Thursday, 23 April 2009


The Mentalist
1x04 Ladies in Red
1x05 Redwood
[Watch Ladies in Red and Redwood again on Demand Five.]

The Wire
1x13 Sentencing [season finale]
Look here for my thoughts on this episode, and the season as a whole.


Slapstick (aka Slapstick Poems) by Roger McGough
McGough is a well-respected poet for good reason, though that's not always evident in this collection. That's not because it's aimed at kids -- I love poetry for kids -- but because some of it falls down on issues of rhythm, pace, or the be-all-and-end-all of poetry, sounding good.
Others are great (and destined for Poem of the Week) and others still depend -- not just "benefit from", but depend -- on the illustrations of Adam Stower... yet he doesn't get a credit on the cover. In fact, he's only mentioned once, on page three. Poor Adam Stower. His excellent illustrations are to be found accompanying every poem and he deserves more mention, I feel -- I frequently enjoyed his art more than the piece it was attached to.


Quite a lot of articles today (10, in fact), so here they are split into three groups. First, the most articley of articles...

Outlander Vs State Of Play or, The Premise Vs Plot Dilemma by Helen O'Hara
(from the Empire Blog)
A very thoughtful and thought-provoking article on the amount of hype drummed up by some movies, and their consequent box office success, and the lack of chatter on others, and their consequent box office failure -- essentially, "woah, cool" movies for the former and more intelligent movies for the latter. Recommended reading for all, I say.

The Play’s The Thing - An Easy Guide To Liking Shakespeare Onscreen by Helen O'Hara
(from the Empire Blog)
Does more or less what it says on the tin, and does it well I think.

Articles: Lists

10 Greatest Movie Posters Ever Made by Sam Ashurst
10 Worst Movie Posters Ever Made by Andy Lowe
(from Total Film)
Some odd choices on both sides, but worth pondering. Personally, I love the "Some Thing Has Found Us" tagline -- that's a very cleverly placed space.

10 Incredibly Strange Movie Trailers by Andy Lowe
(from Total Film)
I do love a good trailer, and some of these are just that. And some are unmitigated drivel. Follow the advice on #2, the clips it points you toward are utterly hilarious.

If Movie Posters Were Honest
(from Holy Taco)
As with all of these Photoshop-based comedy poster/advert efforts, there's a mix of very funny and "oh how I wish I were funny" efforts here. The Indy 4 spoof is unoriginal and, to be honest, a tired and fairly untrue complaint, but the too truthful The Happening spoof singlehandedly makes up for all the bad ones.

If TV Shows Had Truthful Titles
(from Holy Taco)
Yup, it's the exact same thing, only with TV show titles. Intriguingly, this article came first -- I'd've thought the ease and familiarity of movie posters (as opposed to having to find posters/DVD covers/cast photos with some words on for TV shows) made them a more obvious choice. Anyway, it's again a mixed bag, but the Heroes one makes it all worth it.

Articles: News

Sony Wants You To Pay More Money To See Spider-Man 4 by Devin Faraci
The headline sounds sensationalist, but is fairly accurate. It also supports some of my previously-expressed thoughts on this new love for 3D.

Tom Hanks On Toy Story 3 by Helen O'Hara
(from Empire)
And also The Pacific, a "spiritual sequel" to Band of Brothers. BoB is amazing, one of the greatest miniseries ever, so hopefully The Pacific can live up to it.

Turtles Origins Set For Live Action by Emily Phillips
(from Empire)
So, essentially, a remake.

The Wire 1x13: Sentencing

An excellent concluding episode to The Wire's first season. One suspects they weren't banking on having any more, considering how this wraps things up.

It's all handled in a believable, real-world style, in-keeping with the rest of the series -- which final episodes aren't necessarily, often finding some semi-plausible final piece of evidence that sees all the bad guys locked up and all the good guys exalted with amazing levels of praise. Not so here -- there are consequences for all involved, to one degree or another, and thankfully no magic final revelation that allows all the bad guys to be locked up for a respectable amount of time.

It also succeeds in rewarding the viewer in a way only The Wire does. They're tiny moments played to perfection, such as my personal favourite, the juxtaposition of freshly-promoted mole Carver and Pryzbylewski in the wake of a speech about what kind of police officer you should be -- subtly, and referencing earlier events, it shows the complete difference between the two officers, and how they've subverted our early expectations of them. Similarly, the episode pays off apparently minor scenes -- and even just lines -- from all the way back to episode one. But, importantly, it does this without battering you round the head with flashbacks or "remember when..." dialogue. That's why this is a "novel for TV", and has become so beloved.

And, like most of the very best stories, its full quality can't be appreciated until you've seen it through to the end. This perhaps explains the minor critical (and audience, in some cases) backlash, where some 'don't get it' after only one or two sample episodes. (I'm happy to admit that I shared this view, to an extent, and expressed it here, but I think I remained aware that The Wire was the sort of programme you couldn't adequately judge without seeing it all).

The announcer confirmed that the second season would begin in a few weeks. Considering each tells such a different story (or so I've heard) this seems a wise decision... but I'm looking forward to it already. The Wire hasn't become my Favourite TV Series Ever, but I can now see why it's so praised. Consider me a fan -- and a convert.