Down These Mean Streets a Mensch Must Go

4 comments on May 06, 2008 by Steve Simels

Went to see Made of Honor over the weekend -- an at best agreeable romantic comedy with a barely plausible premise rendered even less so by the genius casting of Patrick Dempsey as a 32 year old -- and was rewarded with a big screen look at the teaser trailer for Frank Miller's forthcoming (2009) film version of all-time comic book genius Will Eisner's The Spirit. Two words spring immediately to mind -- "oy" and "gevalt." My teaser review? The visuals are gratifyingly Eisner-esque, but the voiceover suggests the finished flick will be (surprise, surprise) more of its writer/director's trademark steroidal adolescent wankery.

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Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

84 comments on May 05, 2008 by Steve Simels

Looks like a certain troubled soul diva girlfriend of mine just blew a good gig. From the New York Times: "Amy Winehouse has abandoned work on the theme song for the forthcoming James Bond film, “Quantum of Solace,” The Associated Press reported. Mark Ronson, her producer, said Ms. Winehouse, whose troubles with drugs and law enforcement have been well documented, is “not ready to record any any music.”" This is sad news, of course, and as you may have gathered, I'm a huge Winehouse fan for any number of reasons, not the least of which is that it's kind of cool that the Keith Richards of her generation happens to be a Jewish woman. Nevertheless, in retrospect it may be for the best, at least for the Bond franchise.

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Sometime in the dim, dark past -- actually, the fall of 1993 -- I found myself in a comedy club watching a performance by one of my heros, the late great Bill Hicks (for my money, the last American comic who might be said to have been inhabited by genius, but that's a subject for another blogpost). It was a strange moment in pop culture history -- the season, you may recall, when just about every sentient mammal in America had or was about to get their own talk show. Apparently, without anybody noticing, some kind of law had been passed somewhere authorizing (hell, requiring) every Z-list celebrity annoyance to host an hour-long syndicated gabfest.

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Blindness, an artsy sci-fi thriller directed by Fernando Meirelles (City of God, The Constant Gardner) and starring Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo, opens the Cannes Film Festival on May 14th. It's based on the novel by Nobel Prize winner Jose Saramago and it sounds interesting, but from what I can tell from the trailer, I think I liked it better in 1962, when it was the low budget version of John Wyndham's Day of the Triffids. I kid, of course. Obviously, there are no killer vegetables in Meirelles' film. In any case, the weekend is upon us and as usual things will be quiet around here until Monday.

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So yesterday morning I was immersed, as is my custom, in the great warm bath that is the New York Times Arts and Leisure section, when I discovered that some dirty hippies had just mounted a chamber revival of Marc Blitzstein's legendary 1937 lefty agit-prop musical The Cradle Will Rock. For those who don't know the show, it's a Depression Era parable about a predatory Capitalist system run amok, and thus obviously relevant to our contemporary circumstances; as the Times reviewer concluded "Leaving the theater I overheard several people muttering variations on 'Nothing changes'."

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Technology Notes From All Over

3 comments on January 07, 2008 by Steve Simels

Courtesy of writer Charles McGrath, in last week's New York Times Book Review, I have just learned all sorts of unexpected things about the lovely and talented Carrie Fisher. And a few other Hollywood types. (Fisher has a new tell-all memoir out, obviously).

And of course there was George Lucas, who cast her [Fisher] as Princess Leia in Star Wars and made her a pinup girl for generations of geeky adolescents who gazed up in longing at their bedroom poster of Ms. Fisher in a metallic bikini, chained to a giant slug. "George Lucas ruined my life," Ms. Fisher says, which doesn't seem entirely fair. On the other hand, in a book full of weirdos, he emerges as possibly the strangest of all.

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