DOCTOR WHO, 10.10 – “The Eaters of Light” (TV Review)

BBC One – 7:35pm – Saturday 17th June 2017

Written by: Rona Munro

Directed by: Charles Palmer


 

DEATH BY SCOTLAND

It strains credulity to belief it has taken this long, but with episode 10.10, screenwriter Rona Munro became the first person to scribe an episode of the original ‘classic’ series (1989’s concluding “Survival” serial) and new Who. The oldest adventure I have seen in its entirity is the 1996 TV Movie (which I reviewed HERE), so I have no context for how “The Eaters of Light” compares to Munro’s earlier in-universe effort, but to the casual fan last Saturday’s romp in time was pretty much business as usual for the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and his cohorts.

… Keep Scuttling!

DOCTOR WHO, 10.9 – “Empress of Mars” (TV Review)

BBC One – 7:35pm – Saturday 10th June 2017

Written by: Mark Gatiss

Directed by: Wayne Yip


 

THE WAY OF THE WARRIOR

“Sod this for a game of soldiers!”

My overdue run of current series Doctor Who reviews rattles on with this historical military altercation – set in the caverns beneath the surface of the Red Planet! “Empress of Mars” is the first episode in a month not to feature the audience-dividing alien Monks (my opinions on which can be read by clicking 10.6, 10.7 and 10.8), and it sees a sharp step backwards in assimilating gormless assistant Nardole (Matt Lucas) into the main body of the story.

… Keep Scuttling!

DOCTOR WHO, 10.3 – “Thin Ice” (TV Review)

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BBC One – 7:20pm – Saturday 29th April 2017

Written by: Sarah Dollard

Directed by: Bill Anderson


 

THE LAST GREAT FROST FAIR

Following immediately on from the in-built teaser at the tail end of “Smile” (reviewed HERE), series 10 roars into its third week with unabashed gusto. We began in the present (“The Pilot”, reviewed HERE), shot forward to the future and now it’s time for a history lesson! The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and Bill (Pearl Mackie) find themselves in London, 1814, where the Thames is frozen over and mysterious green lights can be seen swimming beneath the surface.

… Keep Scuttling!

DOCTOR WHO, 10.2 – “Smile” (TV Review)

BBC One – 7:20pm – Saturday 22nd April 2017

Written by: Frank Cottrell-Boyce

Directed by: Lawrence Gough


 

DEATH TO THE UNHAPPY

“Who needs loos? There’s probably an app for that!”

Following her introduction to the Doctor’s perception-altering life outside the University in last week’s “The Pilot” (reviewed HERE), eager beaver Bill (Pearl Mackie) was given her first proper test drive in the T.A.R.D.I.S. this Saturday. Aside from a perfunctory cameo which established a curious father-son dynamic between the Time Lord (Peter Capaldi) and cheeky sidekick Nardole (Matt Lucas), the bald alien was all but absent from proceedings, giving the new companion an opportunity to bond with her new “lecturer.”

… Keep Scuttling!

Assassin’s Creed (Cinema Review)

12A – 115mins – 2016 – 3D


 

LEAP OF FASS

In an attempt to cure the ‘disease’ of violence, the Abstergo Foundation use Death Row inmates due to be executed for murder as pawns in their Animus Project, transporting the lab rats back into the memories of their descendants in the hope of locating the mythical lost Apple of Eden, which contains the genetic code for free will and will allow Abstergo scientists Sophie Rikken (Marion Cotillard) and her father Alan (Jeremy High-Rise Irons) to subjugate the human race. Anti-social pimp-killer Callum Lynch (Michael X-Men: Apocalypse Fassbender) – a descendant of 15th Century Assassin Aguilar de Nerha – has just been forced into Sophie’s programme…

…Keep Scuttling!

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Cinema Review)

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12A – 127mins – 2016 – 3D


IN THE LOOP

Ballerina, Storks, Trolls, Sing, and Moana. Four colourful, predominantly tuneful CG ‘toons which the marketing bods at Cineworld thought were perfectly suited to trail ahead of Tim Burton’s latest dark surrealist fantasy. Now, I appreciate that Miss Peregrine’s features children – even in its curiosity-piquing but less-than-punchy title – but this does not automatically a children’s film make!

… Keep Scuttling!

RED DWARF XI.3 “Give and Take” (TV Review)

Dave – 6th October 2016 – 9pm
Created by: Rob Grant and Doug Naylor
Written and directed by: Doug Naylor


 

LIFE IS BUT A SCREAM

Lister (Craig Charles) will claim it’s curry, while based on this week’s evidence, Cat (Danny John-Jules) will argue strongly in favour of sea salt, but ultimately it seems like variety is the spice of life aboard the Dwarf this series. We are now three episodes in to XI – half way – and we’ve already been treated to a romp to an alternative Earth in the style of series VI (“Twentica”) and a more sombre investigative mystery which harkened back to III’s classic two-hander, “Marooned” (“Samsara”).

… Keep Scuttling!

RED DWARF XI.1 “Twentica” (TV Review)

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Dave – Thursday 22nd September – 9pm

Created by: Rob Grant and Doug Naylor

Written and directed by: Doug Naylor


 

BIGGER. BETTER. SMEGGIER.

“Have you been drinking the giggle water?”

Every new series of Red Dwarf has been a reboot of sorts. From the location shooting of II expanding on the grey-scale claustrophobia of the ship-set original run, to the addition of a new main character and the gender-swap of another in III. Since co-creator Rob Grant ejected himself from an airlock after 1993’s series VI leaving Doug Naylor solely in charge at the helm, the boys from the Dwarf have been testing the water with all manner of reinventions, morphing from audience-less sci-fi drama (VII) to broad laugh-prominent farce (VIII).

… Keep Scuttling!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: Turtles in Time (Blu-ray Review)

PG – 96mins – 1993


 

COSMIC CRUISE

“Relax, April, It’s just your ordinary time-travel-equal-mass-displacement thing.”

After sitting out The Secret of the Ooze, Elias Koteas and Corey Feldmen both reprised their respective roles of vigilante Casey Jones and the voice of Donatello in this second – and final for some 14 years – big screen sequel to 1990’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Having not seen Turtles in Time since the bygone days of Ritz VHS rentals, I had – in the intervening two decades – lazily adopted the general public perception that this culture (shell-)shock ‘turtles out of water’ time travel adventure was a hokey and frivolous farce; a lesser beast than its two more weighty predecessors.

So imagine my “mondo surprise” following my blu-ray revisit last night to find that I actually prefer this third film! I am so used to modern franchises getting progressively darker and moodier as they progress, but it is actually to the credit of this Stuart Gillard-steered cultural exchange that the tone is lighter and more consistent throughout – these turtles have dispensed with Shredder and the Foot Clan and found their groove!

“Talk about your Quantum Leap!”

With Jim Henson’s Creature Shop replaced by All Effects Company on animatronic duties, the turtle suits do look a tad more obvious (eyes are rounder, spots stand out more and the green skin tone more vibrant), but aside from a couple of instances where you can spot a gap between the bandana and eye holes, they aren’t jarringly different or cheaper-looking. Plus a more cartoony-vibe actually suits the film’s more jovial tone.

With human compadre April O’Neil (Paige Turco) accidentally sent back to feudal Japan thanks to a magical golden sceptre (or “weird Japanese antique egg timer”) she picked up at the flea market, it is up to the amphibious foursome to “open wide the gates of time” and follow her back to the 15th century in order to bring her home.

“Hello mustard?!”

“Okay, so my Japanese is a little rusty…”

With the sceptre balancing out any paradoxes by replacing any time travellers with the same number of people from the earlier period, it is up to aged mentor Splinter (James Murray) and Casey to be on babysitting duties for some understandably confused honour guards, while the turtles are plunged shell-first into a large scale civil war.

This does make the narrative somewhat lopsided, with the impressively grandiose jaunt in Japan taking precedence (that was where the budget was spent, after all), but to make a return to the franchise more appealing than simply feeding junk food and teaching hockey to some bemused foreign warriors, Elias Koteas plays a dual role as bearded spy Whit in 1603.

The pizza-lust and landslide of popular culture references are still reliably in place – although allusions to Elvis, James Dean and The Three Stooges do mean they’ll stay relevant for longer than Wayne Gretzky. So, too, are Raphael’s (Tim Kelleher) “turtle tantrums,” while profuse weapon usage during the battle sequences and the imparting of some sage advice to young villagers does lend the comedy some levity – and Raph a character-enhancing epiphany.

CR@B Verdict: 3 stars