Sunday, March 25, 2007

Australian teenage mermaids > Nicolas Cage. Discuss.

Last night I went to see Ghost Rider and did not care for it (it came from the man who also did Daredevil, which at least had Jennifer Garner)... any Marvel adaptation without Stan Lee appearing is doomed from the get-go, plus crap merchant David S. Goyer (Blade: Trinity, Threshold) was involved. Trying to be campy while taking your basic story seriously is a tough trick to pull off, and this not being Xena: Warrior Princess it didn't make it - in fact, it was laughable (starting with Peter Fonda's hair). But I did like

a) the moment where Nicolas Cage and Sam Elliott go riding across the desert leaving trails of fire while a rock cover of "Ghost Riders In The Sky" plays,

b) the cute blonde waitress in the bar, who sadly got iced by the main villain,

c) Eva "lowrent Cindy Crawford" Mendes's impressive cleavage and bodacious backside (even if she was otherwise useless... but then again so was N. Cage, Esq.),

d) Christopher Young's score in lieu of endless songs, which is a decent dry run for Spider-Man 3, and

e) Er... that's it.

The ads before the movie included one from Nickelodeon for
H2O: Just Add Water, which is a pretty weird juxtaposition - is there really an overlap of audiences for films about demonically possessed motorbike riders and fantasy series aimed at tweenage girls? (Well, in some parts yes.) Mind you, if it was down to choosing between Ghost Rider 2 and watching Australian girls deal with turning into mermaids, I'd go for the latter any day. The series starts in April, so that's one to set the video for.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Why this blog will never be called The Naomi Spot. Ever.

Okay, so while Googling for Cindy - it's a tradition - I come across this post by a gay gossip blogger (not as redundant as it seems, honest) extolling the virtues of Naomi Campbell turning community service into a PR exercise and praising her for being too useless to be doing anything but still walking up and down catwalks... er, working it for top designers.

I said: Cindy Crawford may be retired and raising a family and Naomi Campbell may still be working the runways, but Cindy is still an appealing class act and Naomi is still... working the runways.

He said in response: True nuff, that. :) Thanks for the comment. :)

Since the original blog was hardly an attack on NC, either he missed the point or he got it completely. Whatever, it's a chance to post Cindy's spread from German Vogue. Doesn't get the headlines, but doesn't get them for the right reasons. If you see what I mean.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Heroes drinking game.

Well, one of them. To while away the days before it comes back from hiatus (for the record, Sci-Fi is up to Chapter Six), here's one put together by various Internet Movie Database fans of the show as it is at the time of posting, including non-drinking me. (For the benefit of my Australian friend, mild spoilers removed.)

Sip a beer if:
Peter brushes his hair out of his face.
Hiro pushes his glasses up his nose.
Mohinder says "My father's research."
Nathan laughs at Peter.
A shadowy figure appears.
Claire regenerates.
Claire cries.
There is a plot twist of any kind. (WARNING: May result in serious liver damage.)
Hiro speaks broken English to a person of authority.
Sylar kills someone.
Zach is referenced as being gay.
DL phases through something.
Hiro mentions his destiny.
Ando drools over a girl.

Chug a beer if:
A new hero appears.
Sylar cuts someone's head open.
Hiro says "Yatta!" and flings his arms out.
Niki/Jessica swap places more than once.
Sylar gives you that creepy vibe.
There's a close up of Claire looking scared or disappointed.
You have to guess whether Niki's herself or Jessica.
Ando gives a rebuttal to any of Hiro's plans.
Nathan acts like a prick.
The "symbol" shows up.
Peter learns a new power.
Claire is NOT in an episode - In fact, chug three (it'll never happen).
The Haitian says something.
Mohinder's accent changes.
We find out Claire's dad's first name.
We find out if Claire's mom (Mrs. Bennet) is dead.
Mrs. Bennet hugs Mr. Muggles. (You're gonna get drunk tonight with this one...)
Ali Larter acts badly. (You'll be smashed before the half hour point.)
The episode ends with some kind of pretentious voiceover from Mohinder.
A non-Asian character speaks Japanese (twice if they're actually not bad at it).

Take a shot if:
Peter uses someone else's power.
Something HUGE is revealed.
Someone important dies.
Mr. Muggles makes an appearance.
They say any name brand (like Nissan Versa).
We find out that another random person is in on the whole thing.
Janice Parkman is in an episode.
Hiro manages to get a girlfriend.
Chandra Suresh isn't dead after all.
Sylar does not appear in an episode.

Down a bottle of Vodka (you can choose the brand) if:
It is ever revealed that Mr. Muggles has a power.
Any of the heroes wears a costume and fights crime.
The show gets cancelled.
Mohinder doesn't die. (He totally deserves to and you know it)
Janice Parkman is revealed to have a power.
A non-hot female character who has a power becomes a regular.
Chandra Suresh is not only alive, but behind it all, too!
Sylar becomes a good guy.
Neither Hiro nor Claire appear in an episode.


Avril Lavigne is the new David Byrne.

Years ago, Zeta (my younger, much smarter and more successful sister) told me that David Byrne had the right idea going into movies because his singing left something to be desired. Similarly, Avril Lavigne's best moment to date is voicing William Shatner's daughter in Over the Hedge, not least because she doesn't sing a note. (On the other hand, the end credits of Eragon have the pintsized skid mark belting her heart out. No wonder it underperformed.) All of which doesn't take away from "Girlfriend" being less unbearable than usual, even if it's so conceited it could be by Kelis.

Too bad it's real easy to go "Oh Mickey you're so fine, you're so fine you blow my mind" to the chorus. Try it.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

This is like asking me to help put together a list of 50 Greatest Reggae Albums.

The Observer's highly uninfluential Music Monthly released their list of the 50 Greatest Movie Soundtracks today. The editor Caspar Llewellyn Smith 'fessed up that he isn't actually that much of an expert, and even allowing for the assembled panel (including David Arnold, Anne Dudley and Michael Nyman) it shows.

1. The Wizard of Oz Composer: Herbert Stothart. Songs by Harold Arlen / EY Harburg (1939)
2. Psycho Bernard Herrmann (1959)

3. Star Wars John Williams (1977)
4. Pather Panchali Ravi Shankar (1955)

5. A Clockwork Orange Wendy Carlos (1971)
6. A Fistful Of Dollars Ennio Morricone (1964)
7. The Adventures of Robin Hood Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1938)
8. Alexander Nevsky Sergei Prokofiev (1938)
9. Shaft Isaac Hayes (1971)
10. Lift To The Scaffold Miles Davis (1958)
11. Singin' In The Rain Arthur Freed / Nacio Herb Brown (1952)
12. Trainspotting Compiler: Danny Boyle (1996)

13. High Noon Dimitri Tiomkin (1952)
14. Blade Runner Vangelis (1982)
For years the original synthesiser soundtrack was officially unavailable, with a horrible orchestral version being rejected by fans in favour of a hard-to-find unofficial 'Offworld' edition. Since the early Nineties, however, a CD replete with outtake cues and dialogue fragments has become a must-have item for all serious soundtrack collectors. The future never sounded so good. (Mark Kermode, apparently unaware that there's an official and non-bootlegged edition out there.)
15. 2001 Compiler: Stanley Kubrick (1968)
16. American Graffiti Compiler: George Lucas (1973)
17. American Beauty Thomas Newman (1999)

18. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me Angelo Badalamenti (1992)
19. Paris, Texas Ry Cooder(1984)
20. On Her Majesty's Secret Sevice John Barry (1969)

21. Dougal and the Blue Cat Narrator: Eric Thompson (1972)
22. Gone With The Wind Max Steiner (1939)
23. The Godfather Nino Rota (1972)
24. West Side Story Leonard Bernstein (1957)
25. Slade In Flame Songs by Slade (1974)

26. The Third Man Anton Karas (1949)
27. The Graduate Simon and Garfunkel (score by Dave Grusin, as everyone forgets) (1968)
28. The Pink Panther Henry Mancini (1963)
29. Toy Story Randy Newman (1995)
30. Round Midnight Herbie Hancock (1986)
31. Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai The Rza (1999)
32. Trouble Man Marvin Gaye (1972)
33. Rosemary's Baby Krzysztof Komeda (1968)
34. Head The Monkees (1968)
35. Alfie Sonny Rollins (1966)
36. The Italian Job Quincy Jones (1969)
37. Once Upon A TIme In America Ennio Morricone (1984)
38. One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest Jack Nitzsche (1975)
39. North By Northwest Bernard Herrmann (1959)
40. Crooklyn Various (1994)
41. Deliverance Eric Weissberg and Steve Mandel (1972)
42. Don't Look Now Pino Donaggio (1973)
43. Casablanca Max Steiner (1942)
44. On The Waterfront Leonard Bernstein (1954)
45. Reservoir Dogs Various (1992)
46. The Magnificent Seven Elmer Bernstein (1960)
47. Snow Falling On Cedars James Newton Howard (1999)
48. The Wicker Man Paul Giovanni (1973)
49. Dirty Harry Lalo Schifrin (1971)
50. The Devil In Miss Jones Alden Shuman (1973)


Norbit: The same entertainment value as a blog entry dissing Hayden Panettiere.

Which is to say, none whatsoever.

Okay, the wedding climax which Eddie Griffin takes over for stalling purposes so Eddie Murphy can get there in time does have its moments, but it's too little and too late to save the movie from really making me nostalgic for Daddy Day Care. Or even Harlem Nights.

Amazing Rick Baker makeup, true, and Murphy actually does do quite well in his three roles (Norbit, his Tyrannosaurus-sized shrewish wife Rasputia, and the Chinese orphanage owner who brought him up), but the material isn't here at all (and since Murphy has co-story and co-screenplay credit, he has to have a lot of the blame). Borderline offensive - you can imagine Spike Lee's reaction to how every stereotype known to man comes along here (then again, he's not exactly renowned for his positive female characters himself), horrendously unfunny, and apart from the scenes with Thandie Newton lacking any kind of charm, it's hard not to believe the rumours that this cost Eddie Murphy an Oscar for Dreamgirls.

Mind you, I should have known this would be crap with Griffin and Cuba Gooding Jr. in the cast... kudos to David Newman for valiantly trying to add a touch of humanity to the movie with his music and actually succeeding sometimes, though. I guarantee these pictures will do more for you than Norbit did. And they won't cost you anything.

And yes, they have turned up on lots of other blogs, but I'd rather see Hayden humping the Stanley Cup 100 times than see Norbit again. A pox on bloggers bashing her, which is where we came in.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Mr. B, one for your collection...

Although I wish Robert Rodriguez would a) stop getting so much help in scoring his own movies (at least John Carpenter did his by himself for the most part) and b) stop scoring his own movies... (Mind you, still beats Quentin "Now what can I use from my record collection this time?" Tarantino - his half of Grindhouse has its own song album on Maverick.)

Jen: Woah...can Rose even sing?
Me: She sang on an episode of Charmed. She wasn't bad - she can certainly sing better than Sarah Michelle Gellar.
Jen: So can most cats ;-)
Me: So can you, probably. ;-)

1. Grindhouse (Main Titles) (Robert Rodriguez) (3:30)
2. Doc Block (Robert Rodriguez & Carl Thiel) (2:03)
3. The Sickos (Robert Rodriguez & Graeme Revell) (1:39)
4. You Belong To Me - Rose McGowan (Pee Wee King, Chilton Price & Redd Stewart) (2:15)
5. Go Go Not Cry Cry (Robert Rodriguez & Rick Del Castillo) (1:09)
6. Hospital Epidemic (Graeme Revell & Robert Rodriguez) (1:16)
7. Useless Talent #32 - Rose McGowan (Rebecca Rodriguez & Robert Rodriguez) (3:11)
8. His Prescription... Pain (Robert Rodriguez & Carl Thiel) (:55)
9. Cherry Darling (Robert Rodriguez) (1:01)
10. The Grindhouse Blues (Robert Rodriguez) (3:01)
11. El Wray (Robert Rodriguez) (1:18)
12. Police Station Assault (Robert Rodriguez) (1:33)
13. Dakota (Robert Rodriguez & Carl Thiel) (2:27)
14. Zero To Fifty In Four (Robert Rodriguez) (1:35)
15. Fury Road (Robert Rodriguez) (2:03)
16. Helicopter Sicko Chopper (Graeme Revell & Robert Rodriguez) (1:22)
17. The Ring In The Jacket (Robert Rodriguez & George Oldziey) (1:34)
18. Killer Legs (Robert Rodriguez & Rick Del Castillo) (2:14)
19. Melting Member (Graeme Revell & Robert Rodriguez) (1:51)
20. Too Drunk To Fuck - Nouvelle Vague (Jello Biafra) (2:12)
21. Cherry's Dance Of Death - CHINGON (Robert Rodriguez) (3:26)
22. Two Against The World - Rose McGowan (Rebecca Rodriguez & Robert Rodriguez) (2:08)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Cindy > Tyra.

What have I learned?

I learned that Hilary Duff performing at G-A-Y goes a long way towards atoning for the sight of Courtney Love in Trapped.

I learned that it's good for Sharon to finally win something more than £5 on the lottery.

I learned that the producers of Law & Order: Criminal Intent have only a nodding acquaintance with the concept of "shame."

I learned that the online Heroes comics at NBC's site are the first comic books in a very, very, very long time that I've read, due to my interest in such things being otherwise just about non-existent. Even after seeing the Superman movies, the X-Men movies, the Spider-Man movies, Fantastic Four, Daredevil and even The Phantom.

I learned that I deeply hate getting home too late to make any kind of proper dinner for myself

I learned that I'm too self-absorbed.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Saturday night's all right, right?

Title's because of when this is being done. Okay, so Anne Hathaway's going to go from playing Jane Austen to playing Agent 99. This is great in a way, especially if you're Brandon, but even with great sounding casting (Steve Carell, Alan Arkin and... er, The Rock as well) the idea of a Get Smart movie is loaded with potential for going wrong wrong wrong. Not as much as this, I admit (and whose great idea was that, I'd like to know?), but really.

What's bothered me most about the likes of Bewitched and Starsky and Hutch (apart from their not being very good, especially Bewitched) was that the makers never felt they could trust the basic material - the former became an impossibly overclever mess (would it have hurt Nora Ephron to just do it properly instead of turning it into a cackhanded tribute?), and the latter fell victim to the pre-and-post-Life On Mars need to send up everything from the 1970s (I didn't mind it so much with the Charlie's Angels movies for some reason, maybe because I never cared for that particular show when I was a boy). The Brady Bunch Movie and its sequel are one thing because it kept the basic template of the show but moved everything else forward. Plus they were both damned funny.

Similarly, The Fugitive never tried to screw around with its source, and look how well that turned out. Even George of the Jungle managed to not suck (unlike just about every other liveaction movie from a cartoon). But Get Smart... the odds are just too against it. Still, high odds beat no odds.

Friday, March 09, 2007

300 words.

That's all I want to put on this post.

So. I'm bored. And boring. If I start to write something and I'm not in the least bit interested, just think how you reader (like I have multiple viewers) must feel.

The solution would be to lie. But that ain't something either. So...

Actually, it's all loose ends. I want to get through a post without mentioning Heroes, but now that's gone out the window. I could gloat about how the fuss about phone-in quiz shows has led to a long-overdue and probably only temporary removal of the spacewasters, but I can't be bothered. And there is no way I'm complaining about banks again. So let's just go all stream of consciousness. (120) Whatever comes to mind.

Hey, Dangerous Liasions is on. Not the one with Michelle Pfeiffer and Uma Thurman, the one made for European TV with Nastassja Kinski and Leelee Sobieski! And Catherine Deneuve, but you gotta take the rough with the smooth. At least there's no Pacey from Dawson's Creek with an awful dye job.

Hearing about Stargazerz member Zahir losing his fiancee truly sucked. The poor guy.

Ditto John Inman from Are You Being Served? There was a calypso years back about the show; can't find a link to it anywhere. (That was Barbados for you - also ditties about Sanford and Son and J.R. Ewing.)

I hate overeating.

The phrase "Best of British" sets my teeth on edge. Where does this place get off calling itself "Great Britain"? At least the US doesn't call itself "Great America." Alliteration is, sometimes, evil.

I also hate charity telethons. Almost as much as I hate parades. Comic Relief is next week. I shall be sure to be out of the flat on that night.

Why was yours truly not informed of Patricia Araujo working in London earlier? (287)

And with only ten words left - no, wait, now it's three... two... done!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Material Girls.

Material Girls confirms once and for all where Haylie Duff stands in regard to her sister Hilary, as if there was any doubt - Hilary has a producer credit (along with her mum Susan) while poor Haylie has to make do with being a co-producer; Hilary's then-boyfriend Joel Madden has a cameo as one of the "valets" who steals the sisters' car, but Haylie's man - if she has one - doesn't turn up; and Haylie really does not match Hilary in terms of looks or talent. Not that this is exactly a great vehicle for the sisters; it was originally written for Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, but it ended up being a Madonna-backed bomb for the Duffs instead (Mrs. Ritchie's Maverick Films is one of the several companies involved). If I was an Olsen fan I'd say they dodged a bullet.

To be honest, I was surprised this got a British cinema release (with its horrid reception when it came out in the US last year, and given how The Perfect Man and Raise Your Voice fared - the latter went direct to DVD in the UK...). Though it isn't really the Hilton sisters send-up it looks like, this riches-to-rags-and-back-to-riches tale has one major flaw for a comedy - it isn't funny. It isn't all that satirical (Haylie's character is the boyfriend of a guy on an OC-type show called Long Island which he promotes endlessly - The Valley it ain't, as Summer Roberts would no doubt agree), but that's okay; it gets in plugs for E!, but that's okay too (at least they didn't make up a fake entertainment channel); it just isn't funny. It actually works better as a drama than as comedy, with our heroes becoming less shallow and digging to clear their deceased dad's name, etc., and that makes it a bit more watchable than it otherwise might be... but with its mildly offensive undertones, silly turns (like Hilary being arrested as a prostitute and thrown in jail with the real things - who she promptly gives lessons in makeup to!) and the inexplicable presence of Anjelica Huston, it's probably just as well that I didn't pay for this. And don't get me started on the Duff sisters' rendition of that Madonna song (makes their version of "Our Lips Are Sealed" for A Cinderella Story seem like a classic).

But like I said, Hilary beats her sister - and it kills 90 or so minutes harmlessly enough. She's done worse (The Perfect Man, anyone? Which I did pay to see). And as a bonus, she definitely looks a hell of a lot better than she did in Cheaper By The Dozen 2 - the comedy may be synthetic, but the sexiness of Hilary's legs is real. There is a case to be made for her best movie to date still being The Lizzie McGuire Movie, mind.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Tom and Jerry & Tex Avery Too! Volume One: The 1950s

Tom and Jerry and Tex Avery. Classic names in animation for years, but this post deals with some of the music associated with 'em. The wonderful Film Music Monthly label recently issued a double-disc set of scores for some of those classic MGM cartoons, from the period when Scott Bradley was in charge of the music side (right up to when MGM closed down its cartoon unit, and before they outsourced the work - with... er... varied results). Carl Stalling is widely regarded as the king of music for theatrical cartoon shorts, and I'm not going to be the one to call him overrated - but I always kind of preferred Bradley's work. Maybe not as wild as Stalling, but his scores always seemed to be a bit more thorough-composed than the great man's, and less reliant on adapting previous works (the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies themes were from songs of the time, but Bradley's Tom and Jerry fanfare was original).

In 1993 Milan released a Tex Avery Cartoons CD that had six selections on it (technically five-and-a-half, since "The Three Little Pups" had the second half missing) and they included the sound effects and dialogue - okay, I did tape the soundtracks of several T&J cartoons that way, but that's not what you expect when you plonk down the hard-earned at the store. But this album has 25 complete scores (including the earlier album's "Little Johnny Jet," "Cellbound" and "TV Of Tomorrow"), and while some definitely work better than others - I admit knowing the cartoons they come from might give you an advantage - this is a joy from start to finish, with "Dixieland Droopy" and "Tot Watchers" (the very last one Bradley worked on, and later ripped off by John Hughes as Baby's Day Out) standouts. Too bad they couldn't have included "Bad Luck Blackie" or "The Flying Sorceress" - but then again, this is Volume One. Give the soundclips at Screen Archives a listen...

Disc One:
1. Touche, Pussy Cat! (1954, Tom and Jerry) (6:23)
2. That's My Mommy (1955, Tom and Jerry) (6:04)
3. Deputy Droopy (1955, Tex Avery) (5:33)
4. Blue Cat Blues (1956, Tom and Jerry) (7:07)
5. T.V. of Tomorrow (1953, Tex Avery) (7:28)
6. Busy Buddies (1956, Tom and Jerry) (6:00)
7. Mouse for Sale (1955, Tom and Jerry) (6:46)
8. Neapolitan Mouse (1954, Tom and Jerry) (7:09)
9. Dixieland Droopy (1954, Tex Avery) (7:29)
10. Give and Tyke (1957, Spike and Tyke) (6:10)
11. Happy Go Ducky (1958, Tom and Jerry) (5:55)
12. Little Johnny Jet (1952, Tex Avery) (7:02)

Disc Two:
1. Field and Scream (1955, Tex Avery) (5:49)
2. Pecos Pest (1955, Tom and Jerry) (6:03)
3. Billy Boy (1954, Tex Avery) (5:49)
4. Downbeat Bear (1956, Tom and Jerry) (5:36)
5. Pet Peeve (1954, Tom and Jerry) (5:42)
6. Tom and Cherie (1955, Tom and Jerry) (6:19)
7. Cellbound (1955, Tex Avery) (5:16)
8. Tom's Photo Finish (1957, Tom and Jerry) (6:04)
9. Downhearted Duckling (1954, Tom and Jerry) (6:26)
10. Scat Cats (1957, Spike and Tyke) (6:09)
11. Homesteader Droopy (1954, Tex Avery) (6:56)
12. Barbeque Brawl (1956, Tom and Jerry) (6:24)
13. Tot Watchers (1958, Tom and Jerry) (6:08)

People suck.

Yes, it's wonderful that Mike is actually alive and not the victim of a car accident, but it rankles a lot that he was the victim of a joke like this. What kind of people think that spreading rumours about someone's death is funny? Huh? Is that how they get their jollies? Do these people have any lives that they have to go around and disrupt others?

He's the second person I know to have fallen victim to this (Jen being the first) and it doesn't get any more amusing. And the worst thing is, it'll make it a lot harder to believe initially if one of our circle of friends really does pass on. Thanks for cheapening death, wherever you are, you heartless tool.