Friday, 31 July 2009

RIP Sir Bobby Robson

Sir Bobby Robson
19th February 1933 - 31st July 2009

Watched yesterday

Dexter: Finding Freebo - 4/5

Big Brother: Day 55 - 3/5

Skins: Episode 3.5 - 4/5

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Lack of updates

Hi all,

In case you were wondering why updates have been so thin in recent days, this is because my grandmother passed away on Monday at the grand old age of 94.

Normal service will be resumed when time allows.

Watched yesterday

House: Painless - 4/5

You've Been Framed! - 4/5

Coast: Land's End To porthcawl - 4/5

Wainwright Walks: Coast To Coast: The Heart Of The Lakes - 4/5

Dragons' Den - 4/5

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Watched yesterday

Big Brother: Days 53 and 54 - 3/5

The Hotel Inspector - 3/5

Kevin Spacey impersonates

Monday, 27 July 2009

Watched today

Rivers: Scotland - 4/5

House: Joy To The World - 4/5

Links of the day

Hercules has word on possible life for sci-fi Virtuality, co-creadted by Battlestar Galactica's Ron Moore. Fox have seemingly passed on the series, though the pilot which aired in the US last month was critically well received.

Quint has seen footage from James Cameron's Avatar and he's pretty pleased with it. James Dyer has more of the same. has a long interview with Kevin Spacey. Happy 50th, Kevin!

Variety confirms a greenlight for Saw VII. Seven! They're as prolific as Woody Allen!

Yahoo! Movies have posters for Tim Burton's Alice In Wonderland. Use the 'next photo' link to scroll through.

TMZ reporting Michael Jackson's death "almost certainly" homicide.

Sarah Hughes on a US TV show that attempts to track down war criminals and the state of US news networks.

Empire on the return of Pirates Of The Caribbean. I still haven't mustered the will to watch the third one yet, even though I've recorded and deleted it twice.

Another franchise returning for a fourth outing is Resident Evil, with Paul WS Anderson back on directorial duties. It's in 3-D this time too. Joy. To be fair though, the RE films are OK (though nothing more). The last one in particular looked great and it's always good to see Milla Jovovich kicking ass. looks at Notts County betting for the upcoming season.

Leigh Holmwood has news on ITV1's autumn season. Among their offerings a, a five-part series called 'Collision' about a group of strangers brought together by a road accident. Hmm, sounds like Crash. Will be stripped over five consecutive nights. Hmm, sounds like Five Days. Top marks for originality!

Mail Online manage to post an article about Katie Holmes that doesn't focus on her looking tired and/or thin. She actually looks fantastic.

Cranmer on the rise of anti-semitic attacks in the UK. He also has praise for Chloe Smith, following her Norwich North by-election victory.

The Guardian readership debate the newly relaunched, postwatershed The Bill.

FAIL Blog have a hat FAIL.

Got a link you think I might find interesting? Tweet @danbrusca or drop me an email.

Watched today

True Blood: Strange Love - couldn't engage with this at all, but will give it another go - 2/5

Skins: Episode 3.4 - 4/5

Big Brother: Day 52 - 4/5

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Where art thou, Big Brother?

Mark Lawson wrote an article in Friday's Guardian calling time on Big Brother. While much of what he wrote was the usual, tired show-bashing that's been doing the rounds for about the last six years, it is now time to consider the future of the show.

For those of us who are fans of the show, this year's Big Brother has shaped up to be one of the best. It's been devoid of huge scandal, but it's certainly not lacked drama and intrigue, thanks to a line-up of well-chosen housemates. Even the addition of five new housemates the week before last upped the ante, providing a glorious skewing of the house dynamics. In many ways, Big Brother has gone back to its roots as a social experiment. The interplay of thse characters has turned us all into armchair psychologists and body language experts.

Shame then that the viewing figures this year are the lowest ever, following a general downward trend that's been going on since the third series. It now attracts just a third of the viewers it did back then, though they have risen over the past week or so since anniversary week.

But the stark truth is that a sizeable minority of viewers have simply lost interest in the format. Channel 4 are contractually obligated to an eleventh series in 2010 and it's been confirmed that, save for unforseen circumstances, that series will indeed go ahead. But beyond that, they must be serious doubt that the programme will continue.

The key consideration is whether or not the show is still financially beneficial to the channel. I'm not entirely sure about this, but I believe that BB10 and BB11 were ordered by Channel 4 during or shortly after BB9, prior to the credit crunch. Since then, TV ad revenues have collapsed and, together with the lower ratings, the show must be less profitable than ever.

On the other hand I can't imagine that the show is, per hour, particularly expensive to produce in the first place. In the early years, it was widely known that the revenue generated by the show subsidised plenty of Channel 4's other output. Those days are probably gone, but Big Brother is still undeniably cheaper to produce than anything that might replace it and that might just be the one thing that saves it. If the show can financially hold its own with around 2 million viewers then, with the economy as it is, surely Channel 4 would favour that stability over risky punts on new formats and programmes?

Of course the ideal situation would be for a radical overhaul of the format to bring in more viewers. Essentially the show is the same every year and if doing the same thing every year leads to a decline in viewers then it stands to reason something fundamental needs to change to significantly reverse that decline. However it is hard to imagine what sort of changes could achieve that aim.

The future of Big Brother is on a knife-edge, but if I had to make a prediction I would say that Channel 4 will soon announce the recommissioning of the show up to BB12 then take a look at the books in a year's time.

Edit @6.57pm. After reading this interesting article by Maggie Brown I'm retracting my above comment that the show isn't partiuclarly expensive to produce as it appears Channel 4 is tied to what now appears to be a very expensive deal with producers Endemol. It's relatively inexpensive for Endemol, but not for Channel 4. It seems that Big Brother may now be running at a loss, which doesn't at all bode well for its future.

Carrie sings!

The sound quality of this is crap, but underneath it all Carrie can hold a tune. Recorded at Del Mar races.

Today's movie recommendations

I've now moved the daily movie recommendations to their own page here. In future, you can find the link underneath the movie ratings menu on the right of this page.

Links of the day

Danielle Lloyd strips. It's for the environment, you see...

Tom Dunmore examines the people behind the Notts County takeover. Michael Wood also takes a look at things.

Mail Online finds another excuse to post photos of Katie Price - and G-d bless them for it!

Denzel Washington signs-on for runaway train movie.

AICN has the trailer for the new Kate Beckinsale movie, Whiteout.

SDentertainment have posted a little pic of Carrie at the races, as have SDNN.

Salon has an in-depth article on and interview with Kevin Spacey.

Five acquires sci-fi drama FlashForward. It's the new Lost, apparently. The Guardian has a piece on Five cutting 25% from its programming budget.

Amazon have a DVD of Bauhaus performing at the Old Vic.

Got a link you think I might find interesting? Tweet @danbrusca or drop me an email.

Watched today

House: Let Them Eat Cake - 4/5

Coast: France: Cap Gris Nez To Mon Saint Michel - 4/5

The Bill: Live By The Sword - I thougt this newly relaunched Bill was supposed to be edgier? Just looked like the kept the same old storylines, but shot them in a more contemporary style - 2/5

Torchwood: Children of Earth: Day Two - 5/5

You've Been Framed! - 4/5

Big Brother: Day 51 - 4/5

Saturday, 25 July 2009

2012 poster

Following on from Independence Day, Godzilla and The Day After Tomorrow, Roland Emmerich finds new ways to destroy more large cities!

Opens in the UK on 13th November.

Shutter Island poster

Opens in the UK on 9th October.

Carrie Prejean and freedom of speech

See, Carrie, you are allowed to say whatever you want about whichever group of people you want, no matter how hateful or ungodly, but then other people -- get this -- are allowed to respond. That's sort of how it all works. Pretty cool, huh?

The above quote comes from Brock Keeling at SFist in response to the news this week that Carrie Prejean is writing a book about her Miss USA / Miss California experiences and about free speech issues.

Amongst all the bile directed at Miss Prejean since the announcement has been criticism, like that above, that she somehow doesn't understand how freedom of speech works. I think she understands it perfectly well and with a level of sophistication beyond those who are attacking her. For sure, nobody is stopping her from voicing her opinions on same-sex marriage or anything else, nobody is impinging on her essential constitutional right to freedom of speech. "So, what's her problem?" ask her critics?

The problem is that while Miss Prejean has the courage to stand up and say what she believes, other people may not have such courage, knowing that they're likely to be on the receiving end of hatred the likes of which she has experienced. So while everyone has a de jure freedom to say what they think, the fear of a negative response can introduce a de facto restriction on that freedom.

We are told that a majority of Americans support Miss Prejean's stance on same-sex marriage, yet relative to the criticism there appears to be very little support vocalized for her in the media or online. Judging by what's happened to her since the Miss USA pageant, it's hard to blame that majority for remaining a silent one.

RIP Harry Patch

Harry Patch
17th June 1898 - 25th July 2009
Britain's final veteran of the first world war

Today's movie recommendations

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

2220 Deep Impact (BBC One)

2100 Collateral (Film4)
2200 Robocop (Virgin 1)
2300 Robocop (Virgin 1+1)
0115 Being John Malkovich (Film4)

2000 Minority Report (Sci Fi)
2100 Men In Black (Watch)
2100 Minority Report (Sci Fi+1)
2200 Men In Black (Watch+1)
2200 Collateral (Film4+1)
0215 Being John Malkovich (Film4+1)

Sky Movies
1025 Jerry Maguire (Sky Modern Greats)
1210 Sunshine (Sky Indie)
1455 Ocean's Thirteen (Sky Action/Thriller)
1700 Dante's Peak (Sky Action/Thriller)
1800 Escape From Alcatraz (Sky Modern Greats)
2000 Jerry Maguire (Sky Modern Greats)
2100 Tora! Tora! Tora! (Sky Classics)
2100 I Am Legend (Sky Sci-Fi/Horror)
2130 Twister (Sky Family)
2200 Sunshine (Sky Indie)
2300 Ocean's Thirteen (Sky Action/Thriller)
0140 In The Heat Of The Night (Sky Classics)
0155 Crash (Sky Indie)
0215 Hannibal (Sky Sci-Fi/Horror)
0245 The Savages (Sky Screen 2)
0315 Twister (Sky Family)

Watched yesterday

Torchwood: Children of Earth: Day One - 5/5

Privileged: Pilot - hmm, it's no 90210. I'll pass - 2/5

Californication: La Petite Mort - 4/5

Countdown: 24th July
Dan Brusca - 110
Paul Varlaam - 74
Beryl Johnston - 46
Yay, my highest score EVER! Spotted one 9-letter word - POLARISES - plus an 9-letter, EXEUNTED.

Big Brother: Days 49 and 50 - Karly's appearance in Nuts or wherever can't come too soon - 4/5

Links of the day

Sorry for the lack of links yesterday. Family happenings and all that. So much material to go through so expect me to be behind the times for several years ^_^

Popbitch has an unfortunate advertisment for the young persons railcard.

Mashable on Twitter's spammer purge.

BBC News have photos of rats playing musical instruments.

Steve Hewlett on what the BBC has to fear from licence fee top-slicing.

Charlize Theron the unlikely Chelsea fan.

The Coventry Telegraph isn't the obvious place to see news about Leslie Bibb, but I'm sure they saw the value in posting her photo!

ESPN gives it's opinion on Sven signing for Notts County. ESPN covering the Pies? Who would have thought it! Elsewhere, USA Today is cynical about the whole affair.

Sienna Miller tells an Australian DJ to piss-off.

Mail Online has a curvy Kim Kardashian. I've heard of her before and seen her before, but I have no idea who she is or what she does.

WagerWeb has all kinds of Danielle Lloyd photos and video clips.

AICN has photos of Ridley Scott's 'Robin Hood' castle.

Mail Online has a red-faced Simon Cowell.

Got a link you think I might find interesting? Tweet @danbrusca or drop me an email.

Friday, 24 July 2009

Kevin Spacey talks Twitter with Dave

Today's movie recommendations

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

2100 The House Of Flying Daggers (More4)
0025 The House Of Flying Daggers (More4)

2200 The House Of Flying Daggers (More4+1)
0125 The House Of Flying Daggers (More4+1)

Sky Movies
1210 Transformers (Sky Screen 2)
1250 Juno (Sky Indie)
1320 Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (Sky Screen 1)
1340 The Mist (Sky Sci-Fi/Horror)
1730 Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (Sky Sci-Fi/Horror)
2020 Juno (Sky Indie)
2100 Transformers (Sky Screen 2)
2235 Saving Private Ryan (Sky Action/Thriller)
0025 Blade Runner: The Final Cut (Sky Modern Greats)
0100 Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (Sky Screen 1)
0105 The Mist (Sky Sci-Fi/Horror)
0115 Fargo (Sky Screen 2)
0240 In The Line Of Fire (Sky Screen 1)

Watched yesterday

Coast: Whitstable To The Isle Of Wight - 4/5

University Challenge: Loughborough v UCL
Answered 13 questions correctly. Pathetic!

Countdown: 23rd July
Paul Varlaam - 89
Vic Aboudara - 70
Dan Brusca - 66
Just the one 8-letter word today - GLITTERS

Entourage: Amongst Friends - really would be great if ITV2 could start and/or finish programmes at the scheduled time - 4/5

Question Time - 3/5

Thursday, 23 July 2009

The 24 Hours Plays: Old Vic, New Voices (press release)

24 Hours. 7 New Plays. 57 Company Members. 1000-Strong Audience

· Journey with the team throughout the day in a unique live online experience, with content and updates every 10 minutes

· Old Vic New Voices project continues the career-launching success of previous years

Following a rigorous audition process, a selection of the best young writers, directors, actors and producers of the future will join forces at the Old Vic Theatre for The 24 Hour Plays: Old Vic New Voices on Sunday 26 July 2009 at 7.30pm. A company of fifty-seven 18-25 year old aspiring professionals will write, rehearse and present seven new plays – in front of an audience of industry leaders, family, friends and the paying public - all in just 24 hours.

For the first time, we will also be providing a unique insight into the 24 Hour Plays process through live online updates across a range of digital media tools. We will be syndicating text-based content through Twitter, audio updates through AudioBoo, and images through Twitpic as well as sharing videos through Vimeo and YouTube. Visual, audio and text-based content will be linked together using our Twitter account as a central access point for all.

With updates at least once every 10 minutes throughout the 24 hours, this will allow anyone to be with the company every step of the way before setting off to the theatre in the evening to attend the actual performance in person. This will be the first time any production in a West End theatre has committed to opening its doors to an online community to such a concentrated extent. You can get ready to journey with us at

Commenting on the project, now in its fourth year, Kevin Spacey (the Artistic Director of the Old Vic) said: “The 24 Hour Plays: Old Vic New Voices acts as a powerful talent showcase, launching and supporting the careers of over 150 young practitioners to date and it has proven to be a terrific springboard for those who participate.”

Previous years have resulted in huge successes for the participants following the event. Jo Danvers, now producer at the Gate Theatre, explains: “This was a chance in a million to be involved in such raw, relevant and exciting theatre. It was a privilege and I feel as if I have made friends and co-collaborators for life.”

Other previous participants have included: Actors Charity Wakefield (Sense and Sensibility, BBC), Davide Ferretti (Enjoy, Gielgud) Joanna Christie (Equus, West End) and Danny Lee Wynter (Joe’s Palace and Capturing Mary, Poliakoff), writer Mike Bartlett (My Child and Contractions, Royal Court and Artefacts, The Bush), director Mike Longhurst (Stovepipe, West 12 and Dirty Butterfly, Young Vic Jerwood Directors' Prize) and producers Imogen Kinchin (Spring Awakening, Lyric) and director Mike Longhurst (Dirty Butterfly, Young Vic Jerwood Directors' Prize).

Old Vic New Voices have been working alongside partner organisation IdeasTap, an on-line resource and funding programme for creative young people. Working through the web and in partnership with Old Vic New Voices, IdeasTap supports creative young individuals by encouraging collaboration, allowing access to funding, developing careers and project-based opportunities and showcasing work and ideas. Applications for this year’s The 24 Hour Plays: Old Vic New Voices were submitted through IdeasTap and each applicant became an Associate Member of Old Vic New Voices, with access to workshops, tickets offers and creative opportunities.

The 24 Hour Plays concept was originally created by New York City-based organisation, The 24 Hour Company. The 24 Hour Plays project has run for over 13 years in the States, the Old Vic brought the concept to London as a celebrity fundraising event in 2004 and it is now Old Vic New Voice’s annual fund-raiser. To date, theatrical stars who have participated include Brooke Shields, Jim Broadbent, Kwame Kwei-Armah, Sophie Okonedo, Rosamund Pike, Catherine Tate, Gael Garçia Bernal, and Meera Syal to name but a few.

Notes for Editors


Old Vic New Voices supports young and emerging talent, sources and develops new work for production on The Old Vic stage, and opens up the building to new and diverse audiences. Each Old Vic production is accompanied by a comprehensive series of Creative Learning events, backstage tours and ticket offers for 8 to 25 year olds. Old Vic New Voices’ Education work also takes tailor-made projects into schools across London and brings thousands of students into The Old Vic for workshops and performances every year. Creative Community initiatives introduce hundreds of local people to productions on the main stage with reduced price tickets and dedicated community events.

The New Voices Club offers an ongoing professional development programme for 18-25 year old actors, writers, directors and producers. Anyone aged 18-25 can become an Associate member of the club – which gives practitioners access to club events and resources - by signing up to our microsite on Old Vic New Voices also sources, commissions and develops new work. Special emphasis is placed on innovative projects which have the scope and ambition to fill The Old Vic stage. As part of the focus on new work, OVNV also runs the New Voices Network in New York which supports US emerging practitioners. Visit for more details.


Founded by the creator of The 24 Hour Plays, The 24 Hour Company is the newest incarnation of the group of artists and producers that has mounted over 300 short plays since 1995--all written, cast, rehearsed and performed in a single day. Paper Magazine wrote “the quality of the plays is remarkable,” and the Village Voice adds, “here was the energy missing from the Ludlow scene... theatricality as life, as subversion, even survival.” The rotating cast and crew of The 24 Hour Plays have performed for sold-out houses on and off-Broadway in New York, as well as Chicago, Los Angeles, and throughout the United States. Last year they were invited to the Bonn Perfomance Bienniele, and they have produced shows in Denmark, Canada, and Australia. Participants have included diverse talents from all levels— from Tony, Oscar and Pulitzer Prize winners to emerging talent and high school students. Visit for more details.


Use of digital media in performance, communication and audience development in the arts is a phenomenon gathering pace on a daily basis with new developments appearing all the time. Following the shift_happens conference by Pilot Theatre in June 2009, Guardian critic Lyn Gardner commented on her blog that, “In a new social and cultural landscape, artists have to redefine cultural production and how people access it. All this will be a challenge, but an interesting one.” Whilst many theatre companies see digital media as a marketing tool, the new feeling is that it is ultimately about people, about working with another community whether they visit the theatre or not.

Inspiration for the experiment comes from the hit Broadway musical Next to Normal, which “tweeted” its narrative from the perspective of the characters involved over a monthly period. They now have over 300,000 followers, and counting, on Twitter and have connected with audiences and others alike in a way which has not been seen before.

The 24 Hour Plays: Old Vic New Voices event gives the Old Vic a perfect opportunity to experiment and develop other ways to communicate.

Listings Information

The 24 Hour Plays: Old Vic New Voices
Sunday 26 July 2009, 7.30pm

Tickets: £10 & £20
Box Office: 0870 060 6628

The Old Vic Theatre, The Cut, London, SE1 8NB
Nearest Tube & Rail: Waterloo Station (National Rail, Jubilee and Northern Lines)

Online content begins on Saturday 25 July 2009 at 8.30pm.
It continues until Midnight on Sunday 26 July 2009.

NB. You can also use using the hashtag #24hourplays to follow conversation.

Today's movie recommendations

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

2100 Team America: World Police (Film4)
2205 The Wicker Man (ITV4)
2305 The Silence Of The Lambs (ITV2)
0005 The Silence Of The Lambs (ITV2+1)

2200 Team America: World Police (Film4+1)

Sky Movies
1130 The Spy Who Came In From The Cold (Sky Classics)
1355 Lenny (Sky Modern Greats)
1600 Dead Man Walking (Sky Drama)
1800 The Sixth Sense (Sky Modern Greats)
1840 Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (Sky Screen 2)
2140 Die Hard 4.0 (Sky Drama)
2305 Die Hard With A Vengeance (Sky Screen 2)
2340 Lenny (Sky Modern Greats)
0020 The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford (Sky Indie)
0305 Requiem For A Dream (Sky Indie)

Watched yesterday

Wainwright Walks: Coast To Coast: Gateway To The Lakes - 4/5

Countdown: 22nd July
Dan Brusca - 83
Carol Warren - 69
Paul Varlaam - 55
Spotted two 8-letter words - BARISTAS and TOLERANT - and the conundrum, REFURBISH.

Dragons' Den - 4/5

Big Brother: Day 48 - 4/5

Links of the day

Variety has word on casting for two upcoming Patricia Cornwell novel adaptations. Nice to see Annabeth Gish getting more work. She's purty.

The Guardian looks at last weekend's UK box office.

The Jerusalem Post has an interview with a Basiji who claims to have raped young Iranian women so that they could be executed (Iranian law prohibits the execution of virgins).

Orange has the new Miss England.

FAIL Blog on the unexpected attractions of Constance Bay, Ottawa. They also have a book to sell.

The Daily Mail has Katie Price's plans for the future. Only posting this because I like the first photo.

StyleCritics cast their eyes over Leslie Bibb's recent G-Force premiere outfit.

The Sun-Sentinel looks at Florida Republicans turning to Carrie Prejean in a bid to boost their popularity among young voters.

The Crown has a new Labour logo.

Jose Lambiet on Carrie Prejean's trip to the Florida GOP.

Icons of Fright has the cover arte for the US Trick 'r Treat DVD and Blu-ray releases.

Gallery Model Girls has a few pics of Danielle Lloyd in an LBD.

The Daily Mail has Jill Halfpenny getting a little cheeky.

The Carrie Prejean has more on the book deal, and even more here.

Got a link you think I might find interesting? Tweet @danbrusca or drop me an email.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Sven and... Beckham?

A week ago, the idea that Sven would take a job at Notts County would have seemed fanciful, fantastical, the talk of a mad man no less.

But now that it has been proven that pigs can indeed fly, surely it's no longer beyond the realms of possibility that other big names could take a trip down Meadow Lane.

What odds that Sven picks up the phone to an old friend, an England star who already happens to be playing at this level. Step forward, David Beckham, destiny awaits you!

Come on the Pies!

Today's movie recommendations

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

2245 Chicago (BBC One)

2300 The Wicker Man (ITV4)
2350 The Silence Of The Lambs (ITV2)
0050 The Silence Of The Lambs (ITV2+1)

Sky Movies
1240 The Illusionist (Sky Screen 2)
1400 The Counterfeiters (Sky Indie)
1530 In The Name Of The Father (Sky Drama)
1745 Jindabyne (Sky Drama)
2000 Charlie Wilson's War (Sky Drama)
2135 Schindler's List (Sky Modern Greats)
2230 The Krays (Sky Screen 1)
2300 Die Hard 2: Die Hard (Sky Screen 2)
0040 The Usual Suspects (Sky Action/Thriller)
0520 The Illusionist (Sky Screen 2)

Watched yesterday

The Hotel Inspector: Sunnyside Hotel, Blackpool - 4/5

Countdown: 21st July
Dan Brusca - 78
Paul Varlaam - 61
Yvonne Battelle - 60
I spotted two 8-letter words - CATERING and ENTHRONE.

You've Been Framed! - 5/5

Big Brother: Day 47 - the new housemates have really livened this up, even if four of the new five are utterly vile, especially Kenny, who I suspect will need those bodyguards when he's evicted on Friday, not least to protect him from Karly - 5/5

Links of the day

Whoops, sorry, forgot to post these last night ^_^

Play have a box set of three Hugh Grant films - Love Actually, About A Boy, Notting Hill - for just £3.99. That's a pretty good deal (and no, I'm not on commission). In fact, the whole 'credit crunch' promo they've got on this week is good. Lots of bargains.

Harry Knowles reviews GI Joe in a way that makes it sound a bit crap to me.

FAIL Blog has a tasty cookie.

Peter Bradshaw on the controversy surrounding Lars Von Trier's Antichrist.

The Guardian reports that STV seems to have dropped most ITV drama from its schedules.

The Daily Mail has a newly brunette Katherine Heigl.

Got a link you think I might find interesting? Tweet @danbrusca or drop me an email.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Cock of the day

There's a story in today's Guardian about the jailing of 24 year-old Jonathan Cock for murder and other offences.

He shot dead his ex-girlfriend's father and shot both her and her mother, before turning the gun on himself. Shooting himself in the mouth, he sustained brain damage but somehow managed to drive himself home, where he was arrested the next day. He will serve a minimum of 25 years.

You can read the Guardian's full story here, which contains this rather unfortunate line:

Truro crown court heard that the victims were Jehovah's Witnesses, who disapproved of their daughter seeing Cock

You would think the subs might have paid closer attention, given his name...

Today's movie recommendations

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

2325 Broken Flowers (BBC One)

2315 Being John Malkovich (Film4)

0015 Being John Malkovich (Film4+1)

Sky Movies
1025 The Sixth Sense (Sky Modern Greats)
1645 Titanic (Sky Modern Greats)
1800 The American President (Sky Drama)
1845 Die Hard With A Vengeance (Sky Action/Thriller)
2000 The Bourne Ultimatum (Sky Modern Greats)
2100 Dante's Peak (Sky Action/Thriller)
2100 Die Hard (Sky Screen 2)
2200 American History X (Sky Indie)
2345 Midnight Cowboy (Sky Screen 1)
0005 Magnolia (Sky Modern Greats)
0225 Killer: A Journal Of Murder (Sky Drama)
0230 Happiness (Sky Indie)

Watched yesterday

W Delta Z - aka Waz, this is a nasty little film, but there's not denying it's atmospheric and pleasingly chilling - 3/5

Countdown: 20th July
Andrew Hulme - 121
Dan Brusca - 67
Mike Olive - 45
Hulme becomes an octochamp. Spotted four 8-letter words myself - THRONING, DIAMANTE, ENACTORS and BOUNCIER.

Big Brother: Day 46 - 4/5

Links of the day

A new feature to the blog! Most days, just before I go to bed, I will be posting a list of various interesting links that have caught my eye during the day. Will give you a good idea of the kind of things that interest me, should you care! This first selection includes some older links that have been floating around in Google Reader for a while, so it's a bit lengthy, but going forward they should all be pretty recent.

90210's hottest actress, AnnaLynne McCord, looking amazing in a bikini. Her sister's not too bad either!

Matt Smith and Karen Gillan start filming on Doctor Who. Daniel Martin takes a closer look.

Interesting article on how the internet helps Noahides.

Leslie Bibb (my second favourite actress) talks about Confessions Of A Shopaholic co-star Isla Fisher.

There's an in-depth interview with Leslie at Popwrap in which she says she'll be back for Iron Man 2.

Trick 'R Treat (starring Leslie) gets it's UK premiere at Film4 Frighfest on 29th August. Those few people who have seen the film say it's great, but for whatever reason the studio have sat on it for two years. I understand a US DVD release is on the way, so hopefully it won't be too long before it gets out to a wider British audience too.

Learn something - the story of Jerusalem.

Leslie Bibb to guest star in fantasy football sitcom pilot The League.

In my post on Carrie Prejean yesterday, I mentioned that I was a Noachide. If you would like to learn more about this faith, I recommend reading The Path Of The Righteous Gentile, courtesy of Moshiach.

Peter Hoskin exxamines the Tories' plans for bank regulation.

Leslie Bibb and boyfriend Sam Rockwell on the red carpet at the premiere of 'G-Force'.

Desperate Labour try to use foxhunting flyer to win Norwich North by-election.

Morgan Freeman in talks to star alongside Bruce Willis in graphic novel adaptation 'Red'.

More Master & Commander?

What did the US critics think of Torchwood? Skipped it myself as season 2 of Torchwood bored me, but so many people have been raving about it I've decided to give it a go. BBC Three is rolling it out on Friday evenings, starting last Friday, and I recorded the first one, so I might have checked it out by the time I post this.

His Grace speculates on the likelihood of Peter Mandelson becoming Prime Minister.

Sean Bean signs on for A Game Of Thrones. Sounds pretty good.

Roy Greenslade on the mystery of Evening Standard owner Alexander Lebedev's poisoning.

30 reasons why 30 Rock rocks.

Tanning FAIL. Back to school FAIL.

Lots of Leslie Bibb desktop wallpapers.

The Croydonian isn't too pleased with Ken Loach.

Finally, quote of the day, from Jon Snow of Channel 4 News:
For what it is worth, and it is worth very little, I think the Aussies are going to win the Lords test today. They will get the remaining 200 runs with one wicket to spare...

Got a link you think I might find interesting? Tweet @DanBrusca or drop me an email.

Carrie Prejean to tell all in book

By spooky coincidence following on from my Carrie Prejean post yesterday, Regnery Publishing put out a statement today announcing that they will be publishing a book by Carrie Prejean this November...

WASHINGTON, D.C. -Regnery Publishing announced today it has signed a publishing contract with former Miss California Carrie Prejean. Her new book, Still Standing, will be released in November 2009.

Prejean attracted national attention when she answered a question at the Miss USA Pageant defending traditional marriage. The unprecedented personal attacks that ensued eventually culminated in Prejean being stripped of her Miss California crown. But the 22-year-old won the respect of millions for modeling something other than evening gowns and swimsuits - the courage of standing up for her convictions.

Now she will tell her side of the story, answering such questions as what happened behind the scenes at the pageant, why she answered the Perez Hilton question as she did, what really led to her losing the Miss California crown, and how she has been forced to battle the left’s double-standard on free speech and the bias against conservatives - particularly conservative women - who stand up for their beliefs.

Prejean is represented by Lee Hough with Alive Communications, Inc.

Should be a good read!

Monday, 20 July 2009

The 24 Hour Plays: Old Vic, New Voices

The Old Vic and the caterer

Visitors to the Old Vic these days are used to entering the theatre through the red-carpetted foyer at the front of house. However from 1891 to 1927, the foyer was occupied by a caterer. Why?

In 1888, Emma Cons, with the help of a fundraising camapign purchased the freehold of the theatre for £16,000 and handed it over to the theatre's Trustees. She then sought the formation of a new trust to operate the theatre, which received royal approval in 1891.

One of the conditions stipulated in the order establishing the new trust was that the Old Vic should be a temperance house...

No intoxicating liqours shall be introduced into any part of the building.

...and that the foyer area should be handed to Mr John Pearce to run a temperance restaurant, 'Peace and Plenty'.

Much to the relief of the theatre's management, Mr Pearce's contract expired in 1927 and the public areas of the theatre underwent renovation, opening the foyer to the public for the first time in nearly four decades.

Recipe: Bruscan chicken stew!

Did a Mexican chicken stew last week which was such a triumph I've decided to share the recipe. I've adapted it to include only ingredients that you'll easily find in any size of supermarket.

500g diced chicken breast
Sunflower oil
1 dessert spoon of salt
1 large chopped onion
2 sliced carrots
2 stalks of celery
1 sliced courgette
Half teaspoon of ginger
Half teaspoon of paprika
Half teaspoon of cumin
Half teaspoon of oregano
Half teaspoon of black pepper
Half teaspoon of turmeric
500ml chicken stock
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
Half a tin of kidney beans
The juice of 1 lemon

Of course, you can change any of these quantities to suit you personal tastes. It'll taste good whatever you do. Personally, I like to big up the spices!

How to cook
1. Brown the chicken in a large saucepan with a little sunflower oil until almost cooked through.

2. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes, salt, onion, carrots, celery, ginger, paprika, cumin, oregano, pepper and turmeric. Simmer for 10 minutes.

3. Add the courgette and kidney beans. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the carrot and courgette are tender.

4. Stir in the lemon juice, serve and trough. Goes well with naan bread :)

Today's movie recommendations

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

Sky Movies
1310 Ocean's Thirteen (Sky Screen 2)
1515 Star Trek: Generations (Sky Screen 2)
1800 Blade Runner: The Final Cut (Sky Modern Greats)
2100 300 (Sky Action/Thriller)
2100 Ocean's Thirteen (Sky Screen 2)
2200 American Beauty (Sky Modern Greats)
2300 The American Gangster (Sky Action/Thriller)
2300 Death Proof (Sky Sci-Fi/Horror)
2305 X-Men (Sky Screen 2)
2355 Fargo (Sky Indie)

Watched yesterday

House: Last Resort - Four Tet on the soundtrack, nice touch - 5/5

Big Brother: Day 44 - Hira's a bit dim, but she looked great in that LBD - 4/5

Film no.2255
The Happening - pretty sure that Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel thought they were starring in Scary Movie 5. Flawed movie overall, but there's a kernel of an interesting idea there and it's often creepily effective - 3/5

Big Brother: Day 45 - 4/5

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Old Vic catch-up

It feels like the dawn of man since I last updated on my visits to the Old Vic, so here's a quick round-up.

21st January - Complicit
Kicked off my Old Vic year with the patrons' evening performance of Complicit, starring Richard Dreyfuss, David Suchet and Elizabeth McGovern.

Travelled down in the afternoon with Steve Glover, had an early dinner at Paradiso (on The Cut, just down from the theatre) then it was round to the theatre for a drinks reception and the play.

There had been poor advance reviews, both for the play and for Richard Dreyfuss, who had been having trouble with his lines and was consequently wearing an earpiece. As it turned out, I thought Dreyfuss did fine and if he had to resort to the earpiece it didn't show. Unfortunately, I thought the play was pretty poor. The cast did the best they could - Suchet was a standout - but the whole thing was hamstrung by the distinct feeling that all the best scenes were happening off-stage, rendering the on-stage action quite dull. However being on the front row, feet away from the legendary Dreyfuss pretty-much made up for the play's failings.

4th March - Dancing At Lughnasa
Dancing At Lughnasa is a revival of the Brian Friel play, this time starring Andrea Corr, Niamh Cusack and Susan Lynch, among others. Another patron's evening with Steve and, on this occasion, his mum!

Went to Paradiso and a drinks reception again beforehand. Briefly met Kevin Spacey for the first time at the reception, but was a little starstruck and couldn't think of what to say to the great man, so the brevity was probably a blessing. Met him again in the bar at the interval. I had just purchased the script from the foyer and he was good enough to sign it for me.

Throughouly enjoyed the play, which was the last to be staged in the then in-the-round configuration of the theatre. Love the flash-forward narration after the interval in which you learn the character's ultimate fates. Adds a bittersweet air to the rest of the play. The closing minutes are simply magical.

26th May - Sam Mendes Q&A
Brief trip to London for a patrons-only Q&A session with Sam Mendes. Went with my friend, the actress Patricia (Tish) Potter. Interesting to hear his thoughts on theatre and asked him if we might see his wife, Kate Winslet on stage at the Old Vic as part of the Bridge Project. He said soon, but perhaps not as soon as I hope...

9th June - The Bridge Project
Bit of a treat, this. Press day for The Winter's Tale and The Cherry Orchard, directed by Sam Mendes and starring Simon Russell Beale, Sinead Cusack, Rebecca Hall and Ethan Hawke among it's transatlantic cast.

Decided to spend a couple of nights in London this time. Travelled down for the plays on the Tuesday, headed home Thursday. Arrived in london on Tuesday and met my friend, Lotty. Checked in to the hotel then headed to the theatre for The Winter's Tale. As ever, the good people in the Old Vic office gave me great seats so we were right near the front.

I've previously found Shakespeare to be quite impenetrable, but had no trouble at all following this, though I must confess that some Oxford Shakespeare notes were a good investment beforehand, if only for the scene summaries! Great performances, most notably from Rebecca Hall as a heartbreaking Hermione and Ethan Hawke as rock star-like Autocylus.

After that it was to the bar for a couple of glasses of wine and to wait for Tish Potter, who was joining me for The Cherry Orchard. She arrived, got changed and Lotty left. We went outside to go round to the rehearsal room for yet another drinks reception and Tish got accosted for her autograph by eight or nine people, which was good for my ego ^_^

Drinks despatched, we took our seats for the play, at which point the wine immediately reminded me of its presence and, despite trying really hard, I had to leave at the first set change for the inevitble call of nature. Banished to the upstairs bar for the rest of the first half, I gave up on trying to watch the live feed on the awful monitor in then and spent my time talking to an Irish girl who had arrived late thanks to the Tube strike.

Interval arrived and I managed to irritate Alan Yentob by forgetting his name. Tish randomy ran into the actress who played her sister in Holby City. Managed to pick up the second half of the play quite easily and enjoyed it.

Then it was off onto a bus for a drive across the river to Buddha Bar and the after-show party. Tish cycled there and we finally found eachother about 45 minutes later! In the meantime I had had a short chat with Ethan Hawke and his wife Ryan and Kevin Spacey introduced me to Andrea Corr. Every time I read that I feel like my head is going to explode. KEVIN SPACEY INTRODUCED ME TO ANDREA CORR! She's absolutely delighful, like a human rainbow.

Had a chat with Ed, son of the legendary Sir Peter Hall and got to tell Sam Mendes jusy how great I thought American Beauty was, which I'm sure is something he's never hear before *cough*. After this, Tish headed off home and I, well, carried on sampling the free wine. Spent 10 minutes or so talking to Rebecca Hall, another absolutely delightful woman, who told me I must watch Vicky Cristina Barcelona as she was in it more than Frost/Nixon. Then spent 20 minutes regaling Josh Hamilton (Polixenes) with my ramblings. Poor bloke, patience of a saint. He was interested and surprised to hear that the Old Vic doesn't receive any state funding. It was his 40th birthday too! Eventually he was recused by his wife who whisked him home to releive their babysitter.

Spent the rest of the night talking to all kinds of interesting people, including Old Vic supporters and crew, plus Same Mendes' business partner, the producer Pippa Henry. Eventually, most people left and I did the same, walking on magic legs back to the Premier Inn at County Hall.

Wednesday morning was, err, challenging.

On Wednesday evening, sobered up, I went to see Kursk at the Young Vic, a play recounting the Kursk submarine disaster from the perspective of the crew of a British submarine that was following the Russian sub. Interesting staging. You walk on a gangway which looks down onto the set, which shows various areas of the submarine. The title is a little misleading because you think the play is set on the Kursk and that's a little disappointing, but I guess that flooding a stage is beyond even the Young Vic, though I am aware they've given it a go in the past ;)

Next up, press night for Inherit The Wind, starring Kevin Spacey, on 2nd October.

Standing with Carrie

For the past couple of months, I've been following the story of Carrie Prejean. For those unfamiliar with Miss Prejean, she was Miss California 2009 and runner-up as Miss USA 2009. She could well have won Miss USA, were it not for one of the judges, Perez Hilton, asking her if she believed every US state should legalize same-sex marriage.

Her answer:
Well I think it's great that Americans are able to choose one way or the other. We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage. You know what, in my country, in my family, I do believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman, no offense to anybody out there. But that’s how I was raised and I believe that it should be between a man and a woman.

Clearly Miss Prejean was on a hiding to nothing whichever way she answered Hilton's question. Her words attracted an instantaneous backlash, further fuelled by Hilton posting a video on his website referring to her as a "dumb bitch".

Subsequently, semi-nude photos of Miss Prejean appeared online and the organizers of Miss California investigated it as a potential contractual breach until Miss USA owner Donald Trump stepped in. However, last month a dispute between the company which produces Miss California and Miss Prejean led to her being stripped of the title.

I'm not proposing to comment on this latter dispute - unless it goes to court it's just going to remain a case of "he said, she said" - but I did want to write something about why I support her, something which might surprise many people who know me. There are two issues to address, the treatment Miss Prejean has received for her comments and the substance of those comments.

Regardless of my personal opinion on same-sex marriage (which I will come to), the level of vitriol aimed at Miss Prejean is quite shocking. She was asked a straight question and gave an honest answer based on her upbringing and beliefs. She didn't stand on stage screaming that gays would burn in hell or anything like that, she simply said without any hint of hatred or malice that she believed marriage was something that should be between a man and a woman. However she's been portrayed as a homophobe and gay-basher, particularly here in the blogosphere, shrill charges that lack any evidentiary basis.

While I'm all for challenging the opinons of those one disagrees with, those who seek to advance LGBT rights are diminished when they resort to abuse in lieu of debate, a fact recognised by A. Latham Staples, executive director of LGBT civil rights group the Empowering Spirits Foundation:

Demeaning Carrie Prejean or others by using terms such as bigot will not advance our cause of civil rights and social justice. The LGBT community must use this period of heightened attention on LGBT issues by engaging others in positive ways.

Incidentally, it's also worth mentioning that the voters of the state of California voted last November to ban same-sex marriage, so it's not as if she was out of touch with popular opinion.

On the substantive issue of same-sex marriage, I think it's important that a distinction should be made between marriage as a civil institution and marriage as a religious one. There has been some kind of marriage since the earliest days of human civilisation and society has placed value on and/or attributed benefits to the institution ever since and while religion has often been a driving force behind this, there's nothing inherently religious in the concept of marriage. In fact it's probably true to say that the institution of marriage is a fundamentally secular one. The ancient Greeks and Romans didn't treat marriage as a religious institution, and for that matter, neither did early christians.

For Miss Prejean, marriage is both an act of civil and religious union, so she believes (because of her religious beliefs) that marriage should only be between a man and a woman. However, as her comments at Miss USA showed, she doesn't seek to impose her views on others. Let's look at her quote again:

Well I think it's great that Americans are able to choose one way or the other. We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage.

This is important because she's basically saying that although she doesn't personally agree with same-sex marriage, she acknowledges (albeit incorrectly, legally-speaking) that Americans have the right to make their own choice whether or not to opt for same-sex marriage.

At this point I should lay my cards on the table. In 2007 I became a Noachide, a non-Jewish believer in Torah. Again this will surprise many people as most people have hitherto thought of me as an atheist. I may go into the reasons for my 'conversion' at another time as they're far from straightforward, but it's not necessary to do so now, though I'll happily address any questions put to me.

As a Noachide, I partially share Miss Prejean's views. Like her, I believe that marriage as a religious institution should only be between a man and a woman. That view is in keeping with Torah (and the bible), so it's the only tenable position for myself, fellow Noachides, Jews and Christians alike.

Where I disagree slightly with Miss Prejean is that I do support the existence of same-sex marriage as a civil institution in a secular state. As I said above, marriage is a secular union and one upon which society places great importance, so it's logical and perhaps even necessary that it exist in a secular state.

Non-secular institutions are contrary to a secular state because they impose religious views on people. The strength of a secular society is that it guarantees religious freedom. People are free to debate matters of faith and come to their own conclusions. True faith cannot be attained in any other way.

Anyway, I'm wandering off-topic here so I'll bring these ruminations to a close.

Carrie Prejean has been publically vilified for having the temerity to honestly share her beliefs and she has responded to this not in kind, but with as much good grace and maturity as she can muster given the unwanted burden on her young shoulders. That's why I'm standing with Carrie.

Today's movie recommendations

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

1215 2001: A Space Odyssey (Five)
2225 Kinky Boots (BBC One)
2325 Jackass Number Two (Channel 4)

1500 Groundhog Day (Five USA)
2100 I, Robot (Film4)
0015 Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (ITV4)
0025 Jackass Number Two (Channel 4+1)

1600 Groundhog Day (Five USA+1)
2000 The Aviator (Watch)
2100 The Aviator (Watch+1)
2100 Batman Returns (TCM)
2200 I, Robot (Film4+1)
0115 Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (ITV4)

Sky Movies
1225 Die Hard 4.0 (Sky Screen 2)
1340 Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (Sky Sci-Fi/Horror)
1440 Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (Sky Modern Greats)
1440 Star Trek: First Contact (Sky Screen 2)
1620 The Sixth Sense (Sky Modern Greats)
1850 Elizabeth: The Golden Age (Sky Screen 2)
1920 There Will Be Blood (Sky Indie)
2100 Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (Sky Sci-Fi/Horror)
2100 Die Hard 4.0 (Sky Screen 2)
0000 Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (Sky Modern Greats)
0125 Eyes Wide Shut (Sky Screen 1)
0145 Summer Of Sam (Sky Modern Greats)

Watched yesterday

House: Emancipation - 3/5

Britain's Next Top Model: Finale - Jade should have won because her photos were stunning, but either of the final two were worthy winners. Still can't get over how different Mecea looks in her photos compared to real life - 4/5

Flight Of The Conchords: Evicted - 4/5

Criminal Minds: The Fisher King, Part 1 - the last two episodes of this first season are just plain weird - 3/5

Californication: Blues From Laurel Canyon - 4/5

Film no.2254
The Boston Strangler - Tony Curtis deserved an Oscar for his performance, not that he got one - 3/5

You've Been Framed! - there's nothing guaranteed to cheer me up more than video clips of cats doing humorous things - 4/5

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Today's movie recommendations

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

2100 Groundhog Day (Five USA)
2100 Team America: World Police (Film4)

2100 The Aviator (Watch)
2200 Groundhog Day (Five USA+1)
2200 The Aviator (Watch+1)
2200 Team America: World Police (Film4+1)

Sky Movies
1100 The Terminator (Sky Action/Thriller)
1300 No Country For Old Men (Sky Action/Thriller)
1400 Out Of Sight (Sky Modern Greats)
1405 Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (Sky Screen 2)
1605 Zodiac (Sky Screen 2)
1705 The Terminator (Sky Action/Thriller)
1800 Control (Sky Indie)
1815 The Truman Show (Sky Drama)
1855 No Country For Old Men (Sky Action/Thriller)
2000 Out Of Sight (Sky Modern Greats)
2200 Juno (Sky Comedy)
2235 Die Hard With A Vengeance (Sky Screen 2)
2350 Control (Sky Indie)
0050 Eastern Promises (Sky Screen 2)

Watched yesterday

Criminal Minds: Secrets and Lies - no idea WTF was going on - 3/5

Countdown: 17th July
Andrew Hulme - 107
Dan Brusca - 61
Vicky Smith - 57

Big Brother: Day 42 - whoever put Karly in those leggings deserves a pay rise - 5/5

Film no.2253
Why Does Herr R. Run Amok? - 3/5

Big Brother: Day 43 - 4/5

Big Brother: Live Eviction - Britain, why on earth did you get rid of the hottest housemate? Fools! New housemates in and Hira has already proven herself to be outstandingly dim - 4/5

Friday, 17 July 2009

Today's movie recommendations

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

2100 Hero (More4)
0000 Hero (More 4)

2200 Hero (More4+1)
2240 Twelve Monkeys (Watch)
2340 Twelve Monkeys (Watch+1)
0100 Hero (More4+1)

Sky Movies
1045 The Last Of The Mohicans (Sky Drama)
1315 Die Hard (Sky Modern Greats)
1435 The Kingdom (Sky Action/Thriller)
1610 The American President (Sky Screen 2)
1905 I Am Legend (Sky Sci-Fi/Horror)
2100 The Kingdom (Sky Action/Thriller)
2140 Die Hard (Sky Modern Greats)
2355 Midnight Cowboy (Sky Modern Greats)
0035 The Krays (Sky Action/Thriller)
0225 28 Weeks Later (Sky Screen 2)

Watched yesterday

Countdown: 16th July
Andrew Hulme - 93
Dan Brusca - 72
Barbara Speak - 14
Today's two 8-letter words: MUSTIEST and COTERIES.

Film no.2252
Role Models - 3/5

Big Brother: Day 41 - 4/5

Entourage: Drive - 4/5

Question Time - 3/5

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Today's movie recommendations

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

2305 The Fifth Element (Film4)

0005 The Fifth Element (Film4+1)

Sky Movies
1225 Die Hard With A Vengeance (Sky Action/Thriller)
1235 Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (Sky Screen 2)
1250 Superbad (Sky Comedy)
1445 The Thin Red Line (Sky Screen 2)
1615 The Illusionist (Sky Drama)
2000 Superbad (Sky Comedy)
2100 Die Hard With A Vengeance (Sky Action/Thriller)
2100 I Am Legend (Sky Sci-Fi/Horror)
2340 The Godfather Part III (Sky Screen 1)
0245 Death Proof (Sky Screen 2)
0435 Empire Of The Sun (Sky Modern Greats)

Watched yesterday

Film no.2250
The Duellists - 3/5

Big Brother: Day 40 - 4/5

Countdown: 15th July
Andrew Hulme - 101
Dan Brusca - 57
Jonathan Good - 50
Spotted two 8-letter words - RATIONED and NOTARISE.

Dragons' Den - 4/5

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Today's movie recommendations

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

2100 - The Patriot (Five)

2100 Pretty Woman (ITV2)
2200 Pretty Woman (ITV2+1)
2300 The Mission (ITV3)
2320 Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (ITV4)

0000 The Mission (ITV3+1)
0020 Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (ITV4+1)

Sky Movies
1035 Cloverfield (Sky Screen 2)
1200 X-Men (Sky Action/Thriller)
1215 Tora! Tora! Tora! (Sky Classics)
1615 Breach (Sky Screen 2)
1820 Cloverfield (Sky Screen 2)
1910 X-Men (Sky Action/Thriller)
2100 Tora! Tora! Tora! (Sky Classics)
2200 Elizabeth: The Golden Age (Sky Drama)

Watched yesterday

University Challenge: Royal Veterinary College v Manchester University
Only answered 13 questions :/

Monday, Monday - another dogshit drama from ITV. Does anyone there have a clue? - 1/5

Countdown: 14th July
Andrew Hulme - 119
Dan Brusca - 66
Stephen Davenport - 48
Spotted two 8-letter words - MORALIST and DRAGOONS.

Big Brother: Day 39 - 4/5

Film no.2248
Freefall - 4/5

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

5 Live music reviews

Did the music reviews on Victoria Derbyshire's BBC Radio 5 Live show yesterday.

I think I did OK, though I may have fluffed my criticism of the Dan Black album, but never mind. It's a difficult thing to participate in because before you go on air, the producer tells you to treat it like a conversation and chip whenever you like. However, because I was at the Radio Derby studio and everyone else was in London, it's really quite hard to jump in without talking over someone. You can't see the visual cues that people typically give off when they're about to say something, which puts you at a disadvantage.

That said, I did quite enjoy it and would be more confident if I did anything like that again.

You can download the podcast here. Should be available until next Monday morning.

BBC Radio Derby reception:

The 'studio' I was in:

Today's movie recommendations

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

2325 London To Brighton (BBC One)

2100 I, Robot (Film4)

2200 I. Robot (Film4+1)

Sky Movies
1410 Alien 3 (Sky Sci-Fi/Horror)
1655 In The Line Of Fire (Sky Action/Thriller)
2200 Blood Simple (Sky Indie)
2300 Alien 3 (Sky Sci-Fi/Horror)
2345 Eyes Wide Shut (Sky Drama)
0210 Summer Of Sam (Sky Screen 2)
0230 The Conversation (Sky Modern Greats)

Watched yesterday

Flight Of The Conchords: Wingmen - 4/5

Film no.2247
The Driver - 2/5

Countdown: 13th July
Andrew Hulme - 105
Dan Brusca - 50
Gordon Armour - 15

Monday, 13 July 2009

Today's movie recommendations

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

2305 Alien: Resurrection (E4)
0005 Alien: Resurrection (E4+1)

Sky Movies
0910 The Illusionist (Sky Drama)
1110 Die Hard 4.0 (Sky Drama)
1335 The Sixth Sense (Sky Modern Greats)
1510 Dead Man Walking (Sky Drama)
1615 Die Hard With A Vengeance (Sky Screen 2)
1750 Freedom Writers (Sky Drama)
1920 The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford (Sky Indie)
2150 Die Hard 4.0 (Sky Drama)
2200 Rambo (Sky Action/Thriller)
2200 Hannibal (Sky Screen 2)
2330 Summer Of Sam (Sky Modern Greats)
0005 Crash (Sky Indie)
0200 Midnight Cowboy (Sky Modern Greats)
0345 Hana-Bi (Sky Indie)

Watched yesterday

The Hotel Inspector: Crown Inn, Lewes - all a bit tedious really. Basically, this show is Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares for hotels. Trouble is that while Alex Polizzi is fine, she's no Gordon Ramsey - 2/5

Big Brother: Day 38 - 4/5

Alien 3 - 4/5

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Alessandra Ambrosio

My favourite model, as you may have gathered...

Hattip: Dan Leonardo

Today's movie recommendations

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

2325 Jackass: The Movie (Channel 4)

2200 Alien: Resurrection (E4)
2300 Pretty Woman (ITV2)
2300 Alien: Resurrection (E4+1)

0000 Pretty Woman (ITV2+1)
0025 Jackass: The Movie (Channel 4+1)

Sky Movies
1210 Saving Private Ryan (Sky Action/Thriller)
1225 Titanic (Sky Modern Greats)
1410 Juno (Sky Indie)
2000 Titanic (Sky Modern Greats)
2100 Saving Private Ryan (Sky Action/Thriller)
2100 I Am Legend (Sky Screen 2)
2145 Jerry Maguire (Sky Screen 1)
2200 Juno (Sky Indie)
0120 American Beauty (Sky Modern Greats)

Watched yesterday

University Challenge: Christ's College Cambridge v University of Warwick
I answered 20 questions correctly.

Goldeneye - 4/5

Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow: Brighton - 3/5

Big Brother: Day 37 - 3/5

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Today's movie recommendations

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

2230 True Lies (ITV1)
2245 Armageddon (BBC One)

Sky Movies
0900 The Savages (Sky Indie)
0945 Die Hard 2: Die Harder (Sky Action/Thriller)
1215 Die Hard With A Vengeance (Sky Action/Thriller)
1350 Austin Powers: The Spy WHo Shagged Me (Sky Screen 2)
1415 Blade Runner: The Final Cut (Sky Modern Greats)
1635 Die Hard 2: Die Harder (Sky Action/Thriller)
1830 The Savages (Sky Indie)
1845 Die Hard With A Vengeance (Sky Action/Thriller)
2000 Charlie Wilson's War (Sky Drama)
2100 The Mist (Sky Sci-Fi/Horror)
2200 Schindler's List (Sky Modern Greats)
2310 I Am Legend (Sky Screen 2)
2320 Austin Powers: The Spy WHo Shagged Me (Sky Screen 2)
2355 American History X (Sky Indie)
0000 Fracture (Sky Drama)

Watched yesterday

Katie & Peter: The Next Chapter - 4/5

Californication: In Utero - 4/5

Big Brother: Day 35 - 4/5

Countdown: 10th July
Andrew Hulme - 116
Dan Brusca - 54
Eileen Broadhead - 52
Just one 8-letter word - NAUSEATE

Vicky Cristina Barcelona - once again, I failt to be moved by Woody Allen. Rebecca Hall was excellent though - 2/5

Big Brother: Day 36 - 3/5

Friday, 10 July 2009

On the radio on Monday

I'll be on BBC Radio 5 Live on Monday morning, doing music reviews on Victoria Derbyshire's show between 11.30 and 12.

Will be giving my ill-considered opinions on:

JLS - Beat Again (single)
Chicane - Poppiholla (single)
V.V. Brown - Travelling Like The Light (album)
Dan Black - Un (album)

I won't be telling you what I think of them before then, so don't ask :P

Today's movie recommendations

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

2200 The Mission (ITV3)
0005 Wild At Heart (ITV4)

2100 Boogie Nights (TCM)
2300 The Mission (ITV3+1)

Sky Movies
0835 No Country For Old Men (Sky Screen 2)
1100 The Bourne Ultimatum (Sky Modern Greats)
1235 Transformers (Sky Sci-Fi/Horror)
1300 The Thin Red Line (Sky Modern Greats)
1500 Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (Sky Sci-Fi/Horror)
1600 X-Men (Sky Action/Thriller)
1600 The Sixth Sense (Sky Modern Greats)
1820 Zodiac (Sky Action/Thriller)
2100 Transformers (Sky Sci-Fi/Horror)
2205 The Bourne Ultimatum (Sky Modern Greats)
2210 The Illusionist (Sky Drama)
2255 No Country For Old Men (Sky Screen 2)
2305 X-Men (Sky Action/Thriller)
0005 The Sixth Sense (Sky Modern Greats)
0100 American Gangster (Sky Screen 2)
0140 Death Proof (Sky Sci-Fi/Horror)
0245 Bringing Out The Dead (Sky Indie)

Watched yesterday

Big Brother: Day 33 - 4/5

Big Brother: Day 34 - 4/5

Countdown: 9th July
Andrew Hulme - 126
Micheal Harris - 94
Dan Brusca - 66
I was never in this, despite spotting MATERIAL, MEDIATES, TAILORED and the conundrum, COMMANDER. Things got off to a bad start when the other two spotted a 9-letter word in the first round, then another one later on ^_^

Jaws 2 - 3/5

Mock The Week - never watched this before but heard it was funny, so thought I would give it a go. Disappointed to be honest. Good gags, but entirely pre-scripted so it felt forced - 2/5

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Today's movie recommendations

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

2100 The Untouchables (Film4)

2100 Batman Forever (TCM)
2200 The Untouchables (Film4+1)

Sky Movies
0920 Breach (Sky Action/Thriller)
0930 Control (Sky Indie)
1140 Sunshine (Sky Indie)
1545 Dante's Peak (Sky Action/Thriller)
1715 Elizabeth: The Golden Age (Sky Screen 2)
1750 Sicko (Sky Indie)
2000 Sunshine (Sky Indie)
2100 Dante's Peak (Sky Action/Thriller)
2200 Control (Sky Indie)
2255 Eatern Promises (Sky Action/Thriller)
0005 Requiem For A Dream (Sky Indie)
0040 The Krays (Sky Action/Thriller)
0240 Eyes Wide Shut (Sky Screen 1)
0255 Bringing Out The Dead (Sky Screen 2)

Watched yesterday

Big Brother: Day 33 - 3/5

Taken - 4/5

Countdown: 8th July
Micheal Harris - 89
Dan Brusca - 62
Anne Hughes - 56

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Today's movie recommendations

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

2100 Panic Room (Five)
2330 Buster (BBC One) - I wonder if the BBC scheduled this believing that Ronnie Biggs would have been paroled?

2100 Love Actually (ITV2)
2200 Love Actually (ITV2+1)
2300 The Killing Fields (ITV3)

2100 Batman Returns (TCM)
0000 The Killing Fields (ITV3+1)
0300 The Terminal Man (TCM)

Sky Movies
1035 There Will Be Blood (Sky Indie)
1150 Die Hard With A Vengeance (Sky Screen 2)
1400 Die Hard (Sky Modern Greats)
1615 Escape From Alcatraz (Sky Modern Greats)
1620 The Kingdom (Sky Screen 2)
1820 The Insider (Sky Screen 2)
1920 There Will Be Blood 9Sky Indie)
2000 Fracture (Sky Drama)
2000 Die Hard (Sky Modern Greats)
2205 Die Hard 4.0 (Sky Drama)
2215 Escape From Alcatraz (Sky Modern Greats)
2300 The Kingdom (Sky Screen 2)
0055 Die Hard With A Vengeance (Sky Screen 2)
0115 Midnight Cowboy (Sky Screen 1)
0305 Sumemr Of Sam (Sky Screen 2)
0335 Face (Sky Indie)

Watched yesterday

Rendition - simplistic and predictable, but the cast make it emminently watchable - 3/5

Countdown: 7th July
Dan Brusca - 100
Anne Hughes - 81
Joe Banin - 38
That's more like it, my highest ever score! Didn't get any words over 8-letters, but did get the conundrum: MENTIONED.

You Have been Watching - new vehicle for the ever-amusing Charlie Brooker. Screenwipe meets Telly Addicts. Would be better without the game show elements, which are tortuously contrived. In short, it should just been Screenwipe - 3/5

I also watched the Michael Jackson memorial. I was never really a fan of Jackson. Didn't dislike him at all, I was just indifferent. Only bought one of his records, the Scream single. However, like many people I found myself surprisingly moved by the memorial and did tear up a few times. It was hard not to feel human empathy for and be moved by some of the speakers and their heartfelt sentiments, particularly Brooke Shields who had a unique relationship with him. Also teared up when Jermaine lost it at the end of Smile and, of course, when Paris spoke at the end. All in all, a very fitting tribute.

The broadcast itself was pretty well staged for something put together on such short notice. The sound here in the UK was a bit ropey, but maybe that had something to do with weather conditions around London, which may have affected the incoming feed. Sky's Kay Burley was live outside the Staples Center and gave us this gem when setting up some VT:

Shall I tell you a little bit about his life as we prepare to celebrate his death?


Over on BBC Two, there was commentary by Trevor Nelson and Paul Gambaccini. Usually, I can't stand Gambaccini, but he was spot-on throughout. Unfortunately, Trevor Nelson lost all credibility because you could clearly hear a producer telling him exactly what to say.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Today's movie recommendations

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

2100 Girl With A Pearl Earring (BBC Two)

0020 Private Parts (ITV4)

2100 Cape Fear (Movies 24)
0120 Private Parts (ITV4+1)

Sky Movies
1010 Letters From Iwo Jima (Sky Screen 2)
1245 The Illusionist (Sky Screen 2)
1430 Twister (Sky Family)
2200 Twister (Sky Family)
0000 Bringing Out The Dead (Sky Indie)
0035 The Usual Suspects (Sky Action/Thriller)
0430 Empire Of The Sun (Sky Modern Greats)
0455 The Illusionist (Sky Screen 2)

Watched yesterday

Working Girl - 3/5

Countdown: 7th July
Innis Carson - 104
Chris Bergamn - 67
Dan Brusca - 56
Innis becomes an octochamp. Does this mean I might have a chance of winning today? Spotted one 8-letter word, HAMPERED. Top marks to Rachel's dress.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Today's movie recommendations

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

2200 Se7en (Five)
2235 Mars Attacks! (ITV1)

2100 Total Recall (ITV2)
2200 Total Recall (ITV2+1)

2300 Cape Fear (Movies 24)

Sky Movies
1115 Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (Sky Modern Greats)
1200 The Last Of The Mohicans (Sky Drama)
1245 Alien 3 (Sky Screen 2)
1300 Jerry Maguire (Sky Modern Greats)
1610 The American President (Sky Drama)
1800 Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (Sky Modern Greats)
2000 Jerry Maguire (Sky Modern Greats)
2100 300 (Sky Screen 2)
0025 Magnolia (Sky Modern Greats)
0155 Requiem For A Dream (Sky Indie)

Watched yesterday

Public Enemies - that rare thing, a disappointing Michael Mann film. Flashes of brilliance, but overall just a bit dull - 3/5

Red Riding: In The Year Of Our Lord 1980 - 3/5

Madonna: The Sticky & Sweet Tour Live In Buenos Aires - Madonna has to be the hottest woman in the world over 50 - 4/5

Big Brother: Day 31 - 3/5

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Today's movie recommendations

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

2100 The Long Kiss Goodnight (Five)
2225 A.I. Artificial Intelligence (BBC One)

2200 Love Actually (ITV2)
2300 Love Actually (ITV2+1)

1600 Spider-Man (Watch)
1700 Spider-Man (Watch+1)

Sky Movies
0945 Die Hard With A Vengeance (Sky Action/Thriller)
1100 Control (Sky Indie)
1200 Schindler's List (Sky Modern Greats)
1230 Ocean's Thirteen (Sky Action/Thriller)
1520 The Insider (Sky Modern Greats)
1620 Die Hard With A Vengeance (Sky Action/Thriller)
1855 Ocean's Thirteen (Sky Action/Thriller)
1900 Fracture (Sky Screen 2)
1925 Control (Sky Indie)
2145 The Truman Show (Sky Screen 1)
2300 Sliver (Sky Action/Thriller)
2300 Die Hard (Sky Screen 2)
2340 Eyes Wide Shut (Sky Drama)
0055 The Krays (Sky Action/Thriller)

Watched yesterday

Grey's Anatomy: Here's To The Future - 4/5

Grey's Anatomy: Now Or Never - damn, wasn't expecting that! So concludes a terrfic season - 4/5

Becoming Jane - 3/5

You've Been Framed! - 4/5

Animals Do The Funniest Things - 3/5

Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow: Belfast - 3/5

Big Brother: Day 30 - 3/5

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Today's movie recommendations

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

2100 Superman Returns (BBC Three)
2100 The Untouchables (Film4)
2205 Wild At heart (ITV4)
2230 Total Recall (ITV2)
2330 Total Recall (ITV2+1)

2100 Spider-Man (Watch)
2200 Spider-Man (Watch+1)
2200 The Untouchables (Film4+1)
2235 Breaking The Waves (Sky Arts)
2305 Wild At Heart (ITV4+1)

Sky Movies
1250 The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford (Sky Indie)
1255 Juno (Sky Screen 2)
1340 The Kingdom (Sky Action/Thriller)
1445 Titanic (Sky Modern Greats)
1800 The Illusionist (Sky Drama)
1800 Sicko (Sky Indie)
1900 The Sixth Sense (Sky Screen 2)
1905 The Kingdom (Sky Action/Thriller)
2100 Juno (Sky Screen 2)
2200 3:10 To Yuma (Sky Drama)
2200 In Bruges (Sky Indie)
2235 American Gangster (Sky Action/Thriller)
2350 Bringing Out The Dead (Sky Indie)
0205 Summer Of Sam (Sky Modern Greats)
0340 Hana-Bi (Sky Indie)

Watched yesterday

Encounters At The End Of The World - fascinating documentary-film from Werner Herzog exploring what motivates some people to live and work in Antarctica. Genuininely interesting and with some stunning sequences under the ice - 4/5

Kate & Peter: The Next Chapter: Stateside - 4/5

Californication: La Ronde - 3/5

Countdown: 3rd July
Innis Carson - 115
Danny Marsh - 70
Dan Brusca - 66
Spotted one 8-letter word - RESONATE.

Big Brother: Day 28 - 4/5

Big Brother: Day 29 - Marcus is a total legend. He was wrong when he denied his language outside could be seen as threatening, but he was spot-on when he railled against being pulled up for mocking Sree's accent - 4/5

Friday, 3 July 2009

Today's movie recommendations

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

2100 Pan's Labyrinth (More4)
2100 The Departed (Film4)
2200 The Killing Fields (ITV3)
2350 Road To Perdition (Film4+1)
0030 Pan's Labyrinth (More4)

2200 Pan's Labyrinth (More4+1)
2200 The Departed (Film4+1)
2300 The Killing Fields (ITV3+1)
0050 Road To Perdition (Film4+1)
0130 Pan's Labyrinth (More4+1)

Sky Movies
0900 The Counterfeiters (Sky Indie)
1010 In The Line Of Fire (Sky Action/Thriller)
1040 There Will Be Blood (Sky Indie)
1330 Jindabyne (Sky Drama)
1415 Die Hard 2: Die Harder (Sky Action/Thriller)
1440 Blade Runner: The Final Cut (Sky Screen 2)
1600 Gone Baby Gone (Sky Premiere)
1640 Die Hard With A Vengeance (Sky Screen 2)
1700 Gone Baby Gone (Sky Premiere+1)
1700 The Counterfeiters (Sky Indie)
2000 Die Hard 2: Die Harder (Sky Action/Thriller)
2200 Die Hard 4.0 (Sky Drama) - what on earth is that doing on Drama?
2200 There Will Be Blood (Sky Indie)
2300 Rambo (Sky Screen 2)
0235 Bringing Out The Dead (Sky Screen 2)

Watched yesterday

Vacancy - 3/5

The Take - 4/5

Countdown: 2nd July
Innis Carson - 94
Dan Brusca - 53
Mike Moran - 47
Spotted just the one 8-letter word - ENABLERS.

Question Time - Harriet Harman deployed the ministerial waffle and obfuscation tactic yet again - 4/5

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Today's movie recommendations

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

1310 Witness For The Prosecution (Channel 4)
1410 Witness For The Prosecution (Channel 4+1)

2100 Blown Away (Virgin 1)
2100 Collateral (Film4)
2200 Notting Hill (ITV2)
2200 Blown Away (Virgin 1+1)
2300 Notting Hill (ITV2+1)

2200 Collateral (FIlm4+1)

Sky Movies
1210 Empire Of The Sun (Sky Modern Greats)
1315 X-Men (Sky Action/Thriller)
1800 Gone Baby Gone (Sky Premiere)
1900 Gone Baby Gone (Sky Premiere+1)
1900 The Last Of The Mohicans (Sky Screen 2)
2000 X-Men (Sky Action/Thriller)
2100 American Beauty (Sky Modern Greats)
0020 Happiness (Sky Indie)
0135 Magnolia (Sky Modern Greats)
0530 Empire Of The Sun (Sky Modern Greats)

Watched yesterday

The Boxer - 3/5

Countdown: 1st July
Innis Carson - 85
Dan Brusca - 51
Allan Banks - 36
Spotted three 8-letter words - TARDIEST, ASTEROID and BRIOCHES - plus the conundrum, DEFLECTED.

Flight Of The Conchords: New Zealand Town - Lucy Lawless! - 3/5

Criminal Minds: Charm and Harm - 5/5

Big Brother: Day 27 - 4/5

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Today's movie recommendations

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

1900 Sky Captain And The World Of Tomorrow (Film4)
2100 Unbreakable (ITV2)
2100 Superman Returns (BBC Three)
2200 Unbreakable (ITV2+1)
2205 Private Parts (ITV4)
2305 Sexy Beast (Film4)

2000 Sky Captain And The World Of Tomorrow (Film4+1)
2305 Private Parts (ITV4+1)
0005 Sexy Beast (Film4+1)

Sky Movies
1220 The Mist (Sky Screen 2)
1250 Dante's Peak (Sky Action/Thriller)
1345 Cloverfield (Sky Sci-Fi/Horror)
1440 Saving Private Ryan (Sky Action/Thriller)
1820 Zodiac (Sky Screen 2)
1910 Dante's Peak (Sky Action/Thriller)
2100 Saving Private Ryan (Sky Action/Thriller)
2100 Cloverfield (Sky Sci-Fi/Horror)
2100 Die Hard With A Vengeance (Sky Screen 2)
2130 The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford (Sky Indie)
2200 Gone Baby Gone (Sky Premiere)
2300 Gone Baby Gone (Sky Premiere+1)
2315 The Mist (Sky Screen 2)
0155 Hana-Bi (Sky Indie)

Watched yesterday

Grey's Anatomy: What A Difference A Day Makes - 4/5

The Take: 1995 - Tom Hardy is *so* good in this. Looking forward to his take on Heathcliff later in the year - 4/5

Britain's Next Top Model - yay, the miserable Scot finally went! - 4/5

Countdown: 30th June
Innis Carson - 108
Dan Brusca - 55
Trudi Harding - 38
I haven't won in weeks :(

Big Brother: Day 26 - 4/5