First Man (2018)

A 2018 biopic titled “First Man” invites expectations of, if not a chest-thumping celebration of NASA and its success in landing men on the Moon, then at least a celebration of the life of Neil Armstrong, the titular man itself. The film is neither. It’s not a celebration at all. It’s an relentlessly interior dive…

I Saw the Devil (2010)

“I Saw the Devil” starts out as a well-executed, particularly gruesome revenge horror/thriller movie, with the sort of tropes and violence that come with that. When it turns to the “by the protagonist pursuing revenge, they are in fact becoming like the monster they are pursuing!” morality play in the second act, it feels a…

The Invitation (2015)

Self-assured and very conscious of its pacing in every sense, “The Invitation” is a sombre, tense take on the “dinner party from hell” mystery/thriller/horror subgenre. The film does an excellent job of building up its tension and layering its character relationships so when the ugliness of the third act begins, it feels as much catharsis…

Venom (2018)

From the poster to the tone to the tie-in song, “Venom” feels like it could have come out fourteen years ago. The utter edgy shlock of it all, the poster riffing off Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man 2”, the Eminem title track, even the utter lunacy of Tom Hardy’s deranged, Jim Carry-esque performance. What a complete delight.…

Torchwood: Hidden (2008) by Steven Savile

“Hidden” is an odd story in an odd range, a series of ten audiobooks not based on any actual books. That is, these stories were never released in print, they exist only as read-aloud-audiobooks, even though the actual writing is entirely prose and in every sense a novel. This enlivens the actual stories being told…

Torchwood: Border Princes (2007) by Dan Abnett

It’s interesting that the first novel in this Torchwood tie-in range precipitated something the actual series would later cover (a relationship of Owen’s in around 2004 factoring into why he joined Torchwood, in “Fragments”), because this novel much more directly does something a later episode (”Adam”) would do, in introducing a new member of the…