Short Film Saturdays: “Conscientia”

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Length: 9 minutes

Rating: ★★★ 1/2

After a long hiatus, I’m so happy that Short Film Saturdays is back! Thank you to everyone for your patience, and I’m committed to making it a regular thing this year.

We’re kicking off this round with Conscientia, a film that’s simple but packs a mighty punch. The use of silence in this film is particularly unnerving because it’s commonly associated with jumpscares in the horror genre. With that in mind, I liked the fact that this film didn’t have much of a soundtrack because it makes it feel more realistic and was an excellent way to build tension throughout the narrative.

I thought the two actors were very good, I’m unsure if they’ve been in films before but I would certainly like to see more of their work if they have. It can be hard to show genuine fear but I thought they were very successful and brought the script to life on screen. For an independent short film I was also very impressed with the use of special effects and the way the filmmakers crafted popular horror iconography on a small budget. The use of fake blood in particular was well done, and didn’t look fake at all!

My only real criticism was that the voice of the demon could’ve been a little better. I appreciate they were trying to go for a distorted sound but at times I found it difficult to understand and had to concentrate very hard. Sound recording and design can be tough, especially when it’s an indie production, but unfortunately it just wasn’t quite up to scratch when it came to the demon.

Overall, I thought this was a strong independent horror film that used a lot of techniques which would delight both fans of the genre and newcomers. In addition, I loved the way the film ended as it leaves you with a horrible feeling of dread when the credits begin to role, and really messes with you psychologically!

If Conscientia interests you, I’ve put the link to the film down below. Make sure you let me know your thoughts and give the guys a follow if you’d like to see more from them:

@jumpcutjakob , @nick__deal , @JUMPCUT_FILMS

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Ghost Stories

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Year: 2018
Directed by: Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson
Starring: Andy Nyman, Martin Freeman, Paul Whitehouse, Alex Lawther

Written by Lucy Buglass

For years, mankind has pondered over the existence of ghosts, demons and the paranormal. Many have claimed to have experienced it firsthand, while others dedicate their lives and careers to debunking those experiences. It seems to be a question that no one has been able to answer or prove one way or the other, and this fear of the unknown has been the basis of a number of popular horror stories.

Based on the stage play of the same name, ‘Ghost Stories’ follows skeptic Professor Phillip Goodman’s (Nyman) investigation of three unsolved cases, each one detailing a different haunting. After meeting with his idol and fellow skeptic Charles Cameron, and feeling deflated when he begins to question his lifelong skepticism, Goodman meets with former night watchman Tony…

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An American Atheist in Texas: “The Most Hated Woman In America” Review

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“Three words on my tombstone. “Woman.” I’ve loved being a woman. “Grandmother.” I’ve loved being a grandmother. And “mother.” I have loved being a mother. That’s what I’d like to be remembered for most. That’s what I’d like it to say on my tombstone, but… being who I am, I’m not expecting I’ll be having a goddamn tombstone.”

Rating: ★★★ 1/2

Before watching The Most Hated Woman In America, I had absolutely no idea who Madalyn Murray O’Hair was, what she stood for or why she was so hated. By the time the film was over, O’Hair had quickly become someone I admired. In short, she was an activist hugely passionate about religious freedom and separating church from state, a view that many people strongly disagreed with, particularly in the state of Texas where she was residing. In 1963, she set up a non-profit organisation called American Atheists which soon caused her to become a controversial figure.

As for the film itself, it did feel incredibly low budget and like a “TV movie” as many others have already criticised, but that didn’t detract from my enjoyment too much. If you’re looking for a blockbuster masterpiece, this definitely isn’t the film for you. But if you’re looking for a gritty, real story about an important American figure, then I would certainly recommend it. It is a very intense film with some disturbing moments, particularly surrounding her eventual murder, and seems to blend thriller and biopic together. I do wish the film had been a bit longer or had trimmed scenes down as it felt rushed in places, but I appreciate it’s hard to visually show the entirety of someone’s life in a short space of time.

Melissa Leo did an incredible job at portraying Madalyn, to the point where she almost convinces you that you’re watching the real person. I feel like the film gives you a well rounded view of who she was. She spent every waking moment chasing her cause, one could argue to the point of obsession, but because of this she eventually did enact change in the law. She was brash, outspoken, and fiercely passionate about what she believed in. On top of this, Leo also expertly portrays Madalyn at various points in her life, young and old, and how she changed over the years. I haven’t seen anything else she’s been in but I’m certainly going to keep an eye out for her.

Whilst I don’t believe this film is going to win any prestigious awards, I do believe it’s a very important watch for those of you interested in learning more about American history. As stated above, I had no idea who she was until I watched this film and I’m so glad I did. I learned a lot about her life, and will be reading more about her in the future. From an educational perspective, it’s a must-watch in my eyes.

 

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Exciting Update: Lucy Goes To Jumpcut Online!

Hi everyone,

I’m really excited to announce that I’m branching out, and will also be contributing film reviews to the awesome Jumpcut Online! I definitely won’t be abandoning this blog which means you’ll be seeing more of me whether you like it or not, sorry about that.

Please show the guys at Jumpcut Online some love and give them a follow. Make sure you keep your eyes peeled for any reviews posted by me, too!

Website: https://jumpcutonline.com/
Twitter: @JUMPCUT_ONLINE

This is a really cool opportunity for me to work with some fellow independent film reviewers, so I’m grateful to Jumpcut for welcoming me on board!

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“The Good Place” Review + Q&A with fellow blogger JD Grant!

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This is my first ever collaboration with another blogger, and I’m really excited to finally share it with you guys! Alongside my usual review format, there’s a little Q&A at the end where myself and JD answered a few questions about The Good Place.

You can follow JD on Twitter at @EIPJD and on his blog filmdudeblog.wordpress.com. It was really fun to collaborate with him and hopefully we’ll be doing another one soon!

Review

Rating: ★★★★★

I had no idea what to expect from The Good Place when I first started watching it. I’d decided to curl up and watch it one day when I was feeling ill, and I’d asked Twitter for lighthearted recommendations as I didn’t want to focus on anything too heavy! JD replied, telling me to watch The Good Place as the entire first season was on Netflix. After having a quick read of the synopsis, I decided it was worth a watch.

The show begins with Eleanor Shellstrop waking up in an unfamiliar place. She’s soon greeted by an entity called Michael, who informs her she’s dead and has been sent to the Good Place to spend the afterlife. There’s only one problem with this revelation; Eleanor is not a good person, and she starts worrying she’s been mixed up with someone else and she doesn’t belong there. Her apparent version of paradise is so far removed from her own desires and interests, and everyone else around her have been praised for their numerous achievements and good deeds whilst alive.

Eleanor encounters three other residents; Chidi, her apparent soulmate, and neighbours Tahani and Jianyu. Chidi was a professor of ethics, Tahani was a socialite who raised lots of money for charity, and Jianyu was a silent monk. This only causes Eleanor’s anxieties around her misplacement to grow, as she’d done countless bad deeds, including working for a company that scammed people.

The Good Place is a clever comedy, that has genuinely made me laugh, and I love all the characters. It starts out as being a quirky, upbeat show, but quickly shifts in tone and starts to deal with some important themes and character development. Questions of morality and “goodness” are constantly addressed, and it really makes you think.

If you think this is just another generic American comedy, you couldn’t be more wrong. I binged the entire first season in a couple of days, and the final episode will leave you speechless and ready to binge season 2. I’m trying to avoid spoilers so I won’t say much more, but I urge you to give it a go.

 

The Good Place Q&A with JD

Who is your favourite character and why?

Lucy: I’d have to say Janet! She’s so quirky and fun. D’Arcy Carden does such a good job of playing someone who isn’t actually human at all.

JD: I think Eleanor is a great character and the way she is written is awesome.

Who is your least favourite character and why?

Lucy: Whilst they all have their annoying traits, I don’t dislike any of them!

JD: I don’t have one.

What is your favourite episode?

Lucy: “The Burrito” is definitely my favourite episode because the characters are faced with moral challenges and I loved each individual task.

JD: The one where the travel through The Bad Place because it was brilliant writing.

What is your least favourite episode?

Lucy: I think each episode was well written and acted, so whilst there’s been a few slower moments, I’ve liked every episode so far!

JD: I don’t have one.

What has been your favourite moment so far?

Lucy: Michael’s midlife crisis was hilarious! Ted Danson does such a good job of playing him, whether it’s serious or funny.

JD: The ‘Ya Basic’ line took me by surprise and I ended up pausing it because I was laughing so hard.

Do you think you’d end up in the Good Place or the Bad Place?

Lucy: Hopefully The Good Place, I don’t think I’ve done anything too bad!

JD: I would hope The Good Place!

Did you see the end of season 1 coming, or did it take you by surprise?

Lucy: I didn’t see it coming at all! It quickly went from a funny, upbeat, slightly silly NBC show, to something with much darker undertones.

JD: I knew a big twist was coming (because a friend told me) but I didn’t see that coming.

If you were in the Bad Place how would you be tortured?

Lucy: I’d be constantly reminded of my own insecurities and would never be able to escape them no matter how hard I tried. Dark, I know!

JD: I think I would be made to watch Noah (My least favourite film) over and over again.

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“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”: My surprising new Netflix obsession

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There are no signs. Life doesn’t happen to you, you make decisions. And right now, I’m deciding to move forward with my life.

Rating: ★★★★

I was first introduced to Crazy Ex-Girlfriend during a sleepover with a few friends. It is, undoubtedly, a great show to binge over a few cocktails and snacks due to its lighthearted nature and musical numbers. But I had no idea that I was going to love it as much as I did. It certainly isn’t the kind of show one would immediately associate with me as it’s full of chick-flick themes and singing, but I’m about to explain why I’m so in love with it.

The series follows Rebecca Bunch, a Yale and Harvard educated lawyer who built a successful career with a New York law firm. She is a complex character battling with both anxiety and depression, and after bumping into her first love from summer camp, decides to move to his hometown of West Covina, California. Here, she finds a new job, new friends, and decides this is the place where she can truly find happiness and get back with Josh. Whilst I’d agree the plot does sound incredibly far fetched and strange, you soon realise that impulsive decisions are a huge part of Rebecca’s character and this dramatic lifestyle change quickly becomes accepted in the eyes of the audience.

One of my absolute favourite things about this show is that it doesn’t shy away from the very real portrayal of serious life issues. Whilst on the surface it’s a quirky show with some great laughs and wonderfully choreographed songs, characters are constantly battling with their inner demons. The way Crazy Ex-Girlfriend deals with mental illness, sexuality, marriage and alcoholism to name a few is admirable, and something that a lot of sitcoms are certainly lacking. It knows when to stop making you laugh, and really feel the pain the characters are experiencing. The characters are all very three dimensional with their own dreams, problems and flaws, and I never felt like a character was added for no good reason.

Whilst I’m not usually a huge fan of musicals, I quickly got used to characters bursting into song and it does add to the overall experience. A lot of the aforementioned issues are explored through song, often resulting in lyrics that are incongruous to the cheerful backing music.

If you’re looking for your next binge worthy series that makes you laugh, cry and sing along, I definitely recommend giving Crazy Ex-Girlfriend a try. I have nothing but praise for the character development and overall quality of this series, and whilst it may seem a bit bizarre to begin with, I urge you to stick with it. Maybe you’ll become as obsessed as me!

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I was nominated for The Sunshine Blogger Award!

 

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Thank you so much to Kasey for nominating me for the Sunshine Blogger Award! This award is given by bloggers to bloggers who inspire positivity and creativity in the blogging community, so it was a lovely notification to receive and it put a big smile on my face. I’m so happy you like me and my lil blog enough to nominate me, it means a lot! You can follow Kasey over on Twitter @Bandraoidh and on her blog, The Black Rabbit Society

The rules for accepting this nomination are as follows:

  • Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you in the blog post and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  • Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog

Kasey’s Questions:

What is your favourite way to unwind and destress?

Nothing relaxes me more than a nice bath (usually featuring lots of Lush products!), a glass of wine, and a good TV show or YouTube video. Bath time is undoubtedly the best time to catch up with your favourite show or content creator, because you can lock yourself away and not be disturbed!

What is your favourite book or author?

My all-time favourite book is The Silence of the Lambs (no surprises there, right?), but my favourite author is actually Stephen King. I don’t think I’ve ever read a bad book by him!

Why did you get into blogging?

Originally I got into blogging during a long period of unemployment, as a way to set myself a new routine and not get bored whilst I was waiting for responses to my job applications. But I’m happy to say that it’s become a huge part of who I am, and I love sharing my love of film and TV with likeminded people. I now feel like I’m part of this brilliant community of all ages and interests, and I interact with new people every day.

What is your favourite word in the English language?

I don’t think I have a favourite word to be honest! It’s not something I’ve really considered before. But I suppose, unoriginally, I am a big fan of ridiculous words such as antidisestablishmentarianism and hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia (the fear of long words… how ironic!), though I’m yet to get them into an sentences.

What kind of advice is your go to for any situation?

I don’t like to throw quotes around for the hell of it, but this one has always reminded me to do what’s right for me, accept when I fail, and not allow myself to be judged unfairly. I think it’s a good reminder for people during a difficult time and can be applied to lots of different things:

“You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time” – John Lydgate

What is your current binge-worthy Netflix show?

It’s so hard for me to just choose one Netflix show as I love so many, but the one I recommend to everyone is BoJack Horseman. (which I’m yet to review, actually!) You may struggle to see the appeal of an animated horse and his friends, but honestly, it’s one of the best TV shows I’ve seen in my life and it isn’t afraid to discuss taboo topics. Plus the satirisation of Hollywood /  celebrity culture is spot on. Go watch it!

What is one item of clothing that always makes you feel good?

My leather jacket. Not sure why, but a good jacket can just make you feel so cool and confident no matter what you’re wearing underneath!

How do you keep yourself healthy, physically and mentally?

Physically: I do my best to eat plenty of fruit and veg, drink water and green / fruit tea, practice yoga, and go for walks. I can’t drive which means I’m more likely to motivate myself to walk somewhere. To be honest I could do a lot more though!

Mentally: I remind myself that it’s okay to not be okay, and to take time out when I need to. I have a great support network too, and they always help me to rationalise things when I need it. I’m lucky and grateful to have them.

Where do you see your life going?

That’s always a pretty tough question, but I’d like to get married, have a couple of kids and have a successful career in copywriting / marketing. Other than that, I just want to enjoy the time I have on this Earth and experience as much as I can!

Do you feel a connection with an object?

I have a teddy bear called Bedtime Bear who I’ve had since the day I was born. I’m definitely attached to him!

What would you spend £1,000 on?

I would definitely put it towards a lovely holiday for myself and my boyfriend. I haven’t had the opportunity to leave Europe yet, and there’s so much of the world I’d like to see!

My Nominations:

Note: All my nominations are bloggers whose content I personally enjoy, and are not limited to just film blogging / close friends! I believe the below people are a wonderful part of the wider blogging community, produce some great things and are really cool people. 

  1. JD from Film Dude Blog: filmdudeblog.wordpress.com@EIPJD
  2. Zoe from Zobo with a Shotgun: zobowithashotgun.com @ZoboWithShotgun
  3. Moonsomnia: moonsomnia.com@moonsomniablog 
  4. Amy from Amy Quite Contrary: amyquitecontrary.wordpress.com@amycontrary
  5. Charlotte De Lacey: charlottedelacy.co.uk  /  @Charlotte_Dee1
  6. Stephanie from Fork My Piehole: forkmypiehole.com / @StephanieJay_UK
  7. Mitch from Shock Street Horror: shockstreethorror.com /  @watchfiresmitch
  8. Amy from Amy Clarke Films: amyclarkefilms.com / @amyclarkefilms
  9. Iain from IainIsCreative: iain.is@IainIsCreative
  10. No Limits Real Life Ramblings: nolimitsrealliferamblings.wordpress.com@NLRLRBlog
  11. S and B at La ‘Cine’e Bella: lacineebella.wixsite.com/lacineebella / @lacineebella

My Questions:

  1. What is your favourite film genre?
  2. Who inspires you?
  3. What do you enjoy most about blogging?
  4. If you could only eat one thing for the next month, what would it be?
  5. Do you have any bad habits?
  6. Tea, coffee, or neither?
  7. What would you do if you won the lottery?
  8. Do you consider yourself to be an optimist or a pessimist?
  9. Could you survive a week without any internet connection?
  10. Do you have any pets? If not, do you want any?
  11. If you could travel to any time or place, where would you go?

Thanks again for nominating me, Kasey. There’s no obligation for anyone take part in this but it would be cool to see some of your answers!

– Lucy

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“They’re all gonna laugh at you!” – Social Anxiety and Blogging

 

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The above quote was taken from Carrie (1976). I thought it was fitting. 

I appreciate this blog entry is different to my usual content, but I wanted to share a little more about my personal life with you all. For those who also suffer from social anxiety, you’ll definitely understand that it interferes with your life in many ways. It can’t be switched off, and even on a good day, it’s always there in the background waiting to over analyse something. Social anxiety is something I’ve been dealing with for many years now, and it’s a long and gruelling process.  It can definitely be invisible at times, because I’ve had people tell me they had no idea I even had it and that outwardly I appear to be “bubbly and confident”. It’s good that I’m able to hide it when I need to, but my internal monologue can be very different to how I look on the outside.

Because of this, it can often be very difficult to put yourself “out there”. Blogging is no exception, because it allows you to reach people all over the world, many of whom you don’t know in real life. It’s a terrifying thought, that someone could be sitting there judging you and you don’t even know. It’s easy for someone to tell you to just ignore it, but it isn’t always that easy to stop yourself from overthinking and considering the “what if’s?”. I often find myself asking loved ones if I’m doing okay when I’m in a social environment, or on the journey home I’ll ask if I embarrassed myself. This constant fear of causing people to dislike me is exhausting, but something that is gradually getting better thanks to the support of counsellors and loved ones.

Whilst I haven’t had any direct hate towards me in relation to my blog, I’m always worried that one day I will. I’ve had people that disagree with my opinions, but that’s different because it’s not “hate”, it’s just a different point of  view. Which is completely fine, and I actively encourage. But my social anxiety often prevents me from wanting to post anything at all, out of fear that I will be mocked. The internet can often make you feel vulnerable as people can be granted anonymity, which makes hateful comments that much easier to create. It seems silly to fear what hasn’t even happened to you yet, but mental health is rarely rational and can cause you to worry about the tiniest things, regardless of their plausibility.

I suppose the reason I’m writing all this is to really be honest with all of you, and offer my support to those who struggle with similar issues in their day-to-day lives. I’ve put together a few positive affirmations that have helped me to overcome my fear of posting and interacting with fellow bloggers. Maybe it will help someone else.

 

1. This is something I’m passionate about, and I deserve to enjoy it.

Life is too short to pretend to like things that you don’t, or take up hobbies that just aren’t you. Ever since I can remember, I’ve adored films and filmmaking, so writing about films (and recently TV) is something I genuinely do enjoy. I don’t do this for money, or because someone’s holding a gun to my head, I want to watch stuff and write about it. So why shouldn’t I? Some people might roll their eyes when I call blogging a hobby, but to me it is. It’s something that motivates me, even when times are tough.

2. I have people who support me, and like what I write.

This one is perhaps the most surprising to me, considering I usually have zero faith in anything I write. Though my following is small, both online and offline people have told me that they enjoy my content, and I’ve even had people submit their short films for review on my Short Film Saturdays section. That has to mean something. No matter what you love to do, you will have someone who will support you. Maybe you’ll have many people. Regardless, it’s your life, and it’s important to embrace the things that make you happy.

3. You can’t please everyone, so stop trying.

Though difficult to fully comprehend when you’re dealing with social anxiety, there is no magic pill to make everyone like you and want to be your friend. There are people out there who won’t like you no matter what you do. Even if I deleted the blog, someone would dislike something else about me, and even if I changed that… well, you get the point. Staying true to yourself is the best thing you can do, and the right people will stay by your side and cheer you on. You’ll be happier because of it. Do people that thrive off negativity and making you feel bad really matter? Absolutely not. 

4.  Listen to criticism, but don’t let it consume you.

Constructive feedback is an important part of life, and it’s something you can grow from. I ask people I know in real life to read my content and give feedback, and sometimes there’s a lot of things to be done. Don’t take it to heart when you make mistakes; they can be learned from and corrected, in order for you to do better next time. Provided you can take something away from negative comments, that can be flipped on its head to become a good thing. If someone turns around and says “your blog is shit” and doesn’t say why, it’s likely they’re just wanting a reaction from you. Don’t give it to them.

 

If you made it to the end of this long post, thank you for reading. I’m so grateful for everyone who supports me in doing this, all my friends online and offline, and all the bloggers I’ve connected with along the way.  You help me to keep going even when I think everything I write is awful and people are cringing at me. I never thought I’d be brave enough to share something like this, but I did it today.

I’m proud of that.

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“The Sinner”: My thoughts on Netflix’s popular whydunit

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Rating: ★★★★

Over the Christmas break, my boyfriend Josh and I settled down in front of Netflix with copious amounts of festive treats. Our watchlist is about a mile long but we eventually decided on The Sinner, an intriguing mini-series with the following tagline:

Everyone knows she did it. No one knows why.
The crime genre isn’t exactly lacking in content these days, but straight away this sounded like something new and exciting, so we sat down to watch. In the first episode, we see young mother Cora stab a man to death in the middle of a crowded beach and seems baffled about the reasoning behind it soon after. This event forms the rest of the series and the creates the question on everyone, including Cora’s, lips: “why?”. We’re all too familiar with the concept of “whodunit”, where characters and spectators alike are trying to piece together a puzzle and find the culprit, but The Sinner makes it painfully obvious that Cora committed the crime in the first half an hour of episode one. The frustrating part for everyone is uncovering the motivation behind it.

The central performances by Jessica Biel and Bill Pullman are addictive, they pull you in and have you fully engrossed in the narrative. Biel’s portrayal of a tortured young mother trying to work out why she murdered someone is haunting, and Pullman’s obsessed detective with his own dark past is the perfect accompaniment. They’re an unlikely duo, and one that would never have formed had she not been arrested.  One of the things I loved about this show is the fact that every character is three-dimensional and has huge amounts of depth to their characters. When you have a script that focuses mainly on the protagonist, you do run the risk of everyone else being pushed into the background. In The Sinner, every character is important, and everyone we see has a part to play in the story.

Stylistically, it’s a beautiful watch despite the fact it’s also incredibly bleak.  The locations are beautiful, yet haunting, and the camerawork is often uneasy and intrusive. Sometimes you feel as though you shouldn’t be watching what you are. You want to turn away, close your eyes, but you don’t. We get a real insight into character’s lives over the course of each episode, and eventually, just when you think you might have it figured out, the truth is revealed. I, for one, did not see that motive coming at all. I won’t spoil it for you, as it’s best you go into it with as little context as possible for the full experience.

It’s an incredibly dark story with some disturbing scenes, and narrative themes such as religion, motherhood and emotional repression. It’s an uncomfortable watch, but absolutely necessary in order to push the story forward. We ended up binge watching all eight episodes in two days, and we would have probably done it in one sitting if we didn’t have an early start the next morning! The Sinner is the kind of show that pulls you in and refuses to let you go until the credits of the final episode roll. Even after that, it’ll stay in your mind for a while.

 

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Black Mirror Season 4: Ranked from Best to Worst

 

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The time has come to start reviewing TV shows on here, and what better place to start than Black Mirror? I’ve been a fan of the show since day one and it’s been amazing to see Brooker’s anthology series doing so well internationally, after being picked up by Netflix. I might go back and review Series 1 – 3 at a later date, but as 4 was the most recent I was really eager to give my thoughts on it as soon as possible. I’m going to avoid obvious spoilers as much as I can but I will have to outline certain plot points to make my points clearer. If you’d rather go into all the episodes completely blind, stop reading!

Because each episode is an entirely different story with different themes, I’ll be reviewing them all individually. I’ll be starting with my favourite episode, then working my way down to my least favourite. Overall, I did think it was a solid series with some great concepts across the board, but some episodes were certainly better than others. I thought the quality of acting across the board was exceptional, and I was introduced to some brand new talent that I’m definitely going to keep an eye out for in future programmes and films!

 

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1  – Black Museum

I’ve chosen this episode as my favourite because it completely blew me away, and brought me to tears by the end. It’s an emotionally charged episode that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Despite its longer runtime, it’s a well paced episode that doesn’t drag anything out or present us with unnecessary scenes. It’s the only anthology episode, as it has three self contained stories that all link back to contents of the museum. Interestingly, the first of the three stories was originally written by magician Penn Jillette who then worked with Charlie Brooker to include it in a Black Mirror episode… as if this couldn’t get any better. (I’m a huge Penn and Teller fan!) This one is highly recommended, and best watched after you’ve seen the other episodes.

 

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2  – USS Callister

I’ll admit, when I saw the posters and promos for this one, I didn’t think I’d enjoy it. Whilst I’m partial to a bit of sci-fi, I am incredibly picky with it. After deciding to watch the episodes in the order they were listed on Netflix, I wasn’t expecting to be wowed straight away.  As it happens, this episode is my second favourite and it was absolutely nothing like I’d expected it to be. Centering around virtual reality gaming and those in charge of the programming behind it, this episode explores the dangers of taking it too far. I won’t say much more than that, but I guarantee you’ll be pleasantly surprised by this episode, even if sci-fi isn’t your go to genre.

 

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3 – Hang the DJ

After the recent success of San Junipero, I was interested to see how Black Mirror would handle another romance-themed episode. Focusing on a dating program that puts an expiration date on relationships, this episode explores the flaws in dating algorithms and what happens when people start to question a system that promises it will eventually deliver the “perfect match”. Whilst it’s a little predictable in places, it’s an enjoyable watch with a heartwarming story and lovable characters. It’s an episode I could happily return to without getting bored, even though I know how it ends.

 

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4 – Arkangel

This episode explores the paranoia and pressures around motherhood, something that Black Mirror hasn’t fully delved into yet. After nearly losing her daughter in a public place, a mother invests in a technology called Arkangel that allows her to track, monitor and censor things in her daughter’s life. From the minute the technology is installed, you know it’s going to backfire horribly, but you’re not sure how. It’s a cautionary tale about wrapping your children in cotton wool, directed by the always wonderful Jodie Foster. With the popularity of technologies like Find My iPhone, I found the events of this episode to be eerily plausible in a not too distant future.

 

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5 – Metalhead

Out of all the episodes this season, Metalhead was definitely “the Marmite one”. I’ve seen so many conflicting reviews and opinions on it, I had to take my time deciding what I thought. Eventually I concluded that it was an okay episodebut it could’ve been so much better. My biggest problem was the lack of context, I came away from the episode with more questions than when I went in. Sometimes that can be a good thing, but I personally felt it needed a more concrete backstory considering it was set in a post-apocalyptic environment. In my opinion, you can’t just say civilisation has crumbled and leave it at that. I thought the “dogs” were incredibly creepy, it was well directed and in parts it felt like a home invasion horror film, but sadly it wasn’t enough to make me rank it higher.

 

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6 – Crocodile

Though it pains me to say it, this episode wasn’t only the weakest of the season, I thought it was also the weakest Black Mirror episode to date. I really didn’t care about the protagonist at all, and the twist ending was too implausible to take seriously. (You’ll know what I mean when you see it) I appreciate it’s set in a future with advanced technology, but even so, it felt too far fetched for my liking. The premise itself isn’t bad; but the events that lead to Mia’s eventual downfall contain several plot holes that could have been avoided. The only redeeming features here were the stunning cinematography and overall quality of the acting, but other than that it was very disappointing and felt out of place amongst the other episodes.

 

What did you guys think of this season? How would you rank the episodes? Feel free to leave your thoughts below, I love hearing different opinions!

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