RRR 11 Robot and Frank

By Roy Mathur, on 2013-02-27, at 12:23:00 to 13:13:26 GMT, for Roy's Rocket Radio, Listen

Back Again

I'm back!

The show this week is monumentally long and chock-full of stuff as I've just not had the time or facilities to produce a show for a few weeks.


After all the driving around I've been doing lately, the inevitable happened and the car got dinged. It's not bad though, just a broken number-plate and scratched paint.

I'm fine and the car's back and sparkling. I do like our friendly blue PT cruiser, even if bits keep falling off!

One really annoying thing is all the calls I've been getting from ambulance chasing lawyers trying to talk me into filing a personal injury suit. Yeah right, that's just what needs to happen, make insurance premiums for everyone go up. Fantastic.

Chico and Rita (2010)

This animation is a sweet little Spanish/Isle of Man production.

A love story set in pre-revolutionary Cuba about the romance between a musician and singer.

It is definitely a film for grown-ups only and it's also great to see proper, non-genre animation movies aimed at adults.

Only half-way through this, but enjoying it immensely.

Django Unchained (2012)

I mentioned in a previous podcast that this movie was "brilliant".

I stick by what I said except for that one part of the movie that Quentin Tarantino acts in. That part is abysmal. Stay behind the camera Quentin!

Following (1998)

So this is Christopher Nolan's low-budget debut about a writer who gets sucked into crime, ostensibly to help his writing, but mainly because he is attracted to the nefarious, underworld lifestyle.

Quite good and you can clearly see threads running to his later work like the brilliant Memento and other films. A nice twisty, turny little thriller.

Old Boy (2013)

The Hollywood remake of the original Old Boy (2003) is due this year.

Old Boy (2003) was much imitated (actually stolen from) in films like Ryan Gosling's Drive (2011), e.g. the bit with the hammer and Jude Law's Repo Men (2010), e.g. Jude Law's big knife fight scene.

(Aside: actually, everything about Repo Man (2010) was derivative; the original Monty Python organ repossession skit and even the title; remember Alex Cox's cultish Repo Man (1984)?

(Aside of the aside(!): I even had the soundtrack to Alex Cox's movie, which was, arguably, better than the movie, but that's tangential).

Anyway, in Old Boy (2013), expect more star studded, pointless, Hollywood tripe. This has got to stop. Don't go and see it. Boycott it. Stage a consumer strike and teach Hollywood a lesson.

Going Postal (2010), The Colour of Magic, The Light Fantastic (2008), The Hogfather (2006)

Going Postal: really enjoyed this TV movie adaptation of Terry Pratchett's novel of the same name.

Richard Coyle is brilliant as con man Moist Von Lipwig drafted (under pain of death) into service by Lord Vetinari as Ankh-Morpork's latest Post-Master. His job is to return the Post Office to it's former glory in the light of competition from the Clacks; a semaphore messaging system.

I suppose, given that I really like a lot of Terry Pratchett's work and that both my dad and me have worked in the post office, it really isn't that surpising that I enjoyed both the novel and movie.

It made me seek out and watch The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic; starring David Jason as Rincewind and Sean Astin as Twoflower, and the Hogfather, which are okay, but not quite as good. But I did love the steampunky design of Twoflower's imp-powered TLR. Very cute!

The Master (2012)

Fictional adaptation based on L. Ron Hubbard's Church of Scientology.

Joaquin Phoenix's welcome return to the screen after going a bit loopy for a few years. He plays a navy veteran with severe mental and drinking problems, Freddie Quell, who is taken in by Lancaster Dodd (based on Hubbard), played by Philip Seymour Hoffman. The movie is mainly about the relationship that develops between the two men.

Not a bad film, but the characters are so unsympathetic that you end up not really caring what happens to them.

Lancaster Dodd's hypnotic hold over his followers is portrayed in a quite amazing and creepy performance by Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Robot and Frank (2012)

Frank Langella is Frank, a retired cat-burglar with Alzeimers who, under protest, is given a robot to look after him by his son. The robot becomes Frank's criminal accomplice.

The first thing that they steal together is Don Quixote, not coincidentally a book about an ageing knight suffering from dementia and his loyal servant. Nice touch. I have to read Don Quixote now!

I thought it was great, probably because I love robots.

Silver Lining's Playbook (2012)

Bradley Cooper plays a young man with a few minor mental problems.

Basically too much sport for me to enjoy the movie. But excellent acting by Jennifer Lawrence, who plays a character so different to The Hunger Game's Katniss Everdeen. Well done Jennifer!

Wake Wood (2011)

Not bad, sort of like a Wicker Man set in Ireland with quite an original storyline. Also stars Timothy Spall.

A Couple loses their child, but they can have her back for a short while if they play by the rules and, of course, they don't.

This is another neo-Hammer film by the way.

It does seem to cater to my paranoia about small rural villages; of which I have lived in several times over the years. In fact, I'm in one right now!

Hammer Film Productions 1934 to Present

And finally, a brief potted history for the horror nuts.

Founded in 1934, lot's of genre movies, but mainly horror, stopped making films in the 1980s due to heavy competition.

Bought out in 2000, but made no films, then bought out again in 2007 when they did start making movies again e.g. Wake Wood (2011), Let Me In (2010), and, of course, The Woman in Black (2012) with Daniel Radcliffe.

Notable schlocky movies that I can remember are Dracula (1958) and Lust for a Vampire (1971) (Karnstein series).

Digression: I also remember collecting the Hammer horror trading cards when I was still in primary school. Imagine the outrage that would cause today!

Although the current Hammer company is a completely new one, Daniel Radcliffe mentioned in a radio interview a few months ago that some of the production crew in the Harry Potter films were the children and grandchildren of people employed by Hammer, and he worked with some of these same people in The Woman In Black. So some of the technical heritage of Hammer also seems intact.

Jack The Giant Slayer


The Following

It's okay, but I caught too many characters similar to those in that other FBI serial killer series Criminal Minds.

Plot: a manipulative jailed serial killer has people killing on his behalf in the outside world.

Kevin Bacon is the flawed hero, but to be honest, he just isn't flawed enough to be that interesting.


Show finale at Season 5, Episode 13.

Happy ever after with a little tug on the heartstrings when Walter has to lose Peter by taking the place of September and taking Michael to the future, so that the timeline can be fixed and Peter and Olivia can return to a time when their daughter Henrietta still lives.

It works. The end. Bye-bye to the best mad-scientist on TV in John Noble's Walter Bishop. And bye-bye too to black umbrellas and white tulips.

I'm assuming J.J.'s now off to helm Hollywood as master of the SciFi franchise universe. (At least two; the new Star Trek: ITD movie and the first of the new Star Wars movies).

Once Upon a Time

Season 2, Episode 11: Mulan, Captain Hook, Smee, Rumplestiltskin and Belle in a convoluted plot with a dragon and a curse (isn't their always?)

Robert Carlisle looked like he was going through the motions a bit, but it's a long series, so we can afford him a little leeway.


Is getting better now that Keiffer's character is acting less like Jack Bauer?

The Walking Dead

I'm up to around episode 10 of the latest season; that's season 3.

Rick's gone right round the bend, the Governor's even more homicidal and attacked the prison where Rick's lot are holed up, taken out that last prisoner (the hairy one), and let zombies loose.

Obviously we can expect the "mother-of-all" battles coming up soon (if not already, by the time this podcast goes out).

Seems they are showing that in a world of zombies, humans are still the biggest threat. How depressing. Michonne, swing that katana some more and cheer me up. I get the strong feeling that when the show finally goes phut, it ain't going to be a happy ending.

Star Trek

Come on! We need a new Star Trek show on TV! One where the predominant accent is not American.

In Our Time

BBC Radio 4.

Have any of you been listening to this science show hosted for boffins by boffin Melvyn Bragg?

It's started to occur to me that Melvyn doesn't always know about the subject area, but he sounds so plausible, you don't notice. I wish I sounded more like that. Though not quite so plummy. Or as obsessed with the Classical World as he seems to be.

What are Issues, Trades, and Graphic Novels?

Issues: one part of a story.

Trades: collected issues making up a whole story.

Graphic novels: story not usually available in issue format.

11.23.63 by Stephen King

Still reading.

Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway

Still reading.

The Caliph's House: A Year in Casablanca by Tahir Shah

London urbanite moves to Casablanca.

Very funny reading, especially for Londoners like me and my family, who have lived in often very alien cultures.

If you travel a lot you'll love this. As funny as Bill Bryson.

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Here There Be Dragons by John Peel

Still reading.


Reading this book by Scott Chacon about Linus "Linux" Torvalds own CM application because of a possible job opportunity.

It's an okay book, easy to read for a techie book, but hardly the most interesting subject in the world.

The Fall of Hyperion by Dan Simmons

Still listening to the audio book and up to chapter 10.

Salam Pax: The Baghdad Blog by Salam Abdulmunem

Almost finished and really quite impressed to see the war in Iraq from a geeky blogger's point-of-view, i.e. someone I can relate to.

Excellent. not a new book, but easily obtainable.

The Truth

I have actually already read most of Terry Pratchett's books, including this one, repeatedly in fact. However, after watching the Going Postal movie and seeing in the background characters from The Truth novel like Otto and Sacharissa, I am in the mood to read this novel again.

Simply put, it's about the formation a newspaper called the Ankh-Morpork Times.

Again, there's a bit of enlightened self-interest here, as I, albeit in a very modest way, also work at a newspaper.

GTA, LA Noire

Read the column available via my blog if you want a brief low-down on a couple of games from Rockstar. I briefly talked about the GTA series and LA Noire from Rockstar Games. Just visit roymathur.com.

In GTA you are the bad-guy and in LA Noire you are the hard-boiled good-guy.

I Want an AlienWare X51

Not much else to talk about today except to say that my first pay cheque, when I get a full-time job, is going towards a really powerful gaming PC (AlienWare X51) because there are just so many great games available for the PC now.

That Was the Show

Hope you enjoyed it and please send me some feedback.