Jeeves & Wooster (ITV)
Season One, Original airdates: April 22 – May 13, 1990
Written by P.G. Wodehouse and Clive Exton
Directed by Robert Young
Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie were a very well-known comedy duo in the U.K. coming out of the late 1980s. They had a top-rated skit comedy series, A Bit of Fry & Laurie, while making appearances in Rowan Atkinson’s Black Adder show. When it came time to cast the iconic English valet and his buffoonish employer Fry & Laurie were hesitant to step into such significant roles. When it became apparent the show was going to be made whether they were in it or not, they took the parts believing they could do the original text justice.
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Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (1990)
Written & Directed by Tom Stoppard
In Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, the characters of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are schoolmates of the title character as well as sycophants for King Claudius in his machinations to eliminate his nephew as a problem. They ultimately agree to take Hamlet to England after he murders Polonius, unaware that Claudius’ letter to the monarchy calls for Hamlet to be killed. Hamlet discovers the letter and rewrites it so that upon arrival, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are the ones hung. It can be argued that these two supporting characters navigate the narrative in complete ignorance as to the greater agendas at work in Castle Elsinore. They just sort of bumble about and then die.
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Extra Ordinary (2020)
Written and Directed by Enda Loughman & Mike Ahern
The Conjuring meets Edgar Wright would be one of the best ways to describe this hilarious horror-comedy. Wright has such a distinct visual style, and it’s clear these filmmakers are great fans of his, putting those little touches without becoming a knock off. There is still enough of a distinct comedic voice that it differentiates itself but remains firmly in the same subgenre where these two types of films meet. There are some missteps along the way and some underused cast members, but overall it’s a refreshing break from the typical comedic pablum seen in theaters most weekends.
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Written by Garret Shanely
Directed by Lorcan Finnegan
The concept behind Vivarium is deeply intriguing. A young couple (Imogen Poots & Jesse Eisenberg), just beginning their lives together, steps into a realty office just for a laugh. They are met by a strange realtor who is extremely aggressive in an alien polite way to get them to leave the office and visit Yonder, a picture-perfect suburb. His pitch for the house is peppered with questions about the couple’s current status and as time passes he loses the warmth once presented. Then the realtor is gone and the couple finds themselves unable to find the exit to return to their lives. They become trapped in Yonder. One morning a box appears outside the house. Inside is a baby and a message “Raise the child and be released”.
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Miracleman: The Red King Syndrome
Reprints Miracleman #5-10
Written by Alan Moore
Art by Alan Davis and Chuck Beckham
In 2012, researchers at the University of Cambridge did a survey of the British people about their beliefs in conspiracy theories. It was found that 60% of Britons believe at least one conspiracy theory. Some of those theories accepted by residents of the U.K. include the government hiding the exact immigration numbers in the country, a plot to make Muslims the political majority in the kingdom, and most telling, that while they are told their country is a democracy, everything is run by a power elite. (The Guardian UK). These theories about the actual workings of the world have percolated in Western cultures for centuries, but it was the 1980s and 90s where they came to full fruition, able to guide the momentum of elections and referendums. In this second volume of Miracleman, Alan Moore fleshes out a conspiracy related to the rulers of the world that speaks to some more significant metaphysical points.
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Miracleman Volume 1: A Dream of Flying
Reprints Miracleman #1-4
Written by Alan Moore
Art by Garry Leach and Alan Davis
Your first question may likely be, “Who is Miracleman?” Well, you start with Fawcett Comics and their flagship character Captain Marvel. You know him today as Shazam. Captain Marvel was more popular than Superman at one point in the 1940s. Elvis Presley’s hairstyle is based on Cap’s sidekick, Captain Marvel Jr. In 1951, DC eventually sued Fawcett claiming that Cap was too similar to Superman and thus a copyright violation. The courts ruled in favor of DC and Fawcett ceased publication of Captain Marvel. Years later, DC would buy the now failed Fawcett Comics and fold Cap into their properties.
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Written & Directed by Matthew Holness
Horror is not a monster wanting to eat you or a masked killer wielding a knife. Horror is the inability to trust your own mind, the lines between reality and subconscious terror blending so that your waking hours are swallowed up by fear. What adds to that is the inability to express what is happening inside your mind so that these traumatic experiences become a mire, in which you drown alone, unheard & unseen. This is the horror writer-director Matthew Holness brings us in Possum. Holness is best known for his comedy series Garth Merenghi which offered a silly take on retro-horror. Here there is no humor to cut through the darkness, we must bear witness to it.
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