Tuesday, June 30, 2009

"It's the form my grief has taken."

Rev's gotta eat.


Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li is now available on a 3-disc Blu-ray special edition!

Because one disc simply wasn't big enough to contain it.

Exit question: Wasn't the big advantage of Blu-ray supposed to be that you could put an entire season of a TV series on one disc because the storage capacity was so immense? Do you really need more than one disc to hold all of the extras for Street Fighter: Chun Li? I could do without all the extra discs myself.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Harmonic Convergence

Just jump to the 3:09 mark. Now.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Good Night, Sweet Prince

There's lots to say about Michael Jackson, but above all else, I'd argue that he's the only entertainer who can be measured using the same yardstick used for Elvis.

(I'd be open to including Sinatra and The Beatles, but would probably say that they're more pure musicians than performers. In any case, this is a very short list.)

P.S.: Advantage blogosphere!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

"Like The Mummy Returns on a Coke Binge"

M.E. Russell, who had previously created an intellectual space for the admiration of Michael Bay, goes after Transformers 2:

Aircraft carriers sink! There's a long sequence where our heroes break into the National Air and Space Museum to wake up an ancient Transformer who also happens to be decommissioned SR-71 Blackbird who uses one of his landing gear as a cane! There's a hot-chick Transformer with a really long tongue! There's a little Decepticon with a Jersey accent who humps Megan Fox's leg for no reason! Sam Witwicky's mom eats a pot brownie and starts tackling people! Sam Witwicky's parents go to France for a while just so Michael Bay can blow it up (again!). The disgraced John Turturro character turns up working in a Jewish deli, where he secretly runs a Web site that competes with the one run by Sam Witwicky's hysteria-prone college roommate!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Obama Backlash in Hollywood!!!!!

Evidently, Transformers 2 refers to President Obama by name, and depicts a fictional aid who is kind of a heel. Variety is outraged!

Cohen writes, "So as usual in these movies, the federal bureaucrats are portrayed as annoying if not villainous. The President's man, "Galloway," is a bespectacled blowhard who becomes an obstacle to our brave fighting men and their alliance with the noble Autobots. Operating specifically under presidential authority, he makes all kinds of mischief. He says the President wants to try "diplomacy" against the evil Decepticons and hints the President would consider handing over Shia LaBouf's character to be killed by them. He eventually is ditched by the fighting men (tricked into parachuting out the back of a transport). All this is par for the course in this kind of movie. In the first, there was a Rumsfeldian secretary of defense (played by Jon Voight) and a bit of dialogue from "the President" clearly meant to be Bush, with an obvious Bush impression on the dialogue.

"However, if memory serves, no real politicians were named in the first movie. The SecDef isn't Rumsfeld. The president is not called by name.

"In this movie, exactly one real-life politician is named: "President Obama." They went out of their way to make sure they named the craven, obstructionist president as Obama."

So what gives? I haven't seen the movie, so I am relying on David's take. But it strikes me as a bit unusual given the popularity of the president and the fact that so many people involved in the pic contributed to his campaign.

How dare they.

Uncharitable characterizations of the Dear Leader will not be tolerated, even in movies with giant fighting robots. Michael Bay will never eat lunch in this town again.

Update: Santino says that there are robots in blackface, too! You can see where this is going . . .

Monday, June 22, 2009

When Obama Supporters Fight

Is this what the world has come to? will.i.am and Perez Hilton throwing down outside of a club? Our president would be so disappointed.

The details of the fight are kind of fascinating from a cultural standpoint, though. Hilton called will.i.am a "faggot," which resulted in will.i.am's manager beating Hilton up. Hilton seems to be seen as the victim in the incident.

The hate-speech possibilities here boggle the mind:

* What if Hilton had called will.i.am the dreaded n-word! Would he still be the victim, or would that have excused the violence on the moral, if not the legal, sense?

* "Faggot" is, I thought, a very bad word, no? Isn't it terribly insensitive and hateful for Hilton to have used it? Or is it okay, since Hilton is, himself, gay? Is "faggot" kind to new nigga that way?

* What if will.i.am had called Hilton a "faggot"? Would it have been socially acceptable for will.i.am to brag about it after the fact the way Hilton seems to be doing today?

Surely there's a university sensitivity commission which has already sorted this stuff out for us . . .

Gaming IMAX

Someone played Xbox 360 on the giant HD Jumbotron in the new Cowboys stadium. There's video.

Lebron and Kobe, One More Time

Absolutely fantastic.

Jason Campbell = Troy McClure?

KSK has a bit about Jason Campbell and a dolphin that is crazy fantastic. Go read it now; it's a small masterpiece.

Disney's New Advertorial

Jenny's site is running an ad for a new ABC Family series called Make It or Break It, which looks like a more family-friendly version of the Missy Peregrym movie Stick It.

The ad is mocked up to look like an actual blog post. But here's the thing: the text on the ad is mocked up to read like a blog post about the show--a kind of bitchy, snarky sideswipe that quickly morphs into a traditional ad. Here's the text:

This series is about world-class female gymnasts who work out at The Rock. Apparently this facility trains them to compete on a World Class level in jealousy, drama, and bitchiness as well. I haven't seen this many hairballs coughed up since Lindsey and Samantha's last holiday party. Hot girls spinning around on a mat, cat fights and backstabbing. Tune in for the series premiere of "Make It or Break It", June 22 on ABC Family.

Keep in mind, that ad copy was put together (or at least authorized) by the channel. Nothing wrong with it, but it is kind of interesting.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Night of the Walking Dead

Did anyone else know that Circuit City was still running an online store and still sending out email come-ons?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Gratuitous Violence

Amanda Seyfried, asked about Lindsay Lohan:

"Mean Girls was such a long time ago and we definitely haven't stayed in touch. And while we are on the subject, I can't stand her."

Kind of hot, no?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Brief Iranian Aside

I know very little about the Iranian election/protests. It's not clear to me if what we're seeing is a genuinely significant uprising (meaning that it has the potential to up-end the regime). Or even if it was a seriously stolen election. The possibility that Ahmadinejad actually commands a plurality of popular support from the rural areas and the underclass seems as plausible as the possibility that the ruling theocrats have passed some tipping point where their legitimacy is imperiled. Who knows.

Well, actually, Andrew Sullivan knows! Over the last few days, some conservatives have treated Sullivan as if he was a reasonable, reliable source. What are the chances that this Sullivan post will put an end to that.

Pletka is a hard-right neocon, very close to the Kagans, and a former aide to Jesse Helms. Her support for Ahmadinejad is the same as Daniel Pipes' and the Mossad's. What we're seeing is how much of the neocon agenda really was about freedom. I have long since stopped believing that, having observed them closely for the past few years. They are about warfare against Israel's perceived enemies, and extending US hegemony to eclipse any rival regional or global power. That is the prism through which you have to watch their every statement. But why is the New York Times giving a platform at this moment to people who got the Iraq war so terribly wrong? Are there no consequences for total neoconservative failure?

Like I said, I don't know much about Iran, but it does seem to me that the Official Neocon PositionTM is probably pro-protest and anti-Ahmadinejad. It's the Obama administration which is going to pains to not jump to any conclusions or rush to support the protesters.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Strange New Respect

We now have the perfect blog post. Here's Hugh Hewitt blogging an open-message to Andrew Sullivan:

"Memo to Andrew Sullivan: E-mail to your aol account is bouncing back. I'd like to interview you today or tomorrow."

The full majesty of the blogosphere--from logos to ethos--is explicated in those two sentences.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Brief Foreign Policy Aside

It's not clear to me whether or not the Iranian election is blow to the Obama administration's view of the efficacy of diplomacy. But it is clear that the transformation of terminology describing Obama's worldview, from "soft power" to "smart power" is incomplete.

The correct formulation should be iPower, no?


Provincial? Sure. Awesome? Very.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Why Isn't This in the Nike Commercial?

You know, the one with the cute puppets:

Detective Loya: Did you ever ask her if you wanted, if you could cum in her face?
Bryant: Yes. That's when she said no. That's when she said no. That's when she said no.
Detective Loya: So you like to cum in your partner's face?
Bryant: That's my thing. No always, I mean. So I stopped. Jesus christ man...

Brief Political Aside

Sailer has a great line on the Most Reverend Jeremiah Wright:

"To Wright, the Bible, and almost everything else, is just Chicago ethnic politics writ large."

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Danny DeVito Is Drunk on TV in Philly

Pajiba is there.

Batman and Economics

Galley Friend B.W. sends us this link examining the economic theory behind whether or not supervillains should coordinate in their efforts to capture/kill the Batman.

Surprisingly the answer is, no.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Dept. of Things You Don't Want to Know

Airspeed and the Coffin Corner.

And more:

Remember, more often than not, an airliner goes down at the end of long chain of unrelated, seemingly innocuous decisions, malfunctions, mistakes and external factors. Remove any single link (or even change their sequence) and you have an on-time arrival at Charles de Gaulle.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Federer Wins the French

Believe me when I say that very few people were happier to see Federer win the French than I was. I think he's the best of all time and getting the French Open and his 14th major bolsters that case. (The only serious counter-argument, I think, is that he's had the best stretch-run of all time. I'm open to idea that at particular instants, other players were better. But I would need a lot of convincing.)

But does his victory really mean that the Age of Federer continues? I don't think so. Here's what I wrote after last year's Wimbledon final:

The age of Federer is over. He'll hang around near the top for the next 18 months. He'll be a regular in the semis and finals of the slams, but absent him getting some help (injuries to other players, a draw with lots of upsets) I don't think it's certain he will win another big one. It's hard to imagine how he could win three more.

I still think this is about right. Since Wimbledon he's won two majors. I'm still doubtful he can get another--unless Nadal is seriously injured and Federer continues to get very favorable draws.

It doesn't take anything away from Federer to note that during his run at the French Federer faced only one top-10 player (and only two guys from the top 20). He didn't see Nadal, Murray, or Djokovic or run a gauntlet of second-tier, top-fifteeners. Maybe other draws will shake out similarly. If Nadal pulls out of Wimbledon, or shows up hurt, and Djokovic continues his slide, and a bunch of flukey upsets clear a path for him, he can win more majors. But I still think that the days of Fed blitzing through a major thumping a string of guys like Hewitt, Haas, Murray, Gonzalez, Robredo, and Nadal are over.

Monday, June 08, 2009

David Carradine, R.I.P.

There's something remarkably sweet about how, in the wake of his death, David Carradine's family has rallied to protect his honor. For those of you just joining our program, Carradine was found dead, in a Thai hotel, hanging. By both his neck and his junk.

This would lead us to one of two likely explanations: (1) Carradine committed suicide in a somewhat different way; or (2) Carradine died accidentally as the result of a particularly strange sexual deviancy. In the immediate aftermath of his death, Carradine family members were telling anyone who would listen that David would never have committed suicide.

I'd like to think this is the product of some moral ordering which (rightly) sees suicide as a greater sin than sexual deviancy. In this world, the Carradine family is defending is honor by suggesting that he was a pervert.

Of course it's also possible that there is some sort of insurance policy which becomes inoperative in the case of the insured taking his own life. But I chose to believe the former explanation.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

The Bloody Show

For whatever it's worth. The headline (for which I can claim no credit) is the best part of the review.

One of the little secrets of the trade is that writers write and editors write headlines. Writers frequently suggest headers; the editors usually come up with their own. All of the best headlines for my pieces have come from editors and "Present at the Creation" is up there with my other favorite. I reviewed a book about Jimmy Carter for Claremont a few years ago where the great John Kienker came up with the header "Malaise Forever."

I'll be forever grateful for that.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Microsoft v. Google

Was this actually the most important news of the week?

Keep Matus Away From Sharp Objects

Here's the trailer for the new Xbox game: The Beatles Rock Band.

Land of the Lost

Variety's Brian Lowry has just reviewed Land of the Lost and it comes down hard:

Hinting at the perils in synergy, "Land of the Lost" conspicuously feels as though someone at Universal was already planning the theme-park ride spinoff before taking a painfully wrong turn with the movie. Modernizing a 1970s children's TV show known for its cheap special effects offered certain possibilities, but the filmmakers have traded in any kid-friendly elements for bathroom humor of dinosaur-sized proportions. The result is a movie with an exceedingly narrow target aud that should test Will Ferrell's appeal among boys maybe ages 12-14--about the only demo likely able to endure this laborious mess.

But maybe the ride will be fun.

Hulu on Your TV

That's the Holy Grail, isn't it? If you could easily put Hulu on your television set (and I don't count the current hack-arounds as easily), then you could basically check out of the cable grind. Today there's a rumor that Roku, the people who first put Netflix streaming onto your TV, might be trying to do the same with Hulu.

My first thought was, Hey, I'd drop Comcast like a bad habit.

But I'm not so sure, because cable has one totally killer app: sports.

I think it was Rupert Murdoch who said, on the occasion of his purchase of Manchester United, that sports broadcasting was the only content that couldn't be time-shifted or packaged as on-demand. For the most part, I think that's true. You can try to watch your French Open broadcast the day after on DVR, but for any mainstream sport, it doesn't seem practical. Who's going to watch an NFL game a day after?

But more to the point for cable, sports are the one area where there is no model for how their broadcast could be de-bundled from the cable package. And add to this, that sports benefit tremendously from high-definition. So if you love sports, it would be pretty hard to give up cable even if you were getting all of your scripted entertainment from a set-top interface with Hulu.

James Cameron and Hollywood Career Economics

A very interesting tidbit from a Q&A with Cameron:

He did take a non-Avatar question when someone asked about “having other people take over franchises that you created.” He got a huge laugh when he cut to the chase and said, “oh Terminator?” He then said that he basically traded the rights for Terminator for a directing career and then when Arnold Schwarzenegger wanted to do T3, his heart just wasn’t in it, though he had a few ideas. He said the producers “ran off with the rights, which caused some bad blood” and so when Arnold asked him after they were going in a different direction, Cameron told him, “just do me one thing – ask for more money than anyone ever has.” Arnold said, “reeeeealllly?” He said, “yes. Because what idiots would make a Terminator movie without you?”

And then one other funny bit:

Somebody also asked about his reputation as a hardass on set and compared him with Michael Mann, to which Cameron jokingly replied, “What? Michael Mann’s a whacko.”

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

King of Kong

This is kind of cool--watch one of the guys from King of Kong try to set a new Donkey Kong high score. Live.

Watch live video from G4TV - Steve Wiebe Donkey Kong Cam on Justin.tv

Xbox > Wii?

Microsoft thinks they've found a way to trump the Wii. Will be interesting to see how it works.