The horrors of the art house cinema

If you’ve been to an art house cinema more than once in you life, this article on Slate will ring one or two bells. I’ve already written about my last NFT movie experience, but I faced far worse back when I attended Cambridge Arts Cinema so often, I actually managed to complete a complete loyalty card (not an easy thing to do). That was on a slope, so whenever anybody lost control of their bag of Maltesers, everyone in the cinema became involved in a mini version of the opening scenes of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Then there was the time a French couple turned up, she didn’t speak English, so he had to translate every line of the movie for her.

The best story I ever heard, though, involved Sense and Sensibility, when a group of country types actually setting out picnic blankets in the cinema. And then there was that posh woman in the audience of The English Patient who suddenly exclaimed to her friend, ten minutes before the end, “Oh! The man in the bed! He’s supposed to be Ralph Fiennes!”


The F-Word’s coming back – with tweaks

Gordon Ramsay in The F Word
Gordon Ramsay’s The F Word has been recommissioned for a second season. However, it’s going to be tweaked, apparently.

I can’t imagine what they’re going to do with it. I liked it as it was, a kind of mélange of every other food show under the sun: a bit of Naked Chef as Gordon shows you how to make something, while roaming around at home; a bit of Watchdog, with that Giles Coren reporting on something we should all be concerned about (food in bins, double tipping, the sewers); a bit of Masterchef, as Gordon tries to make a better dessert than a guest celebrity; a bit of a Nigella, as Gordon chats briefly with another group of celebrities; and so on. There was nothing outstanding about any of these amuse-bouche, but together they made something reasonably tasty and fun to watch.

In shows like this, without resorting to a dozen focus groups, it’s hard to see what people might like and what they might dislike, there are so many different things. All I can imagine they’ll do is strip out a few parts, give it a bit more focus and maybe add in a few things to see if they might work instead. But that’s why I just write about this stuff rather than make it.

PS If you’ve arrived here via a Google search looking for the theme tune, it’s Babybird’s The F Word

PPS Went to Gordon’s restaurant in Chelsea on Wednesday. He wasn’t there. Damn.


Best American artist of the 20th century?

Robert Hughes paints a slightly wordy but reasonably convincing case for Robert Rauschenberg as the best American artist of the 20th century, over in The Guardian. I think I probably agree with him, although Rauschenberg is certainly not the best artist of the 20th century overall. That honour belongs to Picasso, Dali or Bacon; I can’t decide which.

One thing I do recall from the last exhibit I saw of his (at the Guggenheim in New York, 1997) was his inordinate fondness for biros. Probably not what I was supposed to take away from it, but hey ho.


Matthew Perry to return to TV in another Aaron Sorkin project

Matthew Perry (you know, Chandler on Friends) is to make his regular-TV comeback on Aaron Sorkin’s regular-TV comeback, Studio 7 on the Sunset Strip, according to Ain’t It Cool News.

Sorkin is very loyal to those who impress him, and that’s probably why he’s given Perry the role. If you recall, Perry made a few guest appearances on Sorkin’s The West Wing, and was actually very good.

Equally, Perry is as much a writer at heart as an actor, so he probably likes the idea of sticking with someone who can write.

We should probably expect Joshua Malina to turn up some point as well, now he’s been released from The West Wing. Malina’s been in almost everything that Sorkin’s done, right from the stage version of A Few Good Men that launched Sorkin’s career. Sorkin’s loyalty to Malina, among other things, stems from Malina saving Sorkin’s life in a burger-swallowing incident. I don’t think that’s why Perry’s got the job though.

UPDATE: Variety’s confirmed the story.


A for Andromeda to get a live remake like The Quatermass Experiment

David Tennant in the Quatermass Experiment

Just in case you missed it, wedged as it is under news of Kenneth Williams’ diaries being dramatised, the Media Guardian reports that BBC4 is to remake A for Andromeda. Just like last year’s The Quatermass Experiment, which featured new Doctor Who David Tennant, it’s going to be a condensed version of the original, performed live on the night.

In case you missed The Quatermass Experiment (it’s available on DVD if you want to catch up), it was actually rather good and quite creepy – a curious combination of theatre and television that’s so rare these days. Since I’m the proud possessor of the Quatermass Collection as well, I can say it was significantly better than the original, which was slow moving to say the least – of course, by the standards of the 1950s, the original was a veritable hurricane.

The original A for Andromeda titlesAs I recall, the story’s pretty good, despite being put together by Nobel Prize-winning physicist and “life evolved in space” nut Fred Hoyle. It bears remarkable similarities with the naffo Species, although it bears none of that movie’s deficiencies, so we know it can fit into a couple of hours without serious plot-curtailment. I have high hopes for this live version. No word yet on casting, but I suspect D Tennant will be a bit too busy to make an appearance this time round.

PS BBC4 again. They’ve definitely been at those super-wheaties.

PPS I had copies of the few remaining bits of A for Andromeda and its sequel The Andromeda Breakthrough back in the early 90s, but I purged them long ago in one of my Nights of the Long Video Knives. You can view the title sequences at TV Ark. While you’re at, have at look at the Ace of Wands titles, complete with Thames TV opener: they’re magnificent. They were victims of my library purge, too. Sigh.