September 11th, 2003
|01:01 am - CCC|
20 minutes of the best TV so far this year last night - free runners Jump London. If you can remember a BBC 1 promo some time back with a man jumping from rooftop to rooftop and eventually sliding into his house, it was 20 minutes of that. ¾ of a quartet of tremendously talented French acrobat-tumblers run and jump and perform atop London's buildings. A very insightful comparison was drawn to the street courses used in (skate)boardin', (BMX) bikin' and (roller)bladin'; I'd love to see what the free runners got up to in a gymnasium with the equipment for all the Olympic disciplines laid out. Wonderful camerawork, fantastic soundtrack, excellent editing. I realise that the 20 minutes of action was a highlight reel of a day's stunts and that in practice the free runners seldom strung more than a handful of moves together, due either to limitations of architecture or stamina, but it was some of the most entertaining, most natural-looking stunt work I've seen for a long time.
On the downside, it was a 70-minute show. (Minus fairly big ads.) The 10-15 minutes of wrap-up afterwards weren't so bad; arty shots and a highlight reel. Understandable enough and, yes, welcome repetition. The half-hour beforehand behind the scenes... well, it was interesting in its way, but I think people just wanted to get on and see the running and jumping. green_amber talks about it far more entertainingly and emotively than I do, but do look out for a repeat. Very good indeed, but it felt a little like a Christmas special four and a half months ahead in the schedules.
76 attended the Gamers Club last night. One item which added interest was that upstairs in the same building, the Tyneside Stop the War Coalition were holding a public meeting with the famously anti-war MP George Galloway. Some extra signs appeared on the ground floor this evening, reading "<- <- <- <- <- WAR GAMING - COME AND KILL BADDIES". Words were had. I know who was responsible and still like them a lot, but I was distinctly unimpressed with the stunt and only hope we don't get into trouble as a consequence.
I went to see Blackball at the cinema this morning. (The before-noon ticket prices have risen from their original £2.50 to £2.95 now; my demand for cinema tickets is less elastic than I had realised.) It's an utterly formulaic sport comedy based around the premise that lawn bowls is an old man's sport. It's not likely to be shown outside Britain and places with big expat British communities simply because it needs a fair bit of British cultural knowledge to recognise how and why everything is played completely to type and utterly predictable. I could explain, but if you have to explain, it's not funny.
The storyline is completely token to go from set-piece to set-piece; the actors' Cornish accents (noting that Torquay is in Devon) are not only corny but a bit wobbly. The class-war and love interest twists offer nothing remarkable at all and there are a few too many gaps between gags. The pacing is fine in that the funniest part is at the end: the overblown self-parodying made-for-TV prime time bowls special, hosted by The Ugly Overblown Self-Parodying One From The Armando Ianucci Comedy Shows, supported by Angus Loughran as himself, playing himself. (Can you guess the funniest, second most obvious fragment of sports commentary possible to end the show with? They use it.) Last summer's Mike Bassett England Manager had sillier laughs, but if you too are a sucker for sports comedy films then you'll find this entirely adequate and competently executed. However, it offers so few surprises that it's utterly forgettable and would deserve a shade below half marks.
Happy birthday to one of the mrstrellis collective for the 10th, and I wish the world (especially those in the Five Boroughs) a safe and peaceful 11th.
Current Mood: gassy (have taken 2 Rennies)
Current Music: the chord progression from The Games theme in my head
Jump London: great stuff, but I wish the camerawork had been less tricksy, given that our awe depends on the belief that these stunts are unsafetynetted.
Was the soundtrack a Pet Shop Boys production? - the only thing that could explain their being invited to comment.
I look forward to impressionable idiots hurting themselves. I like natural selection.
As for Blackball, you've summed up very well why British films should receive no government subsidy ever.
Only a remix of "London" was their song.
you've summed up very well why British films should receive no government subsidy ever
To be fair, the film was made with the help of the Isle of Man Film Commission, so Manx coin rather than British. Surely ethically more acceptable on the grounds that the Manx all have more money than sense already anyway?
I so meant to watch that programme and forgot - it looked and sounded like it was going to be pretty impressive.