FREELANCE WRITER. JOURNALIST, AND SCRIPT READER – FAN OF SCI-FI AND CHOCOLATE DIGESTIVES – YSTV'S BEST DRESSED MEMBER 2013

Friday, 1 September 2017

On 1.9.17 by KieronMoore in , , ,    3 comments

Full review on Starburst.

An expedition is sent into the jungle to join the reclusive Dr. Thorkel, who’s been digging up radioactive ore using a device that looks something like a giant Incan dildo. The radiation, it turns out, makes organisms smaller! Soon, our heroes find themselves shrunk and struggling to escape from the insane scientist, who, through a rather contrived mythological analogy, they’ve dubbed... Doctor Cyclops!

It’s not the only classic sci-fi movie that features people being shrunk, and you’re probably wondering how it compares to the more well known The Incredible Shrinking Man. Well, despite being made seventeen years earlier, the effects in Cyclops stand up just as well, if not better. For a start, it’s in colour, lending an exoticism to the Amazon setting which is backed up by probably-stock footage of various ferocious beasties.

But the story and characterisation is where this movie falls apart, even given that you know from the start it’s going to be schlocky. To go back to that same comparison, The Incredible Shrinking Man knew to keep its plot simple and its characters sharply defined in order to let the effects lead; Doctor Cyclops, however, gets itself lost amidst the wonky science of its eponymous madman’s plans, while making the bigger mistake of not explaining why he’s doing any of this.

Full review on Starburst.

The Seventh Doctor, Ace and Mel land in a Merseyside shipyard run by an old university boyfriend of Mel’s, Stuart Dale, who's become very successful thanks to a mysterious new material he’s been given possession of by a mysterious new client. You can see where that's going.

The Blood Furnace is an imaginative sci-fi mystery that plays out against the background of the political and social atmosphere of the early ‘90s. Real life concerns, such as the shutting down of the shipyards and the difficulties of finding jobs, are brought into characters’ motivations in a way more reminiscent of Russell T. Davies’ later revival of Doctor Who, working well to add depth to the story and its world. 

It would be nice to have more development of Mel’s relationship with Stuart, which plays a large part in the opening chapter of the four-part story but becomes sidelined after that. Nevertheless, this trio of TARDIS travellers continue to work very well together.

Thursday, 17 August 2017


The latest issue of Starburst Magazine is out now! Well, tomorrow really. But it's the evening, so shops are closed now anyway. When they next open, the mag will be there. My copy arrived today, anyway.

The point is, it's a good one. I have a four-page feature in which I visit the set of new sci-fi web series Space Junk and interview the cast, and my Doctor Who news column takes the Jodie Whittaker controversy completely seriously (well...).

Plus, there's lots of Blade Runner content - if that doesn't sell it to you, you're probably not a Blade Runner fan, and thus I don't want to sell you my magazine anyway, you don't have good enough taste to deserve it.

Purchase Starburst 440 from the official site here.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

On 8.8.17 by KieronMoore in , ,    1 comment

Full review on Starburst.

The subject matter of this insane '80s movie, featuring a love triangle between an architect, his new computer, and his neighbour, might just scrape by as plausible if rejigged for a modern movie about AI, along the lines of Spike Jonze’s Her, but it’s downright ludicrous when it’s 1980s technology we’re dealing with. 

Thankfully, though, the film knows its own silliness and plays everything with tongue firmly in cheek; Rusty Lemorande’s script is chock-full of gags which play on the daftness of the computer’s desire for love.

But it’s Steve Barron’s direction that really makes Electric Dreams, well, unique. The director of Michael Jackson's Billie Jean video applies that aesthetic sensibility to his first feature, shooting it as a ninety-minute music video; sweeping close-ups of computer parts are intercut with shots of Miles looking forlorn and moody, edited to the blaring sounds of ‘80s synthpop. 

The result is a visually and aurally cluttered film, in an enjoyably cheesy way, but the scenes that develop Miles and Madeline’s relationship are less competently handled; Barron’s stylistic focus means that the characters, like those in a music video, never step out from being 2D archetypes into rounded people we can believe in.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

On 20.7.17 by KieronMoore in , , ,    No comments

Full review on Starburst.

The X-Men film series has become a mess. It has tried to juggle a huge amount of characters, and as well as the resultant continuity clusterfucks, instalments like Apocalypse have ended up as unfocused and dull CGI-heavy smash-ups, big on epic spectacle but low on character stakes.

This year’s Logan attempted to remedy that by focusing on a small number of characters and telling a different kind of story. Tasked with protecting a young girl with powers similar to his own and with the ailing Professor X in tow, the man who was once Wolverine takes a journey across America that uses the visual cues of the modern Western much more than those of the typical superhero movie. In Logan’s worn-down settings, fights are violent and bloody, and heroes need to be tough and brutal rather than stylishly super.

What’s important, though, is that Logan uses its grim aesthetic to serve poignant character stories, the strongest in the entire X-Men franchise. Xavier’s Alzheimer’s is a particularly clever use of the superhero genre to tell a human story, but this is Hugh Jackman’s movie, really, his send-off to the franchise that has defined his career, and his performance here channels every hard-drinking, gruff-talking gunslinger you’ve ever seen. 

Logan, then, is low on epic spectacle but high on character stakes – the opposite of the X-Men franchise at its worst. 


Young Pauline explores a Kent countryside village and meets an oddly welcoming stationmaster with a gnome-like hunch, beard and hat, as well as his brutish, half-witted friend. It’s not too much of a spoiler to say that Pauline gets herself murdered very early on in the film, and the focus then shifts onto this strange duo as they try to cover up what’s occurred.

The Orchard End Murder is a strange, strange movie, willing to take completely unexpected turns at any moment. You think you have a handle on its idyllically dull portrayal of village life, complete with lengthy small talk, and then suddenly someone slams a live rabbit into a fruitcake before ripping its innards out. And that’s just the first ten minutes.

Indeed, there are many odd decisions in this film’s story, and not all in a good way. Some scenes make little sense, such as the men’s decision to bury the body a few metres away from where the police are currently standing, and the way that the story ends couldn’t feel more forced. 

Nevertheless, it has an odd charm about it and never feels boring, perhaps due to a combination of just how unpredictable the whole thing is and Peter Jessop’s artful camerawork, which carefully juxtaposes the beautiful country landscapes with the much more sinister.


The Doctor and Romana materialise the TARDIS underground in the opening of Subterranea, the latest Fourth Doctor audio play from Big Finish. But this doesn’t mean they’re far from civilisation – this planet’s mole-like inhabitants live in huge vehicles called Drill-towns, which constantly mine their way around the rocks. And there’s another race among the rocks; the cyborgs known as Silex are on the prowl and have a habit of feeding on the Drill-towns.

The story, from veteran Who writer Jonathan Morris, plays out simply but enjoyably, well fitted to the hour-long format and to the era of Who in which it’s set. There are some nice twists, particularly at the end of part one cliffhanger, and the Silex are effectively threatening villains, if at times overly reminiscent of the Cybermen. Perhaps a name not starting with the ‘cy’ sound would have helped.

What makes Subterranea well worth a listen, though, is not the plot but the characterisation of the race who live on this planet. There’s an Industrial Revolution-esque style to them, which makes the whole thing feel like a Dickens novel crossed with Journey to the Centre of the Earth