House of Cards – American Style

As an inveterate fan of the original 1989 BBC series “House of Cards” I was highly skeptical that it could be successfully adapted into an American context. It had some pretty big shoes to fill, after all – most notably, the outstanding performance of Ian Richardson as the cunningly ambitious protagonist Francis Urquhart… a small taste of which can be seen here:

Happily, Netflix and the production team assembled behind this groundbreaking project have managed to develop a streaming series that is not only a worthwhile successor to its namesake, but an intense political drama that is, quite arguably,  even  more fascinating and deeply engrossing than the original. Kevin Spacey is brilliant as the ruthless, scheming House Majority Whip out for revenge and grander things, so too is the rest of the excellent cast. After a few episodes you may well be expecting to see them on “Meet the Press” or other cable news shows, such is the verity of the series. 

Not a subscriber to Netflix? No problem.  You can still enjoy all 13 episodes free online by clicking here. Each link will provide you with a number of different sources (Note: you may have to play a bit of whack-a-mole to kill off the pesky pop-up windows that appear, some of which be warned promote NSFW offerings. Putlocker/Sockshare are usually quite reliable, as are Videxden and 180Upload.).

Massacre au Mouton

Some of the funniest (and explicitly gory) scenes from the film Black Sheep, a quirky 2006 production from New Zealand that was on TV last night.

Maybe you have to have grown up around menacing herds of sheep to appreciate the humour…

Gameswipe (1-2/5)

Following in the footsteps of his previous Screenwipe and Newswipe BBC programs, Charlie Brooker recently set his caustic sites on the video gaming industry with the same delightfully scabrous sense of humour we’ve come to know and love over the years.

Britain’s Got Talent!


Totally off topic here, but check this out — click on the picture to link to the YouTube video (they don’t allow embedding, unfortunately). This is “nearly 48-year old” Susan Boyle, a currently unemployed lady from Glasgow who lives alone with her cat “Pebbles” and is not only single, but rather sadly, claims never to have been kissed in her entire life, with her performance in the auditions for Britain’s Got Talent, singing “I dreamed a dream” from Les Miserables.

Oh, go on… Don’t be cynical. Go watch it… Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.

Greenland Hearts Global Warming

From Current TV: Global warming is having a greater impact in the Arctic than anywhere else in the world. Greenland, the cold, harsh land that defeated the mighty Vikings is now facing a force that may destroy its defining feature — ice. But while Greenland’s melting ice sheet may mean chaos for the rest of the world, Adam Yamaguchi finds Greenlanders have some surprising reactions to this climatic upheaval.

This is a really fascinating short documentary, if for no other reason than to provide a more robust impression of Greenland than the one more usually imagined; that of a gigantic slab of glacial ice dotted with a handful of remote settlements. It’s also a fair-minded report (at least I found it so) that doesn’t get all preachy about global warming, but simply relates its effects and the ways in which the people of Greenland are responding to it.

Update: Well, isn’t this interesting. I watched it last night, but now it seems that the documentary has… disappeared completely — from YouTube at least. It can still be viewed over at Huffington Post however.

Spinal Tap Meets a Mighty Windbag

Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer appeared on Countdown earlier in the week to promote their upcoming concert tour that kicks off in Vancouver next Friday.

OLBERMANN: I noted here that it starts in Vancouver, British Columbia next Friday. Is there a particular reason Canada got the first shot at you guys?

MCKEAN: It’s the ultimate out-of-town try out, really.

SHEARER: It’s the warm-up country.

More about the tour from today’s Globe & Mail here.