News: Sam Mendes to direct seminal comic book adaptation

October 31, 2008 by  
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It was announced by Columbia pictures yesterday that Sam Mendes (Jarhead, American Beauty, Road to Perdition) would direct seminal comic Preacher for the Big Screen.

For the uninitiated Preacher ran for 75 issues between 1995 and 2000, written by Garth Ennis with art by Steve Dillon.

It begins with a preacher Jesse Custer as he merges with a spiritual ‘force’ called genesis that imbues him with some badass powers.

As he witnesses the atrocities of humankind he loses faith in the man upstairs and begins a road trip across America with his embittered girlfriend Tulip and a nutcase vampire called Cassidy, determined to bring God himself to justice for leaving man to ruin or as the Preacher says: “I’m gonna go lookin’ for Him. I don’t care how long it takes or where I have to go. I’m gonna find him. An’ I’m gonna make Him tell His people what He’s done.”

A truly dark moral story threaded with violence and epic religious questions, Preacher took on the Big Question and beat the living cr*p out of it.

Many fans are breathing a collective sigh of relief that such a difficult to adapt comic is in the hands of a director like Mendes. Mendes is backed by a solid production crew including producers Neal Moritz (I am Legend) and Jason Netter (Wanted).

News: Russell Brand says bye-bye BBC and bye-bye Britain

October 30, 2008 by  
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Russell Brand has hot-footed it out of the country after quitting his job at the BBC yesterday. It appears that with his career in England suffering somewhat of a blip, he has chosen to focus his attentions, and rather wayward tongue on America.

On his way to Los Angeles, he is due to perform to 280 movie industry bods in Hollywood, followed by performances in San Francisco and New York.

No doubt, he can hardly believe the escalation of the last few days. Brand and radio co-presenter, Jonathan Ross, have been caught up in a sudden and tremendous row over the voicemail messages that they left on the phone of Fawlty Towers actor, Andrew Sachs. Just a few days ago, Ross was heard on BBC Radio declaring that Brand had slept with his granddaughter, 23-year-old burlesque dancer Georgina Baillie, a fact that she has, incidentally, admitted to.

Ross issued an official apology for his “juvenile and thoughtless remarks? conscious of keeping hold of his £18m, three-year contract but Brand had kept quiet until late yesterday when he issued an official resignation statement on video in which he apologises. In it he stated “I was being really silly and got caught up in the spirit of the moment? but that it was “not malicious.?

Looks like everyone including the Prime Minister has had their two-pence worth now.  The saga continues? We hope not.

Sold?: Barclaycard Glide- “Credit Crunch, What Credit Crunch?”

October 30, 2008 by  
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As the work of many artistic greats have taught us, in times of hardship there is generally only one safe way to go, escapism, escapism, escapism. The creatives behind Barclays’ new ad are drawing on a little historical inspiration here, boldly hoping to follow in their footsteps and put this kind of philosophy firmly into practice.

A banker finishes for the day and strips down to his swimming trunks to glide homeward down a water chute from his office. He travels through the supermarket and the library using a Barclaycard to swipe and spend, spend spend using his Barclaycard Glide, as uplifting music tells us to, erm, let our love go like a mountain stream. The mood is jolly. Too jolly one might say… Credit crunch, what credit crunch? Everything’s just dandy here at the bank. Look!- No, no, not at our screens! Over here, yoohoo! We’re so comfortable that we’re stripping off and whizzing round the city on a sliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiide…yeeeaaahhhhh!

But you know what, it’s darker than that. This is a psychoanalyst’s playground.  Don’t you think that in trying to distract us this advert probably reflects fairly accurately the disturbed mental states of most city workers at present? They’ve lost it, they’re regressing to a happy place of childhood carelessness. That’s right, we’re going down baby, but we may as well enjoy the riiiiiiiiiiide!

By Susan Allen

Wednesday’s TV: May the least worst contestants win

October 29, 2008 by  
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THE RESTAURANT, BBC2, Wednesday 29th, 8pm Alert me

So, tonight is le soir that Monsieur Blanc finally plucks one lucky couple from finalists James and Alasdair, and Russell and Michelle to throw some money away on, sorry, open a new restaurant with. Who will step up to the mark? Who has got what it takes? No seriously, who actually has got what it takes? With a series that seems to have seen more disasters than discovery of raw talent, surely it’s a case of ‘may the least worst contestants win…’

Tonight’s final sees both couples cook on board the extravagant Orient Express. Raymond makes his task clear. He says all wistfully and French, like, “I want a storm of seduction, beauty…romance…the sublime.? Ha! Good luck with that lot! Both couples know that they can’t mess this one up. Organisation is key. Everything has to be prepped and on the train when it leaves the station and be served to absolute perfection.

This series, the standard in the final just isn’t that high, especially with the front-of-house brigade. They’ve ended up with nervy excuses for charismatic hosts, shakily handing out menus and smiling manically in the hope that everything will be ok. Floaty, if-I-smile-then-everything’s-fine Michelle can’t seem to get it together to choose tissue paper (yeah, I just said tissue paper) for the gifts they’re handing out, phoning a positively unimpressed Russell in the middle of prepping all of the food alone. Then later, she almost leaves the booked entertainment behind on the platform! Oh, sort it out love…

And fumbling Alasdair, bless him, he tries…actually don’t bless him. This boy needs to a) toughen up and b) calm the hell down! Ok, so he looks cute in his little steward’s waistcoat thing but can everyone just stop, take a moment, and cease treating him like a child?? When Raymond straightens his dickie bow it’s almost father/son-like (if not for the bizarre air of sexual tension- “ahum…dickie bow…?, Alasdair mumbles- did anyone else notice that??). And it’s like being at his bl**dy parents evening when David Moore comments on his performance, “Alasdair was a little star!?..ergch. Oh and one more thing- don’t go pulling out your sob story when Raymond gives you one last chance to convince him to pick you. I know it’s in keeping with the general trend of shamelessness nowadays but it’s cheap, unashamed and just makes you look lame.

Stay tuned this evening to find out who wins but don’t expect fireworks. Two endings have been filmed (a bit harsh to build them both up methinks but what do I care, they’re lame!) but the footage shown tonight will pronounce the actual winners ones that didn’t lose.

By Susan Allen

Thursday’s TV: ‘Ponderland’- Brand Ponces but the Show Works

October 29, 2008 by  
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RUSSELL BRAND’S PONDERLAND, Channel 4, Thursday 30th October, 10:35pm

Ponderland is the uber-vehicle for Russell Brand pitched by Channel 4 as “a chance to see Russell at his spontaneous best” and whether you like this show or not will depend mainly on whether listening to Russell Brand makes you want to shoot yourself in the head or not.

Personally, i’ve never found Brand to be funny. His stroke victim facial aerobics and humour-as-shouting-stuff-at-audience don’t make me laugh. Also yes, we should address that whole telling Andrew Sach’s he had sexy time with his granddaughter furore. In all honesty, as Ponderland shows, this is exactly the kind of antics that people love Russell Brand for, so I struggle to understand how angry everyone is. I mean GORDON BROWN is jumping on the band wagon now! That’s when you know you are in trouble – when the Prime Minister is telling you off. Still you would be missing out if you let this stop you watching Ponderland, because Thursday’s opener for the second season will have you laughing out loud.

Ponderland is a take on You’ve Been Framed, only much, much darker and with way better clips. You know what’s funnier than a kid falling off a swing? A woman talking about her relationship (and yes we mean in the biblical sense) with her dog, Miles. Or a pensioner explaining that in the absence of pretty tropical birds he has forcibly dyed all his pigeons lurid colours because it ‘cheers the place up’.

Of course you have to put up with Brand’s segments inbetween as he prances around like a frog on acid and at times its like enduring someone else’s hyperactive child for an evening- it leaves you exhausted and dreaming up ways to throttle them without anyone noticing.

Mainly though, the clips are well worth hanging in for as there are some absolute gems in here and the unknown researchers behind the scenes who have dug them up deserve all the kudos. This will give you an insight into what happens when relations with out beloved pets go wrong.  No matter how you feel about Brand himself, this is one to watch.

By McGee Noble

Colin Farrell and Keira Knightley Snare BIFA nominations

October 28, 2008 by  
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The nominations for the eleventh annual British Independent Film Awards were announced today with In Bruges starring Colin Farrel snaring nods in 7 categories. This tied with Steve McQueen’s Hunger in recieving the most nominations.

Hunger, Steve McQueen’s debut, follows the last six weeks of Irish hunger striker Bobby Sands. It is nominated for best film, best director, best screenplay and best actor among others.

In Bruges will go up against Hunger in almost every category, including Best Film, Best Actor and Best Screenplay with Steve McQueen and In Bruges direcotr Martin McDonagh fighting it out for Best Debut Director.

Keira Knightley netted a nomination for her role in the Duchess- her first nod from the BIFA jury. Sienna Miller and Kristin Scott Thomas are also fist time nominees, battling it out in the Best Supporting Actress category. … Read all nominations

Exclusive Interview: Stars of ‘Wheeler Dealers’ talk about life in the fast lane, telly induced injuries and a brand new series

October 28, 2008 by  
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Tonight, Discovery’s resident car enthusiasts, Mike Brewer and Edd China return to our screens in Wheeler Dealers – On the Road to tour Europe on a money making mission to buy old cars, do them up and sell them on.  OntheBox’s Susan Allen talks to them about life on the road, just what constitutes authentic telly nowadays, and their valiant roles as car-recycling crusaders.

I’ll admit this right now.  I am no car fanatic. I’m not even a car lover, really.  Sure, I can tell the generally run-down scrap-heap from the potential vintage classic and can take a good guess at which ones are mind-bogglingly expensive, normally by the distinctive swagger of its owner.  However, when it comes to buying old cars, doing them up and selling them on, I’m clueless and to be frank, fairly apathetic.  It was clear from the start that the Wheeler Dealers guys were going to have to come up with something pretty special to capture my attention.

Walking into Trident Sound Studios in Soho, I glance up at the photographs of the likes of John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Elton John, who recorded some of their greats here.  Feeling a little uncertain with my lack of car knowledge, I walk in to find Edd and Mike chatting cheerfully about the voice-overs … Read feature

Pick of the Week: Monday 27th October

October 27, 2008 by  
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BBC 1, Monday 27th October, 9pm
A magnifcent start to the new season, tonight sees Adam fight to save a soldier who has been kidnapped by al-Quaeda. A new father, the soldier is threatened with death unless the government agrees to cancel rememberance day.  Jo struggles to get back to work after their traumatic ordeal at the end of last season and Harry gets a protege back, but will he be the same? Richard Armitage joins the cast as a mysterious spy that has been locked in a Russian prison for 8 years.

E4, Monday 27th October, 10pm
Acclaimed writer and critic Charlie Brooker is more known for his witty reviews and blogs than for his screenplays, but he penned the dark zombie horror which premiere’s tonight on E4 and continues every night until Friday.  A gory, brilliant take on the Zombie genre, this sees the Big Brother House (Davina included) attacked by the walking dead. With cameos aplenty, Brooker manages to create something even scarier than the Big Brother we know and loathe.

Film: HERO
Film4, Tuesday 28 October, 9pm

Zhang Yimou’s stunning all-action film is set during the time of China’s warring states, before the country was unified. To the court of the King of Qin (Chen Dao Ming), who seeks to rule the united country, comes Nameless (Jet Li), who claims to have killed three deadly assassins (Tony Leung, Maggie Cheung and Donnie Yen) who were all determined to kill the King. As Nameless recounts his exploits in flashback, each time the wily King responds with his version. Is Nameless a true servant of Qin or does he have a secret agenda?

BBC 2, Wednesday 29th October, 8pm

After seven exhausting weeks running their restaurants, the two surviving couples go head-to-head in Raymond Blanc’s final challenge. Afterwards, Raymond will hand the winners a once-in-a-lifetime prize: the chance to join him in a brand-new restaurant business venture. In this ultimate challenge the couples set off on a surprise journey and find themselves having to cook for, serve and delight 40 discerning guests aboard one of the world’s most exclusive and romantic trains. After the train shudders to a halt, Raymond must decide which couple will go home with nothing and whose dream has finally come true.

ITV 3, Thursday 30th October, 10pm

After spending twelve years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, Charlie Crews (Damian Lewis) rejoins the force with a shiny new Detective badge. Crews, accompanied by his new partner Dani Reese (Sarah Shahi), works to solve the inexplicable murder of a young boy. Crews’ unconventional tactics put Reese on edge causing both Reese and Lt. Karen Davis (Robin Weigert) to question his motives for rejoining the force. Adam Arkin, Brooke Langton and Brent Sexton also star.

Rescue Me premieres on iTunes before UK TV

October 27, 2008 by  
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In a sign of progressing digital awareness in the television industry, Sony Pictures Television announced that acclaimed U.S. drama Rescue Me would premiere its fourth season in the UK on iTunes before it is screened on network television.

Starring Denis Leary (the Thomas Crown Affair), Rescue me follows Tommy Gavin, a New York firefighter and his colleagues at Truck Company 62 as they come to terms with 9/11 and the terrible toll it had on New York firefighters. As Gavin greives the loss of his comrades, he also struggles with the breakdown of his marriage and sees visions of his dead best friend.

Never before broadcast in the UK, it will first be available on iTunes. From the 14th October Season’s one, two and three will also be on iTunes meaning a total of 52 episodes will be available for download.

Leary co-created the show with ex The Larry Sanders show writer and producer Peter Tolan in 2004, the first three seasons have had multiple Emmy® nominations for both acting and writing.

Review: Spooks starts with a bang

October 27, 2008 by  
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SPOOKS, BBC 1, Monday 27th October, 9pm Alert Me

Spooks returns tonight with another cracking episode. Adam is all cool and nonchalant after his recent torture and takes the lead on the recovery of a kidnapped British soldier who the al-Quaeda are threatening to kill unless remembrance Sunday is cancelled.

Shaking things up is Lucas North, an old protege of Harry’s who has just been recovered from a Russian prison where he has been starving, tattooing, weight training and developing a mysterious glint in his eye for 8 years. He’s a man with a past, will he turn out to be for the good or the bad?

While Adam has bounced back, Jo is a bit of a mess who seems to be coping by running herself to death, or as Adam says ‘your traumatised running is really annoying me’. C’mon girl, you’re a spy, pull it together…

As the al-Qaeda are threatening to chop off our soldier’s head every five minutes, the Russians are being all coy and cold war and Harry’s got alarm bells ringing and it soon appears that more than just one soldier may be in danger.

It is truly wonderful that Spooks still pulls it together to be one of the best British shows on telly. Tonight’s episode ends with something that will change the team forever. An absolute must watch for anyone who has ever been a fan. For those who aren’t, now is a good time to start.

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