A Smattering of Distant Applause

I don't feel like dancin'. Except, of course, I do.

19.8.06

Film review: Snakes On A Plane

The film that everyone on the internet has been waiting for, Snakes On A Plane, hit cinemas last night, but does it live up to the hype? In a word: yes. There's sufficient plot to explain why the snakes are on the plane, but not too much to distract from the reptilian high jinks, which of course is what everyone wants to see. The whole thing is utterly ludicrous, but the hilarity is obviously intended so you laugh with the film rather than at it.

I had thought it might be difficult for them to fill ninety minutes without it getting boring due to the lack of substance, but to stop it from getting dull they were very creative with all the deaths, both of the people and the snakes. The snakes had a perfectly deadly aim, making sure they bit people in the most painful places possible, and the people had to be similarly creative in disposing of the snakes; one of my favourite moments was when Gay Air Steward Dude put one in a microwave.

Samuel L. Jackson is his perfect badass self, and the other characters, such as Blonde Socialite With a Small Dog, Token Rapper and Grumpy English Man, are similarly entertaining even though none of the characters are particularly fleshed out. But who needs 3D characters when you've got snakes on a plane?

As summer entertainment goes, Snakes On A Plane is ace and definitely beats Pirates 2 and Superman Returns for my favourite film this summer as it was so hugely entertaining all the way through. Definitely a must-see! 9/10.

15.8.06

This is a worrying development indeed.

If we're to believe Play.com, Girls Aloud are going to be releasing a Greatest Hits on 23rd October. We all know what happens after pop groups release three studio albums followed by a Greatest Hits: unless they're the bewilderingly durable Westlife, they split up. And we all know what Girls Aloud splitting up would be: a fucking disaster, that's what. Is it too much to hope that Play.com has got this all wrong, and that instead they'll be releasing a fourth studio album? Various people on the internet (I know, such a reliable source!) have said that various band members have mentioned a studio album, so I'm still clinging to a shred of hope, but these rumours of a Greatest Hits have me most displeased.

Still, it's not all bad; a Girls Aloud Greatest Hits would actually be one of the best albums of all time.

9.8.06

The gay messiah is coming... in 5-17 months' time


Eight posts on this blog and still no mention of Rufus Wainwright, my favourite singer ever? That's just Not On.

It seems like forever since Rufus' last album, Want Two, came out (it was actually less than two years ago) but we don't have too much longer to wait until he releases his fifth album, which has been pencilled in for 2007; I just hope it's released closer to January than December.

There have been mixed reports about what it sounds like, but as it's a Rufus album he'd have to work really hard to make it rubbish. He's aparently scaling back the arrangements and I've even heard the word 'folk' bandied about, which worries me slightly, but Joan Wasser has described it as "soaring, outrageous and gorgeous" which sounds a lot more exciting. He's played a few new songs live, and one in particular has really caught my attention:

Sans Souci

It takes a few listens but the melody is gorgeous, as are the lyrics, which are all about temptation and wanting to go back to his former drugs-and-debauchery lifestyle, but realising that that wouldn't be for the best. If it sounds this good live with just a guitar as an accompaniment, I can't wait to hear how it sounds properly arranged and produced on the album.

Why do birds appear every time you're near?

I don't mean to bang on about Veronica Mars - except I do, until every person in the whole world watches this amazing show - so this is going to be my last word on the subject until season three premieres on 3rd October. If you're yet to be converted, check out this promo:



And that is why Veronica Mars is my homegirl.

8.8.06

Album review: Growing Flowers By Candlelight, Ainslie Henderson.


I've loved Ainslie ever since he was on the first series of Fame Academy, so I was hugely excited when I found out that he was releasing an album. The release of the album is something he's pretty much doing all by himself, right down to taking the albums to the Post Office to send them; this means it's destined not to be heard by many people, which is a shame because although it's not exactly cutting edge, Growing Flowers By Candlelight is a good album.

The guitar- and piano-led songs on first listen seem to all be a bit similar as there's not a huge variation of tempo, but on further listens they start to distinguish themselvs and grow on you. It's obviously an album that is very personal to Ainslie, and the theme of lost love and longing that runs through most of the songs is clearly based on his own experiences - presumably with the Claire that he dedicates the album to. The album is a low-key affair, but the lyrics are lovely and it's certainly worth a listen. 7/10

Buy the album. (The first thousand are being signed - I got #77).

4.8.06

I Don't Feel Like Dancin'

It's officially Extreme Scissor Sisters Appreciation Mania over here at ASoDA Towers, with their ace new video cementing the fact that Scissor Sisters are indeed Quite Good. The video manages to simultaneously be beautiful, fun, arty, hilarious, terrifying and very, very gay, i.e. it is immense. See for yourself:



OK, so you really need to see it on TV to get the full effect, but you get the general idea.

3.8.06

Why do they do these things to children, Pan? Do they all hate children so much?

One of the problems of making film version of books is that though they can be good, they can never really live up to the source material. I've got better at not complaining about the liberties films take with some of my favourite books - I enjoyed the latest two Harry Potter films, for instance, and I loved the recent film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice - but there are some things I simply can't put up with.

Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy have been my favourite books since I first read them when I was twelve, so I responded to the news that they were making a film version with some trepidation. It can't possibly live up to all my expectations, but what upsets me more is that they don't even seem to be trying.

Take the director, for example: Chris Weitz, of American Pie fame. It doesn't really inspire confidence, does it? I know very little about directing and even less about Chris Weitz, but it seems hard to imagine that someone who's more used to directing goofy American comedies can do justice to something so immense. And now it's been confirmed that Nicole Kidman has been cast as Mrs Coulter, and I'm ready to give up on the whole thing completely. Of course, this is mainly personal and subjective - I don't think Nicole Kidman is a bad actress per se, I just don't particularly care for her and she's certainly nothing like I ever pictured Mrs Coulter. I think she'd look silly with black hair, and she just isn't attractive enough for me to buy her as this disarmingly beautiful woman who uses her charm to manipulate people.

You don't even want get me started on the rumours about Paul Bettany playing Lord Asriel.