Monday, 30 April 2012

TV

The Graham Norton Show
10x20 (16/3/12 edition) [season finale]
That's that done; only three episodes behind on the new series. Why am I so poor at keeping up with chat shows these days?

Horrible Histories
4x06 Episode 6
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

The Mentalist
4x20 Something's Rotten in Redmund
[Watch it on Demand 5 from Friday 4th May.]

Pointless
4x20 (8/4/11 edition)

QI
9x19 The Immortal Bard [Shakespeare special]
This is, allegedly, episode 19. Pretty sure I haven't seen 18 others from this series, but God only knows. Apparently the one they skipped last series (because it featured Jeremy Clarkson) is on this coming Friday. Its XL version is currently unscheduled, and it seems this Shakespeare episode doesn't even have one.
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Articles

Masters of Cinema May 2012 – Pasolini, Coppola, DeMille & Lang Plus Win! Masters of Cinema Posters
by Craig Skinner (from Bleeding Cool)
MoC announced their releases for July through September today, and there are details and (some) covers here. Less exciting than the last quarterly announcement, in my opinion, though I do still want all of the August and September releases! The only current instant-buy for me, though, is a dual-format release of the 1934 Cleopatra, out September 24th.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

TV

House
8x18 Body and Soul
They're certainly piling the sadness/failure on right now, it seems. With just four episodes remaining ever, I wonder if they're building up to a very bleak ending.

Once Upon a Time
1x04 The Price of Gold
Different take on Cinderella. Always good to have more of Robert Carlyle, even if he's overacting furiously in the fantasy world bits.
[Watch it (again) on Demand 5.]

Vera
2x01 The Ghost Position
[Watch it (again) on ITV Player.]

The Voice UK
1x08 Live Show 1 Results
[Watch it (again) in HD on iPlayer.]

Films

Conan the Barbarian (2011)
[#41 in 100 Films in a Year 2012]

this week on 100 Films

No new reviews were posted to 100 Films in a Year this week (I was away, remember).

But, as it was on TV last night, I did add my old review of Terminator Salvation to the new blog. Have a (re-)read of that here.

Hopefully more new stuff next Sunday.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

TV

Archer
3x07 Drift Problem
[Watch it (again) on Demand 5.]

Have I Got News For You
43x02 (20/4/12 edition; extended repeat)
[Watch the extended version (again) on iPlayer.]

Mad Men
5x05 Signal 30
Excellent episode all round, for oh so many reasons. After a bit of a slow start in some ways, this season is really kicking in. No idea what that title means though.
Also, amazing how a throwaway reference to a fictional author -- Dave Algonquin, pen name of character Ken Cosgrove -- makes the internet explode with creativity.

Onion News Network
2x09 Brooke vs. O'Brady

Pointless
4x19 (7/4/11 edition)

Scott & Bailey
2x07 Episode 7
[Watch it (again) on ITV Player.]

The Voice UK
1x07 Live Show 1
The vast majority of singers on this are insanely good. It's going to get very tough after a couple of weeks. Or not, if some of the ones I dislike manage to cling on.
[Watch it (again) in HD on iPlayer.]

Collection Count

Collection Count tracks my DVD/Blu-ray collection via a number of statistics every week.

My late-afternoon-yesterday return from Cornwall, plus a pile of Blu-rays that had arrived during my absence (thanks to Arrow's BOGOF sale (lasts 'til Monday)), necessitated a delay until today. And then another one turned up this morning, which probably means I'll have nothing to say next week.

But for now...

Number of titles in collection: 1,471 [up 6]
Of which DVDs: 1,152 [no change]
Of which Blu-rays: 319 [up 6]

Number of discs in collection: 3,664 [up 11]
Number of films in collection: 1,558 [up 7]
Number of TV episodes in collection: 5,473 [no change]

See you next week, faithful reader.

Friday, 27 April 2012

TV

Not Going Out
5x02 Dads
[Watch it (again) in HD on iPlayer.]

Twenty Twelve
2x04 The Rapper [mid-season finale]
This series ends having got nowhere near the start of the Olympics. I know the real thing is soon, but it'd be nice if we still got some more of this... and luckily we will. It'll be interesting to see if they push to continue it even after the games, or if the next series will rush through the 400+ days that remain (in-series). It doesn't feel like it's over by any stretch.
[Watch it (again) in HD on iPlayer.]

The Voice UK
1x06 The Battles 2
[Watch it (again) in HD on iPlayer.]

Would I Lie To You?
6x02 Episode 2
Why isn't WILTY on iPlayer series link?

Articles

CinemaCon 2012: The Hobbit Underwhelms At 48 Frames Per Second
by Devin Faraci (from Badass Digest)
Footage from the forthcoming Hobbit adaptations has been screened in its much-heralded higher framerate of 48fps, and the results aren't good. "It is drenched in a TV-like -- specifically 70s era BBC -- video look. People on Twitter have asked if it has that soap opera look you get from badly calibrated TVs... and the answer is an emphatic YES." Oh dear. More detail at the link.

MST3K: The Movie (UK) in June
by Dave Foster (from The Digital Fix: Film)
Not only is the Mystery Science Theater 3000 movie coming out in the UK (which is a surprise), and not only is it coming out on Blu-ray (which is a surprise), but it's got extras too (which is a surprise). So I'm very surprised, but very happy about it. June 11th is the date; exactly £12 is the (current) best price for the BD.

back

I have returned!

As you can see, today's updates are already here (above this, obviously), and later I'll go back and add in the couple of things I have for earlier in the week.

Monday, 23 April 2012

away

I'm away from today, for anything up to a week, and I'm not sure what if any internet access I'll have. So please excuse the (potential) shortage of updates, and I'll try to update it all once back.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Films

Special (2006)
[#40 in 100 Films in a Year 2012]

this week on 100 Films

Two new reviews were posted to 100 Films in a Year this week, and they were...

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Some people complained that Iron Man 2 had too little focus on its own story and too much stuff setting up The Avengers. I disagreed, but I’d consider levelling such a criticism at Cap. While it doesn’t do it so overtly as the second Iron Man, it feels at times as if it’s drawing together disparate threads from previous films in preparation for the team-up... Maybe the subtitle should’ve given that away.
Read more on my new blog or my classic blog.

La R├Ęgle du jeu (1939)
aka The Rules of the Game
it’s a farce, but also a drama, which clearly has Something To Say — I believe I read that Renoir said it’s intended to be more about the lifestyle and the time it’s set than it is about a story. That kind of idea can often lead to pretension, but here it works... I’m not sure how Proper Film Critics would feel about this link, but I felt a certain affinity for Gosford Park while watching.
Read more on my new blog or my classic blog.

I'm off to Cornwall for most/all of the next week, so it's quite possible there won't be any more reviews for a fortnight. We'll see.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

TV

Castle
2x09 Love Me Dead
[Watch it (again) on Demand 5.]

Grandma's House
2x01 The day Simon officially became a very good and totally employable actor
20 months after the first series began, Simon Amstell's hilarious sitcom is back. Hurrah! I imagine a lot of people don't/won't like it -- it's not very traditional -- but in it's painfully-life-like-ness it's brilliant.
[Watch it (again) in HD on iPlayer.]

Never Mind the Buzzcocks
21x03 Episode 3 [2nd watch]
Watched this for no particular reason (it was on Dave).
I'm sure I've seen it before, though it wasn't very familiar. But no wonder: this episode first aired (and I imagine I last watched it) before this blog even existed, back in November 2007. That's 4½ years ago! Crikey.

The Voice UK
1x05 The Battles 1
Loads of properly great duets in this, I thought. Some decisions I completely disagreed with, mostly by Danny. I'm away from tomorrow so will probably have to wait a whole week to see the second half!
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Articles

Peter Dinklage Was Smart to Say No
by Dan Kois (from the New York Times)
A lengthy interview with/profile of the Game of Thrones star, which is very good.

Peter Jackson's The Hobbit Should Hit Theaters at 48-Per-Second Frame Rate
by Carolyn Giardina (from The Hollywood Reporter)
It's long been known that The Hobbit (both parts, obv.) is being shot at 48fps (which apparently we're all to start calling HFR, because an acronym always helps), but with the release date of the first half creeping closer (only 8 months to go!), the reality of getting that into cinemas (from a technical point of view) is beginning to bite.
How many cinemas will actually be showing it at 48fps? No one knows, yet...

Skyfall Set Visit: 10 Big Questions and How the Cast and Creators Answered Them
by Rick Marshall (from Movies.com)
In case you've somehow forgotten, Skyfall is the next Bond film. Other than that, the title's pretty much got it covered. Interesting questions; interesting, but naturally quite cagey, answers.

Why the Halo Movie Failed to Launch
by Jamie Russell (from Game|Life at Wired)
The film of Halo should probably have been one of the biggest blockbusters of all time. Instead, the project imploded and disappeared, probably forever. In this excerpt from his new book Generation Xbox: How Video Games Invaded Hollywood, journalist Russell interviews significant players to reveal the behind-the-scenes story of Microsoft's odd negotiation tactics and the production mess that ensued. A must-read (the article, at least; dunno about the book) for anyone interested in the business goings-on of Hollywood or video games.
There's a less-detailed summary of some of the events in this article by Mike Bracken at Movies.com, which goes on to comment on how the video game industry might be able to learn something from comic books when it comes to getting their properties onto the cinema screen.

the crapness of Blogger

Just noticed that Blogger hadn't bothered to publish most of my scheduled posts from the last few days. Presumably this stupidity is something to do with the semi-enforced transition to its stupid new interface. Stupid thing.

Anyway, they're there now. Thought I'd say why.

Friday, 20 April 2012

TV

Discovering Hamlet
There seem to have been various documentaries by this title over the years, but this is one recently shown on Sky Arts 2, featuring interviews with the likes of David Tennant, plus other actors who've played the role, and directors who've directed it. Unusual absence of scholars, actually, though John Nettles' surprising contribution on the play's historical allegory subtext was most enlightening. Very interesting it all was, in fact.
If you get Sky Arts 2, it's on again at 1pm on Saturday 21st.

The Matt Lucas Awards
1x02 Episode 2
Still so slow. Shame.
[Watch it (again) in HD on iPlayer.]

Once Upon a Time
1x03 Snow Falls
Bit less cheap this week. Still cheesy. But at least they're keeping the story moving (for now).
[Watch it (again) on Demand 5.]

Pointless
4x18 (6/4/11 edition)

Scott & Bailey
2x06 Episode 6
[Watch it (again) on ITV Player.]

Collection Count

Collection Count tracks my DVD/Blu-ray collection via a number of statistics every week.

This week's new arrivals include the Masters of Cinema Steelbook Blu-ray of Alfred Hitchcock's Lifeboat (out next Monday). I already have Lifeboat on DVD, but it's in a box set so I'll be keeping that. It also comes with two Hitchcock-directed wartime shorts in HD. I have them on DVD too, in a separate release, but as it includes a special feature that this BD does not I may hang on to it.

Also this week, my Young Indiana Jones collection is completed with Volume 3. It feels like I've been waiting ages for it, though I only mentioned it last week.

And finally, this week also sees the monthly running time update. This month seems to have been mostly minor tweaks, and even a week with no new acquisitions... but it also included three box sets of feature-length TV episodes. How much will it be up? Ooh, the tension! See after the regular weekly stats...

Number of titles in collection: 1,465 [up 4]
Of which DVDs: 1,152 [up 1]
Of which Blu-rays: 313 [up 3]

Number of discs in collection: 3,653 [up 16]
Number of films in collection: 1,551 [up 3]
Number of TV episodes in collection: 5,473 [up 9]

And so we come to that running time update, and it tells us that...

Total running time of collection (approx.):
261 days, 23 hours, and 5 minutes.
(Up 1 day, 12 hours, and 15 minutes from last month.)

Well, there you go.

See you next week, faithful reader.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

TV

Archer
3x06 The Limited
[Watch it (again) on Demand 5.]

Horrible Histories
4x05 Episode 5
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Twenty Twelve
2x03 Clarence House
[Watch it (again) in HD on iPlayer.]

Articles

Jonathan Ross: The king of comics
by Jonathan Ross (from London Evening Standard)
The title might suggest a profile of Wossy's new(ish) comic-writing career, but actually it's a piece by him about the new-found cool of comic books and their movies. I presume someone copyedited it to death though, as it's filled with references to "Spiderman", and "Captain Marvel" being in The Avengers alongside "Iron Man, the Hulk, the Mighty Thor, Captain, America, Hawkeye and Sgt Fury" (most of that last bit's fine -- spot the mistake in the middle). Still, the rest of the piece is good.

The Ethical Rot Behind Before Watchmen & The Avengers [Opinion]
by David Brothers (from Comics Alliance)
By contrast, here's a very good piece on the evils of the comic book industry.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

TV

Have I Got News For You
43x01 (13/4/12 edition; extended repeat)
[Watch the extended version (again) on iPlayer.]

Horrible Histories
4x04 Episode 4
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

House
8x17 We Need the Eggs
Unless I've forgotten something, I have no idea what this title has to do with this episode.

Pointless
4x17 (5/4/11 edition)

I'm the One That's Cool

This has been around for almost three weeks. You may've seen it. But I only just did, so there. (It's really good, though.)


Watch it bigger on YouTube and/or buy it on UK iTunes. Only the song though, sadly.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

TV

Not Going Out
5x01 Band
It's nice to watch a series of Not Going Out not thinking it might be the last ever -- they've already commissioned a sixth. Hurrah! And based on this, it's still on form. Double hurrah!
[Watch it (again) in HD on iPlayer.]

Onion News Network
2x08 Artificial Intelligence
This show gets loopier by the episode.

Articles

Marvel: What Does the Future Hold?
by Daniel W. Baldwin (from CHUD.com)
The forthcoming Avengers movie -- that'd be Marvel Avengers Assemble, obv. -- is the unprecedented culmination of years of work from Marvel's movie division. But they're not stupid -- they have plans beyond it. Many plans. Here's a good succinct summation of what is actually known about those plans (and is very light on the usual conjecture and wishful-thingking-fan-speculation that usually fills these pieces), covering 12 movies that could actually be coming out within the next five or so years.

Monday, 16 April 2012

TV

Dame Elizabeth Taylor: A Tribute
Happened to notice, while browsing through recordings that have been on my V+ box for ages, that this was shown a year ago today. I didn't realise it had been so long. But a good time to watch it, eh. Nicely done too, full of comments from people who actually knew her rather than 'celebrities' who just liked some movies they saw once.

Horrible Histories
4x03 Episode 3
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Pointless
4x16 (4/4/11 edition)

The Sarah Millican Television Programme
1x06 Episode 6 [season finale]
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Films

Drive Angry (2011)
[#39 in 100 Films in a Year 2012]
After all that Game of Thrones-ing, trying to get back to some film-watching. If I can end the month by reaching May's target (#41), I'll be a happy bunny. Might sound easy, but I'm probably going away for a week soon -- could get in the way, that.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

TV

Castle
2x08 Kill the Messenger
[Watch it (again) on Demand 5.]

Horrible Histories
4x02 Episode 2
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Playhouse Presents
1x01 The Minor Character
Well, that was certainly pretentious. Not sure what the point was, really. I could have a guess, but it was buried under so much arty pretentiousness that it doesn't seem worth caring about. Whenever actors/writers/directors clamour for a return of The Wednesday Play/Play for Today-style single drama series to mainstream TV, this is the kind of thing that shows why it doesn't happen. Hopefully future instalments will be less irritating/disappointing.

Pointless
4x15 (1/4/11 edition)

Films

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
[#38 in 100 Films in a Year 2012]
Not bad, but possibly my least favourite of the six films leading up to The Avengers.

Marvel One-Shot: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor's Hammer (2011)
[#38a in 100 Films in a Year 2012]
A fun little thing, more standalone than the other one.

this week on 100 Films

Once again, no new reviews were posted to 100 Films in a Year this week.

But I did add my review/defence of Sucker Punch to my new blog, as it's on Sky Movies Premiere this week. Have a (re-)read of that here.

More next Sunday. Hopefully.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

TV

Mad Men
5x04 Mystery Date
Mad Men at its best, this, for all kinds of reasons.

Pointless
4x14 (31/3/11 edition)

Scott & Bailey
2x05 Episode 5
[Watch it (again) on ITV Player.]

The Voice UK
1x04 The Blind Auditions 4
That's the auditions over, and with it the show's main gimmick. But don't worry, they've got another one lined up for next weekend's double bill.
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Would I Lie To You?
6x01 Episode 1
[Watch it (again) in HD on iPlayer.]

Films

Marvel One-Shot: The Consultant (2011)
[#37a in 100 Films in a Year 2012]
A short film on the Thor Blu-ray, contributing towards the interlinking of Marvel films.

Thor (2011)
[#37 in 100 Films in a Year 2012]
With The Avengers -- sorry, Marvel Avengers Assemble -- out soon, it's about time I got round to the last two movies that lead up to it. So here's the first.

Friday, 13 April 2012

TV

Archer
3x05 El Contador
Though they seem to have got the episode order back on track (after the mess-up a couple of weeks back), they still haven't fixed their Demand 5 URLs. But they do from next week. So that's nice then.
[Watch it (again) on Demand 5.]

The Graham Norton Show
10x19 (9/3/12 edition)
New series of this started tonight. Still finishing the last one.

Horrible Histories
4x01 Episode 1
New series! On five times a week! (Imagine me here muttering something about kids having no attention span these days.)
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

The Mentalist
4x19 Pink Champagne on Ice
I'm not sure the title of this episode even refers to anything in it.
[Watch it on Demand 5 from Friday 27th April. Probably.]

Once Upon a Time
1x02 The Thing You Love Most
This is... surprisingly cheap. The CGI looks about 10 years old. Maleficent seems to be based on Dolly Parton. The whole feel of its fantasy-world scenes is like a cheap-American-pulp-fantasy version of quality European fairty tales. I could go on, but I'll save something for future episodes.
[Watch it (again) on Demand 5.]

Onion News Network
2x07 Sex in America

Pointless
4x13 (30/3/11 edition)

Collection Count

Collection Count tracks my DVD/Blu-ray collection via a number of statistics every week.

This week, I've finally added the first two volumes of The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones to my DVD collection (I've wanted them since they were first released nearly four years ago), thanks to Amazon.co.uk's Deals of the Week. They're still available there at under £15 each. The third and final volume isn't included, presumably because it's currently out of stock, but it can also be ordered for under £15 (which I have done too, naturally).

Each set contains seven or eight feature-length episodes, with so many special features (all about the real historical events, nothing about the making of the series itself) that some individual episodes are effectively two-disc sets, one for the film and another for its extras. That's some impressive work (and why these cost so much when they were first released).

Number of titles in collection: 1,461 [up 2]
Of which DVDs: 1,151 [up 2]
Of which Blu-rays: 310 [no change]

Number of discs in collection: 3,637 [up 21]
Number of films in collection: 1,548 [no change]
Number of TV episodes in collection: 5,464 [up 15]

See you next week, faithful reader.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

TV

Castle
2x07 Famous Last Words
[Watch it (again) on Demand 5.]

House
8x16 Gut Check

Just a Minute [2012]
1x10 Episode 10 [season finale]
This has been brilliant. I hope they do more for the telly.
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

The Sarah Millican Television Programme
1x05 Episode 5
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Articles

William Boyd to Write the Next James Bond Novel!
by John Cox (from The Book Bond)
Completely out of the blue, IFP have announced a new James Bond novel! It'll be published in autumn 2013 and be written by William Boyd, and it'll take Bond back to the '60s. So much for the modern-day reboot. Will it follow or ignore Devil May Care? Only time will tell.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

TV

Fry and Laurie Reunited
I've had this recorded since whenever it first aired (sometime in 2010!), so it was nice to finally watch it. It was good, too, though a bit repetitiously structured -- too much "previously"/"coming up" stuff around the ad breaks. It had a 90-minute slot, but I dread to think how short it would be if you removed the ads and cut out all the needless fluff.

The Matt Lucas Awards
1x01 Episode 1
Not as much fun as I hoped it'd be. But there's promise. Big improvement would be making it a bit tighter -- trim just five minutes (to make it a regular 30 instead of 35) and it would probably feel less leaden.
[Watch it (again) in HD on iPlayer.]

Pointless
4x12 (29/3/11 edition)

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

TV

Game of Thrones
1x09 Baelor
1x10 Fire and Blood [season finale]
Bloody good, this is. Don't even know where to begin with comments on it, especially in case anyone reading this hasn't bothered to watch it. But you really should. One thing that's nice is that it doesn't feel at all final. Yes, some things come to a head, but just as many in the penultimate episode as in the final one, and loads of stuff is left hanging. This isn't a series of consecutive discrete stories, it's one long story that has to be broken up due to sheer length. Great stuff.
And so it continues in season two, which has of course already begun. But I'll try to leave a bit of a break before I begin watching that. But golly I want to know what happens next.

Just a Minute [2012]
1x09 Episode 9
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Mad Men
5x03 Tea Leaves

Mark Lawson Talks To
Mark Gatiss
Well, that was brilliant. If you missed it, sorry it's no longer on iPlayer to point you towards.

DVD Extras

Game of Thrones
From the Book to the Screen
Creating the Show Open

Features from the GoT season one Blu-ray. Interesting, but shame they have a tendency to repeat each other. Not so much among these ones, but I had a quick look at the half-hour "making of" and many of the interview snippets from these appear there too. Not much depth either (they last barely five minutes each), but elsewhere on the set are seven audio commentaries and an hour-long Anatomy of an Episode, so hopefully there's more meat to those.
That said, the title sequence featurette is an exception. Though brief, it gives you a good idea how they came up with that awesome opening.

Articles

‘Ridiculously Photogenic Guy’ image goes viral
by Eric Pfeiffer (from The Sideshow at Yahoo! News)
Missed this story last week when it happened, but it is quite amusing -- especially the various examples here.

Monday, 9 April 2012

TV

The Mentalist
4x18 Ruddy Cheeks
[Watch it on Demand 5 from Friday 20th April. Probably.]

Pointless
4x11 (28/3/11 edition)

Scott & Bailey
2x04 Episode 4
[Watch it (again) on ITV Player.]

Twenty Twelve
2x02 Boycott Part 2
[Watch it (again) in HD on iPlayer.]

Films

Chatroom (2010)
[#36 in 100 Films in a Year 2012]

Comics

Batgirl #6 by Gail Simone & Ardian Syaf
It's been ages since I last read Batgirl -- nearly 11 weeks, in fact, and back then it was 14 weeks since the time before. I seem to keep forgotting about it, which I suppose goes to show how much I care. And/or how good it is, depending on your point of view. But it was in the middle of a story last I left, and so I shall finish that at least. And it's quite a good one, to be fair -- I don't like the details of Simone's writing (some of the dialogue really grates for me), but the overall tale was worth reading.

Articles

Homophobes Slam EA With Thousands of Letters Over Same-Sex Romance
by Kate Cox (from Kotaku)

One recent, particularly irrational anti-gay "family values" campaign has kicked off a wave of thousands of letters to EA disapproving of the addition of same-sex romance options to [massively multiplayer online role-playing game Star Wars:] The Old Republic... The letters chide EA for being "pressured" into adding LGBT-friendly content and claim that the availability of options for players somehow forces homosexuality onto impressionable young children...

EA VP of Corporate Communications Jeff Brown accurately called out the letter-writing campaign, saying... "This isn't about protecting children, it's about political harassment... EA has not been pressured by any groups to include LGBT characters in our games. However, we have met with LBGT groups and sponsored industry forums to discuss content and harassment of players in online forums. In short, we do put options for same-sex relationships in our games; we don't tolerate hate speech on our forums.

Good on EA for standing up to these bigots.

You can sign a message expressing support for EA at AllOut.org, urging them to "keep fighting the Dark Side" in the style of Yoda.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

TV

Just a Minute [2012]
1x08 Episode 8
A particularly anarchic edition, for some reason.
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Once Upon a Time
1x01 Pilot
The big new US fantasy series (that may be a rip-off of Fables (I haven't read that so can't say with certainty, but the concept is certainly similar)) finally reaches our shores. It's quite good. The fantasy/fairytale world is a bit too stock American-vision-of-European-folklore, rendered with all the usual made-for-US-TV cheap CGI and whatnot, but it could be worse. As a whole episode, there's an awful lot of setup and exposition here. There's promise though, so we'll see.
[Watch it (again) on Demand 5.]

Room 101: Extra Storage
12x03 Episode 3
Being the extended episode they skipped before, including a whole extra round.

Films

Repo Chick (2009)
[#35 in 100 Films in a Year 2012]

I was going to follow this with The League of Gentlemen's Apocalypse, which was on 15 minutes later on Film4, but then BBC Two allowed the golf to overrun by 20 minutes and my plans were scuppered. Damn you sport!

And if I'd known it would turn up on iPlayer... Grr.

[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Comics

Aquaman #7 by Geoff Johns & Ivan Reis
If there weren't such lengthy fights there'd be more room for story. Maybe that's part of the aim. Quite good fights, mind, especially the later ones, but maybe losing a page from each to make room for two or three extra pages of plot would be nice.

Justice League #7 by Geoff Johns & Gene Ha
After the six-part "origins of the Justice League" opening story, we now jump forward five years to the present day of the DCU to find out the current status quo. Which is largely what this is about -- establishing things. At least it has the courtesy to call itself a prologue.
Plus, the introduction of back-up strip Shazam!, written by Johns and drawn by Gary Frank, which is even more setup-y than the main story. It does make the whole issue feel rather half-hearted. I'm sure lots of work must go into it, as ever, but telling two stories that are less stories and more setup for stories is kinda disappointing.

this week on 100 Films

1 new review was posted to 100 Films in a Year this week. It's Easter, so here's a film about Jesus...

Nativity! (2009)
it’s kind of a daft plot, really. It’s played relatively straight and realist, but it goes off that beaten track at times. Which I suppose is fine — why not, after all? No one promised grim social realism — it’s a Christmas family film, with some moral messages and a sort of romance and sweet kids and a cute dog. And regular readers know how much I love a cute dog.
Read more on my new blog or my classic blog.

More next Sunday.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

TV

Game of Thrones
1x07 You Win or You Die
1x08 The Pointy End
Now that's what I call a twist! Um, at the end of You Win or You Die, that is; though The Pointy End has its fair share of surprises, and a cliffhanger-ish ending all of its own. Ned Stark may be the only honourable man in the whole of Westeros, and it looks like that will do him no favours.

Just a Minute [2012]
1x06 Episode 6
1x07 Episode 7
[Watch episodes six and seven (again) on iPlayer.]

Perspectives
2x02 Lenny Henry: Finding Shakespeare
[Watch it (again) on ITV Player.]

The Voice UK
1x03 The Blind Auditions 3
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Comics

All Star Western #7 by Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti & Moritat

Excellent as ever. Moritat's art is better than I feel some would give him credit for.

Plus a back-up strip starring Western superheroes Nighthawk and Cinnamon, drawn by Patrick Scherberger, giving the former some Batman-esque roots.

Friday, 6 April 2012

TV

Archer
3x04 The Man From Jupiter
Being the episode they should've shown last week (note, however, that the Demand 5 URLs are completely wrong, and I guess will be until episode nine). No one corrected the continuity announcer though (who last week definitely introduced this episode, and with this week's not-quite-matching intro was presumably describing next week's episode).
[Watch it (again) on Demand 5.]

Game of Thrones
1x06 A Golden Crown
A pivotal episode, this -- I knew so going in, thanks to it being the subject of a picture-in-picture "Anatomy of an Episode" feature on the Blu-ray (on top of having a regular commentary track), which is regularly stated because it's so important. (It also manages to take up an entire disc, and the Anatomy feature makes it eight minutes longer -- maybe it's just separately encoded rather than a genuine PiP thing? Anyway, doesn't really matter.) It is quite pivotal -- the final scene in particular resolves a major plot -- but perhaps no more so than the preceding episode, although by dealing with the fallout from that it nails a lot of colours to masts. Still, s'all great stuff.

Onion News Network
2x06 Today! Now! Special
Different. Still funny. Who knew ONN would end up having arc plots and stuff?

Pointless
4x10 (25/3/11 edition)

Comics

Daredevil #9 & #10 by Mark Waid & Paolo Rivera
One of the best comics currently going has another strong two-parter, with a great standalone story (nice twists) and moving forward the on-going plot too (more nice twists). Waid's engrossing storytelling is complimented by Rivera's exceptional art, which renders action excitingly and dynamically, and pulls off feats like conveying emotion and indecision just through a series of close-ups on a hand. Simply fantastic stuff all round.

Uncanny X-Men #9 by Kieron Gillen & Carlos Pacheco
Blah. Not bad, just not that interesting either. Which is why I'm skipping AvX -- if it's any good, I'll find out and just read it after. The 7-page preview of #1 included here is a bit promising, though.

Collection Count

Collection Count tracks my DVD/Blu-ray collection via a number of statistics every week.

Once again, nothing new to report. I'm trying to be good about buying stuff, see. Lots of new releases from the 2011's winter season coming out later this month and through May and June though, so once that comes around the numbers will be bolstered. If I can work out where to order them from -- everything's inundated with exclusive Steelbooks and/or prices rising by a quid or two at the better sites, which is annoying.

Number of titles in collection: 1,459 [no change]
Of which DVDs: 1,149 [no change]
Of which Blu-rays: 310 [no change]

Number of discs in collection: 3,616 [no change]
Number of films in collection: 1,548 [no change]
Number of TV episodes in collection: 5,449 [no change]

See you next week, faithful reader.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

TV

Dirk Gently
1x03 Episode 3
Some fans of the books have criticised this series for not including enough science fiction elements. I can see their point. But despite that, it's still jolly good. More please.

Game of Thrones
1x04 Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things
1x05 The Wolf and the Lion
The first time I decide to watch a two back to back and they make an exceptionally good double bill, with plenty of plots and subplots continuing directly on at this point. Cripples... is still a lot of talking and exposition, but things really begin to heat up as the series reaches the halfway point in The Wolf and the Lion. It's really addictive now too -- I could well imagine watching most or all of it in a single sitting. But no, I shouldn't burn through it too fast -- there's not enough of it for that.

Just a Minute [2012]
1x05 Episode 5
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

TV

Game of Thrones
1x03 Lord Snow
The first new episode of GoT I've watched in nearly a year -- ooh, I feel like everyone else the other night watching the season two premiere. It's weird, actually, because while episode two continues what episode one started, here a whole host of new characters and plots are introduced.
Plus, this is the episode with an audio commentary by the Stark children, which begins with them singing the theme tune. Most amusing.

House
8x15 Blowing the Whistle
On Sky1 tomorrow, as it goes.

Pointless
4x09 (24/3/11 edition)
Resuming the repeats from early 2011 that were left off (by me, anyway) in December.

The Sarah Millican Television Programme
1x04 Episode 4
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Twenty Twelve
2x01 Boycott Part 1
Despite its award-winning-ness, I don't personally know anyone who actually likes Twenty Twelve. But hey-ho, I do. And it's developed episode titles this series, which pleases me. More British series should bother with episode titles.
[Watch it (again) in HD on iPlayer.]

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

TV

Castle
2x06 Vampire Weekend
In-joke-tastic opening!
(I would've posted a screengrab, but turns out Castle is surprisingly dark. Turn some lights on!)
[Watch it (again) on Demand 5.]

Game of Thrones
1x02 The Kingsroad [2nd watch]
When I watched this first time round, I commented that I was looking forward to the villains getting their comeuppance. I've since read that George R.R. Martin's fantasy world is characterised by its dystopian nature -- i.e. no such luck any time soon. Still, better to know that than keep getting my hopes up.

Just a Minute [2012]
1x04 Episode 4
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Pointless
6x34 (30/3/12 edition)
Pointless has gone back in to repeat mode after this episode. I've still got 16 episodes backed up from last time they did this though, but that's OK because from today they're on to episodes I've seen before (i.e. this one). But hey, that was nearly a year ago -- maybe I'll just watch them again. And do really well.
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Monday, 2 April 2012

TV

Game of Thrones
1x01 Winter is Coming [2nd watch]
As season two kicks off in America (and, indeed, tonight in the UK), I'm finally getting on with watching the first season. And golly does it look good on Blu-ray; and golly aren't the discs packed with special features -- I'll have to get stuck in to them too, at some point. Other than that, it's still as awesome as it was first time round (has it really been almost a year?! Crikey). I look forward to actually finishing it this time.

The Graham Norton Show
10x18 (2/3/12 edition)

Just a Minute [2012]
1x03 Episode 3
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Pointless
6x33 (29/3/12 edition)
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Comics

Batman: The Dark Knight #7 by David Finch & Paul Jenkins
A big fight? Fine. Attempt at a Big Twist? Adequate. Featuring plenty of Superman and the Flash in a Batman book? No thanks, this isn't Justice League. Upcoming change of writer? Good good.

Batwoman #7 by J.H. Williams III, W. Haden Blackman & Amy Reeder
Less-good art and a confusing story is robbing Batwoman of its previous greatness. Boo.

Resurrection Man #7 by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning & Fernando Dagnino
After last month's trip to Gotham, now Mitch Shelley is in Metropolis. Not sure if there's a reason for that, other than hanging him on bits of the DC universe everyone will know. Still, good book, no matter of where it's set.

Articles

Box Office Guru Wrapup: Hunger Games Still #1, Breaks $250M
by Gitesh Pandya (from Rotten Tomatoes)

The stats are quite incredible, so I shall try to abbreviate this to the key interesting ones:
The Hunger Games remained the most popular film leading the box office with more ticket sales in its second frame than the two new releases combined...

[It] scored another $61.1M this weekend, according to estimates, propelling the ten-day cume to an eye-popping $251M. That allowed [it] to break Avatar's record for the fastest non-sequel to break the quarter-billion mark. [Avatar] needed 12 days... including the Christmas frame whereas Hunger had no holiday help. In fact, only three films in box office history have ever reached the milestone faster - The Dark Knight... Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen... All were July releases when weekday numbers were much stronger thanks to students being out of school and the Potter figures included a boost from 3D...

The fact that Games could collect so much in such a short period of time outside of summer is nothing short of incredible. Overall, it was the seventh best performance for any film in its sophomore weekend and fourth biggest among non-sequels behind Avatar, Spider-Man, and Alice in Wonderland [which is, you could argue, a sequel]. Among second weekends, Hunger beat out every installment of the Harry Potter and Twilight franchises...

Overseas... the international total [reached] $113.9M... A final global gross near $600M is possible for the $75M production.

That's what happens when you take teeny books with a Twilight-esque fanbase and turn them into a film that's actually well-reviewed.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

TV

The Mentalist
4x17 Cheap Burgundy
[Watch it on Demand 5 from Friday 13th April. Probably.]

Pointless
6x32 (28/3/12 edition)
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Scott & Bailey
2x03 Episode 3
[Watch it (again) on ITV Player.]

Watson & Oliver
1x06 Episode 6 [season finale]
[Watch it (again) In HD on iPlayer.]

Films

Despicable Me (2010)
[#34 in 100 Films in a Year 2012]

Not as good as Megamind.

Comics

Batman #7 by Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo

Some fantastic twists and revelations as Batman's battle against the Court of Owls continues. The Night of the Owls crossover is coming, and it's set to be exciting.

That said, some kind of "previously on" mightn't go amiss from time to time. When it's a month between issues it can be tough to remember little details, and when things hark back to stuff published six or more months ago it can get even tougher. And, mainly, I have no idea who the girl in the opening scene is, but we clearly should. Grr.

Still: see also this article, by Nathan Birch at Gamma Squad: 9 Reasons Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's Batman is the Best Bat-Book in Decades. I'm not qualified to make such a bold assertion, but I concur with all the reasons why it's awesome. Reading this arc, it feels like you're watching a classic in the making.


Nightwing #7 by Kyle Higgins, Eddy Barrows & Geraldo Borges

It's a shame that Batman and Nightwing are published in the same week -- the end of this issue duplicates a scene from Batman #7, but elements of it make much more sense coming after the earlier events of this instalment (which wraps up the relaunched series' first arc ahead of the Night of the Owls), so it would have been better to have read this first. Both issues do work regardless... though having read Batman first, the scene in question feels somewhat transplanted from there to here... despite, like I said, feeling I should have read this first. Weird.

I started buying Nightwing because, as The New 52 kicked off, there were comments that it would be closely tied to Batman. It seemed obvious how at first -- there was a Big Thing at the end of Batman #1 -- but then that went away quite quickly. I stuck with it, though, because it was a good tale in its own right... and now I'm very glad I both started and kept it up, because it turns out the whole thing (both so far and, especially, going forward) is pretty closely tied to the Court of Owls storyline. And, as we have established, that's awesome.

this week on 100 Films

No new reviews this week -- I've gotten very lax -- but there is the March update (also on the classic blog here).