Saturday, August 28, 2004

Having watched VH-1's "I love the 80's"

this afternoon I can safely say that I am rotten glad to live in an age where Andrew Dice Clay is a played out, dried up, over the hill hack.
I hated him then and I'm positively gleeful that he has come to a sad lonely dead end in his career.
To quote whozis..."Time wounds all heels".

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

War of the Weird

Word comes from out tinseltown that Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise are hot-hot-hot to do a remake of H.G. Wells' seminal SF novel "War of the Worlds".
I call it a re-make as this version will be have contemporary setting as did the 1953 George Pal production.
Pardon me if I wax blunt but this is a perfectly awful doubt Tom Cruise and that toothy mongoloid rictus the press calls a smile will be careening around the countryside evading the martian tripod machines whilst two billion gigabytes of CGI effects flail around ineffectually.
What is worse, Spielberg that self effacing cinemapath will be directing...sure he has handed in some quality work (Notably "Saving Private Ryan" and it's Wellesian battle scenes) but as a science fiction auteur the man is played out.
Anyone else out there recall a certain multi-million dollar anesthetic called A.I.?
I were peeling out of the Tri Town Drive In all night long and believe me it was a long night indeed as Steven Spielberg contemplated the liine between humanity and household appliances...or something.
No if you want to do "War of the Worlds" right, keep the turn of the century English setting and play it like an old Merchant-Ivoey production but with malevolent martians. Get Anthony Hopkins to play the narrator...believe me this will work.
However for ghod sakes leave Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg out of it!

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

The Obligatory Olympics Entry...

I got up this morning and flipped on Bravo which was covering the Olympic dressage event from Athens. The horses and their riders came thundering down a long path and leapt over a huge Greek urn, through a shallow pond and over a pair of ersatz fishing boats and thence to the inevitable fallen pillar.
No ticky-tacky windmill?
The whole course suggested a threadbare miniature golf course in Manchester N.H.!
Frankly, I shouldn’t complain most of the bigtime name sports in the Olympics have gone completely professional in all but name. If you want to see serious hobbyists, enthusiasts, and raw amateurs doing what they love then tune into the beach volleyball finals, the white water kayaking event or the women’s orienteering show-down.
Yeah some of these sports are little more than fancy avocations…but the Olympics are supposed to be about amateurs making a public display of their peculiar abilities.
And besides, there is something vaguely democratic about this niche competitions…everything else in the Olympics has gone so corporate and upscale.
Which makes for dispiriting viewing in my humble opinion.

Meanwhile our own great white aquatic hope Michael Phelps doesn’t seem to be living up to the hype in the swimming events.
I could’ve told you a week ago that Australia’s Ian Thorpe would smoke Phelps like a cheap cigar in the 200 meter free style (or whatever the event was last night).
It is not that Phelps isn’t great, he is, with many more victories before him.
No, the problem is, he arrived at his first Olympics with a lot of irrational hopes and hype attached to his name so the pressure was on to fulfill a pre-sold prophesy.
Ian Thorpe arrived at the 2000 Sydney Olympics with a lot of expectations attached to his own bad self he didn’t quite put them over either.
So now four years later, free of the hype Thorpe can blithely splash off to glory.
So look for Michael Phelps to put paid to his particular legend in 2008.
Hype is a deadly toxin for any artist or athlete, if the U.S. really wanted to carry the day at the Olympics they’d send the entire squad off under a gag order and in disguise. Leave off the Wheaties’ boxes and equipment endorsement til after the games.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

The Mendon Drive In is celebrating its

FIFTIETH anniversary on Sunday August 15th!
Fifty years young and a nice second screen added to the mix...not bad.
They are showing "The Village" and "King Arthur" along with what should be described as "tweenerpalooza" ergo "The Princess Diaries 2" and "A Cinderella Story" starring the elusive Miss Hilary Duff.
This is my pick of the week on the grounds that Sunday nights are slow on the local Drive In circuit so every little bit helps. Just which double feature is entirely up to you-all.
The Mendon Twin Drive In is located on Route 16 west in romantic Mendon Mass.
for all other details check out:

Monday, August 09, 2004

Pick of the Week:

All decent citizens are advised to check out the Harvard Film Archive's double feature tomorrow night; two silent World War One themed films, King Vidor's "The Big Parade" (1925) at 7pm and Raoul Walsh's "What Price Glory?" (1926) at 9pm.
we should take advantage of ANY opportunity to see silent classics such as these!
The Harvard Film Archive is located at 24 Quincy Street Cambridge Ma.

Hell I'll be there...

Anyone who knows me realizes I am a huge mark for Tina Packer and her Shakespeare and Company ensemble in Lenox Ma.
Since the acquisition of the Kemble Street property in the year 2000, Packer hasn’t been directing as much, concentrating instead on a round of fundraising and even a bit of acting here and there.
I look forward to her return to the directors chair…back in 1999 I screwed up my courage and lobbied her for a revival of Marlowe’s “Dr. Faustus”. She seemed taken with the idea…but I’m sure she is awash in suggestions good and bad.

Here is hopin’ though.

Fortunately, the company still prospers with other directors at the helm.
Which brings us to “The Comedy of Errors” directed by S & C veteran Cecil MacKinnon…rest assured she keeps the action moving fast and furious and mixes her cast with a winning mix of old pros and ambitious newcomers.
This is quite frankly the standard formula for success at Shakespeare and Company they are an authentic classical repertory theater.
Thankfully, Ms. Mackinnon is utterly unafraid of the text-this is critical because the Comedy of Errors is a deceptively tough play for any sensible director.
On the surface it is a farcical knockabout comedy, but with its two sets of contending twins, two masters two servants, four separate comic arcs, the potential for confusion and disaster is very very real.
It is not an easy production by any means.
Tell that to Dan “Dromio” McCleary though-his comic delivery is natural you’d think he was improvising up there.
Nominally he is a twelve season veteran of Shakespeare and Company…now I know he has played both MacBeth and Coriolanus to superlative effect, but when he is cast as some supporting clown (in this case the allegedly witless servant Dromio) it is as if he is channeling the late Curly Howard.
Dan McCleary is a natural clown and was MADE to play the likes of Stephano in “The Tempest” or Silvius in “As You Like It”.
Don’t know if he’d find that particularly complimentary-but it is truth that must be proclaimed.
So anyway, it is a marvelous show, Elizabeth Aspenlieder chews the scenery with gusto as the wronged wife Adriana…only Jonathan Epstein’s Ageon lacks gumption. He plays the doomed merchant a bit too tragically for such a raucous comedy; perhaps it is an artistic hangover from his triumph as King Lear last summer.
Who knows?
So anyway, the Comedy of Errors at Shakespeare and Company in Lenox, go see it they have not let us down yet.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

On vacation for a few days...

will return with a review of Shakespeare and Company's "The Comedy of Errors" in due course. Until then, tawk amongst yourselves.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Thunderbirds are Go!

Isn't technology amazing? Someone whomped together a lifesized puppet for this film that walks, talks, and acts just like Bill Paxton.
Okay that was low blow....
can't help myself sometimes.

Yup we went roaring off to the Mendon D.I. last night to see the new "Thunderbirds" re-make...alas it was on screen II known for it's pesky focus problems...most of which were under control so far as we could see.
BTW if have to get out to the drive in this summer, a Sunday night is the time to do it. We arrived a mere twenty minutes before show time and easily procured a requisite front row space.
And what the hell the movie was alright...someone wisely decided that the story of the Tracy Family wealthy and secret members of "International Rescue"-a high tech organization devoted to saving lives-just cried out for the "Spy Kids" treatment.
The SPFX were the usual CGI junk but pains were taken to recreate the design of the original vehicles and mid 1966's retro-future decor'.
The adults play it straight, the kids steal scenes, and Sir Ben Kingsley (who clearly feels cheated of the role of Fu Manchu) camps it up like Tim Curry on a geritol rush.
Special props ought to go out to Sophie Myles who as "Lady Penelope" (International Rescues in house secret agent, peer of the realm and resident sex symbol)chews the scenery with perverse gusto. Her participation is a must for any sequel.
In all it could have been worse, the original after all WAS a kid's show and ought to remain a straight juvenile franchise.

Completists and lud I am one of those, ought to seek out the orginal 1960's TV series on DVD. it depicts an atom powered future prone to sky scraper fires and other mundane accidents that require the constant intervention of a secret hi tech team of experts...a generation of contemporary civil engineers were weaned on this show I assure you.
Producer Gerry Anderson (who didn't make a shilling off the current incarnation I fear) also made two feature length Internation Rescue featues "Thunderbirds are Go!" and "thunderbird Six"...the latter being the one I'd recommend for anyone with restive children.