Christmas Television – Good or Bad?

Words by Naomi Jeffreys

It is that time of year again, the Christmas television schedule. But what I want to know is,  is this television good or bad?

I, like all of you enjoy a good family film and the BBC hasn’t failed to deliver on that front this year: The Chronicles of Narnia, Cars, Shreks 1, 2 and 3 are just a few of the films which have been shown over the Christmas period. But surely, won’t families grow tired of seeing Cars for the hundredth time in a row? I understand why bosses at the BBC and other channels want to show family films because of the seasonal time of the year but soon families will be turning to their DVD players to screen films which appeal to both adults and children.

However, Christmas is also the time of year in which new Dramas, Adaptations and television series are made. The eagerly awaited Downton Abbey Christmas Special was one of the best Christmas specials I’ve seen in years, extremely feel good and which whetted the fans appetite for Series 3. The BBC screened the Eastenders Christmas special which gained the most viewing figures, clocking up 9.9 million viewers which simply shows the that the longevity of such a long running, successful British soap is what viewers really want.

The BBC screened Absolutely Fabulous which was panned by critics as being ‘not as good as it once was’ and, having viewed it myself, I was dissapointed at the decidedly depressing themes in the programme and the awful canned laughter was such a let down.

Christmas television is always looked forward too as television bosses combine the old with the new and enable audiences to become children for a few hours whilst watching Shrek or become compelled whilst watching the brilliant Great Expectations.

Review: Weekend

By Matthew Kon

An honest piece of cinematography, showing a true depiction of life and its inner reflections, Weekend is a film unlike any other. It shows the developing relationship of two men from the start of a casual, alcohol-and-sex induced Friday night, ending on an inescapable Sunday afternoon. Within these 48 hours, the pair is subjected to life’s harsh realities, accepting that they must go their own separate ways.

The trailer for Weekend is gripping and compelling, enough to have made me go to London to watch it. It shows enough of the story to make you fall for one of the characters, and yet gives enough space to allow you to yearn for more in the film. Watching it, you realize that the quality of acting and directorship is second to none. Both actors show a real understanding to the characters that they embody, and it would only be possible given their experience: Chris New who plays ‘Glen’ was nominated for the Evening Standard Award for Outstanding Newcomer beforehand. As a testament to Weekend, Tom Cullen won Best actor at the Nashville Film Festival for his portrayal of ‘Russell’.

For once, there is no façade in place, and no pretense in deceiving the audience. A veil of camp mysticism usually seen in many gay genres is taken away. The usual stereotypical characters associated have been shushed away to allow a more sensual portrayal of this man-meets-man setting. In any case, this film shouldn’t be associated with any typical gay genre movie; the brutal truth showing how these characters have to live their lives around the expectations of society encompass a deeper appreciation to its name.

If you do happen to see this, I hope that on one level you will appreciate to some extent the lengths to which these characters undergo in living within a hetero-normative society; on another level, I hope you consider that these lengths are still part of the light suppression that many LGB people feel on a daily basis.

Perhaps I watched Weekend at a time where I was personally more susceptible to heartbreaking storylines, indulging in some depressing self-depreciation. What I would like to urge you to do however, for no better reason than doing something different, is to watch it. This film is certainly no Bad Romance, and I hope that it enlightens you to a similar extent as it did me.

Review: In Time

Words by Bianca Castro

Written and directed by Andrew Niccol. In Time is set somewhere in the new future where time is the currency. People stop ageing at 25 and their own countdown, in the shape of a green digital watch embedded into their forearm, begins. They have only a year to live. Time is the way to pay for everything and the way you are paid, meaning that the rich can live forever and those that are not born into ‘time’ must try to negotiate, bargain, steal and work just to live that one day longer.

The concept is brilliant, and although it has been done in different ways before, it is a theme very much relevant today. Will Salas played by Justin Timberlake is accused of the murder of a wealthy but mysterious man. To make matters worse Will decides to go on the run from the ‘time keepers’ and takes a hostage in the form of the beautiful Sylvia Weis played by Amanda Seyfried. The film is full of action, as you’d expect from an action film, and a lot of running which is understandable when you don’t have much time and you’re running from the enemy. It’s a brilliant film, a little predictable, but an exciting watch nonetheless. The questions about the differences between social classes and the rich and poor are posed, but not answered giving food for thought long after the credits have finished rolling.