Sunday, 15 January 2012


Perfect Couples
1x13 Perfect Daughter [series finale]
Perfect Couples comes to an end with one of its better episodes. Still not a great series, mind, but it did improve a bit as you got used to it.

2x03 The Reichenbach Fall [season finale]
That was brilliant, though I wish they'd done the reveal at the end -- we knew he was going to die and then not be dead, of course, but how he did it is the real surprise. Of course, that makes for a pretty fine 'cliffhanger'/tease, much clever than if they'd tried to pull off "is he dead?" as one.
Though however much I loved Sherlock, the twist (unveiled on twitter) that a third series was actually commissioned at the same time as a second is better than any they had in the series itself. Keeping that, which is pretty big news (how many series get a two-season pick-up! Not many) completely secret for so long is a very clever piece of work. Neat, very neat.
[Watch it (again) in HD on iPlayer.]


Underworld: Evolution (2006)
[2nd watch]

Last time I saw this was in cinemas, about six years ago, and I'd forgotten (or never realised) just how different it was to the first film.

Whereas that's very much a modern urban-fantasy -- all blue-grey perma-night constant-rain Gothic cityscape with cars and leather coats and dripping sewers and guns and more guns -- here we're back in the traditional vampire/werewolf realms of Eastern European forests (albeit filmed in Canada, apparently) with decrepit castles and ancient myths and all that kind of thing. Sure there's still high technology and guns, and characters new and old digging around in the ashes of the first film (an 800-year-ago prologue aside, this one picks up where that left off), but the general tone is different. And I don't like it as much.

There are plus points though. It wraps up all of the first film's hanging threads -- whereas that was ultimately inconclusive, here the mythology is completed (quite what's left for the prequel I'm not sure; more detail on events we already know the end result of I suppose). Indeed, Underworld: Part 2 would've been as apt a title, so closely is it linked to the first film. The acting's better too. I wouldn't necessarily say the script is, but with Shane Brolly dispatched early on and Sir Derek Jacobi added to the cast, the average performance quality is significantly raised.

It's also much more violent -- the first's a 15, this is an 18, and it's earned, though it didn't strike me as much as it did in the cinema (more desensitised I guess).

So, in conclusion, shame they couldn't have stuck to the first film's urban settings -- it was what made the franchise feel a bit different and Cool. Tomorrow night, I intend to see what I make of that prequel. Considering it's obvious time setting I'll allow it more of the old-fashioned-ness, but will it actually be any good?


Universal 100th Anniversary Plans
by Dave Foster (from Home Cinema @ The Digital Fix)

Relevant to DVD and Blu-ray fans are the studio's efforts to restore thirteen films over the course of the centennial year... Universal Home Entertainment will be introducing a limited edition 100th Anniversary Collector’s Series featuring some of the aforementioned film restorations on Blu-ray in collectible, book-style packaging...

In addition, special collections will be released throughout the year culminating in the highly anticipated Blu-ray releases of Universal’s Classic Monster and Alfred Hitchcock series. A selection of movies that have shaped Universal’s legacy will also be released in commemorative packaging, many of them on Blu-ray for the first time ever.

Exciting stuff. More details at the link.

They've also rejigged their logo for the anniversary -- about time, I think, because the old '97 CGI was beginning to get a bit tired. Here's the swish but faithful new look, as unveiled by

Click to enlarge.

this week on 100 Films

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

Centurion (2010)
The story moves quickly, keeping the momentum up. Indeed, at times it moves so fast that some characters seem to be given short shrift. There’s a “who will survive?” element to the plot — Marshall’s horror roots showing through, perhaps — but you can largely guess which order they’ll be shuffled off in based on, a) how much screen time the character has, and b) the good old deciding factor of “which actors are most recognisable”.

The Spider Woman (1944)
the story sees Sherlock Holmes fake his own death to help tackle the Irene Adler-esque titular woman, apparently his intellectual match, who’s somehow causing a spree of suicides. Several borrowed elements — the faked death and The Woman — lead to some delicious scenes, such as when an incognito Holmes meets the woman, who is actually aware of his true identity. Gale Sondergaard is so good that they crafted a sequel around her

And in case you missed them last week, a pair of looks back at 2011 -- my watched list & statistics for the past year and my top ten (and bottom five) -- are obviously still available.

More next Sunday.