Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category
It’s perhaps a reflection of how little interest I take in the film world these days that I was alerted to the upcoming release of a 3D version of Star Wars: Episode I by seeing an advert for it on those lovely interactive advertising hoardings that you get at every football ground these days.
The kind of stadium advertising that only ever used to exist in Spain but which now offer an alternative source of entertainment to an English audience whenever things on the pitch get a bit dull.
My initial reaction was “Great, Star Wars in 3D!” – until it quickly dawned on me that it was The Phantom Menace that was being advertised. I didn’t see that at the cinema in regular 2D format, waiting instead to get a copy on DVD when the home cinema version was released.
I wasn’t impressed.
My hope for the original trilogy before it was released was that it would feel like Star Wars, and not be reduced to a special effects CGI fest. That the spacecraft would be models, and the aliens would be normal people kitted out in rubber masks and “alien” clothes.
For me, that was the approach needed to give the new trilogy a genuinely authentic Star Wars feel, and become a worthy addition to the original trilogy – three of the most well-loved films of all time.
Unfortunately the result of Episode I: The Phantom Menace was a movie that wasn’t a patch on any of the original trio, a movie lacking a story with enough depth to require its own feature film, and which was filled with CGI effects that no doubt involved an incredible amount of skill on the part of the computer animators, but which often looked too unrealistic for my liking when dropped into footage containing actual people.
No better example of that was in the creation of Jar Jar Binks, in my opinion the most annoying, unnatural and unnecessary character to appear in any of the six Star Wars films. Converting him into 3D isn’t going to change my mind on that.
Although it is sure to be visually impressive, the depth to both plot and its characters will still be lacking, and that’s why I’ll be giving the re-released film a miss.
One festive tradition is that of the Christmas hit song.
It’s a time of year – maybe the only time of the year – when tracks by the likes of Wham!, Slade, Wizzard and Shakin’ Stevens are played over the airwaves.
Whether hearing them on the radio at home or work, or when we’re out shopping on the high street, such famous festive tunes have become as big a part of the traditions in the run up to Christmas that we’d be lost without them.
They’re true classics, but each year I wonder whether there will ever be a new addition to the collection.
It’s 23 years since Chris Rea was Driving home for Christmas, which was also the year in which Cliff Richard was enjoying success with Mistletoe and Wine. The Pogues’ Fairytale of New York has been with us even longer, having been recorded in 1987.
Since then, it’s doubtful that anything other than Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is You has made a lasting and worthy contribution to the array of Christmas hits that we all enjoy with, and even that was 17 years ago.
There have been a few failed attempts over the years, and many covers recorded by newer stars in that time, but nothing has truly stuck with us, nor seems likely to.
The way in which the modern music industry works has surely been a factor, with most “success” coming from a reality talent show win which aims to provide instant fame and fortune.
Modern number ones are seldom the product of a great record, but of a Facebook campaign or a TV talent show combined with mass media exposure, and within a week or two, the track is already forgotten about by most.
In 2010, 34 different songs reached top spot. That compares with just 14 in 1984, some of which are still widely heard today.
In today’s over-saturated music world, even if an original Christmas hit song was recorded and had the potential to cement a place amongst the classics of years gone by, the chances are that it wouldn’t get the exposure necessary to remain in people’s minds long enough to see in the New Year, let alone still be getting played on the radio twenty years later.
So while the wait goes on for a modern Christmas classic, we’ll have to be content with singing along to Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and co. Considering most of the artists dominating popular music today, perhaps that isn’t such a bad thing after all.
In a little more low key a fashion than its original release in 1993, Jurassic Park has been handed a re-release in UK cinemas.
Eighteen years may have passed since its original cinema release, but Jurassic Park remains thoroughly entertaining, and whilst technology has moved on, the film’s sound and visual effects still impress.
And after some of the rubbish which was on our screens during the summer, it’s just a shame that such an enjoyable, good old fashioned summer blockbuster wasn’t out a couple of months earlier.
It may cost more than £3 for a ticket this time around, but if you haven’t seen the film for a while, you catch it while it’s around on the big screen once again!
The Apprentice has thrown up very few surprises so far, but as the process moves into its final weeks, it is at least becoming more interesting.
Last night’s episode saw the candidates head out to Paris, hoping to make sales of some supposedly classic British products. Sure, the products in question may not have currently been available on the French market. But other than a light shaped in that most British of items, a teapot, nothing else was capable of being marketed as a product with a natural association with Britain.
In any case the teapot lamp sold badly, and Logic, the team who chose the product, were duly given a mauling when the sales results came in.
As to who would take the blame, it really could have been any one from the four team members, though I was pleased to see Tom given a reprieve. Considering the number of tasks he’d lost, he’d obviously done something right to avoid a single boardroom encounter with Lord Sugar.
The boardroom was something he wouldn’t be able to avoid last night, as the team leader, but while his mistakes during the task were evident, it’s also true that a number of his colleagues have been given an opportunity to remain in contention, and to learn from their mistakes. It was pleasing to see Tom afforded the same luxury.
However, I was surprised to see Melody get away so lightly with a contribution which went beyond selfish. A manipulation of the market research in order to suit her own personal dislike of a product which she hadn’t even seen in person was largely overlooked, even though the product in question was ultimately that which secured victory in the task for the other team involved.
Her refusal to share out appointments which she had secured could also have been seen in a poor light, but Lord Sugar instead saw the positive in such approach, and warmed to her determination to win. The team’s leadership may have been weak in allowing her bullying to succeed, but others in the current series have already been shown the door for displaying characteristics deemed unsuitable for a business partnership with Lord Sugar. Clearly Melody’s selfish approach to a team task is not as unforgiveable as many viewers may have hoped, and I suspect she will be around for some time yet.
With team numbers smaller, there have become fewer hiding places and Leon was helpless but to admit an almost non existant contribution. While he too was guilty of being overrun by Melody who did, out of the kindness of her heart, “allow him to have” the final sales pitch on her list, he has also been guilty of being given a few earlier warnings during the eight weeks so far.
He was never likely to get away with another one, and was handed a cab ride home.