Saturday, 26 March 2011

Let Me In

I finally got to watch Let Me In on DVD during the week. This was a movie I was really looking forward to seeing after reading the novel Let the Right One In and watching the original Swedish adaptation at the end of 2010 .

I should say right from the start that I love the novel. You can read my thoughts on it on my "book blog" at
I was naturally curious as to what the hammer-produced American version would be like. Would they have ripped the soul out of the tale and released a trashy remake? Thankfully not. The new version is remarkably close to the story told in the book and the other movie. All the main plot developments are here. The action may have moved from Blackburg to Los Alamos in New Mexico but this is essentially the same story with the same characters.

Kodi Smit-McPhee and Chloe Grace Moretz are perfect in their roles as twelve-year-old Owen and vampire Abby, also twelve, but she's been twelve "for a long time". Their loneliness and burgeoning friendship is perfectly captured. Atmospherically the move feels a lot more "real" than what normally gets labeled as a horror movie. The characters are completely believable and, as in the novel, I couldn't help but feel sympathy for each and every one of them. Even when the "father" is trying to kill people for their blood he's doing it out of love for Abby.

There are a few changes. For example there is a new scene set in a car with the "father" lying in wait for a victim, but it's very effective and tense.

There's another little moment that is new that essentially changes the back-story of how the "father" and Abby meet. At one point Owen finds photo-booth style photographs of Abby and a young boy with glasses. The implication is that Abby met the "father" when he was about the same age as Owen and suggests that Owen will take over the roll of "father".

As with the earlier movie the last shot is of Owen on a train with a large trunk, tapping out some Morse code. It manages to be chilling and hopeful at the same time.

In summary an excellent movie.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Gerry Anderson's UFO

I'm quite a fan of science fiction so it's something of an anomaly that I'm only getting around to watching Gerry Anderson's series UFO now. This is a series that was made in 1969 and broadcast in 1970 and it was, I believe, the first of Anderson's shows to be made with actors rather than puppets.

I don't recall seeing this show as a kid, although I do have memories of owning a broken and battered Dinky UFO Interceptor toy. It was broadcast on the BBC a few years ago and I would have seen bits of it then, although not complete episodes.

Recently I bought the DVD box-sets and have been making my way through the early episodes.

The premise of the series is that Earth is under threat from aliens. A secret organisation called SHADO is set up to to combat the threat. There's an early-warning space station that alerts Moonbase, the first line of defence. If a UFO makes it past the Lunar interceptors and reaches Earth then other aircraft and ground vehicles respond.

Head of SHADO Ed Straker runs the secret organisation from a hidden base under a film studio and is played by Anderson regular Ed Bishop.

What is quite charming is that they've set the show in the far off futuristic year of... 1980! That's only a decade on from when the series was being made. In that time men have stopped wearing ties and lady astronauts have started wearing purple wigs. One nice detail they did get right was the use of cordless telephones.

Notable among the purple-haired ladies is Gabrielle Drake who plays lieutenant Gay Ellis. She would go on to appear in Crossroads among other things.

The show had fairly high production values and it's interesting to compare the quality of the colour images filmed on proper film stock with the grainy black and white Doctor Who episodes that survive from the same period. The makers also put some effort into the spacesuits and Lunar-surface sets for example.

A planned second series was canceled and the design work on a bigger Moonbase was apparently Incorporated into Anderson's next space epic, Space 1999.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Lara Pulver in Legacy Black Ops

This evening I was checking out some new DVD releases and one caught my eye as I glanced at the cast list. The Idris Elba staring Legacy Black Ops includes among the cast an "introducing Lara Pulver" credit.

If you were reading this blog a couple of years ago you will have seen lots of Lara Pulver content as she was appearing in the the third series of the BBC's Robin Hood as Isabella. The last I knew she was in America appearing in musicals, so this DVD is a welcome surprise.

Here's the blurb from

Taking refuge in a shabby Brooklyn motel after narrowly surviving a failed mission in Eastern Europe, Black Ops soldier Malcolm Gray (Idris Elba) is torn between retribution and personal salvation as he broods over the legacy of his actions.

Haunted by his demons while holed up in his room, Malcolm ponders the ascent of his brother (Eamonn Walker), an ambitious senator with designs on the presidency in this dark and tense action thriller packed with stellar performances.
I checked out the trailer ( and I caught a glimpse of Lara near the start.

The movie seems to be a bit low budget and set all indoors but it might be good. I have a feeling I'll end up buying the DVD during the week. If so expect a review in due course.