Archiv Film & TV

RIP Robin Williams

Yesterday, the incredibly sad news that Robin Williams had died made the rounds. He apparently took his own life in a battle against depression, but this is not a time to talk about his death, but about how much joy and laughter he created. He was such a brilliant comedian, but also a very serious character actor, although he will mostly be remembered for his completely out-of-the-world improvisation skills. As a guest on television shows, he regularly had his hosts in stitches like in this 2002 interview with Michael Parkinson and his regular and almost anarchic visits to the Daily Show had similar effects on Jon Stewart. I could go on and on, but The Guardian has a wonderful obituary with a few additional articles about him very much worth reading. Robin Williams was one in a million, there will never be anyone like him again!

Robin Williams letting it rip in Terry Gilliam’s The Adventures of Baron Münchhausen

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Animation Update: Spring 2014 Edition

I haven’t been to the cinema in a long time and probably won’t be going any time soon because of the high prices and the non-availability of original English versions around here, but that is not going to stop me from having a look at one of my favourite movie genres once in a while. I really love animated movies and I’m always interested in what’s going on in the business, but I wrote an Animation Update article once in Spring 2012 and never followed it up. Let’s see if I can make this into a semi-regular feature since I’m not really in the mood to write long reviews at the moment and there also won’t be much Oscar coverage from me this year – except for a little bit of genre-specific speculation at the end of this post.

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TV-News: Cosmos Trailer

Two years ago there was the astonishing announcement that Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, one of the most amazing science television series, is going to be remade with astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson as the new host. Yesterday, the first trailer surfaced at ComicCon and while it doesn’t provide any dialogueyet , the visuals are breathtaking and look like the original series reborn with current technology. So, in lieu of a new article, which I have to postpone because of the hot weather, here’s just this amazing trailer this week.

Note: the trailer originally posted yesterday was taken down for unknown reasons, the above is a copy from another source. There’s another trailer on the Fox Youtube channel, but it’s shorter and edited differently.

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RIP Mick Aston & Richard Matheson

I’ve often written about Time Team here, so this is the right place for the incredibly sad news that archaeologist Mick Aston, one of the founders of the series, had died yesterday unexpectedly. He was a true original and the real heart of Time Team, not only with his vast archaeological knowledge, but also his unique enthusiasm for his profession and, of course, his trademark appearance with his colourful striped jumpers. But Mick Aston was much more than the funny-looking professor – he was a great communicator who wanted to tell the world that archaeology and history does not have to be stuffy and boring – and in this he has really succeeded. Time Team is his greatest legacy for which he will never be forgotten.

The Guardian has a short article, tributes and condolences are flowing in on the Time Team Facebook page and his colleague and friend Francis Pryor has also written a short tribute.

Also yesterday came the equally sad news that science-fiction author Richard Matheson has died – he was one of the really great minds next to Isaac Asimov, Richard Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke.

 

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Movie Rant: Gravity

Today, instead of a new review, I want to rant a little about a trailer that surfaced this weekend. Apparently there’s a movie called Gravity from Alfonso Cuarón being released this Autumn and the trailer, actually more a teaser, first promises to be about the experiences of two astronauts on some unidentified Space Shuttle mission. But then all hell breaks loose, the shuttle and the space station seem to be destroyed and the two astronauts, played by Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, are marooned in space. This is all that’s known about the movie at the moment, but even based on this, my first reaction was: why does it always have to be destruction? So many great stories could be told on the ISS and generally in the realms of current human space exploration, but Hollywood has always got to be negative and serious. 

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TV-News: Futurama cancelled – again!

About four years ago, I was really happy that Matt Groening’s other animated series Futurama had been renewed by Comedy Central after they had produced four direct-to-dvd movies. Now, after four half-seasons with together 52 episodes, Comedy Central has decided not to order any more, effectively cancelling the series again. Once again, I read this first on Phil Plait’s Bad Astronomy Blog – and I can only agree with what he wrote – Futurama is not only a simple animated series, but amazing science-fiction storytelling that is completely unique in television history. This untimely cancelling is especially sad because the new episodes had become better and better and even reached the brilliant heights of the early seasons.

The remaining 13 episodes, which are already produced, will air in the USA this summer with the DVD and Blu-Ray releases following shortly before Christmas. The final episode has already been conceived as a possible ending of the series, so there will be at least some closure. Maybe Futurama will just take a break for a few years and come back on a different channel… the producers certainly haven’t given up hope and are already talking about looking for an alternative home for Futurama!

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TV-Review: Wonders of Life

In the last few years, Brian Cox has become somewhat omnipresent on british television. The rockstar-come-physicist-come-television star had first presented six Horizon documentaries between 2005 and 2009 for the BBC with his own two full-length series Wonders of the Solar System and Wonders of the Universe following in 2010 and 2011. Together with comedian Dara O Briain, he was also the co-host of three Stargazing Live events and gave a televised physics lecture at the end of 2011. David Attenborough has said that if he would need to choose a successor, it would be Brian Cox. But is the popularity of the good-looking scientist just a hype? His new five-part series Wonders of Life shows that this is most definitely not the case. Mixing physics and biology for the first time, Brian Cox once again succeeds brilliantly in bringing a sense of wonder to the television screens.

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TV-Tip: Wonders of Life & Attenborough in HD

Im Dezember hatte die BBC schon einen wundervollen Trailer veröffentlicht, jetzt ist der Ausstrahlungstermin bekannt: Brian Cox’ neue Serie Wonders of Life ist ab diesem Sonntag, dem 27. Januar bei BBC2 und BBC-HD um 22:00 CET zu sehen. Die fünfteilige Serie wird an den nächsten Sonntagen zur gleichen Zeit weiter gesendet und jeweils in der Nacht von Dienstag auf Mittwoch um 00:20 CET noch einmal wiederholt. DVDs und Blu-Rays sind noch nicht angekündigt worden, aber das Buch zur Serie wird schon am 24. Januar erscheinen. [Update 11.02.: Die BBC hat einen wundervollen Ausschnitt aus der gestern gelaufenen dritten Episode bei Youtube gepostet, der perfekt zum Bild dieses Postings paßt!]

Außerdem noch etwas interessantes in Sachen David Attenborough: die BBC hatte schon letztes Jahr zwei seiner Serien, Life on Earth von 1979 und The Trials of Life von 1990 in HD neu abgetastet und als Blu-Ray veröffentlicht – die DVDs wurden aber leider nicht neu aufgelegt. Ab nächste Woche Montag, dem 4. Februar, wird Life on Earth außerdem an jedem Wochentag um 17:15 CET bei BBC2 und BBC-HD ausgestrahlt, vermutlich von den neuen HD-Mastern. Mehr dazu, wenn die erste Episode gelaufen ist.

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TV-Tip: Time Team Finale

Im Oktober kam die traurige Nachricht, daß Channel 4 die britische Archäologie-Dokumentarserie Time Team nach zwanzig Jahren aus dem Programm geworfen hat. Im letzten Sommer ist aber noch die zwanzigste Staffel gedreht worden, die nun ab diesem Sonntag, dem 6. Januar um 18:25 CET bei Channel4 gesendet wird. Gelesen davon hatte ich zuerst in einem Blog-Posting von Francis Pryor, der nach dem Weggang von TimeTeam-Urgestein Mick Astor nach der teilweise mißglückten vorherigen Staffel die Leitung übernommen und dafür gesorgt hatte, daß Series 20 wieder etwas mehr zu den Ursprüngen zurückkehrt. Wie man auf den vielen Youtube-Videos sehen kann, die das Time Team letzten Sommer gepostet hatte, dürften die allerletzten Episoden der Serie in der Tat etwas ganz besonderes werden.

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TV/DVD-News: BBC’s Africa & Frohes neues Jahr!

Eigentlich wollte ich nicht sofort am ersten Januar schon wieder mit dem Posten beginnen, aber die BBC hat immer wieder etwas überraschendes neues zu bieten: schon Morgen, am 2. Januar läuft bei BBC1 um 22:00 CET die neue Natur-Dokumentation Africa – Eye to Eye with the Unknown an, mit dem vielversprechenden Untertitel Presented by David Attenborough. Ob der Meister persönlich vor die Kamera tritt oder nur das Voiceover übernimmt, ist nicht bekannt, aber so oder so wird es bestimmt faszinierend und interessant werden. Die sechsteilige Serie wird laut BBC-Shop schon am 18. Februar auch als DVD und Blu-Ray erscheinen, so daß auch diejenigen, die BBC nicht empfangen können, schnell etwas davon haben werden.

Und bei dieser Gelegenheit wünsche ich allen Lesern auch gleich ein frohes neues Jahr! Richtig weiter gehts dann Mitte Januar mit einer 2012-Retrospektive und neuen Reviews.

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