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Once Upon a Time in...Hollywood (2019) - Review

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The ninth (apparently) film from Quentin Tarantino, 'Once Upon a Time in...Hollywood' is the legendary writer/director's tribute to late 60's Hollywood, from television to cinema, 160 minutes of call-backs, tributes and references, that also revolve around the murder of actress Sharon Tate (played by Margot Robbie here). Naturally, being a Quentin Tarantino film, the story doesn't play out quite as one would expect, and the potential criticisms with Tarantino turning a real-life tragedy into one of his films is certainly something the man himself tries to overcome with the finished film.

Set in 1969, 'Once Upon a Time in...Hollywood' follows ageing cowboy legend Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) struggling to propel himself back into stardom. Known for his turn as a classic cowboy in western series 'Bounty Law', Dalton has struggled to keep his career going beyond that, and with the help of his stuntman/driver Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), tries to figure…

Doctor in Distress? The Series 12 Conundrum

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Its difficult to be a Doctor Who fan on the internet without coming across outcries from certain members of the fan base about how "terrible" Series 11 was. Aired from 7th October 2018 to 1st January 2019, Series 11 (or Season 37) featured not only the show's first female lead with Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor, but a larger and more diverse ensemble cast with Bradley Walsh as Graham, Tosin Cole as Ryan and Mandip Gill as Yaz. This, coupled with the series' emphasis on real-world issues - including episodes focused on Rosa Parks, the Indian partition, 17th Century witch trials, a mock-Amazon company and a Trump-esque billionaire - caused many people to call the series "overly-political", in spite of the obvious argument that this was nothing new. Whilst some journalists will publish articles on "PC Who", many fans took this idea further, moaning about "SJW Doctor Who"...whatever that means.

For the record, Doctor Who has alwa…

Fast and Furious: Hobbs and Shaw (2019) - Review

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With the sudden surge in popularity for the 'Fast and Furious' films in recent years, it's no surprise to see the franchise spin-off two of its most popular leads into a film. 'Fast and Furious: Hobbs and Shaw' (alternatively titled 'Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw') stars Dwayne Johnson and Luke Hobbs and Jason Statham as Deckard Shaw, with Vanessa Kirby playing Shaw's sister and Idris Elba playing a one-off villain.

The plot is rather confused and never fully established, starting off with Vanessa Kirby stealing a mysterious virus from a van, and somehow linking this all into Idris Elba as a cyborg mercenary working for a shadowy organisation (named sequel set-up). The CIA and MI6 have to work together to send in Hobbs and Shaw to find Shaw's sister and stop whatever Idris Elba is up to...which is never entirely clear. Elba's motivations are a bit odd at best, and there's something about the virus murdering everyone on the planet…

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Season 6, Episode 6 Review

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'Inescapable' might just be the best episode so far in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s sixth season, centring entirely around Fitz and Simmons as they find themselves trapped inside a Chronicom mind prison, and have to face their fears together.

Whilst the meta aspects of 'Inescapable''s trippy, mind-bending dream sequences may seem obvious - Fitz is haunted by his potential for evil, Simmons is haunted by the fears and anxieties she'd locked away in her music box - they do serve to give the episode stakes. The characters' inner demons are given physical form to pursue them through the maze of their own shared dreams, which helps to keep up the pace when things seem to be getting a little too slow. Once everything is all resolved and FitzSimmons are back together as a unit though, so are their demons - in a rather humorous end to the episode.

It's probably worth mentioning that Iain De Caestecker and Elizabeth Henstringe are both fantastic throughout the …

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Season 6, Episode 5 Review

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After the baffling tonal inconsistencies of 'Code Yellow', Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. attempts to get back on track with 'The Other Thing' - an episode that feels like it's simply there to set things up for later.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. abandoned its villain-of-the-week format a long time ago, but it still feels somewhat dissatisfying when episodes feel like smaller pieces in a larger puzzle. It's as though the show is being produced for a streaming audience, bingeing the entire season in one go, as opposed to working as week-to-week entertainment. It's also at this point that I really started to feel the length of this season - and we're only five episodes in. I had thought that a shorter, thirteen-episode season would benefit the show, and while it might in the long run, I don't think that the story has gone very far in five episodes.

May has been captured by Sarge and his accomplice (whose name escapes me, but she keeps mentioning butte…

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Season 6, Episode 4 Review

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When did Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. become DC's Legends of Tomorrow?

'Code Yellow' starts off with Deke having reinvented himself in 2019 as the head of a tech/games company, with a girlfriend (played by Executive Producer Maurissa Trancheon) and a revolutionary new system called "The Framework". Sound familiar? Oh, and obviously the episode opens with a cheesy action sequence of Deke fighting some aliens in a corridor and then seducing Daisy in a fake-out dream/game sequence so obvious that for me at least, the episode started on the wrong foot.
With this and the previous episode, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. seems to be trying to embrace a more humorous approach, with a style of meta-humour similar to that of DC's Legends of Tomorrow. Deke's look towards the camera in the pre-titles sting was a bit too on-the-nose for me, especially given how grounded Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has tried to be for so long. If the show wants to head into a new direction,…

Doctor Who: Season 10 (1972-73) - Review

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The Three Doctors. The terrible Drashigs. The final story with Roger Delgado's Master. The return of the dreaded Daleks. And the departure of beloved companion Jo Grant. Doctor Who's tenth season packs a lot into five serials and twenty-six episodes, and thanks to the new Blu-ray Collection, we can now revisit the stories remastered in HD.
The season opens with the Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee), Jo Grant (Katy Manning) and their U.N.I.T family investigating a mysterious black hole that threatens the entire Universe. Realising the catastrophic threat it poses, the Time Lords send Patrick Troughton's Second Doctor and William Hartnell's First to help out, giving us 'The Three Doctors'. Or, more accurately, the Two-and-a-half Doctors, as Hartnell barely appears in the serial due to bad health. Troughton and Pertwee are a wonderful double-act, and the story's villain Omega is a great antagonist, but despite solid build-up, the story never goes anywhere. The produ…