Thursday, July 31, 2008

Burn Notice--"Comrades"

I guess you really cannot kill Mikhail, can you? Apparently after leaving the DHARMA Initiative, he took up with the Russian mob. He is Justas evil and relentless as he was on Lost, but with pretty much the same result. But this time rather than helping change the world towards a utopia, our old buddy is Ivan, an enforcer for a human trafficking scam run by the Russian mob. Michael’s brother shows up when his new lady friend’s sister is smuggled into the United States and the Russkies try to extort money from her for her sister’s freedom.

Michael, Sam, and Fiona have three days to discover where the girl is being held. They kidnap Ivan and convince him he is being held by US agents. He does not break under mental torture, so Michael drops in as a fellow captor to gain his trust. The ruse eventually works, the girl is rescued, and Ivan becomes worm food.

It is interesting to dwell into Michael’s family beyond his mother. She is overbearing and high maintenance. It gets old after a while. His brother Nate seems to be the stereotypical irresponsible con man type who will still do what’s right when it comes down to it—especially if a pretty girl wants him to. A bit worn, but it works here within the motif of the family’s dysfunction.

We did not see much of the Carla subplot here. The gang gleans from the Pakistani intelligence files she had a cover as a agriculture consultant. Michael she may be doing the same in Florida, so Sam wines and dines some bureaucrat who milks it for all it is worth until Sam gets rough. Through him, we find out her alias is Carla Baxter and she is still working in agriculture. The cover lends some strength to the idea she was involved in the heroin trade in the near East.

You know what I liked most about this episode? It pretty much condoned the Gitmo methods of interrogation techniques while making the audience sympathetic for what our heroes were trying to do. I understand Burn Notice is a light hearted show not prone to being preachy anyway, but I thought it was a nice, subtle commentary on how certain things have to be done. I am sure someone is out there ripping their hair out over it, but I am not.

Rating: *** (out of 5)
By Any Other Name

New show runner Steven Moffat promises there will be no more Rose Tyler in the future of Doctor who because Rose is to clingy, dingy, and needy. Ouch.

Evidently the doctor agrees. he forced Rose to return to the parallel earth for no logical reason while dumping his human clone on her. The pair trotted off into the sunset never to be seen or heard from again. i kind of liked rose myself and Billie Piper, too, but you know what they say about all good things.

piper is six months pregnant and does not expect to act in the near future in any capacity, much less reprising any of her past roles.
The Bush Economy Hurts Kitties

Princess Chunk, the 44 pound cat found wandering the streets in New Jersey, has been identified now that her owner has come forward. The older woman was 'forced" to abandon the cat after her home was foreclosed. Now that Powder has become a media celebrity, the woman feels like she can come forward and cash in...er, i mean claim her beloved kitty.

The media is subtly turning the story into a critique on the Bush economy, but they are missing a big point. The real story here is the old woman needing to get rid of her cat and apparently just leaving it to fend for itself rather than trying to find it a new home or dropping it off at the animal shelter. Euthanasia would have been less cruel than leaving it to die out in the elements on its own. Let us not forget she allowed the cat to get morbidly obese to begin with, so responsibility is not exactly her forte.

Now watch her become asemicelebrity because of the cat she left to die. I am no PETA guy, but this is just awful all around that a pet owner can be rewarded for such a thing.
McCain Ad Fallout

There has been some major—not to mention odd—blowout from the John McCain campaign ad I linked to last night. I thought the ad was quite good. It linked Barack Obama’s popularity to the empty fame of the likes of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, and listed the stances the McCain camp believes he is wrong on. It was succinct, creative, and on point. Two parties outside of the Obama camp have gotten upset.

The first is kind of logical, truth be told. Rick and Kathy Hilton, parents of Paris, donated a total of $ 4,600 to McCain this year. I will admit it is tacky to take shots at someone who is paying your way to the white House, but then again, pretty much everyone takes potshots at paris. How unusual is that?

The second is no where near as funny. According to lefty blogger Josh Marshall, the McCain ad is racist. Various left leaning outlets have taken the ball and run with it. Keith Olbermann, for one, is ready to run McCain out of the country on a rail. The Obama response never mentions any accusations of racism, but that has not stopped his supporters.

So what is the problem? The ad attacks Obama’s celebrity status and his lack of qualifications for office, right? Nope, it says Obama is after our white women.

Seriously, you cannot make this stuff up. This is how liberals actually think. Scary, no?
Mike Myers Scripting Austin Powers IV

In spite of The Love Guru bombing spectacularly for Paramount, New Line Cinema is eager for Mike Meyers to produce a fourth installment in his Austin Powers franchise. Myers has apparently begun working on a script even though no concrete deal is in place.

Back when Goldmember turned into a big hit, Myers was asked if he would do a fourth. His response was he had an idea dealing with the father/son relationship between Dr. Evil and Scott. That appears to be the basis for the new script. The film is said to be an homage to Myers’ father, whom he credits for his sense of humor.

Myers had a definite misstep with The Love Guru, but it is hard to say another Austin powers would be a bad business decision. It is arare franchise in which each subsequent movie made more money than the last. That makes it the perfect project as far as Hollywood is concerned.

But there has been a six year period since the last one. That is not to say audiences will not come back, but with the juvenile sexual humor of the first three, you have to assume the fans who liked it then have hopefully grown up some. I doubt it, but it is worth mentioning.
Ali Larter Shows off Her Cleavage

Because hype for the third season of Heroes is in full swing.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Obama the Rock Star

John McCain is taking a more aggressive stance in his latest campaign ad while presenting Barack Obama as an empty suit. It is interesting how the ad compares Obama to Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, two celebrities who are these days famous for no other reason than being famous. It is a fair criticism of Obama. he is a fantastic campaigner, but not a proven leader.

To really bring the point home, the ad blasts Obama for wanting to raise taxes and refusing to drill for new sources of oil. I cannot say for certain how well those issues resonate with voters, but it is a start. I am holding out hope Obama's egomania and overhype will be his undoing.

Obama Fatigue, anyone?
The Obama Cabinet

Talk about counting your chickens before the eggs have hatched. Washington buzz is already playing around with who Barack Obama might choose for his potential presidential Cabinet. All this in spite of the fact he has not yet chosen a Veep, much less the sacrificial lambs that are Cabinet heads.

Here is the latest scuttlebutt:

Hillary Clinton: (Health and Human Service) I cannot imagine her overblown ego would stand for a lowly Cabinet position period, much less one with less recognition than Secretary of State or Attorney General. I think this one is a liberal fantasy about restarting the push for universal health care.

John Kerry (Secretary of State) I cannot figure this one out at all. What sort of foreign policy clout does Kerry have? He screwed up any chance he had of running in 2008 by making a lame joke about how our soldiers in Iraq are there because they are dumb and unable to get “real” jobs. Only in the people’s republic of Massachusetts could he say that and keep the job he already has, much less a promotion.

Tom Daschle: (White House Chief of Staff0) an unexciting man for an unexciting job. At least they are on the right track here.

William Daley: (Secretary of the Treasury) Come on. Obama owes a lot more to Chicago’s daley Machine than a measly job at Treasury. Appoint him to the Court of St. James or something. Do not be an ingrate.

Chuck Hagel (Secretary of Defense) There has to be a token Republican. Since liberals generally despise the military, the lone republican has to be at defense. What does it say about the 2008 race that under any other circumstances, I could see Obama offering the job to John McCain and him taking it?

I do not see Bill Richardson anywhere. Either he is still holding out for Veep or he is still considered too much of a Friend of Bill. John Edwards is no where to be found, either. Is he too busy with his babymama or is Obama planning to create a Poverty Czar position for him? In all seriousness, I am surprised his name is not being floated about for Attorney General.

A few other names I am surprised I am not hearing: Al Gore, Andrew Cuomo, Wellington Webb, and Mark Warner.
Cybershade to Meanace the Doctor

The Cybermen will have anew, more sinister leader for the upcoming Christmas special. The new Cyberman will be called Cybershade. One assumes this is a photo of the new critter even though it had previously been dubbed a Wraith:Considering Steven Moffat's recent comments implying there will not be any classic Wholigan villains for a while after he takes over for the fifth season, the Christmas special might be an ultimate send off for the Cybermen for quite a while.

The photo can be enlarged, if you so desire.
Gillian Anderson

Here is the last Gillian Anderson photo I have recently acquired. I assume with X-Files Ii an official bomb and Anderson maintaining a serious acting career in the United Kingdom rather than this side of the pond, we probably will not be seeing too much of her in the near future. Bummer.

It was fun while it lasted, thought, was it not?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Lost Stories to Run Concurrently?

Damon Lindelof and Charlton Cuse announced there would be a new storytelling element added to the fifth season of Lost. The pair announced they were done with the traditional flashbacks and flashforwards, but did not elaborate much further.

Fans have been speculating since the fourth season finale how they might pull off further stories since the Lostaways have been split into two groups. Locke is leading the Others while most of the cast is stranded on the island in 2005. The oceanic six are back in the real world, but their stories have bounced around from 2005 to as late as 2007 and maybe beyond. One assumes they would be running concurrently up until the point Locke leaves the island, commits suicide, and the Oceanic Six ally with Ben to set things right—or wrong, knowing Ben. But how will the writers pull hat off?

According to a source, the method will be similar to the one used in last season’s “Je Yeon.” You may recall in that episode, there was a flashforward of Sun giving birth in 2005 running concurrently with a Jin flashback with Jin attempting to give a gift to the Chinese Ambassador’s newborn son on behalf of Mr. Pak in 2000. The viewer had no idea the two were separate stories until the end.

With that in mind, one has to assume episodes will be partly told on the island in 2005 and partly told in the near future with the off island characters. That may indeed be confusing. Deciated fans can probably handle it. Casual viewers might definitely be turned off.
John Barrowman May Play Captain America

There is one other announcement from ComiCon that has flown under the radar because, even though it was comic book related, it was revealed during the Torchwood panel. It is ironic, considering how the convention was originally started as a comic book convention but slowly morphed into a place for television and movie producers to preview their up coming projects. There is still a lot of comic book goings on with a lot of science fiction and animation throw, but this year there was a booth for The Office and Paris Hilton was wandering the halls. That is…stranger. But I digress.

Back to my point. John barrowman, plays Capt. Jack Harkness on Doctor Who and Torchwood, has been in talks to take on the role of Steve Rogers/Captain America in big budget adaptions of the self-titled comic book and the Avengers. considering how much Russell T. Davies swiped from marvel Comics and placed in the Whoverse, it would be a natural fit. But seriously barrowman has the square jawed heroic look down pat. I could think of worse choices.

But there are issues. The lesser being barrowman is Scottish. He is a dual citizen of the United States and the United Kingdom, moved to Illinois as a young child, grew up there, and attended college in San Diego. He does have Hollywood experience, but decided pretty quickly he could be an actor in the Us or a star in the UK. Science fiction fans may recall Gillian Anderson made the same decision after the X-Files went off the air. Barrowman has no noticeable accent—Jack Harkness is considered American to cover his true, alien identity—so that is no problem.

Here is the real issue—Barrowman is openly gay. Do not shoot the messenger on this. I am fine with consenting adults enjoying whatever relationships suit them. But will the public accept it? Comic book and science fiction fans will likely not have any problems. We tend to be progressive, free thinking types. But there will be people upset about an American symbol being represented by a gay man from Scotland, particularly one who is outspoken on homosexual rights.

He may run into problems with the gay community as well. Barrowman is in a civil union with an architect. He does not advocate actual marriage for homosexuals, believing that is an institution reserving for a man and a woman. The debate is not as fiery in the UK as it is here. Basically, any publicity that emerges on his advocacy will not satisfy anyone here. This would be the biggest American role he has ever had. Probably his introduction for most Americans. How would it play out? The original new item is here.
Ein Volk! Ein Reich! Ein Obama!

If they are that excited about him, I say we shoot him out a cannon across the Atlantic so they can have him. We can even let John McCain light the fuse. It would make an old man happy. He might have to fight off Hillary Clinton and Jesse Jackson for the privilege, but would that not be fun to watch?
Gillian Anderson

X-Files II; I Want to Believe was a box office flop over the weekend. Any chances of a better movie coming later are pretty much nil. It looks like the show's paranoid meme has come and gone. That does not mean to do not believe Gillian Anderson is the greatest thing since canned peaches. Speaking of cans, she has a nice pair.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Country First

I am still completely underwhelmed by both the John McCain campaign and the candidate himself. He is making a more pitifully lackluster run than did Bob dole in 1996. At least this time around I do not have to put on a positive face along with the rest of the College republicans at the University of South Carolina and pretend it is all sunshine and roses. My cynicism regarding politics began right out the gate. I just did not realize it until well after it was all said and done.

Nevertheless, I am going to vote against the One True Obama, so McCain will be the beneficiary. I will give McCain some kudos for his latest “Country First” strategy. So far, it relies heavily on Obama’s refusal to visit wounded troops in Germany, but there is a bigger picture. Obama is a fantastic campaigner. Perhaps the most dynamic of my short lifetime. But that is it. He is a mesmerizing campaigner, but not a proven leader. One does not necessarily segue into the other.

Every politician puts politics over country to varying degrees, but pinning the reputation for it on a candidate so that he goes on the defensive is a great strategy if one can pull it off. A politician who has to explain himself is a politician who is losing. John Kerry thought he could get away with ignoring the Swiftboat ads back in 2004. The electorate had the impression heshould have explained himself instead. His campaign suffered a fatal blow over the impression he could not. See how a candidate can wreck another’s campaign even when the other refuses to explain itself?

McCain is probably fearful about going negative more out of concern the media will trot out accusations of anger issues more than anything else. But I think that is the way to go. He will never overtake Obama cruising at his current speed. Will he run the risk of looking like a cantankerous old man? Probably only to the people who were not going to vote for him anyway. He needsto throw out some red meat to get the media attention focused on him rather than Obama LoveFest 2008. I might even gain some enthusiasm if he does.
Robert Novak Has a Brain Tumor

I am curious whether the revelation will mean sympathy from the pundits who mocked his confusion over the hit and run accident he was involved in last Wednesday. He claimed to not know he had hit a pedestrian. Odds are in his condition, that is plausible.

Since outing Valerie Plame as a CIA agent, I doubt he will get any understanding. It makes sense, I suppose. His nickname as the Prince of darkness is well known, as is his reputation for reporting "news" that supports only his political interests. Those interests usually involve huge tax cutsand little else.

Still, I read his column on a regular basis even if I do not take it too seriously and wish him well.
Extermination of the Daleks

New Doctor Who show runner Steven Moffat has announced he will be giving the old villains of the Doctor a rest. In spite of rumors the Sea Devils will return in season five, he was speaking in general terms, but specifically about the Daleks.

I will admit the Daleks have been overused, particularly in grand schemes to conquer Earth, during the reign of Russell T. Davies. The murderous pepper pots have figured prominently in all four seasons. With the rumor one of the upcoming 2009 specials has a “the time war” is not over” theme, they may yet return for one last go around. The doctor clone destroyed all Daleks created with Davros’ genetic material, but that could leave both Dalek Caan, nutty though he may be, still alive. With RTD’s hackneyed writing, Davros might have survived and cloned a brand new race of Daleks since “Journey’s End.” Either way, I would not put another dalek story passed RTD.

Speaking in general terms, I am pleased to know new villains are going to becreated under Moffat. He feels that since this is a new show, it ought to build its own mythology beyond nostalgia for fans of the classic show. In many ways, RTD’s revival of villains was obviously fulfilling a childhood fantasy to finally play with the characters. Moffat understands there are kids out there now who want new villains to become nostalgic for as adults.

Moffat has done affine job with new villains. Have you not been watching the shadows since learning of the Vashta Narada? Not to mention the Gas Mask Zombies, Clockwork Drones, and the Weeping Angels. We have a lot to look forward to in the coming years.
Back in Black

The blue theme lasted exactly eight days before I went back to black. I have warned on any number of occasions how restless I can be about aesthetics. Half the Blogspot blogs I run into are using the black background. Following the crowd is anathema to me, so I change the color of mine, and quickly decide I do not like it. Well, the navy blue with light orange links was awfully garish. It does not look too bad on black, though. I might actually keep this theme for a while. No promises, but I always seem to go back to black no matter what. It goes the best with posting photos.

I have added social network linking for the first time. A while back, the post I made of preview photos from the penultimate Doctor Who episode, “The Stolen Earth,” wound up getting high marks on Digg through no actions of my own. I will not lie. The numerous hits were great. So if you feel compelled to share any of posts with the world, by all means, feel free to do so with my blessing.

You can tell by the time stamp I am up at an awkward hour. I almost got my sleep pattern back to normal after going wonky for a couple weeks there, but it did not last long. It is all right. I am a natural night owl. Boo has taken up srawling across my empty bad shortly before dawn anyway, so it is not like I can plop down and stare at the ceiling like I often do on sleepless nights.

You know how cats normally curl up when they go to sleep and slowly stretch out as they get closer to waking up? Not Boo. She stretches out as far as she can, even with her tail, to take up as much space as possible. She does it out of spite. She is nothing but fur and attitude. Me? I am just attitude.
Evangeline Lilly Bikini Photos

Losties may have gotten a fix with the ComiCon panel on Saturday, but it is still a long way until January. How about a few photos of Evangeline Lilly jogging in a bikini to pass some quality time with?
It goes without saying they can be enlarged greatly by clicking on them.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Diamond in the Rough

Here is a blast from the past if you are of a certain age. It will also shatter your illusions about the general innocence of your youthful entertainment and I am all about that. There is no use in denying you have never watched Saved by the Bell if you are between the ages of 25 and thirty. I will not believe it. I hope your favorite character was not the annoying ubernerd Screech, played by Dustin Diamond. Even back then in character, you got the vibe Diamond was a real jerk in person. No wonder Lisa avoided him like the plague for so long.

Truth is, your vibe is correct. Diamond is a jerk. He feel on hard times post SbtB just like the rest of the cast, sans Tiffany Amber Thiessen, who managed a short acting career as a post high school Kelly for Aaron Spelling and Mark Paul Whatishisface who landed a couple series roles himself. Diamond leaked a sex tape in the hopes of copying Paris Hilton’s undeserved rise to fame, but could not capitalize on it any further than a turn as a contestant on VH1’s Celebrity Fit Club. I am embarrassed to admit I watched that season in one of the umpteen repeats because of the rumors I had heard about his behavior.

Do not get me wrong. While the therapists on that show are putting on an air of legitimacy, they wanted good ratings, so they egged him on. Cameras followed him around to a sex tradeshow where he was peddling his new brand of dildos. (Presumably, they make women screech.) while there, he offered to give one to teammate Kim Wilde. It was the second worse thing to happen to her after losing American Idol. Presumably porking up thirty pounds is on the list, too, but I do not know where. They even allowed him to make a video insulting Da brat’s sexuality and Cledus T. Judd’s young daughter and aired it after viewing the contents.

So his isolationist personality was being encouraged. He was even brought back for a boot camp session a year later to do it again. Sparks flew just as they had before. One suspects there was a certain Jerry Lawler/andy Kaufman play acting feud between Diamond and the former drill sergeant acting as his personal trainer. But the fact is diamond has an isolationist personality and let it run on a long leash while filming SbyB.

Therefore, the next logical step in his campaign to cash in on his “fame” is to write a tell all book. Diamond promises there was lots of sex, drugs, and wild partying on the set. I do not doubt it. When actors work on a squeaky clean show, they often go hog wild. Witness Miley Cyrus posing in a wet tee shirt recently as an example. But specifically, Mario Lopez thinks he is ultra cool even now and we all know how elizebeth Berkley rebelled right out the gate.

Speaking of Berkley, she is developing a show for MTV to help young girls build up their self-esteem. Presumably becoming a stripper is off the table, but you never know what the former Showgirls actress will pull out her garter. For that matter, you have to wonder what Diamond will say in his book. The rest of the cast could probably use the notoriety.

As a side note, the show runner for SbtB was Robert Engel. He became dean of the School of Communications at Regent University my second year of law school. I found that amusing since most regent students had no clue what the show even was and pat Robertson probably would not approve. That was until Mel Gibson showed up to screen The Passion of the Christ a year later and I realized Robertson shared Jerry Falwell’s need to be BFF with any media star that will pay him any attention. They are all good Christians at that point, you know.
Doctor Who & Torchwood at ComiCon

I cannot very well comment on ComiCon and not write about the Doctor Who and Torchwood panels. I assumed news about the two shows was going to dry up pretty quickly sice they are both on hiatus. Such has not been the case. A few items were cleared up. A few others were muddied even more.

First, Doctor Who. While Russell T. Davies will still be in charge of the five specials that will air between Christmas 2009 and Christmas 2009, the panel was completely new show runner Steven Moffat’s. Honestly, not much was revealed we did not already know. Comic book legend Neil Gaiman is likely to pen an episode, but all parties are acting coy about the prospect at this point. Georgia Moffatt will probably return, but the notion that Moffat wanted her to “regenerate” at the end of “The Doctor’s Daughter” was said to be a suggestion to RTD because introducing a big character then killing her off was too Star Trek. It sounds like a cover line to me. I suspect Moffat wants to use the character again but keep it under wraps as long as possible.

As for the muddied point, it has to do with Dr. river Song. Moffat is ambiguous as to whether her story will continue or if her past with the Doctor should remain for the imagination in the same vein the Time war has been. She built up the relationship so much during “Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead,” one suspects any story would bound to disappoint. Plus, alex Kingston is still an American based actress. I was not aware of this. I assumed she left Hollywood after her long stint on ER.

But Moffat goes even further. He will not say if Song recognized ten or a future Doctor. I think this may be another line to hide David Tenant’s decision on whether to stay on for the fifth season or leave. Song may have recognized the essence of the doctor, a point which is odd considering Sarah Jane Smith did not recognize him in “School Reunion” even though he was the third incarnation she has met.

I have mixed emotions whether I would like to revisit Song for the same reasons I listed above. I also have some mixed emotions about Moffat’s warning that he will have to vary his scripts more since he will be writing more than an episode or two a season. Thus far his episodes have been gothic and scary. They have also been some of my favorites. But I understand how that can get stale after awhile. I will just have to have faith he can pull off another “Blink” within a science fiction setting.

Now for Torchwood. Evidently, I was incorrect in saying Freema Agyeman would be in the five part miniseries airing next spring. While it will begin filming before her Law & Order: UK stint, she has backed out of Torchwood altogether. The writers are having to alter scripts for the five episodes. I anticpate a delay in filming, no doubt. The miniseries will deal with theSleeper aliens from the second episode of last season.

Back to Doctor who for a moment. There was an extended trailer for the 2008 Christmas special aired. Here is a shaky copy of it. Last year’s preview was taken down pretty quickly, so it may not last long. Get it while you can.
McG Unveils the T-600

Terminator: Salvation will take place a decade before the T-800 travels back to 1984 in order to kill ssarah Connor. That means an older model, pictured above, will be prominent. it is a clunkier version of the Terminator, but no less deadly.

McG made a point at ComiCon today to note that T:S is a war movie, not a science fiction thriller. With the internet, blackberries, and cloned sheep, ii can see his point. I am oddly happier knowing he feels that way, too. The genre could use a grim, gritty war movie on a grand scale. I cannot think of much else comparable-- and if anyone suggests the Gungans versus the droid army in The Phantom Menace, I will rain down holy fire on your precious comic book collection.

The film will be dedicated to the memory of the late Stan Winston. Very apt, considering how much of the design is his work.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Lost Panel at ComiCon

The Lost panel was held today at ComiCon international. A lot of good stuffcame to light.

The big news is there will not be any flashbacks or flashforwards in the final two seasons. Some new storytelling element will replace them. Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse did not specify, but did say part of the mystery is deciding when and where events are taking place.

I linked a video below of a new Marvin Candel video shown which heavily implies Candel knows about the future. The video is alleged set in 1978, but Candel, who says his real name is Pierre Chang, speaks about the internet and names George W. Bush as president in order to prove he is aware of the future. He says the DHAMA Initiative is subjected to a purge, he and everyone else is killed, but the DI must be reconstituted in order to change the past. Listen carefully to the video. It sounds like Daniel Faraday is filming it.

Speaking of Faraday, he will survive the island disappearing, but the others on board did not. Faraday’s journal is a very important piece of the puzzle because it talks about events in both the past and future.

At some point, we will see Richard Alpert barefoot and learn he has four toes. The revelation will help unravel the mystery of the four toed statue we saw back in “Live Together, Die alone.” Alpert is also very old. Specifically, well over 125 years.

There is a reason miles wanted to stay on the island. We will probably find out why this season.

The love triangle with Kate, Jack, and sawyer will continue. It is a big part of the overall story arc. You cannot win them all, I suppose. I think the high school quality will they/will they not is the weakest part of the show.

Vincent will survive until the end. If this is all a doggie dream, I am going to commit hari kari after the final episode airs.

Rousseau will be in the fifth season even though there will not be any flashbacks.
Since she is as dead as disco, I am curious to see how they will pull this off.

Both Jin and Locke will still be around. Dead is a relative term on Lost.
Here is the video. It may disappear quickly if the powers that be find it, but I described pretty much everything above in case Disney sinks its claws into YouTube:
Stargate: Atlantis--"Broken Ties"

We managed to go at least one episode in which Shepherd was not the ultimate hero who was seriously wounded in the process. This time it was Ronon. I sense a definite formula here, though. Three episodes, pretty much the same theme with different characters. It was not that bad, all things considered, save for one convenient plot twist that could have ruined it all.

Ronon is ambushed off world by his old friend Tyre. Tyre has been cut loose by the wraith and suffering withdrawal symptoms. He surmises he can get back into good graces by turning ronon over to the Wraith. He does so and Ronon is tortured into submission. The Atlantis crew does their best to find him, but have absolutely no leads until someone just randomly shows up, without the slightest logic as to how or why he would know anything, and leads the to the wounded Tyre whom the wraith left behind.

Tyre detoxes, then leads the Atlantis team into a trap, yet again trying to win over the Wraith. Ronon has successfully been brainwashed, so they all get captured. Tyre has a change of heart and helpsthem all escape, heroically sacrificing himself in the process. Ronon has to endure the same painful detox back on Atlantis.

If there was any drama about teyla dropping the team to spend time with her kid—and I did not previously not any –she is sticking with being an adventurer. It does not strike me as the most plausible decision, but I suppose Teyal is not the most maternal type.

I got the impression I would have liked this one more if I had been following the show before now. There is an obvious history between Ronon and Tyre I know nothing about. I just have to surmise the details of their past along the way. It can be done, but I think the heavy reliance on back story is making SGA impenetrable for new viewers. I am assuming this will be the fina season, so maybe that is not much of a priority.

Rating: *** (out of 5)
Elegy for Donna

Yes, I know it should more aptly be called a requiem, but everyone would assume I used "Requiem for a Dream" as the music when I did not. So elegy it is. A music video about the sad fate of a great character. Check out her glowing ring. I believe she will be back! The video is set to "I Cried for You" by Katie Melua. Why hasn't Melua gotten more attention than she has? She's wonderfully talented.
Caturday

Since there has been so much sparring this week between John McCain and the One true Obama over who supported the surge when and exactly how successful it was and when, this feline seemed appropriate.

Well, not really appropriate as in tasteful, but you catch my drift.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Wanna Buy a Viper?

Not the Dodge. I mean the cool kind.

Sometime in 2009, presumably after the proposed television movies have filmed, props from Battlestar Galactica will be auctioned off for charity. One of the items that will be up for sale is a full sized model of a Viper pictured below.

If any of you wish to show your appreciation for this beleagured blogger, I will gladly accept said Viper.
Hamdan: "I Wasn't Read My Miranda Rights."

So says Osama Bin Laden's former driver. It is a valid legal defense now, thanks to Justice Kennedy.
Unoriginal Hollywood

This post is going to whine heavily about the lack of originality in Hollywood’s development plans for the near future, so I am going to preface it by saying there are a number of highly anticipated, original projects soon to be released like Tropical Thunder, Pineapple express, Watchmen, and The Spirit which are fine examples of what Hollywood ought to be about: seeking the best creators to turn the best material, whether original or from another medium, into good movies. So why can there not be more of it?

I understand movie making is a high risk business. Studios can pump hundreds of millions of dollars into a film before it earns a dime and that does not factor in the movie’s completion depends on often edgy, artistic types with little to no sense of responsibility for the amount of money at stake. It is tough to take that kind of risk on something untested. Acquiring the rights to a novel, comic book, or television show is less risky, but still none of those mediums costs as much to produce as a movie.

I once heard Sylvester Stallone, who may not be the best authority, but he has been solely responsible for a number of films over the years, say that making a movie is like closing your eyes and reaching into a closet to grab your clothes for the day. The ensemble probably will not work for you. Creating a remake or a sequel takes a lot of the guesswork out of it, but as Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull proved, even the tried and true formula is not always going to work.

If I had to take a guess, I would imagine the Writers strike has a lot to do with the current crop of planned movies. Writers were not supposed to develop anything during the strike. Theoretically, that means they were not supposed to draft any original specs to shop around once the strike was over, but pretty much everyone assumes many did anyway. Well, maybe not. But executives had to have something to do during the strike and going back to the well seemed to be it.

At least that does explain why sequels and remakes are dominating Hollywood’s plate. Executives have set the agenda and the creative forces have to go along with it. But can you really explain some of the following head scratchers:

Terminator: Salvation--the first part of a new trilogy with a decent cast headed up by Christian Bale, but directed by McG, a former rap video director with the creative pacing of a fruit fly on a cocaine high.

Robocop--there is some dispute whether this is a sequel of sorts or a relaunch, but it will be directed by Darren Aronofsky. Regardless of what it is, how can the mind behind The Fountain stoop to remaking a dated ‘80’s movie about the future? Frank Miller could not even make the two sequels palatable and he went on to make Sin City and 300. I sense disaster ahead.

Top Gun II--the idea is floating about tom Cruise would like to revisit his role in order to clean up his reputation. If you do not know already, he has a cameo in Tropical Thunder trying to do just that. Cruise would play the flight instructor to another hotshot troublemaking pilot. I doubt this would fit into today’s climate. We they bomb terrorists in the climax? One thing we do know, Michelle Rodriguez has already said no.

Fast and the Furious IV--she did not say no to this. Neither did anyone else attached to the original. Looks like times have gotten tough.

Friday the 13th--Early ‘80’s horror cannot be duplicated these days Saw came close, but no cigar. Rob Zombie’s Halloween is a movie best left forgotten. But seriously, why is Michael Bay doing this one? Was John Woo too busy?

Nightmare on Elm Street--here is another relaunch. Was New Nightmare not bad enough? The new creative team wants to take a darker tone, which means taking out Freddy’s sadistic, but campy sense of humor in favor of rob zombie’s meme of twisted perversion. I have already noted how I feel about that. Robert englund may not return to the role, either.

Red Sonja--it was not even a hit the first time around. Robert Rodriguez will produce, but did not want the sure to be dud on his directing resume.

TRON II--okay, I know sci fi fans like the original, but it is so horribly dated, you cannot watch it with a straight face. The way technology is rapidly changing, the sequel will be unwatchable in half the time.

The Rocky Horror Picture show--MTV wants to put this one on the network here and release it in theaters in Europe. Somehow, I think that is away of insulting American intelligence, but I digress. They will use the same script as the original, but update the music. Presumably Meatloaf will be replaced by Justin Timberlake or the Backstreet Boy of your choice. Remember when Gus Van Sant tried the same trick with Psycho in 1998? Worked out swell, did it not?

10--it was cute with Dudley Moore and Bo Derek. In today’s climate, it would be a creepy stalking film. Dollars to donuts they cast Jessica Alba in Derek’s role. She is attractive, but come on. Is she really a ten? For me, she lost all credibility trying to play the Invisible Woman in the fantastic four movies. That is when I knew she was just being shoved into films solely as a sex object with no other logic to it.

The Day the Earth Stood Still--global warming, no Gort, and Keanu Reeves. Need I say more?

Beverly Hills Cop V--Eddie Murphy needs the money.

Rambo V--so does Stallone. He has said he is taking the franchise into a new genre. There is some speculation that means Rambo will take on wounded veterans’ issues. No kidding.

To cap it all off, George Lucas has plans to rerelease all six Star Wars films in 3D. I have been trying to block the prequels out of my mind since the last one was released in 2005. I certainly do not want to see them even more up close and personal. Whatever happened to Lucas’ desire to spend the rest of his career making artsy films for thesake of cinema history? I guess his cash cow is too tempting to let die.

So, how many of these are you looking forward to?
I Don't Want to Believe X-Files II

X-Files Ii: I Want to Believe opens today. I loved the show back in the day. I even liked the quirky first movie, Fight the Future although it had some major plot holes, not the least of which is how Scully managed to have a bee wrapped in her pants leg for twelve hours before it stung her. I also wonder why she was naked in that tube in Antarctica but was wearing pants after being broken free, but I will assume it is because we just would not be lucky enough to watch her cavort naked in the snow.
Uh…what was I talking about?

The show was a staple during my college years. It was about the only show I watched regularly the entire time outside of the two Treks. It was the only one of the three I would seriously lament missing when academia came to call. The seventh season came the year after I graduated. It was the last one before David Duchovny decided to ditch the show for several self-indulgent, artsy projects that went pretty much nowhere. He still has the self-indulgence problem. Californication was a show about an arrogant writer who women throw themselves at. That is how Duchovny views himself in addition to being too good to mingle with X-Philes.

With that in mind, I am surprised he decided to return. Actually, I am surprised the movie was ever made at all. I confess to not following the final two seasons as much as the other seven. I was okay with Robert Patrick and Anabeth Gish, but changing the mythology to feature different aliens was a cheap, implausible move to extend the show’s life beyond reason. It just was not the X-Files. a lot of fans agreed.

After having read some reviews of the new movie, maybe the files should have stayed closed. I do not want to spoil much if you are planning to see it, but the story tritely mentions Scully’s kid is dead and all charges against her and Mulder have been dropped. Well, those are convenient ways to hit the reset button. It is a no frill’s story about a pedophile priest who may or may not have a psychic connection with a killer. No aliens, no mythology, no Krycek. Nothing that makes the X-Files the X-Files. What is the point.

I will eventually see the movie, but I am lukewarm enough about to wait for the DVD. Maybe even the inevitable half dozen times a month showing on FX that will surely occur starting less than a year from now. In the meantime, enjoy the above photo of Gillain Anderson. Maybe at some point we will get the big scale, mythology lacden X-Files movie we were all hoping for.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Burn Notice--"Trust Me"

I am a sucker 9if you will pardon the pun) for stories about con jobs. It probably has a lot to do with my fascination for Sawyer on Lost even though the character has shifted so far away from his con artist roots, it is often hard to keep in mind he is one. But that is another show altogether. Tonight Michael runs his own blackmail scam against a Pakistani consulate employee while running a con job to help a rube repay a loan shark’s money. Did you get all that? His mother meddles in his personal life yet again, too.

Michael’s client fell for a routine scam while trying to score big for his mother’s retirement. The guy got whined and dined by a con artist named Zeke planning to open a new club in Havana. All he needed was $ 200,000 to make partner. All he had to do was borrow the money from a loan shark and pay it back later with interest. When he laid the money down, Zeke had two of his buddies posing as FBI agents rush in, take the cash and throw the guy out. Boom, the money is gone.

Zeke runs the scam with Michael with the exceptional Michael makes it look as though the “FBI agents’ have been killed. Zeke forks over all the cash he has, the loan shark gets paid, and presumably everyone is happy.

Meanwhile, Michael has a running gag with the head of security for the Pakistani consulate. The fellow has a thing for Florida women and eventually caves in. he gives up a decade old file on Carla, Michael’s new handler. You may recall we now know she speaks Arabic with a Kurdish accent. She has at some point been fully active inside Pakistan sometime in the late ‘90’s. Factor this in with the computer files she needed stolen in the season premiere which were all about central Africa and you have to wonder what her game is. I doubt it is international terrorism. More like conflict diamonds and heroin, considering the two locales she is interested in.

They are laying it on thick about the lost romance between Michael and Fiona. There was the strong hint he misses her when she leaves from the first episode. Here, his mother tries rekindling the flame. She believes Fiona is the best thing that ever happened to him. That is a hint for television viewers it will all eventually work out for the burned CIA guy and the trigger happy IRA operative. Have I mentioned Gabrielle anwar is hot? She looked particularly nice in this episode, too. I really got into this one and not just because of her. Burn Notice is not deep, but it is fun to watch.

Rating: *** (out of 5)
Bamber and Agyeman Get New Roles

Here is some interesting news. Two science fiction stars, Jamie Bamber, who plays Lee adama on Battlestar Galactic and Freema Agyeman, who plays Martha Jones on both Doctor Who and Torchwood, have joined the dick wolf produced Law & Order: UK for ITV. Perhaps Lee will finally get his chance to be a lawyer like his grandfather, no? Agteman is said to play a prosecutor.

The announcement reveals some unintentional spoilers for the upcoming third season of Torchwood. The conclusion of “Journey’s End” had Jack Harkness evidently recruiting Martha and Mickey for Torchwood. It has been generally accepted the pair were joining up for the five episodes of the season. Since the short season begins filming next month, the odds are Agyeman will still star in them, but no more.

What happens to her character? Martha has gotten a mixed reaction from fans, but I would rather see her happily ride off into the sunset than be killed off. Same with Mickey, really, although now that I think about it, Noel Clark has cryptically implied he is almost done with the character as far as Doctor Who was concerned. If he was referring to the Whoverse as a whole, both of them might join the choir invisible. That would be tough considering the characters they are replacing died tragically as well.

One has to wonder if Bamber heading back to the United Kingdom might effect the proposed Battlestar Galactica television movies.
Europe's Summer Fling with Obama

The one true Obama certainly believes his own hype. His Berlin speech, which was interrupted thirty times by applause, promised to reshape the world. So not only is America so hopelessly broken it only be redeemed by Barack Obama, so is the rest of the world. Apparently, the rest of the world has no problem with the idea. See how self-loathing liberalism can make people? Germans are cheering on an American politician who just told them the world they helped build is a load of crap he can convert into fertilizer.

Ah, but Obama is still an American politician and there is nothing Europeans dislike more than one of those. What they like now is the idea of Obama. Thus, he is being feted like a rock star. In the tragic event he wins the election, all bets will soon be off. He would mostcertainly bea more popular president in Europe than Bush was, but that is not a very high standard. Considering a president Obama will still have to fight a war on terror whether he wants to or not, he is likely to run contrary to a wishy washy Europe. He may become more popular than Bush, but he will never be as popular as Bill Clinton. There world has more rough edges these days than it did in the ‘90’s.

I am still waiting for the backlash Americans will have over the infatuation Europeans have for Obama. We have a certain jingoism that makes us resent anything Europe wants us to do. If they want him that badly, there is a good chance we will opt to shoot him out a cannon across the Atlantic so they can have him. It is early in the game, but the public has taken note of the media’s affection for Obama. There will be a backlash over that, no doubt. It is not in the bag for him just yet.
Doctor Who 2009 News & Autograph Bans

Wholigans and Trekkies beware. The Royal Shakespeare Company has banned all Doctor Who and Star Trek items from being autographed by David Tennant and Patrick Stewart while they are headlining the current run of Hamlet. The pair will only sing programs and other items related to the play’s run or publicity items not related to the two science fiction franchises.

I can understand the ban in a lot of ways. We are talking about Shakespeare here. You want to class up the joint, so to speak. As a past character played by Tennant noted, you do not diss the Bard. But one of the reasons the pair were cast, aside from the fact both are classically trained actors both highly qualified, is that their fan bases are likely to fill seats. There are virtual armies of actors ready, willing, and able to join a production of Hamlet, so why these two? Because fans of their other work are going to show up for them.

I can imagine both tenant and Stewart would rather not be reminded of the Doctor and Capt. Picard at the moment. Indeed, tenant took the role because he feels the Doctor is consuming his professional life. But surely they realize how much they owe to their beloved characters. I think a little concession by them and the RSC is in order. Maybe there is some acting etiquette at work here I do not know about, but is being heavily identified with one character not the chance you take as an actor, not to mention how many unlucky actors never even get that much? A little gratitude from all parties would be nice.

On a semi-related note, Russell T. Davies has revealed there will be four specials airing in 2009 plus the 2008 Christmas special, which brings the disputed total to officially five altogether. Two will be written by RTD alone. The other two will be cowritten by RTD and Gareth Roberts and Phil Ford. The confusion over the number of specials is apparently due to the 2009 Christmas special being split into two parts.

The split implies a cliffhanger. With rumors Teenant will hang up his sonic screwdriver for 2010, I imagine the cliffhanger will be a regeneration for real this time. That is just speculation on my part, but it sounds plausible, all things considered. We will have to wait and see, no?
Joanna Krupa in a Bikini

I very much approve. Joanna Krupa is the greatest thing to come out of Poland since Solidarity.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Happy Flu

I am participating in a blog diffusion experiment. If you would like to do so as well, click on the appropriate button below and follow the directions to post this on your blog.






Homer Simpson v. Pagans

It has been a while since the fundamentalist Christians have gotten upset at the antics of the Simpsons. From personal experience of spending three years as an inmate at pat Robertson’s Regent University studying law, I can assure you the average fundamentalist Christian could not identify a Simpsons’ character if his or her life depended on it. Most had a hard time differentiating their butts from a hole in the ground, too, but I digress. This time around, it is the pagans who are up set. Talk about a refreshing change.

The photo above is visual proof. Someone decided to paint a 180 foot Homer Simpson holding a donut beside an beside a similar drawing of a pagan fertility god in the English countryside. Pagans are up in arms over the blasphemy or whatever concept they use to describe righteous (?) indignation.

The pagans are promising to hold some sort of magical rain dance in order to wash away the Homer drawing. Why can these bozos not just mellow out to their Enya albums and let the rest of us enjoy the snicker?
Sparring Over the Surge

Devotees of the Obe True Obama are outraged over John McCain's comments surrounding the success of the surge. here is the snippet in question:It is certainly not that the left has anything of substance to say about McCain's point. Take Joe Klein, as a for instance. His is a pretty typical criticism:
I can't remember a more scurrilous statement by a major party candidate. It smacks of desperation. It renews questions about whether McCain has the right temperament for the presidency. How sad.
Klein should stick to anonymously writing thinly veiled bill Clinton worshipping novels and leave political commentary to those with at least an ounce of intelligence in the matter.

McCain has a point. He said we had to win the war, he pushed for the surge, the surge worked, and now we will have that victory that he would not give up on. Obama said the war was hopeless, we'd have to accept loss, and the surge would only waste more lives. Exactly what part of that is not true or worthy of false outrage?
What is More White Trash?

Quick quiz: what is most white trash element of this photo? is it:
A. Britney Spears is smoking in a bikini?
B. The flowers have Christmas lights still on them in July?
C. Sean Preston is holding a cigarette lighter?
The saddest part is I would add Sean Preston's hair is in cornrows if it were only long enough. Maybe once she gets custody taken away from her again, father of the year Kevin Fderline can get that done.
John Edwards in Rielle Trouble

According to the National Enquirer, a paper that in spite of everything, has broken some legitimate stories like the Monica Lewinsky affair with Bill Clinton, this is the woman who allegedly had not only an affair with Veep wannabe “Pretty Boy” John Edwards, but also has a love child by him. The paper claims to have caught Edwards in an assignation with Rielle Hunter and their child Monday night in Los Angeles. Is it true? I do not know, nor do I really care. It is funny, though.

Hunter allegedly wants only for Edwards to ditch his wife 9or hope cancer finally does her in. I am not certain how macabre the woman is.) and live happily ever after with her. Evidently the hush money just is not enough. She has to play house, too. The best part is that Edwards is in Los Angeles to meet with the mayor to discuss ways to curb homelessness. One wonders if being knocked up by a presidential hopeful and forcing him to support you in order to keep quiet is on the table.

I would wonder what Edwards might see in a woman who looks as though she needs make up, fashion advice, and another stint in rehab, but I could not wonder too long. For whatever reason, men in power with egos as large as his often seem to go for painted women on the side, probably just because they can. On the other hand, Edwards is a has been at best and maybe even a never was. The only reason he was ever a senator was because the incumbent was less popular than whooping cough and he had a sob story about thedeath of his son. The man is a cold fish.

Edwards is said to be on the short list for Barack Obama’s Veep. I would be shocked if that were true. Edwards would not even carry his home state, noe does he bring experience to the ticket. I do not know if this scandal will erupt in the mainstream media, but I doubt it will matter. I cannot see Edwards having a second go at Veep, especially when he farted around so much waiting to endorse whoever was the likely winner between Obama and Hillary
Doctor Who Music Video

Here is my latest video. There seems to be as much of a Donna Noble meme going on as there was when Rose Tyler left the TARDIS. Who would have thought fans would care about Catherine Tate as much as they did Billie Piper?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Estelle Getty (1923-2008)

I am going to confess to something completely uncool here--I liked the Golden Girls. It should not come as a big surprise. an unusually large number of today's successful comedy writers got their start on the show, including the creator of Arrested Development. Even Quentin Tarantino did a guest spot once as an Elvis impersonator.

One of the reasons I liked the show so much was Getty's character, Sophia. she was saucy, acerbic, and totally uninhibited. Sophia said everything you ever wanted to say in a given situation, but tact prevented you from doing so. A lot of folks think Betty White got all the laughs because of her innocent ignorance as Rose Nyland, but i always thought sophia was the best character. It is amazing to know she was two years youger than her "daughter," Bea Arthur.

Getty had been suffering from severe dementia for years. Her death was not unexpected. It can probably be called a relief without anyone taking offense. The world seems a lot less funny without her I it. At least we still have Sophia.

Godspeed, Ms. Getty.
Moving Violations

Big changes are afoot for two gentlemen I consider to be nothing but class acts, Roger Ebert and Jay Leno. I will not gush about what a dedicated fan I am of either, because I am not. What I am is someone who has tuned in to At the Movies every now and then, read Ebert’s column whenever the topic interested me because I think he is an insightful critic, and watched Jay Leno interview certain celebrities I am fond of. What I experienced from the two, I generally enjoyed. But what I liked best was the reliability. They were always there when if I wanted them to be. Not so much any longer.

Disney has plans to update At the Movies to change with the times. There has been no further elaboration as yet and what that specifically means, but Ebert and Roeper have decided they want no part of it. There were contract disputes, but one suspects money was not the main issue for the parting of ways. These days a thumbs up does not mean as much when Hollywood big shots hire plants to haunt internet forums and rave about their movies and any doofus with an internet connection can blog about every movie he can afford to see. Television just is not the main venue of movie reviews any longer. Indeed, one is hard pressed to name another successful movie review show beyond At the Movies to begin with.

I can virtually guarantee At the Movies will become another fluffy celebrity gabfest with little to no substance. I doubt it will be a big hit, but since Disney is most certainly aiming for producing it on the cheap, I doubt that will matter.

Ebert has been in poor health since 2006 and has not appeared on the show since. A lot of our periods of life altering health issues have coincided, although he has suffered from cancer and I would not try to compare our two struggles. I only note that we have both been forced to stop what we loved doing because of a nasty twist of fate, therefore I feel n empathy for him. I wish I had handled the downfall with as much class as he has. Alas, that ain’t the way I do things.

On the other side, we have Jay Leno. Here is a guy who has been inexplicably treated badly by NBC. Leno consistently defeats rival David Letterman in the ratings. He has been a worthy successor to the late, great Johnny Carson. Nevertheless, NBC decided it was better to avoid another so called “Late Night War” of succession by announcing months ago Leno would be replaced by Conan O’Brien in 2009—apparently without saying anything to leno beforehand.

I am not certain if the network brass was just boneheadedly shortsighted or if their was background drama we know nothing about, but negotiations to keep leno at the network apparently were not begun until after the announcement. Said negotiations were obviously not going well considering NBC tried to force Leno to return to air during the writers strike by threatening to fire his staff if he did not. Early press on the matter made Leno look bad even though he offered to pay the laid off staff out of his own pocket even though they were NBC employees whose salaries he is not responsible for.

All that considered, I am not surprised he has departed NBC. I expect he will lay low for a while, probably do some stand up, then come back strong, perhaps on FOX. I am not so certain his replacement, Conan O’Brien, will keep all leno’s audience. O’Brien is an edgier comedian who appeals to a younger crowd. Then again, I do not expect a mass exodus of Leno fans over to Letterman, either. I cannot predict much beyond Leno narrowly coming out on top of a three way competition if he does jump to FOX. Oh, and Jimmy Fallon will not last long in O’Brien’s old gig. Maybe if he had gone straight there from Saturday Night Live, but not now. His star, however bright it might have shined before, does not shine at all now.

For now, I really hate to see Ebert and Leno go, even if only for a little while.
Steven Moffat Turns Down Spielberg's Bucks

Steven Moffat, the new head honcho at Doctor Who, turned down a £500,000 movie deal from Steven Spielberg in order to accept the job. That is devotion to a childhood dream of writing the adventures of the good Doctor, no?

Moffat had singed on to write the first two installments of a trilogy featuring the comic strip character, Tintin. The trilogy was to be made by Spielberg and Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson. Moffat penned the first film, then the writers strike came along and prevented him from continuing. In the interim, current Wholigan mastermind Russell T. Davies decided to step down. Moffat was offered the chance to replace him and took it.

Spielberg, a longtime Wholigan himself, understood Moffat’s decision that the Doctor takes precedence over Hollywood. All that in spite of the fact the BBC will not pay Moffat more than £ 100,000 per year as head writer for Doctor Who. It is nice to see passion came out ahead over money, is it not?

I am only vaguely familiar with Tintin. I understand the character is a young journalist who gets into adventures with his dog Snowy and their compatriot Captain Haddock. I was not too excited about seeing it even when Moffat was writing it. I assume Tintin is one of those baby boomer fads I missed out on like Astro Boy, another character I never could get into. Considering the poor performance of Speed racer, whom I would put in the same category as Tintin, Moffat might have made a wise decision by jumping ship beyond creative reasons.
Reese Witherspoon

Just because.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Lost Sawyer Flashback

Way back in 2005, the second episode of the second season of Lost was set to have sawyer flashbacks. The flashbacks involved sawyer's relationship, presumably a con job, with a woman played by Star Trek: Enterprise's Jolene Blalock. The idea was scrapped after some scenes were already filmed and the flashbacks for the episodes were changed to feature Michael and Walt instead.

Some photos from the sawyer flashback we will presumably never see have leaked onto the web and I have them here. if anyone desperately needs a Lost fix, you cannot say i am not doing my part to deliver.


I do not have to remind anyone Lost does not return until January, do I? If it helps any, I have heard filming begins in August, so some spoilers may begin emerging soon.
McCain's Maliki Mishap

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, in an interview in the German magazine, Der Spiegel that Barack Obama's sixteen month timeline for the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq made sense to him. The White House then called to demand that al-Maliki "clarify" his remarks. a spokesman for the prime minister issued an apparently hastily thrown together statement that said al-Maliki had been misunderstood, though he did not say about what.

Basically, the Prime Minister is setting forth a timetable for the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq, a move that favors Obama, rather than supporting John McCain’s notion that early withdrawal is a na├»ve idea that proves Obama does not have the foreign policy chops to be president. McCain has largely hinged his campaign on proving Obama’s inexperience with foreign policy would be a disaster. If an Iraqi pull out becomes reality, it chops McCain’s legs out from under him.

I am not sure it matters. While no one will acknowledge McCain is the victim and Obama the beneficiary of the surge’s success. Perhaps McCain can shift the focus back to Afghanistan, where a resurgent (i hate to use that term considering the insurgents in Iraq) Al Qaeda and Taliban have been battling US troops. But you know, McCain has still not impressed him with his desire to actually be president. He reminds me of bob dole in more ways than one. All he wanted was the nomination and now just assumes voters will want him instead of the other guy. It does not appear to be so. What can McCain do at this point to convince anyone to give him the job?
Jessica Simpson Fails at Country Music

She has been a dud as an actress, a dud as a pop singer, and now a dud as a country singer. At least she looks good in a pair of daisy dukes, no?

Jessica Simpson debuted in her first country concert as one of the opening acts for Sara Evans Saturday night at Country Thunder. Granted, opening acts are little more than politely tolerated by audiences who paid to see to the main draw. It is not a great gig. But Simpson got a mixture of boos and light applause as she took the stage.

Her set was a number of cover songs, like Nancy Sinatra’s “These boots are made for Walking” and Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again.” She also, much to the crowd’s dismay, threw in one of her pop songs, “With You.” Finally, she debuted her first country single, “Come On Over.” None of it went over too well.

Country fans are not as stubborn about crossover artists as you might think. In recent years, they have embraced Sheryl Crowe, Kid Rock, and Norah Jones, among others. Shania Twain, Garth Brooks, and Lonestar have found more success in the mainstream while still keeping country fans happy. It is not even new. Elvis Presley is as adamantly claimed by country music as he is by rock and roll. I doubt the problem is fans willing to give her a shot.

I have to guess Simpson is just bad. The previous act, Kellie Pickler, was received much more warmly before and after. Yes, Pickler. The airhead who butchered pretty much every song she crooned on American idol several seasons ago. There is no indication she has gotten any better since then, either, but fans enjoyed her more. It has to be tough on Simpson. It was not lost on her, either. Simpson had to pep talk the audience by telling them no matter what they have heard in the tabloids, she is just a simple country girl.

A simple country girl thrown out on stage by a manipulative, money grubbing father, at any rate. There is a long standing tradition of that, too. One wonders whether this country experiment is an attempt by Simpson to find a more comfortable niche for herself or a calculated move by daddy to cash on a perceived gold mine. Either way, it does not appear to be going well. It might become even tougher going—simpson has no plans to release another pop album.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Paying the Doctor Bill

The final ratings for "Journey's end' were 10.5 or 455 of the UK television viewing public, whichever sounds more impressive to you. whichever, the BBC was impressed enough to offer star David Tennant$ $ 3 million to play the Doctor through the fifth season of Doctor Who.

That comes out to 4 231,000 per episode. the offer is similar, in terms of BBC budgeting, to NBC offering Jerry Seinfeld $ 5 million per episode yo continue Seinfeld for another season. You may recall Seinfeld turned the money down. so may Tennant. However, doctor Who is the BBC's biggest export. last year, it increased the BBC's profit by 17%. They are not going to let Tennant go if they can help it.

Read the article here.
A Nation of Whiners

You know why I really despise politics these days? John McCain's national campaign co-chair and chief economic adviser former Sen. Phil Gramm got caught saying the reason people think the economy is bad is because we are a nation of whiners--and he had to resign for it. It just goes to show there is not much room for truth in politics.

It reminds me of this song from the late, great Chris LeDoux. Look for a cameo by Garth Brooks towards the end:

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Stargate: Atlantis--"The Seed"

Like I said last week, it has been a while since I followed this show, but one of my favorite characters at the time was Dr. Carson Beckett. The time I was away was not kind to the good Doctor. Up until this episode, he has been kept in stasis in order to prevent an illness from killing him. It has apparently caused organ damage. He is revived here for what looked to be a one off appearance. Lucky for us a medical emergency just happened to emerge right then, no?

The emergency emerged on the first day Woolsey took over for Col. Carter. Woolsey is your typical by the book bureaucrat who cannot see how to do anything outside of the box. He is definitely not suited, at least as yet, for the frontier. I got the early impression there was going to be tension between him as a civilian in charge of a military expedition and the military men and women under his command. By the end, it appeared that may not happen for future episodes. Rather he might be his lack of confidence in himself. I think that might be a refreshing change of pace. However, I did enjoy the more confident leadership of Carter. It made it a more exciting show with a more adventurous tone. I hope it reverts more to that rather than by the book.

The plot was pretty much run of the mill. An organism from Michael’s lab infects Dr. Keller. It essentially turns her into kudzu. The vines growing out of her begin clogging up the city. Beckett found the cure, Ronon got stuck trying to administer it, and finally Sheppard cowboyed it up and saved the day. All of it was unorthodox and out of Woolsley’s comfort zone, but he comes around to accept that is how things are done in Atlantis with hints he is going to screw up in the future because of it.

One extra note: the crew has discovered way to revert the captured hybrids back to humans, but they are still keeping them prisoner. There is a quick debate about retaining them until they can be trusted, which may be forever, which paralleled the whole moral debate over Gitmo. It was thrown in awkwardly and stuck out like a sore thumb. I would just as soon close Gitmo up myself, but the debate over it did not need to be tacked on to an episode which otherwise had zero to do with keeping the hybrids prisoner.

Rating: *** (out of 5)
Caturday

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Obama Tour

What exactly is Barack Obama trying to accomplish on this foreign trip? He is taking along an army of journalists, so he might be trying to gain their favor like John McCain did back in 2000 with the Straight Talk Express. I have read some reports’ memoirs since then and every last one of them has said traveling with McCain was the most fun they had since college. But Obama is already the object of worship for the media, so I think we can dismiss that.

Is he trying to look presidential? I suppose that would work, assuming he does not have any slip ups like when he spoke of an undivided Jerusalem in front of a pro Israeli group and infuriated Palestinian supporters. In spite of having 300 foreign policy advisers, he is still naiveabout whole the world largely works. He is going to have plenty of opportunities to screw up over the next bit of time. I assume he is going to play it safe, but who knows?

I am curious whether Obama believes his near rock star status over seas will boost his legitimacy as a candidate. Foreign policy is his weakest point. Perhaps if Americans see foreign leaders embracing him, they will, too. If so, Obama is underestimating the benign xenophobia Americans have. It is not that we do not care what goes on in other parts of the world, it is that Americans will get angry if politicians cuddle up too much to foreign countries. If the French decide Obama must win the White House, it is liable to be a strike against Obama come November. There is nothing Americans like better than being told what to do by another country.

So I am interested to see how this pans out. I do not think it will be much of a gamechanger. There is too much chance no one who matters will really care. Plus, I suspect the cost of this trip might lead to money woes later. The media may be hyping up Obama’s fundraising, but the truth is it has dropped from the primaries. He is probably going to have to modify the fifty state strategy he plans to run which might also necessitate a move back to the left. There could be some far reaching consequences should the election come down to a few swing states who might think a moderate McCain is better than a left/center Obama