Dan Owen
Freelance writer and TV addict raised on films • If you’d like to support my work, www.buymeacoffee.com/danowen

Television Review

Burnham agrees to represent the Federation in an intense debate about the release of politically sensitive data.

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It’s certainly brave of Star Trek: Discovery to produce a spiritual follow-up to “Unification”, The Next Generation two-parter that guest-starred the iconic Leonard Nimoy as Spock. But the temptation was too strong, as “Unification III” had a unique perspective on Ambassador Spock’s dream to unify the Vulcan and Romulan people. …


Television Review

Mando and the Child arrive on a planet where a surviving Jedi is causing problems for the people who’ve taken over a city.

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David Filoni didn’t waste time introducing Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson), the fan-favourite Jedi he co-created with George Lucas, who up until now has only appeared in animated form — as a protagonist in Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008) and its subsequent TV series. We’re immediately shown her devastating Force abilities on the planet Corvus, just outside the city of Calodan, where she’s being hunted by gas-masked soldiers. The familiar thrum of a lightsaber is perhaps the quintessential noise of Star Wars (jostling for first place with Darth Vader’s respirator breathing), but as it’s been absent on The Mandalorian for so long I got goosebumps just hearing Ahsoka ignite her two sabers. …


Click below to read my review of this wonderful Netflix limited series about a chess prodigy in the 1960s…

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The Queen’s Gambit is almost ‘Rocky with Rooks’.

Continue reading at Frame Rated.

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Television Review

A prodigious introverted orphan discovers and masters the game of chess in 1960s America. But child stardom comes at a price…

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Paul Verhoeven’s sci-fi action film comes to Ultra HD for its 30th anniversary.

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The film would arguably make more sense without Schwarzenegger’s presence as the hero, as the original intention to have a milquetoast nobody who works in accounts discovery he’s a bad-ass secret agent would make for a better character arc. By casting Schwarzenegger, there’s never any doubt he’s a natural born hero, even if the script does manage to make audiences wonder if Quaid’s actually the villain towards the end. Excerpted from my full review here.

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Counting down the 12 best films based on the best-selling author’s work.

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Roald Dahl’s Esio Trot (2015)

The last book published a few months before Roald Dahl’s death in 1990 was Esio Trot (‘tortoise’ backwards), about a lonely ageing man called Mr Hoppy who tries to woo a widow called Mrs Silver who lives in the flat below him. The subject matter was a little more adult than most of Dahl’s other children’s books, so it never caught on with kids in the same way, but Richard Curtis (Four Weddings and Funeral) turned his attention to this for a 2015 made-for-television film starring Dustin Hoffman (as Hoppy) and Judi Dench (as Silver), narrated by James Corden. …


Television Review

While his ship’s being repaired, Mano agrees to help his friends Greef and Cara blow up an old Imperial base.

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This season’s turning out to be an embarassment of riches! The Mandalorian doesn’t offer complex characterisations or intricate storytelling, but it’s become unerringly efficient and entertaining. As a weekly spectacle full of joy, it’s hard to beat what showrunner Jon Favreau has been putting out. Each ‘Chapter’ may be a variation of some kind of “mission” Mando (Pedro Pascal) undertakes, in exchange for information or while his ship’s being repaired, but when they’re this enjoyable it’s hard to criticise the template.

Mando and The Child return to Nevarro for repairs to the Razor Crest, reuniting with his old friends Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) and Cara Dune (Gina Carano). A lot’s changed since he’s been gone, as the town’s in the midst of regeneration now that Cara is providing security as the Marshall, and Greef has become the magistrate with ex-felon Mythrol (Horatio Sanz) working as his assistant. The Child is sent to school, while Greef discusses securing the planet’s longterm prosperity by destroying an old Imperial base nearby. It’s manned by a skeleton crew, so shouldn’t be too much trouble, so Mando agrees to help… only to discover the base is a cover for a mysterious laboratory once run by Dr Pershing (Omid Abtahi), who captured The Child last season and has apparently extracted blood with a high “M-count” in order to create clones. …


Television Review

After receiving a message from Book, Burnham and Georgiou embark on a rogue mission to find him…

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Season 3 has felt more like a return to the values of Star Trek, albeit in a more punishing future that gives the writers a reason to subvert Gene Roddenberry’s utopian vision. But “Scavengers” felt like things moved back a notch to how Discovery’s been in previous seasons, with a focus on action and not much intelligence.

After receiving a recorded message from Cleveland Book’s (David Ajala) returning vessel, Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) disobeyed orders to stay aboard USS Discovery as part of the Federation’s rapid-response team. …


Blu-ray Film Review

When a man goes for a virtual vacation, memories of the planet Mars push him to go to the planet for real… or does he?

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