Sunday, December 31, 2006


I just wanted to mention that anyone who remotely likes a good movie musical should run to see Dreamgirls (adapted from the early 80s Broadway hit, inspired by the story of Diana Ross and The Supremes), which IMO instantly becomes the film to beat at this year's Oscars.

Eddie Murphy is a revelation -- certain to get the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. He's come a long way from "Party All the Time." (And hopefully, he's also come a long way from the nauseatingly homophobic material he--and many other comics-- did in the Early 80s...)

Jennifer Hudson (apparently one of these American Idol people) will no be mistaken for Meryl Streep any time soon -- but she has an amazing voice, and she's not bad, by any means. Her prformance is natural, and endearing. Ditto Beyonce.

I can't remember the last time an audience (let alone a jaded, Manhattan audience) broke into spontaneous applause during a film even once, let alone a dozen times, but that's just what happened here. And with good reason. Dreamgirls is that good (though it's not quite as good as Chicago, which director Bill Condon's adapted for Rob Marshall).


Check out the teaser trailer for Brad Bird's follow-up to The Incredibles. Looks like a keeper (though I still think it's a shame he's ruled out The Incredibles 2).

The (Real) Fortress of Solitude

Check out the Naica crystal caves, located in the state of Chihuahua to the north of México, at the Industrias Peñoles mine.

Pics at the site.

Oh, and -- Happy New Year, folks! Catchya in 2007.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Pay No Attention

to the man behind the curtin:
President Bush will talk soon to our troops, to the American people and to the Iraqi people about the new way forward in Iraq that will lead to a democratic and unified country that can sustain, govern, and defend itself.
We now return you to your regularly scheduled propaganda.

Friday, December 22, 2006

The Hap, Happiest Season of All

Stress About What To Get People--Check

Stress Some More About What To Get People--Check

Decide to Make List of What to Get People--Check

Procrastinate by Whacking Off to Internet Porn Instead of Making List of What To Get People--Check, Check, Check, Check, Check

Actually Make List of What To Get People--Check

Buy Presents--Check

Freak Out and Make Threats Via Email When Certain Presents Purchased Online Don't Make It In Time--Check

Wrap Presents--Check

Bitch and Moan While Wrapping Presents--Check

Crack Bottle of Top-Shelf Tequila Boss Gave You--Check

Drink Til Hallucinations Commence--Pending

...It's the most wonderful time of the year... (Whatever...)

SNL: Dick in a Box

Thursday, December 21, 2006

More on Cirignano Assault

Do the link: it's a must-read article.

This one's pretty interesting, too.

Lost Season 3 Comments

I had been pretty sick & tired of all their bullshit around this time last season. Seriously, I was about ready to walk away from those incurious motherfuckers (a technical term, to be sure, coined by screenwriter John Rogers on his blog, Kung Fu Monkey, linked at right).

I still think they had about 6 episodes of story stretched across, what, 24-26 eps/hours?

But then they turned it all around by introducing the prisoner Henry Gale (played by the brilliant Michael Emerson) with a gripping is-he-or-isn't-he-an-Other? arc. His interrogation and torture scenes were intense, beguiling, scary -- reminiscent of Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs.

They were also deeply revealing of the interrogators--principally Jack, Sayid, Locke--which got me interested in them again. And when it turned out that Henry wasn't just an Other, but the Other--their leader--the show gained a strong villain at its core.

And that's making all the difference. Henry Gale -- who we now know is named Ben Linus -- has basically become the star of the show. It all revolves around him now... and, to a lesser extent, his group, including some intriguing new characters e.g., Juliet, whose flashback ep is the first one back from the hiatus. I don't imagine we'll get the Henry/Ben flashback til late in the season (similar to the placement of Desmond's flashback last year).

I don't care if we ever go back to the beach. The beach was boring last year -- but it's entirely irrelevant now. The beach is where the principals go in between harrowing adventures (during which they sleep in beds--or at least, in buildings--and watch sports on TV).

For the beach to work, the producers would have to decide to actively pursue a storyline I had expected them to pursue from the start -- The attempt by these people to survive in the wild (as wild as it can be with regular food drops) and to forge a new society.

And they did start down the path in the first season, with Michael wanting to build that elaborate plumming system in the caves, with showers and wash basins, and toilets--all the mod cons--but they dropped that plotline pretty quick.

I'd love the show to also examine the idea that, more and more of these people, the ones we only see in background, are starting to think the real world is where they were lost, and the island is where they're found. (Which is what Locke believes... Kate, too... Rose.... Charlie... etc.)

They're setting down roots, building a new world, surviving.

I suppose after so much time away, Jack and the others could--at the conclusion of this storyline--return to a beach that looks more like a little town.

The could find that others have stepped into the breach, taken up leadership roles, and actually gotten things done.

Though I think I'd still rather see them head the other way up the coast to see what fearsome (or friendly) creatures may be in the next cove... Maybe descendents of the slavers and slaves from the Blackrock?

Maybe they should commence a Grand Tour of the island...

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

is the title of the final book in the series,according to a new post by the author on her site.

Two predictions:

1, Snape is a double-agent
2, Hermione doesn't survive

Update: Cirignano Charged with Assault

So... This guy has been charged with misdemeanor assault & battery.
“I did not push anyone to the ground,” Mr. Cirignano said in an e-mailed statement. “I had a portfolio in one hand and escorted the lady back into the crowd and left. I never touched her shoulders and she apparently thought that she could draw a foul like it was a basketball game by falling down. Great theater, not Academy Award material.

By which I take it he plans to plead not guilty. Unfortunately for him, his story contradicts not just the victim's, but that of several eyewitnesses, as well. For example:
At the time of incident, I was with the pro-equality folks at the front of our circle," Robarge reported. "There was no one in front of me. Ms. Loy was within the anti-marriage group but only about 20 or 15 feet away from me."

Robarge said he saw Loy being pushed. "There was a hand on each of her shoulders and then she fell," he continued. "The back of her head hit the ground. I did not see the face connected to the hands."

The eyewitness reported that he was concerned for her safety, so he dropped the sign he was holding and rushed toward Loy "because there were people around her, but they didn’t do anything to help. That’s why I didn’t see his face right away. There were people around obstructing my view."

As he went to assist Loy, Robarge said he saw a man heading through the crowd, away from Loy, and back towards the podium. "I did see that it was Mr. Cirignano," he told EDGE. "He had just spoken. I had just seen him at the podium. I didn’t know who he was but recognized him as the speaker."

Police officers came up to where Loy was lying on the ground. According to Robarge, one said, "You need to get out of here. You need to get back where you are supposed to be. You need to get her out of here, too." There was no apparent concern for Loy’s well-being, Robarge added. He was one of several witnesses who later made statements to police about the incident. Police also interviewed Loy and Cirignano.

Meanwhile, local pro gay marriage groups, smelling blood in the water, have begun to call for Cirignano's ouster. If he doesn't "resign" (read: get fired) by the end of the year, I'll be surprised... This is not the kind of guy they want identified with their cause... though, for the same reason, I hope he manages to hang on (because he *is* such a perfect spokesman for this "cause").

Previously: That's What Hate Does

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Brian K Vaughan Joins "Lost" Writing Staff & Buffy Season 8 Comic

Now, there's some good fuckin' news

Vaughan's hiring on the massive hit genre show follows that of other award-winning comics writers Jeph Loeb and Paul Dini. But like them, Vauaghan promises that his new job won't remove him from the comics scene. “I'm absolutely not leaving comics. There are a lot of ‘Y: The Last Man' and ‘Ex Machina' fans at the show, so everyone has been great about leaving me just enough time to work on those books, and even some new ones, including an upcoming four-issue stint on that Runaways guy Joss Whedon's ‘eighth season' of ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer' [comic] over at Dark Horse.”

Vaughan indicated that some of the scripts for forthcoming “Lost” episodes are in his view among the series' best episodes.

It's been a good season so far. in fact, it's been much much better than I thought it was going to be, so I have no trouble believing that there's good stuff in the pipeline.

I do hope they let Vaughan express a bit of his own auctorial style in his scripts -- his quick witted banter-style of dialogue, in particular, a tonal shift which could bring some much-needed laughs without actually betraying the seriousness of the story situations.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Heroes Update: Zach's Coming Out Scene Cut

SyFy Portal's Michael Hinman has an interesting report on this:
"The scenes were shot and edited that had Zach coming out," the source said. "The scene where Zach and Claire (Hayden Panettiere) was left intact, except it was just missing the final line, the one where he tells Claire he's gay."

The cut was made just before the episode, "Homecoming," aired around Thanksgiving break, the source said, possibly just days before. It was unclear why producers, however, were beholden to Dekker and his management team to make such a change, and the source was unwilling to shed light on that for fear of exposing his involvement with the show.

This is the scene we discussed in this post. What remains is: Zach tells Claire he's "OK with who" he is, but stops short of defining just what the meaning of "is," uh, is.

"That's What Hate Does"

WORCESTER— Tempers boiled over at an anti-gay marriage rally yesterday when the executive director of the Boston-based Catholic Citizenship emerged from behind a lectern outside City Hall, rushed toward a female counter-demonstrator, and pushed her to the ground.

Sarah Loy, 27, of Worcester was holding a sign in defense of same-sex marriage amid a sea of green “Let the People Vote” signs when Larry Cirignano of Canton, who heads the Catholic Citizenship group, ran into the crowd, grabbed her by both shoulders and told her, “You need to get out. You need to get out of here right now.” Mr. Cirignano then pushed her to the ground, her head slamming against the concrete sidewalk.
As Ms. Loy lay motionless on the ground, crying, Mr. Cirignano ran back behind the lectern, where moments before he had opened the afternoon rally by leading a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.

“Heaven will not be heaven if our children are not there with us,” Mr. Cirignano told the crowd, while counter-demonstrators, most of whom remained behind same-sex marriage opponents, chanted “Shame, shame, shame, shame.”

“Four judges do not get to decide what sin is,” Mr. Cirignano said, as a chant of “Let the people vote” began to drown out the counter-demonstrators, who were outnumbered about 200 to 50.

Ms. Loy was holding a sign that read, “No discrimination in the Constitution” and counter-demonstrators were chanting, “You lost, go home, get over it,” when she was pushed to the ground. Afterward, Ms. Loy, in tears, arose and yelled to no one in particular, “That’s what hate does. That’s what hate does.”

Police interviewed Mr. Cirignano, but did not arrest him.

Somebody give this chick a medal. And take note of a mainstream religious leader of Boston in full on, apocalyptic meltdown (to roars of approval from the crowd). Nothing short of the survival of Heaven itself is on the line here. To be fair, they just lost all hope of overturning gay marriage in the state when the Legislature voted to recess the Constitutional Convention without taking a vote.

The State's Supreme Judicial Court has ruled that the Legislature cannot be compelled to vote, which--and I get how self-serving this will sound--seems pretty wise to me at the moment as a bulwark against the tyranny of democracy. In this case, 170,000 homophobes signed a petition seeking to overturn the State's gay marriage law, which was created by court order.

Hat tip: Towleroad

Friday, December 15, 2006

Galactica: Previews of Mid-Season Finale

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Ennio Morricone To Receive Honorary Oscar

at this year's Academy Awards, on Sunday, February 25.
Morricone received his first break when former classmate Sergio Leone asked him to score the spaghetti western "A Fistful of Dollars." His collaborations with Leone would go on to include the seminal scores for films like "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" and "Once Upon a Time in America."

His Oscar nominations have come for "Days of Heaven," "The Mission," "The Untouchables," "Bugsy" and "Malena."

His score for The Mission is one of my favorites film scores.

Gay Porn Star Andy Dill Dies

after a bout of meningitis. He was 38.

Link NSFW.

NJ Approves Civil Unions

Something is better than nothing, right?

I still think that, economically speaking, NJ just just cut off its nose to spite its face. Why not let Atlantic City remake itself into the Las Vegas of gay marriage? Idiots.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

NBC Forces Heroes to De-Gay Zach

The last time I saw Zach on Heroes, the nasty cheerleader skank was picking on him for being gay, and he tells the heroic cheerleader skank that he doesn't care. He's OK with who he is. OK, I thought--That was cool.

Eh, not so much.

An NBC publicist told AfterElton in a phone conversation that Zach "is not gay", that it was something that was "for sure" and "in all certainty." AfterElton contacted NBC for confirmation after being told by Thomas Dekker's management (Dekker plays Zach), the character of Zach is absolutely straight.

AfterElton has the scoop from Heroes' creator Tim Kring, who all but admits the network and the up-and-comming actor's publicity machine forced the change.

I am very sorry this has caused concern for the readers of your website. It was certainly not our intention to confuse the issue of Zach’s character being gay. We have too much respect for our audience to do that intentionally. However, it has simply become too complicated behind the scenes to push this issue further with this particular character. We apologize for misleading the audience, and wish that we could have handled things better on our end. But making a TV show is often a very imprecise business. As you stated, Heroes is a big, sprawling drama and there is no reason to believe that a gay character will not be represented on our show in the future. It is my hope than we do, we do it with honesty and dignity. That will certainly be our attempt.

Yeah, 'cause you did so well the first time. OK, let's be fair: he's probably FLIPPING OUT over this, but there's really nothing he can do short of quitting in protest, which--let's be real--ain't gonna happen.

That said, this kid is a freakin' dirt bag for letting his handlers -- well, *handle* him.

Meanwhile, Tom Dekker isn't long for the show. He's been cast in the Eddie Furlong role in Fox's upcoming Terminator-inspired series, "The Sarah Connor Chronicles."

Golden Compass Movie Website

The Golden Compass movie website is live. I found pics of Daniel Craig as Lord Asriel (actually, Towleroad found them), but none of Nicole Kidman as the venemous Mrs. Coulter.

These are probably my favorite fantasy novels of all time -- Highly, highly recommended. The movie (the first of three) will be out this time next year.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Another One Bites The Dust

In a tearful videotaped message Sunday to his congregation, the senior pastor of a thriving evangelical megachurch in south metro Denver confessed to sexual relations with other men and announced he had voluntarily resigned his pulpit.

A month ago, the Rev. Paul Barnes of Grace Chapel in Doug las County preached to his 2,100-member congregation about integrity and grace in the aftermath of the Ted Haggard drugs-and-gay-sex scandal.

Now, the 54-year-old Barnes joins Haggard as a fallen evangelical minister who preached that homosexuality was a sin but grappled with a hidden life.
"I have struggled with homosexuality since I was a 5-year-old boy," Barnes said in the 32- minute video, which church leaders permitted The Denver Post to view. "... I can't tell you the number of nights I have cried myself to sleep, begging God to take this away."
His wife, Char, cradled his hand.
Unlike Haggard, who had the ear of the White House, Barnes is not a household name. He is a self-described introvert who avoids politics, preferring to talk about a Gen-X service at the nondenominational church he started 28 years ago in his basement, church officials said.

Barnes and Grace Chapel stayed out of the debate over Amendment 43, a measure approved by Colorado voters last month defining marriage as between one man and one woman.
In their only talk about sex, Barnes said his father took him on a drive and talked about what he would do if a "fag" approached him.

Barnes thought, "'Is that how you'd feel about me?' It was like a knife in my heart, and it made me feel even more closed."

When Barnes experienced a Christian conversion at 17, it gave him a glimmer of hope. But his homosexual feelings never went away, he said. He said he cannot accept that a person is "born that way," so he looks to childhood influences.

Barnes said he asked God many times why he was called to ministry, to start Grace Chapel, carrying a "horrible burden."

I actually feel kinda bad for this one... He wasn't political, he wasn't railing against gays, or campaigning to enshrine antigay bigotry into his state's constitution (as Ted Haggard was).

I hope this experience helps him grow some self-esteem.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


The Best Thing In Comics

at the moment, is Paul Dini's run on Detective Comics. This week's issue (#826) is a Joker/Robin story of such incredibly high quality as to rival The Killing Joke (with which there are deliberate parallels).

And, just so y'all know where I'm comin from, I'm not such a big fan of the regular Batman comics... If they're not by Alan Moore or Frank Miller, they tend to suck. Looks like we can now add Paul Dini (who fans will recognize from the acclaimed Batman Animated Series) to that list.

These stories are entirely self-contained, so don't hesitate on that account -- None of them are part 12 of 16. Promise.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Why Is This Man Crying?

Psychoanalyst Justin Frank
One of George W. Bush's deepest unconscious wishes has finally come true - he publicly brought down his own family, particularly his father. He had been building up to this point throughout his public and private life - most famously when he told Bob Woodward that he never consulted his father about invading Iraq, and that he preferred a "higher Father." To make matters worse he wouldn't let his father speak at the 2004 Republican Convention and soon thereafter consigned him to tour the world with the man who had defeated him in 1992 - Bill Clinton.

This time, W didn't have to do anything. He has already destroyed his father's legacy of international cooperation. He continues practice what Bush 41 once derisively labeled "voodoo economics", driving America into irrevocable debt. As usual, W was nowhere to be found when his father broke down while attempting to celebrate brother Jeb's career - Jeb, who may be the real man of the family.

When Bush 41 started talking about Jeb's 1994 gubernatorial loss in Florida he wept openly, sputtering that Jeb didn't whine or complain about losing; that how a person handles victory and defeat is the true measure of a man. He choked up on the word "defeat," a word he must feel applies to his entire dynasty.

For it is not simply that W is a failure, which he is. He is also a success - he breaks things more thoroughly than any president in history. And now W has branded his entire family as failures, Jeb's defeat becoming the prototype for future family humiliations. While Bush 41 defends his firstborn, he reveres his third-born. And in his heart of hearts he knows that the firstborn has murdered not only our sons and daughters, but his family's hope for a lasting legacy of honor, courage, and real public service.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Superman II: The Donner Cut

I tried to manage my expectations for this, but it wasn't easy after waiting 25 years to see the movie as it was meant to be. OK, it was more like 20 since I knew that the Marlon Brando scenes existed -- Still, that's a long time to wait, and ya can't help but build it up over such a long period.

The result? Eh. Uneven.

Interesting experiment, certainly.

Donner had shot about 70% of Superman II when the Salkinds fired him (and Brando, and John Williams) to save money. Lester then came in and shot the other 30%, and reworked & reshot quite a bit of Donner's material, too (in the commentary, Donner and Mankiewicz speculate that Lester had to do a certain amount of reshooting on stuff he didn't even change just to be eligible for the director's credit).

So Donner's task was to go back, restore what was removed, and find a work-around for the stuff that was never shot. The result is inevitably choppy. Lots of things don't link up.

Some examples:

Superman The Movie was originally slated to end on a cliffhanger. The missile he hurls into space explodes, and that cracks the Phantom Zone, releasing Zod, et al., who head to Earth. (Not sure if that means Lois is dead when the second film opens--but I'd imagine not.)

Donner restores this and loses the Eiffel Tower sequence--which I ended up missing quite a bit. "Pulitzer--Capital P, little U," etc. It was a fun sequence, and a shame to lose it just 'cause it was shot by the other guy.

Lois figuring out Clark is You-Know-Who is also quite a bit different. The location shoot at Niagara Falls was entirely done by Lester. In Donner's version, Lois simply looks at a picture of Superman in the paper, then at Clark, draws a hat and glasses on the picture, and voila! She confronts him, and throws herself out the window of Perry's office.

Clark uses his powers covertly to protect his secret while ensuring she has a soft landing.

Instead of sticking to Lester's follow-up, which had Clark tripping over a bearskin rug into a fireplace without getting burned, Donner used Reeve's and Kidder's screen test footage.

Lois decides her mistake was putting herself in danger and suddenly she's got a gun pointed at Clark. "Don't bother falling down now, Superman, you'll just have to get back up." And she fires.

Gotcha! The glasses come off. The jig is up. But Supes is pissed: "if you were wrong, you could've killed Clark Kent."

"With blanks?"

So it was a clever workaround, even if it doesn't quite link up in terms of production values, and with the fact that the next time we see them, they're in the north pole, but whatever.

Then there are the legendary Brando scenes -- the only scenes he shot with Christopher Reeve (the scenes in the original were shot with Jeff East) -- and they *were* fantastic. So much more powerful than the reshot stuff with Susannah York.

In Lester's version, we don't actually see how Clark gets his powers back, only that he finds the green crystal. Here, there is one final, emotional scene with Jor-El, who tells Clark that this was the last contingency he planned for, to help his son rectify the most horrible mistake he could ever make: turning his back on his responsibility.

Then we come to the ending. *sigh* Donner says the turn-back-the-earth bit was never supposed to be used as the ending to the first one, so instead of the magic kiss that makes Lois forget, he turns the world back again. It's doubly ridiculous the second time -- especially because Donner keeps the scene where Clark returns to that little diner to settle the score with the trucker who beat him up. Of course, now the beat-down never occured. Presumably, Zod et al never escaped -- and now, Superman has a reset button he can use whenever things don't go his way. *blech*

So all in all, I prefer the Lester version -- which could've been vastly improved just by exchanging the Susannah York footage for the Brando stuff.