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1-20 of 45 items from 2012   « Prev | Next »

End of the 13th Baktun: 10 Apocalyptic Articles To Read When The World Doesn’t End

21 December 2012 2:20 AM, PST | Obsessed with Film | See recent Obsessed with Film news »

So, the dreaded hour has come and gone in many places around the world and yet we’re still here.

While the clock hasn’t yet hit 11am in the UK, chances are we’re not going to be tossed into a firey pit of flamey doom just yet, despite what The Maya predicted. Almost 2,000 years ago the ancient civilization invented an incredibly accurate calendar, which measured time in 394-year periods known as baktuns, the 13th of which some anthropologists believe ends today.

As a result, the past few weeks have been flooded with media “hysteria” as the world’s population have prepared themselves for the first, though it seems that few actually believed that the world would end today, with spiritualists and shaman around the world joining together to celebrate the dawning of a new age, rather than the bloody end of the current one.

It hasn’t all been pessimistic, »

- Simon Gallagher

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Jack Reacher

16 December 2012 12:21 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Werner Herzog's uber-villain rescues this first instalment in a hopeful new franchise for Tom Cruise

Panto season is almost upon us. And here's a late addition to the lineup; an unexpected guilty pleasure full of camp and vanity, complete with hissable villain and heaving cleavage.

It's the first in a hopeful new franchise for Tom Cruise, based on the bestsellers by Lee Child about a massive ex-military cop who travels the Us with just a toothbrush, exacting crunchy justice on the fringe of the law. The books are insomniac heaven, pacey male fantasy about a life of righteous slugging and responsibility-free shagging.

But some fans had issues with Cruise's vital stats (Reacher is 6ft 5ins and almost 18 stone; Cruise is not). Child himself came to the rescue. "With another actor you might get 100% of the height but only 90% of Reacher. With Tom, you'll get 100% of Reacher with 90% of the height. »

- Catherine Shoard

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'Made-for-tv' experiments can make really bad science | Mark Stokes

14 December 2012 1:12 AM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

TV producers want predictable outcomes from the research they commission, which creates a dangerous conflict of interest

What could be more exciting than discovering the hidden truths about ourselves and the universe? BBC Two's Science Club – the last in the series will be broadcast on 30 December – is testament to the healthy public appetite for science on television. It provides entertaining yet thoughtful analysis of science, presented by scientists.

But in the relentless push for higher ratings, other parts of the industry are no longer satisfied with reporting the science. A brave new world of TV is conducting what I call "made-for-tv" experiments.

Readers may recall a particularly striking example of a made-for-tv experiment last year, when Derren Brown proposed to test whether an otherwise normal person could be hypnotised into carrying out a cold-blooded assassination, for a Channel 4 series boldly titled: The Experiments. The answer, of course, was yes »

- Mark Stokes

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Why is Channel 4 turning into Channel Top Gear?

11 December 2012 7:06 AM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Do we really need this many programmes starring middle-aged blokes, from Heston Blumenthal to Stephen Fry, simply mucking around?

After unsuccessfully dabbling with new identities since the loss of Big Brother – variously becoming The Home Of Celebrities All Running a Hotel Together For Reasons That Were Never Made Clear, and The Home Of Property Shows That Still Struggle With the Concept Of Recession, among others – Channel 4 currently seems intent on rebranding itself as The Home of Men Who Elaborately Muck Around For No Discernible Reason.

Just look at the listings. At first, it might have seemed like Heston's Fantastical Food was an anomaly – the sort of nebulously directionless thing that gets made when a channel has a presenter that it doesn't quite know what to do with. But it isn't. Stephen Fry: Gadget Man is basically the precisely the same programme as Heston's, but with all the big sausages replaced with motorised rollerskates. »

- Stuart Heritage

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Jamie & Jimmy's Food Fight Club is absolutely baffling

30 November 2012 4:00 PM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Doherty have opened a new cafe with a staggeringly bizarre menu

"We're going to fight the French with our cheese," chuckles Jamie Oliver, cheerily wielding a wheel of cheddar. "Why? Because good food is worth fighting for!" Jimmy Doherty agrees. "Most French people wouldn't be seen dead eating our cheese – we want to change that," he guffaws, over footage of clashing baguettes, a soldier shooting stilton on a beach, a pantomime cow sprinting past a branch of Accessorize and Alan Carr laughing in a pink linen jacket.

Without recourse to pie charts, animal noises or words of more than 18 syllables, it's difficult to convey just how bewildering Jamie & Jimmy's Food Fight Club (Thursday, 9pm, C4) is. The facts, such as they are, are benign enough: Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Doherty, celebrated muckers of yore, have opened a pop-up cafe on Southend Pier. From this breezy, bustling »

- Sarah Dempster

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Leveson: the movie – casting opens on the world's wackiest courtroom drama

29 November 2012 8:54 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Maureen Lipman as Lord Leveson. Hugh Grant as himself. For Rebekah Brooks, who else but Mark Gatiss as Charles I? Help us regulate the cast of the Leveson inquiry

Whatever else the Leveson inquiry turns out to have been – we're doing a lot of speed reading as I type – it was fine theatre. A Hogarthian cast of characters, from Britain's lordliest media barons to subalterns on the yellowest of yellow rags. A decent smattering of celebs. The odd outburst of tears. A superlative solo performance from the capricious Robert Jay, who managed to make witness-questioning look (to twist a phrase) like reading the thesaurus by flashes of lightning.

Which only leaves one question: who's going to option the script? The Tricycle theatre in London made drama out of the Bloody Sunday and Stephen Lawrence inquiries, after all; Spielberg's studio has optioned the Wikileaks saga. Surely it's only a matter of time. »

- Andrew Dickson

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Sarah Millican boosts Channel 4's Friday night ratings

25 November 2012 8:58 AM, PST | Digital Spy | See recent Digital Spy - Movie News news »

Sarah Millican managed to match Alan Carr in terms of viewers on Friday night, early figures indicate. Channel 4's recording of her 2011 Chatterbox stand-up show was seen by an average of 1.17m (a 4.9% share) in the 9pm hour, as well as 209,000 on +1. The comedienne achieved double the audience that tuned in for the conclusion of Derren Brown's Fear and Faith last week. After Millican, Alan Carr: Chatty Man also drew 1.17m, but scored a superior share of 6% as the programme ended at 11.15pm. BBC One's struggling sitcom Me and Mrs Jones, about the romantic escapades of a single mother, concluded with 1.72m (7.3%) at 9.30pm. Facing I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! for the first time, Have I Got News For You preceded the comedy with a series low of 4.05m (16.6%). Linda Robson's I'm (more) »

- By Paul Millar

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Children in Need draws lowest audience since 2006

19 November 2012 4:44 AM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

The BBC charity spectacular was watched by only 8.06 million viewers – nearly 2 million down on last year

It raised a record amount of money on the night, but BBC1's Children in Need slipped to its lowest audience for more than five years.

The annual fundraising spectacular, which took place against the backdrop of the Jimmy Savile scandal, was watched by 8.06 million viewers, a 32.7% share, between 7.30pm and 10pm on Friday.

It was nearly 2 million viewers down on last year's show, when the main programme averaged just over 10 million viewers (a 39% share); the lowest since 2006, when it was watched by 7.7 million viewers (33%); and the second lowest of the past 10 years.

The five-minute peak, of 9.8 million viewers, was also well down on last year's high of 12.3 million. Children in Need's highest audience in recent years was the average of 10.3 million people who tuned into the main programme in 2003.

With about £26.7m raised »

- John Plunkett

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Catch-up TV guide: from Battlestar Galtactica: Blood & Chrome to Breakfast, Lunch And Dinner

16 November 2012 4:05 PM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Battlestar Galtactica: Blood & Chrome | Monkey Dust | Freakonomics Radio Podcast | Hunted | Derren Brown: Fear And Faith | Breakfast, Lunch And Dinner

Video: Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome

Expanding its universe at a rate at which George Lucas would be proud, Ronald D Moore's mammoth space opus gains another limb with this 10-part webseries. Set between the events of recent TV prequel Caprica and the rebooted Battlestar, Blood & Chrome features Luke Pasqualino as academy cadet (and future colonel of the Galactica) Bill Adama, who is handed a risky first mission on the ship. The opening pair of episodes are already on the Machinima channel on YouTube, with further instalments being drip-fed to viewers over the next four weeks.


Video: Monkey Dust

Viewers seeking quality British adult animation would do well to skip the blunt Full English and head towards this 2003 series. Though a little too focused on taboo-busting, Shaun Pye and Harry Thompson »

- Gwilym Mumford

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Derren Brown's 'Apocalypse' smashes Channel 4's Friday slot average

16 November 2012 4:18 AM, PST | Digital Spy | See recent Digital Spy - Movie News news »

Derren Brown's controversial TV special Apocalypse scored strong ratings for Channel 4 earlier this month. The Friday night two-parter, which aired on consecutive weeks, averaged 3.4 million viewers and a 13.6% share. The illusionist also boasted a 51% and 52% increase on the broadcaster's usual Friday 9pm slot average. Apocalypse featured Brown attempting to convince Steve Brosnan that the world had been struck by a meteorite, (more) »

- By Paul Millar

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Win: James Bond 50 Blu-ray Collection & More Essential Christmas Titles With HMV

14 November 2012 1:12 AM, PST | Obsessed with Film | See recent Obsessed with Film news »

We’ve teamed up with our friends at HMV to offer one lucky reader the chance to win a fantastic selection of Blu-rays. The prize includes James Bond: 50th Anniversary Complete 22 Film Blu-ray Collection, Titanic: Collector’s Edition 3D, The Woman in Black, Prometheus and Red Lights.

At HMV this Christmas you’ll find the very best releases on CD ranging from the likes of Olly Murs, Robbie Williams and Rihanna to Michael Bublé and The Military Wives Choir.

There is also great visual content on DVD/Blu-ray and boxsets across film, including the awesome Batman: The Dark Knight Rises; Comedy Stand-Up and Sitcom, featuring Michael McIntyre, Kevin Bridges, Sarah Millican, Fresh Meat and Mrs Brown’s Boys; Children’s; and, of course, Sport, including the must-have collections of this Summer’s London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics coverage.

There are also fantastic games, including the iconic Call of Duty: Black Ops »

- Matt Holmes

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The new Nestlé advert

9 November 2012 4:05 PM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

'They present him with £10,000, as well as fast-tracked membership to Club Type 2 Diabetes'

Reading this on mobile? Click here to view

"In the very near future, someone somewhere will purchase a chocolate bar," this sinister advert declares. As consumer predictions go, it's hardly Derren Brown stuff. But then turbo-charged idiocy kicks in: breaking the wrapper on one of these particular bars will trigger a Gps signal. The locational signal, we're told, will bounce off an orbiting satellite – in space! – back to a secret control room staffed by Kit Kat employees. A Swat team will then be despatched by helicopter to track down the mark. The advert shows the commandos – or rather, the legally vague crack team of highly trained individuals – descend on the chocoholic still unwrapping his Kit Kat. They present him with £10,000, as well as fast-tracked membership to Club Type 2 Diabetes. We don't linger on him later being arrested or shot, »

- Rhik Samadder

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Derren Brown: 5 Best TV Specials and Secrets Of How They Were Done

9 November 2012 3:51 AM, PST | Obsessed with Film | See recent Obsessed with Film news »

The ever controversial Derren Brown returns tonight on Channel4 with his new investigational series ‘Fear and Faith’.  Having just finished his recent ‘Apocalypse’ show last week we thought it a good time to take a look back at some of his biggest events, and perhaps more importantly how he did them.

Having built a career dealing with the awkward, bizarre and ultimately in-tangible he never fails to make everyone at least take a moment of reflection about what’s supposedly going on.  He freely points out that he isn’t a psychic, claims no special powers and that all of his ‘abilities’ rely on psychological practices he’s perfected over time.

Derren is far from being the first person to use these psychological effects in either an entertainment or experimental fashion, and I still find it strange how some people can be so resistant to the ideas of persuasion/influence »

- Simon Humphries

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'Hignfy' beats 'Jonathan & Charlotte' in Friday night ratings battle

3 November 2012 9:42 AM, PDT | Digital Spy | See recent Digital Spy - Movie News news »

Have I Got News For You won the Friday night ratings battle over documentary Jonathan & Charlotte. The BBC primetime news panel show - this week starring Jeremy Clarkson in the host's seat - attracted 5.05m viewers, representing 21.5% audience share, for its half-hour edition at 9pm on BBC One. Just under 4m (3.85m) viewers watched documentary Jonathan & Charlotte on ITV1 at the same time, which followed the Britain's Got Talent contestants on a tour to learn from Europe's opera masters. A further 160,100 tuned in on ITV1 +1. Despite its strong performance, Have I Got News For You lost 2% audience share on last week's figures. Jonathan & Charlotte gave ITV1 around a 1% boost for the same timeslot, jumping to 1.5% in the final quarter of the show. Channel 4's Derren Brown: Apocalypse Part Two was watched (more) »

- By Beth Curtis

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Derren Brown Apocalypse, Fact or Fraud?

1 November 2012 1:04 AM, PDT | Obsessed with Film | See recent Obsessed with Film news »

Derren Brown returned to Channel 4 last Friday with the two-part special ‘Apocalypse’. It’s the latest in a string of specials from the psychological trickster, and is surrounded in the usual mire of controversy one would expect from his latest outlandish project. Amidst accusations of actors being used and general ethical considerations, we take a look at ‘Apocalypse’ – as well as some (gentle) psychological theory that will hopefully shed some light as to whether the show is legitimate like the producers claim, or if it’s just one big pile of steaming Lance Armstrong.

Since the show aired last week there have been people claiming that Steve Brosnan (the participant in the experiment) was an actor, claims that basically stem from three things. The first being that he reacted and spoke very ‘clean’ lines as though it had been scripted (I would point out that the show has been »

- Simon Humphries

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TV listings and previews: plan your week's viewing - 29 October - 2 November

30 October 2012 5:53 AM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Michael Palin continues his Amazonian journey in Brazil, Autumnwatch returns and Modern Family presents a spook-tacular Halloween special

Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday

MondayThe Hospital That Stopped Caring – Panorama

8.30pm, BBC1

A Panorama report following up one of its more worthwhile investigations of recent times: the exposure of mistreatment of patients at the Winterbourne View private hospital near Bristol. The hospital is now closed, with 11 of its staff facing sentencing as we go to press, but as this sequel shows, the trauma suffered by their victims goes on. Continuing the public health theme, over on Channel 4, Dispatches asks whether the outsourcing of NHS services to the private sector is going to do anybody but the contractors any good. Andrew Mueller

50 Years Of Bond Cars: A Top

Gear Special

9pm, BBC2

Yet more 007-related programming as Richard Hammond discovers the stories behind Bond cars, which happily turn out to be more about actual people. »

- Jonathan Wright, John Robinson, David Stubbs, Phelim O'Neill, Julia Raeside, Ali Catterall, Martin Skegg, Hannah Verdier, Andrew Mueller, Ben Arnold, Mark Jones, Indigo Axford

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Derren Brown responds to accusations of using actor in 'Apocalypse'

29 October 2012 4:26 PM, PDT | Digital Spy | See recent Digital Spy - Movie News news »

Derren Brown has responded to allegations that he used an actor in his latest stunt. The illusionist drew criticism for his latest Channel 4 show 'Apocalypse' earlier today (October 29) when it was alleged that Steve Brosnan, the man he attempted to hypnotise into believing the world had been taken over by zombies, was actually an actor from a professional casting website. Fans of Brown had also accused Brosnan of looking suspiciously similar to an actor who had recently starred in an advert. Taking to Twitter, Brown said: "Conspiracy (more) »

- By Frances Taylor

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Derren Brown 'Apocalypse' star revealed as fake?

29 October 2012 3:40 AM, PDT | Digital Spy | See recent Digital Spy - Movie News news »

Derren Brown's latest TV project is facing allegations of fakery after its star was reportedly revealed to be an actor. The illusionist's new Channel 4 show Apocalypse features Brown attempting to convince Steve Brosnan that the world had been struck by a meteorite, and that zombies had taken over. Brown described the 21-year-old as having a "dead-end job", and that he was "stuck in a rut". However, fans have claimed that Brosnan may be a stooge, after it was allegedly discovered that he belonged to a professional actors' casting website. Brosnan's Twitter account (more) »

- By Tom Eames

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Derren Brown: Apocalypse Part One Review

28 October 2012 11:41 PM, PDT | Obsessed with Film | See recent Obsessed with Film news »

Derren Brown has established himself as what has been called a ‘psychological illusionist’, but he is also one of the few performers left who has a sense of danger about him.  His television specials have a genuine ‘how did he pull that off?’ factor. In recent years, his shows have begun to explore of getting people to re-examine themselves, such as the special ‘Hero at 30,000 Feet’ which got an ordinary man to be placed in a situation, where he thought he would be helping land a plane.

This time, Brown is opting to make a member of the public think that a familiar end of the world scenario has come about. The programme opens with a quote from the Greek philosopher Epictetus, “He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he have not, but rejoices for those which he has”. Derren goes on to say »

- David John Robert Allkins

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Derren Brown’S Zombie Apocalypse

26 October 2012 1:27 PM, PDT | Filmmaker Magazine - Blog | See recent Filmmaker Magazine news »

In addition to his masterful stage shows, the British mentalist Derren Brown has made a name for himself with elaborate television real-life dramas which are part Truman Show and part CIA mind-control experiment. His latest, for U.K.’s Channel Four, is called Apocalypse, and in it Brown convinces an ordinary person that he’s trapped in a real-life version of The Walking Dead. But, says Brown, the show has a larger point:

Stoic Hellenistic philosophers advised us to rehearse regularly the loss of everything we love. Only that way, they believed, could we learn to value what we have in life, rather than fixate upon things we don’t.

Seneca’s advice, for example, to consider the mortality of your daughter as you kiss her goodnight, may strike us as morbid. But to remind yourself regularly that your loved ones, your home, in fact everything you value might be taken away in an instant, »

- Scott Macaulay

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