Film, TV and the Arts

Film, TV and the Arts

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Reel 6: Best of July

Picture of the month: Taken Mont d'Azur, Provence, 13th July. Click for full size
Here's a look back at this month's output and the very best of Reel 6 from July.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Have we hit the 3D tipping point?

The anti-3D lobby is growing very strong indeed, and there is a sense that the crucial moment has come. The release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 in 3D has brought about something new: audiences have had a viewing experience where they have really liked the film but absolutely hated the 3D.

Hollywood D.C.

The U.S. Congress has turned its hand to making entertainment first and legislation second

I’m unaware of what the theatre situation is in Washington D.C., but, if there is one, the plays can’t be up to much, as the Congress seems to be determined to make its own entertainment.

Latterly, it was the Budget, saved at the last hour by another continuing resolution, which did what every Hollywood studio executive wants: it left room for a sequel. However, the good men and women of the 112th congress had another idea: a spin off.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Highlights of the Week

Here is the best of Reel 6 from the past seven days:

Music - The tragic death of Amy Winehouse

TV - The Rise of Benedict Cumberbatch

Film - A Review of Beginners

Theatre - A Preview of the Edinburgh Fringe

My TV Secret Shame(s)

With a number of TV shows passing me by, I ask whether anyone can keep up?

Looking around for something to fill these pages for this morning proved to be distressingly revealing. There was a whole ream of things I wished to write on. There’s a celebrated episode of Dexter on tonight. Sky Atlantic are currently rerunning Boardwalk Empire, and speaking of that broadcaster, a flick through Sky Go shows In Treatment’s second series being featured.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

The Rise of Cumberbatch

It shall be interesting to see Benedict Cumberbatch on BBC Four tonight. Having burst into the public’s consciousness with his excellent performance as Sherlock, he appears to be angling to become a TV personality of some repute. After an excellent stab at presenting Have I Got News For You last year, he now takes a look at the life and work of Terrence Rattigan, the playwright whose centenary is being celebrated this year.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

The Edinburgh Festval: A thoroughly subjective preview

A preview of three productions which should be sought out

The Edinburgh Festivals get underway next week, with the most famous, the Fringe, officially starting on Friday, 5th August. As ever, it promises to be a smorgasbord of comedic and acting talents playing to packed houses and exhausting themselves across a month of endless performing. Frankly, though, that is not what the Fringe is about.

A sneak peek at the next part of Doctor Who

The second half of the latest series of Doctor Who is fast approaching, and the Beeb jave just released this teaser:

Films on TV: Gomorrah

For those who are in the mood for a gritty, brutal and uncompromising exposé about the Neapolitan mafia on a Tuesday night (and why wouldn’t you be?) then you’re in luck with Gomorrah on BBC Two at 12.20am in the early hours of Wednesday morning. If you’re simply in the mood for a good film, then you’re in luck as well.

Monday, 25 July 2011

TV Review: The Hour

Ahead of the second episode of The Hour, the series is turning into a missed opportunity

The first episode of The Hour was something of an oddity. At times, it had a really good feel about it. There was a clear story about the evolution of television news and about gender politics in the 1950s which was very interesting, beautifully made and very well-acted.

England take a 1-0 lead

England beat India by 196 runs

England have asserted their credentials as the best test team in the world with a thumping victory in the first test at Lord’s against India, winning by 196 runs. James Anderson took 5-65 as England swept aside the Indians with only Suresh Raina (78), and VVS Laxman (56) showing any real resistance, eventually bowled out for 261.

It completed what had been a hugely successful test match for the hosts, but though the margin was comprehensive, this does not mean that England will find it easy to win the series, or claim the No. 1 spot in the Test World rankings.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

TV Review: The Return of Futurama

Futurama flourishes with new found confidence in its insanity
As The Simpsons continue to roll on and on, Friday saw the return on these shores of Futurama, the lesser child from the Matt Groening stable. Cancelled in 2003, Futurama was adored by many fans, and the speculation that it may return was rife. Eight years later, it is back as a regular series after some straight-to-DVD feature length releases.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Amy Winehouse Dead at 27

The death of Amy Winehouse is a great tragedy. The television obituaries portray a life only half-lived, which touched greatness and fell from the heights with distressing speed. Truly, this is a very sad story.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Review: Beginners

From out of the closet comes a little surprise

Director & Screenwriter: Mike Mills
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer and Mélanie Laurent
Plot: Oliver’s father was gay. Despite this, he stayed married to Oliver’s mother for 44 years. In the aftermath of his father’s death, Oliver is left to ponder what his father meant to him. As he deals with this he meets Anna, and the two begin to fall in love.

Reviews: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Harry battles for the final time
It all ends, not with a whimper, but with a dazzling blast

Director: David Yates
Screenwriter: Steve Kloves
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Ralph Fiennes, Alan Rickman & Maggie Smith
Plot: The hour is dark indeed, and Harry, Ron and Hermione still have many Horcruxes to destroy in their seemingly impossible quest to vanquish Voldemort. As they continue, and Voldemort becomes more aware of their efforts, a final battle becomes inevitable.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Review: The Tree of Life

The Tree of Life is dead at the roots
Malick's latest is full of visions, and music, and signifies nothing

Director & Screenwriter: Terrence Malick
Cast: Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain & Sean Penn
Plot: A man looks back on his life as he sits disillusioned in the modern day. He ponders the origins of the universe, the existence of God and his upbringing in 50s suburbia, particularly his complex relationship with his father and his close relationship with his mother.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

TV Review: The Apprentice

The mystery of the year: how did Tom win?

How on earth did Tom win The Apprentice? I have no inkling as to how he did it, and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t either, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Lord Sugar woke up the morning after and was pretty miffed himself.

When this nice, ineffectual, geeky man turned up in week one, on his bike, I gave him two weeks tops. Then, he proceeded to be in the losing team for the first five tasks. He was obviously bright, but didn’t seem to have any cutting edge at all. He was the epitome of amiability, and he was loved by all, but that was never going to be enough.

Is the look the thing?

Dominic West in The Hour
As The Hour hits our screens this week, are audiences looking for programmes which are style over substance?

Friday, 15 July 2011

Trailerwatch: Taking a look at new trailers, so you don't have to

Today: The Iron Lady, The Adventures of Tintin & Hugo

Spectator Arts Blog: All Hail Harry Potter

In an article for The Spectator's Arts Blog, Night and Day, I defend the Harry Potter books and praise their all too rare simplicity. You can find the blog here.

The Great Distraction

In grave times, this soap-opera should fall from the front pages

This morning, the excellent Philip Collins in The Times (£), which (as they keep reminding us) is owned by News International, stands up for “the people” by making the two points that no-one in the disgraced media classes or the sanctimonious political classes has cared to make: the people are not stupid, and this story is of little importance to them.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Egremont: PMQs blog

Reel 6 works for the Tory Reform Group's Egremont blog, and here is a piece on today's PMQs, and other developments in the News International scandal:You can find the blog here

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

PMQs: What's this? Elements of an actual debate...

Following PMQs on twitter is always interesting. You get a myriad of coverage at a relentless pace with a broad range of opinions. But today, there was something like a consensus. No-one seemed willing to make a point for Cameron. It was Ed’s day. At long, long last, that is. However, having watched the exchanges, a few things can be said.

Let he who is without Murdoch cast the first stone

This lunchtime, David Cameron will go to the Commons to face PMQs not just with the Phone Hacking storm raging outside, but with questions about Andy Coulson landing right at his feet. With Coulson now directly implicated in a “cash-for-stories” deal with the police, questions will again be asked about Cameron’s judgement (and, surely, one must also ask vital questions of the police).

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Does Carlos really believe that money can't buy him love?

Matt Dickinson, on Twitter this morning, was questioning Carlos Tevez’s motives: “So we are clear, Tevez has to leave cos of family concerns. Just that in December he said it was because he hated Garry Cook… And a month ago in the NotW he said it was because mcfc had broken promises (tho he never said what they were)”.

Anger at severe allegations must not boil over into misconduct

The latest phone-hacking scandal defies description. The alleged hacking of Milly Dowler’s phone after her disappearance in 2002, and rumours of similar activities around the Soham murder victims, is nothing other than inhuman. There is no common ground between journalistic investigation and interfering with evidence in a crucial police case, and toying with the emotions of already tormented families.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Film Review: X-Men: First Class

These superhumans are uncharacteristically underwhelming
Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, Jennifer Lawrence, Rose Byrne & January Jones
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Screenwriter: Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn
Plot: In the 1960s, the new breed of mutants is emerging, and as Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) begins to plan using their powers for evil, Charles Xavier is determined to make human beings and mutants accept one another. Caught in the middle of this is Erik Lehnsherr, the young Magneto.

Djokovic and Kivotva Complete a Coup d’État

They’re changing the guard at SW19. This year’s championships very much had an end of an era feel. Two first-time singles champions were the most obvious symbol of it, but across the two weeks, there was a definite sense that the old order was being firmly abolished.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Welcome to the Reel 6 Blog

Reel 6 is a blog providing a wide range of comment on Film, Sport, Politics and Current Events. It endeavours to provide reviews of the latest films, political and sports comment, and wider pieces of interest and amusement, as well as links to other commentary work by the author, Jack Blackburn. I hope you enjoy it.