Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
especially welcome to extensive readers

Monday, July 31, 2006

Stop being a Stupid Girl,Lindsay!

Lindsay Lohan has just been called on the carpet for her latest shenanagans by Morgan Creek head,James Robinson who sent Ms. Freaky-not-just-on-Friday a rather tough talking memo about her behavior on the set of Georgia Rule. Robinson is not buying the beaten-to-death excuse of "exhaustion" as reason for her not showing up to work,out and out telling her that"We are well aware that your ongoing all night heavy partying is the real reason for you so-called "exhaustion." Uh,oh,Daddy's mad-you're in wicked trouble now,Lindsay!

I've linked the Smoking Gun article in the title above so you can see it for yourselves;he also calls Ms. Lohan a"spoiled brat" and unprofessional and threatens to hold her financially responsible for any more setbacks. Thank you,Mr. Robinson,for openly being the first Hollywood executive to put his/her foot down in public and stop letting these celebs self-destruct in your prescence. I hope that Lindsay's co stars in Georgia Rule(Jane Fonda and Felicity Huffman)are putting in their two cents here as well and giving this girl some much-needed advice.

Lindsay,I truly hope that this is a wake-up call for you;don't pout or just say what you think they want to hear. You've been making comments about wanting to be given serious parts(and after Herbie:Fully Loaded,who could blame you?)but you have to act serious to be taken serious. That's how it works. No one's saying you can't have fun but when you start looking older than your over-40 fellow actresses,that's not good,hon-not at all! There's a reason that Pink can mock you in her Stupid Girls video and that folks find it funny:



And for the rest of you:nobody believes that "exhaustion" crap,heat related or otherwise. Unless you're working in the Sahara desert,it doesn't fly. We know it's because you were either puking your insides out way too much or getting wasted or both. We're not stupid,okay? Get yourselves together,gang-times are harsh and entertainment is needed now more than ever before. Oh,and can someone please stop paying attention to Paris and Nicole? Please?! Plenty of people out there with actual talent or some kind of skill that could use the spotlight better-just take a look:

Friday, July 28, 2006

Mackerel Pudding and other Regrettable Food




Thanks to a recommendation from Robin Brande,I'm now reading Wendy McClure's book called I'm Not The New Me,which is a humorous memoir about dealing with her weight. That lead me to finding her website for the book(linked in the title above for your viewing pleasure)that mentioned her new book,The Amazing Mackerel Pudding Plan,a collection of 1970s Weight Watchers recipe cards that she found while cleaning out her mother's basement. Some of these cards were displayed at one of Wendy's other sites,Candyboots and proved to strike quite a cord with people that it lead to this fun little food fest.



As a Weight Watchers veteran myself(plus my mom tried it ages ago and even used one of the WW cookbooks which resulted in a horrid fish soup/stew that lives in infamy to this very day),I can relate all too easily to these books,particularly the AMPP. I'm Not The New Me I borrowed from Booksfree but AMPP I just had to own. It's sort of a foodie version of MST3K,with it's ghastly images of bland,brightly colored or thrown together edibles that are anything but. Not to mention the objects d'art that some crazed photographer thought would actually compliment the "healthy" meals. Most of us don't think to add ceramic animals and decorative fabrics to our place settings and there's a damn good reason for that!



But even more frightening to the palate is The Gallery of Regrettable Food(which Wendy kindly supplied the link to with the WW cards),a hall of fame for some of the best of the worst retro recipes in America. Some of the cookbook titles featured at the Gallery are "The 10 PM Cookbook"(meals for the late night drunk in you),"Cooking with Dr.Pepper""More Fun With Coffee and my favorite"Better Homes and Gardens Meat Cookbook" which has the kind of manly meals that Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite would gleefully chomp down on-just take a look at some of these culinary beauties!


For the truly brave among you,more of these unappetizers can be found at James Lileks' site thru Candyboots or via his Institute of Official Cheer(he seems to specialize in finding wacky retro stuff and putting it on display).





Sorry for my lack of extra linkage but my tech skills have their limits and besides,if you're a true glutton for visual punishment,a little work won't stop you from checking it out! If you are planning a special dinner this weekend and are having trouble,just keep these books in mind or read IMNTNM for some well deserved laughs and sympathy.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Project Runway goes to the dogs and which pop culture wrap-up is tastier,The Soup or Best Week Ever?

On last night's Project Runway,the challenge was to design an outfit for both model and cute little dog(I know little dogs are the considered the newest bane of existence but it's not their fault that fashionista airheads latched on to them as accessories)which Keith seemed to think was beneath him. Hey,dude,you don't get to pick and chose what challenges you think are cool,that's why it's a competition!

Bradley was a real lucky SOB,after starting and stopping his design three times,he still managed to impress the judges(including Vera Wang!)and it was his birthday to boot. I think the worst one was Angela's;it screamed of whorish trying-to-be-trendoid straight out of a Tama Janowitz early 80s novel. Laura's was stylish and very upper crusty(she makes a big deal out of being a soccer mom but she has taste)and what is behind Vincent's obsession with hats? That poor lil' pooch kept trying to get that stupid thing off of his head and I don't blame him a bit. I'm more of a cat person but these puppies were too cute to resist!

So,lately I've gorging on E!'s The Soup for end of the week pop culture tidbits but still have a fondness for VH1's Best Week Ever. Which one is best? Well,let's do some comparing,shall we?:







Sure,anyone of us can come up with Tom Cruise and Superman jokes but let's look at some real challenges to the funny bone!:






Guess it's like that question about how many licks are needed to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop-the world will never know.

Random notes:

Rescue Me: So far,Sheila's gotten away with her Roofie encounter with Tommy but it'll probaly come back to bite her in the end. Looks like Marissa Tomei's done with the show for now(and we haven't seen Sarandon since she took off with Franco's kid,there really should be some closure there). The best part of the episode was when Probie got props from his crew after making that big rescue-hope he decides to stay on with Tommy and the gang.

The 4400:Isobel's jones to marry Shawn is amazing-the man tries to kill her in her sleep and she still insists on him walking down the aisle or else! Talk about your shotgun weddings,geez.

Hell's Kitchen:I just knew that Garrett's temper would get the best of him,plus raw chicken is definately not on anyone's menu. Keith aka "K-Grease" seems to really be the shining star here-I get why he chose Virginia to accompany him to Vegas but I am so sick of her. The final two should be Heather and K-Grease and not just because their first initials match the show's logo.

Nightmares and Dreamscapes: I only saw "The Road Virus Goes North" this week due to catching the premiere of 30 Days(too many damn shows on at the same time on Wednesdays! This is madness,people!)and it was pretty much what I expected,a typical haunted item story. Next week is "Autopsy Room Four" with Richard Thomas and "You Know They Got One Hell Of A Band" that has Steven Weber and Kim Delaney entering a town called Rock N' Roll Heaven which turns out to be a slice of hell. The second hour might be more interesting but the first one should have the uber chills one expects from a Stephen King story.

Tonight,Stan Lee's Who Wants to be a Superhero debuts and with characters such as Cell Phone Girl,Fat Momma,Monkey Woman and Feedback,this ought to be fun on a stick.Also,It's Always Sunny is finally showing that episode with the "Gay for God" bit but I'm still waiting for the one with this routine:


Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Monopoly Money:an endangered species?




Over in England,they've released a new version of Monopoly that uses debit cards instead of the well-known Monopoly money which evens includes a little scanner to run the cards thru. It's called Monopoly Here & Now and the US company is considering doing the same thing. I may be old fashioned here but it just doesn't seem right to me. Part of the fun of the game is dealing with the fake money. It's like using the tweezers in Operation or popping the bubbled dice in Trouble. The game is just not the same without it.

Why do we have to include debit cards in kid's games anyway? Ok,I know that adults and teens play with Monopoly too-why else would they make a Lord of the Rings version or a Mets and Yankees edition if there wasn't a big market for them. Board games are one of the few simple entertainments left in the world and to toss in some modern day nuisance to look hip and "with it" kind of dilutes the experience to me.

I'm not against change,per se-I think it's cool to have Simpsons chess and a Star Wars version of Risk or even Trival Pursuit with DVDs. Games are supposed to be fun and making them more appealing to certain fan bases is good marketing. I even like it when they adjust Monopoly playing pieces to reflect the theme as they recently did with the new Superman edition. But to change a basic component of the game like that.....

Well,all I can say is that if you still have an old school Monopoly game sitting on a shelf somewhere,keep that bad boy intact. A few years from now,you might make a sweet deal selling it on EBay or trading it online to get the newest Video IPod upgrade attachment. As for me,I'll keep my board games as old school as possible. If all else fails,there's always Uno to fall back on.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Lady in the Water swims with style as Clerks II serves up laughs with fries

Yesterday,Little Sister and I did something we haven't done in quite awhile-we took in a double feature of Lady in the Water and Clerks II:Electric Boogaloo(couldn't resist,surely Kevin Smith will forgive me). We missed most of the trailers for Lady but caught a couple for C2,which I'll cover towards the end of this review.






Lady in the Water stars Paul Giametti as Cleveland Heep,the super of an apartment complex with some pretty odd tenants like a guy who is bodybuilding on only one side of his body,a gang of chatty stoners,a crossword puzzle whiz and his rather observant son,plus the newest addition to the bunch,a cranky books and movie critic(brilliantly underplayed by Bob Balaban). Cleveland's life changes when Story(the lovely Bryce Dallas Howard),a narf on a mission to inspire one particular human to write something that will lead to making the world a better place.

Thanks to a ancient legend told to him by the mother of one of his tenants(the mom and daughter team,played by Cindy Cheung and June Kyoko Lu,are my favorite characters in this piece),Cleveland realizes that he's meant to help Story with her quest and to protect her from a scrunt,which is a nasty hyenalike critter determined to take Story out of the picture before she can return home to her people and that other people in the complex are also destined to assist her as well.

It's best to recall the original advertising for this movie that called it "A Bedtime Story For Adults" when you watch it-it's an accurate description of the plot and the mood set here. Yes,this requires more than your average suspense of disbelief but hey,M. Knight delivers the goods and it's a refreshing bit of what if myths were real? fantasy that makes your imagination soar. And to all those critics who are all ticked about Balaban's character being a scrunt's lunch:get over yourselves,please! Not everything is a personal attack on you. For example,I'm a plus size gal but did I get all worked up over Shallow Hal? No,because it's just a movie with fat jokes,no more or less. It's not about every big girl in the world. Besides,that scene with Balaban and the scrunt was one of the best oddly humorous bits in the movie and wouldn't you want the critic to have atleast one good onscreen moment?





Clerks II takes up the lives of Quik Stop boys Dante and Randal as they have to take jobs at a Moobys restaurant due to the their old workplace burning down. Not much has changed;Randal is still his usual viciously snarky self while Dante plans to marry Emma(played by Smith's wife,Jennifer Scwalbach)who sports a Mrs. Hicks t-shirt and wants the two of them to head down to Florida where her dad will give Dante a car wash to run. Jay and Silent Bob are in tow and yes,there are some cameos by the regular Kevin Smith players as well as new characters like Elias,(Trevor Fehrman)a Christian Lord of the Rings/Transformers geek who also works at Moobys and takes the brunt of Randal's ire.

Dante is again torn between two women;his fiance and his boss,Becky(Rosario Dawson)who totally gets him but is as hesistant as he is to commit to anyone,claiming not to believe in "romantic love". Since this is supposed to be Dante's last day in Jersey,Randal plans a rather naughty surpise to send him off while Becky winds up telling him that she's pregnant. Various hijinks ensue,with plenty of laughs and some well underplayed emotional moments. There are some phrases from this movie that you'll want to share with others that will bring a mutual grin such as "Pillowpants","Inter-species erotica" and a couple that are a)too damn raunchy and b)can get you beaten up if said in the wrong neighborhood.

Clerks II is a fun film that makes an excellant bookend to the first film while giving even non Kevin Smith fans a good time. Jason Mewes doing that tribute to Silence of the Lambs,Randal's showdown with a old high school enemy and the inpromptu musical number that breaks out complete with Jay and Silent Bob in pigtails are some of the best scenes I've watched this summer. Also,the next time I hear Samantha Fox's "Naughty Girls",the image that comes to mind will be courtesy of Kevin Smith's twisted thought patterns-thanks for the future yaks,Kevin!

I caught about two interesting trailers before C2: Crank and The Covenant. The Covenant is about a gang of teenage boys who possess magical powers and wind up have some in-fighting. It looked like a cross between The Craft and Lost Boys(click the title link to check it out),with the guys jumping off of high places and flying around,plus tons of Hot Topic gear in effect.

Crank is about a hitman named Chev Chelios whose has been poisoned and wants to get some payback before he croaks. It stars Jason Statham and has a very Transporter vibe to it. I wouldn't rush right and see it in theaters but it does looks like a decent timekiller that'll make for a decent DVD rental later on.

Double features are good for many reasons-you don't have to give up one movie for the other and if one of your picks stinks,the other is bound to be better. Little Sister and I were lucky that both movies were kickass and that we didn't have any snacks with us during Clerks II. Do be careful if you eat while watching C2,the chances of choking on your popcorn will be greatly increased within the first ten minutes(Joel Siegel is a total wussy wimp).

Monday, July 24, 2006

Happiness Sold Separately:just add reader and enjoy





In Lolly Winston's new novel,Happiness Sold Separately,we met Elinor and Ted Mackey,a married couple on the verge of a major implode. After two years of trying to concieve a child and dozens of invitro procedures that lead nowhere,Elinor has sunk into a depression that only doing endless loads of laundry seems to be a temporary cure. Ted's frustrations at not being able(or allowed)to help his wife thru this bad patch,brings him to the arms of Gina,a gym trainer who perks up his diet and his love life.

Once Elinor gets wind of the affair,she insists on separating. At first,all Ted can think about is how to fix things between them and end it with Gina but there's more than one complication. Gina has a son,Toby,who takes an instant liking to Ted and convinces him to be his math tutor. Ted finds it hard to pull away from this ready made family(as does Gina,who is torn between wanting Ted in her's and Toby's life yet not wanting to pin all her hopes on a married man who may go back to his wife at any moment). Elinor stirs somewhat out of her funk and communes with nature,or atleast the tree in the her yard she calls Warren.

Elinor's newfound outdoorsiness brings a tree surgeon named Noah around to revive her romantic energies along with inspiring a young house cleaner's crush. Just when Elinor and Ted seem to know where all of this is going,a most unexpected turn of events brings about even more new changes and questions for everyone.

This is Winston's second novel and there's no sign of any sophmore slump here at all. This book is strongly imprinted with the Anne Tyler School of Seemingly Odd yet Ordinary Folks Style with it's own grooves and grips for the characters to hold on to and make their own marks upon the story and the reader alike.

One of the best things about HSS is that you get a good feel for all the players involved,without overly dramatic nuances or pigeonholing characters. Elinor and Gina are as equally sympathetic and yet not given easy outs. Ted's hesitation to stay or go can be frustrating but you see how he only means to do right by those he loves. The writing is paced to perfection and I literally spent my whole weekend deeply engrossed within these pages. Such storytelling skills are not so readily found and should be cherished when you are lucky enough to see them for yourself.

Happiness Sold Separately will be at bookstores everywhere by August 8(please click the title link to find more about Lolly Winston and her works)and I'm sure reading groups will be lined up to add it to their TBR lists. Don't be the last one to know about this wonderful new read-make a special place for HSS on your bedside reading table. You'll be more than happy that you did.

Friday, July 21, 2006

To walk out or not walk out of a movie;that's quite a question




Recently,there was rather an interesting ruckus at a screening of "Clerks II"-Joel Siegel got disgusted about forty minutes into the movie and not only walked out but made a big loud stink,yelling at his fellow critics"Time to go" and "This is the first movie I've walked out of in thirty fucking years!" Ok,you find the movie offensive yet you need to shout and swear as you leave instead of just quietly stepping out and saving your ire for the review. Real professional there,Joel!

If you click the title link above,you'll get Kevin Smith's take on the whole mess plus a link to a call-in radio showdown between Siegel and Smith(Siegel had no clue that he was talking to Kevin at first,pretty funny!). This whole deal makes me think about my stance on movie walkouts-I've never done it,despite the quality of what's on the screen and while I understand the need that some have to stop punishing their eyes and souls with bad cinema,it feels a tad wimpy to me.




I have actually booed at the end of two movies-Harlem Nights(the pacing of a funeral is more liveler than the action in this flick)and Bonfire of the Vanities(one of the most dumbed down book to film adaptations I've ever witnessed)-not that anyone was around to listen. The point is,I've sat thru quite a few clunkers in my day,on my own dime and even with lame acting,plots that go nowhere and/or don't know how to end and dialogue like"I'm an immortal,not a gazelle!"(and I actually like the movie that bon mot came from),I stick it out to the bitter end or atleast the end credits. It may be masochistic but hey,I prefer to call it committment.

The closet I've come to a walkout was watching Moonlight and Valentino on cable. Midway thru that sucker,I just had to turn off the TV and say"I don't care about any of these people". Also,Jon Bon Jovi is about as sexy to me as Kevin Federline would be to Anna Nicole Smith(the guy has a pulse,after all!). Let me just list a few of these gems that I've sat thru to give you an idea: Vampire In Brooklyn,American Pie II,Queen of the Damned,The Man,Darkness Falls,Billy Madison,and Gus Van Sant's remake of Psycho which made me think of Van Sant's cameo in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back,where he's just sitting around,counting his sell-out money-"Jesus,Ben I'm busy!" I even watched Battlefield Earth on HBO and managed to not put my head thru the Tv set or convert to Scientology.

August will be soon upon us and as some of you know,I've declared it Bad Movie Month,due to the abundance of cinematic slop and lack of an official holiday to celebrate. Little Sister had me watch a charming little slice of hell called Firecracker(which I will fully vent upon soon)and while she ment me no harm and found the film laughable,it was hard not to want to punch myself in the eyes to keep from giving into the horror. Of course,she has a Gus Van Sant movie that she depises as well,Elephant(Gus needs to recharge his creative juices,seriously). I haven't seen that one but if it's anything like Gummo(Larry Clark is insanely overrated),I feel so bad for her!

So,is it strength of will or sheer stubbornness that keeps one poor soul locked into a movie seat while others storm out? Regardless,Joel Siegel is a total wuss. If he can't handle some dirty talk and a donkey show,he should stick to making those goofy taglines like"Is the Da Vinci Code Worth Cracking?" and "Matt Damon shines in Bourne Supremacy as Halle Berry suffers from a Cat-astrophe"! Oh,I see what you did there,so funny I forgot to laugh!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Hell's Kitchen is heating up,Project Runway takes off and Aquaman!

The CW seems to have abandoned the fledgling Aquaman series even before it's truly begun. Aquaman's appeal is really more of a cult chic kind of thing but I don't see why it couldn't be given a chance. Thanks to YouTube,this trailer is yet again available and makes me hope that someone will take a chance on it:




Hell's Kitchen is now down to five contestants and it's getting very dicey. The Red Team pretty much imploded during the last dinner service(tip to Sarah-if you go around being a backstabber and saying that it's stupid to make friends during a competition,it's not a shocker that no one will help you out when you need it.).

The Blue Team seems to have bonded more,with this last punishment detail of unloading every damn delivery truck,which is good for Heather. Garrett,however,needs to check himself-that flipping off Gordon and the girls bit nearly cost him the whole shebang there. Gordon's a tough SOB but he's fair and does give encouragement when it's warrented and deserved.




Project Runaway is getting off to a good start,with Tara Conner(Miss USA)getting a really sweet dress(Yah,Kayne!)and having Vera Wang as one of the judges must've been nerve wracking for everyone. Speaking of nerve wracking,that Angela is a trip. How can a designer say"I don't sketch"-that's like a writer saying"I don't read"! Granted,Vincent should've let her help him out more but it's also her responsibilty to step up and make her herself part of the team,even if she wasn't thrilled with his dress. Green was a good choice but the sleeves did look rather space alien.


Too bad Malan had to go,just when I was starting to like him. That story he told about his mom looking at his work and telling him to never do that again was really touching. I hope he does well in his next fashion endeavor.

Random notes:

Rescue Me: That Sheila is scary-her whole bit with drugging up Tommy,having sex with him out like a light and then making it look like he went on a bender makes me wonder just how far around the bend she's gone. And was anyone really surpised at Garrity hooking up with Maggie yet again? I did enjoy that scene where Lou took the Gavin girls to the movies-"Wait until the guy's finished sawing the little girl's head open,then you can look."

The 4400: Tom can't catch a break-his son's in the slammer,his nephew avoids him like the plague(except when there's a pesky terrorist group around)and now his woman is on the run. Shawn was being King Idiot of Stupidtown there for expecting Isobel to claimly break up with him and then start seeing another girl right in front of her. Shawn,please-her own daddy's afraid of her Sith powers,that should give you a clue!

Nightmares and Dreamscapes: Umney's Last Case was well done(Macy kicked ass)and it was nice to see Jacqueline McKenzie(best known as Diana Skouris from The 4400)in some thing different. The End Of The Whole Mess was real damn depressing,which I did expect,having read the original story after all. The next two episodes are The Fifth Quarter with Jeremy Sisto(it's a crime story in the style of those Richard Stark novels) and The Road Virus Heads North,with Tom Beringer and Masha Mason. Road Virus will most likely be the weaker of the two but I'll still watch it.

Blade:The Series: Krista's walking a very narrow edge between the human and vampire worlds(plus that Chase bitch is itching to take her down)and it looks like Detective Boone is quite the troublsome fellow. Thank goodness that channels like Spike and Bravo repeat current episodes as often as they do. I don't know what it is about Wednesdays;all the programmers seem to converge their shows on that night.

Next week,we'll have the premiere of Stan Lee's Who Wants To Be A Superhero and NBC has announced that preview DVDs of two of their upcoming fall shows(Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and Kidnapped)will be available at Netflix,starting August 5. I only wish that Heroes was one of them-yes,there'll be a trailer for it included with other promos but that show really needs some strong word of mouth to heighten the buzz.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Switchblade Sisters:a chick flick from the old school




I recently joined Netflix,which now gives me access to a broader range of films like the one Little Sister and I watched over the weekend,Switchblade Sisters. Thanks to Quentin Tarantino(whose Rolling Thunder company released it on DVD),this little grindhouse gem is available for your viewing pleasure. It stars Robbie Lee as Lace,the leader of the Dagger Debs,the female counterparts of the Silver Daggers. When Maggie(played by Joanne Nail),a new girl in the hood shows up and winds up becoming Lace's new best friend,it rankles Patch(Monica Gayle),who considers herself to be second in command.




Maggie also catches the eye of Dominic(Asher Brauner),the head of the Silver Daggers and Lace's man. That doesn't stop him from forcing his attentions on Maggie,which gives Patch some ammo to use against her with Lace. There's a rival gang that's looking to move in on Dagger turf and the cops are determined to crack down on the gang warfare. Plenty of drama bombs go off as Lace and Maggie begin to turn on one another(with plenty of behind the scenes urging from Patch)which leads to a duel to the death.

This movie is a perfect example of low budget seventies film,from the amazingly bad outfits to the constant brandishing of switchblades that look as scary as Halloween costume props and the interesting feminist vibe of the piece. At one point in the story,Maggie takes over the girl gang,renames them Jezebels(which was the original title of the film)and tosses the guys out. They team up with a black militant girl group across town to take out a mutual male rival gang that fronts as a charitable organization in a battle that would make Rambo envious.



Tarantino gives an intro and outro talk about the film(you can find it in the bonus features)and does a commentary with Jack Hill,the director who is best known for such B movie classics as Coffy,Foxy Brown and Spider Baby. I didn't listen to the commentary(never have the patience for those things)but in the bookend bits,he compares the plot to Shakespeare's Othello with Monica Gayle's character as Iago. After seeing the film,you do see his point and it's really not a stretch there.

There are several other Jack Hill films out on DVD like The Big Doll House,The Big Bird Cage,Swinging Cheerleaders and Pit Stop,some of which will make it onto my Netflix queue(I love the thought of having a video"queue",sounds so British!)now that my appetite has been whetted by Switchblade Sisters. Sure,I'll catch up on some old Bette Davis movies and the newest releases but feeding my cult movie jones is a priority. If you're bored by what's in theaters or at BlockBuster,I highly recommend gathering your girls together for this slice of 1970s cinema. How can you resist a movie that has a character named Donut,I ask you?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Nobody likes a cranky critic,people!

Today in the NY Times art section,we've got two examples of grumpy critics-first,in the book review section Michiko Katukani out and out spoils the plot of Scott Smith's new book,The Ruins,starting with the tagline of her review! While she acknowledges that Smith has talent,she stomps all over the book,gleefully giving away the big secret of the story like the Evil Drive-By Spoiler for the sixth Harry Potter book. Check it out for yourself(but only if you've already read the book or don't care):






Michiko is well known for her venomous reviews but to totally ruin(no pun intended)the story like that is terrible. The Ruins has been getting quite a bit of buzz,especially since it's been 13 years since Smith's last novel,A Simple Plan. You don't have to like the book just because everyone else does but there's no need to spoil it for those who might want to check it out for themselves! That's just evil,impolite and evvilll!!!



Also,in the movie section,film critic A.O.Scott has a big article about why films like "Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man's Chest" and "The Da Vinci Code" are such a big hit with audiences,despite the massive amounts of critical disaproval. Let's let the man speak for himself:

"For the second time this summer, then, my colleagues and I must face a frequently — and not always politely — asked question: What is wrong with you people? I will, for now, suppress the impulse to turn the question on the moviegoing public, which persists in paying good money to see bad movies that I see free. I don’t for a minute believe that financial success contradicts negative critical judgment; $500 million from now, “Dead Man’s Chest” will still be, in my estimation, occasionally amusing, frequently tedious and entirely too long. But the discrepancy between what critics think and how the public behaves is of perennial interest because it throws into relief some basic questions about taste, economics and the nature of popular entertainment, as well as the more vexing issue of what, exactly, critics are for."

He does say later on in the article that this is not a new phenomeneon and goes back as far as the 1980s with such examples as Top Gun,Crocodile Dundee and Karate Kid II. The end paragraph here is what truly irks me:

"So why review them? Why not let the market do its work, let the audience have its fun and occupy ourselves with the arcana — the art — we critics ostensibly prefer? The obvious answer is that art, or at least the kind of pleasure, wonder and surprise we associate with art, often pops out of commerce, and we want to be around to celebrate when it does and to complain when it doesn’t. But the deeper answer is that our love of movies is sometimes expressed as a mistrust of the people who make and sell them, and even of the people who see them. We take entertainment very seriously, which is to say that we don’t go to the movies for fun. Or for money. We do it for you."

You do it for us-how very noble of you,indeed! Look,I get the frustration factor here-I don't get why Superman Returns is at fourth place on the box office list with crap like Little Man and You,Me and Dupree right before it. But,hey,maybe folks are superheroed out at the moment or due to all the recent news about certain parts of the world blowing each other up,people just want to chill out and have some laughs.

Or it could be as simple as really persistant advertising paying off-the point is,there's no way to know. The art world is more of a gamble than the stock market. Some things strike the right cord at the right time,while others don't or do so later on down the line. It's gone even farther back than the eighties;when It's A Wonderful Life first came out,it was a bomb both with critics and audiences alike. That movie recieved the acclaim it now has due to repeated televison viewings and folks rediscovering the story for themselves. While it would be nice to have everyone in accord,there's this thing called individual taste. There's an audience for everything. Just look at Ed Wood's career or the Rocky Horror Picture Show or even Fear Factor. Some things you're never going to talk everyone out of.

And is it such a shocker than Dead Man's Chest made major money here? Come on,it's a sequel to a movie that no one expected to do well in the first place! I have no doubt that it's too long and overdone;so was Curse of the Black Pearl and folks just ate up like free pancakes from IHOP. It's a critic proof movie just like DVC;no matter what anyone wrote or said,it was destined to rake in box office gold. A.O.,dude,just get over it. It's the nature of the beast. Also,you sound a tad condescending there and that's not a help to your argument.

A good way to cheer up is to read The Filthy Critic,a grouchy film reviewer who use his powers of strong language and wrath at bad movies for good rather than evil. Just click the title link to see his take on POTC:DMC and you'll see a shining example of how crankiness should be served up,with style.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Doing the Danse Macabre with LKH



So,over the weekend I started in on the latest Anita Blake book,Danse Macabre,despite the warnings in Dionne Galace's review(please click the title link to read her words of wisdom)of the horrors within. I couldn't resist,especially after Little Sister provided me with a Borders coupon giving me 40% off of DM's cover price. I didn't know that the big bookstores gave coupons for a specific title(guess it's some of that co-op money come a-callin' there)which is a nice incentive. I hope smaller bookshops can do the same,it's a good way to encourage the reluctant hardcover buyer.

Anyway,the hot topic with this new entry in the Anita series has our Vampire Executioner Gal facing a possible pregnancy and not being sure who the daddy is(sounds like a regular episode of the Maury Povich show,doesn't it?)along with being the hostess of a big vampire gathering to watch the premiere performance of a vampire ballet company with several of the head honchos offering up fellas as Anita's new Pomme De Sang(sort of a cross between a Renfield and a fuck buddy). Tons of screw-ups occur,especially with that pesky ardeur power of hers that arouses the sexual attentions of a mermaid/siren who wants Anita to bring her sons into their latent siren abilities.

I'm sure that many of you are going"What the..what the what!" after that last paragraph or in the words of Little Sister"That's weak sauce,with a side of lame stew!"-hey,you try explaining the plot lines of a fourteen book series with vampires,werebeings and necromancers in several sentences or less and see how sane you sound. The Merry Gentry books(which are Laurell K. Hamilton's Angel to her Buffy)are somewhat simpler-they're about a fairy princess who has to compete for the throne with her evil cousin by getting pregnant with one of the many fairy males provided for her by her psycho aunt. Yep,there's quite a bit of sexers but it blends well because if you read up on royal families,having a heir to follow in the current leader's footsteps is always a big honking deal,even today.

With the Anita books,most of the fans are divided-see,at first,the series wasn't as sexed up as it is now. It was,to qoute a Fangoria review"an R-Rated Buffy"-the continuing saga of a woman with powers to raise the dead who lived in a world where vampires were not only real but were recognized by society at large,thus having legal rights and special laws to obey. Anita was as tough as any of the fellas or fiends she faced down and due to a romance that went sour,refused the attentions of Jean-Claude,the Master vampire of the city. Later on,she and Jean-Claude hooked up and a love triangle ensued when Richard,a werewolf,joined the mix.

As the story went,Anita's powers changed due to being bound to Jean-Claude and one of the side effects was her inheriting his incubus ability known and dreaded by many as the Ardeur(a lot of French terms are used in the AB titles)which she is slowly learning to control. While many of the faithful still flock to the book stores to grab each new offering,some are dismayed with the turn the books have taken. I'm an all day(and night)sucker for these stories but there are moments when I'm thinking,"can we chill on the sex for a couple of chapters or atleast the sex talk? Maybe,kill a few monsters or something?" LKH is selling strong(DM is climbing up several bestseller lists)but is slowly shutting down core members of her audience.

I'm not saying she has to write to please everyone but I've seen this type of resistence movement before,with Anne Rice(who I got bored with after Violin)and it looks like LKH is sniping at some of her unhappy fans like Rice did. It's not a good idea to go down that road-yes,Rice is doing fine with her shiny,happy new Jesus series but the image of wacky writer gal is sticking to her like glue(plus,dressing like Miss Haversham doesn't make it any better). Laurell,the best revenge is living well and you certainly are doing that,so don't get caught up in a grudge match with your readers. You don't want to be the literary version of Tom Cruise now,do you?

Am I going to finish reading DM? Yes,I'm a true glutton for punishment(besides it is summer rerun season on TV). Is Anita really preggers? Not saying,since I didn't finish yet and things are not always what they seem. Why do you keep reading LKH,if you have all these mixed feelings about her stuff? That's a damn good question and after a few more chapters,I'll get back to you with some sort of answer(as soon as I figure one out,that is!).

Friday, July 14, 2006

Mommies Who Drink are the life of the party




Brett Paesel's Mommies Who Drink is not,despite the title,another sad sack memoir of troubled parenting. Instead,you get a fun book of seriocomedic essays about modern day motherhood and life in Hollywood,which she knows full well as an actress whose credits include three seasons of Mr. Show,episodes of Six Feet Under,Gilmore Girls and appearing in The Real Live Brady Bunch.


Brett refuses to be a Stepford mom,obsessing about every aspect of her kid's lives-rather,she takes a more reality based approach that's given support from her group of friends who meet at the bar on Friday nights to chill out and have some grown up girl time. Also,she's a kindred spirit to the Roseanne school of motherhood-you can't blame her for having x-rated thoughts while gaggles of playground moms are excitedly exchanging ideas on how to trick your child into eating their veggies or for wondering why there's a need for pre-schoolers to have yearbooks as she joins a committee that requires her not to really do anything but be supportive of the leader who insists on doing everything herself.

Brett is at her best,however,when she has a good laugh at her own follies(some of which is cheerfully attributed to her mother,who is the type of gal that answers the question"What's the worst that can happen?" with"That I will die."). She's the type of patient who isn't told that she needs to give blood until she's actually at the doctor's office,otherwise she finds a way to cancel at the last minute. I certainly can relate to that! Brett also finds ways to adjust to situations in an amusingly upbeat way,like having two kids that are screamers(despite the constant refrain of "no body gets two screamers in a row")by telling one of her neighbors that there's a medical study that says screaming babies turn out to be smarter,more intutive and immune to certain cancers that quiet ones. Hey,I wouldn't be surpised if there was a study that actually said that!

Don't think this book isn't for you if you don't have children-Brett has plenty of good natured tidbits to hand out to all and sundry. Her group of friends include Lana,who is not shy about getting her married friends to help her hook up with a cute guy at the bar,Katherine,who gets into a charity auction bidding duel with an old time actress for a bargain of a face lift and Michelle,who is debating with her partner about which sperm donor is better;the southern trucker dude or the Korean PH.D student? It's not some Sex and the City gang of clones,more like a rauncher version of the Golden Girls.

Mommies Who Drink makes for a sparkling good read that you'd want to share with your mom,your best friend or your local reading group for something that'll definately stir up some interesting conversation at your next meeting. Please click the title link to check out the Mommies Who Drink website(which also has contact infor if you want Brett to speak to your book group via phone or e-mail)and make sure that you pick up this book on your way to your August vacation retreat. A good laugh is just as important as suntan lotion and the right swimsuit(even more if you don't plan to go out into the sun in the first place).

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Nightmares & Dreamscapes,Lucky Louie and Darth Isobel of the 4400




I have to start off with the 4400,because this show is moving faster than a speeding bullet with the development of Isobel's uber-Jedi powers. Hell,if I was a Sith Lord,Hayden Christenson's lame Gothboy self wouldn't even be a blip on my
Evil Induction Radar screen. Of course,I would be smarter about it than Daniel(you just knew that guy was next on the hit list)and woe to anyone else who does so much as look funny at Sean after that slaughter spree that would've made Beatrix Kiddo proud. Good thing the Future Powers That Be(FPTB)gave Tom the Needle of Doom-he's the only one with any guts to keep Little Miss Dark Phoenix in line.


To be fair,I don't blame Isobel for kicking some ass to save her man but she is in serious need of some guidance before Maia starts warning everybody about "what Isobel is going to do". By then,it's too late,people! Also,was anyone else shocked at Alana getting some payback at that drunk driver who was stupid enough not to show remorse for killing her husband and son? Dude,even if she wasn't a 4400,the decent thing to do is give a little regret up there. The women on this show are totally badass,I swear.




Lucky Louie is fast becoming one of my favorite shows-Louis CK and company have one of the best darkly funny sitcoms since Married With Children and Roseanne combined. Thank the gods that this is on HBO-I don't think even F/X could get away with the male frontal nudity bits that pop up when least expected. Pamela Aidon who plays Louie's wife,Kim is the best. Not many gals can deliver a line like" I want my purse, crackhead!" and make it sound like a brilliant catch phrase(plus she's a nurse and with my mom being a nurse,I have an affinity for them). If you are not seeing this show and have HBO,what are you waiting for? Yeah,yeah Entourage,blah,blah,blah! Click the title link above to check out Louis CK's website and get more info on the series to find out what you're missing.




I caught the first installment of TNT's Nightmares & Dreamscapes,based on the short stories of Stephen King(from several of his collections). Battleground,which starred William Hurt as a hitman who faces the ultimate challenge in fighting off toy soldiers sent to his home as payback,was the best while Crouch End was making me count the minutes until it ended. Nothing against Clare Forlani or anyone else but it's not one of King's better stories. Battleground was brillant to have Brian Henson(yes,he's one of those Hensons)as director with Richard Christian Matheson as screen adaptor. They,along with Hurt,made a non verbal hour of television that's worthy of classic Twilight Zone status.

What I'm really looking forward to is next week's"Umney's Last Case" with William H. Macy at the helm. ULC is a great story,about a writer who forces his main character out of his detective novel world and trades places with him. That should be a a good one. I suspect that on the whole,the NM&DS series will be a mixed bag,depending on the stories that are chosen. Maybe there will be a clunker that rises above and makes for a cool mini movie. We''ll just have to watch.

A few random notes:

"Rescue Me":Garrity's whole sleepwalking bit was hilarious,especially with Lou eating the dip off of his face! That Tommy and Janet hook-up further confirms my thoughts about the hate sex they had(Sheila really needs to get over her fixation with Tommy-Good Lord,woman,there are other men out there!)and looks like Probie's roommate is cheating on him. There's going to be some trouble with those living arrangements real soon.

"It's always sunny in Philadelphia": With Danny DeVito added to the mix,this show is really rocking and rolling. Tonight,Dee goes on steriods and Charlie becomes an underground street fighter while his buddies hope to make some cash on him before he gets beat down. The episode is called Hundred Dollar Baby but I would not be startled to find some Fight Club references tossed into the mix.

Also,don't forget to keep an eye out for the repeat showing of the infamous South Park "Trapped in the Closet" episode(ten to one,the fact that it's an Emmy nominee is what got the network to bring it back)-maybe then,Suri Cruise will be released into the wild,as a distraction tactic.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Lestat lives on or off Broadway!

So,finally we can all get a glimpse of Lestat:the Musical without having to pay those big ticket prices-thank you,internet! This number,I Want More,seems to be the best of the bunch-it's Claudia's declaration of vampire independence and the whole bit struck me as a combo of Veruca Salt("Daddy,I want it NOW!")and Nellie Olsen from the early days of Little House On The Prairie. See for yourself:





After listening to "Welcome to the New World",I am convinced that this should be the theme song for New Orleans. It beats those hokey ads with John Goodman as a
streetcar conductor by a mile:




This mother and son act"Make Me As You Are" gives a whole new meaning to the phrase"A boy's best friend is his mother.":




And finally,with this finale scene,I think you'll agree with me that Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise did a much better job onscreen(and more subtly):

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Open Letter to J.K. Rowling

Dear Ms. Rowling,

First,congrats to you on getting an honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Edinburgh;your contributions to MS research is a wonderful example of a powerful person using his/her resources to help others. Not surpising to see such kindness from the creator of Harry Potter(please forgive my ham-handed segue)which leads me to my concerns about what's to come in Book seven of the series.

I don't have to tell you what your books have done for readers of all ages(and I do not consider adults to be interlopers in the Harry Potter world but some of the fan fiction is disturbing,especially about the young actors who appear in the films;what ever happened to secret handwritten diaries that were locked away from public view?)or your impact on the genre of fantasy. As one of your grown-up readers(in physical age,anyway),I fully understand the need to shake up plotlines dramatically. For your younger readers,this is a good way to introduce them to truly expect the unexpected and I'm not in favor of spoonfeeding kids cozy little lumps of watered down themes to keep overcautious parents happy.


I am worried about some of your hints about Harry's fate,especially since you've set up the premise that if Voldemort dies,so may Harry. I fully respect your right as the author to do whatever you feel is right for your characters and totally get that you may want to knock off young Mr. Potter for his own good,so that you and your heirs can avoid legal battles over unauthorized sequels,like the ones brewing about for Peter Pan(which really isn't in the public domain). Also,that you probaly want to move on as a writer,without the shadow of Harry and friends looming over you. That's fine but I do hope that what I think you intend to do is what will happen.

Many of your fans know that you're a fan of The Chronicles of Narnia(I've only read The Lion,The Witch and The Wardrobe and The Magician's Nephew myself)and if they're on my same train of thought,they might suspect that you're prepared to pull an Aslan.After all,you did say that there is a character that you didn't expect to live that does in the new book while two others bit the dust(please spare the Weaseleys if you can but if you do knock one off,make it Percy-he's a total wanker). It wouldn't be considered a cheat,except by Misery laden folks who have nothing better to do that yell"he didn't get out of the cockadoodie cauldron!",since it's a strong tenet of western mythos that sacrificing your life for the sake of others and/or an innocent gets you another go-around on the terra firma.

It may be tempting to take Harry out of the picture permenantly but it's way too harsh and the backlash would be terrifying. You remember what happened when Arthur Conan Doyle killed off Sherlock Holmes-his own mother got mad at him for that! You know all about mom power,I don't have to tell you. I'm not asking you to do it for the kids(I so hate it when people use that line) but for all of your readers,not only now but in the future. I would hate to see upcoming generations of eager book fiends like myself being discouraged from enjoying the glorious world of words you've given to literature by those Draco types who would happily sneer and say"I don't know you'd bother with those Potter books-he winds up dead at the end of them!"

This may be yet another tempest in a teapot but with the way things are going in the world today,any port in a storm will be cherished and many will gladly fight to protect it from interlopers. Regardless,I'll be amongst the crowd of anxious book lovers when Book Seven hits booksellers everywhere and no matter how it turns out,I still thank you for giving Harry Potter to us.

Best wishes,

Lady T(who also hopes that you don't resurrect Harry directly from the grave-that was cool for Buffy Summers but perhaps a tad much for our Mr. Potter.)

Monday, July 10, 2006

Heavenly life lessons from The Devil Wears Prada




The film and fashion gods smiled down upon me this weekend which explains how I got the chance to catch The Devil Wears Prada at my local multiplex this past weekend. I had just finished reading the book(which was better than I expected)only a few days earlier so it was fresh in my thoughts as Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway danced thru a rather lite-on-the-venom-extra-dash-of-foamy-clothing latte of labors
lost plot. Yes, Meryl has a gay old time as the Evil Boss from Hell but Hathaway still manages to hold her own,in or out of Manolo Blahniks.

The most memorable performance,however,belongs to Emily Blunt,first assistant and willing slave girl to Miranda's every whim. She doles out the snark with expert flair and yet,you feel a tad sorry for such a desparate soul whose biggest goal in life is to be "a stomach flu away from my goal weight."

Anyway,I was thinking that this movie could easily inspire a set of Life Lesson figurines,like the ones sold at TLC. You may seen the commericals which have cute little knickknacks like "E-Mail and Merlot don't mix" and "Dating is hard but so is being the crazy cat lady". Here are my suggestions for some Devil Wears Prada versions( perhaps with voice chips?):





10)Accessories are not meant to be ulitary,they're iconography....and they're pretty!


9)The main ingrediant in corn chowder is cellulite.


8)If your boss stops to glare at your comfortable shoes,it's time to strap on those Jimmy Choos!

7)You don't deserve to wear Parisan clothes if you eat carbs,for christ's sake!




6) A purse of the lips can change an entire line of fashion.

5)When showing off your new and improved look to your snotty co-workers,Chanel boots are a must.

4)Everyone stopped eating when size zero became the new two and two became the new four(which makes six the new fourteen).

3)When bringing office work to your boss at home,never listen to suggestions from evil twin girls.

2)Everybody wants to be us!

1)Inner beauty;that's what this multi billion dollar industry is all about.


It's nice to note that chick lit onscreen still has a fighting chance at box office glory despite the invasion of pirates,animated cars and bad Adam Sandler flicks. Indulge your inner diva and dive right in to this tart and tasty slice of comedic couture delights. Hey,even if you can't wear the clothes,there's no harm in looking!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Vote or Die,puny earthlings!



I know it's a tad early to be backing a political candidate for President but I have to say that once you hear my choice for our next Leader,you will gladly join me in falling upon your knees to him. I give you,the esteemed General Zod and his vice
president/henchwoman,Ursa. Non,of course,will hold a prominent position in the new administration(Secretary of State has been bandied about).



In addition to finally having a female VP,we will also reap the benefits of having a leader who truly will be Commander In Chief(saving the nation untold amounts of cash for defense spending)and who has a pretty solid platform:he supports universal health care,corporate reform and buying U.S products(thus securing the union vote).
Of course,you have to adhere to his pledge of "The General does not take orders,he gives them."and to have the son of Jor-El as his eternal slave. I know what you're going to say"But slavery's illegal and stuff!" Hey,you argue with a guy that can shoot lazer beams from his eyes and get his woman to literally blow you away with a power kiss,okay? I'm just saying.

I did consider some of the other candidates out there;Voldemort,Pedro(his campaign manager kept dancing around the issues),even Christopher Walken but it soon became abundantly clear to me that if we are to follow the current trend of having a power mad dictator demanding that the world kneel before his might,we might as well have one with actual superpowers. If I was a terrorist,I'd think twice about attacking a country that has three superstrong rulers who can fly right over to my secret hideout and find me and my crew with X-ray vision,then drop Mt. Rushmore on us.




Sure,benevolent leaders are always nice but that's the probelm,people! They're so nice that no one fears them and fear is quite the motivator. Plus,Zod's an immigrant so he can relate to the current controversary and with Lex Luthor as the ruler of Austrailia,we have a ready made foreign ally with an eye for real estate(that should reassure big business). Hey,don't take my word for it-just click the title link above to read more about the future reign of General Zod and don't forget to check out the kid's page! Children are the future and as Cartman might say"Respect his
Au-thority!"

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Emmy noms strike again

Just this morning the nominations for this year's Emmy Awards were announced and there's quite a few surpises as well as disappointments. I think the best way to go over them is to divide my impressions into The Good,The Bad and The Ugly. Grab your remotes and follow me to the sofa,if you please:



The Good: Denis Leary being up for Lead Actor in a Drama(yes!)and the always kickass Christopher Meloni from L&W:SVU right next to him,rules. Also,high five for Steve Carell getting an Office nom and for the infamous " Trapped In The Closet" episode of South Park getting recognized. I would also like to thank the Academy for not having the Best Comedic Actress catagory hogged by the Desparate Housewives this time(not that I'm crazy about who is actually up for it but it's nice to see a good mix-up there).


Other cool nominees: The Colbert Report,Arrested Devolopment(which will probaly win now that it's canceled),Bleak House(great old school miniseries that's out on DVD now),The Amazing Race and House for Best Drama.

The Bad:Why no Hugh Laurie nom for Best Actor? Why is My Name Is Earl not up for Best Comedy? It's great that Will Arnett is in the Best Supporting Comedy picks but where's Jason Bateman for Best Lead? I'm happy that Rescue Me scored such a big nod with Leary's nomination but there are other F/X and USA shows that deserve some love(yes,Thief got a little something-something but still...)like Nip/Tuck,30 Days and The 4400.

It's an out and out disgrace that Veronica Mars was totally ignored. Look,I can deal with Smallville being overlooked since I know that certain genres get the red headed stepchild treatment but come on,VM is just as compelling,nay more so than the likes of the West Wing or Grey's Anatomy. Geena Davis gets a Lead Actress nod for a show that's canceled in midseason but Kristen Bell can't even get a little pirate love?

The Ugly: Charlie Sheen for Two and a Half Men? While I agree that he does a better movie PSA than Kevin James,give me a break here! I'm real glad that both Lost and Desparate Housewives are not dominating the race here but many of the choices seem uninspired,especially in Best Comedy Actress catagory. Stockard Channing for Out of Practice-wasn't that show on for two seconds? Where's Jenna Fischer for The Office?

Speaking of the Office,there's a ton of overlooked folk there-to not have Rainn Wilson up for Best Supporting Comedy is appalling! And in the appalling section is the FedEx caveman ad being up for Outstanding Commerical. The Geico Cavemen ads are way better and alot funnier. Am I the only one who finds it funny as hell that Black/White recieved an Outstanding Make-up nod? Now if it was for Outstanding Bad Make-up,I would understand. Hey,I watched the series but I've seen better face paint on little kids trick or treating.

The awards will be handed out on August 27(click the title link if you want to see the full list of nominees). I've been ignoring the Emmys for awhile but if there's the slightest chance of seeing Denis Leary make an acceptance speech,save a seat for me,would ya?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Storytime with The Lady In the Water




M.Night Shyamalan has said that his upcoming movie,Lady in the Water,came about as a bedtime tale for his kids and to back that up,will release a picture book version of his original story that neatly ties-in with the premiere of the film. Lady in the Water:A Bedtime Story is illustrated by Crash McCreery,who has done artwork for such movies as Edward Scissorhands,Jurassic Park and Pirates of the Carribean.


Does the book give away major movie spoilers? Not at all-it does explain the basic mythos of the film,which features sea nymphs(aka Narfs)who reside in neighborhood pools,awaiting the right moment to appear to the right person(called Vessels)who will then be inspired to do something great for the benefit of humanity. To prevent this from happening are vicious creatures called Scrunts,who if they can scratch a Narf three times,that will be the end of her.




The story is beautifully told,with the smooth grace and pacing that we've come to expect from Shyamalan's best films. McCreery's illustrations also add to the charm of the tale,with quiet yet invocative scenes that draw you further into the world that's been created here. LITW is McCreery's first children's book and I sincerely hope it is not his last;he truly has a flair for them.

Lady in the Water has been on my Must See Summer Movie List ever since I saw the very first trailer for it and now after reading this book,I wish that it was out in theaters already. Unlike alot of tie-in movie titles,Lady in the Water can and will stand alone as an excellant picture book that you would love to read to your child over and over again. For us grown-ups without any kids to read to,this book is a stylish and creative addition to your home library(please click the title link to find out more about it). Shyamalan's magic touch with storytelling deserves to be shared by all.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

A few fun suggestions for your Fourth of July festivities

So,like many of our holidays,there's not much to watch on TV(except for the endless Law & Order marathons) and if you can't get out to the beach or the multiplex,you need some sort of mental stimulation. Here's a few helpful hints:

Movies: The Patriot with Mel Gibson is perfect for a day like this;it's long,well themed and packed with lots o' violence. Also,Jason Issacs(best known as Draco's dad in the Harry Potter flicks)is the main baddie here and the man chews the scenery with extra relish and mustard. An added bonus is a pre-Brokeback Heath Ledger as Mel's eldest boy who lives,loves and loses out before the end credits. One of the last times we'll get to see Mel do what he does best onscreen-slaughters a whole bunch of bad guys with psycho wild man style.

If you prefer something a bit more romantic,may I suggest Kate and Leopold? Hugh Jackman is very belivable as the displaced and improverished nobleman mistakenly set to modern times who effortlessly woos uptight business gal,Meg Ryan. Sure,Meg is geting long in the tooth for these types of films but she can still turn the trick when called upon. I recommend watching the director's cut on DVD-it not only explains the basic plot better but has a nice in-joke scene at a film screening.

Tv on DVD:Wonder Woman with Lynda Carter and The Greatest American Hero make for very nice double features. If you're going for WW,check out Season 1 which has all those fighting the Nazis stories. The best one is a two parter,where Andros,an alien trying to keep his fellow beings from blasting the planet earth to bits before we earthlings get too advanced to mess up their neighborhood,comes to earth and hooks up with Wonder Woman. He naturally gets kidnapped by the Nazis and big league drama happens,with snappy background music to boot.

A good GAH to check out is the Captain Belly Buster episode,where Ralph gets help from a hamburger franchise mascot to bust up a group of drug dealers(season two) and another is My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys(season one)where Bill has some trouble facing the fact that one of his old buddies is in league with some bad guys. They don't make shows like this anymore,which is good and bad in some ways.

Books:Make this a day to read one of those American classics you never got around before-you don't have to grab some huge hunk of a book like Moby Dick(I never finished that one),go for something a little more accessible. Mark Twain,Edith Wharton,Harper Lee(she only has the one book after all!)-someone along those lines.

If you don't mind a good thick book but want to have the plot move along at a lively pace,Gone With The Wind is a pop classic of sorts. Scarlett and Rhett are just as iconic as Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy or any of those mopey Bronte couples. Plus it has plenty of Americana;war,poverty,ruined cities and countrysides,and tons of sterotypes to cringe at yet enjoy in the sense that they were meant to be.

Have a happy 4th,folks and remember,it's more fun to watch fireworks at home on a flat screen TV with air conditioning than to stand outdoors at night in the sweltering heat(yep,I'm a city girl,can't you tell?).

Monday, July 03, 2006

10 things I learned from watching Superman Returns

Finally,Superman Returns has arrived and it's quite the crowd pleaser-the audience I saw it with not only enjoyed it but applauded at the end. Some burning questions were answered(yes, Brandon Routh does channel Chris Reeve nicely)and others came up during the film(yep,that IS the dude from Harold and Kumar as one of Lex Luthor's henchmen).However,I think we all gathered some new knowledge from this film and I thought I would share my thoughts with the class first:






10)Yes, Kitty-there were two dogs when you and Lex left(and they make tasty snacks in a pinch).





9)Three things sell newspapers;tragedy,sex and Superman

8) Never let Parker Posey do the following:drive your car,flirt with superheroes or carry important items during your getaway. It'll be a worse mistake than hiring Britney Spears as your local school bus driver.




7)Lex Luthor can give a woman pleasures she's never dreamed of.





6) A man can always tell when a woman's faking,especially Superman.




5)Pulitzer Prizes are like Academy awards:no one remembers what you got one for,they just know you have one.


5)Land-it's the one thing they're not making any more of.

4)Yes,Lois,it is a bad idea to go abroad a strange yacht with your kid!

3)If your five year old son can toss a grand piano across the room,chances are that his daddy's not from around here.

2)When in doubt,go for a Richard Donnor reference.




1)You can never have too many Marlon Brando voice overs.




Also,many theaters are showing the trailer for next year's Spiderman 3 and that movie looks amazing! Usually,the third movie is the one that starts the decline of a series but this may be the very powerful exception to that rule.

One lesson everyone in Hollywood should learn is this;when you get the right people on a film that you want to keep as a franchise,do everything and anything to keep those folks together. X Men:The Last Stand was good but with Singer at the helm,it would've been better. It's hard to blame Singer for leaving X Men for Superman,since he saved us all from having the likes of another Catwoman or Batman and Robin. It's nice to see the audience be the real winners for once.