Summer movies are usually big-budget actioners with top-name stars, written directed by seasoned veterans who know how to attract audiences. This year... not so much. I can count on one hand the movies I really want to see this summer, and none of them star Russell Crowe, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jake Gyllenhaal or Tom Cruise.
Last year, I looked forward to seeing District 9; Star Trek; Orphan; Drag Me to Hell; Up; Zombieland and a slew of promising indies and foreign films like Thirst; Dead Snow; I Sell the Dead and 500 Days of Summer. This year... well... I do want see a few movies.
Four things will make me want to see a movie: an amazing cast; an amazing director; an amazing screenwriter and an original concept. That really leaves very few movies that pique my interest this summer.
First up, is next weekend's Sci-Fi/Horror flick from Canadian director Vincenzo Natali (Cube), Splice, starring Adrian Brody (King Kong) and Sarah Polley (Dawn of the Dead). It's a cautionary tale about two geneticists who perform an illegal experiment combining human and animal DNA.
As with last year's Drag Me to Hell, about half my JTMF cast will be joining me on Friday to see what could be either an awesome take on the "Frankenstein" mythos, or a completely lame FX-laden monster movie. The proof, as they say, will be in the pudding.
Then there is Micmacs, from French Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amelie; City of Lost Children). Micmacs a steampunkish fantasy about a rag-tag group of tinkerers who try to take down a major weapons manufacturer. The trailer looks amazing, and if it's anything like Jeunet's other films, I know I'm going to love it.
June 18th brings us Josh Brolin as Jonah Hex, an Old West gunslinger with supernatural powers, based on the DC comic from John Albano and Tony Dezuniga. With a cast that reads like a "Who's Who" list (John Malkovich; Will Arnett; Aiden Quinn; Lance Reddick). Hex could well be the next Iron Man, if director Jimmy Hayward (Horton Hears a Who) gets it right. My only concern is the presence of the less-than-talented Megan Fox.
The next "Must See" on my list doesn't open until July 16th, but as with The Dark Knight, I suspect writer/director Christopher Nolan will have quite a birthday present in store for me with Inception:
Normally, I'm not a Dicaprio fan. I find his looks to be on the creepy side and his talent modest, at best. But the rest of the cast, which also includes Ellen Page; Michael Caine; Ken Watanabe; Marion Cotillard; Cillian Murphy; Tom Berenger; Lucas Haas and Dileep Rao are all amazing and with Nolan at the helm, I'll probably be loving this movie.
Finally, August 3th brings us Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, another movie based on a graphic novel (by Bryan lee O'Malley). Indie darling Michael Cera stars as the titular character, who must fight off a series of supernatural villains to win the love of the girl he loves. My excitement for this movie comes from director Edgar Wright, whose Shaun of the Dead is one of the best (and funniest) zombie movies ever made.
That post title applies in so many ways, here. I was going to talk about directing again (and may still do so on Sunday), but then I came across the video below on Towleroad.
In it, Liza Minnelli talks to Joy Behar about her wedding to David Gest. First, they talk about all the celebrities in attendance. Then they talk a little about Michael Jackson. And finally they talk about the infamous kiss, in which Gest practically tongue-raped her.
The first 'Ewwwww' belongs to the kiss itself: Liza's eyes wide in terror as Gest so desperately tries to prove his heterosexuality; Gest wearing dark glasses to hide his repulsion at kissing a woman, pulling her close to him as she tries to push him away. The only worse kiss I can imagine was the one between Michael and Lisa-Marie on MTV (that spinning sound you heard came all the way from Memphis); yet another 'Ewwwww' moment.
The third 'Ewwwww' comes thanks to Liza's current face. She's had so much surgery, she looks like a parody of herself. In fact, I think she looks more like Mario Cantone* doing an impersonation of her, than like herself. Watch the video and see for yourselves:
Like so many celebrities who simply refuse to grow old gracefully, Liza has become a mockery of herself. Never a great beauty, she had a certain goofy charm in her youth, which lent itself perfectly to her Academy Award-winning performance as Sally Bowles in Cabaret. My father always said he thought she looked like a clown in that movie, but he was a Nazi wannabe, so what the hell did he know? He treated every minority like they were clowns. But I digress...
Sadly, Liza hasn't always had the best of luck when it comes to husbands. Mostly because, like her mother before her, she kept marrying gay men. First was Peter The Boy from Oz Allen, who went to Rio when his baby smiled at him. Then came Jack Haley, Jr. in an attempt to capture some of Mama's 'Dorothy' magic (do I detect a theme here?). Next was artist Mark Gero, whose only real claim to fame was marrying Liza. And finally, her infamous marriage to Gest, who claimed Minnelli beat him. If she did. I wouldn't blame her. She must have been on some heavy-duty meds when she accepted that proposal (and I apologize for the utter terror that clicking that last link may have inspired in you -- my last 'Ewwwww' of the night).
Among her more recent performances, Liza's guest shot as the 'Second Lucille' on "Arrested Development" was nothing short of brilliant (was anything associated with that show not?). And this all comes around to her current performance in the universally panned Sex and the City 2, performing Mario Cantone's* gay wedding and singing Beyonce's "Single Ladies" (I apologize for the poor quality, but this bootleg version is the only one I could find from the actual movie):
Hmmm... Maybe this should really have been a "Gayest Thing" post. In any event, I am saddened to see this once monumental talented reduced to a parody of herself. Like mother like daughter, I suppose.
More, anon. Prospero
*Talk about 'Synchronicity.' Jung would be quite proud, I think.
That's gay director Gregg Araki, who just won the first ever Queer Palm award at Cannes for his latest film Kaboom, which is apparently a Sci-Fi Comedy about sexual awakening. Of course, only Araki would make a Sci-Fi Comedy about sexual awakening. Araki, whose previous films include The Living End; Totally F**ked Up and the beautiful Mysterious Skin has never been one to shy away from controversial topics. In his first film as director, The Living End, a hustler and his new-found lover go on an anarchistic spree of violence and sexual terrorism. In Mysterious Skin, a young man (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and a hustler explore their pasts, which happens to involve (among other things) alien abduction.
Kaboom stars Thomas Dekker ("Heroes;" A Nightmare on Elm Street) in lust with his surfer dude roommate (Andy Fischer-Price). There is no American release date, as yet, though I imagine an award at Cannes will change that, rather quickly. If you are unfamiliar with, but interested in seeing Araki's films, I suggest you do so one at a time, with plenty of time in-between to digest them. Some critics have described him as "The Queer David Lynch." And while there are certain surrealist moments in his films that may well evoke Lynch, Araki's personal stamp is all over ever one of his movies. Below is a clip from Kaboom:
Moving from Film to Television, here is yet another reason to love "Glee." For those not in the know, Kurt (Chis Colfer) is a gay high-schooler whose father (Mike O'Malley) is working very hard to accept his son's sexual orientation. Dad has moved his new girlfriend into their home. New girlfriend just happens to be the mother of Kurt's object of affection, football star Finn (Corey Monteith). When Finn is forced to live with Kurt, tension ensues, but Kurt's enlightened blue-collar dad steps in. I have yet to watch this week's Lady Gaga-centric episode (it's DVR'ed), but just seeing this scene was enough to make me cry (via):
Finally, as part of a post on Kindertrauma, blogger Uncle Lancifer included this clip with his review of the repulsive horror movie Human Centipede. It proves that not every member of a musical dynasty actually has talent. Please enjoy (?) Rebbie Jackson's "Centipede:"
I don't know what would be worse; sitting through a screening of Human Centipede or sitting through a Rebbie Jackson concert. Rebbie may actually be the only black woman without any sense of rhythm whatsoever.
It's only Tuesday and it's already been that kind of week (you know what I'm talking about).
Rehearsals for Sordid Lives continue to be amazing (tonight's was particularly hilarious). The show opens in exactly one month - June 25th. My outrageously talented cast keep coming up with brilliant bits on their own, while instantly taking to my suggestions and improving upon them by making them uniquely theirs.
We will be shooting some rehearsal footage for the YouTube video this Thursday and recording our podcast. I'll hopefully be able to share those with you sometime next week.
Tonight, with nothing particularly interesting to say, I am off to work on my latest screenplay. I am stuck on Act II (Act I and Act III are rolling along, but finding the right way to transition between them has proven problematic, at best). Anyway - have a good Wednesday, everyone.
Well, the final episode of ABC's epic series "Lost" has aired and controversy still surrounds it. You must admit, there has never been anything like "Lost" in the annals or television history. Perhaps "Twin Peaks" or even "The X-Files" came close, but neither even approached the kind of mythology that J.J. Abrams, Carlton Cruse and Damon Lindelof managed to maintain for 114 episodes. The series presented audiences with puzzles, soapy drama, enigmas and, most importantly, characters we came to know and love over six tumultuous seasons. Frustrating, delightful, philosophical and entertaining are just a few of the adjectives that can be applied to "Lost." And in the end, that's exactly what the show's creators and writers set out to create.
SPOILER ALERT: If you are one of the few fans who has not seen the finale, do not read any further (though how you managed to avoid everything posted on line and reported on air, remains as mysterious as the statue of Tarawet, to me).
Last night saw the series' two and a half hour finale, in which some, if not all, of our questions were answered. At first, my reaction was one of disappointment. But the more I thought about it, the more I came to understand what the finale had to say, and the more I appreciated it. In the end (as the producers have always insisted), "Lost" was a love story. I'm not talking about romantic love, here - though there was certainly plenty of that. "Lost" was mostly about the love we find along the way; be it with our friends, families or those with whom we share a one-on-one intimacy. As the "sideways" characters became "enlightened," remembering their journeys on the island; so we also came to understand the importance of a shared experience. If nothing else, "Lost" fans have that in common.
Ever since Jack Shepherd opened his eyes in that bamboo grove, viewers have shared every every frustrating event; every joyous reunion; every puzzling relationship and every romantic moment shared by the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815. We pondered about polar bears where they didn't belong; numbers with no apparent connection; electromagnetic fields; psychic visions; Egyptian symbols; smokey monsters; time travel; diamond thieves; fried chicken restaurants; mental hospitals; ghosts; philosophers; Alice in Wonderland; Spanish comic books; 16 MM instructional films; religion; immortality; slave ships; explosives; spinal surgery; power struggles; torture; tortured childhoods; manipulative parents; music; novels; sailing; piloting; siblings; history; philanthropy; art; romance and just about everything else that impacts the Human Condition. How many television programs can you name that touched on so many subjects (and more) in the way that "Lost" did. I'm guessing none.
Whether you hated the revelation that the 'sideways" world was actually purgatory and all that happened on the island was 'real,' or you felt cheated (as I initially did) by the end, all depends ultimately on your personal take. And even though we have been promised additional answers (like why Walt was so special) on the forthcoming Season Six DVD (decidedly unfair to those of us who don't want to - or can't afford to - spend the $50+ for the set), in the end, we have to accept what the writers wrought.
Like it, love it or hate it, the "Lost" finale was certainly in keeping with the series' premise and title. While many of its fans will remain lost as to the show's (and its creators) intentions, one cannot deny that "Lost" not only changed the face of episodic TV, but challenged its viewers to look beyond what was presented and to literally think "outside the box."
I suppose that in the end, we can only be grateful for the great ride the writers gave us, and the amazing characters the actors brought to life for us. Will "Lost" go down in history as teh greatest TV show ever? Well, that's for future historians to decide. For myself, I thoroughly enjoyed the trip and I look forward to a show that can match it in both characters and story-telling. Until then, I simply say "Namaste."
You know I don't usually blog until late at night. And you know I don't usually watch Prime Time TV in real time, but rather DVR my favorites to watch later. Well, today marks an exception, because tonight, dear readers, Uncle P will be watching the "Lost" series finale, aptly titled "The End." I have rehearsal almost every night next week and DVRing tonight's finale would mean not seeing it until Friday, and frankly, I can't wait that long, so I will be watching in real time, along with most of the country.
I don't know about you, but I've been watching from the very beginning; from that closeup on Jack's eye as he woke up in a bamboo grove after the crash of Oceanic Airlines Flight 815. I watched as the pilot got sucked out the cockpit by what now know is the Man in Black; I watched as the plane full of heroin-filled Madonnas crushed Boone; I watched as The Others kidnapped Walt; I watched Ben slither all over everyone in his efforts to control the castaways and save his own skin; I watched as Sawyer and Kate spent most of a season in the Dharma cages. I even hung on during the almost awful season 3, in which not much of anything happened (except the Nikki and Paolo debacle). And I cried like a baby when Jin and Sun drowned just two weeks ago. And loved almost every silly, mystifying, aggravating and bewildering moment with a certain glee.
Now, after 6 seasons, "Lost" is coming to a close. And we have lots of answers to its mysteries, already. We know what the smoke monster is; we know why Richard Alpert doesn't age; we know how the donkey wheel came to be; we know how Jacob and his unnamed twin came to the island, thousands of years ago. We don't know the significance of the numbers; who built the statue of Tarawet or how "Mother" came to be on the island, among dozens of other things. And I don't expect we'll get all the answers to the questions we have been asking since the beginning. And I'm okay with that. A big part of the show's appeal is is its mysteries, though unlike a mystery novel, where the detective gets to make a big announcement about 'whodunnit,' there will be no M. Poirrot or Miss Marple pontificating to a room full of suspects. There will only be whatever the producers and writers of "Lost" want us to know. And that will have to be enough.
Tomorrow night (like every entertainment blogger in America), I'll share my thoughts on the show.
The concept revolves around Jack (Hanks), a by-the-book perfectionist, demoted to Routine Investigations after correcting the Police Chief's grammar ("There's no such thing as a 'Statue of Limitations'") and his partner Dan (Whitford), an alcoholic former supercop who can't let go of the past. Jack is up on all the latest technology, while Dan prefers to rely on instinct.
In the pilot, the partners literally stumble upon a case involving murder, drug money and a Peruvian drug lord. While investigating what appears to be a rather routine home invasion robbery (at guest star Nia Vardolos' home), the trail leads to an assassin ("Lost" alum Andrew Divoff) sent to retrieve a golf bag filled with four million dollars, stolen by a drug-runner presumed dead after plastic surgery gone very wrong. Jack wants to follow the leads using technology, with the help of his former girlfriend (Jenny Wade from "Reaper"), an assistant DA with a 73% conviction rate. Dan, wants to do the things the old-fashioned way, busting heads and chasing down leads on foot (or in a cherry vintage sports car he just has to have).
Borrowing heavily from the Tarrantino school of story-telling, the plot jumps back and forth in time, allowing us glimpses into things that happen outside our main characters' ken, while giving us insight into the characters' motivations. Jack and Dan report to their stock-character Latina boss (Diana-Maria Riva), who apparently hates both of them. Dan lives in the past and refers to computers as "computer machines" and repeatedly regales Jack with tales of his past glories (he only has his job because he saved the Governor's son from some as-yet unknown dilemma).
The performances in the pilot were fine. Whitford is terrific, making the most of a stock character and obviously having fun doing so. Hanks, while not blessed with his famous father's easy good looks, has a certain charm about him, and I bought his uptight, ambitious white guy routine. I was amused and entertained, but bothered by Dan's refusal to live in the present (even my 75 year-old auntie knows a computer is called a "computer"). There is potential here for this fun (if ridiculous) combination of "C.S.I.," "Law and Order" and "Starsky and Hutch." But while I truly enjoyed the pilot, I doubt it will go beyond its 8 episode summer season schedule. **1/2 (Two and a Half Stars out of Four).
Regular episodes of "The Good Guys" air Monday night at 9 PM Eastern on Fox, starting June 7th.
The few Bollywood musicals I've seen are really dreadful, featuring either silly spy tales; nostalgic mythologies or insipid love stories that make Mama Mia! look like a work of genius.
Still, I wonder why I never heard of Bollywood superstar Hrthiik Roshan. That's him in all his hot glory on the left. Gorgeous and talented (the man dances better than Michael Jackson at his best), Roshan makes his US debut this weekend in Kites, a tri-lingual actioner about a man who falls in love with his fiancee's brother's fiancee. Of course, Roshan could play a man who falls in love with his brother's fiancee's father's goat, and it wouldn't matter, as long as he spent more than 50% of the movie more than 50% unclothed.
Apparently, much of the humor in Kites revolves around the problems of communicating in Hindi, Spanish and English. Trust me, I'd have no problem expressing my thoughts to Roshan. Nathaniel Rogers' review on Towleroad sums it up quite nicely:
"Though Roshan only gets one dance number (Shame. He sure can move) his impossible body gets such loving camera attention and he poses so still and carefully for it that you might feel you're watching a camp classic -- the first based on an old catalog! -- International Male: The Movie."
I've always been a fan of the "tall, dark and handsome" type, but Roshan takes that cliche and amps it up by about 1000% (what is it with me and percentages tonight?). The 36 year-old hottie has made only 25 films in his nearly 30-year career, though I suspect that Kites will not only garner him a legion of American fans (both male and female) who will gladly plunk down $10 for a few hours of his exceptional hotness, but will be just the start of an international film career. I know I will be awaiting his American-made film debut with baited breath.
Now I know you all are thinking "Uncle P, what's up with you? You don't usually go on about hot men." To that I have to say, "Have you taken a good look at him? Da-yum!" It's like Vishnu blessed us with an Indian combination of Stallone; Statham; Pitt; Baldwin and Kelly. I know I don't usually gush like this, but having seen him, can you honestly blame me?
Here's a clip of Roshan's best moves:
And here is the trailer for Kites:
To borrow a phrase from my dear Stephen Rader, Roshan is officially my new "Imaginary Boyfriend." And don't you dare try to tell me otherwise.
I am usually at least a day behind on my TV watching, and this week is no exception. And of course, regular readers know my theatrical origins lie in musical theatre and high school chorus, which explains my love of Fox's hit show "Glee."
Here in the East (and in the late 70's), chorus wasn't the spectacle that Mid-Western Show Choirs are today. We simply wore gold sweaters with black dickies and performed standards, classical works and show tunes on risers, grouped by vocal range. I started as a freshman tenor, but by the end of my sophomore year, was singing baritone. It wasn't until college (and a wonderful acting professor), that I developed into a full basso profundo. But that's really neither here nor there.
I've watched "Glee" from the beginning, and while it is often uneven in its story-telling, it is more often glorious in its production numbers. Yes, Jane Lynch is amazing as the evil Sue Sylvester and Lea Michele and Amber Riley are often astonishing in their vocals, but this week's episode, entitled "Dream On," featuring a hilarious guest spot by Neil Patrick Harris, totally belonged to Kevin McHale as Artie.
For those unfamiliar, the character of Artie is confined to wheelchair, due to an accident which left him with a crippling spinal cord injury. Artie's fondest dream is to dance, expressed earlier this season by McHale's jazzy interpretation of Billy idol's "Dancing With Myself." This week, encouraged by his girlfriend Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz), Artie had himself a fantasy sequence in which he danced in a mall flash-mob to Men Without Hats' 80's hit "Safety Dance." Choreographer Zachary Woodlee pulled out all the stops and created a number that was not only amazing to watch, but referenced the numerous "Glee" flashmobs which have been cropping up all over YouTube. How meta is that? I've embedded a rather clumsy video below, but you can see a very clear and wonderful version here.
Here's the poor quality version:
And here's my favorite "Glee" flashmob event in Rome, last December:
"Dream On" also revealed that rival Glee Club mentor Shelby Corcoran (the incomparable Idina Menzel) is actually the birth-mother of Rachel (Michele). Their duet on "I Dreamed a Dream" was nothing less than heartbreaking. Of course, the physical similarities between Menzel and Michele made this a foregone conclusion, as soon as Menzel made her first appearance on the show. Still, it was nice to see that all of the speculation was right.
To be honest, given my personal High School history, it may be difficult for me to be completely objective about "Glee," though I will be the first to admit that its plots are often far-fetched. But with guest stars like NPH; Molly Shannon; the always amazing Kristin Chenowith; Menzel; Josh Groban and Olivia Newton-John; along with some of the best arrangements of popular music (both new and old), the show's creators have managed to produce TV's first successful episodic musical. Previously, shows like "Cop Rock" "Eli Stone" and "Viva Laughlin" failed miserably, mostly because they were just plain silly. By setting their musical in a high school glee club and casting some amazingly talented (and attractive) performers, creators Ryan Murphy, Brad Fulchuk and Ian Brennan have tapped into the angsts and joys of high school life, something all of us can relate to.
Next week's episode, like the Madonna-centric episode a few weeks ago, celebrates the music of Pop's latest sensation, Lady Gaga. I, for one, can't wait.
Fred Phelps and his family still pop up to protest at funerals, plays and pro-LGBT functions whenever and wherever they can. Phelps, now 80 (and hopefully closer to his "reward" than one can hope), is a disbarred lawyer who used to argue for civil rights. These days, he's simply a lunatic fringe preacher who claims all of America's ills are to blame on our tolerance of homosexual behavior. His equally insane daughter Shirley, herself a lawyer, claims that the 'church' and its members are spreading 'God's Word.'
The Westboro Baptist Church may well be the most well-known hate group in America. They are also one of the most frightening cults in America. I say this, because of the photo I have posted above. Not one of those children can possibly be over the age of 12, yet they have spent their entire lives being fed the hateful lies and rhetoric of an obvious madman. Thanks to Phelps' misinterpretation of the Bible, these poor kids actually believe that God hates everyone. The 80 or so members of the WBC are all related, either through blood or marriage, and have fallen under the spell of Phelps' preachings.
Truth be told, I did my best to exploit the WBC and their antics. Using a series of fake names (mine was Margaret White - and bonus points to you if you understand why) and email addresses, the JTMF tried to lure the WBC into protesting our production of The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told, a play they have protested against on more than one occasion, in an effort to garner publicity and the support of our local LGBT community. Unfortunately for us, the WBC's protest schedule (available on their odious website) did not allow for a stop-over in central NJ.
Lately, Phelps' son Nate, a 'defector' from the family, has begun to speak out against his father's insanity. Below, you'll find an ABC News report on Nate and his efforts to disparage his father's and sister's outrageous behavior.
A few years ago, a friend of mine became a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses. I always thought of N as a rational, intelligent person who knew the difference between religion and blind-faith. But he was going through a personal rough spot and when his nephews (also Witnesses) brought him into the fold, he was ripe for the picking. N is now an ordained minister of the church and has shunned me because I am gay. I consider this his and my loss. We have both lost not only our friendship, but the rational exchange of ideas toward a greater good (or at least, a personal understanding).
Here's the thing:
When blind obedience to one person or one group clouds one's judgment, it may be time to step back and consider rationality. Sadly, folks like N and the members of the Phelps family who did not escape are so spiritually weakened (either by personal experience or fear-induced dogma), they can no longer function as rational human beings and are reduced to drones in thrall to those who have laid claim to their minds through lies and promises of an unknowable future reward. They then become perfect fodder for racism; homophobia and terrorist attacks. Sound like any other extremist fundamentalist you might have heard about?
While I certainly wish no ill-will on my former friend (or any other person), I certainly hope that (barring some awful Jonestown-like event), they will eventually see the error of their ways and return to rational, humanistic ideals. And if they can't or won't... then "Praise Jesus and Pass the Arsenic." One gets what one deserves.
Ouch! That sounded horrible, didn't it? But I somehow can't help but feel that way about people who are so weak they have to rely on unsubstantiated rhetoric to find purpose in their own existence.
Okay - I'm ranting for a second night in a row. I get it. "We want nonsense, Uncle P." It's coming - as soon as I can get off this high-horse (not an easy task, for those who know me well).
Few things make your Uncle P crazier than bad grammar. Now, I'm not talking about the occasional typo or misspelling. I never had a typing class in my life and I have been known to misspell and/or mistype on occasion. But the abuse of the English language (admittedly, the most ridiculously difficult language on the planet) just drives me to the brink of insanity (as if I weren't already close to it, as it is).
In particular, the misuse of several phrases makes me want to send everyone back to repeat the 5th Grade. This post's title is one of them. The phrase "I could care less" implies that one cares, at least a little bit. What people mean to say is "I could not (or couldn't) care less." I bring this up because I read a post tonight by a blogger whose opinions I generally respect and with whom I usually agree, in which said blogger actually typed the words "I could care less,' when he really meant the exact opposite. This is not only bad grammar, but lazy speech and (even worse) lazy writing. Is it any wonder the U.S. Education System is failing on almost every level?
And of course, the other phrase that makes me want to pull my hair out by the roots is : "a whole nother." Folks, I am pleased to inform you that there is NO SUCH WORD as "nother." It should be either "another whole" or "a whole other." I've heard national newscasters use this un-word on air, and it makes me want to smash my TV with a sledge hammer. This isn't rocket science, folks. It's basic English, supposedly (and don't get me started on people who say "supposably") taught to you when you were 10 years-old.
Almost as bad (at least in my book), is poor punctuation. In particular, the misuse of commas; colons; semi-colons and parentheses. As you have probably ascertained by now, even if you've only read one or two of my posts, I am quite fond of parenthetical sentences and phrases. But when I do use them, I make sure to punctuate them properly. A punctuation mark always goes after the closing parenthesis, unless the parenthetical sentence stands alone (which is rarely). And the semi-colon is probably the most misused punctuation mark; semi-colons should only be used when a new idea is presented as part of the same sentence or when writing lists in sentences in which commas have already been used. A comma should never be used before or after the the word "and" (as evidenced by the example just cited), and may be used before or after the word "but," at the writer's discretion. Apostrophes are used to denote contraction and possession: Leon's hos weren't bringing him the money they owed him, so he beat them until they gave him all of their johns' money. When the denotation of possession belongs to a plural group, the apostrophe always goes after the plural S.
You should be glad that I'm not about to go into the abuse of conjugational tenses, as that could lead to another three or four paragraphs which you won't read because you've already grown bored by this topic.
Confused? Who wouldn't be? Is there help? Of course. I highly suggest the purchase of The Elements of Style, by William Strunk, Jr. Written in in 1918, it is still the standard for use of grammar and punctuation when writing in English. Of course, language is fluid. Words and phrases come in and out of style with the regularity of hem-lengths. And of course, the rules of grammar vary from language to language. But in the English-speaking (and writing) world, grammar is a constant and those who ignore it, are doomed to be derided by pompous a-holes like me.
Okay. I feel better now. Another rant is over. If you are an English teacher or grammarian and have seen something in this post that is incorrect, by all means feel free to make a comment which derides my ignorance. Better you should correct me, than let me disperse misinformation. If you you are not an English teacher or grammarian, but you think I'm being an elitist a-hole (which I probably am), then feel free to call me on it. I'm a grown-up and can take whatever you dish out.
Back to my regularly scheduled nonsense, anon. Prospero
Is it just me, or are movies getting more and more terrible? Just look at some of the movies slated for release this year. Remakes; sequels; adaptations of long-canceled TV shows; 3D crapfests; video game movies and low-bow comedies. At least last summer we had some originality. This summer? The most interesting trailer I've seen is for Splice, which has two very talented stars (Adrian Brody and Sarah Polley) and some terrific-looking effects, but is nothing new, plot-wise. Honestly, that plot was created by an 18 year-old girl in 1816.
Is originality dead in Hollywood? It sure seems that way. Even the biggest movie so far this year is a sequel, and a disappointing one at that, according to most film critics. While many friends have told me that Iron Man 2 is a whole lotta fun, it appears to lack the intelligent humor of the original and goes for spectacular visuals in lieu of real human emotion, something the first Iron Man was so good at capturing.
Let's take a look at the trailers for some the movies coming up in the next few months. If you see one that makes you say "I HAVE to see that!" I'll give you a dollar.
Of course, it's in 3D -- yeuch! But since we started with a sequel, let's take a look at yet another, Predators from director Robert Rodriguez:
Okay. An interesting cast, but is there really anything new to be mined from this franchise? I can't imagine that there is.
Moving on from sequels to remakes, currently playing is the Ridley Scott helmed version of Robin Hood, which is being touted as an origin story:
Okay. I'll give Scott his props -- he made four important 20th Century films (Alien; Blade Runner; Thelma and Louiseand Gladiator). But Russell Crowe is an a-hole who doesn't deserve the fans he has and by all accounts, this version of Robin Hood is even worse than Costner's or Brooks'. Pass.
Then there's The Karate Kid. I have to admit that I'm not exactly a fan of the original, though I certainly know a "wax-on, wax-off" reference when I hear it. And there was a certain charming cheese factor to the original, even if Ralph Macchio never did it for me. The new version, starring Jackie Chan and Jaden (son of Will) Smith looks just ridiculous:
Can you say "Unnecessary?"
And speaking of unnecessary, how about a big-screen version of a small screen failure? Yes, the original TV series "The A-Team" has many fans, most of whom were also fans of the equally lame "The Dukes of Hazzard" (and we all know how good that movie was). Still, the only things this movie has going for it are the exceptionally hot Bradley Cooper and star-in-the-making Sharlto Copely:
Really? A tank on parachutes? Must some damn heavy-duty nylon.
And how about those video game movies? Well, there's gorgeous Jake Gyllenhall in Disney's Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. An all-American actor playing an Iranian prince with a decidedly British accent in a movie based on a video game... Really? Well, at least Uwe Boll has nothing to do with this one:
And then there's M. Night Shama-Lama-Ding-Dong's version of Avatar: The Last Airbender. The last Shyamalan film I saw in a theater was The Village, and I actually stood up and booed at the end. And The Happening was ridiculed by almost everyone who saw it. I just can't imagine this anime adaptation will be any less silly:
I do have hopes that there will be one or two good Hollywood movies this year, though I am doubtful, at best. At least we have Christopher Nolan's Inception to look forward to:
I suppose I'll spend most of my summer dollars seeing live theatre and occasional art film, this year. Or maybe I'll just stay home and watch Raiders of the Lost Ark; The Dark Knight; The Prestige and Bringing Up Baby on DVD.
Wow. It's been well over a year since I posted about Iron Sky, the movie about Nazis on the moon. At the time, all that existed was an all-digital investors' trailer, and it was just terrific. Apparently the filmmakers have secured some funding because there is some actual footage from the film in this new teaser (which is also a plea for funding).
As someone who grew up with a father who would have been perfectly content as a member of the Hitler Youth Corps (really), and who was forced to endure every godforsaken, Richard Burton narrated minute of The World at War on PBS, I despise WWII films. I can't even bring myself to watch Saving Private Ryan or Schindler's List. I barely made it through Inglorious Basterds and that was a comedy, though I will admit to a fondness for all the Downfall parodies that still proliferate YouTube - there's just something very funny about Hitler freaking out over Michael Jackson's death. But then, I think Dawn of the Dead is hilarious, so what do I know?
Still, there is just something intriguing behind the whole concept of Iron Sky. We have documented evidence that Nazi scientists were working on an anti-gravity device to power aircraft that could fly below and above radar. And we know that at least a few of those scientists were recruited by the U.S. Air Force after the war (look it up), which may have resulted in the events in Roswell, NM in July of 1947. Now, please don't go thinking I'm some UFO conspiracy nutjob. I promise, I'm not. I'm just saying, is all.
Anyway, the Space Cadets over at i09 have posted the latest teaser/funds appeal for Iron Sky, featuring actual footage with real human actors:
Iron Sky stars genre icon Udo Kier (Blade II) and according to IMDb, is scheduled for 2011 release. I honestly think this movie has the potential to be hilarious, thrilling and frightening all at the same time. You can invest, demand and learn more about the film at its official website, here. And here's the original, brilliant teaser:
Of course, you may be wondering about the French connection (no, not the Gene Hackman movie) in this post's title. Well, that refers to 21 year-old Canadian director Xavier Dolan's film Les Amours Imaginaire, currently in competition at Cannes for the first ever Queer Palme award. Dolan, quite a pretty young thing himself, made a name for himself as a director with the Oscar-nominated I Killed My Mother. Les Amours... concerns itself with a bisexual love triangle and is this year's most talked-about LGBT film. Here's the stunning trailer (via):
Is it me, or is there always some bizarre connection between Nazis and gay sex? Must be Kander and Ebb's fault.
I love our poster for Sordid Lives almost as much as I loved last year's poster for The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told. You can click the image to enlarge it and see more details
We are well into rehearsals now and I am just thrilled with my cast. And of course, the play is just hilarious. As our producer so succinctly put it, "Driving Miss Daisy, it ain't."
Tickets are on sale now. To order yours, go to the JTMF website, www.jtmf.org or call the Kelsey Box Office at 609-570-3333. And if you can't attend, but want to make a donation, you can do so securely via PayPal, right on our site (you can also see Uncle P in full drag if you click the link to our blog -- but don't say you weren't warned).
Some of our cast and crew will be attending events at New Hope Pride in New Hope, PA this weekend. Look for our bright pink T-shirts and don't be afraid to ask us about the show; we won't bite (unless, of course, you ask us to).
That's Dan Choi on your right. Dan is probably best known as the most visible gay man to be discharged under the antiquated 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy adopted by the military under the Clinton administration. DADT is probably Clinton's biggest mistake -- well, there was that whole Monica Lewinski debacle, but that's really irrelevant to this discussion.
Under DADT, the applications for military service in the U.S. could no longer ask an applicant about his or her sexual orientation; nor could a superior officer directly inquire as to a subordinate's orientation. However, should an active member of the military openly admit that he or she was gay, he or she could still be discharged.
Honestly, did we learn nothing from the Greeks? Ancient Greek soldiers were often paired with their lovers, under the assumption that they would be more likely to look out for one another in combat. And that was a good assumption. I know I'd be much more willing to fight for the man I love than some Neanderthal who doesn't know the difference between a Jimmy Choo and a Manolo.
But I digress.
Here (via) is a video from a group of soldiers in Iraq, set to the Ke$ha (seriously, that's her name?) song "Blah Blah Blah:"
The good folks at Towleroad seem to think this video is in support of gays in the military, but I'm not quite sure. The clip seems much more like a dis to me. But then, I'm not in the Army. Nor am I in the Navy (or a Cop; Cowboy; Native American or Leather Daddy).
What do you think? You know I love your comments. Leave me one. For now, I'm just amazed that I've created a label for "Ke$ha." Whut?
Being a late-night blogger certainly has its disadvantages. Often, the things I want to talk about have been covered all day long by other bloggers and I'm left with little more than my own opinions about what others have already posted. Occasionally I'll post something before one of the more well-read guys, but those instances are few and far between. This is one of those cases where others have posted about something before I did. Still, I get to put my personal stamp on whatever it is I'm posting about, for whatever that's worth.
Tonight's post is about two things. First: something that intrigues me.
Here's the very interesting and enigmatic teaser (via):
Okay - Here are my questions: If whatever is inside that freight car can turn the wheel, why does it need to bash its way out, too? Why does the truck driver deliberately crash head-on into the train? Is he/she suicidal or merely attempting to stop it from transporting whatever is in side the freight car? Of course, making the audience ask questions is always the point of a teaser trailer, so I suppose this one is at least successful as far that goes.
Next; something which truly impresses me:
As someone who basically started his theatrical endeavors in Musical Theatre and a lover of most music (don't get me started on what kinds of music I don't like) and a recent convert to the Haus of Gaga, I am just blown away by this 13 year-old's live version of "Paparazzi." See for yourselves (via):
Damn! I may never sing again.
Tomorrow night we are shooting the JTMF promotional video for YouTube. I am very excited and can't wait to see the finished product. You can bet I'll be posting here and on the JTMF Facebook page.
Okay - so maybe it's already been done to death by a thousand gay bloggers, but I just had to weigh in on the whole George Rekers scandal.
Honestly, it just makes me sad. While I am always happy to see a hypocrite brought down, I still have to wonder about the emotional pain that goes along with such an event.
Rekers certainly caused emotional pain in the gay men he supposedly councils to become "straight." And I imagine his family must be experiencing some pain at the revelation that the man they thought they knew is not the man Rekers apparently is. And Rekers certainly has his own pain in dealing with his own repressed homosexuality.
If you live in a cave and haven't heard about this scandal, here's a report from Newsy.com:
I'm currently directing a production of Del Shore's hilarious play Sordid Lives for the annual JTMF AIDS fundraiser. In it, one scene involves a therapist who believes she can 'de-homosexualize' gay men through therapy. Of course, the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from their list of recognized psychological disorders over 40 years ago. Still, folks like Mr. Rekers believe that therapy and prayer can turn gay people straight.
I'm happy (and sad for those who believe otherwise) to report that one CANNOT "Pray the Gay Away." Such so-called 'therapies' have proven again and again to do far more harm than good. And as evidenced by these recent events, lying to the world about yourself while publicly denouncing the very activities in which one engages, can only lead to more pain. As soon as the so-called "Religious Right" realizes that we (the LGBT community) are not only here to say, but aren't going to put up with their lies, the better. Of course, those who live by blind faith are doomed to live blindly. How many more George Rekers or Ted Haggards will it take before they realize the error of their ways? Sadly, I think they never will.
And here's Rachel Maddow's take on the whole thing:
I hope every person involved in the "ex-gay" movement takes a step back and re-analyzes their take on this subject. Unfortunately, I don't think they will.
It's Mother's Day. I was going to post a picture of my mother, but she'd kill me and I wouldn't want to upset her on her day.
Seriously, my mother is pretty terrific. All she ever wanted to be was a mother. She married my father at 18 and had me just a few months before she turned 20. It would be another 6 years before my sister came along. When we were kids, Mom loved snow days, because she got to spend the whole day with us. And she was practically ecstatic when our school district went on strike one September. It meant almost another whole month we could stay home and play with her. We would play board games, color, do paint-by-numbers and crafts. In fact, one of my earliest memories is playing with Colorforms at our dining room table in the tiny house my parents rented in Trenton, before we moved to the tiny house I grew up in, in Levittown.
When I was in High School, I had an opportunity to travel to France with my French class. Mom took a part-time job as a Playground Monitor at a local elementary school, so she could afford to send me. She often went without so my sister and I could have the things we wanted, whether it was designer jeans; tickets to the latest show in town or my sister's wedding. She taught us the basics of housekeeping - how to cook a meal; how to sew on a button; how to remove a stain from the carpet and (best of all) how to find a bargain. I swear, that woman would make a deal with devil if it meant saving money.
After my father finally left (what she often says is "...the second best thing to happen to me, after you kids."), she went to work full-time as a switchboard operator in a local department store, quickly working her way up to HR Assistant. After that, she landed a job with with mob-owned garbage disposal company. Then she worked for a BMW dealer and finally spent 19 years as the Customer Service Manager for a Cadillac dealer before finally retiring this past fall. And she had herself a rather wild time time during her late 40's and early 50's, even dating a Russian hottie who was only a few years older than me at the time. And when I finally worked up the courage to come out to her, she simply said "I knew" and cried - not because I was gay, but because she thought I didn't trust her enough to tell her sooner.
Lately, she's had her share of health issues and has slowed down quite a bit, but she can still make the best mashed potatoes you've ever tasted (though she has yet to teach me how to make her legendary pie-crust). These days, she spends most of her time reading (I can't remember a time when she didn't have a book with her), watching Oprah and The View and generally enjoying herself (when she isn't complaining about how she can't do all the things she used to be able to do).
For Mother's Day this year, I treated her to breakfast yesterday and bought her the latest novel from one of her favorite authors, as well as a beautiful new cushion for her favorite reading chair; all of which she loved. She'd be mightily embarrassed if she knew I was extolling her virtues in such a public venue, but her innate distrust of the Internet ensures she'll never find out (unless one of my friends that know her rats me out).
I hope all of you, dear readers, have as wonderful Mom as I do. And if you don't, just remember.. it could be worse:
Or you could have a Wicked Stepmother...
...in which case, I'm very sorry.
What a bitch!
Happy Mother's Day to all you 'Mothers" out there. I just hope you're all as great as mine.
Please forgive your Uncle P if I'm covering a topic I've discussed before, but Vampires are really hot right now and I find myself inundated with promos for books, movies, TV shows and graphic novels that share this common theme.
To your right is a screen grab from the infamously gay (and very hot) video for Lady Gaga's "Teeth," directed by Sergio Cerrone. The original post has since been removed from TouTube, but I just watched it again here. And I've embedded another YouTube version below (though I can't guarantee how long it will be available for viewing). I imagine Gaga herself must have approved of this video. It's certainly in keeping with her style and philosophy.
I don't know exactly who is responsible for the recent rash of vampires in current media. I suspect that the insipid Stephanie Meyer Twilight series has something to do with it, though I have to mention Alan Ball's HBO series "True Blood" and the CW series "The Vampire Diaries" as contributors to the phenomenon. And recent vampire films such as Let the Right One In (and its soon-to-be released American remake Let Me In), Daybreakers and the upcoming Stakeland are also indicative of the trend. Hell - I've even written my own musical version Dracula, called "Children of the Night." I'm still looking for a composer for the show - my original composer bailed because she felt she wasn't up to the task, but the three or four melodies she did write were magnificent.*
Why are vampires so hot right now? I'm not sure. They've never really gone out of style, as far as I can tell. Vampires in modern times have come to be associated with sex, more than horror (and I'm not going to go into the whole psychological associations tonight - I've already done that, and probably will again). Bottom line: times are tough. People are losing their jobs, their homes and their investments. When times are tough, people turn to escapism. Modern vampires represent youth, sex and power - all the things that seem to be slipping away in these turbulent times. If we can hold onto those things forever - so much the better. And unlike their undead brethren, Zombies, Vampires don't seem to have the whole "rotting, stinking, green-blue flesh" thing going on.
Even traditional network TV has jumped on the bandwagon. ABC has a new show premiering next month called "The Gates," starring "Boston Legal" alum Rhona Mitra, about a community of Vampires, Werewolves, Witches and assorted supernatural beasties. Think of it as "Desperate Vampires." Here's a teaser preview:
ABC doesn't exactly have the best track record when it comes to genre shows - my guilty pleasure of last season, "Eastwick," is a prime example. And the teaser above certainly has a "cheese" factor that doesn't exactly bode well for more than a 12 episode summer run. Still - they may fool me. After all, "Dark Shadows" ran daily for 4 years on ABC Daytime in the late '60's (but don't get me started on the proposed Tim Burton/Johnny Depp movie version).
I suppose that as long as people fantasize about eternal youth, sex and power, vampires will remain a staple of popular culture. And honestly, I can't really imagine people not fantasizing about eternal youth, sex and power. It's only (in)human nature...
Finally, as promised, here's that gay vampire video for "Teeth:"
More, anon. Prospero
*On a side note, if you know someone who might be interested in collaborating as a composer, please let me know.