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

Friday, 27 February 2015


Here's a piece I've written for The Big Picture on Woody Allen's Celebrity

I've never been a big Allen fan, and this film didn't change that...

Thursday, 26 February 2015

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Tuesday, 24 February 2015

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(SPOILERS, obvs)

Well, that’s over with. 

The first series of Broadchurch was really brilliant. Taking inspiration from The Killing, it told a story very different to the typical TV detective drama; it took the same inciting incident, a murder, but rather than focus on the investigation alone, delved deep into the surrounding community, in which everyone faced different consequences, and everyone kept their own secrets. With Danny Latimer’s killer uncovered, however, I was left wondering how a second series could ever work. 

But writer Chris Chibnall had more tricks up his evidently-long sleeves. Series two split into two main storylines – the trial of Danny’s murderer Joe Miller and a second case, the two missing girls of Sandbrook, which DI Alec Hardy had previously failed to solve. 

The trial of a killer uncovered last series might not sound like particularly gripping TV, but bloody hell, it was riveting. Every second in that courtroom ramped up the tension, with errors in judgement from the detectives’ behaviour coming back to bite them, more secrets revealed without ever feeling forced, and the kind of cliffhangers that left dozens of TVs across the country smashed up in anger. 

The Sandbrook case, on the other hand, didn’t work so well. Due to only really allowing us to meet the three main suspects who ended up jointly responsible for the deaths, and only showing us these characters through the perspective of the detectives, this story failed to get under the fingernails of the community as the Danny Latimer case did. In fact, it was exactly what the first series’ case wasn’t: a generic detective story, stretched out well past its welcome.

And thus when the final episode cut away from the excitement of Joe Miller’s release and Danny’s dad Mark dragging him out of the church in anger, the half hour spent revealing the truth of Sandbrook was… boring. I wanted to go back to Broadchurch and find out what had happened to Joe.


Unfortunately, when we did get back, the ending to that story was, despite all the excitement of the trial, disappointingly daft. Rather than beating up or even killing the captive Joe Millar, Mark brought him to a cliffside hut (all dramatic incidents in this town happen at beautiful cliffside spots) where the community had gathered. With the criminal justice system having failed them, the people of Broadchurch, with a helping hand from Arthur Darvill’s secret network of vicar spies, carried out their own justice on the child murderer – they exiled him to Sheffield. Because Sheffield is just as bad a punishment as prison, right? And who cares what he does to the Northerners? I mean, really, they should have burned him in a giant wicker man and saved themselves the train fare.

What did stay constant throughout the series, and one of the few saving graces Broadchurch has left, was David Tennant and Olivia Colman. Detectives Hardy and Miller have a truly believable, compellingly watchable relationship – one of constant frustration at each other’s methods but deep respect for each other’s talents, one where they've been through a lot together and yet it’s very fitting that they ended the series with an awkwardly formal handshake rather than a hug. David Tennant and Olivia Colman are utterly brilliant together, and Chibnall gives them some great scenes – the very moving bathroom scene in episode one, given brief comedic respite when Tennant rants at someone walking in on them, was one particular highlight.

All in all, though, I did wonder if a second series of Broadchurch could ever work, and more of it failed than succeeded. So now I’m really questioning why we’re getting a third.

Monday, 23 February 2015

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Read the full version of this review on Starburst.

There’s a new sheriff in town… The International Lunar Treaty of 2061 divided a million square miles of the moon between the three cities of North America, and every six months one of the cities has to supply a new Judge-Marshall to enforce lunar law. Step forward Judge Dredd; in this pocket-sized collection of stories from the early days of 2000AD’s leading lawman, it’s his turn, but there’s a long line of lawbreakers ready to get in his way.

The first few stories here set up the city of Luna-1 as a Wild West-style town; the rough frontier compared to the metropolis that is Mega-City One. There’s a robot gunslinger, a sinister tycoon buying up land, and a very cool moment where the new sheriff enters a saloon. Yes, of course Dredd ends up in a bar fight.

Unfortunately, this intriguing premise is forgotten about not long into the Luna-1 stories, when the tone reverts to the kinds of cases that would work better back in Dredd’s normal setting of the Big Meg. One story sees a gang of evil robot cars go on the rampage, stretching out a joke about a car having the mind of a five year-old child for four whole chapters (and it’s as tedious as that sounds). 

Those used to the more sophisticated storytelling of recent 2000AD epics may be disappointed; the strips here are short, simple, albeit occasionally fun tales in which a gimmicky villain pops up and Dredd soon comes up with a ploy to beat them.

The Luna-1 stories have a nice initial concept but squander it in favour of an inconsistent depiction of their setting and unremarkable storytelling. Especially considering their placement in the Dredd chronology near to the much-loved Cursed Earth saga (the first Dredd epic) and The Return of Rico, which added some depth to Old Stony Face, there’s a good reason the Luna-1 stories haven’t been remembered as well as others. With the strips in this volume also available as part of the Complete Case Files, and Dredd’s adventures continuing in 2000AD, there are better options out there to get your fix of justice.

Monday, 16 February 2015


Ex Machina had ‘a film that Kieron will like’ written all over it. An intelligent sci-fi thriller written by Alex Garland (Dredd, 28 Days Later), and directed by him too, starring Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, and Alicia Vikander (who are all going to be big stars any day soon). I’m sold.

It’s a simple premise: Caleb Smith (Gleeson), a programmer at search engine/technology giant Blue Book (the phonetic similarity to Google is no coincidence), is invited to spend a week at the remote house of big boss Nathan (Isaac). Of course, it’s not all shooting the breeze with some beers and a game of pool – Nathan wants Caleb to carry out the Turing Test on his AI creation Ava (Vikander). Naturally, shit spirals out of control, as Ava takes a liking to Caleb (or does she?) and Caleb realises that Nathan can’t be trusted (or can he?).

The movie plays out as a power play between these three characters, all hiding secrets from the others. Caleb and Ava’s growing relationship is never quite believable; I didn’t feel the affection for her he supposedly does – but maybe that’s part of the point. Where Ex Machina fails to engage on an emotional level, it succeeds on an intellectual level, asking us to think about what’s real, in our own feelings as well as in the world around us, and who we can really trust.


And Nathan is the least trustworthy of all (or is he?). It would have been easy for Garland and Isaac to have played him as ‘Evil Mark Zuckerberg’, but by making Nathan an imposing masculine figure, with glasses and silly beard giving away his hipster side, and with a very blokey friendliness towards his new housemate, he’s somehow terrifying. Throwing the nerdy Caleb into the house with him, the film really captures that feeling of not knowing how to act around someone evidently a lot cooler than you, and a lot better at creating robots. Man, I know that feeling.

What makes him all the more terrifying is that he’s constantly watching Caleb. This house is his domain and he sees everything that happens. Even when the house is hit by power cuts, Caleb can’t be sure there isn’t a battery-operated camera somewhere. And even outside the house, you’re not safe – tying deftly in to current fears about surveillance, Nathan’s created Ava’s AI from monitoring the world’s search engine usage, and her facial expressions were mapped from yours – yes, yours – that time you looked into your smart phone camera. 

If there’s any one theme binding the characters of Ex Machina together, it’s voyeurism, looking at things we shouldn’t, which Caleb becomes as guilty of as anyone else, with the TV in his bedroom linked to the surveillance cameras in Ava’s room. I’ve seen reviews saying later scenes become too uncomfortably voyeuristic, but for me the final act puts just enough power into Ava’s hands so as to avoid feeling misogynistic or leery. Rather, it's a deliberately uncomfortable portrayal of a misogynistic world where Nathan is very much in control – it's his world, not Ava’s or Caleb's, and it’s not a pleasant one.

Ex Machina is cold and nasty but all the more powerful for it. Like the best sci-fi should, it uses fascinating scientific ideas to ask important questions about our society and delivers these in a deeply compelling, twisted plot. Oh, and there’s an incredible dance sequence.

Friday, 13 February 2015

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For the full version of this review, head over to Starburst.

Ever woken up after a rough night, looked in the mirror, and thought “how did that happen?” So has Ig Perrish (Radcliffe), whose hangover is accompanied by a pair of horns sprouting from his head. The day gets even weirder when he realises these horns cause everyone he meets to lose their inhibitions and be brutally honest about what they’re thinking. Not even bacon will solve this hangover, which conveniently coincides with Perrish being under suspicion of murdering his girlfriend – but he soon works out that he can use his newfound abilities to uncover the true killer.

Horns is a supernatural detective story with black comedy, romance, and occasional chaotic brutality, and, to the credit of director Alejandre Aja and screenwriter Keith Bunin, the film largely holds all these elements together, with the mystery genuinely engaging, the comedy genuinely funny (Ig’s doctor stops mid-operation to have sex with the nurse), and the supernatural premise building to a horrifying conclusion as Ig is increasingly corrupted by his powers. The only element lacking is the romance, due to Temple’s Merrin being little more than the old Hollywood archetype of ‘quirky murder victim’.

Also to be commended is Daniel Radcliffe, a diversely talented star who’s now well and truly moved on from that certain boy wizard to the point that maybe we’ll soon stop feeling obliged to reference Potter when reviewing his films. Radcliffe gives a layered and gripping performance; he draws us in as Ig, the heartbroken and frustrated young boy, out of his depth in a world out to get him, resorting to smoking and listening to Bowie loudly as we all do in times like this. He then shows a darker side as Ig’s discoveries bring out the anger in him and – let’s just say he becomes more Slytherin than Gryffindor. See, we just had to do it again.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

On 7.2.15 by KieronMoore in ,    1 comment



Brief: Write a scene built around the line “You need to get out”

DR JONES: Mister… Smith?

SMITH: John.

DR JONES: Great. It’s a break-up you want erasing, John?

SMITH: Yeah. It’s difficult to move on, you know. Can’t get her out of my head.

DR JONES: That’s where I come in. Now, you’ve read the terms and conditions?

SMITH: Oh, yes.

(DR JONES STARTS CONNECTING CABLES TO SMITH’S HEAD AND HIS OWN)

DR JONES: And you’re aware of all the risks inherent in the operation?

SMITH: Yeah, yeah.

DR JONES: And you’ve never…

SMITH: Look, Doc, I’ve read all your stuff, alright? I’ve paid a lot of cash for this, can we just get it over with?

DR JONES: Alright. Now, it might feel a little weird at first, but I assure you, I’ll be in and out of your head as quickly as possible.

SMITH: You’d better be.

DR JONES: OK. Going in. Easy now.

SMITH: Ow!

DR JONES: A little shock’s normal. OK, a lot of memories here, I’m focusing on… here she is. Emma, is it? Auburn hair, tall…

SMITH: Yep.

DR JONES: Blue eyes?

SMITH: Yeah… wait, no! Emma’s eyes were brown.

DR JONES: Are you sure?

SMITH: Yes. I think. I’m not sure… but that’s what’s meant to happen, right? I’m forgetting.

DR JONES: I haven’t started wiping yet.

SMITH: Doc, I don’t like this. I thought you were a professional!

DR JONES: Erica… Erica?

SMITH: No, Emma!

DR JONES: A lot of neural activity around the name Erica… John, be honest with me, have you ever had a memory cleanse before?

SMITH: No. At least, I don’t think so. I wouldn’t remember, would I?

DR JONES: Well, your record was clean. But there’s clearly been someone in here, and they’ve not left it in good condition. 

SMITH: What are you saying, Doc… oh! Where did that memory come from? What the fuck did you do?

DR JONES: Goddamnit, why would you go to one of those backstreet quacks?

SMITH: I don’t know, Doc, it’s fuzzy, I… this is starting to hurt!

DR JONES: I’m going to have to abort.

SMITH: Get out of my mind, doc! Get the fuck out!

DR JONES: I’m trying, but I can only concentrate if you calm your…

SMITH: You need to – 

SMITH AND DR JONES: – get out!

SMITH AND DR JONES: Uh oh.

SMITH AND DR JONES: This isn’t good.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

On 5.2.15 by KieronMoore in ,    No comments

I'm taking part in the February Dialogue-Writing Challenge over on the 'Go Into The Story' blog. Here's my entry for Day Two (I missed Day One, and will undoubtedly miss many more), for which I've resurrected the Union officers...

Brief: Multiple characters in an argument where no one actually gets to finish a sentence.

INT. CONFERENCE ROOM – NIGHT

CHLOE, HANNAH, NEIL, MARK, and ED sit around the conference table. Late afternoon, the end-of-day team meeting. Ed’s mucking about on Tinder.

CHLOE: Right. Last on the agenda, Hannah has suggested that we…

ED: Fuck’s sake, weren’t we meant to finish twenty…

CHLOE: Yes, but this last piece will be quick. Hannah has suggested that we…

HANNAH: A new kettle!  We’ve not been able to make good tea for…

CHLOE: Yes, Hannah, if you’d let me finish, the office is desperately in need of…

HANNAH: Without my regular Earl Grey, I really can’t…

CHLOE: Get any work done, I’d noticed. Now, simple vote. Hands up, everyone who…

MARK: Wait a second. Have you filled in the campus estates new electronic appliance request…

CHLOE: No, we’ll do that later. Everyone who…

MARK: I’m sorry, Chloe, but if you read section sixteen point one point delta on the campus estates new electronic appliance request form, you’d find that there’s…

ED: Oh, for fuck’s sake, Nick Clegg, this is more boring than my grandmother’s funeral, let’s skip the bullshit and…

MARK: You’ll find, Edward, that there’s very good reason for the paperwork that needs to be filled in before purchase of a…

CHLOE: Mark, it’s a kettle, can’t we just go ahead and…

MARK: Well, no, and I’ll tell you why…

CHLOE: Never mind. No kettle. Sorry, Hannah, you’re just going to have to use the vending machine like the rest of…

HANNAH: No way! The stuff from there tastes like…

NEIL: Actually, the vending machine’s broken too, isn’t…

CHLOE: Well, thanks for ruining that solution, dickhead. Who the fuck broke…

ED: Funny story. Late night, I was bored, I had a beer open, a duck wandered by, I decided to…

CHLOE: Don’t want to know. Has anyone got any bright…

NEIL: I could fix the old kettle. I’m a dab hand with a…

CHLOE: Neil, remember when you tried to fix the printer, and you…

NEIL: Alright, alright, no need to remind me. I still have the scars on my…

MARK: Now, I don’t think we can allow you to attempt repairs of kitchen equipment, Neil, until we get you put through the correct training for…

HANNAH: Does anyone know if C-bar serves Earl…

CHLOE: Oh, for… Right, everyone shut up! Alternative solution. How about we use the old water boiler we keep…

MARK: What old boiler?

CHLOE: You know, tall, rusty thing. Under the sink, next to the…

MARK: Oh. I thought that was thrown away in 1998 after what they found living in…

ED: How the fuck does he know this stuff? He’s an oracle of useless…

MARK: I’m sorry, but if that boiler is still in the building, then it’s causing a severe hazard and we’ll have to…

HANNAH: I always thought the sink smelled of…

MARK: We’ll have to evacuate the offices with immediate…

CHLOE: Again? Can’t we…

MARK: I’ll fetch the forms. Ooh, I’ve never had the chance to fill in a…

CHLOE: No one had anything to do tonight, did they?