Tagged: Film & TV

The X-Files Revival Diary:
Episode 2, Founder’s Mutation

Dear Diary,

You’ll be glad to hear that The Internet was right; the X-Files revival did get better after the first episode. And we’re definitely making progress towards Monster of the Week territory. I think Founder’s Mutation works very well as a bridge from the season opener into what will hopefully be a few standalone MOTW episodes now that we’ve brought everybody up to speed on the mythology.

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The X-Files Revival Diary:
Episode 1, My Struggle

Dear Diary,

The X-Files is back. I have all the feels.

I was playing it cool for the past year or so, ever since the announcement came. It was no big deal. I was totally over my teenage obsession, there was no need to re-watch all 202 episodes of the series in preparation for that. I was so over it. I was totally not the world’s biggest X-Files fan anymore.

Well, what can I say, dear diary. Yesterday at 20:59 I turned on the TV and my heart exploded in a million pieces of fangirl love. I had tears in my eyes when the voice of Mulder told the prologue. I heard four whistled notes and I was thirteen again. The X-Files was back.


I had all the feels, I had all the expectations. And I was sorely underwhelmed. I read that it gets better though, so I will hold onto that glimmer of hope for next week.

Until then, dear diary, here’s a short reaction piece on Episode 203: My Struggle.



CGI (and budget) has come a long way since the 90s…


What’s up with Scully’s hair? This is all wrong.

Wait. That’s the same old.

OMG it’s a conspiracy!

Same old, same old.


Deja vu, anyone?

Welcome to 2016. We have drones and smartphones! Oh wait, maybe I can google it! (Skinner way way ahead on that front in 2008.)

More same old.

Epic sigh. Really, do we have to do this all over again?




Thanks for listening, dear diary. Until next week.

re:View – Third Star

I’ll keep this one brief because I want you all to watch this movie and I can’t possibly spoil it.

Third Star is a quiet, soul-searching kind of film about friendship and love and life, that follows a terminally ill young man and his three best friends on their final big adventure together – a hiking trip to the remote Welsh countryside.

The premise is simple enough, but this movie is deep, heavy stuff. After watching the end I felt physically sick – I literally just wanted to curl up in a corner and be ill. I couldn’t even cry; this film is beyond crying. That’s how well it is made, and acted. Its impact is so real that it leaves you feeling like you’ve just been kicked in the stomach.

This movie is beautiful and terrible and I never want to watch it again because I couldn’t sit through the ending a second time. But you need to watch it. Watch it now.

Image from thirdstarmovie.com

Pens: 5 out of 5, and a gold pen to Benedict Cumberbatch for acting pain so well it just hurts.

re:View – Star Trek: Into Khan’s Private Quarters Please Darkness

So I’ve been to the cinema to watch Something With Benedict Cumberbatch In It Start Trek: Into Darkness. And was quite surprised to be reminded how much I used to love Star Trek. (Not sure how I ever forgot.)

I don’t think my brain is currently working enough to put a coherent review together, so I’ll just write down some thoughts that crossed my mind while watching the movie, in roughly chronological order. If you manage to make any sense of this, the result might contain some spoilers.

  1. Spock’s a hero.
  2. Kirk’s a hero, too.
  3. Heroism is well underrated in Starfleet HQ.
  4. Spock just doesn’t get it, does he?
  6. Kirk’s being a hero again.
  7. Benedict Cumberbatch is extremely watchable in spandex this role.
  9. Simon Pegg as Scotty is one of the funniest things the Enterprise has ever seen.
  10. There’s not enough of Benedict Cumberbatch in this film.
  11. Oh hello, you beautiful dark stranger wielding futuristic heavy weapons!
  12. Khan: 1; Klingon army: 0
  13. NOT THE FACE!!!!!!!
  14. Kirk remembers he’s got some moral integrity.
  15. (And he’s so going to regret it.)
  16. Khan has a heart. And a bloody good reason for doing all this evil shit.
  17. Benedict Cumberbatch’s acting is flawless. That tear…
  18. Unexpected shit happens.
  19. Everyone on board gets their turn at being a hero.
  20. Kirk-sickle and Khan-sickle shooting through space faster than the speed of light. TOO. FUCKING. EXCITING.
  21. Scotty saves the day.
  22. Khan: “BTW I’m actually totally evil AND YOU WILL ALL DIE NOW, kthxbye.”
  23. Assorted heroism; stuff breaks big time.
  24. Khan actually gets hotter the more violent he becomes.
  25. Spock finally gets it and proceeds to being an even bigger hero.
  27. Kirk’s still the biggest hero of them all.
  28. Some tragic shit happens and I get a bit worried.
  29. Naah, of course it ends well. It’s Star Trek!
  30. I’ll faint now. Just freeze me and put me in that cryotube with Khan, ok?

The best thing about this film, though, is the fact that it inspired the Internet to do THIS:


These are from the guys awesome lady at Khan&Kittens on tumblr and there are dozens more…

Thank god I’m finally obsessed
with Sherlock!

I’ve recently gotten into Sherlock. I know, took my time. But I’m making up for the slowness – I just don’t have enough time to watch TV! – with the level of my obsession.

So, as I normally do when I start obsessing about something, I went on the internet. And the the internet instantly reminded me of the wonders of fandom, the ship, losing a whole day in fanfiction…and that you can never follow too many feeds posting pictures of Benedict Cumberbatch.

I think I’m enjoying this so much because it takes me back to the days when I was a teenager, had a lot more time to watch TV, and stayed up all night reading (or writing) fanfic and browsing into infinity through forums and galleries. And also because Sherlock is the first TV drama that has really gotten to me in this way since the end of X-Files.

Cheekbones alert! (It’s ok to faint a little.)


Ooh, obsessions. How I missed you.

Other contributing factors are certainly that I’ve always been a fan of the original Sherlock stories and, to no small extent, that the Cumberbatch is so damn perfect as Sherlock (and in pretty much every other way, but let’s not digress.)

And then there’s #johnlock. Careful when you tumblr that – the likeliness of NSFW content is high. Johnlock has become the fan community’s label for the relationship between Sherlock and John Watson, which is certainly an interesting one whether you ship it or not. (If you are asking yourself what all this has to do with marine vessels, it’s probably time to look up shipping at this point.)

I’m not exactly a shipper when it comes to Sherlock. Maybe a little bit ship-curious. But I do think that the writers of the series have done a tremendous job in crafting a modern version of the legendary relationship between Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, acknowledging the “are they / are they not?” question with a lighthearted nod at regular intervals. And even though you’d think the writers had fired a fatal blow at the ship by saying recently that romance is not going to happen – “they’re just not wired that way”, apparently – there is certainly enough subtext going on in each episode to keep the ship floating.

So, as much as I enjoy watching and re-watching, and re-watching, and pause-facing Sherlock, I enjoy scrolling through miles of my tumblr and Instagram feeds filled with fun and fancy artwork and shared obsessions. I find it fascinating – and immense fun – to delve into the fandom and observe other people’s perceptions of a TV drama I’m loving. I want to STUDY this stuff. Seriously: If I was still at uni I would totally propose a dissertation analysing the internet’s reaction to the BBC’s Sherlock.

Naturally, my little inner fangirl was extremely delighted last week to find Benedict Cumberbatch ACTUALLY TALKING ABOUT THE FANFIC and Johnlock and all that on TV. That’s just like complete meta-awesomeness.

Here’s the full clip of his appearance on Top Gear from YouTube (until the pull it anyway) and since the Cumberbunny is so utterly watchable you might as well watch the whole thing! (Or if you don’t have ten minutes, BuzzFeed it.)

Cumberbatch discussing Star Trek on Top Gear:

It’s a great relationship…between Kirk and Spock… No! You see, this is it. If I talk about a relationship between two men in a drama, they’re immediately at it. The world wide inter-lie will just basically go, splat, there’s a load of fanfiction, which has me and John Watson floating in space, on a bed, handcuffed to one another…and not just with handcuffs, either.

Oh Sherlock, you see, but you don’t observe…the subtext!

How to make Girl with a Pen’s day 100% better

One easy step: http://pausefacescully.blogspot.com/

I can’t begin to tell you how delighted I was to find this blog. Not because of the images – I have at least 10 screenshots of Scully from every episode*, and better ones too. But it’s quite reassuring to know that I’m not the only nutcase out there who stops and screenshots her X-Files DVDs every few minutes purely for the enjoyment a trademark Agent Scully Face.

Click here to view in its full glory size

Now stop looking at me strange. Everybody is entitled to a little obsession in life. Or three.

* Or at least I had, until some fucktard junkie broke into my flat and stole my laptop along with everything else that was worth a penny…

re:View – The 2011 Eurovision live tweet-blogging thing

Last year’s Eurovision live tweet / blog review was mostly a result of watching the final partly out of boredom and partly in protest against a) my granny hanging up on me mid-conversation so she could watch it and b) my general annoyance with the event and everybody being all excited about it. And it turned out to be a lost more fun than I’d thought. Mostly because the entertainment factor was greatly enhanced by the integration of twitter into the viewing experience.

So this year I’m actually quite looking forward to watching the final. (Boyfriend looks less than thrilled.)

And here we go.

Seeing the presenters brings back painful memories of watching TV at home. Anke Engelke (the one in the dress that looks like she slaughtered a flock of swans and then rolled around in their blood-soaked feathers) was pretty much our first successful female comedian on TV. Which was enough for her to become famous, without actually being funny. And Stefan Raab, the butcher-turned-TV presenter who at some point started to consistently write / sing / produce the most appalling music, and yet somehow managed to become incredibly influential in the country’s music scene. The blonde – no clue. But she must be wearing at least twenty rolls of aluminium foil.

Anyway. Here are my thoughts while watching the 25 acts in the final, taken straight from my twitter timeline.

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re:View – 2010 Eurovision live(ish)

I don’t usually watch the Eurovision Song Contest. Why? Let me say it with the words of Jon Bon Jovi, ca. 2003:

Eurovision? Oh, it was amazing. Twenty-seven bad songs.

(Well, probably about as many bad songs as you’ve put out in the last decade, sweetheart.)

But this year I’m watching Eurovision. Why? Mostly because my grandma just ditched me on the phone to go watch Eurovision. And I figured I can’t be less informed than my grandma.

So here’s me watching twenty-seven okay, twenty-five bad songs. Which aren’t even all that bad so far. And since my remote Eurovision viewing company has ditched me, too, I’m having a little Eurovision twitter party all by myself. Like the little twitter slut I am.

And here goes my simultaneous attempt at blogging the whole thing live. Which is already kind of failing as the songs are too short to watch, listen, and tweet about them. I haven’t even got time to grab my coffee from the table across the room. And I need to pee! Whatever happened to commercial breaks?

All right, we just have the pleasure of seeing Spain again (with that performance, I wouldn’t even have noticed something went wrong the first time!) so the live blogging has officially failed. But at least I can catch up now before the, uhm…exciting part starts.

Here’s the Girl with a Pen Eurovision re:View in 140 or less characters, brought to you straight from my twitter timeline:

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WebTV: Orange vs Apple | Trailer of the year | How to lose fans and alienate people

Instead of the Picture of the Week (which, I admit, has become more of a picture of the quarter), let’s do a little round-up of videos that have kept me entertained this week.

1. Comedy: Nerdy Five a Day

Okay, Annoying Orange is a bit pointless and kind of…well, annoying – but trust me, walking down the fruit aisle in your supermarket will never be the same again.


2. Movies: The Oscars are so yesterday (plus I can’t be bothered to blog about them)

Quite simply the smartest and funniest pop culture spoof I’ve seen in a long time.

3. Music: Retirement should be obligatory

I used to have a lot of respect for Meat Loaf’s work, up until he completely missed the point where it would have been appropriate to take a bow and say goodbye to the business (or at least to any attempts at singing live) a couple of years ago. And now along comes this first single from his new album, which seems to promise, above all things, that the story is set to get yet a bit sadder.

Cheesy pop song aside – WTF is this video?
a) A showcase of the latest collection of pimp suits
b) An episode of Scrubs gone very wrong
c) Police Academy 8 (gone equally wrong)
d) A desperate PR stunt aiming for media attention and a week or two in the album top 100

Feel free to throw in your own suggestions.

re:View – Dark Angel, or: How to kill a perfectly good TV show

A friend got me hooked on Dark Angel recently. It’s a show I’d always wanted to watch, but back in the days, when I was still in Germany and still watching TV, its airtime clashed with X Files, so of course Dark Angel never stood a chance. But when my friend recommended the show, along with an offer to lend me her season one DVD set, I immediately hit “pause” on my current J.A.G. DVD marathon and jumped headfirst into a post-apocalyptic Seattle in the year 2019.

And, having finished watching the first season, I can honestly say, what a freaking fabulous show!

It’s got a kick-ass heroine, a ridiculously handsome male sidekick, a story that is thoroughly interesting (and stays interesting), an amibiguous super rogue, ambiguous good guys, a range of minor characters you’d totally want as friends, settings created with a loving eye for detail, a rocking soundtrack, it’s dead funny at times and makes you cry at other times.

So why did I not head off to buy the second season as soon as the credits on the last episode rolled?

Because, for all that’s great about it, Dark Angel has one big, fat, annoying flaw. And even without having seen the second (and final) season, it’s easy to see how this flaw became its downfall.

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