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Topics - Jim Penn

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News and Current Affairs / Joan Fontaine
« on: December 16, 2013, 09:40:19 am »
Bloody hell, not content with taking Peter O'Toole from us yesterday, the Grim Reaper has gone and taken Joan Fontaine the same day... :(

"Letter from an Unknown Woman" has been calling out from the dvd shelves for a couple of weeks now, so that's going in the machine at the first opportunity now.

Literature and Poetry / William Weaver RIP
« on: November 18, 2013, 09:33:06 pm »
William Weaver, translator extraordinaire, has died.

His translations of The Name of the Rose and Foucault's Pendulum would be enough on their own to warrant acclaim, surely, but what an awesome body of work he produced. Legend.

Literature and Poetry / Seamus Heaney RIP
« on: August 30, 2013, 11:10:41 am »
Newsflash on the Guardian website that Seamus Heaney has died...

Board Usage Help Forum / Infinite box
« on: May 08, 2013, 11:46:04 am »
In the last couple of days, whenever I've gone to add a message on the forum, the box wherein I type my message doesn't end. It just carries on and on and on, all the way over there ------------------------>

So, any entries I write just carry on as a single line of text until I start a new paragraph. Trouble is, I don't end up with a scroll bar at the bottom of the screen, and the Post/Preview buttons disappear, and I have to press return to get back to the left hand edge of the screen to access those buttons. Is it just me??

20th Century / Stephen Dodgson
« on: April 16, 2013, 03:11:13 pm »
The composer Stephen Dodgson has died:

I've never heard anything by him, and a quick search on the forum suggests that he's only been mentioned here once in the past (HtoHe heard one of his quartets 2 years ago!). But there's a decent handful of stuff of his on disc (well, there's a decent handful of his stuff on disc at Amazon!). Anyone know anything of his work?

News and Current Affairs / Van Cliburn
« on: February 27, 2013, 08:47:12 pm »
First Sawallisch the other day, then Marie-Claire Alain, now Van Cliburn...

News and Current Affairs / Richard Briers
« on: February 18, 2013, 12:33:28 pm »
Newsflashes on BBC & Guardian website indicating that Richard Briers has died...  :(

Cinema / Now screening
« on: January 02, 2013, 09:36:28 am »
We don't have a generic film viewing thread in the vein of the "now spinnning" thread, so I thought it might be useful to have something like that for limited reporting, rather than necessarily opening a new thread for every film!

Treated myself last week to a recently released blu-ray boxed set of 8 Universal Studios classic horror films from the 30s-50s - Dracula, Frankenstein, The Bride of Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Wolf Man, The Invisible Man, The Phantom of the Opera, and The Creature from the Black Lagoon (the last one has been remastered in a 3D version too, for those people with 3D televisions). I've only watched Dracula so far (which somehow I've never seen before) - Lugosi is marvellous, as is the guy playing Renfield, though some of the "cockney" characters are a bit weird, and the film doesn't have much sense of "urgency" to give a real thrill. It all looks lovely, though, and the remastering is stunning. The disc also features an alternative Spanish version made at the same time, so I'm aiming to watch that soon, but it also features the original film with the "alternative" score that Philip Glass wrote 15 odd years ago (I say alternative, but there's no real score in the film anyway - there's a bit of Tchaikovsky for the opening titles, and a scene at a symphony concert featuring the closing bars of a Wagner overture, but otherwise, the studio didn't attempt to dub in incidental music). Might give the Glass version a bit of a spin out of curiosity, but I don't think I'll stick with the whole film! Plenty of other extras on the disc too, and similar extras across the whole set. And the whole set is pretty inexpensive too!

Proms / Proms 2013
« on: December 31, 2012, 12:56:01 pm »
Haven't seen this anywhere else, so apologies if this isn't news to anyone, but just spotted this little tidbit at Grauniad Towers...

The centrepiece of the celebration of the Wagner bicentenary at next summer's Proms is a Ring in concert. Daniel Barenboim brings the Berlin Staatsoper and its superb orchestra, the Staatskapelle, to London. Royal Albert Hall, London SW7 (, 22, 23, 25 and 28 Jul

 :o Will be booking that week off work, then!

News and Current Affairs / Dave Brubeck
« on: December 05, 2012, 05:48:10 pm »
As if the news of Jonathan Harvey's death wasn't quite enough for one day, the Guardian is reporting Dave Brubeck has died...

Cinema / The Master
« on: November 19, 2012, 02:02:12 pm »
I went to see Paul Thomas Anderson's latest film "The Master" at the weekend. Ostensibly a thinly-veiled portrait of L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology, it's all about power, coercion, dominance... It's a tough watch, challenging, asks a lot of questions without providing all the answers, chooses not to wrap everything up in neat packages, and uses all the expressive capabilities of cinema to produce something remarkable. Amazing photography, editing, script, design, and, above all, some really rather astonishing acting. Philip Seymour Hoffmann can do no wrong in my eyes, but he's as good in this as he's ever been, balancing one of the most complex performances I've seen on screen in a long time - he's a towering combination of avuncular nicety, megalomaniac control freak, charismatic figurehead, and so many other things. And Joaquin Phoenix's method-performance makes some of Robert de Niro's 1970s work look rather ordinary (he's actually rather uncomfortable to watch, in an extraordinary way). The scene in which Hoffmann first "assesses" Phoenix is just phenomenal.

Should also mention Amy Adams - a nicely detailed performance, subtly suggesting that she might be the real driving force behind The Master and "the Cause".

Heartily recommended (though if you saw Anderson's previous film "There Will Be Blood" and didn't like it, I can't imagine you'd find anything to like in this one either).

I think Anderson might be the best director working today - I haven't seen his first film "Hard 8" (as it's called in the UK, can't recall its US title), but what a run of consecutive films he's had since then; "Boogie Nights", "Magnolia", "Punch Drunk Love", "There Will Be Blood" and now "The Master"... If he never makes another film, that's still a GREAT body of work, but he's still pretty young, so what riches might he yet come out with?

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