The Trap

If you have not yet seen Adam Curtis’s 2007 documentary series The Trap now is your chance. All three episodes are included in full, below.

Here Curtis explores what we mean when we talk about Freedom, the ideas of negative and positive liberty, and the strange dichotomy between coercion and it’s apparent opposite.
It’s really interesting stuff whatever political side of the fence you prefer. The concept of freedom lies at the heart of many political ideologies, from the Neoconservatives and the Bush Administration to Anarcho-Communists to New Labour – what differs is how freedom is conceptualised and administered, who that freedom really benefits and what it is actually liberating us from…



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First Impressions on Black Mirror

Black Mirror Part 1 - The National Anthem

Unbelievable, nauseating and bleak are all suitable adjectives for the description of Charlie Brooker’s latest satirical drama, Black Mirror. When I heard about the premise, I suppose I was hoping for something akin to a dramatised Brasseye Special, or Nathan Barley with added politicians and bestiality – but struggled to find the humour in it to be honest.  The TV-crime-drama aesthetics and tempo also put me off a bit, and the implausibility of the plot left me cold.

Having said all this I will still be watching the next two instalments of this mini-series, as I’m interested to see where he takes it next. Certainly, the YouTube generation is ripe for satirical analysis, and holding up a “Black Mirror” to the unseemly side of our digital lives and the effect it has on society and politics, is virgin territory that needs to be charted. And who better than Charlie Brooker to have a go!

I hope the next one is either more believable or more comedic, as I think The National Anthem fell between two stools, in so much as it was neither, and needed to be both, to be all that effective as a satire on our networked zeitgeist. The first episode felt like watching someone’s dark fantasy made real, rather than a future history playing out – but maybe that was the point Brooker was trying to make – that the internet age can bring that dark fantasy one step closer to being real. And that people will watch it. In their millions…

Watch on 4OD

Life’s Too Short

Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant are at it again, writing and directing their latest situation comedy for the BBC.

Life’s Too Short combines elements of The Office and Extras, but with a new slant on proceedings. This series features Warwick Davies (Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi, Willow) as the lead role and all the things he gets up to in order to raise his profile and drag himself out of the massive tax debt he has run up. It transpires very quickly that this is due to his incompetent accountant who he can’t get rid of, as he considers him a friend.

Warwick Davies is a brilliant actor and although he has obviously taken influence from Gervais for this role, he performs as if he has been in comedy for years and should not be overlooked….. no pun intended!

Whereas The Office is a full on Mockumentary, Gervais and Merchant have cleverly designed this sitcom to feel a lot more like an actual documentary, as everybody plays themselves (albeit characterisations of themselves) and includes references to actual events which makes for great comedy and even more cringe-worthy situations than you have seen before. The correlation with Extras comes from the inclusion of film stars, although because of Ricky Gervais’ Hollywood status he is now able to incorporate the likes of Liam Neeson and Johnny Depp, both delivering outstanding comedic performances in very different ways.

I did notice a few people on social networks being quite negative about the show after the first episode, with the main criticism being; it was just more David Brent but out and about and played by a dwarf, however I personally think there is much more to it than that and with the self referential jokes included in the second episode, it is clear that the potential for public opinion swaying that way was not lost on the creators.

In conclusion, I highly recommend this to anyone who hasn’t seen it yet and/or enjoyed any of their previous work. Gervais and Merchant are two of the best comedy writers around at the moment and long may their careers continue.

Click here to catch up on BBCiPlayer.

I’m Mad as Hell, and I won’t Take It Anymore!

Network 1976
Television and the media may have changed a lot since 1976, but Network still packs a punch. Profit motivated corporations still control the news, and televised news is still how most people find out what is going on in the world – even in the digital age of free information, the media giants heavily influence public opinion. There are parallels with Murdoch’s empire and its recent controversies. The film is set during a global recession, and feels more relevant than ever. Recommended viewing for all.

More info here:

IMDb / Wiki / PB

I’m Mad as Hell, and I’m not gonna take it anymore!

Goldman Sachs rules the world

Unbelievable candour from American stock trader. Michael Moore was right. Welcome to the Plutonomy.

The Century of the Self

We’re big fans of Adam Curtis here at Red Eye. He is quite possibly one of the most important documentary filmmakers of our time. He uses historical news footage, interviews and a powerful narrative to draw lateral connections and reveal hidden trajectories in our recent past – trajectories that have shaped our present world and the way we think about it. His new series All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace, recently aired on the BBC, and is well worth watching, giving as it does, a unique angle on how computers have changed the way we think about the world. More on this soon…

The Century of the Self is now a cult classic, and probably the best introduction to his work. It was originally a four part documentary, but is included here as one file… I hope this doesn’t put people off watching it in full, as it is a work that really needs watching in it’s entirety. It draws a huge arc across the 20th century starting with Freud and how psychoanalysis began to be used by advertisers and the propaganda machine to control the population, the illusion of democracy, the rise of consumerism and individualism and the death of socialism. It is our history in the raw perfectly told. Essential viewing for all.

New track by Naffdogg

This is my new one, inspired by George R.R. Martin’s “Game of Thrones”.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Game_of_Thrones