Wednesday, April 30, 2008


A few years ago I wrote a screenplay that involved a fictional rock band called Duncan's Ritual, a name I unconsciously stole from an important Masonic handbook which may have looked something like this....(Clusterflock)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Well deserved

Richard Jenkins, familiar face, currently enjoying leading man status in The Visitor. (LA Weekly)

Rally the troops

Fighting Obama despair. (The Daily Dish)

Obama is still in this; and the Wright fiasco gives him a chance to remove this cloud and address it again. He has the most votes, the most states, the most money, the most new voters and the most delegates and the most Senators on his side. This is no time for a failure of nerve - on the part of the Obama team or his supporters.

The only way past this is through it. And it's not just up to Obama; it's up to those of us who see him as a vehicle for real change.

If you look for....

...God in the everyday, go here.

Watch at own risk

A video for Scarlett Johansson's "Falling Down" (a Tom Waits cover) is here. (Videogum)

Cannes opener

Blindness, directed by Fernando Meirelles, has been selected to open the Cannes Film Festival. (Toronto Star/Indie Eye)

The Cannes Film Festival has selected Blindness, produced by Toronto's Niv Fichman, for its coveted opening night slot on May 14, the Toronto Star has learned.

This dark $25 million epic – about an unnamed city struck by a unique plague in which 90 per cent of the population go blind – is a three-way co-production involving Brazil and Japan as well as Canada.

It took Fichman and his company, Rhombus Media, nine years to get the movie made.

Based on the 1995 Nobel Prize-winning novel by Portuguese writer Jose Saramago and directed by Brazilian filmmaker Fernando Meirelles (City of God), the movie has American stars Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo. But it also has juicy roles for several noted Canadians, including Sandra Oh, Susan Coyne, Martha Burns, Murray Chaykin and Don McKellar.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Best Fest

Words and pictures from Portishead's triumphant set at Coachella. (Stereogum)

This is how it's done

Interview with novelist/blogger Cory Doctorow, who is able to make a living even though he posts his books for free on his website. (Macleans)

Casting gossip

A lead role for Blake Lively of Gossip Girl. (Variety)

"With the same hen?"

The Coolidge Effect. (Defective Yeti)

Chiwetel talks

An interview with actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, whose new film is David Mamet's Redbelt. Ejiofor talks about his physical preparation for the role and what working with Mamet was like. (Greencine)

Q: You talked about being around all these master martial artists. Being in Redbelt also put you in the company of veteran David Mamet actors. Mamet's dialogue has unique rhythms and cadences and the films he directs have a different kind of performance style and character interaction. Some actors are masters at it, like Joe Mantegna. Did you also have to get up to speed to learn to take Mamet's dialogue and make it your own, make it a comfortable part of your character?

A: Yeah, in a sense. I had been very familiar with Mamet and his work ever since I became interested in acting 15 years ago or something like that. So even in high school, we were studying Mamet, so his language and his dialogue has been part of my landscape for as long I can remember. And when I came to see his plays and when I went to see his films, you know, the likes of Glengarry Glen Ross and Oleanna and that whole time, it made a very deep impression on me. So when I came to doing this project, there was a sense that I had been a student, in a way, of his dialogue for a very long time and that I was aware of some of the rhythms and some of the ways that it worked. So it wasn't that I'd come to something completely brand new and it did feel as if some of it was something that was accessible to me, or at least familiar.

And then there's the question and the choices of the way to make it your own. And that's a crucial part of any job, I think, and certainly in the theatrical tradition of a Shakespeare play. Making the rhythms of the language naturalistic is a really important part of communicating Shakespeare. So in some senses I was also fairly used to doing that, so those things combined were helpful in approaching this.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Not a Walker... (spoilers)

...but lying about it! On tonight's Brothers and Sisters, Rebecca (Emily VanCamp) learned she wasn't a member of the Walker family but decided not to reveal it. The unspoken attraction between Rebecca and her not-brother Justin (Dave Annable) simmers on. TV history is full of couples who delay getting together for all kinds of reasons, are we ready for a couple that doesn't get together because they think they're related?

Hobbit backlash?

Is Guillermo del Toro the right director for The Hobbit? (Salon)

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Errol Morris on his new Standard Operating Procedure. (Onion AV Club/Kottke)

AVC: Then it becomes a war over the context, doesn't it? In this case, the "few rotten apples" defense vs. what you're hearing from the people who are actually taking the photographs, and appear in them.

EM: It's been interesting to me. Both left and right see these guys as monsters. They're not different in that respect. I think we all have this great need for scapegoats. Everybody loves a good scapegoat—a good monster, if you like. They serve and satisfy, I think, a deep need. The left will say they're monsters because of Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld. The right will say they're monsters of their own devising, they're rogue soldiers, et cetera, et cetera. Everybody sees them as bad, and the movie is an attempt to make them people again, to show who they are, to address the question of why the pictures were taken, and what they show.

"I (heart) Pavement"

A morning's listening, and reflections on concert T-shirts past. (What I Listened To...)

NP in the news

NP has been named "Most Eco-Friendly Celeb" by the environmental website Grist. More on point for this blog, she'll be serving as a jury member at next months Cannes Film Festival. (Pop Sugar/photo by Andrew Eccles)

Film Critic Dance Fight! (Volume 2)

Armond White: Critics don't connect movies to morality, politics, or religion - most of them can't write. Oh, and Roger Ebert is responsible for dumbing everything down. Glenn Kenny: White doesn't get that print is over, misunderstands critical history, and isn't a very nice person. (NY Press/Premiere)

I guess I side slightly with Kenny here, though I think White has some points. I've found writing on the Internet that I think is pretty good and has made me want to write better, but I do think that many film bloggers want to engage with how a film fits into the arc of a director/actor's career as opposed to what it says about the way we live now or some other aspect of the human experience. I haven't seen Forgetting Sarah Marshall yet but I can't believe it deserves more attention than Smart People, an very strong film about the not exactly cinematic subject of unsticking one's life from a series of emotional ruts. (Ellen Page is better here than in Juno by the way). But because we've decided there's some profundity in films with which Judd Apatow is associated, we're treated to innumerable reviews that mention how "sweet" and "moral" Jason Segel's character is, as if it were immoral to dislike an ex-girlfriend. If anything, films that don't deserve it are overanalyzed because of brand name while underdogs are dismissed with easy condescension.

Courtroom drama

Studios sue each other over a "stolen" character (played by the same actor) in a Larry the Cable Guy Movie. Remember when Michael Keaton's character from Jackie Brown popped up in Out of Sight? (Hollywood Reporter)

Universal has filed an interesting lawsuit against Lionsgate claiming that the character of FBI agent Alonzo Mosely in Universal's 1988 hit "Midnight Run" was stolen and transplanted into Lionsgate's recent Larry the Cable Guy flop "Witless Protection."

Both movies feature stories about a witness set to testify in criminal court against the mob. In both films, this witness winds up on the run, pursued by a short-tempered, humorless FBI agent named Alonzo Mosely, played by the same actor, Yaphet Kotto.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

She & Him

...want to shoot you in the face. Not really. (NY Times)

To the stars

Some new blogger named Ebert reminisces about the late Arthur C. Clarke. (Roger Ebert's Journal)

Blog talk

An interview with Matt Zoller Seitz, blogger-in-chief of House Next Door. I haven't cracked HND yet, but Mr. Seitz has been unfailingly polite and encouraging of my blogging. (Film in Focus)

Festival finds

As the Tribeca Film Festival opens, the Village Voice spotlights some films you may not have heard of.

Cannes lineup

New films from Eastwood, Soderbergh (x2), Woody Allen, Wim Wenders, and Charlie Kaufman are among the highlights of this year's Cannes Film Festival. (Cinematical)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Dept. of Relevancy ?

Are Pacino and DeNiro over? (LA Times)

It's not as if this film were a rare misstep in an otherwise unblemished career. Pacino has made a string of bad films lately, including the famously awful "Gigli," "The Recruit" and "Two for the Money," where he hams it up as an unscrupulous football oddsmaker. If anyone has made more movies for the money than Pacino, it would be De Niro, who has largely abandoned serious dramatic work for a spate of forgettable horror and crime thrillers (try sitting through "Hide and Seek" or "Godsend") and lowbrow comedy high jinks like "Meet the Fockers" and "Analyze That."

De Niro's most recent film, "What Just Happened?," an inside-the-movie-biz comedy, got such an abysmal reception at Sundance that it limped out of the festival without a sale (it's expected to close the Cannes Film Festival this year). De Niro cut his longtime ties with CAA last week, defecting to Endeavor, inspiring a venomous response purportedly from one CAA agent that was e-mailed all over town. Claiming that De Niro asks for a $1-million production fee on his pictures to help fund his Tribeca empire in New York, it minces few words, saying, "Bobby held us responsible for his own greed, his own avarice and his own megalomania. And it's just like the studios now ask us: Why should we pay this guy -- who doesn't open a movie -- the payoff to his production company, just so he can add his name as a producer?"

Oh dear me, Mr. Baker

A very British put-down of Nicholson Baker's book Human Smoke. (London Times)

I’m sure he’s wrong in his belief that, in 1939, pacifism was the better policy; and the idea that we could live with a Nazi Europe in peace is simply implausible. But he’s honourably wrong. He is a gentle, sweet man, wounded by human brutality. Perhaps, I suggest to him, as an American, he simply doesn’t understand the horror of the real possibility of national obliteration we faced in 1940, a horror Churchill soothed with his speeches telling us that, confronted with this prospect, it would be equally good to live or die. He nods. “That’s very compelling.” Then I tell him of my childhood memory of the docklands’ cranes on the Thames bowing as the barge bearing the body of Churchill passed. He stares in wonder. “Oh God, that’s so beautiful.”

Online identity crisis

Facebook profile anxiety, and what it says about you. (The American Scene)

A question from Rob:

Who would win a fight between rapping NP and Keira Knightley in Domino? (Hulu)

Small screen

J.J. Abrams: Cloverfield better viewed on DVD?

Paparazzi alert...

Pics of NP, Devendra Banhart, and dog. (Stereogum/photo by Mary Ellen Matthews)

Trailer Trailer Trailer...

...for a documentary about composer Philip Glass, directed by Scott Hicks (Shine). (Kottke)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Replacements are back

A review of a new batch of Replacements reissues, including the iconic Let It Be. (Pitchfork)

Tapes and tapes

Skeletons in the closet of one music blogger...(Angry John Sellers)

Don't be ashamed

New episodes of Gossip Girl return tonight; New York Magazine offers a lengthy ode to the show, which is apparently still on thanks to its success on new media platforms and our neverending desire for shows about sexy young people running around NYC.

New episodes routinely arrived at the No. 1 most-downloaded spot on iTunes, and then there were the hundreds of thousands who were downloading free week-old episodes on the CW’s site. Even executives at Nielsen threw up their hands and admitted that Gossip Girl appeared to be speaking to an audience so young and tech-savvy they hadn’t really figured it out just yet.

This isn’t the first show to find Internet success—Lost and The Office are big download hits, too. But this is the first show that seems to have succeeded primarily on the Internet. There’s something about the combination of the show’s premise, the viewers’ age, and the available technology that has given Gossip Girl a life of its own online. Not only do fans watch the show on their computers, but they post sightings of the actors on gossip blogs and exchange rumors (about both the show and its stars) on fan sites. You can even play Gossip Girl’s Upper East Side on Second Life. It’s not appointment television; it’s a 24-hour conversation. We are all Gossip Girl! And the whole experience can happen sans television

On the nightstand

I'm a little late posting this James Wood review of the Richard Price novel Lush Life, the book I'll be cracking as soon as I finish my current acting job.

At one point, a man is explaining how advanced Jacob Riis was. In his lectures about life on the Lower East Side, he often used slides and music, a multimedia effect. The posh audience must have loved it, the man implies: “Those uptown dowagers had to be crying their balls off.” Similarly, two policemen, who are threatening a suspect with jail time, bait him by telling him that he won’t get to be a father to his new baby: “Gonna be calling some other guy Daddy. . . . You’ll be Uncle Plexiglas.” That last phrase does what metaphor should do: it acts as a fiction inside the larger fiction, speeding us toward the instant imagining of something (and wittily, too).

Why... you blog? (Girish)

A picture is worth...

An indie hit changes its look for the DVD release...(Filmmaker)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Closing out a superficial blogging day...

This is what Mena Suvari looks like with a shaved head. Enjoy.

Luna love

Dean Wareham, late of Galaxie 500 and Luna, has written a memoir - you can link to a review here. I'm more familiar with Luna than Galaxie 500, and heartily recommend their CD Bewitched. It sets and maintains a mood so perfectly that I'm convinced it's possible to enjoy the album while asleep, and that's a compliment. Here's Luna playing "California All the Way" from Bewitched. (Sasha Frere-Jones)

I can't believe I'm blogging about Timbaland.

After linking to this post earlier this week and having some time to consider the new Madonna song "4 Minutes," I've come to the conclusion that while the song isn't one of Madonna's best efforts she's not the real problem. I'm no dance music expert, but you'd have to be deaf not to know that Timbaland and Justin Timberlake were heavily involved with the track and others on Madonna's forthcoming album.

Here's the problem: Timbaland. I can all too easily hear "4 Minutes" being sung by Nelly Furtado, whom Timbaland turned into an android on her last CD. "4 Minutes" is musically unsubtle and lyrically uninspired, but Timbaland's presence guarantees a certain degree of media attention. Is there a point (I'm speaking to those of you who listen to this music more than I do) when the repeated use of a small clique of producers actually makes music less interesting? (photo by Steven Klein)

Why aren't I...

...writing more about movies? Because of crap like this....(NY Times)

She's a winner!

Danica Patrick wins a race...(ESPN)

Attention candidates...

"Relatability" is trumping experience this year...(Atlantic)

Himself speaks

An interview with blogging pioneer Jason Kottke. (Clusterflock)

Q: You point to a lot of articles that deal with process, excellence, mastery — what’s the connection for you?

A: There’s this mystique about expertise, that you can’t tell someone how to do certain things…like Christopher Alexander’s Quality Without a Name. I really enjoy reading attempts to prove otherwise. That and accounts of the battle with the self. One of my favorite topics is free throw shooting. Easiest thing to do in the world of sports but players who get paid millions to do it can’t for some reason. That’s fascinating.

Indecisive director alert?

Soderbergh still fiddling with twin Che Guevara films as Cannes approaches. (Cinematical)

Friday, April 18, 2008

True words

Robert Reich goes off.....(Robert Reich)

Bitter? You ain’t seen nothing yet. And as much as people like Russert, Carville, Matalin, Schrum, and Murphy want to divert our attention from what’s really happening; as much as HRC and McCain seek to make political hay out of choices of words that can be spun cynically by the mindless spinners of the old politics; as much as demagogues on the right and left continue to try to channel the cumulative frustrations of Americans into a politics of resentment – all these attempts will, I hope, prove futile. Eighty percent of Americans know the nation is on the wrong track. The old politics, and the old media that feeds it, are irrelevant now.

Anyone for pie?

A review of My Blueberry Nights. (House Next Door)

Wong's sense of artistic priorities -- his art, period -- is the true subject of My Blueberry Nights. It's spare, relaxed, playful and very, very loose. Coming on the heels of the symphonic, Proustian romantic drama 2046 (arguably his most ambitious movie) and his stunning segment of Eros, "The Hand" (surely his most precise) it's the directorial equivalent of a musician following up back-to-back marquee performances with an after-hours jam session.

X-Files assortment

A bunch of links and images about the new X-Files movie. (Cinematical)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The showdown

The new Madonna v. Mariah. (Humanizing the Vacuum)

It's inevitable to compare Mariah Carey's "Touch My Body" and Timbaland featuring Justin Timberlake's "4 Minutes" (yes, an intentional mistake, calm down); when two women break two different Elvis records it deserves mention, no? Where Carey still manages a commitment to brain-free sultriness no matter how many keyboards and triple-tracked harmonies blow up her skirt and stimulate an overstimulated cooter, Madonna jumps hither and thither, a frenzy of elbows and hips and something that looks like hair, kinetics without erotics.

Wrong address

What's happening at the former location of CBGB's? (Indie Ear)

? is the answer

A selection of photos by ?uestlove, drummer for The Roots. He's interviewed about the band's new CD here. (Take Great Pictures/VF Daily)

“Because of the constant disappointments that black people have had,” Roots drummer Ahmir “?uestlove” Thomspon told me, “there is a level of numbness so deep that I just don’t think they care.” First there was concern. Then there was fear. Then there was panic. But now Thompson asserts, “We’re in the most dangerous part: indifference.” Stretched out on a couch in Manhattan’s Legacy Recording Studios, where he was recovering from a DJing gig at Quentin Tarantino’s Las Vegas birthday bash the night before, Thompson explained why, after 17 years and 9 albums, it was time to take The Roots’ political message to a new level

No sarcastic post title seems quite right here.

A guide to the conservative blogosphere. (Village Voice)

Uncle Walt

If you missed the PBS documentary on Walt Whitman the other night, go here. Chris Cooper was a great choice to read Whitman's poems. From Leaves of Grass:

If you want me again look for me under your boot-soles. You will hardly know who I am or what I mean, But I shall be good health to you nevertheless, And filter and fibre for your blood. Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged, Missing me one place search another, I stop somewhere waiting for you.

Quick pan

A short review of a new Uma Thurman movie. (Parabasis)

Green drama ?

Edward Norton v. Marvel over the length and style of The Incredible Hulk. (Entertainment Weekly)

Edward Norton isn't speaking. The star of The Incredible Hulk, the new $150 million adaptation of the Marvel comic-book series, would normally be chatting up the press this time of year, promoting his big summer movie. Instead, the 38-year-old Oscar nominee has declined repeated interview requests, following a disagreement he had with his producers over the final cut of the film.

Is "Apatowian" a word yet?

Hilarity from Kristen Bell, "McLovin," and the folks who bring you Forgetting Sarah Marshall. (Cinematical)

Friday, April 11, 2008

NP update

NP attached to new film of Wuthering Heights, plans to write and direct short in New York, I Love You anthology. (Cinematical, Hollywood Reporter)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Bear with me

Due to some technical issues, posting here may be irregular for a few days. Thanks for your patience, and please enjoy the new REM album, Battlestar Galactica, and the works of Mr. Marcel Proust (just kidding).

"But I did have a mortgage"

Kristen Bell on a Veronica Mars movie and why she took that Gossip Girl job. (Moviehole)

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Don't forget about

Making the case for the B-52's Cosmic Thing (the one with all those hits). (Humanizing the Vacuum)

Whatever day it is Music: Drive-By Truckers

An acoustic performance of "Self-Destructive Zones" from their new CD.


Go here to see NP talk about My Blueberry Nights on Good Morning America. (Just Jared/photo by Raymond Meier)

What the heck happened... John Hughes? (LA Times)

Hughes' method of shooting comedy has become virtually an industry standard. He'd often let the camera roll through four or five takes in a row, looking for the right tone and rhythm for a scene. "He loved his actors and loved language, so he'd shoot a lot of film," says Jacobson. "It became a big thing in comedy after John did it -- listening to the actors and looking for those great moments. John would hear a line and get the actor to go with it. It really wasn't the actors who were improvising. It was John improvising."

Bob Mould on...

...his new CD, old songs, and growing up. (Advocate)

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Braves 3, Mets 1

In his first start of the season, John Smoltz looks great for 5 innings and then comes out for no apparent reason. (Broadcasters notice him appearing to "grimace") Our bullpen looks good again, though Soriano has trouble finding the plate and gives up a run in 9th. Mark Kotsay scores 1st run after a double - later he catches a sharp liner and starts a 8-3 double play (which is rounded off by a great stretch from Teixeira). Someone says something about Kotsay having more outfield assists than anyone in last decade, can this be true? Teixeira hits home run in 8th for insurance runs that prove essential. For the Mets, Johan Santana is worth every penny; he just didn't get support today.

W- Smoltz (1-0)
S- Soriano (1)
Braves HR - Teixeira (2)

Dept. of They Don't Make Them Like They Used To

Charlton Heston has died at age 84. Heston was of course the star of epics like Ben-Hur and The Ten Commandments, exactly the sort of big-budget spectacles whose demise in the late '60s is chronicled in the recent book Pictures at a Revolution by Mark Harris. Moviegoers of my generation know Heston from his self-parodying macho turns in movies like True Lies and as an NRA spokesman. (NY Times)

Every actor dreams of a breakthrough role, the part that stamps him in the public memory, and Mr. Heston’s life changed forever when he caught the eye of the director Cecil B. De Mille. De Mille, who was planning his next biblical spectacular, “The Ten Commandments,” looked at the young, physically imposing Mr. Heston and saw his Moses.

When the film was released in 1956, more than three and a half hours long and the most expensive that De Mille had ever made, Mr. Heston became a marquee name. Whether leading the Israelites through the wilderness, parting the Red Sea or coming down from Mount Sinai with the tablets from God in hand, he was a Moses to remember

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Braves 11, Mets 5

Yesterday's rainout provides a chance to rest the bullpen. The key moment today comes in the 7th, when Kelly Johnson hits a pinch hit grand slam to turn a tight game into a comfortable lead for the Braves. Earlier, the Mets had crept to within one on an outfield play which was (incorrectly) ruled a catch and then reversed. Tim Hudson looks good and picks up first win. I didn't see this game in its entirety so I'll link to a summary.

W - Hudson (1-0)
Braves HR - Johnson (1)

Friday, April 04, 2008

Wong speaks

Wong Kar-Wai on America, cowriter Lawrence Block, and My Blueberry Nights. (IFC)

Q: Was the process of making your first English-language film on American soil that different from what you've been accustomed to?

A: The process is not that different except there are certain rules to be respected, like the union regulations. Creatively, for me, because it's not my own language, my vocabulary and references are limited. I realized that, at the very beginning, you feel a certain stiffness, a [self-consciousness] about this process. Later on, you just think, "Well, you have to stick to what are the most essential things." It's like a telegraph because you're very economical in all these words and expressions, and it also opens up yourself to... you need to collaborate with your crew, so basically, I'm sending telegraphs, and they have to fill in all the blood and flesh and details.

Friday fluff

Selma Blair in this summer's Hellboy 2: The Golden Army. (All Movie Photo)

Pirates 4, Braves 3 (10 innings)

When I was a kid there was much hoopla over the Braves acquisitions of pitchers Len Barker and Bruce Sutter. Neither ever lived up to their previous success when they arrived in Atlanta. Mike Hampton has actually been fairly good with the Braves (32-20 with an ERA of about 4 from 03-05) but hasn't pitched since '05 due to a variety of injuries. Tonight he pulls a muscle while warming up and is scratched.

Jeff Bennett starts and goes 4 innings, leaving down 0-2. The Braves don't do much offensively until the 6th when they string together some hits and take the lead, but the Pirates come back and win in 10. Bobby Cox has already used the bullpen so much he is reduced to bringing in a pitcher while keeping the previous pitcher in the outfield, bringing him back after he's gotten the matchup he wanted. It doesn't work. (AP)

L- Resop (0-1)

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Let me get this straight

According to the trailer for the Sex and the City movie, things almost fall apart between Carrie and Mr. Big because she invites too many people to the wedding? I'm assuming that's the culmination of an arc of hilariously self-absorbed Carrie behavior, but couldn't somebody have introduced a more compelling obstacle? I'm not on board with that whole Sarah Jessica Parker "unsexy" thing by the way. (Wash Post)

Sick day

Vomit, watch movies, vomit. (James Wolcott)

Nada Surf... concert (I Am Fuel...)

We're in the big time

A report on how folks in Greenville, SC (where I live) liked being extras in Leatherheads. (LA Times, Greencine has other links)

BOBBY BROOKSHIRE already was planning to open a gym here before Hollywood came to town -- it wasn't like the ex-Marine was starting it just to get George Clooney and Renée Zellweger in there. But it wouldn't hurt to have photos of celebrities like that working out, you know? So off he went last year to the Expo Center, where representatives of "Leatherheads" had set up shop to find extras for the film about early pro football, telling them the stars could use his gym, anytime, "for free, no tipping."

How's it going, Dave?

Original reviews of 2001 from Variety and Roger Ebert among others. From Ebert: (Movie City Indie)

But the achievement belongs to the machine. And Kubrick's actors seem to sense this; they are lifelike but without emotion, like figures in a wax museum. Yet the machines are necessary because man himself is so helpless in the face of the universe.


South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford seems to be in the hunt for the GOP Vice Presidential slot. Many of us couldn't be happier to see him go, he was notoriously named one of the nation's worst governors by Time magazine. His replacement however would be Andre Bauer, who almost killed himself in a plane crash a couple of years ago and is infamous for his bad driving record. We're so lucky. (Marc Ambinder)

After you, no after you

New shows from the Sundance Channel include a music-themed interview program with Elvis Costello and a fourth season of the self-congratulatory Iconoclasts; the season premiere will feature Richard Branson and Desmond Tutu. My thoughts on Iconoclasts here. (Broadcasting Cable)

Mnah Mnah....

Still more Muppet plot details from Jason Segel...(Empire)

By the numbers

A mathematical prediction of the upcoming baseball season that (with any luck) overrates the Yankees. (Kottke/Live Science)

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Braves 10, Pirates 2

Our first win of the season. Jair Jurrjens, the pitcher we got when we traded SS Edgar Renteria to the Tigers, starts and gets his first win with the Braves. He looks good though I repeat my concern about how deep our starters go into the game. (Jurrjens went 5.1 innings) Chipper gets a couple of early RBI's, but it's a tight game until the 8th when we bust it open with 7 runs. Good bullpen work across the board tonight. Mark Teixeira - a slow starter according the broadcasters - hits first home run.

W- Jurrjens (1-0)
Braves HR - Diaz (1), Teixeira (1), Escobar (1)

The Head Jick

Stephen Malkmus on the past & future: (Onion AV Club)

AVC: Everyone's trying to figure out what the new influence will be. Maybe Christmas music will be next.

SM: Christmas music, yep. Modern country. Country music has even been [turned indie]—Drive-By Truckers and these bands like that that I read about recently, they're part of it. It doesn't really matter, you know. They're just nervous and don't want the same influences as other people. They want to name-check different things.

Preminger Fest: Anatomy of a Murder

If Anatomy of a Murder were coming through the studio pipeline today, then Paul Biegler(James Stewart) would never pass muster. Beigler isn't a single dad or haunted by some past tragedy or injustice. He's a former prosecutor turned out of office who now scratches out a living as a defense lawyer in the company of his boozy sidekick Parnell (Arthur O'Connell) and loyal underpaid secretary Maida (Eve Arden). There isn't anything to make us care about Paul in the way that we're told we need to care about movie heroes today.

That's because Otto Preminger's 1959 courtroom classic is a film about process, about the ends that the law can be put to for better or for worse. Beigler is hired to defend an Army officer named Manion (Ben Gazzara) who is on trial for murdering a man he says raped his wife Laura (Lee Remick, gorgeous and dangerous). Manion admits the crime but says he can't remember what happened. Speaking of unsympathetic characters, Gazzara's Lt. Manion isn't exactly a candidate for sainthood. Manion is cold and sarcastic with a history of being quick-tempered, and it's an open question whether or not he gave Laura the black eye she sports in her first few scenes. But this is America, and everyone deserves a fair trial.

From a pure plot standpoint, the key scene in Anatomy of a Murder comes midway through. Beigler and Parnell find a precedent for a Michigan court (the film takes place in the Upper Peninsula) accepting "irresistible impulse" as a defense for murder. What separates this defense from temporary insanity is the idea that the difference between right and wrong can still be understood. When the prosecutor (an flashy assistant Attorney General played by George C. Scott) hears the precedent he even acknowledges the case is probably lost; he's reduced to putting a jailhouse snitch on the stand.

I'm not going to discuss the ending, but it wouldn't be a courtroom drama without a dramatic last-minute revelation. This is a movie about process, and it's Beigler's resentment of the prosecution's leading questions and attempts to manipulate the facts that drive his increasingly impassioned behavior in court. The final scene (which can be viewed on You Tube here) is a perfect note of both resignation and optimism. The system is the system - not everyone appreciates it, but there's always another case.

You can't win every time...

Abita is pretty reliable as far as beer goes, I particularly like their IPA. But beer and strawberries? Drink at your own risk. (Beer Advocate)

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Madonna is back... the new issue of Vanity Fair. (Huffington Post)

Green Gossip?

Happy April Fool's Day, Natalie....(Ecorazzi/photo by Corrine Day)

Kim Deal...

...wishes Stephen Malkmus would shut up. (Time Out NY)

Q: Did the success of that song cause any jealousy among your indie-rock peers?

A: You know, [Pavement’s Stephen] Malkmus is being a bit of a bitch in interviews recently. One thing he said last summer referred to me as “trashy mouth.” And he just did this article in Spin where he alluded to me unpleasantly, saying [something like], “You know, I always thought that Pavement could have had one of those big hits in the early ’90s with ‘Cut Your Hair,’ but I guess people preferred ‘Cannonball.’ ”

Q: Are you a fan of his music?

A: Yeah, I liked Pavement. But if he keeps fucking smacking his mouth off about me, I’m going to end up not being able to listen to any of their fucking records again. Anyway, I thought, God, man, “Cut Your Hair” isn’t as good of a song as “Cannonball,” so fuck you. How’s that? Your song was just a’ight, dawg.

Meet Patty

Another convert to Damages, the Glenn Close TV series I'm eagerly awating the next DVD of in the mail...(About Last Night)

Green Ads

Gore's new climate change campaign...(Dot Earth)

"Wolves, Lower"

In honor of the new R.E.M. CD......Dublin '07:

Tracey Trailer

Want to see Ellen Page in a trailer for the pre-Juno Tracey Fragments, a film that at a glance appears to be nothing like Juno, Hard Candy, or the X-Men sequel she did? Go here.