Saturday, 28 February 2009


Let's Dance for Comic Relief
Episode 2 (of 4)
No Michael McIntyre judging, sadly, and no dance that came anywhere near equalling Robert Webb's priceless Flashdance from last week. Overall, however, the quality was phenomenally higher.
This week's winners were Paddy McGuinness and Leigh Francis. Their dance was admittedly quite funny, but my God they're such irritating people! Francis was even playing his character, Keith Lemon -- not that anyone mentioned that on the programme, insisting on just calling him "Keith". Both of these facts should give you an indication of how much of a tit he is (and that's being polite about it). I really wish anyone else had gone through instead of them.
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Not Going Out
3x05 Neighbour
Not the best episode, it must be said. Still, there were some laughs, so what else do you want?
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]


Lego Star Wars Spaceship Bigger Than My Sofa Can Probably Invade Earth by Jesus Diaz
(from Gizmodo)
This is truly mad-big. The one shortcoming of the article is that there's nothing normal & everyday to give the model a proper sense of scale.

Review of Watchmen by Garth Franklin
(from Dark Horizons)
They keep coming in, swinging the Tomatometer back and forth all over the place. And within a week there'll be a veritable flood of them, as US critics will finally be allowed to have their say and everyone else will be publishing their thoughts around the day of release. This seemed a particularly good review, however, discussing some of the thoughts already expressed by both lovers and haters.

Friday, 27 February 2009


An hour and a quarter in the company of Ben Miller this evening...

Moving Wallpaper
2x01 Episode 1
Hurrah for the return of Moving Wallpaper! I love this show. This first ep suffers a little from having to transition from the cancelled Echo Beach to a new project (sadly, a one-off at the end of the season rather than another accompanying drama), but hopefully they can return to the old style for a third season (just with a better paired show than Echo Beach).
[Watch it (again) on ITV Player.]

6x09 The Future (extended edition)
Christ, Ben Miller's clever. But also very interesting. And That Moment with Rob Brydon is surely a classic.
The extended episodes are still disappointingly hidden on iPlayer, but I assure you the one below works (or will do 'til the episode goes offline in 22 hours and 45 minutes).
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]


The official Red Dwarf site has plenty of info on the forthcoming specials, but this is pretty remarkable I think. With the setup they have their, footage filmed is synced up with the soundtrack and available to be edited within an hour! Technology is super.

The Spider-Man Broadway Musical Swings to an Opening Date, a Full-Title, and a First Poster by Matt Goldberg
It's called Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, which is pretty bloody stupid if you ask me (or most people, it would seem). Follow the link for the distinctly uninspiring poster.

Thursday, 26 February 2009


2x01 I Lied, Too
A bit of a slow start, having to pick up threads left hanging from last season as well as trying to kick off new ones. But there are promising signs, so we'll see how things develop.

Friday Night With Jonathan Ross
16x05 (20/2/09 edition)
Poor Mickey, he so deserved the Oscar (says someone who hasn't actually seen either film).
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]


There Will Be Blood (2007)
[#7 in 100 Films in a Year 2009]


Samuel L. Jackson IS Nick Fury After All by Chris Hewitt
(from Empire)
The headline says it all. Additional info: it's a nine film deal! Madness!

And check out the latest set of Watchmen reviews here.

Articles: Watchmen reviews

And the negative reviews begin to pour in, from respectable sources this time. Check out this little lot...

from The Hollywood Reporter by Kirk Honeycutt
Clearly a non-fan perspective -- I don't think he'd 'get' the graphic novel either -- so perhaps best ignored by those of us who are. Not so the next, however...

from Movies UK by Orlando Parfitt
The internationally ubiquitous IGN is already offering differing perspectives: this fan-centred UK review hates it, while the Australian reviewer loved it. Fan reviews are coming out split thusly, it seems.

from Variety by Justin Chang
I've never liked Variety -- I hate their snobby use of a specialist vocabulary, which, however easy to understand with a little effort, is still awkward and (probably deliberately) elitist. Doesn't necessarily make their opinion worthless though.

For a more positive perspective, see the first round of reviews here, and keep an eye on the Tomatometer for the latest critical consensus. Seems like this is gonna be a divisive one though...

Wednesday, 25 February 2009


Mad Men
1x12 Nixon vs. Kennedy [2nd watch]
1x13 The Wheel [season finale; 2nd watch]
Don's pitch to Kodak is stunning, one of the best moments of the series and possibly a great TV moment too.
So, with season one fully caught up on, it's on to season two (only two weeks behind the UK airings). Finally, resolutions for those cliffhangers!


The Gruffalo's Child by Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler
The only (so far) sequel to the ubiquitous Gruffalo -- written five years ago, making it equidistant between the original now... which I read a week ago today. Oh, look how well I've timed this! (All by accident.)
It does what all good sequels to do: takes elements from the original as a basis, but develops them in a new way. For example, the original saw a little mouse telling tales of the fictional Gruffalo, who turned out to be real; here, the Gruffalo's child goes in search of the Big Bad Mouse, who isn't real. Yep, it's pretty much the children's picture book equivalent of the Terminator turning good in T2.


Michel Gondry To Direct Green Hornet by Chris Hewitt
(from Empire)
Gondry (he of Eternal Sunshine... and Be Kind Rewind, amongst even quirkier efforts) directing a superhero film starring Seth Rogen and Stephen Chow? This will be interesting...

Pirates' Verbinski Gets A Clue by Emily Phillips
(from Empire)
Who'd've thought Cluedo (or Clue for any yankee readers) would inspire two film adaptations?! And why isn't 13 Dead End Drive well enough known to get one, hm? That'd be fab. So, the first one wasn't renamed for the UK; will this one be? Cluedo is the original title after all...
The real burning issue, however: will it be based on the original, proper version of the game, or the 2008 'reinvention' travesty? We can only hope the former, but, having learnt of the latter's existence, I fear that is the impetus behind this new film.

Watchmen - Film Review by Todd Gilchrist
(from h)
A faintly scholarly review, which does come to this very interesting conclusion:
"Watchmen, overall, is for everyone. It’s for people who love the graphic novels, and for people who have never read them. It’s for people who are sick to death of cinematic self-seriousness, and for people who want their movies to be treated more seriously. It’s for people who love movies, and for people who appreciate film. Watchmen is a benchmark achievement, a high water mark for adaptations, and an imperfect entry in the canon of comic-based cinema all at the same time. In other words, it defines the difference between a movie and a film: not merely entertainment, but the articulation of real concepts and ideas, which are effective in their exploration, even if in some cases it’s to the exclusion of more immediate gratification."

Tuesday, 24 February 2009


Mad Men
1x11 Indian Summer [2nd watch]

The One Show
(24/2/09 edition)
Featuring Patrick Stewart bravely facing down a stream of Star Trek references, while simultaneously being far, far too clever for the presenters (or, I think, the crew) to understand. Only the ever-wonderful Hardeep Singh Kohli came close to him.
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Articles: Watchmen reviews

Today sees the first proper reviews of Watchmen coming in (it's out a week Friday), and here's a summary of a few of 'em...

from by Devin Faraci
The longest and most in-depth review, which is why I've popped it at the top. Mainly aimed at people familiar with the book, I think, so perhaps best to skip it if you haven't. On the other hand, in its completeness it's possibly the best of all these reviews (certainly the most positive), and the truly spoilertastic bits have to be highlighted to be read.

from Empire by Ian Nathan
Some have said this review sounds too negative for the 4 stars awarded. Pay attention and read between the lines, though, and it's clear that Nathan enjoyed the film but is explaining why it hasn't hit 5 stars more than why it's made it up to 4. "A smart, stylish, decent adaptation, if low on accessibility for the non-convert."

from Total Film by Jonathan Crocker
'The Other Film Magazine', as I call it, give an equally favourable review. "Uncompromising, uncommercial and unique."

from Times Online by Kevin Maher
Favourable again (most are at the minute, though we'll reach a dissenter soon) -- "a movie that is reaching utterly beyond the confines of its genre." Though he does try to claim it's "the first attempt to make a truly post-adolescent comic book movie". Firstly, he means "superhero movie"; secondly, I'm not convinced it is.

from by Steve Anglesey
"10 reasons you’ve got to watch Watchmen", which makes for a different perspective. Interestingly, lists the sex scene as the #2 reason to see the film, while everyone else dislikes it. Including our final review for the day...

from News of the World by Robbie Collin
Remember that dissenter? Well, here he is. Is he right? Well, I don't know, obviously, but the review itself sounds as braindead as you'd expect from this paper. With both Empire and Total Film -- and an increasing array of others -- disagreeing, I'd wager he's as stupid as he sounds.

For a comprehensive, constantly updated summary, you must of course keep your eyes glued to Rotten Tomatoes. As I post this there are far too few reviews for a definitive Tomatometer score, but it's a solid start nonetheless.

Check out some more
Watchmen news from today here.


25 Greatest Active Film Directors
An unusual list. Yes, lots of them definitely deserve their place, but some probably don't. And is that the right order? At the very least, it makes for an interesting read.

Ratings: Oscars up, Dollhouse down by Mandi Bierly
Yay for those big awards; oh dear (already) for Joss Whedon's latest effort. Apparently it's not so good anyhow.

Plus, two stories about a certain huge film that's just on the horizon...

Watchmen World Premiere Report by Emily Phillips
(from Empire)
In London! Yeah baby! And wouldya look at that red yellow carpet...

Zack Snyder says Watchmen DVD will be 3 hours 25 minutes! by Steve 'Frosty' Weintraub
Some fairly concrete details on the long-confirmed (double meaning there!) Watchmen DVD releases. Essentially, we should get the Director's Cut in the first DVD/Blu-ray release, and the 'Ultimate Cut' (the DC with Tales of the Black Freighter and a tad more live action footage) later in '09. Sounds just super to me.

Also today in articles, the first few reviews for Watchmen. Check them out here.

Monday, 23 February 2009


81st Annual Academy Awards
aka the Oscars; mentioned today because I'm in the UK, which means they started at 1am. Very few real surprises, which is no bad thing in the case of Kate Winslet or Slumdog Millionare. Shame for Mickey Rourke, though at least Sean Penn used his speech well.

Law & Order: UK
1x01 Care
Not being a fan of the US original (I've seen two, maybe three, episodes, but never gotten into it), I can't compare this to its inspiration beyond saying that a lot of the superficial elements (e.g. the opening voiceover, the unusual editing style) are intact. As a drama in and of itself, however, it's not bad. It certainly rattles past, aided by its unusual structure, and felt more like a glossy US drama than your typical British fare. God only knows if that means it'll be a success or a flop.
[Watch it (again) on ITV Player.]

Mad Men
1x10 The Long Weekend [2nd watch]

Sunday, 22 February 2009


Mad Men
1x07 Red in the Face [2nd watch]
1x08 The Hobo Code [2nd watch]
1x09 Shoot [2nd watch]
There are so many great things about Mad Men. Today's favourite: the put-downs. Also, Betty Draper shooting her neighbour's pigeons. You have to see it to get it.

Oscars 2009: Live from the Red Carpet
And so Sky's coverage begins. And, in fact, is ongoing as this is posted, because the actual ceremony doesn't start until 1am over here. So there's an hour of red carpet to go, and the ceremony itself will be part of tomorrow's updates... or just sometime after midnight, if I have thoughts to share before then.


CGI Team Creates Realistic Oscar For Michael Bay
(from The Onion)
"A leading team of CGI experts hand-selected by blockbuster producer and director Michael Bay has pushed the limits of what can be accomplished with special effects and digital imaging by creating a computer- generated best-director Oscar for the 43-year-old filmmaker... CGI technology is still decades away from making an Academy Award win for Rush Hour 3 director Brett Ratner look plausible."

100 Films update

It's been a long, long time since the last 100 Films update -- closing in on three months, in fact -- and the day of the Oscars seemed an appropriate time to finally post this. Not that anything up for a major award is included. Still, the long gap means there are a huge pile of reviews to cover.

This update, then, I'll be rounding off 2008, dipping the first toe into 2009, and finally (finally!) finishing 2007.

First, the 'new' reviews, being those from 2008 and 2009:

  • 24: Redemption (Extended Edition) (2008)
  • The Aristocrats (2005)
  • Be Kind Rewind (2008)
  • Becoming Jane (2007)
  • The Blues Brothers (1980)
  • Chicago (2002)
  • Clockwise (1986)
  • Cube (1997)
  • Cube2: Hypercube (2002)
  • Cube Zero (2004)
  • Die Hard 2 (1990)
  • Enchanted (2007)
  • The Green Mile (1999)
  • Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008)
  • Madagascar (2005)
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977)
  • Russian Ark (2002)
  • Scenes of a Sexual Nature (2006)
  • Snakes on a Plane (2006)
  • Son of Paleface (1952)
  • Swing Time (1936)
  • Ultimate Avengers (2006)
  • Ultimate Avengers II (2006)
  • White Christmas (1954)

  • Also, the following shorts...
  • Gasman (1997)
  • Wallace and Gromit in A Matter of Loaf and Death (2008)

  • Plus, thoughts on the Cube trilogy and what makes a film a film?

    Secondly (well, kinda fourthly), the last of the re-posted reviews from 2007:

  • Annie Hall (1977)
  • Berlin: Symphony of a Great City (1927)
  • Bringing Out the Dead (1999)
  • Bullets Over Broadway (1994)
  • The Crowd (1928)
  • Fantômas: In the Shadow of the Guillotine (1913)
  • Fantômas: Juve Versus Fantômas (1913)
  • Goodfellas (1990)
  • The King of Comedy (1983)
  • Manhattan (1979)
  • Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993)
  • Mean Streets (1973)
  • The Naked City (1948)
  • New York Stories (1989)
  • The Paleface (1948)
  • Taxi Driver (1976)
  • Traffic in Souls (1913)

  • And finally, some more shorts...
  • Manhatta (1921)
  • À Propos de Nice (1930)
  • Skyscraper Symphony (1929)

  • From here on it's just '09 reviews then. Which I'm rather behind on; and I'm nowhere near where I need to be to hit 100 by December either -- at my current rate, I won't even make it to 40...

    Saturday, 21 February 2009


    Lark Rise to Candleford
    2x08 Episode 8
    [Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

    Let's Dance for Comic Relief
    Episode 1 (of 4)
    It's for charity, you can't begrudge it too much. Besides which, Michael McIntyre was an inspired choice for a judge (I hope he's on it every week) and Robert Webb's rendition of Flashdance was priceless. And to top it off there was the video for Nessa & Bryn's Barry Islands in the Stream -- fantastic.
    [Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]


    a selection by Carol Ann Duffy:

  • Mrs Beast (from The World's Wife)
  • Anon (from Feminine Gospels)
  • Kipling (from Answering Back)

  • As part of my reading of new (to me) poetry (mentioned ages ago), I've acquired three books by Duffy, staple of GCSE and A-Level English lit and beloved by critics. This is thanks to the ever-wonderful Book People, who offered this selection of three books for a total cost lower than buying one individually. Hurrah for the Book People!

    The main reason I bought it was for the highly intriguingAnswering Back collection, in which 50 poets have written new poems in response to classics (though don't expect to have actually heard of a great deal of the new authors or that many of the 'classic' poems). Duffy's Kipling is in answer to the Nation's Favourite Poem, If--... and isn't even close to being as good, or as memorable. Anon, on the other hand, is a much better piece on a famous poetry author.

    These few are ones I've read as a randomish initial selection; I'll be reading the collections in full later.


    30 Novels Worth Buying For the Cover Alone by Beth Carswell
    Can't say I agree with many of them, but, to someone who loves packaging as much as I do, it's a nice idea.

    RT Predicts the Oscars by Jen Yamato
    (from Rotten Tomatoes)
    As the day nears, more and more sites will be predicting things (if they haven't already, that is). RT's justifications -- and that they've made a prediction for every category -- make it a more interesting read than most.

    Why Alan Moore Hates Comic-Book Movies by Sam Ashurst
    (from Total Film)
    And all sorts of ranting about other stuff too. Depending on your perspective, what he has to say is either quite sensible or a bit loopy. Personally, I land somewhere in between -- his points about why America feels the need to create superheroes while the rest of the world doesn't seem pretty valid.

    New Zealand Internet blackout

    A reminder for the weekend...

    Join New Zealand Internet blackout
    protest against insane copyright law

    Friday, 20 February 2009


    Moses Jones
    Part 3 (of 3)
    Series like this are always hard to end -- they're 'gritty' and 'realistic', but how do you turn that into a satisfying Big Climax? Moses Jones makes the usual mistake of letting it all go a bit (for want of a better word) mainstream in the closing minutes. A decent series on the whole, though not without its flaws.
    [Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

    Not Going Out
    3x04 Party
    [Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

    The Office [American]
    3x03 The Coup
    Watched the majority of this episode in a seminar. It was very funny, which was nice, and thankfully not as painful to watch as the original version (which is deliberately excruciating to watch much of the time). I'd quite like to see more, in fact.


    Two bits of comedy today...

    Hamlet (Facebook News Feed Edition) by Sarah Schmelling
    (from Timothy McSweeney)
    Spot on, very funny, and very cleverly executed (it uses the whole gamut of Facebook news feed items, not just a slew of status updates).

    Oscar Handicapping
    (from The Onion)
    The ever-reliable Onion helpfully explains what some of those pesky Oscar odds mean ahead of this Sunday's ceremony. "Best Supporting Actor, Josh Brolin, 10-1: There's an outside chance that voters have mistakenly identified Brolin as the dead one."

    Poem of the Week: Typo

    by Russell Hoban

    Unsurprisingly to regular readers, this week's poem is selected from The Puffin Book of Nonsense Verse. Upon completing it last weekend I posted a list of my favourite poems from within its pages, calling this one "probably my favourite". An easy choice then.

    'Nitgub,' said the typewriter,
    and clenched the paper tight.
    'Nitgub positively.
    It is here in black and white.'
    'Nonsense,' I said.
    'I typed N-O-T-H-I-N-G;
    the word of course was nothing,
    simply nothing, don't you see?'
    'Nothing may be what you meant,
    but nitgub's what you wrote.
    I like it,' said the typewriter.
    'It strikes a happy note.
    It has more style than nothing,
    has a different sort of sound.
    The colour is superior;
    the flavour's nice and round.
    Have you plumbed its deepest depths,
    its mysteries explained?'
    'All right,' I said, 'I'll take it.
    Nitgub ventured, nitgub gained.'

    As well as being found in the aforementioned anthology, the poem was originally published in Hoban's book The Pedalling Man, which is sadly out of print. However, you could try your luck on AbeBooks.

    (As this work is likely still in copyright, I'll just draw your attention to the Poem of the Week copyright page.)

    Thursday, 19 February 2009


    1x05 To Say I Love You Part 3
    [Watch it (again) on ITV Player.]

    Friday Night With Jonathan Ross
    16x04 (13/2/09 edition)
    Including a clip from The Pink Panther 2 which perfectly encapsulated why it (and films like it) are so hated: it started with a genuinely funny, workable idea -- I even laughed -- and then ruined it by pushing things too far, making it utterly ridiculous and completely overdoing it. Tsk.
    That aside, good guests this week (or last week, really).
    [Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

    Magazines: new-look Torchwood

    Torchwood: The Official Magazine #14

    So the new-look Torchwood Magazine has arrived, longer and bi-monthly. This makes a lot of sense for a show like Torchwood, especially when there'll only be five episodes in 2009, and they're all one story to boot -- DWM can sustain its lengthy monthliness thanks to 26 years of classic series and an ever-growing mass of novels, audios, comics, and the fact that even when Who isn't on it never stops.

    As for the mag itself... well, it's not exactly a disappointment, but it's not the revelation it could've been. Yes, it's longer, which is theoretically nice... but it costs more and there's a helluva lot of filler. 28 pages of original fiction (as the cover proudly boasts) is fantastic, especially when that includes a 15-page comic co-written by John Barrowman, but fluffy articles on the show's relationships and 'how to be Captain Jack' feel like filler, and too lightweight for a magazine about an adult-orientated series. Put it this way: I don't think DWM would feature such vacant articles and that's family-friendly! And I haven't even mentioned the 'which team member are you' quiz.

    But there are some nice interviews, and a Jack timeline is a good idea for a feature (half-decently executed), plus there's news and columns about the forthcoming season. This last one may still be the best reason to buy the mag, though anything seriously interesting will likely make it online promptly. Christ knows what they'll survive on when there's no new season news to report. Still, there's always all that fiction.

    And so the new-look Torchwood Magazine is a mixed bag: half worthwhile, half filler. More or less the same as before then.

    Wednesday, 18 February 2009


    Mad Men
    1x06 Babylon [2nd watch]
    It's interesting how much episodes of Mad Men flow into each other, almost as if it was written as one thirteen-hour long piece and then just chopped up at regular intervals. Which does it a disservice, to be honest, because this episode rounds itself off as well as progressing ongoing threads; but I distinctly remember that episode 7 continues elements of this one to the level that any other show would surely have considered it a Part Two.


    The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler
    It's the 10th anniversary of The Gruffalo this year, in which time it seems to have become a classic of young children's literature. I've never read it before though (unsurprisingly, considering my age). It certainly lives up to its reputation however.
    (Like most good young children's books, it's also poetry, hence the additional tag.)

    Family Guy spoofs Christian Bale

    And does so brilliantly.

    Tuesday, 17 February 2009


    Nature's Great Events
    Part 1 The Great Melt
    Stunning footage, of course. The last ten minutes are a segment called Nature's Great Events: Diaries, which looks at the making of that particular episode. It really shows off the lengths they go to in capturing these images for entertainment/information. Equally as fascinating, in my opinion.
    [Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

    Terry Pratchett: Living With Alzheimer's
    Part 2 (of 2)
    Fascinating, well-made documentary.
    [Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]


    Heroes: Five Ways to Fix a Series In Crisis by Jeff Jensen
    Heroes is already back in the US, and returns to British screens in just under a week. But will they have fixed it?

    Joss Whedon’s 16 Most Painful Character Deaths
    (from fandomania)
    "spoilers abound in this article, so if you’re not up to date on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly & Serenity, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, or Astonishing X-Men, you might want to avert your eyes."
    These are seriously spoilersome spoilers -- if you're part way through or ever intend to follow any of these series, avoid avoid avoid.


    Empire #237
    The numerous 'exclusives' branded over the cover are all a bit lacklustre, to be honest. The Hobbit films are far too early in development to add anything meaningful; the Watchmen photos are taken from a book (so not exclusive) and the brief interviews don't add much to what's already been said; at least the interview with Terry Gilliam about Dr Parnassus, Heath Ledger's last film, is interesting. I like Empire and don't mean to tear it down too much, but really, those claims are stretching things.

    SFX #180
    Both this and the Empire above contain interviews about Lesbian Vampire Killers -- unsurprisingly, as it's out in a month -- and retrospective features on Georges Méliès -- which is more surprising, as his stuff is Rather Old. And, to round things off, it trumps the Watchmen feature by interviewing original artist Dave Gibbons. Sure, Gibbons hasn't been quiet about the project, but he's not as oft interviewed as others involved in its production.

    Doctor Who goes anime

    I'm never quite sure where to classify web videos (you'd think I'd've thought of that), so this one earns a post all to itself. It's a fan-made video of a Doctor Who anime... which you'd think would be dreadful, but is in fact amazing. No, really, it's got better animation than I've seen in some professional productions -- and that's not fan-to-fan hyperbole, that's genuine.

    Anyway, you can watch it for yourselves and see what I mean. The early stuff is all making-of (i.e. sketchy pencils, etc), but wait til it gets to the finished sequences and stick with it to the end. I'd be more than happy to see a whole series like this -- the Cybermen in particular are stunning.

    Go to YouTube itself to watch in high quality, which looks even more amazing.

    New Zealand Internet blackout

    Join New Zealand Internet blackout
    protest against insane copyright law

    Monday, 16 February 2009


    Mad Men
    1x04 New Amsterdam [2nd watch]
    1x05 5G [2nd watch]

    6x08 Fashion (extended edition)
    So it turns out the extended QI's are available on iPlayer (unlike how it previously seemed), they're just a nightmare to find and thoroughly hidden. Try the link below -- in the programme info it says it's 29 minutes, but if you play it it's the full 45.
    [Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]


    Brand New Fast And Furious Poster by Emily Phillips
    (from Empire Online)
    There's no reason to be excited about the film, but all credit to whoever came up with that tagline: it's the fourth film in the series, the first sequel to star the primary cast from the original, and the tagline is... "New Model. Original Parts." That's very neat, it must be said.
    It's still a bloody stupid title though -- how easy is it to confuse Fast and Furious with The Fast and the Furious, especially when you've got the original cast back -- it just looks like a re-release.
    Also, enjoy this article for the sniping at the cast for sinking to this level.

    Making Watchmen: What Took So Long? by Greg Dean Schmitz
    (from Rotten Tomatoes)
    A good summary of the windy path Watchmen has taken to get to the big screen. Hopefully, some day, more details will emerge on the versions people like Terry Gillian, Darren Aronofsky and Paul Greengrass were planning -- I'm sure they'd've been very different and very interesting.

    Quentin Tarantino on the Inglourious Basterds Trailer
    (from Empire Online)
    It's another one of Empire's features where someone (in this case, QT himself) talks you through a trailer almost frame-by-frame. And good they are too. Watch the trailer itself here.

    Salma Hayek marries in Paris on Valentine's Day by Rachid Aouli
    Well, France is known for its cheese...

    New Zealand Internet blackout

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    Sunday, 15 February 2009


    Mad Men
    1x03 Marriage of Figaro [2nd watch]
    Possibly my favourite thing about Mad Men is how comically well they evoke the period. When a parent slaps someone else's boy for being naughty, the dad walks over saying "what's going on here?"... and rather then erupting into an argument about punishing the child as it would today, the dad agrees wholeheartedly and gets his kid to apologise. Every episode of Mad Men is packed with these moments, and it's just one of the reasons the show is such a joy.


    The Puffin Book of Nonsense Verse, selected by Quentin Blake
    "Speak Roughly to Your Little Boy"
    "Department of Facts and Queries"
    "I Wish I Were a Jelly Fish"
    "Sticky Ends"
    "Distracting Creatures"
    "A Gamut of Achievements" [the end]

    As promised, here are a selection of my favourites from the 127 poems included in this anthology:

  • Typo by Russell Hoban -- probably my favourite
  • Eletelephony by Laura Richards
  • The Purist by Ogden Nash
  • S F by Ernest Leverett
  • How I Brought the Good News From Aix to Ghent or, Vice Versa by W.C. Sellar & R.J. Yeatman
  • One Fine Day in the Middle of the Night (anonymous)
  • I Went to the Pictures Tomorrow (playground rhyme)
  • Brother and Sister by Lewis Carroll
  • Fame Was a Claim of Uncle Ed's by Ogden Nash -- helluva name
  • O'er Seas That Have No Beaches by Mervyn Peake
  • A Chronicle (anonymous)
  • Politeness by Harry Graham
  • Scientific Proof by J.W. Foley
  • Waste by Harry Graham.

  • While we're here -- not only, but also:

  • I Saw a Peacock (anonymous) -- but only once I realised how it was constructed
  • Belagcholly Days (anonymous) -- very clever
  • Bleezer's Ice Cream by Jack Prelutsky
  • Minnow Minnie by Shel Silverstein
  • Some Aunts and Uncles by Mervyn Peake
  • The Ahkond of Swat by Edward Lear
  • The Willow-tree by William Makepeace Thackeray
  • Capacity by John Updike
  • Planting a Mailbox by John Updike
  • The Cod by Lord Alfred Douglas
  • Kitty by Colin West
  • Simple Simon (anonymous)
  • and Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll -- of course.
  • Articles

    When old films never grow old by ghostof82
    (from Musings of the Ghost of 82)
    "are we objective enough when eulogising the old greats while disparaging the young pretenders? Is a twelve-year old today that loves the Star Wars prequels, who thinks the Original Trilogy is slow and boring, any wiser than me?"
    Pretty good article on this topic.

    Saturday, 14 February 2009


    1x04 To Say I Love You Part 2
    Ooh it's gritty.
    [Watch it (again) on ITV Player.]

    Dancing On Ice
    The Story of Bolero
    25 years old today, and it's still the only ice dance to ever achieve a perfect score (6.0 from 12 judges!) Even to a layman like me it's an incredibly impressive routine, the effect of which is only heightened by this documentary outlining just how innovative and rule-bending it was.

    Moses Jones
    Part 2 (of 3)
    Ooh it's gritty.
    [Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]


    Inglourious Basterds Teaser Trailer
    "Once upon a time in Nazi-occupied France."
    "Sound good?" "Yes sir!"

    DVD Extras

    Watchmen Video Journals
    #11: Rorschach's Mask

    I said part 11 was coming soon! Download it from iTunes either ready for iPod or in a higher res.

    Friday, 13 February 2009


    Not Going Out
    3x03 Amy
    [Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

    Poem of the Week: Triskaidekaphobia

    I'm not superstitious, but...
    by Col Wilson, aka 'Blue the Shearer'

    Assertion of the Week: "There are no good poems about Friday the 13th." Prove me wrong and I'll publish it next week (in some kind of metatextual dating mix-up).

    That doesn't mean I've not got one to publish though, oh no. The title may seem only partially related, but most of the poem is still about Friday the 13th. It starts off fairly well, but loses it in a desperate hunt for rhymes.

    If you're triskaidekaphobic, then this is your big day.
    A day designed for triskaidekaphobics, (so they say)
    Is BLACK FRIDAY. The thirteenth. So watch out what you do,
    Or triskaidekaphobia could be the death of you.

    Be very, very careful of what you undertake,
    The consequences could be dire. The decision that you make
    Should have no element of risk. For surely you're aware,
    That this is Friday, the thirteenth. Take very special care.

    Not that I'm susceptible to silly superstition,
    But some folk are. So my advice: Consider your position.
    It may be just some oldwives' tale, but you just watch your back.
    Don't cross your knives upon your plate. Don't step upon a crack.

    Don't go too close to mirrors. Those shiny sheets of glass
    May crack, and cause misfortune. So shun them when you pass.
    Of course, this means no mirror when you go to shave your chin,
    So keep a basin near at hand to do your bleeding in.

    Don't walk beneath a ladder, you may get splashed with paint.
    For on Black Friday, the thirteenth, fortunate you ain't.
    And be alert, and look around for black cats on this day.
    For bad results are forecast, if one should cross your way.

    If salt is spilled, then take a pinch, and toss it down your back,
    Some say it will protect you from Black Friday type attack.
    All your friends will laugh and jeer, but you'll say:"That's alright,
    I only have to keep it up 'til twelve o'clock, to-night."

    And just consider what you say. The person that you're rude to,
    May be a special kind of witch. The kind that I allude to
    Can turn you into cabbages, or make you very poor.
    Remember. This is Friday, the thirteenth. I said before,

    That triskaidekaphobia, (the terror of thirteen)
    Is very rife, this day of days. A pretty dreadful scene.
    So watch yourself in traffic, in the kitchen, everywhere.
    For triskaidekaphobics, there is danger in the air.

    Ah! Triskaidekaphobia. I just learned the word today.
    And from here on in, I'll try to find excuses, just to say
    Triskaidekaphobia. It just rolls off the tongue.
    I'll say it daily, and enjoy the pleasure that it brung.

    I'll buy a lottery ticket, and I'll call it: Triskaidek.
    And when it wins, I'll take it all in cash, and not by cheque.
    And really, I don't believe in luck, when all is done and said,
    But just the same. Black Friday. I think I'll stay in bed.

    And this was published. Perhaps self published, mind... There's some info on the poem and poet here, and some more here, and if you're interested in Triskaidekaphobia itself there's always the good ol' Wikipedia article.

    Thursday, 12 February 2009


    Friday Night With Jonathan Ross
    16x03 (6/2/09 edition)
    Tom Jones has gone grey! Tom Jones! Grey! I mean, he's been grey for ages, but he's never shown it 'til now (he dyed it, see). It's... odd. But good for him, I suppose.
    [Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

    Mad Men
    1x02 Ladies' Room [2nd watch]


    The Puffin Book of Nonsense Verse, selected by Quentin Blake
    Introduction by Quentin Blake
    "The World Turned Upside Down"
    "Chortling and Galumphing"
    "A Recipe for Indigestion"
    "Portraits from Life"
    "A Friend to the Children"
    "The Dedicated Traveller"
    "The Bongaloo and the Scrunch"
    "An Area of Uncertainty"
    "Flamingoes Rule Olé!"
    Mmm, gotta love some nonsense poetry! True, not all of it's good, but when it is it's great fun. I'll probably post a list of favourites from this collection when I reach the end.
    (The list above is, as usual, chapter/section titles, not included works.)


    Can Amy Adams really pull off an upset at the Oscars? by Tom O'Neil
    (from Gold Derby at the Los Angeles Times)
    Apparently so. Fingers crossed then...

    Can Wall-E make Oscar history? by Pete Hammond
    (from Notes on a Season at the Los Angeles Times)
    Probably not. Still, fingers crossed...

    Will BAFTA Awards predict who'll win the Oscars? by Tom O'Neil
    (from Gold Derby at the Los Angeles Times)

    Wednesday, 11 February 2009


    Mad Men
    1x01 Smoke Gets in Your Eyes [2nd watch]
    With the second season just commencing over here, it's time to catch a friend up on the first first... hopefully before a repeat of 2x01...

    Not Going Out
    3x02 Winner
    Utterly ludicrous, but hilariously funny and immaculately constructed. One of the best, cleverest half hours I've seen in a long while.
    [Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]


    The Birds (1963)
    [2nd watch; #6a in 100 Films in a Year 2009]
    The last time I saw The Birds was at least a decade ago. It's earning a place on 100 Films because I intend, over time, to build up a collection of reviews of Hitchcock's entire output.

    DVD Extras

    Watchmen Video Journals
    #1: Sets & Sensibility
    #2: Dressed for Success
    #3: Burn Baby Burn
    #4: Dave Gibbons
    #5: The Ship Has Eyes
    #6: Shoot to Thrill
    #7: Blue Monday [2nd watch]
    #8: Girls Kick Ass
    #9: Attention to Detail
    #10: Minutemen

    These aren't technically DVD extras (at least, not yet), but rather ten Internet featurettes that show the making of the forthcoming Watchmen movie. They're all very teasing and interesting, though my favourite is probably #5 for showing off the coolness of the Owl Ship.

    If reports are to be believed, there should be two more (a February one and a March one) before the film's release. They've been oddly released scattered around the web, so perhaps the easiest way to find them is a pair of podcasts: this one designed for iPods and this one in higher res.


    Doctor Who wants to be a millionaire by Colin Robertson (from The Sun)
    Dr Who wants to be a millionaire: Matt Smith signs five-year deal to play Time Lord by Paul Revoir (from Mail Online)
    Doctor Who will be a millionaire in five year BBC pay deal by Alastair Jamieson (from
    My God, look at all the sloppy journalism on display here! The latter two have just copied The Sun, and in the process inherited a mass of factual inaccuracies and hearsay -- things that were once reported as 'fact' and have since been disproved by cast & crew in interviews or books. Plus some truly glaring errors (12 million regular viewers?!), and not mentioning the fact that he won't be a millionaire unless he did do the full five years (presuming this story is even true), saved all his wages and somehow lived off something else! It's appallingly shoddy, it really is.

    And on a similar topic...

    Casting Matt Smith shows that Doctor Who is a savvy multi-million pound brand by Andrew Pettie
    An article from a bit over a month ago, when Matt Smith was announced; but it still makes for an interesting read.

    Tuesday, 10 February 2009


    Lark Rise to Candleford
    2x07 Episode 7
    [Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]


    Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll
    Classic nonsense. I suspect this is destined to be a Poem of the Week before too long, though I do try to limit the number of very well known ones.

    The Hunting of the Snark by Lewis Carroll
    Fit the First

    I am essentially lazy, hence why I'm reading Carroll's relatively-long-but-not-that-long poem in segments. See above for an infinitely more manageable (in length, at least) alternative.

    David Tennant does a Christian Bale

    Don't worry, dear Tennant fans, this is a spoof. You can hear Bale's original rant in full here.

    "What the FUCK?!"

    "I... I..."

    "You fucking unprofessional Cyberman! What the FUCK do you think you're DOING?"

    "I... I... well..."

    "Fucking hell! Put the fucking helmet back ON!"

    "But... but I'm really hot..."

    "What?! What the FUCK? You don't fucking get it, do you? DO YOU?"

    "But... I'm not in shot..."

    "Oh! OHH! He's not in the fucking SHOT!"

    "And I'm... I'm suffocating..."

    "Oh, he's SUFFOCATING, and he's not in SHOT! Well GOOD for YOUUU!"

    "I... but..."

    "Shut up. Shut UP. Shut the FUCK UP. Just shut up. SHUT UP. I said SHUT THE FUCK UP. Shut up! FUCKING SHUT THE FUCK UP. OK?"


    "I SAID SHUT THE FUCK UP. Fucking unprofessional fuck. Get off the set. Get off the fucking set. I'm not coming on this fucking set with this fuck on it."

    "But... I play all the Cybermen..."

    "Well la-de-fucking-da! The Cybermen can FUCK OFF then. You and me, we're through. Professionally, we're fucking through."

    Originally posted here, but you have to log in to Facebook to see it, hence this re-post.

    Amusingly, Bale's Wikipedia page is currently locked.

    Monday, 9 February 2009


    Natural World
    Elephants Without Borders
    There seem to be loads of elephant-related programmes on recently. Inevitably there's some repetition of content, but the images are still amazing. This one marked itself out with some astounding aerial photography.
    [Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

    6x07 Fingers and Fumbs (extended edition)
    Having moaned at them having both versions of QI on iPlayer (regular and extended), they now only have the shorter cut. How bloody stupid.
    [Watch the shorter version on iPlayer.]

    Terry Pratchett: Living With Alzheimer's
    Part 1 (of 2)
    Fascinating, well-made documentary.
    [Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

    Sunday, 8 February 2009


    The British Academy Film Awards 2009

    Not many surprises here then, though from what I know most of the nods were deserved. It amuses me that bookies had Noel Clarke as third favourite to win the Rising Star Award -- obviously they know nothing of the dedication Doctor Who fans show to current & former cast & crew members, and the ability of Who fandom to swing an online poll whichever way they want.

    Aside from a few good speeches and a few good jokes (including a well-timed jibe from Wossy about his recent suspension), perhaps the most notable thing about this year's awards was the BBC's decision to show it across three channels -- the red carpet on BBC Three, the first hour on BBC Two, and the final hour on BBC One. It seems a ridiculous idea, but actually make a lot of sense: when most viewers only care about the tip-top awards, why waste an hour of primetime BBC One with Best Hair & Make-Up and Best Cinematography? I'd be annoyed if they weren't shown at all, but as they were on BBC Two for those of us who are interested, it seems sensible enough to me.

    More bemusing was choosing not to show in full the Best Animated Film award (WALL-E!) and Best Animated Short (Wallace & Gromit!), both of which had very popular and notable winners.


    Marnie (1964)
    [#6 in 100 Films in a Year 2009]

    Marnie Trailer
    Absolutely brilliant! Hitchcock merrily takes the mick out of his own unreleased film, in the process making it appear even better -- and suggesting it might be a good deal funnier -- than it actually is. I wish more films were trailed like this; though if they were, it would make this shining example less unique and enjoyable. It's on the DVD and I recommend it highly.

    Saturday, 7 February 2009


    1x03 To Say I Love You Part 1
    [Watch it (again) on ITV Player.]

    So, Demons, eh? So much for being just one week behind, I'm now over two. And I was doing so well...


    The Ballad of Reading Gaol by Oscar Wilde
    Wilde's long but rewarding poem about a hanging that took place while he was in prison. The carefully-observed rhythm, rhyme and alliteration are all right up my street. (I'd consider it for Poem of the Week, but it's so bloody long...)


    Doctor Who Magazine #405
    Matt Smith is the Doctor... though he's not treated to that famous DWM headline just yet, 'cause there's still four episodes left for The Other Guy. There is his first-ever exclusive magazine interview since landing the part, however, and despite filming being six months away there are a few tidbits for fans nonetheless.
    Not a great deal else of note in this issue, it must be said, especially as the key snippets of news were blown on Outpost Gallifrey the day before it came out. I guess they've given up on their former policy of not stealing DWM's news in advance then.

    Friday, 6 February 2009


    Moses Jones
    Part 1 (of 3)
    A good little thriller, even if there were one or two logic holes. Hopefully Matt Smith will use a different accent when it comes to playing the 11th Doctor -- that one's a bit too similar to Tennant's for my taste.
    [Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

    Torchwood: Children of Earth Trailer
    Looks good! Shame it's not going to be on for ages.


    Interview with Mouse Guard's David Petersen by Chris Dahlen
    (from A.V. Club)
    Mouse Guard is bleedin' brilliant, and this is a nice interview with its creator/writer/artist, covering topics from how the series began to where its going to plans for a movie version that are kinda surprising...

    Poem of the Week: Poetry

    by Edmund Vance Cooke

    In the week I start the Poetry module of my MA, I thought this was an appropriate choice.

    To deftly do what many dimly think;
         To fund a feeling for the world to borrow;
    To turn a tear to printer's ink;
         To make a sonnet of a sorrow.

    Edmund Vance Cooke lived between 1866 and 1932. For a bit more info and some more of his work, look to Representative Poetry Online. (He doesn't have a Wikipedia entry! Shocking, I know.)

    Thursday, 5 February 2009


    Lark Rise to Candleford
    2x06 Episode 6
    If I didn't know better, I'd've thought this was the last episode. By Lark Rise standards, positively action-packed.
    [Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]


    2009’s Oscar nominees: What if Celebrity Nudity picked the winners? by Keith Phipps
    (from A.V. Club)
    Highly amusing. Somewhat unsurprisingly, Kate Winslet and The Reader seem to win most things.

    Hell is plastic: 18 calamitous music and movie packaging gimmicks by Christopher Bahn, Josh Modell, Keith Phipps, Leonard Pierce, Noel Murray & Scott Tobias
    (from A.V. Club)
    I personally love novelty packaging, but it's true that some of it is a disaster.

    "Surprises" Promised For Oscars
    (from Studio Briefing)
    "this year's Oscars show will 'have its own narrative line -- not merely handing out the awards, but doing it in a way that tells a story'". Well, that's... different...

    Wednesday, 4 February 2009


    Broken Saints
    Chapter 19 Signals
    Yes, the pretentiousness still lingers, but look at the story move! If only it had gone at this (relatively normal, it must be said) rate from the earliest episodes it might've garnered a wider appeal.

    This World
    Mandela: The 90th Year
    [Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

    Tuesday, 3 February 2009


    1x13 Best of Argumental [season finale]
    Mostly just bits we've already seen, of course, but it was a long series with lots worth re-enjoying; plus, I missed two episodes, so there were a few things I'd never seen from them. And it was worth watching just for the short segment of outtakes, including John Sergeant having to mime pressing a buzzer -- at least ten times more entertaining than that sounds.
    Argumental returns in March -- yay!

    Broken Saints
    Chapter 18 Forecast
    Elements like prophecies and dreams are often rather silly things in drama -- they tend not to advance the plot, just pad things out suggesting what might be to come. While the Tarot card reading in this episode is very atmospheric and nicely done, it's also incredibly easy to guess the significance of every part; consequently, it doesn't add anything to the story and goes on far too long. Nice fight at the end though.


    Is Matt Damon right to brand James Bond 'repulsive'? by Ben Child
    (from Film Blog at
    "Matt Damon has confirmed he will return for a fourth Bourne film, and used the opportunity to take another side-swipe at 007. But will the British secret agent have the last laugh?"
    Yes, because however good Bourne is, the Bond franchise will far outlast him.

    Porn interrupts Super Bowl TV coverage by Robert Booth
    "As this year's clash between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals neared a thrilling climax, TV viewers in Tuscon, Arizona, witnessed an intimate exposure of a completely different order... with less than three minutes to play in a tightly fought final, the Cardinals had taken the lead with a crucial touchdown. Fans watching in Arizona would have been forgiven for scenting a victory for their team against the odds. Then the pictures from Tampa disappeared. Instead, viewers were astonished to see a woman unzipping a man's trousers to reveal "full male nudity" followed by what was described as "a graphic act" between the couple. Somehow, the feed from Super Bowl XLIII had been mixed up with a 30-second excerpt from Club Jenna, an adult cable TV channel featuring Jenna Jameson, one of America's most famous porn actresses."
    All I have to say about this is, "lol". And some quotes to add to the humour:
    ""I just figured it was another commercial until I looked up," Cora King, of Marana, told the Arizona Daily Star. "Then he did his little dance with everything hanging out." Another viewer, Jeanene Piek, said she was outraged that her granddaughter had seen the clip. "I was in a state of shock. I am totally disgusted," she said."

    Monday, 2 February 2009


    Broken Saints
    Chapter 16 Fallen
    Chapter 17 Lazarus
    Lazarus is by far the best chapter yet, containing both some comprehensible plot and some decent character drama too. And then, just to cement things, the closing quote is from Doctor Who!

    Sunday, 1 February 2009


    6x06 Fakes and Frauds (extended edition)
    They put both cuts of QI on iPlayer now, y'know. Why?! is all I have to say on that.
    [Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]