Thursday, 31 December 2009

Let The Right One In

This Swedish film, based on a novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist, centers on a bullied, loner 12-year old boy who makes friends with a girl who moves in next door, the twist being that she's a vampire...

In the hands of Hollywood, this could have been turned into a generic horror flick that would have passed by with little notice, but Swedish director Tomas Alfredson has created a masterpiece that is undoubtedly the best film of the genre. Everything about it is pitch-perfect: the restrained screenplay, the atmospheric photography of Hoyte Van Hoytema, Judy Becker's 80s production design and some terrific make-up from Donald Mowat's team.

But central to everything are Kare Hedebrandt as the boy, Oskar and Lina Leandersson as his vampiric friend Eli, who absolutely mesmerizes on screen. The film rests and ultimately triumphs on the believability of their relationship.

The horror element itself is handled with remarkable restraint. A lesser director would let rip with the overtly horrific scenes, but Alfredson delivers a masterclass in how horror should be portrayed, keeping Eli's murderous acts on a believable scale , their apparently normalcy making them all the more chilling. The final scene in particular is a tour-de-force.

Let The Right One In is so good it may just be my favourite film of all time. Time will tell on that, but it's definitely in my top three with Three Colours: Red and American Beauty. Interestingly, all three of these feature male outcast characters with strong female counterparts. I wonder what that says about me?

Watched yesterday

Hotel Babylon: Episode 2.4 - 3/5

Film no. 2316
Let The Right One In - 5/5
Review to follow.

24: Day 7, 4pm-5pm - 4/5

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Watched yesterday

Top Gear: Bolivia Special - 5/5

Breaking Bad: 4 Days Out - 5/5

The Day Of The Triffids: Part One - 3/5
OK, but not enough to make me want to watch the second half. Would probably have worked better as 3x60 rather than 2x90 on the BBC. After seeing Joely Richardson in Nip/Tuck for so long, it was weird to see her in a role with her natural English accent.

30 Rock: Goodbye, My Friend - 3/5

Breaking Bad: Over - 3/5

From The Earth To The Moon: That's All There Is - 3/5

24: Day 7, 2pm-3pm - 3/5

24: Day 7, 3pm-4pm - 4/5

Funniest Ever You've Been Framed! - 4/5

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Watched yesterday

Film no. 2315
Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End - 1/5
Never have I given such a big blockbuster such a poor rating, but this is pretty awful. A big lumbering dollop of a movie that doesn't have any kind of coherent plot. It feels like they were just making it up as they went along. Worst of all, the central character of Jack Sparrow, so engaging in The Curse Of The Black Pearl has been stripped back to a pale shadow of his former self. It's better technically, with some impressive CGI work, but even here it's bloated, with the final sea battle going on forever. Keira's gorgeous, but sadly not even she can save this sinking ship. It's made all the more depressing by the thought there will inevitibly be another one - in 3D :(

Frasier: The Gift Horse - 3/5

Modern Family: Great Expectation - 5/5

Breaking Bad: Better Call Saul - 4/5

Modern Family: Fizbo - 4/5

Modern Family: Undeck The Halls - 4/5

Monday, 28 December 2009


Courtesy of @mulika, originally here.

Watched yesterday

Film no. 2314
Sherlock Holmes - 3/5
Somewhat disappointed by this because, to be frank, it's just a bit dull. It ambles along amiably enough and there are a few virtuoso action sequences, but the storyline isn't remotely compelling and Jude Law is practically invisible.

Family Guy: Lets Go To The Hop - 2/5

The Secret Life Of The Airport: Joining The Jet Set - 3/5

The Secret Life Of The Airport: The Final Approach - 4/5

You've Been Framed And Famous! - 1/5
I usually love YBF! but this was tediously repetitive.

Modern Family: Coal Digger - 4/5
My new favourite TV show.

Modern Family: Run For Your Wife - 5/5

Harry Hill's TV Burp Review Of The Year - 4/5

Modern Family: En Garde - 4/5

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Watched yesterday

Breaking Bad: Negro Y Azul - 4/5

Damages: There's No 'We' Anymore - 3/5

HM The Queen - 3/5

You've Been Framed At Christmas! - 3/5
Not enough cats.

Doctor Who: The End Of Time, Part One - 4/5

The Royle Family: The Golden Egg Cup - 4/5

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Watched yesterday

Dallas: Election - 3/5

Breaking Bad: Peekabo - 4/5

Modern Family: Pilot - 4/5
It's so good when you wath the first episode of a new TV series and just know that for as long as they make it, you're always going to watch. This clear descendent of Arrested Development and The Office is one such series. Happily surprised to see Julie Bowen's in it. She's stunning!

Modern Family: The Bicycle Thief - 4/5

Modern Family: Come Fly With Me - 4/5

The Big Bang Theory: The Jiminy Conjecture - 3/5

Modern Family: The Incident - 4/5

QI: Groovy - 3/5
Is it just me, or is QI going off the boil lately?

Friday, 25 December 2009

Watched yesterday

Criminal Minds: The Perfect Storm - 3/5

Film no. 2313
Butterfly On A Wheel - 2/5
This is a fairly flat, run-of-the-mill thriller, but the entire thing is rendered absurb by a daft final plot twist. Maria Bello is as fine as ever though.

Harry Hill's The Best Of TV Burp 2 - 4/5
Funny to see a friend of mine on there :)

Spooks: Episode 8.8
So, farewell then, Ros Myers...

Nip/Tuck: Allegra Caldarello - 3/5

Nip/Tuck: Giselle Blaylock & Legend Chandler - 3/5
I knew Christian wasn't really dying. Such an obvious twist.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Watched yesterday

CSI New York: Youngblood - 4/5

Have I Got A Bit More News For You - 4/5

Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe Review Of 2009 - 4/5

The Big Bang Theory: The Electric Can Opener Fluctuation - 3/5

Breaking Bad: Breakage - 3/5

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Watched yesterday

CSI Miami: Forced Entry - 4/5

30 Rock: Larry King - 4/5

Breaking Bad: Down - 4/5

Film no. 2312
Revolution - 2/5
Less of a film, more of a TV pilot, really, despite why Sky say.

Paradox: Episode 5 - 3/5
Beginning to think that the BBC should start producing more 45 minute dramas. An hour too often lends itself to flabby storytelling.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Watched yesterday

CSI Crime Scene Investigation: Paper Or Plastic? - 3/5

Breaking Bad: Bit Of A Dead Bee - 4/5

Film no. 2311
Dan In Real Life - 3/5

Come Dine With Me At Christmas - 3/5

Monday, 21 December 2009

British Transport Films: Blue Pullman

I recently purchased the BFI's British Transport Films collection, comprising all 125 short films produced by the BTF from 1950 to 1983. This first film, from 1960, followed the testing and running of a first-class Blue Pullman service from the Midlands to St Pancras.

This screen shot from the film is of two bridges near where I live, crossing the river Trent. The lines head into two tunnels underneath Red Hill and come out alongside the Radcliffe-Upon-Soar power station. The western tunnel into which the train in the film goes has an entrance in the form of a mock castle, complete with turrets.

Later in the film, a member of staff is seen checking the progress of the train against a printed list of checkpoints, including Sawley and Sheet Stores Junction, which both lie between here an the location in the above shot.

Observations on Avatar

A few observations after seeing Avatar yesterday...

1. It's about an hour too long for the story.

2. The new-age eco-spiritualism stuff is unimaginably cheesy (and there's a lot of it).

3. The 3D doesn't really add anything and, in fact, is often more of a distraction. It rarely creates a sense of depth, but rather just picks out certain objects or characters and 'projects' them forward. I watched some bits in 2D and there's no qualitative difference.

4. The Na'vi and the various creatures, plants etc on the planet are very obviously CGI. For all the early talk of 'photo-realistic' rendering, there's still nothing here as good as the raptors of Jurassic Park. The CGI is more effective in rendering non-living things.

5. Neytiri is still kinda hot though...

6. The film is at its best and most visually spectacular when Cameron gets back to what he does best, i.e. hardware-heavy action scenes.

Watched recently

Wire In The Blood: Anything You Can Do - 4/5

Film no. 2309
Yes Man - 3/5

Film mo. 2310
Avatar - 3/5
A separate post with observations on this film will follow.

The X-Files: Syzygy - 2/5

Breaking Bad: Seven Thirty-Seven - 3/5

Breaking Bad: Grilled - 4/5

Bad Girls: Hard Knock Life - 2/5

Top Gear - 3/5

British Transport Films: Blue Pullman - 4/5
A separate post on this will follow.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Watched yesterday

Countdown: 18th December
Chris Davies - 117
Andrew Hulme - 86
Dan Brusca - 64
Never stood a chance given it was the final, but my points came from EMBARGO, SKATES, SAPPIEST, MAIDENS and SHOULD. No more Countdown until January. Sad times :(

Misfits: Episode 1.6 - 5/5
Good to hear this week that this has been recommissioned for next year.

You've Been Framed! - 5/5

The Wire: Corner Boys - 4/5

Friday, 18 December 2009

The not-so divine rights of a king-to-be

In what was clearly a slow news day yesterday, the Guardian chose to lead with...
Charles faces fresh meddling claim over letters to ministers

It continued...
Prince Charles was last night facing fresh accusations of meddling in government policy after it emerged that he had written directly to ministers in eight Whitehall departments over the last three years.

The Guardian is a staunch advocate of human rights, democracy and freedom of expression, so it's curious that it views a citizen engaging in their demcratic right to petition the government as "meddling".

Of course, the paper's bugbear is that Charles, as heir to the throne, should be above politics. That's all well and good, but the Guardian is an unashamedly republican newspaper. It espouses equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities for all and opposes hereditary privilege. Surely they should celebrate Charles exercising his rights?

Unfortunately it seems that they're more interested in the nouveau class warfare of our times, rather than genuinely standing by their principles.

Watched yesterday

Countdown: 17th October
Chris Davies - 102
Innis Carson - 97
Dan Brusca - 46
Poor performance from me, scoring zero for the first four rounds, but an immense contest between Davies and Carson. My paltry score came courtesy of LIMITED, PASSED, LATENT and GUNBOAT.

Wainwright Walks: Castle Crag - 3/5

Nip/Tuck: Budi Sabri - 4/5

QI: Geography - 3/5

The West Wing: A Proportional Response - 4/5

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Watched yesterday

Countdown: 16th December
Andrew Hulme - 90
Ryan Taylor - 48
Dan Brusca - 37
The words contributing to my meagre score: ENTOMB, CARRIES, POLEAXE and FROSTED.

The Vice: Lovesick, Part One - 2/5

Harry Hill's The Best Of TV Burp 6 - 4/5

Fringe: Grey Matters - 4/5

Paradox: Episode 1.4 - 4/5

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Watched yesterday

Countdown: 15th December
Ryan Taylor - 79
Brian Selway - 59
Dan Brusca - 57

Two Pints Of Lager & A Packet Of Crisps: Fags, Shags and Kebabs - 3/5

Have I Got A Bit More News For You - 4/5

The Thick Of It: Episode 3.8 - 4/5

30 Rock: St Valentine's Day - 3/5

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Watched yesterday

Spooks: Episode 8.7 - 3/5

Thomas & Friends: Thomas' Milkshake Muddle - 3/5

Countdown: 14th December
Innis Carson - 107
Dan Brusca - 80
Jeffrey Burgin - 66
I was in front right up until the tenth round! Spotetd on 8-letter word - REPULSED - and a niner, REPEATING.

Comedy Showcase: Guantanamo Phil - 3/5

Monday, 14 December 2009

Watched yesterday

Film no. 2308
Where The Wild Things Are - 3/5
A kids' film for sure, but it does have an undercurrent of menace, a pervading sense of melancholy and a visual inventiveness that will appeal to all audiences.

Star Trek: Where No Man Has Gone Before - 3/5

Star Trek The Next Generation: Aquiel - 2/5

30 Rock: Generalissimo - 4/5

Paradox: Episode 1.3 - 2/5

Nip/Tuck: Manny Skerritt - 4/5

QI: Games - 4/5

The Solitary Life Of Cranes - 4/5

The X Factor - 4/5
I could not care less about Joe winning and have no interest in his future career, but overall it was an entertaining show when watched with the aid of Sky+. However, the whole show was stolen by Paul McCartney and I would venture more people are waking up this morning with Live And Let Die in their heads than the X Factor single.

Misfits: Episode 1.5 - 4/5

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Watched recently

Countdown: 10th December
Andrew Hulme - 86
Jacqueline Baker - 42
Dan Brusca - 38
The quarter-finals begin, so I have no chance, but I still think MONTAGED and LUMINATE should be words.

Prime Suspect 2 - 2/5
Hasn't aged very well...

Countdown: 11th December
Chris Davies - 108
Dan Brusca - 62
Steve Wood - 61
Along with everybody else I spotted a 9-letter word: POLARISED.

The Shield: Fire In The Hole - 4/5

Dispatches: Christmas On Credit - 4/5

House: Wilson - 4/5

America's Next Top Model: America's Next Top Model Is... - 3/5
Should have been Allison :(

Fringe: Snakehead - 3/5

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Watched yesterday

Countdown: 9th December
Dan Brusca - 80
Jan Parker - 62
Gayle Knight - 56
Just the one 8-letter word: BROILERS

Popular: Hope In A Jar - 2/5

The Thick Of It: Episode 3.7 - 5/5

Have I Got A Bit More News For You - 4/5

Top Gear - 4/5

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Watched yesterday

Countdown: 9th December
Dan Brusca - 84
Jan Parker - 69
Andrew Pollock - 55
Spotted the conundrum: FASHIONED

Peep Show: Dream Job - 4/5
The scene where Mark urinates in his boss' office is one of the funniest things ever.

Spooks: Episode 8.6
This would have been more effective is the central premise - that the UK economy will collapse unless MI5 can find $1.2 billion in a couple of days - wasn't so absurd. Have they never heard of quantitative easing?

Stargate Universe: Justice - 4/5
Amazing to watch this while following actress Alaina Huffman tweeting while having a baby.

Comedy Showcase: The Amazing Dermot - 3/5
The first in this strand that doesn't really deserve a full series pick-up.

Totally You've Been Framed! - 5/5
I've said it before and I'll say it again, there's nothing funnier than clips of cats.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Watched yesterday

Countdown: 7th December
Dan Brusca - 94
Jan Parker - 74
Adrian Lumb - 73
Just one 8-letter word: PRINCESS.

Film no. 2307
A Different Kind Of Christmas - 1/5
A review of this film will appear later at

The Palace: Episode 7 - 3/5

Monday, 7 December 2009

Watched yesterday

Film no. 2304
Home By Christmas - 3/5

Film no. 2305
The Christmas Card - 2/5

Film no. 2306
This Christmas - 3/5
Reviews of the above films will appear later at

Oz: Family Bizness - 4/5

Nip/Tuck: Ricky Wells - 3/5

The Queen: How Do You Solve A Problem Like Camilla? - 4/5

The X Factor - 3/5
Go Stacey! I was quite impressed by Lady Gaga, but Janet Jackson was a major disappointment. Enough with miming already!

Misfits: Episode 4 - 4/5

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Watched yesterday

Film no. 2301
A Carol Christmas - 1/5

Film no. 2302
12 Days Of Christmas Eve - 2/5

Film no. 2303
Eve's Christmas - 1/5
Reviews of the above films will appear at later.

The Office: The Dundies - 5/5

The Queen: The Rivals - 4/5

The Queen: The Enemy Within - 4/5

The Making Of Modern Britain: Britannia At Bay - 4/5

The X Factor - 3/5
Decent performances all round and Stacey has great legs.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Watched yesterday

QI: Ganimals - 4/5

Countdown: 4th December
Jan Parker - 87
Tom Allerton - 81
Dan Brusca - 37
Had a bit of a shocker there... :/

The O.C.: The Ties That Bind - 2/5

Film no. 2300
A Christmas Wedding - 2/5
A review of this films will appear at later today.

Paradox: Episode 2 - 4/5

Friday, 4 December 2009

Watched yesterday

Countdown: 3rd December
Dan Brusca - 77
Tom Allerton - 68
Evan Gill - 43
Spotted one 8-letter word - FRAILEST - and the conundrum, TRAUMATIC.

Numb3rs: Sacrifice - 3/5

Film no. 2298
A Christmas Carol: The Musical - 2/5

Film no. 2299
A Hobo's Christmas - 1/5
Reviews of the above films will appear at later today.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Watched yesterday

Countdown: 2nd December
Tom Allerton - 83
Dan Brusca - 71
Ritchie Hoyle - 59
Hoyle is a Godspeed You! Black Emperor fan, so kudos for that. Spotted the one 8-letter word - TONELESS - and the conundrum, PROVIDING.

NCIS: Yankee White - 4/5

Film no. 2297
A Boyfriend For Christmas - 1/5
A full review will appear later at

The Queen: Us And Them - 4/5
Princess Anne was extraordinarily brave when that guy tried to kidnap her.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Watched yesterday

Countdown: 1st December
Dan Brusca - 79
Tom Allerton - 66
Adrian Coote - 47
Just the one 8-letter word, TRAIPSED, plus the conundrum, FANTASIST.

Las Vegas: The Bitch Is Back - 3/5

Film no. 2296
The Man Who Saved Christmas - 2/5
The first film I've watched as part of Dan's Festive Fifty. Sponsor me!

FlashForward: A 561 984 - 4/5

30 Rock: Retreat To Move Forward - 4/5

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Watched yesterday

Countdown: 30th November
Tom Allerton - 77
Dan Brusca - 63
Graham Jones - 52
Rachel has amazing legs...

House: Ignorance Is Bliss - 4/5

The Inbetweeners: Bunk Off - 5/5

The Queen: Sisters - 4/5