Friday, 31 August 2012

"Back in 1991, I Wasn't Havin' Any Fun"

Not me, I was turning ten and probably having a great time. The title comes from the lyrics of Weezer's 'Heart Songs' on 2008's The Red Album.

1991 was the year that the USSR dissolved, the First Gulf War was fought, the German capital moved from Bonn to Berlin, Tim Berners Lee first announced the world wide web and a spectator was killed by lightning at the US Open Golf Championship.

These are a few of my favourite things from 1991:

Film
The Fisher King
Terry Gilliam's second attempt at a quest for the holy grail is a truly fantastic film. Richard LaGravenese's script is a witty and touching modern fairytale. Jeff Bridges, Robin Williams, Mercedes Ruehl, Amanda Plummer and Michael Jeter are all wonderful. The opening scene in Jack's DJ booth, Parry's entrance, ballroom dancing commuters, cloud busting nudity and the terrifying visions of the red knight are all beautifully shot. Here's the trailer.

Shadows And Fog
Woody Allen does German Expressionism and the results are fantastic. The film looks brilliant, the cast are wonderful and Woody's character gets all the best lines. Here's the trailer.

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, George Takei, Mark Lenard, Kim Cattrall, David Warner, Iman, Michael Dorn and Christopher Plummer are all wonderful in this dignified sendoff for a generation. The zero gravity scenes, the showtrial, the footage of the surface of Rura Penthe are all great. Star Trek grows up with this cold war allegory that could never have realised how topical it would be during its production. "Only Nixon could go to China" indeed... Here's the trailer.

Delicatessen
Dominique Pinon leads an excellent ensemble cast in Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro's French macabre romance story set in an SF post-apocalyptic dystopia. The rhythmic sequences are great and the seemingly insignificant chain reaction set pieces are stunning and the compelling world rewards repeat viewings. Here's the trailer.

TV
Dark Season
Russell T. Davies' six part childrens' TV story is a game of two halves, or rather two connected three-parters. School can be a dangerous place, there's no such thing as free and don't trust Nazis are just three of the lessons on offer. Victoria Lambert, Ben Chandler, Kate Winslet, Brigit Forsyth, Grant Parsons, Cyril Shaps, Samantha Cahill and Jacqueline Pearce are all wonderful. The Behemoth is brilliantly realised. This serial is fantastic and I cannot stress strongly enough the affect that it had on me as a ten year old. It made me want to write and it made me want to write well. Thanks Russell.

Red Dwarf: Camille; DNA; Justice; White Hole; Dimension Jump; Meltdown
The first episode of Series IV sees Kryten fall in love with Camille, it's a bittersweet romance and Robert Llewellyn and Judy Pascoe are fantastic, while the object of the Cat's desire (with great delivery from Danny John-Jules), the reveal of Camille's true form and the exploration of noble deception are all wonderful. Llewellyn is on form again in the next episode as Kryten has his DNA is altered and briefly becomes human, other great moments are Rimmer's reaction to Glenn Miller, the Cat's insults, Craig Charles' smirk mode, the Double Polaroid scene, Spare Head 3 and the story of how Lister nearly sold out. Lister's spacemumps, the escort boots, the courtroom scenes and Rimmer's objections in Justice are very, very funny, while the concept of the justice field itself is simply genius. The crew encounter a White Hole, which in another very inventive leap of SF logic is the opposite of a black hole, it's a joy to see the always great Hattie Hayridge getting more to do as the intelligence-compressed Holly, David Ross is great as the voice of Talkie Toaster and the "So what is it?" scene is fantastic. Ace Rimmer Dimension Jumps into our reality and the result is a brilliant character study on the road less travelled, while Ace's introduction, both his lunch offers and the in-flight magazine scene are very funny, while the "What a guy!" effect gets cumulatively funnier, the effect he has on our Rimmer is fascinating and Chris Barrie is excellent as both Rimmers. Season finale, Meltdown, is atypical and all the better for it. Sadly for the army of Waxdroids, Pat Boone wasn't available and so Rimmer plays Risk with their lives. Jack Klaff, Tony Hawks and Clayton Mark are excellent, the anti-war theme is never overbearing or preachy, Caligula slapping Lister, "I'm watching you, Gandhi" and the Elvis' version of the end theme are great, while the description of Winnie the Pooh's execution is one of the funniest things ever unseen on television. The bunkroom scenes are at a minimum and Series IV is more of an ensemble show. Rimmer gets geekier, Lister inherits a backstory from the novels, the Cat is arguably at his most integrated, Kryten breaks his programming and although Holly's role has mostly contracted she is still a vital part of the show. Barrie, Charles, John-Jules, Llewellyn and Hayridge are excellent throughout these six brilliant episodes.

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Data's Day; The Wounded; Devil's Due; Clues; First Contact; Galaxy's Child; Identity Crisis; The Nth Degree; Qpid; The Drumhead; Half A Life; The Mind's Eye; In Theory; Redemption; Darmok; Ensign Ro; Disaster; The Game; Unification; A Matter Of Time
The fourth season continues with Data's Day, a 'day-in-the-life' episode with a brilliant script and a great central performance from Brent Spiner, ably surrounded by LeVar Burton, Gates McFadden, Colm Meaney and Rosalind Chao. Meaney and Marc Alaimo are fantastic in The Wounded. Devil's Due is probably the oddest courtroom drama on TV and Marta DuBois is wonderful as the funny, flirty and fearsome Ardra. Clues is a great mystery. First Contact with a xenophobic alien race does not go according to plan in an episode that provide an interesting insight into a modern society and Bebe Neuworth is hilarious. Galaxy's Child reunites Burton with Susan Gibney and they are great together again. Geordi's Identity Crisis looks great, the holographic forensic investigation scene is impressive and Burton is wonderful. Dwight Schultz is fantastic in The Nth Degree. Qpid is practically a remake of Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves, but the end result is a lot more fun. Patrick Stewart and Jean Simmons are fantastic in The Drumhead, a courtroom drama par excellence that turns into a witch hunt. Majel Barrett and David Ogden Stiers are wonderful in euthanasia allegory episode Half A Life. Compellingly advancing the political storyline, The Mind's Eye is brilliantly shot to evoke The Manchurian Candidate and Burton is great. Spiner is wonderful in In Theory and the phased woman falling through the deck is a very shocking image. The season ends with the first half of two-parter Redemption and the ensuing Klingon Civil War is great, the cliffhanger is excellent and Stewart, Michael Dorn, Tony Todd, Robert O'Reilly, Whoopi Goldberg, Barbara March, Gwynyth Walsh and Denise Crosby are all fantastic.
The second part is even better than the first and as the story widens to include the Starfleet blockade the scenes of B'Etor's attempted seduction of Worf, Picard meeting Sela and Spiner is wonderful overcoming minor mutinies aboard Data's first command. Paul Winfield's wonderful performance makes the Tamarian metaphorical language both believable and fascinating in Darmok. Michelle Forbes is fantastic as Ensign Ro, Goldberg is on form again and this episode's treatment of the plight of refugees and the political wrangling is well-handled and a sign of things to come from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. The Enterprise crew find themselves in an episode with the structure of a Disaster movie and Jonathan Frakes & Spiner, Burton & McFadden and Dorn & Chao are all magnificent in their respective stories. Wil Wheaton and Ashley Judd are great as they attempt to prevent the insidious spread of The Game. Paralleling Spock's experiences 75 years earlier (see above) the two-parter Unification is fantastic, both Picard and Data's undercover mission on Romulus to find Spock and the Enterprise's detective work to uncover the role of a dismantled Vulcan ship in the affair are equally compelling. The appearance of Leonard Nimoy is powerful and the scenes between Spock, Picard and Data are superb. A Matter Of Time is a brilliant concept for a comedy episode and Matt Frewer is very, very funny as the brilliantly named Berlinghoff Rasmussen.

Doctor Who: An Unearthly Child (Pilot Version)
The first attempt at the first ever episode of Doctor Who was finally shown twenty-eight years after it was made. Although clunkier than the version broadcast in 1963, the blocking and editing is awkward, but the ideas and the performances are still fantastic. Carole Ann Ford's unearthliness isn't quite ready yet, but William Hartnell, William Russell and Jacqueline Hill are already on top form. While not up to the standard of the eventual remake, the first sight of the police box in the junkyard, the inside of the TARDIS and the final shot are still very impressive.

The Case-Book Of Sherlock Holmes: The Disappearance Of Lady Frances Carfax; The Problem Of Thor Bridge; Shoscombe Old Place; The Boscombe Valley Mystery; The Illustrious Client; The Creeping Man
Holmes and Watson investigate The Disappearance Of Lady Frances Carfax and Jeremy Brett, Edward Hardwicke, Cheryl Campbell, Jack Klaff and Michael Jayston are fantastic. Holmes' deduction of The Problem Of Thor Bridge is well-realised. Holmes and Watson investigate Shoscombe Old Place in a nice little mystery. Peter Vaughn is brilliant in The Boscombe Valley Mystery. The Illustrious Client engages Holmes to prevent a marriage in an impressively terrifying tale of manipulation and perversity. Charles Kay is phenomenal in aptly-named series finale The Creeping Man.

Northern Exposure: Goodbye To All That; The Big Kiss; All Is Vanity; What I Did For Love; Spring Break; War And Peace; Slow Dance; The Bumpy Road To Love; Only You; Oy, Wilderness; Animals R Us; Jules et Joel; The Body In Question; Roots; A-Hunting We Will Go; Get Real; Seoul Mates
The show that expertly deals with philosophy and metaphysics in everyday life returns for a second season with Goodbye To All That and a Dear John letter for Joel, his dreams and Ed's attempt at closure for him are great, but Shelley's addiction and subsequent confession are hilarious. One Who Waits is a great character and the public interest in ending Chris' silence is very funny in The Big Kiss. This public interest in private matters is taken to extremes with Holling's elective circumcision in All Is Vanity and Maggie's premotion of Joel's death in What I Did For Love. From Ruth-Ann's pornography suggestions to Holling spoiling for a rumble via Maurice's enchantment with Officer Barbara Semanski, Spring Break is very funny. War And Peace sees Cicily united by a duel with a fascinating meta-textual scene and commentary on violence. Rick's death, Gary's attempt to woo Maggie and Bill's wife are hilarious in season finale Slow Dance.
It transpires that Rick was less than faithful as the third season begins with Maggie still on The Bumpy Road To Love, she flirts with drunken misandry and briefly visits heaven in a great dream scene, while Semanski's hard line on breaking the law. Only You has a great teaser and Chris' irresistibility and Joel's obsession with it are very funny. Shelly's radio divorce is great in Oy, Wilderness. The cinema debates and Ed's movie about Cicely is great in Animals R Us. Rob Morrow plays twins Jules Et Joel Fleischman, the former asks Maggie out and the latter undergoes Freudian analysis, whilst each masquerades as the other which reveals a huge amount about Joel's psyche. Chris discovers The Body In Question that has the potential to undermine European history, but it's Ed and Ruth-Ann's scenes that are an absolute joy to watch. Bernard returns in Roots and Chris declares himself a 'person of colour'. In many Northern Exposure episodes the 'B-story' is better than the A, and so it is with Ruth-Ann's fragility and 75th birthday in A-Hunting We Will Go and Darren E. Burrows and Peg Phillips are fantastic. Marilyn's scenes with her silent suitor are very cute in Get Real. The brilliantly-named Seoul Mates introduces Maurice's Korean son and Joel has a great crisis of confidence as he attempts to celebrate Christmas.

Jeeves & Wooster
The second season gives us six more episodes and therefore six more ill-advised and short-lived marriage announcements. Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, John Woodnutt, John Turner, Charlotte Attenborough, Simon Treves, Martin Clunes, Mary Wimbush, Niamh Cusick and Janet Henfrey are excellent. Highlights include Bertie's telegrams and Treves’ magnificent pratfalling, "Would it be too much to ask you to attach a stout lead to the little fellow's collar thus making the world safe for democracy?", Jeeves' detective work, Jeeves as a servant of three masters, Barmy playing the ukelele competitively and Bertie's school assembly, while the spread of fascism is brilliantly satirised by the depiction of Spode's Blackshorts.

Music
Blur: Leisure
The band's debut album shows Blur at their baggiest, but tracks like 'There's No Other Way' and 'Sing' shows signs of things to come.
Stand-out tracks: 'She's So High', 'Bang', 'Sing', 'There's No Other Way', 'Fool', 'High Cool', 'Wear Me Down'

Books
Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett
The eleventh Discworld novel sees Death go AWOL again and the legions of the undead are bolstered by his inactivity. Windle Poons is my favourite of the Unseen University wizards and the story of his life-after-death is a joy to read. Reg Shoe and the Fresh Start Club are hilarious, while Death's sabatical has all the hallmarks of a western and his relationship with Miss Flitwick is beautifully written.

Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett
The third novel to feature the witches of Lancre follows them to foreign parts. Witches Abroad is fantastic, taking in fairy tales, voodoo and happy endings, featuring Casanunda the Discworld's second greatest lover and a candidate for my favourite paragraph of Pratchett:
"Bad spelling can be lethal. For example, the greedy Seriph of Al-Yabi was cursed by a badly-educated deity and for some days everything he touched turned to Glod, which happened to be the name of a small dwarf from a mountain community hundreds of miles away who found himself magically dragged to the kingdom and relentlessly duplicated. Some two thousand Glods later the spell wore off. These days, the people of Al-Yabi are renowned for being remarkably short and bad-tempered."

Comics
Doctor Who: The Mark Of Mandragora
Combining elements from the TV story The Masque Of Mandragora with gritty elements like drug addiction making The Mark Of Mandragora feel fresh and a great tale that could easily have been a contemporary UNIT story on TV, but it's the destruction of the Doctor's question mark umbrella that cuts the deepest.

Games
Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge
Guybrush Threepwood returns in another very funny point-and-click adventure game. This time he's searching for the legendary treasure of Big Whoop in a quest concerning voodoo dolls, map fragments and spitting contests.

Sid Meier's Civilization
This empire-building and exploration strategy game is brilliant and very, very addictive.



Recommendations welcome.

Next Month: 1990

Monday, 27 August 2012

Weave

In 2005, I returned to London Metropolitan University after I had graduated to take part in Weave, an interdisciplinary performance that reworked elements of Macbeth and combined theatre and dance as part of The Facility.

I was initially offered the part of a servant at the royal court who announced everybody else. The actor playing King James VI of Scotland and I of England left the show and I was one of the actors asked to audition to replace him. I don't think it was judged on performance, but instead came down to Scottish accents and mine was slightly less bad. So I got the part.

Check out my massive feather:


Most of the action of the play concerned a fictional witchtrial presided over by King James. He was fascinated with witchcraft and indeed wrote his own treatise on the subject in 1597 called Daemonologie.

The King's lines in Weave were almost exclusively drawn directly from Shakespeare, the Bible and Daemonologie. I'm convinced that the latter of these were never meant to be said aloud: "The fearefull aboundinge at this time in this countrie, of these detestable slaves of the Devil, the Witches or enchaunters, hath moved me..."


The show had lofty ambitions regarding its interdisciplinary nature and historical content, but it turned out to be a bit of a mixed bag. It was meant to be a blend of drama and dance, but the balance was less 50/50 and more 80/20 toward the scripted dialogue, which left the dancers waiting about for us to finish.

The play was set, quite arbitrarily as it turned out, in 1605 (despite proof that King James' was more sceptical about witchcraft as late as 1599), but to complicate matters somehow the witchtrial was somehow attended by a modern day feminist theorist. The logic of which was glossed over.

On the plus side, the dancers were very impressive and Michael Colgan was fantastic as the court prosecutor.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Semi-Naked In Somebody Else's Room

Another song from the Brixton Academy gig.

The band went off piste and dropped 'Sheffield: Sex City' and 'Party Hard' from their set list to play 'Underwear' (the almost but not quite double A-side to 'Common People') after a request from the audience:


Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Tom Linton

Nearly three years ago I wrote this about my great-great-uncle, Arthur Linton. While Arthur was easily the most successful in the family, his brothers, Tom and Sam, were both professional cyclists as well. I've been meaning to write about both of them for some time, but I knew so little about either of them. In order to redress the balance, I've been doing a bit of research starting with Tom:

Tom Linton is pictured to the left in an advert for Dunlop, a company his great-nephew (and my father) would work for a half a century later.

Tom was born on the 13th of June 1876 in Aberaman in South Wales. He was a professional cyclist from 1896 to 1903. In 1894, in one month he broke records for the time he took to cover 1 kilometre, 10 kilometres, 100 kilometres, 5 miles and he also won an 8 day event. He competed in the unnofficial races at the Paris Olympics in 1900. He died of Typhoid Fever in 1915, aged just 39, in Levallois in France. In 1896, he became the first rider to cover 30 miles in one hour.


Tom Linton is following behind the 'trandem' in this photo. It's a shame that we don't see people riding trandems anymore.


Astonishingly, Toulouse-Lautrec once drew Tom as part of an abortive advertising campaign for the Simpson Bicycle Chain. Tom is in the foreground on the bike, while the figure rooting through the bag is reported to be the controversial trainer Choppy Warburton linked to a number of drugs scandals. The final design is less risky, but also somewhat less impressive.


Arthur Linton was a taciturn and shy fellow who avoided talking to the press. Apparently the same cannot be said of Tom who had a very public rivalry with Jimmy Michael as seen in this from the Sporting Life in 1896:


My research has been quite scattergun, but here are a number of other newspaper cuttings that I've managed to find. The Sketch, 3rd of June 1896:


The New York Times, 5th of July 1897:


The New York Times, 16th of August 1899:


I wish I knew a lot more about Tom Linton and his brothers.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Do You Accept Cookies?

Sarah made cookies.


They were enormous, but we managed. It's a hard life.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Carruthers Camera #26

Five more photos I took for the Carruthers blog:

I took Branded in a discount shop in Bradford. I was asked not to take any more photographs, but thankfully not until I had taken all that I wanted.

Neighbours was taken in Bounds Green, North London.

Placed was taken Islington, North London in a back street off Holloway Road.

There's No Business... was taken outside a brilliantly-named shop in Southgate, North London and that's my reflection. Sadly I don't think it's there any more.

High On The Hill was taken in the borough of Camden, on Herbal Hill, EC1 in London, although I suppose you could have guessed that.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Top Ten Security Officers

The ship has a captain, a first officer, a doctor, an engineer and a pilot. Now it's time for a security officers.

Whether you call them security guards, stormtroopers or redshirts you'll probably need them in the end. Obviously there is a crossover with law enforcement, but I've resisted making this a list of my Top Ten police officers. Almost making the list were Aeryn Sun from Farscape and Star Trek's Lieutenants Yar and Reed.

Here's my list of Top Ten Security Officers:

10 - Detritus
The first Troll to join Discworld's Ankh-Morpork City Watch. Unintelligent even by Troll standards, his IQ has been boosted by a clockwork-powered fan in his helmet which cools his brain down to improve his mental capacity. He rose through the ranks to reach Sergeant and started a personal crusade against a Troll drug called Slab. Detritus carries battlefield artillery as a hand weapon and, in a fight, you would want him to be on your side.


9 - Mike Watt
Mike was thrown out of the Territorial Army because he stole a Chieftain tank and tried to invade Paris, but stopped at EuroDisney and got caught on Space Mountain. Tim's best friend in Spaced is always armed, efficient and provides security with a smile.


8 - Worf
Star Trek: The Next Generation's Klingon became security chief following the death of Tasha Yar. It was a promotion he found dishonourable, but it was an assignment he carried out impressively for the next seven years. Don't be fooled by the silly bouffant hair-do, his dour demeanour, his scowl, his martial arts ability and his skill with bladed weapons all made him an imposing security officer. You definitely wouldn't want to mess with Worf.


7 - Carrot Ironfoundersson
Captain of Ankh-Morpork's City Watch, six foot tall honorary Dwarf and heir to the city's throne. Carrot is very thorough and knows everyone in the city by name, but often struggles with the city's shades of grey. His literal mind causes friction with the likes of the city's, entirely legal, Thieves Guild and during a murder investigation he interviewed the Discworld's Death itself. He is just the sort of solid and dependable sort you would feel secure around.


6 - Tuvok
Star Trek: Voyager's Security Chief anticipated security risks and dealt with them in a very logical fashion. He investigated crimes, trained underperforming crewmembers, took command when necessary and even went undercover to provide security and he did so without the back up a Starfleet security officer could expect to receive in the Alpha Quadrant. Just don't let him investigate any motiveless crimes...


5 - Delphine Angua von Ɯberwald
The first woman to join Discworld's Ankh-Morpork City Watch, Angua rose through the ranks to reach Captain. She is also a werewolf which heightens her senses and gives you another reason not to get on the wrong side of her. As a wolf she has a taste for chicken, but always returns in human form to leave some money for their previous owner. As a human she is a strict vegetarian. She describes herself as a wolf that lives with humans.


4 - Jayne Cobb
Less of a security guard and more of a mercenary. Firefly & Serenity's muscle could be mistaken for a very simple man who works for the highest bidder, but is actually a very simple man with hints at hidden depths who works for the highest bidder and occasionally feels guilt about who that bidder might be. He respects the chain of command: "You know what the chain of command is? It's the chain I go get and beat you with 'til you understand who's in ruttin' command here!" Armed with a gun named Vera and a pretty cunning hat, 'The Hero Of Canton' is not someone you want to mess with.


3 - Odo
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's Changeling Chief of Security was an outsider even among outsiders. The Constable's species had an inate sense of justice and Odo used his to police the spacestation under three very different political regimes stating "Laws change depending on who's making them, but justice is justice." His shapeshifting abilities enabled him to assume the form of an inanimate object, observe criminal activity and arrest accordingly, all without ever picking up a weapon.


2 - Agent 355
Y: The Last Man's Agent 355 was a Culper Ring secret agent who was assigned to be bodyguard to the last man alive. Handy with weapons and repeatedly fended off multiple attackers. She spent five years looking after man, Mann and monkey at close quarters without letting a love triangle distract her. Much.


1 - Samuel Vimes
To give him his full title: His Grace, His Excellency, The Duke of Ankh; Commander Sir Samuel Vimes. Yep. Vimes is in charge of the City Watch in Ankh-Morpork, but he isn't some chinless upper class twit. Instead he is a born copper who has married into the aristocracy and crucially he understands the mentality of the mob. He just gets people. Vimes won't tell you want you want to hear, but he will tell you what you need to hear. If you want to feel secure, Vimes is your man.


Who are your favourites?

Next month: Top Ten Firefly episodes.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Monday, 6 August 2012

Please Release Me DVD #6

Star Trek and its various spinoffs are all available on DVD, aren't they?

Yes.

Well...it's more of a yes, but...

Yes, but somehow things still get overlooked. In previous Please Release Me posts I've resisted posting videos, but I've had a change of heart and so here are four chunks of otherwise unreleased Star Trek:

Star Trek: The Animated Series Public Service Announcement
Many eighties cartoons end with a public service announcement or moralising coda. The practice was apparently less common during the seventies , but he animated Star Trek did its bit here for the "Keep America Beautiful" campaign with in character appearances from William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and George Takei. Sadly left off the TAS DVD box set (apologies for sound quality):



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The Star Trek Logs
In 1991, Star Trek was twenty-five years old, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country was in cinemas, Star Trek: The Next Generation was in its fifth season and tied into the movie with the two-parter Unification. In short, Star Trek was everywhere and apparently MTV wanted in. Featuring interview segments, stock footage and surprisingly Marina Sirtis in character as Deanna Troi.
Omitted from the TNG Season 5 DVD box set and so in appalling picture quality here is The Star Trek Logs in three sections:







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Star Trek: The Next Generation on Comic Relief
Filmed on the Enterprise-D sets during the final season of TNG, but again left off the relevant DVD, a Picardless crew discuss the work of the US version of Comic Relief in a sketch that could have done with a few more jokes:



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Star Trek: Fables And Folklore - The Young Hunter
A nice little animated insight into Klingon custom. Still available on the official Star Trek website, but it would also have been a perfect extra on the TAS DVD. Here it is:



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Are there any other Star Trek bits and pieces that were overlooked for DVD?

Friday, 3 August 2012

Rise Of The Planet Of The Dave

We watched Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes the other day. I liked it. The story is a great reboot of Conquest Of The Planet Of The Apes and the story of the first ape who learned to say "No", it asks interesting moral and ethical questions about animal testing, features excellent CGI and there are great performances from John Lithgow, Freida Pinto and the motion-capture cast playing the apes.

In other news, the DVD case made me want to do this: