ITV’s Hot Fuzz obsession

I love Edgar Wright’s Hot Fuzz. It’s a wonderful satire/homage to action film as well as British film all in one package.

ITV2 and ITV4 are those channels lurking in the depths of Freeview or whatever TV package you have. It generally shows shite like Made in Chelsea or repeats of The Professionals but it also shows films, in fact it shows films a lot, it just happens to be that they’ll show the same film every week.

IN the case of Hot Fuzz, they seem obsessed by it. People have noticed this. There’s even a Reddit thread about it. There’s not much evidence online of the multiple showings as companies don’t seem to have listings from the last decade or so, but it pops up on sites and of course Twitter has noted this too.So what exactly is going on?

Well, the solution is simple enough. TV companies buy films in a package and seeing as ITV2/4 are those channels watched when you’re pissed and channel hopping after the pub, so you’ll stop on them if you recognise something in your beer-fuelled stupor. True, you may end up watching the same film four times in a week which doesn’t just mean ITV have ran out of ideas, but it also means you’re probably drinking too much.

Fact is all these smaller channels are desperate for your views. They know also people drink. Mix the two and you’ve got ITV showing Hot Fuzz so often that you could stop watching it one night and pick up from the same point another night. Still, at least they’re showing something good, imagine if they broadcast the shite remake of Total Recall every week?

Oh, they do? Fuck.

The magnificent world of David Lynch

The return of Twin Peaks has been a pretty wonderful affair that’s managed to mix the mystery of the plot with the quirky weirdness with whatever is in David Lynch’s head to produce something unlike any television probably produced on either side of the Atlantic this century.

In an era where the cliffhanger is king and ‘Netflix and chill’ is the mantra, the idea of a television series that doesn’t just tell a story, doesn’t just work as a piece of art, but pushes the medium in a way that it rarely has ever been pushed. Episode 8 of Twin Peaks starts following the ongoing plotline with the evil Dale Cooper and his scheming, but then it takes a turn around 15 minutes into the episode after this Nine Inch Nails song.

Now I suggest watching the episode in its entirety because it is simply a spectacular bit of television, especially after the above song where Lynch totally cuts loose and pours his visuals on our stinging eyes and because we’ve been starved of watching art we soak it all up.

See as much as programmes like The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, Preacher and the likes are all entertaining, even artistic explorations into the world they inhabit but they don’t push it and don’t push the expectations of the medium as it stands. We know most episodes will end in some sort of cliffhanger or question that will be answered next episode because you’ve got to keep people watching. With Twin Peaks Lynch doesn’t give a fuck about cliffhangers or how television should be so we get insanely long takes of people sweeping floors or Nine Inch Nails popping up or the 45 minutes of episode 8 after the aforementioned NIN song. I can safely say that my favourite film/TV moment of the year so far is the eighth episode of Twin Peaks as it is so unique, so bizarre yet does so much with the confines of the medium that watching it again I was stunned by what Lynch managed to do as much as I was the first time.

And what was so glorious is that what is essentially a series of art films and images strung together to make an experimental narrative told a story and even then every single expectation you have as a viewer is subverted and played with to the point when it ends you want more not because there’s a cliffhanger, but because you know you’re watching something so special that you have to see what Lynch does next. Too often on television a creator is given total freedom and we end up with a crushing disappointment but this isn’t the case. This is brilliance and I want to see how Lynch tops all of this and that’s the best sort of artistic cliffhanger.

The original Alien trailer is a thing of horrific glory

Alien: Covenant is out today. Directed by Ridley Scott this is a prequel to 1979’s Alien, and 1979 was a vastly different time to today. Today film trailers force feed you the same stuff as all trailers are the same…

1979 was a different world. Computers were the size of a room, flares were still being worn without the aid of drugs and beige was the colour of choice of parents of all schoolchildren in the UK. Film trailers were different too and in Alien’s case, it produced one of the greatest trailers for a film I’ve ever seen.

Brilliant isn’t it.

Watch the Mullholland Drive unaired TV pilot

Mulllholland Drive is one of the best films of this century and arguably David Lynch’s best film. With the return of Twin Peaks in May, it’s worth looking back at what Mullholland Drive as before the film which was a TV pilot which was never broadcast but one of the great things about the internet is that very little stays hidden from it. The unbroadcast pilot is on YouTube and it’s a very odd affair if you’re familiar with the film as although much of it makes up most of the first half of the film there’s enough differences to make this a very essential bit of viewing for Lynch fans.

Godzilla in Love

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I always wanted to write a romantic comedy called Godzilla in Love which would feature Godzilla (metaphor for the nuclear bomb and large Japanese monster famous for smashing up Tokyo and being played by men in rubber suits) falling in love with the girl of his dreams, only to be thwarted by the massive differences in scales, Godzilla’s lack of observable genitalia and the fact he fell in love with a vegan while Godzilla would do anything for love, but he’d not give up eating buildings full of meaty people.

Sadly it never developed beyond this initial idea and I don’t think anyone barring myself would want to watch a film where a foppish Hugh Grant-esque radioactive monster sings Partridge Family songs to the girl of his dreams while raining down radioactive fire on Notting Hill. Though radioactive fire raining down on Notting Hill might at least cull the media class down a notch or two.

This all comes to mind as today is Valentine’s Day; the one day where men of all ages fight to the death in Lidl trying to get the last bunch of lilting lilies for their partner. You’ve not lived til you’ve seen someone beaten to death with a Findus roast beef frozen dinner for two and a bottle of £0.99 cava, and today is the day where dreams are barely lived up to and card manufacturers end up choking to death on Everest-sized piles of cocaine.

So today cast a thought for all those Godzilla’s out there with their city smashing antics and lack of discernable genitalia.They need love too. Perhaps one day I’ll get my shit together and write about it?

A word of appreciatiation for Culloden

No, I’m not cheering on the actual historical atrocity, I’m talking about the excellent 1964 film, Culloden, made by Peter Watkins who made one of my top ten ever films, Punishment Park.

Made 53 years ago for the BBC, looking at it now it looks as if it could have been made today as in style, as well as tone, it seems fresh and at the time was hugely adventurous in presenting the battle of Culloden in a docudrama style which at the time wasn’t even a genre of film-making. As a film, Culloden is a flawless gem. As a piece of history it follows the account of the battle by the historian John Prebble making it as accurate (though Prebble is accused of himself missing out facts to support his point of view) as possible which when talking about a battle which even today is shrouded in myth and lies, is some achievement.

So, here’s 70 minutes of groundbreaking television.

A word of appreciation for John Hurt

John Hurt has passed away, and the world is a wee bit darker today. I’m not going to go on as there’s better than me doing tributes for the man, but this is a little tour through what Hurt meant to me.

I first saw him as a kid in the superb I, Claudius, and I think at that point he became an actor who I deeply admired and over the years from there even as a young lad often unable to get into see his films I tried to keep up with his work but the man was prolific. It was however Alien that cemented Hurt in my mind forever in a scene that’s a classic in horror cinema.

From there Hurt seemed to pop up everywhere from the splendid Elephant Man, to even taking the piss out if his death in Alien in Mel Brooks Spaceballs.

Hurt dabbled with science fiction often his role as Winston Smith in 1984 is for me, utterly perfect, and although he ended up doing stuff like Harry Potter and Doctor Who, this just showed how astonishingly a versatile actor he was.

So cheerio to John Hurt, we quite literally will never see another like him again.