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4.29.2016

Summer Movies! The Good, The ??, The Bad, and The Ugly: My Predictions

Here's some great resouces for trailers/predictions on summer movies; this episode of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour, and this article which shows trailers of 35 summer movies!

And a little of my own take on what's coming out May-August:

The Good!

Lights Out  - Release date July 22nd
Looks like this could be a real screamer, a great one to go to late on a summer night with some friends!



The Shallows - Release Date June 24
A woman trapped on a reef with a shark circling around her - this looks like it could be a fun one too.



Jason Bourne - Release date July 29
Another one of these?  Can we really take it?  Well, yes, actually, we can.  Take seeing this guy on the big screen one more time, I mean.  




The Maybe

Darkness - release date May 13


If only to see Kevin Bacon, this one might be good.  It's hard to see these guys age, tho.  And in a few of the scenes the scary stuff just looked, well, excessive.   Like all of those crosses turning over?  Wouldn't it have been scarier if only one had been on the wall and had turned over?

Independence Day - release date June 24th

I might actually see this one.



The Bad

Ghostbusters - July 15th



As much as I want to be enthusiastic and say 'isn't it just awesome that some chicks are starring in a comedy', I just don't think this one's gonna fly.  Trying to reboot Ghostbusters is like trying to paint a copy of the Mona Lisa.  It's so ambitious, even a decent movie will pale in comparison.


And the Ugly

Sausage Party - release date August 12th

Who keeps giving these guys (Seth Rogan et al) the green light to churn out dreck?  Seriously.  (oh, and this link.....er, don't click on it.  Just take my word for it, this movie looks bad.)



Nine Lives - release date August 5th

Um, yeah.  Kevin Spacey inside of a cat.  Need I even comment?



And there you have it.  Here's one girl who cannot wait for summer!

4.27.2016

Good-bye Until San Sebastian, Spain!

I was surprised to read that these were the BVM's parting words to the children at Fatima in 1917.  (How had I never read this before?  It just seems impossible to find a comprehensive summary of everything that she said in Fatima!)

Her statement seems to clearly reference her (now) well known apparitions at San Sebastian de Garabandal from 1961 to 1965, in which she predicted The Warning (a great event during which every person on the planet would at the same time receive an understanding of everything he/she'd done in their entire lives that offended God).

I'm pretty skeptical about The Warning as well as the apparitions at Garabandal; they have not been approved by the Church.  And The Warning sounds so utterly fantastic that, well...yeah.

However, Fatima has been approved, and so to see her referencing Garabandal at Fatima gives them some validity by proxy.

Maybe the Warning will occur after all.

4.26.2016

Miles Ahead

Really felt like this movie could have used more scenes in it of Miles Davis performing.  From watching this movie, supposedly a biopic, you'd think the the crux of Davis' life revolved around rescuing a stolen tape from the clutches of whatever company Davis had contracted with at the time. What I mean to say, is that it hyper-focus on this incident, and I didn't really go away with a full understand of Davis and his life and impact.

4.21.2016

Not Just a Pretty Face

Really enjoyed this panel discussion with The Meddler writer/director Lorene Scafaria and co stars Susan Sarandon and Rose Byrne on Charlie Rose.  The Meddler is a movie about the relationship between a mother and daughter, and will be released on April 22nd--tomorrow!  (Except it appears to already have been released in some film festivals).


Scafaria

Good for Scafaria for putting this movie together!  Undoubtedly no small feat in the 'man's world' of movie directing.  In the discussion she talks about the obstacle she faced of production companies telling her to 'adding more male characters' or 'introducing male characters earlier', but she refused since she felt that would change the substance of the story.

And wow, Sarandon looks good - she's nearly 70!

I found the discussion inspiring, looking forward to seeing the movie.

4.20.2016

"We treat affective relationships the way we treat material objects and the environment: everything is disposable; everyone uses and throws away, takes and breaks, exploits and squeezes to the last drop.  Then, good-bye."

Pope Francis, Amoris Laetitia

4.19.2016

Lore Podcast

I've been listening to this podcast Lore for about six months now, and it's pretty good.  The host's (and creator, Aaron Mahnke) voice, however, is bizarrely jagged, as though he's placed a little dash between - every - word - he - states.

Just last Friday I listened to a series of about five of his first podcasts, starting with the very first one he put out just over a year ago.

In these earlier episodes his voice is much more smooth and natural, making me think that this stutter talk is an affectation.

And if so, why?  He's doing so well in itunes, ranking I think in the top podcasts these past weeks; and maybe he thinks that sounding weird is in harmony with the theme of the podcast.

I don't know.  As for my own opinion, however, I find it annoying.  Wish he'd kept his old voice, it sounded much more natural.  It was also laced with a bit more humor.

In his more current epidoses he sounds like a robot.

4.18.2016

Pee Wee's Big Holiday

Love this movie (now streaming on Netflix).  Love, love how it's SOO silly and sweet yet still made for adults.  Loved how Magic Mike star Joe Manganiello played a character so endeared with Pee Wee that he pouts in his New York City hotel room when Pee Wee hasn't made it to his birthday party.

This guy?  Pouting like a five year old at a b-day party?  LOVE IT!  

My hat is really off to Paul Reubens for creating such a bizarre and fun character.

Can't figure out why Pee Wee is always turning down girls who ask him out on dates.  Is he shy?  Not attracted to them?  Gay?

To paraphrase a line from the movie; Pee Wee's Big Holday is real, it's fun, and it's real fun.  I recommend it.  (Now streaming on Netflix!)


4.14.2016

"You're Never Weird on the Internet" by Felicia Day

This memoir isn't bad, in which Felicia Day primarily tells the story about how she wrote and produced the web series The Guild.  Her sense of humor is a little cheesy, but actually after watching The Guild, (now on Netflix) I found it a little more endearing.   She's actually pretty funny in person.  Somehow it just looks like tons of ALL CAPS and slapstick exaggeration in writing.

The Guild developed out of Felicia's personal experience of playing the video game World of Warcraft obsessively over a 1-2 year period, and follows the irl and online actions of a team of Warcraft players.  It became a cult hit among gamers.  She wrote and created six seasons starting in 2007.

The memoir got interesting at the end with her description of her mental breakdown in relation to the success of The Guild (nightly panic attacks, losing tons of hair, extreme overwork).  The creative process is interesting to read about; in Day's instance, creating the characters initially and writing the first episodes when no one was watching was fact easier than then writing more and more episodes after the show became popular.  She found the pressure to continue to put out good content so intense that it really just killed her creativity.

As for The Guild itself; yeah, the characters are great but the story does kind of flop after the 3rd season or so.

You're Never Weird  is somewhat in the same vein of Sophia Amourso's memoir that perhaps should be shelved in inspirational/self help section, since Day seems to be on a mission to help the reader.

The heart of my story is that the world opened up for me once I decided to embrace who I am--unapologetically.
Don't chase perfection for perfection's sake, or for anyone else's sake at all.  If you strive for something, make sure it's for the right reasons.  

Thanks, Felicia, for these pearls of wisdom suitable for the inscription on a Hallmark Card.

Similar, too, to Biz Stone's memoir Things a Little Bird Told Me, for that matter.  There's a lot of 'let me tell you my fantastic internet success story' combined with 'let me tell you how I can help you live a better life' in all of these books.  Which rubs off as somewhat condescending.

Although I do find her story of creating the web series inspiring; inspiring how the internet can function to eliminate beucratic production companies and allow one artist to reach her specific audience.  I love that she never 'sold out' by selling her show to production companies.

It's important to keep in mind, however, that she created The Guild nine years ago; practically a lifetime in Internet.  I guess what I mean to say is that her success story might not even really be possible today with the way the internet and online videos has grown. (Which diminishes the inspirational aspect somewhat--could someone conceivably do it again, today?)

And she included a part at the ned about the horrors of online harassment--more specifically the harassment campaign #gamergate regarding sexism and women gamers.  She herself was freakishly harassed (people threatening to come to her house and kill her, etc.) and it destroyed for her, some of what she loved about the world of video games.

All in all, it's a quick and enjoyable read.  I found her a bit more stomachable than Amoroso (that uber wealthy cunt who should be in prison for the hordes of shit she's stolen).

4.12.2016

The Return of Trey Graham

I was SO HAPPY last Friday when I listened to Pop Culture Happy Hour and heard the sound of Trey Graham's voice!  It's been, what, 2, 3 years since he's been gone?  I realized while listening to the podcast that I'd never really gotten over his departure; ever since then there was a sadness when the 4th chair of the roundtable was occupied by a guest.  Which, well, seemed strange.  Hadn't realized how attached I had become to these voices streaming from my computer.  It's unclear, however, if he's back to stay or just as one of the 4th-chair-roatating guests.  Looks like he had a difficult stint with addiction that took him away from things for awhile.

For NPR, this podcasts offers remarkably original opinions and perspectives.  And Linda Holmes is such an awesome and perky host, what an excellent role model.  It can sometimes veer into the sickeningly predictable realm of PC (that land where Terri Gross lives), but then they come back around and have a great segment, such as on this show, where they talk about the best horrible movies.  Graham gave a five star contribution with Death Becomes Her, that horrible movie from the 90s with Goldie Hawn and Maryl Streep.  Their last segment 'what is making me happy this week' should be a routine that I do in my personal life.  Just haven't gotten around to that one yet.  Too many things to complain about, or whatever.


4.08.2016

Dustbin of Fringehood

Interesting comments here in this panel on Charlie Rose regarding the current state of the Democratic Party compared to 25 years ago.  Pairs nicely (ish) with Bernie's interview with Rose from yesterday.

Rose Is the Democratic party of Bill Clinton dead?  ....the idea of a guy who because he'd been in Arkansas politics understood that you had to be very centrist to win?  

Mike Barnicle I think that it's on life support.... the politicians in power today...especially in the Senate seem to have no idea and they can't articulate the pain, the hurt, the damage that was caused  in 2008, 09 to so many people who lost jobs, homes, their 401K, any sort of hope for an immediate future for their children.  

Mike Halpern  And i'll tell you the other thing that Bernie Sanders speaks to to that's also in the past is the Iraq War and the pain that that's caused America.  [it resonates with] so many families, again, left and right....Wall Street's ripped people off, the Iraq War was was a mistake.....people in New York and Washington talk about those things as unfortunate public policy choices...losing a family member, having a family member wounded, not being able to retire--these are big relatively recent events that Sanders and Trump talk to with emotion.

John Heilemann  I've talked a lot with Senator Sanders and he is very clear when he first he got into the race he wanted to prove....that his positions....were not fringe positions and his great fear was that he would lose very badly and that he would in fact do the opposite....that the arguments he was making would therefore be consigned to the dustbin of fringe hood.  That is the exactly the opposite of what's happened....The Democratic Party of Bill Clinton is dead.  The party of Bernie Sanders and the arguments he's making are where the Democratic Party is now and he has dragged Hilary Clinton to the left on almost everything.  The heart of the party, the soul of the party.... is now a much more progressive/liberal party than it was 20 years ago.


---
Although I find Heilemann and Halpern a bit difficult to stomach as they co authored that awful book Game Change (porn for liberals, essentially--an analysis of the Obama/McCain election that included zero source notes) they seemed a bit more palatable in this interview, or really I found their comments interesting.

Heilemann's the only one who really answers the question, however; addressing the actual issues that the Democratic party is standing for rather than it's politician's ability to emotionally connect with voters.  And he doesn't provide any specifics as to the particular issues, although I suppose that stating that Bernie is at the heart of the party is a succinct way of answering this.

Hm, not sure, though, that I'm buying that Bernie is the cause of the Democratic party's shift; basically Heilemann is saying that in the past 6 months or so of Bernie's Presidential Campaign, he's dragged the Democratic party to the left, and that from 1992 (when Clinton was running) until mid 2015, it was still moderate.  No, the shift had to come much sooner.  Although I, too, think that it has taken place.  And that the Democratic Party of the 1990s was a much different beast than the one we have today. 

4.07.2016

The Sound of Revolution

Really enjoyed this interview with Charlie Rose and Robert Costa about Costa's 96 minute interview with Donald Trump.  It shed some light on Trump's persona and his supporters.  It's good to watch the interview in person because Costa's facial expressions reveal many of his opinions.  Here's some good takeaway quotes.

why Trump's perceived as an outsider

He likes to be the loner....if you talk to people on Wall Street and in the business community....they know Trump, they've been to parties with Trump, but he's not a part of the club....he considers himself to be someone who's outside of the mainstream. (Rose)  And there fore he can easily run against the establishment.

why is he running?

(Costa) Every time I see Trump he says 'I don't know why I'm doing this'...because he doesn't need the presidency....he talks about an internal monologue he has with himself.....public life is finally something he wants to do.

and the most interesting point in the interview;

(Rose) The people who are supporting him.....have no apparent connection other than they believe that he believes in them.  (Costa)  This is the most under covered point in the Campaign.  It's now always about Trump!....the Trump supporters....believe institutions have failed them across the board, and not just the Obama Administration--Republicans in Congress, corporate America, Wall Street, they feel they have stagnant wages...white working class America who feels like they are disengaged from their own country.....Trump is different, they want something different....Trump he's going to go around the whole system.  And that's what they want, wholesale change.  

Imo this desire for wholesale change is healthy.

Honestly, after 9-11 (that fantastic lie that's turned our country into a surveillance state) and the financial crash we ought to be pissed, foaming at the mouth, really.

And yet so often people reaction to increased hyper surveillance with zombie-like indifference.

Perhaps these Trump supporters; people who're advocating for the apple cart to be entirely turned over; indicate that there's actually still some humanity and sanity left to the population.

4.05.2016

Ray Romano on Fresh Air

Really enjoyed this interview with Ray Romano on Fresh Air.  Have always liked him, he seems to have stayed pretty down to earth despite all of his stardom (translation for 'down to earth': only one wife, no known affairs).  He's in the new show Vinyl by Martin Scorsese which I have not seen

Loved the show Men of a Certain Age.  Such a disappointment that it was cancelled after only 2 seasons.  Am one of those people tho who didn't really love Everybody Loves Raymond.  Maybe Romano does a little better with darker comedy, as was Men.  Raymond just seemed insipid to me, one of those really bad sitcoms that just goes on and on for seasons and seasons because enough people out there with really bad taste are watching it.

Interesting to hear that Letterman gave Romano his big break into TV land.  Interesting story Romano he tells on Fresh Air about the Letterman appearance that landed him the show--before the performance he was on the verge of turning his dress pants into cutoffs then decided against it at the last second.  He believes that this decision impacted Letterman's decision to give the green light to Raymond.  

OMG I loved Letterman.   If you haven't yet I encourage you to watch this video of the Foo Fighters at his final show.  Although I'm warning you.....you might cry.





4.04.2016

Happy Go Lucky

Just watched Happy Go Lucky for the 2nd time, and man is that Sally Hawkins character annoying.  as hell.

Funny how to me, the 'crazed' driving instructor had the most interesting things to say;
I opened my eyes and I saw....Rome is burning...do you see a policy of bringing happiness to people?....no....you see the disease of multiculturalism.  And what is multiculturalism?  Multiculturalism is non-culturalism.  And why do they want non-culturalism?  Because they want to reduce collective will.  
Funny how Jewish screenwriter/director Mike Leigh portrayed this man as half crazed; and Poppy the character we should all admire.  What I mean to say is, consider a state like Israel, as well as the sentiment of most Jews; fiercely adamant about preserving the purity of their culture.  And yet they dismiss people who are opposed to multiculturalism.  Such a bizarre hypocrisy.

And I found Poppy's rather idyllic life a bit sickening and unrealistic, what with her BFF of a roommate (how common is that, that someone has a roommate and BFF from the age of 20 to the age of 30?  It seems far more realistic that living with someone for that long could sour a friendship; and also that living with someone that long, during that decade when so many life-shifts occur as extremely unlikely), her smitten love interest, and swaths of cute-as-hell earrings and clothes (the duckie earrings, gag!).

And the scene where she befriends the homeless man, alone, under a bridge at night!  What a fricking idiot.

And Sally Hawkins' facial expressions.  Woah.  A bit exaggerated.

Kind of wince inducing really that Leigh expects us to be charmed by someone so painfully annoying. Well, anyway, this doesn't hold up the 2nd time around.
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