Saturday, August 25, 2007

Tonight We Dine in Hell


There are two things that really bother me in modern movies. The first is CGI; it stifles creativity and gives filmmakers an easy way out of filming certain scenes. The other is when filmmakers take liberties with historic event which has led to my ban of bio-flicks. Yet even though it breaks two of my cardinal rule, 300 is still a sight to behold.

My dislike for CGI typically comes from making computer generated images try to look like real things, but usually failing, taking viewers out of the movie. But this doesn’t apply to 300 which doesn’t try at all for realism, instead goes for the stylized version that Frank Miller used for his graphic novel the movie is based on. And that is also why I give the movie a pass on historical accuracy because the movie is much more about the look than the story (although director Zach Snyder claims the events are ninety percent accurate).

It take a while for the story to get moving as the first half of the movie spends more time setting up the political aspects of the film. Oh, and ignore all the pro-Bush stuff that surrounded the film, the script is taken word for word from the graphic novel written back in 1998, long before he launched his War on Terror. But despite the lull at the beginning, they only kill three Persians in the first forty minutes; you are too distracted by the surrounding to even care.

And when the action starts, the film never wanes as the Spartans defend the land from literally millions of Persians, and other Asians they have conquered and enslaved. And with all the killing, the Spartans literally build a wall of dead Persians; it is hard to recommend the movie to anyone but your token straight dude who likes football, books about war, and all that stuff. Well certainly gay dudes could thoroughly enjoy the movie too, but for entirely different reasons. The Persian God-king Xerxes, played by that random dude who was killed off Lost last season, is gayer than anything you would find in I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. Not too surprisingly Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denounced the film (which should be reason enough to see it). No word on what film enthusiast and crazed dictator in his own right, Kim-Jong Il, thought of the movie.

300 gets a Terror Alert Level: High [ORANGE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Feed Your iPod vol. IV: School Spirit

In a story I broke here last week, people across the country are gearing to go back to school if they haven’t started back already. And here is a song I debated in including the most recent Lyrics Quiz but decided going with a better known Kanye West song (which surprising went unguessed) School Spirit. The song is my favorite of his debut album, which says a lot considering it ranks at the top of my list of best hip-hop albums this decade. It also holds the distinction of playing over the opening credits of the proposed movie to my unfinished memoirs (note to aspiring screenwriters: it is not the best idea to create the soundtrack before writing the script).

The song is classis Kanye, managing to namedrop Norah Jones and Pootie Tang, which features Kristen Bell in her first film role, in the same song. Hopefully Graduation, out September 11th (see the side bar to pre-order on iTunes), lives up to his previous two, and for the love of hip-hop let it out sell 50 Cent’s album that drops the same day. 50 said he would retire if Kanye out sells him. That’s enough reason to pick up Graduation even if it doesn’t live up to the previous album. The video below is a fan made video from the song. Oddly enough, even though the album I bought had the parental advisory sticker, much like the version below, my album version was censored. Oh well.

School Spirit - Kanye West Kanye West - The College Dropout - School Spirit

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Going Back in the Closet

It is hard pressed to think of a bigger letdown than the latest installments in R. Kelly’s master opus that is Trapped in the Closet: maybe Lost season 2, U2’s Pop, Austin Powers in Goldmember, learning there is no Santa Clause. How possibly could something so great go so wrong. The first five chapters were soap operas for the hip-hop crowd following a man caught by his one night stand’s husband who in turn was creeping around with, wait for it, wait for it: a dude! And when Sylvester finally got out of the quagmire, he arrives home only to realize that his own wife was having a bout of infidelity.

After the instant phenomenons that were the first five chapters, Kells quickly churned out seven more chapters in no time that were arguably better than before thanks to a midget named big man. My favorite part of the whole epic has to be in chapter 9 when the policeman was about to open the cabinet, the narrator busted out of the closet to say, “Now pause the movie ‘cos what I’m about to say to ya’ll is so damn twisted. Not only is there a man in his cabinet, but the man... is a midget, midget, midget!” Really, the only thing that could top the first twelve chapters of Trapped in the Closet in terms of entertainment value was watching Trapped in the Closet with the R. Kelly commentary on.

Then almost two years go by and all we get from the Pied Piper of R&B is another boring, and Closet-less album, Double Up. But in the liner notes, we did get a promise of more chapters by summer, which did arrive. The hype started well enough with the great recap of the previous channels (as if anyone needed to be reminded of what has gone down so far) and as Monique correctly pointed out, had the “best chorus of ‘Oh (expletive deleted)’ evah.”

Then finally the latest chapter hit the internet last Monday like Christmas, Easter and my birthday all rolled into one. Well that is how it felt until I watched chapter 13. All we get is Sylvester and Twan riding in a car, albeit with a couple good lines, and an inexplicable cameo from Rosie the Nosie Neighbor and her limp husband. Nothing big happened, no midget, nothing but me sitting at my computer screen wondering, “This is what I waited two years for?” And things didn’t get much better from there including a blink and you miss it chapter that was barely a minute long.

I brought up Lost in the intro for a reason because the missteps Trapped in the Closet took eerily parallel the television show. They spent too much time on character that are no longer that interesting (Sylvester/Jack), introduced characters we didn’t care about (lesbian chicks/the tailie), while ignoring characters we came to love (the midget/Hurley), didn’t answer long standing questions (how did Locke get in the wheelchair, who is the midget working for), and there was a frustrating dream sequence, while the viewers were left wonder if the writers knew what they were doing. But at least in Trapped in the Closet didn’t kill off the token hot chick (granted mostly because there never was one).

But unlike Lost, which ended season two with a What the Frac moment as we got our first glimpse of someplace off the island, Kells leaves us with a cliffhanger which doubtfully has anyone actually hanging. Sure, there are some people out there wondering what this package everyone is talking about in the last chapter. But those people are morons. The package that Chuck has is obviously some sort of VD, most likely AIDS, which was passed around to all the characters because they were all sleeping together (although we do know that Gwendolyn and the policeman at the very least had a condom present). But after all of this, color me less excited for chapter 23.

You can watch the entire Trapped in the Closet over at

Trapped in the Closet chapters 13-22 gets a Terror Alert Level on my Terror Alert Scale.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I Want My Music Television vol. II

There have been a couple of videos that have caught my eye lately so I though I’d give them some love since the death of Musical Television left a void for a forum on the art form.. I advise you to watch them before you read my reviews if you don’t want me to spoil things. If you are interested in buying the video through iTunes, click the title link (where available, if not the link goes to YouTube where you can watch the video in full screen). If you are interested in buying the song, look for a link in the analysis.

Bleed it Out - Linkin Park

Here is a song to get your blood pumping. The latest single from Linkin Park certainly made a B-line to my workout playlist on my iPod. The video is memorizing in how simple it looks but for the life of me, no matter how many times I watch it, can I tell how they made it work and did what they did with the cameras. Plus what’s up with Chester’s plunging neckline? Did he raid Freddie Mercury’s closet?

Nolita Fairytale - Vanessa Carlton

I had to do a double take at the beginning of the video as the recreate the start of the most memorable video from Vanessa Carlton, A Thousand Miles. The destruction of the piano isn’t as iconic as when George Michaels blew up the Faith jukebox in Freedom! ’90, mostly because George was doing it to destroy the image he built up with Carlton seems to be doing so out of spite of her old record label that dropped her. And with the new label, The Ink, that may be thee switch in sounds as gone are the orchestration of her first album, replaced with a more percussion driven backing and the more come hither looks in the video. I wonder if she has been hanging out with Ashanti. It should be interesting to hear how the whole album turns out.

Hot Thing/In the Mood - Talib Kweli

Yeah Talib Kweli completely ripped of those HP commercials for the first half of the video, but all of those are visually stunning and are an idea worth stealing. Granted the song wasn’t really the best choose for the next single off the album. And it is off that they would edit out Kanye’s verse for In the Mood.

Do It - Nelly Furtado

If my calculations are correct, every song from Loose has been officially released as a single. Yet for the life of me I don’t remember this song being on the album at all. And the song is infectious in an if Madonna made listenable music back in the nineties kind of way.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

It Ain’t Old School, New School, it’s True School Rap

Ear Drum - Talib Kweli

It was about this time last year when Talib Kweli dropped the first single from Ear Drum. Of course back when Listen!!! was making the rounds the album was supposed to come out in early November 2006 but alas got delayed. Then the second single dropped in February of this year. And still no album on the shelves. Yeah you finally find the album wondering around the internet as early as June, but you can finally get your hands on the legal version today.

Was Ear Drum worth the wait? Um, yes and no. When Talib is on he comes up with some near classic tracks, but nothing on the album tops what we first heard of the disk, Listen!!! But the album, which goes twenty tracks deep, has plenty of filler. Some of this is thanks to the company the rapper keeps. Starting at the back with the album closer The Nature which was co-produced by and features Justin Timberlake whom obviously didn’t pick up anything when working with the likes of Timbaland or The Neptunes.

Also playing the duel role of producer and featured artist is on Hot Thing that just sounds like every other bland bootie song on the last two Black Eyed Peas album. And it is not that Kweli can’t pull of the bootie song as heard on Kanye West’s Get ‘em High (Kanye of which shows up on the decent In the Mood). More useless cameos come from Houston natives UGK on Country Cousins where the group and Talib trade verses on what they like about rappers from different areas. Norah Jones gets herself on another rap album but unfortunately instead of converting her to his genre Talib on Soon the New Day, but instead the song sound like Kweli rapping over one of Norah’s but with the snare beats turned up.

With that said, there is plenty of stuff that will take you back to ’88. Listen!!! is a classic head nodder that should be welcome at any block party for years. The son of two professors shows us his knowledge on NY Weather Report and More or Less where he tells us what we need, well, more and less of. And there are a couple guest and actually add to the song, not take away including Old School hero KRS-One on The Perfect Beat as well as a well placed choir on Hostile Gospel pt. 1 (Deliver Us). Hopefully his next album, which Kweli has already titled Prisoner of Conscience, isn’t delayed for almost a year, as well as having trimmed some of the fat before released.

Song to Download - Listen!!!

Ear Drum gets a Terror Alert Level: Elevated [YELLOW] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Talib Kweli iTunes

Monday, August 20, 2007

Yeah Boy

Sorry I don’t have anything proper written for today because I have spent the last coupe days in the greatest thing ever in the history of the internet: Seriously, who needs the let down that has been Trapped in the Closet when you can watch videos of morbidly obese hood rats, as they attempt to get on a show where they will have to make out with a dude pushing fifty. There was even someone who created a profile for the loser everyone loves voting for Sanjia (much apolagies if it was actually him who created it). Of course be sure to look out for the casting special that will undoubtedly be repeated constantly for the next couple week.

What is great about the competition is, for as clinically insane some of the past contestants have been, here we get to see some of the girls that are so out there, even the producers wouldn’t cast them for the fear of what they would do to Flav, other contestant, or themselves. And another thing that is great is that we can vote for our favorite and the top five vote getters will automatically make the show. Currently former Flav castoff Buckwild (apparently Mo’nique’s ceremonial burning of her name didn’t take) has a commanding lead at number one. Although she did state in the casting special that former Flavettes were not eligible, so she may not be welcome back in the house. Here are some of my favorites:

Sergeant Beverly: Currently number two on the vote list, and despite parading around in a wedding dress I am going to go out on a limb and say that is a dude.

CrzyWhiteBootie: Who knew Courtney Love would audition for the show.

Dance: The biggest surprise is between the enclaves of the big booty submissions; there are actually a few serviceable applicants.

For all of you chicks with daddy issues out there, you still have time to upload you own video in hopes to get fondled by Flavor Flav on basic cable as voting closes on September 4th. Or if you live near one of the cities listed (yes Cunucks, even you have a chance to make it on the show) you can go to one of the open casting calls.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

57 Channels and Only This Is On vol. XXXII

Big News of the Week: ABC Is Starting to Get on My Bad Side: So last week I was overjoyed to finally see the final four episodes of the funniest new show of last year, Knights of Prosperity, only for the channel to squeeze an episode of According to Jim in-between two installments. Then ABC quietly pulled the show (for those keeping track for the third time as well as an unannounced time change) due to ratings along with The Nine. Seriously ABC, did you think that putting these two shows back on the air with no announcement after they were both already canceled in the dead of summer and they would all the sudden start pulling in ten million viewers?

ABC is starting to get down to the last straw and really only have one chance left (i.e. not yanking Pushing Daisies before Thanksgiving) before it goes on the list next to Fox as channels that are blocked on my television. Just to show you how long I hold a grudge, the Fox channel has not graced my television since the series finale of Arrested Development. But luckily ABC didn’t pull a Fox and make you get the DVD set to watch the unaired episodes because the final two episodes, one where the gang tries to recruit an actual criminal and the other with a cameo from Ed Burns over at In fact you can watch all thirteen episodes there. So if you have four to five hours of free time, it will make for a good marathon session.

Jim Rome Is Burning: When all the late night host were on vacation this week with repeats, Jim Rome instead pulled a Carson and had guest host fill in for him all week. After seeing Adam Carolla fill in for him he may rethink the guest host thing in the future. The guy may Dan LeBatard seem competent. But luckily for us viewers Carolla was so bad it became entertaining. You’d think a guy who hosted the Man Show would be more comfortable talking sports. Below are two segments from the show although no one uploaded the best segment where he interviewed a baseball player where Carolla obviously ran out of questions out half way threw and just starting the most inane questions:

While I am on the subject of sport, if there is anyone interested in getting beaten like a red-headed step-child participating in my fantasy football league shoot me an e-mail (see sidebar). Anyone is welcome from fanatics to those that just started watching football because of Friday Night Lights.

Also another off note topic for those with blogs of your own, there is a new start up feed reader that sounds promising as it says it will fix one of the big problems with current feed readers in that you will able to comment from the reader. It will be interesting to see if they can actually deliver, but currently they are blog submissions for when they launch, so if you have a blog of your own, you may want to head over there and submit yours to If your are looking for a feed reader to use until then, I highly recommend Bloglines.

Greek: That was just like three sitcom episodes wrapped into one hour long show. The slumber party was easiest the best of them but I was surprised to learn that it was Lonelygirl15 that sent the sex tape to Casey. Didn’t see that coming. The other two segments were pretty cheesy, Rusty’s thanks to some bad casting of the crazy hot chick. She certainly was able to pull off the hot part but went way overboard on the crazy. Download the current season of Greek on iTunes.

Slacker Cats: I got a sense half way threw the episode that you pretty much have be a cat lover, or at the very least know a cat to enjoy this show, neither of which apply to me. There were a couple good laughs though. Download the current season of Slacker Cats on iTunes.

Rescue Me: Just when I started to wonder if I forgot if Tommy’s dad died, he finally made his first appearance of the year. I get a sense that the actor may be having some heath problems as he never appeared with the other actors and was absent from wide shots. Hopefully everything is all well. And hopefully we get more intervention scenes because that ranked pretty high on the best scenes of this season. Then we end with yet another surreal scene with Tommy and Mike on his roof and Tommy jumping over the edge to make a point.

Rescue Me on iTunes

Trapped in the Closet: Wow was that disappointing. The first couple chapters spent too long with Sylvester and Twan, one chapter was barely a minute long, some of the twists were just not interesting or rehashes of past reveals, and seven chapters in and still no midget sighting. There were some glimmers of hope so far with some classic lines and Chuck being in the hospital was an actual shocker so hopefully Kells can turn it around in the last three. And I am going to go out on a limb and say that the pimp in the church is who the midget was scared of ealier. Check out all the aired chapters of Trapped in the Closet at

Pick of the Week: Umm, any suggestions?

And since there really anything to talk about coming up next week, I received some information about the new CW show Reaper, you know, the one show that is taking over the Veronica Mars time slot (strike one). It is also the show that repeatedly hypes being directed by Kevin Smith as if he actually has any involvement past the first episode and some dude behind Grey's Anatomy (strike two). And it seems like I hear or see something new about the show it makes me less interested like when they swapped out the token hot chick for the chick from Heroes which was a total downgrade (and strike three). And from the five minute promo they sent along I am less intrigued as the show looks like it has not decided if it wants to rip off Ghostbusters or Army of Darkness more (but fails to do either very well). But I guess I should hold off final judgement until I see the whole thing in its entirety (that is not to assume I will even bother watching it though).


Day and time: Tuesdays, 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET

Network debut: September 25, 2007

ReaperFormat: Blending suspense and humor, “Reaper” follows Sam, a slacker whose world turns upside down on his 21st birthday when he learns that his parents sold his soul to the devil before he was born. Now, charged by the devil himself to be Hell’s bounty hunter, Sam, with the aid of his goofball friends, must track down evil-doers and send them back where they belong.

Bret Harrison as Sam Oliver
Tyler Labine as Bert “Sock” Wysocki
Ray Wise as the Devil
Missy Peregrym as Andi
Rick Gonzalez as Ben
Valarie Rae Miller as Josie
Donavon Stinson as Ted
Andrew Airlie as Mr. Oliver
Executive Producers: Michelle Fazekas, Tara Butters, Mark Gordon, Deb Spera and Tom Spezialy

Official Site: