The NFT audience

I went to the NFT to watch Ace in the Hole on Friday. What can I say? A movie about a cynical reporter – how could I resist, even if it did had the most implausible scissor-wound in movie history? But there’s something I want to share with you.

The NFT audience is filled with some strange people. Sure, it’s mostly packed with perfectly innocent cinephiles. But there was a different kind of person there as well…

The chattering classes were there. I’m talking about:

  • People who bring thermoses of tea and picnic blankets with them when they go to see Sense and Sensibility.
  • People who think The English Patient was a good film, that Ralph Fiennes’ character wasn’t a boorish moron and that talk about “the super-sternal notch” on a woman’s neck is romantic.
  • People who act like English teachers (to paraphrase Nick Hancock) who take their classes on school trips to see Macbeth and then go “Ha” and slap their thighs when the gravedigger says something funny.

During this particular movie, said chattering classes laughed uproariously at every single joke, no matter how slight. I’m not talking about regular laughs, either. These were odd. “Ha, ha, ha, ha!” I’m not being onomatopoeic here. You could hear every letter. And for people who object to “youths” talking during movies, they weren’t half a bunch of gasbags.

They irritated me something chronic and ruined a perfectly good cinema experience. Is there some way to get them banned? Surely there must be.

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XFM live feed

Just in case y’all didn’t know, there’s a high-quality live stream of XFM available. You’ll need to use Windows Media Player to listen.

Just in case you thought I was being ignorant and ignoring all the open source apps out there that can also listen to WMP streams, I mean you will definitely need WMP to listen to it. It actually has a user-agent sniffer that rejects other apps. Talk about pointless restrictions, but maybe they just don’t want you recording the radio.

Oh wait. That’s stupid. Anyone got any better suggestions as to why this should be?

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I’ve been duped by ITV4

Fooled by all that pre-launch guff, I naively believed that ITV4 was in fact going to have the programmes and American imports it claimed. I’ve just checked the listings and discovered something incredible. None of that is true. In fact…
ITV4 is exactly the same as Bravo. But more than that, it’s Bravo circa 1996.
Here’s what I mean:

  1. Sunday: 3.15am UFO; 6pm Strange Report; 7pm Space 1999
  2. Monday: 6pm Man in a Suitcase; 7pm Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)
  3. Tuesday: 6pm Return of the Saint; 7pm The Champions
  4. Wednesday: 6pm Department S; 7pm The Saint
  5. Thursday: 6pm The Adventurer; 7pm The Persuaders
  6. Friday: 6.30pm The Protectors; 7pm Jason King

That’s practically the entire ITC output of the 60s and 70s there. They’re short of Danger Man, The Avengers and The Prisoner, but hell, they’ve got The Champions so I don’t care. I’d watch The Persuaders for the theme tune, but it’s never been the same since I stopped watching the dubbed French version: Tony Curtis sounded so much better en fran?ɬ�ais.
To cap it all, they have First Wave, Andromeda and Alien Nation, as well as Alex Cox of Sid and Nancy and Repo Man fame essentially repeating his Moviedrome gig from the late 80s.
ITV4? Why not just call it “The Cult TV channel” and get it over with? If they ever broke Street Hawk out of the mothballs, I’d watch nothing else.

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Review: CSI: Miami/CSI: New York crossover

It’s been CSI sweeps week in the US and we’ve been treated (?) to a Miami/NY crossover double-bill. I was both impressed and disappointed.

CSI: Miami was entirely predictable: all gloss, no logic, David Caruso strutting around like he owns the place, giving everyone else about three seconds of screen time. You’d have thought, given Republican-man’s perfect on-screen manners, he’d have let guest-star Gary Sinise get more than five minutes of screen time. But ‘Mac’ Taylor gets very little to do, most of it badly written, generic and designed to turn him into David Caruso’s sidekick for the episode. Other than Caruso, he only got to interact with Emily Proctor, making this a wasted opportunity.

CSI: NY was a different story though. This harked back to the early episodes of the show and even to the original CSI: Miami episode that acted as its pilot. It was gritty, bleak and once more, New York was grey and rain-swept. The stylings of Se7en were back and the show was the better for it. It’s been so dull of late, I didn’t even watch the last episode.

In contrast to the churlishness of Miami, NY was generous with the time and importance it gave its guest star, almost to the extent of excluding the regulars. Once again, Caruso was centre-stage with Stella and the others support to the Horatio Caine ego. Despite this, Caruso managed to fit into CSI: NY well, reminding you just how good he used to be in NYPD: Blue. It’s something the Miami producers have realised for some time: they’ve made sure that Caruso looks like his NYPD: Blue character in all the flashbacks to New York this year – quite an achievement after all this time – so that we get the hint that maybe Caine and John Kelly are one and the same.

Evil baddie of the the two-parter was Henry Darius. Serial killers may be so 1990s and exceedingly rare in real life, but they’ll always be good in TV shows when you need a ratings-winning body count. It was an excellent performance by James Badge Dale (who was the squeaky clean Chase in 24), although his motivation – I’m going to kill everyone because my dad wouldn’t admit to being my father – was somewhat short of the diagnostic criteria listed in the DSM IV.

I’ll tune into both next week, just to see if Miami gets any better and NY gets any worse.

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ITV3: the network that doesn’t like to advertise

ITV3 has been around for some time, mainly in the guise of Granada Plus before it got rebranded. It now has another relative, ITV4, which is supposed to be a “man’s channel”, showing American imports among other things.

Good theory. So why is it that all the good American imports are on ITV3? You wouldn’t know they were there because there’s no advertising. Yet, Numb3rs debuted on there a few weeks ago, as did Touching Evil (the US version). What does ITV4 have? The re-make of Kojak, which was so bad I stopped watching after ten minutes.

Sure ITV3 is essentially still the home of Poirot repeats, but they should think about moving over the new US imports to ITV4 if they’re not going to waste them.