21/07/2017

War for the Planet of the Apes



You know how seamless the motion capture process has become when you don’t even spend time marvelling at it as people used to and instead focus straight into the film. It’s probable that this story could not have been done till now due to those advances because it is seen almost entirely from the apes point of view while the scattering of human characters enjoy relatively short focus compared to their simian rivals.  This can, at times, make the results seem slightly drawn out but this is a tense, slow burning war film that succeeds by trying new twists on a familiar tale.

17/07/2017

Top of the Pops 8 July 1982



Reviewed by Chris Arnsby. David "Kid" Jensen: "And a warm welcome to another forty minutes of hit sounds in vision. And we begin this week's music and lights with this from Imagination."

[5] Imagination: Music And Lights. Leee John and Ashley Ingram are having a contest to see who can wear the most stupid clothes. Under normal circumstances Ashley Ingram would win; he's wearing a top modelled on American Football shoulder pads and gold lame trousers. However, Leeee John has pulled off an ensemble in white lace and padded cloth which makes him look like the one of the alien delegates from the Doctor Who story Mission to the Unknown. The drummer barely gets a look in. Which is probably just as well. He's wearing a long coat that covers his shorts so he appears to be trouserless. This is a standard Imagination performance which means it features lots of groin thrusts and kissy faces but Leeeee John goes too far and punctures the erotic atmosphere with a move that involves opening his coat and fanning his chest as if his nipple is too hot. And where does Ashley Ingram's guitar go? It disappears while he's off camera. Does he toss it into the audience like Elvis used to do with towels? (John- Yes, in all 8 people were injured over the years)
Imagination: Yes, it was his turn to wear the triangle this week

12/07/2017

Spiderman- Homecoming



From the moment the introduction includes that familiar Spiderman cartoon series theme you know this is going to be a more playful take on the web slinger than recent attempts and indeed that is the case. Spiderman Homecoming pivots on two excellent performances from Tom Holland and Michael Keaton and a likeable sense of irreverence that stops short of parody. Plus suitably enough considering the main character, it is essentially a coming of age movie.
Alert! Spidey spoilers past this point!

08/07/2017

Pineapples are in my head...



How did pineapples become so popular? If you look they are everywhere even in areas you might not associate with such an item. It’s a strange thing the pineapple- for example the Wimbledon winner’s trophy has a pineapple on top of it because we all associate tennis with pineapples don’t we? Well, no, but the reason it’s there is because it was once a symbol of wealth, a highly sought after commodity back in the day; the crowning glory of a feast if you like. And that apparently is why it is there rather than the strawberry or tennis ball you might expect. Hang on, there’s also a pineapple on top of the Rugby World Cup as well for more or less the same reason. Wouldn’t it be great if the football World Cup was just one big giant gold pineapple?

05/07/2017

The Golden Voyage of Sinbad



About 15 years after his seventh voyage Sinbad was back for this 1973 film in which he is on the trail of an amulet part of which is serendipitously dropped onto his ship by a gargoyle like bat creature presumably the sort of occurrence that often happened. This odd bit of plotting aside, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad is a tighter more nuanced film than its brash predecessor. Interestingly it holds back on its monsters; whereas Seventh Voyage wheeled out the Cyclops within its first ten minutes, the small winged demon aside, there is not a big beast in sight for over half an hour. This gives the movie a better momentum and more opportunity to establish characters in particular Tom Baker’s mercurial Koura.

02/07/2017

Top of the Pops 1 July 1982



Reviewed by Chris Arnsby. A bad day for television, unless you really like sport. At 19.10 Top of the Pops is a ray of sunshine against the gloomy backdrop of a day where only Chock-a-Block and Playschool break up the monotony of a BBC1 schedule composed of alternating news and Wimbledon coverage. But wait... what's on when Top of the Pops finishes at 19.40? Oh it's World Cup Grandstand until the News at 21.55. Time for bed.
John Peel: "Hello and welcome to Top of the Pops. Getting to be a pretty regular gig for this... for me this and I always think it's very important when you're on television that you don't look stupid, you know what I mean. Rather a short programme because we've got football on later and I hope you'll stay for that. We've got some good things for you though; Queen, The Jam. We're going to start with Visage.  
[34] Visage: Night Train. Ron Bristow is on Lighting duties again and he uses a flickering light effect to subtly imply motion. It takes two people to produce this effect. The first is on the right of the stage spinning a square mirrored box by hand. The second is over to stage left and he's standing by a light making sure it's pointing at the box. Meanwhile Steve Strange dances around on stage. It's probably Visage's first time performing in the Top of the Pops studio, or something.
Steve was not impressed by the enormous microphone

30/06/2017

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad



Released this week is a limited edition box set with both DVD and blu-ray formats are three Ray Harryhausen Sinbad films together with lots of extras. The trio are undeniably popcorn classics with pioneering effects for the time they were made. I certainly remember seeing the second and third of these back in the day when we had a local cinema. The 7th Voyage of Sinbad is the earliest and least familiar though it’s been on TV many times. By today’s standards this 1958 movie is rather creaky though its not the legendary special effects that have dated half as much as the acting and plot. Nonetheless it has the sort of thrills and spills that would have entertained audiences in a time when most comparable films tried things like superimposing ordinary sized lizards over the picture to make them look huge. Trouble was they just sort of sat there. By contrast Ray Harryhausen’s stop motion animation- known as Dynamation- makes the creatures much more entwined with the action and it is this aspect that ultimately makes the movie watchable.

28/06/2017

Inventor vs Inventor feat. Reg Varney



It was fifty years ago today that Sgt Pepper first used a cash machine. 1967 is proving to be quite the year as we have yet another fiftieth anniversary and this time it’s the cash machine, officially known as the ATM though often referred to as `the hole in the wall`. Fifty years yesterday, on 27 June 1967 in North London’s Enfield branch of Barclay’s Bank, Reg Varney (looking like he was on the way to the golf course) became the first person ever to properly use an ATM. Did he withdraw his own money? Why was he wearing a cap? Who even was Reg Varney? More pertinently who actually invented the thing? 
"Is there really a tiny bloke in there luv?" "Yes, Reg, there really is"