Wanted

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Out on DVD (£12.99 from Play.com inc. free delivery)
Wanted? Well, if your preference is for deep, meaningful, soul searching drama that lays bare the human condition and runs the full gamet of emotions, from pain, though sorrow and angish, onto misery and finally regret tinged with more misery, sorrow and angish, then probably not. On the other hand, if your taste runs more towards guns, more guns, 2 mile headshots, assasins, Angelina Jolie covered in tattoos, improbable car stunts, implausible plot twists, a magical loom that can read the future (WTF?), James McAvoy doing a reasonable turn with an American accent and curving bullets round sides of pigs, then this should go to the top of your list.

Frankly I’m getting bored with the old, new, angsty, ‘play it for real’, ‘superheros are human too’, ‘it so hard being me’, Spiderman / Batman / Incredible Hulk treatment. So I loved it. And so did the wife. Wanted? Yo’ damn right.
(4/5 Sit back and think of nothing)

Dirty, Sexy Money

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Friday 9pm, Channel 4.
Once upon a time a TV series was one of two things. Either…

a) A collection of discrete episodes, all based around the same situation, but each with a discernable narrative of its own. Ok, some of these series, like The X Files, had a long running background story too. But it was always extra and always possible to only tune into every 4th episode, make sense of what was happening and enjoy it. Which meant they could run as long as the actors, or the viewers were willing.

Or…

b) A set number of episodes with a single story arc, including a beginning, middle and, importantly, an end that was already decided. You needed to watch them all, but you knew the parameters of what you were signing up for. Think House Of Cards, or State of Play. A rare, modern American example is 24. You know it has 24 episodes and by the 24th the story will be wrapped up. You can watch it, enjoy it, then forget about it and move on. That was all BL – Before Lost.

With Lost, a new model was born that meant the TV execs could have it all; the never-endingness of a) and unmissableness of b). The new model? A single storyline that requires you to catch every episode, but can go on and on and on and on, because, honestly, the writers have no more idea what the ending’s going to be than you do. And it is without a doubt this model that the producers of Dirty Sexy Money are hoping to employ. Don’t get me wrong; it’s got a good cast (D. Sutherland / bloke from 6 Feet Under), it’s well produced and I like a whodunnit as much as the next man. But I’m not prepared to sign up to another wild goose chase. For the record, I’m still watching Lost. I’m on series 4 episode 8. That’s 70+ hours so far and I’m no closer to knowing what’s going on than series 1, episode 1. What’s more, I’d bet my lungs that the ending, should it ever come (I think they’re talking about 6 series now) will fail to tie up 90% of the stuff that’s happened so far and will be earth-shatteringly, heart-breakingly, arse-winkingly disappointing. So sorry Dirty, Sexy Money, Count me out.
(2/5 Don’t show me the money)

Pixar’s ‘Ratatouille’

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DVD, £11.99 from Play.com
“In many ways the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgement. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and too read. But, the bitter truth we critics must face is that in the grand scheme of things the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. ” Not my words, but the words of Anton Ego, food critic and sometime bad guy in Pixar’s latest offering. Obviously, I’d like to be able to follow that by saying the film’s a load of leathery, old cocks. Sadly it’s a corker.
(4/5  Damn you Pixar!)

The Dulcoease TV ad

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Any commercial TV channel, all the bleedin time.
‘Great. So my adverts going to be a bit like Sex in the City is it?’
Yes, except that …
1) Instead well known American actresses we’re going to use British, bit part actresses who’s only previous TV experience is as extras in The Bill
2) The one who’s supposed to be Kim Catterall look will look like her face has been put together from spare parts
3) Instead of a crack team of 20 top writers, it’s going to be written by one, over the hill, alcoholic adman who bashes it out in a morning so he can get to the pub.
4) The entire conversation is going to be focused on the relative hardness of poo.
(1/5 Another great reason to tune into ITV)

Hairy Bikers Come Home

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Thursday 3rd January, 8pm (BBC2, £135 per annum)
Somewhere in the BBC…
‘Shit! How are we going to fill all this airtime?’
‘Erm…People love cookery programs. We could do more of them.’
‘Great idea. We could get those Two Fat Ladies back. They were cheap.
‘Problem. One of them’s dead.’
‘Oh… Well there must be a couple of other lard arses we can send off round the country on a bike to sample ‘local produce’ and generally act eccentric…’
Et voila.
(2/5 Bandwagon fodder)

Superbad

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Wednesday 2nd January, 9.47pm. (Play.com, £12.99, including free P&P)
As big fans of Apatow Productions’ output, the wife and I were pretty darn excitied when Superbad landed on the doorstep. Apatow are the new Kings of Hollywood and excel at what I can only describe as romantic comedy for boys. And while it probably isn’t as good a film as either Knocked Up or the truely supreme 40 Year Old Virgin (Yes, really) Superbad has some of the funniest bits of any of them. Sadly the best character, Fogell a.k.a. McLovin, is neither of the main two, but there’s a couple of his scenes where I was literally crying with laughter (particularly this one). I think maybe it’s just one too many coming of age films for me to think it was really top notch . Next out from Apatow, Walk Hard: The ledgend of Dewey Cox (Life made him tough. Love made him strong. Music made him hard). Sweet.
(3/5 Its parts are greater than the sum of its whole)