Bun, James Bun

Starz has a new bunny short, a compilation of clips from all 21 Bond films.Perhaps if I have the time, I'll list them off by movie, for those of you who can't figure them all out. My intellectual charity knows no bounds.



You already know I'm a huge fan of the new Heroes series, but now it looks as if I'll also have to watch Zeroes.Powers that no human can wield... or would be caught dead wielding.

Oscar recap

Dave White over at MSNBC did a running blog for the nearly four hour show, and does a bang up job. Here's a choice section:
    10:50 pm
    Gael Garcia Bernal and Eva Green are presenting for Best Documentary Short. I saw Gael Garcia Bernal and Natalie Portman at my local Whole Foods this morning, cutely rumpled together and shopping for pastries. I know, who cares? Then the movie about AIDS in China wins. One of the gays in the room says that if you’re gay you can’t adopt a baby in China.

    I believe that. We wonder how they know you’re gay? Do they ask you trick questions? Like “What did you think of ‘Dreamgirls’?” And then if you gasp and go, “Ohmigod, I LOVE ‘Dreamgirls’!” then you don’t get your Chinese baby.

    Here comes Jerry Seinfeld to present for Best Documentary. They cut to George Lucas, who is SO RICH YOU CAN’T EVEN BELIEVE IT.

    The docs are about how priests are raping your kids, how the world is coming to an end, how the Middle East is about to explode, how Christians want to brainwash your children before handing them over to the priests and how the Middle East is about to explode, part two. And the winner is... “The World Is Coming To An End.”

    Accepting for “The World is Coming To And End” is Al Gore and the guy who directed the trashy fun Kate Hudson movie “Gossip.” Leo wants to kiss him so badly right now he’s sweating. Al Gore, that is, not the “Gossip” director.
Frankly, it was a lot more interesting that Oscars themselves. Way too much singing, prancing, special montages, and Beyonce. I think we can all agree on that.


Friday Eva

Eva Green at the BAFTA awards in London. Because I can.

Stoned and Dethroned: Classic Alternative

For a band known for its feedback-heavy distortion-laden alternative rock songs, to release an acoustic album as a follow up to its breakthrough, Automatic, seems like a foolish maneuver. Indeed, when it debuted at the peak of the alternative era (1994), Stoned and Dethroned clashes with everything else out there. This was a time of Weezer's Blue Album, of Green Day's Dookie, of the explosion of the radio-friendly but edgy and smart band.

The Jesus and Mary Chain were poised to take a big chunk of that, but it wasn't meant to be. No one wanted to hear acoustic melodies, heck not even fast-paced songs, on college radio back then. Stoned and Dethroned single handedly drove a wedge between even the most hard-core J&MC fans of the day, and baffled critics and music executives alike be its timing.

I bought the album when it came out, but I never really got into it, mostly because it just never mixed with what you expect from J&MC. Still, I honestly never really gave it a good listen, so it stuck around in my CD collection all these years, waiting for me to rediscover it.

Stoned and Dethroned continues to surprise me. Not just because most of the 18 acoustic tracks are short, tight, and infectious, but that I didn't have the time or appreciation to recognize a great album when it came out 13 years ago. I suppose tastes change, and maybe I was too young to see it for its mellow, pleasing, somehow upbeat tunes. I highly recommend you don't wait a decade before adding it to your collection.

Or I can just burn it for you :).

Ghost Ride to Ho Hum

Just days after basing my opinion of the impending release of Ghost Rider on its trailer and my knowledge of the comic's history, Cinematical has validated my uncanny vision:
    So after months of delay, several unimpressive pieces of promotional material, and an alleged press blackout, tonight (only a few short hours before its release date) we finally got to take a look at Mark Steven Johnson's Ghost Rider -- a Marvel Comics adaptation that, frankly, never should have even made it past the pre-production stage. This is a shapeless, confused and entirely muddle-headed movie, and it's one that got green-lit only because, hey, Spider-Man, Batman and X-Men turn huge profits, and as of a few years back, each movie studio was falling all over one another to get their hands on some of the "secondary" Marvel characters.

    And therein lies the basic problem with Ghost Rider: It's not about anything. One could argue that the Spider-Man films are about growing up and learning responsibility; that the X-Men represent the strength of the marginalized, the disenfranchised and the weird; Batman focuses on that inner battle between light and dark that we all have to deal with. Ghost Rider? Well, it's about a skull-faced undead motorcycle rider who wields a chain and whose face is on fire. Beyond that, I give up. I've seen coffee commercials with meatier subtextual elements.
I'm just sad to see that Wes Bentley somehow has gotten involved with the movie. Where has he gone? Well, with reading the further description, on top of the heap of crap that is this film:
    Seems that Meph needs Johnny to become his "ghost rider," a magical bounty hunter who must stand in the way of the evil Blackheart (Wes Bentley, so wooden he splinters) and his three elemental sidekicks. Johnny must also woo his old girlfriend (Eva Mendes, counting the beats until her own line deliveries but packing a whole bunch of cleavage-intensive blouses), chuckle briefly with his comic relief (Donal Logue, completely un-comic), and deal with huge volleys of exposition from a wizened old weirdo (Sam Elliott, the only actor in the flick who seems to realize how insipid the whole thing is).
Is this finally the death knell for Nicolas Cage? One can only hope.


Trailer Day

It should be a snow day for me here in DC, it's not, unless you happen to be a student or a teacher. The upside is that it has snowed enough to give people 'liberal leave', and most do take it, which means the work environment is a ghost town.

So, seeing opportunity, I have decided to watch a few trailers and pass along my impressions; that is, how the trailer has or has not influenced me to seeing the film. That's the trailer's purpose, isn't it? Persuasion?

Sunshine. First impression: Very interested in seeing it. Cool visuals, interesting concept; tantalizing. May be swayed by overwhelming negative reviews, but will probably go anyway because of Cillian Murphy and Danny Boyle.

Factory Girl. First impression: Somewhat interested in seeing it. They have some cute clips of Guy Pierce in Andy Warhol mode, and Hayden Christensen is always good, but I'm not that into Sienna Miller as an actress. It's likely that unless someone else is really motivated to see it, I'll relegate to DVD.

Ghost Rider. First impression: No chance. Decent special effects, but the 'plot' doesn't convey any sense of being all that great. Of course, I can't be surprised, because the comic itself didn't have that great of a plot, and it petered out after Issue #81. (Which I have, naturally.) Add in ho-hum Nick Cage and ho-hum Eva Mendes (every time I see her, all I can think about is Will Smith's comment that her breath stunk because she loved to eat a lot of garlic), and we have a film that I may only see on TNT.

The Invisible. First impression: Possibly, if it gets some decent reviews. Having the co-writer of Batman Begins is a laudable point, but not sold on Justin Chatwin (annoying older brother from 'War of the Worlds') as the lead. The trailer makes it look to much like an skewed inverse of 'Sixth Sense', which feels like tired grounds, which probably doesn't help that the trailer begins by citing that it's produced by the same guy who produced 'Sixth Sense'. (Further, does anybody care who the producers are of a film? And what has this guy been doing since 'Sixth Sense'? That was eight years ago!)

Knocked Up. First impression: Very interested in seeing it. I'm shocked, but I actually laughed three times during the trailer. I can't recall the last time I did that. This looks like a capitalization vehicle for Katherine Heigl's film career, and the title is rather lacking, but looking closer it's the same supporting cast and director from 40-Year-Old Virgin, which has become only funnier to me on repeated viewings.

Starter For 10. First impression: Not so much. Looks to be a typical romantic comedy, only using relatively unknown British actors. Ho hum.

Gray Matter. First impression: Interesting. I have to admit, I had heard nothing about this film, so I was jaw-dropped when the trailer took a twist away from the romantic-comedy formula. We'll see.


But by no means have I lost Lost

I know of a couple people who have stopped watching Lost, and casual Internet browsing of fan reactions seems to confirm this on a wider scale, but I still have faith in the series, and will still continue to watch it, despite its somewhat lackluster beginning to Season 3. Why?

1. Great first two seasons. They were phenomenal television, and unlike anything I'd seen on regular TV before. I won't so easily dismiss a series that had repeatedly moved, shocked, thrilled me, and made me wonder.

2. Too many unanswered questions. I can't just walk away without knowing what it is all about, and I don't want to find out about it from some sarcastic fan boy's blog.

3. It still beats watching American Idol or some other reality crap-fest.

4. Still one of the coolest shows on TV.

Which brings me to the bandwagon that is Heroes. I admit I love the show, as much as I did when I first got into Lost, you know, back in its first season. Remember that far back? Heroes is the new kid on the block, and is riding that wave, but Stephen Lackey points out that we shouldn't anoint it as the new king just yet:
    Heroes has grown into a phenomenal series but it’s not innovating, or breaking new ground as a series like LOST did. Heroes is in fact riding on the coat tails of the success of 24 and LOST and the Spider-Man and X-Men films. Without those series and films, you’d have no Heroes. Hopefully Heroes will learn from the mistakes that LOST has made this season, but only time will tell. We should really revisit this discussion once Heroes has been on for 50 or 60 episodes and then we’ll know if it was able to maintain its current level of quality. If we’re going to be forced to constantly compare the series, then let’s really do it, because as great as Heroes is and as bad as the first 6 episodes of LOST was this season I believe that Heroes still has a lot to learn from LOST.
Hopefully, Lost can recover from the string of filler episodes that started off Season 3 and get back to what made it great. And if it takes looking at the younger show and remember its own lessons, then so be it and get 'er done.

And the hits just keep on coming...

I didn't think it was possible to get involved with network TV like I have on a freaking Monday night, but I'm thoroughly hooked. Heroes continues its streak of incredible cinema by following up last week's intense Distractions episode with yet another thoroughly thrilling chapter in Run.This week's commentary track features Greg Grunberg, who features prominently in the episode as the telepath Mark Parkman. Aside from Parkman finally getting a practical and intertwined use of his powers, Grunberg is fast becoming my favorite cast member to do commentary because of his storytelling and wit.


Giving back to get laid

Any fan of Lost has probably heard about actress Michelle Rodriguez' recent crosses with the law:
    “Man, I got so many hours of community service,” says the actress, whose alcohol-intake-monitoring bracelet turned heads at the Marc Jacobs show last week. Rodriguez pleaded no contest to a hit-and-run, DUI, and driving with a suspended license in 2004, and then violated probation with a DUI bust in Hawaii the next year.
Apparently, the community service took, because she's planning on doing it for free. Well, not for free.
    She’s currently the spokesperson for a nature-sanctuary foundation called Sanctuary. “Eventually,” she says, “you’re going to see me do some Jane Fonda–type shit. I’m keeping it hush right now. But it’s going to be fucking hot. I’m going to make giving back sexy and fuckable.”
Does she have some kind of skewed self-image? Doesn't seem like she'll have to do much more than toss a quarter in the leukemia jar to attain status of 'fuckable'. Okay, a dollar at least, any less than that and it's rejection alley.

Abe Lincoln finally dies

According to Corpus Obscurum, the actor who played Abe Lincoln on an episode of classic Star Trek (abreviated TOS by the geekified). It was towards the end of its last season, 3, noted for some of the nuttier plots. Here's a synopsis:
    His most famous role was playing Abraham Lincoln in a 1969 episode of the original Star Trek in which Captain Kirk enlists the former president to battle Genghis Khan in a display of "good versus evil" for an alien race that has the Enterprise held captive.
Luckily I was not drinking anything when I read that, otherwise I'd have to wipe off my monitor. Seriously, warn me when I'm about to get a rehash of Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. Didn't they fight in that movie, too?

Streaming TV

ABC has finally taken NBC's lead by posting its TV shows free of charge for streaming video. I used NBC's Heroes links to get caught up on episodes I missed this season, and now it has become my favorite show (probably tied with Battlestar Galactica).

Unfortunately for those not caught up on Heroes, they look like they have removed all of the first half of the season from posting. The reason is probably that they'll be on DVD shortly. However, they have compensated by providing cast commentaries for this year's episodes. Fun.

I don't know what that will do for the iTunes market, but it certainly has made it a lot easier to (a) not have to bother with taping episodes and (b) take it to the next level with web surfing.

Hot Fuzz

Simon Pegg's follow up to the fantastic Shaun of the Dead won't be From Dusk 'til Shaun, but an action flick about an elite cop (Pegg), who is so good that he makes everyone look bad on his force, so they ship him off to a tiny town where there is no crime, where of course he uncovers a vast conspiracy. And finally gets to shoot a gun while jumping.

The trailer for Hot Fuzz has whetted my appetite for this film's release, which, of course, compared to the recent batch of theatrical vomit isn't saying much. (Do you realize, according to Rotten Tomatoes that no film in 2007 has yet to receive a 'fresh' rating?) Sadly, it doesn't look like it's coming out until mid-April around here. Which is fine because it's nearly time for March Madness. I can wait.

There are several extremely positive early reviews around, too.