Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Beginning of The End


LOST!
Season 4 begins tomorrow night!

At 8 PM I think I heard there's going to be an hour-long recap of the last three seasons, so if you've never seen the show, but are interested in being in on one of the best productions television has ever seen, check it out.

Then at 9 PM - the journey continues...
So many "mystery boxes" still left to open!

Who's in the coffin?
Is Jacob real? Who is he?
What's that crazy smoke monster thing anyway?
Who's getting off the island and who's staying?
Why will Jack want to go back?
Who does Kate have to "get back" to?
Where have Michael and Walt been?
Why was Libby in the Santa Rosa Mental Hospital?
What's with the time-traveling bunny?
What's the guy's name - Wickman? Candle? Haliwax?
(And why are they all candle references?)
Can Mikhail (a.k.a. "Eyepatch") really not die?
What's with the Dharma Sharks?



UGH! Awesome!

I'll be posting my review this weekend!

Monday, January 28, 2008

GN'R Update


Not that there's anything particularly amazing to report, but I was curious about the status of this fabled "new album" - Chinese Democracy. So I did some homework and found out that the album is reportedly FINISHED and FINALIZED, has been handed over to Geffen Records, and is currently awaiting the results of some negotiations.

Apparently Mr. Axl Rose is trying to figure out, along with Geffen, how to get as much of our money as possible for this $13 million debacle. I've heard rumors about a triple album, but at the rate of the leaks, my guess is that's not gonna happen.

So we're at least that close to having a new album. If you haven't checked them out yet, here are some of the leaked/new songs from the new version of Guns N' Roses. Enjoy.

There Was A Time

Better

Catcher In The Rye

True Story

I heard this story on NPR today, as read by Peter Sagal on his show "Wait! Wait! Don't Tell Me!" - the NPR News Quiz.


George Bush’s favorite painting, which he has hung in the Oval Office, is called ‘A Charge To Keep’.

It’s a lovely oil painting of a cowboy, who – mind you – looks a little bit like George Bush, according to the President himself, and he’s riding over a ridge in an obvious hurry.

Mr. Bush tells people that the figure in the painting is a Methodist evangelist, who in history brought the good word to people out there in The West.

Well, Jacob Weisberg, author of a new book about President Bush, researched the history of that painting, and found out that that story is completely untrue.

The horseman in the painting is actually a horse thief running from a lynch mob.

True story.

The LPS


A lot of bands and musicians solicit my account on MySpace and I always just hit "deny". But for some reason, on these guys, I didn't - I checked out their music. Now I'm a fan. Thought I'd share it with ya'll.

Introducing: "The LPS!"

http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=49965351


And you can listen to samples and buy tracks here:

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

MARS ATTACKS!


See? Clear as day!
Today, Nasa released this photo (taken from a probe a few years ago) and there is OBVIOUSLY a humanoid struttin' his stuff across the rusty red surface of Mars.
What more evidence would anyone need?!? I think I see his Social Security Card and his iPod. And he's rockin' a t-shirt that says "PHRESH".
What do you see, Mr. Ogilvy?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

SPACE BUGS!


I watched The Andromeda Strain the other day on DVD - GREAT Sci-Fi classic! I'm really surprised it's not more popular even today. Despite some highly dated effects and performances, this movie (based on the 1970 Michael Crichton novel) still holds up as one of the high points of the genre.

When a small town in New Mexico experiences a mysterious plague that kills all it's citizens dead in their tracks, the government brings in a team of specialists to figure out what caused it and how to stop it. What they find could mean the annihilation of the entire human race.

Sure, it's no Star Wars, Star Trek or Jurassic Park, but it's brilliant direction by Robert Wise (editor of Citizen Kane (1941), and director of The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951) and Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)), all-star effects by Douglas Trumbul (2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), and Blade Runner (1982)) and many more assets from a team of greats makes this a film worth watching.

Rent the DVD and be sure to watch the bonus features about the making of the film and a portrait of Michael Crichton.

J.J.'s Mystery Box

If you're a fan of J.J. Abrams, storytelling or just filmmaking in general, take 15 minutes and watch this.

.

There Will Be Blood... (and there was!)


So I saw another movie this weekend - one I'd wanted to see for a few weeks now, but was only able to catch it now. I almost drove up to L.A. to see this film, but now I'm glad I didn't.

There Will be Blood

I don't want to say I didn't like the film - it kept me engaged all throughout and the performances were certainly top-notch. But was I satisfied when the credits began to roll? Not quite. I felt that this film had a similar tone to the amazing new Coen Brothers picture: No Country For Old Men (it was actually shot in the same county in Texas). But I felt like the main character (and I struggle with calling him a "protagonist" or an "antagonist"), Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) was at one moment understandable and sympathetic, and the next a total monster - an alien demon with whom I related very little.

And what did I get out of the whole story? I can't quite say. I usually love Paul Thomas Anderson's films (screenwriter and director of this film, as well as Boogie Nights and Magnolia), but perhaps the young filmmaker has matured to a point that his poetry flies right over my head.

One thing's for sure, though - I won't soon forget a single shot of this film. It's beautifully photographed, edited and scored (the latter by Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood), and the final scene has still got me feeling tense!

I don't even know if I liked the movie, but I certainly liked the ride while I was on it. Weird review, huh? Yeah - well... weird movie.

CLOVERFIELD!


48 Hours later.

First, as an exclusive entity unto itself, this film is a poetic (and perhaps the most direct) reflection of our collective feelings as a nation on the morning of September 11, 2001 and the resonating tone of the years since. Cloverfield feels like a dream one might have while their subconscious struggles to understand the craziness of these modern times while expressing it's utter sense of victimization: "There's a monster coming to get us and we are helpless to escape!"

Now - forgetting all that artsy-fartsy stuff. It certainly didn't live up to the buzz in and of itself, but after seeing the movie, I have reason to believe that the Cloverfield hype may not die down so easily.

Prior to the screening, I had read online that there was something that was worth staying through the credits for, so I kept myself and my five other friends hanging around an extra ten minutes or so (and apparently, about another fifth of the crowd was also tipped off and stayed to the end) only to hear some garbled audio noise for a moment before the Paramount logo came up (at which point, all those still in attendance released a collective moan of disappointment and went home).

But today, I looked it up online and there was actually something pretty significant to that garbled noise. What's cool about this is that J.J. Abrams and company decided not to reveal that special treat right then and there in the theater, but only a small piece of the puzzle to take home with us - as a collective movie-going public - to decipher at home with our computers.

I also read that many viewers caught a hidden little "Easter Egg" at the very last shot in the movie which had gone totally unnoticed by me and all my friends. This automatically made me want to watch the movie again and if I had money to burn, I probably would just to see it myself.

Therefore, I think we may be in for sequels or some sort of off-shoot from this story as buzz and inevitable questions arise. This is a movie that leaves you asking more questions rather than answering them all in a convenient little 90-minute package, like most formulaic films do. Like a drug-addict whose become tolerant to the active ingredient as a result of over-exposure, today's movie-going audience no longer reacts to the same old tricks the way they once did. The language of film is always changing, but never more rapidly than this generation - what has been referred to as the MySpace Generation (or more accurately, perhaps in this case, the YouTube Generation). We now have become acclimatized to getting our stories through first-person "reality" camcorder points of view - or the "Blair Witch" style of presentation. Abrams knows this and utilizes it to put the viewer right in the middle of the action. And with this cutting-edge generation, we have found countless new ways to obtain information.

Abrams knows this, as well.

With his use of the "viral marketing" approach and using the internet to blur the lines of reality and fantasy (for both Cloverfield and his hit show, LOST), Abrams seems to be of the mind that his story has the potential to be told through multiple mediums. Perhaps, like LOST, Cloverfield is only one (albeit, probably the largest) piece of a larger pie that could conceivably be called, simply: "The Monster Story". He uses MySpace pages of fictional characters and canon video blogs from another character (who never even appears in the film itself) to make them seem very real. He brilliantly denies the film a title in the initial trailers - and even then, gives it a name that means absolutely nothing. ("Cloverfield" is an exit off the Santa Monica freeway and a street where is located one of the production facilities that produced the film. Nothing more.)

So, although the film itself can't live up to the surrounding chatter, it seems that the real star here is the buzz itself and is supported by this little record-breaking movie starring no one we know and a monster to whom we still haven't been properly introduced.

I say: Go see it, unless you're totally unwilling to be a nerd and get in on the internet frenzy.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Thursday, January 17, 2008

MAC! MAC! MAC!


Okay, so, if you don't have a Mac yet, just know - whether you want it or not, your next computer purchase will be a Mac. They're just gonna take over and resistance is futile. Plus it's fun over here on the dark side! Come and see!

Anyway, Steve Jobs just gave the Macworld 2008 Keynote Address (available for viewing and download on iTunes podcasts).

After reviewing the year 2007, and throughly and deservedly patting himself on the back (or humping his own leg) for all the bad-ass products Apple launched, homeboy unveiled 4 big new things.

1. The Apple Time Capsule - which automatically and wirelessly backs up your hard drives. A useful feature, especially with it's massive capacity, but requires the use of OSX Leopard, which is sold separately.
2. All the new software for the iPhone and iPod Touch (neither of which I own, but it all seemed cool.)
3. (And MY favorite) The major overhaul software update for a previously almost usleless piece of hardware, the Apple TV - a hard drive that plugs into your TV and remotely downloaded music, movies and photos. But as Steve said, no one cared about playing music and photos on TV - they wanted movies. So this new update gives us what I've been dreaming of for some time now - direct download of HD movies, TV shows and podcasts to your home theater system, even without the incorporation of a Mac computer. (You CAN sync it all with a Mac if you'd like, but it's not necessary.)
4. The new MacBook Air - the world's thinnest notebook computer. Pretty cool, but still out of my price range.

Anyway, I think the innovation of the Apple TV is going to change things a lot - you can now buy and rent movies in Standard or HD quality - all the major studios are invested, and the library continues to grow every day. The prices are decent, the rental agreement is fair and it's only going to keep getting better with each update.

So, to my friends with brand new Hi-Def, Widescreen TVs, look closely at the Apple TV hardware - now selling for $239. I think it may be one of the most fun toys you could get this year and I want to play with it, so you need to get it first.

Go Mac!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Sarah Connor Chronicles


Ouch.
I mean, it could be worse. But time-traveling to the future so you don't have to set your story in the late 1990s? What a cop-out! Funny how the John Connor character from Rise of the Machines never mentions his time-traveling adventures with mom. Guess he forgot all about it. (Hmm... maybe a memory-wipe will be featured in some finale!)

Anyway, sub-par compared to the movies, but decent enough TV. Some of the writing is actually pretty good and I find myself thinking more and more about the show. I'll definitely keep watching to see how it grows on me. I already like it better than 'Heroes' but, I gotta chalk that up to the movies. What do you think?

Time for more blogs!

Okay, so since I'm just starting my first venture into blogging, I'm gonna bang out a few things that are fresh in my head.

First - a State of the Union Address... about me, though.... not about the Union.

I'm good, thanks.

Work has finally picked up again, so I've been enjoying the privilege of eating food again recently. Should keep me pretty busy. (For those of you who don't know, I'm editing a documentary about health, wellness, pharmaceuticals and stuff. Got to travel around the country shooting in during the summer, too.)

Let's see... what else?

I've kinda given up on buying CD's. There's a sign of the times! Last year, there was one "Black Tuesday" when I bought 3 new CD's of which I had been eagerly awaiting the release. They were Beck's The Information, The Killers' Sam's Town, and Jet's Shine On. Now, I wouldn't say they all sucked, but I come from a generation who saw the release of such albums as Michael Jackson's Thriller, U2's The Joshua Tree, Pearl Jam's Ten and Kid Rock's Devil Without a Cause... and, suffice it to say, I felt a bit let down this day.

I have about 400 CD's and now I can hold it all digitally in a device the size of a wallet. I can even acquire it free, if I really want to... but... who would want to do that? I mean, it's illegal, right? Who would have the balls to break the LAW? Not me, man! Not me!

So now, it's pretty much iTunes and the like. I'll be posting my quarterly music mixes as they happen from now on. Might even post the lists from the past 24 of them (I started these Mixes in September of 2001) if I feel like really being laughed at, which I sometimes do.

Love life? Yeah, no thanks. Being single right now is helping me get some stabilization in my life and is a huge stress reliever. That doesn't say much for my stress management skills within a relationship, does it?

Further news...

I bought a portable DVD player! Now I can watch LOST and The Simpsons (and recently The Sopranos - thanks, Mike!) and any of my bazillion movies from the comfortable position of laying down in bed without the mess and potential death hazard of a T.V. on the ceiling! I just roll over 90 degrees and watch the little screen on the night stand! Woo-hoo! (When your nearsightedness bests your efforts to watch the big TV at the other end of the room and common courtesy thwarts you penchant for watching loud things late at night, the portable device with the headphones comes in very handy.) It's an LG with an 8" Hi-res screen and a 5-hour battery. Very cool... very cool. Merry Christmas to me!

Okay, well, that's enough for this blog - that was a good warm up. I'll write another on another subject now.

See ya!

Hi, everybody. My name is Michael, and... I'm.... a blogger.

Yeah, man!

It's totally uncool to blog because everyone else is doing it.
You're only cool if you don't do what everyone else is doing and if you do what the doers are doing then what you're doing is UNCOOL!

Oh, speaking of cool - I just found out that my friend, Josh Cooley, has a blog. (I say "friend," but ever since he started drawing his little pictures for some cartoon company... 'Plaxar' or something... he's too cool to drive 600 miles to hang with me - a guy he only knows through a mutual friend!) Anyway, check it out at cooleycooley.blogspot.com - he's the awesomest drawler.

So that's why I'm here. If blogging is cool enough for the Cooley, I guess it's good enough for me.

Welcome, Michael.

Thanks, everyone. (Sits down)