Wednesday, 26 November 2008


1x05 (24/11/08 edition)

The Devil's Whore
Part 2 (of 4)
Political, swashbuckling, sexy -- everything The Tudors always aims at but doesn't quite pull off.

Little Dorrit
Part 9 (of 14)
Go Frederick Dorrit! Hurrah! Elsewhere, things plod along at a snail's pace -- from my experience of Dickens, this has to be one of his scrappiest, made-up-as-it-goes, light-on-incident tales. Ho hum.

1x10 The Moment of Truth


BBC signs up for more of Doctor Who spin-off The Sarah Jane Adventures by Ben Dowell
I bet all those people who moan that new Who isn't like classic Who don't watch SJA because it's a silly kid's spin-off, or something, whereas if they got off their high horses and gave it a go they'd discover it's often quite a lot like old Who was. Only more grown-up. Oh the irony, eh? Anyway, news of a third series is good news indeed.

A Different Approach To Action In Quantum of Solace by Devin Zydel
An interview with Dan Bradley, the man responsible for writing and directing some/all of QoS' major action sequences, specifically including the opening car chase and the Siena rooftop chase. So, he's the guy to blame then. Interestingly, he also worked on both The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum -- explains a lot, no?

The Doctor Who spin-offs that will never be filmed by David Brown
(from "In My Opinion..." at RadioTimes)
This is entirely dependent on you understanding which shows/films are being spoofed (I knew most of them), but also includes some rather cruel comments about Freema Agyeman's acting ability. Which, to be honest, I'm often inclined to agree with, but it makes a change to hear it (rather than the usual "oh, she's so much more intelligent than Rose, isn't it great!")

John Simm on The Devil's Whore by Amy Raphael
(from Times Online)
A nice interview with Simm, covering why he won't be watching the film remake of State of Play, why he won't be aiming at a Hollywood career, and why he won't be the 11th Doctor ("I'm the Master. Simple as that. I don't want to be Doctor Who. I might be the Master again...").

Movie Reviews: Australia
(from Studio Briefing)
"Like his previous film, Moulin Rouge, Baz Luhrmann's Australia is receiving wildly mixed reviews. The $130-million epic has had some writers describing it as Australia's Gone With the Wind, and that film is the benchmark critics are using to assess it... Luhrman has been able to recreate much of GWTW's "lush epic beauty... a gorgeous film, what strong performances, what exhilarating images and -- yes, what sweeping romantic melodrama. The kind of movie that is a movie, with all that the word promises and implies." But [another critic says] the movie "tries to be a sprawling, romantic epic. Instead, it's a melodramatic exercise in tedium. Rather than being old-fashioned or classic, it's old-school and conventional.""
I like Gone With the Wind and I like Moulin Rouge, so personally I'm liking the sound of it. Australia arrives in the UK on Boxing Day... so I'll probably catch it on DVD.

And finally, here's an "and finally..." story if ever there was one:

Bequeathed skull stars in Hamlet
(from BBC News)
"The skull held aloft by actor David Tennant in the Royal Shakespeare Company's Hamlet was a real one, it has been revealed. Pianist Andre Tchaikowsky left his skull to the RSC when he died in 1982 in the hope it would be used on stage. But since his death at the age of 46, it had only been used in rehearsals. Tennant held it on stage during the famous "Alas, poor Yorick" scene in 22 performances at the Courtyard Theatre, in Stratford-upon-Avon."


The Criterion Collection: Online Cinematique
The Auteurs

The famous Criterion Collection have relaunched their site, and now it's so much more than just a lot of info on their laserdisc/DVD/Blu-ray releases. Having teamed up with a venture known as The Auteurs (see further down), Criterion now make some of their movies available to view online, with the hope of expanding this to include most/all of them in the future. It currently costs $5 to rent them to stream, but you then get a $5 discount off that film's DVD or Blu-ray should you decide to purchase. I don't know if this rental applies worldwide (it certainly doesn't for all films, but might for some), but I do know they only sell to US addresses through their store.

The new site's also worth checking out just for the amusingly illustrated "guide to the new site" video, currently showing on the main page.

The Auteurs, on the other hand, is a sort of film club online -- there's a lot of info on movies, but also, and more importantly, many that can be watched -- some for free, some for a small fee. As with Criterion, they're US based and so focused on providing these films for US viewing, but some are also available worldwide. It's an intelligent site, so only movies that are actually viewable in your region will be offered for viewing -- if you go here (you may need to be registered & logged in) you should get a list of what you're allowed to watch -- though you can view the information and forums for every movie, and many of these have trailers or clips too.

It's a great idea, and one that will work a lot better when they get more movies online with international viewing rights -- as it stands (and, I should point out, it's currently at beta stage anyway), it's probably a lot better for Americans than anyone else. As I say, though, it's a great idea, and so I hope that such international expansion can be achieved.

Poem of the Day: Block City

by Robert Louis Stevenson

Children tend to get all the best things, it seems to me, and that goes for poetry too. While adults have to suffer Deep Thoughts and Complex Metaphors and all those other literary whatsits, kids get to enjoy poems like this.

What are you able to build with your blocks?
Castles and palaces, temples and docks.
Rain may keep raining, and others go roam,
But I can be happy and building at home.

Let the sofa be mountains, the carpet be sea,
There I’ll establish a city for me:
A kirk and a mill and a palace beside,
And a harbour as well where my vessels may ride.

Great is the palace with pillar and wall,
A sort of a tower on the top of it all,
And steps coming down in an orderly way
To where my toy vessels lie safe in the bay.

This one is sailing and that one is moored:
Hark to the song of the sailors on board!
And see on the steps of my palace, the kings
Coming and going with presents and things.

Now I have done with it, down let it go!
All in a moment the town is laid low.
Block upon block lying scattered and free,
What is there left of my town by the sea?

Yet as I saw it, I see it again,
The kirk and the palace, the ships and the men,
And as long as I live and where’er I may be,
I’ll always remember my town by the sea.

Rhythm, rhyme, and some fun. Why does growing up have to be so depressing?