Revisiting Utopia – Series 1, Episode 6

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Utopia Series 1, Episode 6 (2013)
Written by Dennis Kelly
Directed by Marc Munden
utopia pearson finale

“Who We Are, Who We Become” is my unofficial title for this final episode of Utopia’s first season. Jessica Hyde has brought the manuscript to the runaways, and now it feels like all the pieces are coming together. But throughout this episode, we see characters either confirming they are who we always thought they were or revealing a turn and surprising us with their actual role. It’s the sort of surprise overload you would expect for a series finale of this sort of program. The paranoia is amped up, and bonds are either shredded entirely or strengthened through trust being revealed as earned.

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Movie Review – The Manchurian Candidate


The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
Written by George Axelrod
Directed by John Frankenheimer

the manchurian candidate

A platoon of U.S. soldiers fighting in Korea is abducted by Soviets and taken across the border into China. Then months later they are returning to the States with Sgt. Raymond Shaw receiving the Medal of Honor for bravery under fire. However, the surviving members of his platoon are having strange nightmares of sitting among a ladies auxiliary meeting on flowers. The commanding officer, Captain Marco believes these dreams hide a secret about what really happened in Korea and truth behind Shaw’s heroism. Meanwhile, Shaw is pulled into the political ambitions of his mother, Eleanor and his stepfather, Senator Iselin. Shaw is also receiving strange phone calls that trigger weird behaviors. This rabbit hole will pull Marco and Shaw to ending neither of them can avoid.

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Revisiting Utopia – Series 1, Episode 5

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Utopia Series 1, Episode 5 (2013)
Written by Dennis Kelly
Directed by Marc Munden

utopia jessica arby

An easy unofficial title for this one: “Deals.” And this is a title that works on multiple levels. The easiest is that much of this episode addresses the fictional Deal’s disease that has been spoken about during the series. Becky’s father died from it, and now she fears she inherited it from him. Each character is also making deals with people they probably shouldn’t but are forced to as an act of survival. As we push into the finale, we see alliances crumbling, new ones forming, and everyone being pushed further to the brink.

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TV Review – Channel Zero: Butcher’s Block

Channel Zero: Butcher’s Block (2018)
Written by Nick Antosca
Directed by Arkasha Stevenson

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Sisters Alice and Zoe are attempting to start their lives over and end up in a new city, adjacent to the Butcher’s Block neighborhood. This neighboring slum is infamous for what happens at night when residents seem to vanish into thin air. There is a connection to a nearby park which used to be the land belonging to the Peach family, a wealthy old South type of family who ran the now decaying meat processing plant. People talk about strange figures that roam the park at night and a staircase going nowhere that pops up. You are warned to never go near those stairs, to turn around and leave if you see them. Into this strange melange of urban legends, our two protagonists are dropped, and they might not make it out alive.

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Movie Review – The Incident

The Incident (2014)
Written & Directed by Isaac Ezban


Two brothers have been caught red-handed committing an undescribed crime. They are ambushed by a police officer who directs them down the stairwell of their apartment building to his car. However, on the way, a loud boom sounds from somewhere outside, and suddenly they find themselves caught in a looping stairwell without end or beginning. A family sets out to drop off the kids with their father while mom and stepdad are headed to the beach. On the road, they hear a loud boom and then find themselves on an infinitely looping stretch of highway. What is happening? Why are these people trapped?

It is literally impossible to discuss this film without spoilers so if you don’t want to know what happens, turn back now. The film is on Netflix, come back after you have watched it.

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Revisiting Utopia – Series 1, Episode 4

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Utopia – Series 1, Episode 4 (2013)
Written by Dennis Kelly
Directed by Marc Munden

becky utopia

As I have come up with unofficial titles to these episodes so far, I feel compelled to do so with this one. It’s a toughie to pinpoint the exact theme on this chapter, but I think I would go with “We Become What We Hate,” as the episode features many characters crossing that line and playing The Network’s game. People become killers, they engage in manipulation, and they find themselves struggling to survive. Relationships definitely begin to fray, and we see that our group on the run may not be able to hold together for much longer.

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Movie Review – Lost River

Lost River (2014)
Written and Directed by Ryan Gosling

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In a rundown neighborhood of Detroit lives Bones, his mother Billie, and his little brother Franky. Bones is focused on stripping abandoned homes of copper so he can buy replacement engine parts for his car. The ultimate goal is to get the car running and get out of town. Billie, on the other hand, is concerned about holding onto her mother’s house, one of many decaying homes on a nearly deserted street. This involves her entering into a dark deal with a banker and taking a job at a macabre nightclub. Bones, meanwhile, has started a relationship with his next-door neighbor Rat and is attempting to avoid the vengeful wrath of Bully, a man who believes himself a sort of overlord of this neighborhood.

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