Sunday, August 30, 2009
Saturday, August 29, 2009
This is director Christopher Nolan. He's made a couple of little films you might have heard of: Memento; The Prestige (one of my favorite recent films); Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. His next picture, Inception stars an actor of whom I have never been particularly fond, Leonardo DiCaprio. He's always just given me the creeps. I hated Titanic (a titanic snore-fest) and The Beach was just plain stupid. But I must admit he's finally maturing into his looks and the upcoming Martin Scorsese horror movie Shutter Island certainly looks promising.
Come on. Patricia Clarkson's presence alone makes me want to buy tickets now. Add Ben Kingsley, Max von Sydow, Jackie Earle Haley and Michelle Williams to the mix and I have to see it.
Finally, also from Trailer Addict, comes this very amusing trailer for George Clooney and Ewan McGregor's psychic-soldier comedy with unlikely title, The Men Who Stare at Goats. Actor turned director, Grant Heslov has assembled an amazing supporting cast which includes Kevin Spacey; Jeff Bridges; J.K. Simmons; Robert Patrick and Stephen Root. This one looks like it could have come from the Coen brothers:
Rehearsals for "A View From the Bridge" kick into high gear next week, so I probably won't be posting as regularly as usual, but I'll do my best to keep you informed and entertained. By the way, you can see my most recent headshot at that link, if you are so inclined. I'll leave it to you to figure out which one is yours truly.
Friday, August 28, 2009
Simple, succint and powerful, it says it all.
You can order the shirt (and others) here.
As soon as I can find something truly new and interesting to post about about movies, theatre or anything else, I'll share it with you. Until then, continue to write, email and generally pester your local, state and federal representatives to remind them that LGBT rights are NOT special rights, but HUMAN rights, which should be afforded to every man, woman and child on the planet.
See that? I'm all riled up again. It must be that a**hole in Utah.
Seriously... when is religion going to stop being a part of this debate? It just makes want to stand up and shout "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!" Though I suppose I've been doing that for a while now, haven't I?
More nonsense, anon.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
(Via) comes the below video clip from MSNBC, which features an audio clip from a recent sermon by Arizona Baptist preacher Steven Anderson. It's a hateful, vitriolic piece of trash in which Anderson says that every night he prays that "...Barack Obama will die and go to hell."
Apparently, yes. I have to ask myself, has the man ever actually read the New Testament? I suppose he's only read the parts that talk about hating people and hoping they die.
Now, even though I do not consider myself a Christian (nor do I ascribe to any particular faith, as I have noted before), I have actually read the Bible (both the Old and New Testaments), and as far as I can recall, no where does Jesus ask his disciples to pray for anyone to die. In fact, I played Jesus once in a production of "Godspell," which was presented in the auditorium of a Catholic church. The ground did not open up and swallow me. I was not plagued by boils or locusts. I did not receive the "Mark of the Beast." I did, however, get a standing ovation at the end of each performance.
Here's the thing: If true Christians actually stopped to listen to (or read) the words in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John; they would realize that nowhere does any of them mention homosexuality. The few Biblical references to homosexuality all occur in the Old Testament, and most scholars now agree that those passages are in place to scare people into reproducing little followers who will then grow up to produce more followers.
Watch the clip and tell me what you think:
I imagine (and hope) that if there is, indeed, a hell, there is an especially painful place for hatemongers like Anderson and the members of the Westboro Baptist Church, where they are all forced to have gay sex with demons for all eternity.
And, as a little side note, here's a funny bit (via) about roommate pranking that goes too far (please note: no actual aliens were harmed in the making of this video):
If I were a horrible human being (which I really hope I am not), I'd be playing similar pranks on my dear D, but with clowns (D - if you are reading this, do NOT click on that link!).
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
In the late 60's there was an infamous (though by today's standards, quite tame) soft-core porn movie called "I Am Curious (Yellow)." It was also released as "I Am Curious (Blue)," depending on which tint was used to hue the film. I've never seen it, but by all accounts, it's pretty bad.
This post's reference (if you haven't figured it out by now - and those reading this blog should have) is meant to evoke the spirit of Italian "Giallo" movies, so named because of the yellow covers given to Italian mystery/slasher novels. In case you haven't figured it out yet, "giallo" is Italian for "yellow." Pioneered by filmmakers like Mario Bava and Umberto Lenzi, giallo movies are probably best represented by the films of Italian director Dario Argento (Susperia). Giallo movies are usually about serial killers and feature extended scenes of bloody mayhem and murder. They often have American or British actors as their stars and are usually in Italian with the non-Italian actor's speaking English which is then dubbed into Italian.
While the concept of Giallo seems quite familiar, I'm willing to give it a look-see.
Speaking of familiar things, here's a trailer for the upcoming remake of Larry Cohen's killer-baby flick It's Alive. In the original, it was obvious from the outset that the baby was a monster (and it blames pollution and household chemicals for the horrific mutation). The remake, however, seems to take a slightly more subtle approach:
Hmmm... not sure about this long-delayed film, scheduled for a late October release.
And while not exactly a remake, (though a version of the tale was made by Hammer in the 70's) The Countess is a fictionalized biography of Elizabeth Bathory, the Hungarian countess who was probably more inspirational to Bram Stoker than Vlad Tsepes ever was. Bathory reportedly slaughtered over 600 young women and bathed in their blood in an effort to retain her youth. French actress Julie Delpy writes, directs and stars, along with William Hurt, in this bio-horror flick:
As an Hungarian with a supposed (though rather tenuous) familial connection to Bathory, I have always been fascinated by this story and have even gone so far as to have outlined the plot for a musical about the murderous Hungarian royal. Maybe someday, I'll actually sit down and write the damned thing.
Looks like the Fall is shaping up to be an interesting (if nothing else) movie season. When (and if) I see these films, you can be assured I will be reviewing them.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Wow! Two music posts in a row. that's a record for me (you should excuse the pun).
This is Danyl Johnson. He is the latest "overnight sensation" to come out of the UK. On "The X-Factor" - sort of a cross between "Idol" and "(Insert Country Name Here)'s Got Talent." As the last auditioner on what had been an apparently fruitless day, Danyl's version "With a Little Help from My Friends" actually brought Simon Cowell to his feet.
Embedding has been removed, but you can watch Danyl's audition here. I will admit, he is a terrific singer with loads of stage presence. And it doesn't hurt that the 27 year-old teacher is also very pretty. But, during a Google search for more info about him, I came across this article in the Daily Mirror. Apparently, beautiful Danyl doesn't limit himself to one sex or another when choosing his partners, which means his fan-base automatically increases by at least 10%.
Honestly, as much as I loved watching Susan Boyle shock the "Britain's Got Talent" judges with her amazing rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream," I'd rather watch a hot teacher singing Beatles' tunes than a frumpy Scotswoman singing show tunes. Who wouldn't?
Finally, this almost got its own post, but I've already posted a "Gayest Thing" this week. I suppose I could have called it "The Gayest Video Game You'll See This Week," but that would be a bit redundant, especially after you see the clip. Ladies and germs, (via) I give you "Ultimate Muscle Roller Legend" (possibly NSFW):
I just love how the rider gets "extra power" from his "cycle." Redonculous, as the kids say.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Now you have to understand, my rather extensive CD collection is comprised of mostly film scores and soundtracks, followed closely by Original Cast Recordings, Cirque du Soliel scores and other odd bits of epehemeral weirdness. Of course, my collection contains many standards and must-haves (everything from Beethoven and Mozart to Pink Floyd and The Beatles and almost anyone in between - with the exception of most CW and almost all Rap). I have CDs by The Who; Elton John; Olivia Newton John; Madonna; Frankie Goes to Hollywood; The B52's; Devo; Loreena McKennitt; Cyndi Lauper; Annie Lennox; James Brown; Tom Jones; Dead Can Dance; Pet Shop Boys; NIN; Peter Gabriel; October Project... the list goes on and on.
Sadly, I find few modern pop artists interesting in the least. But lately I've been reading lots and lots about Brooklyn-based, openly gay band Grizzly Bear. I hadn't heard any of their music until I stumbled upon the below link (via). It's fan-made video (by a str8 fan) for the song "Two Weeks" and is just a gorgeous, surreal, Steampunk-Papercraft-Puppet-Animation gay love story. And the song ain't too shabby. Excuse me while I peruse the Grizzly Bear catalogue and please enjoy the video while I do so:Two Weeks - Grizzly Bear from Gabe Askew on Vimeo.
OK. Entertainment out of the way, it's on to politics. Also via, comes the following clip of National Organization for Marriage (NOM) spokesperson Nancy Gallagher being ripped to pieces by CNN's Lou Dobbs and University of Pennsylvania Law Professor Tobias Wolf. I love how, like everyone else who opposes same-sex marriage, Gallagher cannot come up with suitable answer as to how same-sex marriage affects and/or attacks hetero-marriage. Watch the bitch squirm here:
Sorry, I forgot. Oded Gross already told us how:
Yeah, THAT's the ticket!
Saturday, August 22, 2009
This is my "Mad Men" caricature. It's also currently my facebook profile picture. It's fairly accurate, though I think there's a bit more brown in my hair. Still, it definitely is recognizable to those who know me.
Speaking of facebook, here's one of those "Questions About Me" things you are supposed to share and flag friends with. I figured I'd do it here and let the fb friends who read my blog to come here to see it. Then no one is obligated to respond or flag anyone or make a big hullabaloo out of it (and yes, I actually typed the word "hullabaloo." So what? It's a good word and I don't care if makes me sound like I wear white bucks and listen to Chubby Checker. Plus, it fits in with the whole "Mad Men" doo-hickey). Anyway, for your consideration (or not - I really don't care) is YES or NO (my answers in red; links, as usual, in blue):
1. You can ONLY answer Yes or No.
2. You are NOT ALLOWED to explain ANYTHING unless someone messages or comments you and asks—and believe me, the temptation to explain some of these will be overwhelming nothing is exactly as it seems.
Now, here’s what you’re supposed to do: Copy and paste this into your notes, delete my answers, type in your answers and tag as many of your friends as you’d like to.
Kissed any one of your Facebook/Myspace/Twitter friends? Yes.
Been arrested? No
Kissed someone you didn’t like? Yes
Slept in until 5 PM? No
Fallen asleep at work/school? No
Held a snake? Yes
Ran a red light? Yes
Been suspended from school? Yes
Experienced love at first sight? Yes
Totaled your car in an accident? No
Been fired from a job? Yes
Fired somebody? Yes
Sang karaoke? Yes
Pointed a gun at someone? No
Done something you told yourself you wouldn’t? Yes
Laughed until something you were drinking came out your nose? Yes
Caught a snowflake on your tongue? Yes
Kissed in the rain? No
Had a close brush with death (your own)? No
Seen someone die? Yes
Played spin-the-bottle? Yes
Sang in the shower? Yes
Smoked a cigar? Yes
Sat on a rooftop? Yes
Smuggled something into another country? No
Been pushed into a pool with all your clothes? Yes
Broken a bone? Yes
Skipped school? Yes
Eaten a bug? Yes
Walked a moonlit beach? Yes
Rode a motorcycle? Yes
Dumped someone? Yes
Forgotten your anniversary? No
Lied to avoid a ticket? No
Ridden on a helicopter? No
Shaved your head? No
Blacked out from drinking? No
Played a prank on someone? Yes
Hit a home run? No
Felt like killing someone? Yes
Been falling-down drunk? Yes
Made your girlfriend/boyfriend cry? Yes
Eaten snake? Yes
Had Mexican jumping beans for pets? Yes
Puked on amusement ride? No
Seriously & intentionally boycotted something? Yes
Been in a band? No
Been on TV? Yes
Shot a gun? Yes
Gave someone stitches? No
Eaten a whole habeñero pepper? No
Ridden a surfboard? No
Drank straight from a liquor bottle? Yes
Had surgery? Yes
Taken by ambulance to hospital? No
Passed out when not drinking? No
Peed on a bush? Yes
Donated Blood? No
Grabbed an electric fence? No
Eaten alligator meat? Yes
Eaten cheesecake? Yes
Eaten your kids/siblings Halloween candy? Yes
Peed your pants in public? Yes
Snuck into a movie without paying? No
Written graffiti? Yes
Still love someone you shouldn’t? Yes
Think about the future? Yes
Been in handcuffs? Yes
Believe in love? Yes
Sleep on a certain side of the bed? No
Friday, August 21, 2009
That infamous bit of doggeral from the original 1941 film, The Wolfman is first uttered by the late Maria Ouspenskaya, a Russian actress who would rise to marginal fame in Universal Studio's horror flicks from the 30's and 40's. When prodigal son Larry Talbot returns to the homeland, he is attacked by a peculiar beast and soon finds himself (via then state-of-the-art replacement photography) turning into a monster. Lon Chaney, Jr. - the less-talented son of "The Man of 1000 Faces" - had the titular role and no less than Claude Rains played his father and Bela Lugosi played the poor afflicted son of Ouspenskaya's ancient gyspy.
Now, the inevitable remake is soon upon us. Delayed for a very long time, The Wolf Man is finally scheduled for release in 2010. Sadly, it's in February of 2010. And you all know what that means. Or not. There have been those occasional February gems... I think... um, let me get back to you on that. Anyway. the good news is that is not being directed by The Mummy and Van Helsing (what a waste of everyone's time) schlockmeister, Stephen Sommers. The bad news, it's directed by Jurrasic Park III's Joe Johnston. Now Johnston is an okay director. I like The Rocketeer (I first feel in lust for Billy Campbell then) and Jumanji is just fun. Hell, I even enjoyed Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. I haven't seen 2004's Hidalgo, but this is Johnston's first film since then. Six years is sometimes very long to be away in the business. JP3 was a complete piece of crap and I have to wonder whose fault that is. And Hidalgo didn't exactly break any box-office records, despite the presence of Viggo.
Alright, then. Here's the trailer for The Wolf Man, starring Benicio del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Hugo Weaving and the amazing Geraldine Chaplin (!!!) as Maleva, the role that made Ms Ouspenskaya famous. Enjoy:
Well, at least I know they'll never remake this 'classic:'
Oh wait! They did:
God bless Larry Cohen. Of course, watching that made me think of this:
I wonder if there's a Rifftrax version of Reign of Fire? There must be, don't you think? Oh, well. I suppose I should round the whole thing out with this trailer:
And maybe just one more:
"It's Scare-ewey!" Get it? Scary and screwy? Get it? And 10 bonus points to whoever can tell me what future icon of Horror has a voice cameo at the end of that last movie.
Pain is both universal and subjective. What may be excruciating for you, may be a walk in the park for me. Conversely, what may seem like nothing to me might make you cry just thinking about it.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
Lots to talk about tonight, so let's get started, shall we? First (via) comes a video clip from Brad's recent appearance on HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher." Now Pitt and Jolie may be pure products of the publicity machine and maybe even more than a bit of the fuel for Society's sad and bizarre (though if nothing else, consistent) obsession with celebrity. Granted, both of them are are fine actors. Ms. Jolie has even won and Academy Award for her performance in Girl, Interrupted (something I'm sure makes Winona Rider want to go out and steal from Bergdorf's). Pitt can be alternately hilarious (Kalifornia; Burn After Reading); devastatingly gorgeous (Interview with the Vampire; Thelma and Louise) or just plain crazy (12 Monkeys; Fight Club).
But here's the thing: Pitt honestly wants to use his celebrity to not just further his own agenda, but to speak out for the disenfranchised. His continuing work in New Orleans after Katrina and his stance on LGBT rights and Marriage Equality, as well the sense to know that the legalization and taxation of marijuana would go a long way towards solving much of the economic problems America's struggling to overcome make him one of the sanest voices out there. So, with this single appearance on the nation's highest-rated Premium Cable channel, Brad Pitt becomes my first ever Man of the Week. Enjoy:
P.S. - The next Man of the Week will get his own post, but I'm sure Brad doesn't mind sharing his.
Okay - now that that's out of the way, let's talk about upcoming movies, shall we? So, those of you know me and/or read me regularly, know that I am a Horror/Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Action guy who can also appreciate a fine indie comedy or off-the-wall arthouse mindf**k flick. However I rarely, if ever, find myself wanting to see, let alone endorsing a Chick Flick. Especially when said Chick Flick is a Rom-Com, unarguably the worst kind of Chick Flick to be found in your local cineplex. That having been said, (via) comes the trailer for When in Rome, starring Kristen Bell; Josh Duhamel (sorry, guys and gals, I just don't get him. Fine bod and face, spoiled by a GIGANTIC B.F. Skinner forehead); Will Arnett(!); Danny Devito; Angelica Huston(!!); Jon Heder; Lee Pace and Don Johnson. Talk about a diverse and talented cast! But that doesn't mean a thing if the script and direction suck. Screenwriter David Diamond makes his directorial debut and I have to be honest, the trailer made me laugh out loud more than once. Enjoy:
Speaking of Horror and Sci-Fi, here's the trailer for Whiteout, starring Kate Beckinsale. I must admit, I'm not fan of her films. Most of them are pretty terrible; the Underworld films are simply dreadful and Van Helsing is just unwatchable, though I will say that I liked Vacancy, though I suspect that has more to do with Luke Wilson more than anything. And doesn't it more than just remind you a little of a certain John Carpenter classic? I'll let you decide:
Finally, this teaser trailer (via) for the indie horror flick Bitter Feast, which apparently does to Food Critics what the Vincent Price classic Theatre of Blood did to Theatre Critics, though much, much nastier. Here's to the secret (or maybe not-so-secret) foodie in all of us:
Sunday, August 16, 2009
The video below (something I've been holding onto for a while) features actors reading actual posts from fundamentalist Christian websites' forums. They are both hilariously uninformed and frighteningly ignorant.
I think I've said before that I consider myself to be a Secular Humanist with Agnostic leanings. I have no idea how the Universe was created. But I'm pretty sure it happened a lot longer than 6000 years ago. I really shouldn't need to say this, but the speed of light is a proven constant. If the Universe is only 6000 years old, why can we light from stars that are 30,000 light years or more away?
Well, as the video proves, pretty stupid.
My grandmother was barmaid, and she had lots of colorful expressions which she passed down to my mother and consequently, to me. One of them is: "He talks like a guy with a paper asshole." While I have no clue as to the phrase's etymology, I know what it means. The folks who posted these comments obviously have paper assholes, because the crap they are spewing is pure nonsense. Take a look for yourselves:
I'm not saying here that people don't have a right to express their opinions - far from it. But what I am saying is; if you don't know what you're talking about, then just shut the hell up. Believe in God or Allah or Buddha or Yahweh; Isis, Gaea, Cthuluh, The Flying Spaghetti Monster or nothing at all, I don't care. Just don't try to me tell me that what I believe is wrong, if you don't have all the facts.
Okay - I'm done ranting for tonight. More movies, theatre and general nonsense, anon.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
I literally just got home from seeing District 9, the feature debut of South African filmmaker Niell Blomkamp and all I can say is "Wow!"
For those not familiar, District 9 is the story of a group of refugee aliens whose disabled ship comes to rest over Johannesburg in 1981. The aliens are soon transported to a quarantined area which quickly devolves into a slum. The locals hate them (they refer to them derogatorily as "Prawns" because of their resemblance to shellfish) and the idled aliens (most of whom are not very bright) resort to anarchistic behavior in an attempt to entertain themselves. District 9 also houses a rather unpleasant group of Nigerian thugs who swindle the Prawns out of money and weapons for over-priced cat food, and who resort to killing and eating the aliens in an attempt to gain their abilities to operate the aliens' weapons. When the South African government decides to relocate them to an internment camp outside the city, they contract weapons manufacturer NMU to do the dirty work for them. NMU, meanwhile, has been trying to figure out how to make the aliens' weapons work, but are unable to do so because the weapons require Prawn DNA in order to function. NMU appoints schlubby executive (and the boss' son-in-law)Wikus Van De Merwe to head up the evictions.
When Wikus (Africaan actor Sharlto Copley in a stellar performance) is exposed to the fluid that fuels the Prawn technology, it changes his DNA and makes him the first human able to control the weapons and a very valuable (and dangerous) man. Hunted by both NMU and the Nigerian toughs, Wikus turns to a Prawn named Christopher Johnson for help (much like at Ellis Island, the aliens were given human names upon their internment). Johnson and his son have been working on a way to restore power to the ship, which requires the fluid that has changed Wikus, which is now in the hands of NMU.
Shot with mostly hand-held cameras in a faux documentary style, District 9 is basically a film about how awful human beings can be to not only each other, but other forms of life. Blomkamp, who grew up during South Africa's apartheid era, has made a gritty and at times uncomfortable to watch film, which borrows heavily from other Sci-Fi classics (The Fly; Alien Nation; Aliens) to makes its many points. Produced by Peter Jackson, the film is an expanded remake of Blomkamp's six-minute short Alive in Joburg. It's loaded with some terrific CGI effects (the aliens themselves are most impressive, with lots of independently functioning extremities and surprisingly expressive eyes) and plenty of explosions and gore. The acting is top-notch and the characters, while familiar, are believable and well-developed. Not for the easily upset or queasy-stomached, District 9 is as smart and entertaining as it is grim and misanthropic. I saw it with four friends - two of whom hated it because it was so grim and two of whom loved it as much as I did. Blomkamp is most definitely a director from whom we can expect great things. **** (Four Stars). District 9 is rated R for language, violence and gore. Watch the trailer, below: