Posted in films & DVD, Television

Fargo TV Series rumoured

I am a big fan of the 1996  Oscar-winning crime caper “Fargo” which was directed by Joel and Ethan Coen and starred Frances McDrmand as taciturn Police Chief Marge Gunderson, and it has recently been reported that they are developing a Television adaptation, which will continue the story of police chief Marge Gunderson, and will be in the one-hour episode format.

Fargo is a crime caper which focuses on Police Chief  Marge Gunderson, who is given the job of investigating a homicide after a local car dealer with money problems (William H Macy) hires two hilariously incompetent criminals (Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare) to kidnap his wife as part of a ransom scam. The film won best original screenplay and Frances McDormand was named best actress. The film was also nominated in a further five categories.

The film is set mostly in North Dakota, which is populated largely by the descendants of Scandinavian and German settlers. Gunderson is expected to once again be the main character in the TV series, which will be written and executive produced by Noah Hawley, creator of The Unusuals and My Generation. The Fargo TV show is part of studio MGM’s plan to adapt properties it owns for the small screen through MGM Television.

Posted in books

Doctor No by Ian Fleming

Some say Ian Fleming’s first half-dozen James Bond novels are far superior to those that followed – being more realistic, better plotted and altogether less fantastical, Having read them I can see what this person means. Casino Royale is arguably his best book, and when eventually it was filmed with Daniel Craig in 2006, it was unquestionably the closest the movie series has come to capturing the spirit of Fleming’s early work.

Back in 1962 The producers of the Bond movies chose to start off with the sixth novel, Dr No, at which point the tales had become increasingly baroque and the villains flamboyantly megalomaniacal. Dr No is a modest thriller with a tough, stylish hero of some charm doing his job without the assistance of elaborate ordnance or eye-popping gadgetry. He pursues women, but doesn’t attract them as if he possessed some magical power or irresistible magnetism. In his first star role, Sean Connery is confident but not arrogant, a man comfortable in a dinner jacket.

Doctor No starts after M dispatches Bond to Jamaica to look for a missing agent and his secretary who have both vanished under inexplicable circumstances, Bond suspects something is wrong and learns that the reclusive Dr Julius No could be connected with their disappearance. So he sets out to investigate but gets caught tresspassing and is imprisoned on Dr No’s private island, along with the exotic Honeychile Rider. Whilst imprisoned he discovers that Doctor No has a sinister plan which could threaten international security.

Most of what became standard ingredients in the series are here at the start – the opening credits with the familiar Bond theme accompanying the hero shooting straight into the camera lens, the outlandish villain with his plans of world domination, the Bond girls to be bedded and left to their fates, the cynical quips that accompany the deaths of foes, the imaginative touches & distinctive lair of the Bond villains, high-tech in its futuristic, scientific working area and Renaissance-princely in its domestic aspect.

There are other things also make Dr No affectionately memorable, two in particular. The first is our introduction to Bond at the gaming tables of the then fashionable nightclub Les Ambassadeurs in London, handling cards, lighting a cigarette and then telling us his name: “Bond, James Bond”. The other is a scene, improvised on the set, when Bond does a double take on seeing Goya’s portrait of the Duke of Wellington (recently stolen from London’s National Gallery) in Dr No’s palatial living room. It’s the funniest moment in any Bond picture and one of cinema’s great art jokes.

Posted in music

Muse – The Second Law

Muse’s latest album is called “The Second Law” and is named after the second law of thermodynamics, and as of Monday 24th September There is a live stream of the new album by Muse “The Second Law” on the Guardian Newspaper Website. I am a big fan of Muse, because they have always tried to develop their sound beyond that of the average rock group, and on the latest album, there are traces of dubstep bass amid the the band’s prog-fuelled stadium rock, as well as a soft-rock sound last heard on Queen’s A Kind of Magic and even a sampled foetal heartbeat taken from singer Bellamy’s then unborn son, there are other influences as wide-ranging as the Beach Boys to Fred Goodwin, the 12-bar blues to fatherhood. There are even some INXS and Electric Light Orchestra influences in there too. The first track from Muse’s sixth album “Unsustainable” hit the internet some time ago & The album’s first single is entitled “Madness”. The Guardian Newspaper will have a full review of the album later this week – plus an exclusive interview with the band in this Sunday’s Observer New Review. Unfortunately this stream does not appear to be available to users outside the UK, anyway I’ve had a listen and all the tracks sound great. Tracks on the album are:

Panic Station
Follow Me
Big Freeze
Save Me
Liquid State
The Second Law:Unsustainable
The Second Law: Isolated System