Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Happy birthdays...

I don't usually comment on birthdays on this blog, but there's quite an eclectic selection of them today, so here's a happy brithday tooooooo...

Kate Bush - 50

Christopher Nolan (director of The Dark Knight) - 38

Arnold Schwarzenegger - 61

Sir Clive Sinclair - 68

Daley Thompson - 50

...and last, but by no means least, the talented, the gorgeous, the amazing Hilary Swank, 34 today!

Where is our Conservative government?

Here's an interesting set of figures. In the 2005 general election Labour won 286 of the 529 English seats at Westminster with a 35.5% share of the vote. The Conservatives won 194 seats with a 35.7% share of the vote.

So somehow, the political arithmetic of the first past the post system worked in such a way as to give Labour a majority of English seats, despite getting less votes than the Conservatives. Is this really representative democracy?

Of course, had we a PR system, neither party would have a majority so the chances are we would have had a coalition. On PR, an English parliament would have 189 Conservative MPs, 187 Labour and a sizeable 121 Liberal Democrat. Now as a Conservative supporter, I have no wish to see the Liberal Democrats in goverment, but if the people vote for a hung parliament, then then that's their will and I can live with that. What I can't accept is that a single party getting 35.5% of the vote can walk away with 54.1% of the seats and claim to have a mandate to govern from the English people.

Friday, 25 July 2008

Cool new movie posters


That's the sound of me laughing in the face of Gordon Brown. Yes, Labour have LOST the Glasgow East by-election, the SNP turning in a 22% swing to obliterate Labour's majority of over 13,000.

I'm looking forward to Labour ministers being wheeled out to recite the usual pisspoor mantra about "reflecting on what the voters have told us in the weeks and months ahead". In fact, Douglas Alexander has already done just that. But as I've said before, until they realise that the voters are actually telling them to "fuck off", nothing will change.

So what do Labour do now? In truth, the odds are that they won't do anything. Labour MPs seem to lack the balls to make a move against Brown, which indicates that they're perhaps now resigned to defeat at the next election. After all, if a Scottish Prime Minister can't hang on to one of the safest Scottish Labour seats, what hope is there for any Labour MP in England without a radical change of direction?

Make no mistake, this by-election result shows us that Labour are staring in the face of general election annihilation. We're not talking of something on the same scale as Labour's routing of the Conservatives in 1997, we're talking something far greater, a defeat that could leave Labour as the third biggest party in Westminster and make Nick Clegg leader of the opposition.

I don't think there's anything Labour can now do to save themselves, so really they need to be looking at damage limitation. The danger is that if they stay on until April 2010, the latest possible date for the election, they risk leaving just as the economy starts to improve and just in time for the Conservatives to capitalize on it, just as Labour themselves did in 1997. Labour's best hope to avoid multiple parliaments in opposition is to go now, take the kicking and hope that the Conservatives fuck it up. That's the truly parlous state they're in.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Looking familiar?

A new TV series from Alan Ball and a new film from Diablo Cody, but one designer has some explaining to do...

Tuesday, 22 July 2008


There's a promo online for Battlestar Galactica prequel Caprica and it looks pretty awesome! Click here to view.

Also, good news from Showtime where Weeds has been renewed for another two seasons, which means more Mary-Louise Parker, which is the best news I've had all day. Admittedly, it's only 6.56am, but it's up there!

And yes, I've been really slack with updating this blog of late. This simply because I've been working like a 6 year-old in an Indian sportswear factory. I've ripped all kinds of things out of the Guardian to comment on and moan about though, and I'll try and get to that soon, as well as updating what I've been watching on TV.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Burn After Reading

Terminator: Salvation trailer

The teaser trailer for Terminator: Salvation is out. Loving Christian Bale's voiceover and, to be honest, loving the trailer as a whole.

Watch it here.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Watched yesterday

From The Earth To The Moon: Can We Do This? - 4/5

The Hotel Inspector - 4/5

Big Brother: Day 37 - 3/5

Straightheads - 3/5

British revenge thriller starring Danny Dyer and, inexplicably, Gillian Anderson. She plays a city executive (or maybe a lawyer, it's never made clear) who, in a highly contrived bit of plot set-up, hires a security guy (Dyer) to install a surveillance system in her London flat then takes him to her boss's palatial country pile for a posh house-warming party. As you do. Not sure what's more unlikely, the fact that 39-year old Anderson's classy character would touch a 23-year old cheeky chappy cockney with a barge pole, or that 30-year-old Dyer could reasonably pass for 23.

Anyway, they go to the party, fuck and head off for home, only to get into a road accident. They're then attacked by three unknown assailants who beat Dyer to a bloody pulp (and who hasn't wished for that?) and rape Anderson. After more implausible plot contrivances the couple (which they have become, somehow) take brutal (and actually rather uncomfortable) revenge. While the whole thing is, objectively, ridiculous, I did still find it mindlessly watchable. It zips along in 80 minutes, is well photographed by Chris Seager (who did good work on White Noise) and has the balls to try something new with it's ragged ending that leaves all kinds of loose ends.

Anderson is clearly in a different class though and you do spend much of the film wanting to scream at her "GILLIAN, WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU IN THIS?!", but I'm glad she is because she looks *stunning*.

Welcome, Knox and Vivienne

Angelina Jolie has finally had her twins. Huzzah for them!

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Watched yesterday

Family Guy: Da Boom - 4/5
Loving the homage to Dallas, a meticulous re-creation of the infamous shower scene - with Patrick Duffy and Victoria Principal!

Wimbledon - 3/5
The film that is, not the tournement. Perhaps the weakest of the big four Working Title romantic comedies. It's amiable enough, but sorely lacking in dramatic tension and Kirsten Dunst is appalling.

Wife Swap USA - 3/5

Big Brother: Day 36 - 4/5
Big Brother: Live Eviction - 3/5
Mario gets the boot. Huzzah!

Summer Heights High: Episode 1.5

Friday, 11 July 2008

Watched yesterday

Big Brother: Day 34 - 4/5
Big Brother: Day 35 - 4/5
Now Mario has resorted to bullying his own girlfriend and Luke has started talking about Mario behind his back. If you the public make Luke the winner of this, you all deserve a good slap round the face because he's a vile, shit-stirring little prick.

Anyway, Mario is the 1/6 favourite for the chop tonight, which is good news. Rebecca is 7/2. So while it's a closer run thing than last week's Jen/Rex head-to-head it still seems like a done deal. Overall, Kat is the 13/8 favourite for outright winner, which is depressingly predictable, but more encouragingly, Darnell isn't too far behind at 15/2.

I would still like to see Rachel win as she seems the most honest and genuine housemate in there, but I must admit newcomer Sara is growing on me. She's looooooooovely, though she's inexplicably only 33/1 to win outright.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Watched recently

3:10 To Yuma - 4/5
2007 remake starring Christian Bale and Russell Crowe. An old skool western, eschewing post-modern revisionism and all the better for it.

Dexter: It's Alive - 4/5
Good start to a new season.

Big Brother: Day 32 - 4/5
Big Brother: Day 33 - 4/5
Mario and Bex up for eviction. Who do I want to go? Hmm, both of them in an ideal world, but on balance, it has to be Mario for being a complete hypocrite and, to be frank, continually taking bullshit.

Bonekickers: Army of God - 4/5
Objectively, I would have to say this new BBC archaeological drama is crap, but I am a sucker for implausible religious conspiracies in films and on TV and actually rather enjoyed it.

The Mist - 4/5
Original horror in which the residents of a small time are holed up in a supermarket after a thick mist (and monsters hidden within) descends upon their town. Absorbing, original horror directed by Frank Darabont and based on a Stephen King novella. Notable for its downbeat ending.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Watched yesterday

Imagine: Werner Herzog: Beyond Reason - 4/5

House: Wilson's Heart - 5/5
Bye bye Amber. You were really hot :(

Secret Diary Of A Call Girl - 4/5

Heroes: Powerless - 4/5

Britain's Next Top Model: Finale - 4/5
Fuck yes! Alex Won!!! Huzzah! I didn't doubt she would get to the final two, but when the judges were going therough photo-by-photo comparison it really looked like it was swinging Catherine's way, but no, Alex won out. For the first and possibly only time, I'll be buying Company magazine for her shoot. I should say that Catherine would have been a worthy winner as well though, and I'm pretty sure she does have a decent modelling career ahead of her.

Where the hell is Matt?

Monday, 7 July 2008

Watched this weekend

Doctor Who: The Stolen Earth - 5/5
Doctor Who: Journey's End - 5/5
Russell T Davies goes out with a bang with a corking two-parter, probably the best two episodes he's ever written and the first to get the Daleks right since the first season 'Dalek'. Loads of great stuff: the Supreme Dalek, the enslaved Davros, the insane Dalek Caan, the Crucible - the Dalek's own Death Star, Daleks flying around a German forest screeching 'Exterminieren! Exterminieren!'...

Criminal Justice: Episode 1.5 - 4/5
Well, what a great series that was. Here's hoping it wins a small truckload of BAFTAs.

America's Got Talent: Las Vegas Callbacks
My, what a sorry bunch they are...

Big Brother: Day 30 - 3/5
Big Brother: Day 31 - 4/5
As much as I hate to praise an Australian, I have to concede that newcomer Sara is pretty damn fine.

Incompetent company of the day - O2

An occasional feature in which I moan about a shit company.

Today's recipient is O2, who have comprehensively managed to cock-up the launch of the new iPhone 3G. After spending the past month asking people to pre-register their interest in buying a new iPhone, they today opened up the site so all those people who had pre-registered could pre-order their phones ahead of the official launch on Friday.

It therefore comes as something as a surprise that they ran out of stock within a couple of hours of the O2 store going live. So lets get this straight. They knew exactly how many people had pre-registered, so knew how many phones they should order, yet still somehow managed to run out of stock. Some big brains they have at O2.

I sent a typically moaning email and got a reply back saying I should try again on Thursday or go and register an interest at an O2 shop. Sorry, but no. I'm not running around after their incompetent asses. I replied saying that if they want the £2,400 a year I currently spend with Orange, they can call me when they have the phone I want. I don't think for second that they will, but that in a way vindicates me. Why should I give my money to a company that won't even pick up a phone and give me a call?

Sunday, 6 July 2008


Seen today, courtesy of free tickets from Walt Disney! The girl on the door at the cinema gave me a promo pack on my way in, which included stickers. She helpfully told me I could stick them on my lunch box... Anyway, the film. 800 or so years into the future and mankind has left the earth and left it in a mess. Also left behind are robots, tasked with the job of tidying up the planet until such time as the humans return. Now just one remains, the titular WALL-E, happily going about his business, collecting random items and watching an old tape of the musical, Hello Dolly! Then one day, a spaceship arrives, leaving behind a sleek, flying, female robot (EVE) on a mission, whom WALL-E falls for and which will lead to him take a trip to the stars...

In short, this is the best animated film ever made and one of the best films ever made, period. From the superb, often breathtaking animation, to the simple yet never less than entirely absorbing story, it's a resounding success on all levels. For roughly the first 40-45 minutes, there's almost no dialogue at all and it's an achievement for the writers that you never once notice, so compelling is the *visual* dialogue. The film is funny, exciting and often surprisingly moving with an existential anxiety rarely seen in films ostensibly aimed at children.

WALL-E himself is cute, funny, but tough too, reminiscent of ET, R2D2, and visually a clear descendant Short Circuit's Johnny Five. But there's a range of other characters that the animators manage to imbue with such personality, even though they're often faceless robots. EVE is one such stand-out character, conveying so much with little more than her digitised eyes (and one heck of a gun!). Also notable are WALL-E's cockroach friend and M-O, an obsessive cleaning robot.

The film also carries an environmental message about looking after the planet, but manages to get this across without being preachy. It's also a very pointed critique of consumerism, corporate greed and sedentary lifestyles, which makes it perhaps Pixar's most politically charged film to date, which is somewhat ironic considering it's owned by Walt Disney and has spawned a vast array of merchandising. But no matter. None of this apparent contradiction detracts from the film in any way. It's quite simply a masterpiece.


Saturday, 5 July 2008

Watched recently

Big Brother: Day 25 - 4/5
Big Brother: Day 26 - 5/5
Big Brother: Day 27 - 4/5
Big Brother: Day 28 - 4/5
Big Brother: Day 29 - 4/5
Big Brother: Live Eviction / New Housemates - 4/5
Hah! Bye bye Jen. Looked nice, sometimes, but as Rex rightly pointed out, she was the indirect cause of much of the crap in the house, so had to go. Three new housemates. Sara looks the hottest, but it's a shame she's Australian.

Jericho: Patrots And Tyrants - 5/5
Jericho goes out on a high, which is a shame because the short second season had really picked up, now we'll never know who won the civil war.

Secret Diary of A Call Girl: Episode 1.7 - 3/5

Cat House: What Men Don't Know - 3/5
What I now know thanks to this programme is that most of the prostitutes who work at the Midnite Bunny Ranch are a bit grim.

Glamour Girls: Episode 1.2 - 4/5
Glamour Girls: Episode 1.3 - 4/5
Glamour Girls: Episode 1.4 - 4/5
Glamour Girls: Episode 1.5 - 4/5
Glamour Girls: Episode 1.6 - 4/5
Glamour Girls: Episode 1.7 - 4/5
Glamour Girls: Episode 1.8 - 3/5
Overall, an interesting series. Amanda Harrington and Kitty Lee are lovely.

Summer Heights High: Episode 1.4 - 4/5

Criminal Justice: Episode 1.1 - 5/5
Criminal Justice: Episode 1.2 - 5/5
Criminal Justice: Episode 1.3 - 5/5
Criminal Justice: Episode 1.4 - 4/5
Fantastic mini-series from the BBC. One of the most engrossing dramas in years.

Friday, 4 July 2008

Oh, the irony!

Daily Mail loses laptop containing personal details of staff, suppliers and contributors.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Watched yesterday

Britain's Next Top Model: Beauty And Cover Girl - 4/5
Britain's Next Top Model: Semi-Final - 4/5
Yay! Alex is through to the final! I'll be happy if either she or Catherine wins, but not Stefanie.

House: House's Head - 5/5

Glamour Girls: Episode 1.1 - 4/5
Missed this documentary series going behind the scenes at the Samantha Bond modelling agency first time around, luckily all eight episodes were repeated on BBC3 in the small hours on Sunday and Monday morning after the Glastonbury coverage. It's quite good, but somewhat strange in that the whoever films it keeps the topless models' breasts out of shot, but there are countless shots of, say, The Sun's page 3 where everything is showing.

Incidentally, this blog's favourite scouser, Danielle Lloyd, is on Celebrity Gladiators on Sky One this Sunday. She's up against Bianca Gascoigne. Go Dani!