Tag: Channel 4

Michael Bay Mentalism

Lego, Paramount Pictures and Michael Bay team up to make this ultra testosterone filled action-balls. The budget for one of his films is the same as the GDP of India.

Oh, and it stars that geek from The Office. Who knew?

The Emperor’s New Media

Here’s the thing. Nowadays, look at the standard television channels and you will see a lot of programmes where you will literally think “who the hell is going to watch this trash?” There is currently a Laurence Llewelyn Bowels obs doc (as of this writing) going to China to release a range of lingerie! Secret life of cats! The very public life of dogs!
How are these shows commissioned still in this day and age and still be woefully out of touch with modernity and why are the commissioners out of touch? Or are they, because they do get the ratings.
My guess would be the background of the commissioners and producers where they think these ideas will please the masses. I constantly ask industry foot soldiers the state of television and they say it’s going downhill and lowbrow but then again I don’t have that many cat loving housewife friends who make up the demographic. I simply don’t travel in those circles.

Brands like Vice are making huge inroads with documentaries and Netflix the same in terms of bold strokes with drama. Also a worthy mention is the Maverick philosophy of HBO where they make programming that people not only watch but talk about afterwards. When was the last time you said ” oh goody! A Lawrence Bowel-Movement programme with a twist”… I would presume never unless you are over 65 and act suspiciously spinsterish.
The thing about programmes such as this is that those in power still want attain the level of mastery on their choices but as the commissioners are in power, they ask for what they think the audience wants, not what they actually want.
Water cooler moments are few and far between and the last time I had one of those for a television programme was The Office and after that Nathan Barley. Nowadays the posts left on my Facebook page rarely consist of MOR television programming.
Another irk is the obs docs nonsense which admittedly my wife watches like 24 hours in A&E which she finds entertaining due to the “human stories”. But a new fly-on-the-wall programme set on night busses? basically just transmitted HD cctv footage with audio and edited for “the best bits”… I blame BigBrother for giving birth to such conceit.
The biggest surprise for me was Gogglebox, hated the premise but accidentally caught a programme and actually found it funny… It’s rather popular too. Unfortunately this success has made the industry think they have their finger on the zeitgeist. They don’t and as the ages pass, their grip will loosen further until their next shows have to find kickstarter for funding.

 

British television needs to be bold, not saccharine.

Noel Coward Record Store Day

I am surprised this slice of eccentric Noel Coward oddity wasn’t released for Record Store Day. An undiscovered and some would say completely made up piece of aural entertainment that would make Jack White bid a million dollars for.

Jeremy Clarkson’s Opinions (Like We Care)

A self reflective Clarkson opinion piece you won’t read in his Sun column :

That’s the thing about public school educated people like me who end up on television. Because of our superior nihilistic education, this gives us an elitist world view on what we call the downtrodden. If you drive anything less than a hot car/ woman (delete as appropriate) you are dead to me.

We tend to sneer at the lower classes, and poke fun at the foreigners because we deludedly think that our audience will find such things funny. Well, the less intelligent do. The reality is that our cars drive the show. What you are actually watching are just a set of struck-it-lucky wide boys who use a politer form of racism coated in humour for our followers. We sit on top of this perch pissing on everyone below while maintaining a world view marred by the self imposed nihilism,  all harking back to our time at those wrenched-from-our-parents boarding schools. Did i mention that we make a LOT of money for the corporation in merchandising sales?

This is the shining example of why, even though the viewing figures are large they are mostly a greying bunch thereby leaving the younger crowd to move online. We never understood all that anyway as we are the old guard free from such changes in the media landscape. All we did was go HD because you demanded it.

Maybe that punch up with my working class producer was a good thing.

Right, off to the pub.

Ultimate Nazi Dogging Pitch

The television industry has covered nearly every aspect of the Good War from Dunkirk to D-Day and exhausted nearly every creative angle….

All except for this titillatingly obscure historical novelty.

Motorized German soldiers doing inter-battle kinkiness while dressed in combat gear. Who would have thought?

Re-think what you will of Dogging being a modern day event, this should be the final word in World War 2 documentaries.

Quota Films The British Film Industry

So all the rumours of elitism and cronyism within the british film industry are true as per the evidence introduced in the doc I saw at The Prince Charles Cinema recently.

Quota Film’s The British Film Industry: Elitist, Deluded or Dormant is an eye-opening look at this incestuous disease that is deep rooted in the British Film Industry. Let’s be honest it’s like any institution whether it is the Banks or the BBC and the cronyism at the top level keeping the top jobs within their gene pool.

And to think with all this talk of diversity and closing the class divide, the industry is at a low point for people who want an entry. Don’t take my word for it, many news articles are pretty much saying the same thing where the BAME and working class actors/ filmmakers are increasingly shut out. All the advances in the 80’s with Channel 4’s brave agenda have pretty much gone with television preferring safe programming which is why you won’t see many real ground breaking films.

One other not-very-surprising-in-hindsight issue is conflict of interest with some Regional Film Council heads diverting funds into THEIR OWN production companies. Isn’t that a teensy bit illegal? When one has a privileged position they shouldn’t be able to line their own pockets but then again why am I surprised? All these initiatives need overhauling and even with the demise of the Film Council and the BFI taking over, we shall see if they step up to the plate.

As someone who reads a lot about the British Film Industry, this is a fine companion to Icons on Fire: The Decline and Fall of Almost Everybody in the British Film Industry by Alexander Walker where the few people in power totally screwed it for everyone else. Shame really as there is an abundance of talent out there waiting to be recognised. At least for the ones that haven’t hoofed it to the States.

The main reason I found this eye opening and writing from a personal level, I applied to a great many funding bodies over the years and had I known then what I do now I wouldn’t have bothered. What’s the point if the cards are marked against you? What is the real point if the funds are going to their friends? Energies are best spent going after private funds like Kickstarter, especially if you are far from privileged or connected.

I know there are some people who will shout Kidulthood but these are in the minority (pun city!) and more films such as this should be championed. All said and done the shining light in all this (among a slim few) is Warp films making truly British films and creating a filmic legacy that will last years. What is needed is more of that.

The roll call of respected Industry Professionals that have been interviewed is impressive and all speak of the problem and this documentary is one big action plan for change.

Dick Fatoush sleep video sponsored by Johnny Depp

Proudly sponsored by Johnny Depp, A strangely hypnotic video from Dick Fatoush designed to help put your kids slowly to sleep. Part of the range of self help digital media designed to improve your life in general.

These wordless instructional videos can make you a champion of society no matter what language you speak and remember, Mondays will never be the same after watching this on a constant loop for 20 hours.