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I watched the new Law & Order: UK tonight. It's very slickly done. They've kept a lot of the stylistic tics of the original, including the music stings and the time/place captions. It looked good -- grainy, hand-held camera but not to vomit-inducing levels -- and the casting is excellent.
Aside from Jamie Bamber and Freema Agyeman, who are terribly pretty and the main reasons for two fandoms taking a squint at the show, there's Ben Daniels, whose voice is brain-melting; and Bradley Walsh, who has excellent comic timing and whose acting I like very much, even though his range is narrow.
Fandom failed to tell me that Harriet Walter and Bill Paterson were
So far, so good, right? Alas, no. The script, directly adapted from an original script from the US version, was mechanical and awkward and did not take much account of the differences between the US and UK law systems. For example, I don't know whether district attorneys investigate crimes, but I was under the impression that the Crown Prosecution Service didn't have time for that, being chronically underfunded and also lawyers.
Worse still was that it was totally tone-deaf.
Chibnall was the head writer for Torchwood. The fact that he was sticking to a script already written helped with his hideous, sexist, clueless plotting but the script he wrote didn't sound like people talking in London. It was as though he put the American script through some kind of Brit Babelfish. The actors did their best with pseudo hard-boiled dialogue but they can only fight so hard.
I am not sure that starting a new series with a story about how the London property market breeds ruthless landlords was the brightest idea, given that the London property market is in freefall. It's been dipping for almost a year now. The rental market collapsed before the property market went into freefall. It's part of the reason it did. The script's sheer obliviousness to the credit crunch rendered it a bit ridiculous: it's not as though they filmed all this years ago.
I strongly suspect that for this show to be a continuing success, they're going to have to move in the direction of The Bill and put a bit of soap about the characters in there. However, I could be misreading the appetites of the Great British public.
I'll watch next week. People are pretty and act well and brain does not need to be engaged. Also, I would listen to Ben Daniels read the phone book.
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Today's enthusiasm, in honour of the Oscars, is the films of Danny Boyle. I loved Slumdog Millionaire, slight though it was, because of the fantastic direction, full of kinetic energy and colour, and the performances he and his Indian co-director, Loveleen Tandan, pulled from the actors. He always seems to manage to do both of these things and he switches genres.
Like most people, the first time I remember seeing Danny Boyle is Shallow Grave, his effortlessly stylish film about murderous flatmates in Edinburgh. Trainspotting followed and was even more pyrotechnically exciting. There's a wonderful piece here by Simon Reynolds about how Boyle's film fails, which I recommend to you as excellent brain food.
After Trainspotting, Boyle and his cohorts, John Hodge, Andrew MacDonald (and, I suppose, Alex Garland), went a bit Hollywood and made A Life Less Ordinary and The Beach, neither of which worked as well as they should, but here's the thing about Boyle: even his failures have interesting things to recommend them, whether it's playing with reality or unexpected harshness.
However, three of Boyle's later films really showed what he could do. 28 Days Later was among the first films to be shot on digital video and is an exciting, frightening horror film, with an eerie empty London. Two bonus links:
Simon Pegg on why proper zombies don't run
28 Days Later on the Zombie Survival & Defense Wiki. Listed just because how marvellous is it that there is a Wiki for surviving zombie attacks?
Millions is a film that not many people have heard of. It's a sweet, imaginative and occasionally surreal family film about two young brothers who have just lost their mother. The older brother has become harder, the younger brother is obsessed by the lives of the saints. They find bags of stolen pounds just as the UK switches to the euro and clash over what to do with it. Damian wants to do charitable works, Anthony wants to spend, spend, spend. It was written by Frank Cottrell Boyce, who later adapted it into a Carnegie medal-winning book. Seek it out if you get the chance.
If you haven't seen it yet, I'd also recommend hiring Sunshine which is a proper, non-ironic science fiction film. It loses its way in the final third when it moves from gorgeous meditation on our place in the universe to slasher flick, but it's worth seeing for a slew of good performances and some truly stunning visuals.
LINKS: Millions trailer | A vid of Sunshine, set to Explosions in the Sky | Scary empty London
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As annajaneclare said, WHAT THE BLOODY HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE
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I cleaned out the downstairs cupboard today, which has not been done for 18 months. Went for a bath and when I got out there was a fuckoff massive cockroach on the kitchen floor. Which I SLEW with my mighty kitchen tissue obviously. I am now going to be seeing cockroaches out of the corner of my eye for the next year. I am so hacked off.
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The five words meme. vivwiley gave me the following words
1. Travel I haven't done nearly enough of this. I've been to most of Europe, Australia, Japan and lots and lots of the US but, aside from Japan (and Poland, and thereby hangs a story) it's almost all been within my comfort zone. I think I want to go to India next.
2. iPod A thing which has changed my life. When I was in my teens my dad was unemployed for a long time, measured in years, and we were a bit skint so I didn't have a walkman or anything, but I did have the 40cm long stereo I listened to everything on and I used to carry it everywhere, along with a bunch of tapes. Thank God for the iPod, which holds all my pirated Radio4 shows, and the 50% of my music that I actually listen to, and thus saves me from serious back injury. I was a very early adopter and I don't put video on mine.
3. Books I've almost stopped reading in comparison to my self of about five years ago and that makes me sad. I still buy books though, which is nuts. I love reading book reviews on LJ. I do not love watching authors make arses of themselves on LJ very much though.
4. Theatre I had planned to spend a lot of my current time off going to the theatre but instead I have been sensible and saved money. Feh. The thing is, as decent tickets set you back an average of twenty quid and often more, people are reluctant to take a chance on new plays. You end up going by reviews of people whose tastes might mesh with yours. I've seen two plays I really disliked in the West End in the past two years: Tom Stoppard's Rock'n'Roll, which was an inert, dead thing, badly played by the female lead (the two male leads, particularly Dominic West, were very good); and Elling, which wandered pointlessly and wasn't funny, despite John Simm's best efforts.
5. Kindness The single most important virtue. There are plenty of people who are nice but fewer who are kind. Nice is worthless. I aspire to be kind, just as lots of you are. Don't manage it always.