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Lindsay Duncan (#110 of 2)

New York Film Festival 2013: Le Week-end Review

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New York Film Festival 2013: <em>Le Week-end</em> Review
New York Film Festival 2013: <em>Le Week-end</em> Review

Nick and Meg have barely stepped off the Eurostar in Roger Michell’s Le Week-end when it becomes evident that nothing bodes well for their hope of recapturing the magic of their honeymoon in Paris from 30 years before. The steps of Montmartre seem so much steeper, the hotel in which they once stayed has been tawdrily refurbished, but, most importantly, the middle-aged English couple, played with consummate skill by Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan, have reached a point in their married life where they can only irritate the hell out of each other.

Le Week-end is written by Hanif Kureishi, who in the mid ’80s, with movies like My Beautiful Laundrette and Sammy and Roise Get Laid, delighted in being one of the bad boys of independent British cinema. Now two years shy of 60, which makes him about the same age as his characters, he’s writing in a more mature and introspective vein. Le Week-end is a portrait of a failing marriage, where the two partners, having endured a monogamous life together, are now questioning whether or not they should remain together. Meg can’t seem to summon up anything but scorn for her husband, a once-promising academic soon to lose his job at a community college in Birmingham. For his part, Nick is painfully aware that he’s totally dependent on his wife, and that he hasn’t lived up to his own potential. “I’m amazed at how mediocre I have turned out to be,” he remarks ruefully at one point.

Doctor Who Specials Recap “The Waters of Mars”

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Doctor Who Specials Recap: “The Waters of Mars”

BBC

Doctor Who Specials Recap: “The Waters of Mars”

David Tennant’s long goodbye to Doctor Who enters its final stretch with “The Waters of Mars,” an outstanding episode which takes a very traditional Doctor Who setting and plot, and adds some extremely un-traditional elements to it. The last episode back in April, the insubstantial “Planet of the Dead,” was even more disappointing than it might otherwise have been due to standing in place of an entire 13-episode series, as the show took time off to make the transition to a new production team (and a new Doctor) for next year. It had nothing to do with the overall arc of the series, apart from some clumsy foreshadowing jammed in at the end (“He will knock four times…”). However, “The Waters of Mars” gets things firmly back on track, taking the Doctor’s character to places he’s never been before and giving a sense of rushing headlong towards a final reckoning.

The setting is a near-future Mars base, a central dome with various subsidiaries around it (bio-dome, medical dome, shuttle pad, etc.). This sort of environment is familiar to fans of the classic series, which produced many stories where a small group of characters is trapped in an isolated place and picked off one by one by some alien menace. Often, as here, they would feature a multinational cast of characters, most of whom are quick sketches rather than fully three-dimensional. The exception in this case is their leader, Adelaide Brooke, superbly played by Lindsay Duncan.