I’ve been dipping out of Nu Who recently, skipping randomly between Eccleston, Tennant and Smith. It’s quite interesting to pit them against one another and one thing that’s apparent is how much fonder I’ve grown of Matt Smith and Chris Eccleston’s depictions, at the expense of Tennant. In fact, the more I rewatch Nine, the more love I feel. Eccleston’s Doctor is endearing, but he’s got that intensity as an actor that’s missing from Tennant’s run. (Of course, John Barrowman complained that he was too intense, but, well, fuck you Barrowman. It’s an acting gig, not a social club.) When Tennant’s called on to be intense and angry, he does that whole “Oh nonononono,” head-shakey thing and then gets all SHOUTY, like a puffer fish. But when Nine goes that route I really believe he’s going to kick some bottom.
It’s not entirely Tennant’s performance though. Eccleston had some stronger material to work with, the first series of rebooted Who didn’t rely on SUPER-DOCTOR! so often, with the character pulling new abilities out of his bum every other week and he was paired with a likable version of Rose, as opposed to the rather smug and selfish character she later became.
But, yeah, Eccleston. He’s still not my favourite Doctor by some margin, but he’s definitely overtaken Tennant on rewatches, who’s slipping down into the Colin Baker and John Pertwee zone the more I rewatch his episodes. Nine, on the other hand, has been growing on me over time. He’s endearingly goofy a lot of the time - proving that Eccleston could do silly and fun, which is why he apparently took the role - but when he does get serious, he’s superb.
Also, I may never forgive Ten for what he did to Harriet Jones, MP for Flydale North, Prime Minister and Former Prime Minister.
You know who she is.
I finished (re)watching Elizabeth R last night. It's always a pleasure to watch older British TV adaptations and dramatizations. They genuinely don't make them like that any more. Will there ever be a better Claudius than Derek Jacobi? A better Miss Marple than Joan Hickson? A better Sherlock Holmes than Jeremy Brett? It's doubtful.
So, in my mind, Dame Glenda Jackson will always be the definitive Elizabeth. She's picked up a couple of Academy Awards in her time, been a forthright politician, and was such a good match for the role of Elizabeth I she played her on the small screen in Elizabeth R and also on the big screen in Mary, Queen of Scots. She is, in brief, utterly, seemingly effortlessly, spellbindingly magnificent.
Elizabeth R is, of course, the BBC dramatization of the life of Elizabeth I. Six feature length episodes depict significant events in her life. Her ascension to the throne; her love affair with Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester; her forays towards political marriage; the conspiracies and execution of Mary, Queen of Scots; the Spanish Armada; and her relationship with the Earl of Essex and death. Unlike the movies starring Cate Blanchett, (who was, admittedly, fantastic in the role too), Elizabeth R is rich in historical detail. The supporting cast equally bring other figures from Elizabeth's court to life - Robert Hardy's a playful, bullish Dudley, Ronald Hines and Stephen Murray impressive as Burghley and Walsingham.
It's Michael Williams as the Duc d'Alencon who I love the most, though. He's only in one episode, but he's such a lovable rogue, he perfectly depicts Elizabeth's happy "frog".
The production quality's a bit dated and it's notable that all the big battle scenes take place off-screen, but the costuming and sets still look rich and sumptuous and sometimes the relatively low budget's a strength rather than a weakness, meaning the characters are the focus, not the big events. There's a lovely moment, for example, where Elizabeth's rousing speech at Tilbury in preparation for invasion by the Armada ("I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too") is seen from the perspective of two of the common soldiery, with their commentary and asides.
If you've never seen it and are interested in the life and character of Elizabeth, I can't recommend it highly enough.
And it seems like the whole thing is up on Youtube. So, no excuses there.
And so, it's over. Not with a whimper, but a bang. A big one, in fact. And since it'll be impossible to discuss the last two episodes of this series of Doctor Who without spoiling my colonial cousins, time to take it under the cut.
( Read more... )
When it was announced that Richard Curtis, creator of Blackadder, The Vicar of Dibley, writer of Four Weddings and a Funeral, Love Actually and Notting Hill, would be writing an episode of Doctor Who I was hopefully optimistic. At least, I thought, it should be funny.
And this week's episode, in which the Doctor and Amy meet Vincent Van Gogh, doesn't disappoint on that level, playing up on Matt Smith's comedy timing beautifully.
But it's more than that. Much more. This episode was a showcase episode - intelligent, complex, getting some stunning performances from its stars, beautifully shot, touching, thought provoking, even heartbreaking...
Not just the episode of the Matt Smith era so far, but very possibly the episode of the entire nu-Who run.
( Slightly more spoilerish thoughts beneath the cut. )
And tonight we got the episode of the series. Written, surprisingly, not by The Grand Moff, but by Simon Nye - creator of Men Behaving Badly and numerous other not-as-good sitcoms. However, it seemed like Nye had learned a few tricks from Moffat and crafted an episode that stands out so far as this series' Girl in the Fireplace.
( Slightly more spoilery stuff after the cut. )
Ah, vampires. They're all the rage now, aren't they? And since Nu-Who's tackled werewolves, ghosts, witches and zombies (wait, maybe that was just Christopher Eccleston), it was only a matter of time before everyone's favourite blood suckers turned up. Of course, the Doctor's encountered vampires before, most recently in the Seventh Doctor's era story The Curse of Fenric, which was pretty much pure awesome on a stick (WWII setting, Russian spies, Norse mythology, ancient vampires, Nicholas Parsons), so it was interesting to see where they went with this one. Apart from Venice, obviously.
( Spoilers beneath the cut. )
Thanks to jen176 for pointing me to this.
Doctor Who time, and the much hyped return of the Weeping Angels. They've been nu-Who's creepiest new villains and appeared in one of the finest Doctor Who episodes, despite the Doctor himself barely appearing. And the idea of villains whose main power is quantum uncertainty is wonderfully surreal. But it was hard to see how they could successfully bring back the Angels without them being a shadow or reflection of the former story.
What I should have remembered is to trust the Grand Moff.
( Read more... )
So, I finished watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 3 on DVD last night and was trying to remember - was that the point where the show stopped being good? Oh, I can remember some nice parts from later series, but they seemed to get fewer and farther between. It's only now, looking back on a season I haven't watched in eight years or something, that I recall how entertaining the show was.
Oh, certainly not flawless and there's plenty in the show that's worse than I remember (OMG MELODRAMA. HAHA GAY JOKES), but from before Whedon started to become a predictable caricature of himself. It seemed to be a slow decline after that and somehow the show ended up someplace I didn't care for or about. What was it? The loss of the high school setting? The introduction of the boring supporting characters? The sidelining of Xander and the loss of some of the other memorable supporting cast? The fact that Whedon identified himself as a feminist but increasingly began to victimize his female characters?
Or was it always bad and I never noticed? I mean, I come back to it now and it does seem like Whedon consistently pairs physical strength in women with some form of emotional fucked-up-ness, almost as if they have to exist side by side. Or that there's something "wrong" with women who have casual sex. (I'm thinking Faith, here, particularly, who's up front with her sexuality and therefore "bad".) That's a trope that's as old as time, seemingly, but it seems at odds with Whedon's self proclaimed feminist credentials. The vampire Willow being all heightened sexuality and described as a tramp does make me cringe, still.
But there's still something likable about early Buffy which is definitely missing from later seasons. I'm hard pressed to put my finger on what, though. Maybe it's the villains. There's no doubt in my mind that Spike and Dru were bloody good fun. The Master was a good subversion of the arch-villain archetype. And the Mayor, well, gosh, he was just wonderful.
It just seems like this was the last season I genuinely enjoyed, rather than taking the "well, bits of it were good" view.
Am I wrong? Right? Just babbling? You decide.
Also, what the hell happened to Nicholas Brendon's career? I never see him anymore.
The second outing for Matt Smith's Doctor and already he's demonstrating he's able to step into the shoes of the character as quickly as David Tennant did, neatly nudging the memory of the previous Doctor aside in the process.
What the episode also felt like was a step back towards old-school Doctor Who, notably having a feel of the Peter Davison era about it, and a blend of the sublime and the ridiculous.
It's also, sadly, I think the weakest episode Stephen Moffat's written for Doctor Who. Now, that's not necessarily damning the episode, since a Moffat episode is a cut above the norm in any case.
So, beneath the cut lie spoilers.
( Read more... )
There's seriously not enough hours in the day for me to watch all the TV I want to watch.
See, back in the day, when there were only four TV channels (shocking, I know) US imports were a rare breed. Occasionally one would flit across the Atlantic and become a big deal - the LA Laws or the Babylon 5s or the Due Souths or the Buffys or the Northern Exposures or the or the X-Files or the ERs or the Sienfelds or the NYPD Blues. Or even American Gothic. Anyone remember that one? Channel 4 was pretty much the only channel to make a song and dance about imports and put them on at a reasonable hour (mostly. Babylon 5 and Angel got relegated to graveyard slots pretty early on), while the BBC had a tendency to buy critically acclaimed shows like Sienfeld and put them out in the early hours of the morning. But sitting down and watching ER and X-Files one after another was an event in our house.
Now imports are the easy and cheap way to fill the schedules for the countless digital TV channels that have sprung up in advance of TV here switching over to digital. With set-top boxes beaming more and more channels into people's homes, there's only so many repeats that can be shown. So, buying US programming's the easy option. Coupled with the internet and hearing about US series that much earlier, my "To watch" list's grown to unmanagable proportions.
Because the US produces so much TV I could never keep up with all the TV I want to see. Oh, it's not so bad if you're able to jump in on a ground floor level, but all too often I only pick up on series after they've one or two seasons under their belt. Often more. And who has time to go back and watch the five seasons of a show you want to watch, but have missed? And that happens to me a lot.
Let's see... currently in my "To watch" pile of DVDs, imported series I was interested enough to buy, often from recommendations from friends, but just haven't found time to watch yet are:
And now, Mad Men. And that's not even taking into account Rome, which I've had my eye on for some time or other, home grown series (Doc Martin, the Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes, The Street) or rewatches of stuff I've bought on DVD after only seeing once on TV many moons ago (step forward ER and Northern Exposure).
Even if I watch one or two episodes of something a night, which I often do, (I rarely sit down and watch TV that's on now. I watch TV I've missed.) I'd still not find the time to catch up with all this stuff. The answer is, of course, to stop buying, but some of these boxed sets are so cheap and so shiny.
How do people find time for all their fandoms?
The second of this year's special episodes of Doctor Who (in place of a regular series as the BBC tried to bribe parliament into increasing the television license fee by holding back some of their top rating shows claiming they didn't have the cash).
RTD is one of those writers where the ideas are all too often better than the execution - For every Utopia there's been a Last of the Time Lords. For every Turn Left a Partners in Crime. The Waters of Mars is definitely closer to the top end of the scale after the last disappointing special which killed any excitement from the exotic filming locations with Lara Croft-lite and the flying bus. It's back down to essentials as the Tardis materializes near the first life-supporting base on Mars (slyly named Bowie Base One) and then follows the basic mold of the classic Who adventure and the standard sci-fi and slasher movies where a group of diverse and roughly sketched characters fight the monster du jour.
The only trouble with this is that the basic plot is a little too close to 42 or The Impossible Planet, following an almost identical mold. Still, it's a classic, but nonetheless, it's getting a bit creaky by now.
However, the subplot is what lifts the episode above the norm, thanks to guest star Lindsay Duncan, who adds real gravitas to her role, while Tennant gets the chance to bust out his acting chops once more, alternating between excited, sorrowful, vengeful and haunted with a rapidity that rivals Eccleston's quickfire mood changes. Certainly the most effective scenes in the episode are the two-handers between Tennant and Duncan. The darkness that creeps in, by the point most kids are safely hid behind the sofa, presumably, is surprising and it's understandable that the BBC chose to move this episode from Christmas day. Despite the splashes of snow, funny robot and a Marley-esque moment, it would have been too dark to be seasonal.
As has been repeatedly stated, this episode was set up as being the "beginning of the end" for Tennant's Doctor. I'm not sure it establishes that as clearly as the writers might have intended, but certainly the darkness that starts to creep in, then jump in with bloody great boots on, ensuring that everyone knows that something REALLY SERIOUS™ is to come.
So, with this special the game is stepped up and proves to be quite a compelling view, making the most of its guest stars (Shane from Neighbors joins Jim from Neighbors and Charlene from Neighbors in cropping up in a Whoniverse story) and a simple, but damn creepy design for the villains.
Even the (deliberately) irritating funny robot couldn't drag things down too far. But amidst all the cracking acting and dark turns there had to be something for the kids, right?
(For those colonials who can't see the vid, try this link.)
Not different from the older logos, of course, and it feels like a cross between a comic publisher's logo and the McCoy era logo with added lens flare. Shouldn't every logo have that?
Some minor spoilers from the set of the new series, showing Karen Gillan shooting some scenes. If you're a straight male and/or appreciative of slim redheads in uniform I imagine there's something here for you. The police are getting younger every day. And, apparently, the skirts are getting shorter.
And because I'm equal opportunity, here's some of Matt Smith as the Doctor too. But he didn't bother to change. Lazy bastard. Well, I guess he did bother to change, but you know what I mean.
You can tell I'm a graphic designer because of my priorities - putting a new logo before Karen Gillan in hotpants.
I wound up buying a boxed set of the BBC production of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple stories starring Joan Hickson after watching a rather lamentable more recent ITV adaptation while I was on holiday, that appeared unrecognisable as the original story and also, inexplicably, crammed with sizzling lesbians.
And I was pleasantly pleased by how well the productions have held up. Being period already and shot on location rather than some dodgy sets like, say, I Claudius was cursed by, the BBC version stands up incredibly well and knocks the recent versions into a cocked hat. not least because of the utterly sublime performance of Miss Marple by Joan Hickson.
And Hickson's everything a Miss Marple should be - prim, almost shrewish, gossipy, sometimes patronising, but also kind, genteel, intelligent, beautifully doddery. And, supposedly, Christie's own choice for the role as she remarked years before they were filmed she considered her perfect.
And she is. Joan Hickson's a wonderful actress and lucky to be ably supported by a host of obscure and not so obscure character actors in the adaptations.
But never fear, not a lesbian free zone. While the recent adaptations seem determined to squeeze them in for modern audiences, there was a perfectly depicted lesbian couple in the adaptation I watched today of A Murder is Announced, notable for the fact that while modern television must think itself daring and sensational for depicting lesbian couples, it was being done quite comfortably 20 years ago and far more successfully. In this case with Paola Dionisotti and Joan Sims playing a wonderful couple who clearly adore one another and who are never sensationalized or deliberately focused on in the "OH LOOK AT US, WE'RE SO DARING!" way modern TV shows seem determined to portray anything but a purely heterosexual relationship. It was refreshing to see a same-sex partnership portrayed in exactly the same way a heterosexual relationship would have been and not cheapened. It's just a shame it's from a show that's twenty years old and not the modern version.
All in all it's not one of the best Miss Marple stories, relying too much on so many red herrings and people masquerading as people they're not, but Joan Hickson's wonderful portrayal of Miss Marple's slightly snobbish musing on how village life has changed after the war and a bunch of well known faces playing well rounded characters made it thoroughly enjoyable.
All that and lesbians too. See, ITV, you don't need to alter the books beyond recognition to produce a cracking Miss Marple adaptation.
I find myself pleased by the news that after the sudden axe a few months ago, Primeval has been saved from the scrapyard by a deal which sees ITV sharing the bill for two new seasons with digital channel Watch, with some of the cost being born by BBC Worldwide as well. (Curious to see the BBC paying for one of their rival's big hits, but they hold the worldwide distribution rights, so financially it's a sound deal.)
Apparently Andrew Lee Potts, Jason Flemyng and Hannah Spearritt are all signed up to return to the show.
I'm glad about this because A) The show had stepped up its game dramatically with the arrival of Jason Flemyng and B) They left the damn show on a cliffhanger. Oh and C) It brings hope for other popular sci-fi that the axe doesn't have to be permanent.
The only bad thing is that the new eps are delayed until 2011, which is a long gap between series.
Demons, thankfully, isn't returning.
Speaking of recent television, I've got myself hooked on Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares after discovering that Channel 4 has every episode available for viewing on their 4oD online service. Unlike the BBC iPlayer, this has a lot of old series, not just recent programming. And it's been an opportunity to get hooked on Ramsay's expose of failing restaurants.
Of course, colonials in the audience may be familiar with the US version, but I've been watching the true Brit version, where restaurant owners don't collapse into floods of emotional tears at the end of every episode and where there's even more unbleeped obscenity. Despite Ramsay's foul mouth and tendency to rile people up just to get a reaction, I like the guy and I always found the show fascinating. However, I missed a bunch first time around, so in the space of about four days I've managed to get addicted and watch a dozen episodes or more.
The formula, for those that don't know it, is pretty simple. Grumbling Ramsay is invited to a failing restaurant to offer advice to turn the business around. Now, the advice that is given on Kitchen Nightmares is usually pretty uniform. Clean kitchen. Motivate staff. Redecorate. Local produce. Reasonable prices. Work hard. Make money.
Of course, it's getting the restaurant owners and staff to realise that which is the entertaining part. Usually that involves Gordon swearing, shouting, getting exasperated and throwing out something beloved of the owners, then pushing his own menu. And it's the variations on this that make the interesting part. Take, for example, the episode featuring The Fish and Anchor in Wales, where the bright blue eaterie was inhabited by ex-Boxer Mike, who copied all his recipes from Ramsay's home cook books and writes his reviews himself, and his wife Caron, with an an explosive temper and memorably described as "like f**king Shrek in a frock". The arguments there were biblical. With each other, with Ramsay, with the customers. For once Ramsay played it softly, clearly recognising that if he spoke to Mike like he did some of the milder landlords he'd be looking in the tinned curry for his teeth.
But what's lovely is that Ramsay does manage to turn things around in many cases and when he returns, the places he's visited and the people he's touched usually are better for it. In the case of Mike and Caron, not just a saved business, but a saved marriage, seemingly, as well. But getting there is a rocky, including near fist-fights and a distressing accident that nearly ends the relaunch for good.
However, just occasionally there's one episode where Gordon just can't make it work. Take the case of Rachel, originally from Scotland, but now trying to run a vegetarian restaurant in Paris which was losing 5000 euros a month. Bailed out by daddy's money, and despite his and Gordon's help and the appearance of talented new chef India (after Ramsay had to physically carry a crazed Brazilian off the premises), Rachel managed to blow the chance within four days, deciding she just couldn't be bothered. The laziness and bad attitude was staggering ("Since I closed it's like a weight's been lifted from my shoulders!" But not daddy's, who had to pay off her massive loans and debts) and it was clear the prospect of having to actually work for a living was too much. Most people come out of the experience better. Rachel, by the end of the show, was demonstrated to be even more selfish, lazy and repulsive than previously imagined. Good news for India, however, who made such a strong impression she was given a placement at one of Ramsay's own London restaurants.
It's great TV, anyway, and the stark reminder that two thirds of restaurants close within their first year is brought home by show after show of people clearly out of their depths who had no clue what they were getting into. Running a restaurant or pub might seem an idyllic fantasy, but this show demonstrates how much bloody hard work it has to be to succeed.
Last night I ended up watching "102 Minutes That Changed America", History's documentary on 9/11 which was shown for the first time on Channel 4 here in the UK. For those who aren't aware of it, it's less a documentary and more a real time compilation of raw video footage, mostly from amateurs, taken in New York during the events along with recordings of emergency calls taken and radio communications between the emergency services.
And it was hard watching. It brought it all home to me that I was there less than a year before and recognizing specific places from my visit from footage taken during the attack... well, it provoked a pretty strong emotional response, let's say.
All of it, of course, is hard to watch: the people leaping from the upper floors; the firefighters, some presumably doomed, headed toward the buildings while everyone else is running away. But one of the things that set this apart from the other films that cover the events was the uniqueness of the footage. It’s not all familiar: just where you’re expecting one of the well-known long shots of the second plane flying into the south tower, you get a startling close-up image taken by two New York University students from their dorm window. The point where the conversation between the two off-camera students turns to screams of horror is one of the most chilling and heartwrenching things I've ever heard. Or the recurring view of the burning buildings, from an apartment a mile north of the site, that seems unremarkable until you listen to the accompanying audio: a child’s voice keeps asking what’s going on, and the parents are heard shooing the youngster away, trying to shield the child from the reality they can hardly comprehend themselves.
Elsewhere, firemen are heard reaching survivors on the 70th floor of the Tower as colleagues attempt to reach them for support; a dispatch controller is heard to tell WTC workers to stay put as rescuers attempt to reach them; crowds convene in Times Square to watch the events on big screens and vent their anger at those who could have perpetrated the atrocities. And then the moments as the towers come down, where a lot of the footage is unique and all of it personal.
I'm choking up now just thinking about it and, needless to say, I spent most of the 102 minutes of the programme sat there feeling sick and trying not to cry. But as a historical document, I don't think any better has been produced. This is powerful and harrowing stuff, made all the more so by the fact that it was all recorded as it happened, by the people who witnessed it, without editorial comments. It should not be missed by anyone who cares, or is interested, about one of the moments that shaped the world in which we live today and probably, hopefully, the most horrifying of our lifetimes.
Apparently Warner Brothers have optioned the series for the US and it's looking like it may be rebooted and remade with an American cast, so presumably that kills any chance of the production company producing any one shots to wind the stories up. In addition, apparently a feature film is being planned that the series will spin out of, from Akiva Goldman, who scripted Angels & Demons, and Kerry Foster who will produce the film.
For those not in the know, Primeval was billed as ITV's answer to the rival BBC's Doctor Who, where a team of scientists investigate the appearance of temporal anomalies across Great Britain which bring prehistoric and futuristic creatures which enter the present.
Unfortunately, by attempting to hang onto Doctor Who's shirttails, the show never attained anything above that level - coming across as a cheap answer to the BBC, with less originality, a less charming cast, weaker special effects and weaker writing.
In actual fact, while all that's undoubtedly true, there's a fair bit to enjoy. Some of the characters grow on you like a rash, the fanservice is so blatant it's charming (there's a whole plotline just to ensure that cute zoologist Hannah Spearritt ends up in her panties as often as possible, when the villainess returns in the second series, you can tell she's evil because she bought herself a push up bra) and some of the performances are actually quite fun when you look a little closer (Hannah Spearritt, Ben Miller and Andrew-Lee Potts mostly and Jason Flemyng come the third series).
( Read more... )
Johnny Deep's apparently pulled out of Terry Gilliam's famously cursed version of Don Quixote. After ten years since the last attempt, a scheduling clash means that when (if) if starts shooting again, Depp's not available. Cue Terry Gilliam:
"I wanted to shoot Don Quixote next spring. He said he's not available and we have both agreed that I'm going to die soon, so it would be nice to get this film under my belt."
Curious juxtaposition of quotes about the new Sherlock Holmes movie from Guy Ritchie. Ritchie himself has stated he wanted to make a Sherlock Holmes movie for his kids to watch, whilst the News of the World, in typical subdued fashion (Queerstalker!") is reporting Downey Jr. playing up the homoerotic aspects of the characters, talking about sweaty wrestling and sharing a bed with Watson. So, a homoerotic, gay-friendly Holmes that's also good for the kids? Why not. The new Doctor Who team managed to create a kids show as bent as a nine bob note, so I don't see why Sherlock can't go the same way. I'm more turned off by the Sherlock Holmes: Action Hero route they seem to be going, personally.
"But Michael Medved, a former Post movie critic, says Downey and Law must be joking. "There's not a seething, bubbling hunger to see straight stars impersonating homosexuals," Medved told us. "I think they're just trying to generate controversy . . . They know that making Holmes and Watson homosexual will take away two-thirds of their box office. Who is going to want to see Downey Jr. and Jude Law make out? I don't think it would be appealing to women."
Um... I think Michael Medved needs to get out more, personally.
Production started yesterday on Machete, the film that Robert Rodriguez is co-directing with his protege Ethan Maniquis. Variety's reporting that Danny Trejo is playing the title character and Robert De Niro, Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez, Steven Seagal, Cheech Marin, Don Johnson and Jeff Fahey play supporting roles. Oh, and Lindsay Lohan. What?
Whatever happened to Sin City II anyway?
Twilight meets Transformers fanfic. Weep.
Leonardo DiCaprio's production company are developing a gothic version of Little Red Riding Hood. "My, Grandma, what black nailpolish you have."
Then Movie Retriever has an article on Six Ways The GI Joe Movie Could Be Better Than Transformers 2. I'm not sure I agree with them because, well, it's going to be really really bad, but I did think this quote rung true:
This might sound ridiculous, but Michael Bay movies take themselves very, very seriously. That's right, Michael Bay movies. (And, yes, we're counting Bad Boys 2.) Even with their ridiculous premises, there is an arrogance, a pomp, a slick, pre-packaged, out-of-the-box desire to be EPIC to Bay's movies that can be entertaining, but also can occasionally suck all of the fun out of a movie theatre thanks to their painful efforts to be either cool or profound in every second of every frame. On the other side of the spectrum, there's Stephen Sommers, and let's be honest, there is NOTHING cool about Stephen Sommers. If Bay was the high school kid who spent all of his energy being cool, Sommers is the class clown, the class speed freak, the kid in your class who'd skateboard off the roof just to make his friends laugh. This doesn't mean that Sommers makes great movies - he doesn't. Deep Rising is a hysterical B-movie, The Mummy is a fairly solid popcorn flick, The Mummy Returns is bat-s*** insane, and Van Helsing is so over-the-top it's almost Kabuki. However, all four of those movies are never boring and were obviously made by a guy who was trying to make every second of every frame pure sugar-sweet FUN.
And finally, Skottie Young Twitters about Smallville:
"Watching Superman movies as a kid I would pretend I could fly. I wonder if kids that watch Smallville pretend they can mope around & whine?"
Also watched the entire first series of Life on Mars. I get why people raved about this series now. Clever, intiguing, funny, different, satirical and gripping, it's cracking entertainment and although the premise emerged from a group of writers who initially intended it as a remake of The Sweeney, it morphed into a far more interesting beast when they decided to add the time travel element into the mix. The double mystery of whether Sam's actually just in a fantasy world prompted by his coma or actually transported into the past, somehow, and the crime stories in the episodes themselves, as well as some memorable characterizations, ensure that it's a cut above the average TV cop show.
I'm interested to see how the US version played out now. Has anyone seen it? I've heard it's very different, more Starsky and Hutch than The Sweeney.
Sad to hear that one of comedy's most overlooked actors - Colin Bean, who played Private Sponge in all but four of the 80 episodes of Dad's Army - has died aged 83.
I need more sleep.
Here's the full picture: http://www.sfx.co.uk/resources/sfx/
The main reaction seems to be "meh". I appreciate the idea of juxtaposing a young man in old man's clothes, but I think he looks more like an out of work Geography teacher than anything. Yeah, I know people have said before that Nu-Who's looks haven't been quirky enough, but they've looked just fine when in action, but this is so... ordinary. Deliberately so, I know, to show that just because the new Doctor's really young, doesn't mean his brain's suddenly turned into a trendy young thing's, but even taking that into account, I'm finding it very bland.
I do like the extremely practical boots though, just right for all that running.
This other release has more details on The Grand Moff's run and the name of the new companion revealed.
About the series Moffat commented: “Here's me, with the job I wanted since I was seven. 40 years to here! If I could go back in time and tell that little boy that one day all this would happen, he'd scream, call for his Mum and I'd be talking to you now from a prison cell in 1969. So probably best not then."
EDIT: Oh, and if you reaaallllly want to spoil yourself, the first day's filming revealed the guest star on set. Big spoiler there.
And a bunch more pics here.
EDIT EDIT: Oh my goodness, he does actually have leather patches on his elbows. Someone get the man a leaky fountain pen, stat!
So it's now all over. Five days of hour long specials culminating in this.
Many's the time RTD has written great stories and then blown everything in the final act. For me, at least, that didn't happen here. There were a few glimpses of deus ex machinas being plucked from nowhere, but for the most part he avoided the excesses of his Doctor Who work. This was dark stuff.
Torchwood has finally become what it first claimed to be - sci-fi for adults. In the first series it was a fifteen year old boy's idea of what adult is - swearing, nudity, sex, graphic violence. In Children of the Earth it built on the sudden maturity of Series Two and went even further. After last episode's chilling moments, this went even further with scenes that were truly adult.
Hard to single out any member of the cast (although, frankly, John Barrowman was the weakest link) but the scenes with Peter Capaldi and Susan Brown as Frobisher and ever loyal assistant Bridget Spears were incredibly well performed and well judged.
It's impossible to say any more without spoilers. I'll just sit here thinking about the episode and think "Wow, Russell T. Davis finally pulled it off."
And from the first series of the show, almost unrecognizable. How do you go from metal bikinied Cyberwomen in high heels to this? Although they did keep tradition alive by including at least one moment to make us all want to slap Gwen.