Wednesday, March 29, 2006

I'm Completely Disgusted

Even though it's impossible to tell from this terrible picture (thanks, Us Weekly!), this is Ryan Seacrest and Teri Hatcher making out. I think looking at this picture too long would cause erectile dysfunction in men, because, seriously, if you're a guy, can you see making out with THAT? (It's slightly less sickening than making out with Nicolette Sheridan, but not by much.) And I don't know many women who prefer gay men to straight ones, but I'm not into guys at all, so what do I know.

If this is a new couple, it's totally confusing. Who's the man? Who's the woman? The only pairing with more gender confusion would be Elijah Wood and Chyna (and that would cause the Apocalypse, I think). Hopefully, this is just a publicity shot for some new romantic comedy they're making, because a female mummy and a gay guy making out for real is just beyond the realm of believability.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Zooey Deschanel Is A Man, Baby!

During a rather random search on the web, I came across the above picture of Zooey Deschanel from last month's issue of Vanity Fair. Zooey is probably best known for her role as the sister in Almost Famous. (If her name sounds familiar, you're probably thinking of Emily, her older sister, who plays "Bones" on the show of the same name.) And yet, there she is in the "Hollywood" issue of Vanity Fair, which highlights all of the currently hot stars.

And while no picture could possibly highlight her non-existent career, it can highlight this incredible fact: that Zooey Daschanel is actually Nick Stahl, the MAN who played That Yellow Bastard in Sin City. Don't believe me? Go ahead and click on her picture for a closer look, and then take a look at this picture of Nick:

Yeah, they're pretty much the same person. And you probably thought she was hot.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

"Everything You Always Wanted..." Redux

A couple of months ago, I commented on the new Planet of the Apes boxset that is coming out. At the time, I couldn't find a picture of the scary packaging it comes in, but, wait no more. Here it is:

Having that fucking thing anywhere near my DVD collection, much less in my home, would cause me to have nightmares. Think I'll wait 'til the set comes in an oridinary package before I buy it.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Yet Another Great Show Fox Didn't Get

With the prospects of Arrested Development ever being shown on TV again diminishing by the day, I think it's about time to recall another brilliant show that no one watched, and got cut loose by Fox.

I'm speaking, of course, of Action, the 1999 Jay Mohr vehicle that got canned after eight episodes. Action told the story of Peter Dragon, a powerful movie producer attempting to get his next project off the ground after his last movie turned out to be a monumental flop. What unfolds is what a living hell it is to be Peter Dragon.

I think this show may have been too hip for its own good. It was a little before its time (although the cheesy production values now look reaaallly dated). It was full of Hollywood in-jokes, had out-of-character celebrity cameos years before Will and Grace, and was filled with (bleeped, of course) profanity. It all added up to one of the funnier shows on TV at the time. And, of course, since it was so funny, Fox canceled it.

It not all Fox's fault, though. (I like to blame them for everything, because they've brought Family Guy, a very unfunny show, back from cancellation twice, yet refuse to keep Arrested Development on the air. They are pretty fucking dumb.) It's the idiot viewers' fault. Fox just renews and cancels shows based on ratings, and Action just didn't have them. Mainly because idiots watch sitcoms that aren't funny, and that why Friends was a hit and Action flopped.

Oh well. At least now we can watch all the episodes to our heart's content on the recently released Action box set. Check it out.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Alan Moore's Turning In His Grave (If He Were Dead, That Is)

There was a time, not too long ago, when movies based on comic books didn't get made. Oh sure, there were Batman and Superman, but they got sequelized to death. And once that happened, no one made Comic Book Movies, because, well, no one wanted to see them anymore. (If you've seen the last two movies in both the Super/Batman series, you know why people didn't want to see anymore.)

It was this way for some time, until Marvel Comics, emerging from bankruptcy and in need of money, took a chance and made a movie based on an obscure Tomb of Dracula character named Blade. Blade turned out to be a hit, and Marvel decided to crank out more Comic Book Movies. Next up was their most popular franchise, The X-Men, whose movie was a bigger hit than Blade. And then Spiderman emerged from copyright hell, and suddenly there all kinds of Comic Book movies. (All three of the previously mentioned films are into their second sequels.) Now, every comic book property has a movie coming out.

Let's go in a different direction here for a minute. Whenever you get talking about influential people in comics, the one name that almost always comes up is Alan Moore. While Moore is only a writer (I don't know if he has any drawing ability), his work is some of the most well-regarded in comics. His work for DC Comics was groundbreaking: he revitalized Swamp Thing (and introduced John Constantine, who later got his own movie, within its pages), turned the original Batgirl into a paraplegic, and wrote the last Superman story before DC and John Byrne rewrote the Man of Steel's history.

But those were only his contributions to existing titles; it's his original work that is really the stuff of legend. Miracleman, Watchmen, From Hell, and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen took comic books to another level: they were gritty, intelligent, literary, and mature in their depiction of violence. His books were like great novels disguised as comic books. To call him genius would not be an understatement.

All that being said, when the Comic Book Movie came back into vogue, it was only a matter of time before someone decided that Moore's work deserved the Hollywood treatment. And it got it in 2001, with the adaptation of From Hell. It was shortly followed by League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. These movies have problems, as does the latest adaptation of a Moore book, V for Vendetta.

Vendetta tells the story of V, a man bent on the destruction of a fascist government in a futuristic London. Honestly, if you didn't know anything about Moore or his book, this is an enjoyable movie. It has a good story, decent action (there's some Matrix-esque bits toward the end that I'll admit to enjoying), and perfectly suitable acting. It's enough to hold John Q. Moviegoer's interest.

However, the problem with this movie (and the problem with every Moore adaptation) is that adapting Moore's work is impossible. His books are so complex and detailed, that you would need to write a script about twice as long as Towne's script for Chinatown to do it justice. So, you're faced with the task of paring down all of this stuff into something that's going to fit into a two hour movie. And the Wachowski brothers have done that. Unfortunately, what they came out with really doesn't resemble the book in any shape or form.

The odd thing is what they chose to keep and to omit. They rewrote almost all of the dialogue (yes, I have recently reread the book), even though what Moore wrote is better in most cases (the speech at the TV station is a good example). For every important detail they chose to omit (like V destroying every governmental building in London over a year's time), the small details they kept (like the story of Valerie) just pad the running time. And the stuff they outright made up (like everyone getting a Guy Fawkes mask) is mostly stupid. It really doesn't surprise me at all that Moore chose to have his name removed from the credits, because, well, this and what he wrote bear very little resemblance to one another.

It's unfortunate that this movie may actually make money, because that means that someone is going to think that Moore properties are hot, and put Watchmen into development. It's totally unadaptable for the screen, but I'm willing to bet there's someone in Hollywood stupid enough to give it a try. Just you watch.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Last Five Movies

The Hills Have Eyes (2006)
I've said this before, and I'll say it again: I hate remakes. I'm of the opinion that, one day, all movies will be remakes. And we're heading in that direction at ridiculous speeds. Remakes are never as good as the original, and are almost always a complete disappointment. And yet, I keep watching them. I somehow thought I'd be entertained by a remake of Hills Have Eyes, but, even though it's incredibly faithful to the original, I wasn't. It's just another crappy horror movie, with none of the exploitive feel of the original. That, and they don't kill grandma in this one, which is really disappointing. On a related note, in front of this movie was a teaser for what appears to be a remake of The Omen, and, seeing as The Girl is a huge Omen fan, I'm sure that's yet another remake I'll have to see. I can't wait.

The Weather Man (2005)
Nicolas Cage should probably be at least nominated for an Oscar every year. He was in two movies last year, and he played two completely different characters in both. He's the best "actor" we have. I'll watch anything he's in.

Five Deadly Venoms (1978)
This is one of those movies that literally everyone saw on Kung-Fu Theatre as a kid. It had been about 20 years since I'd seen it, and turns out it's just as fucking goofy as I remember it being as a kid. An absolute classic.

Running Scared (2006)
If Paul Walker running around with a gun, screaming at everyone, is your idea of a good time, this is totally for you. Actually, it's not that terrible of a movie, although the plot-negatating twist at the end is a bit off-putting. Oh, and the Tony Scott-esque cinematography. Other than that, it's all right.

The Matador (2005)
I usually hate offbeat movies, since the filmmakers try to be so quirky, that they forget to make the film entertaining (and yes, I am addressing the filmmakers of Napoleon Dynamite). Not so with The Matador, the story of a burnout hitman, who starts an odd friendship with a businessman in Mexico. It's quirky (as nothing in this movie could possibly happen in real life), but it's also entertaining. I don't smile about much, but I found myself smiling during most of this movie. It's not knock-down funny, but it sure is enjoyable as hell. Check it out.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Eat That Pride, BITCH!!

It's no secret that The West Wing has been canceled. When a network cancel a show, but they let it finish out the season, the producers usually pull out all the stops and try to go out with a bang. Whether it be surprise events, cameo appearances, or even the outcome of a presidential election, you've got to do something special to close it out. And The West Wing appears to be doing just that. Going to war, electing a new President, and, oh yes, some surprise cameos.

On the previews of the remaining episodes that followed last night's episode, they keyed us in to some of these cameos. Richard Schiff, who never really left the show, but has been in the background, will be back. Oh, and the most high-profile departee from the show will be back. Yes, Rob Lowe is returning to The West Wing.

For those of you who don't remember these things, Lowe left West Wing after feeling that he didn't have enough to do on the show. He was also making less money than the rest of the cast. So, he did what all disgruntled actors do: He went and got a production deal to make his own shows. And, in the two plus years he's been off the show, he's actually gotten not one, but two shows off the ground. So, his departure would be a great sucess...if only both shows hadn't been canceled before a half dozen episodes a piece. And that, my friends, is what we in the biz call a "total fucking failure."

And now, having seen that he's not going to have Clooney-esque success away from the show, Rob Lowe is back on The West Wing. How's that pride taste, Rob? Pretty bitter, I'd guess. Eat it up, now; you've earned it.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Apple Running Out Of Ideas

Whenever Apple has a press conference, it's usually to introduce some groundbreaking piece of technology. Like when they introduced the first iMac, or any of the dozen iterations of the iPod, or, most recently, the introduction of Apple computers with the next generation of Intel processors. This is all great technology, and people get pretty excited about it.

So, it was with a lot of anticipation that, last week, Apple introduced their newest product, the iPod Hi-Fi, which is basically a stand-alone stereo system for the iPod. This would actually be a really great product, if only a half dozen companies didn't already make the same fucking thing.

Take, for example, the Bose SoundDock, which Bose has made since the iPod came out. It's smaller, cheaper, and doesn't have a fucking iPod sticking out of the top of it. (They should call it the iPod Toaster, because that's what the Hi-Fi looks like.) Plus, it's Bose, and you just can't top on that. But, Apple thinks they can, I guess.

I always thought the idea was to innovate, not duplicate. Sure, there were computers and mp3 players on the market before Apple got there, but what they did was different from everything else out there. But this Hi-Fi is exactly the same as what's out there. It may not even be as good as what's out there. What's next for Apple? Maybe the iPhone, a iPod that doubles as a phone? Or the iPlay, a hand-held gaming system that also plays music and videos? Good ideas all, but someone else already beat them to it (and they're pretty good products to boot).

We'll see what Apple comes up with next. Hopefully, it will be something cool that everybody wants, and not something that everyone already owns.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Oscar Recap

Some random Oscar thoughts:

-Jon Stewart was as funny as he needed to be. Even though I don't think it was, a lot of his stuff actually appeared to be spontaneous. And the campaign commercials (narrated by Steve Colbert) were hilarious.

-So, Clooney did win an Oscar. I suspect him to achieve the ego of God now.

-It was good to see that Ben Stiller had no problem embarrassing himself in front of millions of people. Great stuff.

-Speaking of embarrassing, the Wilson brothers got stuck with the task of performing opposite the animated characters. Had to happen to someone; may as well be them.

-Is it just me, or did Lauren Bacall appear to be suffering a stroke, right there on live TV? Either that, or she's gone waaaaay over the hill.

-No Oscar presentations in the aisles this year. That was fun while it lasted.

-The producers of March of the Penguins bringing up the stuffed penguins was a little too fucking cutesy for its own good.

-While it would have been nice to see Miyazaki or Burton win a Best Animated Feature Oscar, Nick Park winning is always appreciated.

-Why was Mickey Rooney sitting behind Rachel Weisz?

-The only thing more ridiculous than the on-stage performance of "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" was the acceptance speech that followed it winning Best Song. Jon Stewart's line afterward was classic, though.

-Does anyone actually care that Gustavo Santaolalla is from Buenos Aires? They thought it was important enough to mention, so I guess someone does care.

-Robert Altman was nowhere near as bitter toward the Academy as he should have been.

-The "In Memoriam" is always good. Who knew that the original "Cat Person" herself, Simone Simon, was alive in the past year? I thought she'd died years ago. And, apparently, the trio that died last week wasn't good enough to make the list.

-Could you tell that English isn't a first (or second) language for Ziyi Zhang? I bet you couldn't.

-Phil S. Hoffman wins an Oscar, and thanks his mom for five minutes. Not once did he even mention Truman Capote. That old homo just won you an Oscar! Throw him a shout out (even though he's dead)!

-And, in the (not really) most surprising shocker of the evening, Crash wins Best Picture out from under Brokeback Mountain. I say I'm not really surprised because the Academy was just keeping in line with giving the Oscar to the Not-Best Picture.

Oh well; a decent ceremony. We'll see what happens in another 364 days.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


Arrested Development fans rejoice: The New York Post's Page Six reported yesterday that not only has Showtime picked up Arrested from Fox, it has ordered another 26 episodes (about two seasons worth, in cable terms).

This is probably the best outcome that could be imagined for this show. But, this story does come from The Post, which is about as reliable as reading about it in Star.

So, I'll cross my fingers, and see what pans out over the next six months. Hopefully, the Best Show on Television will be back on television.