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Showing posts from July, 2019

THERE’S FAR TOO MUCH TO TAKE IN HERE [190]

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I have just seen the new version of Disney’s “The Lion King,” a film that needs no spoiler warning, because apart from how it has been made this time, it is simply the first film done again. The visuals are breath-taking, and every part of the production is of high standard, from the voice acting to the music. Following “Rocketman,” I have another reminder of how brilliant Elton John is as a composer, and I can draw a line from “Border Song” to “Hakuna Matata.” However, the entire opening sequence of the original film, and the iconic title drop, is copied in this version, and I realised this as soon as I saw the meerkats. This film invited comparisons with Gus Van Sant’s 1998 shot-for-shot remake of “Psycho,” whereby its of the original film only served to bring attention to how it was constructed, especially whenever it tried anything different. I am not sure that kind of lesson needed to cost $60 million. I should also say that the screening I attended of “The Lion King” I

WE’RE ON THE BALL, WE’RE ON THE BALL [189]

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I normally have no interest in football, mainly due to the amount of attention it already demands, but the current form of England’s football teams, in both World Cups, has meant even I have needed to take notice. If the current performance of our team pays out in tourism and culture in the UK, then that’s fine, but I will only even learn the offside rule against my will. So, why would I talk about football when I should be talking about film? It is because that, when I usually think of football, the first thing is the unexpected turn of events closer to home, when Portsmouth Football Club was bought by Michael Eisner. It is more accurate to say it was The Tornante Company, named by Eisner after the Italian term for a hairpin bend in a road, that bought Pompey for £5.67 million in 2017, but Eisner’s signature is the company’s logo. A quote from Eisner at the time was, “ When I passed through the Fratton Park turnstiles I felt like I did when I stepped through the doors at Di

LET ME KNOW WHAT SPRING IS LIKE [188]

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At a time when society and politics has never felt more tied to the ground, the pride and nostalgia engendered in us all by the Apollo 11 Moon landings fifty years ago was, for me, swiftly replaced with nostalgia for the world into which we thought we would step, but never really did. We are haunted by our past visions of the future we thought would come. (I have also covered “hauntology” here: link ) I am talking about everything from missions to Mars to meals in pill form, from lunar outposts to “The Jetsons.” The Space Age started in the 1950s, and appeared to be declared over when the last of NASA’s space shuttles were decommissioned in 2011, eight years after the last commercial flight on Concorde – regardless of the ticket cost, it is hard to accept that flying from London to New York in under three hours is something no longer possible. Meanwhile, space travel itself is becoming a private enterprise, under people like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, but I don’t see someone li

A POINT IS ALL THAT YOU CAN SCORE [187]

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[NOTE: This is a look at the film version of “Protect and Survive” – for my original article about the original UK Government booklet “Protect and Survive,” please see here: https://www.dancingwiththegatekeepers.com/2017/03/the-air-attack-warning-sounds-like.html] “When you hear the attack warning, you and your family must take cover at once. Do not stay out of doors. If you are caught in the open, lie down.” OK, so if there is going to be a nuclear attack, and I am living above the 5 th floor of a block of flats, I must make arrangements with a neighbour further down the building, so I can build a fallout room there – and, if I didn’t get my booklet from the Government in the post by now, I will have less than 72 hours, from when I saw the message on TV, until the bomb drops. I know I have covered comedies about nuclear war before, in “The Bed Sitting Room” and “Whoops Apocalypse,” but I cannot think of anything more horrifying than this. It was the threat into which I w

WHOOPS NOW, SORRY I CAN’T GO [186]

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British comedy owes quite a lot to the writers Andrew Marshall and David Renwick. While the most recognisable TV shows by them were those they wrote on their own – Marshall has “2point4 Children,” “Health & Efficiency” and “Dad” to his name, while Renwick created “One Foot in the Grave,” “Jonathan Creek” and “Love Hurts” – they had fifteen years of writing as a double act on sketch shows “End of Part One,” “There’s a Lot of It About” and “Alexei Sayle’s Stuff,” while creating satirical sitcoms such as “Hot Metal,” set inside a newspaper. Their most recognisable work from this time were first written for their radio series “The Burkiss Way,” often compared with “The Goon Show,” and reworked for TV: a sketch involving a clueless hi-fi system buyer was re-enacted on “Not the Nine O’Clock News” (“Do you want speakers? Do you want rumble filters? Do you want a bag on your head?”), and a sketch where a “Mastermind” contestant gives the answers to the previous question was reworke

ALL I CAN DO IS WRITE ABOUT IT [185]

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How easy is it to write a thousand words? It is a question I ask myself every week, and I still cannot give a precise answer. The usual outcome is from a week of thinking about, and researching into, a particular subject, followed by frantic typing until I have produced a coherent piece of work. Sometimes, it feels like I am just putting one word after the other, for the sheer effort of producing sentences, which can then be constructed into paragraphs. Fortunately, using a catchphrase that hasn’t been used in about ten years, there is an app for that. I have neglected to use WordPalette for iOS for over a year, but because it is an app that allows you to string together a sentence using a “palette” of words provided from a corpus, with the intention of inspiring ideas for your own work, I don’t have much use for it if I had a plan from the start. What I have reproduced below was the result of using WordPalette for about forty-five minutes - by that measure, writing a thou

BUT I’D RATHER STAY ON THE SOFA [184]

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In his video review of the “Huge Screen ver. 2,” a cheap LCD game, Dr. Stuart Ashen wondered if he would have a good time playing it. “Yeah I know it’s not going to happen. Join me after the break.” The screen fades to black. A caption appears: “There are no advertisement breaks. This is the internet.” The previous shot fades back in: “Oh yeah, that was weird. Thought I was on television for a moment. Hmm, I’d probably know I was on television because I’d be being paid.” This video was posted to YouTube on 25 th October 2010. Nine years and over 400,000 views later, I’m watching it on my television, preceded by an ad for the National Lottery. I only came across the “ashens” channel over a month ago – the first video I came across was the “Chicken in a Can,” a lunch / autopsy hybrid that included the bones and giblets. At that point, the channel had 774 videos available – diving into it is like deciding your next box set to watch will be “Coronation Street”. I am beginning to