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Showing posts from March, 2015

The Top Ten New Doctor Who Episodes

The revived incarnation of Doctor Who a.k.a. the series as most people are aware of it, is ten years old! Celebrations may not be as high as the Fiftieth Anniversary two years ago, but it’s certainly an important milestone. In the decade since Russell T. Davies made it possible for a whole new generation to enjoy the greatest time traveller on television, there have been a slew of great episodes, and today I’m presenting the greatest of the greats: the Top Ten New Doctor Who Episodes. These are of course subjective as I’ve probably left off a few that are fan favourites but these are the stories that I think capture the show at its best and could stand on their own alongside the greats of the classic series. And while I use the term “episodes” I’m actually referring to stories so there will be a few two-parters on the list.
10. Amy’s Choice –By this episode we’d seen the conflicting relationships of the Doctor/companion and companion/boyfriend. And it’s an idea that needs to be address…

When Canadians Lost a Free Cruz

Can you believe it? The American Presidential election is only twenty months away! TWENTY MONTHS! Politicians and pundits are going nuts in preparation of this fast approaching history-making event. And in the midst of all this a lone prophet has risen to the challenge to fight for the greatest seat the whitest house in the world. No not Hilary Clinton, her candidacy’s been an open secret for years. I’m talking about the good old government-shutting down love-child of Piers Morgan and Bob Hope: Ted Cruz! He’s rich, a Harvard alum, hates Obamacare, is not a friend of the environment, anti-gay, pro-gun, Christian, creationist, Canadian….wait what? Yeah, turns out Ted Cruz was born in Canada. This is terrific! Can you believe directly following the first African-American President, America could have its first Canadian-American President? Great! Or it would be if he hadn’t ditched his Canadian citizenship last year the moment it was found out. Clearly he wanted to avoid the birth certific…

Is The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Really a Bad Movie?

We all know The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy! Or at least we should. Douglas Adams’ sci-fi comic masterpiece is a touchstone of British perspective and wit and ought to be required reading in either English or Philosophy classes the world over. It started as a radio series then became a brief television series and a book series throughout the 1970s and 80s…and in 2005 a movie. Generally fans reacted to the movie with anything from “meh” to “rape of the series”, while non-fans reacted with a resounding “wha---“. The film is a bit of a strange anomaly, directed by Garth Jennings who apart from 2007’s Son of Rambow has no other film credits to his name. Also while it’s title would suggest a general adaptation of the first book (or first four episodes of the TV series), it takes a few of the plot threads from that book and the general direction of the narrative but adds other side adventures. So for a film that while receiving of some critical praise, wasn’t well receive…

The Irish Movie Everyone Should See

St. Patrick’s Day is the day people the world over celebrate everything stereotypically insultingly Irish. But before we take a nosedive into green beer the quantity of which amounts to euthanasia for your liver, maybe it’d be good to look at some genuine Irish culture, its remarkable uniqueness and contributions often overlooked to the world.                 Or we could just watch some great Irish movies. And there’s one recent movie in particular I think should get far more attention than it has, even for an Irish film. The Guard is an Irish dramedy film released in 2011 written and directed by John Michael McDonagh whose brother Martin wrote and directed the highly recommended In Bruges.  The film in an homage and parody of buddy cop films stars Brendan Gleeson (a terrific actor though doomed to only be recognized as “that guy who was Moody in Harry Potter”) as Gerry Boyle a sergeant with the Irish police force, the Garda Síochána who is paired with FBI agent Wendell …

Tribute to Sam Simon (1955-2015)

Yesterday the world lost one of the great creative and comedic minds in entertainment. Sam Simon was one of the most influential and talented writers in television history. And it’s unfortunate that so many people just know that name as the third “Developed by” credit in The Simpsons opening. But he did much more for that show and other shows than people may think.
                Sam Simon started off with a spec script for the third season of Taxi in the early 80’s. By the fifth and final season when executive producers Glen & Les Charles moved on to their own series Cheers they trusted Simon enough to be showrunner after only two years as a working television writer. Not only that, Simon was brought over to Cheers as part of its inaugural writing staff. He managed to handle showrunning and writing responsibilities for one series while also writing for another. Not just that, he wrote Cheers’ best episode that season “Endless Slumper” which I highly recommend as it…

Did Putin kill a guy??

Is Vlad Putin Vlad the Impaler? It certainly seems so. Last week you may recall the somewhat suspicious death of Boris Nemtsov a prominent Russian politician and rival of President Vladimir Putin. He was shot to death not too far from the Kremlin while crossing the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge. The event was partially recorded via some form of CCTV, but another vehicle was driving on the adjacent motorway conveniently obstructing the actual shooting. Sounds like something out of a gangster movie; Tony Soprano couldn’t have done it better. And while the death is being investigated a lot of us can’t help wondering “did Putin do it?”                 Nemtsov was after all an outspoken critic of Putin and his government and if the grim president had a hit list, he would probably have been in the top ten. And in the past year we’ve been seeing Putin try to expand and consolidate power particularly with his invasion of Ukraine, and so those kind of actions generally create less…

Reason for the Reboots: Disney's Ultimate Plan

               Cinderella’s coming out soon! Yeah the movie!  So I’ll be taking the tykes to the pictures in the family Volkswagen Beetle and maybe on the way home we’ll get some ice cream at the malt shop and sing along to the juke. Oh wait…its 2015?                 Yeah Disney’s been in a bit of a strange place creatively lately. While their animation studio has had a definite comeback after a few years in a rut, they haven’t exactly known what to do with their live-action division. The Narnia and Pirates of the Caribbean series seem to have run their course (or are desperately trying to add another exhausting mile to the course) and movies like The Lone Ranger, Oz: The Great and Powerful, and Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Stinkin’, Rootin-tootin, Awful as Hell, I Would Kill for a Vicodin, Very Bad Day failed to make much of an impact. It’s clearly the animated films that have stood the test of time and products relating to them have sold the best. So at some point …