Thursday, 31 July 2014

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Monday, 28 July 2014

TV

Alan Davies: As Yet Untitled
1x01 Cupped by a Shammy Hand
Repeats shall fulfil my wish!
[Watch it (again) on Dave OD.]

Gilmore Girls
2x01 Sadie, Sadie... [2nd watch]
Picking up right where the last season ended (the next morning, it seems like) makes continuing straight on feel less weird than it sometimes does. In fact, this feels positively "just the next episode"-y.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

TV

Gilmore Girls
1x21 Love, Daisies and Troubadours [season finale; 2nd watch]

Ripper Street
2x01 Pure as the Driven
Ripper Street's first two series aired in the same year for some reason, so we've (semi-deliberately, semi-accidentally) created our own enlarged (over a year!) gap between them. (It's now nine months since this episode aired. I feel suitably tardy.) Plus, I'm also one of the people who signed a petition (or something; I forget) to get the series picked up as an Amazon/BBC co-production for a third season (on the strength of the first alone, obviously), so it's a doubly good idea to actually get the second run seen before that turns up. Anyway, good start. Bit different. Hope the cliffhanger-y ending is resolved next week rather than forcibly dragged out across the whole season.

Films

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 (2013)
[#63 in 100 Films in a Year 2014]

The Jewel of the Nile (1985)
[2nd or so watch]
Said I'd watch it soon!

this week on 100 Films

One brand-new review was published to 100 Films in a Year this week...


Night of the Big Heat (1967)
Opting for slow-burn tension rather than alien invasion excitement, the film takes rather a while to get to the point, attempting to distract us with a subplot about the sudden appearance of the pub landlord’s former mistress, who gets the already hot-and-bothered islanders hotter and bothereder. On the audio commentary, co-writers Pip and Jane Baker talk about how you had to sneak in and dash through such character/romantic subplots, because the audience wanted to get to the sci-fi stuff — which rather begs the question, why put it in at all?
Read more here.


I missed two days in my "post an archive review every day" mission this week, but that still means five reviews new to the new blog...


Flesh for Frankenstein [3D] (1973)
the European cast are unable to pronounce “laboratory” — every time it’s uttered it comes out as “lavatory”. Childish I know, but it’s one of the film’s few enjoyable moments. “I had to work for two years before I could even stick my nose in the lavatory” is an instantly classic line.
Read more here.


Happy Feet (2006)
There are a couple of enjoyable songs, a few exciting action sequences, and even some bits that actually make you laugh. Couple this with a positive (if improbable) pro-environment message, and an even better anti-religious one that's only half-hidden, and you have an entertaining film
Read more here.


The Last Days of Pompeii (1913)
The fact that it’s an old silent film will be enough to put most people off. Some of those are worth seeking out, of course, but I would hesitate to recommend this one.
Read more here.


The Paleface (1948)
It’s clearly designed as pure entertainment, mixing styles in a way no film would dare attempt today — there’s broad comedy, gunfights, horse chases, and even a song or two!
Read more here.


Russian Ark (2002)
Apparently some sort of artistic documentary on the history of Russia, told via a fantastical time-travelling-ish tour of a Russian museum, Russian Ark is certainly ‘artistic’. Unfortunately, it doesn’t teach you much and is at no point clear about what it’s covering.
Read more here.


More next Sunday.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

TV

Gilmore Girls
1x20 P.S. I Lo... [2nd watch]

Mark Lawson Talks To
Jo Brand
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

The Musketeers
1x01 Friends and Enemies
Finally getting round this (hopefully to squeeze it all in before the villain turns up in his new role!) It was good swashbuckling fun. Some of the dialogue felt like it could've done with an edit or polish, and a few of the actors were a little subpar... but then that impression might just be because I've only recently finished such an exceptional, subtle programme as The Americans. For big, bold, swordfight-y entertainment, The Musketeers is first rate.

Collection Count

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

Number of titles in collection: 1,686 [no change]
Of which DVDs: 1,201 [no change]
Of which Blu-rays: 485 [no change]

Number of discs in collection: 4,191 [no change]
Number of films in collection: 1,823 [no change]
Number of TV episodes in collection: 6,147 [no change]
Number of short films in collection: 435 [no change]

See you next week, faithful reader.

Friday, 25 July 2014

TV

The Americans
2x13 Echo [season finale]
Mysteries solved! Characters changed! Future plots teased! Can't wait for next season already...

Gilmore Girls
1x19 Emily in Wonderland [2nd watch]

Mock the Week
13x05 (10/7/14 edition)

Monty Python Live (Mostly)
[2nd half]

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

TV

The Americans
2x11 Stealth


Friday Night Dinner
3x05 The Piano
[Watch it (again) on 4oD.]


Gilmore Girls
1x17 The Breakup, Part 2 [2nd watch]


Monty Python Live (Mostly)
[1st half]

Monty Python's last ever show, a mix of live stuff and video -- hence "mostly" -- broadcast live on Gold, then recorded by me and watched later, so now not live at all. But anyway. Sadly the pre-watershed original broadcast of this first half meant it was heavily censored, so I'll probably watch all of this again at some point. Nonetheless, it was still good fun, and the second (which I'll get to soon enough) started just after 9pm, so will be entirely uncut.

Plus, to help fill the time, there were some bonus celeb-filled behind-the-scenes bits pre-show and during the interval. I guess some people hate that stuff, and while it is rather chaotic and not exactly illuminating, I do quite like it -- it lets you feel some of the atmosphere there, at any rate.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

TV

The Americans
2x10 Yousaf
Ooh, you can feel the climax looming... and yet there's three whole episodes to go!

Gilmore Girls
1x16 Star-Crossed Lovers and Other Strangers [2nd watch]

Mock the Week
13x04 (3/7/14 edition)

Sunday, 20 July 2014

TV

8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown
6x07 (18/7/14 edition) [season finale]
[Watch it (again) on 4oD.]

Gilmore Girls
1x15 Christopher Returns [2nd watch]
In Germany, this episode is called Sex mit den Ex. Classy. Spoilery.

Films

Romancing the Stone (1984)
[2nd or so watch]

I remember really liking this when I was much younger, but I haven't seen it for a very very long time. Fortunately, I'm happy to report it was still great fun. (And, by complete chance, I've watched it just before it reaches exactly 30 years old. Anniversarytastic.) Must catch the sequel sometime, too.

this week on 100 Films

One brand-new review was published to 100 Films in a Year this week, and it was...


Video Nasties: Moral Panic, Censorship and Videotape (2010)
feature-length documentary exploring the ‘video nasty’ scare that gripped early-VHS-era Britain. Starting with a primer on the birth of home video, and what it was like to watch movies in those days (because, ladies and gents, we’ve now reached a point where even fans of that (second-)most adults-only of genres, the gory horror flick, are young enough to not recall a time before DVD), archive news clips and a wide array of new talking head interviews take the story from the UK’s first video recorders in 1978, through a newspaper-led panic, up to the infamous Video Recordings Act of 1984, which irrevocably changed the face of home entertainment releasing in the UK.
Read more here.


Meanwhile, my new goal of re-posting at least one archive review every day continued apace, with the following eight gems...


Alfie (1966)
If you’re only familiar with the Jude Law-starring remake, most of the original might come as a shock to you — whereas the 2004 version was pretty light and amusing, this is actually a more serious affair.
Read more here.


Basil the Great Mouse Detective (1986)
A seriously underrated Disney film... if you’re a Sherlock Holmes fan you should definitely catch it.
Read more here.


The Mirror Crack'd (1980)
There are some good lines, and it’s a Christie so obviously the fundamental story is good, but the direction is flat and lacks suspense, half the cast phone in their performances, and Angela Lansbury, lumbered with a sprained ankle and premature aging, seems to be in a dry run for Murder, She Wrote.
Read more here.


Sherlock: Case of Evil (2002)
Holmes is recast as a kind of Victorian James Bond, both in terms of his character and the plot structure. It begins with the end of the previous mission, before progressing through various familiar beats... Dr Watson is revealed to be “a bit of an inventor” — a Q in the making? Even Holmes himself is not immune: young, dashing, and womanising. Yes, womanising. He even has a threesome, shot and scored like soft porn
Read more here.


Titanic (1997)
it's over-reaching itself size-wise. This is true of both vessel and film, one being too big to dodge an iceberg, the other simply too long. I can't be certain, but it feels like the entire film following the iceberg's arrival is in real-time, which would make the length an excusable narrative trick, were it not for Cameron padding it out with endless contrivances to have Jack and Rose running around the ship.
Read more here.


True Lies (1994)
The comedy is quite broad, but it’s definitely a comedy, as opposed to an action movie that’s aware it’s a bit silly. Situations are pushed to extremes, clich├ęs are played up, things go wrong in a way they’re liable to in real life but rarely do in films, action sequences are played for laughs as well as genuine excitement… The advantage to Cameron is he’s allowed to do some audacious things that might get laughed out in a straight actioner.
Read more here.


Zodiac (2007)
Zodiac is really a film about obsession, and it makes for as engrossing a tale as the case was for those investigating it. In following the story the film chooses to eschew normal structural niceties... it jumps from character to character, and if you step back and analyse it that’s odd, but while watching it doesn’t matter one jot — this is more like real life than some shallow crime thriller dependent on a twist ending.
Read more here.


Zodiac: Director's Cut (2007/2008)
Despite the minimal number of changes, the Director’s Cut of Zodiac is certainly the superior version. Not by a lot, obviously, but if you had to choose between the two, everything else being equal, then it’s the Director’s Cut to go with. And it’s still an exceptional film, one of the very best I’ve seen in this blog’s lifetime.
Read more here.


More next Sunday.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

TV

The Americans
2x08 New Car

Gilmore Girls
1x14 That Damn Donna Reed [2nd watch]
Guest starring a younger Superman!

Films

Pacific Rim (2013)
[#62 in 100 Films in a Year 2014]

Collection Count

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

Number of titles in collection: 1,686 [up 2]
Of which DVDs: 1,201 [no change]
Of which Blu-rays: 485 [up 2]

Number of discs in collection: 4,191 [up 4]
Number of films in collection: 1,823 [up 2]
Number of TV episodes in collection: 6,147 [no change]
Number of short films in collection: 435 [no change]

See you next week, faithful reader.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

TV

The Americans
2x04 A Little Night Music
2x05 The Deal
I've been trying to ration this, because it's so good and there's only so much of it; but A Little Night Music ended on an almighty cliffhanger, and indeed this is really a two-parter without that name attached, so I don't feel so bad bending the 'rules' just this once.

Gilmore Girls
1x11 Paris is Burning [2nd watch]

Monday, 14 July 2014

TV

The Americans
2x02 Cardinal

Gilmore Girls
1x09 Rory's Dance [2nd watch]
I know some would brand it 'soapy' and it's certainly 'girly', but pfft, season one of Gilmore is really good. (And later seasons may be too, I can't quite remember. Though it definitely got less good once Rory went off to college.)

Sunday, 13 July 2014

TV

Gilmore Girls
1x07 Kiss and Tell [2nd watch]
1x08 Love & War & Snow [2nd watch]

this week on 100 Films

This week on 100 Films in a Year, I started a new initiative to post at least one archive review every day.

I have literally hundreds of them left languishing on my old blog still (having been moved to the new one for several years now), and I only repost them now and again when they're on TV or a sequel comes out or something. There are dozens -- hundreds, probably -- of more obscure films that would never get brought over if I stuck to that, so I'm making a concerted effort to change it. Nonetheless, there are so many posts left that I think it will take me a full year or more to finish this -- and that's if I keep it up non-stop.


Anyway, we'll come to what was posted in a minute. First, there were two brand-new reviews published this week. They were:


Journey into Fear (1943)
Remembered largely thanks to the involvement of Orson Welles (he has a supporting role, produced it, co-wrote it, and reportedly directed a fair bit too, though he denied that), Journey into Fear is an adequate if unsuspenseful World War 2 espionage thriller, redeemed by a strikingly-shot climax.
Read more here.


The Raid (2011)
perhaps the other film that The Raid is most like is Mamma Mia: a perfunctory plot that exists purely to link together the bits we’re really here for — Abba songs. Or “fights”, in The Raid’s case… though, let’s be honest, how much more original and interesting would it be if they were fighting to Abba songs?
Read more here.


And as promised, the bumper crop new to the new blog were...


Calendar Girls (2003)
The film could so easily have been quite a lowly, cheap TV movie effort, what with its apparently farcical premise, worthy cause and older characters. But instead the filmmakers have crafted a movie that is both utterly hilarious and deeply moving — even for this younger male viewer.
Read more here.


Doom (2005)
When it does kick off it’s brief and only vaguely entertaining. And the much-discussed first-person sequence is far too much like watching someone play a video game.
Read more here.


Mystic River (2003)
The acting is the main draw of this Oscar-winning murder drama, in which three childhood friends who grew apart are brought back together when one of their daughters is murdered. Tim Robbins is particularly excellent, easily earning his Best Supporting Actor Oscar.
Read more here.


The Reckless Moment (1949)
probably only the second or third film noir I’d ever seen, and I don’t think I properly appreciated what I was watching. It doesn’t really come across in this ‘review’, but I’ve felt for several years now that the sense of apathy I felt then (which I think is implied) no longer reflects my memory of the film.
Read more here.


Troy: Director's Cut (2004/2007)
This director’s cut adds almost half an hour of new material, which is about a 15% increase in length. That said, I can’t spot most of what’s new. If you know it well enough to spot the differences then you surely already like it, in which case I expect you’ll like this cut too. If you didn’t like Troy first time round, I doubt you’ll be swayed now.
Read more here.


Tu£sday (2008)
The high-profile cast frequently belie what you’re watching. Most of the production has an amateurish feel. It’s hard to pinpoint, but it seems to be a combination of photography and editing: the look is like plain digital video, the choice of shots often obvious and lacking variety, the editing not as tight as it should be.
Read more here.


More next Sunday.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

TV

8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown
6x06 (11/7/14 edition)
[Watch it (again) on 4oD.]

Episodes
3x09 Episode 9 [season finale]
Considering we're very used to six-episode sitcoms over here, this seemed to be over very quickly! Await season four eagerly.
[Watch it (again) in HD on iPlayer.]

Gilmore Girls
1x05 Cinnamon's Wake [2nd watch]
1x06 Rory's Birthday Parties [2nd watch]

Collection Count

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

This week, I acquired the huge Hitchcock: The Ultimate Filmmaker Collection 16-film box set. This replaces an old 14-film set and my Psycho Blu-ray (but duplicates To Catch a Thief, which I own on DVD with special features not included here, and North by Northwest twice, because I own it in a DVD box set with titles not yet available on Blu-ray, and in a Blu-ray box set with titles not included here, and that has special features that aren't here).

To show after all that were just a couple of small but strange number shifts... until I also got a new DVD, leaving virtually no trace of anything. Funny thing, my DVD collection...

Number of titles in collection: 1,684 [no change]
Of which DVDs: 1,201 [no change]
Of which Blu-rays: 483 [no change]

Number of discs in collection: 4,187 [up 2]
Number of films in collection: 1,821 [up 3]
Number of TV episodes in collection: 6,147 [no change]
Number of short films in collection: 435 [up 3]

All that does have an effect on the running time, though -- upgrading from DVD to Blu-ray means all those films are devoid of PAL speed-up. Plus there's everything else I've bought recently because, handily, it's the time of the month for an update!

And that is exciting, because, for the first time...

Total running time of collection (approx.):
300 days, 12 hours, and 16 minutes.
(Up 1 day, 1 hour, and 18 minutes from last month.)

...it's crossed 300 days! Madness.

See you next week, faithful reader.

Friday, 11 July 2014

TV

The Americans
2x01 Comrades
Here we go, then -- and it's as good as last season, which is by no means a given and so is great news. It's quite wedded in some of the plot lines left over from last year's finale/season in general, which is something I'm generally fond of TV series doing, but is a little awkward when it's been a year or so since you watched it and the "previously on" is a little inadequate. But hey-ho, I kept up well enough.

Mock the Week
13x02 (19/6/14 edition)

Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em
2x06 The Baby Arrives [season finale]

Thursday, 10 July 2014

TV

Gilmore Girls
1x04 The Deer-Hunters [2nd watch]

How I Met Your Mother
9x23 Last Forever Part 1
9x24 Last Forever Part 2 [series finale]
As E4 have decided to split the clearly-conceived-as-an-hour series finale into its constituent parts, I downloaded the US version and watched it all in one go. No idea where the split would be, actually; quite tempted to watch Part 1 on catch-up and see (or just read about it on Wikipedia -- it's where I thought it might be).
Anyway, a lot of people seemed to hate it -- some have branded it the worst finale ever. Personally, I quite liked it. Kinda obvious it's been going somewhere like that all along, surely? Not to many/most, it would seem...
[Watch Last Forever Part 1 (again) on 4oD. Part 2 will be available next week.]

Live at the Apollo
9x05 Episode 5
First of two Apollo episodes I missed in the last series -- and I stumbled on it completely by accident on BBC Three, while simply looking for any old (decent-ish) comedy to pass the time! Coincidencetastic.
[Watch it (again) in HD on iPlayer.]

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

TV

Gilmore Girls
1x03 Kill Me Now [2nd watch]

Mad Men
7x07 Waterloo [mid-season finale]
But what does it all mean?!

Films

Video Nasties: Moral Panic, Censorship and Videotape (2010)
[#60 in 100 Films in a Year 2014]

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

TV

Top Gear
21x06 Burma Special Part 1
21x07 Burma Special Part 2 [season finale]
The 2013 Christmas special, shown in the middle of March 2014. Goodness knows why -- perhaps an editing thing: it's just over two hours long in this form, and the DVD/Blu-ray version has a further 35 minutes!

Sunday, 6 July 2014

TV

Gilmore Girls
1x01 Pilot [2nd watch]
It's been 5½ years since we accidentally abandoned Gilmore Girls, so rather than try to pick it up -- and struggle to access years-old memories of what was going on -- it felt best just to start again from the start.

Wimbledon 2014
Men's Final Build-Up & Men's Final
Ah well.
[Watch the build-up and the mens' final, plus many other matches, on iPlayer.]

With Wimbledon now over, and most shows on a summer break, hopefully the next few weeks will finally see me make good on the notion of starting all the stuff I need to catch up on.

Films

We're the Millers (2013)
[#59 in 100 Films in a Year 2014]

this week on 100 Films

First up this week from 100 Films in a Year, it's my look back at June.


Elsewise, two brand-new reviews were published this week, and they were...


The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976/1978)
Ever since I read the blurb for Masters of Cinema's DVD of Maurice Pialat's Police, I've been casually enticed by The Killing of a Chinese Bookie. Said blurb asserts that "Police is a genre-defying excursion rivaled only by John Cassavetes’ The Killing of a Chinese Bookie in the pantheon of cinema’s most idiosyncratic thrillers", which is both a nice turn of phrase and an intriguing one. The thriller is very much a Genre — that is to say, it's a label loaded with rules and expectations, and to be idiosyncratic within such a form is an interesting notion. Both "thriller" and "idiosyncratic" are pretty accurate labels for Chinese Bookie, though
Read more here.


Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)
It starts off well, with a virtuoso eight-minute pre-credits sequence that reconfigures the past 50 years of Earth’s spacefaring in the story’s image. OK, so it contains a seriously ill-advised, incredibly poorly-realised CGI JFK, but we can let some things go. Unfortunately, from here on out the movie does its best to pile on stuff we can’t let go.
Read more here.


Finally, several older reviews were new to the new blog...


The Three Musketeers (1973)
I like a good swashbuckler. I don’t know exactly what it is about sword fights, but they’re probably my most favourite kind of action sequence. The 1973 Three Musketeers, then, is a film I’m slightly amazed I’ve not seen before. Especially as I absolutely loved it.
Read more here.


The Four Musketeers (1974)
It’s a bit grim too [and] none of it sits well with the jolly swashbuckling tone that still dominates. There are some good action sequences nonetheless — for instance, the ice-covered lake; breakfast/siege in the ruined fort; and the burning-building finale — which go some way to make up for the shortcomings.
Read more here.


Star Trek: First Contact (1996)
It gets off to a flying start. The first 20 or 30 minutes in particular move at a rate of knots, churning through plot in a way no blockbuster would seem to dare these days...: a Borg attack; the Enterpise ordered not to join the fight; Picard doing so anyway; the destruction of the Borg cube; the Borg, erm, ball flying into the past; the Enterprise following; meeting Zephram Cochrane and his lot… It’s boom boom boom, moving on. It’s nice to rattle through a tale
Read more here.


More next Sunday.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

TV

Friday Night Dinner
3x03 Mr Morris Returns
[Watch it (again) on 4oD.]

Films

The Raid (2011)
[#58 in 100 Films in a Year 2014]

Collection Count

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

Number of titles in collection: 1,684 [no change]
Of which DVDs: 1,201 [no change]
Of which Blu-rays: 483 [no change]

Number of discs in collection: 4,185 [no change]
Number of films in collection: 1,819 [no change]
Number of TV episodes in collection: 6,147 [no change]
Number of short films in collection: 432 [no change]

See you next week, faithful reader.

Friday, 4 July 2014

TV

Episodes
3x08 Episode 8
[Watch it (again) in HD on iPlayer.]

How I Met Your Mother
9x22 The End of the Aisle
Well, who guessed The Big Wedding would be in the penultimate episode? Not me!
[Watch it (again) on 4oD.]

Films

A Late Quartet (2012)
[#57 in 100 Films in a Year 2014]

Thursday, 3 July 2014

TV

Law & Order: UK
8x08 Repeat to Fade [series finale]
This certainly feels more like a first episode than a finale -- and, as they've now decided to "rest" the series (i.e. "cancel by any other name", I should imagine) it's even weirder.
[Watch it (again) on ITV Player].

Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em
2x05 Father's Clinic
The one with the famous rollerskating sequence. The rest of the episode doesn't have as much to recommend it, unfortunately.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

TV

Friday Night Dinner
3x02 The Fox
[Watch it (again) on 4oD.]