Aww, come on. You know you love The Shins.
Don't give me any of that "dude, the Garden State soundtrack is, like, so 2005'" crap. You know The Shins are so much more than Zach Braff's most favoritist band ever. Just listen to the band's new single below, and look at that photo up there, it's fucking hilarious. It has nothing to do with their music or their "image." They're just dickin' around up there. Look at that.
Anyway,The Shins camp reports that the band's third album Wincing the Night Away will be out Jan. 23 on Sub Pop. Wincing was produced by the band's frontman, James Mercer, as well as Joe Chiccarelli (Beck, U2).
"Phantom Limb," the upcoming album's first single, again features James Mercer's sharp vocals front-and-center, backed by a subtle but undeniably catchy arrangement. Dowload it below, courtesy of Sub Pop, and check the Max Fischer-esque video. Buy the "Phantom Limb" mini EP here.
The Shins - Phantom Limb
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Aww, come on. You know you love The Shins.
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
(Landmark Sunshine Cinema, New York, NY; 12/26/06) Volver, a charming minor work by Pedro Almódovar, is probably my least favorite film by the great Spanish director.
Since the 1980s, Almódovar has delivered a successful string of florid and risky melodramas about Spanish women and their families. For his last two films, Almódvar focused his lens on men, with glorious results. He won an Academy Award for Best Screenplay for 2002’s Habla Con Ella (Talk to Her), a tender drama about two very flawed men in love with comatose women. 2004 saw the release of La Mala Educación (Bad Education), the director’s acclaimed and gripping Hitchcockian suspense tale about two male lovers connected by sexual abuse.
Volver, which means “to return” in Spanish, is an apt title for Almódovar’s latest, his comeback to the land of the lady. It marks another film about strong women, another great role tailored for Penélope Cruz (the two worked together on 1999’s Todo Sobre Mi Madre), but a small regression for the director.
With Volver, Almódovar tells a female-centric story that touches on all of his hallmark issues — death, abuse, deceit, family and friendship — but he lets the melodrama simmer instead of boil.
Most directors categorized by their penchant for the melodramatic offer laughable or cold results, but Almódovar has always turned high drama into high art. Check his earlier work, especially Madre, and you’ll find visually explosive and powerful films that can essentially be read as artful soap operas. Volver is a story made to be told with such roaring operatics and only traces of the intimate tone present in Habla Con Ella. Almódovar opts for the opposite this time, dampening what could have been a more lively, hot-blooded tale of lives rekindling with a tone too muted. It’s almost like he was timid about displaying his knack for flamboyance.
Cruz plays Raimunda, an overworked mother married to a vulgar drunk in Madrid. We meet Raimunda on one of her many trips to her hometown village, scrubbing away at her parents’ tombstone with the help of her teenage daughter Paula (Yohana Cobo) and her sister Sole (Lolela Dueñas). After refurbishing the gravesite, the women visit their geriatric and comically loopy aunt (Chus Lampreave), who’s on the verge of death herself. The first twenty minutes of the film play out slowly, establishing the central characters’ tight bonds and complicated relationships. Things pick up after Paula kills her father with a kitchen knife defending herself from his sexual advances, spurring Raimunda to hide the body and, in essence, take charge of her own life. Then, Sole returns to the village for her aunt’s funeral and comes back accompanied by her mother’s ghost.
Almódovar plays all of this surprisingly straight. He documents the strangeness and struggles Raimunda must endure after her husband’s death — which includes stuffing his body in a large freezer and burying it by a lake — with much less of the dark wit and high style he’s famous for. What follows are a number of diverting and funny, but only mildly compelling, scenes of Raimunda and her clan making sweet music, sometimes literally, out of their hard lives and painful pasts. Life changing secrets are exposed, the dead rise from the grave and a once-broken family finds solace from the harsh world within itself. It’s all well done, steadily tailored and glossed, but the bigger moments don’t pull you in like they should.
Cruz delivers like a champ despite the film’s mostly flat tone. The early raves for her performance are dead-on. She’s never been better, not even in her other much lauded Spanish-language work. Her verve here is infectious and her pain believable. She knew she was making a Pedro Almódovar film. It’s too bad the director seemed to be aiming for something else.
Friday, December 22, 2006
Nope, that aint the T-1000 up there, it's the Silver Surfer.
USA Today.com just released this photo, the first official look at the Surfer, from the upcoming "Fantastic Four" sequel "Rise of the Silver Surfer," due out next summer.
USA Today reports that the Surfer will be motion-capture and will be voiced by Doug Jones who voiced Abe Sapien in "Hellboy."
The brief also reports that Galacticus will indeed be featured in the film, so it looks like they're stickin' pretty close to the original story. I just hope this ends the "FF" film series and spawns some cool Surfer flicks.
It's Jarvis Cocker: brilliant singer-songwriter, reckless cabbie. Dig on the new video from the former Pulp front man's great and suprisingly polite new album, "Jarvis."
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Yahoo! Movies just posted the outrageous new trailer for "Grindhouse," the upcoming Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez double feature.
Speaking as a fan of both directors' earlier, more character driven work, this project looks like great fun. I don't think its parody, it's a pure-blood exploitation feature loaded with gore, guns, foul language and girls in skimpy outfits.
I know, I know, it looks ridiculous and it's got Rose Mcgowan sporting a chainsaw for a leg -- but that's what great about this thing. It's the kind of stuff only these two filmmakers can turn into quality.
It's got a great cast including Rosario Dawson, Freddy Rodriguez, Nicky Katt, Kurt Russell, Tom Savini, Danny Trejo and Naveen Andrews from "Lost." The film is slated for an April 6 release. Watch the trailer here.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
No, those aren't magicians up there, that's a band.
One of the kookier IT guys at my job turned me on to Archive. He described the London group as "Portishead meets Pink Floyd."
That's almost right, but I think Archive's scope is a bit broader. They're not nearly as morose as Portishead or as psychedelic as the Floyd. Wikipedia labels them "trip hop," and I can hear why, with all the soul, jazz and dance music influence in the band's material.
The band released its fifth album, "Lights," earlier this year and plan to tour the States, well, probably never. So consume the media below and pick up the record. It's good for daydreamin'.
(These are runnin' kinda slow, just give 'em a minute)
Archive - 'Sane'
Archive - 'System'
It's here. And, yeah, it's bad.
Yahoo! Movies just posted the new "Transformers" movie trailer. It looks like director Michael Bay did what most were expecting him to do, turn a fun action franchise into a joyless, ultra gimmicky, special-effects driven piece of junk. The action scenes look pretty hollow and the film's focus seems to be on humans, not our beloved Autobots and Decepticons.
Watch it here, but be warned -- this thing looks more like "Starship Troopers 3" than "Transformers."
Will the 'Transformers' trailer go online today?
It was reported earlier this week that Yahoo! Movies plans to post the official, full-blown "Transformers" movie trailer today. It's still not up, so if you're dying to see how bad Michael Bay screwed up your childhood memories, keep checking here throughout the day. Yahoo! says it should be up by noon today. Trust me, it'll be bad, but at least Tom Lenk ("Buffy's" Andrew) is in it.
'Rocky' knocking out critics
'Rocky Balboa,' released today, is surprisingly getting decent reviews. Even if the film is OK, should these critics really be encouraging Stallone? If they're not careful that "Rocky 5000" joke in "Spaceballs" won't be a joke anymore ... At least Milo Ventimiglia from "Heroes" and "Gilmore Girls" might become a household name if this film is a hit.
Who's bad? These filmmakers are
Tim Allen phoning it in, 80s-style excess, Sharon Stone spreading her legs (again!), and a fat orange cartoon cat destroying our fond memories of the same fat orange cartoon cat. Yep, it's another end-of-year list. This time, it's IFilm's Worst Movie Trailers of the Year. Watch one right here:
Brian K. Vuaghan, TV writers on board for 'Buffy: Season 8 'comic
Wow. News about the upcoming "Buffy: Season 8" comic keeps getting better. In an interview with Wizard, "Buffy" creator Joss Whedon announced some of the great talent that will work on the book. Brian K. Vaughan ("Ex Machina," "Y The Last Man"), Brad Meltzer ("Justice League of America") and Jeph Loeb ("Onslaught Reborn"), along with former “Buffy” TV writers Jane Espenson, Drew Goddard, Drew Greenberg and Steven DeKnight will contribute to the book.
Coming to Gold Teeth before the holidays
I'm hopping on a flight to New York City on Friday, but check back here before then for my review of "Battlestar Galactica's" mid-season finale, a new video by The Shins and more. Go eat your breakfast ...
Monday, December 18, 2006
The end of the year brings the end of a great and underrated rock band. On Sunday, Dec. 17, Rainer Maria took the stage at the North Six club in Brooklyn to play its final show.
The band announced its plans to disband back in November. As far as I can tell, the three members just wanted to move on to other projects. (No mentions of unruly egos or Yoko Ono in any of the press clippings I've read.)
Rainer Maria was one of those bands that constantly put out quality work but never got tons of attention from the mainstream or indie press. I first discovered the band in 2000 after the release of its third album "A Better Version of Me." The band released five albums on Polyvinyl Records and released its latest and arguably its best, "Catastrophe Keeps Us Together," earlier this year. Read my capsul review of "Catastrophe" here.
I'm sure some of you are RM fans. Newbies should take note, especially fans of The Pixies, Superchunk, Modest Mouse and Sunny Day Real Estate. Check out the media below. I'll be listening to "Catastrophe" all week long.
Rainer Maria - "Catastrophe"
Rainer Maria - "Clear and True
Rainer Maria -"Artificial Light"
Brownsville painter Gabriel Trevino, famous for selling his work at the 77 Flea Market, posted an enlightening interview with local artist Jose Martinez today over at The Art of Brownsville.
In the interview, these two discuss the growing Brownsville art scene, the painting process and exactly just what's goin' on with that painitng at the top of this post.
Read it here and support your local art scene.
Posted by Mike at 9:48 AM
Saturday, December 16, 2006
My buddy Kevin pointed me to ComicSpace, a new newtorking Web site, seemingly modeled after MySpace, for comic book fans and creators.
Like comics? Join up and add my profile to your friends list.
You can host your own comics on ComicSpace, track your favorite comics and, of course, network. I haven't explored all of the site's features yet, so look forward to more posts about it.
Friday, December 15, 2006
Let's cap the work week with Stephen Malkmus' Peter Gabrielesque clip for "Baby C'mon" from his 2003 album "Pig Lib".
I'm looking forward to Malkmus' and the Jicks' next solo album. It should feature new Jicks drummer, former Sleater-Kinney member Janet Weiss
Stephen Malkum - "Baby C'Mon"
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Hooray for Hiro!
Sorry about the lack of updates today, it's been a busy one. By now, most of you have probably heard about "Heroes'" surprise Golden Globe nomiation for Best Drama. Also, "Heroes" cast eamber Masi Oka (Hiro) scored a much deserved nomination in the category of Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a TV Series (whew!). View the complete list of nominees here here.
'Battlestar Galactica' named one of AFI's top 10 for 2006
As usual, the Golden Globes failed to recognize the other great sci-fi/genre shows on TV, only giving a few nods to "Lost" and completely ignoring "Battlestar Galactica." The good news is that "Galactica" was named by the American Film Institute as an "AFI TV Program of the Year" today.
Coming soon on Gold Teeth
And now a few local updates. Gold Teeth will soon get a spiffy new site redesign, we're picking out the colors and talking to plumbers and contractors as I type this. Also on the horizon is an exclusive interview with singer/actress Krystan Ritter. She played Gia on "Veronica Mars" and currently stars as Lucy on "Gilmore Girls." And, for those of you waiting for "Veronica Mars" coverage, it's almost here. You can look forward to an analysis of the first half of "VM" Season Three very soon and contstant coverage when the series returns from hiatus in January. OK, I sleep now ...
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
It's Wednesday, time to talk about a great band.
I've been a big fan of Saturday Looks Good To Me's garage punk meets Motown pop sound for years now. I even interviewed band leader Fred Thomas a while back.
The Detroit band has been quiet for a while, but a bulletin on its MySpace page -- where you can stream a few live tracks -- informs that the band just wrapped production on its new record, "Fill Up the Room," and has completed a low-fi, 4-track EP called "Green Mansions." According to the post, "Fill Up the Room" is "super weird and rules a lot." Sounds good to me.
My Favorite SLGTM album is probably the last one, "Every Night," which you can buy as a CD or an LP featuring different versions of the same songs and a few extras. I also dig the 2003 album "All Your Summer Songs." Listen and look for yourself below:
Saturday Looks Good To Me - "Lift Me Up"
Saturday Looks Good To Me - "Underwater Heartbeat"
Saturday Looks Good To Me - "The Girl's Distracted"
Rowdy live clip from Gothenburg, Sweden, Feb. 2005
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
I have to thank Pop Candy's Whitney Matheson for posting about Peek Vid, a great site that lets you stream tons of full length TV shows, movies, sporting events, online broadcasts and more for free. I don't know how they do it, but I like it. The quality's not the best, but it's great if you want to catch up with a show or watch some old favorites. I'm halfway through the "Dexter" pilot.
There's some pretty quality stuff available. Besides "Dexter," here's some of the stuff I'm looking forward to catching up with thanks to PeekVid:
The Adventures of Pete and Pete
Lost (Season 3)
A Scanner Darkly
An Inconvenient Truth
Lord of War
There's tons more, like "Clerks 2," "Super Size Me" and lots of TV shows like "Entourage" and "Buffy," but I'm just watching the stuff I haven't seen, or seen much of.
Matt Damon told Sci-Fi Wire recently that he’s open to playing Captain Kirk in the upcoming “Star Trek” reboot film being written by “Lost” creator J.J. Abrams.
There’s been a lot of chatter about Damon taking on the role, made iconic of course by William “Tiberius” Shatner. Abrams has said that his “Trek” film, the 11th in the series, will be a prequel about Kirk and Spock’s first meeting/adventure. He later retracted that statement, but the official “Trek” camp hasn't denied this storyline.
Abrams, who hasn’t committed to directing the project, is writing the script with “Mission: Impossible III” screenwriters Alex Kurtzman and Robert Orci. Find out more at StarTrek.com.
So, would Damon be a good Kirk? I wouldn’t mind it, but I was hoping they would cast a talented unknown for the role. And what about Spock? My money’s on Jeremy Davies.
Monday, December 11, 2006
I read a lot of posts this weekend about the canceled "Firefly/"Serenity" convention in Burbank, Calif. It seems the "Flanvention," a weekend long convention for fans that was to start last Friday, was abruptly canceled by Booster Entertainment on Thursday. The fans, who traveled to Burbank from all over the globe for this, still found a way to make it work with the help of the "Firefly" cast.
They scrambled up some cash and headed over to a West Hollywood restaurant on Saturday night to continue the convention. They were joined by "Firefly" cast members Nathan Fillion, Ron Glass, Morena Baccarin, Michael Fairman (Niska), Mark Sheppard (Badger), Jonathan Woodward (Tracey), Yan Feldman (Mingo and/or Fanty), Christina Hendricks (YoSafBridge) and Claire (Glory) . Also along for the fun were actors James Leary ("Buffy's" Clem), Camden Toy ("Buffy"), Michael Muhney ( Sheriff Lamb on "Veronica Mars") and "Firelfy" score composer Greg Edmonson.
All these actors showed up for the fans, even though they weren't paid to do so because of the cancellation. "Firefly" cast member Jewel Staite (Kaylee) wasn't able to make the impromptu convention after hearing about the cancellation. On her blog, she writes about her confusion over the cancellation and goes on to write "A lot of us lost quite a bit on this thing ... (I actually declined an invitation to another event altogether and had to reschedule some other things that were very difficult to get around, but I really wanted to come)."
Apparently the persistent Browncoats, a.k.a "Firefly" fans, went on to schedule more events throughout the weekend with the help of the unpaid cast members. I love hearing stories about passionate fans keeping quality creations alive even after they've left the networks or movie theaters. As most of you know, I'm a big "Firefly" fan, even though I didn't start watching until after Fox canceled it. Browncoats are among the most die-hard fans out there. Their influence in getting the "Serenity" film made is documented in the new documentary "Done the Impossible."
Powerful fandom is good, but questions remain: Why was the "Flanvention" canceled? Where did the fans' money go? People are asking questions and the by now crashed Booster Ent. Web site isn't giving any clear answers yet. Booster posted an apology statement to fans. The statement says Booster is working on putting up a Web forum to answer questions. Let's hope everyone gets what they're owed here. Keep checking here or Whedonesque for any big updates. Below are some good posts and links about the event by actors and fans. Enjoy.
Backup bash organizers' post
Michael Muhney ( Sheriff Lamb on "Veronica Mars") post about his night with the Browncoats
Flanvention Helpline posts
Producer Tim Minear's reel shown at backup "Flanvention."
In the DVD commentary track for “Night Watch,” Russian director Timur Bekmambetov likens film editing to painting and composing music. Where the painter or musician has colors or notes, the filmmaker’s tools are scenes. “Editing is the movie,” Bekmambetov, a former commercial director, says.
“Night Watch” is a fascinating and visually extraordinary film of ideas. It artfully mines history, gothic literature, pop culture and the horror and fantasy genres to create a strikingly original mythology. It even tells a hell of a story in which the fate of the world hangs in the outcome. But, like Bekmambetov said, it’s all in the editing.
A film packing such strong visual information and complex concepts would be a chore to sit through if not for good editing. Bekmambetov and his crew pull it off, and teach Hollywood some new tricks. The filmmakers even artfully weave animated subtitles into the visual thread to help move the story along. They secure an energetic and pace that’s never too busy or too lethargic. That’s tough to do when you’re making a crazy ass movie about conflicted mystical beings battling oppressed vampires in dank, modern day Moscow.
Russia’s first “blockbuster,” the first of a trilogy based on the novel by Sergey Lukyanenko, tells the story of Light and Dark “Others,” human-looking supernaturals living among us who are constantly in conflict with each other. The film starts out with a savagely charged medieval battle scene between the two forces. A truce is called, a pact is made and life continues. The Light forces create a police agency, called Night Watch, charged with keeping the evil Dark Others in check and the world balanced (a simple metaphor for our own conflicting impulses). The Dark Others, constantly burned by the tilted truce in favor of the Light, plot to take over by convincing a super powerful Other to join the dark side, thus tilting the scale in their favor.
Our anti-hero is the cynical Anton (Nochnoy Dozor), a Light Other with Dark tendencies. He’s friends with the Darks, who it seems are all vampires, and is used by Night Watch for his tracking and “seeing” abilities. We follow Anton through stunning action scenes and poetic down time, tracking down Darks who break the truce by feeding off humans and turning them into vampires.
It might seem like pretty simple good vs. evil type stuff, but it’s more complicated. Even though they have good intentions, the Lights burden the Darks with shifty laws and clumsily forged ordinances. Much like humans, the Others are not perfect and their troubles are almost always self created. Adding to the complexity is something called “the gloom,” a shadow realm where Others can exist but only temporarily, since it feeds on their life. Bekmambetov cleverly illustrates this by populating the gloom with blood sucking mosquitos.
“Night Watch” sometimes buckles under the weight of its own complex mythology and some watching might feel frustrated or confused by a few scenes. Any confusion won’t last though, since the film is good about doling out compelling expository scenes.
“Night Watch” is a rarity, a visionary film rooted in traditional genres that breaks new ground.
The sequel to the 2004 film, “Day Watch,” is slated for a 2007 U.S. release. It’s rumored that the third film in the trilogy will be filmed in the U.S. and feature English speaking actors. But remember, that’s only a rumor.
Buy "Night Watch" at Amazon.com
Sunday, December 10, 2006
It seems the only thing funny about "Saturday Night Live" these days are the digital shorts -- and Andy Samberg's stupid high school rebellion-looking afro.
Last night, inspired Mel Gibson's recent anti-semitic rant, "SNL" aired this pretty damn funny recut of the trailer for Gibson's "Apocalypto."
First "Borat" and now this. Is faux antisemitism a new trend in comedy?
(Air date: 12/8/06) I must admit that the catalyst for this episode felt a little contrived. How could the fleet suddenly be on the brink of mass starvation, facing a famine that could wipe out humanity?
The opening scenes rang more hollow than what I've come to expect from "Galactica," but that's how I felt about the start of last week's episode. By that ep's end I was moved and captivated and ready to name my first child (or at least a pet) after executive producer Ronald D. Moore. I wasn't as spellbound this week, but I almost got there.
"The Passage," written by former "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" scribe Jane Espenson, relayed one of "Galactica's" primary messages: the fight for survival aint pretty.We witnessed the fleet marines literally falling apart after guiding civilian ships through dangerous radiation in search of food. The fleet's dire straits were underscored by its savorless holy grail, edible algae. It was intense watching Sharon wilt and witnessing her radiation meter spore up during her recon mission through the deadly star cluster. I like that she, once again, proved her worth to everyone on Galactica. Sharon's good deeds don't just solidify the character, they display the fascinating complexity and individuality now apparent in the Cylon race.
Back on that suspiciously speckless Cylon ship, Baltar -- who awakes after another threesome with Three and Caprica Six -- gets wise to Three's suicide game and milks her for information. It seems that in the place between death and resurrection she can almost make out the faces of the five missing Cylons. Is Baltar one of them? I love how Baltar clings to this idea out of a desperate need to absolve himself of his crimes. Like the Cylons, and the humans, he's trying to find his way, a central theme in this ep.
Maybe it's because of James Callis' brilliantly offbeat performance, but Baltar has to be the most compelling TV weasel ever. The guy exemplifies selfishness and immorality, but he's one of my favorite characters. Even when he' s not given much to do, Callis makes every moment count. His discovery in this ep -- human and Cylon religions might mix and the missing five exist on some unknown planet -- was slightly intriguing at best (confusing at worst). I dig most everything happening on the Cylon ship, especially that slinky piano score, but I really want to see Baltar return to Galactica. Am I alone here?
Back on Galactica, Starbuck figures out that former "stems" addict Kat was a drug dealer on Caprica. She stole someone's identity in order to start a new life after the attempted genocide. I like the way Espenson really fleshed out Kat in this ep. Beefing up peripheral characters seems to be one of Espenson's hallmarks (see the "Buffy" ep "Superstar" for the best evidence). We focus on Kat through most of the grueling jump trips in search of food. Her mini arc comes to a head in this ep when, confronted by Starbuck, she has to decide -- is she a corrupt opportunist or a person of integrity? Like most things on "Galactica" it's not that simple, and she mostly ends up being both. She visits her old sinful life by rekindling a sexual relationship with a drug supplier, but in a selfless act she braves a deathblow of radiation to save a civilian ship. Her return to Galactica, beaten and dying of cancer, was heartbreaking. She takes a nasty fall off the walkway and ends up in the sick bay.
Showing Starbuck handing Kat a fatal bottle of sleeping pills on her death bed was a bold move. The real heart of Kat's final scene came when Capt. Adama, surprisingly, decided to sit with her until she died. Believing the credo that people are defined by their actions, Adama brands Kat a hero and promotes her to KAG before her death. Edward James Olmos, who's found the role of a lifetime here, played his tender scenes with grace.
This ep served to quickly move forward some other plots going on this season, including Tigh's return to Adama's side. It was great, and funny, to see these two make light of their terrible situation in another one of "Galactica's" honest, candid scenes of camaraderie.
Many questions remain, including a few big ones about the details of Lee and Starbuck's relationship. And what about the controversial use of stems to keep the fighter pilots centered in this ep? Will there be a fallout from that decision? Next week, we discover the Temple of Five, another possible road map to Earth, which leads to a deadly standoff with the Cylons.
Download Ron Moore's podcast commentary and watch the ep again.
Adama: I hear they're still eating paper. Is that true?
Tigh: No. Paper shortage.
If you're new to "Galactica" and want to catch up with the story, check out SciFi.com's recap and primer videos here. There's also this handy "Galctica" wikki that should help fill in some blanks.
Saturday, December 9, 2006
(Air date: 12/4/06) Instead of plopping down an over hyped bit of filler, Tim Kring and crew delivered the unexpected – another exceptional, eye opening episode laced with pleasures, surprises and even a bit of closure. What a marvelous way to cap the midseason and leave us wanting more until "Heroes" returns with new episodes Jan. 22.
This ep exemplified one of the hallmark rules of quality serialized storytelling: for every action, there's always a reaction, or consequences. They didn't title this one "Fallout" just for kicks.
Read the rest of my review at Pop Syndicate
Friday, December 8, 2006
Former "Star Trek: The Next Generation" cast member Wil Wheaton (he'll always be Wesley Crusher to me) posted a fiery rant today about G4TV's plans to air "TNG" in the network's patented "2.0" format, which Wheaton calls ... wait for it ... "stupid bullshit."
The format change, which G4 currently uses for the original "Star Trek" series, means that "TNG" episodes will have to share screen space with a live chat scroll, trivia information and other visual features. Wheaton likens the format to sitting next to someone who won't shut up when your trying to get your "Trek" on. G4 will start airing "ST:TNG 2.0" in January.
Does anyone out there like the 2.0 format? I don't, but mainly because I own a 20-inch screen TV. Spock's ears look so small surrounded by all the stock tickers and such.
Maybe Wheaton's right, and the G4 folks should leave good enough alone. Hopefully the network will at least deliver some funny "TNG" inspired ads like this one.
Anyway, Wheaton's all over the Internet these days. Besides posting daily on his personal blog, the dude writes some great "TNG" reviews over at TV Squad and has a column about old school video games at The Onion A.V. Club. And, I've been meaning to grab a copy of homeboy's book "Just a Geek."
Just for kicks, I'll post a new music video here every Friday afternoon. Today, make some room in your heart for The New Pornographers and the highly underrated sport of competitive jumproping.
Yahoo! Movies just posted this full-blown theatrical trailer for Frank Miller's and director Zack Snyder's "300."
The word "epic" is an understatement for this film, based on the comic book by Miller. "300" looks like it'll be even more viscerally astounding than "Sin City" or even "Beeltejuice," for which the phrase "viscerally astounding" was created.
"300" should be in a theater near you in March 2007.
Thursday, December 7, 2006
I know, I know. Comic book adaptations of cult TV shows are, usually, the bottom rung of the medium. But "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" creator Joss Whedon himself is writing and oversseing the "Buffy: Season 8" comic series set for release in March 2007 on Dark Horse. That means quality.
TVGuide.com posted an interview with Whedon today that features never-before-seen images from the upcoming comic.
I'm not so hot on the this possible cover, but the image above is pretty intriguing. It looks like Buffy and the slayerettes are goin' sci-fi.
Here are some quick points I plucked from the interview:
- The comic will be "canon" or official. Whedeon calls it "officially what happened after the end of the show."
- The first series should run between 20 and 30 issues and include issues written by former "Buffy" TV writers.
- The first issue will pick up several months after the show ended, with Buffy leading teams of about 1800 slayers.
- Spike and Angel will only make cameos, since their comic represenations aren't owned by Dark Horse.
- There are two Buffy clones running around.
- All the old characters will be back, but not at once
- Whedon loves "Battlestar Galactica."
Wednesday, December 6, 2006
(Air date: 12/5/06) Yikes. Things came to blows, again, between Luke and Christopher in the oddest and most unsettling display of fisticuffs I’ve seen in quite some TV time. As these two not-so-prize fighters slumped away from each other after their clumsy clash it was apparent that there’s a lot of unsettled, and ugly, business to be taken care of in Stars Hollow.
It’s telling that the fight was probably the highlight of Tuesday’s episode. It seems David S. Rosehthal, the new “Gilmore Girls” show runner who wrote tonight’s dreary episode, is set on delivering frustrating plots fueled by trite conflict and clichéd relationship problems. Almost everything in this ep rang hollow, including the comedy. You know someone’s phoning in the funny when we get countless minutes of Lorelai mouthing off to a caricature of a snooty Connecticut party planner right out of “Mad TV.” This witless exchange – a true rarity for “GG” – dragged on and set the tone for what was to come. This episode felt sleepy, very unlike the “GG” of old.
You know things are off when Emily starts making sense. Luckily, her unexpected words of wisdom explained Christopher's jealous behavoir. The guy isn’t just insecure about his marriage because of Lorelai and Luke’s mini baby bash outside of Dosey’s. He’s irrational, immature and insecure in general. Chris is a big kid who, apparently, still packs some of that loser skin I thought he’d already shed. It was great to see Emily clue Lorelai into this fact, especially since Emily spent most of the episode being the butt of some of Lorelai's lamest jokes ever. Compromise, Emily said, is not Lorelai’s strong suit, but it’s what keeps marriages going. I agree, but I doubt Lorelai will listen.
All season Lorelai has been acting more bratty and immature than ever. It used to be fun watching her respond to her parents’ smug inanities with clever one-liners, but not anymore. The cleverness has been replaced with foolishness, hardly a worthy substitute. Also, I foresee Lorelai trying to compromise with Chris – maybe even moving out of Stars Hollow – but it’ll be unnatural and it won’t last. Their marriage is doomed.
Also doomed might be Luke’s relationship with April. It was pretty unpleasant watching the guy suss out the upcoming custody battle against Anna. Let’s hope this doesn’t send Luke on a downward spiral – we already have to deal with Christopher’s.
And what’s with the forced conflict between Rory and Logan? I’m not buying Logan’s jealous streak, especially when it’s based on Marty’s crush on Rory. The Yale end of “GG” is starting to resemble other TV neighborhoods most of us wouldn’t care to visit – like “One Tree Hill” and “The OC.” (There’s a comparison I never thought I was gonna have to make). It’s too bad since I used to like Marty and I really like Lucy, but mostly because she's played by Krysten Ritter.
Someone find me David S. Rosenthal’s home address. I have a flaming brown paper bag with his name on it.
I'm not afraid to say it. Thank you MySpace and YouTube. (Now I feel dirty). I'm thanking these two services for tuning me into the brilliant and infectious musical dementia of Matt and Kim.
The Brooklyn duo just released its debut album on the iheartcomix label. (I just ordered mine, so expect a review to be posted soon.) Their sound? Kind of like Mates of State 2.0. That's a pretty superficial description, so I'll just relate that Matt and Kim boil down everything that's great about new wave and punk and deliver it in a catchy, simple, guitarless soup. Or cheese. Something tasty.
They also make hilarious music videos, which all seem to take place in someone's kitchen. Listen and watch for yourself below.
Matt and Kim - "Verbs Before Nouns"
Matt and Kim - "Yea Yeah"
Matt and Kim - "Silver Tiles"
A strange take on 'Dante's Inferno'
Maybe because it's never been done before, filmmaker Sean Meredith's new take on "Dante's Inferno" features hand-drawn Vicortian-era style finger puppets, hand-made special effects, mini sets, street pimps and Strom Thurmond dressed as Mrs. Butterworth.
The film -- which looks visually stunning, dark and funny -- plays out more like a graphic novel with a modern urban jungle standing in for hell. Actors lending their voices to this strange reimagining include Dermot Mulroney as Dante and James Cromwell as Virgil. Watch the bizarre trailer here.
The film has been accepted to compete in January's Slamdance Film Festival in Utah.
Kid arrested for playing with Christmas present
CNN.com reports that a woman in Columbia, South Carolina called the cops on her 12-year-old son for unwrapping and playing with his Christmas present, a Game Boy, early.
The kid snuck into his great-grandmother's house next door, where mom had stashed the presents, and opened the game. He was arrested on petty larceny charges Sunday. Mom waited until after church to pick him up from the pin.
Apparently the kid had been suspended from school earlier for taking a swing at an school police officer. Mom says he has ADHD.
Two questions: They still make Game Boys? And, is mom a bitch? Also, I used to do this kind of thing when I was a kid, only I used to unwrap the latest Pearl Jam or Guns n' Roses CD, or maybe an old school Nintendo video game. "Goonies" the game wasn't worth taking my mom's yelling, neither was "The Spaghetti Incident," but at least she never called the cops.
A Web site for 'wordies'
Any wordies out there? I have the perfect site for you. It's called, well, Wordie. It's like Flickr, but you post and share words instead of pictures of yourself in front of the bathroom mirror. My first word submitted to Wordie: efullgent.
Watch Amy Poehler's rant about Britney on 'SNL'
Just like Tina Fey used to do, Amy Poehler went off on Commando Brit this weekend with funny results. Watch the video here and consider: Is your "lady place" as big as a slice of New York Pizza or slim as a John Waters mustache?
Tuesday, December 5, 2006
McClatchy Newspapers reports that more than 200 “Star Wars” Stormtroopers will march with George Lucas in the Rose Bowl parade on New Year’s Day. The McClatchy story goes on to give props to fans who keep their favorite franchises alive long after they leave the theaters or networks, and relates how many fans raise funds for charitable causes.
The story mentions British filmmaker Sky Wilson’s documentary “George and Me,” in which Wilson interviews “Star Wars” fans around the world. Wilson hosts "Inside Report," an online TV show about Web-based indie films.
“The film aims to show that the traditional stereotype of the "geeky" fan has little value in today's world and that being a fan of something can really enrich your life and give you the courage to shoot for the stars,” a post on the “George and Me” Web site stated.
Also mentioned is "Done The Impossible: The Fans' Tale of Firefly & Serenity," about how fans helped to get the “Firefly” film “Serenity” made.
- Watch the “George and Me” trailer here.
- Watch the “Done The Impossible” trailer here.
Monday, December 4, 2006
On Jan. 5, Brownsville's All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church will screen 'An Inconvenient Truth,' former U.S. Vice President Al Gore's documentary about climate change. The film is part of the First Fiday Film Series.
The film, now out on DVD, documents Gore's educational campaign on global warmimg. Gore recently released a book with the same name about climate change.
Many critics praised the film for complellingly explaining and displaying the disasterous effects of global warming on our planet. A friend of mine said the film changed the way she lives and encouraged her to recycle more and not use environmentally damaging products.
It's a great sign of progress that an institution is willing to screen such a film to the public in Brownsville. Remember, our local Cinemark theaters ignored it when it was in wide distribution earlier this year.
The church is located at 124 Paredes Line Road (across the street from The Vermillion). Doors Open at 7 p.m. and the screening begins at 8. Call Georgiana Duarte: 943-6503, or Julio & Elsa Noboa: 350-5862 for more info.
"Buffy the Vampire Slayer" "Angel," and "Firefly" creator Joss Whedon recently gave Entertainment Weeky a first-look at an upcoming "Buffy" comic book that picks up where the acclaimed TV series ended after its cancellation three years ago.
''We're calling it season 8,'' Whedon told EW.
Whedon will write the first four issues and oversee the rest of the comic series. A street date has not been announced.
The comic will feature regular characters from the TV series, including Xander, Giles and Willow. Spike and Angel will make cameos. Whedon said the comic was born out of ideas he had for Buffyverse TV movies which, he said, will probably never see the light of day due to financial concerns. The comic, which will be canon, will also feature ideas Whedon dreamed up for a potential "Slayer School" TV spinoff.
Texas Christian University's campus radio station KTCU recently aired an interview with Whedon on the station's Fanboy Radio show. Listen to the interview here.
Fanboy Radio mostly sticks to the subject of comics, so I'm sure they discussed the "Buffy" book and Whedon's other comic projects, which include Dark Horse Comics' "Fray" and Marvel's "Astonishing X-Men." He's also slated to take up head writing duties on Marvel's "Runaways" next year.
KTCU's Blender show aired a number of Whedon-centric songs taken from the soundtracks to his many projects before the interview. Bands featured on the radio show include Guided by Voices, The Dandy Warhols and The Breeders. Check out the playlist here.
Whedon's also writing the new Wonder Woman film, due out ... some time after he finishes writing it. He's slated to direct the picture, but there's no casting news on who might play the famous Amazon yet. The latest rumor circulating is that "Lonelygirl 15" actress Jessica Rose has been cast. I don't know about that. I'm still rooting for Morena Baccarin.
Saturday, December 2, 2006
StarPulse.com reports that Tobey Maguire has mixed feelings about appearing in a fourth Spider-Man movie.
"This might be a good place to stop -- I am not tied contractually to any more Spider-Man movies," Maguire reportedly said. "I am not completely closed to the idea of another one if it made sense but I would say the odds were in favor of this being the last one."
Director Sam Raimi, who's done an amazing job helming all three Spider-Man flicks, has stated that he'd like to continue making Spidey flicks after "Spider-Man 3" is released next May.
So, today's fun casting question is: Who'll play the new Spidey/Peter Parker if Maguire bails but the series continues? Freddie Prinze Jr. hilariously campaigned for the role back before the first film was made, and it was rumored that Jake Gyllenhaal was in talks to replace Maguire when Maguire injured himself before the filming of "Spider-Man 2."
Here are, I think, a few of the likely candidates:
Milo Ventimiglia: At first glance the "Heroes" cast member might seem a bit too Teen Beat to play Peter Parker, but he's proved himself a gifted actor with a pretty wide range. His evolution from multisyllabic angsty teen to multisyllabic zen art space owner on "Gilmore Girls" was impressive. He was funny as a closeted gay guy in "Cursed." Also, his super-powered character on "Heroes" is a TV copy of Peter Parker. The character's name, Peter Petrelli, is a dead giveaway.
Jeremy Davies: Davies defintley has the look. He’s displayed the nerdy demeanor and the inner conflict needed to flesh out Peter Parker in a number of films (“CQ,” “Going All the Way,” “Spanking the Monkey”). Most people might know him from “Saving Private Ryan.” He might be too old, and too bizarre or intense, though. The guy did play Charles Manson once. (I also think Davies would be the perfect Young Spock).
Jake Gyllenhaal: The former poor man’s Tobey Maguire is the obvious choice. As stated above, he might have almost landed the part before. The A-lister has earned enough respect, and bank, for his work in films like “Brokeback Mountain” and “Jarhead” that he might pass on a “number 4” movie if the offer comes his way.
Topher Grace: Yeah, I know, he’s playing Venom in "Spider-Man 3." But, if that was not the case I think he’d nail it.
So, who’d I miss? Who could fill Maguire’s shoes?
Friday, December 1, 2006
Today is World Aids Day, dedicated to raising awareness about AIDS globally. World Aids Day originated at the 1988 World Summit of Ministers of Health on Programmes for AIDS Prevention. AIDS has killed more than 25 million people. The AIDS epidemic claimed an estimated 3.1 million (between 2.8 and 3.6 million) lives in 2005 of which, more than half a million (570,000) were children, according to news services.
The Product (RED) Web site -- a business model created by Bono and and Bobby Shriver of Debt AIDS Trade in Africa (DATA) to raise money for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria -- is a good place to start to learn more about World AIDS Day and how you can help.
The Independent has posted a number of stories on the AIDS epidemic for the day, including one with this encouraging headline: How the world's drug firms sacrificed profits in the battle against Aids.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
'Fantastic Four' sequel to feature Fantasticar
USA Today reports that the sure to be mediocre "Fantastic Four" sequel, "Rise of the Silver Surfer," will feature the freaky foursome riding around in the famous, for comic nerds at least, Fantasticar, kind of like a flying Batmobile.
The Fantasticar was always cool in the comics but, to steal a line from "Sin City," the movie version looks like an electric shaver to me. It looks like all the major principals from the first film will be returning. It's rumored that the Surfer will be motion capture, like Gollum. The film is slated to open next summer.
Eddie Murphy, desperate for a hit, to resurrect 'Beverly Hills Cop'
Do we really need another "Beverly Hills Cop" movie? Rotten Tomatoes reports that the ever-slumping Eddie Murphy (did anyone see "Haunted Mansion" or "Daddy Day Care?") will return to beat to death our fond memories of Axel Foley from the first two movies. I'm not even going to get into the disaster that was "BHCIII."
Yep, Britney Spears is really that nasty
Tons of news outlets are reporting on Britney Spears flashing her bare crotch at paparazzi recently during a night out with Paris Hilton. I'm not gonna post the photos of Commando Brit, I'm sure you can find them online if you really want to, but you can read about it here.
Me, I like my pop stars sexy, but not naste. Give me Kylie Minogue over Brit any day.
Anyway, It seems the two headed Sparis monster will host next week's Billboard Music Awards together. Slated to appear on the awards telecast are Sonic Youth, Pearl Jam, Mos Def -- nah, I'm just kidding. It'll be crap like Carmen Elektra and "American Idol" rejects.
Slate.com has posted a great feature about the writers of The Sci-Fi Channel’s "Battlestar Galactica." If you've been avoiding the show because of that goofy title, well, you need to get over it.
Remember, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" was arguably an even more ridiculous title, and that was one of the best and most critically acclaimed shows, like, ever. This season, “Galactica’s” third, alone has aired some of the finest television I’ve seen in years.
The show is a reimagining of the campy 1970s space saga of the same name, which I’ve never seen. The update follows the last human survivors of an attempted genocide. The humans organize a fleet of ships, lead by the Battlestar Galactica, and flee into space pursued by a synthetic race called Cylons. Yeah, it might sound like standard sci-fi stuff, but the quality of this show is unprecedented in sci-fi TV. It’s resem-bles “Firefly” in that it’s a space saga without the cheesy alien costumes or lazer blasters.
Executive producer Ronald D. Moore, a veteran of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and “Roswell,” delivers a smart, dark and impactful series driven by flawed and relatable characters, smart social commentary and absorbing ideas. “Galactica” can be read as a bold examination of post-9/11 America. The first major storyline of this season was in-formed by the current Iraq war, with humans acting not unlike Iraqi insurgents under the thumb of the op-pressive Cylons. The show manages to examine all the major tenets of our culture — politics, religion, faith, friendship — without being cloying or losing its visceral kick.
The Slate story is essentially a review of the “Battlestar Galactica Writers Meeting” podcast. The podcast is an unedited four-hour recording of writers David Weddle and Bradley Thompson “breaking” a story for a season two episode with Moore. The story and the podcast might interest non-“Galactica” geeks, since it details what TV writers go through when creating an episode. Read the story, and then buy the show on DVD. You have to start with the miniseries, then season one and so forth. Fans of quality TV will be sucked in in no time.
(Air date: 11/27) What an exceptional idea for an episode. We don’t just follow Hiro six months into the past, but the entire cast in an episode filled with revelations and surprises.
Read my review at Pop Syndicate.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
HBO turning ‘Preacher’ comic into series
Hollywoodreporter.com reports that HBO is developing a series based on writer Garth Ennis' and artist Steve Dillon’s comic book "Preacher". There’s no casting news yet, but Ennis and Dillon are attached as co-executive producers. That’s the good. Here’s the bad: Mark Steven Johnson, who wrote the joyless “Daredevil” movie and the upcoming “Ghost Rider” film, is writing the pilot.
I’ve never read “Preacher,” but a friend has recommended I read it. The premise of the comic sounds in-triguing. It’s about a cursed and powerful preacher who goes on a journey, with his witty vampire friend in tow, to literally find God, who’s gone into hiding. The book is known for its social commentary and tack-ling heavy political and religious issues. It was also one of the first successful books on DC’s Vertigo line.
Fun fact: Apparently Kevin Smith was, at one time, attached to produce a feature film version of “Preacher” starring James Marsden a.k.a. Cyclops.
Wal-Mart/Warner screw up ‘Superman’ online offer
Sci-Fi Wire reports that Wal-Mart and Warner Bros. are offering customers who buy "Superman Returns" on DVD, released Tuesday, the opportunity to download the movie for use on portable devices for $1.95, computers for $2.95 or both for $3.95. This seems like a terrible way to venture into the movie downloading market, because only people who already bought the DVD can download the movie.
Why would anyone who al-ready owns the DVD, which can be easily ripped to a computer or even a portable device, want to pay to download it online? Also, you can’t play the downloaded version on Apple’s iPod. Wal-Mart hopes to expand the pricing model to other film and television content, apparently to further ignite the ridicule of, well, everybody who likes movies and TV.
16-year old Virgin Mary actress pregnant
In a bizarre case of life kinda imitating art, Keisha Castle-Hughes, he 16-year-old actress cast as the Virgin Mary in the upcoming “Nativity Story” film is pregnant. She plans to have the baby. The dad is her 19-year-old boyfriend. I wonder if the evangelicals will stop supporting this movie after this news spreads.
The movie, which is directed by McAllen, TX native Catherine Hardwicke ("Thirteen," "Lords of Dogtown"), is getting pretty mixed reviews. It opens this week.