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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

bias alert!: new obsession, new boyfriend: ‘Life on Mars’ and John Simm

YES!
current obsession:
life on mars
current boyfriend:
john simm in life on mars
i’m psyched:
no country for old men
NO!
current enemy:
ben stiller, for whoring himself out again as the heartbreak kid
i’m dreading:
beowulf

I’ve decided that it’s time to let David Tennant go as my boyfriend. David, honey, it’s not you, it’s me. You know how these things happen — they’re not anybody’s fault. It’s just fate at work, or the gods being capricious, or a full moon, or whatever. You’re with someone and you think you’re happy with him, and then you meet one of his friends for the first time, and the lightning bolt strikes, and there’s just nothing for it.

And I know that John and I are really meant for each other because, well, the signs are everywhere. It’s like this: David introduced me to John in Doctor Who — before that I had No Clue At All that John even existed. And there was a real spark right off the bat, but, you know, I shrugged it off, not wanting to acknowledge the plain and obvious truth: here, out of the blue, was the man of my dreams. We didn’t plan to meet again, but then it was like, everywhere I turned, there he was.

You know I’ve been all excited about my new region-free DVD player, and that I’ve been throwing tons of money at Amazon UK for all sorts of stuff we can’t get here in the States. Well, I had a short list of things I was dying to see: the miniseries State of Play and Sex Traffic, because they’re directed by David Yates, who blew me away with his bleak and grim Harry Potter movie this summer; and this cop thing Life on Mars, which I’d been hearing about and was totally intrigued by the premise of. And it turns out that John Simm is in all of them. Honestly, I had no idea he was hanging around in these places — we just keep getting drawn to the same spots. And every time we do, the chemistry just gets more intense.

I don’t think that’s a coincidence. I believe it is the universe telling us something. And we would be fools not to heed it.

(Oh, and I’m gonna have a lot to say about Life on Mars eventually, cuz there’s all sorts of geeky and generational stuff going on in it; and I’ll probably review the others as well.)

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  • But you could have just waited for the ‘State of Play’ and ‘Life on Mars’ American remakes…

  • MaryAnn

    Oh, yeah. See what I just posted about *Viva Laughlin,* the American remake of *Blackpool*…

  • allochthon

    Oh, yes! Please do blog “Life on Mars.” I too sought it out after “The sound of Drums” et al.

    Guess it’s time to get the other two series too! I’ve also been poking around for copies of “The Lakes.”

  • Caroline

    Its really too bad that we can’t keep TWO boyfriends!

    John Simms and David Tennant are two of the most expressive and adorable men on earth. That they seem dedicated to their craft makes them even more desirable. Last weekend I re-watched the final episodes of Doctor Who just to see the two of them working together…

    I just can’t chose so I guess I will be relegated to pining openly for both of them!

  • Dawn

    Oooh you fickle thing LOL. Yup – I do love “Life on Mars” even if the end of series 2 was oh so predicable (to me anyway) and JS is quite a darling! But my guess is that the gorgeous Mr Tennant will lull you back with something just too good to miss!!!! I’m revisiting Russell T Davies’ “Casanova” at the minute (GREAT FOR A GIRLS NIGHT IN I CAN TELL YOU!!!!)…and something tells me there’ll be a few nights of Blackpool too… Waiting for the BBC to show his 2 new TV shows too. (And for us lucky Brits the Doctor Who Xmas special with the Kylie snog isn’t that far away….)

    But carry on and enjoy Mr. Simms magic (and leave David to me!!!)

    ps….I HAVE MY TICKETS FOR HAMLET!!!!!!!!!!!

  • MaryAnn

    I plan on making a trip to London to see Tennant’s Hamlet, too…

    Maybe John Simm will be onstage in the West End at the same time…

  • Incidentally, John Simm’s WIFE and mother of their TWO CHILDREN is Kate Magowan, who played Una the enslaved princess in ‘Stardust’. (I saw the film today, thought she was quite fanciable, looked her up on IMDb and hey presto.)

  • JSW

    Incidentally, John Simm’s WIFE and mother of their TWO CHILDREN is Kate Magowan, who played Una the enslaved princess in ‘Stardust’.

    I’ve felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.

  • MaryAnn

    Incidentally, John Simm’s WIFE and mother of their TWO CHILDREN is Kate Magowan

    Did I give any indication that I was looking to have my lovely fantasy punctured by cruel reality?

  • Philip

    LOL. Fangirls what are you like?

    John Simm is a terrific actor, been a fan for years. Was privilaged to see him in the West End this summer first time he’d done theatre in 12 years.Time in which he’s gone from little known sitcom actor to seemingly integral part of quality British TV.

    Its amazing sitting 10 feet from him while he squeezes the most intricate of details from his character.

    He’s been saying lately he’s going to take a break from TV. Fills me with dread that does.

  • MaryAnn

    Fangirls what are you like?

    Translation, please…

  • Pat

    Where did you find a region free DVD player. I too wish to order from Amazon UK–seeking anything with David Tennant in it (am planning a trip to London for Hamlet as well). I, myself, pine for DT and I also do not wish to see my fantasies punctured by reality:)

  • MaryAnn

    Would you believe http://www.regionfreedvd.net? I bought the Pioneer DV-400V-K HDMI DVD Player, and I absolutely love it.

  • Arctacuda

    Sorry, MaryAnn, but you’ll have to get in line for John Simm. Some of us have been waiting patiently for years now. But I’m glad you’re enjoying Life on Mars and the rest of John’s work. He really is a fantastic actor! (Saw him on stage in September. He was incredible.)

  • Robert

    Why the predisposition to dislike Beowulf?

  • MaryAnn

    Have ya seen Zemeckis *Polar Express*? That’s one of the most unintentionally terrifying movies I’ve ever seen… all those plastic, immobile people. *shudder*

  • Robert

    On the day in question, MAJ did in fact say:

    Have ya seen Zemeckis *Polar Express*? That’s one of the most unintentionally terrifying movies I’ve ever seen… all those plastic, immobile people. *shudder*

    Watched some of it on a display TV at one of the Big Box marts not long after it came out. My impression was that it wasn’t equal to all the hype, that the technology was poorly implented. I remember thinking Final Fantasy looked better.

    However, when I first saw the trailers for Beowulf, it actually wasn’t immediately clear to me that it was pure CGI. It looked like Angelina Jolie, so I assumed it was. I thought they had done some kind of post-production stylization to a live-action movie to give it a “glowy”, sort video-gamey look.

    Dunno, looks cool as heck to me, though I reserve the right to conclude otherwise once seeing it. My seat of the pants assessment from seeing limited bits of it is that they’ve raised the bar in implementing the technology.

  • MaryAnn

    It looks scary-plastic to me.

  • Citer

    The “plasticky look and feel” might be from the Uncanny Valley, whereby the robot or image on screen is too real to be immediately dismissed as fake, but not real enough to be immediately recognized as, well, real.

    Your brain doesn’t know how to process these conflicting thoughts (anyone read the book version of 2001: A Space Odyssey, which has HAL 9000’s errors coming from conflicting source code commands?), so your thoughts default to Creepy instead of Yay. Keeping this in mind, remembering that your brain cannot pigeonhole the image into “fake” vs “real” as fast as you’d like, allows a more nuanced, critical view on whatever you’re viewing.

    Art is subjective, and I found the surrealism of Waking Life and Sin City to be delightful. Those movies successfully (in my opinion) suggested the dream-state and the comic book, respectively. Final Fantasy, on the other hand, was more like a cutscene from a circa-2000 video game. Passable for short periods of time, but didn’t keep my interest for extended periods of time.

    Never saw Polar Express. Didn’t think the book’s story demanded a moving image like Lord of the Rings did. Beowulf can be done oh so well, or oh so bad, or somewhere in between. I look forward to MaryAnn’s review (or at least ranking relative to other movies).

  • Robert

    It occurred to me how it would have seemed so much less of an epic story if the guy had been named Harvey.

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