Doctor Who: The Caretaker Review

doctor-who-the-caretaker-headerOne thing that tends to happen when you tag along with The Doctor on the TARDIS is that you leave your real-life behind for a few months or years. That’s not the case if you’re Clara Oswald. Though she’s done many, many things while a travelling companion on the TARDIS, the one thing she hasn’t done is pack her things and move in.

This week, we finally gotten some semblance of payoff to Clara’s dueling lives as The Doctor becomes The Caretaker (who likes to be called The Doctor) at Clara’s school. Now she has to juggle maintaining her sanity while her personal life and time traveler life collide.

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MIFF2014: Wish I Was Here

wish i was here 1So… this is pretty much what happened. Back in 2004, Zach Braff made his directorial debut Garden State, which garnered positive reviews and a cult following. Thanks to that following, he was set up a Kickstarter campaign, which enabled the fans to fund this feature,, Wish I Was Here, which is essentially a quasi-remake of his former flick. Both movies star Braff as a struggling actor/manchild dealing with daddy issues while working through a series of life adventures. Oh the soundtrack to both films is quite nifty and both features a Jim Parsons cameo. I think that pretty much sums it up. That being said, Wish I Was Here is not a bad movie. The strong acting performances and the story with a big heart does have its appeal, though it certainly lacks cult appeal like his directorial debut Garden State.

In Wish I Was Here, Zach Braff stars as Aiden Bloom, a family man/struggling actor who is still waiting for his big break in Hollywood. He has an overly supportive wife Sarah (Kate Hudson), who holds a mundane unrewarding data entry job so that her husband can chase his acting dreams at casting audtions. Meanwhile, his father Saul (Mandy Patinkin) also helps out his family by funding the Bloom children, Grace (Joey King) and Tucker (Pierce Gagnon) to attend a private Jewish school. Unfortunately with Saul’s deteriorating health and increasing medical costs, he is not able to fund for Grace and Tucker’s schooling anymore. This forces Aiden to face the harsh fact that he is a man in his mid-thirties who is pursuing a dream that will not likely pan out while neglecting his own family at the same time. Unsure of what to do and in possibly a quasi-mid-life crisis, Aiden tries to home school his children (to hilarious result), mend a broken relationship between his father and his brother Noah (Josh Gad), refurbish his own home and contemplate on a possible career change.

wish i was here 2There is no doubt that the primary storylines in Wish I Was Here has been explored multiple times before. Like Garden State, it deals with the whole issue of arrested development, family issues and dealing with terminal illness once again. At times it feels like a copy and paste job from ten years ago. On the plus side, there are redeeming elements to the movie. Zach Braff does have a good eye behind the camera and the shots are beautifully done. He also has a knack for good music and the “mixtape” element of his films often find a place in many people’s hearts.

The strong performances in the film certainly help carry this movie. Joey King and Pierce Gagnon are quite charming in their roles and they are perfect foils to Braff’s character. Kate Hudson is back in a role worthy of her talent after spending a good portion of her career being typecast in romantic comedies. She brings so much poise into a role as a woman with great sensitivity and resolve.

wish i was here 3Even though Wish I Was Here doesn’t really bring anything fresh to the table, the movie is quite relatable. There’s still plenty of laughter to be found in the film and it does tug on the right heartstrings at the right moments.

The final product might be somewhat of a disappointment, but it certainly had its heart in the right place. It is hard to fault on that; hence the Wish I Was Here still ends up being rather enjoyable but not as memorable as its predecessor.

Rating: B

Doctor Who: Time Heist Review

doctor-who-time-heist-headerIf there’s anyway to describe the first few episodes of Peter Capaldi’s run at the helm of the TARDIS, it might be that he’s getting a lot of the standard Doctor Who adventures out of the way. There’s the Dalek adventure. He’s done the adventure with a historical figure. There’s the horror episode. This week, it was timey-wimey genre bending.

The Doctor and Clara were tasked with robbing the most secure bank in the universe. However, this wasn’t the standard bank robbery caper. Of course not. This is Doctor Who.

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MIFF2014: The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him and Her

the disappearance of eleanor rigby 1It’s rather bizarre not to see a Beatles track sneak into “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby”, an interesting film that looks into a deteriorating relationship from the perspective of both parties involved. This feature debut from Ned Benson is actually two films shown back to back subtitled Her and Him respectively. While the order of the presentation may vary depending on which screening you attend, the one at the Melbourne International Film Festival kicked it off with Her followed by Him. In addition to the ambitious storytelling, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby is anchored by solid performances from the leads Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy. In addition, the supporting characters ranging from Bill Hader’s comedic touch to Isabelle Huppert’s fun portrayal of Eleanor’s chain-smoking wine guzzling mum surely helps this film move along its lengthy runtime. Continue reading

Doctor Who: Listen Review

doctor-who-listen-headerSteven Moffat has two tricks that he really likes to use when writing episodes. The first is creating and/or solving problems through wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey time paradoxes. I’ve lost count of the number of times that we’ve seen that. The second is trying to scare little children of everyday things. We’ve done statues, shadows and this week, we’re supposed to be scared of being alone in the dark.

Moffat decided to hybrid timey-wimey with everyday horror in Listen. In many ways, it’s a spiritual successor to Blink, the first time we met the Weeping Angels. Maybe it was a bit too familiar, though.

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MIFF2014: Boyhood

boyhood 1Despite not being a perfect movie, Boyhood delivers one of the most interesting cinematic experiences of the year. Filmed over twelve years, it beautifully highlights the growing pains of childhood but it is also a harrowing reminder how quickly time passes by. Continue reading

Doctor Who: Robot of Sherwood Review

doctor-who-robot-of-sherwood-headerWhat happens when legends meet? I don’t mean two famous people but more what happens when two mythical creatures meet. Sure, we’ve had enough cross-over movies, TV shows and comics that cross-overs have worn out their welcome but there’s still the special moment every now and then.

But what happens when two mythical creatures who aren’t all that mythical get in a battle of egos? That’s the question that is being asked and answered by this weekend’s episode of Doctor Who. The Doctor, a myth throughout space and time, comes face to face with Robin Hood, a myth of Earth. They’re very real and very spectacular.

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