Monday, September 3, 2007
There's more to see at the zoo than bored monkeys and napping tigers. The shot above is part of a hilarious informational sign in front of the aviary at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, TX.
I'm not quite sure what the artist was trying to depict here, but Darwin sure looks confused by those disembodied birds.
Friday, August 24, 2007
Have you heard the story? British-born Sri Lankan hip-hopper M.I.A. was denied a visa to come to the U.S. for years because of her politically subversive lyrics and ties to guerrilla fighters in her father's homeland.
So, she skipped the studio sessions with American producers - and reportedly Gwen Stefani - and recorded her new album "Kala" in third-world countries and, the AP reports, with a decidedly third-world political perspective and sound.
That back story sure beats Vanilla Ice's "I'm from the streets, yo!" b.s. from back in the day, but does it herald a good album?
Sort of. "Kala" is a mixed bag, and it's taking me a while to get into it. The album's sounds and subjects are more experimental than on M.I.A.'s last release "Arular." There's less hip-hop, more disco and world beats and, unfortunately, more filler on this release. Still, tracks like "XR2" and "Paper Planes" are worth repeat listens. "Boyz" almost recaptures the quirky, beckoning beats and spirit of "Galang" and "Bucky Done Gun" from "Arular," but it's not quite there.
I'm looking forward to decoding the lyrics a little more, since most of the songs seem inspired by political conflicts and the toll they take on people and their lands.
These new songs are different, but they're still good. She'll nail it on the next one. For now, dig on this clip for "Jimmy," one of my favs from "Kala."
M.I.A. at MySpace
AP story on M.I.A.
Photo from The Associated Press
Thursday, August 23, 2007
So, there's a "Darjeeling Limited" trailer floating around the web. Scroll down to view a YouTubey version.
The new Wes Anderson film stars Jason Schwartzman, Adrien Brody and Owen Wilson (no Luke?) as siblings touring India. Anderson wrote the script with Schwartzman and first-time collaborator Roman Coppola, who I haven't heard much about since "CQ' came out back in 2001. Natalie Portman, Anjelica Houston and Bill Murray co-star.
"Darjeeling" looks like it combines the odd family dynamics of "The Royal Tenenbaums" and the divisive insanity of "The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou." So, yeah, it looks good, and I can't wait to see it - if it comes to my local Cinemark. (Damn you Brownsville, you one-horse town).
The film opens Sept. 29 in some markets.
High res trailer
Official movie site
Photo from Fox Searchlight
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
So, "Superbad" is the number one film in the country and tons of people still don't know about "Clark and Michael"? It's cool. I just watched my first episode today, although I've been meaning to check it out for a few months now.
"Clark and Michael" is a great little Internet TV series starring and written by "Superbad" star Michael Cera and pal Clark Duke, who had a cameo in "Superbad." The ten-episode series is about little more than the pair trying to sell a TV pilot about their lives to the networks, but it's damn funny and each ep is only about ten minutes long.
The few eps of "C&M" I watched made me laugh just as much as "Superbad" did - and McLovin' isn't even in the thing. The series does feature cames by cool kids like Patton Oswalt, Andy Richter, David Cross, Tony Hale from "Arrested Development" plus the great line "They brushed our teeth with their dicks."
It's funny. Watch it.
Clark Duke's YouTube Channel
Photo from ClarkandMichael.com
If you owned a TV news station, would you hire an anchorwoman whom you had to remind to "keep flirting to a minimum" when dealing with news sources? I wouldn't, but KYTX Channel 19 president - and Rick Perry clone - Phil Hurley did.
Hurley hired former bikini model and WWE "diva" Lauren Jones (that's her mug up there) as an anchor to boost ratings for his local newscast in Tyler, TX. Jones has no journalism experience and is probably best known by teenage boys who watched her on WWE hoping to catch a nipple slip. It's all documented on FOX's new "comedic reality" show "Anchorwoman," which premiered tonight.
I'd read nothing about "Anchorwoman" before catching the first two eps on FOX, but I knew what I was getting after the first minute or so. It's another fish-out-of-water tale with nothing new to say and only a hint of humor, mostly at the expense of the uber-bubbly Jones who, like Homer Simpson, seems at times unable to have an inner dialogue.
Sure, at least it's a "documentary-style" reality show instead of the "seven people picked to live on a pirate ship" variety, but I don't see it holding anyone's interest after a few eps. I mean, what do viewers really have to look forward to but watching a clueless, monster-boobed party girl alienating her serious co-workers and screwing up the news?
The character I find most interesting on the series isn't Jones, but station owner Hurley. It's pretty fascinating watching such a stiff and unimaginative suit so obsessed with the bottom line and so unconcerned about his staff that he's willing to damage their reputations, sink their morale, and kill his station's credibility with one dumb decision.
Still, I'm not sure how much credibility this station or its employess had in the first place. I might be wrong, but it looks like they hired a dog (yes, the "bow wow wow" kind) to do the weather.
"Anchorwoman" airs Wednesdays on FOX.
Anchorwoman at FOX.com
Lauren Jones' last job
KYTX 19 (Lauren's current job)
Photo from FOX.
Monday, July 2, 2007
Wassup "Veronica Mars" fans? Still waiting for season three to hit the stores (you think we'll really get to see that trailer for the proposed season 4)? Well, while you wait, take comfort in the fact that a lot of "VM" stars have already moved on to paying gigs. The latest news is that Jason Dohring (Logan Echolls) will star in the upcoming CBS drama "Moonlight," about a vampire detective named Mick -- not Angel, or Nick Knight -- seeking redemption in Los Angeles.
Dohring doesn't play the lead. He plays a confidante to Mick (Alex O’Loughlin) named Josef, an ages-old vamp who, much like Logan, is rich and likes to misbehave. According to Film.com, Dhoring's role was originally played by 60-year-old actor Rade Serbedzija, but the producers decided to recast the role to make it less ... boring.
Sure, this series looks like a watered-down, big three version of "Angel," but I'm going to give it a chance now that Dohring's on board (and the fact that I was looking for a legit reason to watch it anyway). It can't be nearly as bad as, say, "The Dresden Files," right? CBS plans to air the thing on Fridays this fall. Good luck Dohring.
Saturday, June 30, 2007
In "1408," John Cusack plays a depressed writer trapped inside an "evil fucking room" that's clearly bent on driving him nuts and then driving him dead. Once shut in the room, Cusack's Mike Enslin endures tons of disturbing tricks straight outta Stephen King's big bag of horror randomness. He's left witless by flapper-era spooks, attacked by a mask-wearing slasher and even receives a visit from his dead daughter. Most of what happens in "1408" is pretty creepy (especially the periodic blasting of The Carpenter's "We've Only Just Begun"), but it's not the source material or the script, based on a short story by King, that makes "1408" one of the best King adaptations since 1980's "The Shining." The credit should go to Cusack and director Mikael Håfström.
Cusack fully commits to his role, somehow adding weight to Enslin's reheated back story and the ensuing tale of redemption. He makes you feel his emotional, psychological and physical pangs -- whether you want to or not. Håfström's film is refreshingly gore free, but it's still scary as hell. The Swedish filmmaker's suspense-crafting skills cannot be overstated here. The expository scenes leading up to the frights progress with a haunted air, thanks in part to a great supporting turn by Samuel L. Jackson, but things get really tense once Cusack checks into the suite of horrors. Those who don't suffer from anxiety or vertigo will get a chilling taste of both watching Cusack sneak across a ledge in an ill-fated attempt to escape the room. Things get so nerve-wracking that some might want to look away from the screen (like I did) for a few seconds in the third act.
If gripping suspense films are your thing, then "1408" is a must-see. Be warned though. Like most horror/suspense mash-ups, the ending here is more than mildly ambiguous. What might seem like a Hollywood ending to some might seem bleak to others. The ambiguity doesn't spoil what came before though, and it's sure to spark tons of theories from chatty film buffs.
Monday, March 5, 2007
dr. baltar, bsg
Like all things in nature, Battlestar Galactica has earned its own silly but affectionate parody song/video. I don' t know who made it, and I don't think I want to know, but it's up for streaming here at SciFi.com.
The clip is called "A New Crew in Town" and it points out the differences between the old school Galactica and the new version and features clips from both. It's mildly entertaining, if only for lines like "Sorry Dirk Benedict/Don't want you to lose face/But I'd rather share my space with Kara Thrace."