Gay Thursday

If you were a fan of ‘Queer is Folk’ and have been bemoaning the lack of gay-centric TV since we waved goodbye to ‘Will & Grace’, then no more drama please. Because Thursdays just got gay! Way gay.

Although the past decade in film and TV has witnessed a major shift in how gay characters are portrayed on screen, with great writers recognising there are as many shades of gay as there are grey, the Thursday night double bill of ‘Cucumber’ and ‘Looking’ is still a coup for anyone seeking contemporary – and quality – stories that explore gay lifestyles.

Russell T Davies’s new show – along with its ‘Skins’-esque ‘yoof’ spin-off ‘Banana’ – has got over the initial shock tactics to settle into a nice groove, displaying a wicked sense of humour and some truly offbeat characters amongst all the filthy chatter. Meanwhile, Andrew Haigh’s post-‘Weekend’ HBO project ‘Looking’ returns to Sky Atlantic tonight with a second season opening double bill; although it shares the same frankness of ‘Cucumber’, if the neurotic characters and indie vibe of the first season continue then we can expect something dryly funny, emotionally compelling and entirely different to the British eccentricities of ‘Cucumber’. It’s just too bad ‘Looking’ seems to have been shafted with the graveyard post-11pm slot and no longer follows the ‘Girls’ it did back in 2014 – paired with that zeitgeist comedy drama, ‘Looking’ provided a refreshingly honest look at twentysomething gay life alongside Lena Dunham’s own snapshot of a generation.

looking cucumber

Trailer Tuesday: Jurassic Evolution

Oh, to be 7 years old and simultaneously wowed and scared shitless in the cinema all over again. Back in 1993, I was either too young (and, as we all were back then, internet-less) to have caught a trailer OR 1993 trailers simply kept the big surprises and money shots for the paying customer’s cinema experience; either way, and I suspect it’s a mix of both, I had no idea of the wondrous experience that lay in wait at UCI cinema for my 7th birthday treat. The T-Rex flipping the car, the dilophosaurus offing the guy from ‘Seinfeld’, velociraptors in the kitchen. OH MY ALAN GRANT!

Thanks to Steven Spielberg, ‘Jurassic Park’ was to me what I imagine ‘Star Wars’ was to my older cousins. I enjoyed the sequels for what they were but I can still remember those two hours in the multiplex, my Mom screaming all holy Hell when Laura Dern is confronted with Samuel Jackson’s, erm, loose limb – those nasty, brilliant surprises remain unforgettable. So, it is with some trepidation that we have the second ‘Jurassic World’ trailer, aired during the Superbowl, revealing what seems to be so much so soon.

Still, Chris Pratt facing off with big beasties and shots of flying dinos swooping down to pick off theme park tourists – the potential is right there! Tamed raptors, though? Hmm. Get them back in the kitchen with Tim and Lex!

Slayer vs Scream

Knockdown dragout time! ‘Celebrity Deathmatch’ WHOM?! Thunderdome ain’t got nothing on this fight of the century…

Yep, as I dip once more into the dangerously addictive world of Funko Pop! Vinyl figures, I end up with a bloody fight to the death on my hands.

buffy vs ghostface
In one corner, we have the homicidal maniac known as ‘Ghostface’, a killer of teens who enjoys scary movies and offing Drew Barrymore in the first 10 minutes. And his nemesis? Sunnydale’s saviour and everybody’s favourite blonde Slayer (Faith was pretty cool, no?), Buffy Summers and her trusty Mr Pointy.

Who will win? It’s gotta be the Buffster right? The girl power is strong in this one – plus payback’s a bitch and SMG already suffered at the hands of the scary masked serial slasher in ‘Scream 2′. Remember?

RIP Cici 'Scream 2'
Place yer bets! I feel like this could become a weekly thing – if only I had enough money for more cute but pointless figures, hmm?

Back of the Net(flix)

24 hours after the release of the trailer for its exclusive ‘Breaking Bad’ spin-off ‘Better Call Saul’, it’s clear that Netflix is the future of TV. Sure, Sky has ‘Fortitude’ coming up and all the HBO shows, not to mention Amazon coming up from behind with their own streaming service (and a commitment to movie production with their new film studio plans), but Netflix’s 2015 schedule of new and returning shows is a reminder that  we are in safe hands. For a small fee, of course.

better call saul

As well as ‘Saul’, which seems set to be a wisecracking companion piece to Heisenberg’s straight-up crack, there is a slew of streamable telly treats coming our way. New ‘House of Cards’ in Feb and ‘Orange is the New Black’ in summer have come to be expected now, but no less cherished; meanwhile, the increasingly eclectic mix of genres looks set to continue with dark US family drama ‘Bloodlines’ approaching in March, mere weeks after ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’, Tina Fey’s irrepressibly bouncy-looking new NY sitcom.

Fey’s new show looks unashamedly girly (more ‘Mean Girls’ than ’30 Rock’ perhaps?) and Netflix’s penchant for girl power shows looks set to continue with Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin in ‘Grace and Frankie’, which may be a gamble but a potential surprise hit if NF’s track record is anything to go by. And, of course, there’s movie-inspired mayhem from ‘Matrix’ minds, the Wachowskis, with their new original series ‘Sense8′ and the first in a promised run of Marvel off-shoots with a ‘Daredevil’ reboot come April. And I get the sense this is still just scratching the surface of a potent TV revolution – bring it on, Netflix!

Trailer Tuesday: Fancy Fantastic?

If you nodded at the question posed by this post’s title, then you’re in for a treat. Not only do you get one fantastic thing, but four – thanks to the new trailer for the imminent ‘The Fantastic Four’ reboot. Superhero nerds everywhere, do your Tuesday jive dance boogie!

I can’t say I’m the authority on the Storms and co., never having encountered the comics or caught the Alba/Evans-starring footnote and its sequel back in the noughties. Back in 2005 of course, not every superhero had to brood and act all taciturn in the shadows quite as much, and this trailer concerns me slightly in that it looks like just any other Nolan-indebted gloomy origin story.

However, with its not-obvious cast choices and a director who has form in directing unusual superhero fodder (Josh Trank previously directed the shaky-cam ‘Chronicle’), this could be a smart move from Twentieth Century Fox, banking gold at the box office with a super collective to rival their ‘X-Men’ franchise. So confident are they, that a 2017 sequel is already in the works… wonder what Marvel Studios are thinking, hmm?

Beyond Teen Movies

What’s a Geek to watch at the cinema as we approach the end of January? There’s actually a reason to turn off Netflix as we have this weekend’s ‘Ex_Machina’ (robot-lady ethical thriller penned by the excellent Alex Garland) prior to next weekend’s big Disney release ‘Big Hero 6′ (kinda-robot blow-up ‘healer’ thang develops friendship with young boy). I want them both, I want them now.

ex_machina big hero 6
But, oh, wait – what’s this?! If you’re a fan of teen movies (and who isn’t?!) then there’s one other film you HAVE to make time for this week or next.

‘Beyond Clueless’, a documentary by Charlie Lyne and narrated by Fairuza Balk (any ‘The Craft’ fans up in heya?!), documents the classic teen flicks of days gone by (the good, the bad, the cult and everything in between), recognising their place in pop culture and what they have to say about those brilliant/horrible years we’re all subjected to.

I’ll always have a special place in my heart for the weirdos who hang about on the fringes – everything from ‘Heathers’ and ‘Rushmore’ to ‘Donnie Darko’ and, of course, ‘The Breakfast Club’ – but I enjoy a mediocre teen flick generally as much as I’ll enjoy a fantastic entry in any other genre. And, as I get older, I still find enjoyment in the likes of ‘Mean Girls’, ‘Easy A’ and ‘Detention’, sharper and funnier than most comedies aimed at so-called adults.

‘Beyond Clueless’, with its equally enticing soundtrack from the undervalued (and John Hughes-indebted) Summer Camp, KNOWS that the teen movie is the underdog of the genre world – and this is its moment to shine at prom, taking the Homecoming title sans bucket o’ pig’s blood. Catch the trailer below then hunt down a screening, you Veronica you!