Thursday, May 31, 2007

What *Some Of Us* Are Thinking...

...is that Freema's not that great an actress. I shouldn't say it's what we're all thinking because it's clearly not... but I was prompted to write it because Becstar*, who hasn't seen any of the Billie Piper episodes, texted me this:
"dr who was ace! will the doctor remember? will the green light alien thingies shoot that little boy? will martha learn how to act ? (!) find out next week!"
and I thought, you know what, you're right. I've been critical, (as others have, I'm not exactly going out on a limb here) but always thought it was perhaps because I was comparing Freema with Billie, who may not be the world's best actress, but undeniably has something special about her. But now I'm more confident in my opinion... Martha's not a fabulous character, but Freema's not a fabulous actress either. Thanks Becca :) It's a shame, because it trips me up, just as I'm thinking how great a scene is. I do still think she's good in action scenes, though...

As for Human Nature as a whole, brilliant episode. It felt like a classy piece of drama, or a period film. It was subtly directed (after last week's very obvious direction), had a great story at its heart, and as Marie wrote, seeing the Doctor being distinctly un-Doctor-ish is fantastic, if a little disturbing. Great use of a cricket ball too. Really can't wait for the second part, apparently we'll be needing our hankies...

Blogs to come...

Sorry I've been away so long...! Here's what's coming up (an idea stolen shamelessly from Lisa, clearly):

- Review of the latest Doctor Who (maybe I'll wait til after the second part) in which I say What We're All Thinking

- Review of Rufus Wainwright at the Old Vic

- Review of Little Shop of Horrors at the Duke of York's

Erm that's it... sorry :)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Theatre247

Remember how I told you I'd discovered a tv show called Theatre247? Well Andi who's involved in it has let me know that they were using GNTV to try out content for a new channel online - and it's just gone live. There's interviews and coverage of press nights, and it looks like it'll be expanding rapidly. A really fab addition to this big old net.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Doctor Who - 42

Wow. Pretty damn good, wasn't it? For a start it looked fantastic - as Rob's pointed out, just as I knew he would. You'd think they were boiling alive in that ship (yes that's entirely the point, I know, I'm just saying they did it well). And as Marie's said, you were genuinely interested in the mystery of what the hell was happening to these people. That it didn't matter that the answer was pretty rubbish is testament to the fact that it was overall a great episode. In a weird kinda way.

Fantastic performance from our Tennant, too - he was just acting, rather than acting at being the Doctor - and the silent bit as the escape pod drifted off was rather beautiful. All my previous comments on Freema still stand, though - put her in a crisis and she's brilliant, have her in a normal conversation and she can't cope: "You're saying I can phone 'ome from anywhere with this phone? By 'eck, guvnor that's bloomin' marvelous!"

Proper top notch stuff though, genuinely nerve-jangling.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Normblog's Five Fave Beatles songs poll

Too hard. My brain is frazzled by the knowledge that I've basically finished my degree and as such I feel like absolute crap today, so this is gonna be brief. And different by this time next week.

FOR NO-ONE (Revolver): It was on my Desert Island Discs, and while I may not now consider it my favourite Beatles song, it's still definitely top five. So beautiful, so heart-breaking, it's the ultimate Macca ballad.

OH! DARLING (Abbey Road): Macca again, this time for the vocals. Paul Fuzz is adamant that his best vocal performance is on Golden Slumbers, but he's plain wrong. Macca gives it too much. But here it's perfect - the little changes to the melody, the way he builds it up... brilliant. C'mon when he sings/shouts "When you told me you didn't need me anymore!", that's pretty much the best line ever committed to plastic. The perfect marriage of tune and performance, and I *HAVE* to sing along, and do my intense bluesy face as I do so. "Wooooooooh!"

THE BALLAD OF JOHN AND YOKO (Let It Be): There are two songs I remember playing over and over again when I was younger: I Don't Like Mondays (of all things) and this. I've been reliably informed that it's probably the last proper Lennon/McCartney collaboration, and that makes me love it all the more. I'm not even particularly what it is about this track that I love so much... it's not even the lyrics. But that bass-line is phenomenal.

I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER (A Hard Day's Night): This is a complete randomer that I happen to love at this precise moment, but then that's as good a way as any to create this list. The harmonica opening puts a massive smile on my face, and that bit where they go 'you say you love me too-oo-oo-oo-oo, oh-oh' gets me every time.

BACK IN THE USSR (White Album): I'll add this to any playlist I make so it'd better come on here. It's probably the best opening track I'm aware of, the Beach Boys/always on my-my-my-mind bit is inspired, and I absolutely love the little guitar lick after the title line.

Shortlist:
THIS BOY (B-side)
GLASS ONION (White)
YOU REALLY GOT A HOLD ON ME (With The Beatles)
I'M LOOKING THROUGH YOU (Rubber Soul)
HERE, THERE AND EVERYWHERE (Revolver)
I SAW HERE STANDING THERE (Please Please Me)
ANY TIME AT ALL (A Hard Day's Night)

Lisa's List
Paul Fuzz's List

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Cool Daily Show video

All Daily Show videos are cool, clearly, but I particularly enjoyed this one from a couple of days ago, when Rob Riggle explained why you can't talk about an investigation before, after, or when you're 'in the midst' of it...



(video expires 15/06/07)

You wanna check out old Demetri's contributions too, of course, especially 'Trendspotting: Social Networking'

Monday, May 14, 2007

Rufus Wainwright - Release The Stars

See what I do for you? I sit listening to a new album with a notebook in front of me... here's EXACTLY what I wrote on first and second listens... I always dislike albums when I first listen to them if I'm concentrating on them too much, so I've been surfing the net as I listen. Just to let you know.

Do I Disappoint You?
1st: Bit uninspiring to start - builds to a great coda
2nd: Forget that, it's brilliant from start to finish, would happily sit on either Wants and hold its own. Builds in a Go or Go Ahead kinda way.

Going To A Town
(Heard it plenty of times, so no need for the 1st/2nd listen thing) Great flagship single, and a real grower. 'I'm going to a town that has alread been burned down/I'm going to a place that has already been disgraced' - a hundred times better than the stuff about America - beautiful. Runs out of ideas by about 2 mins 30 though.

Tiergarten
1st: Completely passed me by
2nd: Aww it's pretty! I obviously wasn't listening properly - love the harp and ethereal backing vocals.

Nobody's Off The Hook
1st: Beautiful strings, but when are the upbeat songs gonna kick in?
2nd: Still agree with both points to be honest... the strings really are gorgeous though.

Between My Legs
1st: Upbeat! Woohoo!
2nd: One of those cheeky Rufus tunes that make you smile and jig about.

Rules and Regulations
1st: Pretty dull... 'interesting' combination of recorder and trumpet...!
2nd: Sounds better on second listen (I think there's a pattern here), nice to have a mid-tempo song. I thought this was the weakest song on the album, but it's really not.

I'm Not Ready For Love
1st: A slow song that I known I'll love but always dismiss on first listen
2nd: Very much in the style of Want (the track). Sounds rather like As The World Falls Down on the Labyrinth soundtrack at a couple of moments...!! The first song that hasn't improved on second listen, actually.

Slideshow
1st: Haven't I heard this song about twice already on this album? Ooh, good when all the instruments pile up and he starts letting rip. As always.
2nd: Yup that about sums it up.

Tulsa
1st: Starts with those rolling piano chords that instantly make you think of The Art Teacher. FUN! At last! Over far too quickly.
2nd: A kind of Vibrate for Release The Stars - funny, simple and too short.

Leaving for Paris No. 2
1st: Another slow one! Cheer up, Ru!
2nd: Nice to have a piano-and-voice one - a lot of the other slow ones are acoustic guitar based. Probably my least favourite track at this point, though.

Sanssouci
1st: A discernable chorus and general structure! That's a nice change. Love the flutes!
2nd: This is so easy on the ear, that's really great. Still loving those flutes.

Release The Stars
1st: A Want One/14th Street/I Don't Know What It Is style big old bluesy show tune. Fantastic.
2nd: Fantastic indeed. Recognisably Rufus at his BIG best.

---

Overall
As you can tell, this isn't an album you can instantly warm to - Want One it ain't. The majority of it has the feel of Poses - a bit obscure, hard to get your head around - and as such you go straight for the ones that make you feel less thick, like Between My Legs and Release The Stars. In that way it really reminds me of Ben Folds' latest offering Songs For Silverman - mature, interesting, but you keep reaching for You To Thank because it could have been on any of his previous albums. But like Poses, and like Songs For Silverman, I've no doubt that these songs will sneak up on you, and that tracks I'm dismissing at the moment will become favourites. Rufus's genius deserves to be given a bit of time.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Demetri Martin Joke of the Week

A guy waved to me in the street. He came up to me and said, 'I'm sorry, I thought you were someone else'. I said, 'I am.'

Friday, May 11, 2007

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Inspired by Lisa's 'What be your nerd type...'

Here's one I think we can all enjoy...
What Kind Of Whovian Are You?
Your Result: New series n00b

well, youre keepin the show alive, but everyone still hates you.
by the way, it's pronounced trout-un. n00b...there are episodes before "rose", yknow?

Classic series n00b
Laddyfan
Good natured jumper wearer
Hard Living Demon Fan
Frothing fanboy
What Kind Of Whovian Are You?
Make a Quiz

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Trying to put The Lazarus Experiment into some sort of context...

Seeing as though I can't work out how good Lazarus Experiment was when comparing it to the last few episodes, I thought it might be helpful to compare it with the New-Who equivalent episodes from the previous two series- ie not two-parters, not openers, and not Love and Monsters. Cos that was just weird. So here goes...

The End of the World: BETTER (as in Lazarus was better, just to set up the system). Cassandra is an inspired character, but the whole spinny engines thing was just horribly cliche...

The Unquiet Dead: WORSE. Much worse in fact, but then most things are...

Dalek: WORSE. Again, a tough act to be compared to, with suspense and heightened emotions throughout...

The Long Game: BETTER. Just. I think. Simon Pegg is obviously brilliant, but I've never properly clicked with this one...

Father's Day: WORSE. Another New-Who classic.

Boom Town: BETTER. I think (again). It's tough, because this episode is barely sci-fi. But I think that's probably a failing, actually.

Tooth and Claw: WORSE. Probably my favourite New-Who episode so far (you can have that one out in the comments if you like!) EDIT: Ok, I've been a bit hasty there. In concentrating on the standalone episodes, I've utterly failed to remember how brilliant The Empty Child, The Parting of the Ways and Doomsday were. All top quality.

School Reunion: WORSE. The stuff with Sarah-Jane was magnificently handled, and the sci-fi was fab too.

The Girl in the Fireplace: WORSE. I don't think this is *quite* the classic it has been heralded as, but still pretty fantastic.

The Idiot's Lantern: BETTER. Well, of course.

Fear Her: BETTER. I thought this was better than most people did, but still, as above really.

So, 5 Betters and 6 Worses. That would suggest middling, but then it was *a lot* better than Idiot's Lantern, Fear Her and The End of the World. So let's go top third. That's alright innit? Yes, this was a pretty dumb way of doing things, I know, but it was kinda fun to think back over all those episodes.

The Lazarus Experiment

I'm not deluding myself, am I? That *was* good, wasn't it? The last two have completely messed up my critical faculties. Have they persuaded me that this was better than it actually was, or worse?

There were plenty of good elements that's for sure. First, three cheers for Mark Gatiss: fabulous as ever, he was charmingly evil. Always a terrifying combination. And the Lazarus machine looked pretty damn impressive, I reckon, too. Plus I've gotta say I'm glad we've got to meet Martha's family properly, though her brother and sister aren't exactly the most fully formed, three-dimensional, characters we've ever seen on screen, and it worries me that I don't remember their names... Tish, that was the girl, right? No idea who Reggie Yates is playing though. But it seems that it's the mother who's most important here anyway, and I think we're in capable hands there. As Marie says, a mysterious Mysterious Man is always fun too... the Doctor was actually engaging for the first time this season and while I still am yet to be convinced about Freema, she's great in action sequences (which is why she came across well in Smith and Jones) and she's earned her companionship status. She still can't hold a decent, ordinary conversation very well though... Finally, Tennant playing the church organ to destroy Lazarus. Just beautiful. Silly as hell, of course, but beautiful.

And that clips package! My god, they pulled out all the stops there, didn't they? They say it was to compensate for the lack of Who next week, but we all know it was really to stop us all jumping ship. Captain Jack! Derek Jacobi! John Simm! I think this episode did the same job, to be fair, but still it was nice to get all excited. Just imagine it - the Tennant/Simm showdown. Of course, it would have been nice to have had the option of Simm as the next Doctor, but we'll settle for his ultimate nemesis for now.

My serious nomination for the next Doctor? Robert Carlyle. I just don't think he'd do it somehow... but he'd be fantastic.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

More Daleks reaction....

Reaction to the show itself....

"What worked: I liked the idea of going to New York, and - with their Deco-esque construction/visuals - the Cult of Skaro worked in that environment: shiny Daleks in that setting certainly worked for me. I liked the time link thing with Caan being, possibly, the lone Dalek survivor for the NewWho season 1 museum of Van Statten. I liked Martha doing the pig-electrocution thang, and I even liked the non-Dalek humans turning to say 'why'. I especially liked Daleks conspiring against each other. I liked brain-thingies being found on the floor, green and abandoned. And even if the resolution was specious non-science nonsense, I actually liked that the Doctor didn't immediately know what green brain jelly thang was. I liked that the Doctor took Martha somewhere he hadn't took Rose and I liked his (unintentionally?) wounding retort of 'maybe' (I'm torn between thinking he's just blind to Martha's interest or that he's deliberately retreated into himself to not make the same connection again. As if the writers/producers think that way). I also liked the Dalekanium references. I thought Mr Diagoras in his human state was fascinatingly more scary than in his Dalek state: more Dalek-like when fully human than when combined with Dalek Sec, so maybe something went more interestingly wrong when the two were added together? - a kinda double negative ending up creating a more positive, self-critical hybrid...?"

Read the whole thing (including what *didn't* work) HERE

Reaction to the reaction...

Doctor Whoapalooza: Jumping The Shark, Jumping The Gun, or Jumping On The Bandwagon

Oh, man. You won't stop 'em now. They've tasted blood. The Great Blogosphere Gold Rush has begun. The Cannonball Run of I Knew It Sucked Before You Knew It Sucked. Everybody likes to shout 'Backlash!' in a crowded theatre. Like I said here before: the only thing better than liking something cool before other people, is not liking something cool before other people. You think I'm kidding? Aw, you oughta try it sometime. Yeah, do it! Take a random pot-shot a something! Pick a sacred cow...now slaughter it. Yeah, hack it down! With a vengence! Take that, The Simpsons! Take this, The Mighty Boosh! Suck on that, Lennon/McCartney! Personally I beat on Orson Welles every chance I get! "What, Citizen Kane? Suh-ucks. You wanna watch a real movie about a sledge, I got two words for you: Cool. Runnings." Yeah, you gotta get down with yo' bad self! You gotta get your backlash on! Feels good, don't it? But you gotta get in there fast. Second ain't nowhere, 'cos hitching a ride on the bandwagon is for squares, you dig? You gotta take a chance. Make a call, a split second decision: Has This Show Jumped The Shark?

...

Joe Apologist Blog: "This is perhaps somewhat rash. You've gotta give it a second chance. I think your assessment is a little premature."

Joe Backlash: "Premature...or MIND BOGGLINGLY ZEITGEISTY ?"

Joe Apologist: "Premature."

Read the whole thing HERE