You are what you watch.

TV, Movies, Web, Books, and other extraneous things, and why some are worth your time and money - mostly

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Ask @ IMDB

I've spent a very distracted night reading the fascinating archive of the movie bible IMDB's triple whammy advice column Ask a Filmmaker. It's divided into three subsections "Ask A Writer," "Ask A Director," and "Ask A Cinematographer." Combined, they make a fascinating read. It answers all sorts of questions about film theory, technicality, and the creative process, and also talks a lot about the more "unsung heroes" of filmmaking, Production assistants, camera men, and the like. I'm wracking my brains for questions to ask. My biggest one, besides "Why do people keep hiring Keanu Reeves if he can't act?" might be "how do TV show adaptations get made?"
I mean who was it who thought, let's make a movie of "Bewitched?" Did a writer say I'd like to make this movie based on bewitched? Or did the rights owner pitch it? Or what? I'm mystified. Maybe I'll cut and paste this into an e-mail...

Other news, I'm listening to Sufjan Stevens New album. OK, I have been all night. That guy is amazing. Who cares if he's a Jesus freak. (Can't wait to see what the spell checker suggests for Sufjan)

Monday, September 26, 2005

Dilemma

In the library today, I read an article about my idol, Peter Jackson, the New Zealand director of Lord of the Rings and King Kong. Right now, it's not on their website, but when it is, I'll update with the link.
What the article focused on was Jackson's innovative Production Diary's, five minute videos showing the behind the scenes goings on while filming and editing King Kong. My question is, should I watch them now, or wait till I've seen the movie. Normally, I like to go into a movie knowing as little as possible about it before I've seen it, and watching them will surely spoil nearly everything. But on the other hand, I know whole lot about King Kong already (I mean, I did read the article, didn't I?) and it's not like it'll hold any big surprises, what with it's iconic finale. Plus I plan on seeing the Fay Wray original before Jackson's remake anyway. Right now, I'm kind of convinced I should go. On the other hand, do I really need another distraction in the thick of the college application season.
So that's my dilemma. I'll probably buckle and watch them. I mean, I made pretty convincing argument just now. So go check 'em out at www.KongisKing.net.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Alien Vs. Alien (More on the TV New Season)

I mentioned earlier my confusion between CBS's Threshold and ABC's Invasion. But now that I've seen Threshold I realized the shows couldn't be any more different.

Threshold features terrible writing, mediocre acting, and a UFO that looks like a screensaver. In short, I loved it. In the first hour of Threshold, all the key characters and most of the key conflicts for the coming season are briskly introduced before the cast is sent out to a ship to investigate a reported UFO look at some plasticky corpses and babble pseudo-scientifically. They puzzle out a lot given the dearth of information to base their claims on. But there's still a lot of mystery going on, including some unintriguing standard-issue backstory for Carla Gugino's character. Gugino (Sin City) leads a government team assembled to investigate extraterrestrial life and hide it from the public. She makes you appreciate Jennifer Garner on Alias, who can deliver boring Government mumbo jumbo with emotion and conviction, while Gugino doesn't always seem to understand or care what she's saying. Everyone on Threshold works top secret and has little external life, no family or friends to worry about. They work as much in the name of science as they do in the name of mankind. The cast on the whole is on par with Gugino, although the blame must partially lie with the writers who created one-dimensional characters and gave them mostly unspeakably bad dialogue ("We have to stare into the eye of the unknown and try not to blink") There were some brief glimpses of non-cliched character, including one great scene about science and religion, and the mere presence of Peter Dinklage elevates the whole show. Despite the aforementioned flaws, the show is a lot of fun to watch. It's spooky, dramatic, and exciting and reasonably well shot. I plan on giving it a chance. (I've still only seen the first hour of the pilot, after all. Stupid Torrents split it up.)

Threshold's pro-government attitude is diametrically opposed to Invasion. On Invasion an everyman and his extended family discover EBEs (Extra-terrestrial Biological Entities, in the show's lingo). The government is working hard to cover up the incident, just like on Threshold, but on Invasion this is evil and sinister and it's up to the hero to investigate. Invasion is all about the family and it's relations and struggle. There are no scientists in sight to explain what's happening (at least yet) and the government is sleazily pretending nothing's wrong, just like on Threshold.
This is the age old debate about government secrecy. Are the protecting us from ourselves? Or is it wrong to hide something so important from the public eye? Do we trust the government to act without any accountability?
I'm going to keep watching both shows for now, to see how they develop. After all it's hard to judge based on a pilot. One of the great things about TV is the constant potential for change and reinvention, for correction of past errors and new aggregious mistakes (see alias season 4).

PS. Which do I like better? Right now, Invasion.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Gay League Presents QUEEN OF DIAMONDS

Gay League Presents QUEEN OF DIAMONDS
I'm going away for the weekend, so I won't be posting much till maybe Sunday, so I'll leave you with this hot British superhero comic to read while I'm gone.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Cursing, actually pretty fucking cool; and more on the new TV season

First off: Fascinating NY Times article about the neurolinguistics (one of the only sciences that interests me) of cursing. My favorite trivia:
The title "Much Ado About Nothing," Dr. McWhorter said, is a word play on "Much Ado About an O Thing," the O thing being a reference to female genitalia.
If that sort of thing interests you, I'd also recommend one of my favorite books: The Mother Tongue, by Bill Bryson. Not only is it full of interesting trivia and accessible history of the English language, it's often laugh out loud funny.

As for new TV: last night was the start of the new Season of Nip/Tuck started last night. With the exception of the totally gratuitous menage a trois at the end of the episode (see also Rome) the episode was everything I've come to love about Nip/Tuck.

Tonight marked the start of Lost and Invasion, and also The Apprentice: Martha Stuart. I didn't have time to watch all three, so I missed Martha, but I'll try to catch it in reruns. Lost was good, but I don't know how much longer I can put up with this
we're-not-going-to-tell-you-one-goddamned-thing-about-what's-going-on game the writers are playing. Half of me loves it, and half of me wants to kill them.
Invasion was also pretty good. I'm not sure how long I'll want to stick with it. I'm not huge on Aliens and the premise seems like it could get pretty old pretty quick.

Side note: when I was planning my viewing schedule, I confused Invasion with Threshold, since they're both about Aliens. I'm more curious about Threshold, since one of my favorite actors, Peter Dinklage, of The Station Agent and Elf, is going to be in it.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Kitchen Confidential - New York Times

In a New Sitcom, a New York Chef Tries to Reheat His Career - New York Times
I'm linking to the times review because they said pretty much everything I wanted to, and because hey, who am I? just some schmoe with a blog. But the NY Times is the NY times.

Also, Arrested Developement was amazing, as always.

Word of the Day

callipygian - see dinosaur comics for definition.
(sorry, it's against my personal standards to illustrate this property.)

Tonights Agenda

As I mentioned earlier, I was going to talk about what new shows and new seasons I was planning to watch. TOnight my agenda includes one old favorite and one new show. First Arrested Developement, easily the best show on television, easily starts it's third season tonight. If you haven't been watching it, you really, really need to. You have to watch at least two episodes of the show, though, in order to keep track of all the running jokes and really get into the quirky world of the show, but it's sooo worth it. Immediately after that, I plan on at least trying out Kitchen Confidential, which stars the oh so cute Bradley Cooper (the best thing about Alias, alas that he's gone, also almost unrecognizable in Wedding Crashers). It might suck, but as long as it's not terrible it can be my weekly "Guilty Pleasure Show", at least the new season of Project Runway and/or the Apprentice Martha Stuart start.

I'll come back and review Kitchen later. I think I like this night by night thing. It gives some structure. If anyone actually reads this remind me to outline my philosophy of "active media consumption"

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Post Emmys

Well, I just finished watching the Emmys and of all the snarky things I thought of to post afterwards, the only thing I really wanted to say was "What was wrong with Patricia Arquette's hair?"

Trailers - Heights



Apple - Trailers - Heights
I actually meant to post about this a while ago, cause I saw this movie twice in NY when it was playing at the Paris, and it was like my all time favorite movie. I cannot recommend it highly enough and I can't wait to buy it on DVD to watch over and over and over again. First time director Chris Terrio crafts the movie richly and delicately and the all the performances are wonderful, especially Glenn Close, and surprisingly Jesse Bradford, who deserves better than movies like clockstoppers and swimfan, but the rest of the class, including Elizabeth Banks, James Marsden, Isabella Rosselllini, John Light, Rufus WAinwright, and George Segal. The movie makes incredible use of it's locations in NYC with beautiful skylines sprinkled throughout the picture. I'd rather not talk about the plot too much, I've been describing it to people as "a New York relationship drama" which is sort of vague, but I like I've outlined before, I think it's important to be able to be surprised in movies.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone

Sorry about yesterday's lame, virtually content-free post. I was really just venting because I miss my iPod so very very much.
It's one of those things that pervades your life, once you have it, you use it so much... It's just hard to go back.
I mean, now I have nothing to do on the bus, or walking the dog, or in the waiting room, during my free periods (well, besides Homework), hell even in the kitchen when I'm eating alone. I know I have a CD player, but, c'mon it's not the same at all. First of all, compared to an iPod, a discman is humongous, second, there's only 1 CD. I mean, how primitive. 3rd, pod casts. I loved listening to podcasts on my iPod, it almost made up for the lack of radio. But now, I almost never listen to them, much as I want to. I mean who has time to sit at their computer an hour to listen to Madge or PK and J, much as I want to.

It's strange to think of how dependent I became. I mean just a few years ago, the idea of having your whole music collection in your pocket any-time any-place was absurd, and even more recently the podcast simply didn't exist. People Gasp had to read books in there spare time.

Friday, September 16, 2005

ipod Nano - just too small

I should say, before I go on my rant about the nano, a few disclaimers. 1 I am not a Mac user. Macs drive me crazy. 2. I have recently severed my connection with the cult of ipod, namely when my 3rd one crashed and I gave three hours of my life to the so-called "genius bar" only to have some cromagnon tell me it was going to cost me thirty dollars to replace it. (hear that rant-y tone already?) 3. I do not own, nor I have I used held, touched, or even seen in person this new product. 4. I'm pretty sure I'm coming down with something, so I may not be wholly right in my mind... I'm sick and tired....

Now, why would anybody want something that tiny and insubstantial. It seems like the smaller they get, the easier it'll be lose them, have them stolen, or have them crushed by say, sitting on them or getting angry and pushing the buttons too hard.
You can tell Apple is just treading water right now, they don't have new idea's they're just retreading the old ones until they stop selling. Besides it's size, the nano is in no significant way different from the normal. The mini's were cute cause they were different. But I've just had it with them.

No doubt my opinion would be entirely different if my ipod worked or if say, someone offered me a free one. (hint hint)


If I don't post again for a while it's because I'm a) sick, b) busy with school work, I have tons this weekend (I had to bring home every book in my locker) or c)watching the emmys.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Brokeback Mountain


Brokeback Mountain
I am totally psyched for this movie. In case you can't tell by the vague "approved for all audiences" trailer and the only mildly suggestive poster, it's about gay cowboys. I'll just let that sink in a second.
Gay Cowboys! played by Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger. As if that weren't enough, check out this not work safe link of the boys on set. Actually, this look likes it might be one of those depressing punishing the characters for being gay movies... I don't know much about it, (I like being surprised) But I am looking forward to the totally awkward experience of seeing it with one of my straight male friends (although it can't be worse than Kinsey)



ps. I can't be the only one who's made the all too gay slip of thinking this movie was called Bareback Mountain. (no doubt a soon-to-be-released porn parody)

Lady Bunny Blog

THE SITUATION
You are in New Orlean.... You are photo journalist working for a major newspaper,
and you're caught in the middle of this epic disaster.

The situation is nearly hopeless. You're trying to shoot career-making
photos. There are houses and people swirling around you, some
disappearing under the water. Nature is unleashing all of its
destructive fury.

THE TEST

Suddenly you see a man in the water. He is fighting for his life,
trying not to be taken down with the debris. You move closer. Somehow
the man looks familiar. You suddenly realize who it is. It's the
President, George W. Bush.

At the same time you notice that the raging waters are about to take
him under forever. You have two options- you can save the life of the
President, or you can shoot a dramatic Pulitzer Prize winning photo,
documenting the death of one of the world's most famous men.

THE QUESTION

Here's the question, and please give an honest answer.......




Would you select high contrast colour film, or would you go with the
classic simplicity of black and white?
-- Lady Bunny Blog

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Weeds podcast

Showtime has a new podcast to promote it's great new show WEEDS. That's the show that's great, not the podcast. For a company with millions of dollars and access to gobs of professional equipment, the sound quality is terrible, like the interviewer recorded their dialogue in a different room on a different mike at a different time and then edited the questions in. Even worse, though, the podcasts are just plain boring. Each one is just an interview with a cast member, and they're basically asked to summarize the show. It's tedious to listen to. Unfortunate because WEEDs itself is fresh and funny.

PS. While you're at the Showtime site, make sure to check out Queer Duck.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Heeb Magazine: Kosher or Treyf?

Heeb Magazine: Kosher or Treyf?

like repetitive poll taking sites? How about with a clever Judaism twist? Check out HEEB's (my all time favorite magazine) New Kosher or Treyf.

For the uninitiated: Kosher refers to Jewish dietary laws, such as "pig is not kosher", or "Kosher pickles.... mmm" Treyf refers to food that are not kosher. Both terms can be broadly applied beyond the culinary realm, as in "Their business practices were kosher"

Raise your hand if you forgot the Emmy's were this weekend

OK, so I can't find my old post about Awards shows (somewhere in the depths of my ancient Xanga site). But I'll repeat it. As someone who's actively interested in the media, nothing is more revealing that watching them jerk themselves off. Oh right, college apps.... "Patting themselves on the back." I also like the pretty colors and Joan Rivers, alas that she's been replaced by Kathy Griffin (who is not a real celebrity).
Anyway, I'm going to be rooting for Lost and Arrested Development and booing the housewives. That show was soooo overrated. Weeds, the new show on showtime starring Mary-Louise Parker, is everything DH wanted to be.

Eventually I'll find time to talk about my hopes and fears about the new TV season, too, in a new and exciting post. (Hint, I'm gonna watch the show with the dwarf)

I always get uptight about loving TV, I mean what kind of jaded intellectual loves TV? I mean maybe twin peaks or Daria, but the show with that guy from party of five? uh-uh. But I'm interested in writing for TV as a career, so I think of it as research. After all, I need to be able to write what I know. (I can't wait to be able to write off my cable as a business expense)

Monday, September 12, 2005

365 tomorrows

365 tomorrows
What a cool concept for a blog site. Everyday, 365 tomorrows adds a new sci-fi mini story. The last couple I've read have been awesome. Way better than anything I write.

Rome - Behind the Scenes - Rome Revealed


HBO: Rome - Behind the Scenes - Rome Revealed
IF you haven't been watching Rome, you're missing out. Straight guys: tons of gratuitous female nudity. Gay guys: no male nudity... yet. But it seems inevitable, I mean the bathhouse was a practically ritual visit for your average roman. Not to mention all that nude wrestling... mmm. My old Latin textbook actually had pictures of both.

But really, the reason to watch Rome is it's great acting, writing and production values. To get an idea of the latter, watch the behind the scenes bit I linked to. I wasted like an hour watching it.

The Spice Girls, a defense

So my iTunes party shuffle just played the Spice Girls song Wannabe (the only spice girls song I have). I listened, expecting to be totally and completely revolted, but I wasn't. I was shocked. This was supposed to be bad bad music. Me and my hipster elitist friends have been deriding this music since it's inception. But it was actually kind of pleasant. I almost, perish the thought, enjoyed it. It was certainly no more offensive than the used-to-be-really-popular-but-now-you've-never-heard-of-them groups from the sixties and seventies (hell probably the eighties, too). I can understand how the wannabe song gets annoying when played over and over again, I probably won't listen to it again for months, and it's not great music and I'm no arbiter of musical taste.
If your wondering why I have it in the first place, I should tell you I'm an incurable packrat (like 12 Ave Marias that are all the same, plus those other Gregorian chants that I never listen to. I mean I'm jewish, I shouldn't be listening to Gregorian CHants) and I take quantity over quality (I have 2700 songs, including the Barbie song in three languages (English, German and Japanese) trust me that is a bad song) Just dig up that old spice girl cd/mp3 you hid put in the attic with the other antiques, and see if it was really as bad as you remembered it.


PS. Don't try to turn this into a gay thing. The two are totally unrelated. I despise Andrew Lloyd Weber and Barbra Streisand. I just happen to have guiltily enjoyed the SPice Girls, it could be worse, like N;Sync (shudder)
PPS Here's what I listened to before and after the spice girls, from shuffle:
Hari Om - Ravi Shankar
It's all been done - Barenaked Ladies
A girl like you - Edwyn Collins (I don't know who this is, my friend put it on my comp
WAnnabe: the spice girls
circle of life - original Broadway cast recording (yes showtunes are gay, so fuck off)
Hey, BUlldog - the beatles
the flower of Carnage - Meiko Kaji (from kill Bill vol 1)

Thursday, September 08, 2005

I love knitting but this is too much


Another Boing Boing site (why do I always repeat other stuff) but I couldn't help reposting this bizarre german art site.
The umm... thing to the left, and everything else there appears to be knit. I don't speak german so I'm not sure how or why... but damn I'd love to learn how to knit that well. Right now I'm just praying my damn sweater will fit.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Godzilla eggs

【楽天市場】ん? 西瓜:森の酒食館
I was going to call this post "What the hell is wrong with Japan?" but then I remembered the colored ketchup fad (shudder) here in the states, and I withheld judgment.

thanks to Boing Boing for "bringing this to my attention" I guess, just sighting my sources.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Questionable Content: New comics every Monday through Friday

Questionable Content: New comics every Monday through Friday
Just thought I'd point out that today;s QC is like the best one yet. WAY too funny

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Jason Schwartzman

Jason Schwartzman

Did anyone else know that Jason Schwartzman was in Phantom Planet? This is news to me. I actually don't really like Schwartzman as an actor (although he was the sole redeeming factor in Bewitched) but I really like Phantom Planet. It's too bad they're song is the theme for the OC, because I'm always embarrassed when it's stuck in my head.

Update: Did you know he's a Copola too? damnit! that is not fair. Spread the wealth.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Toes and Dinosaurs

You know what I was thinking? I was thinking it would be really cool to lose a toe or two. Cause then I could be like, yeah, I lost it to frostbite climbing Kilimanjaro, I was one of the lucky ones. Or some macho shit like that. It was shot off in a mob fight or something. I mean, a toe is pretty expendable, unlike say a finger or a whole limb, and it isn't grotesquely noticeable like an ear or an eye.

I found out this girl I knew only had three fingers on of her hands and I'd never noticed. She was sort of a friend of a friend, but this was at camp so I saw her a fair amount and I just never noticed. Pretty weird, huh?

Also, check out Dinosaur Comics. It's very bizarre, and it breaks my rule of only reading comics with at least one hot character.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Sinfest

Strips Template My new favorite comic... Clever, Crass and Funny (Comredic would have a bit too aliterative). I love this particular one especially.