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Jodie Whittaker (#110 of 3)

Doctor Who Recap 2017 Christmas Special, “Twice Upon a Time”

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Doctor Who Recap: 2017 Christmas Special, “Twice Upon a Time”

BBC America

Doctor Who Recap: 2017 Christmas Special, “Twice Upon a Time”

“Twice Upon a Time,” Doctor Who’s 2017 Christmas special, is a story of endings and of continuing beyond them. It caps off the Doctor Who careers of both showrunner Steven Moffat and the current Doctor, played by Peter Capaldi, and heralds a time of wholesale change both in front of and behind the camera, as new showrunner Chris Chibnall arrives with his new Doctor, Jodie Whittaker. Moffat’s swan song is a fittingly elegiac tale that looks at how the Doctor has changed in the course of his 54-year journey by placing Capaldi’s Doctor side by side with his very first incarnation, originally played back by William Hartnell and here by David Bradley.

Tribeca Film Festival 2016 Adult Life Skills

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Tribeca Film Festival 2016: Adult Life Skills

Jo Irvine

Tribeca Film Festival 2016: Adult Life Skills

If it had bigger stars and a less quirk-dependent plot, Rachel Tunnard’s Adult Life Skills would be right at home at the multiplex, probably starring someone like Kate Hudson. The romance here is relegated to comically awkward background, sparing us the trope of the hapless heroine whose messy life is all tidied up by the love of a good man, but the rest is dispiritingly predictable. Anna (Jodie Whittaker) is a kind of English Zoe Deschanel, a wide-eyed free spirit who doesn’t realize how loveable she is. She lives in a shed in her mother’s backyard, which she has crammed full of artsy detritus like pinwheels and homemade tinfoil rocket ships. When she’s not working at a community center, she likes to draw a rudimentary face on each of her thumbs and then shoot video of them having a conversation.

The Dying of the Light: Peter O’Toole in Venus

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The Dying of the Light: Peter O’Toole in <em>Venus</em>
The Dying of the Light: Peter O’Toole in <em>Venus</em>

Looking at the poster for Venus, one could be forgiven for thinking that the end was near. Here is nothing but a full-on shot of Peter O’Toole’s head, carefully doctored to make him seem frail and desiccated: not only is there a yellowish tinge to the skin that I’ve never seen on a human being, but O’Toole himself looks stunned, confused, and ready to pack it all in. This is strange not merely from a publicity standpoint (who attracts customers with something like this?), but because it doesn’t do the film (or O’Toole) justice. Venus and its star are as lively as they come, raging against the dying of the light even as they have to acknowledge its approach. The star does his best to fulfill his preordained role as randy raconteur, raising hell in theatre’s name and never betraying the idea, hanging at the margins of the movie, that we all have to ring down the curtain sometime.

You couldn’t call Venus a great film. It’s one of those movies about an older “life-force” bonding with a younger person and having all sorts of lively frolic (see Harold and Maude—or for that matter, 1982’s My Favorite Year, which starred O’Toole). This time, the life-force is Maurice (O’Toole), a once-prominent, now-aged actor who counts the days—loudly—with his ever-excitable theater buddies Ian (Leslie Phillips) and Donald (a marginalized Richard Griffiths). His younger charge arrives with a big noise: she’s Ian’s grand-niece Jessie (Jodie Whittaker), a sullen, anti-intellectual teenager arrived in London to pursue a modeling career and who instead alarms the deeply genteel relation to whom she’s elected to bunk. Not so Maurice: partly attracted to a mind to mold, partly aroused by her unformed beauty, he gravitates to the graceless girl and forges a friendship that she, knowing no-one else in the city, guardedly reciprocates.