Peter Capaldi

Doctor Who Into the Dalek

This week, Doctor Who continued what may be the running theme of series eight: what makes Doctor Who Doctor Who. I’m not sure if that should be a statement or a question or both. Last week, the philosophical concern with his identity was a sort of “Ship of Theseus” paradox regarding his physical regenerations. Is he the same if so much of him is different? This time it’s the question of whether or not he’s good. And are any soldiers good, if they’ve killed? Is he any better than a Dalek if his hatred of them is as powerful an influence on one of them as is their intrinsic hatred of everything else? The episode, “Into the Dalek,” made me wonder about Peter Capaldi‘s casting and whether it is okay or expected that we think of the actor’s past work while watching this. Thanks to his well-known role as Malcolm Tucker on The Thick of It and in Into the Loop, he carries a bit of meanness on his shoulders that heightens the Doctor’s usually horrible bedside manner. There are a few deaths in this installment, and while they’re no more significant than so many in the past, his attitude towards them comes off crueler than usual. Particularly the darkly comic bit where he gets a soldier (Ben Crompton) to swallow a tracking device prior to his demise so that the Doctor can see where his remains will go.


Doctor Who Deep Breath

Would a Doctor by any other face smell so sweet? Not if he’s wearing a tramp’s coat, apparently. With the first episode of Doctor Who‘s Series 8, Peter Capaldi is a jarring presence as the Twelfth Doctor, mainly to companion Clara “Impossible Girl” Oswald (Jenna Coleman) but also to an audience used to younger actors in the role since its reboot almost a decade ago. It’s not just because he’s older, though; the thick, sometimes hard to understand Scottish brogue is as rough as his new “attack-eyebrows” appear to be. And maybe it’s an odd appearance because we’ve seen Capaldi on the show prominently before. Does the Doctor acknowledge this deja vu? Has he seen this face before, as he says in the alley to that tramp, in the same place we have? Is it just a coincidence that Capaldi played Caecilius in the 2008 episode “The Fires of Pompeii” and this new episode, “Deep Breath,” debuted on the same date as that earlier one took place, only 1,935 years earlier? This is one of the many things we’ll have to wait to see as the series continues. I also look forward to seeing if the show can quickly get over Capaldi’s distinction and offer up some truly entertaining installments. “Deep Breath,” written by showrunner Steven Moffat and directed by acclaimed filmmaker Ben Wheatley (Kill List; Sightseers), was not very interesting plot-wise. For one thing, there was the matter of Moffat bringing back the Clockwork Robots from “The Girl in the Fireplace,” […]


Doctor Who Series 8

We knew Doctor Who Series 8 was fast approaching, but until now we hadn’t been officially briefed on just when it would land. Was it intentional for BBC to hold that confirmation until we were an appropriate number of weeks away? It seems too perfect. According to a new teaser via BBC America, the show will premiere with the first full episode to star Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor on August 23rd at 8pm ET. Titled “Deep Breath,” the episode will be written by Steven Moffat and directed by Ben Wheatley, best known for the films Kill List and Sightseers. The only other things we know are Jenna Coleman is back as companion Clara Oswald and Samuel Anderson is joining the show as another teacher at the school where she works. You won’t even get that much from the 15-second teaser, though. Have a watch after the jump.


peter capaldi in the loop 02

We don’t have to wait for the next Doctor Who Christmas Special to find out who will play the regenerated Twelfth Doctor, as Scottish actor Peter Capaldi was announced for the role live today during a special program on BBC (and in the U.S. on BBC America). He had been a rumored frontrunner this week, but some might have still seen him as a long shot due to his age (he’s 55). He’s also best known to a lot of us as the extremely foul-mouthed Malcolm Tucker on the British TV show The Thick of It and the feature film spin-off, In the Loop. Capaldi is also an Oscar-winning filmmaker, for the 1995 short film Franz Kafka’s It’s a Wonderful Life. (a Short Film of the Day pick two years ago). He was most recently seen as one of the World Health Organization (coincidentally known better as the acronym WHO) employees in the third act of World War Z.


McGregor and Hudson

Okay, so maybe claiming that Kate Hudson has an anti-charm is a bit unfair. But, generally, if you hear that a movie is going to star Ewan McGregor, even if it sounds a little stupid, your general reaction is going to be, “well, at least Ewan McGregor is in it.” And when you hear that a movie is going to star Kate Hudson, even if it looks promising, your general reaction is going to be, “well, Kate Hudson picked the script, so clearly it’s got to be awful.” What then to expect from this new romantic comedy, Born to Be King, now that McGregor is attached to star and Hudson is negotiating to be his co-star? Seeing as the film was written and is to be directed by Peter Capaldi, an actor-turned-director who hasn’t had much experience making features (he made Strictly Sinatra is 2001), it’s hard to make a prediction on which actor’s track record will take precedence based on the filmmaker’s past work. It appears we have to move on to plot synopsis to try and make a judgment. According to the Variety article that broke the news of McGregor and Hudson’s casting, Born to Be King is about an extra on a film set (McGregor) who looks uncannily like a big star stumbling into a romance with a starlet (Hudson) who is said to be at war with her co-star.


31 Days of Horror - October 2011

We continue our journey through a month of frightening, bloody and violent films. For more, check out our 31 Days of Horror homepage. Synopsis: A contemporary adaptation of the Bram Stoker novel, Ken Russell’s The Lair of the White Worm (1988) begins with archaeology student Angus Flint (In the Loop’s Peter Capaldi) finding a strange serpentine skull in the backyard of an English cottage. After some research, Flint makes the connection between the skull and the “d’Ampton worm,” a giant malevolent worm that was conquered in nearby Stonerich Cavern. The direct ancestor of the worm slayer is the rather charming James d’Ampton (played by a rather charming Hugh Grant), who shares suspicions with Flint that the worm may still be alive under the grounds of their otherwise quaint English hamlet. D’Ampton’s seductive and often leather-bound neighbor, Lady Sylvia Marsh (Amanda Donahue) is an immortal, supernatural force subservient to the worm, and her seductive search for a virgin sacrifice brings about all kinds of over-the-top, schizophrenic greatness.


Why Watch? Because inspiration comes to those who…hold on, someone’s at the door. As the title might suggest, this short film is an absurd boundary-pusher that smashes together two pieces of culture in the messiest way possible. Richard E. Grant (who most will remember from Withnail and I) stars here as Kafka as he stands (or sits) at the precipice of writing his masterpiece. Fate doesn’t seem to be a fan. If some humor can be called dry, the deliver here is downright arid. It’s both maddeningly calm and humorously inviting, and the visual work is meant to confound at almost all times. It’s no wonder it won the BAFTA and tied for the Oscar. Questioning what the hell you just saw is perfectly fine both during the short and after it’s finished. What does it cost? Just 23 minutes of your time. Check out Franz Kafka’s It’s A Wonderful Life for yourself:



Armando Iannucci’s ‘In the Loop’ is a smart political satire with a terrific cast.

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