Tuesday, 21 April 2009


2x04 (20/4/09 edition)
Blues was robbed.

The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency
1x01 The Big Bonanza
Perfect Sunday night viewing -- gentle, funny, but mercifully not dull (as some examples of "perfect Sunday night viewing" are). Shame I didn't get round to this sooner; on the other hand, it means I'll watch the last two episodes in HD thanks to BBC HD being added to iPlayer. (Sadly only the last two are available there though.)
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

The Speaker
1x05 Episode 5
My God, get rid of Duncan! Please!
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]


War Child: Heroes
War Child is an admirable enterprise (producing compilation albums of original music by well-known artists for charity) and their much-publicised latest effort, Heroes, sounds right up my street -- I love covers and this is billed as "The Ultimate Covers Album". It's certainly a fantastic concept: renowned artists choose their favourite track and a modern act they'd like to cover it.

Sadly, its execution is lacking. There are some combinations that come out as the concept would imply -- Paul McCartney's Live and Let Die covered by Duffy, Blondie's Call Me covered by Franz Ferdinand, Stevie Wonder's Superstition covered by Estelle -- and all the "original legends", as the booklet bills them, are suitably well-known. But their song choices often aren't, and neither are some of "today's biggest acts" -- again, the booklet's words -- who are covering them. So we have the likes of Lily Allen, Scissor Sisters and the Kooks rubbing shoulders with Peaches, the Hold Steady and the Like -- acts that just provoke a collective, "who?"

Maybe some of the covered songs are more recognisable when heard than from their titles, and I suppose no one said they had to be famous songs chosen... but, to me, the very idea of an "Ultimate Covers Album" with such a setup implies songs and artists you know.

On the other hand, most of it does sound good -- I mean, you can't complain at that. The recognisable songs are largely among the best bits, though Duffy's Live and Let Die is risibly dull, choosing to abandon the original's defining hard-soft juxtaposition in favour of just the soft. Fortunately it's a rare misstep on this otherwise entertaining CD.


A message from our Guest Editor-In-Chief... by Steven Spielberg
(from Empire: 20 at Empire)
Steven Spielberg introduces Empire's 20th anniversary issue, which he's guest edited. It's a lovely piece and the magazine sounds great too. Can't wait to get my hands on it.

Ashes drama draws in 7m audience
(from BBC News)
Last night's season premiere of Ashes to Ashes managed to get exactly the same viewing figures as season one's opener. What're the chances, eh?

Fox Source Responds to Claim of Wolverine Lie by Kyle Buchanan
(from Movie|Line)
"Remember when Tom Rothman swore up and down that the final version of the film would be ten minutes longer? Apparently that was a lie. The bootleg apparently ran 107 minutes with credits. The official running time listed in the AMC and Arclight websites lists the film as running… drum roll… 107 minutes."
Of course, Fox had the common sense to suggest that "cuts had been made to the leaked workprint before the additional footage was added, which resulted in a similar running time". Obviously.
And so, the saga continues...

Spanish Life On Mars

Some people are very down on the idea of the brilliant British series Life On Mars being remade. Personally, I think it's ripe for remakes -- while it's unlikely they can top the original in terms of overall quality, the thematic idea of comparing '00s policing to '70s policing will differ in every country and so warrants differing explorations.

Click to enlarge

This Spanish version is especially intriguing, as it aims to contrast modern-day Spain with a post-Franco 1978. Courtesy of Jack Yan on Vox, here's a trailer and a few photos (even more content at this link). Obviously it's in Spanish so relatively undecipherable if you don't speak the language, but it doesn't look too bad. Fingers crossed that BBC Four will show it (subtitled, of course) at some point.

It's been retitled La chica de ayer in Spain, incidentally, the title of a 2002 song which translates as The Girl From Yesterday. You can also see some behind-the-scenes videos here. Again in Spanish, I'm afraid.

first image of Russell Crowe as Robin Hood

As he'll be seen in Ridley Scott's forthcoming variably-titled Robin Hood-based film (though they may've settled on plain Robin Hood now).

Based on the script changes implied in the Wikipedia article, I feel quite sorry for the guys who wrote the original Nottingham screenplay -- it was widely praised and provoked a bit of a bidding war, as I recall. Scott's thrown it all out, it would seem, and I bet he's not handed it back to them to actually get it made. Sounded far more interesting than just another straightforward version of the story.

But I digress. Here's the new photo. Though, it looks like it could quite conceivably have been taken 9 years ago...

Click to enlarge

"My name is Robin Hood, son of Locksley, Early of Huntingdon, loyal servant to the true King Richard. Father to my band of merry men, lover of Maid Marian. And I will have my vengeance."