Saturday, May 05, 2007

Flowers ( a true story)

It was just my kind of day, weatherwise, today. The sun was shining so I didn't need long sleeves or a coat, but there was a breeze so I didn't get too hot.

I walked to the movie theater, as I usually do when I go. On the walk back the weather was just as fine.

To get from my apartment building to the movie theater and back again you have to walk across a freeway overpass.

On the way home, there was a older woman, not a very old woman but older than me, standing alone at the railing and staring down at the traffic. In her hands was a bouquet of white flowers.

I slowed my pace as I took her in and as I approached I stared at her quite hard. Part of me wanted to talk to her but I didn't want to intrude. She never looked away from whatever she was looking at, or looking for.

Is he strong? Listen bud. He's got radioactive blood.

(Note: This review is deliberately light on specifics and spoilers. I have tried to reveal little or nothing that you couldn't know from the talk shows and trailers)

It's still fair to say the three Spider-Man films taken together constitute the best superhero movies franchise of all time. But the third one suggests it might be time to bring in some new faces behind the camera.

Before I get into the whys and wherefores, I want to say that as I should have expected, the last trailer before the movie for was for the upcoming Fantastic Four 2 (aka Rise of the Silver Surfer).

Seeing comedian, actor and comic book nerd Brian Posehn as the minister performing the wedding of Sue Storm & Mr. Fantasic made me smile. The rest of this trailer actually made me hope the second one is better than the first one, reportedly, was (I still haven't seen the first, the reviews scared me away).

Now, on to the web slinger.

Spider-Man 3 starts out very good and finishes up just good. The biggest problem is one that wasn't too hard to predict: There's at least one too many characters and storylines.

I'm sorry to say this, because I used to like the character in the comics a lot, and I like the actor who portrays him in the movie. But the first character who should have gone is Venom.

He really should have been held back so they could do right by him in a sequel.

First of all, Venom is supposed to be scary. Really, serious, no-kidding around this time, scary. The kind of guy (as I remember him, anyway) who could break your nose and then kiss it off. The kind of creature who if you saw him in a dark room, even if he left without hurting you, you would never again sleep soundly for the rest of your life.

In a few words: He doesn't come to play.

But Harry Osborn is scarier than the guy in this movie (hell, Ozzy Osbourne is scarier than the guy in this movie!).

And Topher Grace is quite simply miscast. I think I know what they were trying to do: He looks like he could be Tobey Maguire's brother, which could have worked for the "mirror image" aspect of the character.

But Grace, a good comedy performer who can also ground his acting with a sense of reality, never summons up the spite and malice (in short: the venom) that his character is supposed to embody. Even after he has been taken over by the black costume, he comes off more pissy and petulant.

Maguire is actually better at suggesting his character's "dark side"-though I probably could have done without the "Peter Parker is Joe Gideon!" musical number.

You think I'm kidding, if you haven't seen the movie, but it's there. It's just one of the many self-indulgences that lead me to believe director Sam Rami and his regulars treated this movie almost like an end-of-schoolyear blowout.

Another is Bruce Campbell's obligatory cameo, extended almost beyond endurance this time and giving him a chance to do his Peter Sellers impression (Geoffrey Rush has nothing to worry about).

Ok, this post is getting pretty heavy into the bad news and is about to get heavier, so let's have some good news: Most of the the action sequences are genuinely better than ever, thrilling and impressive.

Especially the first fight between Peter and Harry (the one we've all seen the beginning of 400, 000 times in trailers and in clips shown on talk shows).

But another downside is that the screenplay, credited to Rami and Alvin Sargent, devolves into inexcusably lazy writing in a scramble to fill in the plot holes before the end. They didn't get to 'em all, either, and the characters (and movie) are let down for it.

In particular, a lot more could have been done in terms of fleshing out the Sandman's motivation and resolution. Thomas Haden Church actually reminded me why it's not always a mistake for an Academy Award nominated actor to do a superhero long as that movie's not The Hulk (are you listening, Miss Connelly?).

But time that really should have gone to finishing his character is given to Venom, and he ends up a bit wasted.

As does Kirsten Dunst, sad to say. She's never been the MJ of Marvel comics (again, as I remember her)...

...but in the other films they managed to give her a winning alternate persona. Here she's frankly kind of wet (in the disagreeable sense), and fickle. The last two movies kind of backed their version of Mary Jane into Soap Opera Corner, and in this one she basically moves in.

As a side note, this movie also explains to me in what field Curt "The Lizard" Connors got his doctorate. He's a Dr. of exposition.

Perhaps the character who suffers most from the "band aid" school of screenwriting to which the film resorts in order to get to the finish line is Harry Osborn. After two movies succesfully establishing him as a complex, troubled character, they tie up his loose ends by, near as I could tell, bringing in someone from DC Comics. Fans, if you don't know who I mean, here's a clue: What's a penny worth?

Yes, Harry's the most wasted character. But no actor is more wasted in this movie than James Cromwell as Captain Stacy. There's just no reason to use an actor who has so much of the audience's goodwill and then give him little or nothing to do but stand around.

Which brings me to his daughter in the film, Gwen, played by Bryce Dallas Howard. Oh dear. The character in the comics series was so great, and I even thought I had a good idea of the "twist" they were going to give her for the movie.

(Those of you who know the comics can probably guess what I thought they were going to do if I tell you that in the film, Eddie "Venom" Brock is her would-be love interest.)

But she's nothing more than hot n' sexy eye candy here. Peter Parker treats her that way while temporarily under the influence of the alien symbiote; but so does the movie. From her first scene to her last, Howard's costumes emphasize short skirts and plunging necklines.

No, you won't normally hear me complaining about things like this.

But I do like to see just a little bit more from women characters (and I don't mean it that way). As it is, Gwen and her father join Eddie Brock as characters who easily could've-and probably should've-been cut.

But if they were going to use her (and use is the word), I still think it's perverse that the people casting these movies cast a blonde as the redhead Mary Jane, and a redhead as the blonde Gwen Stacy.

Especially since there was someone available who is naturally blonde, looks as much like Gwen as Howard does, is just as sexy and a better actress; one who could at least use the work and the money: Kristen Bell.

Like most movies of this type, Spider-Man 3 shows the marks of the Hollywood production schedule treadmill. In the end, perhaps the best, or at least the kindest thing I can say is this: It's hard not to think that with time for one more rewrite or more time in the editing room, more of the problems could have been solved.

Veronica Mars could get her to speak

One time Veronica Mars guest star Paris Hilton has been sentenced to 45 days in jail for driving while her licence was suspended following an "alcohol-related traffic violation." Whoops. Now, were this an episode of that perennial underdog series, the teengirl hard-boiled detective title character would discover something to save her sister in bondage, some twist of the plot probably involving
Hilton's spokesman, Elliot Mintz. Hilton and her attorneys characterized Mintz as a liaison between Hilton and her lawyers.

Mintz testified that to his knowledge Hilton did not drive during the 30-day period. He said he then advised her that he believed her license was no longer suspended.

The judge called Mintz's testimony worthless and expressed disbelief at Hilton's excuse.

But given there's a good chance Veronica won't be renewed in time, which of these things is more likely to happen (first)?

  1. The lesbian porn tape starring a Hilton like-a-look.
  2. The Simple Life Six: Women in Prison. Fridays on FOX!

Far be it from me to sterotype...but...

A story link on the Yahoo! home page reads:
Michelle Wie changes course
Golf star to only play women. » Why?

Well, she's a woman golfer...

Friday, May 04, 2007

Oh, that'll go well

Bush to get etiquette tips before he receives the Queen

WASHINGTON: How does George W. Bush, a towel-snapping Texan who puts his feet on the table, drinks water straight from the bottle, talks with food in his mouth - and once gave Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany an impromptu shoulder massage - prepare for a state dinner with the British Queen? With tips from an etiquette guide, of course - and a little gentle prodding from his wife.

The White House is all atwitter over the visit planned for Monday by Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip. It is the first visit by the queen since 1991, when Bush's father was president, and White House aides say the state dinner to honor her is not only the social event of the year, but the social event of the Bush presidency.

"Hiya, Queen. I gotta say I really loved you in that movie The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu where you played-

"Tsst. Mr President! That was Helen Mirren!"

"Oh. Heh heh heh."

Now you tell me, Lisa

From Changing Times for Lesbians on Film, an article at

Angela Robinson's 2004 film, D.E.B.S., which had a $3.5 million production budget, only grossed approximately $96,800 theatrically. In a panel discussion titled "Celluloid Sisters: Why Queer Women Need to Make More Movies" at the Queer Media and Entertainment Conference (Q-Me Con) in Los Angeles on April 15, Lisa Thrasher, POWER UP's President of Film Production and Distribution, noted that D.E.B.S. was never marketed to a gay audience — despite the fact that a lesbian romance is at the heart of the film.

Thrasher believes that the film's distributor didn't understand how to properly position the film. "They just didn't get it," she said. "They really, I think, were afraid to have anybody know it was a gay film. They were really dancing around the issue; they were really trying to push it for a teen audience."

FWIW, I think Thrasher herself is dancing around the fact that the film got pretty uniformly bad reviews and IMO deservedly so. D.E.B.S was a short first and a very good one, both sexy and funny. The full-length movie isn't enough of either of those things. But, onward...

"For a women's film to do well money-wise, there needs to be an additional issue at stake in the script," advised Thrasher. "It can't just be a lesbian love story."

Now you tell me, Lisa.

All the women on the Q-Me Con panel emphasized the importance of storytelling. "We need to write good scripts," Thrasher said. "If you're not a writer, hire a writer."

I know a good one who'd probably be willing to work cheap.

And what makes a good script? [Out lesbian filmmaker J.D.] Disalvatore quipped: "I need my plot points;


I need my conflict;


I need a little comedy


and a little skin."

Clunk. (That sound you hear is my head hitting the desk)

Tell me if this strikes anyone else as at least mildly ironic. I'm a straight guy trying to get a comic romance done that happens to involve a couple of lesbians, who are treated completely non-exploitatively.

Truly, I wouldn't allow anything else. I protect those girls like they were my children.

And here's a lesbian filmmaker basically saying Can we have peekaboo shots for the trailers, girls?

A good thought

From Somebody's Gotta Tell It, Jack Newfield:

Reading is to a writer what observation is to an actor.

I demand a recount.

You Are 60% A Child of the 80s

Back in the day, you were totally 80s.
Tubular, totally tubular.

Song quiz

Here are some lines from some songs. Can you name the artist and title?


You're a little like Miranda
Oh baby, she could name a tune
Oh, could she?
Just flip on any radio station
And like two notes in
She's like that's "so and so" from 'eighty-two


Plato, they say, could stick it away--
Half a crate of whisky every day.

Ritual ideas relativety
Only buildings no people prophecy
Timeslide place to hide nudge reality
Foresight minds wide magic imagery

Don't jump before you look
Get hung up on a hook
Before you make a fool out of love.

So I got myself on a streetcar and it drove right into someone,
You know the driver said: "I was lookin' straight ahead!" But he was reading the Toronto Sun

in ancient rome
there was a poem
about a dog
who found two bones
he picked at one
he licked the other
he went in circles
he dropped dead


That's what you get for stealing the future Mrs. Varkentine, buddy.
[Anne Hathaway's boyfriend (heretofore known as The Unworthy Swine)]...real-estate developer...Raffaelo Follieri is being sued by supermarket billionaire and friend-of-everyone Ron Burkle, for allegedly taking $55 million of Burkle's company's money...

As if that weren't bad enough...
TMZ has also learned that while Anne has been shooting "Get Smart" in L.A., Follieri has been spotted in NYC with an unnamed model for Roberto Cavalli, and that Follieri and his not-Anne were recently seen slithering out the back of exclusive celebriteria Waverly Inn.

Wow. A thief and a cheat. Anne honey, I worship the ground you walk on and I can give you what every actress wants most...I can write you a good role. Get in touch.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Come away with me, To another world

Even if Little Children were not as well acted, directed and written as it is, the presence of three beautiful actresses would make it worthy of mention. Especially since at least a couple of them are doing some of their best work.

It's no surprise to anyone who's read this blog for even a week that I find Kate Winslet incredibly hot. In fact one of the only stumbling blocks this film had in credibility was asking me to believe that a man married to her would become addicted to internet porn.

Nor will it be a surprise to anyone who has kept even one eye on her career that she has got to receive an academy award sooner or later, she is a fantastic actress.

I mention all this because I want to communicate something to you: I am speaking of something very special when I say that when watching this movie...I felt like I was discovering her for the first time.

Her characterization was so alive, a word that comes to mind for most of the actors in this movie, but Winslet most of all. As for her appearance, either the director, Todd Field, or his cinematographer, one Antonio Calvache, found a way to photograph her for this that she appears absolutely radiant.

I know what you're thinking: Wow, making Ben think Kate Winslet looks sexy on film. What next, making him think Terry Gilliam is a good director?

What I'm saying is that even for Kate Winslet, Kate Winslet in this movie is devastating. Okay, point made. Probably belabored. Onward!

Winslet's co-star, Patrick Wilson, I can mostly only judge as an actor, though I suspect the ladies and gay fellas won't be disappointed with the way he looks either. The last time I saw Wilson was in the justly-acclaimed Angels in America miniseries a few years ago.

Here, what I noticed is that although his good looks are a bit commonplace (IMO), he is incredible at suggesting the individual behind them.

Now I come to the actress who plays Wilson's wife, who he cheats on with Winslet in the movie. Her name is Jennifer Connelly.

There are maybe three actresses in the world attractive enough to make me think a man married to Jennifer Connelly would want to see them naked, fortunately, Winslet is one of them.

Connelly, like Winslet, is one of those actresses who besides being one of the most beautiful women in the world is also capable of giving a great performance. This is a supporting role so she's not able to give it her all, but she does very well with what she has to do.

It's a character who kind of splashes around the edges of the story, but has an obvious and growing import. And Connelly's eyes are so bright, and she is so able to convey an inner life for the character.

You really don't notice till hours after the credits have rolled that her character doesn't really have a conclusion. I didn't, anyway.

I also want to mention Jane Adams, endearing in an even smaller role. I admit I've been somewhat cold on Adams' previous work (The Anniversary Party, Frasier), but here she won me by hinting at (here's that word again) the inner emotional life of her character.

BTW, it's ironic that Adams played a cosmetic surgeon on Frasier, because she has a natural beauty that I suspect will stand her in greater stead than her silicone and Botox injected colleagues.

In fact, "natural" leads me to one of the things that comes through most clearly about Little Children: How true it all seems. It's the kind of movie that shows up "reality" TV shows for the lowest-common-denominator fantasies that they are.

It's also the kind of movie in which at any given moment you're truly not sure what you want to have happen, let alone what's going to happen. Only that there are some things you know you don't want to have happen.

Fortunately, most of them don't.

But it's exquisite torture till you know that.

Let me be the pop charts and climb me, girls

Two things about Dreamgirls you've probably already heard but which must be acknowlegded as true: Yes, Eddie Murphy's acting and singing is outstanding. And yes, Beyonce Knowles' ass should have had its own credit.

My land.

Knowles is awkward when she has to speak dialogue (the dialogue doesn't help) but absolutely captivating when she sings or especially dances.

It wouldn't normally be like me to use a word like "Bootylicious," but...

I'm sorry, I seem to have drifted.

Jamie Foxx is good, but he's got the least of the material here.

As for Jennifer Hudson, well, nobody with ears is going to say the lady can't sing. But only time will tell whether her Oscar win was the beginnings of a long list of achivements (think Julie Andrews win for Mary Poppins).

Or a fluke of the right material for the right person (think Harold Russell in The Best Years of Our Lives). Right now I'd say it's even money.

Nice low-key supporting performance by Danny Glover, too. And the presence of Hinton Battle in a small role was a pleasant surprise. I first heard Battle sing on the stage soundtrack to The Wiz, in which he created the role of the Scarecrow, and have always remembered both the memorable name and the performance. Buffy fans will know him as the demon Sweet in the likable but overrated "Once More, with Feeling" episode.

Incidentally, a clever in-joke in the script manages to work in references to both The Wiz and In Living Color, where of course Foxx was a member of the cast.

Put most simply, the performances in Dreamgirls are almost all slightly better than the music, but both performances and music are much better than the screenplay. The movie is well worth seeing for them alone.

Some of the alternate and extended scenes on the DVD suggest there might be a movie I would have liked a little bit better "on the cutting room floor." All that would have been needed, IMO, were just a few minutes here or there to make the character arcs just a little less difficult to follow.

The male performers, especially Foxx & Battle, seem to especially suffer from this. Ok, the movie was already half an hour longer than most, but the long version of "Steppin' To The Bad Side" still should have been included.

Better than expected behind-the-scenes footage on the second disc too, including two of the girl groups in the film getting into a musical cutting contest during down time. It starts with the song "Straight And Nappy" from the School Daze soundtrack...

What does a man want from a muse? (Some sort of an audiovisual poem)

(click to read more clearly)

FWIW, about impeachment...

Over in Zaius Nation, a few thoughts on impeachment...

I am growing a little weary of those that state that not enough is happening fast enough for their tastes. "Why even have an impeachment process if you can't even use it," I read in one comment. The impeachment process is not a walk in the park, and must be carried out according to the Constitution of the United States.

This is what I wrote in the comments over there (slightly revised and with a link added):

The problem is, those of us who think impeachment should happen remember that the republicans got our last president impeached over a matter of such cosmic insignifigance.

And even while he was being impeached, Clinton had more support among the American people than Bush has enjoyed for almost two years.

It is truly galling when a man whose complete and dangerous incompetence for the job has been more than demonstrated, and whom virtually the entire country is against, isn't removed.


One of the great cover albums.

If Depeche Mode hadn't existed, Daniel Miller would have had to invent them. And he gave it a good try with the fictional group Silicon Teens and the album Music For Parties. Synth cover versions of old '50s and '60s tunes. The man's a hero to those of us who love synth records.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

From angry young man to luxury sedan

Elvis Costello, Lexus salesman.

Two more videos that I hope will put a smile on your face

I don't have too much to say about the first one, except this is the only record by this band I ever liked, and of course they didn't write it.

Actually by coincidence both of these are covers.

Check out this hot (and speaking of, check out that backup singer in the black trousers, crop top and glasses) live performance of a great song.

This is Simply Red in London, almost 15 years after this single was first released...

Britney's comeback

"First, dress like you've just been run over by the General Lee," said her advisors...

ETA: Anderson Cooper, master of comedy. I just caught the last few minutes of Cooper's show while waiting for Jon Stewart. And heard him say that the reason Britney performed all old songs at her "comeback" concert is because she hasn't had time to write any new ones.

Yeah, that's it.

Okay, the "John Edwards haircut story" thing

Mark Evanier's Today's Political Musing, in toto:

One other point about this silly John Edwards haircut story. I understand that Republicans, who figure he might be the Democratic nominee in '08, are eager to portray him as womanly, sissy boy, non-masculine, etc. It's an established battle plan in politics, practiced by all sides, that you figure out a caricature of your opponent and try to sell the public on the idea that that's who he is.

My question is what good that caricature of Edwards will do them if he's the candidate and the Republican nominee is Rudy Giuliani. It's hard to portray the enemy as effeminate when there are photos of your guy dressed as Jean Harlow.

I know this is completely wrong, but...

If I Ran the Zoo has decided to start a new "Poetry Corner" feature. For the first "issue," NIP ran a little something by A. E. Housman. Trouble is, the first word of the poem is the name "Terence."

And once I read that, I couldn't stop myself from hearing the rest of it as if it were read by Terrance and Phillip from South Park.

Complete with fart jokes ("But take it: if the smack is sour"), the word "Buddy" added to the end of sentences, and exaggerated, comic, stereotypical Canadian accents.


(I'm going to hell. In an attempt to stave off this fate, please accept this link to "King John's Christmas.")

Because I know you care.

Turns out, Anne Hathaway is in People Magazine's top 100 beautiful people list. She's also one of the women who agreed to allow herself to be photographed without makeup. This is what Anne Hathaway looks like without makeup (click for original size):

Free Image Hosting at

Oh, I'm going to kill myself.

No sign of Mary Stuart Masterson, Eva Amurri, Teri Polo, Phoebe Cates, Courtney Love, Jennifer Connelly, Amber Benson, The Dixie Chicks or Tara Reid, which I suppose I can understand. I don't agree, but I understand.

But you're telling me Jesse Spencer from House is more beautiful than either Lisa Edelstein or Hugh Laurie? No. No, I don't think so.

Scan found at Sammie323's (where you can also see scans of most of the rest of the photos), via the Anne Hathaway Home Page at Guilty Obsession. And I'm still not the least bit guilty.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Emma Peel.

The sexiest, loveliest woman ever on television ever.

BTW, I got that "gif" from No Smoking in the Skull Cave, a blog wherein I have just learned via Technorati that I am featured in the link list.

I don't know what Dictionopolis In Digitopolis did to deserve this honor, but I'm certainly in proud company.

It's official: Goth is dead.

Via Zaius Nation:

I don't know why this makes me want to cry

"The Lesbian Bride’s Handbook."

Music video as sarcastic response

Via Blue Gal, from Bill Moyers' interview w/Jon Stewart:

BILL MOYERS: Have you lost your innocence?

JON STEWART: What? Well, it was in 1981, it was at a frat party. Oh, I'm sorry. You know, I think this is gonna sound incredibly pat, but I think you lose your innocence when you have kids, because the world suddenly becomes a much more dangerous place. And you become much more — there are two things that happen. You recognize how fragile individuals are, and you recognize the strength of the general overall group, but you don't care anymore. You're just fighting for the one thing.

Well, maybe. But...

American Prospect has an article by Jennifer L. Pozner which argues

Why do right-wing pundits hate Rosie O'Donnell so much? Because she was the lone ardently progressive voice in corporate news programming.

Well, maybe. But...

I would just like to state, for the record, that it is not necessary to be right-wing to hate Rosie O'Donnell. Sometimes it's just a matter of having good taste.

And as much as I take it as a given anything that annoys lying ideologues with anger management problems like Sean Hannity or black-hearted Republicans like Joe Scarborough, is good...

...well, notice something. That article, which is 1, 965 words long, was written to laud O'Donnell for being "a consistently progressive, feminist voice." Yet Pozner writes-

I didn't always agree with O'Donnell (all feminists don't all think alike, after all). I was certainly disappointed by her over-the-top 9/11 conspiracy theories, and her indefensible, racist mocking ("ching chong, ching chong") of Asian accents. I was also surprised that she defended Don Imus in the wake his "nappy-headed hos" controversy. Sure, comedians tend to stick together, but Imus hasn't been spewing "humorous" hate speech in some dank basement with a two-drink minimum -- this was a guy who admitted hiring a producer to do "nigger jokes" on a show featuring political and journalistic bigwigs.

-before going on to conclude that O'Donnell's "departure [from morning television] will leave a gaping hole."

Yet the number of times the article quotes anything she actually said is, exactly, twice. And one of those is, as above, "ching chong, ching chong."

The other statement this strong, progressive, feminist voice is credited with making is:

"I'm fat and I'm gay"


It seems to me that if Ms. O'Donnell were really such an important voice, then surely anyone, but especially someone writing an article in defense of her would have been able to find evidence to support that in her actual statements.

Instead, what this article says (and illustrates) many times over is...people like Hannity and Scarborough are lying, black-hearted Republican ideologues with anger management problems. Which is true. But it doesn't make Rosie O'Donnell herself worth any more.

This is the same "okay, looked at on the merits, X is shit but it's all we have so we'll keep swigging it down like champaigne" thinking that gives us "The L Word" and Alanis Morissette.

Brace yourself, lads

Kirsten Dunst's bust in the new Spider-Man movie? Not all her. Next they'll be telling me Tobey can't really crawl on the ceiling either.

Oh, no. Oh no no no no no no no no. Or: Stupid Canadian back-bacon loving hosers...

Children typically spend hours in front of a computer so a Canadian university has decided to introduce them to Shakespeare with a video game.

While zapping enemy spaceships players have to help recover the stolen text of Romeo and Juliet by memorizing lines from the famous play, learning facts about Shakespeare's life and devising synonyms and homonyms for parts of the text.

"The game is a way to capitalize on the time that kids spend on computers," said Professor Daniel Fischlin who headed the team at the University of Guelph in Ontario that developed the game called "Speare."

"I don't know of another medium that has seven-year-olds spouting Shakespeare," Fischlin added in response to charges the game might trivialize learning.

I do. It's called...the theater, when it's done right, you stupid prick!

On the other hand, Corey Klemow's chances of running into Lauren Graham or even Aaron Sorkin much higher

Southern California Deemed Most Polluted

LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles can continue being the butt of smog jokes now that it has once again topped the American Lung Association's bad air list of most polluted cities in America.

The association found that the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Riverside metropolitan area had the worst air based on 2003 through 2005 figures.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Now you tell me, Frank

From The Comics Journal Library: Frank Miller

I've found that there's a simple way to get the feminist contingent, the real heavy-duty radical-feminist contingent, angry at you: Do a woman character. If a woman is tough and assertive, you're castigated for portraying women as too tough. If you do a Heather Glenn or a Sue Storm, you're castigated for perpetuating a sterotype. That's just a particular group that can't be satisfied, and I don't intend to even try.

I created Elektra as a character that I was interested in doing, not as a means to satisfy some readers. I worked on giving her a personality, a weapon and a means of fighting that would make it belivable, that someone who isn't as physically powerful as Daredevil could function in his kind of situation.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Random Flickr-blogging 3847: Words & Image (and music)

If you're fond of sad news and salty air,
quaint little villages here and there...

--Groove Armada, "At The River"

(Original source here)


Random Flickr-blogging 3847

Though no one doubted that Jim's commitment to the pro-choice movement was high, he found it was best not to work his shift at Planned Parenthood after a night out at the clubs.

I just know this is supposed to be all symbolic and shit...


Without even trying to, I managed to have a mini Bill Nighy film festival this week

Though in both of them, it's mostly or all just his voice that can be heard.

Watched a couple of DVDs from the video store over the past few days. I knew Nighy was the voice (and eyes) behind the motion capture Davy Jones in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, but I didn't realize till watching the credits that he's also the voice of Whitey, a rat mob enforcer in Flushed Away. He's good in both, but both are not good.

I thought of Dead Man's Chest what most people over the age of 11 seem to have thought of Dead Man's Chest: Depp is still fun to watch, but the movie becomes unbalanced whenever it decides to inexplicably focus on, well, just about anybody else.

The DVD features suggest a couple of reasons why. First, a "making of" featurette shows three or four different people bemoaning the fact that due to a set-in-iron release date, they had to start production without a...whatchamacalit...wassitcalled...screenplay.

Boy, if you ever want to improve your odds of making a mediocre film (at best), that's the way to do it. Pirates of the Caribbean 2 is, and they make no bones about this, little more than a series of set pieces which were thought of first; then given connections.

This might be a fun writing excercise, but it's no way to make a worthwhile movie (again, for anyone over the age of 11). The screenwriters, Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio, seem to know this in their hearts of hearts. They contribute a commentary which, like the one on Curse of the Black Pearl, is remarkable in its defensiveness.

I thought that film had one too many rewrites, but still wasn't half bad. The sequel, it seems clear to me, didn't get rewritten enough. And it doesn't help that...well, they actually seem to have taken it seriously and forgotten that they were (or should have been) writing a comedy.

Flushed Away, on the other hand, is a splendid mix of both high (or at least middle) and low-brow humor. I'd give it second place to Ice Age in the "best non-Pixar CGI animated features" sweepstakes.

Speaking of Pixar, Finding Nemo gets a little tweak here and there in the movie, along with many other "Easter eggs." Including when mouse hero Roddy is choosing a wardrobe; one of the outfits he considers and rejects is a Wolverine costume. In case you didn't know, Roddy is voiced by Hugh Jackman.

When it comes to Aardman Animations, I don't like the "Wallace and Gromit" (who make one or two appearances here) movies as much as some. Though I certainly admire them for pure craftsmanship, something ...Away has going for it as well.

And I'm a big fan of the Oscar-winning "Creature Comforts" short...

But IMO, ...Away does what the best family entertainment--say, the books of Dr Seuss, Warner Bros. cartoons, or the Muppets-has always done: It's interesting on multiple levels and for multiple ages.

Unlike Pirates 2, which as I keep saying I can't see being much fun for anyone who's in or past puberty.

Okay, the ladies still have Depp & Bloom to look at.

Keira Knightley's not bad either, for us lads.

But, well, is it wrong that I still find Kate Winslet much hotter?

Even when I can only hear her voice coming out of a feisty, street-wise and spirited rat?

Yes, I thought it might be.

I'll just be going.

Sometimes I think I post too much pop and smooth dance music

Other times I think this is just something that you're going to have to get used to. Take this song from the "supergroup" Electronic (Johnny Marr of The Smiths, Neil Tennant of Pet Shop Boys, Bernard Sumner of New Order), for example.

Originally released on the killer soundtrack to the all but unwatchable film Cool World, it was a top 10 hit in England that didn't do much on the charts over here. More importantly, it seems to be a touchstone for how I feel...too much of the time.

Here's "Disappointed."