Saturday, April 30, 2011

There's Still Hope...

Yesterday's Royal Pain in the Ass Wedding broke the hearts of millions of hopeful princesses around the world. But that doesn't mean they should despair. There are still plenty of attractive, wealthy and single royals to stalk pursue...

To your left is the rather amazingly gorgeous Carl Philip, Prince of Sweden. The soon-to-be 32 year-old son of King Carl XVI Gustav and Queen Silvia is undoubtedly Europe's hottest royal bachelor and still unattached. He has previously been romantically linked to PR maven Emma Pernald and model Sofia Helqvist. Of course, Uncle P and several of my Facebook friends wouldn't mind if we were romantically linked with Carl Philip.

Then there's 24 year-old cutie-pi,e Prince Philippos of Greece and Denmark. There isn't much to tell about the baby-faced Prince, who attended Georgetown University, among several colleges. If Philippos is a bit too young, there's always 27 year-old Prince Amedeo of Belgium. Currently working at Deloitte in NYC, Amedeo has managed to keep a rather low profile, as well.

Not good enough? There are always Princess Grace's grandsons. The sons of Princess Caroline of Monaco, Pierre and Andrea Casiraghi are 23 and 26, respectively. Rich, single and the descendants of an American actress who married well, Pierre and Andrea have done a much better job of staying out of the tabloids than their mother and aunt.  If their uncle, Prince Albert II (whom I always assumed was gay) does not produce a legitimate heir with his fiance, South African swimmer Charlene Wittstock, then Andrea will assume the throne.

And lets not forget William's brother, Prince Henry "Harry" of Wales. The ginger lad has developed a reputation as a hell-raiser of sorts, having infamously appeared in a Nazi uniform at a Halloween party and licking a mate's nipple during a drunken revel... The closest any gay man might get to the House of Windsor, Harry has had an on-again/off-again relationship with the rather skanky-looking socialite Chelsy Davy, a beard if ever I saw one...

Last, but not least, there's Sheik Rashed bin Mohammed, the 28 year-old Prince of Dubai. Worth over $12B (yes, Billion), the young Arabian prince is not only adorable, but athletic and the heir to the throne of one of the richest countries on Earth. Damn!

While it is highly unlikely that you or I will ever even meet these bachelor princes, we can all dream, right? As the long-defunct drive-through franchise Photomat once promised - Someday, my prints will come... Wait. Wut? That may well be the worst joke I've ever posted. Oh, wait - there's still this:

Go to bed, Sleeping Beauty. Prince Charming isn't coming, the wedding is over and you weren't invited...

More, anon.

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Gayest Thing You'll See This Week (NSFW Version)

This isn't just the Gayest Thing This Week, but probably the kinkiest thing I have ever (or will ever) post.

There are all sorts of folks who fancy fantasy and fetishwear (say that three times, fast). Slick It Up is a company that specializes in clothing, underwear and assorted 'gear' for men who are into such things. Not that I have ever found such items or practices to be particularly enjoyable - the whole thing seems a bit claustrophobic for my taste. And not that I would judge or belittle anyone who is into that scene. Whatever floats your boat, as long as all parties are mutually agreeable and no one gets hurt.

I suppose my biggest misconception about this particular group of people is that they all take it so deadly serious. Have you ever seen a 'Miss Heather' episode of "C.S.I.?" Never has the profundity of B & D been so emphasized as when Grissom and Heather get into a discussion about the diverse nature of human sexuality.

But when I stumbled across the below commercial for Slick It Up, I couldn't help but notice how funny it was. Even the tattoo-skulled French gay porn star Francios Sagat (L.A. Zombie; Saw VI) has his tongue firmly planted in (facial) cheek for this one (probably NSFW):

I don't know about you, but I find it rather refreshing to see fetishists who have a sense of humor. Honestly, if anything about the Human Condition is funny, it's sex. And there's probably nothing funnier than weird sex in outrageous costumes

As for Uncle P, there is almost nothing funnier than people in mascot costumes falling down. The stupid, unchanging smile on the face of the mascot head totally belies the look of confusion, fear and disorientation on the face of the person beneath it. I made mention of this on a comment at my dear friend Stephen's blog Post Apocalyptic Bohemian just yesterday, when he blogged about the birthday of Harper Lee. As I shared with him and his reader's, it all started with the scene in "To Kill a Mockingbird" in which Scout runs home in a ham costume, the thought of which I found endlessly hilarious even though it was hardly meant to be funny.

And tell the truth now - can you look at a guy in a black rubber poodle costume and not laugh? I thought not.

More, anon.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Taboo Topic

By now, you all know how Uncle P feels about religion and "God." For all I know, the Flying Spaghetti Monster actually did create the Universe and everything in it. That's just as plausible to me as any other explanation of our existence, though. 

Judeo/Christian mythology would have us believe that an omniscient being who 'always was' one day decided to make everything in a 6 day orgy of creation. I guess that's no more outrageous than ancient Egyptian mythology which posits the Universe was created when a god swallowed his own semen to do the same thing. Or the Hindu story in which Vishnu creates the world from a lotus blossom in his navel. Or the Apache myth in which the Creator made the world out of the sweat of his brow. Or the Mayan mythology in which two lonely gods simply thought the Universe into being. Or any of hundreds of creation mythologies. And who is to say which one is true? Their believers, I suppose... 

These are the kinds of things one thinks about as one approaches the half-century mark (yes, I've I already told you that I am that old), I suppose. As a child, I was raised a Christian, though that ended when Mom was bedridden through the majority of her pregnancy with my sister. My paternal Grandmother was a Roman Catholic and when spending weekends with her, we were subjected to Sunday masses that seemed endlessly boring to Yours Truly. My mother's family were raised in the Episcopalian church (the American version of Church of England) and both Sis and I were baptized as such. Our father tried to  convince everyone that he was a Zen Buddhist, but his behavior belied just about everything espoused by Siddhartha's teachings. Mom for her part, claims to be an atheist, though I've personally heard her express ideas that contradict those claims. My sister is an anomalous 'Liberal Born Again,' though I think she was unduly influenced by the fervently religious family of a childhood friend.

And you may well ask why I am writing about things most people wouldn't talk about in private, let alone so openly on an Internet blog where any one and everyone can see... 

The truth is... I'm not really sure. As I said in my Easter post, I have no problem with religion in general. Whatever helps you sleep at night... I suppose I am most bothered by religious hypocrisy, which seems so prevalent, especially in the Catholic Church right now: "Don't you dare use a condom or fall in love with someone of the same sex, but go ahead and ignore the fact we've been hiding and protecting child molesters for centuries." Ick!

A long time ago, a high school history teacher told me that "...every war is a Holy war, because each side believes that 'God' is on their side." Really? Should "God" even take sides? I would think that with an infinite universe to deal with, "God" probably has better things to do than care about who controls the oil on one of
the billions of planets in said universe.

I don't profess to have any answers, folks. I, like many of you, have just as many questions which aren't easily answered. If you are reading this post and nodding along, then I must suppose you get it. If you are reading this post and angrily disagreeing with everything I've said, then you are either too young to know what I'm talking about; too closed-minded to think about what I'm talking about or too stupid and/or biased to consider what I'm talking about. 

I'll admit this isn't my usual kind of post. I'd honestly much rather keep things light and silly. And I honestly have no idea what's gotten into me tonight... it may well be my impending 50th birthday. Who knows? I guess I just felt like ranting. I promise I'll get back to my usual nonsense tomorrow (supposing there will be nonsense worth discussing).

Thanks for letting me rant. Let's leave on a lighter note, shall we? 

More, anon.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I must admit that I love openly gay director Bryan Singer's first two 'X-Men' films, especially X2. They're smart, funny and very exciting  - not to mention they feature some of the hottest actors working in film today; namely Hugh Jackman, James Marsden, Famke Janssen, Halle Berry and Rebecca Romijn. And while I am hardly a fan of Brett Ratner's 3rd installment in the series, I am very much looking forward to X-Men: First Class, the prequel directed by Matthew Vaughn. 

Vaughn has helmed two of my favorite films of the past decade, Stardust and Kick-Ass, so I am particularly interested in where he will take the Marvel franchise. The story is by Singer and the cast includes a Who's Who of hot young actors, including James McAvoy; Michael Fassbender; Rose Byrne (LOVE her); Jennifer Lawrence; January Jones and the always amazing Kevin Bacon in an origins story about how Charles Xavier started his "School for Gifted Youngsters" and how he and his team helped avert the infamous Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

Here's the latest trailer (via):

I've always been a sucker for good Superhero movies and hopefully, X-Men: First Class will live up to Vaughn's previous work. Though from the trailer, it looks like he already has. Let the Summer of the Superhero begin! X-Men: First Class is currently scheduled for release on June 3rd.

More, anon.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Brief Message from the JTMF

As many of you know, I am a founding member of the James Tolin Memorial Fund. We are a non-profit organization which produces theatrical events to raise funds for AIDS and Arts Education Charities. Our primary beneficiaries for the past 8 years have been The Open Arms Foundation of Hillsborough, NJ, which provides support and services to people and families afflicted by HIV; and the James Tolin Memorial Scholarship at Mercer County Community College in West Windsor, NJ, which provides tuition for deserving Performing Arts majors at the college where James studied the subject he so loved.

Last fall, after a rash of teen suicides which resulted from anti-gay bullying, we felt we needed to take a stand and added The Trevor Project to our list of beneficiaries.

But that wasn't quite enough for us. So we decided we had to produce our own "It Gets Better" video. The JTMF has become its own kind of family, with members, supporters and actors from both the LGBT and Straight communities - like-minded individuals who know when to say 'enough is enough' and who want to male a difference and promote equality and empathy for everyone.

To that end, a bunch of us got together this past February and created the video you are about to see. We urge you to donate to The Trevor Project and help us support the charities in which we so strongly believe. You can help us by purchasing tickets to our upcoming annual June fundraiser, featuring Charles Busch's hilarious comedic thriller Die Mommie Die! or by making secure donation via PayPal at our website, You can also keep up on our projects and events by joining our group page on Facebook.

Thanks for your support!

More, anon.

Monday, April 25, 2011


This post probably belongs on the Zombie Zone, but I thought a Zombie story on CNN was more than worth a passing mention.

The story (here) is actually about the spread of viruses and how zombie movies, stories and novels use the model of a spreading zombie virus in a way that mimics the spread of actual known viruses. It also talks about the morphology of the human brain and how such a virus might quite effectively overtake our lower 'lizard' brains to most effectively sustain its hosts, as well as mentioning prions (essentially mutated proteins) such as the one which causes so-called 'Mad Cow Disease.'

We all know that the modern version of the flesh-eating zombie, seen in films like Zombieland and AMC's smash hit series "The Walking Dead" was created by writer/director George A. Romero in his groundbreaking 1968 low-budget thriller Night of the Living Dead. However, the specific consumption of brains didn't come about until Romero's former partner John Russo teamed with the late writer/director Dan O'Bannon (Alien; Dead and Buried) for 1985's comedic take on the genre, The Return of the Living Dead. Of course, now that the Horror sub-genre has achieved a massive pop-culture following, it may well be on the verge of losing its counter-culture status. And while a legitimate article on may well prove to be the demise of the zombie as a sub-culture icon, I can't help but hope that Uncle P stood on the precipice with Romero and embraced a phenomena that was well ahead of its time. 

Perhaps the horrors of modern living (unrest in the Middle East; disease and famine in Africa; homophobia, xenophobia and germophobia in the U.S.) have contributed to our collective fear of a blind, genocidal disease waiting to take over and destroy life as we know it. Perhaps the inter-connectivity of the World Wide Web has left us numb to our own individuality. Or maybe we've finally come to realize what Romero said in one of his own films in his 'Living Dead' series: "They're us, that's all." Empty; hungry; mindless beings intent on self-fulfillment regardless of the cost to our own humanity. Honestly, if the cast of MTV's "The Jersey Shore" aren't inhuman self-involved zombies, then who is (or isn't)?

Or maybe I'm just full of crap. I leave it to you to decide.

More, anon.

A Universal Experience

For my last few trips to visit my sister in Florida, we've at least once ended up at Downtown Disney, a shopping and entertainment area that houses Cirque du Soleil's permanent show La Nouba; the largest Disney Store in the world; DisneyQuest (essentially a giant Disney-themed arcade); The House of Blues; T-Rex; a Wolfgang Puck restaurant; an AMC multiplex and what was formerly known as Pleasure Island. We would shop, eat and enjoy an afternoon together in the only free Disney attraction in Florida. But we've been there at least a dozen times and I thought we might try something different.

My sister may well be a self-described "Disney Dork," but I much prefer Universal Studios when it comes to theme parks. Still, it had been a very long time since we'd been there - the Islands of Adventure park had only recently opened - and we weren't sure what to expect. First, we were shocked to find it was $15.00 just to park (Downtown Disney doesn't charge at all). And because we had our elderly mother with us, we required handicapped parking, After we paid, my sister followed the signs that indicated such parking was to the left. But we soon rounded a corner where a very rude Universal employee told us we had gone the wrong way, despite what the signs said, and that we had to leave the park and re-enter to go in the correct direction. Only his directions led back onto the highway and 30+ minutes out of our way. When we finally made it back to the park and got inside, we headed immediately to Guest Relations, where two very pleasant and apologetic parking facility managers eventually refunded our parking fee.

All of that nonsense aside, we found Universal CityWalk to be rather a huge disappointment. Filled with outrageously expensive restaurants and shops ($15.00 for a side of mashed potatoes at Emeril's; $335.00 for a Hawaiian shirt at the surf shop); ear-piercingly loud music over the PA system and hardly half the fun of DTD; CityWalk seemed like the biggest waste of a trip to Orlando as we had ever taken. And that's not to mention the $112.00 they wanted for a one-day pass to the parks, themselves. And while I did manage to find some gifts for my dear Harry Potter-loving K at the Universal Studios Store, we left after less than hour and headed to a local outlet mall where I spent more at the Disney outlet than I had at Universal.

While my love/hate relationship to House of Mouse remains firmly in place, my disappointment with Universal Studios is what will remain with me about that particular trip. Do I hate Universal Studios Orlando? No. But when it comes to bang for your buck, I must admit that the Mouse does it better.

Here's a virtual tour of DisneyQuest (an additional fee at DTD, but so much fun):

Okay, enough bitching. I really did have a wonderful time in Florida, despite Universal's lame CityWalk and my end-of-the-trip illness. And more about that trip, next time.

More, anon.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Rising Dead, or: Happy Easter!

I'm not here to beat up on the millions of Christians who believe that Jesus rose from his grave three days after his crucifixion to ascend to heaven. Of course, if you're a regular reader (with one or two exceptions), I doubt you actually believe that particular story, anyway. I know I don't. But if you do, more power to you. Whatever lets you sleep at night is just fine with me - unless of course that includes the killing, torturing or otherwise molesting of your fellow humans. If so, you're sick and need help and/or imprisonment.

Like many atheists and/or agnostics, I just can't buy the whole "He Has Risen" thing. And while historic documents other than the New Testament agree that Jesus* was an actual person who probably lived about 2011 years ago, I personally have an issue with his supposed divinity. No doubt, Jesus espoused many true and positive things about the way we should treat one another as fellow human beings. And while there are several accounts of Jesus attending and/or officiating at weddings; there is nothing to indicate what he thought about them (and certainly nothing to say he only thought they should be be exclusively between a man and a woman). 

On the Julian calendar, Easter is celebrated on the Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox. Confusing, no? So why is Christmas, the traditional celebration of Jesus' birth, always celebrated on December 25th? Shouldn't Easter be celebrated on the same date every year, just like Christmas? I mean, if Jesus rose from the grave on April 6th, 33 AD, shouldn't Easter always be celebrated on April 6th? Here we see simply another example of the Church co-opting a pagan celebration (often mistakenly attributed to the supposedly pagan goddess Oestre) in order to maintain power over the ignorant.

But enough (if you'll forgive the expression) preaching to the choir. Religious celebrations of any kind seem silly to Uncle P. What we should be celebrating is the fact that we exist at all. I think the most important lessons any of us can learn from the New Testament are to be kind to one another, do no harm and live life to its fullest. You never know when the pharisees might look poorly upon you and have you strung up simply for being true to yourself.

Whatever you believe, I hope you enjoy your chocolate bunnies, jelly beans and Cadbury Creme Eggs. I hope your lamb, ham or turkey dinner is delicious and succulent, and that the company with whom you share them is warm and loving. 

Anyway, here's an Inappropriate Soundtrack clip that seems somehow appropriate:

More, anon.

*Jesus, by the way, is actually a corruption of the Greek word for the Hebrew name Joshua. And you might also note in my link to the New Testament, it says "Out of the Original Greek," which makes absolutely no sense since Jesus and his contemporaries probably spoke a version of Aramaic, a language that hasn't been actually spoken for over 2000 years. Even the most devout among you must admit there just might have been some translation issues along the way.

More non-religious nonsense, soon.


Friday, April 22, 2011

Um... Gross

Uncle P is still not at his best. In fact, I may well need the item on your right. I truly hope that none of you ever feel as awful as I have for the last three days or so. 

It was ginger ale, saltines and chicken and rice soup for me today, though I truly think (or at least hope) the worst is behind me.

If you are visiting western Florida this week, I hope you are able to avoid whatever is plaguing that particular region of the country. My sister has reported at least two more cases among people she knows beside her husband and Yours Truly.

Rest assured, I am doing everything I can to get to get back to normal (or whatever serves as 'normal' for me). Certainly, the unending coverage of the impending Royal nuptials don't help.

And while today may well be Good Friday for millions of Christians around the globe, it is also filthy filmmaker John Waters' birthday, which can only add to our collective nausea (or delight, depending on how you feel about his body of work). 

In the late 60's and mid 70's, Waters was an underground auteur, creating bizarre and hilarious commentaries on society, starring Harris Glen "Divine" Milstead as any number of tragic females reacting and revolting (literally) against the establishment. The lat 80's saw Waters' most mainstream film to date, Hairspray, which in turn has been made into a Broadway musical* and a musical film. Waters remains a GLBT icon, though his films have seen decreasing acclaim as the subjects he once tackled become less taboo as time marches on. 

Personally, I love many of Waters' films, including Desperate Living; Crybaby; and Serial Mom. Of course, as a college student in the early 80's (Jeez, I am OLD), the ultimate John Waters' film was Pink Flamingos, in which Divine actually eats... no, I won't say it. You know what I'm talking about anyway... I may puke again just thinking about it...

*As a side note, Uncle P is scheduled to play Edna in a 2012 production of said musical. I hope I will have fully recovered by then...

More, anon.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Be It Ever So Humble...

Well, what was intended to be a nine day vacation in Florida turned into ten when I contracted some godawful stomach ailment that had Uncle P puking in full-blown "Exorcist" mode for 5 hours on the night before I was to come home, leaving me in no shape to travel the next day. After changing my flight (a task made as painless - though hardly inexpensive - as possible by the good folks at Southwest), I spent most the rest of Wednesday sleeping in my sister's recliner, catching bits and pieces of various movies as I occasionally awoke to make another run for the bathroom. I couldn't imagine there was anything left inside me, but there was.

Honestly, i don't remember being that sick since I was a child. My Brother-in-Law had the same thing last Friday, but we attributed to a vertigo attack. When my symptoms mirrored his, exactly, we knew it was something else. By this morning, I was better, though still tired and still not very hungry. The flight home was fine and I'm hoping the worst is behind me. 

And now that I've totally over-shared and grossed you out, tomorrow I'll have happier tales of my trip to the land of oranges and alligators, including the story of the silliest Zombie Cake ever made (pictures to follow over at The Zombie Zone); an ill-fated trip to Universal Studios City Walk and outlet-shopping bargains galore!

Well, I am off to sleep in my own bed for the first time in days... Good night!

More, anon,

Monday, April 11, 2011

Gone Fishin'!

I'm off to visit my sister in the land that doesn't believe in Broadband, so I won't be posting anything until I get back (and get this ridiculous computer issue resolved).

In the meantime, I urge you to see "Insidious" and let me know what you thought of it. And if you're really bored, you can always donate to the James Tolin Memorial Fund, supporting AIDS, Arts Education and Suicide Prevention charities by doing so.

I hope the next nine days will be as wonderful for you as I plan on them being to me.

More, anon.

'Puter Problems

My PC has been acting goofy the last few days. It's still not right, but at least I can post something.

Look for a new post later today, and then don't expect anything for a while, as I am off to Florida for nine glorious days of sun and fun with my sister.

I may be posting a short post later today, but will be without computer access for the next two weeks or so. Sadly, my sister lives in an area where "broadband" is a myth...

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Dylan Dog: Dead of Night

Playing Superman only once may well be the best thing that ever happened to gorgeous Brandon Routh. Routh basically owes his career to MTV, where he starred as Wade in their scripted soap opera "Undressed." He went on to small parts on "The Gilmore Girls" and "Will and Grace" before landing the lead in director Bryan Singer's Superman Returns, a movie which, while I like it more than most people, is admittedly low on action and long on overwrought emotional baggage. 

I understand the critical and audience reaction to the movie (for my money, Kevin Spacey and Kate Bosworth were horribly miscast) but I think there's still plenty to like about Singer's film: Eva Marie Saint as Martha Kent; Frank Langella as Perry White; Parker Posey as Kitty Kowalsky and Kal Penn as one of Lex Luthor's henchmen. And that's not to mention Routh as Clark Kent/Kal-El/Superman. For Singer and all of the later Baby Boomers, Christopher Reeves was Superman. For two really good and two truly awful films, Reeves embodied The Man of Steel more than any other actor before him, including the ironically named George Reeve, who played Supe on TV and then died under mysterious circumstances -- but that's a post unto itself and I'm not going there right now. But, I digress. Not only was Routh  as close to Reeves as Singer was going to get, the handsome young actor went full steam ahead and channeled Reeves most admirably. Whatever faults Superman Returns may have, Routh is most certainly not one of them.

Since then, Routh's most visible film appearance was in Kevin Smith's Zack and Miri Make a Porno as gay porn star Bobby Long (OMG! That name is just so funny! Hahaha... NOT!). He also has a recurring role as CIA Agent Daniel Shaw on NBC's Spy-Fi* hit "Chuck." 

Further distancing himself from the DC franchise and hoping to create a one of his own, Routh is about to appear on U.S. screens in the film adaption of one of Europe's most popular graphic novels, Dylan Dog: Dead of Night. Routh plays a noirish detective charged with keeping the balance between good and evil among the supernatural creatures prowling New Orleans. Taye Diggs, Sam Huntington and the always amazing Peter Storemare co-star in what may well be the most interesting Superhero movie of the year:

D has already said this is a film we must see together and I whole-heartedly agree. I also happen to think Routh has a very promising career as an actor and fully expect him to be an A-lister within the next few years. He may very well be pretty, but I think he's also quite a talented and wide-ranged performer. Personally, I can't wait to see does next.

You may or may not know (or even care), but Uncle P is heading south in a few days to bask in the Florida sun and spend time with my sister. Preparations for my trip, combined with some minor JTMF complications have kept me from posting as regularly as usual. I'll be back later tonight (well, tomorrow for me) with a more serious topic.

More, anon.

*I hereby and forever lay claim to the term "Spy-Fi" (unless some other geek before me has already done so) and ask that you credit me when ever you use it. Arrogant, ain't I? Hey -- gotta leave something behind...

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Two 'Smaller' Films; a Sci-Fi Mashup and a Remake I Actually Don't Mind

That's Irish hot mess Colin Farrell flashing those puppy-dog eyes in some movie I now must see... Colin is playing the role originated by Chris Sarandon in the remake of Fright Night. The 1985 horror comedy starred William Ragsdale ("Justified"), Amanda Bearse ("Married With Children") and the late, infamously closeted Roddy McDowell as Charles Vincent. 

Charley Brewster (Ragsdale) never misses Charles Vincent's "Vampire Theatre" show on TV. When a mysterious neighbor sets up house next door, Charley suspects he may be a vampire and calls on Vincent for help. The original movie is fun, but the special effects (not to mention the acting style) are just a bit outdated. I don't mind it being remade at all. Anton Yelchin (Star Trek) takes over for Ragsdale; David "Dr. Who" Tennant is Vincent and Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Kick Ass) is Charley's buddy, Evil Ed (and I hope this doesn't mean Mintz-Plasse is destined for a future of bad gay porn, like the original Evil Ed, Stephen Geoffries...). Imogen Poots (28 Weeks Later; Jane Eyre) takes over for Bearse and the always amazing Toni Collette ("The United States of Tara") is Charley's mom, originally played by character actor Dorothy Fielding.

The first production stills of the remake are online at Cinematical, though there's no telling anything from three random shots. I just know that if Colin looked at me with those pouty lips and sad eyes, I'd let him bite me anywhere he wanted to... Oops! Over-share!

A friend from high school shared the trailer for A Matter of Size on Facebook (thanks, Nancy!). This Israeli/French production from 2009 is about an Israeli town coming to grips with being fat and celebrating by embracing the Japanese tradition of Sumo. While it may seem from the trailer below that the movie is a bit homophobic, it actually appears that A Matter of Size is a movie about 'coming out' as a Proud Person of Size. As a gay Person of Size, I have to appreciate the 'coming out' part, at least. As a real person with a far from sensitive sense of humor, I think it looks like a very sweet, funny movie. Judge for yourselves:

 Finally, the trailer for the upcoming Sci-Fi/Noir thriller The Big Bang is up at ITunes Movie Trailers. Still steamy Antonio Banderas stars as hard-boiled L.A. P.I. Ned Cruz, hired to find a missing girl on a case that is unlike any other he's had. William Fitchner; Thomas Kretschmann; Delroy Lindo; James Van Der Beek and Snoop Dogg star in producer-turned-director Tony Krantz's film from a script by Eric Jendresen (Otis).

Maybe my fears about the death of the original screenplay are unwarranted, afterall.

More, anon.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Review: "Insidious"

I tried not to read too many good things about Insidious because everything I was reading about it, was good. I've already talked about how much I like this film's team and I will talk about them again tonight, but not just yet.

Insidious starts out by introducing us to the Lamberts: Josh (Patrick Wilson), Renai (Rose Byrne) and their children; Dalton, Foster and a baby girl (with no IMDb credit). They've just moved into a lovely Arts and Crafts-style house, perfect for a growing family. Almost immediately, weird things start to happen and soon Dalton (Ty Simpkins) has a fall and a scare while exploring the attic, resulting in what appears to be a medically inexplicable coma of some kind. 

When they finally bring the boy home from the hospital, the weirdness gets weirder and creepier and just too much for Renai and she begs Josh to move them away from what she is convinced is a haunted house. And they do. And they soon find out... well, let's just say it wasn't the house that was the problem.

Leigh Whannell's taut script heavily references Tobe Hooper's Poltergeist in both structure and themes, while injecting elements of both Saw's Steam Punk aesthetics and Dead Silence's creepy old lady imagery. There's nothing truly new about the plot itself, but director James Wan is at his best when working with a script by Whannell. Together, they manage to inject new life into some classic genre tropes, producing a tense and shock-filled thriller that delivers on all sorts of levels, without a drop of blood or a profanity worse than 'bitch.' Wilson and Byrne are both very good here, putting their own spins on characters we've seen before, even handling Whannell's deliberately cliched dialog (at least I hope it was deliberately) with the appropriate seriousness to make us want to believe in what's happening. Hershey is Josh's mother and does well with a role only slightly bigger than in Black Swan. Character actor Lin Shaye is the Dr. Lesh/Tangina combination character, assisted by her own nerdy psi-techs Specs (Whannell) and Tucker (Angus Sampson), neither of whom pull apart their own faces, but both of whom experience some pretty terrifying things. And Insidious does take us somewhere Poltergeist didn't, doing so quite admirably and very scarily... 

It is great to see both Wan and Whannell grow as artists. Whannell's script is cleverly derivative, building on the best ghost/demon/possession movies that have come before and still providing a twist that I only half figured out. Wan's eye for detail has never been better and he lets the camera move about like a voyeur at times, peeking around corners and passing images that may or may not mean something. And when Wan finally does let us see, what we see doesn't disappoint in the least. While Saw may have been a genre ground breaker for the duo, Insidious is a return to honest horror. You know what I'm talking about. The kind of horror where your imagination starts kicking in and what you can't see or almost see is just as scary as what you do see. Unlike the abysmal  Paranormal Activity (whose director, Oren Pelli serves as producer, here), Insidious doesn't waste time getting down to the good stuff and then  it keeps the good stuff coming right up to the end. Joseph Bishara's score may be a bit overzealous (not to mention deliberately LOUD at times) but that's a quibble, more than anything.

Wan and Whannell have once again impressed this jaded old Horror junkie with a rare thing, a truly excellent Horror movie. **** (Four out of Four Stars). If you're genre fan, do yourself a favor and see Insidious.

More, anon.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Nerdgasm: Superma'am, Batma'am, Elvira and The Hulk Walk Into a Bar

It's Fan Convention season and it kicks off with ComiCon's younger, gayer brother, the Bay Area's WonderCon. If you've ever spent time in the San Francisco area (or probably even if you haven't), you know it's the kind of place where folks let their their freak flags fly high and proud. Now imagine those folks are also comic book, anime and movie fans. I know I've talked about the one Fan-vention I attended in NYC with my sister in the 80's. Such events were still in their fledgling stages back then, basing their formats on the Star Trek conventions that really started the whole thing in the 1970's. This was specifically a Horror convention and while we both really enjoyed ourselves (honestly one of the best days I ever spent with my sister -- and believe me when I tell you that she and I have had many awesome days together), we made sure we stayed close to one another at all times, because there were some damned scary people in that crowd.

Such events have evolved into Events over the years and while there are always a few really scary folks, most fans are just there to have a good time. And there ain't nothin' wrong with that. Here (via) are some very amusing crowd shots from WonderCon 2011, which closed yesterday:

I think I like the gender-bending Supergals just slightly less than the half-naked Superguys (of which there weren't nearly enough for Uncle P's liking...). Still, it looked like everyone was having a good time and that's what really important when you spend hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars to look like a fictional character for three days... I really want to go to one of these, again. I just hope I'd be able to leave my snark at home.

My review of Insidious, next.

More, anon.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Schadenfreude, O Schadenfreude!

Our endlessly ha-hahing buddy Nelson Muntz there knows what I'm talking about. In fact Nelson, in many ways, is probably a schadenfreude vampire of some kind. I know I'm a bit of a schadenfreude junkie, myself. But  I only  get off on the pain of the pompous, the pious, the rich and the powerful, especially when it means exposing hypocrisy and the often ugly truth.

My favorites are the religious folk caught up in gay sex scandals. After that, it's loud-mouthed, privileged asshats being taken down by a crowd of fans who suddenly came to their senses and realized what an idiot crackhead said asshat really is. That was a bit specific, wasn't it? And I suppose I must make an exception to my self-declared moratorium on this particularly over-paid, idiotic celebrity and ask that you share in the Schadenfreude Fest that is this colossally rewarding Charlie Sheen Fail:

I think this may well be the dose of reality the poor fellow needs before he realizes he is committing career suicide.Or will Charlie "Tiger's Blood" Sheen never learn not to sh*t where he eats? Sheen grew up wanting for nothing, and now expects more. Personally, I have no idea why his show was #1. It stopped being funny after the second season and started to rely on vulgar double and triple entendres; puberty jokes; pot jokes and the exploitation of women. I've never been a huge fan of Chuck Lorre shows, and this one ranks as one of his most exploitative and offensive. Given Sheen's history of 'bad boy' antics, is it any wonder he would eventually fall hard? I just hope he's now fallen hard enough to seek professional help.

More, anon.

Okay - Moratorium back in place. 

TV Review: "Grey's Anatomy"

It's been a long time since I've watched the ABC hospital drama "Grey's Anatomy." I liked a lot, at first. It was funny and fast-paced and often gruesome. I gave up on the show during the whole "Izzie and brain tumor-induced Ghost Denny" debacle. I've caught occasional episodes since then, but have rarely watched with the regularity of the first three seasons or so...

But this week's "Grey's Anatomy" was a special musical episode, revolving around the vocal talents of it's Tony Award-winning (for Spamalot) star Sara Ramirez, who plays Calliope "Callie" Torres. Callie and her partner Arizona Robbins (Jessica Capshaw) are leaving Callie's baby shower. Arizona (Really? That's her name?) has just proposed to Callie, but before Callie can answer, they rear-end a stopped truck and pregnant Callie is thrown through the windshield. Classic soap-opera stuff. But in 'Song Beneath the Song,' Callie, slipping in and out of consciousness, spends the episode hallucinating that she is not only watching from outside her body, but commenting in song on what's happening. And it seems she's also imagining her friends and colleagues bursting into song as they frantically try to save her life. Uncle P is a huge fan of the caliente Ramirez and her amazing voice and I made sure to record the episode just to hear her sing. And after having finally watched the show as my soup was simmering this afternoon, I was very pleasantly surprised to find out that Ramirez was not the only talented singer among the cast. And I will get to the others in a bit.

The episode started strong, with Ramirez singing from outside her body, watching as she was brought in Seattle Grace's ER. At one point, the mostly incoherent 'real' Callie actually said the word "music?" as though wondering why people were singing to her. I could have done with less shouted ER jargon and more singing over powerful images, but the opening sequence was still damned powerful and the first of several to bring a tear to jaded Uncle P's eyes. I was also impressed with vocals by by Chandra Wilson (Avenue Q; Caroline, or Change) and Kevin McKidd (Dog Soldiers). But the episode's surprise revelatory performance came from Chyler Leigh whose rendition of Faith Hill's Anna Nallick's "Breathe" was nothing less than stunning. I do hope that it was actually her singing without the benefit of digital enhancement. And while I actually like the Faith Hill Anna Nallick version of "Breathe," so I don't feel bad in saying I liked this version a whole lot more. The style and arrangement, combined with Leigh's powerful vocals, provided the emotionally charged makings of a chart-topping single.

Unfortunately, the conceit began to wear thin after that and the songs merely became superfluous reminders of how Shonda Rhimes sometimes tries a bit too hard in keeping her show relevant in it's 7th season. And just while I thought the show had jumped the shark several seasons ago, the buzz is that this is "Grey's..." best season in years. And why not push the show's envelope a bit and do a musical episode? Not all of what they tried worked, but much of it was effective. And all of the songs used had been used as part of the soundtrack of the series' first three seasons.

Here's an interview with Sara about the episode, in which she also praises Chyler Leigh's performance:

Honestly, I liked 'Song Beneath the Song' more than I thought I would and may very well start watching "Grey's..." again. ***1/2 (Three and a Half Stars).

More, anon.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Cooking Fail/Win + The Gayest Thing You'll See This Week

So, tonight was another theme dinner with friends from college. We'll talk about my pretty massive fail after I talk about the first two fabulous wins. of the evening. We started with cheese-puffs and mini-Reuben pastries (Yum and yum-yum!). Then we moved on to my soup, which I was quite proud of, with the exception of my Super-Ball matzoh balls. I don't understand what went wrong. After consulting three experts, I did everything they told me. I followed the directions on the matzoh meal to the letter. Instead of light and fluffy like every matzoh ball I've ever had (and hadn't made), they were dense and chewy. I didn't have to remake them, so I just went. I warned everyone about them and advised them not to eat them and not to feel bad spitting them out should they in fact, eat one. Everyone took one out of politeness. I declined, saying "Don't say you weren't warned." The soup, everyone agreed was excellent. I do make a mean pot of chicken soup, if I say so myself - though for the first time ever, I cut everything up into spoon-sized pieces, which actually improved the soup because you got a bite of everything with every spoonful.

Then they dug into the matzoh balls, which they had to cut into with a knife. Everyone agreed that they looked and tasted right, but were decidedly dense. Truth be told, my friends are too nice - those matzoh balls were the wrongest matzoh balls, ever. Dale, the only Jew among us for our 'Jewish Food' dinner, joked that they were like Nibbler's poo... At least I know the soup was good. Next came a delicious and tender brisket; tsimmis; kugle and string beans in garlic. For desert: apricot; triple-berry and prune/raisin hammentaschen and black and white cookies. By the time we finished, we were all stuffed with yummy goodness. So despite the Great Matzoh Ball Fail of 2011, everything went well and we all fed each other way too much.

I have no idea what our next theme will be, but if it's going to be as good as the last few have been, I can't wait. 

I know I'm long overdue for a movie review, but D and I will be seeing Insidiouis one night in the coming week. But for now, just enjoy the Gayest Thing You'll See This Week (via); the hilarious anti-stereotyping video called "Gay Dude in Wrestling Singlet Talks About Barbra Streisand" (language NSFW):

More, anon.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Okay - Which One of You Fooled the B*tch?

If you live in the Northeast today, these daffodils were a familiar sight to many of you. And you also know the "b*tch" in today's April Fools' Day post. It's Mother Nature, of course. And if you were around in the U.S. in the 1970's, you knew her from her string of commercials for Chiffon brand margarine. I don't know if Chiffon still exists of not. I haven't bought margarine since the 70's. Chiffon's motto/jingle was "If you think it's butter, but it's not, it's Chiffon!" My mother used to save the  plastic tubs after the oily goo was gone and re-purpose them as storage containers for left-overs. Green out of necessity? Tupperware was never cheap... You never knew what might be lurking in a Chiffon container in our fridge.

That's character actress Dena Deitrich as Mother Nature, Borden's face of Chiffon throughout the 70's, who somehow kept getting tricked into thinking Chiffon was butter. My Depression-child father grew up on margarine, which meant we did, too. It's repulsive sutff, really; waxy and tasteless -- in other words, nothing like butter whatsoever. Of  course, once I found out  that even flies won't eat the stuff, I never used it again.

Butter may be a little bad for you, but you know where it comes from and how (essentially) it is made. There was absolutely nothing natural about Chiffon (or any other margarine product) in the 70's. Made from hydrogenated oils, with artificial flavors, coloring and preservatives., they bore little resemblance to any real food, let alone butter. I cannot speak to today's versions, as I have not had them.

But that's not what this post is about. It's about Mother Nature run amok on April Fools' Day, snowing and raining then snowing more and then the sun came out and it rained with the sun out. It was a weird weather day, alright. Maybe the stupid bitch got fooled again. She's a stupid bitch.

There were some very funny things on the web, today. Ryan Seacrest had both his website and Twitter account hijacked by the Bronx Zoo Cobra. BoingBoing (among a few other sites) skewered the New York Times' by announcing a so-called "pay-wall" of their own.  Google, as usual, had some of the best ones. I really liked "Gmail Motion:"

And there was this one from last year, "Google Translate for Animals:"

I didn't get pranked today, but I heard this story about someone who was. An IT Technician sent a rather gullible person an email saying a new "voice activated feature" had been added to the copiers. For added measure, he printed up an official looking sign that read: "This copier has been upgraded and is now voice activated. The keypad for this copier has been deactivated. Please speak clearly; the copier will not respond if it cannot understand your request. Thank you. IT." Apparently the poor  thing stood at the copier saying "Print 10 copies" and "Print!" and "Print, please" and any variation she could think of, over-enunciating and getting very frustrated before another co-worker couldn't hold back and started laughing. I don't know what the woman's response to getting punked was. It seemed pretty harmlessly amusing to me. But then, I'm a jerk.

Any of you guys get punked; pranked; tricked; fooled; bamboozled; conned; played or otherwise abused today? Or did you punk; prank; trick; fool... etc., someone? Did you see or hear about an amazing punk; prank... yadda, yadda, yadda...? Your very own funny Uncle P wants you to share. Unburden yourself here. We won't judge... much.

Happy Weekend, especially to you folks who keep coming back to read the opinions of an aging gay pop culture geek. I have lots of cooking, eating and theatre coming up this weekend, so I'm off to do a few other things before bed tonight. A full report on tomorrow's dinner party, tomorrow night.

More, anon.

Friday Weirdness, Nonsense 'n Hatin'

This is going to be the first of two rather hectic weekends for Uncle P. Why I am still up at this hour on a school night is beyond me. But I am an insomniac, so I may as well do something. 

This Saturday is another of my college friends' themed dinners. I know I've talked about them, but I'm much to lazy to look them up to link to it. We have a list of possible themes which in 20 or so years of doing this, we've only now begun to get to some of the more esoteric themes. I guess because of Passover, we finally chose Jewish Food as our theme. I am making my rather amazing (if I say so myself) chicken soup. I am also making matzoh balls for the first time, ever. I went to a friend at work and a friend of my mother's for advice. Both of them said cook the balls before you add them to the soup and "...don't make them like New York Deli softball matzoh balls that fill the whole damned bowl!" One advised "...meatball-sized" and the other "...egg-size - but decent eggs: not scrawny pullet eggs - don't skimp!" However, Bubbe Suzie passed on an additional secret that she guarantees will make "...the lightest, fluffiest, you can't even imagine how good these are, matzoh balls." I'm going to take Bubbe Suzie's advice and then let you know what it is, if it works.

I also wanted to address my first actual requested topic,* which will come apparent shortly. My dear, sweet friend Bill asked me to address a specific viral video which was also mentioned to me in the same context, by my mother. But since it will be Friday when I finish, and I'll probably be spending most of my Friday night cooking for Saturday, and we're already talking about viral videos, we'll start with the evil, evil Friday by Rebecca Black. I'm not going to embed it here, but have linked to it in case you've never seen it.  And don't yell me when you do see it. I didn't make the damnable thing! What I will embed are these two (of so many) very funny parodies of it:

Then there is this amazing version that proves even the smelliest of turds can be polished with a good dose of stylistic irony...

But Friday isn't the viral clip my friend Bill has asked me to address. And while I completely agree with him about this particular clip, I must preface it with other clips I can't enough of. I know I've said this before, but the one sound that will get me laughing without fail, is the sound of a baby laughing:

Adorable, yes? But there is one baby clip that makes me and my friend Bill almost hate babies. You know the one. It ran 670 times on television today, alone. And almost every single person I know has linked to it somewhere online. It's those evil, conniving twins. Yeah, you think it's cute for about 10 seconds, but 2 minutes of "DAT-DAT-DAT-DAT-DAT-DAT-DAT-DAT!? (giggle, giggle); DAT-DAT-DAT-DAT-DAT.." .ad nauseum is not really all that entertaining. But the version below is:

So, in a nutshell, YouTube is evil? No, not really. Just some of the people who use (and abuse) it.

*The only other request I've honored has been for a title. Do you have something you'd like me to address, comment upon, shred to pieces or otherwise make fun of ? Suggest either a topic or a title and I just may well use it.

More, anon.