Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Today is that Day of Days....

National Gorilla Suit Day!
Yes indeed that sacred holiday when we all dress up as our simian forebearers and celebrate our Rational-Darwinist Heritage.

For a succinct precis' on this most important of holidays, go here.

Now however this great tradition is under assault from decadent land locked elites and corrupt panderers in Washington DC who explicitly DENY that National Gorilla Suit Day has anything to do with the Precious Laws of Natural Selection!
These anti-evolutionary fanatics want to outlaw the traditional National Gorilla Suit Day Greetings such as: "Man is descended from the Ape!" and "Happy Darwin!"
Frantic bearded spook worshippers like Senator Bill Frist and Liddy Dole are TRYING to take Darwin out the holiday and turn it into some sort of revealed-religion costume pageant devoid of all meaning!!!!
American was founded and made strong by MEN who proudly donned simian costumes on National Gorilla Suit Day and PROCLAIMED the truth of Humanity's origins as a simple terrestrial anthropoid from the African plains!
Let us all adopt gorilla garb for one day a year and join hands all over the U.S. Ape to reaffirm our FAITH in science and old timey rationalism!!

Sunday, January 29, 2006

On a Second Viewing of "The Empire Strikes Back"

hadn't seen this bad baby since 1980 or so, surpirsingly it hold up nicely. Mark Hamill's acting hadn't quite tipped over into the "overwhelmed" category and Irwin Kershner's direction manages to gloss over George Lucas's preposterous dialogue and still get everyone's story arc done.
It suddenly hit me that no less than five characters in the film (Yoda, Vader, Chewie, C-3PO & R2D2) are naught but mixtures of costumery, actors/body builders and prime voice over artists. We take this for granted today in "Lord of the Rings" etc, but back then, Lucas made the FX into actors...even if they did have to talk like crude cartoons.
The other big revelation was Yoda's misty eyed description of the "force" could easily substitute for Dr. Wilhelm Reich's crackpot notions about "orgone energy".

Otherwise, the film is a sort of false high in every way, it throws down two or three good meaty revelations, drifts ways from the gee whiz tone of the first film in favor of something darker and sets up a myriad of lofty expectation for the sequel.
None of which Lucas was able to satisfy when it came time to trot out that two hour toy commercial called "Return of the Jedi".
My disaffection was complete back then, and its largely due to the good impression the "Empire Strikes Back" had made on me.

If there is a systemic flaw in Lucas' faux cosmology it is the late revelation that Leia is too, a potential Jedi. For all that her heritage and link to Darth Vader means all but nothing to either the Sith Lord or Young Skywalker as their confrontation unfolds...this seems strange to me.
Frankly it is loose ends like this that make me doubt "Star Wars" was ever this extended super script that Lucas wrote in film school. I think the original film hit it big and George started improvising from then on.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Nuked on a Monday...

or "Emily's Reasons why she Got Cancelled"

Wow! "Emily's Reasons Why Not" a heavily hyped sitcom starring the scrumtious Heather Graham got the ax by ABC after one paltry episode!
This puts Ms. Graham in a very exclusion Cancellation Club that includes such singleton lost causes as Turn On. This was ABC's Tim Conway hosted answer to Rowan and Martin's Laugh In infamous for being cancelled after one broadcast after Heather Graham-ish megahype.
Oh well, 12 million dollars of advertising and ubiquitous signage on the Red Line really can't make you popular after all.

Hey Heather if you are reading this, The Bad Poets Society is in the market for a celebrity reader.
Compensation TBA.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

I saw Commander Adama Kissing Colonial President Roslin....

What was he thinking? That she is dying of cancer and this might be his only chance to find out what its like to mack on a superior officer?

Okay so yeah, I watch Battlestar Galactica religiously, what of it?
It is after all, the tightest most complusively watchable space opera to come along since Deep Space Nine. I mean this is akin to "Hill Street Blues" in outer space, ruthlessly realistic, plot driven and heedless of the dopey-ass sci fi tv shibboleths.
Okay so Katee Sackhoff lurches from tears to hysteria in every ep and William Bamber is reedy-sounding....no matter da sumbitch works!
This show is especially pleasing as it vindicates a long held theory of mine, that one shouldn't re-make good teevee shows or movies. For example an update of "The Fugitive" is pointless, a re-make however of something a little forlorn like "Mister Terrific" automatically has possibilities because there is nowhere to go but up!

I may stop watching "Lost" when things finally get too contrived a'la the "X-Files" but I'm hooked on Battlestar Galactica til the last crdits roll.

Monday, January 02, 2006

The Producers (2005)

In a perfect world, Nathan Lane would be leading Hollywood comedy star. He is as funny playing it gay as he is playing it straight.
And dats pretty damn funny.
As it is though, he is the best thing in the above film, loud obnoxious, greedy...and funny.
Sadly though, "The Producers" is a vastly watered down affair compared to the Broadway "original".
Indeed, a lot got thrown out on the way to the multiplex, notably Springtime for Hitler's central theme which is De Fuhrer's notional "victory" in WWII as a consequence of triumphing in a dance contest.
Gary Beach does a great star turn as the gayest-Hitler seen since Derek Jacobi did the Fuhrer...but it pales next to the original's frantic pace.
Will Ferrell is utterly predictable as the Nazi-author and star of the show...Mathew Broderick turns in a curiously robotic performance as Leopold Bloom the nerdy accountant who sets the whole scheme in motion. Uma Thurman as the Swedish love interest does her best, but she just cannot gyrate like the Broadway engenue....hell Lane and Broderick can shake their groove things better!
Well what of it?
From film to Broadway musical back to a film...from Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel to Nathan Lane and Matt Broderick.
Full circle.

King Kong (2005)

Fun movie, could've done with some judicious cuts for timing's sake. There is a fine performance therein from the ubiquitous Jack Black and a real star turn from Naomi Watts as a down on her luck vaudeville comic who falls hard for a thirty foot gorilla.
Adrien Brody though, plays the luckless writer-hero as a sort of Stallone by way of Marc Blitzstein...and his nostils make Kong's look puny by comparison.
Mostly my complaint is that the CGI action scenes are too frantic by half. Years ago the speed standard was set at a fast but human pace by everyone from Harold Lloyd to Bruce Lee. Now when it comes time to make with the dinosaur stampedes everyone moves at a pace considered coherent by an editor slaving over a computer...in other words at an inhuman rate of speed.
As such the dramatic line of the action scenes is lost and we are left with a Dali-esque jumble of imagery.
That my friends has to change.
Still and all that Kong moves like an ape at least, and his mastery of that prehistoric jungle is a function of his brains and more importantly his will to power.
That comes across just fine....he even gets a Shakespearean death scene, far more sentimental and lurid than even the 1933 original.
And what the hell, it beats the hell out of the odious and contemptuous 1976 re-make with Jessica Lange even if it'll never quite eclipse the raw power of it's New Deal namesake.
Now I wonder if Peter Jackson will take destiny in hand and remake "Son of Kong"?
If he does lets hope Junior comes across with a little more dignity even if he stole the show when Skull Island (spoiler) finally sinks.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

"Dick Clark's Rockin' New Year's Eve: 2006"

On the one hand I was horrified to see Mister Clark with that trademark rictus stumbling through boilerplate teleprompter copy thanks to his ill-timed stroke last year.
On the other hand as unintelligible as he was, I'd rather listen to Dick Clark, stroke and all than his two co-hosts the oily & insincere Ryan Seacrest or his sidekick the robotically bubbly Marysol Castro...to say nothing or their West Coast anchor, the animatronic skeleton currently touring under the name Hilary Duff.

Happy New Year to all.