Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Movie Review: Star Trek

In the year 2009, the Enterprise was reborn, with stunning special effects and a great story line. 2009 marks the triumphant return of "Star Trek."
I've never been a fan of "Star Trek," and know very little about the mythology behind the series. Luckily, the newest movie starts from the very beginning, from the exact moment of Kirk's chaotic birth.
James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) was born out of tragedy, a sort of situation of life coming out of death. Years later, Kirk goes from space to Earth, carrying a rebel without a cause attitude to a small Iowa farming town in the distant future. After many years, young Kirk decides to make his father proud by joining the crew of the USS Enterprise.
"Star Trek" shows us the life of another young boy as well, one living on a distant planet. This boy is Spock (Zachary Quinto). Spock is a genius. He lives on the planet Vulcan. He never quite fits in well, as he is half Vulcan and half human. His genius leads him to become one of the constructors of the Enterprise.
Despite being a mixed breed, Spock remains a proud member of his troubled Klingon race. The race faces danger mostly from the evil Romulun Nero (Eric Bana), a man who wreaks destruction throughout the universe and threatens to destroy the Federation.
As mentioned earlier, "Star Trek" is not a sequel but a prequel. It's not a remake, but rather a re-imagining. It brings a classic into terms with this generation, and does so quite successfully. It is yet another chapter in a series of re-imaginings made this decade, which has also included "Superman Returns," "Batman Begins," and "The Dark Knight." Compared to these other films, "Star Trek" falls somewhere around the level of superiority of the under-appreciated "Superman Returns," yet doesn't quite reach the height of the newest Batman installments. Nevertheless, it's probably the best blockbuster released so far this year.
What makes it the best blockbuster so far this year? The best explanation lies in its director, J.J. Abrams. This movie is the perfect match for Abrams, who has had a long and prolific career; perhaps he is best known for co-creating "Lost." Abrams leaves his authentic auteur stamp on the film, as it often feels like an extended episode of "Lost."
Like "Lost," it is the backstory that truly makes the story possible. Abrams is a master of explaining current events, so a prequel is right up his alley. The film surprisingly tackles a number of issues dealing with fate, time travel, and the possibility of changing the past as well as the future. I won't go too far into this subject for now, so as not to give away one of the film's biggest surprises.
Despite the dark road of the battle of fate vs. freewill that the film goes down, "Star Trek" always remains what it's meant to be: a dazzling, special effects laden blockbuster. And the effects are spectacular. The haunting image of the destruction of Vulcan and the first appearance of the Enterprise are images you won't soon forget. The film is also accompanied by a fine musical score. At one moment, as Kirk and Sulu (John Cho) dive down to dying Vulcan, the music is cut and only the sound of heavy breathing is heard. The scene felt like a subtle homage to Darth Vader.
Unfortunately, "Star Trek" does have a few minor flaws. Though Pine gives a great performance as Kirk, filling him with a sense of humor as well as a rebellious attitude, Quinto does not seem like the best choice for Spock. He tries at times to give Spock a feeling of intelligence, but in the end it just turns into dullness. Little enthusiasm is shown in the way he speaks. But perhaps the problem lies more in the dialogue written for his character, which sounds more Shakespearean than modern day conversation.
No Abrams production is complete, of course, without a little allusion. In this case, the mythology of Star Wars seems to be rooted in Ancient Rome. The villain Nero is named after the Emperor Nero, who persecuted Christians and "fiddled while Rome burned." Certainly, this is a character who takes satisfaction in the pain of others. Also, Nero comes from the planet Romulus, perhaps a reference to one of the mythological founders of Rome: Romulus.
Mainly, all the Rome references suggest a massive expanding empire unlike any the world has ever seen. That empire of course, crumbled. But here, we focus on the beginning of the empire--the rebirth of it, rather than the end. And that empire: "Star Trek."

Monday, June 29, 2009

Movie Review: The Night of the Hunter

Of all the characters I've ever been acquainted with, perhaps the most odd, eccentric, and engrossing is Harry Powell (Robert Mitchum). This mystery of a man is the subject of Charles Laughton's mesmerizing "The Night of the Hunter."
Who exactly is Harry Powell? He is a self-proclaimed preacher and a religious fanatic. He recites Bible quotes while explaining the battle of love vs. hate using his tattooed hands (which has become one of those things that's so famous yet few even know what it's from). Despite his righteous message, Powell is not so righteous himself. Powell lands himself in jail and discovers Ben Harper (Peter Graves), a man on death row for murder and stealing $10,000.
Powell uses his seemingly moral goodness to con himself into marriage with Harper's wife (Shelley Winters). Everyone is seduced by Powell, even Harper's two children, whose disdain for Powell grows overtime.
The film soon unfolds into a psychological thriller, as Powell reveals he is not all that he seems, but rather a very dangerous man. Like something out of 1940s film noir, money becomes the thing that drives the characters and sends the two Harper children on a wild goose chase. But, as Powell keeps claiming, it's all in the name of God.
"The Night of the Hunter" doesn't have a real voiceover narration, but the character Rachel Cooper (Lillian Gish), who serves as a sort of on-screen narrator. She provides the true morality that Harry Powell lacks and fills the film with Biblical references. Most important to look out for is her reference to "the wolf in sheep's skin." I think you can guess who that's about.
The film is guided by the powerhouse performance of Robert Mitchum. He controls Powell perfectly and makes him sane and insane at all the right moments, creating the false illusion of Powell as a righteous man. He has a warm singing voice that sounds something like Gene Kelly and a cold gaze that could kill a puppy. His explanation of the battle of love vs. hate is one that is worth multiple listens. Mitchum fits the character so well that I could never picture anyone else playing this role.
"The Night of the Hunter" came out in 1955. By this time, color was available to movies for 16 years. "The Night of the Hunter" could have been shot in color, but Laughton decided to stick to black and white. He did so with good reason. The black and white fits perfectly and cinematographer Stanley Cortez takes full advantage of it by creating immense, creeping shadows that add to the film's suspense. Some of the film's most beautiful shots are the outline of a person, shrouded in shadow, standing against an open doorway. There's also a fine transition that literally goes between night and day, perhaps an allusion to God creating the Earth and the skies.
Obviously, the film carries a heavy religious message. At times, it can seem very anti-religious, portraying people of faith as false prophets praying off the gullible. At other times however, the film can also be very pro-religious, portraying religion as a source of morality and wisdom. However, that's not up to "The Night of the Hunter" to decide, it's up to the audience.
Upon its release, "The Night of the Hunter" was a failure both critically and commercially. It took years for the film to finally be appreciated as a masterpiece. Today, it has inspired filmmakers far and wide. Individual shots and snippets of dialogue from the film could be directly related to films by Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, The Coen Brothers, and Spike Lee (quite obviously in "Do the Right Thing").
"The Night of the Hunter" is a little bit of Hitchockian suspense mixed with "The Maltese Falcon" and the Bible. It's a film that was years ahead of its time and now it has finally gotten its due.
Recommended for Fans of: Psycho, No Country for Old Men, The Maltese Falcon, Do the Right Thing, Fargo, The Big Lebowski, Jackie Brown

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Quote of the Day: Billy Mays Tribute Edition

"Now you can add bling to just about anything!"
-Billy Mays, Selling "Might Mendit"

Rest in Peace Billy, infomercials will never be the same without you.

Movie Review: Young Frankenstein

What is the line between utter satire and a nice homage? These two genres seem utterly different: either you're honoring something, or making fun of something. Most filmmakers who try to do both in one movie usually fail except for one: Mel Brooks. Of all of his great satires, "Young Frankenstein" is one of Brooks' best. It's one of the sharpest, most brilliantl slapstick comedies he's made.
"Young Frankenstein" could be seen as a sequel to 1931's "Frankenstein," but just with more laughs. However, it is really a satire of "Frankenstein" and most other horror films. In addition, it's a throwback to the films of the "Frankenstein" era.
"Young Frankenstein" is shot in a crisp black and white that makes it look almost exactly like a film shot in the 1930s. In fact, had I not known before, I would have thought the film was actually shot in 1931 rather than 1974. Everything in the movie creates a nostalgic feel. Just looking at the obviously fake castle in the background provides a good laugh but also oddly reminded me of the mansion in "Citizen Kane." That's when I realized this film really was a tribute.
The story of "Young Frankenstein" takes place long after the original Dr. Frankenstein, who was the subject of Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein," was conducting experiments in his lab. Here, we get the story Frankenstein's grandson, Dr. Frederich Frankenstein (Gene Wilder). Frankenstein is so ashamed of his family's past that he insist he be called "Frankensteen" in one of the film's most memorable lines.
Frankenstein receives a notice that he has inherited his grandfather's castle. He heads toward the castle and encounters a beautiful woman (Cloris Leachman), and a creepy hunchman with a good heart named Igor (Marty Feldman). But more importantly, he discovers his grandfather's old experiments, including how to bring something dead back to life. Soon, Dr. Frankenstein goes from hiding his past to stating, "It's not Frankensteen, it's Frankenstein!" He becomes a mad scientist, bringing a corpse back to life with disastrous results (played by "Everybody Loves Raymond"'s Peter Boyle). If you know the old tale, you know what happens next, but you've never seen it quite like this.
Many of the scenes from "Young Frankenstein" are exactly like scenes from "Frankenstein," but with a comedic twist. Many are not meant to satirize but rather to entertain. For example, the scene mocking the monster and the little girl isn't mocking "Frankenstein," but more getting a laugh out of something serious. One more satirical point is when the brain clearly marked "abnormal" is put inside the new being.
Without the slightest doubt, I would say the funniest scene in the movie is the rotating bookcase scene. It is a scene of slapstick brilliance that almost matches up with the stateroom scene in "A Night at the Opera" in terms of over-the-top, slapstick ridiculousness. Like the stateroom scene, it uses repeated actions as a way to get laughs (in "Opera" it's the dinner order and in "Frankenstein" its the amount of time the shelf rotates). But it's that amount of time that builds up and up until everything will inevitably crash that makes it so funny. I'm guessing that, like most comedians, Brooks was inspired by the Marx Brothers. If so, he did them well.
Brooks is certainly one of the best comedic directors Hollywood has ever seen. Many have tried to mock cinema, but fail miserably (I'm talking to you, Seltzer/Friedberg). "Young Frankenstein" does to the horror genre what "Spaceballs" did to the sci-fi genre, what "The Producers" to the musical genre, and what "Blazing Saddles" to the western genre. Like "Blazing Saddles" and "History of the World," "Young Frankenstein" is much more than mere satire--it is a tribute to filmmaking as a whole just as "History of the World" was not just a satirization of historical events, but of religion and musicals and that "Blazing Saddles" was not just satirizing westerns, but also the ridiculousness that goes behind racial tensions.
The film was written by both Brooks and Wilder. The writing is always superb, but it is often the visual humor that gets the best laughs such as the aforementioned book case scene and another scene with a blind man (played by an unrecognizable Gene Hackman). Surprisingly, the film's humor is not as dirty as many other of Brooks' productions and that helps make it seem even more like a film that could belong in the golden days of Hollywood.
Wilder serves great as one of the film's writers, but all credit should go to his fantastic performance. He makes the descent into madness hilarious and masters the art of weirdness mixed with an air of superiority (also see: "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory"). The Academy rarely gives serious thought to nominating comedic performances but if they did, this one would have been a shoo-in.
"Young Frankenstein" somehow manages to go deeper than "Frankenstein." In fact, "Frankenstein" totally stripped the Enlightenment philosophy that the book contained. "Young Frankenstein" at least acknowledges it, and even tries to put its own message in about the debate of nature vs. nurture and the writings of John Locke. I know, this sounds too deep for a comedy to go. But comedy can go this deep, and be this intellectual. It depends on the right filmmaker, the right writing, and the right actors. In this case, "Young Frankenstein" has it all.
Recommended for Fans of: Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, History of the World: Part 1, Spaceballs, A Night at the Opera, Duck Soup, King Kong (1933), Tropic Thunder

Friday, June 26, 2009

TV Review: Mad Men

Mad Men: A term coined in the late 1950s to describe the advertising executives of Madison Avenue. They coined it.
And here with this very term, "Mad Men" begins. With this very definition, you are about to descend into a new, unimaginable world.
The first shot of "Mad Men" looks like a shot taken right out of "Goodfellas." It is of a crowded, smoke-filled Manhattan bar in the early 1960s. Era classics play in the background. Slowly, the camera pans to the back of a man's head. The man sits diligently writing notes. He wears a fancy gray business suit, his hair is slicked back, he smokes a cigarette.
These are minor details one doesn't necessarily need to know. But this is "Mad Men" and in "Mad Men," every minor detail counts whether that be a person's attitude or a man's tie.
The man being described above is at first shrouded in mystery. He is Don Draper. Draper, played by Jon Hamm, is an ad man, working for the successful Sterling Cooper advertising agency. He can sell products no man you'll ever see can. In his graceful speeches, he has the ability to turn mere objects into reflections of life, moving people through his words by convincing them that something as stupid as a type of lipstick is the second coming. Basically, he's a whiter version of Barack Obama.
Although Don is the show's front and center, "Mad Men" is not merely about him. Instead, the show uses him as a reflection of the change in American culture in the early 1960s. But creator Matthew Weiner uses the world beyond Don as well.
"Mad Men" paints two portraits of the 1960s: office life and suburban life. In the office, Don is surrounded by a multitude of strange and fascinating co-workers. Some include his boss Roger Sterling (John Slattery), who is more or less another version of Don's chain smoking, womanizing self, Don's secretary Peggy (Elisabeth Moss), who at first seems like a pre-feminist stereotype, but is truly bursting with energy, and accountant Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser), a WASP who is trying to chose his own path even though his path has already been carved from the beginning.  
Moving on from cubicle life, "Mad Men" explores the dawn of American suburbia. The difference between New York City and suburban home for Don is like night and day. In the city, he's an unfaithful, partying womanizer. In the suburbs, he is a loyal husband with a typical white picket fence home as well as a wife and two children. His wife, Betty (January Jones), seems like a normal housewife, cooking and cleaning while carpooling for her kids all day long. But she is much more than that. As the show progresses, she yearns to break free from her dull life.
"Mad Men" is about a significant moment in American culture. It balances so many different emotions and yet never manages to be too extreme. At times, it's dramatic but never over them top. It can be sad but never corny. It's often sweet but never sappy. The costumes, set design, music, and cinematography so amazingly show off every little detail of the era with stunning perfection, yet, the show is never style over substance. In fact, the substance often lies within the show's style. 
 The little details, such as a smoky room or an old time automobile, fully engulf the show into the era. Further dragging the audience into the 1960s are all of the pop culture references. One gets to watch how events such as JFK's election and Marilyn Monroe's death effected people.
Beyond the sets, costumes, and memorabilia, "Mad Men" boasts one of the best ensembles currently on television. Jones, Slattery, and Christina Hendricks give fine supporting performances but none can match the performance of Jon Hamm as Don Draper. I know I often say that an actor becomes the character, but here, Hamm really does become Draper. Even though Draper is so unfaithful, we often feel sympathy for him. Hamm shows that even though he does horrible things, he's still a human with a beating heart who still loves his kids andwants to make his family happy. And that, is the essence of great acting.
As mentioned previously, "Mad Men" is a look at two sides of life in the 60s: city and suburban. Perhaps the suburban side is the more interesting side. This is a place where "Mad Men" succeeds where many have failed: to offer a nightmarish, yet realistic view of suburbia. Maybe it's the for the reason that "Mad Men" is a TV show and can therefore go into much more depth on the issue. While "Revolutionary Road" only had two hours, "Mad Men" has two seasons. The essential question in "Mad Men" isn't so much about escaping a troubled marriage, but rather trying to make it work. Furthermore, how do you know when your marriage is troubled? And can you fix it, or was it never meant to be?
"Mad Men" is everything you could ask for in a TV show and more. It's about a generation long ago that isn't too different from our own. It embraces the spirit of consumerism yet spits in its face at the same time. So indulge, in the most audacious drama your television set currently has to offer. Brought to you by Lucky Strike 

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Breaking News: Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett Die

Reporting deaths is probably the hardest part of being a journalist.
But today, after a long battle with cancer, actress Farrah Fawcett died. The sex symbol and Emmy nominated actress of "Charlie's Angels" was 62.
Then later today, shocking news came in that Michael Jackson was brought into the hospital suffering from cardiac arrest. Doctors tried to revive him but he lost all pulse. The King of Pop died today at the age of 50. More details about his death will come soon.
A large portion of my teenage years were shaped by monologue jokes about Jackson's skin color change, plastic surgeries, and molestation charges. Throughout those years, he was something of a joke, known as the child molester who went from black to white. However, we cannot forget the real reason Jackson became a star: he was the King of Pop. If you think about music in the 1980s, the first name that usually comes to mind is Michael Jackson.
Today, Hollywood lost two of its greatest stars. Music, movies, and television won't be the same. My condolences go out to the friends and family of both Jackson and Fawcett.
To view Michael Jackson's greatest claim to fame (still great after 27 years) click here

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Movie Review: The Last Detail

Hal Ashby. That's a name you've maybe never heard, but it's one you really need to remember. He was a prominent director of the 70s who sadly died in 1988 before hitting the age of 60. Among his many great films is 1973's "The Last Detail."
"The Last Detail" can be defined as many things. It's a dark comedy. It's a coming of age story. But mainly, it's a road trip film.
The film begins at a naval base. 18-year-old sailor Larry (Randy Quaid) has been sentenced to eight years in a military prison for a minor crime. Officers Buddusky (Jack Nicholson) and Mulhall (Otis Young) are assigned to transport the young sailor to a military prison in Portsmouth. But rather than go straight there, Buddusky decides instead to show Larry a good time before his prison sentence begins. They take trips all throughout the Northeast and engage in some serious boozing, fighting, and sex.
One could argue that "The Last Detail" is really about the things that define manliness. For example, Buddusky thinks that Larry must prove himself by punching him. He rejects, of course. The movie isn't necessarily saying Larry is any less of a man for not punching Buddusky, instead it questions society's very idea of what constitutes masculinity.
This movie was made when Jack Nicholson was at the height of his career. "Easy Rider" debuted three years earlier, and "Chinatown" would premiere the following year. He gives a performance in "The Last Detail" that is nothing short of typical Jack. This is not a bad thing, because just watching Jack be Jack is probably one of the greatest pleasures the cinema can offer. His constantly sarcastic attitude is often punctuated by moments of pure, real emotion. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the film's final minutes.
Also giving a memorable performance is a very young Randy Quaid. He received the only Oscar nomination of his career for this film, and a very well deserved nomination it was. The role of Larry is a tough character to play. Despite the fact that he's heading to jail, Larry barely fits the standard of criminal. Besides stealing a few small items, he feels more timid than sinister. And because of Quaid's performance, we look past his flaws and see his better characteristics. Ironically, his transporters seem more fit for jail than he does.
Now, back to Hal Ashby. Ashby is perhaps best known for his 1971 masterpiece, "Harold and Maude," which bares many similarities to "The Last Detail." No, nobody dates an 80-year-old woman in this movie. But like "Harold and Maude," "The Last Detail" follows the formation of unlikely friendships and romances over incredibly small periods of time. During just a few short days, characters mature rapidly and basically live their lives for the very first time. Larry is the Harold of "The Last Detail," as he learns from his new mentors (this film's Maude) what it really means to live. And that's the spirit of an Ashby film, people learning how to get through life.
"The Last Detail" is about people. Very strange people. However, they're not so strange when compared to the people around them. On their long trip, the trio runs into gun-toting rednecks, Nixon-hating hippies, and worshippers. The film is really about exploring what makes every character so strange, yet so special. It feels like quite an inspiration for many major modern films, especially the recent "Away We Go."
The fact that a concept so small could inspire so many films shows the legacy of Ashby remains strong. "The Last Detail" proves his legacy: all you need is a good, original idea and some interesting characters to make a movie great.
Recommended for Fans of: Harold and Maude, Away We Go, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Easy Rider, Rushmore, Dazed and Confused

Monday, June 22, 2009

Tim Burton Gets His Hands on Alice in Wonderland

A few days ago, I wrote a review of the wonderful gem of a TV show called "Pushing Daisies." I remarked how the show had the distinct feeling of a Tim Burton movie. Now, Burton's first project since "Sweeney Todd" has been announced: his own version of "Alice in Wonderland."
Usually, I would groan at the idea of a remake, but in the hands of Burton it will be more like a re-imagining than a remake.
Why do I have so much faith? Burton's record as a filmmaker, mainly. He recently made his own version of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." While it came nowhere near the 1971 classic and no one can touch Gene Wilder's Willy Wonka, Burton's new dark twist on the old tale was somewhat moving and well worth viewing.
Like "Charlie," "Alice in Wonderland" is a fairy tale with very dark undertones (many which have apparently been turning up on "Lost" throughout the years). And who better to find something dark in something light than Burton?
The cast looks fantastic. Alice will be played by unkwown Mia Wasikowski. Burton will once again work with Johnny Depp, who will play the Mad Hatter. Some of Burton's other collaborations with Depp include "Edward Scissorhands" and "Ed Wood." The rest of the cast includes Anne Hathaway (White Queen), Burton's wife Helena Boham Carter (Red Queen), Alan Rickman (The Caterpillar), and Christopher Lee (The Jabberwock).
According to IMDB, the film is slated to be released on March 5, 2010. How do you feel about this? Will this be something special, or just another remake? Me, I'm already counting down the days.

Quote of the Day: One Year Anniversary of George Carlin's Death Edition

"So I say live and let live. That's my motto. Live and let live. Anyone who can't go along with that, take him outside and shoot the motherf**ker. It's a simple philosophy, but it's always worked in our family."
-George Carlin, "Carlin On Campus" (1984)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

TV Review: Pushing Daisies

Pushing daisies is usually the euphemism used to describe someone who is dead. However, "Pushing Daisies" is not dead, it is budding with life.
Refreshing is barely the best word to describe "Pushing Daisies." As I said before, "Pushing Daisies" is budding with life, creativity, and a ton of imagination to go around. It is one of the finest TV shows made in years.
"Pushing Daisies" can claim to be a part of many genres. It is mainly a comedy filled with murder mysteries, suspense, and moving romance. It's a classic Hollywood film wrapped into hour-long installments.
"Pushing Daisies" is centered around the life of Ned (Lee Pace). As a child, he realized he had an extraordinary gift-he could bring dead things back to life. The rules are simple: touch a dead thing once; life. Touch it again; death. Keep a dead thing alive for more than a minute, then something else in proximity has to die. Ned realizes this after reviving his dog, and his mother, only to tragically bring her back to death.
Despite this strange gift, years later, Ned is just an ordinary guy. Holding onto the last memory of his mother, Ned opens a pie restaurant to show off his other hidden talent: pie making. From time to time, Ned aides a private investigator Emerson Cod (Chi McBride) in solving murdering mysteries by bringing victims back to life. One such case involves Ned's childhood sweatheart, Charlotte "Chuck" Charles (Anna Friel). Deciding he loves her too much, Ned decides to keep her alive for more than a minute. This is much to the chagrin of Olive (Kristin Chenoweth), the pie restaurant co-worker who is absolutely smitten with Ned.
Each episode has a similar format: Normal day, murder mystery, Ned brings body back to life, Ned finds out information, the gang gets themselves trapped in an elaborate conspiracy, they solve it and life is back to normal. Many shows run dry because their premise gets tired, and by this vague description, it might sound like the premise of "Pushing Daisies" would get old after a while. It doesn't, because each episode the mystery is brand new. Not one murder mystery is ever in any way similar to another.
One could not discuss this show without the word "imagination" constantly popping up. That's for a good reason. It's because "Pushing Daisies" has an imagination that most shows today lack. The kind of willingness to put anything on the screen and see what works. In the end, it pretty much all works.
Each episodes is directed like a Tim Burton movie, especially "Edward Scissorhands." Like a Burton movie, each screen is filled with vividly bright colors serving as an obvious contrast to what should be a very dark mood with even darker themes. In this case, the vivid colors are the bright, yellow daisies stretching in the fields farther than the eye can see.
Each mystery plot is brilliant and could even deserve their own, feature-length films. Like in a "Simpsons" episode, each plot begins very small. Suddenly, one event effects another and a chain of dominos fall to lead to some sort of conspiracy or some sort of all-too-obvious end. Many times, the surprise lies in the fact that the perpetrator seems so obvious that we feel stupid for not predicting it. Other times, more than one person seems guilty and it is almost impossible to guess what will happen next.
At that point, the plot totally has you under its spell. You can no longer predict, it unfolds itself for you. It asks you to open your imagination, yet let it guide you with its own.
Among the chaotic mysteries, the show is first and foremost a comedy. The show gets it biggest laughs mainly from Chenoweth, whose stereotypically dumb blonde attitude somehow increases the likability of her character. Equally hilarious are the wise cracks of McBride.
But maybe what's so funny all and all is the concept behind the show itself, the idea of someone being able to live the dream of bringing anything back to life, but then having to kill it again after one minute. Funnier also are the many ways Ned uses the gift to his advantage. One such instance will remind you of "E.T."
Among the comedy and mystery, "Pushing Daisies" also contains some romance. The biggest romance is between Ned and Chuck. They live together, and though it seems like everything should be perfect, but Ned cannot touch Chuck or she will have to die again. And this time, she her death would be permanent. It is those times, seeing Ned and Chuck close together yet so isolated, then at other times figuring out how to touch without actually touching, that are among the show's most moving moments. It can bring a tear of joy, when they can come closer together, followed by a tear of sadness when you realize they just might not be able to make their relationship work.
It is a chilling aspect of "Pushing Daisies," to realize that since Ned can neither touch his love nor his dog, he has little solace during tragedy. It adds on to a sort of disconnect with human beings he's had throughout his entire life.
After two seasons "Pushing Daisies" was cancelled, ending it's run just one week ago. Many said it was the Writers' Strike that killed it. Wrong. It was its brilliance that killed it. "Pushing Daisies" was a bright flower just too bright for anyone to understand. It has the right to go up with "Arrested Development" and "Freaks and Geeks" as another great, misunderstood classic cancelled before its time. But hopefully, it will live on forever in the coveted hall of DVD cult fame. I don't hope it will, I know it will.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Triumphant Return of Triumph

Last night, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog made his debut on "The Tonight Show" with a video of his visit to Bonnaroo. It's not quite in line with Triumph's visit to the Star Wars premiere and Quebec, but it was still no doubt hilarious and even somewhat risqué for the 11:35 time slot that Carson and Leno once inhabited. Keep your ears open for a joke about Scooby Doo. Here is the video (in two parts) below:

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Movie Review: Masculin/Feminin

They also could have called this "Brief Interviews With a Series of Various French Women about America, 'Nam, and Socialism." But, the film is not just about the women. It's about the men as well. And the battle between the man, the woman, and the world is the central idea inside this peculiar French New Wave movie.
"Masculin/Feminin," was filmed in the mid 1960s. As mentioned before, the film was an entry of the French New Wave movement. It takes place among hip bars, back allies, and areas outside of upper middle class homes. It centers around a group of young rebellious men and women of the Paris counterculture.
Like any New Wave film, "Masculin/Feminin" is really plotless. It's connected literally by a string of sentences, thoughts, and ideas. Of the many characters who come in and out, the film mostly centers around the relationship between revolutionary Paul (Jean-Pierre Leaud) and Madeleine (Chantal Goya), a Beatles hipster pop singer. The film chronicles the years of their rocky relationship through their many interactions with others. And that's pretty much it; a concept spread throughout 1 hour and 45 minutes.
"Masculin/Feminin" is directed by Jean-Luc Godard with a sense of utter confusion and curiosity. The French New Wave was really a response to the social and political changes of the time, and Godard embodies this fully. The character's conversations are aimless, not really discussing plot-changing issues, but rather life. They discuss social issues. They discuss the importance of unions. They discuss the importance of coca cola. They listen to French pop. They talk about the Beatles. The film all in all reflects that Post WWII era, a time of a crisis in French pride and a collision of culture. The world of Europe was meeting the world of America.
The sentences, thoughts, and ideas that connect each strand of the story vary. Some involve characters reading lines of poetry. Others express short narratives and anecdotes. Mainly though, the conversations are caught by Paul asking women questions. As he asks, he's almost always off screen. This makes it seem a little more objective, a little cold, and a little unfriendly. Maybe it's the way the characters seem more and more isolated from each other under the confusion of culture.
Like in Francois Truffaut's "The 400 Blows," Godard dares to focus on the stories of those who are rarely heard. In fact, the characters themselves seem to spend their days trying to stray far away from the bourgeois lifestyles they were born into.
Technically, Godard breaks many conventional rules of cinema in this film. The characters directly address the screen (and are fully aware that they are in a film), there is a movie within a movie, and the soundtrack includes pop songs that come directly from the plot itself. Many seem to believe "The Graduate" was the first movie to use a pop soundtrack rather than a traditional one. However, I believe "Masculin/Feminin" broke that ground first.
"Masculin/Feminin" is not as strangely moving and emotional as "The 400 Blows;" the characters (as well as whatever plot there is) seem a little discombobulated. But despite its small flaws, "Masculin/Feminin" is a great film to admire in it's pure audacity to disobey every rule of cinema. Ultimately, it's the ability to sometimes disobey the rules that can really determine greatness.

The President Kills A Fly

This post isn't really movie related, but it's about a clip that made it on YouTube. And once you're on YouTube, you're fair game.
If you haven't seen it already, the following clip is of President Obama doing an interview on CNBC. Mid-interview, he is attacked by a pesky fly. I'll let you see the rest for yourself:

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

David Lynch: Director, Producer...Songwriter?

David Lynch has a new project on his hands, and it's one you might not expect from the man.
Lynch, the director behind such strange psychological masterpieces about the lives of average Americans like "Eraserhead," "Blue Velvet," and "Mulholland Drive" hasn't made a film since 2006's somewhat mediocre "Inland Empire." Now, he's back. But this time instead of a movie, he has an album.
Unfortunately, Lynch does not sing on the album, but has written the lyrics for it. The album is called "Fox Bat Strategy: A Tribute to Dave Jaurequi." The album is named after Dave Jaurequi, the album's singer and guitarist who died in 2006.
Lynch has described the album as "modern 50s music." When listening to Jaurequi sing, I am reminded somewhat of Lou Reed during his finest day.
Lynch is known for being able to take anything and put his quirky, authentic stamp on it; crafting movies that no one else would ever think of making. Can he do the same with music? "Fox Bat Strategy" comes out June 30. You can listen to a sample song below:

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Movie Review: Revolutionary Road

American suburbia has been a subject of fascination for Hollywood for years. Why is that? Is it that the idea, besides being abundant, seems almost mythical at this point? Like it's the kind of thing that it seems everyone has yet everyone doesn't really have at the same time.
This is a fascinating idea. It is one that is continued to be explored, not necessarily in the most original way, in Sam Mendes' "Revolutionary Road."
"Revolutionary Road" comes from a novel written by Richard Yates. It is set to the backdrop of 1960s suburban Connecticut. Frank Wheeler (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a longshoreman looking for more in his life. April (Kate Winslet) is a struggling actress. At a young age, they meet at a Manhattan party and after some talking and dancing, they fall in love.
Flash forward to a few years later, Frank and April are now in their early 30s. They live in a typical, white box of a suburban home with two kids. Frank now has a desk job and April is a housewife.
And if you've ever seen any other movie about suburbia, you know the two are unhappy. There's little love in their marriage, and they realize their suburban life style has turned into nothing but a dull cycle. Sounds very similar to Mendes' great masterpiece about the suburban nightmare, "American Beauty." However, this time, the wife has the sort of awakening that prompts her to rebel.
So, her idea of breaking free? Moving the family to Paris where she can work and Frank can find out who he really is. This dream almost seems like a reality, but a few barriers lay in the way.
As mentioned, the film contains eery similarities to "American Beauty," which can be a good thing, or bad thing. Like "American Beauty," it plays with the notion that society's definition of happiness is actually misery. It is possible that the life we all want is not really the path we are destined for. It is those bold few that actually try to follow their real dreams that are really the bravest.
Unlike "American Beauty" though, "Revolutionary Road" lacks some of the deeper symbolic subtlety. Also, it is not as darkly witty, and the characters are nowhere near as fully developed. By the end of "American Beauty," Lester felt like a real human being and Carolyn could be forgiven for all of her psychotic wrongdoings. In "Revolutionary Road," the film seems almost entirely in favor of April while at times being unsympathetic to Frank. But maybe that's because he was horribly tempted by the idea of money.
"Revolutionary Road" lacks subtlety. At times, the dialogue seems to blurt out all of the messages that the viewers should try to figure out on their own. The film ends up being more tell than show, which brings it down to cliches and artificiality. This lack of subtlety is something that unfortunately plagues a lot of the work of Sam Mendes.
"Revolutionary Road" is no doubt bolstered by its many fine young actors, who sometimes help shield the weaker parts of the screenplay. The film marks the first time in over a decade that DiCaprio and Winslet starred in a movie together. The last time of course was "Titanic." They sizzle with a fine amount of chemistry that makes them seem both in love and absolutely anathema to each other at just the right moments. Their chemistry works best perhaps, in one scene when ironically they have absolutely no love or even like for each other. It is brilliant acting in both the part of DiCaprio and Winslet, but especially for Winslet.
Another great performance in the film comes from Michael Shannon, who plays a man just released from a mental institution. However, being institutionalized has only made him crazier. Or at least, crazy in the eyes of some. Like the movie tries to make you believe, perhaps insanity is the truest form of happiness.
The movie is not fully realized until maybe the last 20 minutes. The aforementioned scene where DiCaprio and Winslet sit at breakfast, engaging in what seems like normal conversation but is actually them totally out of love in each other, is both touching and heartbreaking. It shows that Frank and April have finally become the suburban stereotype that they so hate. This scene puts a new spin on the rest of the movie and makes it seem like everything that happened before was perhaps a very bad dream, or just a glimpse of what will happen when one tries to achieve an impossible fantasy. But then again, is this fantasy really impossible? The film never really seems to decide which way it's going to go, and that kind of gives it a mirky and unsatisfying feeling.
The film then goes on a little too long. It misses the perfect place to end and then ends in a spot that seems a little strange and irrelevant. Why Mendes did this, I can't see. In "American Beauty," we truly saw why Lester and Caroyln wanted to escape their suburban nightmare. In "Revolutionary Road," it seems at times that Frank and April are just complaining. But I don't want to watch people complain for two hours. I want to see them actually do something about it.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Movie Review: The Hangover

As I sit down to start my review of "The Hangover," I feel like one of the characters from the movie: I've got to piece together all of the insanity that just occurred. However, I thoroughly remember everything that just happened and won't soon forget it.
"The Hangover" begins somewhat mysteriously. It starts with a group of guys stuck somewhere in the middle of the desert. One makes a phone call to a woman telling her that her fiance Doug (Justin Bartha) is missing. They'd find him, but they have no clue where he is or what they even did the night before.
Back track to two days earlier. Doug is about to get married. His friends decide to throw him a bachelor party. Those friends include Phil (Bradley Cooper), the one in the group who considers himself the cool guy; Alan (Zach Galifianakis), Doug's creepy, aimless brother in law; and Stu (Ed Helms), a nerdy dentist who's troubled by his controlling girlfriend (Rachael Harris).
The boys plan a road trip to Las Vegas. After a hard night of partying, they wake up hung over and realizing they remember nothing from the previous night. The only clues are a baby, a chicken, a stolen cop car, and a tiger. Stu's tooth is missing and worse, so is Doug. With only a day before the wedding, Phil, Alan, and Stu strive to put together the puzzle pieces of what happened the night before and then hopefully find Doug. We never see what really happened that night until a surreal photo montage during the film's credits, but it's well worth the long wait.
"The Hangover" oddly resembles "Reservoir Dogs" in structure (there's even a guy in the trunk scene!) more than most of the other films director Todd Phillips is known for ("Road Trip," "Old School"). This, of course, is a good thing. It is rare for a movie to be both a dirty comedy and a put-the-pieces together mystery at the same time but "The Hangover" balances both of these very different genres with great results.
Part of what makes "The Hangover" work so well is the often over-the-top events that occur in it. But in these events, the characters act the way you'd expect anyone to act. How would you react when you wake up to go to the bathroom and realize you're peeing next to a tiger? How would you react when a naked Asian gangster holding a crow bar jumps out of the trunk of your car?
The names of the main cast include actors who have yet to reach the achievement of becoming household names, but this movie might just make them all stars. Cooper achieved some level of fame as the villain in "Wedding Crashers," but in "The Hangover" despite how sleazy his character might be, Cooper in the end makes him likable. Helms' Stu reminded me of what might happen to Andy Bernard if he went partying in Vegas for a weekend. Although the real scene stealer in the movie is Galifianakis. The stand up comedian's character looks like Joaquin Phoenix when wearing sunglasses and asks a woman working at the Caesar's Palace Hotel if Caesar really lived here. You'd think he was just trying to make a joke there but believe me, he sadly wasn't.
"The Hangover" defines painful comedy. The onslaught of brutal physical humor as well as how-will-they-get-out-of-this-alive situations piles up and makes some genius cringe humor that sometimes tops the most painful levels that Judd Apatow has ever reached.
As I continued to piece the movie back together, I thought of including a sentence in my review that was a play on Vegas's famous tagline "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas." But, I decided to restrain. However, it is very important to mention this saying as it sculpts a large part of the plot. It acts almost as a large deception to the characters; they seem to believe that one night of Vegas will carry no consequences. Obviously, dead wrong. 
They also seem to be living the perception of the magical dream of Vegas. Well, they should probably put down that copy of "Swingers" and instead watch "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," because they of course end up landing in the ultimate Sin City nightmare. Rather than being another comedy living in the cliche of the Vegas bachelor party, "The Hangover" instead is a parody of that too frequently used comedic plot device.
"The Hangover" includes some one-liners I can't mention on this website and some situations so bizarre that words cannot describe them. And yet despite the significant amount of pain inflicted upon the characters, it doesn't feel like Phillips is at all making a mockery out of their suffering. Throughout the film, we actually really care about where the groom might be and how he could ever be brought back to his wedding on time. The point when you feel something for characters this ridiculous is the point where you know that a comedy is definitely working. 
I've always heard that in most comedies you'll know from the beginning how it will end but it's the getting there part that is more important. The getting there part succeeds in its hilarity and unconventionality. This high level of original thinking ought to be applied to every comedy made nowadays.
"The Hangover" is the first great comedy of 2009.  One image of "The Hangover" that remains in my head is Alan, as the boys are on the open road, standing up and screaming "road trip!" which seems like a reference to Vince Vaughn screaming "Vegas baby, Vegas!" in "Swingers." Well, I'd like to paraphrase "Swingers" in my praise for "The Hangover": this movie is so money, and it doesn't even know it.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Martin Scorsese Returns: Shutter Island Trailer

It's been three years since Martin Scorsese won his long overdue Best Director Oscar for his return to the gangster drama, "The Departed." Now, Scorsese's back. This time, he's once again abandoning his Little Italy roots for a larger scale mystery entitled "Shutter Island," opening October 2.
"Shutter Island" takes place in the 1950s and tells the story of Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio), a U.S. Marshal who's been sent to investigate the disappearance of a murderous woman from an isolated mental hospital called "Shutter Island." There is more to this Island than it seems, and a great conspiracy unfolds, one that everyone in the mental hospital seems to be in.
Scrosese is one of the best actor's directors, that is, the director who knows actors best and how to work with them, therefore usually compiling the best ensembles. Besides Leo, the cast of "Shutter Island" includes Ben Kingsley ("Schindler's List"), Mark Ruffalo ("Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"), Emily Mortimer ("Match Point"), Michelle Williams ("Brokeback Mountain"), and Max von Sydow ("The Seventh Seal"). Leo is not a bad edition either. His fine acting talents are sometimes overlooked by his "pretty boy" reputation. This will mark the fourth compilation between Scorsese and DiCaprio, a pair that seems to work well together every time (just maybe not on the same level as Scorsese and De Niro once did).
Based on the trailer, I can't really formulate a true stance on whether or not this movie will be good or bad. So far, all I'm really seeing are some cheap thrills and a plot that resembles "Hot Fuzz." Hopefully, this is just because the trailer is focusing more on the mystery aspect of the film, and a deeper, more complex message lies within.
Over the past few years, Scorsese has begun to abandon smaller budget films for big budget blockbusters. "The Aviator" was an extremely entertaining, if not somewhat cliche, look at the life of Howard Hughes. "The Departed" worked so well because despite the non-stop action and violence, it felt like Scorsese was returning to the kind of characters he brought to life in "Mean Streets" and "Goodfellas": the low lifes who's story is never told. The people you never thought you'd want to hear about but by the end, you're totally mesmerized. 
I hope Scorsese hasn't forgotten this, and that he'll bring a little bit of this old genius into every shot of "Shutter Island."

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Stephen Colbert's Trip to Iraq: "A Country So Nice We Invaded It Twice"

These past two weeks have included two landmark events in late night television. The first being Conan O'Brien's debut on the "The Tonight Show" (as well as the short time I can enjoy without Jay Leno on television). The second being "The Colbert Report"'s four day special taking place in Iraq for our troops fighting overseas. What makes it so special is that it's the first time a full-length, non-news show has been shot, edited, and broadcast in a combat zone. Stephen Colbert can't seem to do anything these days without breaking new ground. 
The one real dilemma faced by Colbert for this overseas trip is how to control his character. Would his angry, ignorant, Bill O'Reillyesque character be a little too tasteless for a war zone. Well, as the first episode last night showed, he could still bring along his character and entertain the troops. Instead, Colbert used the more egotistic and childlike side of his character as he declared victory in Iraq and then said he thought the war had ended because the news media wasn't talking about it much anymore.
The show began with a throwback to old USO shows, as Colbert stood in front of a 50s style mic and did a stand up routine, throwing out some great zingers about Saddam Hussein and North Korea. The show continued with Colbert's famous "The Word" sequence, but then he decided  to break away from his show's typical format and showed a digital short. This short involved Stephen going through some basic training for the army, and his spoiled self was certainly no match. It was a hilariously delightful sequence, one that felt like a throwback to Colbert's days as a correspondent on "The Daily Show." He's certainly come a long way since then.
The most talked about part of this episode will most likely be the cameo by President Obama (via satellite). In a very funny and self-deprecating cameo, he ordered General Ordierno to shave Stephen's head so as to complete his basic training. And yes, he did it. This was just another reminder that just a few laughs can truly go a long way. And in this case, all the way to Baghdad.
Here's the video of Stephen in basic training:
The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Stephen Strong: Army of Me - Basic Training
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Saturday, June 6, 2009

Movie Review: The King of Comedy

"Better to be king for a night than schmuck for a lifetime."
-Rupert Pupkin
Comedy. That word doesn't often come to mind when thinking of Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro. But after seeing "The King of Comedy," the next time you think of De Niro or Scorsese, the word comedy will never quite feel the same again.
"The King of Comedy," like almost every other Scorsese movie, takes place in New York City. Rupert Pupkin (De Niro) is a loser beyond even the typical standard of a Scorsese movie loser. Pupkin is in his late 20s and still lives with his mother. He might not even have a job, but he certainly has ambition. Pupkin idolizes comedian Jerry Langford (Jerry Lewis), who has his own late night talk show.
Pupkin dreams of being just like Langford, to a creepy, obsessive point. He begins to stalk Langford, in hopes that Langford will listen to one tape of his stand up material and feature him on his show. Langford ignores him, and Pupkin won't take any of it. I don't want to reveal how exactly Rupert finally gets Jerry to let him on the show, but lets just say, as the movie puts it, he got a little "tied up." You'll see.
I might not want to call "The King of Comedy" a comedy. It's more about comedy than an actual comedy itself. Nevertheless, the movie is filled of many humorous moments. It could best be defined as a dark comedy, a very dark comedy. It's the kind of dark comedy that might make a film by Todd Solondz or the Coen Brothers movie look more like an Adam Sandler comedy.
The humor sometimes lies in funny dialogue, but it mainly lies in the directing and editing. Scorsese, who usually uses these things to make his movies as dark as possible, has found a way to use them to make his movie as funny as possible. Editor Thelma Schoonmaker does a particularly great job tricking the audience, especially in one scene which involves a seemingly real exchange between Langdon and Pupkin. We cut to reality to find it's all in Pupkin's imagination and now he's reciting everything he'd say in that particular situation. We get a great laugh out of the scene but in it filmmaker has succeeded in tricking the audience and filmmaker now has the audience under his control. By this point, the movie could go anywhere and you wouldn't be able to predict it.
This movie is a Scorsese movie. Even if it's a comedy, you'll see Scorsese from the very first frame. In fact, Pupkin is not to different from most other Scorsese characters. I saw him as a less thuggish Johnny Boy and a slightly more obsessive Travis Bickle. Pupkin remains more like Bickle though, very much an outsider to society who seems to have no problem showing his insecurities yet somehow makes himself out to be a human being who is more important than anybody else on the planet.
As usual, De Niro gives an amazing performance, proving that it is possible for one guy to portray a wife beater, a murderous gangster, and a standup comic all in one career. But De Niro is no ordinary actor, he is one of the great method actors of all time. I don't know what he did to prepare for this role, but whatever deep character study he did certainly worked. As with every character he has ever played, De Niro truly embodies Pupkin and everything about him. No matter how pathetic he is, you almost feel bad for the guy and don't want to laugh at him; maybe with him.
Providing another great performance is the legendary Jerry Lewis. Lewis isn't his normal, crazed comic self. His performance as Langford carries much restraint. It is almost more of a straight man performance, yet that straight man performance somehow manages to be endearingly funny. Lewis's performance reminded me something of the funny straight man Jason Bateman embodied as Michael Bluth in "Arrested Development." It's the kind of character that is funny not because he is trying to make you laugh, but because he has such a feeling of superiority above everyone else that he almost takes himself way too seriously in such ridiculous situations.
In the end, despite being something of a comedy, "The King of Comedy" becomes a dark meditation on modern society on the same level as "Taxi Driver." Like "Taxi Driver," it is, in an ironic way, mocking the people society turns into heroes by praising them at the same time. It shows someone's rise to fame and then asks, "how could someone like this ever become so famous?"
The simple answer is a mocking look at modern day celebrity worship, a tale that still holds up almost 30 years later. The likes of Paris Hilton could learn something from this cautionary tale of both the people who become famous just for the attention and those who obsessively follow celebrities like they are gods when, in reality, they are no more human than you or I.
I once saw Scorsese as something of a God amongst directors, but despite his great talents, he is human too.
Overall, "The King of Comedy" is one giant self-reflexive punch line that wraps around itself in a punchline in its final moments. And the joke's on you.
Recommended For Fans Of: Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, GoodFellas, Dog Day Afternoon, Mean Streets, Fargo, Reservoir Dogs, Network 

Friday, June 5, 2009

Quote of the Day: David Carradine Edition

"I've never been nice my whole life, but I'll do my best...to be sweet."
-Bill (David Carradine), "Kill Bill: Volume 2"

Thursday, June 4, 2009

David Carradine: Actor, Kung Fu Legend, Dead at 72

I first encountered David Carradine when I had my first encounter with a true moviegoing experience: in 2004 after viewing the "Kill Bill" saga. In "Vol. 1," Carradine appeared as just a voice without a face, yet still remained a dominating force. It was not until "Vol. 2" that he showed a performance worthy of Brando and Bogart in their finest days.
On Wednesday June 3, David Carradine was found dead in his Bangkok hotel room. He was in Thailand shooting a movie; the actor was found hanging naked with a rope around his neck. He was 72.
Carradine's legacy hits both the movie and TV screen. He was a Golden Globe and Emmy nominated actor. He appeared in highly acclaimed films such as "Bound for Glory" and less acclaimed films like "Children of the Corn V." He made small appearances here and there (such as a very memorable cameo in "Mean Streets"), but his career would be defined by his role in the TV series "Kung Fu."
I consider Carradine as one of the finest actors out there, even though I've seen so little of his work. His role as the sadistic yet sometimes reasonable Bill in "Kill Bill" represented everything that set him apart from other actors: that he could make someone as sadistic as Bill seem reasonable and even sensitive.
Rather than make Bill a one dimensional villain, he was a complex character. He smiles and yells "Gotcha!" after shooting a bullet at Beatrix. By the end, Bill is still a villain and his actions horrible, yet we see why he did what he did. It was not so much out of sadism but rather out of heartbreak.
And it breaks my heart to see Carradine go. His death might've been suicide. It might've been murder. But, that's not for me to judge. What I am to judge is his legacy, and his legacy is certainly a fine one, one that will remain even as time goes by.
Below is Carradine's monologue about superhero mythology from "Kill Bill." It's one of the best monologues ever put on film:

Monday, June 1, 2009

Just A Reminder: Conan Returns

Tonight, June 1, 2009 will mark the beginning of a new era. Tonight, the era of "The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien" will begin. And it couldn't come any sooner. TV just wasn't the same without his brilliant one-liners and sophisticated immaturity. And with the promise of a return of Triumph, The Year 2000, and other characters, I could not be any happier about Conan's return to late night.