Presently Mind's Eye is on the television. It's a great little episode, even though everyone is at odds in it and the Mulder characterisation is fabulous. That's the man that made everyone watch, not the unthinking arsehole of some later episodes.
Next, Angel, and it's the Fred ep with the very funny "I love you so much I almost forgot to brood" scene. I shall be stopping up to watch it because I won't sleep if I go to bed. Insomnia is so tedious.
I do not understand why people do not like Fred, even now, when she is less crazy and has some steel to her. People (meaning me) like Wesley, and he's certainly a few sarnies short of the full picnic.
I just watched the most recent Angel episode, which was good in parts and dreadful in others. I loved the vampire scenes, which contained just enough information to make subtext into text, text, TEXT, and when Spike and Angel weren't fighting I liked a lot of their dialogue, but the MacGuffin with Sirk was pitiful. The reveal at the end gave the episode some weight, but otherwise I was unimpressed.
Good *God*, could they write worse dialogue for Eve? They're not giving her more than one dimension and it's a crap one.
She has a heavy expositional load, like Lorne sometimes has, and they are writing her dialogue in exactly the same fragmented, stylised way as Lorne's, with all the strange half question parts? Like this. Sentence fragments, lots of arch, "and this is the exposition, kids" speeches and so on.
The trouble is, that it takes talent and panache to deliver dialogue like that. You need to be very confident, carrying a sneaky awareness of how ridiculous it is and yet at the same time play it absolutely straight or else it doesn't work. The actress they have for Eve just doesn't have that kind of awareness. Maybe she's too young. Maybe she's not talented enough to carry off that sinuously threatening, arch tone as Lilah did so well. Whatever it is, it's not working.
Spike's dialogue has been a little off at times too -- full of faux-British expressions and clunky, with Marsters' accent on the wander -- then sometimes it's been excellent.
Angel puzzles me but I'm mostly enjoying it.
* * *
I read that in the aftermath of the Bush state visit, there is much whinging from Buckingham Palace because the helicopters have ripped up the lawns and the expensive electronics that were installed are interfered with the Queen's ability to watch EastEnders
But, most terrible of all, all the to-ing and fro-ing has traumatised the queen's personal flock of flamingos. They have post-traumatic stress disorder.
In separate news, I notice that scientists have just won approval to begin treat sufferers of PTSD with ecstasy.
I think they should give the flamingos ecstasy and then set them free in the gardens again. They'd be hugging the Corgis in no time at all.
"Benjy, mate, you're my best mate ever, ever. And just because you're kind of a low-rise dog and I'm kind of a high-rise bird, there's no reason why I shouldn't love you, man."
Good god, why not give them all ecstasy at the palace? I'm sure it would make the garden parties more bearable. Charlie talks to the plants anyway.
* * *
This afternoon I was off work, so I went to see Love Actually. I think it is probably impossible to overstate how much I hated this film. I'd like to discuss it but I think my teeth rotted in my head within the first 10 minutes.
What a disgustingly cynical piece of marketing drivel, full of cheap epiphanies and engineered to appeal to the American market while keeping the Brits onside with a bit of random Yank-bashing, full of cliches and about a twelfth as funny as it thinks it is. I hated it *almost* as much as I hated Notting Hill. Almost. (It was less smug than Notting Hill and had a larger percentage of actors I liked.)
It's impossible to spoil because you've seen it all before
It's Richard Curtis doing his greatest hits but without the charm or novelty of the first time around -- there's a wedding with cute bits, a funeral with incongruous hilarity, much lauding of American women as just the thing to make the hopeless English male escape his tongue-tied, gauche self, cute kids, comedy swearing and an ending that would make even Pollyanna reach for an AK-47.
There were so many stories in the film that the best ones weren't afforded enough screen-time to pop into 3D. None of these people had lives outside the film, you scarcely ever saw how they earned their money, what they did with their leisure time...
If they had only cut the stupid story about the tosspot looking for sex -- could that scene in Wisconsin have been more idiotic? -- and the inane waste of Liam Neeson and the kid with the big head in a story with sod all point, there would have been more time to develop the painful and interesting story with Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman. Particularly given that Rickman didn't have much to do other than stand around and look vaguely guilty.
This is probably the best story in the whole thing, though the contrast that could have been drawn between Thompson's character being drawn to Neeson's and Rickman being drawn to his secretary was never explored, even though this was the most powerful story. As ever, Emma Thompson was wonderful, managing to convey three-dimensionality without saying a word.
I liked the Colin Firth storyline, light as it was, because Firth managed to convey both the pain of his betrayal -- in an underwritten scene -- and the joy of falling in love, in a set of scenes which were actually touching. I also loved the porn stand-ins. Martin Freeman always plays sweet really well and their scenes were genuinely funny.
I wanted to see more of Laura Linney and her beefcake, and I would hope, one in which the beefcake actually got a personality, and we got some sense of change by the end.
But the story that was most short-changed was the one of Hugh Grant and his tealady. That was a story that was freighted with the tabloidy fun that's such a goldmine in The American President and with additional class difficulties to contend with, it could've been funny and interesting. However little time I have for Hugh Grant, he is a sly and under-rated actor, and I think he could have done more if the tealady's love hadn't come screaming out of nowhere.
As for the fabulous Bill Nighy, his turn as a rock star is a near-direct copy of his rock star turn in Still Crazy but much less funny. And he's the funniest part of the film.
Worst still, they're releasing the Christmas record from the film, even though the film acknowledges that it's awful.
As a director, Curtis lacks both subtlety and flair, though he does have a gift for picking a great cast that's worthy of better. It's such a pain in the neck that Richard Curtis and his narrow, metropolitan view of British life now pretty much comprises the successful British film industry.
Oddly, I think this film might work better on DVD, if there's an expanded edition. Maybe we will get to see enough of the stories that the characters turn from shadow puppets into real people, and maybe I can fast-forward over every single scene in which idiot-google-eyed-boy-child-Colin appears. That would be nice.
Gah. Rubbish film.