Countdown to new Who: Doctor Who Series 7

“It is known that the Doctor requires companions”

Right – the first season that I haven’t rewatched any of at all. Things get a bit hectic here as once again, the series got split in two, accommodating the mid-season departure of Amy and Rory and the (re-)introduction of new companion Clara Oswald, plus a pair of specials respectively marking the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who and the end of Matt Smith’s tenure as Eleven. It all adds up to a bit of a bloated mess to be honest, though not without its high points.

Amy and Rory feel a little ill-served by their final five, the introduction of Mark Williams as Rory’s dad detracts from their screen-time (yet he doesn’t feature in their farewell?), though the return of the Weeping Angels gives their noirish NY-set exit episode some real heft. And though I admire Jenna Coleman’s confident take on Clara, she’s a hard companion to warm to without any contrasting humanity to go with her intelligence and intensity.

The ‘Impossible Girl’ arc didn’t really tick my box and the grandiosity of Moffatt’s writing for the finale of The Name of…, The Day of… and The Time of the Doctor doesn’t really help (I was curiously unmoved by all the fan-service second time round). Still, Gatiss knocks it out of the park with the superb Ice Warrior tale Cold War and bringing mother and daughter Dame Diana Rigg and Rachael Stirling together on screen for the first time.  Continue reading “Countdown to new Who: Doctor Who Series 7”

Short Film Review #36

Tortoise, written and directed by Andy Bloom, details the relationship between two teenage brothers who live a sheltered life deep in rural isolation. Things are made worse by the presence of their violent and unpredictable father, a brilliantly unlikeable Matthew Kelly, who dominates their every waking moment and so older brother Charlie, a steely-jawed Tom Hughes, has determined to escape the situation. Problem is the more fragile Billy, a cowed Rob Ostlere, isn’t completely sure and so they’ve waited for over a year until finally provoked once too many. Grim but reflective, a powerful reminder of how they fuck you up, your mum and dad. Sometimes. 

Small Things 
 
Another trip into Icelandic Cinema Online threw up this little gem, Small Things or Litlir Hlutir by Davíð Óskar Ólafsson. A Lantana-like confection, combining together disparate stories and characters into one interconnected world where one small thing for one person sets in chain huge events for others. Gripping stuff which you can watch for a euro here. http://icelandiccinema.com/watch/187  Continue reading “Short Film Review #36”

Review: The Domino Heart, Finborough Theatre

“After all, my little one, our life is this moment. This one. Gone. In a heartbeat.”

‘Something’s Gotten Hold Of My Heart’ The mysteries of the heart have long enthralled songwriters but Canadian writer Matthew Edison has used this enduring fascination to fashion a most affecting play in the form of The Domino Heart. Three people sit on the stage of the Finborough as the show opens but they’re completely separate, isolated from one another and lost in the gravity of the situation that faces each of them. For though they are strangers, there is something that connects them, binding them together metaphysically even though they might not ever realise it.

‘Piece of my Heart’ Cara’s husband has been killed in a car crash and she is wracked with guilt for arguing with him just beforehand. Mortimer is a Reverend in his 70s whose fear of death is matched only by his fear of not having lived (and loved). And Leo is a brash corporate type whose only real pleasure comes from making money with the rest of life a pointless distraction to him. But as he takes his shirt off, we see that he has received a heart transplant and not only that, it is a domino heart, one which has been already rejected by a recipient and therefore has carried on down the chain.  Continue reading “Review: The Domino Heart, Finborough Theatre”