Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Doctor Who 2010 Christmas Episode

I will preface this review by saying that I've been constantly underwhelmed by the Christmas episodes since they started back in 2005 with The Christmas Invasion. Oh, they have their moments but overall there's lots of sound and thunder signifying nothing. I even skipped the one with David Morrissey as "The Next Doctor" completely.

So, can Stephen Moffet succeed where Russel T Davis failed, i.e. make me happy on Christmas Day?

Yes he can.

The first bit of the episode, say the first 20 minutes, was just bizarre and weird and... bizarrely weird. Now I like weird, but this took the cake. There were flying fish and sharks on some alien planet. I still don't know what was up with that.

But the flying shark was just a "MacGuffin" to get Katherine Jenkins thawed out to sing.

You see there's this planet that Michael Gambon seems to control and if you owe him money then he has a family member frozen as collateral. He's a bit mean and Scrooge-like. Along comes the doctor to ask him to turn off his cloud machine so the space liner that Amy and Rory are on can land without crashing. Gambon refuses.

But the doctor knows he's not all bad so he recovers a video recording that Gambon made as a child. Gambon is unimpressed so the Doctor decides to change his mind. Literally.

With the black and white recording projected on the wall of the room the doctor exits through the door and moments later appears in the kid's room in the recording.


Cue adventures with flying sharks, one of which needs Katherine Jenkins to sing to it so they thaw her out. The Doctor and the young Gambon continue to thaw her out every Christmas Eve and have more adventures, meanwhile the audience notices that each time she goes back in the box a counter keeps subtracting 1. Eventually she tells young Gambon not to thaw her out anymore because she will only have one day left to live.

I don't want to regurgitate the whole plot but eventually the Doctor convinces older Gambon to help the space liner people and he is forced to thaw Katherine Jenkins out one last time, knowing it will be the last day they can spend together.


The only minus point is the paucity of Amy Pond content. She and Rory are hardly in the episode, although it does make sense to concentrate on the "Christmas Carol" story.

Then at the end of the episode we get a peek at the new series with lots of Arizona looking deserty stuff.

I smile.

Amy Pond in Police Uniform action figure

I got word of this via some Forbidden Planet emails a few weeks ago but now it's out in the shops. Doctor Who fans can buy an Amy Pond in police uniform! Here's the visual proof:

Unfortinately you can't buy the figure alone, you have to spend neary thirty quid on a (non-electronic) Tardis and an Eleventh Doctor as well. nothing wrong with that, but what about those of us who just want Amy? =Sigh=

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Upstairs Downstairs on BBC

Ah, two posts in one night. What's going on?

So tonight saw the third and final episode of the new Upstairs Downstairs. It was quite nice being able to watch the episodes on consecutive nights but, as with Sherlock, you do wonder why they only made three episodes.

The original was on back in the 1970s and frankly I can't remember seeing any of it. I didn't have high hopes for this one as some of the reviews I had read called it a disappointment after Downton Abbey. However I have to say I enjoyed it.

In particular I like the setting. The 1930s were turbulent to say the least and giving the series a background consisting of the abdication crisis as well as the rise of European fascism makes a change from the usual period drama fare.

In particular episode two stands out. One scene has the chauffeur enter the kitchen wearing his Black Shirt uniform and we see the reaction it provokes from the other staff including the Jewish woman who was forced to flee Germany.

There can be a fine line between drama and melodrama. While I liked Downton Abbey I do feel it strayed over to the melodrama side of the line from time to time. I didn't get the same vibe from Upstairs Downstairs quite as much.

Clair Foy (from Little Dorrit) I thought was particularly good as Percy, dissatisfied with her role in society and becoming drawn to 'national socialism' without comprehending the consequences.

I enjoyed it and will watch any more they make. Just tone down the music a little, please.

Rufus Sewell in BBC's Zen

I must not be paying attention to what's on TV lately. I was watching the last episode of Upstairs Downstairs tonight (more of which later) and a trailer came on for a new series that looked fairly interesting. Rufus Sewell is playing Michael Dibdin's Italian detective Zen in a series called, well, Zen.

It did give me a Quantum of Solace vibe for some reason. Hey, it even has Caterina Murino in it. (She played one of the girls in Casino Royale.)

In any event I like Rufus and I'll be checking out episode one on Sunday 2 January 2011.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Ruth Wilson at the British Independent Film Awards

Ruth Wilson arriving at the British Independent Film Awards 2010 on 5 December 2010.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Ruth Wilson Satellite Awards nomination

Ruth has revieved a nomination for best "Actress in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television" for her part in the BBC's Luther.

The nominations in that category are as follows:

Claire Danes - "Temple Grandin"
Hope Davis - "The Special Relationship"
Judi Dench - "Return to Cranford"
Naomie Harris - "Small Island"
Ellie Kendrick - "The Diary of Anne Frank"
Winona Ryder - "When Love is Not Enough"
Ruth Wilson - "Luther"

The winners will be revealed on 19 December 2010.

Monday, 29 November 2010

The Empire Strikes Back director Irvin Kershner dies

Sad news today as it has been announced that director Irvin Kershner died. He directed Never Say Never Again and Robocop 2, but I know him best as the director of "My Favourite Movie Of All Time", also know as The Empire Strikes Back.

I consider myself lucky enough to have been around to see the Star Wars movies when they first appeared in cinemas and grew up watching them, reading the comics and of course playing with the toys. My favourite of the original three movies was always Empire.

Just recently I have been reading the 30th Anniversary The Making of the Empire Strikes Back book and it's crammed full of interviews with the cast and crew, conducted as the movie was being made. Throughout the book Kershner's contribution to the movie is clear.

The movie probably has such a following because it continues the original story instead of repeating it.  The heroes get split up, Han gets captured and turned into an ice cube, Luke gets his hand cut off before Vader tells him something surprising. Plus Boba Fett. Plus the Battle of Hoth. Plus Yoda!

I could gush on for ages because that movie was such a pivotal part of my childhood.

Thanks Irvin.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Ruth Wilson At Emmys and Small Island wins

Ruth was in attendance at the Emmy awards this week. Also Small Island wone and award for best mini-series. Here's a pic of Ruth.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Iron Man 2 actually quite good shock

I thought I'd do another post tonight while I was at it.

I finally got to see Iron Man 2 on DVD after missing it in the cinemas. The reviews that came out at the time were a bit sniffy about it. "It's ok, not as good as the first one" seemed to be the general consensus.

With that in mind I watched the movie and thought, "hey, it's not bad." At the weekend I decided to watch it again and now I have realised it's actually a very solid Marvel adaptation and is much better than "just ok".

The first movie ended with Tony Stark revealing that he was Iron Man and the second movie begins with the US government quite believably wanting their hands on the Iron Man "Weapon". This is one of the main story treads throughout the movie.

Another major plot point is that using the suit is slowly killing Tony and his behaviour becomes more erratic. I'm not an expert on the Iron Man comics but I'm aware of the character's alcoholism and a story called "Demon in a Bottle". I guess this is the movie acknowledging the comics while staying kid-friendly.

Speaking of kid-friendly there is shameless piece of product placement...

Sam Rockwell is in danger of stealing the show as rival weapon manufacturer Justin Hammer who wants to sell Iron Man suits to the US military. His description of the "ex wife" missile is a highlight. Mickey Rourke is not bad as Russian Ivan Vanko, aka Whiplash.

And finally I get to see the Black Widow in action, as played by Scarlett Johansson. The Black Widow is one of my favourite Marvel characters so I would have liked to have heard just a tiny hint of a Russian accent but otherwise I have to admit Scarlett did a decent job playing the Widow as suitably bad-ass.

If there's a negative it's Sam Jackson's Nick Fury. He turns up halfway through and does his trademark Sam Jackson act, which is just a little jarring has he's playing against the relaxed and understated Robert Downey Jr who can do a lot with very little. Sam Jackson has to do a LOT with a LOT and it's out of place, frankly.

All in all an enjoyable movie. And to finish off here's a gratuitous look at the Black Widow poster.

Jane Eyre movie trailer

Good Lord, has it really been a month since my last update?

Anyhow, the trailer for the new movie version for Jane Eyre staring Mia Wasikowska as Jane and Michael Fassbender as Rochester has turned up.

I had a look and it was a very odd experience watching it because they have used the same location for Thornfield as that used in the 2006 BBC adaptation staring Ruth Wilson. (Indeed it was also used for the 1995 movie.)

I have seen the 2006 version many times (understatement!) so it resulted in the new movie feeling like remake of the series rather than a new version of the book.

For example if you have seen the BBC version then you may recognise these gardens...

And also this staircase...

I'll give movie a chance. It looks like they have tried to make it cinematic and creepy. The girl looks the part but I wonder if she won't be acted off the screen by our memories of Ruth Wilson. What a thankless task following Ruth! Well, maybe Mia will be good.

Oh, and Judi Dench is in it as well.

Here's the trailer...

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Lucy Liemann returns in Reggie Perrin series 2

Just a quick alert that Reggie Perrin series 2 arrives on BBC1 on Thursday 14 October 2010. I'm glad to see that Lucy is in the cast list so I shall be interupting my viewing of Law & Order UK to watch it.

Series 1 was broadcast last year and was not the disaster I had been expecting so the new series will hopefully be worth a look.

And Lucy is in it.

Here's one of the screen caps I did last year to tide us over until tomorrow night.

Bigamist, writer, soldier, spy...the truth about Ruth Wilson's grandfather

The London Evening Standard has an article about Ruth Wilson's grandfather...

The first that actress Ruth Wilson knew about her grandfather Alexander's career as a thriller writer, MI6 agent and serial bigamist was 10 years ago. “When I was 18 my granny let me read the first part of a memoir she'd written,” says the 28-year-old star of Luther and Jane Eyre.

Read the article at:

Monday, 4 October 2010

Idris Elba and Ruth Wilson Luther Interview have an interview with Idris Elba and Ruth Wilson about crime drama Luther which premieres on BBC America on 17 October 2010. Here's a Ruth excerpt:

Ruth: When I first read it, it did resonate with me as a piece that was a bit similar to Hannibal Lecter and Clarice Starling, except it’s the other way around. That really appealed to me. You certainly don’t get many female roles like this. The relationship develops throughout the series. It starts off with her having committed a crime and Luther trying to pin her down for it. And, as the series goes on, it becomes a game of cat and mouse between the two of them. They actually realize they have an intellectual interest in each other, as well as a sexual chemistry. They are just fascinated by each other, so it’s a really interesting dynamic. She ends up helping and they become partners in crime a bit. It’s a fascinating dynamic between the two characters, and something that hadn’t really been explored that much on TV before. That’s why it was so appealing.

Follow the above link for more.

By the way I noticed links on that page about a prequel to The Thing so I'm off to investigate that!

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Laura Vandervoort in V musings

V has been put back in my mind thanks to SciFi Now Magazine who have put Laura Vandervoort on the cover of the latest issue.

I was surprised to read that the show has got a second season. I don't mean surprised as in it was a rubbish show, I mean surprised as in it's not bad but I thought everything got canceled nowadays.

Anyway it prompted me to watch the last four episodes of the twelve episode season. And they weren't bad. In fact they were pretty good. It's interesting to see how Laura's character Lisa becomes more important as the story progresses. In the last bunch of episodes she has a lot of screen time. It's also interesting to see her start to rebel against her mother Anna.

The show does suffer from some logic lapses, e.g. various humans seem able to walk around the mother-ship with ease, and why can't the lizards with their surveillance technology not find out that Chad Decker's Fifth Column "source" is the priest.

But then I recall how the human resistance in the old show were able to infiltrate the mother-ship at will and not get caught or escape easily.

Anyhow, I will be watching out for the second season when it arrives. Season 1 I believe is coming to Virgin 1 in the UK this month.

Also SciFi Now promise an interview with Jane Badler in the next issue, i.e. Diana from original V. I'll be buying that issue!

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Luther to return (and Sherlock too)

I've not found much detail but apparently the BBC's Luther will return in 2011 for "two hour-long specials". One would hope that Ruth Wilson will be returning as Alice Morgan. Note the use of the word "specials" as they can't very well call it a series with just two episodes.

Still, it's welcome news even if it's only two episodes.

Sherlock will also be returning for three more episodes.


Sherlock is also out on DVD. I'm tempted to buy it as it includes an un-broadcast pilot episode that according to the IMDb Zoe telford is in, whereas in the broadcast series she was introduced in the second episode and only makes a fleeting appearance in the third.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Imogen Poots in Centurion

It's been a while since I updated the blog thing so I'll try to do some updates.

I rented Centurion a week or two ago on DVD. While not an amazing movie I thought it was not bad at all and I can see myself eventually buying it in the future. The movie tells the story of a handful of Roman soldiers who survived a massacre at the hands of Picts led by Olga Kurylenko (of Quantum of solace).

Imogen Poots popped up in the second half of the movie as an outcast Pict lady who helps the Romans. I was quite impressed by her and will be watching out for her future projects.

As an interesting aside the main Roman character was played by Michael Fassbender who is playing Rochester in the upcoming movie of Jane Eyre. Imogen Poots is playing Blanche Ingram in the same movie.

Imogen also appeared in 28 Weeks Later and the new TV remake of A Bouquet of Barbed Wire. She's also being connected to the new Spider-Man movie.

Here's an article from the Daily Mail website about her:

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

That nice Zoe Telford

So I was watching episode 2 of Sherlock last Sunday, the first episode of which I had enjoyed very much.

The second episode is ok, I thought, but it's no episode 1. However the nice lady doctor that Tim from The Office trys to get off with, played by Zoe Telford, did catch my eye.

I had to go and do the ususal hunt on the IMDB after the episode to see what else she has been in. It's a wonder I've don't remember seeing her in anything because she's been in Ashes to Ashes, Foyle's War, Collision, Law and Order UK, Afterlife, Teachers, The Palace and Criminal Justice to name just a few of her TV credits.

She was also in a thing called The Last Train that was on back in 1999. I remember watching that but I'm not sure I remember her character.

Oh, and she played Eva Braun opposite Robert Carlyle's Hitler!

Monday, 26 July 2010

Sherlock Episode 1 - "A Study in Pink"

I somehow managed to catch the first episode of the BBC's new modern day version of Sherlock Holmes, titled simply Sherlock. It was really rather good.

Stephen Moffat, fresh from introducing us to the 11th Doctor Who, and Mark Gatiss have somehow managed to retain all of the essential elements of the character, most importantly his ability to extrapolate a life story from observations of the smallest details such as scratches on a mobile phone. I also particularly liked the way they showed his thought process visually such as the words "wet" and "dry" appearing as he examines the coat of a victim.

Mark Gatiss himself appears as Sherlock's "arch enemy". We all expect him to be Moriarty but of course he turns out to be Sherlock's brother Mycroft.

Nice to see other characters from the books appearing such as Inspector Lestrade and Mrs Hudson and also the setting of 221B Baker Street, although I don't remember Holmes and Watson flat sharing in the originals!

Honestly I saw the taxi connection quite early on, but that's probably due to watching Luther a couple of months ago. Phil "Shake me up Judy" Davis is on hand playing the taxi-driver with quiet malevolence.

Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman did fine jobs as Holmes and Watson and will be good company for the next two episodes.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Doctor Who "The Big Bang"

Right. That was a busy episode.

I had assumed that the Doctor might be absent for a chunk of the running time seeing as he had been shut in the ultimate prison. Oh no. As it turns out all you need is some lovely circular time travel logic.

Future Doctor travels back in time (using River Song's vortex manipulator) and gives Plastic Rory his sonic screwdriver that will release the present Doctor. Then Amy is placed in the Pandorica as it's such a good prison not even death is an escape. It will keep her not-quite-dead until a sample of her living DNA can be found. Plastic Rory offers to stand guard over the box to keep Amy safe.

So now it's 1996 again. Seven year old Amelia is praying to Santa if he could send someone to fix the crack in her wall. There is a noise outside and she goes to the window and sees... Well nothing as it happens. In the sky there is the moon but no stars. We discover that this universe has the Earth in it and nothing else. The rest of the universe doesn't exist.

Amelia finds a museum leaflet telling her to visit the Pandorica exhibition. She does so and we also see a stone Dalek display in the museum. She presses her hand on the box and it opens having got the DNA it needs to revive adult Amy.

The Doctor appears and uses the vortex manipulator to go back and give Rory the sonic screwdriver and Amelia the museum leaflet. Sorted.

Except the light from the Pandorica revives one of the stone Daleks and it attacks. Plastic Rory appears in a museum security guard uniform. He has continued watching over Amy. The stone Dalek shoots a version of the doctor from 12 minutes in the future.

Yes, as Amy says, it's complicated.

On the roof of the museum they see what looks like the sun, except it is the Tardis exploding, the only thing keeping the earth from been wiped from existence like the rest of the universe. The doctor rescues River Song who has been caught in a time loop.

The Doctor does indeed get shot by the dalek. In a neat little scene River faces off against the Dalek and it asks for "Mercy!" Not likely.

The Doctor is placed in the Pandorica. He realises the light from it will interact with the Tardis explosion and create Bing Bang 2 that will restore the universe. The only problem is that he will be on the wrong side of the explosion and will disappear because everyone will forget he has existed.

He launches the Pandorica towards the exploding Tardis and sure enough the universe is put right. The Doctor finds himself rewinding back through time. When he gets to 1996 he finds Amelia sleeping in the garden where she was waiting for him to return. He tells her to remember him.

It is 2010 and Amy is getting married. She is surprised to find her parents alive but is not sure whey she is surprised. At the wedding reception she is handed River Song's blue Tardis "spoiler" book and find s herself crying because she is sad but can't remember why. Then she remembers the Doctor and stands up and shouts that her imaginary friend was real. Cue much embarrassment from the guests. Until the Tardis appears in their midst.

Later the Doctor wonders what caused the Tardis to malfunction in the first place but the phone rings with the promise of a new adventure in store. The episode ends with the Doctor, Amy and Rory setting off once more.

This summary really can't adequately describe what a clever scripe Steven Moffat has come up with. The mad thing is that it all makes sense as well as tying up the preceding 12 episodes together.

Good stuff.

Now, where can I get an Amy Pond action figure?

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Emily Blunt in Culture

Last Sunday Emily Blunt appered on the cover of the Sunday Times Culture magazine. I've done a quick scan of the cover but the large page size makes the article inside too awkward to scan.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Ruth Wilson on ITV's This Morning

It looks like Ruth was on This Morning yesterday to talk about Through a Glass Darkly:

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Lucy Liemann in BBC's Rev

Just noticed this a moment ago. Lucy Liemann of Reggie Perrin and Moving Wallpaper fame will be in the BBC's new sitcom Rev on 28 June 2010. It seems to be a sitcom about an urban vicarage and Tom Hollander is in it.

Doctor Who "The Pandorica Opens"


Well. How about that? This is the episode where it all starts happening and there are quite a few surprises along the way.

The start of the episode jumps around through time and manages to reference quite a few of the previous 11 episodes. It's 1890 and Van Gogh lies dying after completing his last painting. Now it's 1941 and Churchill tries to phone the Doctor to warn him of what the paining contains. Now it's 5145 and River Song takes the call. She leaves a message for the Doctor written on the oldest cliff in the universe with time coordinates of where to meet her. Now it's 102 AD and the Doctor and Amy arrive in Roman Britain. (Note, this River has yet to encounter the Weeping Angels from the episode earlier in this series!)

River shows the Doctor the painting of the Tardis exploding. They trace a signal to Stonehenge. Under Stonehenge they discover the Pandorica, a big box that was built as a prison for the most feared being in the universe. It's sending out signals announcing it's opening and the Doctor realises that every alien race will come for it. River confirms that Daleks, Cypermen and just about everyone else have arrived above Earth.

One of the Roman soldiers turns out to be Rory who is as a loss how to explain how he's been resurrected. Amy doesn't remember him but finds herself crying because she is happy.

River goes to fetch the Tardis but it takes off and arrives at Amy's house on 26/06/2010. Inside she finds Amy's childhood books on Roman Britain and Pandora's Box. She warns the Doctor that Amy's memories have been used to create a trap.

The Romans turn out to be the plastic Auton guys and capture the Doctor. Soon Daleks, Cyberman, Sontarians and lots of other Doctor Who aliens appear. They have formed an Alliance to defeat the Doctor because they know the Tardis will explode and destroy the universe.

The Pandorica opens. It is empty. They drag the Doctor towards his prison. He shouts that the Tardis will explode anyway and he is the only person who can stop it. They shut him inside anyway.

Auton Rory shoots Amy who appears to die.

The Tardis explodes with River inside it.

Around Earth all the galaxies disappear from existence.

Bloody Hell!

So what do we know about the concluding part? the Radio Times interview with Karen Gillan implied she was filming the new series this summer so I assume she survives. Also a promotional image for the next episode shows the Doctor with 7-year-old Amy so perhaps somehow he goes back to stop things from happening.

Very good episode. In particular I felt the music was of movie-quality and made good use of the "Matt Smith theme" that was introduced in this series.

I look forward to the conclusion.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Karen Gillan in Radio Times

Sometimes the the people who put together the Radio Times make it very easy for me to decide to buy it. Take the new issue out today. Karen Gillan? On the cover? Four-page article inside? Sold!

They have an added bonus of some more Karen on their website:

Monday, 14 June 2010

Ruth Wilson article round-up

Here's a couple of new Ruth Wilson articles. First from the Guardian website...

Ruth Wilson is about to star in a new stage adaptation of Ingmar Bergman's Through a Glass Darkly. She plays Karin – a schizophrenic on holiday with brother, father and husband. She also played psychopathic astrophysicist Alice in BBC1's Luther.

Is madness hard to act?

I think everyone is a bit mad. Actually, I am not sure that there is such a thing as madness. But I'd like the audience to question whether Karin is mad and ask whether her "madness" might also be her place of solace or freedom. I did a documentary drama once [The Doctor Who Hears Voices] about a girl who was bipolar. In preparation, I stayed with a psychologist and met lots of his clients and learned about their different voices and how they interpreted them. I realised that what is internal seems, to them, external. It was fascinating. I saw that there is a desperation and paranoia about the pressure of keeping this hidden from the world – and this exacerbates the condition. They are constantly distracted.

You are a chameleon as an actress, with a face that keeps changing – from earthy Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire to blonde Queenie in Small Island to plain Jane Eyre, the role for which you were nominated for a Bafta. No danger of being typecast then?

Appearance matters, but you do not have to look perfect. It is better if you don't. You have to be who you are. I have just dyed my hair from red to blackish brown and look completely different now – it feels great. People cannot put a label on me – which is good.

What part would you choose to play if you could be anyone?

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

What do you do to keep sane when not working?

I run. I swim. I go to films. My holidays are usually organised at the last minute. I've just been to Costa Rica and learned to surf. It was brilliant. I also like to spend time with my family. I've got lots of nephews and nieces.

I know you are close to your brother, Matt. Wasn't he fighting in Afghanistan?

He went there two years ago. As a family, it was really tough. My brother saw a friend of his die there. He was in the Territorial Army but had to join the regular army – the paratroopers. The equipment was useless. They had one helicopter. It was a nightmare. I have a big issue with the government about this. We should not be fighting wars we have not got the resources to fight. My brother returned deeply disheartened. Whenever I think of my brother, it stops me being self-indulgent about my career – at least I am not going to get shot.


And second here's an article with slightly different subject matter from the Telegraph:

Hailed as Britain's brightest new star in Hollywood, Alice Eve has, though, won
only disdain from one of her British peers.

Ruth Wilson, who appeared to great acclaim in a BBC adaptation of Jane Eyre, has criticised the 28-year-old daughter of the actors Trevor Eve and Sharon Maughan for exposing herself in Sex and the City 2, in which she plays a bra-less nanny.

“I wouldn’t want to be like her,” Wilson said at the Evian-sponsored Bafta television awards in London. “She has been all quiet here and then she suddenly pops up in Sex and the City and gets her t––– out.

“In her scenes, she runs towards the girls and her t––– are flopping about everywhere, and there’s another where her T-shirt gets wet and it goes see-through, showing everything.

“I would never do any nudity in a film. Why would I need to? It’s gratuitous and unnecessary. You don’t need to get naked to be recognised."

The Olivier award-winning actress, 28, plans to pursue a film career after completing her run in Through a Glass Darkly at the Almeida theatre in the capital.

She adds of Sex and the City 2: “It is a grotesque movie made by men for women; I don’t get why girls like it. Those four characters are rancid. You won’t find me doing a movie like that. I would rather go for more intelligent parts.”


Here's a gratuitous photo of Alice Eve.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

The Wolfman DVD review

I took a chance on buying The Wolfman DVD last night. When the movie came out in cinemas earlier in the year reviews seemed to be a bit mixed and along the lines of "it's all a bit silly". But like I said, I took a chance on the DVD. Probably because Emily Blunt is in it.

The plot in brief: It's 1891 and Benicio Del Toro is American actor Lawrence Talbot who is performing Hamlet in England. He hears that his brother is missing and then has been found dead so he returns to his family home at Blackmoor which is suitably windswept and Gothic. There he is reunited with his father Sir John Talbot played by Anthony Hopkins and his brother's fiancee Gwen played by Emily Blunt.

The local villagers think that his brother was killed by a bear kept at a nearby Gypsy encampment so Lawrence to investigate and... wait a minute, is that a full moon?

You can probably work out the rest but I have to say I enjoyed it. The movie looks great and I thought was well paced, plus Danny Elfman turns out his usual soundtrack. There's some good set pieces including an amusing/horrific scene in an asylum where a misguided psychiatrist is going to convince his patent that he won't turn into a werewolf when he sees the full moon. And I do like anything set in the late-Victorian period.

Plus there's a great cast. Apart from the previously mentioned cast members Art Malik turns out playing Singh, Hopkin's Indian manservant. Hugo Weaving turns up as inspector Abberline, fresh from the Ripper case and sporting his V for Vendetta accent. And did I see Max von Sydow in a tiny part on the train? I thought it was him but didn't see his name in the credits.

And just allow me to mention Emily Blunt again. Emily is great. She's probably too good for this movie but she still puts everything into it and acts her heart out in the final scene.

Note there are hardly any extras on the normal DVD, just some deleted scenes. All the making-of stuff is on the blu-ray. So be it.

Doctor Who "The Lodger"

A harmless enough episode I suppose. Somethings wrong with the Tardis and it won't land properly. The Doctor is stuck on earth and has to work out what's keeping it (and Amy) from landing. He moves into a ground floor flat as a lodger because there is something very odd going on upstairs. People are being lured in off the street to "help" the occupant upstairs. And then they disappear.

So there's lots of comedy about the Doctor trying to fit in, play football, interrupt romantic moments, etc. All well and good but frankly I'm glad it didn't overstay it's welcome.

Eventually we get to what's going on upstairs. Quite a nice idea actually. There is no upstairs, it's another Tardis like ship camouflaged like an upstairs flat. It's stuck on Earth and is looking for a new pilot to continue its journey.

So danger averted the other time ship implodes and the top floor disappears from existence. No mention of who's ship it was which is either deliberate or an oversight.

Minor plot niggle, why didn't the Doctor just go and investigate upstairs as soon as he arrived?

And yes, I know I skipped writing anything about last week's episode. Frankly it was fairly weak and I couldn't work up any enthusiasm about it.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Rebecca Hall in Guardian Weekend magazine

There's a Rebecca Hall article in the Guardian Weekend magazine today. I've done a quick scan of the cover and you can find it here:

You can find the "words" at

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Luther episode 6

The final episode of Luther aired this week and while it was an enjoyable conclusion to the series it's plot perhaps does not stand up to much scrutiny.

A few cards had been thrown up into the air at the end of episode 5, not least Luther going on the run after finding his wife's body, knowing he's the main suspect. He finds refuge in Alice Morgan's flat, saying he needs somewhere to think. She sees though this immediately and get him to admit he wants her help to get Ian Reed.

Thankfully Ruth's screen presence has been bumped up significantly in the last episode and Alice Morgan clearly is relishing the whole Bonnie and Clyde double-act with Luther.

As mentioned, there are a number of plot holes. Here's just a couple.

Why did Luther go to meet Reed when he knew there would be armed police and snipers ready to shoot him? If he wanted to get Reed's diamonds why not arrange the meet, and instead of turning up just phone or text to say "We've got the diamonds"? And how could he know his partner would be in a position to stop the sniper?

And how did Luther convince Mark to help him so quickly, especially when Alice has been holding a knife to his throat? There's a lot more plot holes where they came from.

By the episode's end Luther, Alice and Mark are standing over Reed's body with the sound of sirens approaching. One can't help wonder what will happen next. I do hope we find out.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Luther Episode 5

Right, that's long enough for you to have seen the episode. If not beware of spoilers, although I won't spoil the big finale. At least not totally...

What a cracking episode.

It starts off as a typical episode of Luther. (Well, typical for Luther but very few other BBC dramas.) Some bad guys kidnap a man and his wife demanding diamonds that they know the man has. The make their point by cutting out the wife's tongue (mercifully off camera). The husband can't tell them where the diamonds are as his wife swallowed them to smuggle them out of the country and he's pretty convinced that the bad guys will cut her open to get them.

How's that for a set-up.

So the husband is released to get the diamonds and goes to the police station looking for Luther's partner Ian Reed. He gets Luther instead and they start looking for the bad guys.


Except Ian Reed it turns out is a dirty cop who is involved with some criminals who in turn are involved with this episode's bad guys. He's off trying to undo the damage, rescue the wife and not get caught.

And everything that can go wrong does, the body count rises and Luther finds out that Reed is involved. Reed goes to visit Zoe and asks her to phone Luther.

And then...

And then it all makes sense. All the scenes from the previous episodes where Luther smashes stuff and shouts and throws stuff around. The scene in the first episode where he goes to the ex-wife's house to punch Paul McGann and she calls the police. All of a sudden it all makes sense as Luther says "what have you done?" And you think to yourself "that's a bloody good cliffhanger and I did not see that coming."

I should note that Ruth Wilson is only in one scene of this episode but the preview of the next episode bodes well:

Luther: "Alice, I need you to help me."
Alice: "Where do we start?"

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Ruth Wilson interview in the Telegraph

Today's Telegraph newspaper has an interview with Ruth Wilson focusing mostly on the ongoing Luther on BBC1 and the upcoming Through a Glass Darkly.

Is it possible for an actor to be too good? There was a moment when it looked that way in Luther, the current BBC One cop drama (which ends next week). Idris Elba, playing a detective with anger issues, attempted in episode one to tease a confession from Ruth Wilson’s deliciously insane physicist. Though prime suspect in the murder of her parents, you wouldn’t have guessed it from the storm of tears she prettily conjured up in the interview room. Wilson, the scene told you, is a very good actress playing a very good actress - maybe too good for such a shameless slice of high-concept hokum.

“I’ve had more positive comments about that show that I’ve had about anything I’ve done,” she says - this a slightly bruised riposte to its negative reception. ”I love the fact that it’s bold and completely unrealistic. I just loved the tongue-in-cheek element about the dialogue and thought you could have a lot of fun playing with it. It was completely different to everything I’d read before.”
And I had to include this bit aboug her hair colour:

The features in question have been framed by striking bottle-red hair ever since Wilson went out to Namibia to film The Prisoner, in which she played a doctor. “I thought, she’s a bit of an odd character, a little bit on the edge, let’s
make her red. I loved it and I’ve kept it ever since.”
You can read the whole article at

And I'll wait a day or two before posting my thoughts on Luther 5, just so I don't spoil anyone. :)

Monday, 31 May 2010

Doctor Who "Cold Blood"

Just time for a few quick thoughts about last Saturday's episode. It was an entertaining follow-up to the first part with the threat of a human/Silurian war hanging over proceedings, especially when the lizard lady on the surface doesn't survive the human mother's questioning.

But the real "wow" moments of the episode come right at the end.

Firstly that "crack" reappears, the one that is a rip in the fabric of time and space, the one cause by some unimaginable release of energy.

The Doctor concludes that there must be some "shrapnel" from that explosion in the crack and reaches in. As he does so the other lizard lady (also played by Neve McIntosh) fires at the Doctor. Rory pushes the Doctor aside and get shot. The crack energy reaches out for Rory and the Doctor and Amy realise that he will be wiped from history and will hever have existed. Amy tearfully struggles to hold on to his memory but by the time the Tardis reaches the surface she has forgotten him.

And the other "wow" moment? It's a good one.

The Doctor unwraps the piece of shrapnel to discover it's a piece of the Tardis.

Oh. Dear.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Luther episode 4

Another enjoyable episode of this show. This one features another serial killer who uses a taxi to catch his victims.

Early in the episode Luther is told that the serial killer he put in a coma (at the start of episode 1) has woken up. He goes to Alice to tell her he can't see her any more because his phone and email will be monitored. Alice doesn't take it very well.

Alice disguises herself as a doctor and manages to get the policeman guarding the serial killer to go to another ward. Then she smothers the killer so she and Luther can be together.

When Luther finds out he Smashes Stuff again. Brilliant.

She also breaks the news to Luther's ex-wife's boyfriend that the ex-wife is cheating on him (the boyfriend) with her ex-husband. Yes it's complicated.

Once again Ruth is great as Alice Morgan, coldly calculating and just on this side of barking mad.

As an added bonus here is a nice photo of Ruth from the new issue of the Radio Times.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Doctor Who "The Hungry Earth"

I was a little lukewarm about the last couple of stories but I'm happy to say I enjoyed last night's episode very much.

The Doctor and gang arrive in 2020 Wales where a drilling project has passed 21 km under the earth. As a result something has been awoken. Amy get sucked into the earth in front of the Doctor's eyes and he's reduced to making vague promises about getting her back. Later after a creepy scene in a church graveyard where something is prowing around a small boy similarly vanishes. The Doctor realises he was the last one to see him and had absent-mindedly let the boy leave the church.

However the Doctor manages to capture his own "hostage" and it turns out to be a Silurian, a creature that I believe Jon Pertwee first encounted as the Third Doctor. These lizard people are interesting characters because they evolved on Earth millions of years before us ape-people came along and messed everything up. One could understand them being a bit annoyed at the apes running around on the surface.

Doctor Who makeup has improved greatly over the old show and the makeup on the lead Silurian lady is impressive. Speaking of which I noticed the actress who played said lizard lady was Neve McIntosh who played nurse Donna Rix in Bodies a few years back on BBC3. Talk about unrecognisable.

I also feld that there was more than a hint of the BBC's old Quatermass shows in this episode. In particular Quatermass and the Pit where an ancient alien spaceship is found buried under a London tube station. It was remade as a Hammer movie in the 1960s if you want to check it out.

A good episode and I look forward to the next part.

Felicity Jones The Chalet Girl and Cemetery Junction pictures

The Chalet Girl

Cemetery Junction

Thanks to Enrique

Ruth Wilson, Here’s a face to remember

And another Ruth Wilson article appears this weekend. This one focues on Luther, The Prisoner and her upcoming play Through a Glass Darkly.

Are you saying I might be a nutjob?” I had, in fact, been suggesting that Ruth Wilson is becoming something of a specialist at playing nutjobs. The term was a little brusque, perhaps, but, given her high-profile role as the flint-eyed psychotic Alice Morgan in BBC1’s Luther, as well as her forthcoming turn at the Almeida as an asylum-bound woman, it didn’t seem out of place. Even her Olivier-winning performance as Stella Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire at the Donmar last year was a character surrounded by madness, if stoically unaffected herself. Some would argue there is even an element of madness in Jane Eyre, Wilson’s breakthrough television role four years ago.

Read the whole article at

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Black Widow 12 inch figure catches my eye

I've mentioned before how Black Widow is one of my favourite Marvel comic characters. Well, I've discovered that Hot Toys are doing a 12 inch figure based on Scarlett Johansson in Iron Man 2 and she has caught my eye.

Here's the "blurb":

Iron Man 2 - Black Widow 12 inch Figure

The movie-accurate Black Widow collectible is specially crafted based on the image of Scarlett Johansson in the movie, highlighting the newly sculpted head, hair implantation, highly detailed costume and accessories.

* Authentic and detailed likeness of Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow in the movie Iron Man 2
* Newly sculpted head with movie-accurate facial expression and make-up
* Real fabric hair implantation
* Newly developed female TrueType body
* Approximately 28 cm tall
* Over 28 points of articulations
* Two pairs of interchangeable gloved palms (one pair of relaxed palms; one pair for holding pistols)
* One extra right gloved palm for posing on waist
* Each piece of head sculpt is specially hand-painted
* One-piece tight dark blue coloured jumpsuit with one belt included
* One extra greyish black coloured belt with pouches and pistol holster
* One pair of leather-like greyish blue coloured platform boots with buckles
* Two pistols
* One pair of bracelets with multiple-bullet design
* Figure base with Black Widow nameplate and the movie logo

Expected 18th December 2010

All well and good. Except for the price; Forbidden Planet are listing it at £149.99!!! Just a wee bit out of my price range.

Royal Mail crushed my posters!

In a diversion from my normal posts let me present this tale of woe. I ordered a couple of James Bond movie posters from a seller on ebay. They were packed well in a good sturdy poster tube but despite this Royal Mail somehow managed to crush the end of the tube. This resulted in my brand new posters being all creased down one side.

I took a few photos for my compensation claim and here are a few of them.

Licence to Kill came of worst.

Thunderball was not as bad but was still creased.

I'm not a happy camper about this. I want to get some replacements but it should be Royal Mail that has to pay for them so I put in a claim. I'll let you know how it goes.

Kelly Sotherton back injury

Longtime readers of my blog thing will know of my admiration of all things related to Kelly Sotherton. I am sorry to read that she has a back injury and will not be competing this year.

Heptathlete Kelly Sotherton has been ruled out of the rest of the 2010 season with a back injury.

The 33-year-old, who won bronze at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, will miss the European Championships in Barcelona in July and the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in October.

"I'm extremely disappointed not to compete this year," said Sotherton. "There are some great events coming up this summer and I wish my GB&NI teammates the best of luck. I fully intend to compete in 2011 and am working towards that."


Oh well, hopefully she'll be all better for the 2012 Olympics...