Star Trek

May. 14th, 2009 03:29 pm
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I dragged flatmate to go see Star Trek. Even though our tastes in sci-fi tend to be the same, it did take considerable negotiation to get her to the one. I am another for whom Star Trek is part of my childhood, although I've always been more Next Gen than TOS – namely because I cannot remember a time when I didn't loathe James T Kirk. Anyway, so I went there with nostalgia and Kirk-hating, and flatmate went in there all cynical about the movie. We both thought it was brilliant.

Damn it, Jim! I'm a doctor, not a…. )

Anyway, flatmate in particular walked out and voted TOS as the next series we should watch once we finish Battlestar Galactica. So mission most certainly accomplished most definitely with the bringing the franchise back to life and opening up to new fans.
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Right now it feels like I'm the only person in the whole world who hasn't seen the new Star Trek movie. Seems like half the posts on my flist right now are of people raving on about how good it is. I wanna go see it, but I'm waiting until cheap ticket day Tuesday.

So I'm going to talk about a completely different movie. Last night I watched my favourite romcom in the whole wide world – The American President. I own it, and I've seen it so many times now over the years that Martin Sheen playing the Chief of Staff and not the President in an Aaron Sorkin scripted work no longer weirds me out. Anyway, outside of West Wing fans, there's really not enough love of the movie out there, so I'm going to pimp it out a bit.

Basic premise: She's an environmental lobbyist. He's the President of the United States. He's trying to pass a crime bill and run for reelection, she's trying to get emission standards improved to help stop global warming (this movie was released in 1995, btw). They fall in love. Drama and comedy ensue (e.g. the
slow down plan
.) There's also over worked White House staffers who are clearly prototypes of Leo McGarry, CJ Cregg and Sam Seaborn, the questioning of the virtue of a proportional response, and a one-dimensional evil Republican villain.

The movie wins for me because I love fictional politics (I am a RL politics junkie, but I find the stakes are too high to make it enjoyable, so I love fictional politics more), I love romcoms that are actually smart, have intelligent females at the heart of it with proper jobs and ambitions, and rely on snappy dialogue rather than tired slapstick, I love Aaron Sorkin's work and I really really love when high political offices and love stories mix (I have no idea why, I just do). Alas, romances for Prime Ministers and Presidents are is not a common. There's what – The American President, Love Actually, Battlestar Galactica and sort of The West Wing (which went through the ups and downs of Jed and Abby's marriage, which is a love story, but not really a romance)? I can't think of the top of my head think of any others.

It is a bit of sad commentary on American politics in that that the issues of emission standards and gun control at the fore of the discussion in the movie are still hotly debated topics fourteen years later. But now Obama's in power, it's not as depressing.

Anyway, I'm all happy and on a Sorkin bent because I found out that after seven years of waiting, Sports Night is being released DVD in my region. Yay!
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Stargate Atlantis won my little 'what should I watch next poll', but then I got to talking about television shows with my mother, and her verdict on Atlantis was not positive so I'm a bit hesitant.

But then I had a better idea: I'd watch the Star Trek movies in order. I'm not really a Star Trek fan but I watched them all as a child as my father's a Trekkie, and with the new movie coming out soon I'm feeling nostalgic, and since I don't like Kirk and I don't like Spock (I heart McCoy though) it's bound to be fun watching them and counting down how many I have to watch until the TNG cast show up (um, yeah, TNG is my favourite). But then my local video store didn't have any of the Star Trek movies, which is a massive level of fail.

So after the disappointment of discovering my awesome Star Trek plan was foiled, I was feeling in need for comedy so I've got out Flight of the Conchords. That, and if I don't have the episodes memorised soon, I'm in danger of having my New Zealand citizenship revoked. (I've watched a few episodes and loved them, it's just I keep on forgetting it's on. Oh, and I get crappy reception of that channel).
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I'm trying desperately to ignore the fact that BSG has ended. If I don’t think about it, I won't be tempted to find out how it ends and spoil myself. Although I may have accidentally spoiled myself for one small but crucial detail. In terms of my own watching, I've just finished Maelstrom in season three, so I'm getting there.

A trailer has been released for Stargate: Universe, which is looking less like fandom's original fears of Stargate: 90210 and more like Stargate: BSG. Thing is, I’m not sure if I want Stargate to turn into BSG. I like the Stargate as it was back in the SG1 days, filled with team-y goodness, techonobable and humour, not as a BSG knock-off. So yes, juries still out on whether I'll watch

Also, I saw Watchmen.

No spoilers, but long enough to need a cut and maybe a slight bit wanky )

Anyway, the people who I saw it with thought it was brilliant and proceeded to give me a big lecture about being a snob after I came out of the movie criticising it, so consider me thoroughly told off.
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First of all, quick vid rec: One Girl Revolution by [ profile] arefadedaway. Why? Because it's got every awesome female character I have ever idolised in this vid (it's got characters from Doctor Who, Stargate, Firefly, PotC, Harry Potter, P&P, Heroes and many, many more), which is a celebration of awesome female characters in general.

First of all, watched the Battlestar Galactica miniseries, which was very good. I can see why everyone seems to be crazy about Roslin/Adama what with those two arguing who is in command. I'm not a fan of Jamie Bamber's American accent. I like him a lot more as poor doomed Kennedy on Hornblower. Is lack of explosions a legitimate criticism? I wouldn’t criticise a period drama for lack of destruction on a massive scale, but in a miniseries in which the vast majority of humanity is killed off, I would expect a few more fireballs. Anyway, I liked it very very much, but can't see myself becoming too fannish about it, but then I know who the final Cylon it already. Next up to watch is the first season.

Also watched Tipping the Velvet which was also very good. For those who've never heard of it, it's a miniseries based on the book by Sarah Water's following the Dickens-like adventures of Nancy as she goes from an oyster girl to male impersonator and then through a few other jobs, and it's a fascinating look at what like to be a lesbian in Victorian London. The voice over bugged me a bit, the direction got a bit weird at times, particularly when it tries to put a music hall spin on dramatic scenes and I wasn’t fully convinced by the lead actress at times, but the rest of the cast was brilliant. I've really got to read the book. I'm part of the way through The Night Watch.

Finally, I've been reading the Sandman series by Neil Gaiman and I’m in love. I'm in love with the universe and the mythology, I'm in love with the writing and the art, I'm in love with Dream and quite a few of the other characters. I've read the first and second 'Absolute' volumes in the past few days, with each book large enough to house a board game. I want to say something coherent about how brilliant it is, but I love it so much all that comes out right now is lots and lots of incoherent gushing so I shall summarise and say this: It say it's freaking amazing and I don't want reading it ever end! (But sadly I know it finished at issue 75).

But it's a pain. I read the wikipiedia entry and accidentally found out some information about the end that I didn't want to know. Damnit. While I'm a bit of a spoiler whore when it comes to television, I don't like to be spoiled when it comes to books, graphic novels, movies and the like. I went out of my way to remain spoiler free when reading Y: The Last Man, which is the last graphic novel series I got into. BTW, has anyone else read to the end of that series? It's been over six months since I read the final volume and I still feel I need a bit of group therapy to get over what happened to one of the characters, and I don't want to say what or who because it will spoil it for others.

Finally, the day is drawing near and I'm still very 'do not want' about the Watchmen movie. Grr. I think I'm going to be one of those terrible snobby people who dismisses all fans that watched the movie before they read the graphic novel. Actually, I think I'm one of those people already. Sorry guys. But after a few years of going on about how brilliant Watchmen is to people and getting funny looks of either 'WTF?' or 'you read comics?!', I'm just a little bit bitter about it becoming mainstream.
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It is so incredibly sad how Barack Obama's Grandmother has died just a day before the election.

You know how I was bitching about that movie that's used the Ka Mate haka? Well, the New Zealand news media's managed to catch on: Hollywood Hijacks Haka

And a meme snagged from [ profile] artic_fox since I love doing numbered lists: Ask me for "top five" lists of pretty much anything, and I will list you my top five of that thing or things.
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Lately I've been on a political movie mood. I watched Recount the other day, which stars Kevin Spacey, Tom Wilkinson and Laura Dern and follows the events in Florida in the wake of the 2000 Presidential election. It was an incredibly good movie, particularly given that was about vote counting and legal challenges and everyone knows the ending.

I have to say, I really love this trend of making movies about relatively recent political events. The Queen I thought was brilliant, particularly as is it has the eventual fate of Tony Blair in regards to his popular support in mind. And while I know films like that have been criticised for not being able to be distanced enough from events to make them useful, I think they're brilliant since it's so hard to keep track of exactly what's happening following the news, particularly if you are, say 15 like I was when the Florida recount happened. And films of that nature are far more useful while the players and issues involved are still alive, than 50 years down the track.

Further, I was browsing through the movie trailers on the apple website and the movie I'm really looking forward to this Oscar season is Frost/Nixon. I'm a bit of a Watergate geek, having read All the President's Men and Katharine Graham's memoir, and the movie looks fantastic. And it's got Michael Sheen, Rebecca Hall and Matthew Macfadyen. W, Milk and Battle in Seattle also look pretty good and are all unabashedly political movies.

However, this trailer broke my brain just a bit. Okay, it's a sports movie about rugby with black jerseys and the haka, that could in some circumstances be okay i.e. if it were a movie about the All Blacks. It's not okay when it's a sport movie about American's playing rugby complete with black jerseys and a haka. I'm sorry, but WTF? I can imagine that in some corners of America, rugby is played, but the wholesale stealing of All Black iconography (which is New Zealand national iconography) for a rugby movie set United States about a teenager with Daddy-issues is just so mind-blowingly wrong. The equivalent would be a New Zealand movie Abraham Lincoln helping a woman from Auckland get her groove back. I really do wonder if they're going to release it in New Zealand.
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I can't decide which movie I'm looking forward to least: Watchmen, Pirates of the Caribbean 4 or Y: The Last Man.

Watchmen I've said before that I don't believe should have been made. 300 sucked. I don't think it's going to be any better. Pirates Four has caused me to lose a considerable amount of respect for Johnny Depp. I love the first three movies and y'all know I've been involved in the fandom, but even I can see it's flogging a dead horse.

Y was looking alright for a while until the director announced that they were making the heartbreakingly sad but perfect ending happier, and making it much more about Ampersand. I’m sorry, but they've got some of the most interesting female characters committed to graphic novel, they've got a world in the midst of huge political upheaval and massive social change which acts as a wonderful commentary on gender in modern society, and they've got Yorick/355 which I ship so damn hard, and they're spending more time on the monkey? Are they kidding?

Fail, Hollywood. Fail.

Now if I were a producer, I would be making a Captain Scott biopic. I know there's already one out there, but that was made before his legacy was revised and he starting being viewed as less of a hero and more a man whose flaws killed him (and four others). I've been thinking this for some time since I've always been fascinated with Scott, but at the moment I'm reading Ranulph Fiennes' biography of him. The first chapter of that put me onto the tale of Franklin's lost expedition of the Northwest Passage, another one in which everyone died, but this one's got at 100 year old mystery, scurvy, lead poisoning and cannibalism. All that and I'd never heard of it before. I think this is the start of a phase of me reading a lot of explorers' biographies. I just wish I had more time to read.
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One of my flatmates and I were watching a movie last night, Fido, which is about a boy and his pet zombie in an alternative 1950s (crackasticly brilliant btw), and as a zombie was tearing into an old woman another one of my flatmates walked in the room, saw it and scolded us with a level of righteous indignation that Mary Whitehouse would be proud of for finding such things entertaining And for the first time in my life it occurred to me that some people just do not find zombies amusing. I always assumed a love of zombies was universal. They're zombies: decomposing people that lumber along and try to eat your brains. What's not to like? Even my mother likes zombie movies (then again, my mother is a Quentin Tarantino fangirl so maybe she's not the best person to drag up). Obviously, if there actually was a zombie apocalypse, I probably wouldn't find them funny. But as long as they remain fictional I shall find them entertaining.

Although, zombies aren't my favourite monster. That prize belongs to killer plants – triffids, krynoids and the like. There's just something so brilliant about people-eating vegetation.

Anyway, I've been at it with the Aaron Eckhart movie watching again:

Neverwas (2005, dr. Joshua Michael Stern)
Warnings: Britney Murphy (see, now I can't find it within me to dislike anyone who appeared in Drop Dead Gorgeous - unless they happened to appear in Marie Antoinette - but I know quite a few out there don't like her).

Read more... )

Film Rating: 4 ½
Fangirl Rating: 4 ½

The Black Dahlia (2006, dr. Brian De Palma)
Assets: Hmmmm….Fiona Shaw, I suppose. The Aunt Petunia factor gives a humorous spin on certain events.
Warnings: Josh Hartnett, Scarlett Johansson (The two blandest actors in Hollywood together at last).

Read more... )

Film Rating: 2
Fangirl Rating: 2 ½
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I saw The Dark Knight again.

Cue meta )

Okay, enough meta for today. In light of the fact that I'm reviewing Aaron Eckhart movies and that I also fangirl Cillian Murphy and Michael Caine (I define 'fangirl' as will rent a movie solely because they are in it with no thought given to how low it's rated on imdb) it's getting rated on them as well. This whole movie rating thing has become sort of a pet project to keep me occupied while there's no new Doctor Who.

The Dark Knight (2008, dr. Christopher Nolan)
Assets: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Gary Oldman, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Morgan Freeman, Nestor Carbonell
Warnings: None, the casting is perfect. There is a nasty incident involving a pencil though.

You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain )

Film Rating: 5
Aaron Eckhart Fangirl Rating:
Cillian Murphy Fangirl Rating:
Michael Caine Fangirl Rating: 3
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Thanks to The Dark Knight I've developed a fangirl affection for Aaron Eckhart. What's a girl to do but go down to the video store rental-stalk him? I've gotten out quite a bit of his back catalogue and I'm having my very own Aaron Eckhart film festival.

Also I've decided to implement a movie review system for my journal. There are marks out of five for general excellence. But also, since my usual motivation for watching a movie is that there is an actor or actress I happen to fangirl in it, there's also a fangirl rating out of five based on their presence, screen time and general wonderfulness.

Thank You for Smoking (2005, dr. Jason Reitman)
Assets: Maria Bello, Rob Lowe
Warnings: Katie Holmes

You know the guy who can pick up any girl? I'm him. On crack )

Film Rating: 5
Fangirl Rating: 5

Any Given Sunday (1999, dr. Oliver Stone)
Assets: Al Pacino, Jamie Foxx
Warnings: It's about American Football.

On any given Sunday you're gonna win or you're gonna lose. The point is - can you win or lose like a man? )

Film Rating: 4
Fangirl Rating: 1

Coming when I find the time: Possession and Suspect Zero
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I'm back from work and thoroughly exhausted, but more on The Dark Knight

Read more... )

I need to go watch it again. Baring that, I think I need to go and rent Thank You For Smoking to get an Aaron Eckheart fix.
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Quick review of The Dark Knight before I run out to work

I'm in love with Harvey Dent

Possibly come clarification of that statement coming later.
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Everyone is talking about it: TDK. My flat is actually having issues over TDK. We can't all go see it together until Saturday, which is leaving a split between those who have decided every girl for herself and see it as soon as she individually can, and those who do not want to leave the others out. I fall into the latter category, but them I'm still miffed about everyone seeing Mamma Mia without me, but I'm the one with the freest schedule. I can go see it on the really really big screen on Thursday if I wanted to. Gah. Loyalty to friends vs Batman.

The Moffs 'snub' of Spielberg is the number one item on imdb's movie and TV news, causing me to lol. If it were me and it was Tintin vs. Doctor Who, I'd pick Doctor Who (doesn't everyone dream of being the DW show-runner, or is that just me?)

I've gotten back on track with my mission to watch the entirety of Classic Who, and even better, I'm watching a Second Doctor serial: The Seeds of Death. I've neglected him a bit. The only other Second Doctor serial I've seen is The Invasion, which bored me. Admittedly its one of the better Cybermen stories I've seen, but it really could have benefited from being a four-parter rather than an eight-parter. It just dragged on an on and on and there wasn't even a Cyberman until episode four.

Anyway, I've seen episodes 1-4 of Seeds so far and am thoroughly in love with Jamie and that slightly ridiculous funhouse chase sequence in episode three. Jamie's just so wonderfully snarky, and good on him for being so since everyone seems to treat him like an idiot. Plus you've got admire a guy who travels through time and space in a kilt.

A quick rec: There's been a lot of Donna fanvids made lately, but Drops of Jupiter by Thebigbluemeany has to be my favourite. The rapid-fire editing won't be to everyone's tastes, but since it's got so much to do with memories which work in that sort of manner, I find it fits. And I love it for being from both the Doctor's and Wilf's perspective and not being incredibly depressing.
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I've been watching The Catherine Tate Show lately. I've caught series one and two. I'd really only seen bits of it on youtube before now. I figured it needed investigating, 1. since half the comments about Catherine Tate I've read seem to start with the sentence "I can't stand The Catherine Tate Show…" (and either finish with the comment of "and she's going to ruin Doctor Who" if it's July 07 or the comment "but she was one of the best things to ever happen to Doctor Who" if it's July 08)

And 2. I am a huge Catherine Tate fangirl. I've seen every movie she's made now except for Mrs. Ratcliffe's Revolution which I probably will go see in August when it comes out here even with the 4.0 on imdb (Rotten Tomatoes gave it an 80% so it can't be that bad) so it was about time I watched The Catherine Tate Show.

Anyway, I don't understand the hate. It's not the greatest show ever, but then sketch comedies never are, and it is hilarious in places, particularly the Ginger Refuge and Enigmatic Cop, and ever the characters that initially come off as more annoying than funny like Paul and Sam managed to invoke some laughter from me by the end of the second series. Am I the only one who feels really sorry for poor Lauren Cooper? She's just so tragic. (Well, she never gets away with her behaviour and it seems to be rooted in her insecurities.)

In other DW related actor things, I also caught Bright Young Things which has, among others, David Tennant and Fellena Woolgar in it. Watching that I have decided that David Tennant should never ever ever again grow a moustache (just, no) and Fellena Woolgar should be cast in more things. She was the highlight of the movie and just wonderful. Why is she not more famous?

And I found these screencaps forgotten I'd taken. A couple of months ago I rented the first series of Wild West (Dawn French and Catherine Tate are a convenience-more-than-anything-else lesbian couple in an quirky village in Cornwall), and now I give you:

Donna gets a happy ending with Captain Jack )
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Indy Four )

Anyway, it was good. I have a feeling Indy 5 is now in the works and so long as the family comes along, I'll be happy and make a trip out to the movies to see it.
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When I was a kid, I wanted to be the female equivalent of Indiana Jones when I grew up. I loved those movies so much. Even The Temple of Doom. Actually, Temple was my favourite of the three when I was seven. It occurred to me yesterday that what with me being in love with academia at the moment, I’m kind of part way there. Indiana Jones was an academic - I’m just missing the globe trotting, grave robbing and the whip. Not to mention awesomeness and Nazis. Okay, so I’m not like Indiana Jones at all, but a girl can wish she fulfilled her childhood dreams, right?

Anyway, getting to my point, I cannot find myself getting all that excited about the new Indiana Jones movies. Even with object-of-many-a girl-crush Cate Blanchett in it. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because Harrison Ford is now old and can’t seem to be bothered with the whole acting lack beyond the paycheque and nobody want to see their idols like that. Maybe it’s because there’s so much potential for it to disappoint. And there’s so much positive hype (and you all know my ability to jump on the positive hype bandwagons) but it’s not happening for me.

I'll go and see it no matter what, but I really want to be excited about it and I’m not. Seven year old me would be so ashamed of myself.

Although I do have a whole bunch of movies I really want to watch: Son of Rambow, Mama Mia and The Dark Knight (Is it true that Cillian Murphy is in it? Because if he is Best. Cast. Ever.)
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I just came back from seeing Cloverfield. I was rather worried that it wouldn’t live up to the hype (or lack thereof, it’s hard to really call viral marketing hype), but it was really good. Obviously, it’s not a particularly intellectual movie, though you can sit there and think about how it’s really representative of 9/11 since there are lots of people running around having no idea of what’s going on, some even emerging from thick clouds of dust from the rubble of destroyed buildings. But all monster movies are in some way representative of society’s deep worries (at least the good ones are), what makes them fun is the monster and don't worry, you do get a very good and long look at it, and it is very well done, as are all the other special effects - fireballs, military strikes, collapsing building and even the head of the statue of liberty coming tumbling down the street.

What could put a lot of people off is that it’s filmed entirely in the style of a handheld camera, meaning it’s very shaky. Though the director does do an impressive job of doing it so you always have a good idea of what’s going on, and the fact that it’s filmed as such gives it an earnest realism.

Anyway, that’s pretty much all I can really say about it. It’s a movie about a giant monster attacking New York filmed in the style of The Blair Witch Project, but with way better special effects – really you’re either going to love it or you’re going to hate it, and you’ll know which category you’ll fall into before you set foot inside the cinema.

However, there was one major thing wrong with it: a general lack of Slusho. I am disgusted by this oversight.
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I’m bored. I am completely and utter mind numbing bored and there’s not much I can do about it and fandom, my usual refuge in these sort of situations, is not helping. All my fandoms either have ended or have no new canon coming for a while. Doctor Who until at least March and Heroes not at any point in the foreseeable future due to the strike. Though with trailers around for both and both look fabulous, but there have been no juicy spoilers for a while and trailers just won’t cut it since all they do is rub salt in the wound. I’m relying on the weekly Heroes graphic novels for all my fandom kicks. I really need some new canon.

I really want to see Cloverfield. Or drink a Slusho. The lack of an advertising campaign/cryptic references in random places advertising campaign has really worked on me. And, you know - Gigantic Monster. Attacks New York. I'm so there.

You know how I’ve been pretty anti the Doctor/Companion romances in New Who and was practically leaping for joy at finally getting a Companion that’s not going to have a crush on the Doctor. Well, I think Ten/Donna’s my current favourite Who ship. What is wrong with me? Promise me no romance and suddenly I want it.

And in cool fandom things on YouTube: A Fake trailer for The Company Man Movie. I want this to be a real movie.

So tonight it's been 'I want' 'I want' 'I want' and I don't think I'm going to get. But I'm an adult which means I'm allowed to behave like a petulant child. Okay, that’s everything on my mind for the evening. I think I shall return to acting on that Heroes plot bunny that’s be bugging me all week.
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I caught Enchanted yesterday. Oh, it is such a gorgeous fuzzy feeling sort of movie. I went in thinking I’d hate the romance and cringe at some of the comedy, but I was completely won over by it. And a Disney Princess reading a book on powerful women (and learning something) - win! There really needs to be more movies like Enchanted.

Moving on from something Disney cute and sweet and onto something HBO violent and graphic, I’ve been watching Rome lately – at the urging of the parental unit who think it’s just wonderful – and I’m halfway through the first season. The shows interpretation of roman history is that it’s all pretty much the result of mummy issues (Julius Caesar’s screwing Brutus’s mother. Mark Anthony’s screwing Octavian’s) and buddy comedy with it being very much about the adventures of two mismatched friends in Caesar’s army. I have to say, it’s very good and I very much like Kevin McKidd as Lucius Vorenus. It’s actually got me scrambling for my old Roman History notes.

And Cicero is Mr Collins from the 95 P&P mini series. I wrote an essay on the Cicero once that Roman History paper and all I can say is Bwah!


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