Nazi Titanic: Revealed

Hollyoaks: The Third Reich

If you’re going to make a documentary about a legendary film that never quite got made, you would think that you might concentrate on something really interesting and absorbing: such as Kubrick’s lifelong attempt to make an epic about Napoleon, Gilliam heroically failing at Don Quixote, or the insane version of Dune that Alejandro Jodorowsky nearly got off the ground in the 70’s involving HR Giger, Pink Floyd and Salvador Dali.

But no, not the enquiring minds at Channel 5:  they want to reveal that the Nazis had previously made a propaganda laced version of achingly dull epic Titanic, the eventual 1997 film of which inspired a pithy review (which I’m afraid I can’t accurately quote or source) which read something like “It sinks. There, I’ve saved you three hours of your life which I myself can never get back”. Read more of this post

The Killing Series 2 Blog, Episodes Nine and Ten

Sarah Lund: Glummer than a month of wet, Danish Sundays.

The web site encourages you to visit this “Oasis in Europe” with the following comment:

“The easy going attitude and the feel free mentality makes Denmark a great place to recharge. The relaxed locals will help you feel welcome.”

…which is quite different from what I would have expected it to say based on my in-depth research of watching two seasons of The Killing. I would have thought this would be nearer the mark:

“The macabre and mysterious nature of local crime, coupled with the vague guiltiness of absolutely everyone you meet and the heavy-handedness of the semi-psychotic police force, will leave you a nervous wreck for your entire stay. You will never forget your holiday in Denmark, assuming you make it home alive, which frankly I wouldn’t put any large bets on.

Plus it rains all the time. All. The. Time.”

I’ve also learnt that some time around 2008, Denmark was scientifically proven to be the happiest country on earth. This leads me to one of three conclusions:

1. The Killing is in fact the work of a crack group of scriptwriters affiliated to the Norwegian and Swedish tourist boards.
2. That the Danes like a bit of exciting, dark drama to relieve the monotony of their crushingly happy and content lives.
3. Something really, really bad happened in Denmark in 2009. Read more of this post

The Killing Series 2 Blog, Episodes Seven and Eight

Cognitive Dissonance is a trendy term relating to problems or discomfort held by trying to deal with two or more conflicting ideas or feelings at the same time.

As an example, first imagine you are a single-minded, grizzled homicide detective with a manner that suggests that- for the third year running- you’ve drawn Coventry City in the FA cup sweepstake at work.

Got that? Right, now embrace the idea that you’re chasing a suspect away from a horrible crime scene in a strangely under-utilised church. The chase has taken you into some kind of light industrial complex/abattoir where you pursue said suspect as they fling all sorts of obstacles at you to try and get away.

Then in the blink of an eye you somehow find yourself in the middle of a full-on party with music and loads of people all dressed up, having a good time.

This is the sort of thing that can cause confusion and disorientation in even the grumpiest, recently sacked, obsessive compulsive Danish crime fighter. Read more of this post

The Killing Series 2 Blog, Episodes Five and Six

"If this box has got dinosaurs in it, I'm going to forbrydel you"

This week we had planned to unveil the The Killing 2 Drinking Game – an exciting new way to expand your enjoyment of this series into the arena of social inebriation.

The rules are very simple: each person chooses one of the following events, then every time it happens they are encouraged to shout “Skol!” and take a quick swig of their drink (ideally Akvavit or Gløgg)

Events to choose from:
1. That three note piano thing happens to let you know to pay attention.
2. Brix looks like he might be about to say something, but then doesn’t quite manage it.
3. Buch the justice minister eats something.
4. Someone shouts “Lund!” in an exasperated way
5. A man wears camouflage in an environment where it offers him no camouflage at all.
6. A shifty look.

Unfortunately we had to abandon the game due to the acquisition of a stinking cold – and also with only eight cases of beer and twelve bottles of wine we wouldn’t have had enough booze to get through the first half an hour of this week’s double-bill.

Anyway, enough apologising…

Typical isn’t it? You dodge one C4 explosive trap and then blunder straight into another. The exploding motorboat didn’t just signal the death of Thompson, the latest member of the-possibly-involved-in-a-war-crime army unit at the centre of The Killing 2’s plot, it also signalled the sad demise of my cuisine fixated serial killer theory – a theory I had little time to mourn as a derisive snort of “Haven’t these people seen The Bodyguard?” came from the other end of the sofa. Read more of this post

The Killing Series 2 Blog: Episodes Three and Four

So, after the rapid fire plotting of the first two episodes, The Killing has now kicked back into a contemplative, stripped-down, almost elegiac style. The silent, twenty minute scene of the old woman waiting on the steps of the bleak pickled herring factory was a tour-de-force.

Only joking: if anything these episodes packed in even more plotting and detail than the opening two. This is a programme that demands to be watched via one of those clever boxes that allow you to pause and rewind live TV.

I never thought I’d say this, but The Killing could actually do with having advert breaks. If you dive out to grab a drink or have a quick pee, chances are by the time you return half the cast have whipped out a secret memo or two, revealed some awesomely plot changing secret and then been horribly killed.

Anyway, it turns out that our possibly mad ex soldier on the run Raben was part of an army squad in the war that did (or were party to) something very, very bad indeed: possibly involving civilians being killed. This was seemingly at the behest of an as yet unknown character with the name ‘Perk’ – who like the ‘Muslim League’ really isn’t pulling up any trees in the menacing name department. Read more of this post

The Killing: Series 2, The Trailer

It shouldn’t be too long until gripping Danish whodunnit The Killing (aka Forbrydelsen) makes a return to the ‘please don’t shut it down’ schedules of BBC4. To get us interested the Beeb are screening a trailer which you can check out via the modern marvel of the iPlayer.

What facts can we glean from this dark couple of minutes?

1. They’re sticking with mysterious, foreboding and grim:  from the mysterious call to the emergency services, to the foreboding graveyard action and the grim discovery of a body tied to a tree. It definitely looks like business as usual; can’t imagine the Danish tourist board are thrilled.

2. Torches seem likely to feature heavily again.

3. The guvnor, Lennart Brix has kept his job despite the political shenanigans at the close of the first series and is loping about the place like a cross between Herman Munster and an undertaker on stilts.

4. The name Anne is pronounced Anna in Denmark, or the translator was having a really bad day.

5. On a similar note, the sound of the Danish dialog in this series will probably once again remind me of the Swedish chef from The Muppet Show on downers. The “she was stabbed 21 times…” bit could be him, still ranting about chickens in the mushy grip of a week long Tamazepam binge.

6. The murder scene looks like an especially subversive effort by an Ikea shop dresser to inject a bit of drama into your visit as you stroll past the ready-made rooms on your way to buy a Billy bookcase and some cheap wine glasses.

7. The deeply taciturn Sophie Grabol as Sarah Lund is still wearing the grim expression of a woman who has just remembered that she left the car parked in a twenty minute space two hours ago. One thing that she isn’t wearing is one of those iconic ‘yeah, well, I got it for Christmas’ jumpers that threatened to become the main talking point of the first series.

Fortunately for Scandinavian knitwear fans, there is a picture of her wearing a full-on red granny number on the BBC website. It properly fills out the whole mise-en-scene along with the looming Brix and a bloke who has surly, impetuous sidekick written all over him. I imagine he is the Jan Meyer replacement and that he will hopefully **SPOILER ALERT** know better than to go chasing around any foreboding warehouses in the dark.

8. As addictive as the plot will be, as convincing as the acting will no doubt turn out, the music is probably still going to be just a little bit naff.

full on red granny jumper action

The Killing Series 2 is coming soon to BBC Four

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