October 10, 2008

I'm moving!

Not to a new house or anything, this is far less dramatic.

I've decided to migrate my blog to a new host. So please check out the new location, and update your Bloglines and blog rolls, folks!

http://dancerindc.wordpress.com/

Hope to see you real soon at the new location, and I look forward to feedback on what you think.

October 09, 2008

Blast From Your Past

Here's another musical challenge for you folks:

What is the last song or album you purchased that's an "oldie" - one that you remember from your youth and just had to have?

photo courtesy of TheAssociationWebsite.com

Yesterday I had to download "Cherish" by The Association. (You might also have heard of the band from their other big hits, "Never My Love," "Along Comes Mary," and "Windy.") It was mentioned in the book I'm currently reading (Flesh and Blood by Michael Cunningham), and my mind whipped back to the days I was a young kid, listening to tunes from the 60's and 70's in my parents' Chevrolet. That was the age of The Carpenters, The 5th Dimension, and of course The Temptations.

I've already mentioned in this space that my all-time favorite oldies song is "Then He Kissed Me" by The Crystals. Although the opening scene from Adventures in Babysitting was a big factor in my love for that song, it was the record in my friend's vintage jukebox that solidified it in my memory for all time. So simple, so perfect.

Now it's your turn - tell me what old song you just have to have on your playlist!

October 08, 2008

Back to Basics

Oy! What a stressful couple of weeks. No need to go into detail, let's just say it's a whole lot of, "Thank goodness THAT'S over."

It's been so busy I haven't been able to keep up with my entertainment either! No movies, no plays, not even an art show. All I've been able to do is catch a bit of basic TV via the wonders of TiVo.

Well, not always a "wonder." I discovered that conscious human input helps make TiVo work better. Case in point - the machine isn't able to anticipate I want a season pass to The Amazing Race if I don't tell it so. And it won't know that CBS + football = consistently late airings. Translation: I have only seen 30 minutes of TAR so far! Sucktitude. So I can't catch you up. Suffice it to say, some couple is awful to each other, and old people don't last long.

Also in reality news, I did try the premiere of Survivor. (What? I told you to tell me not to, and you didn't.) It was totally the same old thing, nothing has changed. Even the sight of a gay crush and men doing yoga in their underwear wasn't enough to keep me watching.

But there is a beacon of hope in the darkness - How I Met Your Mother, which is still very, very funny! Thankfully Ted came to his senses and came around to the idea that New Jersey is a lovely place. In fact, I am proud to say that whenever we go up to the Big Apple, we always stay in the uncrowded pleasant shores of Jersey. Robin going overseas? Unacceptable!

Top Model recap - Isis is gone! Sad. Clark is gone and no one cares. Lauren Brie? Guaranteed that she peaked too early. My pick to win is Sheena. And can I say that this past week's photo shoot was a bizarre concept? At least a couple photos were stunning.

©2008 Pottle Productions Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Project Runway - Kenley is a self-absorbed whiny bitch. And now everyone knows it! I still am going with my original prediction, that Korto wins.

That's enough for now - I'll try to get out of the house more and do something interesting!

September 26, 2008

Catching up on the library

It's been awhile since I reviewed for you the books I've been reading. This is in part because I'm now in a book club with friends! It's something I was hesitant about at first, but I find that I'm not only reading more, but so far the club books have all been pretty good. So here's a little catch up on what I've been reading in and out of the club.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman - This engrossing novel takes a personal approach to an epic tale. The gods of various religions and mythologies are living amongst us, but are in a bitter battle against the new gods of man - television, radio and celebrity. This is one that really had us talking in book club, which is the sign of a great novel. Gaiman's book Stardust was also recently made into a (pretty decent) movie.


The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perrotta - Although I didn't love this one, which pits a liberal sex ed teacher against a born again soccer coach, we did talk about it in club for a long time. I think it can really open the door for people to talk about religion and the roots of fundamentalism. Movie fans may recognize Perrotta as the screenwriter and author of Little Children.



Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris - I just finished this one, so we haven't talked about it in book club yet. It's certainly not what I was expecting - I thought it would be a light-hearted tale of office politics and shenanigans, but it is in reality far more serious. I feel ambivalent about it right now.





World Without End by Ken Follett - You might remember my earlier post saying I was going to tackle this tome, and I did finally complete it. Although it's not as fully satisfying as The Pillars of the Earth, it still reads with the same driving excitement that makes you want to see how it all plays out. Follett is still one of my favorite authors (when he writes historical epics).



Luna by Julie Anne Peters - An emotionally charged story about a transgender teen, I kept wanting it to be more than it was. It will certainly prove to be a great way to gently educate readers on the inner turmoil of a transgender person, but as a novel, it falls short.

September 24, 2008

Unheroic

If you recall in my earlier post, I decided I would give Heroes one last chance to redeem itself. After the vastly disappointing second season, the writers had a lot of making up to do. So last night the show returned with a 2-hour premiere. And just how was it?

Meh.

I did see some sparks of life that reminded me of the show that once was. Claire vs. Sylar in her own home. The potential twist that Ando becomes a supervillain in the future. And Mama Petrelli's startling cliffhanger statement:

Sylar: You're not my mother!
Mama P: Oh but darling...I am.

I swear, if the show was just about her, I'd still be watching. Cristine Rose - fabulous actress.

But that really just wasn't enough to keep me looped in. There was still so much season 2 mess to clean up that I got bored quickly. Future Peter? Go back, please. Mohinder is with Maya - wait, why is she still on this show? Oh, and he suddenly loses all of his rationale and injects himself with an experimental substance. Sylar kills everyone, and Kristen Bell's character is still lame. That little revelation about Ando? Hiro casually mentions it to him, using up any potential plot tension.

I give up. I've got better things to do with my Monday nights, anyway. Barney and Robin on How I Met Your Mother - will they or won't they? THAT is an interesting plot point.

September 19, 2008

The Universal Truths of Reality Shows

First here's an extremely brief recap so you're all caught up on America's Next Top Model and Project Runway.

On Top Model, there was a question if Hannah might be a racist. Maybe she is, but the girls handled it poorly. Eventually Nikeysha's yammering butt was sent home, and Lauren Brie suddenly leaped to the front of the class with a stunning photo.

Then this week the girls had makeovers which were nice, but Elina cried over her big puffy red weave curls. But she rocked the photo shoot, so she's over it. Brittany was nothing more than pretty (according to the judges, to me she was mannish) and was sent home.

Meanwhile at Parson's, two designers were eliminated last week, one of whom was Terri which really threw off my predictions. She also was suddenly a mean, bitter person, so I guess I didn't see that coming. Tanerexia also went home FINALLY. And then this week the designers made over college graduates, and Joe was finally sent home as I predicted.

Anywho, while watching these episodes, I verbalized to ScottE that there are some things that are very predictable on these shows. And he was (I think) impressed when I was proven right. It's like when he predicts how a movie is going to end, and I'm all, "Did you write the script?" So I thought it was time I shared this knowledge with you, gentle readers. Memorize these rules and astound your friends! You'll be a hit at your next TV-watching party.

I am going to focus mainly on competitive reality shows, as they are what interests me. But if you've found some similar rules for other types, please feel free to share them!

The Universal Truths of Reality Shows

1. The first person to be interviewed in a given episode is going to be either the winner that week or the one to go home.

Some shows are better about this than others. On Runway, for example, they will sometimes throw in other contestants commenting on their fortunes the prior week. But Top Model is the most egregious, and quite predictable with this.

2. Any contestant who laments that he misses his family will be going home to see them the same week.

There are a few sub-truths here. If said contestant calls a member of her family in the same episode, she is toast for sure. Examples for Runway this season - Stella and Joe. If, however, you see multiple contestants missing home, then you can expect a challenge or reward that involves loved ones from home. Survivor is famous for this. You'll also see it happen if The Amazing Race does the "phone your family" thing.

3. If a contestant says something hypocritical, expect the editors to show the evidence in the same episode.

This week's Runway was a good example. Kenley? I'd like you to meet Kettle. Neither of you can translate your style to different looks!

4. The biggest bitch or asshole will do several interviews in which she/he claims that, "I'm not here to make friends."

You can actually see a hilarious compilation clip of this on YouTube.



5. If a contestant has some disease or other sad story, he/she will mention it in an interview at least every other week, even when it's not relevant.

Top Model is famous for that. Like did you know that Heather had Asperger's? Or that Isis was born in the wrong body?

6. Mentioning that you think another player is "hot" or "cute" in an interview guarantees that you will at least make out. And alcohol will probably be involved.

Elina and Clark. 'Nuff said.

7. Karmic payback is guaranteed.

If you screw someone over, it will come to light, and you will get your comeuppance. Example - any team that used the Yield on any recent season of The Amazing Race.

8. Early success means a premature exit.

If a girl is "a natural" the first few weeks of Top Model, her chance of making it to the end is slim at best (watch out, Lauren Brie). Similarly, the winner of the first challenge in Runway is only going to see Bryant Park from across the street. Kelli? Gone. Even Daniel of the nice blue cup dress - gone.

9. There is a yin cast for every yang.

Let's use Big Brother as an example. If there's a gay man in the house, then there will also be a homophobe who may not immediately appear to be thus. Or look at Top Model last week - by having possibly insensitive Hannah, that means we have to have some equally insensitive sistahs. Brittany loves her mom, but Elina hates hers.

10. Forcing people to team up is designed to maximize drama.

Typical of this rule are the Runway team challenges - for every team that has good mojo, another will fight like cats and dogs. The Race has caught onto this trend with their odd Intersection challenges. Even on Top Model last season the girls teamed up to do go-sees with the most dysfunctional girls all together.


So those are the truths - what do you think? Tune in next Wednesday to Top Model and Project Runway, and see if I'm right!

September 18, 2008

Short DVD Reviews - Part 8

My word, it's been a long time since I've posted these, so let's get to it. As always, I promise you reviews of our latest Netflix rentals in 25 words or less!

Into the Wild - A startling portrait of a man trying to be one with nature. Heartbreaking and stunning.

Scoop - Hugh Jackman is hot. Woody Allen is not. A positive plus a negative equals a zero.

Gigi - This was a fun and frothy classic musical. The plot is trite, but the music is memorable.

Where the Truth Lies - An odd Hollywood mystery which involves Kevin Bacon, Colin Firth and sex. The intrigue chugs along, but the ending doesn't satisfy.

Easter Parade - Another classic musical, this time with Judy Garland and Fred Astaire. The plot and songs were just OK, but it's always fun to watch Judy.

Orlando - Strange gender-bending tale in two time periods starring Tilda Swinton. It's so out there, it ends up going nowhere.

Oscar and Lucinda - Ralph Fiennes and Cate Blanchett in a quirky Australian love story. Once again, it pulled me along but the ending fell flat.

Munich - Oscar-nominated? I didn't get the appeal. Eric Bana saves it from being completely dull.

The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green - Yet another gay male film that is just trite and barely satisfactory.

Pride and Prejudice - This version with Keira Knightley was so heavily edited I was struck dumb at the abrupt ending. Please see the BBC miniseries instead!

In the Valley of Elah - Tommy Lee Jones unravels the mystery of his military son's death. His performance is strong, but the "mystery" was poorly crafted.

A Little Night Music - An early Sondheim musical that's fun to see simply for Diana Rigg. But the plot itself meanders and can't match the good music.

Infamous - Another amazing biography of Truman Capote and his work on In Cold Blood. Don't compare this to Capote; completely different in its own beautiful way.

Blade Runner - Although I'm sure it was ground-breaking for its time, I wasn't blown away and hated those Harrison Ford voice-overs.

The Interpreter - Nicole Kidman and the views of the United Nations are striking. The complex mystery drives the plot well, but I wanted it to go further.

Meet the Spartans - Stupid and sophomoric parody of 300? Yes. But is it funny? Yes.

I Could Never Be Your Woman - An absolutely satisfying tale of Michelle Pfeiffer's mid-life crisis. Adorable film, and adorable Paul Rudd. Best part is Saiorse Ronan as the singing daughter!

The Advocate - Truly bizarre French period drama about putting animals on trial for witchcraft. Seriously. Colin Firth? Not naked.

The Savages - Siblings who hate themselves and kind of hate each other deal with dad's Alzheimer's. Depressing, and that's about it. A disappointment.

21 - This probably makes a better book. Finding out how 5 collegiates broke the Vegas bank is fun, but the plot beyond that is pure formula.

In Bruges - A strangely engrossing tale of lowlifes in picturesque Belgium. May be too violent for some.

Persepolis - This animated tale of a youngster's life growing up in Iran has a lot to teach those of us who grew up in the West.

Baby Mama - The plot is formulaic, but you can't deny that Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are darn funny.

The Bank Job
- A clever heist film that is really about a web of lies and dirty dealing in 1970's London. Great fun and Jason Statham is hot.


September 17, 2008

It's Funny Cuz It's True

Hilarious - thank you Tina and Amy!



Too bad the rest of the show was so truly, awfully BAD. The writers had all summer to come up with new ideas, and they give us Adam Samberg as Cathy? Lame!

September 16, 2008

Surrounded By Idiots

Burn After Reading

The title of this post refers to the characters in the film, most of whom are idiots of various varieties. George Clooney's character makes about the worst security guard there ever was. Brad Pitt is obsessed with groovy tunes. Frances McDormand has a very poor idea of when the Cold War ended. And John Malkovich...cusses too much.

I did enjoy the movie sometimes. There are some good laughs, and I marvelled at Tilda Swinton's chance to once again play an icy bitch. But on the whole I felt the film was lacking something - the glue to hold it together. Too much quirky humor, not enough actual substance. I think it would have been better suited as an extended SNL sketch.

The title of this post does not refer to the audience in the theater when we saw the movie. Still, it was an odd experience - like being in a meeting of the Malkovich Fan Club. I swear every time he came on the screen they just laughed and laughed - even when he wasn't doing anything! Bizarre.

My grade - C+.

Special bonus for DC folks - all sorts of shots and references to local geography. But you have to wonder - what time of night would George Clooney have been driving around Wisconsin Avenue and M Street in Georgetown where there would be NO TRAFFIC?

September 10, 2008

Half-Baked

Pineapple Express

Yesterday I went with CB to go check out this movie for a matinee - really because it's the only thing I found in the listings that I had any interest in seeing.

The verdict? Wait for a rental.

I won't deny that there are some good laughs in the movie, but overall the plot feels pulled in two directions. On the one hand it's a buddy comedy in the Judd Apatow "nothing is sacred" genre. But on the other hand it's fiercely skewering stereotypical Hollywood action films to the point of absurdity. CB said that if you want to see humor like that - go see Tropic Thunder, which he reports is much, much better.

My grade - C-.

September 08, 2008

Fall TV Preview

Although the CW got a bit of a jump on the other networks, the fall TV season starts in earnest around the end of the month through early October. So that means it's the time of year for me to look at my weekly viewing plan for new and returning shows. Here's how things look to be shaping up for me after checking out Entertainment Weekly's preview issue.


SUNDAY

This is an easy day to figure out - keep watching animation on Fox. That means The Simpsons, American Dad, Family Guy, and King of the Hill. That means watching The Amazing Race on tape delay at 10, or maybe the other way around depending on how good a season it is (MORE hippies? Not promising.). I also may try a taped viewing of CW's Valentine, where a family of Greek gods live in Los Angeles. I'm a sucker for anything with mythological characters, so it deserves at least one look.


MONDAY

As much as I tried to resist it, The Big Bang Theory really picked up steam with Penny facing off against Sheldon, so I'll keep watching. How I Met Your Mother should really start off strong - imagine all the laughs to be milked from Robin and Barney doing it! HIMYM is definitely the show I'm most looking forward to having back in my life. Although it really tanked last season, I have heard so much talk about a Heroes revitalization that I'm going to give it at least a temporary reprieve. As for CBS's new comedy Worst Week, I think I'll let the jury (i.e. critics and viewers) give it a try first and let me know.


TUESDAY

With nothing at all on my plate for this day, I am going to try the premiere of Fringe. It's the newest drama from J.J. Abrams, which means my chances of liking it are automatically better than even. It may be too creepy/scary for my tastes, but we'll see. Beyond that, I'm holding out for the return of Reaper mid-season.


WEDNESDAY

Project Runway is drawing to a close, and America's Next Top Model is just starting up. On top of those, we'll be taping Pushing Daisies, which is a show I'm sad dropped off our schedule last year. ScottE may yet convince me to start watching Dirty Sexy Money. And perhaps in reruns I'll watch some of The New Adventures of Old Christine, which is usually fun, and has a "marriage of convenience" subplot happening this year.


THURSDAY

NBC's comedies are generally something I'll watch, but catch in reruns if I miss them - The Office especially. Kath & Kim is one that I'll be trying out, because I love Molly Shannon. I also love Niecy Nash, so at least one episode of Do Not Disturb will be on my schedule. I really, really don't want to get back on the Survivor bandwagon (I stopped watching after the first All-Star season), but they are trying to lure me back with the siren song of another season in Africa! Convince me to stay away, people!


FRIDAY

This is never a good night for TV, so I applaud ABC's decision to move Supernanny here. It's just the right show for that slot, because I don't care if I watch it several days late. Fridays are also a good day to catch up on other shows that we've taped (like those from my super-packed Wednesdays).


SATURDAY

If we're home? It's Netflix night.

So that's the plan for me. What will you be watching? What are you most looking forward to? And where on this schedule do you think I've missed the boat?

On a side note, I know I haven't mentioned Lost, which we know won't be back until mid-season at the earliest, as will Battlestar Galactica. They're going to be my "clear everything from my schedule" shows when they do return!

September 05, 2008

Top Model Cycle 11 Premieres!

It seems like we just ended cycle 10 with Whitney's win, and already we're back with the new cycle of America's Next Top Model! Here's everything you need to know about last night's premiere.

First off, the model selection "theme" this year was not as clever as cycle 9 (boot camp) or appropriate as cycle 10 (school). Instead they have this really cheezy "futuristic" theme that really looks more like a bad kid's show from the 80s. Pretty much the entire first hour was full of such grimace-inducing moments as the "special effects" of Tyra and the J's "beaming up," as well as the horrid names they gave each other (Alpha Jay, Beta Jay, and Tyrabot. I'm not kidding.). Also there is much fuss made about being "back in Los Angeles" which is rather silly considering they only took off one season to go to New York. My guess is Tyra found the people there to be too sharp and judgmental.

Suffice it to say, the trio whittle the dozens of contenders down to 20 semifinalists, and then the final 14 finalists. Those not making the cut included Kacey (whose attitude was fiercely stank) and Veronique (the Mormon with the pretentious name). But enough about those has-beens - here's your key rundown for the finalists:

Analeigh used to be a competitive figure skater, and also narrowly escaped being sold as a bride to a rich Saudi. What must have gotten her through is her fabulous long hair (one worries how long it will be around).

Brittany - there were actually 3 Brittanys, but Tyra wisely asked 2 of them to come up with new names. This one is from Vegas, and has the "interesting ethnic background" thing going on - her parents are African-American and Native American. Personally I think she looks a bit mannish.

Clark - is that really a name? Anywho, she's your resident blond bitch for the season. She's the new Renee.

Elina's sexuality is ambiguous but her politics are not - she's a militant vegan. Her look is strong and should photograph well.

Hannah is from Alaska and grew up with no running water or electricity. Or so she says. Regardless, she's going to remind you of it at every opportunity, so get used to it. In fact, I'm just going to call her Alaska.

Isis you have already heard me talk about - she's an out and proud pre-op transgender woman. She handles all of her interviews with aplomb, and photographs like a dream - we just need to work on that runway walk.

Joslyn says that she's been to something like 30 tryouts for this show! Perseverance is obviously key. She's a bit older and looks like it until the camera is on, then she looks fierce. I love her attitude.

Lauren Brie is a weird double name. What you need to know is that she looks like stupid Mila but she's not that dumb. She's just named for cheese.

Marjorie is a total spaz, but she has this shockingly white-blond hair and a nice European look. I predict she'll be top of the heap for awhile, but will eventually get the boot for a bad commercial.

McKey is Brittany #2, with striking red hair and deep blue eyes, topped off with perfect pouty lips. Her husband is a cage fighter, and McKey helps him train, so she's sort of a boxer.

Nikeysha looks ugly to me, and she wears fake breast enhancers. And she talks to much. I'm already sick of her.

Samantha is just a typical blond, but unlike most of these girls, she looks like she actually eats and gets exercise. She's the "healthy look" poster girl for this season.

Sharaun is Brittany #3. She's got a mouth that's too wide, an ego that's too big, and a worldview that's too narrow. HATE.

Sheena looks like Kimora Lee Simmons mixed with the softer features of Margaret Cho, with a voice and attitude like Lil' Kim. She's positive, pretty and looks like a winner to me.

So anywho, the girls settle into their new house in Hollywood. The girls settle in amicably, and several of them ask gentle probing questions of Isis to get to understand her better. Clark and Alaska sit off on the sidelines and say that where they are from (apparently South Carolina and Alaska are comparable? I dunno - ask Sarah Palin.) a person like Isis would "get beat up on the street." Clark says it's not that she's close-minded - she's just traditional. I have to disagree. Having a traditional viewpoint is fine and all. But if you don't make any attempt to learn about things that are outside your experience, then you are closing off your mind to the greater world. Thus - close-minded. Although neither of them are as bad as Sharaun, who maintains that she will NOT lose to a man.

Then the girls get a rare opportunity to have one-on-one interviews with Nigel, Ms. Jay and Paulina. Nigel thinks there is something unique about Isis and that she's smart, but he is not impressed by Sharaun.

At the photo shoot, Tyra gets very serious about voting, which is pretty cool. (She even has the unregistered girls sign up to vote that day.) The girls all pose at a voting booth, representing various issues that Americans may be concerned about this year. Sharaun shows that she's even more stank than we thought as she catcalls Isis during the latter's shoot about privacy rights - "You need to shave that face, Isis." Bitch!

The good news is that Sharaun is sent packing, while Isis gets called second. HA! And under-confident Marjorie takes first place, although I thought she was just OK. I really preferred Elina (her issue was foreign relations) and Joslyn (unemployment) on this one.

Next week - Benny Ninja is back, much to my lament. Also there are lesbian antics, and the girls question if Alaska is a racist.

September 01, 2008

Measuring up this season of Project Runway

With all of the Olympic excitement that's dominated my late summer, I've neglected to do any blogging for Project Runway! And although it may lack some of the big personality of last season, it's nonetheless exciting. Here's a quick rundown of some of my thoughts on the first seven episodes.

Episode 1

It's all about Austin Scarlett! OK, not really, but he's still fabulous. Anywho, this was a rehash of the very first challenge ever on the show. This time my favorite was Daniel's innovative blue plastic cup dress, but kudos to Korto for actually using food.

Episode 2

Having the models do the shopping for this one was a stroke of brilliance. Although I can't stand his (inconsistent) use of the 3rd person singular, Suede definitely impressed with his complex woven gown.

Episode 3

Repeating the photo inspiration challenge is fine by me. The judges were right on to get rid of Emily for her crazy frilly hot mess of a dress. As for a winner, there were a lot of garments that could be in the "love it or hate it" category. Like Kelli's, Stella's, or Terri's designs. I would have gone for one of those, but not Kenley. On a side note - I frakkin' love Stella! She is the leather fashion version of Penny Marshall, and I want her around just for the laughter she brings.


Episode 4

What a great lead-in to the Olympics! The clear winner for me here was Korto. Her outfit was hot, great sportswear, and was believable as something to see in the opening ceremony.

Episode 5

Team challenges are always a bit dicey, because I hate the whole "pit partner against partner" vibe at judging time. That being said, it should have been the perfect time to eliminate Daniel, who had outlived his usefulness. And I also disagree with the judges on a winner - I really thought Jerell and Stella knocked it out of the park.

Episode 6

I love, love, loved this episode! It was the most fun we've seen on the show in a very long time. This reminded me of the coutoure challenge from season 4, where the designers were really asked to do something huge and over the top. And it was a lot of fun because most of the designers were having so much fun with it as well! Although I applaud Joe for his well-chosen outfit, I do think that Terri was robbed on this one. Side note - can we please have RuPaul as a judge every week?

Episode 7

Product placement aside, the Saturn challenge was a real chance to see some innovation from the designers. The top 3 were definitely the best - so my hat is tipped to Jerell's futuristic dress and Korto's fabulous coat. That being said, the deserved winner was Leanne for her giving us an intriguing silhouette in a dress that certainly doesn't appear to be recycled materials. Side note - can we please get rid of Tanerexia (a.k.a. Blayne)? He is, as Leanne so eloquently put it, "barflicious."

And now you're all caught up! As we enter the latter half of the competition, here is how I think things should go to end the series on a high note.

Episode 8

We already know that the challenge is going to involve the uber-fabulous Diane von Furstenburg. I'm thinking this will give a slight edge to the designers that don't shy away from patterns - Kenley and Korto. Blayne should be the next to go. He's been wildly inconsistent, and has yet to deliver a top-notch outfit. Let him go home with his bug eyes and tan himself until he becomes the poster child for melanoma.

Episode 9

At this point we will probably have another team challenge. I'm picturing a disastrous pairing of Kenley and Suede, in which they both cry on the runway (him from some other dead relative, her because she just cries a lot). He will stand by his position as team leader and be eliminated for it.

Episode 10

Kenley will finally get on everyone's nerves enough that they sew her into a straitjacket. Unable to complete her garment, she is out. Tim pretends to care.

Episode 11

A high-fashion challenge with guest judge Donatella Versace really forces the designers to go for broke, but Joe plays it safe with some lame sportswear and is sent packing. He will think it's simply because he's a straight guy. No one really misses him when he's gone, because they realize he's really never designed anything exceptional for a biological woman.

Episode 12

After hoping for the first all-leather challenge in Project Runway history, Stella is dismayed to find that they are instead designing tutus for the New York City Ballet's newest production of Giselle. Stella tries to make a slyph-like design in studded leather, but it causes her model to collapse from heat exhaustion, and Stella shrugs as she's eliminated.


Episode 13

It's really stressful leading up to the final 3, and the designers are challenged to take their inspiration after a guided tour of the Bronx Botanical Garden. Jerell repeats his wide collar from the drag queen challenge in red, taking his cue from an amaryllis. The judges hate to see the same thing again, and after a marathon deliberation, decide to give us the first ever all-female finale!

Episodes 14 & 15

Tim goes to visit our finalists in their hometowns of Little Rock, Portland and Chicago. Terri is already done with all but 2 of her outfits, while Korto has a lot to do and should "make it work." Leanne's family decides to adopt Tim as the family pet.

Back in NYC, the designers are thrown for a loop as they are told that they have to create a final look...for their mothers! They are very stressed, but receive assists from Jerell, Joe and Stella, who help Leanne, Terri and Korto respectively. The guest judge is revealed to be contemporary fashion icon Cate Blanchett. I self-combust.

In the final runway shows, Leanne goes first and presents some unusual shapes and silhouettes that are the mark of a high-fashion show, but her overall collection is disjointed and confuses the judges. After dealing with the drama of a model showing up 5 pounds overwieght, Terri's collection goes off without a hitch. Her designs push the envelope of design for the modern urban woman, and is judged to be both marketable and wearable. Korto presents last, and her collection is full of volume and African influences.

At the final judging, Leanne is told that she did well, but is out. She is, however, elated to hear that Cate will be talking to her about a red carpet dress in the future. And in a 3-1 decision, Korto is crowned the winner of Project Runway. She is happy, but takes it in stride as usual, barely showing enough enthusiasm to be believable. Terri is pissed and makes a bitchface.

So there you go - the whole season wrapped up in a neat package! Any questions?

The eyes are the nipples of the face

The House Bunny

This new movie is a real dichotomy.

On the one hand, it's a formulaic comedy that you've seen several times before. It's Troop Beverly Hills mixed with dashes of She's All That and Clueless. About 15 minutes in you know exactly how it's going to turn out and could probably write the plot outline yourself.

But on the flip side, it's full of such hilarious lines and antics by Anna Faris that you lose yourself in the fun! She's proving to be one of the funniest women in Hollywood and deserves a great big career built around her. All those great zingers wouldn't be half as funny if someone else was in this movie. Viva la Faris!

Emma Stone is also very funny in this, giving even more than she had to work with in Superbad. She's assisted by the second generation of Hollywood - Bruce Willis' daughter (the lovely Rumer Willis) and Tom Hank's son (the nerdy cute Colin Hanks).

So go out and have a good time with this one! You won't be disappointed if you throw caution to the wind. I give this movie a solid B.

August 27, 2008

Olympics Week 2 in review

Sad but true - the Olympics in Beijing have come to an end. I'm so confused - what to do with my time? Is the fall TV season here yet? (Answer - no.) Guess it's time to catch up on my blogging.

My apologies to those of you who might have been hoping I'd continue a day-by-day review of the Olympics, but it became rather daunting! And the sad tragedy that was the U.S. Track team for a couple of days (my word, those relays) got depressing.

That being said, here's a few of my favorite highlights from the second week of competition:

  • In Track, Jamaica became the fastest country in short sprints, which means that we should perhaps rename it "Cheetahland." Just think of the Cheetos endorsement deals!
  • The American team competed in a very exciting round of team jumping in Equestrian, which ended in a tie. Complex rules gave us the silver, but it was really fun. Also, I like any horse named "Sapphire."
  • It may not be as exciting broken up in little broadcast pieces, but the winner of the Decathlon is always a fine specimen of an athlete, and we can be most proud that Bryan Clay took home the gold!
  • In a shocking upset while looking as cute as a button, Australian Matthew Mitcham took home the gold in the 10m Platform Diving final. He was really spectacular, so very happy to win, and he's one of the few openly gay athletes out there. I'm a total fan!
  • Snicker if you will, but I always enjoy watching Rhythmic Gymnastics and Synchronized Swimming, even if it means watching the Russians dominate year after year. It's the closest things we get to dance as sport - how can I resist?
  • The Field events don't get as much attention, but I actually prefer them to Track. So it was a real treat to see American Stephanie Brown Trafton take home gold in the Discus. You go, girl! (Whoops - duck and cover, everyone!)
  • And in a final note to divine male hotness, the U.S. men's Water Polo team had an amazing tournament as the underdog, and should be most proud to win the silver medal in a close game against world superpower Hungary. Can we request more shots of the bench and underwater, please?
The whole shindig ended with a closing ceremony that was pretty lackluster in comparison to the opening, although it had it's moments.

All in all it was an exciting games, and I'm glad that the Chinese were able to put their best collective foot forward. We can only hope that they'll be able to overcome the many other challenges they face when the excitement dies down. In the meantime, perhaps I'll catch up on some NBC video of events I missed, like Handball and Judo.

So that's it for this year! Next up is the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver. Strap on your skis - I'm ready for the Biathlon!

August 17, 2008

Olympics Days 5 through 7 in review

As we entered the weekend in Beijing, the Olympics have really been heating up! Here are some of my favorite highlights:

- In Gymnastics, it was time for the all-around competitions. Amongst the men there was a lot of hopping and falling going on, which allowed Yang Wei of China to sail to a win. But it was the tear-stained joy of Frenchman Benoit Caranobe winning the bronze that made it a fun watch. More fun was to be had watching the women, where it was a clear competition between the two Americans. In the end, the long lines and pleasant artistry of Nastia Liukin clinched the gold, but big ups to Shawn Johnson for being one of the sweetest silver medalists ever.

- I did get to watch some Archery online, and as expected, the Koreans dominated the individual competitions. Note to self: Do not wear a Target shirt when visiting Seoul.

- Finally, NBC broadcast some Badminton on TV! We got to watch the gold medal match in the women's indvidual competition, which was between two Chinese women - Xingfang Xie and Lan Lu. I know you won't believe me, but it was so exciting to watch! Xie was so powerful, defending her title to take the gold. It almost makes me want to pick up a racket and play!

- There were a lot of qualifying rounds in various track & field sports. The first medal handed out was in the men's Shot Put, which unfortunately I didn't see, and I don't see it online. But I can tell you that bearish American Christian Cantwell won the silver, and you can see photos of the competition, or you can read a recap.

- Last night while at a party at Sterfanie's new place, we actually sat and watched the entire women's Marathon, and none of us really know why we did! And with so many women in a pack, we couldn't make out countries or names for a long time, so we gave them our own names. Sadly, party favorite "Pigtails and Knee Socks" did not place. It was Romanian Constantina Tomescu who was running ahead all by herself for the gold, while "Big Sunglasses" edged out "Rat Tail" for the silver.

- The fastest man alive is from Jamaica, as Usain Bolt cruised to the gold medal in the 100m Dash, followed by Richard Thompson of Trinidad & Tobago and American Walter Dix. Yeah, mon!

- But of course the biggest excitement was all happening in Swimming. First up was the men's 100m Free, where Alain Bernard got his revenge on my boyfriend Jason Lezak (who settled for bronze). In the women's 200m Breaststroke, it was 19 year-old American Rebecca Soni who surprised us all for the gold! The American men went 1-2 in the 200m Back with Ryan Lochte edging out Aaron Peirsol. Then Michael Phelps picked up another gold with an easy win in the 200m IM. But it was his unbelievable "by a fingernail" touch at the wall to win the 100m Fly that really had the world in disbelief - gold again! Next up was the "splash and dash" 50m Free for the men, where no one expected Brazilian Cesar Cielo Filho to take it. For the women, it was German Britta Steffen who just edged out Dara Torres; but we love her anyway! The marathon event of the 1500m Free might not be a big ticket event, but it was a real joy to watch Oussama Mellouli win the first ever swimming medal for Tunisia! And then it came down to the closing events which are always exciting - the 4x100 Medley Relays. For the women, the Americans were really strong and should be proud of their silver medals, because those Australians were crazy fast. And in an incredibly exciting event, the American men won as once again it was my wonderful boyfriend JASON LEZAK who came from behind to take it all! And Michael Phelps enters history as the man to win the most gold medals ever in a single Olympics, with the blessing of Mark Spitz to go with it, but he can scarcely believe it.

Phew! So much excitement! Next up we'll have some event finals in Gymnastics, more Fencing, and we'll see who's the fastest woman alive.

August 14, 2008

Olympics Days 3 & 4 in review

First off, I've said my piece about the fact that NBC is only showing so much on their broadcasts. (Check out bottom of page 32.) So I promise to stop griping about that. And ScottE helpfully pointed out that you can get tidbits of other sports online - everything from Handball to Archery. So in my very limited free time, I'll be watching!

In the meantime, here are some big highlights the last couple of days:
  • Over in the world of Kayaking, we saw the kind of moment that makes me watch the Olympics so religiously. Winning the first Olympic medal EVER for his country, Benjamin Boukpeti of the small West African nation of Togo took the bronze in the men's K1 final. He was so powerful and so frickin' happy - I was beaming ear to ear. He gave an interview and I understood about half of it, but it's clear that he was so proud and couldn't believe the crowd was chanting - "Togo, Togo, Togo!"
  • Meanwhile the Chinese continued to dominate both Gymnastics and Synchronized Diving by winning the women's event in both sports. Memo to Alicia Sacramone: SHAKE IT OFF! Good grief, it's not like someone shot your dog.
  • All the rest of the excitement was in Swimming. Most notable of course was that Michael Phelps made history by winning more gold medals than any other Olympic athlete. His dominance continues - can he beat Mark Spitz's record? We shall see! (Oh, and he has been breaking world records like...all the time.)
Up tonight (or rather, tomorrow morning in Beijing) - my new boyfriend Jason Lezak goes for his individual gold. You can do it, baby!!!

August 13, 2008

Work it Miss Isis!

It's that time again! The new season of Top Model is almost upon us, and there is some exciting news. Normally I'm not into hearing the cast before the first episode, but this is exceptional.

This season will feature the first ever transgender contestant! Her name is Isis, and to really make me root for her, it turns out she hails from right here in PG County.

Her first profile shot is impressive - I think we have a contendah!

August 12, 2008

The Mole - revealed!

*SPOILER* if you missed tonight's show!

















Craig is the Mole. Told you so! Almost 2 months ago, actually. Yay for me!

Of course, the one clue I was so sure I found it's one they mentioned on the show. I still think a crew member planted it.

Olympics Day 2 in review

Did anything happen in Beijing yesterday? Well, let's review what NBC showed us:

- The women's road race happened on the wet streets in Cycling. It was 1% more interesting than the men's race merely because there was quite a pack at the end.

- A newer event to the Olympics - Synchronized Diving took place on the springboard for the women. It was no surprise the Chinese won - they own this.

- There were more qualifying heats in Rowing. Seriously, it is almost as boring as golf! Also there was more Beach Volleyball, which I just can't get into.

- But whatever, let's get down to the real news, which took place in Swimming. It was a bit exciting to watch the men's 100m Breaststroke (poor Brendan Hansen lost again to Japan's Kosuke Kitajima). And then the place went electric for the men's 4x100m Freestyle Relay. The French were talking trash, but it was the Americans who pulled out a shocking upset. And that pool was FAST. Don't believe me? Consider this - the fifth place team beat the world record! And the Americans smashed that record by 4 seconds. And how did they do that? Was it the wonder of Michael Phelps? Well, he did his part for sure, but...

I'd like to introduce you to my new sports boyfriend, Jason Lezak. This amazing specimen of athleticism pulled out the fastest relay split EVER and came from way behind to out-touch for the win at the wall. He is absolutely remarkable! I'm not ashamed to say I sent him a little fan mail on his website.






Aw, isn't he cute?

Jason Lezak - you have made America so very proud!

August 10, 2008

Olympics Day 1 in review

In case you missed it, here are the highlights:

- The American women were off to a good start in Beach Volleyball. But the men were defeated in their very first match, against the 23rd seed - Latvia. I blame it on the fact that they weren't wearing Speedos. And Todd Rogers agrees - at least with the shirtless part.

- There was a Cycling Road Race. Which bores me to tears for the first 50 hours or so - it's only exciting in the last 5 minutes.

- The men did their short qualifying routines in Gymnastics. Considering they are extra short and not exciting, it was obvious NBC was adding them to the schedule this year so they could stretch out gymnastics to every day. Why couldn't we have seen a little Judo or Equestrian events instead?

- Meanwhile, the American women swept the medals in the Individual Sabre event for Fencing. Way to go Mariel Zagunis (2-time champ), Sada Jacobson, and Becca Ward!

- There were qualifying heats in Rowing. *snore*

- Swimming was where the other exciting action was last night. Michael Phelps easily scored his first gold in the 400 IM, while the American women fell short in the 4x100 Freestyle Relay, as the Dutch took the gold. Most impressive of the night was Australian Stephanie Rice who killed it in the 400 IM for the women. She's adorable! Sadly, Oussama Mellouli fell short of winning the first ever swimming medal for Tunisia (that would just be neat), but it was no less impressive that Park Tae-hwan brought home the first ever gold for South Korea (400 Free).

- Early games were played in Volleyball, and the US women are looking very strong, with a team that includes several players that have been to the Games often. They held off a strong Japanese team to win their first game. Meanwhile the men held off Venezuela to advance. The cutie team captain's name is...Lloyd Ball. No comment.

Up for today - more Swimming, the start of Diving with the Synchronized Women's event, and I'm hoping for at least 5 minutes of coverage on Archery!

August 09, 2008

Olympic Fever!

It's that time again! Time for me to obsessively watch the Olympic games in Bejing. In case you hadn't heard about it previously, I am a 100% certified addict of the 'lympics. It's really the only time you'll ever see me voluntarily watching sports.

Last night the games opened with a really spectacular opening ceremony put on by the Chinese. Although the huge spectacle was fantastic, what really impressed me was that so much was done by massive coordination of people, not machines. Hopefully it reminded everyone what is good and strong about China, setting aside the obvious issues the country faces in this century. Oh, and we kicked off the night by having Chinese take-out - of course!

On a side note - will someone please put Sarah Brightman into a home? It's unfair to continue unleashing her on an unsuspecting world.

The parade of nations continues to be fun. I think my favorite outfits were those worn by the Marshall Islands - tropical splendor! But what were the Hungarian women thinking with those crazy red flowered get-ups?

And yes, I got all misty when the torch was lit. I always do. Such a sap.

Let the Games begin! Today it's all about volleyball (I love watching women's indoor) and swimming (I don't care about the hype - Michael Phelps rocks). What will you be watching?

photo courtesy of New York Times

I'm sad, America!


I can't believe it! Bernie Mac, who had a TV show that was enjoyable, and also appeared in the Ocean's 11 film series is dead at age 50 from pneumonia.

Read more about it here.

Bernie could be very funny at times, and I will miss having him around. Let's have a moment of silence, America.

August 01, 2008

The iPod shuffle challenge - part deux

Well that was a fun (and popular) post. So I thought I'd continue pricklygirl's lead and post another 20, as things are a bit slow in my entertainment life this week.

21. "Everyday People" - Sly & The Family Stone

This isn't just a car commercial jingle - it's also a cool "diversity is good" song.

22. "Send Me On My Way" - Rusted Root

For my inner hippie. And no, I have no idea what the lyrics actually are.

23. "Avenue P" - Carole King

This is from King's kiddie musical, Really Rosie, which was I think the first school musical I did in elementary school. Those songs really stuck with me.

24. "Walkin' After Midnight" - Patsy Cline

When I go to eat at Hard Times Cafe, I fully expect to find this on the jukebox, or I'm sad.

25. "Band of Gold" - Kimberley Locke

She's still my all-time fave contestant formerly of American Idol. I loved when she covered this song on the show.

26. "What Have You Done For Me Lately" - Janet Jackson

Remember the video? And that Paula Abdul was in it before she had her own career? Good times.

27. "I Believe" - original Off-Broadway cast of Altar Boyz

What is awesome about this musical is that it both skewers and lauds modern religion. Hilarious! The Jewish guy was totally the hot one.

28. "You Go To My Head" - Sarah Vaughan

I do like Ella, Dinah, and Billie, but the singer of the age for me was totally Sarah. Her music goes down like a smooth glass of Frangelico.

29. "On The Willows" - original Broadway cast of Godspell

Wow, what's with all the religion-themed musicals? This song makes me cry when I see it performed live. Every time.

30. "Brokedown Palace" - Joan Osborne

I simply adore Joan Osborne, and even really get into this album which is all country and bluegrass-tinged soul. That raspy voice just rocks.

31. "Then He Kissed Me" - The Crystals

My all-time favorite "oldies" song! I can't help but bounce around and sing, just like in the start of Adventures in Babysitting.

32. "La La" - The Verve Pipe

This was my college band, by which I mean they got their start in my college town when I was there. I saw them oodles of times live (for free!) at the bars & clubs in Kalamazoo. They were so very cool. I'm sad that mainstream success ultimately spelled their demise.

33. "When Doves Cry" - Prince

No one does it better than purple royalty.

34. "Good Morning Baltimore" - original Broadway cast of Hairspray

Who knew John Waters' screwball movie would make such an infectious musical? This song makes me want to wake up for sure.

35. "Padam Padam" - Edith Piaf

We got way into Edith after seeing La Vie En Rose, and this is totally her best song, in my opinion. It makes me want to go back and take more French classes.

36. "Dance Like There's No Tomorrow" - Paula Abdul

Oh hello, embarrassment. OK, I admit it - I heard Paula put out a new single, and I totally bought it immediately. And I tap my foot when I listen to it. So sue me!

37. "Land of a Thousand Words" - Scissor Sisters

Funny, this was on Joyous' list also! We are big, big fans of the Sisters - we've seen them in concert several times. And they put on a good show.

38. "Over The Moon" - original Broadway cast of Rent

I'm sad the show closed, but it will live for ages. A modern classic! And this song is great fun - it's always interesting to see how different actresses will interpret it.

39. "Beyond The Invisible" - Enigma

I have all of Enigma's albums. It's good mood music for the background, but also good for choreography.

40. "It's De-Lovely" - Rosemary Clooney

Finally! I thought Rosemary would never make it into the shuffle. And I have a lot of her music on my iPod. This track is from a live performance she did at the London Palladium, where she performed a Cole Porter classic.


So anyone want to share 20 more? Or how about this other challenge - what's the most recent song you bought, no matter how trite or trendy?

I just bought "American Boy" by Estelle. It really gets in my head. But warning if you download it from iTunes - it is not clean.

July 29, 2008

The iPod shuffle challenge

OK, I'm game. ScottE sent me this little challenge from pricklygirl. I'm sure it will be embarrassing, but here we go!

If you are in shuffle mode, what are the first twenty songs that come up on your iPod? And no skipping past the embarrassing stuff. I usually run mine in shuffle mode on some general song list (i.e. show tunes, not show tunes, pop/rock/soul, 80's). But this is the whole enchilada! Ready?

1. "Being Alive" - original Broadway cast of Company

We've greatly enjoyed the soundtrack with the 2006/2007 Broadway cast starring Raul Esparza. But I wanted more, so I got the original cast as well. This is the show closer, and it's a doozy!

2. "Dangerous Game" - Gloria Estefan

I know she's not everyone's cup of tea, but I've been a big Gloria fan for ages. This is off her most recent album, and it's got a mellow sound I enjoy.

3. "Icicle" - Tori Amos

Tori is brilliant on the piano, and this is one of her best off my favorite album - Under The Pink.

4. "Blue Wind" - original Broadway cast of Spring Awakening

If you haven't seen this show, you're missing out. This soulful song is what made me fall in love with Lauren Pritchard.

5. "Little Perennials" - Indigo Girls

My favorite band ever, this is the first single off their latest album. And it's catchy.

6. "The Same Love That Made Me Laugh" - Queen Latifah

She was a rapper first, but it's become accepted that Queen is also a smooth jazz singer. I've enjoyed her last couple albums that showcase this talent.

7. "Rhode Island Is Famous For You" - Blossom Dearie

Don't recognize the singer? You might know her better from her work on Schoolhouse Rock! - remember "Figure 8"? Or "Unpack Your Adjectives"? That childlike voice of wonder is hers, and this cute song makes me smile.

8. "The Ballad of Czolgosz" - 2004 Broadway cast of Assassins

At this point if you're shocked I have so many show tunes, you don't know me very well. Loved the show (saw it at Studio 54), especially Neil Patrick Harris, who sings this one. And he says "Michigan" in a song, so I've got hometown love.

9. "Locklat Africa" - Zap Mama

Zap Mama is a unique Belgian group of women who fuse European and African styles. I bought this album (Sabsylma) for the choreographic possibilities, but still listen to it for fun as well.

10. "The Dock of the Bay" - Otis Redding

The classic summer song of chillaxin'.

11. "Shattered Dreams" - Johnny Hates Jazz

Ah, the carefree and bizarre 80's. It was such a simple and...odd time. This particular song was great while driving with friends at night.

12. "You Can't Hurry Love" - The Supremes

Classic Motown never goes out of style. And no I do NOT have the Phil Collins cover on my iPod!

13. "Lorrell Loves Jimmy" - movie soundtrack for Dreamgirls

I love this movie musical even more than Lorrell loves Jimmy. Also, Anika Noni Rose is totally my BFF, in case you hadn't heard. (In my head, that is.)

14. "You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive" - Kathy Mattea

Somber bluegrass-tinged folk music isn't my usual thing, but I heard Kathy perform songs from her new album (Coal) live, and it was entrancing. It's sad, but it's beautiful.

15. "I Feel The Earth Move" - Carole King

Carole King is an amazing songwriter. My first memory of this song was some random singer (maybe Helen Reddy?) performing it on The Muppet Show. Actually I have far too many memories of classic songs being sung on that show...

16. "Midnight Radio" - movie soundtrack for Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Hard to explain the plot of this movie musical, but let's just say it involves hard rock and a botched sex change operation. Anywho, this is my favorite song. Lift up your hands.

17. "Hey Genius" - Rebekah

I first heard for Rebekah when I got a sampler cassette at my first Lilith Fair. I bought the album, and this song is my favorite - strong singing/songwriting.

18. "Liza with a 'Z'" - Liza Minelli

This makes me really super-duper gay, I know. But it's an adorable song, regardless.

19. "Members Only" - Los Angeles cast of Naked Boys Singing!

No comment.

20. "Turn! Turn! Turn!" - The Byrds

For everything a season and a reason. What an appropriate way to end my list.


All right, I've laid my iPod bare - how about you?



July 28, 2008

A Dark Night with The Dark Knight


The Dark Knight

Believe the hype - it really is that good. No, really. This is not some frothy superhero movie that's all action and no substance (I'm looking at you, Daredevil). This film transcends the genre to become a substantial drama and thriller.

Emphasis on the thriller aspect, by the way. I was downright SCARED several times! Not like horror-movie scared, but in the nervy-suspense sense - like in The Silence of the Lambs.

And the reason for that is three-fold:

1. A killer script by Jonathan & Christopher Nolan is full of twists, turns and seemingly impossible schemes. Guaranteed to keep you guessing!

2. The direction by Nolan (the latter one) is also very strong, keeping a frantic pace, but still throwing in solid substance to make you care about the characters and what happens next. My only quibble with the movie is that I think it was a tad long, but I admit I don't know what to cut out.

3. But the real reason to see the movie, actually the whole POINT of the movie is the unsettling performance by Heath Ledger as The Joker. He's creepy, perverse, frightening and just a bit funny. Do I believe a posthumous Oscar is appropriate? Um...kinda. I certainly haven't seen an acting performance this year to surpass Ledger's.

Now, all that being said, let me put it out there - the film is disturbing. The Joker's madness is not purely sadistic - he's also an anarchist. And that's a potent and downright scary combination. That sense of "It could happen to anyone at anytime" is pervasive and gets inside your head! Let's just say I didn't get much sleep last night. And what happens to Aaron Eckhart's character (Harvey Dent) is not for the faint of stomach. But for us former comic book geeks, it was really frakkin' cool!

So, other than my obvious A grade for the movie, I'll advise you to see it and see it soon, but perhaps go to a matinee, and take your teddy bear with you!

Oh, and you can debate with your friends - which is more annoying - Christian Bale's weird gravelly voice as Batman, or Pierce Brosnan's singing?

July 23, 2008

Mamma Mia indeed!


Mamma Mia!

I've already mentioned that I felt this was one of my most-anticipated films of the summer. And I certainly wasn't disappointed. But like another great movie recently, I think a little viewing guide would be helpful:

1. Remember that the plot is thin.
Really thin. Like 1-ply toilet paper thin. As long as you don't go into it expecting deep existential messages, you're good to go.

2. It's silly and wild, which is part of the fun.

Just sit back and enjoy the ride. Laugh! Sing! (OK, maybe not sing. Perhaps humming is more appropriate until you buy the DVD for home viewing.)

3. Girl power!

The strength of the movie comes from the fun and crazy antics of the female characters, and the delightful actresses playing them. Meryl Streep shines as the lead, proving that not only can she master accents, but she can sing, too! She's very believable as a mother feeling pulled between parental responsibility and her youthful freedom. She's joined by her wild & crazy pals, played to the hilt by Christine Baranski and Julie Walters. Also delightful is the daughter, played by Amanda Seyfried who shines when she smiles and can cry on cue. Coupled with a strong voice, she's a winner.

4. Colin Firth. Shirtless. Singing sweetly. With a secret.

'nuff said. *drool*

5. Turn on your Pierce Brosnan filter.

You'll figure this out real fast - Brosnan can't sing. Like, at all. He's AWFUL. So the grand debate is, can you cover that up if you're suave and sexy at a certain age? I say no - the film features him too prominently when he does decide to torture us with those vocal cords. His singing mars an otherwise wonderful film.

6. Stay for the credits!

You won't be disappointed. Trust me.

So that's it folks, a definite A- for the film. I'd give it a full A score, but...shut up, Pierce, seriously.

Now if you'll pardon me, I need to go see the movie again, so I'm off to strap on my platform boots and sequins while I belt out "Super Trouper!"