Monday, July 20, 2009

check out this...

...awesome giveaway at The Story Sirens.


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Dead...They're All Dead

Holy shit...I think we can write June 2009 off as the worst month for the entertainment world since...ever.

First, David Carradine was knocked off (scroll down for more). About two days ago, Ed McMahon died at the age of 86, health problems attributed. This morning, I was woken up (rather rudely) by my sister, to tell me that Charlie's Angel Farrah Fawcett had passed away not 20 minutes earlier of anal cancer. And now, 7:00, my sister once again comes running out to tell me that now, Michael Jackson, the King of Pop himself, had died of cardiac arrest, aged 50.
Well...what can I say?

Monday, June 8, 2009

RIP--David Carradine 1936–2009

Last Thursday, David Carradine--best known for his starring role in the cult 70s TV series Kung Fu and as the eponymous Bill in the every-kind-of-awesome-known-to-man-and-several-known-only-to-the-Martians Quentin Tarantino-directed Kill Bill (although he was most prominent in Part 2, only doing glorious voicework in Part 1)--was found dead in his hotel room on the set of a new movie called Stretch. After failing to show up for a cast dinner, someone went up to check on the 72-year-old veteran actor\martial artist and found him hanging from his neck, with his hands tied behind his back (along with *ahem* other things). Whether it was suicide or accidental (a botched attempt at autoerotic asphyxiation (forgive my spelling, I can't even pronounce this word correctly)) remains unknown. Bangkok (where he was at) police tell the BBC that it was a hanging, while Carradine's publicist tells American reporters that he died of natural causes (

His lawyer, meanwhile, stated on Larry King that he was killed by a band of 'secret sect of kung fu ninjas'. Yes, you read that right. No, I am not joking.

Here's what Wikipedia has to report on this certain matter:

On Friday 5 June, the Carradine family lawyer Mark Geragos spoke on Larry King Live and dismissed claims of suicide, stating instead that David Carradine could have been murdered by a "secret sect of kung fu assassins", after it was revealed that Carradine had been attempting to uncover groups working in the martial-arts underworld.

He was not kidding.

So either this is a very bad lawyer, or David Carradine was a lot more awesome than we once thought.

My one regret? That one of his last roles was as a coma patient on that crappy House knock-off.


Here are some more brief reviews of movies I have just seen.

The Brothers Bloom--The sophomore effort from Rian Johnson, the director of Brick, which starred Joseph Gordon-Levitt (who cameos as a man in the bar the Brothers go to celebrate a successful con--the camera closes in on his face for a minute. Another girl from Brick who's name I forget has a minor role as a groupie). Starring Adrien Bordy, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel Weisz, and Rinko Kikuchi. About 2 con men brothers, the scheming Stephen (Ruffalo), who plans the cons and fancies himself a character in a novel, and the younger romantic Bloom (Brody (he's never named)), who is tired of living only as the characters his brother writes for him. After a few months estrangment, Stephen convinces Bloom to pull of 'one last con' (God, I know. How many times have you heard that one?), with the help of their accomplice, silent explosives-expert Bang Bang (Kikuchi), who is said to only know 3 words in English. The target: wealthy but lonely eccentric Penelope (Weisz), who collects hobbies and enjoys making pinhole cameras out of watermelons (My God, the quirks!). In an increasingly complicated plot that deserts the original plan entirely, Bloom finds himself in love with Penelope (of course).

I liked this movie. Rachel Weisz deserves at least a Golden Globe, she's just so goddamn funny in this. Adrien Brody (or rather, Adrien Brody's sad-eyes) wet-blankets his (their) way through relatively unscathed (I kid. He was actually very good). Mark Ruffulo seems slightly out of his element as the conniving, light-hearted Stephen. Rinko Kikuchi has literally three lines in the entire movie, but her expressions are just fucking hilarious. Slows down in the third half to focus on the actual con, and the ending in bittersweet (no spoilers, I'm afraid), but all in all, an indie in love with it's own quirks and proud of it, that's funny, smart, and blah, you know the whole fucking thing, my hands are hurting. Maximilian Schell as the sleazy former mentor Diamond Dog, Robbie Coltrane as the brothers' rival\accomplice The Curator, Ricky Jay as the narrator (who only appears in the beginning, even though you think it's going to be a recurring thing--he sounds like he knows something you don't, it's weird). Rating: 9

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Random Compilation

Since it has been many a month since I have graced my 3 followers with my presence (and myself, since it would appear that I am my own follower), plus my sister who keeps telling me that you all are 'outraged' (her words) that I haven't been writing anything (I believe 'bitch fit' also worked it's way into that conversation, but by then the subject matter had changed to Oprah and A Million Little Pieces), and despite this gross hyperbole, I will write many short reviews of various things and ideas I have happened upon since my last blurb.

Susan Boyle--Yes, the British sensation who is being treated as a small child dressing in drag at his parents' dinner party. An interesting, amusing spectacle. She is a fanatastic singer. Will everyone please get over how she looks?

Miss California--I don't care about the gay marriage thing. I don't agree with what she said, but it was an opinion. I can respect that. Her subsequent lies concerning photos of a nekkid nature are just ridiculous.

Prop 8--I know, that was, like, a year ago, but I just got the numbers for how much the church spent on trying to get it passed. Many a zero, friends.

Runaways Vol 1--A comic created by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrien Alphona for Marvel (later worked on by such cult favorites as Joss Whedon and Terry Moore) follows, originially, the offspring of a team of supervillians called 'The Pride'. Upon discovering their parents' secret, and subsequently their own hidden powers, they run away to try and undo the damage their parents have done, while also attempting to figure out what their parents are up to and....well, yeah, all that stuff you'd expect. While it is obvious it was written, as usual, by grown men who only have an inkling idea of how teenagers actually talk, it is much better than other Marvel comics I have encountered. None of the principle characters have costumes (with the exception of eleven-year-old Molly, but it's really just a cut-up curtain), they only use their 'superhero' names half the time (which is a shame, because some of them are actually very good), and the storyline isn't completely half-assed. The romantic subplots within the group, I could do without, but I guess that makes the big reveal have a bigger impact. I don't really know how to review a comic, but I liked it. Rating: 7

Movie: Lars and the Real Girl--There are so many ways the makers of this (forgive me for saying this) adorable indie starring Ryan Gosling as a young man who develops a relationship with a mail-order, life-sized sex doll (Bianca) could've made it exploitive, sexploitive, gross-out, mocking or just bad. They, fortunately, didn't, choosing to approach it with enough sincerity and care to create a touching little world where a town comes together to pretend Bianca's real, for the sake of the eponymous Lars. It never veers into (again, forgive me) silly or cutesy. Gosling gives an amazingingly understated performance, along with Emily Mortimer as his well-meaning and pregnant sister-in-law, Paul Schneider as his guilt-ridden older brother, and Patricia Clarkson as the family doctor, who doubles as a psychologist. Rating: 8

Book: I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone--About a girl who's mother ditches when she's a toddler to 'follow the music' of the rising punk scene, as she grows to have her own punk band. As they rise to fame, she (I'll quote the back cover here) 'tries to find the song that'll bring her mother home'. This was an okay enough book, but one thing that bugged me throughout was the fact that every minute of every day from the age of 14 is spent obsessing about the absentee mom she doesn't even remember. Literally. Not just thinking about her every once in a while, when she's playing a song or whatever. Every. Single. Minute. She can't go a page without talking about how her mother abandoned her, messed up her ability to hold down a relationship, blah blah fucking blah, we get it. You miss your mommy. Get over it for five seconds. Christ, I'm rambling again, aren't I? Anyway, if you can ignore that fact, which I'm probably making a bigger deal than it is, than it's a perfectly okay book. Better if you're a fan of music (many obscure references). Rating: 6

American Idol--God, who the fuck cares? This show mass-produces a heap of identical singers, with the exception of a few 'originals' (read: gay, parent, oddly-colored hair, army veteran, all four), all of whom take singing so seriously it's annoying just listening to their interviews. From tryouts on, they blubber on about how much they want this, they want this so bad. Butchering songs by people more talented then they, either annoyingly modest or obnoxiously confident ("I am the next American Idol"), hamming up their vocals for all their worth, and dropping in how mad awesome the others are when they're voted off. I'm being picky, yes, but I just really hate this show. If you, right now, have the urge to leave a comment about how amazing the show it, and how I'm just jealous/ignorant/pathetic/etc, then kindly leave it and never come back here, because you are not welcome.

Nadya Suleman 'Octomom'--She's an unemployed, single former stripper who purposely got inseminated with eight kids, even though she already had 6 under the age of ten, and then begs us, America, to show her sympathy and give her our money. And she's in negotiations for a reality show. Ahem.

That was nice. I'm done for now.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Sequel to Donnie Darko Must Be Stopped

For those of you who haven't heard, Donnie Darko is the greatest film ever. EVER. The entire thing just never gets boring, and you feel smarter for just getting it the second time.
Of all the movies that don't need sequels, Donnie Darko is at the top of the list. But guess what this Chris Fisher person is doing. Making a motherfucking sequel. About the nonexistent little sister. With that Gossip Girl guy. And that Twilight guy. And Elizabeth Berkley.
I've seen the viral videos. They're kinda cool. The trailer? Like a crappy horror movie. It goes to DTD, but still. Holy Fuck.
Speaking of bad movies, there is a petition circulating to make Uwe Bol retire. Sign it here:
For the future of cinema, stop these two atrocities. It's too late of S. Darko, but Uwe Boll can still be stopped!

Pop Culture Gimmicks

You all know them, even if you've never put a name on them. In books, it could take the form of 2nd person narrative (you look around in wonder, etc.), versed poetry, or breaking of the fourth wall. In television and movies, it may be special effects, shaky camera work, abrupt endings (especially in series finales, which I will no doubt get to eventually), or, again, some form of wall-breaking. These can either go wonderfully well or horribly awry, depending on who's handling the material. Here are a few:

This is very similar to breaking the fourth wall (a term dirived back in the days when people still went to plays and called them 'theatre'. It goes back to Shakespeares' A Midsummer's Night's Dream, when the character Puck would directly address the audience, talking through what would've been the stage's literal fourth wall), but instead of outright talking to the members of the audience, it references people from the movie or show or play, either they themselves or things they've done. For instance, if Madonna were to do a movie which involved some sort of female-bonding-type dance sequence in a kitchen involving makeshift spoons\microphones, and the song she'd be lip-syncing to were, say, "Material Girl" or "Vogue", this would be a meta-reference (also acceptible: one of her gal-pals saying that Madonna's character sounded 'nothing' like the singer). How it went well: F. Scott Fitzgerald's second novel, "The Beautiful and Damned", in which a novelist character complains about how every girl he meets asks him if he's read "This Side of Paradise". This is, if you skipped this entire paragraph and can't see what's coming next, F. Scott Fitzgerald's first novel. Also seen in 'Fight Club' (movie). How it sucked: That whole "Ocean's Twelve" abortion where Julia Robert's character attempted to pull off a scheme the guys cooked up where she pretended to be--well, you can guess. Also present is Bruce Willis and that very annoying 'My-God-How-Could-You-Possibly-Think-That-Would've-Worked-The-Nose-Is-All-Wrong' schtick. Also see Meta-jokes, metafiction, metafilm, meta-language, meta-discussion, meta-knowledge, frame story, story-wthin-a-story, etc.

Deaus ex machina
Literally translated as 'god from the machine', is a plot device in which a person or thing appears or is introduced suddenly and unexpectedly and provides a contrived solution to an apparently insoluble difficulty. The overall consensus is that this is borth a cheap and lazy way to neatly end a story, often featured in high school short story assignments and the lesser, Direct-to-DVD horror flicks featuring a cast member from Gossip Girl or whoever. How it went well: Shakespeare used this technique quite often and, as expected, kicked it's bitch ass. The famous 'aliens-destroyed-by-Earth-bacteria' ending to War of the Worlds. Also, Adaption. by Spike Jonze and starring Nicholas Cage, Meryl Streep, and Chris Cooper (who won an Oscar for his role), used this, but it's okay because they knew it, and in fact referenced it (the device) several times. The fact that they used it was ironic, so they can be forgiven (meta references which are too complicated to explain are present as well). How it sucked: Most everywhere else that's not a TV-MA-rated cartoon.

Shaky Camera
This is the technique seen in movies to add realism to the whole thing, such as the Jason Bourne series, but is also used as the extremely gimmicky 'found footage' film, as in 'Cannibal Holocaust', 'The Blair Witch Project', 'Jimmy and Judy', and 'Cloverfield'. How it went well: Blair Witch, Jimmy and Judy, Cannibal Holocaust. How it sucked: Cloverfield.

Shocker Series Finales
The series finale is what a TV show is most remembered for--that is, if it doesn't come out with a spin-off show at the last minute. That's why the creators always try to leave a mark. You know--everyone dies, everyone's happy, everyone leaves, whatever. I could go on the very best of them, and there are plenty--The Prisoner's head-scratching, 500-new-questions closer, Mary Tyler Moore's sentimental goodbye, Blake's 7's bloody example how you don't fuck with imaginative producers, the end of a war that the soldiers of M*A*S*H have been fighting twice as long as everybody else, Dinosaur's sobering and unsettling foreshadowing to the cruel extinction of the prehistoric characters (with a lovely enviromental message to boot), St. Elsewhere's drastic retcon, Kids in the Hall's grave-dance, Mystery Science Theatre's...thing, the X-Files' end-of-the-world scenario, the Sopranos' mid-sentence blackout, Six Feet Under's closer that seriously needs some Vicodin, both of the Life on Mars' (BBC and CBS versions), Roseanne's last-minute confession, and Newhart's hilarious awakening from an eight-season-long dream. The only bad ones are the ones that didn't know they were cancelled--the cliff-hanger, especially.

The undoing of an already established fact, whether intentionally or not. This is often seen in sitcoms, shaping a character's age to fit into the recent storyline. How it went well: Roseanne taking back the ludicrus final season, as well as pretty much everything after the 3rd season, SNL's disowning of the recent past's seasons via Madonna. How it sucked: That Dallas thing. What the fuck was that?

Chuck Cunningham Syndrome
Named after the Happy Day's character that disappeared without a trace, he was followed by little Judy on Family Matters (and look how she turned out), Donna's two sisters on That 70's Show, and a million other places, mostly sitcoms. Not a gimmick, but ridiculous all the same.