Do You See

Aug 03

evazev (5:37:19 pm): haha there is a new detective series

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evazev (5:37:19 pm): haha there is a new detective series starting tonight called “rosemary and thyme”
evazev (5:39:04 pm): “horticulturalist rosemary boxer and cheated wife laura thyme investigate when [boilerplate plot ensues]”
s*cette66 (5:39:14 pm): ?????!!
evazev (5:39:19 pm): i shall certainly watch that!!
evazev (5:39:40 pm): worst series title ever?
s*cette66 (5:39:58 pm): when do bobby parsley and sage mcdonald show up?
evazev (5:40:29 pm): the bbc shd do a spoiler series
evazev (5:41:32 pm): “former aromatherapist jessica liver and cripped high-wire-artist onions beauregard…”
s*cette66 (5:43:00 pm): haha
s*cette66 (5:44:47 pm): ” recovering alcoholic cop billy ‘piss’ pyztcywizc and ace reporter tammy vinegar…”
evazev (5:41:32 pm): this is a goldmine

(mark s was in conservation with tokyo rosemary)

Aug 03

The only reason I went to see Confidence was because it was raining.

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The only reason I went to see Confidence was because it was raining. That, and hopefully seeing the film in full might wipe clean the stain of its fucking annoying trailer. Edward Burn saying “that’s confidence!” as if he has something to be confident about. Not Rachel Weisz’s accent for one (a shakey amalgam of Kensington and New Jersey which gives the film some of its unexpected highlights). I don’t really understand Edward Burns appeal, though my female companion seem happily sated by his somewhat blank presence. I did not care for his character, which was fine because this is a conman film. Everyone double crosses everyone including the audience in conman films which means that since any likable character ends up bad there is no real investment. And since most conman films turn on implausible or out of character tricks you nearly always end up feeling cheated.

Actually, there is one thing that Confidence has on many of its rivals. Unlike the selection of heist films of the previous year (The Score and Heist in particular) Confidence plays it pretty honest. Despite the voice-over, the scam makes sense and very few people swap sides, excepting those you can already predict. The film is fair with its internal clues, and even parts that annoy you since our decidedly unomniscient narrator would not know about them soon resolve themselves. So if you like a little set of nested logic problems, Confidence won’t annoy you unduly. It is just the presence of Ed Burn in the middle that will; considering the wealth of great supporting talent orbiting around this relatively empty space. I want to see Donal Logue and Luis Guzman’s bent cops again – these are the actors with real confidence in this film. Probably about twenty lines each, and the steal the entire film.

And the cinema was dry.

Britain’s Best Sitcom

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Britain’s Best Sitcom is what the BBC want you to pick, using that pollster-friendly method of listing 100 items in order to glean a Top 100. For once though the method is appropriate as the list feels horribly exhaustive as is: the knowledge that programmes even more mediocre than Kiss Me Kate exist and have only been kept off the list by its arbitrary limitations makes you fairly grateful.

The presentation leaves something to be desired though – the A-Z of sitcoms offers summaries that manage to eradicate whatever tiny mote of fun remained to each show, and the idea of actually thinking through a vote left me despondent. There are unlikely to be too many surprises in the final rundown either, and the whole exercise smells more than usual of Bank Holiday spacefiller. (Of course I’ll still watch it.) Most interesting factlets: the number of episodes each sitcom ran. Porridge got only 21, Sorry! managed twice that, and the human mind was not built to contemplate quite how many Last Of The Summer Wines have now been made. There’s something faintly sick about the irony that a show based on three old codgers should have clung to life with such horrid tenacity while a hundred twentysomething rom-coms have mercifully bitten the dust. (Who’s for a write-in campaign for Babes In The Wood, by the way? Oh. OK then.)

Weblog Response

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Weblog Response: to make up for the lack of a comments function, here’s an ILX thread dedicated to Do You See? If you’ve got anything to say about anything on this blog and you want to do it publically, here’s where to go. (We’ll be putting this link somewhere prominent, as it’s a rolling thread.)

Aug 03

Yesterday Isabel and I watched

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Yesterday Isabel and I watched The Power Of Kroll, a Dr Who story with a very poor reputation indeed, chiefly because of its worthy attempt to realise the biggest monster ever seen on the programme. This is Kroll itself, an enormous squid beast which actually looks very impressive – provided there is nothing else in shot. The Kroll model gets to do two things – loom menacingly above marshlands, which is done by means of shockingly obvious split-screen effects; and attack an ‘oil refinery’ which is a model of an oil refinery sitting in a bathtub.

Really though it was highly watchable stuff, by no means a classic but not a disgrace either. Dr Who fans are notably touchy though about the more over-ambitious special effects the show used, as they imagine this is what makes people who don’t like the programme dislike it – or, worse, imagine it’s what makes people who don’t really like the programme like it. This is respectively piffle and snobbery. People who don’t like Dr.Who generally dislike it because it’s science-fiction, or a children’s programme, or because it’s full of wheezy old gags, all of which are fundamental to its appeal and couldn’t have been changed. The only people who would disdain Who because of naff FX work are people who take stuff like The Matrix seriously, and who cares about them?

(See, I can be snobbish too!)

The standout actor in Kroll was Philip Madoc, as the refinery’s second-in-command. He was also the only one of the ‘bad’ characters to survive, a feat he managed by being wonderfully grumpy, outrageously passive-aggressive towards all the other characters, and delivering all his lines in a bassy monotone so jaded you could make brooches out of it. In most TV series he’d have been dead in 30 minutes: his survival makes me come over all territorial, to be honest.

Aug 03

Robbie Williams’ video for Something Beautiful

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Robbie Williams’ video for Something Beautiful

Robbie Williams’ first single was not by accident a cover of George Michael’s “Freedom”, quickly setting out his career aspirations (Boybanders can be people too!) and his general musical area (like this except, y’know, with attitude).

But after the initial rush of singles (“Let me Entertain You”, “South of the Border”, “Old Before I Die”) which are and will remain forever Robbie, he (or Robbie Williams / Guy Chambers / Robbie Williams, or whatever) wrote “Angels”, people started talking about him as a Serious Songwriter, and he thought “Yeah. Yeah, that’s sounds nice”. Which means songs that speak to everyone, songs from everyone, songs without as much Robbie in them.

And so a bunch of big ballads, none living up to “Angels”, with a brief stab to prove that he still has it (“Rock DJ”) which worryingly suggests that he doesn’t. And the fame starts to slip, and he might well be looking with some envy at Gregg Alexander, whose New Radicals released one fantastic personality-free single before he retired to write songs for everyone else.

And now this single, which parples along until you realise it’s basically the Beautiful South, and the video, which shows a nationwide contest to find a Robbie impersonator to appear in the video for the single, but the video is of the contest, DYS? Birds, blokes, chorus lines, anyone can be Robbie Williams. Inevitably, most of them look more interested and interesting in the job than him.

What to make of Respiro?

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What to make of Respiro? A lovely sunny movie, plenty of quaint island shenanigans with lots of cute kiddies running around being absolutely beastly to one another. Or a disturbing film about mental illness. It wants to be the former, I was drifting near the latter.

It is a slight movie with not much in the way of plot. In between the pitch battles between the gangs of teenage boys, and the flirting of the elder daughter with a new policeman, occurs a slightly dark tale of madness. Valerie Golino plays Grazia the mother of said rabble, who seems a bit daffy early on. Later she has a few fits, throws stuff about and is the picturesque side of a bit nuts. The locals, used to everything being picture postcard on their island want to ship her off to a bonce doctor. And so Grazia, with the help of one of her sons, goes into hiding.

The resolution to the tale leaves us all a bit up in the air. But then the film is a bit like that, trying to offer a slice of life. Problem is it is never quite clear what her diagnosis is. Daffy or dangerous? Leaving us with a love conquers all ending does not help, since in this case it is quite clear that love has not conquered all and there is still the spectre of further bonkersness to be faced. The random nature of her attacks, coupled with her protective nature will leave the character vunerable to the constant barbs of the rest of her community. The issue of her being shipped off to a shrink has been merely postponed.

We do get to see another glimpse of movie madness though (as seen in such diverse films as What About Bob? and A Beautiful Mind. People are never properly nuts in the cinema, they just break things and pull faces. Golino does this a lot here, it is unclear exactly why she is dangerous. Unless the wind changes).

Aug 03

One question about LCTR:TCOL

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One question about LCTR:TCOL. What is the BBC doing as one of the production companies? Sure it is as shoddy as much of their idea of adventure fayre (hello The Lost World or Walking With Bob Hoskins), but is this type of tosh really what the British Broadcasting Company should be involving themselves in?

Possibly the most interesting things about the film is how
a) the still don’t let Lara get her end away (and she has to end on a downer)
b) most people find the whole thing rather inevitable as if this is a franchise which has legs.

The fact that it is better than the first one is neither here nor there, when this one is still rubbish.

Aug 03

Its easy to get angry when reading articles by Nigel Andrews

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Its easy to get angry when reading articles by Nigel Andrews, the all but movie-hating cinema critic of the FT (that FT, not this FT), but he’s really mined a hollow seam this week. Given a two-page spread in the magazine to discuss sequel mania, he retreats to his annual rant about the juvenilia of movieland, and by inference the decline of cinema, and as good as points to the young as the guilty party.

I am no longer young, but on their behalf I am infuriated. Teenagers work hard to keep the movies they like in the cinema. They plan their summer weekends around the releases of the summer blockbusters, carefully noting and discussing trailers months in advance, gathering gangs of their like-minded and like-clothed friends to travel in convoys to the out-of-town multiscreen. If they’re moved by a film, they don’t mull over their ideas at dinner parties and in colour supplements, they get on their skateboards and go and see it again, sometimes dragging a whole new audience with them.

And they don’t give up their support when its cinema run has finished either. These splendid young folk pay attention to the advertising on the sides of busses – ignored by so many so called buffs – renting and buying the DVDs the moment they’re allowed. Not for them a handful of classic titles, half of which are by Robert Altman: they nurture vast libraries of special editions and additional features, lapping up the music videos and hanging on the every word of the never-before-seen interviews with the stars. So the studios, quite rightly, return the compliment.

Grown-ups can’t have it both ways. Going to the movies takes dedication and commitment – if you’re not putting the effort in, you can hardly blame cinema for ignoring you. Teenagers should be a role model for you all.

Oh, and while I’ve got you here, their enduring sense of alienation and social ineptitude are your fault too. Thank you very much.

Aug 03

Swimming Pool?

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Swimming Pool? Is that title supposed to make us think that it is deep? Why can’t it just be a good, old fashioned mystery thriller without attempting to get all existential on our ass? The plot: English mystery author Charlotte Rampling (playing Glenda Jackson playing PD James) goes to a French villa to clear her writers block. She is rudely interrupted by Ludivine Sagnier’s unruly, sex mad, teenage daughter of her agent. Much frostiness and supposed intrigue ensue. There is a murder – or is there? There are truths, half-truth’s and an ending which I have finally decided to peg as incomprehensible.

Annoyance is what Swimming Pool is about, and causes. Ozon, who last made 8 Women which I equally thought was an annoying failure (a musical with no good tunes) creates a tremendous atmosphere, but blows in in the last ten minutes. It is a bit obvious on the English vs French stuff, but that’s a battle that was fought a long time ago, Napoleonic Wars to be precise. It appears that we are not allowed a simple little murder on screen any more, instead the mystery is relegated to the television – Midsomer Murder’s anyone. A pity because the two actresses (both the best things in 8 Women) chew their roles up with gusto. It is a bit disappointing to discover that one of them might not be roles at all,and the other one is less than honest. At least that is what one of the cobbled together justifications for the ending suggests.