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007: SPECTRE

James Bond is back. Three years after the veritable anniversary smash hit that was Skyfall, director Sam Mendes gives us Spectre.

Here’s what I thought of Spectre in a nutshell:

It’s a fantastic James Bond movie, it shows the franchise adapting to a modern way of storytelling. It introduces repercussions and consequences into a narrative previously devoid of actual development. But it also fails to deliver on the big villain reveal, leaving the most hyped and most anticipated aspect of its story lacking and kinda… underwhelming.

If you want more than the gist, there be spoilers beyond the cut.

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The Cultural Appeal of James Bond, and How He Could Endure

The twentieth-century James Bond is, to use M’s words, ‘a misogynist dinosaur, a relic of [a] cold war’ that never turned hot, and he’s the result of an unholy trinity of (toxic) hyper-masculinity, international terrorism, and whatever the hell ‘quintessential Englishness’ actually means.

Just after the UK premiere of SPECTRE, a colleague of mine and I got talking about my mild Bond obsession. Since he’d been put off by Quantum of Solace’s comparatively weak performance, he asked me how I would explain that 007 became such a cultural phenomenon that he’s still around today, and that the franchise is actually still growing. Since pulling meta out of my butt at a moment’s notice is kinda my whole thing, I may have gone off on a fifty-year tangent. I’ve been since asked to put my thoughts into writing, so here you have it.

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Minority Report first look

New Fall Shows 2015/16 Quick Reviews: Blindspot, Rosewood, Minority Report

TV drama season 2015/16 has begun, and we’re off to the races with lots of returning shows and many, many new contenders. A lot of pilots have come out last week, and here’s a quick review for those that I’ve previewed in the summer: Blindspot, Minority Report, and Rosewood.

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Fiction Meets Science — Pippa Goldschmidt, “The Falling Sky”

(A German translation of this review is available on the Bremer Literaturkontor website.)

No spoilers were harmed in the making of this review.

On June 18, 2015, astronomer-turned-novelist Pippa Goldschmidt visited the House of Science in Bremen, together with her translator Zoë Beck, to read excerpts from her novel “The Falling Sky.” As part of the series ‘Fiction meets Science,’ novelists, literary scholars, sociologists, and STEM scientists observe the relationship between literature and science. This examination takes place on two levels: literature becomes the object of sociological study within the context of public discourse on science and scientific progress, for one. On another level, there is a field of tension between science and its representation in art.

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Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max: Fury Road

If you haven’t seen Mad Max: Fury Road yet, I strongly urge you to.

Not only does it tell us, in the wake of summer action blockbusters like Age of Ultron and Fast and Furious 7, that this genre is neither dead nor dying — it tells us that it works across gender boundaries.

Tom Hardy’s Mad Max introduces us to a not forgotten hero, but one left in the dust of time, at least when it comes to the silver screen. It introduces us to the hero of a franchise, the male hero — and we get to know him through the role he plays not in his own story, not in some heroic journey that he’s mapped out for himself. We get to know him through the action he takes not for himself, but for others, through his role in someone else’s story.

Fanfiction Writers Are Not Here For Your Titillation.

Dear Media,

Fan fiction writers are not here for your titillation. Fan fiction writers are not here to make other fans of fiction feel safe and cozy in the knowledge that they’re wasting their lives watching telly more sanely than some others. Fan fiction writers are not here to provide cheap thrills for your audience.

We are not here — there, everywhere, in the public domain — to be made fun of; to be used as that old photograph on everyone’s high-and-mighty dartboard for all of those who… well, all of those who need to feel better about themselves and their own ways of consuming media. (Be that consuming loads of it, occasional viewers, or those consuming none at all.)

Apparently, you can only ever feel better about yourself by absolutely pissing on someone else’s fun parade.

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Doctor Who: Death in Heaven

Doctor Who: the Complete Series 8 Finale.

Previously on Doctor WhoFlatline.

Prologue

Due to Comic Con and work stuff, my viewing schedule has been messed about a little — and although Doctor Who is obviously coded for weekly viewing including seven days of dread before the next episode comes along, I’ll be binge-watching and reviewing the last three episodes of Series 8 in one go. From what spoilers I couldn’t really escape, looks like it’ll wreck most of my nerves whilst saving me getting upset about a few things, too.

Good luck.