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A Month on the BBC Global iPlayer

The kind folks over at the BBC were nice enough to give me access to the iPlayer for a month in order to review it. So I’ve spent to past month watching various BBC productions on my iPhone in a variety of circumstances. I’ve streamed them at home, I’ve downloaded and watched them on the bus; I’ve used the iPhone’s speakers and I’ve listened with my headphones; I’ve tried old and new and various types of programmes and shows. I have to admit to being quite impressed with the product, even if I do have some slight reservations.

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Non-Review Review: Surviving Life (Theory and Practice)

Surviving Life, from director Jan Svankmajer, is a strange beast. It opens with an introduction from the director, in which – using an animation style that looks like a bizarre and strangely compelling blend of Terry Gilliam’s work on Monty Python and South Park – he apologises to the audience for the presentation. I can’t tell if he’s being serious or not, and if his somewhat bitter complaints about his inability to find proper financing are a post-modern twist on the cliché of the misunderstood arthouse director, or a straight example of it. “Sadly, our civilisation has no time for dreams,” he claims with dour seriousness, and an uncomfortable confidence. “There’s no money in them.” Stating that he intended to produce the film as a live-action piece of cinema, he repeatedly states that this is not how he imagined the film. “So this is not a formal experiment,” he tells us, “just a poor imperfect substitute for a live action film.”It’s a shame, because the animation is the best thing about the film.

The direct approach...

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Non-Review Review: Buried

Buried is a great high-concept thriller, with one hell of a hook and a fascinating premise. Basically the story of kidnap victim Paul Conroy, who is kidnapped by “insurgents” (or “criminals” or “terrorists”, depending on who you ask) and buried alive in Iraq. With only a limited source of light, and even less time, the truck driver is given mere hours to come up with a ridiculously large ransom or he’ll be left in the ground to rot forever.

It's a dirty job...

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Pygmalion at the Abbey Theatre (Review)

I think it’s safe to say that George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion has had quite the impact on popular culture. Even those unfamiliar with the original 1912 play written by the great Irish playwright will know the basic structure of the story, filtered down through countless reruns of My Fair Lady and She’s All That. It’s hard to argue that anything in Shaw’s impressive back catalogue is quite as crowd-pleasing, but never at the expense of being sharp and provocative. The fact that it’s turning out to be next-to-impossible to get a seat at the Abbey’s run of the play indicates that the work has lost none of its appeal.

Doolittle doctored?

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Non-Review Review: From Paris, With Love

Mister Morel, I watched Taken, I knew Taken, Taken was a film of mine. Mister Morel, this is no Taken. 

No can do, apparently...

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Gotta Get a Gilliam…

Apparently Terry Gilliam wants to work at Pixar. How incredibly awesome would that be? Even the concept is intriguing. I’m not as head-over-heels in love with Gilliam as most film fans seem to be (his output tends to fluctuate wildly in quality), but Brazil is quite possibly my favourite science fiction film ever. And I love science fiction. Anyway, I would have thought a major studio that is a subsidiary of possibly the largest and most influential entertainment conglomerate in the world would be the last place an auteur like Gilliam would be found.

Evidently, I was wrong.

Rawr! Gilliam's Gonna Get Ya!

Rawr! Gilliam's Gonna Get Ya!

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