Saturday, July 31, 2010

THE SPY WHO SASSED ME



I've now watched 4 of the 10 first season episodes of Archer via Netflix streaming, and this is what I have to say: Why isn't everyone watching and talking about this show?

I understand that the FX factor has a lot to do with it - I wouldn't have discovered it if it weren't for the internet - but wow, this is some really fucking funny television.



If you're still confused, let me tell you everything you need to know. Sterling Archer is a spy. He's kind of a dick, but in an awesome way. His mother (voiced by Arrested Development's Jessica Walter) runs the agency. Aisha Tyler, Judy Greer and Chris Parnell also work there. Yes, it's animated. NO, it's definitely not for kids...at all.


If you like the aforementioned Arrested Development, Better Off Ted or the like, this series is for you. The writing is incredibly smart, the humor completely irreverent, and dare I say it...Archer can be kinda hot sometimes.

Apparently they've been given a second season, but no word yet on when it will begin airing. So for now, catch up with the first season on Netflix streaming and Hulu! That's an order from ISIS.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

FIVE CONS THE CHARM



Comic-Con season is officially over for 2010! It all feels like it just began, but San Diego is now just a vivid memory. This was by far my best Con with Entertainment Earth yet, and I'm thrilled to share some of the comings and goings from my fifth and favorite San Diego Comic-Con International!



The Evolution of Booth #2343:
We built on the concept from 2009, focusing on celebrity appearances on the right side of the booth. And you can't really see the menu, but we were selling 33 items at the show. 17 were exclusives!


We had 9 special appearances at the booth for 2010, and each proved to be more wonderful than I could have possibly imagined. From Thursday through Sunday, here's me with "the talent":


Seth Green & Matt Senreich, Co-Creators of Robot Chicken
These guys are hilarious. I'd met Seth last year, but not Matt - one of the nicest people ever!



Alessandra Torresani, "Zoe Graystone" on Caprica
She's sassy, sexy and a Cylon! I totes see where Six got it from. Kinda in love with her!



Todd McFarlane, Creator of Spawn and Comic Book/Action Figure legend
This guy gets cooler every year. And I think it's awesome that his teenage daughter travels around the convention circuit with him. No ordinary family!



Rob Dyrdek, Creator of Wild Grinders
A man of few words and many gestures, Rob was very kind in staying overtime to make sure he met everyone that lined up. Good people.



Bob Harris, author of "Beyond Caprica"
Jane Espenson, Co-Executive Producer of
Caprica, Battlestar Galactica, Buffy the Vampire Slayer...etc!
Bob was so friendly and enthusiastic, and he's also written an incredible "travelogue"-style book about the 12 Colonies (BSG!). Meeting Jane properly was definitely a personal highlight of the show for me. I've been such a huge fan of her work for so long, and she was amazing to work with. And by that I mean, "sit and talk to for a while". I met one of my heroes this year!



Lara Parker, "Angelique" on Dark Shadows
The face that started thousands of nerdboy crushes in the late 60s, it was an honor to meet such a genre legend. Especially from a show like Dark Shadows, which has such an enormous following!



Jackson Publick & Doc Hammer, Co-Creators of The Venture Bros.
The minds behind the (inspired) madness, these fellows take quirky to a whole new level - and that's a big compliment, believe me. They were so thoroughly engaged with their fans, and it was a beautiful thing.


And no Con recap would be complete without a different perspective. I give you - the show floor:


Just a couple of Phoenixes...Dark and Original Recipe, of course. Also: W-O-W.


My favorite costumes for 2010. Viva la Mario Bros!


I had a full-on nerdgasm when I saw this. The hypersleep pods from Alien! I want to work for Weyland-Yutani soooooo badly.


Batgirl & Phoenix, together at last! This is anime I can sign off on.


Hasbro Hoth! Look at this display. I love toys.


Kermit the Frog! BEST. CELEBRITY SIGHTING. EVER.


Also up there (but not as close as a Muppet..sorry): the Old Spice Guy! Make sure you address him properly, though. "It's Isaiah".


Chillin' at the Hall of Asgard. Bein' Thor-like.

And finally, some shots from the show floor during teardown:


LEGO C-3PO & R2-D2, and the best Who Famed Roger Rabbit? reference in San Diego.



The only thing Voldemort hates more than Harry Potter...plaaaaastiiiiiic wrap! Also: Hi Bumblebee!



It's always hard to say goodbye to the convention center...but it helps knowing I'll be back again sooner than I think. See you in 2011, Comic-Con!


Saturday, July 17, 2010

KEEPING THE MAGIC ALIVE



Happy Birthday, Disneyland! On this day 55 years ago, The Happiest Place on Earth opened its gates for the first time to the world. Walt Disney's dream of a destination where the entire family could enjoy themselves became a reality on July 17, 1955, and has since been - as Walt said during his dedication on opening day - "a source of joy and inspiration to all the world".

I've been going to to Disney theme parks pretty much my whole life, with Walt Disney World in Florida being an annual Summer trip for my family. It wasn't until I moved out West to California in 2000 that I got to experience "the original". Here are just a few memorable moments (of many) from the past 10 years...


May 5, 2005

05.05.05 was the official kick-off day for Disneyland's 50th Anniversary Celebration - "The Happiest Homecoming on Earth". Throughout the 18-month festivities, gold ear hats were available (and they still embroidered your name manually). Note the super absurdity of my then shoulder-length hair!


July 28, 2006

I not only spent my birthday at Disneyland, but I was also lucky enough to have a very special b-day lunch at Club 33! For those of you unfamiliar, Club 33 is a private club/restaurant located above New Orleans Square - as well as the only establishment inside Disneyland's gates where alcohol is served.

Membership costs a pretty penny, and the waiting list can be upwards of years. Thanks to one of my co-worker's relatives, we were admitted as guests and treated like royalty. There was something very special about being in this truly beautiful space (not open to the public), knowing that Walt himself had planned it. He passed away 5 months before its opening in 1967, but his presence can be felt in the decor, detail and impeccable service.


January 3, 2010

Celebrities are not uncommon at Disneyland, and I've seen a few over the years. An exciting sighting recently, though, was Josh Holloway. I had just watched seasons 1 through 5 of Lost in the months prior, so seeing Sawyer enter the park right in front of me was a total nerdgasm. I loved that he and his Snooki-looking lady friend had a tour guide (the guy ahead of them in the plaid vest). Good ol' synergy!



Obviously there are literally hundreds of other memories I could recall from The Happiest Place on Earth, but those are just a few highlights. Thanks to everyone who helped make them possible. Despite having a fair share of behind-the-scenes knowledge as to how the parks work, Disneyland is still a place where I can go and be completely immersed in the magic that Walt Disney himself created decades ago. Happy 55th Birthday, Disneyland!


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

FAMILY: DYNAMIC


We live in uncertain cinematic times. Hollywood is more or less limping along, rebooting/remaking/reimagining as they please, with the minority of filmmakers fighting the system to tell original stories with unique characters. Everything that I've just stated, I realized after watching The Kids Are All Right.

Nic (Annette Bening) and Jules (Julianne Moore) are a lesbian couple raising two children, whom they each had by artificial insemination. Joni (Mia Wasikowska) has just turned 18 and is preparing for college, while her younger brother Laser (Josh Hutcherson) lacks a certain sense of direction. What he does want is to meet their biological father (Mark Ruffalo) - something that Joni can now facilitate, being of legal age.



As with most of my reviews, I'm not going to go into much further detail when it comes to the plot. In this case, it's because that's really all you need to know. Director and co-writer Lisa Cholodenko paints a very unconventional family portrait, and I must applaud her for not only that, but also for doing so without imitating or feeling cheap. These characters feel like real people - yes, even the kid named Laser.



Obviously most of the dramatic heavy lifting goes to Bening and Moore, and that's understandable. Nic is a Type-A successful doctor, whose critical nature is paralleled only by her constant thirst for wine. Meanwhile, Jules is an urban hippie with a newly-created landscaping company and enough "good vibes" to keep (almost) everyone smiling. I adored how seemingly mismatched they seemed as a couple, but saw the beautiful truth as the movie went on - their differences are what make them so perfectly paired for one another. When bio-dad Paul enters their lives, the entire family dynamic gets thrown for a loop. Change isn't easy, and I liked the brutal honesty of the film's conflicts.



Since the movie is kinda/sorta about them, I have to say a few things about Joni and Laser. You've probably only seen Mia Wasikowska in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland previously, as Alice. Here she really gets to shine as an actress, and here is where I really decided I liked her. Joni is your standard over-achieving wallflower, but the richness of the character really comes through when she's surrounded by other characters. Whether it's her slutty best friend (Zosha Mamet!), her brother or her Moms, Wasikowska is a young adult remarkably adept at playing a young adult.


And then there's Laser. Sigh. I pretty much fell in love with him from the opening credits (thanks for looking the way you do, Josh Hutcherson), but he really plays the rebellious teen in a whole new way. That is, with the added dimension of "Laser Has Two Mommies". Hutcherson's portrayal of his relationship with his family is nuanced, and I would even go so far as to say that it's unlike anything we've ever seen before. There's a kind of undercurrent of love and respect just beneath the prickly teenager surface...and he's adorable. I have to say it again. That, and that he'll be 18 in 3 months.


Obviously the catalyst to everything in this film is the "interloper", Paul. Mark Ruffalo is by far at his most Ruffalo-iest, and it fits the part beautifully. I hear that originally it was supposed to be Paul Rudd, and - as much as I love him, too - I just can't see it here. He earns different levels of respect and ire from Nic, Jules, Joni and Laser, some by his own fault and others not so much. He's a self-satisfied but self-successful man child that could charm the pants off of anyone, and you'll see him do just that...with mixed results.

The Kids Are All Right is a film that I hope sets a standard. The comedy never comes at the expense of the story, and neither do the serious moments. When Annette Bening announces at a restaurant that "If I hear one more person talk about how much they love heirloom tomatoes, I'm going to kill myself" it's pretty much impossible not to laugh. And when Julianne Moore's Jules sits her family down for an emotional mea culpa, I was completely lost in the scene. I've been on the receiving end of that talk, and it's difficult (to say the least) for all parties involved. The emotions displayed throughout this film are just so unmistakably...genuine.


Everyone involved (including my dear friend Eric) is responsible for giving the world a beautiful depiction of a family that is underrepresented in film these days - a modern one. This isn't a movie about lesbians, or sperm donors, or kids with funny names. The Kids Are All Right is a family portrait in multiple mediums, and one that I will call - without hesitation - a masterpiece.

Monday, July 12, 2010

MIX-N-MASH MONDAYS: 07.12.10



A warm welcome back to Mix-N-Mash Mondays! While Disposable Culture is hard at work scoring movies and showing in remix competitions, I've still got some great tracks to share! My recent discovery of the awesome site/newsletter RCRD LBL means that I'll basically never be without new music. And this works in your favor, too!

This week's tune is from Florence and the Machine. Admittedly it's taken some time for me to warm up to her, but this Short Club remix of "Cosmic Love" may be the track that broke the camel's back. But in a good way:


Cosmic Love (Short Club Remix)
Florence and the Machine
Download Now

Mondays are hard. Mix-N-Mash Mondays aren't! Enjoy the remix and start your week off on a good note!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

THE IMMORTAL COIL



Holy shit! I just learned (thanks to my friends at io9) that today would have been Nikola Tesla's 154th birthday!

I've always had a sci-fi nerd soft spot for the legendary inventor, since back in my days at the Boston Science Museum as a kid. I mean, this was the guy that made lightning happen indoors! By far, the scientist whose name you actually remember when you're 12.



Oh, and David Bowie played him in the brilliant Christopher Nolan film, The Prestige. That's right, folks - David Effing Bowie. In a movie with Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale as warring magicians! Top of queue, if you haven't already seen it.



So a great big thanks to Mr. Nikola Tesla, and a quasi happy birthday as well. You've been keeping people fascinated and entertained for a crazy long time - like with your ultra-expensive but totally-worth-it electric cars, or your small but tasteful exhibit at the Griffith Observatory. Electrifying, indeed!

Friday, July 9, 2010

SHOW ME YOUR TEETH



Lessons Learned:
Jurassic Park at the ArcLight Edition


I kept the July 4th long weekend party going this past Tuesday night, when I attended a special screening of Jurassic Park at the ArcLight! I was overwhelmingly excited, let me tell you. I saw this movie 4 times in theaters during its original release, and my DVD copy might actually be getting worn out (Blu-ray, please?). I was not disappointed!

1. The T-Rex scene with the jeeps is still one of the most terrifying moments in cinema history. I had chills.

2. Ain't no one ugly screams like Laura Dern.

3. When in doubt, shoooooooot herrrrrrrrrr!

4. It's okay not to like kids - but if you ever almost get eaten by dinosaurs, you'll become fast friends with whatever youths are hanging around.

5. Stan Winston was a god among insects.

6. The nefarious Dodgson was a total 1993 crush for me.

7. Locking mechanisms on vehicle doors on a DINOSAUR tour should never be an afterthought.

8. Samuel L. Jackson used to be an awesome supporting actor.

9. Jeff Goldblum was kinda hot, laying on that table with his shirt open like a Playgirl centerfold.

10. Despite there being a treasure trove of continuity errors and production goofs - this movie is perfect in every way.