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January 2009

The Damned United / 27.01.09

Frost/Nixon? Pah. Everyone knows that this is the Michael Sheen-starring biopic to get excited about.

While the trailer makes it look a bit too much like a feelgood cutesy British sports film, anyone familiar with Clough's life will know that the story of his time at Leeds (intercut with his time at Derby) is anything but. And if it's anywhere near close to the level of David Peace's magnificent novel, then it's clearly going to be the best football film ever made. Although, of course, by "best", I mean "only decent".

And that's without saying anything about Sheen's accent, which looks quite frankly spot on. Can't wait.

RTD Makes Cappsy Very Happy / 23.01.09

So Michelle Ryan probably won’t be the companion in 2010 (unless Moff reuses the character), and Lee Evans is in it. And it’s on a bus. So it’s Delta and the Bannermen, right?

Scott Pilgrim and the Rest of the Cast / 20.01.09

We already had Scott (Michael Cera) and Ramona (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), and rumours of Kieran Culkin as Wallace Wells, but Scott Pilgrim author Bryan Lee O’Malley has now confirmed on his LiveJournal that the bulk of the main cast for Edgar Wright’s adaptation is in place (or, rather, has been in place for a while, but can now be officially announced).

Watchmen To Be Watched After All / 16.01.09

Time to breathe a sigh (of either relief or disappointment, depending on what you thought of the last trailer), as it’s being reported that Warners and Fox have settled the rights dispute that had been hanging over the planned March release of Zack Snyder’s Watchmen movie.

Of course, this was always going to happen. Fox were never going to try and stop the film being released - it simply wasn’t in their interests to do that rather than simply sit back and hoover up a healthy chunk of the grosses of an already-finished and highly-anticipated movie. The worst that might have happened would have been a delay to the release - but it would appear that things have been settled quickly enough to prevent even that.

Now, the question of whether the movie’s going to be any good or not - that’s another matter…

Batman Actually RIP This Time / 15.01.09

It’s funny how comics’ relationship with the news media works. A short while back, the newspapers were falling over themselves to announce “THE DEATH OF BATMAN!!!!111” without actually paying attention to anything that was actually happening in writer Grant Morrison’s run on the comic - and of course, nobody bothered to print a correction when Morrison made it explicit in issue #683 (as opposed to implicit and requiring more than a superficial glance at the much-hyped issue #681) that Bruce Wayne had survived the events of “Batman RIP” - although, to be fair, he should have known what he was letting himself in for when he called the story that.

A memo to SRO Audiences... / 14.01.09

No, I don’t want tickets to sit in the audience for the upcoming abomination known as “A Remake Of The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin Starring Martin Clunes”. I’d be grateful if you could stop harassing me like a jilted lover, now, please - particularly as each time you do so I’m reminded of the ghastly thing’s very existence.

Goodbye, Farewell and Amen / 14.01.09

I’d just like to leave a quick note with the site’s readers as I retire my activity at NTS: thank you for everything; you’ve been great. It’s been an excellent two years and I still think that, however small, the community around here is one of the most-rewarding to write for on the internet.

For now, however, I will be focusing my efforts in other areas. Good luck to everybody in the new year, and thanks again. For everything.

If In Doubt, Bias Up Your Copy / 13.01.09

From the BBC News site today:

“A US teenager killed his mother and wounded his father in revenge after they took away his violent computer game, a judge has ruled.”

The game in question? Nope, not GTA, not Manhunt 2, not even the chain-saw-mungus Gears of War. Nope we’re talking about Halo 3. Seriously…

Stuff Is Brilliant / 12.01.09

Noise to Signal’s contributors are decidedly mixed on the subject of Apple. We have some Mac users – myself included – and we have some who view castration by acid as a viable alternative to using iTunes. So while the recent removal of DRM from the bulk of the iTunes catalogue is probably worth a comment, it’s hard to do it without stirring up the same old nest of drowsy, ageing hornets.

So since it was days ago and you’ve no doubt already formulated an opinion and moved on, I’d like instead to raise a brief toast to the wonders of stuff

The Doctor's Companion / 08.01.09

As sure as eggs is chicken ovulations, the recent announcement of the identity of our Eleventh Doctor has brought about a whole new round of tedious guess work on who will be his first companion. Will they be female? Male? Young? Old? Alien? Modern? Historical? Me? Only tedious guess work and lists will give us the answer!

Fat Plumber Overtaken by Streamlined Athletes / 07.01.09

2009 rolls in and the guards are changing: Super Mario Bros. is no longer the best-selling video game of all time.

Think about that. I mean, really. Just take a moment to consider it; this is the real and fast evolution of culture right before our eyes. Sonic couldn’t topple Mario. Pokemon couldn’t topple Mario. No, not even M&M’s Go-Kart Racing Bullshit Adventure could topple Mario.

But Wii Sports has done it, a mere two years or so after its release. The game that allows your much skinnier (admit it) avatar to armlessly bowl the night away, or allows you to play doubles with Ned Flanders, Batman and Adolf Hitler, has out-sold every other video game in history.

And before you start griping, “Oh, but it’s a pack-in…” be aware of two things: it’s not a pack-in in all territories, and Super Mario Bros. was also a pack-in and nobody ever bitched about that.

Man, 26, Listens to Every Album on iPod. World Yawns. / 06.01.09

Hello. I thought I’d just do a quick bit of shameless pluggery for a project that I’m running for the duration of 2009 over on my LiveJournal (well, at least, for as long as LJ is still up and running, there being question marks over that as of today). I’m planning to listen to every album stored on my iPod (around 350-odd when I’ve stripped out certain exceptions) in sequence (alphabetical by album title) and write between 50-200 words on each one. If you’re interested, you can follow my progress via this helpful tag link, which saves you having to venture anywhere near my usual other witless ramblings!

My Favourite Ad in Ages / 05.01.09

Oh yes.

Oh, it’s easy to see it as a lazy nostalgia piece - “REMEMBER WHEN MOBILE PHONES WERE MASSIVE!!!??!?!” and the like. But what stops it from being just that that it’s simply superbly made - the very opposite of lazy - and there are a few shots in there that you wouldn’t necessarily expect. (The Our Price moment being my favourite.)

But perhaps best of all is the 25th anniversary logo at the end - a beautiful piece of retro design…

An African Residence / 04.01.09

With the next Resident Evil game only three months away, Capcom’s Japanese demo of the title has been gradually circulating around the globe. Unlike the trial of the fourth game, which basically gave away the first twenty minutes of the title, this trial offers two separate scenarios, playable in single player or split-screen co-op.

Opinions after the jump.

Matt Smith IS the Doctor! / 03.01.09

… and I’m not happy.

I don’t care how good he is, he’s too fucking young.

I do reserve the right to reevaluate this kneejerk reaction, but this is the first time I’ve been in any way disappointed by a new Doctor announcement, and it HURTS.

The REAL Next Doctor / 02.01.09

BBC News have made one of their traditional “pre-announcement announcements”, this time that the eleventh Doctor will be confirmed in a special edition of Doctor Who Confidential at 17:35 pm on the 3rd of January.

NTS reserves the right to be staggered if it’s anyone other than Patterson Joseph.

The Krypton Factor returns. NTS campaign for hilarious name-change. / 02.01.09

Back in December I was due to go to Granada Studios in Manchester to watch an episode of the rebooted Krypton Factor as part of the audience. Unfortunately a mixture of mild lateness and ITV giving over 80 more seats to ‘corporate sponsors’ than expected meant I didn’t get the chance. So, my first viewing of the new series ended up being yesterday, when the show returned to ITV after literally some years away. The problem they face is similar to that faced by the production team bringing back Gladiators, as there are a whole generation of a certain type of person who view shows like this in very high regard. The Krypton Factor was a huge part of our formative curiosity and knowledge and for that reason it resides in the special, sacred cow areas of our brains. Basically, if you fuck it up, we’ll fuck you up, ITV.

After the jump, I present you some first impressions. On the whole, they are not great.