Tag Archives: mark kermode

Benjamin Sniddlegrass and the Cauldron of Penguins

Mark Kermode is the film reviewer on BBC Radio 5. His show goes out every Friday afternoon on the radio and is also available as a podcast on iTunes – it has become one of the most popular British podcasts on iTunes. Each week, Kermode runs through the new movies of the week and exchanges a considerable amount of banter with co-host Simon Mayo.

Some time back the film ‘Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief’ was released and Kermode criticised it as nothing more than an American Harry Potter – a kind of colour-by-numbers movie about kids at a boarding school where they learn about magic.

His review suggested that any filmmaker could produce a film about kids learning magic and with the support of the Harry Potter fan base, it would almost certainly be a success. He suggested the name ‘Benjamin Sniddlegrass and the Cauldron of Penguins’ during the review as a typical name that could be used.

And so an Australian filmmaker went off and made a film using that name. It has just been released and contains a number of jokes referencing the Kermode show. So regular listeners to the show will find references to Jason Isaacs, David Morrissey, Werner Herzog, and all the favourite characters that seem to pop up week after week on the film show.

I’m going to download and watch it soon. Given that the budget was only something like A$5,000, I don’t expect to be dazzled, but to put a full-length feature movie together based only on a BBC film review is an impressive (or mad) achievement so it deserves some support.

And if I have not already said it, “Hello Jason Isaacs.”
Phoenix Cinema

Phone users code of conduct

BBC Radio 5 Live recently published a “moviegoers code of conduct” where Simon Mayo and Mark Kermode collected listener comments on what they consider to be offensive behaviour when watching a film at the cinema – they reduced it to a top 10 list of what you should and shouldn’t do at the cinema.

I keep thinking of this etiquette list when out and about in Brazil, listening to people using their mobile phones in PTT mode. Push to talk isn’t common in the UK – I guess because most people on contracts now have almost-unlimited voice minutes and texts so there is no need to use a low-cost walkie-talkie style service.

But it’s really popular here.

If you ever sat and listened to someone using their mobile phone in a restaurant and thought to yourself, that’s a bit rude to fellow diners, then imagine if the same person was using their phone with the loudspeaker on so you can hear both sides of the conversation, interspersed with annoying bleeps as the broadcast function is transferred from one person to the other. Just like someone using a walkie talkie radio…

That’s what it’s like all over the place here. On the beach, in bars, in restaurants… people use their PTT phones as if it was a normal phone, so the rest of us have to hear bleeps and conversations going on without even asking to be included in them…

Bring back the time when people using mobiles alone was considered poor etiquette…
Blue Screen of Death