Friday, February 29, 2008

This Week's Movie Reviews

This week's film reviews from

 Subscribe to my Detour Mag Film Reviews

Faraday's Journal

I don't usually geek out like this but just needed to today. Here are some screen captures of the journal of Daniel Faraday (Jeremy Davies) from "Lost" last night.

The reason this interests me is that the pattern in Faraday's journal looks strikingly similar to the diagram on the back of the Hatch door. Compare:

Blast Door Hatch from Lost.Cubit.Net

The two images overlaid directly didn't really line up in the above configuration (vertical). Here are two tracings of the lines from both:

Hatch Door Lines

Hatch Door Map Lines

Faraday's Journal Lines

Faraday's Journal Lines

Doing some flipping, rotating, and rescaling makes them line up just about perfectly. It doesn't take much re-jiggering at all to make this:

Faraday's Journal Lines Up With Hatch Map

Here's the same shape from Daniel's journal laid over a map of the island that may or may not be 100% accurate. Some things seem to line up exactly -- The Flame, Staff, The Pearl -- and others not so much. This leaves Hydra out in the cold but I'm not sure how much of a "Hatch" this is versus a gateway.

The thing that I find very interesting is the alignment of one circle with the mysterious crater.

Faraday's Journal over Island Map

Another map showed up in "The Other Woman" episode. It's probably about as accurate as the above.

Faraday's Map to Tempest

Monday, February 25, 2008

Here Cometh THE FALL

A few months ago I was kvetching about the missing movie THE FALL. Well, good news film fans -- it's set for an April theatrical release (undoubtedly limited). For a high rez preview check out this link.

Odd that this rollicking adventure would be beat to the box office faster than the 2006 MIA film PENELOPE -- yes, the "Cristina Ricci with a pig nose" movie that also showed at the same Toronto Film Festival.

Friday, February 22, 2008

This Week's Movie Reviews

 Subscribe to my Detour Mag Film Reviews

"I Will Kill George Lucas With A Shovel"

Big thanks to my pals Skizz Cyzyk and Mike Thompson for turning me on to Patton Oswalt. His comedy album, Werewolves and Lollipops is pretty friggin' brilliant, especially the track here -- "At Midnight I Will Kill George Lucas With A Shovel" -- a rant about the man who has pissed on the heads of millions of fans only to tell them that it's raining gold.

Also some fun can be had at The Chopped-Off Hands of Star Wars, a site dedicated to George Lucas's amputee fetish.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008 Still Lives

It doesn't happen often but there are times when I still update the website described as "Two Idiots Talk About Stuff." That's pretty much the long and short of it.

Monday, February 11, 2008

When Ads Fail: Comcast's More More More Spots

I've been plagued lately by the series of Goodby Silverstein commercials for Comcast Cable. These spots seem to be a nod to the old Buchanan and Goodman "break in" records wherein clips from popular songs are utilized as dialog / responses. The three spots that I've seen so far utilize "Lady Marmalade," "Rebel Yell," and "More More More." This last song title is what the three tunes all have in common -- they all contain the lyric "more more more."

Unfortunately for Comcast, as an answer to the question of Comcast HD television this "more more more" doesn't make the viewer think "They offer a ton of channels/options." Rather, this seems to be a statement about price leaving viewers to think that Comcast cost more, more, more. What might be even worse is that the use of the lyrics from the aforementioned songs isn't done very skillfully at all.

"Rebel Yell" -- The man speaking Billy Idol lines does so three times. Twice he's told that he's "wrong" to do so. His wife is not a rebel and he doesn't need to sell his soul to her. You'd want the lyrics to add to the "logic" of the spot, not detract from it.

"More More More" -- The woman using the Andrea True Connection vocals is portrayed as the mother of the new Comcast HD subscriber. Her honey-flavored lyric about "Baby you know, my love for you is real," is altogether creepy in a mother to son exchange. Perhaps Comcast is appealing to the crucial pro-incest demographic.

"Lady Marmalade" -- This is the only one of the three commercials that actually uses a second and third clip from a song for any good uses, albeit forced ones, with the "mocho choco lata ya ya" being used for the name of a coffee. Clever, yes, but this one bit isn't enough to hang a campaign around.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Pointless: A Freeform Jazz Odyssey

Choosing a college to attend was a tough decision. I had no loyalty to the two major universities in Michigan. In fact, it took me quite a few years to know that "State" was Michigan State University while "Michigan" was the University of Michigan per the common parlance of my fellow Michiganders. It came down to two key factors: State had a great radio station while Michigan had some kick ass record stores.

The record stores won out.

This was the early '90s before the concept of "alternative radio" had yet to break into the Detroit market (via Windsor). There was a few hour blocks on one station of "alternative" music every Saturday night ("Brave New Waves") and there was an amazing program from Canada that beamed its way across the ether even later, hosted by CBC's David Wisdom. Otherwise, Detroit Radio was a rather barren landscape (sorry WDET--you never did anything for me).

The radio station at U of M left a lot to be desired. Too many laconic disc jockeys jawing on about obscure jazz artists. I like the idea behind the station -- the station's credo was "freeform radio." You could hear anything at anytime.

Freeform excited me. But I wasn't sure if I fit in with the hipsters running 'CBN. Could I be pedantic enough? Could I dig out treasures most obscure? Would I be able to run the board without the major technical difficulties I heard so often? I had to give it a shot.

I made a demo tape, breaking out some of the stranger items in my record collection, and passed muster. I was in. And, like all newbie DJs, I got the graveyard shift of 12AM-3AM. One of my best friends, Jeff Dunlap, nabbed the 3-6AM slot.

Luckily, this was over the summer months--one day a week. I'd drive up to Ann Arbor, do my shift and either do Jeff's too (if he couldn't make it) or sit through his before going back to the house we were renting and sleeping on a flatmate's floor for a few hours.

I had a great time. I felt like the last man on Earth, broadcasting whatever tasty nuggets I could lay my hands on in the massive 'CBN record library. LPs were still king at this time with the station boasting just a smattering CDs.

Each semester brought an evaluation and a change at a new time slot if I was deemed worthy. I stayed in that graveyard shift for a while. I just wasn't very good. Regardless, I still had fun. I enjoyed experimenting with samples, mixing spoken word albums with instrumental tracks, et cetera. The most fun I had was doing a "Christmas Special" where I had every turntable in the place going at the same time--all with different albums going. It was a beautiful cacophony with various bit surfacing to audible levels briefly before fading back into the din of a holiday nightmare. Luckily, I had a witness for part of this--another 'CBN DJ who happened to stop by in the middle of it.

After my next evaluation I was slotted for 6AM-9AM. Drive time, baby!

I continued to experiment. I would give different shows a theme or take an hour and explore a certain genre or idea. I embraced the freeform.

One morning I thought I'd kill two birds with one stone. I had a box of 45s from my mother and wanted to transfer them to cassette tape for her (pre-burning your own CD). I decided to play them all on air and record my show, playing 45 minute blocks of music. To say that my mom's taste are as eclectic as mine is fairly accurate. She had a lot of great Ray Charles and Elvis Presley along with Sugar Loaf, Elton John, and Kenny Loggins among other things.

I got one really nice call (a rarity) during my show when I was playing some of the Ray Charles. "I haven't heard this in years! Thank you so much!"

Apparently, there was another phone call that didn't go to me but went right to the station manager. I'd find that out a few weeks later when my evaluation came due. Someone found it rather objectionable that I had played Kenny Loggins on WCBN and some of the big wigs at the station agreed that Mr. Loggins and his music weren't welcome on such a progressive radio station.

They were concerned that my show just "didn't have a point." This whole time I didn't know that I had needed to make on. I figured that "freeform" radio was rather... pointless. That is, something mercurial that couldn't be categorized. Thank goodness for my multiple turntable experiments being witnessed -- that's what gave me enough "indie cred" to maintain a position on the station.

I only served one more term on the 6AM-9AM shift before turning in my 45 adapter and graduated. I just couldn't get over being castigated for my Loggins playing. My first day of my last session I had a new themesong -- "Pointless" by Dinosaur. After spinning that slice of college rock I got on air and dedicated the next set to my fans -- a triple rock block of Kenny Loggins comin' at you, starting with "Danger Zone" and ending with a little "Footloose" with "I'm Alright" in the middle. And it was smooth.

I never thought I'd be Defender of Kenny Loggins, but I can't hear the bearded wonder without smiling even to this day.

Indiana Jones - Dusting Off Cobwebs

Jonesing for the Indy Film

I'm breaking out this old article that I wrote for Cashiers du Cinemart #9 -- "Jonesing for the Indy Film" -- as it looks like a good time to revisit the Indy Jones films that could have been compared to the one coming out.

I'm not going to bet my lunch money on it, but I'm willing to posit that INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL will contain a number of ideas that were used in these early drafts of a fourth Indy film. It looks as if the "MONKEY GOD OF AFRICA" and "SAUCER MEN FROM MARS" have been morphed into a kind of CHARIOTS OF THE GODS idea involving aliens and ancient civilizations, turning Indy Jr. into a male Lara Croft figure.

That David Koepp penned the script for CRYSTAL SKULL doesn't fill me with confidence. He's much more of a "miss" than "hit" kind of writer and his history with Steven Spielberg has been fairly bad (JURASSIC PARK, WAR OF THE WORLDS). And with George Lucas receiving story credit, that doesn't necessarily instill confidence either.

Kwame Kilpatrick - No Apology

I dunno. I still think Coleman Young was worse but Kwame is straight up gangsta. The stories we could tell about him would curl your toes.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Meet the Spartans

Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer must be stopped!

If you're not familiar with Friedberg and Seltzer by name, you definitely know they're work. They're the brain trust that's plagued the world with such unfunny fare as EPIC MOVIE and DATE MOVIE.

Friedberg and Seltzer pretend to care how the shot looksTheir latest abomination, MEET THE SPARTANS, follows their pat formula of lifting phrases and images from films released in the year prior mixed with "topical" references to pop culture and television. They take this motley mix and try to hang them around the general plot of a hit film or two. This time around the wondertwins attempt to poke fun at Zach Snyder's 300 by, get this, playing up the idea of the half-dressed buff guys might seem a little gay! Wow, I never thought of that before, nor did anyone else, I'm sure! That Friedberg and Seltzer saw that there might be some homoeroticism in 300 is certainly astounding, if not absolutely groundbreaking.

Apart from the gay jokes, MEET THE SPARTANS is awash in bad semi-celebrity impersonators and references to reality shows such as "American Idol," "Deal or No Deal," "Dancing with the Stars," and "America's Next Top Model." These television asides don't fit with the ancient Greece setting and, I guess that's what is supposed to make them funny. There are a lot of things in MEET THE SPARTANS that attempt to be humorous--like the whole film--but fail miserably.

What ever happened to parody films that take on a genre or at least a subgenre of films? BLAZING SADDLES eschewed the Western, AIRPLANE! the disaster film, even the crappy NOT ANOTHER TEEN MOVIE had the good sense to compare the then-current bunch of teen flicks with John Hughes's films, but the crop of films from Friedberg and Seltzer are sloppy hodgepodges that may as well have a countdown clock to the next punchline flashing in the corner of the screen to give viewers ample opportunity to visit the concession stand during the down time before the next Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, or Lindsay Lohan reference or fart joke. Yes, the humor is that broad.

The film's greatest strength may also be its biggest sore point. That they're paying for such tripe is bad enough but with ticket costs rocketing north as fast as gas prices, paying $8-$10 for a mere sixty-five minutes of "entertainment" might leave theater-goers more than a little miffed. Is there any surer sign that there just wasn't enough "funny" to go around? Don't worry, though, Friedberg and Seltzer fans -- an unrated DVD release with even more hilarity and gay jokes is sure to hit shelves in three or four months.


Booted from YouTube

Bad news this week - I was kicked off of YouTube. Apparently I'd had two previous warnings -- once for uploading a clip from Animaniacs related to my "A Parody Now" article and another for the preview for THE PSYCHIC. My third strike was for adult content. Ironically enough, it was for the preview to THE SMUT PEDDLER.

I tried to be a big shot and contacted some of the mucky-mucks at YouTube that I've worked with on things like the current Chrysler 300/YouTube contest. The response? No dice. Can't help ya, pal.

I really didn't have much on my YouTube channel that I was keen on keeping other than the hundreds of comments on WHO DO YOU THINK YOU'RE FOOLING and YOU'RE STILL NOT FOOLING ANYBODY. Those were always a hoot. That said, I suppose I'll be starting over at YouTube with a new account and this time I'll try to steer clear of having any boobies or shrimping in my uploads.