Monday, 26 January 2009
Back to the present woe. Out in the 4th round of the Aussie Open to an inspired Spaniard. Deeply disappointing. But we must not get too despondent. Murray didn't become a bad player overnight. He is still supremely talented and probably several years off his peak. Maybe he's just saving it for Wimbledon...
Saturday, 24 January 2009
A few years ago I was ready to throttle the man for ruining Ally McBeal's chance of true happiness and forcing the rest of us to endure Jon Bon Jovi as the love interest in the final series of the really quite barking mad TV lawyer show. He played Ally's soulmate, Larry Paul, in series 4 and a simply brilliant combination of actor and script created one of the funniest and wittiest small screen characters of recent years. Then Downey screwed it all up by falling back into the drug problems that had plagued him earlier on in his career. Bye bye Larry, hello dull as ditch water Jovi man, so bland that even the name of his character eludes me.
But credit to Jr. He sorted himself out and these days is at the top of his game.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang? Brilliant.
Goodnight, and Good Luck? Top notch.
Iron Man? Joyous.
The icing on the cake? An Oscar nomination this week for his role in Tropic Thunder. Now I haven't seen the aforementioned film and I don't actually intend to. Despite being a card carrying member of the Robert Downey Jr fan club, I have no desire to see the Ben Stiller war movie spoof. I'm sure that its core demographic find it hilarious but it's just not my cup of Earl Grey. Nevertheless I can still appreciate the Academy's sense of humour in giving Downey's Kirk Lazarus a nod. Never mind that it's in the category of Best Supporting Actor where Heath Ledger is a shoo-in for the statue, credit to the stuffed shirts for recognising a comedic role. RDJ won't (and shouldn't) get it this time round but if he keeps up his current run of form in both blockbuster and indie roles then surely it won't be long before a little gold man turns up on his doorstep.
Monday, 19 January 2009
It's important for you to know that in theory I should be one of Mamma Mia's biggest fans. I'm a musicals freak. Mary Poppins; Moulin Rouge; Evita; Hairspray; Seven Brides for Seven Brothers; My Fair Lady; I love them all. I maintain that the world would be a much greyer place if people weren't able to randomly burst into song whenever the feeling takes them.
I also love Abba. Rarely has there been a group or band responsible for so many impossibly catchy hit songs. I'll Abba karaoke it up with the best of them!
So why my dread of Mamma Mia? I can't quite put my finger on it, but its huge popularity amongst middle-aged women made me faintly uneasy and the trailer certainly didn't help matters. Don't ask me how they did it but somehow they made an Abba loving musicals fan shudder at the merest mention of their film. Quite a skill.
But after all that I still sat down and watched it with my dear old mum. And yes, it is awful. Hideous. Terrible. A crime against cinema. And yet...
It's funny. Not necessarily always in the way that it intends to be. But by and large the cast and crew seem to be in on the joke. Pierce Brosnan can't sing to save his life and Colin Firth isn't much better but that just makes the whole endeavour all the more hilarious. It's utterly silly and allows people to be silly whilst they watch it. I'm convinced that's why that multitude of middle-aged women flocked to see it again and again. It's the very definition of escapism.
So kudos to the makers. They have triumphed with a product unworthy to even sit on steps outside the pantheon of great musicals and yet glorious in it's own ridiculous way.
Monday, 5 January 2009
Grumbling aside I am optimistic about Mr Matt Smith. For a start, credit to him for sticking with one of the least exciting names in the history of naming.
He may be young (26 apparently) but Tennant always seemed a great deal younger than his 37 years - I think Cliff Richard must have let my dear David in on the secret of seemingly eternal youth!
Most encouraging of all is the fact that I'd already had my beady eye on Smith. Anyone who caught the Beeb's Ruby in the Smoke or The Shadow in the North should have singled him out for potential greatness. He played a character full of charm, quirkiness and charisma - it may as well have been his Doctor Who calling card.
So thumbs up to the BBC. For now. I'm still worried about the rumours surrounding the casting of the new companion. Lily Allen? Please no. The producers should have the guts to cast another relative unknown. The programme has enough of a following these days, the Beeb mustn't cave in to the commercial demands of a 'name' or 'face'.
Oh and the new Doc's hair? The jury's out.
Friday, 2 January 2009
A year ago I made a few predictions. Let's see how I fared shall we?
Re: the popularity of the TV channel Dave. Strangely enough I don't have easy access to recent audience share figures. Even more strangely, I don't intend to spend hours trawling the net to find such statistics for you. Can you survive? I do hope so.
Sadly my predictions seem to be getting a little less accurate as we go along. Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull came in 2nd in the global box office stakes, over $200 million behind The Dark Knight. I'm pleased I was wrong in backing the well-hatted one. The Dark Knight is a fantastic piece of film-making. Indy was fun but flawed.