Wars I've been waiting a week for the transcript to appear. Tom Paulin (irish poet, Newsnight Review critic, mostly academic) reviews Attack of the Clones:
"There is a benign sense of the Republic in it. Now, if I could just explain that. Obviously talking in this country, where there may be only 30% Republicans, if you know what it is like to be a Republican, let's take, when Chirac got back. In the run-up to that, the French were saying the Republic must preserve itself. They must affirm the Republic in voting for Chirac, wherever.
Paulin excelled himself that night. And you can watch the entire performance in this live stream [RealOne required].
Commuter Life Overheard on the train home tonight ... two men in suits ...
"So you know my sister?"
"Yeah."
"The one who's a graphic designer? She's freelancing after y'know."
"Yeah."
"And she's been working on TV, and she got three job offers. And she only knew about one of them."
"Which one?"
"Well she knew about on a tv series series called Farscape."
"What's that?"
"It's on the BBC. It's from Jim Henson, you know who made the Muppets."
"OK."
"So she took that job because she knew what it was and she needed the money."
"OK ..."
"Then she found out what the other jobs were that she couldn't take now. One was on the second Matrix film. And the other was Star Wars."

[That's gotta hurt ... for more things heard 'In Passing' go to 'In Passing']
Who And finally, for the curious, the most saught after Doctor Who Virgin New Adventure, 'Dying Days' has begun an on-line life at the BBC's increasingly indispensible website. I've a feeling this guy is going to be a bit pissed ...
Film Everyone who is a regular reader will have noticed by now I'm a huge fan of low budget film making. Who needs fanatastic production values nayway. Just give some guy a camera, a well written script and a couple of actors and you're on you rway to winning Sundance. Actually it isn't that simple, as Film Threat describes in its list of 10 Stupid Things Indie Filmmakers Do To Mess Up Their Movies:
"Okay, we all understand that making an indie film requires you to do, well, everything. But taking credit for everything makes you look na├»ve. Inexperienced. The opposite of humble. (I’ve got some more adjectives if you want them.) Writer/director is the only credit you should care about as all the other duties are implied in those two words."
Some of the best film credits I've ever seen are when the film maker has obviously handed out credits to his families and friends. That seems to be a good way to go.
Education Wierd article from Fabula which describes how some teenagers thrive if they drop out of school and endeavor to teach themsleves at home. This is 'unschooling' and the writer seems to think it's becoming an increasingly popular way to go:
"Unschoolers can read what they want, volunteer, do internships, or become an apprentice. The can also write a novel, tackle advanced math problems, go on hikes, or even audit classes in college (which are very different from high school classes). The point is to do whatever they’re excited about."
Which sounds fine in theory, however how are they going to survive in the job market? I'm having enough issues and I've a degree and six years experience in a number of positions. Sooner or later surely things will come home to roost for them eventually. Won't they? [Metafilter]
Film In a cold taste test, I would say that 'Panic Room' had been made in the late Eighties, early Nineties. It has the feel of those thrillers usually directed by Adrian Lynne, usually starring Michael Douglas, in which someone wealthy find their life crumblig around their eyes. Only the visual flourishes give it away, the most startling being a pull back across a kitchen through a coffee pot. something impossible in the days when Gless Close was going boiling rodents. The reason I point this out is that on the surface this for David Fincher this seems like a shockingly conventional piece in comparisson with his previous work ('Seven', 'The Game', 'Fight Club'). Look under the hood and we find something subtley different.

The credit sequence appears as words hovering in the air above Manhatten running parallel with the buildings; incredibly to look at. The whole film is set inside the house (other than a bit on the steps); cloustrophobic and echoey we feel the hopelessness of Jodie Foster as the world she can move about in becomes increasingly limited; it isn't affraid to make the bad guys complete dimwits -- yeah they may be dumb, but they have a gun; it plays about with the conventions of a thriller by making the main bad guy a man of concience; when Foster finally one-ups her advaries they deliciously realise it's in a way that they could have used themselves. I think I loved it.
Life The bus was full tonight, standing room only. I was sitting at the front, girls in summer dresses filling my field of vision. In front was someone with dark brown hair highlighted in magenta and braids. Her arms were bare and I found myself drawn towards her tatoo, something fantasy. It was just below this I noticed the scars. About twenty of them, parallel lines running down towards her elbow and bunched together on her forearm. What is this new compunction to self-mutilation? The cuts here were certainly deep enough to draw blood and didn't look like they had been seen by someone medically. I wondered why she wasn't covering them up, which was the norm. Were they some sort of fashion statement? If so what is she trying to say? Look I can withstand this pain. Are these the only scars. Surely she has plenty within which need treating. I can only hope that neither are permanent. [The Guardian]
Logobar This is Sada Walkington the first person to be evicted from Big Brother in the United Kingdom. She wasn't too happy about it, but since then has written a book before falling for a fellow house mate (Nicola?) and ... well ... don't know to be frank ... if you happen to have bumped into this entry after an ego search on Google Sada drop us a line and let us know ... The third series begins on Friday. I'm sure I'll be hooked as usual, and I'm equally sure I'll be mentioning it once or twice on here.
Language One of the great regrets in my life sprang from a meal time in my house of hell horror during my second year at University. For those who don't know, I was living with three shockingly middle class girls who thought Museli was sophisticated. Anyway they wear talking about something and one of them happened to mention that some guy they knew had used the 'c-word'. One of the others remarked that there was just no need to use the 'c-word'. Now what I should have done was turn around and say 'What? C**t?' But I didn't. Now Metatalk brings some catharsis for me with a free and frank discussion of the word and its uses ... although to be honest I'm not a very good swearer. My mouth is used to using words with more than one syllable ... so bastard works just OK ...
Film Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones

This is a film so good I spent twenty minutes afterwards pacing up and down outside the cinema box office in shock screaming down a mobile phone at my friend Chris. The trouble is I don't want to spoil it for you (lets face it you're the demographic who will end up seeing the thing) so instead I'll present a rebuttle to this article by the usually very good Toby Young of 'The Guardian'.

(1) The Episodes are in the wrong order : Part 1

Young has decided that the films are in the wrong order and there isn't any point in Episodes I, II and III because we know what's going to happen. Actually it's a narrative device. There are countless other stories in which we know the ending, and the trick is to make the journey interesting and powerful, both of which Episode II at least succeeds in doing. The fact that Lucas is doing it over a twelve hour period rather than two hours means nothing. Some other examples of this device (not including real life stories like Apollo 13 - that's a whole other story):

American Beauty: The first line of the film is 'Hello. My name is Lester Burnham. In one year I will be dead.' Did anyone think 'Oh shit, I know what happens at the end. Let's go home.' No, they gave it a Best Picture Oscar.

The Usual Suspects: We know the boat explodes and everyone but Kevin Spacey dies. Its how we got to that point.

Hamlet: The Great Dane foreshadows his death throughout the play - he knows he on a hiding to nothing. So when he dies at the end it's not that much of a surprise (plus he's the lead character in the a Shakespearean tragedy. That's enough to give anyone the shits. Look at Macbeth.)

(2) The light saber

What were you expecting? They haven't worked out how to stop the laser at a certain point - what did you want a hole in the ceiling and your Christmas tree torched? Imagine how Boxing Day would really have been then. This was the 1970s for goodness sake. Imagine how you might have felt if you couldn't get your hands on one. I'm sure you'd still be complaining now. Actually, that Christmas my Mum bought me a knock off saber she bought at Speke Market. It lasted for two years. I think there's a lesson there somewhere. And as for Lucas negotiating full merchandising rights - that's just common sense and guile. I notice Young doesn't have any words to say about their usage in the film. Hmm....

(3) Senator Padme Amidala's hair

Which one? I'm sure the hairdstylist Susan Love will be glad to hear your comments. I agree that in The Phantom Menace her doo's were slightly alien, but isn't that the point? The use of Far Eastern influences to demonstrate the differences in Nabooan traditions in comparison with the rest of the galaxy. At no point in 'Clones' is Padme's hair less than immaculate. Cheap shot.

(4) George Lucas is a capitalist running dog

Well yes you do sort of have to pay for your ticket. Sneaking into films is wrong (unless it features Adam Sandler in which case it's charity). Why shouldn't Lucas be making huge mass consumption blockbuster films? Again I'll point out. No one is forced at gunpoint to see the Star Wars films. To be this popular and important to so many people there must be something to them (even that one). I'll agree it would be nice if smaller films (hey there 'Waking Life') got half the exposure and distribution of Star Wars, but the commercial reality is that most of the audience would even get the average French chamber comedy no matter how hard you sell the crap out of it. If everyone went to see those instead you'd only end up pissing off the people who like that kind of film with the oddments saying things like 'Oh it's subtitled. Don't like subtitles.' And 'It's a bit slow isn't it?' Look at 'Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon' - that was a nightmare during the times when someone wasn't flying or trying to kill each other with swords. For now there is room for both. And lining the Lucas products is by-product of that. Also, the digital camera technology designed for Clones will eventually become affordable enough for the low budget film maker just out of school who can concentrate on the process and not on wondering how they're going to pay off all the credit cards they've had to max out to pay for celluloid and development.

(5) No Harrison Ford

Two parts to this one (or episodes) Part One. In terms of screen presence Ewan McGreggor is a good substitute in this one, and Sam Jackson has all the cool. Part Two. While it's true that in the original films Han Solo brought a touch of cynicism to the concept of 'The Force' and all that mumbo jumbo, for these last two films to work, this was the last thing you needed. The suspend disbelief and buy into the drama you have to believe in this stuff utterly. You had to believe a man could fly in 'Superman' - you have to believe a little green guy can through spaceships around. If someone had run roughshod over this stuff the final fight sequence might have felt like 'magic tricks'.


(6) It's not the special edition

No, but I can't wait to see that. I like that Lucas keeps returning to the films and trying new things (apart from the CG Jabba and Greedo shooting first). The dance in the Ewok Village always felt like an anti-climax at the end of 'Jedi' and by introducing the sweep across the galaxy, it all means something more. It's healthy for film makers to go back to their work if they can and spruce things up if they're not happy. A film doesn't become public property when it goes out there. And I've seen very few critics carping on about 'Apocalypse Now Redux' being a travesty of the original - most have said it deepens the experience. I'm expecting the same in the future. George has already said he'll being going back to 'The Phantom Menance' and ripping out anything which didn't work. Judging by how little Jar Jar appears in 'Clones' I think I can see what'll be going first ... and besides, colons are good thing. My dissertation title would have been a complete mess without them.


(7) George Lucas is an opportunistic hack

In comparison to? (and I could interject here that most of your criticism is directed at old twenty-chins not the actual films - why not channel all this hatred at the person who distributes the films Rupert Murdock). Krzysztof Kieslowski expanded two of his short films from the 'Decalog' series into 'A Short Film about Killing' and 'A Short Film about Love'. He didn't just go out and make one film in a series when anywhere between three and ten would do. Douglas Adams span 'Hitchhiker's' off into multiple media which we all lapped up. Shakespeare killed off Falstaff then brought him back to life for 'The Merry Wives of Windsor' at the behest (and money) of the Lord Chamberlain (and he knew his series as well, how else do you account for the Historicals). Kids liked The Ewoks, hell I liked them at that age, especially Wicket. And The Droids was a good show. It could have been worse ... the first film could have been turned into a tv series ala Stargate with a different cast and cheap alien costumes. But he didn't he knew that this was a theatrical experience and their it stayed. Apart from 'The Holiday Special' ... but even he wanted to go out burn down his house when he saw that. It taught him a lesson - never leave your baby in the care of some chimps.

(8) Jar Jar Binks

Oooh ... you may have me there. But then if you had bothered to go and see the film (which we know you haven't if number 6 is anything to go by) you would know that if Lucas really wanted to openly defy the critics he would have had the demented fish on legs in every bloody scene. But apart from a touch and go moment in the first ten minutes he appears only once more - to make the worse decision anyone can make. You know he said he was kicked out of the Gungan village for being clumsy? Wait until you see what he does here ...

(9) The episodes are in the wrong order: Part II

Lucas has thought of that. If you'll notice IV, V and VI are set in the backwaters of the galaxy, and features the kind of technology you might have after a massive inter-galactic civil war (you know it's coming). Dim-witted four year olds aren't that sophisticated. They still like Pokemon. I'm glad it took so long to bring us these episodes. I would hate to see how this story would look with 1980s special effects. I love 'The Last Starfighter' to death but those graphics?

(10) George Lucas is Evil

If Lucas hadn't done it, someone else would have. Probably Spielberg. Or Irwin Allen come to that. Even Gene Rodenberry would have dragged Star Trek from mothballs eventually. Young seems to have forgotten that when Star Wars originally came out their wasn't actually any merchandising. That didn't come along until six months later and they were so unprepared that come Christmas day an awful lot of American kids sat looking a card which said that they're action figures would be along shortly in the post. And William Friedkin hasn't had a world turning film success since 'The Excorsist' which was aimed at adult. Everyone seems to have forgotten that Star Wars is at its core, y'know for kids. What would alternative have been, another three decades of those live action films like the Herbie series or 'The Black Hole'. No thanks. I'm glad that Lucasfilm brought the revolution. I can even forgive them for 'Willow'. Even the smallest of men deserve the work.