Oct 2012 30

This is a masterpiece in my opinion as I always found Willy Wonka a bit sinister.

Oct 2012 30

Following on from the Genius that was Mrs Doubtfire as a horror, here is The Shining, as a feel good, family movie.

Oct 2012 30

Girls is a new HBO comedy series being shown on Sky Atlantic and I absolutely love it.

The Girls

“Why?” you might ask.

(For the sake of this I am going to imagine you definitely did ask cos otherwise the rest of this is going to be weird.)

I love it because it is real. It is blisteringly, cringe inducing, get up and walk around the room, blush while you are watching, honest.

Perhaps I shouldn’t be so happy to admit this but I can really relate to this show. Really a lot. It is funny because I have had similar conversations, with similar women, in similar settings, discussing similar boys whilst  worrying about similar stuff.

When I first read Bridget Jones’s Diary, back in 1996, I didn’t think she was a disastrous flake.  I was 21, had just finished university and was trying to get a job and a flat in London. In my opinion Bridget Jones had it all.

She was thinner than me, she went out a lot with her friends, she smoked, she had a flat, a job and wasn’t a virgin. “Isn’t Bridget a hopeless nightmare?” people would say to me when they noticed what I was reading. I would of course make some kind of facial gesture to try to show I agreed but inside I was thinking “Bridget isn’t’ hopeless! She’s everything I want to be!” Bridget Jones’s Diary was as aspirational guide to a chic London lifestyle that I wanted.

Now, 16 years later, I finally feel the appalled pitying affection that I was meant to feel about Bridget for  the lead in Girls, Hannah.

Hannah Horvath wants to be a writer. She looks normal – she’s neither fat nor thin, ugly nor beautiful. She likes to think she is streetwise, witty and cool but in actual fact she is a super naive, socially awkward girl in her early twenties who relies on an allowance from her parents every month, while she works an unpaid internship. An internship that she accidentally gets herself fired from when she asks for a salary.

In the first three episodes we see Hannah, unfortunately, having a lot of sex with her lover, Adam who is aloof and noncommittal about their relationship. There is no chemistry between Adam and Hannah. Their time together is clumsy, uncomfortable and embarrassing. It is what life is actually like.

The only female character in Girls that I don’t like is the Jessa, the British flatmate who is effortlessly cool, (more so than me at 21 and 37,) and is therefore intimidating, however my age now allows me to admit that.


I cannot wait to watch the next episode though I know I will be viewing from behind a cushion, or through a series of facepalms.

Girls is broadcast on Monday evenings at 10pm on Sky Atlantic.

What if Mrs Doubtfire Was a… Horror Movie?
Oct 2012 29

In the run-up to Halloween, here is a truly terrifying titbit to have you screaming yourself to sleep tonight:

Mrs Doubtfire, that saccherine and ubiquitous holiday TV ever-present has always been a disturbing film. Disturbing because it begs several questions: why would somebody think it was a the story was a good idea? Why would anyone pick up the script and say “yup, I want this crap to define my filmmaking career”? and why would Robin Williams… oh wait, I know.

But this time, Mrs Doubtfire‘s most disturbing qualities have been laid bare by ‘Javid Power‘ in a faux trailer that cuts together footage only taken from the movie, and makes a passable and disturbing horror movie trailer.

Check it out. If you dare.



First Iron Man 3 Trailer Hits
Oct 2012 23

After the muted reception to Iron Man 2, and the largely enthusiastic reaction to The Avengers, Marvel have begun pushing ahead with the further expansion of their cinematic universe by releasing the trailer for Iron Man 3.

Even though we’re not exactly hurting for superhero content here at RBT, we thought we’d post this, because it looks fairly promising. One of the interesting questions that comes up every time a new Marvel film is mooted, is how far can they push this? How much can they get people to buy in to their less mainstream, less marketable, lesser-known characters? Will they reach a point where the public have had enough? 

Trends come and go, and history would seem to indicate that eventually we’ll all get tired of superhero films, and they’ll go back to only being appreciated by socially-challenged nerds who live in their parents’ basement. But for the moment, there seems no end in sight for their time in the box office sun.

I, for one, thought saturation point had been reached way before The Avengers, but then it came out, and not only was it good, but it was phenomenally successful in a financially, bank-balancey sort of way. Marvel are on a roll right now, and they seem to be doing it their own way, without even compromising their (sizeable) geek factor.

Even dudes in super-powered suits can see the benefits of a good couch

With all that in mind, it’s true, though, that Iron Man 2 was not as good as Iron Man. Partially hampered by having to give over substantial amounts of its running time to Avengers setup, it had an under-utilised villain, a disjointed plot, and a forced air to it. It was fun in places, but had an inescapably disappointing conclusion.

However, before you let that you off, don’t forget that the films’ ace-in-the-hole, Robert Downey Jr. is still on board for this one. Shane Black, a director and writer who, in the criminally under-seen Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, showed that he could provide the cinematic ammo for R.D. Jr to hit the comedy targets is on megaphone duties. There’s also the impression of the character, and Marvel in general, getting a second wind. Now that the 20-ton elephant in the room that was The Avengers is out of the way, they can get back to making films that have their own satisfying and self-contained storylines. This is something that the forthcoming Thor and Captain America sequels will also hopefully benefit from. So, check out the Iron Man 3 trailer underneath; enjoy, scrutinise and critique, and feel free to let your feelings known in the comments below.

Iron Man 3 is currently scheduled for release in May 2013


Oct 2012 23

The Valleys0

Posted In Opinion,TV

At the beginning of October MTV launched it’s new reality show, The Valleys.
It is referred to as “The Welsh version of Geordie Shore” and has the tag line “The Valleys: There’s No Going Back”.
When I caught a trailer for it I was immediately excited.
You see, I love Geordie Shore. Completely. It took me a couple of episodes but by the time I could remember all of the characters names I felt affection for most of them. Admittedly a kind of appalled disgusted affection you might feel for a cat that can licks it own bottom, but affection all the same. I like the girls and I am fascinated, but not in the slightest bit attracted, to the boys. They are all so funny, you see. Mostly deliberately funny. Shockingly honest, self deprecating and often very drunken.
Of course Geordie Shore is a spin off of the hugely successful American show, Jersey Shore. I’ve never watched the original US programme so haven’t been able to draw a parallel between the two Shore Shows. As far as I am concerned Geordie Shore stands alone as a decent, car crash TV/soap opera style augmented reality drama type thing.
The same can not be said for The Valleys.
To be fair to it, I have only watched one episode. I missed the first two but have found the following synopsis on the MTV website:

Deep in the heart of South Wales, in the quiet and picturesque rolling countryside known asThe Valleys, nine youngsters are currently stuck in humdrum and unexciting jobs, but dream of a life of stardom, limousines, flashing paparazzi bulbs and adoring fans.

Brand new show The Valleys will pluck them from obscurity and thrust them into the limelight where they will live in a house kitted out with a ‘cutch-hut’ and cameras, to see if they succeed amidst the hustle and bustle of Cardiff city.

I wanted to love this show, I really did. Maybe I will after another episode? Stranger things have happened. But, after my first viewing I have no affection for this bunch of badly dressed, badly spoken, badly mannered bunch of fame hungry wannabes. The best way to describe an hour long episode is: imagine watching 60 minutes version of THAT section of the 1990s Channel 4 show The Word, called “The Hopefuls”. Yes. It is a 2012 equivalent of a young man french kissing an elderly lady.
The Welsh cast, all drafted in from a relatively rural existence to get stuck in to the cosmopolitan atmosphere of Cardiff in order to make something of themselves, have clearly been spending all of their days leading up to the first episode watching Geordie Shore. Each character tries to out do one another in the filth stakes, using the lewd Newcastle based show as it’s benchmark. The Geordie Shore girls could (just about) pull off their incredibly honest sexual banter because it was always funny and was, in my opinion, said intelligibly and with tongue firmly in cheek.  (Wahey!)
Not so in The Valleys.
The show’s tried and tested format sees the cast commentating on footage of a recent night out as they speak to the camera.
Whilst reviewing a crazy boozy night out in a karaoke bar, where the 9 “stars” of The Valleys appear to be the only patrons in the entire building, we have the following sequence of comments –
Nicole: “Lateysha says she doesn’t like Leeroy but I think it’s a bit like bum sex: she says she doesn’t like it but I bet she does really”
Leeroy: “Jenna’s not like most of the girls I’ve been with. Yeah so she’s got fake boobs and stuff but she’s proper classy.”
Jenna: “Leeroy’s cute but he’s a boy and at the end of the day all boys think with their dicks.”
Just after this individual piece to camera sequence, the footage of the night out shows Nicole dancing with her skirt hitched up. This lasts for a few moments before Liam, the gay housemate, pulls her knickers down to her. Her possible love interest in the show, Aaron says “What the fuck?! Nicole’s got her knickers down to her ankles, her bean’s hanging out… I don’t know what she wants me to do, like! I do want to bang Nicole, but I’m not going have live sex in front of everyone, like.”
Fair enough.
Nicole is happy to explain “when I’m dancing I don’t want a sweating fanny so I just let a little bit of fresh air in, you know, because I don’t want a sweaty fanny.”
Perhaps it’s me…
No. No, it’s not me. It’s them. They are offensive, nasty, one dimensional freaks. Vulgar. Obscene. They appear to be one trick ponies, only able to revolt, not entertain.
Will I be watching the next episode?
You bet your fanny I will.
The next episode of The Valleys is on MTV tonight at 10pm, Sky channel 126 or Virgin 311.
Oct 2012 22

 ‘Elementary’ is the American remake of the BBC’s excellent ‘Sherlock’ television series.  Upfront I better say that I’m a fan of the original and have always enjoyed the Sherlock Holmes character in books and film (yes even Robert Downey Jr.’s interpretation).

‘Elementary’ is set in New York although to be honest the opening episode could have been set anywhere in the US.  Jonny Lee Miller takes on the role of Holmes and Lucy Liu plays Dr. Watson.  A female Watson! an interesting idea as there have always been undertones of attraction between the two traditionally male characters.

For me the writing is the biggest failing of the pilot episode, it feels like ‘Sherlock’ lite, softened and made simpler denying the American market what for me is the greatest attribute of the Holmes character his intelligence.  An example of this softening is the fact the Holmes apologies to Watson, not once but twice for his actions.  This struck me as out of character and an attempt to make him more likeable.  Unfortunately for me the American producers have slipped into what they do best ‘Procedural Crime Drama’ which reduces two of the great literary characters into mere bystanders.  I suspect Lucy Liu’s higher star ranking might have effected some of the producers decisions not necessarily for the better. 

I’m trying to imagine what I would think of ‘Elementary’ in a world where ‘Sherlock’ didn’t exist, but I can’t because it does and it is superior on every level to this version.

The only hope in my mind for ‘Elementary’ is that the chemistry between Millar and Liu lifts the show out of ‘Sherlocks’ shadow and creates a niche for its self in the minds of Sherlock Holmes fans.

Tue 23 Oct at 9pm, Sky Living HD



Oct 2012 21

I didn’t know anything about this film until I stumbled upon the Jack Reacher trailer on the IMDB app on my iphone.  It reminds me of True Lies for some reason and I can’t really put my finger on why.  The plot looks ridiculous as the budget looks huge.  Tom Cruises hit rate isn’t what it used to be although I thought Mission Impossible: Ghost protocol was highly entertaining.  Will I see this movie based on this trailer more than likely, will I see it at the cinema I highly doubt it.

The Evils of Movie Trailers
Oct 2012 21

It can be hard to get people to try new things. People as a group are difficult to influence, and, more often than not, would rather stay in their comfort zones and not experience anything new. ‘Why go visit a different country when my whole life is here?’, ‘sushi? That’s just raw finish, innit?’, ‘It’s easier to stay in and watch Transformers on DVD for the hundredth time than go and see Looper in the cinema, and I might not even like Looper, anyway’.

Why else would there be a whole industry (advertising) centred around getting us to be aware of new products if we didn’t need to be tempted, cajoled, and incentivised into checking out new things?

Most people think that they’re immune to this form of subliminal skullduggery, feeling so above the poor mindless minions who blindly accept what they see on TV, whilst still nonetheless displaying blind loyalty to brands of their own, who have more subtle ways of marketing. In short, we are constantly bombarded with messages, and they work on us subliminally. Turn on the TV, walk down the street, fire up your internet browser, and people are imploring you, charming you, shouting at you, just trying to get you to buy their products. The worst part? It sort of works.


The movie industry is no different. A film can be made with a huge budget, but is not considered to be in profit until it makes back its budget PLUS the P&A (print and advertising) budget; influencing you to go see the film can sometimes cost more than the film itself. The film marketing process encompasses all sorts of methods: actors are ferried around the world from press junket to TV appearances, film posters with pornographic shots of the actos are slathered all over towns and cities, and film trailers are inserted in front of similar movies, on TV and on youtube. In short, the movie industry works really hard to f*%k with your mind.

The last of these ways of influencing you, the movie trailer, is perhaps the most obvious and well-known. I used to look forward to seeing film trailers, I saw them as an integral part of the move-viewing experience. Along with the sticky floors, the styrofoam popcorn, and the BBFC age certification, trailers were all part of the excitement and glamour of a trip to the cinema. Everybody’s had at least one moment in the cinema where a trailer has rendered them incandescent in excitement for a new film, or where the first trailer for a feverishly-anticipated film is first shown. An effective trailer is an art form all of its own, in much the same way that iconic film posters are finally getting the recognition they deserve.

The Terminator 2 Teaser: makes me excited to see a movie I’ve already seen over a hundred times

Only problem is, film trailers have changed. As the ongoing battle between commerce and art is waged in Hollywood, the pernicious influence of the great satan that is focus groups is starting to make itself known. You see, a film studio shows films to people from the general public deemed ‘normal’, who then grade a movie and have a surprisingly large say in the fate of a film. There are many films that have been re-edited into incoherence in the aftermath of a focus group wanting a happy ending or similar.

The same is true of trailers. Trailers are shown to focus groups, and the mindless drones that populate these things say that they want to see even more of the film. I’ll say it again: they want to see more of the film!

Well, go and see the bloody film then‘ is what the movie execs should say, but, with their view obscured by the dollar signs in their eyes, they obsequiously add in yet more footage, sometimes stooping low enough to include the final shots from the films they’re advertising. It used to be the case that you didn’t see anything from the third act, or in some cases nothing at all from the finished film and it would make you go crazy with excitement.

Double Jeopardy: A so-so genre thriller, ruined by its trailer

Unfortunately, now we’re living in an age where The Amazing Spider-Man had an astounding 25 minutes of preview footage released (edited together into one coherent narrative by Sleepyskunk). The best trailers do show you footage of the film of course, but they show just enough to leave the audience slavering for more, still with questions, counting out their cinema ticket money in anticipation of having those questions answered.

‘What can we do about this?’ I hear you ask.

Well, nothing really. The endless money train that Hollywood is intent on riding on at the expense of quality films doesn’t show any signs of stopping yet. All we can hope for is that the fan backlash changes some minds, or that the imaginationally-challenged (it is a word), film execs find a new plaything. In the meantime, we can rejoice in those few trailers that don’t resort to story-spoiling, and close our eyes and ears when the less subtle ones assault our brains.


Check out (what I think) is the best trailer ever, below:


“Elliott” From E.T.’s Audition Tape
Oct 2012 20

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is a nostalgia film for me. You know what I mean by that, don’t you? One of those films that you watched so often that you wore out the video tape (for the kids: an even older way of watching films than DVD!). One of those films that is impossible to objectively assess, because your childhood love of it clouds your judgement at every turn. It’s one of those films you watched when you were at an age where it was more comfortable to be lie on the floor on your belly, than sitting on the sofa.

The kid’s got talent

So, to see behind the curtain, and watch “Elliott” (Henry Thomas) audition is still a novelty and effective experience. Often in Hollywood, kids’ acting chops are secondary as to whether they look right for the part (I’m looking at you, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone), so it’s refreshing to see a child actor who can, you know, actually act. Check the video out below (credit to the talented folks at BoingBoing for the original source article), and let us know what you think:


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