May 22, 2015

Preview: Supergirl 1x1 (US: CBS)

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Supergirl costume

In the US: Mondays, 8/7c, CBS. Starts November
In the UK: Not yet acquired

Is there truly no such thing as bad publicity? That is what George Schweitzer would apparently argue, based on how many hits the trailer for Supergirl got - 10 million.

Never mind that a lot of those who watched the trailer thought that it was nothing more than the Saturday Night Live spoof Black Widow sketch actually turned into a real TV show, with horrific cliches oozing from every pore. They watched it and for Schweitzer that’s all that counts. Presumably that’s what he’s paid to do and whether people subsequently tune in and enjoy the show is the purview of someone else.

But can a trailer truly convey what a show is like? Or by judicious editing can you make it seem like a completely different show? Even if that show is terrible and your show is actually quite good?

Someone needs to find out. That someone is me. Brace yourself - I’m reviewing the pilot after the jump.

But in case you haven’t watched it, here’s that trailer.

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Weekly Wonder Woman: Sensation Comics #35, Convergence: Wonder Woman #2, Convergence #7

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Sensation Comics #35

It’s a miracle. I got all my work done early and therefore Weekly Wonder Woman avoids a Bank Holiday weekend hiatus. Woot woot!

After the jump then, we’ll see the end of the three-part ‘Vendetta’ in Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman, the conclusion of Convergence: Wonder Woman and the penultimate instalment of Convergence itself. And there will be blood. Mainly because of the punching. But also the vampires.

Continue reading "Weekly Wonder Woman: Sensation Comics #35, Convergence: Wonder Woman #2, Convergence #7"

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Want to watch some international TV over the Internet? Try MHz Worldview

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Sometimes, on this ere blog, you might wonder to yourself, “How can I watch these marvellous international shows that Rob talks about?” Well, that would be telling, although depending on where you live, Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime are all possible options.

What I would suggest at this point, particularly if you’re in the US, is MHz. This is a "global media company which specializes in presenting top-quality international television programming to American audiences” and it does this through a number of means, including cable. However, there’s also a streaming video channel, MHz Worldview Live, which isn’t geo-restricted – you can watch it anywhere in the world.

Now, being a US channel, it operates a schedule geared to US time zones. However, if you’re prepared to stay up to the wee small hours, you can watch, for example:

  • Commissario Brunetti Mysteries: Oddly, an American author writing detective stories set in Venice but that have been adapted and made in German
  • Tatort: The world's longest-running German-language police procedural show, having first started in 1970! It’s filmed in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, with each country producing its own episodes with its own characters
  • The Eagle: A Danish TV show that’s a bit like Crossing Lines, with a crack Danish police squad solving crimes that cross borders into countries including Russia, Germany and Norway.

There’s also more familiar international imports Wallander, The Bridge, Salamander, Borgen, Unit One, Detective Montalbano, Crimes of Passion, Maigret, Spiral and Sebastian Bergman. Give it a try.

Maison Close in now on Amazon Instant Video

Posted 17 hours ago | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

I didn’t think much of it, but I thought you’d like to know, anyway.

MaisonCLose.jpg

What have you been watching? Including Residue, American Sniper and The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies

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It's "What have you been watching?", my chance to tell you what movies and TV I’ve been watching recently that I haven't already reviewed and your chance to recommend things to everyone else (and me) in case I've missed them.

The usual "TMINE recommends" page features links to reviews of all the shows I've ever recommended, and there's also the Reviews A-Z, for when you want to check more or less anything I've reviewed ever. And if you want to know when any of these shows are on in your area, there’s Locate TV - they’ll even email you a weekly schedule.

As we sit in the gap between the end of the Fall 2014-15 season and the summer season in the US, Canada and most countries around the world, we discover the horror that is not having any tele to watch. I’ve even been reading books. Gasp!

But I have found a few other things to watch and tell you about, don’t you worry. I’ve already reviewed the first two episodes of 1864 elsewhere, and after the jump, as well as the usual usuals of Community, The Flash, Game of Thrones and Silicon Valley, I’ll be casting my eye over Netflix’s three-part Brit sci-fi/horror gloom Residue. But I’ve actually managed to watch a couple of movies, too. Well, parts of movies…

The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies (2014) (iTunes)
The third of the almost interminable Hobbit movies sees Bilbo and the dwarves facing orc armies, dragons and more in a whole bunch of scenes that definitely weren’t in the book. The big Hobbit conclusion – Bard killing Smaug – happens in the first 10 minutes or so, after which it’s all about big armies of CGI beasts smashing each other, and elves being stoic and doing the right thing, all while Thorin (Richard Armitage) fights off his gold addiction. The Hobbit himself (Martin Freeman)? Doesn’t actually do a whole lot…

As I mentioned in the comments on last week’s WHYBW, I did actually start watching this nearly a fortnight ago, got three-quarters the way through then went to bed… and totally forgot I was watching it until this Monday, by which point it was too late to continue watching it without re-renting it. So I’ve no idea if we get cameos from old Bilbo and Frodo (or anyone else) at the end, and probably won’t do until Netflix picks it up. Nevertheless, while you might argue that this all tells you something about me, I’d argue that it tells you something about just how engrossing this third entry in the series really is.

American Sniper (2014) (iTunes)
Clint Eastwood’s adaptation of the autobiography of America’s most lethal sniper got a whole lot of attention for something that’s really pretty ordinary at heart. Bradley Cooper does well as the Texan who enlists in the Navy SEALs in the 90s to fight terrorists and ends up shooting an awful lot Iraqis in the 21st century, while Sienna Miller is astonishingly unrecognisable as his long-suffering but tolerant wife.

Eastwood’s direction is relatively pedestrian and matter of fact, and his few forays out into CGI special effects are decidedly ill-advised (did he learn nothing from Firefox?). But the film is notably non-judgemental and reverential of its subject, showing a normal man in a lethal occupation doing his best to defend people and his country, even if he subsequently finds it hard to initially mix with those people when he returns from war.

While it’s easy to criticise the movie for not bothering to make any of the Iraqis anything more than murderers, with scenes at times reminiscent of Zulu’s large-scale slaughter, most members of the audience will be aware of the greys of the situation and that this is just one story about a very complex subject. Worth watching to see just what Bradley Cooper can do as an actor and if you prefer your dramas to have less judgement of its subjects.

Continue reading "What have you been watching? Including Residue, American Sniper and The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies"

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News: more Count Arthur Strong, another returning Hero, Bruce Lee's Warrior + more

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The Daily News will return on Tuesday. Have a nice bank holiday weekend!

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May 21, 2015

Celebrate Red Nose Day by watching Peter Dinklage sing about Game of Thrones

Posted yesterday at 19:47 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Red Nose Day may be so old now in the UK that I was a 'child or young person' when it started, but in the US, it's all new and exciting - the very first one starts tonight on NBC, in fact. As with Red Nose Day in the UK, there's lots of pre-recorded sketches from celebrities, and if you Google about, you can find Anna Kendrick remaking Raiders of the Lost Ark, for example. 

But for our purposes, I think Peter Dinklage singing about everyone who's died in Game of Thrones is the most interesting of them all.

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News: Dougray Scott leaves Quantico, Extant and Under The Dome trailers, Endeavour casting + more

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May 20, 2015

The Wednesday Play: The End of Arthur's Marriage (1965)

Posted 2 days ago at 13:15 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

A satirical musical full of fantasy, surrealism and formal experimentation? That can only mean one man: Ken Loach.

Hang on a sec. That doesn't seem quite right, does it? Yet 1965's The End of Arthur's Marriage is just that.

Written by poet and Private Eye contributor Christopher Logue and composer Stanley Myers (who wrote the theme to The Deerhunter, fact fans), The End of Arthur's Marriage was broadcast as part of the BBC's Wednesday Play series and sees working class man Arthur (Ken Jones) tasked with putting down a deposit on his house, using his in-laws' savings. However, he soon discovers he'd rather spend everything in a few scant hours with his daughter (Maureen Ampleford) instead.

The play was one of Loach's earliest works, so came at a time when he was still finding his voice. While it incorporates a number of his future trademarks, including his first use of 16mm film, as well as the use of documentary techniques and the untrained Ampleford, there's a lot that's uncharacteristic of Loach: as well as conventional songs by Long John Baldry and others, there are in-character songs, including a sales pitch by shop assistant John Fortune, and narrators attacking middle-class conformity. There are also hints of Brecht in Arthur's purchase of an elephant and the episodic narrative structure, and Loach intercuts between scenes of people dancing and disgruntled viewers, even appearing as himself at one point, arguing with a documentary crew filming at his planned location.

While Loach says he was the wrong person for the job, it's certainly worth watching The End of Arthur's Marriage to see what he could do before he decided what job he was the best person for. And you have your chance below - enjoy!

 

News: Lone Ranger mini-series, SunTrap trailer, Musketeers demotion, Catch recasting + more

Posted 2 days ago at 07:19 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

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  • Trailer for BBC One’s SunTrap, with Bradley Walsh and Kayvan Novak
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May 19, 2015

News: Bronte and Queen Victoria dramas, new shows recast, Finding Carter extended + more

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  • Frank Whaley joins Under The Dome, Roberto Urbina to recur on Recovery Road
  • AJ Michalka promoted to regular on The Goldbergs

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  • Ruben Blades joins AMC’s Fear The Walking Dead
  • NBC’s Heartbreaker, ABC’s Wicked City, NBC’s People Are Talking and CBS’s Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders to recast roles
  • Maxim Roy joins ABC Family’s Shadowhunters

May 18, 2015

Weekly Wonder Woman: Sensation Comics #34, Convergence #6, Convergence: JLI #1-2

Posted 4 days ago at 12:18 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

DC Elseworlds

There were all manner of different Wonder Women in last week comics, almost all of them Elseworlds Wonder Women, largely thanks to the mighty behemoth that is Convergence.

Although Injustice: Gods Among Us’ Wonder Woman got a week off, we had the continuing adventures of Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman’s Wonder Woman as she tries to deal with Ares’ attempts to upset some peace negotiations. We also saw Flashpoint's, Kingdom Come's and AN Other Wonder Woman’s efforts to determine the one true universe through punching in Convergence and Convergence: Justice League International. All of those I’ll chat about after the jump.

But first, as WWW is more than just a set of reviews as it also covers news (versatile, hey?), I’ll just mention that there’ll be yet another Elseworlds Wonder Woman joining the line up this summer. A while back, DC did a range of alternative covers for its comics featuring (mainly) superheroines in the style of World War 2-era propaganda posters and pin-ups. These then became a range of collectible figures and now, we’re going to get DC Bombshells, a World War 2-set Elseworld in which the various slightly scantily dressed superheroines are going to fight on the front line.

Thought you’d like to know.

Teamwork works

Victory is ours

Unite and fight for justice

Continue reading "Weekly Wonder Woman: Sensation Comics #34, Convergence #6, Convergence: JLI #1-2"

News: Jude Law is the pope, The Mindy Project, Cuckoo renewed, The Magicians trailer + more

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