Mad Max: Fury Road

In a post-apocalyptic wasteland, precious resources such as water and gasoline are controlled by vicious biker gangs. When the eponymous Max Rockatansky is captured by Immortan Joe’s War Boys to become an unwilling blood donor, it looks like the end of the road. At least, until he becomes involved in a rebellion by Joe’s trusted lieutenant, Imperator Furiosa, who has made a break for freedom along with Joe’s wives – a group of fertile women held against their will. Continue reading

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The Genius of Smiley’s People

Spoiler warning: I will discuss the ending!

Dispatching the last of the guards, George Smiley climbed onto the rooftop of the Fortress of Evil. The wind ruffled his hair as a familiar figure turned to greet him.

So, we meet again, Mr Smiley,” drawled Karla, taking a drag from his cigarette. “I thought I warned you not to come after me.”

This ends now, Karla!” exclaimed Smiley. “I’ve come to put a stop to your evil schemes.”

Oh George, George,” laughed Karla, shaking his head. “You always were so naive. All this time, I’ve been watching your every move. And now you’re too late to stop me. With this one remote control, I can launch the warheads and start a nuclear war. What can you do to stop me?”

With a mighty roar, George Smiley hurled himself at Karla, despite to wrest the remote out of the other man’s hand. Smiley was no stranger to martial arts, but his opponent’s strength was superhuman. Only the thought of what would happen if Karla succeeded in his plan spurred Smiley on to keep fighting.

The above scene is in no way drawn from anything that happens in John Le Carre’s Smiley’s People – neither the original book, nor the TV adaptation which is the subject of this review. The only reason I wrote it is to drive home a point – how delightful and refreshing it is that such a scene is completely absent. Continue reading

Black Mirror: season 4

Continuing on from my appraisal of season 3.

Even though it’s technically just the second half of a twelve episode run, season four definitely has a bit of a different flavour. The overall feel of these episodes is ever so slightly less bleak, and the show even dabbles in slightly happier endings.

There’s also a definite shift in the dialogue, with plenty of blunt language and jokes about sex. Continue reading

Black Mirror: season 3

Some years back, I enjoyed Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror on Channel 4 – seven episodes exploring how advances in technology could lead us to dark and dystopian futures. It wasn’t easy viewing, but overall it was definitely worth the emotional investment. One might even argue that The Waldo Moment, in which a foul-mouthed CGI bear runs for political office, was a dire warning not to dismiss the Trump campaign.

Flash forward a couple of years, and Black Mirror returned, in the form of twelve episodes commissioned by Netflix. Even though the first six of them were released over a year ago, I’ve only just binged all twelve, and I felt like saying a little about each of them. Continue reading

Star Trek Discovery: What’s Past is Prologue

Mirror Lorca has made his move, and now his followers are keen to help him dethrone Georgiou and take control of the Empire. Whilst Burnham joins forces with the mirror version of her former captain in order to put a stop to Lorca’s plan, Stamets has dire news. The mirror Stamets’ version of the spore drive is very different to the one aboard Discovery, and holds the potential to not only corrupt the entire mycelial network, but to destroy life in every universe. Continue reading