Monthly Archives: August 2010

‘Skyline’ Trailer: I’m Skeptical.

The trailer for Skyline, a sci-fi adventure movie set for a November release, is now on the web and it doesn’t look so great.

Nothing gets the blood pumping like paraphrasing Stephen Hawking or the buzz-cutted wonder, Dan Rather, discussing the plight of Native Americans, right?

Seriously, this movie, directed by the Strause brothers (oh yeah, Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem!) looks to be a weak message movie against America’s imperialism, wrapped in mediocre visual effects and a weak cast.  Yep, the headliner of this movie is Eric Balfour, who once played a character named Spyder on NYPD: Blue. However, Donald “Turk” Faison is in it, and I do love me some Turk.

Actually, scratch everything I just said.  If Turk dances, this will win Best Picture.

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Band Pimping: Talking Heads.

Man, I want to dress like them.

For the last week, I’ve been on a Talking Heads kick, thanks to Dhani Harrison and thenewno2’s — a great band in their own right — “Psycho Killer” cover at Lollapalooza, and I feel now is a good time to shed some light on one of the oddest mainstream acts I’ve ever heard but never truly appreciated until lately.

Take this song, a cover of Al Green’s “Take Me To the River,” which gives a spin on a soul classic that has arguably made the ‘Heads version more famous than the original.

David Byrne and company turned that soul standard into a hipster anthem for the ages, which is no small feat.  But that song pales in comparison to this doozy, “Road to Nowhere,” which is funky-gospel-“hooray”-inducingly great.

‘Nuff said.  Enjoy, comment, et al.

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‘Party In The U.S.A.’ Drinking Game, Huzzah!

I spent the weekend in Champaign, IL, home of the University of Illinois, cows, and alcoholism, and Friday night I learned of a delightful way to get drunk fast: play the “Party in the U.S.A.” drinking game!

In this lovely — I just died a little inside by saying that — video by one Miss Miley Cyrus, daughter of Billy Ray, many things happen repeatedly.  My friend Greg laid out the rules for the game, which are as follows:

1. Drink whenever Miley touches her hair.

2. Drink whenever Miley kicks at the dirt.

3. Drink whenever anyone does an acrobatic move (flips, spins, etc.).

Now, you wouldn’t expect this to be a very effective way to get your drinking done, but trust me, if you follow the rules, you will finish a can of beer during the three minutes and 21 seconds. And when you play the game repeatedly, it’s a good way to warm up for the night.

Following the game, my friends and I had a conversation about the lyrics.  Clearly, we are deep.  Anyway, someone mentioned how they heard Miley had actually never listened to Jay-Z before.  I’d bet that’s true, because you know the Cyrus household had one thing, and one thing only, playing on a continuous loop.

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‘The Social Network’ Trailer: Yay.

The Social Network, the Facebook movie directed by one of my favorite filmmakers, David Fincher, and starring Jesse Eisenberg and Spider-Man himself, Andrew Garfield, looks like an Oscar bait movie I can get behind, based on this trailer.

For a movie I once thought completely unnecessary, I couldn’t be any more excited.  I couldn’t wrap my mind around why Fincher would want to do something like this, but there actually seems to be a very enthralling story behind the creation of my — and 500 million of my peers — favorite time waster, probably because of the Aaron Sorkin script.  I’m interested in seeing Eisenberg do more dramatic stuff than his faux-Michael Cera roles to date, and I really want to see what Garfield can do with a larger role than he had in the middling The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. Plus J.T. is in it, and J.T. is awesome no matter what he doesNo matter what.

And, of course, the Radiohead cover playing throughout the trailer is pretty sweet.

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AMC’s Newest Series Goes The Crime Route.

The AMC network greenlit another series, based on the Danish show Forbrydelson (Crime), adapted by Verna Sud (Cold Case), and with the network’s track record, it’s at least worth a look.

AMC: trying to catch lightning in yet another bottle.

Following the leads of Mad Men (amazing), Breaking Bad (currently my favorite show on television for scenes like this), Rubicon (which I’m going to watch once I’m back at school and have cable again), and The Walking Dead (October can’t come soon enough), this currently untitled American version could be more icing on the cake for the network, which keeps hitting home runs with everything it produces.

The show, which stars Michelle Forbes, Billy Campbell, and Mireille Enos, follows the investigation of the murder of a young girl named Rosie Larson.  One crime sets the entire series in motion.  Clearly, this isn’t just another CSI procedural.

With the focus on a single crime and its Pacific Northwest locale (it takes place in Seattle), the show even has shades of Twin Peaks, although I doubt there will be any Red Rooms or mystical killer Bobs walking around.  With the child crime themes and “gripping character based story,” this is also very reminiscent of Gone Baby Gone, a gut punch of a movie, but one of the most engrossing movies I’ve seen in a long time.  If the show follows that film’s lead, I think AMC’s going to have another winner on its hands.  Of course, they need to name it, though.

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YouTube Premakes are Fun, Cool.

There is a phenomenon on YouTube these days asking what classic or upcoming movies would be like if they had been made years or decades before they actually hit theaters, using spliced footage from old black and white films, and there are tons of cool ones I’ve seen, including this one for The Avengers that I found while on Ain’t It Cool News.

After reading Harry’s post about that Avengers trailer, I looked up premakes and I found a bunch.  This is a short one for Star Wars if it had been made in 1947 instead of 1977.

My favorite, though, shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who knows me.  This is a premake trailer for my favorite movie, Ghostbusters, if it had been made in 1954 with Bob Hope, Jerry Lewis, and Dean Martin in the lead roles.  It’s all kinds of geeky cool and very entertaining.

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Free Lollapalooza, Hooray!

One of the best free days I've ever had.

It’s been a good few days: Saturday night, my girlfriend and I were told by our friend Kelly (now officially known as The Coolest Girl On The Planet), a St. Louis radio station employee who happened to be working this weekend’s Lollapalooza music festival, that she had been able to procure some free passes for us to get into Sunday’s final day to see the bands thenewno2, Perry Farrell, MGMT, and the headliners, Soundgarden.

As a huge music fan who lives in Chicago but was always too poor to buy tickets, I was extremely giddy.

We arrived at Grant Park around 2:30 p.m. and met The Coolest.  She gave us our “Media” wristbands and we walked in and headed straight for the Kidzapalooza stage, where my girlfriend’s one true love, Dhani Harrison — George’s son — was playing with his band, thenewno2.  That’s right, a The Prisoner reference to bring out the geek in me.

Despite Harrison competing for the affection of my girlfriend, he and his band mates put on a hell of a show, with a short set that consisted of an amazing cover of The Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer,” which had me grinning and dancing like the nerd I am.

It was then when Lollapalooza founder, Jane’s Addiction, and Porno for Pyros singer Perry Farrell came onstage to play with Harrison and his band, playing his Porno for Pyros song, “Pets,” which was very good, if a little odd for Kidzapalooza for its use of the word “fuck” in the lyrics, but that’s neither here nor there, especially with the amount of weed I smelled in the air, most of it coming from the kids’ negligent parents.  And thus concludes the parenting advice section of the article.

After an amusing anecdote about growing up idolizing Lou Reed, only to meet rock’s grumpiest man face to face, Farrell and co. launched into a great rendition of “Sweet Jane.”

After some food, we went to the sweet media area and hung out with The Coolest and watched her kick out a fence jumper.  Then she gave us free beer!  And given the $7 beers being hawked at all the other festival goers, I was even more pumped.

Then we headed to see MGMT, and the New York band put on a very good show, even though we missed the beginning and were stuck on the very edge of the crowd.  Their live versions of “Time to Pretend” and “It’s Working” are not to be missed.  If you have a chance to see them, do it.

We knew seeing MGMT would mean sacrificing a great spot during Soundgarden, but I was so excited to see the newly reformed grunge gods that I wouldn’t have cared if I’d been set on fire for the entire set.  We went back to the media area for more free beer and had a pretty awesome view of the main stage, and then the band erupted onstage and dazzled me for sure, and everyone else seemed pretty jazzed too.

It was more than just a greatest hits set, but the biggest cheers were reserved for songs like “Spoonman” and “Fell On Black Days” and, of course, “Black Hole Sun.” The band looks great, but with one of my main man crushes, Chris Cornell, leading the charge, I couldn’t expect anything less.  Seriously, the man is pushing 50 and is in better shape than I am.  They also seem to be getting along, which is always a plus for a band that hasn’t been together in more than a decade.

After seeing Soundgarden, I was no longer torn about having to miss Arcade Fire, another band I really like, who were playing at the other side of the park.  I was especially glad to find out rumors of an onstage collaboration with David Bowie were unfounded.

As you can probably tell, my first time at Lollapalooza was a pretty kick-ass experience.  I might even pay for it sometime in the future.

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Turtle Races Galore At Big Joe’s 2 And 6 Pub!

Anyone looking for a fun Friday night in Chicago, you could do a lot worse than Big Joe’s 2 and 6 Pub, located at 1818 W. Foster, right before Ravenswood.  They’ve got cheap drinks, a fun atmosphere, and TURTLE RACING.

It's a lot of fun.

My friends and I got there around 8:45 and the place seemed pretty dead.  We watched the White Sox lose with a few regulars and were kind of waiting around for something to happen.  The selection was standard, but the $8.00 pitchers of Bud Light were certainly welcome.

Then things changed.  All of a sudden people started showing up out of the woodwork.  It got loud.  Then a big guy with a microphone announced the main event: the turtle racing.

The deal is, for every dollar you spend at the bar, you get a raffle ticket, and if your number gets called, you get a turtle in the upcoming race.  If you come in first place, you get a free shirt and if you come in last, you get a free drink.

If my race hadn’t been called early due to inactivity on my turtle’s part, I would have won a free pitcher for my friends, but whatever.  I enjoy the thrill of competition, if you will.  At least my buddy Tom got a free shirt out of the night.

So, you know, Big Joe’s is a fun time.

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‘Y: The Last Man’: Why Not Let Vaughan Direct?

See? Vaughan's already working with one of his leads.

If you haven't read the series, do it now.

New Line, if you’re listening: let Brian K. Vaughan direct Y: The Last Man. For the last few years, rumors have abounded about Disturbia director D.J. Caruso directing the big screen adaptation of Vaughan and Pia Guerra’s extremely entertaining comic book series, about an amateur escape artist named Yorick (and his pet monkey, Ampersand) who survives a worldwide plague that kills off every creature with a Y chromosome, and after months of inactivity, Caruso is still “kind of loosely attached,” according to this interview with

I want to know why New Line, the studio that owns the rights to the series, doesn’t let series writer and up-and-coming screenwriter Vaughan take the directorial reigns of the movies himself.  Obviously, if you want to replicate the magic of the source material, you can’t do much better than hiring that material’s creator.  Vaughan’s already written the Y script himself, so he’s been involved at every step of the movie making process.

Besides, Hollywood seems to be fawning all over Vaughan for the past couple years, as he’s been black listed for his Merlin comedy, Roundtable, and has another script, The Vault, in development.  Plus, his work as a producer-writer-executive story editor on Lost in seasons three through five was stellar and produced some of the best episodes of the series, which vaulted from spinning-its-wheels purgatory to throttling-to-a-conclusion cool during his time working there.

That resume speaks for itself.  Vaughan’s worked his way up the ranks to be one of the top screenwriters in the business, and I think he deserves his shot at the director’s chair of the series that got him to this point.

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‘Lost’ DVD Bonus Vignette Sneak Peak: Cool!

One of the coolest special features on the upcoming Lost season six DVD set is a 12-minute vignette called “The New Man In Charge,” starring Ben Linus and Hurley, which occurs after the events of the series finale, and Access Hollywood has a really cool preview of it.

After a few months off from watching Lost, spending my time working out and watching slightly more realistic things like Breaking Bad and Mad Men — both of which are amazing — this has me jonesing for the escapist genre qualities of the sci-fi drama again, and I’m excited to rewatch the series, particularly with the extra mystery solving promised in “The New Man In Charge.”

As for those dangling mysteries left by the show, it’s apparent by this one minute clip that one of the big season two questions is answered (for those of you who haven’t seen the show, I’m not going to ruin, or spend a ton of time explaining, which mystery that was), so I’m pumped for what other fun reveals the show’s creators have in store for us.

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