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Tonight's terrestrial telly tips

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Sun, 04/10/2009 - 11:25

No sooner do I moan about the lack of a decent Sunday night costume drama than one comes along to fill the gap. Step forward, Emma and the latest adaptation of Jane Austen's classic (BBC1, 9pm). If you don't know the plot, Emma is a well-meaning young lady who fancies herself as a matchmaker and thus likes to meddle with her friends' private lives. She's convinced she's always right but eventually one of her circle takes it upon himself to inject her with a gentle dose of reality. It's all splendidly light-hearted stuff and, being Austen, the dialogue fairly crackles. This screenplay for this very modern version comes not from the ubiquitous Andrew Davies but Sandy Welch, whose track record includes North and South, Jane Eyre and Our Mutual Friend. Romola Garai sparkles as the eponymous heroine and heads an all-star ensemble cast that includes Michael Gambon (who seems to be in everything at the moment), Jonny Lee Miller, Tamsin Greig and Jodhi May.

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Tonight's terrestrial telly tips

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Sat, 03/10/2009 - 11:58

BBC2's having a nostalgia moment tonight and quite a big one, as it celebrates 40 years of Monty Python's Flying Circus. Some of Python has not stood the test of time well (there's a lot of sexism, for example) but most of it is still gut-clutchingly hilarious. At 9.15pm, Monty Python - Almost the Truth: the BBC Lawyers' Cut thrashes out the full monty (pardon the pun) of how Cleese, Palin, and the others got together to create one of the UK's best-loved comedy series and then went on to make a host of cracking movies, first as a team and then as individuals. There are interviews with all the surviving members, who are finally on speaking terms with each other again, plus lots of archive footage. Following that is the film, And Now for Something Completely Different, at 10.15pm, a compilation of the series' best sketches. At 11.40pm, Movie Connections unravels the making of Monty Python and the Holy Grail - great stuff for film buffs who want the gen on the Python team's first movie.

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Armchair Viewing: The Third Man

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Sat, 03/10/2009 - 09:17

"Nobody thinks in terms of human beings. Governments don't. Why should we?"

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Roland Emmerich's new disaster movie 2012 gets a 5min sneakypeek

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Fri, 02/10/2009 - 23:30

Summer may be over, but that doesn't mean the brain-dead CGI-heavy audience pleasers are done for the year just yet.

A 5-minute scene from destruction master Roland Emmerich's 2012 has been released online and you can watch Los Angeles get torn to pieces below:


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Telly Review: School of Comedy (E4)

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Fri, 02/10/2009 - 09:51

Anybody who enjoys Outnumbered (BBC) will appreciate how entertaining it is for surprisingly coherent “grown-up” sentiments to emerge out of the mouths of babes. New comedy sketch show School of Comedy bases itself on that conceit, mocks the conceit, and arrives at something that has definite comedy legs to march it through this launch series and hopefully many more.

Precociously witty 16-year old Will Poulter (Son of Rambow) leads a cast of bright, highly capable adolescents, all of whom possess an instinctive comedic sense and a deft application of pace, delivery and tone. The kids work through a roster of characters including a couple of half-witted South African security guards, a non-PC school teacher and the requisite Ofsted inspector, a spaced-out brain surgeon and a manipulative court barrister. Extensive work with physicality and accents has been put in to set each character apart; the kids working their tongues around the South African vowels (“thet’s bullshart”) was possibly the performance highlight of the show.

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Film Industry News Bites

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Fri, 02/10/2009 - 07:29

Transformers 3 confirmed for 2011

Michael Bay has confirmed that he is onboard to direct Transformers 3, which now has a due date of 1st July 2011. Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox are also expected to return to the franchise. More on this story at The Hollywood Reporter.

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Tonight's terrestrial telly tips

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Fri, 02/10/2009 - 07:25

Tonight is all about Event TV, and what an event it will be! Indeed, it's such a big event that Friday Night with Jonathan Ross has been renamed Friday Night with Streisand and Ross. Streisand is a genuine legend, a genuine A-lister, a genuine diva. And she's over here this week doing the most extraordinary media round for one who tends to shy away from the press. And perhaps most extraordinary of all, her only real interview will be with Jonathan Ross - what a bizarre combination and yet so right! Streisand will talk at length about her career as an actor, producer, director and singer-songwriter. She rarely performs on stage because of her problem with stage fright but is also going to sing for us - if you have any interest at all in her acting career, her music and her star quality, you will not want to miss this. (Note that this show is being broadcast at 9pm on BBC1, much earlier than Wossy's usual slot).

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Tonight's terrestrial telly tips

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Thu, 01/10/2009 - 08:07

Channel 4's usually excellent Cutting Edge documentary strand returns for a new run this evening. First up is Captive for 18 Years: the Jaycee Lee Story (9pm), which will retell the story of the 11-year-old child who was kidnapped and only found in August this year. Or rehash, perhaps, as the speed with which this programme has been put together raises questions about how in-depth it could possibly be. There's no interview with Jaycee Lee Dugard herself, just with those who knew her as a child and also her stepfather, who was not only a suspect but is also estranged from the Dugard family. It's doubtful therefore that Cutting Edge can shed any real light on what happened and it may turn out to be prurient tabloid fodder. I hope I'm wrong.

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It's 'Grimm Up North' for the UK's newest horror festival

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Wed, 30/09/2009 - 21:28

London has FrightFest, so does Glasgow, but what about those of us in between? There's hasn't been much in the way of horror festivals in the North of England for years but that's all about to change. Grimm Up North, based in Manchester's Printworks, is set to be the premiere showcase for horror in the north - and not just movies... The festival will showcase the very best in all aspects of horror: films, video gaming, and merchandise and promises attendees that "nothing before has been as big, as bold, and as bloody!"

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Tonight's terrestrial telly tips

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Wed, 30/09/2009 - 08:17

I don't know who invented rock music award ceremonies but it was a lousy idea. The very notion goes against everything rock represents. And televised ceremonies are usually pretty dull, with the camera zooming in on sweaty A&R executives that the viewing public has no idea who they are. The main sport is watching which stars are drunk or stoned and hoping they'll make an idiot of themselves. Sadly, as these events (which generally serve more as a round of industry backslapping than a celebration of talent) are no longer broadcast live so, while the stars still get wrecked and cause mayhem it's all edited out and the sweary stuff gets bleeped too. However, despite all those reasons for not watching

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