Jun 082019
 

The Longest Day

Trailer


PLOTShot in a docudrama style (with subtitles identifying the different participants), the film opens in the days leading up to D-Day, concentrating on events on both sides of the English channel. The Allies wait for a break in the poor weather while anticipating the reaction of the Axis forces defending northern France. As Supreme Commander of SHAEF, Gen. Dwight Eisenhower makes the decision to go after reviewing the initial bad weather reports and the reports about the divisions within the German High Command as to where an invasion might happen and what should be their response.

Multiple scenes document the early hours of June 6: Allied airborne troops being sent in to take key locations inland, away from the beaches, and the French resistance reaction to the news that the invasion has started. Also chronicled are important events surrounding D-Day: British troops' glider missions to secure Pegasus Bridge, the counterattacks launched by American paratroopers scattered around Sainte-Mère-Église, the infiltration and sabotage work conducted by the French resistance and SOE agents, and the response by the Wehrmacht to the invasion. Also shown is the uncertainty of German commanders regarding whether this is a feint in preparation for Allied crossings at the Strait of Dover (see Operation Fortitude), where the senior German staff had always assumed that the invasion would begin.

Set-piece scenes include the parachute drop into Sainte-Mère-Église, the advance inshore from the Normandy beaches, the U.S. Ranger Assault Group's assault on the Pointe du Hoc, the attack on Ouistreham by Free French Forces, and the strafing of the beaches by two lone Luftwaffe pilots. The film concludes with a montage showing various Allied units consolidating their beachheads before they advance inland by crossing France to eventually reach Germany.
1962Personal Rating80Rotten Critics87Rotten Audience90IMDb Rating78Combined Rating83.0

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Jun 032019
 

Paul Darrow

2 May 1941   –   3 June 2019



British actor Paul Darrow, best known for his role as Kerr Avon in sci-fi BBC TV series Blake’s 7, has died at the age of 78.

Most recently, Darrow voiced soundbites for independent radio stations Jack FM and Union Jack, where he was known as the “Voice of Jack”.

The character of Avon was second-in-command on Blake’s 7, which ran for four series between 1978 and 1981.

Darrow shared a flat with John Hurt and Ian McShane while studying at Rada.

While best-known for his Blake’s 7 role, he appeared in more than 200 television shows, including Doctor Who, The Saint, Z Cars, Emmerdale, Hollyoaks and Little Britain.

The Surrey-born actor also enjoyed a significant stage career, including four seasons at the Bristol Old Vic and roles in the West End.

In the mid-1960s, Paul Darrow married actress Janet Lees-Price, who he met when they co-starred in the popular ITV show Emergency Ward 10.

They were together for 48 years before she died in 2012.

Ian Walker, CEO of the Jack brand, said: “Paul Darrow has been Jack’s shining star. Over the past 12 years I have had the pleasure of spending countless hours with Paul listening to his life stories and have shared many bottles of his favourite Bordeaux, whilst enjoying his quirky jokes and sense of humour.

“When we first launched Jack in the UK, we cast over 85 voices for the role and we could not have asked for anyone more unique. Paul’s rich tones and flippant delivery style always brought a smile to everyone who knew him and of course heard him on Jack FM and Union Jack radio. I could not have asked for a better friend.”

Tim Parker, programme director at Jack FM, added: “What an amazing, colourful character Paul was. He has mixed with the greats over the last 50 years and had a story to tell you for every occasion. His voice acting skills were like no other. We will remember and celebrate his character, personality and amazing skills for years to come.”

Maureen Marrs, Darrow’s friend and PA, said: “Over three decades I have been Paul’s confidante and have had the immense privilege of being part of his life. A star has gone out today; the world will be a darker place without him.”

Obituries

May 162019
 

Match Report

Highlights

League 1 Play Off




Pompey’s promotion hopes are over after they suffered a narrow aggregate defeat to Sunderland in the play-offs.

Trailing by a single goal from the first game in the north-east, the Blues fought hard to try to level the tie.

They certainly created the best chances, with Jon McLaughlin making some key saves and Matt Clarke hitting the woodwork.

But they failed to find the breakthrough in what was an often ugly encounter, with the Black Cats holding on to book their spot at Wembley.

Kenny Jackett made three changes from the side that were narrowly beaten in the first leg at the weekend

Lee Brown and Brett Pitman were injured for that Wearside clash, but were fit enough for a return to the starting line-up.

Viv Solomon-Otabor was also given a chance to impress, as Anton Walkes, Ronan Curtis and Jamal Lowe dropped to the bench.

There was a minute of applause before kick-off, as those inside the ground paid tribute to former Pompey defender Jon Gittens, who sadly passed away at the age of just 55.

It was a feisty contest right from the off and Gareth Evans was soon shown a yellow card for a challenge on Lee Cattermole.

Tom Naylor soon followed him into the referee’s notebook, with the midfielder throwing the ball at Chris Maguire after the pair had clashed in the corner.

The Sunderland midfielder was also guilty of some poor challenges, however, with official Peter Bankes finally losing patience and taking his name.

But despite a frantic showing from both sides, clear-cut chances were proving to be at a premium in the opening stages.

Neither keeper was not given too much to do, besides a few regulation stops, with a final ball or moment of quality lacking.

Maguire was certainly enjoying his role as pantomime villain, earning cries of derision from the Fratton faithful following weak appeals for a penalty.

The hosts grew stronger as the first half progressed, with Ben Close exchanging passes with Pitman, whose cross was just out of reach for Oli Hawkins.

Sunderland then had a decent chance at the other end after Maguire beat Craig MacGillivray to a ball over the top, only to slip and allow Christian Burgess to clear the danger.

Pompey had two great opportunities to level the tie just before the break, with McLaughlin doing well to keep out Gareth Evans’ diving header from point-blank range.

And they then went close from the resulting corner, as Clarke’s nodded the ball down into the turf and up against the crossbar.


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Sunderland 0


There was another coming together following the restart, this time involving Charlie Wyke and Nathan Thompson, but the referee managed to calm things down.

Jackett then made his first change on 52 minutes, as leading marksman Lowe came on for Solomon-Otabor.

They almost scored moments later, with Hawkins meeting Lee Brown’s fine cross and seeing his header tipped over by McLaughlin.

It was still proving to be niggly affair and there was more consternation when Luke O’Nien tumbled into the North Lower.

James Vaughan replaced Hawkins on 68 minutes, as Jackett looked to add some fresh attacking impetus into his side.

And the newcomer almost grabbed an immediate goal, only to be denied by another fine McLaughlin save after Pitman had hooked the ball towards the back post.

Clarke then wanted a penalty after tangling with Alim Ozturk as he tried to reach Evans’ free-kick, but Bankes was uninterested.

Pompey kept fighting and tried their best to put the Black Cats under pressure, with their visitors fighting hard to keep them at bay.

The display of six minutes of added time gave the Fratton faithful renewed hope, but Sunderland held on to reach the final.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Brown; Naylor, Close; Evans, Pitman (c), Solomon-Otabor (Lowe 52); Hawkins (Vaughan 68)
Booked: Evans, Naylor, Pitman, Vaughan
Subs not used: Bass, Walkes, Morris, Curtis, Dennis

Sunderland (4-2-3-1): McLaughlin; O’Nien, Ozturk, Flanagan, Oviedo; Cattermole, Leadbitter; Honeyman (c), Power (Morgan 80), Maguire (Gooch 69); Wyke (Grigg 83)
Booked: Maguire, O’Nien
Subs not used: Ruiter, Matthews, Dunne, Watmore

Referee: Peter Bankes

Attendance: 18,077 (1,397 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

May 152019
 

The Martian

Trailer


PLOTIn 2035, the crew of the Ares III mission to Mars is exploring Acidalia Planitia on Martian solar day (sol) 18 of their 31-sol expedition. A severe dust storm threatens to topple their Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV). The mission is scrubbed and as the crew evacuates, astronaut Mark Watney is struck by debris and lost in the storm. The telemetry from his suit's biomonitor is damaged and Watney is presumed dead. With the MAV on the verge of toppling, the surviving crew take off for their orbiting vessel, the Hermes.

Watney awakens after the storm, injured and with a low-oxygen warning. He returns to the crew's surface habitat ("Hab") and treats his wound. As Watney recovers, he begins a video diary. Lacking communication with Earth, his only chance of rescue is via the next Mars mission, four years later: the Ares IV will be landing 3,200 kilometers (2,000 mi) away at the Schiaparelli crater. Watney's immediate concern is food; being the mission's botanist, he improvises a garden inside the Hab utilizing Martian soil fertilized with the crew's bio-waste, and manufactures water from leftover rocket fuel. He then plants the crew's unused Thanksgiving dinner potatoes to supplement his food supply. He also begins modifying the rover for the long-distance trek to the Ares IV landing site.

On Earth, NASA satellite planner Mindy Park, reviewing aerial Hab images, notices moved equipment and realizes Mark is alive. NASA director, Teddy Sanders, publicly releases the news, though the Ares III crew (still en route to Earth) are not told so that they remained focused on their mission. Sanders overrules Hermes flight director Mitch Henderson, who believes the crew should know.

Watney takes the rover to retrieve the nearby Pathfinder probe, which fell silent in 1997. Using Pathfinder's camera and motor, he establishes rudimentary two-way communication with Earth, first using hand-written signs, and then sending and receiving ASCII in hexadecimal. NASA transmits a software patch to link the rover with Pathfinder and communicate via text. Watney is angry that the Hermes crew is unaware that he is alive; Sanders finally allows Henderson to inform them.

Mars mission director, Vincent Kapoor, and Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) director Bruce Ng prepare an Iris space probe to deliver enough food for Watney to survive until Ares IV's arrival. Meanwhile, the Hab's airlock malfunctions, causing an implosion and damaging the structure. Watney repairs and pressurizes the Hab, but the Martian atmosphere has destroyed the current potato crop and sterilized the soil. Believing it a low risk, Sanders orders the routine pre-flight safety inspections be bypassed to expedite the probe's launch. The rocket explodes 40 seconds after liftoff. Watney now believes his death on Mars is inevitable.

The China National Space Administration has been developing a powerful classified booster rocket, the Taiyang Shen. Feeling camaraderie with NASA's scientists, they violate their government's secrecy and offer to repeat the Iris mission. As Watney's situation grows more risky as time passes, JPL astrodynamicist Rich Purnell devises an alternative plan: have the Taiyang Shen rendezvous with and resupply the Hermes, which will then use Earth's gravity to "slingshot" back to Mars two years earlier than Ares IV. Sanders rejects the idea, considering it too risky for the Hermes crew; Henderson surreptitiously sends Purnell's plan to the crew who unanimously vote to implement it. They disable NASA's remote controls and make the course change. Powerless to stop them, NASA concedes the issue.

Watney begins the 90-sol journey to Schiaparelli, where the MAV for Ares IV has been pre-positioned. The MAV needs to be lightened to intercept with Hermes on its new course. Watney removes many components, and replaces the nose cone with canvas. After takeoff, the MAV fails to reach the required speed. Commander Lewis maneuvers the Hermes to decelerate, consuming much fuel. She also orders an directional explosive decompression of the internal atmosphere to better align the ship. In a Manned Maneuvering Unit, Lewis is unable to reach Watney when the tether falls short. Watney pierces his pressure suit, using the escaping air to successfully propel himself to Lewis. He and the crew are reunited after Mark's 560 sols alone on Mars.

After returning to Earth, Watney becomes a survival instructor for astronaut candidates. Five years later, as the Ares V is about to launch, those involved in Watney's rescue are seen in their current lives.
2015Personal Rating100Rotten Critics91Rotten Audience91IMDb Rating80Combined Rating90.5

Movies IMDb