For the next seven days, you’ll be able listen the whole conversation between Baker and Fry – indeed, the whole show – via the BBC iPlayer. You might also want to subscribe to the show’s weekly podcast.
For the next seven days, you’ll be able listen the whole conversation between Baker and Fry – indeed, the whole show – via the BBC iPlayer. You might also want to subscribe to the show’s weekly podcast.
The show is set in the year 2149 when all life on the planet Earth is being threatened with extinction. Scientists have opened a door allowing people to travel back to prehistoric times. The Shannon family (father Jim, his wife Elisabeth, and their children Josh and Maddy) join the tenth pilgrimage of settlers to Terra Nova, the first human colony on the other side of the temporal doorway. However, they did not realize that they placed it in the middle of a group of carnivores.
Olivia Thirlby Cast As Sidekick In Judge Dredd
By Mike Mariani: 2010-09-03 13:24:25
In what could be called a maverick casting move, if you were desperate to call it something, Olivia Thirlby has just been recruited to play sidekick to Karl Urban in the remake of Judge Dredd. As reported by
Variety, Thirlby will play Judge Cassandra Anderson, a telepathic rookie taking to the streets alongside Dredd.
Again, if you were desperate to characterize the new Dredd as something besides a feature-length amateur hour, you could hope for an edgy movie with a bunch of players that have something to prove. Karl Urban hasn't quite capitalized on the cult following he built for his charismatic turns in the Lord of the Rings movies and Star Trek, and this will be his first chance to anchor a big-time release. Dredd's director, Pete Travis, has only Vantage Point on his resume, which doesn't add up to much. And that leaves Thirlby, the unconventionally pretty face from Juno and The Wackness. Let's just hope they don't bury her unique look behind a helmet and a bunch of action sequences.
Adapting SherlockGem Wheeler
With Sherlock, Steven Moffatt and Mark Gatiss successfully adapted an iconic Victorian detective for a modern audience. Here, Gem looks at how Holmes and Watson were updated for the 21st century...Published on Aug 31, 2010
Working with fellow Who alumnus Mark Gatiss, Moffat's task was to make the modernised Sherlock stand out from the current vast crowd of police procedurals. Oh, and House, which has already taken the core of the Holmes myth right back to its origins in Arthur Conan Doyle's time at medical school.Brave man, Steven Moffat. First he takes on Doctor Who, with all that that entails in terms of a devoted fanbase and years of labyrinthine backstory. Then he tackles another iconic figure in the shape of everyone's favourite pipe-smoking, deerstalker hat-wearing, angular Victorian detective.As if all that isn't enough, there are the many interlocking segments of Holmesian lore to contend with, accumulated over years of successful previous adaptations. Basil Rathbone built on Sidney Paget's drawings of Holmes for the Strand magazine to create the iconic image in no less than fourteen films, while Jeremy Brett highlighted the manic streak in the detective's character in the popular ITV adaptation. Moffat and Gatiss had to update the world's only 'consulting detective' while somehow paying homage to all that had gone before.Their efforts have certainly paid off. Sherlock is everything an adaptation should be, a fresh, exhilarating take on the great detective's story that manages to retain every bit of the original's atmosphere. No mean feat, considering that Moffat and Gatiss have lifted Holmes and Watson out of the smog-shrouded, gaslit Victoriana so heavily linked to Conan Doyle's work, and seamlessly grafted them onto the present day.Oddly enough, though the ubiquitous hansom cabs have been replaced by taxis and the telegram by text message, nothing about the transition feels jarring. As in Doyle's original stories, Watson's just left the army after having been wounded while serving in Afghanistan, a conflict as resonant in nineteenth century England as, depressingly, it is today. He also still serves as a chronicler of his friend's adventures, something that Sherlock, true to form, evidently finds both annoying and rather satisfying.This Watson, however, has an online presence, and Holmes sarcastically asks how he could ever manage without "my blogger". Doyle's detective had asked the same of his 'Boswell', a reference to the close friend and biographer of the eighteenth century man of letters, Dr Johnson. It's a smart update, reminding us that, regardless of the medium, a fascination with gossip is one thing we definitely share with our ancestors.Of course, any version of the Holmes myth stands or falls on its leading man. Does he fit our mental picture of the great detective? Luckily for this adaptation, Benedict Cumberbatch offers us a portrayal of Holmes that is pretty much definitive. Okay, so the accoutrements aren't what we've come to expect. Instead of the deerstalker and the cape, we get sharp tailoring and a rather fabulous coat, and why not?We never actually find Holmes wearing his distinctive headgear until Rathbone donned the deerstalker cap for the films, which goes to show how much our impressions of a literary character are blurred by later representations that end up becoming part of the 'canon'.Cumberbatch's Sherlock is wonderfully true to the spirit of Doyle's character. The angular, distinctive profile, the manic energy alternating with brooding listlessness, the killer sarcasm, the drug habit and, yes, that last one is no modern innovation.If anything, Sherlock's addictions have been toned down for this version, although a strong hint was dropped when he let slip to Watson that a drugs bust in his flat was actually quite likely to turn up something incriminating. One of my favourite moments was when Sherlock revealed that a particularly taxing mystery was a "three-patch problem", pulling up his sleeve to reveal the sources of his nicotine fix. Swap 'three-patch' for 'three-pipe' and you're right back to Doyle's character.As for his self-diagnosis as a "high-functioning sociopath", it would certainly explain a lot, though we've definitely had one or two glimpses of a heart hidden somewhere beneath that wonderfully acerbic exterior.As for his companion, Martin Freeman's John Watson is an interesting take on the erstwhile doctor, choosing to highlight the steadfast, no-nonsense side of Sherlock's trusty sidekick rather than the permanently overawed buffoon we've sometimes seen in later adaptations. Here, Watson's a straight-talking military man who provides his socially inept friend with the moral compass and sensitivity gauge he so often needs.Sherlock's narrow circle of acquaintances extends to his landlady, Mrs Hudson (a delightfully batty expansion of a minor role by Una Stubbs) who provides tea, sympathy and a distinctly skewed worldview as she soothingly tells our hero that what he really needs is to cheer him up is a "nice murder".The watchful presence of his brother, the all-powerful civil servant Mycroft (played by Gatiss) is, again, pleasingly fleshed out, with the addition of a hilarious rivalry between the all too similar siblings.Sherlock's occasional 'colleagues' at Scotland Yard are a mixed bunch. Inspector Lestrade (Rupert Graves) is, like Watson, closer to Doyle's creation: professional, tenacious and torn between antagonism and affection when it comes to Sherlock. The other policemen who help, or, more often, hinder Holmes in the original stories haven't yet made their appearance, although there are glimpses of them in some characters we have met.The ambitious DI Dimmock could reflect Lestrade's bitter rival, Inspector Gregson, while the snidely resentful Inspector Donovan is more of a composite of every petty official Doyle forced Holmes to endure.As for Moriarty, whom we briefly met in the dramatic cliffhanger to episode three, the change from a sinister professor to a dapper, youthful psychopath is certainly audacious, and seems to have divided opinion. It's going to be interesting to see how these changes play out in the promised second series.The question is, where will they go from here? If this brief run is anything to go by, we can expect an exhilarating mixture of elements drawn from various Doyle stories and woven together with new twists. The magnificent opener, A Study In Pink, referenced more than the title of Doyle's first Holmes novel, A Study in Scarlet. The story of Holmes and Watson's first meeting through a friend at St Bart's was almost identical to Doyle's version, albeit with some lovely updated touches. Here, Holmes deduces Watson's life story from his mobile rather than his fob watch.The serial murder case takes only the method (poisoned tablets offered to the victims as part of a Russian roulette-style gamble) from the original. However, Sherlock's inspection of the first crime scene contains one fantastic in-joke. In A Study in Scarlet, the word ‘Rache' is scrawled in blood upon a wall. Lestrade pompously insists that it's an attempt at the name ‘Rachel', but Holmes corrects him. It's actually the German for ‘revenge'.Moffat and Gatiss wrongfoot us by switching the comments around, so that the message scratched into the floor by a dying woman is, after all, the name of the victim's daughter. This sets the tone for the series, The writers clearly love their source material, but far too much to be overly reverential.The second episode, The Blind Banker, united plot elements from two Doyle stories, the novel The Sign Of The Four and The Adventure Of The Dancing Men, by blending a locked room mystery, sinister secret codes, and Watson's meeting with a future love interest.Best of all, perhaps, was the finale. The Great Game adapted the plot of The Bruce-Partington Plans, in which the discovery of a murdered civil servant leads the discovery of a plot to sell sensitive details of a defence project, and wove it into a complex tale in which Moriarty, keen to become Sherlock's nemesis, set the detective challenge after challenge to solve against the clock with an innocent victim's life in the balance.The countdown was announced with a sequence of ‘pips' sent through a mobile phone, a clear reference to the eponymous coded message of Doyle's story The Five Orange Pips.Finally, in the cheekiest nod of all, Holmes came face to face with his enemy at a deserted swimming pool, an encounter culminating in a deadly impasse. With laser sights from several hidden snipers trained on him, Holmes pointed his gun at an explosive vest next to Moriarty, leaving us clueless as to whether he was preparing to sacrifice his own life to take down the kingpin of organised crime.The concept of hero and villain locked in a struggle to the death was lifted straight from The Adventure Of The Final Problem, where Holmes apparently met his death as he and Moriarty tumbled over the edge of the Reichenbach Falls. It's still a cliffhanger, only without the, well, cliff.Public opinion has won us a guarantee of a second series, just as Doyle was prevailed upon to miraculously bring his hero back from a watery grave over a century ago. Now all that remains is to wonder which elements Moffat and Gatiss will go on to pick out, and which they'll discard.Will we see a crafty Irene Adler, the one woman ever to truly pique Sherlock's interest? Deadly snakes summoned by nefarious stepfathers? A really, really big, scary dog? It's all up for grabs. The game's afoot...
In defence of The Phantom MenaceJames T. Cornish
George Lucas’ first Star Wars prequel has been widely criticised over the years, but does The Phantom Menace really deserve it? Here’s James’ defence of Episode One...Published on Aug 31, 2010
The big day finally came and the reaction was lukewarm at best. The reviews from critics were something of a mixed bag. American critic Roger Ebert gave it four out of five stars. Empire magazine was less favourable, giving it only three stars. The public, however, were far less forgiving. The Phantom Menace has been branded (among other things) 'a disgrace to Star Wars', 'unforgivably bad', and 'a piece of utter crap'.The late 1990s were a joyous time forStar Wars fans. The release date of The Phantom Menace was drawing ever closer, and anticipation for it was at an all time high. Fans were buying cinema tickets, watching the trailer for film in coming attractions, and then leaving before the film they'd paid to see began.The Phantom Menace is in no way perfect, but I don't believe it deserves the rather savage mauling it received upon its release. I've trawled through some of the more negative reviews to address some of the most often cited complaints. So, without further ado, here is my defence of the film.Let's begin with what people view as the crowning turd in the water pipe: Jar Jar Binks and the Gungans. Jar Jar was, quite frankly, an embarrassment. He's a bit like a Wicket W. Warrick for the 1990s. But he will have had little kids giggling with delight. So, I think that that's something we can forgive George Lucas for.Under no circumstances will I ever like Jar Jar, but I will accept him as a necessary evil. Because like him or not, Jar Jar is a crucial part of the Star Wars saga. Were it not for Jar Jar's presence on Coruscant in Attack Of The Clones, Palpatine would not have been granted the emergency powers that allowed him to start the Clone Wars.As for the rest of the Gungans, well, they're really just there to provide cannon fodder for the Battle Droids in what was a very impressive battle sequence. Boss Nass is a tad irritating, but at least it gives a chance for the legendary Brian Blessed to become involved with the saga.Oh, and while I'm on the subject of Jar Jar, a quick word about racism. There is no racism in this film. Anyone who says that Jar Jar is a stereotype of Jamaicans and that the Nemoidians are a stereotype of Asian businessmen is the kind of idiot who deliberately reads into things just so they can get offended and have a good rant about it.One frequent criticism is that The Phantom Menace is dull. This criticism is directed at the plot of the taxation of trade routes and the scenes in the senate. The Phantom Menace is set in peacetime and, therefore, problems faced by the inhabitants of the Star Wars universe will be significantly more mundane than those in the original trilogy.Also, the taxation plot is really only used as a minor component of Palpatine's overall plan and a precursor to the invasion of Naboo. I won't criticise anyone for finding the senate scenes dull. It's not typical of Star Wars, but this is mainly because the original trilogy was set during a dictatorship, where democracy didn't exist and the senate was just for show.Personally, I find the senate scenes to be brilliantly done and a fantastic showcase for Ian McDiarmid's acting. It's a bold experiment for a sci-fi film series noted for being full of action, where characters mainly solve their problems with blasters, but it seems to work.Democracy is the cradle of civilisation and the Star Wars universe is no exception to that. It's a well observed satire on how politicians can manipulate things so easily. The senate scenes, no matter how dull you may find them, are pivotal to the prequel trilogy. It's the start of Palpatine's rise to power and, without these scenes, the rest of the plot concerning the formation of the Empire would make no sense.The film has been criticised for its overuse of CGI but, to be honest, I fail to see the problem. Some may comment that it diminishes the reality of the film and makes it seem more artificial, but if you're watching a film full of gun toting robots and dogfights in outer space, realism shouldn't really be a priority.For much of the film, the CGI blends seamlessly with the rest of the film's elements. Also, the more visually spectacular aspects of the film, such as the Podrace or Otoh Gunga, would not be possible if CGI was not used.I'll at least try to defend the dialogue. It's a bit clunky at times but that's something of a minor irritation. It's only when Lucas tries to sound grand and inspiring that the dialogue falls a bit flat. Senator Palpatine's dialogue is brilliant, but Darth Sidious (despite them being the same character. Oh, come on. It's not like you didn't work it out when you saw the film) fails to convey any sense of menace due to him spouting the same old evil clichés that we've heard too many times already.Oh, and let's not forget the absolutely appalling vernacular of the Gungans. It would have been a much better idea to have them speaking a foreign language, with Jar Jar acting as a translator rather than giving the entire species a mangled version of English.The film also takes a lot of flak for its characterisation. I've already addressed the issue of Jar Jar, so I'll move on to the next most hated character, Anakin. It's been a frequent criticism that Anakin does not show any signs of evil and is nothing like the character he is destined to become. I can negate this argument with two words: he's ten.You'd be hard pressed to find an evil ten-year-old (though if you try Slough, you might have some luck). Hitler probably wasn't insane and murderous at the age of ten. This film is about Anakin's very beginnings and, therefore, he's not going to show many characteristics of sci-fi's second greatest man-machine villain (Davros comes first, in my opinion).While I'm on the subject of Anakin, even though I'm defending the film, the whole 'virgin birth' conversation was a real head on desk moment for me. Qui-Gon is well characterised as a maverick who trusts himself more than his superiors and is willing to go with his instincts. Padme is basically a Princess Leia clone, but it's a tried and tested character. The young Obi-Wan Kenobi is well thought out and is believable as a younger version of the wise old character we all know and love.The best character of this film, and possibly of the entire saga, is Palpatine. InReturn Of The Jedi he was shown as a typically megalomaniacal villain, but this time around we see the true depth of Palpatine. He's cold, calculating and delightfully Machiavellian. He could easily accelerate his rise to power by bumping off the necessary obstacles, but instead he's shown to be truly brilliant, by making allies and then playing them off against each other for his own benefit.Palpatine is quite possibly the greatest sci-fi villain of all time and is certainly the strongest character in The Phantom Menace.Now, the question of the acting. There's no denying that it's decidedly dodgy at times. Jake Lloyd's performance is very poor and really drags the film down. Surely there were better child actors out there. Was this nepotism at work? I suppose we'll never know. Ewan McGregor's accent keeps slipping, which can be something of an irritant.Other than those minor niggles, The Phantom Menace has a great ensemble cast with Ian McDiarmid stealing the show. However, Samuel L. Jackson and Brian Blessed are wasted. I would have liked to have seen Jackson being given a more sizeable role and Blessed having a part that allowed him to show how absolutely brilliant he really is. A Star Wars version of his Richard IV from The Black Adderwould have been a terrific addition to the filmThe standout element of this film is the spectacular action sequences. Duel of the Fates is etched on my brain and will hopefully remain there for a long time. The Lightsaber duels of the original trilogy were very impressive and never fail to send a tingle down my spine. But Duel of the Fates blows all of that out of the water. It's beautifully choreographed and Ray Park's performance is flawless. And the cherry on the cake is that John Williams' musical score is brilliantly evocative and fits the action perfectly.The dogfight over Naboo is classic Star Wars and invokes memories of Return Of The Jedi. It even retains the element of the good guys blowing up their target from the inside.Finally, there is the Podrace. It's visually stunning and adds a whole new element to the Star Wars universe, but it's an element that's close to our own culture, despite it being ramped up to delightfully mad levels. We have car racing where there's an occasional crash. In Star Wars they have people roaring through desert canyons at six hundred miles per hour in flimsily constructed vehicles where it's a miracle if there's a race where nobody dies. The whole sequence looks fantastic and there are great moments of dark humour. Come on, you can't deny that you didn't at least smirk a little bit at some of the crashes.To conclude, The Phantom Menace has it bad points. Most, if not all, films do. But I think you'll find it a lot more enjoyable if you stop comparing it to the original trilogy.People say that it's not like the originals, but that's a good thing. I wouldn't want a carbon copy of A New Hope. It's crammed full of terrific action sequences, there's some really nice political scenes thrown in, and thanks to the magic of CGI, the whole thing looks bloody gorgeous. So stop comparing it unfavourably to its predecessors and enjoy it for what it is: a fun, bonkers, sci-fi romp with some minor unfortunate flaws.To finish off, here are ten facts you may not know about The Phantom Menace:Only one shot in the film is not altered using CGI. It's the shot of the poison gas coming out of the air vents on the Trade Federation ship.Alan Ruscoe (Daultay Dofine, Plo Koon, and Bib Fortuna), Silas Carson (Nute Gunray, Ki-Adi Mundi, Trade Federation Senator, and Republic Cruiser Pilot), Hugh Quarshie (Captain Panaka), and Steve Speirs (Voice of Captain Tarpals), and Lindsay Duncan (Voice of TC-14) all went on to appear in the revived series of Doctor Who. Toby Longworth (Voice of Trade Federation Senator and the fish salesman in Mos Espa) voiced Caw in the animated Doctor Who episode, The Infinite Quest.Sets were only built as tall as the actors' heads. The rest of the sets were created using CGI. However, Liam Neeson's height necessitated the rebuilding of the sets, which cost the production team an extra $150,000.The character of a Jedi named Mace dates back to one of the very first drafts of A New Hope.Spooks actor Richard Armitage had an uncredited role as a Naboo fighter pilot.Jar Jar Binks is the first main character in the Star Wars saga to be created digitally.Natalie Portman's voice was digitally altered to distinguish between the characters of Padme and Queen Amidala.In early drafts of the script, Naboo was named Utapau. The name Utapau was originally used in early drafts of A New Hope and would later be given to a planet that features in Revenge Of The Sith.The core plot of the film is based on an early draft of A New Hope, which was written in 1975.This is the last Star Wars film to use a puppet version of Yoda and the first to feature a CG Yoda. The CG Yoda is seen briefly in the scene where Obi-Wan is knighted.