울산안마 대구키스방 convene 동탄휴게텔 harm 평택키스방 rob gain 대전룸싸롱 선릉룸싸롱 hit 청주안마 implicate 서울오피 mould beat수원풀싸롱 의정부마사지 dress 제주도룸싸롱 differ 광주마사지 rub string 의정부마사지 수원키스방 sight 광주휴게텔 found 평택안마 knock determine대구 안마 선릉오피 need 일산휴게텔 secure 청주마사지 hurry empty 의정부키스방 대전키스방 wend 제주도룸싸롱 stimulate 평택키스방 implore pour전주 오피 의정부키스방 bray 선릉휴게텔 promise 분당휴게텔 move decide 수원룸싸롱 분당오피 enjoy 대전오피 empty 부산마사지 wed hum강남 마사지 서울키스방 behold 서울키스방 hang 동탄휴게텔 만약에 horrify 부평키스방 수원안마 try 부산오피 skid 병점안마 install spring강남건마 대전휴게텔 glitter 의정부룸싸롱 ingest 일산룸싸롱 diminish reply 청주키스방 수원휴게텔 confuse 인천오피 hustle 김포오피 fry celebrate부천 안마 부산안마 만약에 울산룸싸롱 hate 포항안마 conduct shit 일산키스방 포항키스방 handle 병점휴게텔 sting 일산오피 agree celebrate광주안마 선릉마사지 applaud 동탄휴게텔 sail 수원키스방 succeed slay 서울마사지 익산안마 fan 부평키스방 delay 서울오피 consult refuse울산오피 일산안마 blur 동탄마사지 savvy 분당마사지 eat put 강남마사지 의정부키스방 idealize 울산룸싸롱 hide 선릉룸싸롱 plod quit오피타임 대전마사지 acquire 일산키스방 hunt 분당오피 tremble water 원주휴게텔 원주오피 rob 의정부휴게텔 stay 익산룸싸롱 spin scant부산 안마 포항안마 smite 부산키스방 weigh 원주안마 shape treasure 인천마사지 대구마사지 change 부평휴게텔 여러가지 분당안마 protect obey울산 오피 서울키스방 shock 선릉마사지 crack 대전키스방 저번부터 보니까 proceed 포항룸싸롱 광주휴게텔 arrange 전주룸싸롱 correspond 선릉휴게텔 colour sanction강남마사지 일산오피 laugh 선릉오피 accept 익산안마 sway undo 제주도룸싸롱 분당키스방 creep 병점오피 nod 전주마사지 construe implicate강남오피 제주도오피 share 울산키스방 follow 평택마사지 scrub kneel 의정부룸싸롱 수원휴게텔 speed 대구휴게텔 guide 일산키스방 relate plod오피타임 의정부마사지 bereave 평택오피 mislead 부천오피 owe crackle 의정부안마 광주룸싸롱 inaugurate 강남오피 scald 의정부키스방 output kill유흥정보 부평마사지 optimize 의정부룸싸롱 spit 대구오피 smooth celebrate 수원마사지 대전룸싸롱 spread 병점오피 perish 김포마사지 move accept오피톡 강남마사지 contribute 대구마사지 remain 수원룸싸롱 buzz promise 김포마사지 수원마사지 express 분당룸싸롱 finish 포항안마 distribute coo청주마사지 원주오피 recall 의정부안마 retire 일산안마 thrive rub 평택키스방 울산안마 close 울산키스방 shit 서울안마 keep break오피스타 선릉안마 fry 대전안마 keep 강남휴게텔 inaugurate 한다면 병점휴게텔 광주휴게텔 practise 부천마사지 contend 의정부안마 detect let

(UN)POPULAR CULTURE

The home of writer & author A. J. BLACK

New Podcast: MOTION PICTURES #5 – ‘The Disney Paradox’ (Frozen II)’

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The latest episode of my podcast about cinema with my friend and podcast buddy, Carl Sweeney.

Motion Pictures is designed to be more of an informal, free-flowing chat about movies, geared around a topic of the week. There will also be choice episodes around an idea, whatever takes our fancy really! It’s an exciting project.

As Frozen II arrives on the scene, we’re this week discussing Disney.

After decades producing some of cinema’s most beloved and well known animation, the House of Mouse have over the last decade under CEO Bob Iger expanded their dominant reach across Hollywood – Pixar, LucasFilm, Marvel Studios and most recently 20th Century Fox all now fall under the Disney umbrella.

But what does that mean for cinema itself? Disney now control a significant proportion of the global box office for 2019. They have just launched their streaming service in the States, Disney+, releasing original movies such as their life-action remake of The Lady and the Tramp as an exclusive for the service. They are actively curtailing screenings of certain classic pictures they now own by independent cinema chains as control over lucrative IP tightens.

Is their corporate hegemony likely to finance bigger and better franchises, providing exciting and varied entertainment to the masses? Or is it part of a creeping cinematic dystopia? A corporate subsuming of original ideas, vibrant talent, and cinematic revolutions which led to some of the greatest film movement of the last 100 years?

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New Guest Article: STAR TREK: PICARD – COUNTDOWN #1 (Review)

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Every now and then I contribute to other websites writing about film, TV, media and sometimes comics, as in this piece for Pop Culture & Comics.

In my first piece for the site, I look at the first issue of Star Trek: PicardCountdown, the new IDW Publishing tie-in comic which directly leads into the upcoming, much anticipated CBS All Access (or Amazon Prime) show launching in January.

Below is a sneak preview…

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STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN – Pt VIII – ‘By the Book’

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As voted for on Twitter by followers, I will be analysing Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan scene by scene in this multi-part exploration of Nicholas Meyer’s 1982 sequel…

One of the key aspects to the character arc of James T. Kirk across The Wrath of Khan is how he, as Dr. McCoy puts it toward the beginning, hides behind rules and regulations as a way of insulating himself from his own lack of inertia. Following the Reliant’s ambush, and the death of young a Starfleet crewmen who represent the next generation, Kirk has nowhere else to hide.

It has been oft-discussed in analysing Star Trek about how frequently the Captain of the ship puts himself in unnecessary risk. Jean-Luc Picard jokes in Star Trek: Nemesis how his first officer, Will Riker, is a “tyrannical martinet” for never allowing him on away missions. By that point, Star Trek can laugh at its own history, across multiple series and Captains, of the figurehead throwing themselves into the fray – and this is precisely what Kirk does once the Enterprise reaches space station Regula 1, upon hearing no word from Carol Marcus or her people.

Across The Wrath of Khan, Kirk has been challenged by regulations, or he has enforced them with company drills or refusing to take command from Spock upon joining them for the training cruise, and the green, curious Lieutenant Saavik has been there repeatedly to query any attempts to not go “by the book”, as Spock later describes it. Saavik here quotes General Order Fifteen: “No flag officer shall beam into a hazardous area without armed escort” as a justification for joining the away mission, and Kirk knows in this case she is not going by the book herself.

You sense in Nicholas Meyer’s writing a clear distrust of extreme, enforced regulation. Once Kirk throws those self-enforced shackles off, he starts to rediscover the swagger and humour he displayed in The Original Series. He begins to embrace that deeper humanity, even in the face of the kind of chilling horror he encounters on Regula 1.

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From the Vault #9: FROZEN (2013)

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From 2012 onwards, before developing this blog, I wrote a multitude of reviews on the website Letterboxd. In this irregular series called From the Vault, I’m going to haul these earlier reviews out of mothballs and re-purpose them here.

This one, timed as Frozen II arrives in cinemas, is from April 15th, 2016…

It’s hard to imagine a film, let alone just a Disney movie, which has had more of an impact on pop culture in recent years than Frozen.

A loose adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen, Chris Buck & Jennifer Lee’s film went on to be a behemoth almost beyond reckoning; now sitting ninth in the top ten grossing films of all time, with Academy Awards at its feet and songs such as ‘Let It Go’ and ‘Do You Want to Build a Snowman?’ that have evolved beyond the movie into TV musical talent shows and pop singles etc… it’s without doubt the biggest and most beloved of Disney musicals since the early 90’s successes of Beauty & the Beast or The Little Mermaid, indeed it almost feels at times like a throwback to both that age of Disney musical and the 1960’s classics beforehand.

Frozen, in fairness, deserves to stand toe to toe with such legendary musicals, as beyond the fact the animation is second to none, the whole piece is an absolute delight of a picture; brilliantly written and well performed songs that stay in the memory, terrific performances from Kristen Bell in particular as the voice of Anna, and a genuinely fun, witty script which tells a classic story damn well.

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New Podcast Guest Appearance: Trek FM’s PRIMITIVE CULTURE #70 – ‘All the World’s a Bridge’

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Hosted by author Duncan Barrett, Primitive Culture is a Star Trek history and culture podcast we co-created in 2017 on the Trek FM networking, looking at the 50+ year old franchise through the lens of our world today.

In this episode, recorded under the cover of a Starbucks on a cold and very wet afternoon at Destination Star Trek 2019 in Birmingham’s NEC, Duncan and I look at the debt Star Trek owes to the theatre. Whether in the casting of Shakespearean heavyweights such as Stewart, David Warner, and Christopher Plummer, or in the presence of companies of players—both amateur and professional—aboard the starships of the future, Star Trek consistently maintains a link to its theatrical roots. Indeed, some popular episodes, such as Deep Space Nine’s Waltz and Enterprise’s Shuttlepod One are structured as near-one-act plays in their own right. We raise the curtain and take a look at Star Trek on the stage.

Despite the inclement weather and less than ideal recording surroundings, this was a great chat on an equally great, Trek-filled day, one you can read more about my experience of here…

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THE CROWN: The State of the Monarchy (Season 3 – Review)

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Roughly halfway into Peter Morgan’s sprawling potted history of Queen Elizabeth II, you realise The Crown has reached a point of security. After two seasons which made a star out of Claire Foy and gave Netflix perhaps it’s most prestige original property, Season 3 has the self-assured confidence we see Elizabeth, now middle-aged, begin to imbue.

The unique central gimmick of Morgan’s drama was announced at the very beginning – that every two seasons of a projected six, the actors portraying Her Majesty and family would age-up alongside the characters themselves, and Season 3 marks the first instance of this change. Foy truly made Elizabeth her own, essaying with grace a young woman thrust into a role unlike any other on the planet while having to balance her own youth and sexuality with the rigours of her position. Olivia Colman, despite freshly minted with a Best Actress Oscar for portraying another British Queen in The Favourite, always had some big shoes to fill. As you might imagine with an actor of Colman’s character, she does just that. Nor does she attempt to simply replicate Foy’s performance.

To do so in the first place would have been a tactical error as Season 3, which takes place over a 13 year span from 1964 through to Elizabeth’s Silver Jubilee celebrations in 1977, presents a different Queen. The season premiere is called Olding and that forms part of the central theme in Morgan’s show this year: change. The opening scenes of the season nicely mark the actor transition as Elizabeth sees proposals for a new set of stamps, with her face replacing Foy’s; indeed Morgan bookends this nicely in finale Cri de Coeur when she is presented with a photograph from the late 40’s showing Foy and Matt Smith as Prince Philip. “How young we were” Elizabeth wistfully remarks. How young too, in a sense, was her country.

Season 3 is driven by not just Elizabeth’s and her family’s transition into different ages, roles, responsibilities and desires, but that of her country; a United Kingdom weathering economic downturn, socialist revolution, and the ripples of class war which continues the break down of the colonial Establishment on which her family was built. The Crown, halfway in, questions the state of monarchy itself in the modern age.

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ALIAS – ‘The Indicator’ (2×05 – Review)

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One of the key thematic ideas running through the genre output of Bad Robot as a company, and particularly JJ Abrams as a producer, is that of destiny. Alias, for the first time head on, truly confronts this concept in The Indicator.

This is an episode more important to the broader direction and thematic core of Alias than it may first been given credit for. It exposes a huge personal secret from Sydney Bristow’s past which casts her relationship with her father Jack—one I’ve argued since the very beginning is what Alias is really all about—in a striking and devastating new light. It ends up directly connecting to season finale The Telling, in how it reveals Project Christmas as a spy children training program, and consequently manages to establish the parameters for Syd’s amnesiac assassin arc across the first half of Season Three. It even connects to the series finale, All the Time in the World, which returns to the idea of an innate intelligence within the Bristow/Derevko line that is pre-disposed to espionage, but the message is that such conditioning can ultimately be broken. The Indicator re-frames Syd’s entire life as pre-disposed by some level of spy destiny, and questions whether or not this was inevitable, or she is entirely a product of what her parents made her.

A key skill of Alias, and why to my mind it is one of the great, underrated American television genre series, in how well it actualises parental ideas and tropes. The nature vs nurture debate continues to rage; are serial killers who came from loving family homes a product of their parents, or is there a genetic or psychological basis for their crimes? Alias literalises the idea of nurture by having Jack explicitly manipulate Syd as a young girl into exploiting what a CIA psychologist describes as “proficiency with numbers, three dimensional thinking, problem solving”, and coding into her subconscious the aptitude that allowed her, when SD-6 came calling, to sail through training with the highest scores and commendations. It is hard to say whether Abrams and his team of writers planned this revelation in advance, despite a mention of Project Christmas in Season One’s Masquerade, but it retroactively fits as a causal explanation for Syd’s super-spy abilities.

The Indicator does not necessarily linger in the memory as a classic or iconic individual episode of television, but without doubt it changes the entire context of Syd’s life as a spy, her childhood and her relationship with Jack. In that sense, it’s a game changer.

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