Do You See

28
Apr 06

News Will Eat Itself

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Which is thoroughly apt as in the UK it appears that we like to think of our TV news in terms of meals (which if you think about it might be the worst time to actually watch news). Breakfast and Lunch news – ony Dinner/Supper/Tea gets away with it because of the slipperyness of the dinner/supper/tea concept in the English language. So it is thoroughly appropriate that the BBC News, previously in the headlines with the Hutton Report, is now devouring itself at such a rate that there will be nothing left.

Wednesday morning: last fifteen minutes were taken up with a tearful farewell to Moira Stewart, bowing down from Breakfast. Thursday, on was Anna Ford, being bolshy about what she sees as BBC News’s age discriminatory policies. And this morning, a ten minute piece on – wait for it – the changing face of Breakfast News through the years, with particular emphasis on the SOFA. Finishing with a tearful (more tearful than with Moira) stroke and pat of the current sofa which we will see no more.

WATCH THE MADNESS HERE.

27
Apr 06

Rubbish Updated

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How dare they take OUR rubbish kids cartoons and turn them into “hip and radical” rubbish cartoons of today. Here are just two examples coming up for Saturday morning US TV:

* 9:30-10:00 a.m. – LOONATICS UNLEASHED:
The six descendants of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Wile E. Coyote, the Road Runner, Tasmanian Devil and Lola Bunny continue to protect Acmetropolis from evil villains who have their own uncommon strengths. Throughout the second season, new characters descended from classic Looney Tunes characters like Yosemite Sam, Sylvester the Cat, Tweety Bird and Marvin the Martian make special appearances. Loonatics Unleashed is executive produced by Sander Schwartz and produced by Ron Myrick for Warner Bros.

* 10:00-10:30 a.m. SHAGGY & SCOOBY-DOO GET A CLUE: Ruh-roh! Everybody’s favorite quivering sleuths, Shaggy and Scooby-Doo, are back in a new adventure that will anchor the “Too Big For Your TV” programming block. In this comedy, also produced by Radomski, Shaggy and Scooby live in the bling’d-out mansion of Shaggy’s Uncle Albert, solving mysteries with the help of a transforming Mystery Machine which, at the click of a remote, can morph into one of a number of modes of transportation. New Scooby Snacks infused with a top-secret nano-technology allows our canine hero to fly, become a towering robot or even turn himself into a giant magnet, which comes in handy as Shaggy and Scooby-Doo carry out their new mission: protecting the Scooby Snacks and keeping them safe from those who want them for evil. Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get A Clue! is executive produced by Sander Schwartz and Joseph Barbera.

Now I’m not saying that Scooby-Doo was ever really any good. But I certainly think that if I was going to “fix” the concept of Scooby, I wouldn’t make him able to fly and have a transforming Mystery Machine.

yes yes “one ring to rule us all” but what’s it ABOUT?

Do You SeePost a comment • 181 views

i. you can now (“now”) go out and buy versions of a film w.people talking right through it! when did we sign up for this brilliant development — if i have one full-on objection to the 19th-century model of art it is the “keep quiet and absorb what’s good for you” angle
ii. i do not believe that you turn primarily to the AUTHOR to disocver the meaning of the work (their job is in fact to PRODUCE the work; meaning for them no more than a pretext or quaint device to help them finish and shape it — and for us it arrives, evolves, takes root and blooms once we are persuaded we wish to start discussing it)
iii. films based on books have A MULTIPLE COLLECTIVITY OF AUTHORS by NO MEANS IN SYNC w.ONE ANOTHER: “Peter Jackson’s” LotR collective, notwithstanding executive decision auteur-shaped power at the top, numbers HUNDREDS if not THOUSANDS
iv. the thing that made me think abt all of this is the HEATED ARGUMENT that actors (and close friends) elijah wood and sean astin (ie frodo and sam, once they put their accents back on) have, during the commentary to the TWO TOWERS, abt the precise WAY in which LotR is anti-war, given the time of its making and etc etc. No need to claim either of their views are deeply worked through or logical: the point is, the finished (haha “finished”) object contains both, even if it’s only at the level of actorly body-language decisions responding to the polylogue of speeches and language-modes in the novel.
v. ok yeah so all this is so much hohum bahktinian (and/or brechtian) blah, except it’s happening anyway… it didn’t need knowledge of B&B to kick it off in the first place, and it doesn’t need citation of B&B to validate or curate or steer it.
vi. “And anyway is a traditional final rock criterion. Etc. So. So. So my whole summation does whatever iot does and does anyway too, but watch the anyway level.” R.Meltzer, Aesthetics of Rock, not TWO PAGES IN! (i never quite understood that bit TILL I WROTE THIS POST!)
vii. The LotR special extended DVD edition plays the entire 12-hour film, plus ditto w.four full-length commentaries from difft technical teams; plus 43 (!) documentaries about the design, making, storytelling etc; plus interactive maps and picture galleries — even if the “work” itself is the distilled commodity fetish form, which selected permutation of these remixes constitutes the “work” itself?
viii. i’d better stop here i think as per worried reader request

26
Apr 06

Don’t Let Sean Bean Sire Your Daughter

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(People don’t use “sire” in that context much anymore. Actually, I guess they don’t use the word sire in any context that much any more.)

Why? Well in two Sean Bean films in one month, he has a daughter, said daughter gets mixed up in some supernatural shenanigans which you as wife go to sort out, only to find in the last reel twist that you are actually DEAD ALREADY.

Silent Hill is pretty ropey, as we have come to expect from computer to film adaptations. It is a pity because at the heart of it is quite a spooky little picture. But twists to manipulate Radha Mitchell and daughter into Silent Hill in the first place, and the tedium of the explanation of what is actually going on distract from interesting graphic design and a decently spooky air. It is also a good half an hour too long and Sean Bean does some ridiculous Yorkshire / American accent which was misguided from the off.

The Dark is a better film, if only for its brevity and its acceptance that
a) An American woman can marry an Englishman
b) He might go and live in Wales
as being plausible plot points. Indeed there are so many superficial similarities between The Dark and Silent Hill that surely Sean and/or his agent might have noticed and thought doing both could be a bad idea. Enough with the spooky possessed children already anyway. At least The Dark has murderous sheep.

21
Apr 06

Here’s A Proposition For You

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“If you don’t go kill your (nasty rapist, murdering though cooly philosophical) elder brother I will kill your (dimwitted, good hearted, if also potentially a rapist and murdering) younger brother”. The Proposition is not a film which deals in Manichean morality. Let’s be fair, if the film contains moral shades of grey, they are very dark indeed. The that two characters in the film who could be said to me the most moral themselves are pretty purgitous. Guy Pearce’s middle brother, happy to shoot and murder who only seems to come to a revelation at how bad this might be late in life. And Emily Watson’s stab at a pure lady in this dark land is still sullied by her begging for a young chap to be flogged to death. So violence and nastiness sis the order of the day.

In such a cost dark film there has to be some light, and as is usually the case in outback set films, the scenery does most of the talking. It may be a cliche that all outback set films seem to have a dreamlike/dreaming quality but The Proposition does not seem to able to sidestep it. Shockingly pretty, shockingly violent, perhaps a bit boring in places, with music and a script by Nick Cave which compliment each other with their sparsity. (For the first half of the film Cave seems to have earned his fee for writing about 100 words). Put it like this: imagine a film written by Nick Cave. You’ve just imagined the bloody, murderous, cynical The Proposition.

20
Apr 06

Here We Go, Here We Go etcetc

Do You SeePost a comment • 361 views

In fact, with only 49 days to go until you know what starts, EVERYTHING is going football crazy, even the pictures, not that you’d know yet from the curzon website, but according to fourfourtwo there is to be an festival of football films from june 2 to 8, and even (if you read the paper version, rather than the website) pro-evo 5 tournaments on the GIANT SCREEN and everything (and escape to victory, obv.)!

EDIT: Official Website squirrelled away at kicksnflicks.co.uk!

19
Apr 06

Revise The Death Toll

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One of the problems of long running series is a tendency to repeat itself. And it is a tendency inherent in the plot munching behemoth that is 24. Now into its fifth series it is running out of major terrorist threats to inflict upon Los Angeles: having blown up Nuclear Power stations, nuclear bombs, killed at least one President, set off a lethal virus in a hotel and killed Jack’s wife (in order of series importance). But the biggest problem in 24 is making the threat credible, whilst giving the good guys a hard fought for victory.

This is seen in series two in particular, where a nuclear is primed to go off in LA. Rather than finding and disarming the bomb, the series decided to detonate it, albeit in a desert somewhere in Arizona – hence killing a few campers at best. The hotel virus had a significant death toll, but its containment meant the death toll was considerably lower than the estimated figure. Hence a victory!

Which brings us to season five, and an attempt to not spoil something. Suffice to say there are twenty deadly devices, and the estimated death toll is currently standing at 400,000. Three devices have now been let off: actual death toll is bobbling about the thirty. Does it undermine the seriousness? Not really. But then who takes it seriously anyway. But in designing the weapon, the program also designs its own flaw.

It is not a program about big death tolls anyway. Like anything else, killing off the beloved characters is where it puts us through the wringer. And with discarding two in the first episode, season five looked to be the most nihilistic yet. But even 24 plays by its own rules – and heoric, sad deaths are set apart from the run of the mill. How? By removing the pips at the end of the show. In memory only a couple of characters have earned this (George Mason most notably I believe). But episode 12 of season five was a real choker…

18
Apr 06

Use Other Review Cliches Please

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In nearly every review of the Dardennes typically fantastic movie L’Enfant there has been a bit of gleeful tongue in cheek theorising about who the titular child really is. Whilst the plot, about two teenagers having a baby clearly has a baby in it, the reviews tend to think that it is clever to consider the immature father as the real child of the piece.

THIS I NOT ACTUALLY CLEVER. YOU ARE CLEARLY SUPPOSED TO THINK THAT FROM THE TITLE AND THE WAY HIS CHARACTER IS PRESENTED. YOU HAVE FALLEN INTO THE FILM-MAKERS TRAP TO MAKE YOU FEEL CLEVERER THAN YOU ARE.

Instead tell people that rather than a gritty Euro borefest, L’Enfant is both really well characterised, really compelling and actually quite exciting! That will get bums on seats (it pisses over Cache – put it like that).

17
Apr 06

A LIE N AU TOP SEE

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Ant & Dec are actors. That’s how they met. In a story akin to how Charles and Eddie met (Ant – “I was a bit scared of him, he had been on it for a year”) how uber-steamrolling interchangeable double act (both straight men) became the light entertainment powerhouse they are today. And therefore so to Alien Autopsy, a film which is nowhere near as bad as it should be, or as good as it need to be.

It is primarily a nostalgia film aimed at fifteen year olds, who I supposed are just about allowed to be nostalgic for their memories of the nineties. It is a serious and simple retelling of a silly story, and wisely the comedy arises from character and situation rather than any obvious pratfalls. Unfortunately the story is not quite as amazing or important as the film thinks it is. Indeed it tends to hint that the screening of the Alien Autopsy hoax was the pinnacle of nineties television entertainment. I vaguely remember it (the Jonathan Frakes presentation brings some of it back).

And so to the leads, who coast pretty much on their usual goodwill and bonhomie. Their characters are more delineated than normal (Dec as wideboy, Ant as uptight one – in a very Likely Lads configuration). But as always in male double act films the unspoken gay subtext is what fascinates. Ant and Dec both have nude posters on their bedroom walls, but never really consider girlfriends. Indeed their relationship is very odd: what are these two Geordies doing in London and why are they still friends? The girl that almost comes between them is an afterthought. Perhaps it was just that a double act with two straight men would not be thought of as gay.

ITV Sunday night movie classic mind.

13
Apr 06

Murder (not) Shitty

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Last night’s Murder City cheated. A vicious rapist, who had got off on a technicality, is found shot – tied to a tree. Around him is found five blanks and one bullet that killed him. Who could have done it? The usual suspects are recycled through, as the number of bullets, and the number of suspects go up. Until we find out that there were twelve shooters. And then, with nary a chance for the viewer to make the Dub Dob Dee leap of faith, a fourteen year old kid suggests Twelve Angry Men. Not exactly a subtle treatise on revenge then, but it is always nice to see TV programmes not saying the obvious – no-one said “Do you think you are Judge Jury And Executioner?”

Still not sure if I like DS Stone having The Sweeney as his ring-tone though. All that said though, I still think for lack of obvious gimmicks and just solid production values, Murder City is by far the best crime drama ITV has done in ten years.