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A Rebranding: Some Thoughts 

I’ve posted before that I’ve been brainstorming some ways to rework this blog. A lot of my ongoing series have moved to http://www.geekgirlauthority.com. Check out lots more of my work there. To avoid duplication of content, things here have stagnated for a while as I made a plan. 

This doesn’t mean that the nerd content is going away, both check out my work on the site above, and my really random craziness will continue to be here as I discover it. 

As I’ve mentioned, ever since I was a tiny little film student, I’ve been passionate about classic Hollywood…specifically the 1930s through the 1970s. I’ve been jumpstarting some of my more scholarly ventures, and as such I would love to use this blog to reflect the work I’m doing in my research. 

Stay tuned… Lots more to come. 

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Not Dead…

This website is not dead! In fact it’s feeling a bit better… Anywhoo… just making sure y’all know that things are just on a bit of a hiatus while I do some rebuilding. In the meantime, check out what I’m working on here

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Republic of Doyle Recap: (S01E01) “Fathers and Sons”

Jake Doyle (Allan Hawco) seemingly can’t catch a break. Between his ex-wife Nikki (Rachel Wilson), the ribbing he takes from his father, and the physicality of his collars as a Private Investigator, the literal and metaphorical punches just keep right on coming.

As the pilot episode opens, Jake chases graffiti artist Des Courtney (Mark O’Brien) through the quaint residential streets of St. John’s Newfoundland. The first scene does an incredible job in setting up the tongue-in-cheek tone of the mystery dramedy series. As Jake moves through the streets at full sprint, he bickers with his father (and fellow private investigator) Malachy Doyle (Sean McGinley). Mal says to his son, “You used to be a lot faster!” The scene is an impressive sequence by Hawco, who jumps into the stunt with both feet and pulls off the quipped dialogue easily. 

The series is strongly rooted in its colorful, and well-crafted characters. Before the case even starts, we’re introduced to the entire Doyle family. Including Malachy’s girlfriend Rose Miller (Lynda Boyd) and his granddaughter Tinny (Marthe Bernard). Even in the pilot episode, there is already a definite chemistry between the actors. They seem completely comfortable with each other, as well as the sometimes rapid fire dialogue.

The case of the week involves a Benny Natchie (Shaun Majumder). A DJ on a “Party Boat”, who was arrested for attacking his boss, Brian Harris. It seems like an open and shut case, as Benny was found standing over the man, covered in his blood.

As the Doyle’s dig further into the case, things get increasingly complicated. There are drugs, extra-martial affairs, and mysterious cowboys from Ottawa who have already come under the attentions of the local police force. While working the case, Jake butts heads (in the most flirtacious way possible) with Constable Leslie Bennett (Krystin Pellerin), who’s been tasked with the Natchie case.

As the episode comes to a close, Jake is able to bring the case to a successful conclusion. Benny has been cleared, after Harris’ widow Theresa (Alex Paxton-Beesley) slips up, and visits him in prison using her sister’s identity. While they knew early in the episode that Theresa was pregnant, they didn’t know the baby was actually Benny’s. Jake puts everything together. When Brian learned of his wife’s infidelity, a massive confrontation between the men happened. Theresa is forced to defend Benny against Brian, resulting in his death.

This series is another which seems to have hit the ground running. The amazingly talented Hawco (who created the show, as well as served as one of the writers and show runners) creates a stellar character in Jake Doyle, and the environment surrounding the characters (which was filmed on location in St. John’s) is vivid and perfectly captured.

Stay tuned next week for episode two.

Viewers in the United States can check out the full run of Republic of Doyle on both Netflix and Hulu. Series star Allan Hawco can soon be seen on Frontier, which premieres in November in Canada (and on Netflix in 2017 everywhere else).

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Pardon While I Fangirl: Nathan Page

As I recently came clean on in another blog post, Miss. Fisher’s Murder Mysteries is one of my latest obsessions. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Thank goodness for Netflix. The Australian mystery series, has amazingly quippy writing, delightful costumes, fun and likable characters appearing in well-crafted and interesting stories.

In this week’s installment of Pardon While I Fangirl, I wanted to take a bit to spotlight the work of series co-star and romantic lead Nathan Page, who has quickly scaled to the top of my (admittedly lengthy) list of schoolgirl infatuations.

Nathan Page is a relative newcomer to television screens, having moved into acting as a second career. The talented actor has an interesting back story, having first jumped into popular consciousness as a professional cyclist. A number of sources report that he left the sport at 19 because “he was one of only a few cyclists on the European tour determined to stay clean.” (Sydney Morning Herald 9.6.2013). The Herald goes on to quote Page, “It was an era that was plagued by drugs and it was very hard to see your way through to a long career.” (SMH 9.6.2013).

It was reportedly the “wilderness” of having stepped away from his sporting career that first propelled Nathan Page into an acting career. IMDB cites his first role as a film Strange Fits of Passion in 1999. In the 17 years which have followed, Page has been acting steadily, primarily on Australian television.

The most accessible roles  for those not living in Australia are Miss. Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, as well as a recurring guest role through eight episodes of Underbelly (a long running procedural, which is available to stream on various websites). However, most of us sit with bated breath, waiting for some announcement on the presumed upcoming fourth season of Miss. Fisher’s Murder Mysteries to see where the characters go after THAT season finale (spoilers, sweetie!).

The crime fighting duo with no sense of personal space…

It is Page’s incredible chemistry with Miss. Fisher star Essie Davis which contributes to Miss. Fisher’s success as a series. The relationship between the two characters is quippy and fun, while at the same time boiling at some level under the surface, at which both are unable or unwilling to act on the feelings.

Page has spoken in interviews about injecting an amount of wounded post-war masculinity into the character of Jack.  There has been a tremendous amount written on the sense of wounded masculinity following WWII (a scholarly passion of mine), but WWI has largely been forgotten about in the grand scheme of things. As the series has developed, we’ve gotten tantalyzing insight’s into Jack’s past. We knew he fought in the War and married young. By the time we enter the series, he’s already had a lengthy career in the police force, and has been moving himself up the ranks. The character has seen alot, and he’s not immune to the trauma. He’s not a communicator. He keeps alot about him hidden just below the surface, including his feelings for Miss. Fisher.

So, to wrap up a piece which is quickly growing in length, I find myself continually blown away with every performance of Page’s which I have been able to see. Thanks to the joys of streaming, it’s slowly getting easier to find his Australian work here in the States.  However, I would encourage fangirls the world over to check out the work of this talented actor. Producers and screenwriters… hint… hint. He needs to be on my television screen much more.

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The Canal: A Review 

The horror movie genre is one which has underwent tremendous change in the last twenty years or so. Directors like James Wan and Eli Roth have ushered in a lot of flexibility in the genre. Everything from torture porn to haunted house films can easily find an audience in today’s market.

The Canal is a small, low-budget horror movie, which at first glance doesn’t fall majorly into any one of the horror sub-genres. The narrative follows David (Rupert Evans) and his wife Alice (Hannah Hoekstra) as they move into a new home, just off a rural canal. David, a film historian and archivist, has some found footage come into his possession where he learns that his house was the scene of a grisly murder. The couple gradually begins to grow apart as David’s suspicions escalate that his wife is cheating on him. When Alice is found dead, just after her affair with a client is disoovered, David is left alone with their young son Billy (Calum Heath). As David gradually looses his grasp on reality, it becomes almost impossible for even the audience to tell where reality begins and ends.

Rupert Evans gives a stunning performance as the tormented David. Evans is probably best known for the role of John  in the superhero fantasy film Hellboy, and more recently as Frank Frink in the Amazon drama The Man in the High Castle. The role of David is a tricky one, and runs the risk of being unlikable in the wrong hands. In his portrayal, Evans injects a needed fragility and wounded masculinity into the character. There is a tremendous depth to David, which makes his sympathetic even as his world spins out of control.

The film’s take on horror is a bit uneven. As the narrative continues on, the feel of the movie fluctuates between the simmering tension of the more subtle, jump-scare based horror to the over the top, gross-out feel of “Well, I’m not going to unsee that!” The narrative is far more effective when it’s crafting jump-scares, and is working with the horror of the unseen or unknown. There are moments in the film which almost feel too much, and filmmakers should have gone with a less is more mentality.

Treatment of the horror aside, The Canal has a stellar visual look to it. The filmmakers, perhaps aware that David is a film archivist come at the visual aesthetic of the film with the eye of a film scholar. They show willingness to play with different looks and aesthetics to shape the feel of the movie.

The Canal is an interesting unique, independent film. The plot and look of the film are fascinating, and the depth of Rupert Evans performance contributes greatly to the scope of the film. Fans of the horror movie genre should check it out.

My verdict: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

 

 

 

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Murdoch Mysteries Rewatch: S01E01 “Power”

On Monday October 10th, the long-running, Canadian historical procedural Murdoch Mysteries will start its’ tenth season. To celebrate the start of the milestone season (it will bring the series up to 155 episodes), I’m rewatching of the series, starting from the pilot.

The first episode opens in a fully realized environment. Our main characters are almost all in attendance at a demonstration promoting DC power over AC in turn of the century Toronto. The demonstration is spoiled when Alice Howard (Tamsen McDonough) is violently electrocuted in what initially appears to be an accidental death. However, Detective William Murdoch (Yannick Bisson) is on the case.

Working alongside Murdoch is Constable George Crabtree (Jonny Harris), Toronto City Coroner Dr. Julia Ogden (Helene Joy) and Inspector Thomas Brackenreid (Thomas Craig).

In the process of the investigation, Murdoch ends up in the workspace of scientist Nikola Tesla (Dmitry Chepovetsky), where the characters (the intelligent Murdoch being a tremendous admirer of Tesla’s) establish the science of the episode. The moment is an intelligent and realized one, as the awareness of history in the scene is something that will become a hallmark of the influential series.

There are a number of suspects in the well-attended murder, including  Edna Garrison, an animal rights activist who is protesting the involvement of a dog in the electrical experiment. Constable Crabtree, very much on the frontline of the activity, is heavily smitten with the young activist, allowing viewers to get to know the likable, young constable. The courtship scenes between George and Garrison (Tamara Hope) give the series a respite from the heavy science of the pilot episode.

The relationship between Murdoch and Dr. Ogden is set up almost immediately in the pilot. The two characters (who’s will-they-or-won’t-they relationship has been an important one throughout the lengthy run of the series) seem to be well realized from the onset of the episode. The two actors show almost immediate chemistry as they work together to solve Alice’s murder.

The story becomes more complicated when Daniel Pratt (David Huband), one of the chief suspects (he’s one of multiple men romantically linked to the victim) is also killed by electrocution.

It is the science that cracks the case as Murdoch and Tesla are able to illicit a final confession with the aid of an advanced wireless recording device, which is able to ensnare the killer (Patrick Garrow). He had targeted Miss. Howard, who was five weeks pregnant with his child.

As Murdoch’s Mysteries starts season 10, the show demonstrates that it was largely realized right from the pilot. From the beginning of the episode, it is clear that the shows likable characters are well-developed, as is the complicated and creative setting (as is the tone) of the period mystery series.