One of the best things about the sadly departed UK DVD Review podcast was the poll William did every year where he encouraged people to email in and rant at him about their favourite DVD of the year. He’d then tally the votes (giving extra points for the better the rant and the more creatively you bent the rules) and then put them into a nice top 10 countdown. Alongside that he’d also give you his top 10 of the year.
It was patently unfair, you got 1 choice, he got 10. I tell you what though, I thought picking just 1 was hard, picking 10 it turns out is 10 times harder. You see i’ve decided that I want to let you know about a load of things in one go, instead of the 1 every 6 months pace i’ve previously being keeping. So i’m doing my version of the end of year top 10. My rules are slightly different to William’s, this is quite simply the top 10 things i’ve been watching on DVD/iTunes/Tivo this year. So lets get started.
Build up to Skyfall has reminded me of my memories of sitting in the cinema watching Casino Royale. Die Another Day had been a bitterly mediocre disappointment, but we were promised a clean break with Daniel Craig, expectations were high. MGM logo, no gun barrel, black and white scene, all very calm, considered. Some clever dialogue intercut with a flash back to earlier tense action. Wasn’t sure what I was seeing, certainly didn’t look and sound like Bond, but it was definitely intriguing. Suddenly the dialogue stops, a double agent neatly dispatched and the earlier action isn’t over. Bond has too put a bullet in his first victim to finish him off, as we cut to a new angle the end of the scene doubles as Craig’s first Bond gun-barrel. Cue the music and a massive smile from me, I’m in I think to myself. The first two or so minutes of Casino Royale show off everything which was great about the film, this was Bond the character and the franchise boiled now to its bare essentials, they’d use what was useful, what had a place. This all continued into the title sequence itself, the silhouetted dancing-girls had gone, the theme tune had a hard self-assured edge to it. A truly terrific first impression. Read more
Before I start I’m really keen I don’t spoil anything about Rises for anybody who hasn’t seen it (or even colour anyones expectations). So to summarise, i’d highly recommend seeing The Dark Knight Rises in the cinema, but i’d also suggest watching or rewatching both Batman Begins and The Dark Knight before you do.
If you have seen Rises read on for why it’s a much better final act than it is a film, and it’s a pretty damn good film.
Previously on Can’t Shut Up About:-
Veronica Mars, I can’t shut up about Veronica Mars, and it’s all Williams fault. But I have to admit that at first I didn’t take to it, and that’s Williams fault as well, he as well cant shut up about it and gave it a lot of praise which it frankly deserved but had be thinking “go on, impress me”, when I sat down to watch the first episode…
If I have convinced you … your homework is to watch as much Veronica Mars as possible so next weeks follow up post makes sense to you.
Last week I waffled on at you about Veronica Mars, telling you to go on, watch, it’s great. I also promised a follow up piece this week. So hopefully you’ve gone away, become a hermit and watched all 3 seasons in a week and you can now read this follow up piece with some understanding of what i’m talking about and without me spoiling anything for you. Yes, for the first time on Can’t Shut Up About i’m going beyond the basic introduction to tell you what I didn’t like and things the reasons I didn’t get into it when I first watched. Read more
Veronica Mars, I can’t shut up about Veronica Mars, and it’s all Williams fault. But I have to admit that at first I didn’t take to it, and that’s Williams fault as well, he as well cant shut up about it and gave it a lot of praise which it frankly deserved but had be thinking “go on, impress me”, when I sat down to watch the first episode.
It’s my belief that the show is best watched cold, without any preconceived ideas, because so much of the core of the show is best discovered slowly, by yourself as the layers slowly unwrap in front of you.
So if you have heard about Veronica Mars and thought it intriguing, don’t read further, go watch, its great. Read more
A term coined in the late 1950s to describe the advertising executives of Madison Avenue.
They coined it.
If you only watch one fictionalised American 1960s period piece make it Mad Men, no other TV show i’ve seen gets under the skin of the period and the American Dream quite like. From a distance the American Dream has always seemed like some of a enigma, a contradiction. It’s roots in the desire to be free, independent and (financially) self sustaining are hard to argue with, but from the outside looking in it can also look like greed, naked ambition and consumerism wrapped up in patriotism to mask its true meaning.
Is the American Dream achievable? Or is it a mirage? Does achieving it bring happiness or is it all a front, a cover to sell soap flakes? These are all the questions you’ll likely be contemplating whilst watching Mad Men. That Mad Men is able to have all of these questions bubbly just below the surface without it being obvious, or preachy or sounding like a history lecture it what makes the show so remarkable. Read more
update 09/07: post updated with some better clips from the pilot episode
For my first full regular length rant i’ve picked Stargate: Universe, a show I’ve already had some success with in getting people to watch. It’s probably only fair to point out that thanks to the bean counters at Syfy the has been cancelled after 2 seasons, but that shouldn’t put you off as there are still 40 episodes of great scifi here, also the season 2 finale works well as a series finale (but that’s actually another rant).
A Stargate is a device which allows travel to other planets & galaxies via a stable wormhole. Prior to Stargate Universe the franchise had consisted of the original 90s movie, the Stargate SG-1 TV show which ran for 10 years and 2 TV movies, and then the Stargate Atlantis show which ran for 5. The cancellation of Atlantis and the pick up of Universe where announced at the same time, much to the anger of some fans who believed Atlantis was being cancelled to make way for Universe.
The early plot for Universe focuses on attempts to dial a gate further away than we’ve ever previously dialled and we will find on the other side. Read more
Just a quick post this week to get into the swing of it. Saw X-Men: First Class last weekend. I went in with high expectations based on a few twitter whispers i’d read, and while it unfortunately couldn’t meet all those expectations, it did pleasantly fill it’s two hour run time and is generally speaking good popcorn fooder. Read more
Hello, I’m Daniel and I’m an addict, a drama addict, it’s all William’s fault.
Drama addiction is a serious condition, which is perfectly described below:-
The audience will do anything to spend time with a great character. We’re junkies for it. We’ll gnaw our own arms off to hang out once more with a killer character. It’s why sequels and series are so popular: because we want to see where the character’s going. You give us a great character, our only desire becomes to lick him like he’s a hallucinogenic toad and take the crazy trip-ass ride wherever he has to go.
Anybody who has seen The Wire will know what a brilliant piece of work it is, and yet it remains something of a mystery to those who haven’t seen anything of it (There are two groups of people when it comes to The Wire, those that love it, and those who haven’t seen it). Read more