We got home at just before ten, in time to see the repeat run of that evenings Eastenders. Whilst in the past I have watched fairly avidly, over recent months it has decidedly lost it’s way, and this has been shown in the ratings. However last nights episode was one of the best episodes we’d seen for a long while. For the past few episodes, at the request of Marcus, their long serving solicitor, Sam has been rushing around selling all the assets, including the Queen Vic to Den, apparently because Phil needs the money to leave the country. The first big twist towards the end was that it transpired that loyal Marcus had in fact made the whole thing up, and had run off with the money. The double whammy was when Den met him at the airport to pay him off – Den had apparently got some information about what Marcus had been doing all these years and blackmailed him to get back the pub! In amongst all that Paul left the series for good, and as a result of Sam loosing all her money, Andy reveals that he only married her for her money.
Definitely shaping up to be a classic Walford Christmas!
Browsing through the Doctor Who site at the BBC for the news of the new series, I came across the Radiophon-a-tron, which should pass a few minutes in the last few days before Christmas. It gives you the chance to remix the Doctor Who theme, which could probably prove quite annoying in an office environment!
I just thought I’d post an example of what can be done with a normal digital video camera, a copy of software like Adobe Premiere, and a bit of patience!
Click on the picture above to see the whole clip. The remaining clips can be found on Howard’s Blog, together with a clip showing the Goauld-style glowing eyes effect from Stargate SG-1.
Howard put the clips together a year or so ago, but has dug them out to help Chris with a project he is doing with some of his students creating simple special effects. Although for someone whose footage extends to a couple of holidays and helping out the Youth Group with a video competition a few years back it is pretty impressive! More clips are promised as the project progresses.
It is worth bearing in mind that aside from the fact that Howard did it digitally, the method by which he got the effect is pretty similar to how LucasFilm constructed the effect for Star Wars back in 1977!
So the Tertiary phase of the Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy has drawn to a close on Radio 4. Iâ€™m not quite sure what will be selected to replace it in my Tuesday night drive home, but anyway despite the misgivings expressed by some of the critics, itâ€™s actually been quite an enjoyable series.
In some ways it was even more bizarre in places than before, especially the whole concept of a Bistro driven starship, and I did find the Agrajag subplot, where every time the poor creature was reincarnated he was killed by Arthur Dent was particularly funny.
However the core plot, especially in the final episode, did show its original source rather thinly. The basic plot of the cricket robots was an unused Doctor Who plot that Douglas Adams had created, but never used. Not being one to waste a good idea he used it as the basis of Life the Universe and Everything, the book on which the Tertiary Phase radio series was based. I found it especially noticeable in the final episode where you get the typical final confrontation with the baddies, and where in this case Trillian got all the â€˜Doctor works it outâ€™ lines that tie everything together, and explain a lot of the plot that has come before.
Having said that, I donâ€™t think knowing the source particularly detracted from my enjoyment of the story as a Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy, aside from wondering quite how a Tom Baker Doctor would have coped with it, or perhaps Peter Davisons Doctor would have been more suitable! Suffice to say that I have added the CD release of the series to my wish list on Amazon.
Today we finally got to see Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, one of the films that we had intended to go an see at the cinema, but never quite made it! Beth was at home, suffering with a stomach upset, so I picked up the movie whilst I was shopping and we watched it this afternoon.
Anyway, the film is the latest by Charlie Kaufman, who appeared with the decidedly strange Being John Malkovich in 2000, where a portal into John Malkovich’s mind was discovered on floor seven-and-a-half of a Manhattan office block, and last years Adaptation, a film that was supposed to be an adaptation of the book The Orchid Thief, but was in fact a film about a ficticious Charlie Kaufman, and his equally ficticious twin brother, as he struggled to make a movie from the book.
Eternal Sunshine is in some ways more conventional, but is in others just as strange. It begins with Joel Barish waking up on Valentines Day, but stood on the station, waiting for his train to work, he suddenly decides to catch a train in the other direction. He ends up on a deserted beach, and taking out his notebook finds a large number of pages have been torn out, and the last entry is two years before. He then spots a girl walking on the beach, and ultimately finds himself on the train back with her, and finds that she is going to the same station. They find that they are familiar to each other, but can’t work out why. They decide to go out on a date the next night, and then dropping her off at her flat, a stranger comes up to Joel and asks him what he is doing there. It then starts to get wierd, as it jumps into flashback, telling the story of what happened in the days running up to valentines, as following the end of a relationship, Joel discovers that his ex has had all memory of him wiped from her mind, and he decides to do the same. However during the process of having his memory wiped, as he goes backwards through the relationship he realises that he doesn’t want to loose the memories. Much of the film goes on inside his head as he attempts to hide memories to escape the wiping process.
The film is in many ways a piece of traditional Sci-Fi, in that although it has fantastical elements, they are there to underpin a simple, and relevant, character driven story – in this case making subtle but profound observations about the power of memory and the nature of relationships
It is a much more approachable film than Kaufmans two previous films, where in some ways things got really too wierd, especially true of Adaptation. Here there is wierdness in the sequences within Joels mind, but the real world is much more normal.
SFX Magazine describes the film as one of the best sci-fi films of the year, an opinion with which I definitely agree. In an age where many sci-fi films are primarily effects driven spectaculars, lacking any real depth or message, it is great to have a sci-fi film where the sci-fi takes a backseat, providing a good story, rather than the story taking a backseat to the effects! Highly recommended.
Incidentally, the title comes from a poem by Alexander Pope:
How happy is the blameless Vestal’s lot!
The world forgetting, by the world forgot.
Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!
Each pray’r accepted, and each wish resign’d.
‘Eloisa to Abelard’, Alexander Pope
Thoughts from, and the lives of a Canadian and a Brit living in Southern England.