Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Rack

Stephen introduced me to The Rack, a webcomic about comic books and people who read said comic books. A recent strip sums up my reaction to the new Watchmen movie trailer.

Filling The Void

Well, it looks like Pushing Daisies is officially dead. And no amount of magic touching will bring it back. Once again one of television's best and brightest gems is being tossed into the trash heap of history.

I've compiled a list of possible replacements for the coveted post-Lost time slot. May they fare better...

1. Hospital Town
Two young surgeons, John and Jane, fight for dominance in the E.R. One of them is cute, the other one sexy - but they're all professional. When they're not having sex at every opportunity, that is.

2. Police People
Tempers flare at an inner city police precinct when it's discovered that recent recruit, Stanley, is bi-curious. The rugged, and often sexy, chief of police will have to battle his inner bigot after Stanley saves his life from Somali pirates.

3. Law Firm
Holy shit! Court rooms!

4. Reality Contest
Watch ten assholes you would never associate with in public humiliate themselves again and again for the chance to appear in next week's episode. Snakes!

5. Validation
Our charming host tells the viewing audience how smart and kind they are, for forty-five minutes.

6. Loster
No one gives a shit what's on after Lost anyway, right? So why not more Lost? In each episode of Loster you get to see the events of the preceding episode of Lost...through the perspective of Jacob, the surly cabin spirit. Hint: he doesn't know what the hell is happening either.


Ext. Denton's Drive-Thru - Day.

ME: Hello, I'd like a number one combo.

DENTON'S EMPLOYEE: Would you like everything on that?

ME: Yes.

DENTON'S EMPLOYEE: What would you like to drink?

ME: A strawberry smoothie.

Smoke begins billowing out from the hood of my car.

DENTON'S EMPLOYEE: Sir, is your car okay?

ME: I'm...not sure.

DENTON'S EMPLOYEE: Because there's smoke coming out of it. Like, a lot of smoke.

ME: Yeah...

DENTON'S EMPLOYEE: Okay, your total comes to six twenty-two.

ME: Thanks!

Five minutes later:

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Favorable Review

The KCS performance of "The Armed Man" on Saturday was reviewed in the News Sentinel. It's a bit odd, but very positive.

I wasn't able to attend the Prop 8 protest due to rehearsal getting out later than I anticipated. Otherwise everything else last weekend went off without a hitch. It was a great week.

On to the holidays...

The day after Thanksgiving I go into work at 4:15 AM. I get off at 1:00 and have to be downtown to sing at the tree lighting ceremony at 5:30. That's going to be a long day. And the next day at work isn't going to be any easier. This is that fun time of year that always sneaks up on you.

This Sunday I'll be caroling with members of the chamber chorale at West Town Mall. I think that's around 2:30 if you want to stop by and see us.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Quantum Of Solace

While it's not as good as Casino Royale, this is definitely a worthy predecessor. The action mostly consists of chase scenes of one variety or another. The editing of these scenes is frustrating at times. There are so many tight shots and quick cuts - often to parallel events happening elsewhere, like a horse race or opera - that it can be difficult to follow at times. There are still some great moments, especially when the chasing stops and the fighting begins.

There's not as much sex in this one as some of the previous Bond films, but I guess that makes sense considering this Bond is in mourning. It's an interesting take on Bond, but it will be nice to see him moving on in the next one. The two Bond girls are appropriately gorgeous, and both of them serve the story very well in their own ways.

The villain is probably the weakest link. He's just not very memorable in a "Bond villain" kind of way. It would have been nice if they gave him some kind of interesting quirk to set him apart. Unless shrieking and swinging an axe around counts as a quirk.

If you're a fan of James Bond, then this movie is very much worth your time. And for some people it will be worth seeing for the Star Trek teaser alone. Very tasty.

Friday, November 14, 2008

New Watchmen Trailer

I look forward to this with extreme apprehension. The comedian looks great. Everything else...

Doctor Manhattan looks great until he starts talking. That voice just doesn't match at all. He is such an otherworldly character, hearing some regular dude's voice coming out of him is just strange. Also, Rorschach has Christian Bale's Batman voice apparently. It's not terrible, but considering how central his character is to the movie it could get old real fast.

The visuals look crisp. But everything almost looks too good. It seems to lack the grittiness of the comic. I have some other minor quibbles, but this movie is really going to sink or swim on the story adaptation. I'm trying to remain neutral. I'm just not sure if a good adaptation is possible.

Sigur Rós - "Glósóli"

One of my favorite videos ever. Absolutely transcendent.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Keeping Busy

The things I'm trying to fit into the next few days keep piling on.

Tomorrow night I'm going to see the UT Opera production of Street Scene.

On Saturday I've got choral rehearsal in the morning. Then I'm going to try to swing by the Prop 8 protest at the World's Fair Park since I'll already be downtown (got an email alert about this tonight). After that is the movie meetup group (movie not yet chosen). And the KCS performance at 8:00.

Sunday I'm going to Allison's senior recital at Carson-Newman. Heading straight from there to Gatlinburg where I've got the time share for two nights.

Then it's back to work as Thanksgiving weekend (and Black Friday) draws nigh. I can't believe November is almost halfway over.

The second Rigoletto rehearsal was this evening. Have you heard this stuff? Some of it is like the fastest tongue twister ever, set to music. How many vowels can you cram onto one eighth note, seriously? It's going to come together, and it's going to be good. But this is one hell of a show for a first timer.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Armed Man - A Mass For Peace

My concert with the Knoxville Choral Society is this Saturday at 8:00.

This is the man who composed the music:

If that doesn't make you want to attend, then perhaps nothing will.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Get Your War On: New World Order

Get the latest news satire and funny videos at

Leftover Political Stuff

While catching up on some friend's blogs I came across this video. It's a bit late now, but I love it.

I can't believe I didn't see this before. I particularly like John McCain as Javert, and Palin as Thénardiers.

Thanks, Steven.

Tropic Thunder

Man, was this over-hyped or what? Very entertaining, but not nearly as funny as I'd been led to expect. Tom Cruise was more of a gimmick than actually funny. The "Simple Jack" schtick was funny the first time and then overused into the ground. I really wish that hadn't been such a large part of the story.

Anyway, on to the good. Robert Downey Jr. was fantastic. I was worried that they showed all of his good stuff in the trailer, but he gives a damn good performance. Jack Black is given some great stuff to do (particularly the bat scene). There's a great twist with Steve Coogan. Nick Nolte is great at the beginning as the most hardened Vietnam vet of all time. The movie looks good, it's very well produced. Great soundtrack.

You probably all saw this before me, but if you haven't I recommend it. It's a good time.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Current Events Explained In Movies

There are a lot of mixed emotions about the presidential election, and it can be difficult to sort everything out. How should we feel about the outcome exactly? The magic of Hollywood can give us insight into this very complicated issue.

The far right reaction:

The moderate reaction:

Everyone else:

Yub nub, baby.

Presidential has some incredible pictures of Barack Obama in their The Big Picture feature:

Go look at them full sized and be awed.

Looking Forward

McCain gave a wonderful concession speech last night. Which was frequently interrupted by choruses of boos. While he talked about reuniting the country, many jeered. Not at him, but at the very idea of That One winning the election.

This was just another sign of how his own campaign had gotten out of his control. It's no wonder his supporters were unable to share his humility and acceptance. After all, he'd spent the better half of the last year driving a wedge between people. Allowing labels like "terrorist" and "Muslim extremist" and "socialist" to be tossed about willy-nilly, with no regard of the negative effect that has on the entire country, not just his opponent.

So if you're feeling a bit sore about this turn of events, keep in mind that the election was won by a man who inspires his nation with a promise of a better future. He inspires the world, which wants to believe that America will once again be a beacon of hope, and not the cynical fearful giant it has been.

Obama didn't run a negative-free campaign, I understand. No one seems to be able to stay squeaky clean the whole way through in this game. But he was certainly the least negative. Never did Obama call his opponent's patriotism, heroism, or faith into question. McCain's campaign can not claim the same (how's that for a rhyme scheme?).

Let no one say that the candidate who stood for hope and optimism did not win. So if Obama wasn't your candidate, I urge you to think long and hard about what he means to the majority that elected him. Then you can continue to be negative if you want. And if that's the case, then it's clear why Obama wasn't your guy.

And to all of you who feel like leaving the country, please let me know if there's anything I can do to make your move easier.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Election Porn

You can keep your Nailin' Paylin.

Actually, completely SFW:
See more Natalie Portman videos at Funny or Die

The Most Important Thing
That Will Happen This Week

I don't pretend to know squat about the sports. But being a Knoxvillian, there are two mighty shadows one must live under: Neyland Stadium and the McRib religion (although some don't separate the two).

I've been listening to Vols fans carry on about Fulmer for years now, and looks like they've finally gotten their wish. Contratulations. Flag poles across the city are being extended today so flags can fly at fuller mast.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Are You Watching Pushing Daisies Yet?

If you're not watching the best show on television, io9 gives a quick rundown on why you should.

"Welcome To Magical Realism That's Both Magical And Real.
Unlike Heroes, Ned's superpower is unique... and grounded in a reality that isn't rewritten to fit the plot of the week. It's not just that there are very definite rules to what happens when Ned brings someone back to life - and with the show's backstory based around those rules, they're unlikely to change when someone decides that they'd like to keep the undead around for more than a minute - but also that we've been shown what happens when those rules are forgotten or ignored. Even outside of Ned's abilities, however, the show's reality is one that recalls Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, both in terms of wonder and awe and... well, cruel cynicism at how the world really works. We discover a company that rents friends to social outcasts, only to find out that it's been created by a former nerd who killed and stuffed his jock tormentor so that he wouldn't feel so alone, or corpses being disguised as crash test dummies in the laboratory of the factory of a car that runs entirely on Dandelions. The spirit of Roald Dahl is alive in this series, something that's weirdly accentuated by the use of Jim Dale as an ominpresent narrator with a penchant for explaining everything through the use of puns. And talking of the cast..."

Read the rest.

The Guy In China

And the award for What The Fuck Happened To You?! goes to ex SNL cast member, Victoria Jackson:

She was less of a brain dead bimbo when she was playing brain dead bimbos on television. Good god. Every sentence she utters is progressively dumber and also enhances the stupidity of the one before it. She's like a genius of idiocy.


This is a week overdue, but I kept forgetting about it. W. was pretty disappointing.

Josh Brolin and Richard Dreyfuss both turned in really good performances. So did Ellen Burstyn and James Cromwell (though Cromwell was the least like his real life counterpart, in my opinion).

Parts of the movie were funny, with George generally acting like an idiot. But it probably wasn't as funny as it could have been. For one, some of it's just too painful to laugh at right now. George W. would probably be a more likable bumbling boob if he hadn't screwed things up as much as he has. With that said, the movie probably would have worked better if it had gone straight for satire. Thandie Newton's performance suggests she thought that's what the movie was going for.

Surprisingly for an Oliver Stone movie, W. is mostly non-political, focusing on the personal story. With the exception of one scene where Cheney lays out his plan for controlling Iraq's oil and admitting that once we enter the country we're there for good.

I'll give the movie credit for humanizing George W. Bush while at the same time emphasizing some of the things that made him such a lousy leader. But I think ultimately it would have been better to make this movie several years from now, when we all have a little more distance and perspective.