Saturday, 28 February 2009

Today's movie recommendations

4/5 and 5/5 rated films on British TV today.

2100-2320 - The Bourne Supremacy (ITV1)
2100-2345 - The Shawshank Redemption (Channel 4)
0000-0200 - Twelve Monkeys (BBC One)

2200-0045 - The Shawshank Redemption (Channel 4+1)

2200-0050 - Minority Report (Sci Fi)
2300-0150 - Minority Report (Sci Fi+1)

Sky Movies
0900-1105 - Jindabyne (Sky Indie)
1030-1155 - Cloverfield (Sky Premiere)
1130-1255 - Cloverfield (Sky Premiere+1)
1220-1440 - The Mask Of Zorro (Sky Screen 1)
1250-1455 - Ocean's Thirteen (Sky Screen 2)
1730-1945 - Letters From Iwo Jima (Sky Drama)
1820-2055 - Zodiac (Sky Action/Thriller)
1950-2155 - Jindabyne (Sky Indie)
2000-2125 - Cloverfield (Sky Premiere)
2000-2240 - There Will Be Blood (Sky Drama)
2100-2225 - Cloverfield (Sky Premiere+1)
2100-2305 - Ocean's Thirteen (Sky Screen 2)
2200-2335 - Notes On A Scandal (Sky Indie)
2240-0055 - The Matrix (Sky Drama)
2255-0105 - Hannibal (Sky Sci-Fi/Horror)
2255-0125 - American Gangster (Sky Action/Thriller)
0245-0450 - Charade (Sky Screen 1)

Watched yesterday

Countdown: 27th February
Ann Abel - 79
Catherine Gillespie - 56
Dan Brusca - 47
Thought I was on to a winner with MATRICES, only for Ann to pull out CREAMIEST and bag herself 18 points. Then I threw away the conundrum by guessing SCROUNGERS, when it was actually SCROUNGER :/

Flashpoint: He Knows His Brother - 3/5

Shameless: Episode 6.6 - 4/5

Moving Wallpaper: Episode 2.1 - 4/5

30 Rock: The Collection - 4/5

The Daily Show: 26th February - 4/5

Friday, 27 February 2009

Today's movie recommendations

4/5 and 5/5 rated films on British TV today.

2200-0015 - The Graduate (ITV3)
0015-0245 - The Pianist (ITV3)

2000-0010 - High Fidelity (Watch)
2100-0110 - High Fidelity (Watch+1)
2300-0115 - The Graduate (ITV3+1)
0115-0345 - The Pianist (ITV3+1)

Sky Movies
0845-1105 - Tora! Tora! Tora! (Sky Drama)
0955-1155 - Blade Runner: The Final Cut (Sky Sci-Fi/Horror)
1045-1240 - Fracture (Sky Action/Thriller)
1300-1510 - Knocked Up (Sky Comedy)
1510-1645 - Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (Sky Comedy)
1620-1740 - Borat! (Sky Modern Greats)
1650-1820 - Rushmore (Sky Comedy)
1900-2055 - Fracture (Sky Action/Thriller)
1900-2100 - Blade Runner: The Final Cut (Sky Sci-Fi/Horror)
2100-2300 - 300 (Sky Action/Thriller)
2200-0010 - Knocked Up (Sky Comedy)
2335-0115 - Eastern Promises (Sky Indie)
2345-0225 - There Will Be Blood (Sky Premiere)
0015-0150 - Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (Sky Comedy)
0020-0140 - Borat! (Sky Modern Greats)
0020-0240 - Goodfellas (Sky Drama)
0035-0245 - Bringing Out The Dead (Sky Screen 2)
0045-0325 - There Will Be Blood (Sky Premiere+1)
0200-0415 - The Doors (Sky Modern Greats)
0245-0425 - Hard Candy (Sky Action/Thriller)
0320-0450 - Rushmore (Sky Comedy)

Watched yesterday

Countdown: 26th February
Ann Abel - 75
Brian Goulding - 73
Dan Brusca - 53
I'm pretty useless at this just lately...

FM: Last Night A DJ Saved My Life - 4/5

The Beast: Two Choices - 4/5

The Daily Show: 25th February - 3/5

Battlestar Galactica: Deadlock - somewhere in the past couple of episodes, I've completely lost track of what's going on with the Cylons, particularly the final five and their relationship to the rest. Dull episode, possibly the worst episode of BSG ever, in fact - 2/5

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Today's movie recommendations

4/5 and 5/5 rated films on British TV today.

2100-2300 - Men In Black (Five USA)
2300-0145 - The Killing Fields (ITV3)
2350-0135 - This Is Spinal Tap (ITV4)

2200-0000 - Men In Black (Five USA+1)
0000-0245 - The Killing Fields (ITV3+1)
0050-0235 - This Is Spinal Tap (ITV4+1)

Sky Movies
1045-1240 - Elizabeth: The Golden Age (Sky Screen 2)
1115-1255 - Rocky Balboa (Sky Action/Thriller)
1655-1910 - The Prestige (Sky Screen 2)
1810-1950 - Rocky Balboa (Sky Action/Thriller)
2000-2240 - There Will Be Blood (Sky Premiere)
2100-2300 - Elizabeth: The Golden Age (Sky Screen 2)
2100-2340 - There Will Be Blood (Sky Premiere+1)
2335-0125 - Death Proof (Sky Action/Thriller)
0005-0230 - Mulholland Drive (Sky Indie)
0100-0300 - Death Proof (Sky Screen 2)
0150-0400 - Platoon (Sky Screen 1)
0245-0455 - Unforgiven (Sky Drama)

Watched yesterday

Countdown: 25th February
Neil Zussman - 87
Dan Brusca - 64
Sheila Box - 48
Zussman becomes an octochamp, but I at least had the consolation of beating him to the conundrum - CREEPIEST

Law & Order UK: Care - found the US version a bit tedious, but thought I would give this a go and was pleasantly surprised because I found it very entertaining. Not quite adjusted to Jamie 'BSG' Bamber with a British accent though! - 4/5

America's Next Top Model: Fierce Eyes - seriously, Samantha looked exactly like Pat Butcher from Eastenders during the runway challenge. Hannah's gone :( - 4/5

The Daily Show: 24th February - 4/5

Grand Designs: Episode 9.5 (or is it 9.6?) - 4/5

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Today's movie recommendations

4/5 and 5/5 rated films on British TV today.

2100-2240 - Transamerica (Film4)
2200-0025 - The Mission (ITV3)
0100-0300 - Men In Black (Five USA)

2200-2340 - Transamerica (Film4+1)
2300-0125 - The Mission (ITV3+1)
0200-0400 - Men In Black (Five USA+1)

Sky Movies
1055-1255 - The Counterfeiters (Sky Screen 2)
1245-1435 - Twister (Sky Action/Thriller)
1400-1555 - The Bourne Ultimatum (Sky Drama)
1600-1750 - In The Heat Of The Night (Sky Drama)
1720-2000 - There Will Be Blood (Sky Premiere)
1820-2100 - There Will Be Blood (Sky Premiere+1)
2000-2150 - Twister (Sky Action/Thriller)
2200-2340 - Clerks II (Sky Indie)
2200-2355 - The Bourne Ultimatum (Sky Drama)
0000-0315 - The Godfather: Part II (Sky Drama)
0125-0305 - Hana-Bi (Sky Indie)
0135-0340 - The Mask Of Zorro (Sky Action/Thriller)
0310-0500 - The Fountain (Sky Screen 2)
0315-0455 - Clerks II (Sky Indie)

Watched yesterday

Countdown: 24th February
Neil Zussman - 81
Rick Warburton - 77
Dan Brusca - 50

Salvage Code Red: Graveyard Coast - 4/5

Dispatches: The Problem Princes - interesting, but woefully biased against the royal family and not entirely accurate either - 3/5

The Daily Show: 23rd February - 4/5

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Film ratings

Hello all,

I've now added my ratings for every film I've ever seen to the blog! I've been keeping this information in various formats since 1992 and you can access it via the links to the right of the page, unless you're reading this on Facebook, in which case you'll need to go to

Feel free to disagree with me in the comments section at the bottom of each page.

Today's movie recommendations

4/5 and 5/5 rated films on British TV today.

2100-2300 - The Sum Of All Fears (Film4)

2140-0030 - Minority Report (Sci Fi)
2200-0000 - The Sum Of All Fears (Film4+1)
2240-0130 - Minority Report (Sci Fi+1)

Sky Movies
1115-1335 - Apollo 13 (Sky Drama)
1225-1430 - Ocean's Thirteen (Sky Action/Thriller)
1605-1800 - Star Trek: First Contact (Sky Screen 2)
1650-1930 - There Will Be Blood (Sky Premiere)
1750-2030 - There Will Be Blood (Sky Premiere+1)
1800-1950 - Stranger Than Fiction (Sky Comedy)
1955-2200 - Ocean's Thirteen (Sky Action/Thriller)
2000-2220 - Apollo 13 (Sky Drama)
2145-2350 - Superbad (Sky Screen 1)
2200-2335 - Jackass Number Two (Sky Comedy)
2220-0020 - American Beauty (Sky Drama)
2255-0035 - 28 Weeks Later (Sky Sci-Fi/Horror)
2300-0050 - Midnight Cowboy (TCM)
0030-0325 - The Godfather (Sky Drama)
0230-0430 - The Krays (Sky Modern Greats)
0300-0450 - Midnight Cowboy (TCM)

Watched yesterday

Countdown: 23rd February
Neil Zussman - 98
Heather Chidgey - 87
Dan Brusca - 37
Gosh what a woeful performance. In some mitigation, it is hard to compete against someone who sees two nine-letter words :/

Grey's Anatomy: Dream A Little Dream of Me - these episode titles are really starting to grate - 2/5

Underbelly: Team Purana - 4/5

Vertical City: Beetham Tower, Manchester - I have photos of this in various stages of construction. Will get round to posting them one day - 4/5

Monday, 23 February 2009

Today's movie recommendations

4/5 and 5/5 rated films on British TV today.

2200-0015 - 28 Days Later (Channel 4)

2200-0100 - The Pianist (ITV3)
2230-0045 - Entrapment (E4)
2300-0115 - 28 Days Later (Channel 4+1)
2330-0145 - Entrapment (E4+1)

2300-0200 - The Pianist (ITV3+1)

Sky Movies
1145-1355 - In The Name Of The Father (Sky Modern Greats)
1400-1605 - In The Line Of Fire (Sky Modern Greats)
1605-1735 - Rushmore (Sky Comedy)
1655-1855 - The X-Files (Sky Action/Thriller)
1720-2000 - There Will Be Blood (Sky Premiere)
1820-2100 - There Will Be Blood (Sky Premiere+1)
1855-2100 - Fracture (Sky Screen 2)
1900-2050 - Breach (Sky Action/Thriller)
2200-2340 - Crash (Sky Indie)
2200-0020 - Unforgiven (Sky Screen 1)
2220-0015 - Platoon (Sky Drama)
2305-0035 - Rushmore (Sky Comedy)
2310-0055 - Eastern Promises (Sky Screen 2)
0025-0220 - American History X (Sky Modern Greats)
0030-0220 - Death Proof (Sky Action/Thriller)
0205-0420 - Happiness (Sky Indie)

Watched yesterday

ER: Haunted - 4/5

ER: Oh, Brother - 4/5

ER: Heal Thyself - Greene! Weaver! Romano! Jerry! - 4/5

Lost: 316 - Lost is on fire! - 5/5

Sunday, 22 February 2009


Director Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow), tries to destroy the planet once again. Amanda Peet's in this (the film, not the trailer), which is ALWAYS a good thing.

The Damned United

Martin Sheen looks very, very good as Brian Clough...

Today's movie recommendations

4/5 and 5/5 rated films on British TV today.

1815-2000 - Short Circuit (Five)
2250-0125 - Vanilla Sky (Channel 4)

1640-1900 - Spider-Man (Five USA)
2100-2310 - Entrapment (E4)
2200-0010 - Entrapment (E4+1)
2350-0225 - Vanilla Sky (Channel 4+1)
0015-0255 - True Lies (ITV2)
0055-0300 - The Motorcycle Diaries (Film4)
0115-0355 - True Lies (ITV2+1)

1400-1600 - Ghostbusters (Watch)
1500-1700 - Ghostbusters (Watch+1)
1740-2000 - Spider-Man (Five USA+1)
2100-2345 - Cold Mountain (Watch)
2100-2350 - Minority Report (Sci Fi)
2200-0045 - Cold Mountain (Watch+1)
0155-0400 - The Motorcycle Diaries (Film4+1)

Sky Movies
0910-1145 - The Insider (Sky Modern Greats)
1000-1145 - The Terminator (Sky Sci-Fi/Horror)
1115-1340 - Mulholland Drive (Sky Indie)
1145-1455 - Titanic (Sky Drama)
1320-1505 - The Kingdom (Sky Action/Thriller)
1550-1710 - Borat! (Sky Modern Greats)
1645-1845 - Star Trek: Generations (Sky Screen 2)
1720-1955 - The Insider (Sky Modern Greats)
1725-1910 - The Terminator (Sky Sci-Fi/Horror)
1845-2100 - The Prestige (Sky Screen 2)
1930-2155 - Mulholland Drive (Sky Indie)
2000-2310 - Titanic (Sky Drama)
2100-2245 - The Kingdom (Sky Action/Thriller)
2100-2300 - 300 (Sky Screen 2)
2100-2340 - Boogie Nights (TCM)
2145-0025 - There Will Be Blood (Sky Premiere)
2200-0050 - Minority Report (Sci Fi+1)
2245-0125 - There Will Be Blood (Sky Premiere+1)
2335-0155 - Summer Of Sam (Sky Indie)
0015-0200 - Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels (Sky Modern Greats)
0140-0420 - Boogie Nights (TCM)
0215-0335 - Borat! (Sky Modern Greats)

Watched yesterday

Free Agents: Episode 1.2 - 5/5

Flashpoint: Attention Shoppers - 4/5

Boston Legal: True Love - I suspected that there might be a twist, but the logic behind it was terrific - 4/5

The Colour Of Money - got a few minutes into this, gathered what it was all about and decided I would never need to watch it again, much like the recent Total Wipeout on the BBC - 2/5

Kitchen Nightmares - becoming all too predictable. Does raise one interesting question though - why do all American restaurants look the same? - 3/5

Mad Men: Flight One - 4/5

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Today's movie recommendations

4/5 and 5/5 rated films on British TV today.

2100-2325 - The Bourne Identity (ITV1) - includes news 2200-2215
2100-2325 - Vera Drake (Channel 4)
2325-0120 - Spartan (ITV1)

2100-2330 - Spider-Man (Five USA)
2100-2245 - This Is England (Film4)
2200-0025 - Vera Drake (Channel 4+1)
2250-0035 - This Is Spinal Tap (ITV4)
2345-0155 - 8 Mile (ITV2)
0045-0255 - 8 Mile (ITV2+1)

1700-1900 - Ghostbusters (Watch)
1800-2000 - Ghostbusters (Watch+1)
2200-2345 - This Is England (Film4+1)
2200-0030 - Spider-Man (Five USA+1)
2350-0135 - This Is Spinal Tap (ITV4)

Sky Movies
1100-1240 - The Counterfeiters (Sky Drama)
1240-1450 - The Bourne Ultimatum (Sky Screen 2)
1245-1555 - Schindler's List (Sky Drama)
1450-1640 - Blade Runner: The Final Cut (Sky Sci-Fi/Horror)
1700-1900 - Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (Sky Screen 2)
1855-2045 - Three Kings (Sky Action/Thriller)
1900-2045 - Sunshine (Sky Sci-Fi/Horror)
1900-2100 - The Sixth Sense (Sky Screen 2)
2000-2310 - Schindler's List (Sky Drama)
2100-2325 - Transformers (Sky Sci-Fi/Horror)
2145-0025 - There Will Be Blood (Sky Premiere)
2245-0125 - There Will Be Blood (Sky Premiere+1)
2310-0110 - The Bourne Ultimatum (Sky Screen 2)
2315-0115 - American Beauty (Sky Drama)
0030-0215 - Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (Sky Screen 1)
0120-0320 - Blade Runner: The Final Cut (Sky Sci-Fi/Horror)
0130-0310 - The Counterfeiters (Sky Drama)
0235-0450 - The Doors (Sky Modern Greats)

Watched yesterday

Countdown: 21st February
Neil Zussman - 101
Matthew Meads - 55
Dan Brusca - 49

Chandon Pictures: Cousins - 4/5

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles: Alpine Field - 3/5

Vertical City: 375 Park Avenue, New York - yay for Mies Van Der Rohe! - 4/5

QI: The Future - 4/5

30 Rock: SeinfeldVision - 4/5

30 Rock: Jack Gets In The Game - 4/5

My Name Is Earl: Camdenites, Part 2 - 3/5

Friday, 20 February 2009

The Doctor Who theme played on Tesla coils

Yay to Ben Charlton for the pointer.

Leslie Bibb, cover girl in Poland!

Anyone who knows me properly knows I'm a fan of actress Leslie Bibb. I run a fansite for her, but find myself having little time to update it properly. For the time being at least, I'll iindulge my fandom with random Bibb-related posts to this blog instead.

Anyway, this is a cover scan from a Polish TV guide that I recently purchased off eBay. Leslie doesn't make it to the cover of too many magazines (understandably though, because she isn't really famous) so I'm quite pleased to see her get this attention.

I think I've got most of the magazines where she's been on the cover: 944 Los Angeles (08/00), Fit (10/00), Cosmo Girl (10/00), Seventeen (11/00), Gear (12/00), FHM US (05/02), Steppin' out (10/03/04, 19/04/??), Stuff (08/06) and Jack (01/08).

Interesting to see what TV channels they get over in Poland. Pretty much just as many as we do here in the UK by the looks of things. There's the big players like TVP and TVN, presumably comparable to the likes of the BBC and ITV here, plus all manner of smaller channels and localised versions of American channels like TCM, Sci Fi, Eurosport, the Discovery channels, MTV and so on. Much to my envy, they also get Comedy Central and HBO. They even get three BBC channels: BBC Lifestyle, BBC Entertainment and BBC Knowledge.

Kanye West ft. Kid Cudi - Welcome To Heartbreak

Tarantino takes on the Nazis

Today's movie recommendations

4/5 and 5/5 rated films on British TV today.

Sky Movies
1215-1440 - The Mask Of Zorro (Sky Screen 1)
1300-1455 - Superbad (Sky Comedy)
1405-1640 - Babel (Sky Screen 2)
1645-1850 - Ocean's Thirteen (Sky Action/Thriller)
1900-2055 - Full Metal Jacket (Sky Action/Thriller)
2000-2155 - Superbad (Sky Comedy)
2200-2345 - The Usual Suspects (Sky Drama)
2200-0105 - Magnolia (Sky Indie)
2300-0105 - Ocean's Thirteen (Sky Action/Thriller)
2310-0105 - X-Men (Sky Screen 2)
0105-0255 - Death Proof (Sky Action/Thriller)

Watched yesterday

Countdown: 19th February
Neil Zussman - 70
Simon Greening - 70
Dan Brusca - 60
Started off poorly, but rallied toward the end, though it wasn't enough. Got the second conundrum though.

The Beast: Pilot - quite good start to this new undercover FBI drama starring Patrick Swayze. Given that Swayze has terminal cancer, it's not certain they're going to be able to successfully carry it forward though - 4/5

Verical City: 7 World Trade Center, New York - 4/5

My Name Is Earl: Love Octagon - 3/5

Vertical City: Turning Torso, Malmo - 4/5

Battlestar Galactica: No Exit - 5/5

My Name Is Earl: Girl Earl - 4/5

My Name Is Earl: Camdenites, Part 1 - 3/5

Much to my irritation, I've discovered that E4 has skipped one episode of My Name Is Earl, namely 3.17, 'No Heads And A Duffel Bag'. If anyone can help me track this down, it would be much appreciated. I have a Rapidshare account! Not that this has anything to do with my seeking the missing episode of course. That would be naughty.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Today's movie recommendations

4/5 and 5/5 rated films on British TV today.

2345-0125 - Narrow Margin (ITV1)

Sky Movies
1000-1200 - The Last King Of Scotland (Sky Drama)
1700-1910 - Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (Sky Screen 2)
1910-2100 - Notes On A Scandal (Sky Screen 2)
2000-2200 - The Last King Of Scotland (Sky Drama)
2100-2255 - The Illusionist (Sky Screen 2)
2330-0130 - Bringing Out The Dead (Sky Indie)
0025-0230 - Eyes Wide Shut (Sky Modern Greats)
0130-0310 - Requiem For A Dream (Sky Indie)
0310-0515 - Disclosure (Sky Modern Greats)

Watched yesterday

Countdown: 18/2
Neil Zussman - 104
Anita Fairhurst - 87
Dan Brusca - 71
Crazy high-scoring game, but I was ultimately outclassed :/

Shameless: Episode 6.5 - 4/5

My Name Is Earl: Killerball - 3/5

America's Next Top Model: You're Beautiful, Now Change - I don't like what they did with McKey's hair and Elina's hair looks like a bad wig. Nice to see Hannah win something though - 4/5

Grand Designs: Episode 9.4 - bold, interesting design, by I couldn't live in it. I'd be paranoid that that parabolic arch was going to collapse - 4/5

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Alistair Darling's big stick

I wrote an article recently on why the government couldn't stop the banks giving out bonuses to their employees lest they be seen to be exercising executive control over those banks, somethign which would bring the banks' liabilities onto the government's balance sheet. You can read it here.

Magically, to try and prove me wrong, RBS announced yesterday that bonuses were indeed going to be limited, largely to those people who were contractually entitled to them. This is being spun as the government putting the brakes on executive bonuses and finally bowing to demands that it leverages its majority shareholding in the bank.

As it happens, the decision to limit the bonuses was taken by RBS itself. The government didn't tell the bank what to do. How could it? The government doesn't exercise control over the board. What the government did do was pressurise the board and the board caved in. They board have stood by their original intention and paid bonuses in full, but they didn't. The question is, what leverage did Alistair Darling exercise over the board to get them to change their mind? What was his big stick?

The truth is that I think Darling's actually walking a tightrope. This is the closest that the government has come to exercising control over the bank since it took a majority stake in it. If he goes as far as to appoint a majority of board members, the Office of National Statistics will in all probability roll the entire bank into the national debt. Could it be that Darling played chicken with the board, threatening to let full nationalisation happen if they didn't relent on the bonuses? Quite a gamble...

Today's movie recommendations

4/5 and 5/5 rated films on British TV today.

2000-2200 - Dante's Peak (ITV2)
2100-2300 - Dante's Peak (ITV2+1)

0150-0405 - Insomnia (FX)
0250-0505 - Insomnia (FX+)

Sky Movies
0900-1100 - Sicko (Sky Indie)
0915-1050 - Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (Sky Comedy)
1020-1225 - The X-Files (Sky Screen 2)
1500-1645 - The Sixth Sense (Sky Sci-Fi/Horror)
1530-1650 - Borat! (Sky Modern Greats)
1710-1945 - Zodiac (Sky Action/Thriller)
1745-1945 - Sicko (Sky Indie)
1820-1955 - Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (Sky Comedy)
1900-2100 - Breach (Sky Screen 2)
2000-2150 - The Last Of The Mohicans (Sky Drama)
2100-2345 - The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford (Sky Screen 2)
2200-2345 - Jackass Number Two (Sky Screen 1)
2200-0030 - American Gangster (Sky Action/Thriller)
2310-0055 - The Sixth Sense (Sky Sci-Fi/Horror)
0000-0220 - Summer Of Sam (Sky Indie)
0235-0420 - Face (Sky Action/Thriller)

Watched yesterday

Countdown: 17th February
Neil Zussman - 75
Dan Brusca - 66
Kevin Pidduck - 37
Bad luck, Kevin. You were a bit pants...

Lost: This Place Is Death - 5/5

Whitechapel: Episode 1.3 - 4/5

Vertical City: 1 Canada Square, London - not good for my fear of man-made heights - 3/5

Salvage Code Red: Breaking Point - 4/5

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Today's movie recommendations

4/5 and 5/5 rated films on British TV today.

2200-0020 - The Silence Of The Lambs (ITV2)
2300-0120 - The Silence Of The Lambs (ITV2+1)

Sky Movies
0840-1020 - Rocky Balboa (Sky Action/Thriller)
1010-1230 - World Trade Center (Sky Screen 2)
1100-1245 - In The Heat Of The Night (Sky Drama)
1245-1455 - Die Hard 4.0 (Sky Action/Thriller)
1310-1450 - X-Men (Sky Sci-Fi/Horror)
1530-1705 - The Fountain (Sky Sci-Fi/Horror)
1745-1955 - The Hunt For Red October (Sky Drama)
1905-2045 - Rocky Balboa (Sky Action/Thriller)
2000-2215 - The Matrix (Sky Drama)
2100-2240 - X-Men (Sky Sci-Fi/Horror)
2100-2310 - Die Hard 4.0 (Sky Action/Thriller)
2300-0110 - Hannibal (Sky Sci-Fi/Horror)
2335-0140 - Platoon (Sky Screen 1)
0020-0205 - In The Heat Of The Night (Sky Drama)
0050-0240 - Death Proof (Sky Action/Thriller)

Watched yesterday

Countdown: 16th February
Neil Zussman - 87
Dan Brusca - 57
Kate Richardson - 43
Not firing on all cylinders again, but at least I finally got revenge on Kate Richardson. Highlight of the show was Rachel pulling out the letters PISS, which then became PISSE, but then the rather disappointing PISSEG.

Lost: Because You Left - 4/5

Lost: The Lie - 3/5

Lost: Jughead - 4/5

Lost: The Little Prince - 4/5

Monday, 16 February 2009

More on the Daily Mail and Jade Goody

Further to my post yesterday, more Jade-related headline tweaking at the Daily Mail.

Sometime yesterday evening, this headline appeared on their website:
Terminally ill Jade leaves hospital to shop for a wedding dress with Jack

At 1.57am today, this was changed to the more perfunctory...
Jade shops for her wedding dress as she prepares to die

Later in the day (9.37am, to be precise), someone decided that this didn't sound tragic enough and the headline was changed to:
Tragic Jade Goody shops for her wedding dress as she prepares to die

Then at 10.22am that was thrown out of the window entirely:
Doomed Jade Goody plans to sell rights to wedding and set up a trust fund for her two children

Doomed no less! They'll have a hard time beating that.

Edit at 1.11pm:

It seems someone has now decided that 'doomed' is a bit too much. The headline was changed at 12.03pm to...
Dying Jade Goody plans to sell rights to wedding and set up a trust fund for her two children

Today's movie recommendations

4/5 and 5/5 rated films on british TV today.

2335-0145 - The Killer (Five)

2100-2240 - This Is England (Film4)
2100-2300 - Go (Fiver)
2100-2350 - True Lies (ITV2)
2200-0050 - True Lies (ITV2+1)
2230-0030 - Under Siege (E4)
2330-0130 - Under Siege (E4+1)
0050-0305 - The Silence Of The Lambs (ITV2)
0150-0405 - The Silence Of The Lambs (ITV2+1)

2200-2340 - This Is England (Film4+1)
2200-0000 - Go (Fiver+1)

Sky Movies
1145-1350 - Jindabyne (Sky Indie)
2100-2250 - Three Kings (Sky Action/Thriller)
0300-0515 - Disclosure (Sky Screen 2)
0305-0445 - Hard Candy (Sky Action/Thriller)

Watched yesterday

Hustle: The Road Less Travelled - no idea what that episode title has to do with the actual show, but never mind. Suitably enjoyable end to the best series of Hustle in years, thanks to a concerted effort to remove the smugness - 4/5

Flashpoint: Who's George - 4/5

My Name Is Earl: Stole A Motorcycle - 3/5

Free Agents: Episode 1.1 - very funny and often a little too close to home new sitcom starring Stephen Mangan and the goddess-like genius that is Sharon Horgan. Yay for potty mouth! - 5/5

Kitchen Nightmares - 3/5

Boston Legal: Dances With Wolves - 3/5

The Look: Uniform and Function - 3/5

The Look: Yves Saint Laurent - 4/5

Sanctuary: Episode 1.1 - tried to get into this sci-fi, but fuck was it boring. I think I did very well to get half way - 1/5

Sunday, 15 February 2009

The Mail shortens Jade Goody's life

I subscribe to lots of RSS feeds via Google Reader. It allows me to monitor lots of different sites in one place without endlessly going round-and-round from site to site.

One site I follow is that of the Daily Mail's showbiz section. This is partly because I'm a celebrity-whore, but also because there's often material there I can mock. It's good blog-fodder.

Anyway, one feature of the Mail's feed is that it highlights how they are always fiddling with their articles. I don't know the technicalities, but whenever they edit an article, it gets reposted to the feed.

Today's feed contained this headline, posted at 1.56pm:
'I've lived in front of cameras. And maybe I'll die in front of them': Jade Goody faces terror of having only months to live

Then 36 minutes later, this was changed to read:
'I've lived in front of cameras. And maybe I'll die in front of them': Jade Goody faces terror of having only weeks to live

So what's the story here? All the reporting I saw yesterday said that her life expectancy was being measured in 'months'. Has the prognosis changed, or could it be that someone over at the Mail thought that somehow, having only months to live just wasn't quite dramatic enough?

Sunday, 8 February 2009

I admit it, you're morons

Here's a headline from the Mail's website today:
'My split with Brad made me superhuman', admits Jennifer Aniston as she prepares to turn 40

Admits? Admits?!

Is that as in "OK, OK, I admit it, I'm superhuman. Ya got me!"

Oh Jen, hun, you silly thing.

Seriously though, that's a stupid choice of word. It's like admitting to being fantastic or admitting to having a great hairstyle. You don't generally admit to positives, you admit to negatives like pinching the last chocolate digestive or not doing your homework when, actually, no the dog didn't eat it.

And what's with this "prepares to turn 40"? What's she doing, stocking up a basement with bottled water and beans in case of an apocalypse? Child-proofing her apartment lest 40 renders her with the mental age of a two-year old?

Why we have to let the bankers have their bonuses

[Caveat: there are various figures quoted here which may not be entirely accurate as they're pulled from all over the place and some might be one or two years out of date. However, there's no doubting that the numbers are enormous.]

The Chancellor, Alastair Darling, has today warned RBS bosses against paying bonuses to individuals culpable for losses incurred by the banks. As the BBC's Robert Peston put it:
The chancellor feels he has the right to limit bonuses and set conditions on pay at any bank propped up by us, by taxpayers, which broadly includes all British banks, since they've all received exceptional loans and guarantees from taxpayers over the past few months.

So the question is, why doesn't he limit those bonuses at RBS? After all, the government owns 70% of the bank and can do with it pretty much whatever it wants. Radio phone-ins have been full of people incredulous as to why the government doesn't just step in.

The truth is that if the government so much as tells RBS not to buy a box of staplers, it could have catastrophic consequences for the British economy. Sounds stupid doesn't it? Let me explain.

At the moment, the board of RBS is independent. It has full control over what the bank does. If the government were to put people on the board and start directing what it could do, then it would then obviously be responsible for what the bank does and, crucially, it's liabilities.

Incidentally, remember before christmas when all this kicked off and the government pumped billions into many of the high street banks to keep them afloat? The deal was, supposedly, that this money was given in return for commitments to increase lending to business and resume mortgage lendings at 2007 rates. Didn't happen did it? That's because those aspects of the deal were never enforceable, for just the same reason.

It's the liabilities of RBS that are the problem. Right now, RBS has liabilities of approximately £1,800 billion. Contrast that with the UK national debt, which currently stands at about £650 billion and you see just how vast a figure it is. If the RBS liabilities were added to the national debt, you're looking at £2,450 billion, which is equivalent to 177% of GDP. That's the third-highest debt-to-GDP ratio in the world, behind Zimbabwe and Lebanon.

With such a massive national debt comes problems. The first of these is interest. It's hard to say what the effective rate of interest would be on such a debt, but on very roughly cobbled together figures, we seem to be paying around 4.3% on the current £650 billion debt, which is about £28 billion a year. At that rate, we would be having to find £105 billion a year in interest if we took on the RBS liabilities, a figure broadly the same as the NHS budget. Alarming, isn't it?

This would inevitibly lead to tax hikes, vast budget cuts and economic stagnation, a fate which befell Japan in similar circumstances in the 90s and from which they are yet to recover with a debt-to-GDP ratio of 170%. The already weak pound would be decimated as our economic prospects were smothered by depression and foreign capital took flight. We would enter a spiral of decline not even the IMF could bail us out of.

So despite everything that's happened in the past six months, the bankers have us over a barrel. While the public are rightly outraged at the prospect of them paying themselves bonuses for failure, the bankers know full well that the government dare not interfere to stop them. At this point, we have little choice but to let them get on with it. The Chancellor know this, which is why he's launched an 'independent investigation' into bank maganement, pay and bonuses. It deflects from his powerlessness to do anything meaningful.

One final point I want to address. One of the arguments put forward by banks as to why bankers should get bonuses is that it's necessary to do that to keep them. They argue that in a time of crisis they can't afford to lose their "best talent". Well I'm sorry, but if the state most banks are in is down to that talent then to be frank, let the fuckers walk.

Friday, 6 February 2009

My new old TV

Just over a year ago, my gran moved into a care home. This week, I finally got round to arranging for her rental TV to be collected, the continual sticking point always being that they couldn't give a time to pick it up and I wasn't prepared to spend a day sitting scratching my arse all day waiting around for them.

Anyway, got it all sorted on Monday for a collection on the 20th.

This morning, I get a call from the rental company asking if, as my gran was a loyal customer for any years, I would like to keep the TV for £20. Personally, I can live without another TV, especially a nothing special 4:3 set, so declined the offer, at which point the woman said to me "OK then, you can have it for free".

Clearly there's not much market for 20 year-old TV sets these days, so no point in even collecting them from renters. End result, I have a new old TV that I don't want and which will probably just end up going off with the house clearance people.

Cheeky fuckers for trying to wangle £20 out of me first though...

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Best tweet ever

RT: @MayorOfLondon: Have spent the afternoon with TfL making sure everything is prepared for the big dump tonight if it comes.

Edit: Boris' follow-up:
For all those of you feeling mischievous when I said dump I was referring to the snow......

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Your Country Needs You

As predicted by me from the very beginning, Jade won and will represent the UK at this year's Eurovision final in Moscow.

The first thing to say about this is that it's obvious that Andrew Lloyd-Webber and the show's producers got exactly who they wanted. Think back to that very first episode when the acts who would go on to the live shows were chosen. Jade was parachuted in at the last minute when the clearly talented contender withdrew, leaving a selection of frankly mediocre acts. Faced with this, they dropped in a ringer. Moving on to the live shows, Jade faced no critical opinions from Lloyd-Webber at all while Lulu heaped nothing but unequivocal praise upon her throughout.

So they all got the winner they wanted, but was it the right choice? Engineering aside, I have to say yes. She's clearly a capable, confident singer, comfortable with dancing (not that the song will require it) and she looks good. That said, on the night, I did think the twins did a better job with the song. They did their usual cute twins thing but were able to put the power into it when needed. There's a very clear contrast here with Jade. Jade has the better voice, but when she has to belt it out at volume it becomes flat and she has a tendency to shout, whereas the twins really come into their own in such a situation because they don't lose the vocal control.

Anyway, it's all rather moot now. Jade won and that's that. There's a few months until the contest though so I think Lloyd-Webber and a vocal coach will be able to hone her performance and fingers crossed she'll do very well.

And what of that song? I didn't like it at first, but in retrospect that was because the first act to perform it was the guy (whose name I've already forgotten) did such a terrible job, over-annunciating every word and far too West End musical for my liking, though in his defence that is his background. After hearing the other two acts though it became clear it really is out best entry in years. Finally, we've broken away from the vapid pop numbers by the likes of Scooch. Lloyd-Webber and lyricist Diana Warren (the fact we managed to enlist her still amazes me) have delivered a power ballad in the classic Eurovision mould with a mighty crescendo that, crucially, sticks in the head, yet is still unmistakably Lloyd-Webber. This latter point shouldn't be underestimated because here in the UK, we don't fully appreciate the high regard in which Lloyd-Webber is held on the continent. The so-called 'block voting' may be our undoing again, but this is undoubtedly our best chance in years. 12 points please, Malta!