment’s refusal to linger on shots is still present in the fight sequences over a decade later. It’s the standard and it means that these scenes aren’t as exciting as they should be. Especially when compared to other theatrical releases like Everything Everywhere All At Once, it’s just bland.


Unfortunately, the biggest issue in Quantumania is an MCU staple…the villains. Kang is as promising of a villain as Thanos was all those years ago and is just as intimidating in the screen time time that he has. So it’s a real shame to see him killed off. This is the second time that a variant of the character has been de-lifed after He Who Remains in the first series of Loki, which means that the Council of Kangs seen in the post-credit scene are the villains going forward. The audience doesn’t know these guys. They have no current character traits outside of “feared by the Kang that Scott fought” and as a result hold very little weight as inevitable villains. Then there is fan-favourite MODOK (Mechanised Organism Designed For Killing) who, for this adaptation of the character, is the shrivelled remains of Darren Cross from the original Ant-Man. This is a fun new direction to take the character since he already has a history with the heroes and it means that time doesn’t have to be ripped from the main plot to explain his full backstory. He’s every inch the snivelling dweeb that he always was, being used as Kangs personal assassin and verbal punching bag, which may not be the almighty murdering badass that fans of the character hoped to see but which fits the tone of the film perfectly. He dies too. In a sacrifice played off as a joke at his expense, he is killed during the climactic battle and that is bothersome. A redemption arc, like the one Darren kind of has, does not always require death. Plus it means that the only way the character will realistically appear again is as a multiversal variant.

Speaking of the multiverse, the final note is about the post credits scene, featuring Agent Morbious and Loki from the TV show Loki. Notably, this is the first time that these shows have ever made their way onto the silver screen in any form. Despite there being 8 shows in the MCU canon thus far, none have yet crossed over into the larger universe. It has crossed in the other direction with Clint Barton in Hawkeye and Bruce Banner in She-Hulk among several others, but (due possibly to time constraints) this is the first time that characters from the shows have made their way into the pantheon of cinematic releases (no, Murdock and Kingpin don’t count and neither does Captain Britain). With the introduction of Kamala Khan in The Marvels later this year, it feels like this is finally one connected universe…but that’s an issue. It means that, in order to properly keep up with the MCU, the TV shows will likely become required viewing. At a time when ticket prices for cinemas are increasing (along with the prices of everything else) it seems unfair to ask your audience to pay an extra £80 per year to keep up with your story. This will make it inaccessible to many and turn it into a pay-to-enter scheme which will encourage piracy.

Ant-Man and the Wasp Quantumania is a bold, beautiful start to Phase Five of Kevin Feige’s project. However it’s also a perfect example of this shared universe’s greatest pitfalls. This isn’t the death of the MCU (an event that realistically might be a decade away) but it is a diagnosis of its demise. What it needs is a shake up and to push itself out of its comfort zone. It doesn’t have a “formula” per se but it does have a pretty consistent base from which to tell it’s stories…and that base is getting stale.

Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania Cinema Tickets & Film Showtimes - Curzon


The Whale

Herman Mellivilles Moby Dick features Captain Ahab, a man whose life has been consumed in his hunt for the titular White Whale. This piece of historic literature features heavily at the centre of director Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale, and that may seem odd at first. Why place a story about man’s hunt for the seemingly unattainable into a film about an obese man trying to reconcile with his daughter before he dies? The answer is in the question (his daughter’s love is the unattainable asset) , but it goes much deeper than that and applies to so much more of his life.

Charlie, the man in question, has not only grown exceptionally large since the death of his boyfriend Alan sometime before the events of the film but he has also become a recluse. Seemingly his only friend is Liz, who happens to be a nurse and takes as much care of him as he will allow. He finds purpose in the online literature class that he teaches over video calls, though he never uses his camera so as to keep his appearance from his students. As he nears the end of his life, he attempts to reconnect with his 17 year old daughter Ellie, who is deliberately flunking school despite being incredibly smart. Also in the mix is young door-to-door preacher Thomas, who hopes to aid Charlie, or rather to allow God to aid Charlie through him.

As Ahab hunts Moby Dick, so too does Charlie hunt his daughter’s approval. Having been absent for half her life, he is riddled with guilt, but also believes that she needs his guidance now more than ever. However, the story applies to himself too. His eating has become self destructive, and becomes more so as the film reaches its conclusion. Yes, the title of “The Whale” could refer to his weight but I don’t believe it to be as crass as that. The Whale in question is his own demise and Charlie is Ahab. No longer does he wish to live, a sentiment that becomes clearer as those around him, including his former wife, become frustrated with him. The inevitability of his death is all-encompassing and he has accepted that.

The film never shies away from this. Charlie ocassionally asks those around him if he disgusts them and his binge eating is frequent. It’s never glamourised and, at times, feels like a scene from a horror movie as he devours food the way that a zombie would desperately devour brains. It hauntingly mirrors the story of the death of his partner Alan, who had stopped eating entirely. It’s a stark reminder that eating disorders come in several different forms and they can all be as destructive as each other. If this film has any takeaways, and it has several, that’s the main one that feels like it will get lost in the mountain of meanings.

Don’t be the Ahab to your own great whale.



The iconic horror flick that spawned a franchise seems simple on the surface. The 8-person crew of the space mining ship Nostromo attempt to survive an alien that has evolved to be the ultimate killing machine. Of course, so many plots seem simple when boiled down to their core elements, but it’s how these stories are told that makes them engaging and help them to stand the test of time. When the layers are peeled back, Alien is nothing short of a masterpiece.

At just under two hours, it’s shorter than most current blockbusters, but it doesn’t rush the plot. The first hour takes its time establishing atmosphere and allowing the audience to get to know the crew. It’s about forming that connection with these characters and slowly building the tension as the audience waits for the inevitable and horrifying plot twist. Neither is the sole purpose of this first half, instead, both elements work hand-in-hand to set a vibe that will be turned on its head by the famous Chestburster scene – one of the finest plot twists ever put to screen.

At this midpoint of the plot, it seems like the immediate danger is over. Kane (portrayed by the ever-stellar John Hurt) has already faced death at the tentacles of the aptly-named Facehugger and finds himself in a surprisingly healthy condition, enjoying a meal with the crew. It’s in the midst of this joviality that the Chestburster does what it was named for and Kane meets his demise, covering the crew in a decent helping of blood and skittering off into the air vents. It may be one of the most famous scenes in cinematic history (being parodied in everything from ASDF Movie to Spaceballs) but at the time, and to the crew of the Nostromo, it comes as a complete surprise. As with all plot twists, this is where the major plot beats begin as the crew attempt to find and kill what will one day be known as a Xenomorph.

Of course, the entire crew, aside from Ellen Ripley, end up dead and this is the real tragedy of Alien. It’s been claimed by many that if they’d simply listened to Ripley in the first place and not allowed Kane to return aboard then they would have survived but that isn’t necessarily the case. It is ultimately revealed that the company they work for (later named Weyland-Yutani) has placed an android named Ash (portrayed with calculating menace by Ian Holm) on board the Nostromo with the express mission to collect the alien and to treat the crew as expendable. It is Ash who directly disobeys orders and brings Kane aboard but, even if he hadn’t, there’s no reason to believe that he wouldn’t have found some other way to complete his objective. It’s plausible that he could have smuggled an egg on board without the crew knowing or that he would have killed them all himself. At the end of the day, whilst the specifics of the plot may change, the outcome likely remains the same…the crew of the Nostromo die.

This seems inevitable because the odds are so stacked against them. They’re not just fighting the alien, they’re fighting the will of the Weyland-Yutani corporation, who are more of a villain than the alien ever is. It’s born to kill and knows nothing else but Weyland-Yutani is a company run by people. It’s a company so focussed on profit and winning a war that hasn’t even started that it will literally sacrifice its own employees. This fundamental truth spans the entire franchise but it’s so blatant here that it’s difficult to ignore. The specific orders are only seen on the ship’s main computer (dubbed “Mother”) meaning it comes across as emotionless as it really is. It’s so quiet when Ripley reads the words “crew expendable” that there’s nothing to focus on except her desperate sobs.

At the end of the day, it’s a working-class story. The crew are miners who smoke cigarettes and complain about company policy on board a ship that has gathered grime from a once pristine state. These aren’t highly trained professional astronauts like the fine folks at NASA (although clearly they are trained), these are common people. They walk, talk, and react as common people would. It makes them all the more relatable and helps their deaths come across as more tragic.

It’s no wonder this film birthed a franchise.


10 Picks For 2023

Delayed production is a natural aspect of the film industry. It’s been more prevelant over the last couple of years due to obvious circumstances, but it feels as though normality may have returned. There are a few picks on this list from last year, but it felt acceptable given the circumstances. I am no less excited for them now than when I released my list of picks for 2022. As always, I don’t wish to pit these picks against each other so they are present in the order that they are alleged to be released.

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

It’s been over a decade since Dreaworks has released a new installment of the Shrek franchise but that doesn’t mean it has any less traction. With a whole new, almost sketch-like animation style and a butt-kicking story to boot, this dynamic entry seems to be a fitting send-off.


One of the last trailers to land in 2022 and it had people buzzing. Adam Driver stars in this sci-fi adventure that sees him crash-land on a mysterious planet dealing with some monstrous foes. The twist? It all happened 65 million years ago on a planet later known as Earth. It seems like some sci-fi schlock, but that tends to be one of the best kinds of sci-fi.

John Wick: Chapter 4

Keanu Reeves’ current major franchise kicked off nearly a decade ago with his majoritavely silent protagonist avenging the death of his beloved dog. Several sequels later and he finds himself on the run from the board of mercenaries he used to work for. Sure to be as gorgeously shot and feature as many beautifully choreographed action sequences as it’s predeccessors.

Scream 6

A surprising to this list, given I hadn’t seen any of them until the 5th installment was released. This satire of the horror franchise is an often camp gift that keeps on giving, with this particular one being set in a brand new location…New York City. Very little else is known but it’s sure to be as metatextual as ever.

Spider-Man: Across the Spiderverse

Now officially just Spider-Man: Across the Spiderverse, with part two being renamed Beyond the Spiderverse, this is another major adventure to look forward to. The plot description doesn’t give much to go on but it seems like all is not well with the Spider-people and Miles finds himself in the middle of it. Into the Spiderverse is already the best Spider-film of all time with a great story, wonderful characters and stunning animation but this installment seems likely to top that. The trailer alone has been worth the wait.

The Flash

Not on this list because I think it’ll be good, but because it’s sure to be an interesting experience. Between lead actor Ezra Miller’s many recent crimes and alleged alterations to various cameos, it feels ridiculous to even release it. And whatever is released almost certainly isn’t the original product. With only several months to go and no new trailer, things aren’t looking bright for the speedster.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

One last sunset…again…maybe. After the generally poorly recieved fourth installment was released 15 years ago, it seemed like Indy’s adventures may be over, but franchising rights never die. With Dr Jones facing off against Nazis at the tail end of the 1960’s, it’s sure to be a classic adventure (regardless of quality).

Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part 1

Serving as the first part of a two-act story, Tom Cruise’s latest installment of this blockbuster franchise looks bigger than ever. There’s still no official plot outline but it seems like the IMF has had a change in ideology and Ethan Hunt has found himself on the run for disagreeing with it. One thing is for sure though – it’s going to be even more bombastic than the last.


Sometimes, it’s good to have a film that is unashamed of what it is. This live-action feature includes some big names in both the main roles and in the directors chair. The short teaser released recently gave glimpses of a vast, pink Barbieland that I can’t wait to visit. Also features the 15th Doctor Chuti Gatwa.

Ghostbusters Afterlife Sequel

Work doesn’t seem to have begun on this as-yet-untitled installment of the iconic franchise. All that’s known is that the cast are expected to return and that Jason Rietman will be penning the script. Considering Afterlife was all about legacy, it’ll be interesting to see what direction this one takes.


10 Picks for 2022: Retrospective


Roland Emmerich’s newest blockbuster did not disappoint. The master of destruction once again delivers chaos on a planetary scale, using all the advancements in technology at his disposal and a couple of old tricks. The plot was basic and the characters cookie-cutter but they’re never the real stand out in an Emmerich flick. Although, for the record, the performances are a lot of fun, particularly Jon Bradley as KC Houseman. The plot goes straight up of the rails in a way that’s difficult not to smile at. Full review HERE.

Turning Red

PIXAR’s latest isn’t perfect. The third act, whilst great, does feel a little tonally different from the first two acts but there’s still plenty to love. The music perfectly captures the boybands of the early 2000’s, while the characters are a shining example of how “cringey” young teens can be and there’s a really solid family dynamic at play. The animation is similar to what the company has been doing recently, with the likes of Luca, but with a definite anime inspiration. When it leans into that and allows the animation to be quick, it makes for a unique feel. Full review HERE.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2

The first Sonic movie very much felt like a product of it’s time and this one is no exception. That doesn’t mean it’s bad, it’s actually fairly enjoyable, but it’s clear from the humour, pacing and effects that this is a 2020’s film. Trying to have an overarching plot like the return of Robotnik (whose scenes are the highlight) with smaller plots like family drama and Sonic making friends with Tails doesn’t always work. The film feels like it could be shorter. However there’s no doubt that the people working on this film love the Sonic franchise because you could spend all day sifting through references. Fun for kids and bearable for adults.

John Wick: Chapter 4

Delayed until next year

Jurassic World Dominion

The Jurassic World characters have nevre been as likable as the Jurassic Park characters and the film studio behind this franchise must know that because they brought back the original characters. However, the focus remains on the World characters and the Park characters never really add much. There’s also a severe lack of dinosaur and an over-reliance on nostalgia-baiting the audience.


Another installment from PIXAR that wasn’t perfect but is still a good time. It’s a solid send-up to the genre of sci-fi and the concept of space as well as having some stunning visuals. It takes full use of it’s setting in the most gorgeous way but never totally hinges on it’s characters. There are also plenty of references to the Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story, right down to repeating lines but it never distracts from the moment. It’s not complex but it never needed to be, it simply needed to be.

Black Adam

There are superhero films that are bad in a cheesy way but this is not one of them. It’s built on concepts and moments that have been done better in other superhero films and the main character isn’t likable enough to be endearing. As an anti-hero, there needs to be something to make the audience root for them, even if they disagree with their tactics, but that’s just missing here. Throw in an utterly wasted Justice Society of America (who deserve their own film) and a post-credits cameo teasing a battle we may not see and it’s just not worth all the effort The Rock put into it.

Mission Impossible 7

Delayed until next year

Spider-Man: Across the Spiderverse (Part One)

Delayed until next year

Matilda: The Musical

THIS is how you adapt a Broadway musical to film. The choreography, the camerawork, the colours. It all just works. It’s also unique enough to stand out from the original book and other film adaptation, as well as making a few alterations from the Broadway show. Some of the songs were cut because there wasn’t enough time for the Wormwood household, which is a shame because they’re great. Blasted necessarily short runtime.


Top 10 Films 2022

I don’t enjoy comparing movies to other movies and I don’t believe that any film is inherently bad. It’s why I have no rating system and it’s why you’re receiving this instead of a “10 Best/Worst” list. A lot of time and effort goes into making these films from hundreds of people, and I think bashing their efforts is disrespectful. I say that every movie is worth something and I genuinely believe that, even if it’s Disney’s Pinocchio (2022). So without further ado, here are the 10 films that I enjoyed most this year, in release order.

Top Gun: Maverick

This is military propoganda, just like the original Top Gun was military propoganda. However, it’s packed with such intense action and likable characters that it found it’s way into my heart anyway. This is a proper blockbuster and it knows it, whilst not including an over-sexual love plot which is such a nice surprise. Full review HERE.


This biopic stretches the facts a little but it gets the vibes spot on. Austin Butler is a revelation as the king of Rock N Roll while the editing amps the tension to a almost unbearable degree (but not quite). One can only assume that this is a film which takes on a whole new level when high, not that it isn’t almost a drugtrip on it’s own.

Mad God

Phil Tippet has been in the special effects game for decades, so it’s fitting that his magnum opus is a perfect example of his work. It’s also absolutely disgusting in a way that can only be described as “wet”, which normally I couldn’t sit through but this film is so entrancing. Impossible to look away or forget. Full review HERE.

Bodies Bodies Bodies

This horror comedy was an unexpected delight. Not only is it consistently amusing but it has the most accurate depictions of rich, obnoxious teens I’ve seen in a while. Manages to be a social commentary about class and a solid whodunnit. Plus it has Lee Pace, which is always a good thing.

Do Revenge

Another film that depicts the teen demographic correctly, although with a more dramatic edge. It has all the vibes of a classic 90’s teen comedy despite being set in the present day and has one of the best plot twists of the year. Yeah, it can ocassionally look a little greenscreened but that somehow only adds to the 90’s of it all. Sarah Michelle Gellar is there too.

The Banshees of Inisherin

An utterly beautiful film. Powerhouse performances all round, with a score to boot, but it’s the undelying comedy of the sombre situation that ties it all together. It’s about friendship and it’s fraility and what we’d be willing to do to keep it but it’s also about the monotony of island life. This list isn’t ranked by preference but this would make the top 3.

Matilda: The Musical

Movie adaptations of musicals have been hit or miss, but these last few years it feels like the misses have been bigger. This is the biggest hit since Spielberg’s West Side Story. It makes perfect use of the visual medium, has some stellar choreography and is different enough from the broadway show that it doesn’t replace it. Truly masterful.

Violent Night

Another surprise hit. When the trailer dropped earlier in the year, it promised a violent comedy where santa beats up house intruders and it delivered in the best possible way. It also managed to have a heartfelt message at it’s centre and in the performance from David Harbour. Kicked Christmas ass and is definiitely becoming a yearly tradition.

GDT’s Pinocchio

There have been several Pinocchio films this year and many over the decades but none quite like this. Del Toro brings his unique brand of dark whimsy to the classic tale through glorious stop-motion. Amazingly anti-fascist with some neat musical numbers, this is one of THE adaptations.

Glass Onion

Knives Out was one of the best films in the year it was released so it makes since that the sequel would be too. The performances, the score, the messaging, the plot twists (PLURAL). It all just works. Would happily take a whole franchise with world’s best detective Benoit Blanc.


The Matrix Resurrections: A brilliantly passive aggressive meta commentary on the state of the franchise

Moonfall: Director Roland Emmeriech delivers action in a way that only he can…ridiculously.

Everything Everywhere All at Once: Didn’t quite hit that sweet spot for me but I admire the creativity


Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga

First impressions are important. When Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga was first announced at E3 2019, it had a lot to live up to. The first two Lego Star Wars games (later edited and repackaged as The Complete Saga) held a special place in the hearts of fans with its charm and visual storytelling. The following installment, based on the Clone Wars TV Series functioned differently with less of a focus on individual levels and more of a focus on open-world gameplay. The same is true of the Lego adaptation of The Force Awakens but after that game, there was silence. There were no video games based on The Last Jedi but with The Rise of Skywalker on the horizon, fans hoped that something would manifest. Anticipation was high and when that first trailer dropped at E3 it seemed to deliver. It boasted all 9 core films in Lego form in glorious high definition, which was further demonstrated by the second trailer unveiled in the lead up to December of 2019.

It quickly became one of the most anticipated releases of 2020, before it was announced that the game would be delayed until sometime in the first quarter of 2021. This wouldn’t be the first delay, with it finally being released on April 5th, 2022, although there were frequent trailers during this time that gave a further glimpse at the expanded galaxy each time. Those who pre-ordered the Deluxe Edition of the game would receive an exclusive Luke Skywalker Minifigure with his own carton of blue milk as well as each of the 7 DLC Character Packs as they released. The first two of these packs, featuring characters from Solo: A Star Wars Story and series one of The Mandalorian, would be available from the day of the game’s release.

This is where the issues began.

The code given with the deluxe edition, which was to provide access to the DLC, only granted access to the Classic Character pack. It would seem that the codes meant for the deluxe edition ended up in the cases for the standard edition which was an issue for sure, but fixable. Within 2 days of release and after countless e-mails from fans, the developers were able to patch the game providing the correct DLC for those who paid for it. Thankfully, it wasn’t an issue that affected the core gameplay…that came later. Many players have reported several bugs over the past month, which they hope to be resolved in a patch of some kind. It’s worth noting that the developers aren’t to blame for this as they (like all video game developers) crafted this game under ridiculous time constraints, unfair hours, and a paycheck that doesn’t reflect the hours they actually worked. Crunch time is a serious issue and video game companies should be held accountable.

A major bug prevents the level markers for Maz Kanatas mission from loading in, meaning that players cannot play this level or any that follow it. Since each episode of the saga needs to be completed to unlock the next, it leaves players unable to access episodes 8 and 9 as well as the planets and missions unlocked by playing through them. It seems like opening a new save file may solve these issues for some players although it would mean replaying through any portions of the game that have already been completed.

Next are the loading issues, which aren’t game-breaking by any means, but may be bothersome to some. The biggest of these occur during the Smugglers Run missions, where the player will occasionally drop out of hyperspace to take on battalions of villains. If the player has already fought some of the Capital Ships (like the Galactic Trade Federation Ship) then it will load in during these battles but only as textures. They take up a large portion of the screen but they have no mass, meaning that they can be flown through. The only workaround seems to be completing these Smuggler Runs missions before taking on the Capital Ships, however, since they spawn at random this isn’t possible.

EDIT: In a patch, it appears that the developers have managed to smooth over the majority of these bugs. It is currently still unclear how many but the Capital Ships issue is entirely fixed.

Lastly for this article, although I’m sure there are more hidden in the game itself, is the loading screen. It’s a gorgeous piece of artwork in its own right with many of the main characters from across the entire saga just hanging out. There are some neat little character moments in here like Rose Tico tasering Jar Jar Binks or Poe Dameron and Finn being unable to keep their hands off each other (methinks there was a Stormpilot fan on staff) but these are not the flaws. The flaws are that, on occasion, they will load in incorrectly. So far, they have loaded in the lightsabers minus the characters and, more horrifyingly, loaded in the characters minus their faces.

These issues are particularly frustrating because the game itself is excellent. It’s not simply a remaster of the previous games (like GTA: The Definitive Edition was) but a completely new game, built from scratch and designed for a totally different experience. The Complete Saga was primarily focused on the missions, 6 for each episode, which were accessed through doors at the main hub – a cantina. Meanwhile, The Skywalker Saga spends less time on levels and more time on open-world exploration and collectable hunting. There are numerous side quests, puzzles, and trials to complete across the 24 planets and the space in between them along with almost 400 characters to unlock. The galaxy is vast in a way that’s never been fully exemplified before, with the closest approximation being the Battlefront games which showed areas previously unseen but which only scratch the surface in comparison to this. It’s clear that the developers hope that the player will explore every nook and cranny, given how much walking there is between levels. It can feel as though the 9 episodes are merely to acquaint the player with game mechanics and to unlock the various planets, with the “real” game being the galactic exploration. This won’t be for everyone but it’s an absolute delight for anyone who wants to marvel at all the galaxy has to offer.

It’s a gorgeous game, making the most of every pixel on screen. Whether it’s the reflective surfaces, sunset skies, or the sheer quality of the high-definition graphics, there’s plenty to be in awe of. This carries across to the characters and the way they interact with their surroundings. They leave little square footprints on the ground, dirt sticks to their clothes, and the frost builds up along the plastic seams. It’s no wonder this game took so long to make. It’s not just a treat for Lego fans but for Star Wars fans too, with little easter eggs and nuggets of lore littered all over the place. A high number of these may be accidentally missed by the player if they’re not keeping a watchful eye, making this world feel lived in and loved. There’s a recreation of a photo featuring Warwick Davis with some of the original cast on Endor, cover art for previous Lego Star Wars games, and even a literal easter egg. It is abundantly clear that this game wasn’t just made for Star Wars fans, it was made by Star Wars fans.

One of the game’s strongest aspects is the voice cast, comprised mainly of returning voice actors from the Clone Wars TV series. Fans of the show will get a kick out of hearing such iconic voices reading even more iconic lines, like James Arnold Taylor uttering Obi Wans famous “hello there”. It also provides a little more weight to his final duel against Matt Lanter’s Anakin in Revenge of the Sith, which they deserved the chance to voice. The standout performance comes from Sam Whitwer who, as well as returning to voice Darth Maul, voices Emperor Sheev Palpatine. He pours as much energy into this performance as he ever did for Maul, absolutely cackling with devilish glee as he delivers lines like “do it” and “I am the Senate”. This is on top of the return of some original cast members too, like Anthony Daniels, Billy Dee Williams, Brian Blessed, and Daniel Logan.

Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga may not be the definitive edition of this story but it’s the most expansive. Having been created all it once, it has benefits that the original 9 films never did, like referencing any piece of the lore that they choose in any era. (Keep an eye out for the Jawas!). The John Williams composed soundtrack is as beautiful and meticulously crafted as it has always been, which perfectly matches the beautifully crafted locations. It’s got plenty of that Lego-brand humour that will delight both children and adults, without ever overshadowing the original story. The amount of travel won’t be for everyone, nor will the numerous bugs, but if you can survive these then you’re in for a whole galaxy’s worth of fun.

May the Force be With You…

Signed: Your friendly neighbourhood queer

New York Ninja

When travelling, it is often the longest route that provides the most interesting journey. Such is the case with martial arts movie New York Ninja which is finally seeing the light of day after 37 years thanks to the efforts of film preservation studio Vinegar Syndrome. They have crafted a thoroughly entertaining, high-definition motion picture from raw footage, no audio, and no script. The latter two of these they had to provide themselves in a tale that’s as barmy as the film itself and has to be heard to be believed.

New York Ninja stars martial arts legend John Liu as the titular vigilante who is hunting down the gang responsible for killing his pregnant girlfriend. This gang is also behind a slate of female kidnappings and is led by The Plutonium Killer, who regularly exposes himself to the chemical in order to survive. It’s a simple story, embellished by the absurdities within, although it isn’t as much a story as it is a reason to move from one fight scene to the next. Liu demonstrates impressive kicks and astounding flips throughout the 92-minute runtime, with his opponents acting as mere puppets to be demonstrated upon. His feats are truly stunning and matched in entertainment value by the costumes.

The 1980s were an interesting time for fashion, with big shoulder pads and even bigger hair. These are present in New York Ninja, but the most fascinating clothing choices are made by the villains who would fit right into a low-budget pantomime. It’s a style that can only be described as “mismatched Halloween costumes” but the choices are to be laughed with instead of laughed at. Equally commendable are the special effects, which appear rarely but make an impact whenever they do. This particular era of filmmaking was home to fake-looking effects that only needed to get the notion of gore across on-screen and it’s immensely charming. The blood has a paint-like quality but the prosthetics are genuinely brilliant, especially where faces are involved.

With no surviving audio or script, both had to be provided by the restoration team, which is a difficult task, especially when the ADR has to fit over pre-existing mouth movements. The team solved this by only matching when required, and considering the average quality of ADR work in mid-tier production movies at the time, it feels more like an homage than it does a necessary choice. It’s not an award-winning script either, but the voice actors are delivering lines with all the campness required. There are stretches with very little dialogue outside of grunts and it’s in these moments the score is allowed to shine. Composed by Detroit-based band Voyag3r, the score is written specifically for the film and oozes 1980s excitement. It’s as much a work of art as the film and equally worth checking out on its own.

The DVD release will feature the 50-minute documentary Re-Enter The New York Ninja which features interviews with both original and new crew members. It’s a bizarre tale of guerrilla filmmaking, studio dismissal, and surprising secrecy which details the importance of preserving media.

Vinegar Syndrome’s mission is an admirable one. Many may see New York Ninja as just another martial arts movie but, due to its complicated history, it is so much more than that. It is a testament to those who salvaged it and to all those who salvage the media of the past. It saved the inspirational 1927 sci-fi classic Metropolis and 79 episodes of the original run of Doctor Who. Saved pieces like this are a love letter to those original artists, credited or not. New York Ninja does not list those who worked on the original production because the restoration team could find no names to list but hopefully, they hear about their rescued project and seek it out. Hopefully, they’re proud of their work and the added work of Vinegar Syndrome because they should be. They’ve helped create a campy, violent work of art.

Until Next Time…

Signed: Your friendly neighbourhood queer

Unus Annus: A Summary

Contained within are the links to the summaries of the videos of the former Youtube channel – Unus Annus. Created by Mark Fishbach and Ethan Nestor, with assistance from friends, the channel’s aim was to drive home the inevitability of death. They posted a video every single day for 365 days with the intention of deleting everything at the end of the 365th day. Along with the channel, they deleted all social medias but the memories and the merch will live on.

Month 1

Month 2

Month 3

Month 4

Month 5

Month 6

Month 7

Month 8

Month 9

Month 10

Month 11

Month 12

Memento Mori

Poem: This Will Make Sense When I’m Older

Im young, maybe 8 or 9
There’s this girl and she looks nice.
Why do I care? Boys do too.
This will make sense when I’m older.

I’m grown now, I think 13.
I have a girlfriend for now.
She leaves and I hurt inside.
This will make sense when I’m older.

I’ve grown again, 15 now.
I’ve got a new girlfriend now.
She leaves. My male friend seems cute.
This will make sense when I’m older.

I’ve grown a bit, still 15.
He ends up being a tool.
My heart has broken again.
This will make sense when I’m older.

I’m 16. Bisexual.
Don’t feel I can tell my fam.
Told my girlfriend though. She’s nice.
This will make sense when Im older.

One more year and girlfriend gone.
She’s replaced by my “true love.”
Feel this could last forever.
This will make sense when I’m older.

It fell apart. All my fault.
It fell apart. ALL my fault.
It fell apart. ALL MY FAULT.
This will make sense when I’m older.

The next year isn’t so great.
I want to die and try to.
Think I can’t love anymore.
This will make sense when I’m older.

I’m 19 now. I found God.
I finally have feelings.
It’s a lot. This girl seems nice.
This will make sense when I’m older.

Didn’t think it would matter.
A guy dating me? Doubt it.
Turns out i was super wrong.
This will make sense when I’m older.

21. Boyfriend loves me.
He asks me to marry him.
I say yes. People aren’t keen.
This will make sense when I’m older.

23. Living with him.
Being bi isn’t easy.
But life goes ever onward.
This will make sense when I’m older.

Signed: Your friendly neighbourhood queer

Titanic (1997)

Legendary writer/director James Cameron is forever pushing the boundaries of filmmaking. Whether it’s the liquid metal of the T1000 in Terminator 2: Judgement Day or the fully realised world of Pandora in Avatar, Jim is crafting visual spectacle after visual spectacle So it was perhaps inevitable that he would choose to create a romantic blockbuster set aboard the RMS Titanic. Of course, the story behind the production is well known and documented at this point. James Cameron has had an interest in shipwrecks for years, particularly the aforementioned vessel, and essentially drafted the script to finance an expedition to the site of the greatest tragedy in cruiseliner history. Then the film itself went on to become one of the most successful of all time, winning 11 Academy Awards and grossing $1.8 billion in it’s initial theatrical run (the first film to ever do so). In the years since, it’s received several re-releases including in 3D and 4K, which has resulted in the box office takings increasing to $2.2billion. However, the thing that is perhaps most amazing of all is just how respectful James Cameron is of the subject matter.

The love story itself, between First Class teen Rose and Third Class rapscallion Jack, is entirely fictional. It often receives the most praise and with the most consistency, which is for good reason. It’s a beautiful Hamlet-esque romance between two teens of different stature who can never be together but with the added tragedy that we know how the overall tale ends. Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio are perfectly cast and fill these characters with such life and love that it’s difficult not to root for them despite it all. Yet, surrounding this fake tale, is one that is horrifically true. The RMS Titanic set sail from Southampton on April 10th, 1912 with around 3,330 lives aboard and sank 5 days later having struck an iceberg. There were 706 survivors. The ship herself now sits in two separate pieces at the bottom of the Atlantic, having split across the bow as she went under. These words really don’t do the event any justice but witnessing a recreation of it really hits home. It hits even harder when experiencing it on the big screen, which fully envelops the audience in all aspects of the horror…including the noise.

Despite featuring a fake love story, the accuracy of this depiction is as close as it’s possible to get. From the measurements of the boat, to the lack of lifeboats, to the amount of lives aboard, to the physics of the crash and timing of the entire ordeal. Underneath the “Hollywood Blockbuster” of it all is essentially a docu-drama, but Cameron didn’t stop with the statistics. Reportedly, many of the extras who had lines in the aftermath of the crash were based on relatives of actual survivors and several well documented fates made their way in too. The most well known of these is the elderly couple laying on the bed as the water gushes in, who were Rosalie Ida and Isidor Straus, owners of Macy’s department store in New York. Moments like these are utterly heart-wrenching to watch because they make the disaster much more personable. There’s a danger around great tragedies of history that over time they will be reduced to statistics, even the deaths, but keeping these stories alive prevents that from happening. It’s hard to empathise with statistics but with real stories come real emotions. That’s what Titanic does, underneath everything else, is memorialise those who were lost and honours those who were lucky enough to make it back.

It also does an excellent job of demonstrating the class divide. Roses story hinges on just how stuffy and overbearing a first class life can be, especially as a teenage girl whose only job is to get married, have children, and maintain respectability. Her explanations to Jack at supper in First Class about how this society functions are enlightening and act as a perfect contrast to the parties enjoyed by those in Third Class. There, they spill their beers, dance like nobody’s watching and holler to their hearts content…living life to the fullest. Their sensibilities are also well demonstrated after the crash. While those in First Class have no idea that anything is wrong, only experiencing a slight jolt, those in Third Class are already ankle-deep in water and making their escape. As is always the case, the poorest experience the problems long before the richest. Though the film features them being held behind gates, there’s no evidence that Third Class passengers were prevented from reaching the lifeboats, but since they were so far down they (and the stewards) would have been the last to get there.

It’s one of several inaccuracies, which like the event itself are well documented. There’s no proof that the Titanic was ever called unsinkable, or that Captain Smith chose to go down with her, or that the final song played by the band was Nearer My God to Thee (although it was definitely one of the last.). These are all just small artistic liberties, added into the plot to give it more weight and finality, which it does superbly. The sinking of the ship, intercut with the band playing that fateful hymn, and Captain Smith awaiting his fate on the bridge, are some of the most impactful moments ever put to screen. One of the most frequent criticisms of the film, and of Titanic stories in general, is the villainisation of J Bruce Ismay, the president of the company that built the Titanic. In the film, he is shown ordering the captain to use every one of the engines to get the ship to full speed, but again there’s no real proof that this happened. This idea seems to be based on his survival and, at the time of the tragedy, anger that he had taken a spot on lifeboats designated primarily for women and children, although reports of how this happened are foggy. Either he was ordered to by a steward, or he was one of the first to board, or he waited until the last possible second – which is the interpretation that Cameron goes with. This version of Ismay isn’t evil, just a conflicted man determined to show off before humility overcomes him. The final shot of him isn’t one of a coward or a villain, but of a guilt-stricken survivor.

James Cameron’s Titanic remains a masterpiece. It’s a marvelous love story, beautifully shot and stunningly scored. It’s also a respectful reminder of those lost and those who survived.

Remakes and Retribution

I feel like this also applies to sequels (although that would require further research). Just straight up TIRED today gang.


The concept of remaking films isn’t new, in fact it’s been around as long as the cinema industry itself. In the beginning, it led to repeated adaptations of literature, such as with Charles Dickens’ 1859 novel A Tale of two Cities which received its first cinematic outing in 1911 only to be remade in 1917. This practice isn’t uncommon, especially with Charles Dickens’ works. A Christmas Carol has received the most remakes of all with 7 feature length films, not to mention the countless television and radio adaptations. Of course, original projects got their fair share of remakes too with 1923s The 10 Commandments having one in 1956.

A remake, if done well, can be a wonderful film in its own right and there are several reasons for their existance. Some are English-speaking remakes of foreign pictures. The Ring is considered by many to be one of the finest horror…

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Sunlight (GFF 2023)

Just because a story is comedic, doesn’t mean it can’t be impactful. Such is the case withIrish film Sunlight, from director Claire Dix, which held its world premiere at this year’s GFF. The story follows recovered drug-addict Leon as he spends a final day with his friend/mentor Ivor, who has decided to end his own life after a lengthy illness. The comedy is present in the banter between the two, as well as with Ivor’s nurse Maria and the friends they meet on their outing, but it never squashes the tragic event at the film’s core.

Leon isn’t willing to let go. He’s been caring for Ivor since the illness set in but has done so with the belief that he will eventually pull through. His foolhardy attempt to take Ivor to their local haunts feels desperate, and becomes more so as it becomes clear just how bad Ivors illness actually is. The beauty of this tale is in Ivor, who knows what Leon is trying to do and, though begrudgingly at first, allows him to do it. He is forcibly being gifted one last good day.

Author John Green wrote in his novel The Fault in Our Stars “There’s no way of knowing that your last good day is Your Last Good Day. At the time it is just another good day.” This is presumably true for Ivor until Leon provides him with One Last Good Day. Much of the story focuses on Leon and how this loss will affect him but there’s an extra plot thread asking a seemingly simple question. If you could knowingly choose to have a Last Good Day, would you? And would you do it for yourself or for those you leave behind? Leon tells Ivor that “folks will be glad they saw you…you know…after” and, though it’s a line that’s delivered casually, it hits hard. Everyone has that person they wish they’d seen one last time.

Sunlight is shot as beautifully as it’s told. Almost as if to live up to the title, it is filled with the warmest colours and brightest rays of sun that Ireland can provide. When films are described as heartwarming, it’s often in reference to the story, but the cinematography and colour palette here take this word to another level. Watching shots of the landscapes, streets, and pubs feels homely. It’s like returning to a place you love. The occasionally jaunty, often melancholic, score matches that too. There’s sadness but in a way that echoes contentment.Letting go is hard. Knowing that you’ll have to do so ahead of time makes it even more so. Sunlight doesn’t provide a definitive answer because there isn’t one. Everyone grieves differently. What it does is demonstrate that there is a way through, even if you want to fight it.

The Astronaut (GFF 2023)

Life is an adventure worth sharing. That’s the very human message at the heart of French film L’astronaute, which had its UK premiere at this year’s GFF. It’s also about following your dreams in the face of adversity and the risks taken in such an endeavor. Despite being a French picture, the themes are entirely universal, which made it an excellent nominee for the Audience Award.

The story follows aerospace engineer Jim in the weeks leading up to the launch of his homemade rocket. Having failed to land a job as an astronaut 8 years prior, he has spent his time siphoning supplies from work, in the hopes of becoming the first amateur spaceman. Though his intention is to go it alone, so he can state that he did it all himself, he slowly gathers a group to assist him in his mission which is something he initially struggles to reconcile with. The homemade rocket fuel (dubbed BX3) is provided by his friend Andre, he gets advice and training from former astronaut Alexandre, and finds a statistician in the form of brutally honest teen Izumi, on top of the initial support from his grandmother. Each new addition to the team is a point of frustration for Jim, especially Izumi, but they all refuse to back down despite knowing that launching a homemade rocket into space is illegal. They’re willing to risk it all for Jim’s safety and for his dream.

The threat of arrest looms over the group, with several outsiders seeming as if they might turn them over to the authorities. It could be Jim’s father, who disapproves of this unsafe venture, or Jims boss, from whom he has been stealing for 8 years. That’s what makes this small band of rebels so close in the end…they’re there for Jim. The division or conflict that arises is often as a result of relationships rather than the project itself, although there are a couple of minor setbacks.. When Izumi points out the statistical likelihood that they’ll succeed, Jim isn’t mad that she did, he’s mad because she did so in front of his worrisome grandmother without warning him. This group excels when they are transparent with each other and keep an honest/open line of communication. It’s important on a project like this, with a man’s life on the line, but it’s applicable to non-life-threatening group tasks too.

On top of this, The Astronaut is beautifully crafted.. The cinematography, score and visual effects elevate a great story to an emotional one that sticks with you. There’s a gorgeous running thread about Jim’s deceased grandfather, who himself was an avid space lover, who continues to fuel Jim’s passion. The ultimate payoff is sure to bring warmth into even the coldest of hearts. This film is an exceptional reminder of the wonders of home and an example of why we look to the stars.