The X-Files (S1.Ep18) – “Miracle Man”

The X-Files Season 1 – Episode 18 – “Miracle Man”

Director: Michael Lange Writers: Chris CarterHoward GordonChris Carter Cast: David DuchovnyGillian AndersonR.D. Call

Miracle man is one of those middling well-crafted episode which doesn’t advance the main story in any way, but it adds some emotional context to Mulder’s personal history and specifically about the overarching search for the truth regarding his sister’s abduction. Some good acting along the way, especially from the “miracle man” from the title (or rather miracle kid) and a nice little twist at the end regarding the identity of the murderer is rather unexpected. ). Other than that this feels more like a standard twilight zone episodes with a murder mystery twist mixed into it.

A clear example of the X-Files creator still not quite realising what they had on their hands and wasting a perfectly good opportunity. The religion-themed plot would be used to much greater effect in the later season focussing more on Scully battling her skepticism versus her faith. Oh… and by the way, this is where Scully reveals that one of her favourite movies is the Exorcist. haha… Another reason to like her more. 😉

Two Distant Strangers

Two Distant Strangers ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Directors: Travon FreeMartin Desmond Roe. Cast: Joey Bada$$Andrew HowardZaria 

Find 30 minutes to watch this NOW!!

Nominated for Best short film at the Oscar this year, this wonderful little film uses the “old” Groundhog Day formula to great effect and does something which is not just completely new, within a genre which never ceases to surprise me, but also manages to deliver one of the most important moral lessons and heartbreaking message.

It might not be subtle, but the circumstances are such that subtlety is meaningless at this point. The names over the credits serve as a reminder of how much out of hands this has gone. Just as I am writing this the news of 20-year-old Daunte Wright was killed by a policeman who “accidentally discharged a “handgun”.

Yes, it is the real groundhog day.

Beautiful, clever and very effective.

On Netflix

The X-Files (S1.Ep17) – “E.B.E.”

The X-Files Season 1 – Episode 17 – “E.B.E.” ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Director: William A. Graham. Writers:  Chris CarterGlen MorganJames Wong. Cast: David DuchovnyGillian AndersonJerry Hardin 

This is an example of why the X-Files became so big: this is government conspiracy at its best: phone tapping, UFO sightings, secret informants, red herrings and dead ends. “Fallen angel” had givens us a taste and glimpse of all that, but here it feels like Mulder and Scully are getting closer to the truth (isn’t it fun to hear Scully actually saying “the Truth is out there”?). This is when the plot thickened.It gave us just enough to be intriguing and to feel like we were almost catching up with the secrets, while at the same time, adding a few more questions. This is what the X-Files is all about until it probably imploded over the later seasons with its over-convoluted machinations with way too many questions and very few answers.This is also the episodes that introduced us to the “Lone Gunmen”, the trio of weirdos which will become not just a recurrent feature on the X-Files but they will all start a spin-off series of their own (which I have never actually seen, and apparently I wasn’t alone at missing it). The episode is really intriguing, even if now I know what’s behind. There’s a tense sense of paranoia that builds up throughout, reminiscent of great classics like Coppola’s “The conversation”. I loved the detail of Scully’s bag, which she leaves standing before making a cup of coffee and she finds laying on the table on her way back. We as the audience notice the difference, but she doesn’t. Brilliant. It’s great to see her starting to believe a little bit more too. A really strong and essential episode.

The X-Files (S1.Ep16) – “Young at Heart”

The X-Files – Season 1 – Episode 16 – “Young at Heart” ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Director: Michael Lange Writers: Chris CarterScott KauferChris Carter. Cast: David DuchovnyGillian AndersonDick Anthony Williams 

Another strong episode enhanced by a really strong cast (especially the guy who play the older Barnett, creepy as hell) and eerie atmosphere throughout, though probably slightly spoiled by the title itself which basically is a giveaway to what is going on and solving the mystery. There are few good moments (like when Scully gets shot) and the scenes between Barnett and Mulder on the phone which are possibly the highlights of the episodes. But once again the final coda feels a bit rushed and the usual open-end (which in this season are beginning to feel a bit tired) is a little bit disappointing considering the big build-up.

Return to Oz

Return to Oz ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Director: Walter Murch. Cast: Fairuza BalkNicol WilliamsonJean Marsh 

This is a lot better than people gave it credit when it was first released. It’s certainly not the musical/sequel that many people were expecting, nor your typical happy-go-lucky Disney fair. I guess back in the 80s people were not quite ready for this story to take such a dark turn and didn’t quite know what to make of it. However since then “RETURN TO OZ” gained quite a cult status and I can see why. Watching it tonight after many years I was impressed not just by how macabre it is and by the many nightmarish images it conjures (the spooky hospital at the beginning, the wheelers, the desert that turns people to sand, the people petrified and of course the hall with those screaming heads which really beats them all), but also by how well it manages to walk that fine line between a fairy tale and the dark side of the original Oz stories.There’s no escape from the fact that the film creates an overwhelming sense of dread throughout (which us possibly why people found it difficult to stomach) and leaves very little space for laughters or even smiles, but somehow that’s also its strength as it makes it all feel very real. Those first scenes in the hospital are so incredibly tense!! The film is also constantly exciting, intriguing, full of ideas and great inventions and it’s mostly very well made too. some of the blue screen is a bit ropey for today standards, but the art direction is still very impressive and so it its cinematography.On the whole this might just be the closest thing to a horror for children, which doesn’t insult the intelligence of an adult too. In fact, there’s a certain pleasure in noticing, as a grown up, all the many little clever details of how things from reality morph and find their place in Oz.Not a masterpiece by all means and probably not even a full 4-stars movie, but way better than a lot of the “family garbage” we get these days and certainly in need of a re-evaluation…

And it’s directed by Walter Murch, the legendary film editor behind films like “Touch of evil”, American Graffiti, Apocalypse Now, Godfather II and the Talented Mr Ripley and so many others!

Agree with this take? Disagree? Let me know if you have a second.

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