Don’t Mind If I Do…

The Lounge Kittens "Have Another..." E.P.After a slightly tumultuous fundraising/recording period, The Lounge Kittens’s new mini-album/E.P. (“Have Another…”) has finally been released into the wild! Technically, as a pledger, I got my copy a day early (possibly even posted by one of the Kittens themselves?), but it’s taken me a while to make the time to give it a proper listen. Apparently I’m horribly out of the loop, because I wasn’t familiar with half the tracks/artists* they covered here… but that didn’t stop me enjoying their trademark (sweary) three-part harmonies, accomplished piano accompaniment, and occasional jokey flourishes. On top of which, I still find their heartfelt rendition of Jimmy Eat World‘s “The Middle” very moving and uplifting, so bless them for that. Oh, they’ve also recorded an Avicii medley in tribute to the late musician, which is available to buy separately (and highly recommended).
* “Gold Dust” by DJ Fresh, “Violent Pornography” by System Of A Down, “The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World, “Cheerleader” by Omi, “One Step Closer” by Linkin Park, and “Love Walked In” by Thunder, fyi.

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BFCC 3/19

Once more unto the (geeky) breach, dear friends…

I booked my ticket for last weekend’s Film & Comic Con when Indira Varma was still listed as a guest, but sadly she cancelled due to “work commitments”, for the second time in a row! Thankfully, there were still plenty other great people to see/mildly-inconvenience, and fun talks to listen to…

Kate Dickie and Oliver Ford Davies @ Film & Comic Con Bournemouth (3/19)First up were Oliver Ford Davies and Kate Dickie, nominally discussing Game Of Thrones, but drawing on their many years in the film industry to keep the audience entertained with anecdotes and (SPOILER-riffic) inside knowledge. For example, Dickie had intended to follow the book’s description of her character’s death in GoT, and maintain a stoic silence as she fell through the “moon door”… but she’s so afraid of heights irl that when they hauled her up to the ceiling of a green-screen studio and then dropped her down to simulate falling, she just started screaming her head off in genuine terror, and that’s what they used on-screen! Also, because she generally appears in small-scale, street-level indie flicks, she feels very intimidated when she steps onto giant, fantastical sets like the “Eyrie” in GoT or the alien ship in Prometheus. In fact, she suffered such a terrible attack of “imposter syndrome” while filming the latter that she somehow convinced herself they’d meant to cast another actress in the role, and resolved to hide away in the shadows as much as possible, in case they realised their mistake! Bless. Oh, and when asked who she thought should be sitting on the Iron Throne at series end, she opted for Arya, as compensation for everything the errant Stark had been through, and as a reward for offing “Littlefinger”!

Although Dickie was extremely chatty and super-adorable on-stage, I decided against bothering her at her signing table again this year… mostly because she never seemed to be there when I slouched past… though I did take the opportunity to inform her neighbour, Shauna MacDonald, how much I enjoyed Wedding Belles and Filth, while I was in the area. Fun fact: Apparently there was talk of spinning Belles off into a full series, back in the day, but… er… that didn’t happen… yet…

Ingrid Oliver @ Film & Comic Con Bournemouth (3/19)The second talk of the day was by actress/comedienne Ingrid Oliver, which I arrived a little late for. Tch-tch! To be honest, I’m not really a Doctor Who fan, and was in two-minds about attending at all until I found myself at a loose end, due to the heavily reduced number of stalls this year. I’m very glad I did stop by though, because Oliver’s a very entertaining and lively speaker, and she did touch on a variety of other topics during her set (such as a youthful stint as a Shakesperean volunteer at the Tower of London, where her soliloquies were occasionally interrupted by unappreciative tourists wanting to know where the toilets were!). She also got to drop some pretty big names when asked about upcoming projects, as she’s just finished filming a supporting role in The Hustle, a gender-flipped remake of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels starring Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson! Note: One common theme across both talks was how much actors fib at auditions in order to score a role, from claiming to be experienced horse-riders, to wearing a borrowed pair of spectacles that they pass off as their own… though Dickie insisted that she’s too scared of getting caught-out to tell any porkies herself…

Sonia Leong @ Film & Comic Con Bournemouth (3/19)On a comic-book kick, I got my copy of Sonia Leong’s Manga Romeo & Juliet adaptation signed, and also picked up a copy of her illustrated fantasy novel A Brush With Magic… after which she was kind enough to pose for a photo at her table, which I’m gutted to see came out so blurry (along with all the other pictures on this page), because her goth-y suit was awesome, and I love the fact that she dresses so sharply for conventions. Clearly modern technology is wasted on me, and I’d be better off using an old-timey cartridge camera with a fixed focus… sigh…

Anyhoo, my gratitude/apologies to all concerned!

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Sherlock-U-Don’t-Like: Sad Kitty

Rebecca Hall as ‘Dr. Grace Hart’ and Lauren Lapkus as ‘Millie’ in “Holmes & Watson” (2018)Naturally when I read that a new Sherlock Holmes spoof was being derided by critics and audiences alike as the “Worst Picture” of 2018 my (slightly masochistic) curiosity was piqued… but then when I watched the trailer for Holmes & Watson, I felt a guilty/sinking suspicion that I might actually quite enjoy seeing it… and sadly, dear reader, that proved to be the case! Sigh.

Now, there’s no question that this is the worst/least-funny movie that Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly have made together (as well as one of the worst that either of them has ever appeared in, full stop), but for some stupid, shameful, inexplicable reason it kept me chuckling all the way through… not laughing, as such, but amused enough to emit some sort of audible expression of mirth. It currently boasts a “freshness” rating of just 10% at Rotten Tomatoes, with an audience score of 27%, and there are numerous reports that people walked out of the cinema early when it was first exhibited, so there’s no way in Hell that I’d recommend (or even meekly suggest) it to anyone as a viewing option, but… God help me, I am kinda curious to see what extras (if any) there’ll be on the DVD release (if it gets one), in case I wind up buying it in a charity shop someday! Gah!

Under the circumstances, it might actually be kinder at this juncture not to name the female cast members, but I did really enjoy Lauren Lapkus’s performance as a mute woman who was raised by feral cats, even though Rebecca Hall was completely wasted as her psychiatric trustee (and Watson’s love interest). If only Riki Lindhome and Natasha Leggero had been cast in those roles (or better yet, as Watson & Holmes), then they might have been able to punch-up the jokes in the style of Another Period… but that show’s been cancelled now, and all is wrong with the world…


Meanwhile, I do love the idea of Kelly Macdonald playing Moriarty’s revenge-crazed daughter posing as the detective’s kindly housekeeper, even though in practice that twist was very clumsily fumbled, and the script didn’t really give her anything to do as an actress in either persona. At least she got to use her home-grown Scottish accent again, which (as a southern Englisher) I always appreciate hearing.

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Susannah Flood as ‘Kate Littlejohn’ in "For the People" (S2)Hey, lookit, zippy courtroom drama For the People is back on “our” screens for a second season! I honestly thought this show had been cancelled already, but I’m glad to be proved wrong. My gripes with the two-sides-to-every-story premise remain (in short: too-much-plot-dashed-through-in-too-little-time), but it does still make for consistently engaging supper-time viewing, while scratching my armchair-legal-eagle itch, so count me in for another go-round.

For a while last year I actually used a photo of ace-attorney ‘Kate Littlejohn’ (Susannah Flood) as my desktop wallpaper, but my admiration for her has been undermined somewhat by the soapy romantic entanglements they saddled her with towards the end of the season… and sadly these are still present and (in)correct in this week’s premiere episode (which involved a deadly “swatting” attack, in case you were wondering about the punny post title)… but Flood is such a captivating actress that I can’t help wishing (once again) that the prosecutors had their own separate show, with her as the lead and Olivia Sandoval promoted to co-star/mentor-status (as opposed to a blink-and-you’ll-miss-her office-mate, as she currently is). Sigh…

Oh, and a shout-out to Zibby Allen, who played the casually-criminal slacker ‘Holiday Colgate’ in this week’s B-story… in a show filled with sharp suits and booksmart minds, it was nice to have a dopey pyjama-pants-wearing idler to identify with/crush on. And I agree that her parents are partly to blame for her unemployability, having cursed their daughter with a name that makes her sound like a festive brand of toothpaste…

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Back To Burn

L7: Donita Sparks, Suzi Gardner, Dee Plakas, and Jennifer Finch (circa 2017)The (alleged?) financial irregularities at PledgeMusic have left many bands (and their supporters) in the lurch, and I was beginning to get a little worried about the relative lack of updates/reassurance coming from L7’s corner of the interweb… but I needn’t have feared, because it’s just been announced that their new album, Scatter the Rats, will be released on May 3rd, via Joan Jett’s Blackheart Records label! Hurrah! They already have a new video out for lead single “Burn Baby”, directed by Courtney & Hillary Andujar (aka “The Andujar Twins”), and are getting plenty positive press ahead of their forthcoming tour… as well they should!

Fun fact: In a recent interview to promote the imminent Captain Marvel movie, Brie Larson confessed to listening to a lot of L7 and Bikini Kill to pump herself up for the fight scenes! Good to know. Incidentally, Larson is no stranger to the recording-studio either, having released a solo album back in 2005, the title of which expressed her highy-relatable relief that after leaving school she was “Finally Out of P.E.” Amen, sister!

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“Mondo Trasho! Mondo Trasho!”

Aubrey Plaza in "The Cold Open" @ The Film Independent Spirit Awards 2019This year the Film Independent Spirit Awards has really put the Oscars to shame by not only having a host, but also booking the bestest/witchiest host of all: Aubrey Plaza!

I didn’t watch the event itself, but thankfully plenty clips have been posted on YouTube for all to enjoy, most notably an ice-breaking skit in which our heroine corrals a coven of awesome actresses (including Hall-of-Fame Goth icon Christina Ricci) to help her perform a ritual sacrifice, so that she might become possessed by “the Film Independent Spirit Awards spirit”. Besides being hilarious, and making me pine for a feature-length collaboration between Plaza and Ricci, it also kinda reminded me of John Waters’s Cecil B. DeMented (one of my fave films of all-time), so I wasn’t too surprised to see the man himself get a shout-out and cameo during Plaza’s roasty opening monologue. Tilda Swinton‘s cutaway on the other hand was a definite curveball…

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“Ping Me!”

Anne Dudek as 'Kate Glass' in "Corporate" (ep #2.3)A couple months ago, my crush on Anne Dudek led me to catch up with her current series, Corporate, a nihilistic workplace comedy set in a shiny/scary multinational called “Hampton DeVille”, which is now in its sophomore season. In many ways it’s a more acidic/sweary reboot of Better Off Ted, with Dudek in the Portia de Rossi role of power-dressing “boss bitch”, though she’s ranked a little lower here and has far less competent/conscientious colleagues around her. Overall, I do enjoy the show, but it’s a little too bleak/sour for me to really rave about… “easy to admire, difficult to love”, as the old saying goes… though ep #2.3 (written by Langan Kingsley) was a brilliant satire of the disparity between how women and men are expected/allowed to appear in the workplace (or the world in general), and the ridiculous time/effort required to create and maintain the illusion of seemingly “natural beauty”. It also provided an excellent showcase for Dudek’s comedic versatility, when her character (‘Kate’) was reprimanded by male colleagues for having a harsh hectoring tone, prompting her to experiment with some more agreeable personas (such as “shy ghost”) to encourage their cooperation.

Kyra Sedgwick as “Mrs. Cowboy” (aka 'Amanda Calhoun') in "Corporate" (ep #2.5)What finally moved me to put fingers to keyboard this week was a surprise cameo by multi-award-winning actress Kyra Sedgwick as “Mrs. Cowboy” (aka ‘Amanda Calhoun’), the motivational guest-speaker at an out-of-town conference, who whisks four of the main characters (including Kate) away on a margarita-fuelled, Blue-Velvet-riffing odyssey to the very heart of darkness. I don’t want to get into too many spoilers, but I watched the whole thing play out in a state of delirious disbelief, as Sedgwick gamely threw herself into the rootin’-tootin’, heavy-drinkin’, headlight-dancin’, pistol-packin’ antics! Meanwhile, other familiar-faces were attached to Brian George as “The Butler” who got dragged into his employer’s pervy mind-and-body-games, and Elizabeth Perkins as “The Accountant” doggedly trying to get to the bottom (line) of all this bad-craziness (ep #2.5).

This was hands down the funnest/funniest episode of the series so far, and one that I’d heartily recommend to fans of David Lynch or The Coen Brothers, even if they’ve never seen the show before, because the set-up’s pretty self-explanatory… so snaps to writer Jessica Gao for all that, and congrats to her on the new pilot order! My only complaint would be that there wasn’t room for an appearance by Aparna Nancherla as ‘Grace’, the office’s grouchy Human Resources representative… but I did find a great clip of her doing some stand-up on YouTube to watch as a fill-in! Phew!*


* And, yes, the episode (#2.4) about excessive exclamation-mark-usage in e-mails did strike a guilty nerve with me! Sorry!!

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