TV Review: Silent Witness Series 13

God-tier guest casting, daring deviation in the storytelling and Leo getting hit on the head, Series 13 of Silent Witness is probably one of my absolute faves 

“Your kind think you’re some kind of heroic martyr, you won’t be told or fobbed off. If people get dragged into your mess then it’s jolly unfortunate but you don’t give a shit because you have right on your side”

Now this is the good stuff. Series 13 of Silent Witness opted to shake things up just a little more than usual and the result, for me, is one of their most effective seasons to date. For one, having Leo be the one who is attacked rather than Nikki is (three series on the trot in case you’d forgotten) is just nice for the variety but adding a note of frailty into this most sanctimonious of characters works well.

It also sets up a cracking episode which sees Nikki and Harry at loggerheads as they take the same evidence and end up with wildly different conclusions which they’re then forced to defend in court. And a campus shooting episode, whilst having hardly anything to do with forensic pathology, is brilliantly conceived and chillingly executed. Fresh takes on the storytelling really makes this series feel alive. Continue reading “TV Review: Silent Witness Series 13”

2020 British Independent Film Awards

Best British Independent Film
Rocks – Sarah Gavron, Ameenah Ayub Allen, Faye Ward, Theresa Ikoko and Claire Wilson
Calm with Horses – Nick Rowland, Joe Murtagh and Daniel Emmerson
The Father – Florian Zeller, Christopher Hampton, David Parfitt, Jean-Louis Livi and Philippe Carcassonne
His House – Remi Weekes, Aidan Elliott, Martin Gentles, Arnon Milchan, Edward King and Roy Lee
Saint Maud – Rose Glass, Andrea Cornwell and Oliver Kassman

Best Director
Remi Weekes – His House
Nick Rowland – Calm with Horses
Florian Zeller – The Father
Sarah Gavron – Rocks
Rose Glass – Saint Maud Continue reading “2020 British Independent Film Awards”

27th Screen Actors Guild Awards nominees

Film
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Riz Ahmed – Sound of Metal as Ruben Stone
Chadwick Boseman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom as Levee Green (posthumous nomination)
Anthony Hopkins – The Father as Anthony
Gary Oldman – Mank as Herman J. Mankiewicz
Steven Yeun – Minari as Jacob Yi

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Amy Adams – Hillbilly Elegy as Beverly “Bev” Vance
Viola Davis – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom as Ma Rainey
Vanessa Kirby – Pieces of a Woman as Martha Weiss
Frances McDormand – Nomadland as Fern
Carey Mulligan – Promising Young Woman as Cassandra “Cassie” Thomas Continue reading “27th Screen Actors Guild Awards nominees”

11th Critics’ Choice Television Awards nominees

Best Series
Best Comedy Series
Better Things (FX)
The Flight Attendant (HBO Max)
Mom (CBS)
PEN15 (Hulu)
Ramy (Hulu)
Schitt’s Creek (Pop)
Ted Lasso (Apple TV+)
What We Do in the Shadows (FX)

Best Drama Series
Better Call Saul (AMC)
The Crown (Netflix)
The Good Fight (CBS All Access)
Lovecraft Country (HBO)
The Mandalorian (Disney+)
Ozark (Netflix)
Perry Mason (HBO)
This Is Us (NBC) Continue reading “11th Critics’ Choice Television Awards nominees”

2020 British Independent Film Awards nominations

Best British Independent Film
Rocks – Sarah Gavron, Ameenah Ayub Allen, Faye Ward, Theresa Ikoko and Claire Wilson
Calm with Horses – Nick Rowland, Joe Murtagh and Daniel Emmerson
The Father – Florian Zeller, Christopher Hampton, David Parfitt, Jean-Louis Livi and Philippe Carcassonne
His House – Remi Weekes, Aidan Elliott, Martin Gentles, Arnon Milchan, Edward King and Roy Lee
Saint Maud – Rose Glass, Andrea Cornwell and Oliver Kassman

Best Director
Remi Weekes – His House
Nick Rowland – Calm with Horses
Florian Zeller – The Father
Sarah Gavron – Rocks
Rose Glass – Saint Maud Continue reading “2020 British Independent Film Awards nominations”

News: Jennifer Lunn wins The Popcorn Writing Award 2020

Jennifer Lunn has been awarded the The Popcorn Writing Award 2020 for her play Es and Flo, and receives a cash prize of £2,500.  The other Finalists are Matilda Ibini (awarded £1,500) and Chris Thompson (£1,000) with Camilla Whitehill receiving a Special Mention (£500).

The Popcorn Writing Award, with a prize fund of £5,500, was established in 2019 to champion fearless work at the annual Edinburgh Fringe festival which playfully and artistically questions and addresses current affairs, societal trends and contributes positively to public debate. Continue reading “News: Jennifer Lunn wins The Popcorn Writing Award 2020”

TV Review: Luther Series 5

Luther Series 5 aka the one that maybe goes too far?

“Can we do that?
‘Within parameters…'”

Not quite flogging a dead horse yet, but the much anticipated fifth series of Luther indulges its title character far too much  in the name of shocks and thrills, whilst simultaneously begging us not to misunderstand him, Nina Simone’s glorious voice plays out over the violent wreckage of the final scene.

As a crime drama, Neil Cross’ Luther really does manage to come up with inventively appalling serial killers and attackers that seem design to lurk in nightmares (the bus murder here…). But it is also increasingly tied up in the mythology of the show itself, the design here clearly aiming for some kind of apotheosis. Continue reading “TV Review: Luther Series 5”

TV Review: Kiri

With a cast including Sarah Lancashire, Lucian Msamati and Lia Williams, how could Kiri be anything but good

“Stick a flake in it before you try and sell it to the tabloids will you”

Airing on Channel 4 at the beginning of the year, Jack Thorne’s Kiri was billed as a continuation of his National Treasure brand  (I managed one episode of that first series…). But any fears I had of not liking it were assuaged by a cast led by Sarah Lancashire, Lucian Msamati and Lia Williams, plus this far down the line, I’d heard enough good things about it to finally get round to watching. 

Set in Bristol, Kiri follows the abduction of a young black girl – Kiri – in the foster care system, as she is allowed a meeting with her birth grandparents in advance of her adoption by a white middle-class family. Her social worker Miriam has arranged this unorthodox meeting and sure enough, the proverbial hits the fan when she gets a phone call to say she has gone missing. Continue reading “TV Review: Kiri”

TV Review: Fearless, ITV

“I learned a long time ago not to trust what people tell me”

I did want to love Fearless, I really did. Any series with Helen McCrory in its leading role has to be worthy of consideration and ITV have been upping their drama game (qv Unforgotten) recently. But despite an intriguing opener, the six episodes of Fearless increasingly tested the patience as Patrick Harbinson’s script failed to deliver on its twistily complex promise, instead giving us a fairly run-of-the-mill thriller that ultimately proved less than thrilling.

With a playbook that threw out major themes with regularity – miscarriages of justice, the Syrian refugee crisis, institutional corruption, the war in Iraq, the ethics of the surveillance state, just to name a few – it was inevitable that some would fall by the wayside. But with the amount of personal backstory for McCrory’s Emma also shoehorned in there, the narrative was both painfully overstuffed and sadly inconsequential – it was increasingly hard to know what we were meant to care about.

Continue reading “TV Review: Fearless, ITV”