Lockdown Links #4

Daily Dose of Doctor Who.

Tonight saw a global simultaneous rewatch of The Day of the Doctor and as you can see Steven Moffat wrote a new scene to introduce the festivities:

New on the streaming services.

Bit of a lean day. Amazon Prime has Tucker: The Man and His Dream by friend of the MCU Francis Ford Coppola and MUBI offers Melville's Le Cercle Rouge.  In the should have been a theatrical bracket, Curzon has The Truth and Dogs Don't Wear Pants.

So that they don't leave left out, my retrospective Netflix pic would be Man on a Ledge which is exactly the film you would expect it to be until it isn't.  Has an absolutely barnstorming performance from Elizabeth Banks which reminds us what a multi-faceted artist she is.


How Film Noir Tried to Scare Women out of Working:
"In the period immediately following World War II, the femme fatale embodied a host of male anxieties about gender roles."

Streaming: our guide to Disney+ as it launches in the UK:
"Five months after its introduction in the US, and with serendipitous timing, Disney+ finally reaches the UK next week. But what to watch?"

The Austin Chronicle on Archive.org:
"The Austin Chronicle is an alternative weekly, tabloid-style newspaper published every Thursday in Austin, Texas, United States. The paper is distributed through free news-stands, often at local eateries or coffee houses frequented by its targeted demographic."

Tonight's Album:

Lockdown Links #3

New to the streaming services:

Today the grand experiment begins as Universal puts some of its very recent mid-tier theatrical releases on streaming services at premium prices. Which means its possible to watch Emma, The Hunt and The Invisible Man on Amazon Video right now at the not entirely unreasonable price of £15.99 (when you take into account how many people could be watching at the same time and how much you've saved on travel).

Doing my bit, I ordered The Invisible Man, which is mostly as good as everything says it is, with an extremely tense opening hour and the mood of a 90s psychological thriller for the rest.  Between this and Upgrade, Leigh Whannel is turning into a very interesting mainstream director marrying schlock with some thematic oomph.

From the back catalogue, Amazon Prime also has The Dead Zone, David Cronenberg's 80s sci-fi thriller with Chris-topher Walk-en as a psychic who can predict people's mortality through physical contact which probably offers an extra level of horror right now.  Elsewhere, MUBI has Park Chan-Wook's superb Lady Vengeance and Kanopy has added a ton of new additions to its Criterion Collection which now has 105 titles.

One final note, although the meat world version of the BFI's Flare festival has been cancelled, the BFI are running a version of it on their rental/subscription service with films which would have been at the festival along with LGBT+ films already on the service. That includes the utterly brilliant Anchor and Hope starring Oona Chaplin and Natalia Tena about a couple traverse the highway and byways of their relationship and London on a narrowboat (also available to rent on Amazon).

[I forgot mention Kanopy the other day in my streaming tips round up.  It's a streaming service accessible via most UK university library memberships.  Just visit this page and sign in with your university account.  UK public library membership is patchy but many US libraries are included.]

A Dose of Doctor Who:

The 8-Bit game Doctor Who and the Mines of Terror is available to play online at the archive.org and below if these embeds have worked correctly.  The C64 version first then the Amstrad CPC.  Here's a link to the BBC Micro version.


Elisabeth Moss on ‘Invisible Man’: Turn Off the Lights, Turn Up the Volume:
"The “Handmaid’s Tale” star talks about her hit horror movie, which quickly moved on-demand video amid the coronavirus outbreak."

Ethan Hawke Is Confident a Fourth ‘Before’ Movie Will Blow Up the Series’ Timeline:
""We enjoy working together and being together, but we have to make sure we have something to say," Hawke says about the next Jesse and Celine sequel."

Disney to Release 'Onward' Early on Digital Amid Coronavirus Pandemic (US only for now):
"With theaters now closed in the U.S. and much of the world, Disney will make current release Onward available in the home via digital beginning Friday.
The Pixar movie — voiced by Chris Pratt and Tom Holland — will be available to buy digitally and via Movies Anywhere for $19.99 starting at 5 p.m. PT. It will be made available early on Disney+ on April 3 in the U.S."

'You are a trophy': ex-beauty queens judge Misbehaviour:
"An author, actor and doctor look back on their experiences as beauty contestants. What does the film about the flour-bombing feminist protests at 1970’s Miss World get right, and wrong?"

Here's a Bunch of Free Games to Check Out While You're Isolating This Weekend:
"If you're finding yourself at home a lot recently, then you're not alone. While social isolation is probably the best thing for the nation right now, it's not the best thing for being a little bit bored. Although now might be a good time to make a dent in your backlog, it's also as good a time as any to try out something new - and what better way to do that than with a host of free games?"

Some People:
"Some people feel helpless & anxious."

Today's Album:

Lockdown Links #2

New on the streaming services:

Today's should have been a theatrical is director Kleber Mendonça Filho's all too timely Bacurau, about a titular village whose water supply has been cut off, disappears from satellite maps completely and under threat from an unknown enemy, braces itself for a brutal fight for survival (so basically Asda Smithdown Road right now).  It would have been a MUBI release so they've added it to their catalogue for a month but it's also available for £10 on Curzon Home Cinema.

The Post has turned up on Netflix, the impeccably directed story of the Pentagon Papers starring Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep [via]. If you want to chronologically double bill and puzzle on how Hanx grew up to look like Jason Robards, All The President's Men is available to rent at all the usual stockists.

The big upload to Amazon Prime UK is the pretty good Patriots Day, Peter Berg's account of the 2013 Boston bombing with Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Monaghan typically under-utilised in her usual role as medical practitioner wife who spends most of the film at the other end a phone call [via].

Today's oddball choice is Wise Girls (also on Amazon Prime UK) about three waitresses who work at a bar whose exclusive clientele are the mob, with Mira Sorvino, Melora Walters and her majesty Queen Maria Carey (note I haven't seen this but as god is my witness I shall) [via].

A Dose of Doctor Who:

Living Legend is a short Big Finish audio adventure featuring the Eighth Doctor and Charley which originally appeared on a Doctor Who Magazine cover CD back in 2003.

Big Finish have made it available for download for free on their website.

The TARDIS team stumbles into one of the saddest alien invasions ever recorded and simply seem to have some fun with it, like Mickey Bricks and the team from Hustle when they've spotted a really easy mark. With just half an hour to play about with there's never really a sense of jeopardy but that really this is about epic bantz and the bantz are indeed epic.

The Links:

Star Trek’s Most Totally Awkward Moments:
"or those not in the know, March 18 is National Awkward Moments Day, a chance to recognize and celebrate those awkward and embarrassing moments we all experience from time to time. In honor of the day, we at TrekMovie thought we’d remind you of some of our favorite awkward moments — as experienced by Star Trek characters, not by us personally."

The things that early adopters of the DVD format had to put up with:
"From widescreen issues to turning the disc over, 9 problems that early adopters of DVD did battle with."

Conservation Stories: Henri Rousseau’s The Sleeping Gypsy:
"Removing a century of treatments reveals the iconic painting anew."

17 Absolutely Heartbreaking Pictures Of Celebrities In Quarantine:
"I'm tearing up."

Film Academy Evaluating "All Aspects" of Coronavirus Impact For Oscars:
"The Academy faces a dilemma over Oscars eligibility as studios push back release dates or opt to debut theatrical films on VOD as cinemas go dark."

The Moviegoer: Our Critic Misses Sitting in the Dark With You:
"On the pleasures, now suspended, of going to the movies, even in the age of streaming."

Culture In Quarantine: bringing arts and culture into the home (BBC):
"In almost every aspect of our lives, the past week has been amongst the most testing in modern history. We are concerned for the health of our communities, and the businesses and services that makes our society so vibrant."

Virtual gallery-going via the BBC:
"... I thought I would explore how galleries and museums in Britain started to collaborate with the BBC, initially on radio and then, as early as November 1936, on television too."

7 Things To Do If You Can’t Leave The House:
"“Quarantine,” “isolation,” “social distancing”—there are a lot of names for the same problem. Millions of people are being forced to alter their schedules and stay indoors due to the spread of COVID 19 (coronavirus). If you’re stuck at home, you may be asking yourself exactly what you’re going to do all day… and the Internet Archive is here to help!"

The Stay At Home Festival:
"It is stating the obvious to say that strange days have got a hell of a lot stranger with many people facing confusion and anxiety during this COVID-19 pandemic. Artists have nowhere to play and audiences have nowhere to go to to be distracted. Venues are having to close, gigs are having to be cancelled and festivals abandoned. And so we, at The Cosmic Shambles Network, proudly present The Stay at Home Festival."

Some Shakespeare:

Shakespeare’s Sonnets: Abridged Beyond the Point of Usefulness:
"A brief introduction to all 154 of Shakespeare’s sonnets, in which each is reduced to a single couplet of iambic tetrameter. A great way to ruin Shakespeare for a young English major and an excellent passive-aggressive anniversary gift."

Today's Album:

Lockdown Links #1

A Dose of Doctor Who

Author Lance Parkin has made his sublime Eighth Doctor novel, The Dying Days available to download as a .pdf for twenty four hours.
Old readers will know it was the basis for a project during my MA dissertation (holy shit) fifteen years ago.

Today's film recommendation:

Fast Color is still on Netflix.  Gugu Mbatha-Raw as a woman with supernatural powers on the run from the government.  A laid back indie superhero film with that magic quality of being just short enough to leave you wanting more.


University of Liverpool Lunchtime concert series goes online:
"This is where we live stream a range of concert and events, you can find the listings on our Concerts and Events page. Sit back, relax and enjoy the show!"

The Wind in the Willows: The Music is free:
"As theatres are forced to close their doors, we're making The Wind in the Willows the Musical available to stream online for free. The film was recorded live at the London Palladium in 2017. Please note this is currently only available in the UK."

The Digital Concert Hall now free for everyone:
"The Philharmonie Berlin is closed until 19 April to help contain the coronavirus. But the orchestra will continue to play for you – in the Digital Concert Hall. The Berliner Philharmoniker invite you to visit their virtual concert hall free of charge." [via]

Celebrate Our Cinemas: Edgar Wright On The Importance Of Saving The Big Screen Experience:
"As cinemas temporarily close worldwide in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, filmmaker Edgar Wright writes exclusively for Empire about the importance of protecting the big-screen experience, and how we can help save our favourite cinemas."

Around the world from your sofa: British Library to put rare globes online:
"Examples include 1679 pocket globe and 1730 terrestrial globe showing California as an island."

The mystery of the Spectator Index, one of the internet’s biggest news sources:
"On Twitter it's bigger than the Times or Good Morning Britain, but this news source has no reporters, no fact-checkers – and until now, its owner has never been named. Who is behind The Spectator Index?"

Beyond Bargain Hunt: your definitive guide to the wonders of daytime TV:
"What’s the best thing on BBC One? Is there more to Two than interior design? Do the Loose Women really all hate each other? Our veteran TV-watcher has some stay-at-home tips."

Birds of Prey gets an early VOD release on March 24:
"Will Harley get to enjoy an egg sandwich? Soon you'll be able to find out in the comfort of your own home."

Tomorrow's World - Executive Toys:
"Returning to the subject of futuristic offices, in this item James Burke investigates new toys to eradicate boredom from the lives of lonely executives. Despite the presence of motorised drinks holders, balls on springs and many toys that utilise magnets, the view seems to be that life as a high-flying executive won't be all that enjoyable in tomorrow's world."

So you’re stuck at home. Here’s a guide to finding great art while in isolation:
"So you’re stuck at home. There’s a pandemic. What to do?"

Today's album:

Love in the Time of Covid-19.

Life You've probably already seen that post title elsewhere but it's been knocking around my head for a few days like some blogger earwig so I'm using it at the top there just get it out of my system. So here we all are. Everything's closed and most of us are stuck at home.  I've been shifted to home-working which is going to be strange when my weekly shift pattern starts but there'll still be plenty to getting on with.

Anyway, in an attempt to keep myself a little bit busy and try and do something to contribute to keeping us all sane, I've decided to offer something akin to Christmas Links for the duration. Some of it will about about the lockdown and the reasons for the lockdown and the rest will be the usual fair you'd expect from a link blog.  Might not be every day, but I'll try my best and see what happens.  The first post will pop up in an hour or so.  Take care.

Making the Most of the Streaming Services.

Film Now that the country is entering lock down and London is starting to resemble the opening episode of Doctor Who's Invasion of the Dinosaurs, it's becoming mighty clear that we're all going to be clinging to our usual comfortainment which probably includes films. 

Plenty of us are subscribed to one or two streaming services and I've been wondering just how widespread some of the "hacks" I've picked up over the years are.  So I thought I'd put them up here just in case.  Note the following is with the UK in mind but there tend to be versions of these things abroad too.

Here's everything off the top of my head right now.  If there's anything else, expect a series of follow-up posts.

Just Watch

Just Watch is a search engine for streaming services so that you can find out where a film is available and at what price or if it's on a subscription service. 

The site is available worldwide and covers all of the major and some of the minor services including Netflix, Amazon, NowTV, iPlayer (and the other terrestrials), Disney+ and Mubi.  Here's the page for When Harry Met Sally.

But you can also filter by service which means you can get a preview of what's available before signing up.  Here's Disney+.  Here's Shudder.  There are similar services available, but I've found Just Watch to be the most user friendly.

New On ...

Streaming services are tragically bobbins at letting its users know what films have been added to their catalogue each day.  Netflix has added a preview area but that doesn't over everything.

Thanks be to @maft who has worked some magic on various API and produced websites and Twitter feeds which update daily with the whatever has been added to Amazon Prime, Netflix and NowTV.

Here's a link to the Netflix page.

Here is a link to NowTV.

Amazon Prime's a different basin of sea monkeys.  Unlike other services as well as licensed material it also allows some user uploads, so a lot of rubbish is added each day.  Maft has coded around that to get rid of most of the shite, but has created two pages just in case.

The gold should be here.

The junk should be here.

But as you can see, depending on how the material is added to Amazon's database it could end up on either of them.  Of the three, Amazon's is always the more interesting with some really oddball documentaries and archival material.

Finally, you can also look at the various services by year.  The 1993 page on Netflix is incredible.


Vodzilla's coming soon pages offer a preview of what's due to be uploaded the following month on the main services.  Sometimes its a bit threadbare and doesn't cover everything, but it's a useful indicator in case there's something which you have on your dvd-by-post list and would prefer to stream instead.


When it's working, MUBI has a live stream page which runs the films which are currently in their catalogue randomly throughout the day, if you're in the mood to experiment.  There isn't a schedule so you may end up watching something which is half way through though.

If you're staff or student at a university or college, you can also get MUBI for free.

Visit https://mubi.com/filmstudent or https://mubi.com/filmteacher, enter your details and you should get an account with a four or five year expiry date.

Film Films From Reputable Sources

Bookmark those genre pages, guys.  All of these also have apps on most if not all streaming sticks and smart TVs.

BBC iPlayer - this page sorts the items with latest broadcasts first, most of which are available for between a week or month.  Scroll further down and there's a few Sony Pictures films from the turn of the century which have a much longer expiry period, should you want to revisit the AJ Tomb Raiders.

All4 - generally stuff which has been recently broadcast which can include material which hasn't received a UK theatrical release.

My5 - an unmitigated shitshow to be honest with, thanks to tie-up with PlutoTV some full blooded theatrical releases mixed with TV movies and other dross.  Incredibly this currently include's Hal Hartley's Fay Grimm, which is so rare, it's barely seen the outside of the film festival circuit.

Google Play - A bit empty at the moment, but worth keeping an eye on.

BFI Player - a massive collection of archival material from the BFI, far too much to even consider describing here, from silents, shorts to feature films.  Most of it has to be searched but you could keep an eye on the collection pages.  Here's one for musicals.  This Google search provides a haphazard list of the others.

National Film Board of Canada - see above but from the Canadian film industry.  The website has recently updated and is much more user friendly.  Does include plenty of feature films, but some are only available in Canada.

Some Doctor Who novel recommendations.

Books Now that we're all increasingly in lock down waiting to see which way the apocalypse goes, I thought I'd post a few lists of recommendations for things to keep you company. Although some of us introverts have been training all our lives for this, it's not difficult to foresee some of us climbing the walls, so I hope this offers you some comfort. At least you're at home.

Anyway, first up, a list of suggestions for brilliant Doctor Who novels, one per trad incarnation. The should all be available on Kindle to save you going to the shops. Some of them are just a couple of pounds at the moment.

1: The Witch Hunters - Steve Lyons

2: The Wheel of Ice - Stephen Baxter

3: Last of the Gaderene - Mark Gattis

4: The Death Pit - A L Kennedy

5: Sands of Time - Justin Richards
(NB: I haven't read this.  But I haven't read any fifth Doctor MDA or PDAs and this is definitely available)

6: Players - Terrance Dicks

7: The Hollow Men - Keith Topping and Martin Day

8: The Gallifrey Chronicles - Lance Parkin

War: Engines of War - George Mann

9: The Monsters Inside - Steve Cole

10: Prisoner of the Daleks - Trevor Baxendale

11: Touched by an Angel - Jonathan Morris

12: Big Bang Generation - Gary Russell

13: At Childhood’s End - Sophie Aldred

If a few of those are from the Monsters series rerelease, it's because most of the 90s novels aren't available digitally.  But fortunately what has been republished is the crème de la crème.  If only more of this old stuff was still in circulation.