Tuesday, 30 June 2009


I'll start with I, Claudius, an amazing BBC dramatisation of Graves' two books. This is often held up as a high point in tv drama and no wonder as it's f*%@ing great. The writing is brilliant and even though I thought the acting was a little hammy at times, it fits well with the larger than life characters of Augustus, Livia and their terrible family. Can't recommend this enough.

The Unborn was alright I guess, nothing particulary original but it managed a decent atmosphere and kept things going at a reasonable pace. Suppose it's Jewish mythos was something new at least but the main actress was duff and script patchy but it's always good to see Gary Oldman.

I've never watched anything by Hallmark before, mainly cause it's all looks so cheap and tacky and to be honest that was the impression I got from the first five mins of The Infinite Worlds of H.G. Wells - but after sticking with it for a bit I really enjoyed it. It retells some of Wells' own short stories as incidents that occured in his early life. Dunno if it's just Hallmarks production but I was sure it'd been filmed in the 80's not 2001. It's not classic by any means but an enjoyable Sunday watch if you're a scifi fan and if I was the Beeb I'd buy the IP and remake it here.


Here's a great article bout Sarah Palin and the last election, I can't believe McCains staffers are still holding their tongues regarding the folksy Alaskan. I'd blab all the goss I could just to torpedo her career for good - sure the Repubs know to back her next time around would be suicide or maybe that's the plan, push the centrists Reps away so they can go full Nutjob next time around.

Events in Iran have dropped off the news cycle here in Little Satan Britain mainly due to the demise of much-loved weirdo Mikey Jackson. Ah well there's always the Daily Dish and Huffpo to rely on (c'mon BBC.co.uk!). My fave piece today is the rumors about the photographs of ballot papers signed in the same handwriting - doh ! - one thing that nobody can argue with is that the Iranian bigwigs are pretty hapless when it comes to fixing elections.

A couple of Beeb pieces today that indicate just how neck deep we are in debt - two of Labours most frequently trumpeted ideas look like they're hitting the skids, good thing too as they're moronic. Anyways Post Office sell off & ID cards are off the agenda, probably to save much needed cash, hopefully they'll scrap trident next.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Magic picture box

Targets, produced by Corman and directed by Peter Bogdanovich, is excellent, a nasty little tale of a disturbed vietnam-vet who after dispatching his family goes on a sniping spree.Taut and modest, it's acted well enough and has Boris Karloff as an aging film star and he's surprisingly good.

Franklyn, was ok, another customer recommedation, I know I said I'd steer clear but I wanted this UK fantasy film to be better than it's poor reviews and to be honest I think it was. I mean it isn't perfect; there should have been more alternate reality, maybe tie in jilted at the alter guy's imaginary friend or how about religious dude's god ? Anyways it was a trier and you could kinda see what they were aiming for. I'd give them something for effort but a fallshort a little, making me think of Mirrormask.

Pit And The Pendulum
, yet another Corman pic, this one is one of C's Poe trilogy and is ok, gotta be honest I just not sure I'm that keen on Price in anything semi-serious. Maybe it's the later Camp years have spoiled him now - bit like Leslie Neilson. Anyways you know the story, missing sister leads to mysterious castle blah blah. Nice solid production but it couldn't hold my interest for long


Figs! got two juicy looking figlings and two new shoots at the foot of the plant. Peppers are turning the most vivid red and Pa gave me a trough of lettuce that makes my own efforts look paltry.

Friday, 26 June 2009

We are all Iranians

Andrew Sullivan continues to have some of the best online coverage of what's happening over in Iran and I especially appreciated this.


Crap almost forgot I'd watched these this week - Psycho 2, I'd heard that along with Godfather 2 this was one of the few sequels that's worth watching and I wasn't disappointed. Poor old nutty Norman gets released from hospital and heads straight back home to the Motel, unfortunately for him it's not long before the killing starts again. There's an added layer of psychological terror this time around with the viewers knowledge of who Norman is/was playing out with a new set of characters who's motives are far from clear. Really recommend this one if only for Perkins amazing performance.

St. Valentine's Day Massacre
, another film in my Corman trawl, has been one of his most accomplished films I've seen so far. Everyone thinks Corman is the low brow/low budget king but this is a nicely polished docu/drama pic about the gang feud between Capone and Moran in Chicago that culminates in the deaths of seven men. With an Orson Welles impersonator doing the narration, some decent period touches and a powerhouse performance by Jason Robards as Capone this was a great film and should counter those who'll turn their noses up at Cormans work.

Walking to New Orleans, well this is the second time I've captured this great doco from the 1980's. I just couldn't get the Allen Toussaint song from near the end out of my mind so well you know. Anyways this was originally shown on C4 back in the early 80's and is a too-brief introduction to the music from Crescent City, mmaybe Jools should get his finger out and go back and do another ? Presented by Jools Holland, with some great performances by Fats Domino, Toussaint, Lee Dorsey,Dr John,The Meters etc it also features cameos from Robbie Coltrane & Stephen Fry. Here's a little clip of Jools with Fats.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Kayuga gone but not forgotten

More space pron I'm afraid, Kayuga gave good pron for space nerds like me and it recently went out in a blaze of glory. More please, space exploration and study is a hard sell these days but it annoys me when we're happy to spend our cash on nukes and stuff.

Monday, 22 June 2009

Tversity treats

What Doesn't Kill You, was pretty good, an understated tale of a couple low life hoods in Boston, apparently based on a true story, it's got two strong performances from Ruffalo and Hawke that lift it above the well trod path.

Escape from Huang Shi
, another true story, sadly wasn't as well acted, Rhys-Meyers & Mitchell both ropey, which was a bit of a shame as it's a great story. Nonetheless it was fairly enjoyable, with some stunning landscapes and of course Chow Yun Fat.

Prophecy, the first of this week's Frankenheimer pics, wasn't a great film but provided me with quite a few unintentional laughs. Essentially a monster movie with some enviromental stuff stitched in, it had a decent cast but was poorly scripted and directed. I loved the bit with the kid in the sleeping bag trying to escape Monster-X however.

The other film from F. this week is The Train - this was a fantastic WW2 thriller about a greedy Nazi trying to steal art from Paris before the Allies arrive. Burt Lancaster stars as a resistance hero trying to thwart their plans - great stunts, well paced and some great performances. Gonna have to get this for the shop.

And finally we have another Roger Corman pic - The Man With X-Ray Eyes - short and to the point this scifi drama played out a little like an episode of the Twilight Zone. Basically an ambitious scientist experiments on himself and ends up with extraordinary sight allowing him to see not just under peoples clothes but eventually into the depths of space, cool.


Traditional media has been well behind the curve on the terrible events happening in Iran since the election. I've been following on Huffpo mostly but am delighted to see that Andrew Sullivan's excellent blog has kept apace and courtesy of Sullivan here's a link to ten vids from the crisis just in case you've been relying on tv or print. I should mention that one of the clips is of the death of a young Iranian woman called Neda shot by the Basij, strong stuff so I wouldn't play it unless you want to get upset and really fricking angry.

Here's a clip that lifts the spirits if you stick to the end - corrupt governments take note, this is people power and you could be next.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Fatheaded bigot speaks dumb

O'Reilly is surely some sort of cartoon-turned-real figure, glad he's not on TV here cause I think I'd watch him every night. I can watch clips of him with the sound off and he still gets my goat. Presumably he's never visited Europe cause I'm sure he'd explode or stroke out or something. Maybe we could intice him over on some sort of ruse and see what happens. What an utter #!%&. Anyways the link is from Huffpo and it or something else sent me here, Greenwald is good, real good.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Glimmers from the Shiny box

Devil's Ground was average I guess, the usual kids in the woods meet nasty murderous locals story framed as flashbacks told to a stranger, in this case Daryl Hannah. I wonder sometimes how films with such hackneyed plots get greenlit - it had potential and some not-terrible acting but is mostly very ho-hum.

Into the Night, an 80's John Landis comedy thriller thing was better, mind you maybe I enjoyed it just because it has Michelle Pfeiffer in it,who knows. It's very 80's so unless you've got some sort of nostalgic sympathy for that era I''d stay away , sure it's got a plot, man meets stunning woman in trouble and haplessly helps her through the crisis but it's a bit thin on action and a bit thin on comedy. Plus Jeff Golblum is his usual self ie not as funny or charming as he thinks he his. Couple of BB King songs in it if you're interested.

Seconds was fantastic, I've always been a fan of the original Manchurian Candidate and Frankenhemier in general but I'd never even heard of this little gem. I don't want to say too much about this film but it made me think of Reggie Perrin and The Game by Fincher. Anyways I really must try and buy this for the shop and start picking through F's filmography.

Home by Yann Arthus-Bertrand is by far the best film this week, so far, after an array of drugs. His book Earth From The Air was published when I worked in the trade, it had some pretty amazing photography but after a while it got a little tired. This film however puts the images in the correct context, as a plea, a begging letter to the world, a hymn to our planet. Religious leaders should take note, the majesty of your "God's" creation has been sullied and your voice is but a whimper. Oh for leaders, lord knows the world needs leaders, people who can say the obvious truths, some clear thinking and honesty are needed more than ever and the majority of the people on this lovely planet are ill served by our "masters". Anyways guess I should say someting about the film itself, well it's rammed with amazing HD footage stamped with YAB's designery-style and the commentary is surprisingly educated and has plenty of stats that will chill your blood. Oh and did I mention it was free, as in freely distributed not just downloady free but actually free. Tip of the Hat Yann.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Boys in Blue

Oh dear, they haven't really figured out the whole citizen-journos thing have they.

Cameron auditions for role in new 'Allo 'Allo series

Monday, 15 June 2009

little bit more ps3


Team Ico's latest game is looking vey interesting, think I posted the clip couple of weeks ago but here's some High-res pics. Loving that creature. I'm delighted bout this - my fave director loves my fave games

Bought Trash Panic - I'm a bit of a sucker when it comes to these cheap downloadable games on the PSN. It was only 3 quid so can't grumble too much, basically a Tetris clone, you're filling a garbage can with an array of junk thats kinda interactive. Anyways it's got a few problems with too-long loading, a flawed viewpoint and a forced quirkiness to it's design.

Visions from the Shiny box

Just watched Milk - was pretty good, I knew nowt about the guy but it's a pretty interesting tale. Wish they'd weighted it a little more towards Dan White though - a great performance by Brolin but I just wasn't really sure why he snapped. Maybe I should have watched the documentary about him first.

Also watching Spiral, a french detective drama, not finished yet but it's not bad. Seen some reviews comparing it to the Wire but I think that's a stretch. I'd say it's closer to Prime Suspect or Cracker say, think there's another series so will have to see if I can get it for the shop.


My terrible news addiction has really paid off this past year - Bush going, Economic collapse,Obama elected, parlimentary expenses mayhem, Obama's Cairo address, BNP MEP's elected and a feeble attempt at ousting Gordo. And that aint even half of it. Now we've had the results of the Iranian election and things don't look too great, that crazy dude in the jacket got back in and he's a bit barmy to say the least. The Beeb has covered some of the stuff that's been happening recently but I aint seen much of this on UK TV news.

And now this great article by the Granudia - at least it's not jut the Organ grinder that's been filling their pockets, certainly looks like the Monkey has been getting a share too. Tsk tsk tsk boys in blue caught red handed.

There's got to be more scandal coming and I'm up for it, MP's, the Police, surely it's about time we had a Churchy story again ? Everyone knows the top tier of company must have known about the prevalence of abuse but just how complicit were they ? Come on someone must have something. Or how about Europe - there must be hundreds of corrupt politicians grabbing as much cash as they can. Newspapers are just getting lazy, that and they're letting themselves get penned in by the money men.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Catch up

Lordy I thought I'd saved that last draft, oh well, gonna have to be quick as I've been on the vino and seem to be typing at an odd slant, anyways I've watched a heap of stuff lately but my main PC thing is down so I've been too busy trying to fix it to write this stuff. Anyways...

My Bloody Valentine 3D, not bad actually if you don't expect much, not a great script but some good comedy deaths and the 3d was good enough to make me feel seasick near the start.

Momento Mori, a weird Korean chiller set in a school, atmospheric and not bad. Made me think of an anime show Ghost Hunt.

Hansel & Gretel, another Korean film, is an excellent retelling of the classic fairytale. A bit long but worth watching.

Excalibur by Boorman, I remember watching this as a kid and loving it but it's got a fairly skanky rep these days, probably for the horribly cheap FX but it's a fantastic film. It's an unusual melange of the arthurian myths and has a few rubbishy actors hamming it up, I'm looking at you Merlin, but it's very enjoyable nonetheless and is one of the best mythological films I've seen in ages. Reckon the studios should be looking to remake this rather than Barbarella etc etc.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Gordon Vs His Own Cabinet

Ahh well this tragedy has surely commenced the last, final act now. I read recently that Gordon would be horrified if people pitied him but come on what else am I supposed to feel? I kinda think he came into power under a cloud, was dealt a shtty hand, and was associated - rightly- with a massive collapse of capitalism. He can blame international factors all he wants but he was Chancellor for ten years and didn't smash the tax havens, clamp down on crazed market practices etc etc. I'm tired of hearing the excuse of we never saw it coming, it's pathetic, it's because they're all short-term market zealots (and obviously pig ignorant) that they couldn't see yet another bubble bursting. So so tired, if only education was better and then world wouldn't have to put up with so many stupid people who think they're clever.

As for Gordo's enemies - they must surely be mental, that or just want to throw their careers away for the laughs. Lord knows - I mean Blears is clearly an "unusual" person, superficially I'd say a ruddy nightmare face to face but she slags Gordon off for his Youtube appearance but it's her that looks weird, kinda like some sort of plastic automaton with a strange grin and a very shiny face, always with the shiny look, maybe her body runs at a higher temperature as she's so tiny and she gets a bit sweaty or maybes it's just TV lights anyway Tiny lady loves motorbikes too - odder and odder. And as for Purnell - he'd always struck me as earnest sort of bloke so maybe he's not a conniver but if he isn't he's made a terrible mistake: he's still pretty young and unfortunately this "tactic" will never be forgotten now. Maybe by his colleagues after a while but never by the press, you'll be introduced as the man who helped topple Gordon, they'll dig away at you when you're trying to talk about issues etc. Oh dear a lifetime on the backbenches for you now James, well until the next election and I guess you'll land a nice corporate job somewhere.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Sciencey stuff

This is so cool ! The Beeb really should be doing more topical science reporting, Click is a great show for techie stuff but why don't they make a comparable show for science news. And on the subject why don't they have the confidence in Click to put it on BBC1 or 2 ?

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

PS3 joys

Fricking sweet - I'll snap this game up as soon as humanly possible. Ico and Shadow are two of my favourite games ever and ones I use as examples to show how awesome gaming can be to non-gamers.

And as it's E3 at the moment there's a heap of news coming out - most important to me is this. One step further and I'll be back playing FFVII for another hundred hours. Just need to finish Bioshock,Valkyria Chronicles and Dead Space first. Eek less blogging more gaming I guess.

Oh and here's today's footage of FFXIV which is going to be a MMO - if it's better than their first effort I might have to give it a go.

Films slimf flism

Watched this 1970's thriller the other night called And Soon The Darkness and it was excellent, two British tourists come a cropper in rural France isn't exactly an original plot but it managed to build and sustain the tension throughout. Well worth watching if you get the chance, especially as it's getting remade - doh.

Watched Bolt too - sometimes I just have to watch films in case the punters ask me, well that's my excuse anyways. And to be honest it wasn't that bad for a kids film, at least there was no singing in it. Bolt is a delusional mutt from a TV show who ends up in the real world thinking he has super powers, along the way he meets some buddies and saves the day. Ahhh aint that nice. It was pretty funny though and kept me and the better half fairly amused. I particulary enjoyed Rhino the TV obsessed critter in a ball.

Phantasm I, II & II - I think I saw the first of these films when I was a kid and they've got some sort of cult-rep I thought I'd give them another go. To my surprise I've quite enjoyed them, the acting is bad and the gore/sfx are pretty cheap but it's actually quite a good story, maybe it's cause it doesn't try and explain itself constantly but it's mythos seems to hang together beyond mad plot leaps and obvious incongruities. Think there's one more to watch

Monday, 1 June 2009

Also been watching

Parasomnia - it wasn't bad I guess, could've done with a bit more polish but was interesting enough and had it's fair share of gore even if it had very few decent scares. Jeffrey Combs plays a detective chasing a superhypnotic killer and there's sleeping beauty type action, think I saw a John Landis cameo too.

Full Battle Rattle was better - a documentary about a training base in the Mojave desert where US soldiers are put through an amazingly sophisticated simulation of Iraq. Pretty interesting stuff, the commander at the start came across as a fairly intelligent & decent sort of guy but came up well short when dealing with the complexities of the situations they faced. The best parts of the film were about the Iraqi-Americans who lived and worked in the "villages" and their experiences of living far from home in a mockup of their former country, it's a shame that the film makers didn't take more time to explore the whole thing from their point of view.

Tattoo, a German serial killer flick was not bad, can't say I'd rave about it but it's worth a look. Weird story though - are there really people who collect skinned tattoos ? Just a shame the characters were a bit predictable, guess that's way I kept thinking of Jar City.

From Beyond The Grave, a British portmanteau of horror stories was great fun. Particulary enjoyed the Elemental story. There's a few of these Amicus collections around so I'm gonna have to try and look out a few more. Watched a couple of Alfred Hitchcock Presents too from the 50's and they were great.

Trawling The Beeb

Watched this 1977 Count Dracula from the BBC the other night - was pretty good all in all - even though some of the cheap shit special effects were laughable it managed to build a fairly decent atmosphere and stayed fairly close to the original novel. Louis Jordan was a great neck biter, full of euro-charm with just a hint of power, rubbish wall crawler though and still not a patch on this guy.