Saturday, 18 April 2009


Another weak TV day...

I've Never Seen Star Wars
1x05 Hugh Dennis
In which Dennis tries a paltry three things. One of them was eating roadkill though, so that almost makes up for it.
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]


AVPR - Aliens vs Predator: Requiem (2007)
[#19 in 100 Films in a Year 2009]
And that's it for my trawl through all eight Alien and Predator films! Reviews soon.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Trailer 4a
Among the list of reasons the MPAA have classified this a PG (a surprisingly low decision given the last few films and some of the events in this book) is the comment "mild sensuality". The MPAA must be the only ratings organisation outside of the Middle East who consider this something parents might want to guard their children against.
As for the trailer itself, it looks incredibly action-packed seeing as I remember this book as being particularly wordy and staid, moving things into place for the finale. That's a good thing in my opinion. It also closes with the possibly the best rendition of the films' main theme yet, suitably epic and dramatic. Still, Half-Blood Prince remains the weakest of the Potter titles. It might sound quite good, but it only refers to a relatively minor plot element (as far as I remember anyway) -- there's certainly no mention of it in the trailer!


Milestones by Ben & Alfie
Ben and Alfie Weedon are a pair of Westcountry teens who produce classical folk-tinged music, to some acclaim in certain musical circles (so I'm told). 2008's Milestones features new material alongside pieces collected from previous albums.
As well as the music, there's some joy to be had from the track titles: while some are wholly expected for the genre (Quarrender's Reel, From the Duck Pond), others show a nice degree of wit or create an interesting disjunct -- Track 8 (track two on the CD), Thing-A-Me Jig, and Ultrasound, for example. The CD's brief liner notes for each track also help focus the listener's attention on the boys' intention, which is especially nice for a classical novice like myself.
You can buy/preview their music from CD Baby, iTunes, or their MySpace page.


Doctor Who Magazine #407
Unsurprisingly focused on Planet of the Dead... as is next issue... Hopefully they'll give it up then, otherwise they'll be going on about one special all the way to November.

Being so close to one special naturally means there's little news on the future, with only some minor casting for the excellent-sounding Waters of Mars and some reheated quotes about the end of Tennant's tenure to tide us over new-series-wise. In past-terms, Big Finish's forthcoming 'Lost Stories'/'Season 23' strand sound promising, and the hint at possibly doing something similar with Season 27 is very tantalising for a McCoy fan like myself. A preview of the just-released novel Prisoner of the Daleks also makes it sound brilliant -- I may have to begin buying the books again, and perhaps even read them.

Commentary on this issue can't avoid the already infamous Christopher H Bidmead interview. Except I haven't read it yet. But one particular pull-quote is probably rather telling: "This is a good interview. You're asking all the right questions, and I'm offering some brilliant answers!" Oh my.

Finally, for the first time in 11 years DWM is conducting a Best Story Ever poll of its readership, nicely timed for the 200th story. (It is it is it is, whatever else you want to argue.) The deadline isn't 'til June so Lord knows when the results will be published (to coincide with story #201, maybe? Or Tennant's departure?) With 40 adventures now in consideration that weren't last time, it'll be interesting to see if Tennant and/or Eccleston storm the Top 50, or if there'll be enough classic series fans to help combat the over-enthusiastic new-series-only newcomers.


100 Movies To See Before You Die by The Yahoo! Movies Editorial Staff
(from Yahoo! Movies)
These lists come along all the time, often featuring most of the same films. I'm an absolute sucker for them nonetheless, and on this one I've seen exactly 50 of the 100 listed. Many good choices, of course, but some oddities that could really do with a note of explanation.

David Heyman talks Dumbledore's funeral, Hogwarts battle & more by Emma Riddle
Harry Potter producer Heyman discusses some of the cuts and changes to the adaptations of both Half-Blood Prince and The Deathly Hallows, including how they've made a rod for their own backs with some of the stuff they cut in earlier films. If you're at all interested in Potter than this is worth a read.

Poem of the Week: Anchor Baby

by Tim Burton

Apologies for being 24 hours late. Maybe I should just move this to Saturdays...

Anyway, this piece is my favourite tale from Burton's volume The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories. A little more about it following the poem itself:

There was a beautiful girl
who came from the sea.
And there was just one place
that she wanted to be.

With a man named Walker
who played in a band.
She would leave the ocean
and come onto the land.

He was the one that she wanted the most.
And she tried everything
to capture this ghost.

But throughout all their lives
they never connected.
She wandered the earth
alone and rejected

She tried looking happy
she tried looking tragic,
she tried astral projecting,
sex, and black magic.

Nothing could join them,
except maybe one thing,
just maybe...
something to anchor their spirits...
They had a baby.

But to give birth to a baby
they needed a crane.
the umbilical cord
was in the form of a chain.

I t was ugly and gloomy,
and as hard as a kettle.
It had no pink skin,
just heavy gray metal.

The baby that was meant
to bring them together,
just shrouded them both
in a cloud of foul weather.

So Walker took off
to play with the band.
And from that day on,
he stayed mainly on land.

And she was alone
with her gray baby anchor,
who got so oppressive
that eventually sank her.

As she went to the bottom,
not fulfilling her wish,
it was her, and her baby...
and a few scattered fish.

Better known as a film director (you've heard of him, right), Burton started out in animation, crafting a lot of his own characters and stories. In 1996 he published The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories, a volume of poetic stories with his own illustrations. Whether they were all written around that time or some date back to his earlier pre-directing career, I don't know. The style of the pieces is typical of what you might expect from Burton -- fairytale-like, but also very dark and macabre. "Twisted", some would surely say.

For my thoughts on the whole book you can look back to when I read it about a month ago (it feels considerably longer, I must say). You can also read the full text online here, complete with illustrations, though I don't know if this is legal. The book itself is published by Faber & Faber, and their page for it is here.