Monthly Archives: February 2010

NCIS: Los Angeles – Bank Job

It was the old 24 hours earlier trick again. But whereas we could be certain that Gibbs wouldn’t die when his car went into the water a couple of years ago, you are less sure when NCIS: LA appears to kill off its characters. What if Dom was only the first one?

Bank Job

Whatever it was, it had Daughter literally sitting on the edge of the sofa. Because she likes Kensi, too, it seems. I was again struck by how unaffected I was, and decided it didn’t matter to me.


All I knew was that if planned, then Kensi wasn’t wearing anything bullet proof. But at least having her shot in the intro provided some excitement for the rest of the Bank Job episode.

NCIS: Los Angeles - Bank Job

Not sure if it’s me and my boring life style, but some of these plots are a little farfetched. But fun.

(Photos © CBS)

Dennis whatsisname

No sooner had I bought concert tickets for when Dennis Locorriere comes to a stage near me, than the iPod started playing more of his songs. Well, more of Doctor Hook’s songs, to be precise. I take that as a promising sign.

It was listening to good old radio Luxembourg which started me up with Doctor Hook and His Medicine Show, as they used to be. What better voice to glue yourself to the radio with, than Dennis’s? And after all these years, he’s still got the power. Or so I hope.

He was more than OK in Buxton about five years ago. He was so OK that he appeared not to want to stop singing, which was annoying as I had a last train home to catch, having to leave and hear his voice follow me out into the dark night and down the road and all that.

Apparently people have problems with his name, but it’s a straightforward Italian name. And if he’s a little bit Italian, that explains the voice, doesn’t it?

An early love

As someone who doesn’t observe Valentine’s Day, I’ll just do one of my usual irrational things and go a little gooey at the edges.

The ‘what’ is 1960s Swedish pop group the Hep Stars, with heart throb Svenne Hedlund singing, and featuring the nimble fingers of a beardless Benny Andersson, who later became famous for something else. The song is Sunny Girl, which was one of the first pop songs I really noticed, so it has a special place in my cold old heart.

Now, the English lyrics are atrocious, and Svenne’s pronunciation not much better, but consider that they were around twenty at the time, and had left school early, and wrote and sang in a foreign language. Not bad, really.

And I badly wanted a cardigan with edges like Svenne’s…


I remember reading about the original Danish film Brødre, and deciding I could never watch it. The mere thought of two brothers fighting over the same woman, when the one who’s married to her goes missing, presumed dead, at war, and the other no-good drifter gets friendly with his sister-in-law was too much. I thought much the same after seeing the trailers for the American version of  the story, but found to my ‘relief’ that it was more than just two brothers wanting the same girl.

Tobey Maguire

It’s fairly potent stuff, and the kind that leaves you knowing there is no right or wrong solution for anything like this. History repeats itself as father Sam Shepard’s behaviour towards his sons after Vietnam, comes back with a vengeance when Tobey Maguire miraculously returns from Afghanistan. He’s a changed man, and whereas we liked him best to begin with, we’d rather see the last of him towards the end. Or do we?

Bailee Madison, Natalie Portman and Taylor Geare

His daughters certainly do. They are scared of what he has become (at the hands of Omid Abtahi, who seems to specialise in this kind of character), and uncle Jake Gyllenhaal seems so much more safe and friendly. It’s ironic that both brothers have done something bad by the end, and both have been the ‘good guy.’

Bailee Madison as the older of the two daughters is fantastic. It almost comes as a shock to find a young girl actress who can act.

This is a surprisingly good American copy of a Scandinavian film; something I always complain about. It manages to feel real, rather than glitzy.

At Cornerhouse this week.

A Single Man

‘I’m English. I like being wet and cold.’ So says Colin Firth to his young student played by Nicholas Hoult in A Single Man. It’s a film that people will flock to watch, starring three handsome male actors covering a wide age range. Now, I don’t mean that our Mr Darcy has grown old, but next to Matthew Goode he is. Somewhat. And Nicholas Hoult is barely old enough to be a college student.

Matthew Goode and Colin Firth

It’s only thanks to the ladies hairdos that you can tell whether it’s a flashback or not; late 1940s or early 1960s. A Single Man feels quite Christopher Isherwood-ish, which was to be expected. Not much happens. Matthew Goode dies in the opening scene, but the only aspect that made this a really sad occasion is that with homosexuality having to be hidden in those days, Colin Firth’s character can’t go to the funeral or even be seen to grieve very openly.

Other than that, I wasn’t convinced that there was much feeling there at all. He wants to kill himself, and spends the day preparing his suicide, but then things don’t go as he, or we, expect.

Julianne Moore

Beautifully filmed in wonderful locations, and with some great, if possibly overdone, 1960s authentic props. Very nice touch to have the mild mannered Colin Firth offering to kill the neighbour’s brat.

The James Dean look-alike was a fresh breeze in a fairly stifling drama about hurt feelings among people it was hard to like. And perhaps nobody realised that it’s his British accent that makes Matthew Goode so sexy. Fake American works nowhere near as well.

At Cornerhouse from today.


Wow! I’m clearly not a typical NCIS fan any more, because I loved Jack-Knife, and so many fans seem not to have liked it at all. Someone even called it dull.

Fornell and Gibbs

This was not dull. It was a fun-filled family adventure with plenty of humour. All right, and a lot of sleeping went on, but mainly by McGee. There were fast cars. Fornell was back and there was absolutely no reason for him to be, but we were very happy to see him and his slippers. The man looks good in a beard. Less sure about the slippers, but he took those off.

Tired McGee

Tired McGee

And poor McGee kept sleeping as and when he could. It doesn’t sound so good, but he even slept with Gibbs, in a manner of speaking.

Tired McGee

Tired McGee

Damon Werth was back too, and not as the corpse as some so-called fans had hoped. What’s wrong with you people? I’d be very happy to have our ex-steroid muscle man turn up every now and then. We know why he’s faithful to Gibbs, and quite rightly so. And why shouldn’t he like the former Mossad officer?

Gibbs's car

Gibbs’s car got an outing, so he trusts Fornell with a lot of things these days. Poor McGee turned himself into a guilt-ridden servant, but one who became impossibly chatty once he entered Schloss Gibbs. If Gibbs really locks his door now, it didn’t have the desired effect, did it?

At home with Gibbs

There was very little here that required ‘the feds’, but it made for a cosy get-together, and lack of plot makes absolutely no difference. In fact, sometimes I believe it helps an episode along quite nicely. And – oh dear – those British accents are very, well, British.

I gather we now have a long wait for next time. If it’s not Presidential elections, it’s stuff like Olympic Games getting in the way. Sigh. Will have to watch this one again. And again.


Do other people still react when they see the number 208? I conditioned myself to thinking only of Radio Luxembourg at a young age. Back in the dark ages, when Swedish radio offered about three hours of pop music a week, it was a little bit of a culture shock to visit the English Pen Friend who had access to lots of music, and who also seemed to have something wonderful called Radio Luxembourg.

The 208 DJs

Once home, I managed to unearth one radio which could receive on MW208. Not very well, but in those days we were pioneers and put up with a lot. Apart from the crackling reception, I had to deal with DJs who spoke a new language, and I don’t mean English. It was a totally new way of talking about pop music. They were even allowed to say if they liked a record, which was shocking to a listener from the land of equality where you just didn’t say things like that.

Over the three years or so that I sat glued to the radio, I went through a few DJs, but my favourite was Mark Wesley, who was all right once I’d stopped disliking him…

Mark Wesley

I subscribed to a magazine called Fabulous 208, which had pictures of pop stars, and pictures of the DJs. That was useful when School Friend and I InterRailed to Luxembourg in 1972. The radio station was high on my list, so School Friend was dragged there, whether she liked it or not. We hovered in the park outside the radio station, when along came a red sports car, which thanks to my nerdy reading habits I recognised as belonging to Mark Wesley.

Kid Jensen

He drove off to park the car, after letting Kid Jensen jump out first. School Friend and I raced along with cameras, elbowing a couple of German teenagers out of the way. The Kid (this was before he turned back into plain David) posed happily for his admirers, and left. I nearly expired with excitement waiting for Mark, but he turned up eventually. He posed rather more impatiently, but still, I got a picture of him.

And School Friend uttered the words she used a lot on that trip; ‘he’s quite good looking, really.’