Sunday, October 28, 2012

Lost in the Cloud Atlas

I don't smoke or drink but after watching the Wachowski's 
"Cloud Atlas" I felt like I was sharing the doobie Tom Hanks 
and Halle Berry passed back and forth during the Luisa Rey 
movement of this filmic symphony.

"Cloud Atlas" is the kind of movie you feel you should dress 

up for - like going to the theater or going to the symphony. And, 
unfortunately, that is the kind of audience it will ultimately draw. 
Atlas requires the type of sophistication and patience a night at 
the opera might require. A film patron will need the forbearance 
and the fortitude to abide as unfamiliar characters and stories
slowly take stage and unfold with no particular urgency.

The viewer is adrift for long passages of this movie, the primary 

flaw being the lack of a notable thru-character to latch on to and 
care about. There are a few linchpins – Doona Bae and Jim Broad-
bent  being particularly striking as the genetically engineered 
fabricant, Sonmi-451, and the vanity publisher and late in life 
swashbuckler, Timothy Cavendish, respectively. Elsewhere 
formidable star power is muted as big name actors such as Tom 
Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant and Wachowski repertory player, 
Hugo Weaving, frequently disappear under mounds of makeup. 
In fact, one of the delights of the movie is sitting through the end 
credits and being wonderfully surprised by who was playing who.

You have to respect the high ground the Wachowskis are playing 

on and it is doubly nice to see that, as in the Matrix Trilogy, there 
are black people in the future and they fare pretty well.

In the end I must agree with book critic Robert K. J. Kiheffer 

who wrote, "for its pleasures, Cloud Atlas falls short of 
revolutionary." It may not be a masterpiece, but it is a stunning 


Saturday, October 27, 2012

American Gothic Horror Show

Anyone watching the year two reboot of American Horror Story?  I was highly disaffected by the ending of the first cycle which, IMHO, seemed like a cheat - especially after how invested we, the viewers, had become.  We cared.  Cared enough to be disappointed when all the primary characters ended up in kind of a Beetlejuice-esque limbo - without the calypso.  Anywho, last night in the wee hours of the morning, I watched the first two episodes of "Asylum" and, just like Michael Corleone in the Godfather saga, I'm pulled back in again.

Asylum is full of all of the religious and sexual kinks one comes to associate with a Ryan Murphy project - including his PG rated "Glee."  And, of course, there's the monster mash: slasher movies and alien abductions and mad scientist dismemberments and lobotomies all diced up in some cosmic blender.

As in season one Jessica Lang is revelation.  Still exuding a smoldering (if brittle) sexuality at 63, she continues to amaze with her steely precision as an actress. As Mother Superior, she is one twisted sister.


Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Faces of Te-Boe

The NFL Network is running a documentary on the phenomenon
of Tim Tebow called "The Faces of Tebow."  As a die-hard pro-

fessional football fan and a card-carrying Dr. Who devotee (since
Tom Baker), I am fascinated by the nexus where 
two lumps of

granite: Tim Tebow and the Face of Boe can come together in a
populist punchline. I love the 
linguistic gymnastics involved in
"The Faces of Tebow"; I wonder at the mind of 
the football loving
sci-fi geek whose brain connected the disparate dots to make

such a psychic connection; and I wonder how many die-hard
Tebow fans could (or 
would) make the extrapolation to the
iconic "wanderer without a home"...and vice 


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Mocking Time

I just finished reading Harper Lee's To Kill A Mocking Bird.  I had always assumed the "mockingbird" too precious to kill was Tom Robinson, the black man falsely accused of raping the white trash daughter of the town's drunken lout.  Imagine my surprise when i discovered the "mockingbird" is, in fact, Boo Radley, the white town idiot and recluse, who has actually committed a crime - murder - but is not arrested or prosecuted - while innocent Tom is not only arrested, threatened with lynching, wrongfully convicted, and eventually shot dead while trying to escape from a prison farm to which he never should have sent in the first place.

No wonder they want their country back.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Is this the End?

This may be the demise of the Scarjo Hotness Meter.  Not because Scarjo (the redoubtable Miss Scarlett Johansson) is not on the 2012 Maxim Hot 100 List - she is, at number 17 - it is because the list is such a joke that ranking women on the list relative to Scarjo's current position is not only ridiculous but irrelevant.

If the editors of Maxim no longer care, why should I?  Who cares that cartoon mom Lois Griffin, number 85, is a +68 on the Hotness Meter?  LOIS GRIFFIN?  I mean, Rihanna is the first black woman on the list and she is number 32 (+15).  Zoe Saldana is 45 (+28) and LaLa Anthony is 93 (+76).

Meagan Good and Gabrielle Union didn't even make the list and, as always, Halle Berry and Rosario Dawson remain TOO HOT for the Scarjo Hotness Meter.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Westward Ho!

I am officially old. Girlfriend out of town and I spent a good chunk of my leisure time, yesterday, watching westerns on Encore's western channel. Watched episodes of Wagon Train with a young and virile Clint Eastwood; watched John Wayne and William Holden in The Horse Soldiers; set my DVR to capture The Ballad of Cable Hogue (in my opinion, one of Sam Peckinpah's best movies - not to mention Stella Stevens' and Jason Robards' - although I like him better in How the West Was Won)and the Sabata trilogy (starring Lee Van Cleef and Yul Brenner).

But i had the most fun watching something called 4 for Texas starring Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. This movie has many charms, prominent among them the decolletage of Anita Ekberg and the legs and everything else of Ursula Andress, but the thing that resonated with me was the performance of Edric Conner, a black man, co-starring as "Prince George," Dean Martin's coach driver and enforcer. The strapping Conner embodies his Prince with a screen dignity that is as rare as it is compelling. Prince George owns his coach and refuses to sell it to Martin - he is agreeable to renting it and his services, however, as he retains ownership of his rig and himself. It is forebear of the innate, self-contained nobility and virility Sidney Poitier will bring to the screen five years hence in movies like Guess Who's Coming to Dinner and In the Heat of the Night - except there is mischievous glint in Conner's eye that we will not witness on screen again until the heyday of Eddie Murphy. I am not a fan of what Sinatra became, but in the early to middle sixties he was on the side of the angels when it came to showcasing black actors on screen.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Cross My Heart

I am in full NBA playoff mode (two games EVERY night!) but after the games on TNT I have had the pleasure of catching reruns of some of TNTs welcome characters (the night before I saw my first ever episode of Franklin and Bash and I gotta know, is there some new trend where every television law firm is run by an Afro-American MILF - Garcelle Beauvais on Bash and Gina Torres on Suits?).

Late last night I saw the best episode of Leverage I have ever seen.  I am up and down with this series.  Some episodes wow me while others leave me indifferent but last night's "Cross My Heart" episode from season four was great.  Everything from the cold start during a layover at the Cincinnati Airport to the two lives hanging in the balance drama - with several Sting-like twists in between - left me unable to go to bed (although it was already one am and I had to go to work in the morning)and showed Leverage's tight ensemble group at their best.


Monday, May 14, 2012

Crowne Me

Has anybody seen Larry Crowne with Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts?  Like most of the movie going public I avoided it like the plague when it was in the theaters.  Caught it on DirecTV and I found it quite engaging (and not just for the awesomely fetching Gugu Mbatha-Raw).  The movie prominently features Pam Grier (still fetching), Cedric the Entertainer, Taraji P. Henson and a slyly wicked turn by George Takei as Dr. Matsutani. In addition to Mr. Takei, there is a nice bit where one of Hank's speech classmates gives a two-minute dissertation on why Deep Space Nine is the best of the Star Trek series while dressed in full star fleet uniform.  This movie even makes me like Wilmer Valderrama and I HATE Wilmer Valderrama.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Hulk Like Me

It turns out the problem with the two Hulk movies wasn't the CGI Hulks - because the one in the new Avengers movie is not significantly better than the one in the second Hulk movie - but the actors playing Dr. Bruce Banner. Mark Ruffalo wears the tortured soul of the good doctor as he brings a vulnerability, a fragile, bruised humanity to the character that has been missing since Bill Bixby played David Bruce Banner. He so inhabits the character that when Banner and Stark are going I.Q. to I.Q. on the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier, you believe in his prodigious intellect and his overweening humanity, in way you wouldn't if the character had been played by one Eric Bana or one Edward Norton.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Wild Things

Where the Wild Things Are author Maurice Sendak dead at 83. I used to read Where the Wild Things Are to my daughter (who is now 20) every night. She'd giggle every time I told her in my monster voice, "I could eat you up I love you so!" and every night we would conclude the book with me asking softly, "and who loved him most of all?" "His mommy," she would say before kissing me on my forehead and falling off to sleep. ~rave!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Ballin' too hard

So I ball so hard muhfuckas wanna fine me 
But first niggas gotta find me

What's 50 grand to a muhfuka like me

Can you please remind me?

Ball so hard This shit crazy
~Kanye West, "Niggas in Paris"

Okay, Kanye, you win.  I recant everything I have ever suggested
about your being gay ("not that there's anything wrong with that").
Just please, please, PLEASE!!!! stop this Kim Kardashian nonsense.

I don't believe this relationship is any more real than your "relationship" with Shay the UK Bombshell

Or your "relationship" with Amber Rose

(why does Kanye always look like he was photo-shopped into these pictures)

But those publicity stunts were relatively harmless.  Ms. Rose went on to play wifey with Wiz Khalifa and the Bombshell carried on being ridiculously endowed.

This Kardashian business, however, is toxic (holler at your boy, Lamar; give Kris Humphries a jingle).  Nothing good will come out of it.  Nothing good CAN come out of it.  I mean, have you SEEN her sex video (with Ray J)?  I have.  So believe me when I tell you that even if I am willing to concede your non-gayness (and I AM, truly I am) not even the sex will be good.

Nothing good has ever come from putting three Ks together.  

If, like noted cockhound Tom Cruise, you must persist in trawling for talent, trawl for TALENT.  

I hear Rihanna likes to play.
Or how about actress Lauren London 
(oh, no, wait...Weezy has already been there - done that)

Duane Wade has locked up Gabrielle Union...

 but it is my understanding that Meagan Good is still available.

And Tyra Banks is still Tyra Banks (fool!). 

'cept publicly dating Tyra Banks is damn near like ADMITTING YOU ARE GAY ("not that anything is wrong with that").

This shit crazy.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Black like Me

I am often amused by the comedy stylings of conservative apologist Jonah Goldberg (,
but his ham-fisted attack on the phrase "white hispanic" borders on willful cluelessness.

Back in the last millennium a white supervisor asked me what was the difference between a white Hispanic and a black Hispanic and I replied: What is the difference between a white American and a black American?

It is that simple and nobody needs a score card to figure it out. Anybody that has seen a telenovela on Univision or Sophia Vergara on "Modern Family" knows what a white Hispanic looks like.  Anybody who has watched Major League baseball and has rooted for Mariano Rivera or Alfonso Soriano knows what a black Hispanic looks like.

If you can move into a predominantly white neighborhood and nobody moves out, you are a white Hispanic.  If baseball has been "berry, berry good to you" you are a black Hispanic.

First of all, Mr. Goldberg, it has nothing to do with whether or not one of your parents is white.  So, no, President Obama is NOT a white African-American.  If Mr. Obama was, in fact, a white African-American and looked like your brother-from-another-mother instead of "the other," he would be currently hailed as the new Ronald Reagan for his moderate Republican policies and not vilified as a wild-eyed radical.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Bite Me

Has Toby Whithouse, head writer and chief cook and
bottle washer of Being Human, added to werewolf/
vampire lore?  I was struck by two seemingly new twists:
1) werewolf blood is like a stake through the heart for 
vampires (geez louise, wouldn't this knowledge have been 
valuable to poor, sad-sack George - Russell Tovey - two, 
three seasons ago?  I mean, vampires were practically taping 
"kick me" signs to his back when they weren't kicking 
sand in his face) and (2) vampirism is like drug or sex 
addiction - you can beat it if you have enough will power 
and try really, really hard.

New vampire-in-residence, Hal (Damien Molony), isn't 
feeding on humans but unlike, say Edward, from Twilight, 
who feeds on small, furry forest creatures or Vampire Bill, 
from True Blood, who quenches his thirst with synthetic 
human brew, Hal doesn't seem to need to ingest any bodily 

Now the werewolf blood thing - well, I guess it would be 
awful hard to extract blood from a werewolf (for the express 
purpose of killing vampires).  For one thing, you can only 
harvest once every full moon and werewolves are just plain 
frickin' mean and onery until they transition back to human.  
If you kill 'em they would probably transition back to human, 
and, if you knocked 'em down with a tranquilizer gun they
would probably transition before you could "milk" 

Still, werewolf blood kills vampires.  Who knew? (Or did 
werewolves overcome and nobody told me?)