Review and competition: Julie & Julia

Meryl Streep in Julie & Julia

Amy Adams in Julie & Julia

Julie & Julia DVD and bookStarring: Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Stanley Tucci
Writer/Director: Nora Ephron
Price: £19.99 (Amazon price: £12.98)
Released: March 8th 2010

Calling all foodies! Slight departure from the normal TMINE fare, I know, but I refuse to be confined to one little box – here’s your chance to win a copy of Julie & Julia, starring Meryl Streep as famous US TV chef (ah, see the TMINE link now?) and writer Julia Child and Amy Adams (you know, off Enchanted, Sunshine Cleaning et al) as a blogger who tries to make all the recipes in Childs’ magnum opus Mastering the Art of French Cooking in a year.

Review and competition details after the trailer.

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Bank holiday weekend film reviews

We caught up on a few movies over the Bank Holiday weekend. Here’s a few one line reviews.

  • The Da Vinci Code: Possibly the longest, silliest film made in human history
  • The Changeling: Excellent, with that Mad Men-eque quality of “I can’t believe sh*t like that really happened”
  • The Yes Man: Fun, perfectly cast and Zooey Deschanel is as wonderful as always, but the 18-year-age gap between her and Jim Carrey was just so icky
  • Kate and Leopold: Otherwise known as “Sabretooth and Wolverine: The Early New York years”, this was gentle but sweet, well researched for its historical details but daft in modern times
  • Star Trek: The Motion PIcture (Director’s Edition): Lots of Robert Wise/Douglas Trumbull repeating their classic work on The Andromeda Strain et al, but still desperately boring – and there’s almost minimal difference between director’s edition and regular edition as far as I can see.
Today's Joanna Page

Today’s Joanna Page: Ready When You Are Mr McGill

Today’s Joanna Page is Ready When You Are Mr McGill, a 2003 remake of Jack Rosenthal’s famous 1976 play.

Rosenthal is best known for creating London’s Burning and for writing the first ever episode of Coronation Street as well as famous plays such as Play For Today‘s Bar Mitzvah Boy and P’Tang, Yang, Kipperbang. In Ready When You Are Mr McGill, he turned his attention to television.

The original play, made for Granada, focused on the filming of a single scene of a TV show, in which just about everything can go wrong, does go wrong, and Mr McGill, one of the extras, does everything he can to help out and deliver his all-important line before the end of the day.

ITV, back in 2002/3 when it had a little bit of cash and was using big names to draw in the crowds, decided to remake the play as a one and a half hour movie. Starring Tom Courtenay as Joe McGill, Bill Nighy as the egotistical director, Amanda Holden as herself and Phil Davis as the cameraman, it also featured comedy luminaries including Tamsin Greig, Sally Phillips, Sam Kelly, Stephen Moore and Stephen Mangan.

It more or less followed the original play’s plot, but was updated to cope with modern television politics and production – and changing it to the filming of a cop show instead of a spy show. But to pad it out for an extra half hour runtime, there’s an additional sub-plot about Babs Carter, an actress who’s a bit worried about her nude scene and who does everything she can to get out of it. Playing Babs Carter: Joanna Page.

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Richard Harris and David Hemmings in Juggernaut
Movies you should own

Movies you should own: Juggernaut (Terror on the Britannic)


If you’ve watched enough movies and TV shows, the idea of the ‘ticking bomb’ should be familiar to you. You know: there’s a bomb, it’s got to be defused, usually by snipping either a red wire or a blue wire, and there’s only a few minutes or seconds to do it in.

Normally, you’ll find this in a single episode of a TV show or maybe in the final act of a film and it’ll usually be just a regular cop or soldier doing the disarming, rather than a heroic bomb disposal expert – typically they‘re running late. Equally rarely will the ticking bomb scenario last the length of the entire movie or TV show or the bomb be any more complex than just that red-blue question.

In fact, off the top of my head I can only think of Danger UXB and occasionally The Unit really focusing on bomb disposal on TV; in the movies, even Speed didn’t dwell on disarmament, only evasion, and Quatermass and the Pit didn’t have a bomb, only a spaceship everyone thought was a bomb.

Juggernaut (also known as Terror on the Britannic), released in 1974, is perhaps the only instance of a movie that deals exclusively from beginning to end with the defusal of a single bomb and that features a heroic bomb disposal expert at the centre of the action.

Set on board a luxury liner travelling across the Atlantic, the movie sees Richard Harris try to disarm seven identical and highly complicated bombs designed by a man calling himself ‘Juggernaut’. The first film to develop the ‘red wire/blue wire’ dilemma, it’s a tense piece directed by Richard ‘Superman II‘ Lester, with dialogue by Alan ‘Beiderbecke‘ Plater, that while featuring an all-star cast is in reality a mesmerising monologue by Harris and a musing on the nature of death. It’s a movie you should own.

Here’s the very 70s, slightly judgemental trailer narrated by a bored American man.

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Review: Quantum of Solace

I don’t normally do reviews of current films. There’s not much point since I always see them too late. But when I do see a film just as it comes out, invariably my review would be almost identical to Mark Kermode’s. Case in point: Quantum of Solace. Here’s Mark Kermode’s review, which is pretty much word for word what I would have said. Loved the fight scenes though.