Film New Woody Allen film in 2004. Earth revolves around the Sun. Everton lost against Liverpool today.
Books Following on from my recent post about making libraries popular, it's a good bet they'll be using this flash animation in the advertising campaign.
Literature What was Byron's issue?
TV Keifer Sutherland nearly has to miss 24:
"You'll recognize the L.A. setting, the morally ambiguous tone and the '50s clothes and cars, but the two main characters bear little resemblance to their big-screen equivalents — and Sutherland's character bears almost no resemblance to any functioning human being. ... Though fans of Sutherland or the movie will find LA Confidential an interesting oddity, the only thing "brilliant" about it was the network's decision to shelve it."
A US yv channel is running a season of failed TV pilots no one has seen before, and in some cases it's obvious why they weren't picked up. Now will someone explain to me again why Charmed went to series? [via tv tattle]
Film World's Smallest Film Festival takes place across mobile phones, PDAs, and other mobile devices. All of the films in competition are available for viewing here (in a neat mobile phone style viewing window) and it's an ecclectic selection.
Life Considering everything, the oddest feature of my current work place is the staff turnover. There isn't one. No one leaves.

Last night some people left. But it wasn't as far as I know because they hated the job, or because she had a better job offer. Sarah and Michael are going for a Palin-style trip around the world together (they're a couple - I should mention that) taking in Fiji, New York, Tailand and other places. This was another of those cases when I found out the most about the people when they're actually leaving, at their leaving drink. I found out, for example, that Michael is an artist and that Sarah has a really good taste in clothes, and that they're both really nice people. I was still able to keep up the tradition of giving music rather than a card (I forgot to put into the collection). Just feels nicer and more permanent.
MSCL Wow. I thought this had been resolved already. The great mail order My So-Called Life DVD lunch box set dilemma. Some things just run and run ...
TV Good piece from The Guardian speculating on how the BBC's new vision of total access will be accomplished. As well as the inevitable streaming, they're also considering a Napster/Kazaa model in which programmes can be swapped about. At the end though there is a statement which doesn't totally ring true.
"And it would be the BBC as it was always supposed to be. BBC material is supposed to be free to use and download. After all, you've already paid for it. It belongs to you, to do with as you wish."
To which a knee jerk reaction is -- if you live in the UK and have to buy a tv licence. One of the issues BBCi is encountering are commercial companies from outside the UK quietly seething because this publicly funded organisation in a completely different country is taking hits away from them. Within the UK, some are complaining that the service, which the British are paying for is being used globally. I have no issue with that. I'm happy to be funding something which anyone online can use -- it's a symbol of the innovations which have taken place in this country over the years, and of the British way of doing things (making a change from the American way). There will be others who feel the same. But does this goodwill stretch to the television end, especially as the medium is to be the internet, accessible globally. Again, I've a roughly similar reaction. But some are sure to be asking 'Why should an American be free to watch a tv show I paid for? If they're going to be looking out our 'stuff' a contribution would be nice'. Tricky regulation, but I can forsee a subscription service for people outside the UK (which I believe can be determined from IP addresses). Suddenly, the BBC has become an even more global property. Perhaps Colin Welland will finally be proved right, "The British are coming."
Music My Real One player has just given the following response to an All Saints track: "This English girl group formed in 1995 and spent the remainder of the decade in the tall shadow cast by the Spice Girls." Harsh but true.
News(?) No One Makes It To Burning Man Festival -- An Onion Exclusive. Regular readers will know I've never linked to one of their 'comedy' items before, but this one actually had the power to make me laugh. No really. I just got an image of Glastonbury with Robbie Williams addressing a field full of cows. Where is Gerlach anyway?
TV Boing Boing is cockahoop over a new televisual invention:
"On Breakfast Television we get a very different Bob Hunter. What the network does is send a camera crew to Hunter's home every morning at about 7AM, where he is sat at his kitchen table in his bathrobe, with all the day's newspapers spread out before him. Hunter's been up long genough to have gone through the Star, the Goble, the Post -- possibly even the Sun -- and he's marked up the interesting bits wiht a highlighter.

When the news-anchor cuts to the remote feed from Hunter's kitchen, he takes us on a guided tour of the day's news, taking apart and contrasting the reportage from the different news-organs. This is blogging, plain and simple, but it's on live television. And it's interesting as hell.
Well yes, I suppose it is. But it also sounds very similar to the paper review which has happened in various version on Channel 4 for the past five or so years on The Big Breakfast and now in a shadowy form on RI:SE. But I hadn't really thought of it as Blogging. If you really want to stretch that definition when I'm in a conversation and go off ten to the dozen on the subject, I'm Blogging as well. I thought weblogging was as much to do with the medium as the action.
Books Someone has found one of my BookCrossing drop offs, just as I was getting downhearted. I left Calling B for Butterfly at a Starbucks in Liverpool City Centre... the findee (is that a word?) wrote:
"I found it in Starbucks in Liverpool on August the 26th have not read it yet, but plan on doing so. And then am planning to pass it onto a friend who will then release it into the wild!"
So the book was knocking around the top floor of the coffee house for about ten days before someone decided to take it home. Wonder who else read it.
The Law Sometimes I wish the deeply sentimental Wedding Story on The Discovery Channel would tell stories such as this, perhaps in a reality tv crossover first with C.O.P.S.
"According to this just-released South Windsor Police Services report, 19-year-old bride Adrienne Samen spat on her wedding ring, called a fellow inmate the N-word, and queried cops on how much time she'd serve for "killing a Marine"
News Here is the Rod Little conflict of interest story Australia-style. Here Little had to give up being producer of Radio 4's Today programme after writing an utterly partial column for The Guardian about fox hunting. Something similar has happened to a journalist on ABC radio but over there fifty staff have said they will go out on strike unless she is re-instated. Not really a profession were you can hire scab labour ...
Film The Lady & The Duke has rendered me speechless, so I'm letting some online reviewers do the work for me. Rohmer's film is a digital construct, and so, it seems is this review.

In the world of foreign cinema, nobody does pretentious talky films like the French, and of the French, nobody does it better than Eric Rohmer, legendary octogenarian auteur. Some consider his films nothing more than long conversations, and this one is no different. In addition, Rohmer's (Autumn Tale, A Summer's Tale) spare use of sets and camera work make the film look like it a transplant from the stage. The Lady and the Duke is actually adapted by Rohmer from Grace Elliot's Journal of My Life During the French Revolution. Elliot (1760-1823) was a British expatriate living in France during the turbulent revolutionary years, brought there by the Duke of Orleans. In her past life in Britain, she was a mistress of the Prince of Wales, who later became King George IV. A working knowledge of French history makes the film much more palatable, but if that's missing, just look at the pretty pictures. [Haro]

She is stubbornly a woman of principle. She dislikes the man she hides between her mattresses, but faces down an unruly citizens' search committee after every single member crowds into her bedroom to gawk at a fine lady in her nightgown. After she gets away with it, her exhilaration is clear: She likes living on the edge, and later falsely obtains a pass allowing her to take another endangered aristocrat out of the city to her country house. [Ebert]

Her conversations with the Duke of Orleans (attentive, courtly Jean-Claude Dreyfus) suggest why he and other men found her fascinating. She defends his cousin the king even while the Duke is mealy-mouthed in explaining why it might benefit the nation for a few aristocrats to die; by siding with the mob, he hopes to save himself, and she is devastated when he breaks his promise to her and votes in favor of the king's execution. [Ebert]

Rohmer evidently also recognised the core of a tragic love story in the vexed, tender, courteous but free-spoken relationship between Elliott and the ill-fated duke; and perhaps also Elliott's familial resemblance to his talkative, insistent but often touchingly inconsistent heroines. His characteristic insight gives emotional depth to Elliott's revulsion at the duke's treacherous vote for the king's execution. In the memoir it is presented as moral and political: 'I never felt such horror for anybody in my life as I did at that moment at the duke's conduct.' But the film subtly connects the intensity of Elliott's feelings to the duke's espousal of a new mistress with revolutionary leanings, and to Elliott's bitterness at her abandonment by the man she still loves: 'I've never felt so revolted by anyone. Having belonged to him once, I cannot bear myself.' [Philip Horne]

Lucy Russell's performance as Elliott is utterly striking, and shows a superbly confident mastery of French dialogue. She is intelligent, sensuous and passionate, but all in the most demandingly cerebral, grown-up sense, and with an intriguingly drawn hauteur. You can't help feeling that Rohmer, that Hitchcock scholar, has found in Russell his very own Grace Kelly. Still a relative newcomer (her only previous credit was in Christopher Nolan's Following), Russell is already a mature, evolved screen presence. If she can do American as well as she does French, the sky is the limit for the UK's brightest new screen star. [Peter Bradshaw]

But in the end… it all comes back to the way this was shot. And in many ways, that’s exactly what Rohmer intended. Frustrated with historical films shot in present-day Paris, or those which use “the same handful of old carriage doorways that always feature in period films”, he sought a third option. Wanting the film to look “just like a painting”, he commissioned artist Jean-Baptiste Marot to paint thirteen backdrops for the film. He shot the actors on bluescreen and digitally inserted them into the shots. By and large, it works. He’s able to add a sense of texture to the celluloid… It certain scenes, it actually looks like a painting is coming to life. [David Manning]

"The Lady and the Duke" isn't boring in the same way Rohmer's most recent pictures, set in the modern day, like 1998's "Autumn Tale," have been. There are no insufferable people socializing irritably around their outdoor dining tables. Nor are there many (or any, for that matter) nubile young babes whose pouty lips are intended to substitute for a story line. But it's dull in a very tasteful way, with none of the reverberating tenderness and sometimes surly vigor that characterize Rohmer's best work, things like "Summer" and "The Aviator's Wife." [Stephanie Zacharek]

But oh, those backdrops! Rohmer seems to have poured more feeling into them than he did into his characters, whether he meant to or not. Softly colored but vivid, they transport us not necessarily to another time, but to a place outside time where things of exquisite beauty -- paintings, music, buildings, landscapes -- can move us to a state of breathlessness. Rohmer stops time, in the good way, with those backdrops. Too bad that the rest of the time, he drags the minutes around like a dead weight. [Stephanie Zacharek]
Who So Richard E Grant has turned down various media and convention offers on the back of his appearance as Doctor Who. Although it might have been nice to see him turn up with his Withnail and I cohort, you can see his point of view. He’s very much from outside the British point of view on the series; he says that he’s never seen an episode and at the time of his appearance in the Comic Relief skit he professed to never having even heard of the thing. As he says in the letter on his website, this new cartoon is really just another a job (another entry in his diary I suppose). In reality it’s just as valid a performance as those essayed by people like David Warner in the Big Finish Unbound series. No one seems to have been rushing about inviting Sir Derek Jacobi to anything so why should this be different?

[Although I’ve a feeling Jacobi would actually turn up for one. I seem to remember him being in theatreland London at the same time as Tom Baker, old drinking buddies?]

This admission from the BBC about the rights issues (which had supposedly been stopping the production of a new tv series) is deeply interesting (perhaps someone should have a word with Lorraine Heggessey). With all of the merchandise which is floating around, surely the best way to insure sales is to have something on it’s supposed primary media. But I can see why nothing is forthcoming. They’re scared to death that if and when it happens it’ll be wrong, or badly made, or unpopular and hurt what franchise is there and working. You can see there point, no point turning away potential newbees. But the real issue to me is why they would think the new creation could be bad. Looking across the various media the series now exists in, it must be plain to them there is a lot of talent and in the case of people like Mark Gatiss, reasonably high profile talent who are fans and able to produce when needed. But they need to get away from the idea that the series was a massive space adventure requiring expensive special effects. Many of the classics of the original run were based on Earth and more importantly about character not monsters. I’m not saying they should all be the Paris based City of Death, but why not take a leaf out of Sixties Star Trek’s book and re-use costumes from other dramas. There was certainly enough on show on the recently repeated Daniel Deronda to make a pastiche of the period set Dalek adventure Evil of the Daleks. The show, even now, is about ingenuity, and making the most of what you have and these could still be the mantras. We’ll see. But if I can’t get McGann, can I suggest Jack Davenport? He was very good in Ultraviolet. See you next month, Doctor.
Film Win tickets for the new film Blackball, the new British film about err ... bowls. A late shift at work means I can't go, but anyone in reading distance is welcome to enter. Sadly they don't tell you which cinema chain it is, but it's a nice late 8:30 start so you can at least go home and get changed first. Perfect, I suppose for anyone looking for a cheap date ...
Music For some reason (considering the quality of the music on display) this is fascinating. Hidden in the middle of its BBC Radio One site is section which let's you see full length promos, on demand. All things considered they look pretty good on my 56k. Recommend The White Stripes' new piece with Kate Moss poledancing (very artistic), and Speedway's version of 'Genie in a Bottle' a cover version of a rock mix of the Christina Aguilera song with something by The Strokes, which has been knocking around for a few months.
Film Although I love digital film making, but in many ways it lacks a quality -- whether it's a pictorial depth or the faint feeling of falseness I'm not sure. So it isn't that much of a surprise that some film makers are still looking towards Super 16mm as their weapon of choice. At least it means all of those low budget film handbooks will still be of use for some time yet.
Travel Montmartre scared the living heck out of me. But The Age is trumpeting the place as a destination in itself. Couldn't imagine that.
Technology I had no idea that voice synthesis had developed the is far. The AT&T Interactive Demo allows the user to enter a short phrase then hear is read back to them by a monotone but nonetheless very convincing voice. I mean it swears better than I do. [via Metafilter]
TV I can only imagine that Sky's mad ramblings the other day about the BBC selling off it's best programmes to the highest bidder had something to do with Greg Dyke's pledge to open up BBC archive online for free. It's a staggering offer and offers the possibility of a sort of Uk Gold on demand. There are a fair few old programmes I would like to see again. I'm assuming the model will be the Listen Again feature of BBCi and have the flavour of the video archive which is available at the National Museum of TV, Film and Photography in Bradford. Excellent news (if it ever happens).