Monday, June 14, 2010

You Must Be Used to Me Spending

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

How was your weekend? Mine was okay. Saturday, I slept in a little then went to a lunch date in Reno. It went pretty well. We had a nice conversation, the food at BJ’s Brewhouse was great (really liked the jambalaya), and we had been texting for a while so it was a good fun time. I did notice a lack of eye contact & eyes wandering about, which is kind of a big sign to me. After lunch, we went to see “Get Him to the Greek” starring Jonah Hill, Russell Brand & Diddy. The movie was hilarious. As you may know, it’s about a young record label gopher (Hill) whose boss (Diddy) puts him in charge of getting rock star Aldous Snow (Brand) on board for a concert celebrating the 10th anniversary of a legendary performance record. Well, it’s been a rough decade since then…and when you’re dealing with rock stars anyway, hijinx ensue. If you’re down with a little low-brow humor and drug use, then I would highly recommend this flick. One little thing though. In all the previews, my favorite part was a smiling Aldous Snow riding around naked on a little car saying “I’m a motorist!” However, it was not in the film. I was mildly disappointed about that…but hey, that’s what the DVD’s for, right? Anyway, great flick…and I want to cover my apartment in furry walls…because I love how that sh*t feels. As for the date, there wasn’t any real sparks or anything…but hey, I’m down for a second date, which by my calculations can probably be scheduled some time before Labor Day.

After the date, I basically kinda wandered around Truckee for a bit…because I didn’t really have anything else to do. No big Saturday night plans for me. I went out to Donner Lake for sunset…and then to the Tourist Club for a few drinks…but yeah, ended up going home before long and watching movies, which I’ll get to in a moment. I realize I haven’t reviewed a whole lot of movies recently…and that’s really because I haven’t seen a whole lot…but I’ll catch you up on the last few weeks. First though, Sunday was softball practice…which basically means I worked on my tan, caught a few fly balls & smashed a few out of the infield. I’m not the best softball player ever. Oh well, we have a bye this week. Also, I have a date tomorrow night too…so we’ll see how that goes. Other than that, nothing much going on other than the usual over-thinking about everything to do with my career, my family, my friends, etc. So here are some pictures from this weekend followed by some movie reviews…

A few weeks back, I watched “District B13: Ultimatum” which is the sequel to District B13, which I saw a few months ago. Basically it’s a vehicle from producer Luc Besson (“Fifth Element”, “Leon, the Professional”, “Taken”, “Transporter” etc) to show off some great parkour action. Again, for those who don’t know parkour is the stuff where guys are running up buildings, doing flips off rooftops, swinging on light posts, and basically just doing some incredibly physical things in urban settings. In this movie, after the storybook ending of the first, it’s a few years later…and nothing has really changed. It’s the near-future Paris, there are still separate districts / ghettos that are walled off from the others, political corruption, and then there’s a defense minister who just wants to blow up District 13 because it’s all gangs & drug dealers so they can rebuild it, employ workers and make it a new area (forgetting that it’ll kill like 100,000 people). Well, the two leads from the first movie aren’t having it…and so they have to kick some ass & make it right. Again, horrible summary, but pretty decent flick. If you like live-action movie without CGI, then this is the kind of movie for you.

Next up was over the weekend, I stumbled upon “Rob Zombie Presents: The Haunted World of El Superbeasto” which is basically the twisted mind of Rob Zombie telling an animated story about a former Mexican wrestler named El Superbeasto (Tom Papa) who in his search for companionship at strip clubs, finds himself in a struggle against the supernatural forces of evil (like zombie Nazis) and Dr. Satan (Paul Giamatti). Luckily he has the superhot friend Susan X (Sheri Moon Zombie) & her robot sidekick to help him find his newly acquainted exotic dancer friend Velvet Von Dark (a foul-mouthed Rosario Dawson) who bears the mark on her backside that will help Dr. Satan become super-powerful. Does that make any sense? It doesn’t really have to…but I would highly recommend that you guys check it out. For example, if you’re a fan of Ren & Stimpy, this is right up your alley…and with slightly more sexually based humor & adult language. Very funny…and as always with Rob’s movies, the music is fantastic. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Kudos to Mr. Zombie yet again.

Now it’s time for a few downers. Not that they were bad movies…just they were of a more serious dramatic tone. First up was “Syriana” starring George Clooney & Matt Damon among others. Basically, it was a story about a financial advisor (Damon) to the future ruler of an oil-rich nation and an aging secret agent type (Clooney) and how their paths cross. All in all, it’s just a very dramatic look at the Middle Eastern situation where oil is basically the most precious resource in human history at this point…and how the U.S. is doing everything in their power to get plenty of it. I didn’t particularly like this movie…but I’m not much of a drama guy anyway. I still thought it had some incredible performances and I was genuinely intrigued to see how it was going to end…but would I watch it again? Probably not.

The next one I watched though was “Body of Lies” starring Leonardo DiCaprio & Russell Crowe and directed by Ridley Scott (“Alien” “Gladiator” etc). This one was a little better to watch for me personally, though very similar in many ways. Basically, a U.S. agent (DiCaprio) is in Beirut and trying to find Al-Salim, the international leader of Al Qaeda. His handler back in the states (Crowe) is there to help guide him along the way…but being in the area for so long, he doesn’t necessarily trust his handler’s advice during the search. He teams up with the Lebanese defense minister (Mark Strong) and they try to bring down the Al Qaeda forces. Of course, things are complicated when he falls for a nurse in the area, his cover is blown (not just because he’s a white guy in Lebanon), there are lies, betrayal, double crosses, explosions, chases, torture, all that stuff. This was a little more my style than “Syriana” or “The Kingdom” among others. Probably because it’s more of a spy flick than a piece about how America is evil & misguided…as are everybody in this complicated situation. Just my opinion. Do with it what you will. Anyway, here’s some news…

The Other James Dean Dies - Jimmy Dean, a country music legend for his smash hit about a workingman hero, "Big Bad John," and an entrepreneur known for his sausage brand, died on Sunday. He was 81. His wife, Donna Meade Dean, said her husband died at their Henrico County, Virginia home. She told The Associated Press that he had some health problems but was still functioning well, so his death came as a shock. She said he was eating in front of the television. She left the room for a time and came back and he was unresponsive. She said he was pronounced dead at 7:54 p.m. "He was amazing," she said. "He had a lot of talents." Born in 1928, Dean was raised in poverty in Plainview, Texas, and dropped out of high school after the ninth grade. He went on to a successful entertainment career in the 1950s and '60s that included the nationally televised "The Jimmy Dean Show." In 1969, Dean went into the sausage business, starting the Jimmy Dean Meat Co. in his hometown. He sold the company to Sara Lee Corp. in 1984. Dean lived in semiretirement with his wife, who is a songwriter and recording artist, on their 200-acre estate just outside Richmond, where he enjoyed investing, boating and watching the sun set over the James River. In 2009 a fire gutted their home, but his Grammy for "Big Bad John," a puppet made by Muppets creator Jim Henson, a clock that had belonged to Prince Charles and Princess Diana and other valuables were saved. Lost were a collection of celebrity-autographed books, posters of Dean with Elvis Presley and other prized possessions. Donna Meade Dean said the couple had just moved back into their reconstructed home. With his drawled wisecracks and quick wit, Dean charmed many fans. But in both entertainment and business circles, he was also known for his tough hide. He once fired bandmate Roy Clark, who went onto "Hee Haw" fame, for showing up late for gigs. Having watched other stars fritter away their fortunes, Dean said he learned to be careful with his money. "I've seen so many people in this business that made a fortune. They get old and broke and can't make any money. ... I tell you something, ... no one's going to play a benefit for Jimmy Dean." Dean said then that he was at peace at his estate and that he had picked a spot near the river where he wanted to be buried. "It's the sweetest piece of property in the world, we think," he told the Richmond Times-Dispatch. "It sure is peaceful here." Well, rest in peace, Mr. Dean. We should all be so lucky as to have a life full of Love, success, work ethic & music…and then laid to rest in the sweetest piece of property in the world. My condolences to your family…and your sausage is f**king delicious. I’m sorry for thinking you were the other James Dean up until high school “Why the hell does James Dean have his own sausage? Well, I guess Marilyn Monroe had her own wine…and that doesn’t make sense either.” Rest in peace.

Conjugal Visits – Okay, so the title really has nothing to do with the story…but it’s catchy. An attorney claims she couldn't visit her client at a South Florida detention center because of the undergarment she was wearing. The attorney said an underwire bra, used to comfort and support her voluptuous breasts, set off a metal detector at the Miami Federal Detention Center earlier this month. Guards at the facility then wouldn't let the woman inside. According to The Miami Herald, the attorney then removed the bra in a bathroom and again tried to enter the detention center. This time though, guards refused to let her inside because she wasn't wearing a bra (and it apparently showed?). The woman later e-mailed other attorneys about the incident. Officials at the detention center declined to comment to the newspaper, as did the attorney who was involved. Then who the hell told anybody? One of the other attorneys? Anyway, just another case of the Man trying to mess with people. That being said, if I worked at a detention center, I’d probably do the same thing. “I’m sorry ma’am. Your bra is making the detector go off. You’re going to have to lose it or I can’t let you in here.” A few minutes later, “Interesting, now it’s going off down here. Are you wearing a belt? Some exotic piercing? No? Hmm, I’m sorry ma’am. I can’t let you inside without…a thorough search. Hey, I don’t make the rules. Maybe it’s a nickel you swallowed as a kid that got stuck but until I find out what you’re hiding in there… Ma’am, I understand. I’m going to try to make this as easy as possible. Why don’t you come into my office for a moment? Do you like Smokey Robinson?” Hey, I don’t make the rules. It’s for everybody’s safety. Everybody thinks that little underwire is just a harmless little support device. Yeah, it’s all fun and games until in a fit of passion somebody loses an eye…and that’s accidental. Inmates can turn a bar of soap into a deadly weapon…and you want them to have access to a piece of tempered steel meant to hold mountains in place? Not on my watch. Take it off!!! Oh, now those things are liable to cause a riot.

Two Face Catwoman – No, it’s not the announcement of the new criminal hybrid in the next Batman movie. Rather a kitten born with two faces in Charleston, West Virginia was given a 50% chance of survival by an area veterinarian. The kitten known as Two Face (of course, apparently Janus was taken) brought the animal to the vet shortly after it was born on Wednesday because its mother refused to nurse the kitten. Dr. Erica Drake said the kitten was born with a rare condition called diprosopus, which means the kitten literally has two faces. Two Face has four eyes, two noses and two mouths. Drake said the kitten's two mouths act independently and she believes each mouth has a separate esophagus leading to one stomach. Weird, right? It'll take a closer look at the kitten's internal anatomy before known about how the kitten will be able to function…but is that some freaky stuff or what? The owner may have two mouths to feed…but only one stomach to fill. That’s a pretty sweet gig. I want a two-faced kitty. Too bad the landlord doesn’t allow pets.

Transformers Update – So does anybody want to hear Michael Bay speak? Well, USA Today recently visited the set of the third "Transformers" and garnered several new tidbits on the film from the man himself. I wondered if he’d mention the fact that he cast & amended the script for a female lead in what will probably be a quarter-billion dollar production in less than 48 hours…but it wasn’t in this bit. However, there were some other interesting things about the third movie…and a few excuses for the “Revenge of the Fallen”:

  • Despite Michael Bay not being a fan of 3D, the film will be released in 3D though it's unsure as yet if it will be shot that way or converted in post-production. My guess, post production because it’s all CGI anyway.

  • Bay partly blames the rush to churn out the first sequel so soon after the writer's strike to blame for 'Revenge of the Fallen' being so shit. Yeah, blame it on the writer’s strike if you must. I’m just glad to hear it straight from you. Wait, was there a writer’s strike during Pearl Harbor?

  • Shockwave has been confirmed as the villain in the next movie, a character described as "the robot Cyclops-turned-laser-cannon, who became dictator of their home world of Cybertron after the other Autobots and Decepticons journeyed to Earth." Okay so…is Shia LaBeouf going to travel to Cybertron now? I mean…he did the magical teleportation thing a few times in the 2nd movie. Forget it.

  • Another story element was the Cold War space race between the U.S.S.R. and the USA with a hidden Transformers role in it that remains one of the planet's most dangerous secrets. Really? It wasn’t a race to the moon? It was a race to Cybertron? Is there a way you can work Rocky & Drago into it?

  • Bay says this third one "really builds to a final crescendo. It's not three multiple endings" and they've removed much of the "dorky comedy". This includes the racist robot twins who are "basically gone" from this, but John Turturro will still provide some comic relief. Thank God!!! That sh*t was irritating.

  • Also don't expect any resurrections as this is a 'trilogy capper' - "As a trilogy, it really ends. It could be rebooted again, but I think it has a really killer ending." Sigh… you know it’s going to be rebooted and sequeled and prequeled until it’s no longer profitable to make them. Ever wonder why they decided to split the last books of Harry Potter & Twilight into two separate movies each? Because you’ll watch both of them…and double their money. So yeah, at least Michael Bay admitted that “Revenge of the Fallen” was sh*t though he tried blaming it on somebody else. Still waiting on the public apology for Pearl Harbor though. Good luck, Mr. Bay.

More Sequels? Really? – Speaking of sequels that don’t need to be made, here are three others in the works that I stumbled upon. The Departed – Oh yeah, you thought everybody died at the end like Hamlet…but hey, even that got a sequel (sort of). Beantown reports that a sequel to Martin Scorsese's 2007 Oscar-winning crime thriller is already in development and could get a 2012 release. Scribe William Monahan has previously indicated he already has ideas for the sequel, while actor Mark Wahlberg has apparently suggested that Scorsese regular Robert De Niro has been asked to portray a corrupt State House politician. That’s all they’ve got on it so far…but don’t be surprised if you see it soon. Mean Girls - A casting call via /Film indicates that Paramount has not only greenlit a sequel to the 2004 comedy, but shooting is already planned for next month around Atlanta. (Oh…and Lindsay Lohan won’t be in this one, and neither will Rachel McAdams, and probably no nudity, so really what’s the point?) The release reports that Emmy-winning director Melanie Mayron will helm the project which revolves around a new high school student, Jo, who agrees to befriend an outcast, Abby, at the urging of Abby's wealthy father in exchange for paying all of Jo's costs for the college of her dreams. (Really?) Jo and Abby team up to take on the school's "mean girls," the Plastics. The story becomes a high stakes battle of loyalty that ultimately comes to a head when one of our heroines finds out that her friendship has been bought and paid for. It essentially sounds like a direct-to-video follow-up, a fact helped by the film being produced by Paramount Famous Productions who created the recent direct-to-DVD title "Van Wilder: Freshman Year". Taken - Liam Neeson says a sequel to his surprise hit revenge thriller "Taken" could be in the works. The actor tells MTV News that he and writer/producer Luc Besson have discussed ideas for a possible follow-up, but "it is hard to get a plot that's going to be believable". Wow, somebody actually cares about plot in a sequel? So, later this month, he and Besson are "going to sit down and see if we can hash it out". Why are they considering any of these? Once again, money. For example, with Taken, the low-budget film was released in mid-2008 internationally and in January last year in the US. Not only did it get decent reviews, it ended up taking $226 million globally. Boom!!! Let’s make another one.

Damn, a lot of talk about movies in today’s entry. Well, hopefully it was somewhat entertaining or helpful. That’s really about it for me today. Wish me luck on the date tomorrow. You know me, I’m optimistic…but I’ve dated single moms before more than thrice and…sometimes they’re just not ready. We shall see. She seems pretty cool…but they all seem nice before you get to know them. Am I right, guys? Oh yeah, it’s primarily girls that read this thing (which is interesting given all the sexual innuendo and pictures of hot chicks plastered all over this thing…but hey, if you girls like it). Anyway, have a great day everybody!!!

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