Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My Name Is Bruce - Still Gettin' The Love

I haven't linked to any new reviews in awhile, but came across this TV Guide comment and decided it was time to share.

MONEY QUOTE: Few movies possess enough sheer goofball power to make Army of Darkness look like a chamber drama, and though Bruce Campbell's ultra-meta sophomore directorial effort, My Name Is Bruce, may not go quite that far over the top in delivering the kind of slapstick mayhem that's made Campbell one of cult fandom's hottest commodities, it comes damn close. Fast-paced, ridiculously self-deprecating, and fueled by a manic energy that's so outlandish it washes over the viewer with the giddiness of a B-movie fever dream, it's an enormous step up from Campbell's disappointing directorial debut, The Man with the Screaming Brain. Likewise, it's sure to satisfy Evil Dead fans due to the fact that it's essentially a scaled-down, contemporary working of the Army of Darkness model (cocky jackass defends the frightened locals from an invading supernatural force) and that the alternate-universe-Campbell presented here is, for all intents and purposes, an Ash-ified version of his own bad self.

See, idiot me, I thought Army Of Darkness WAS a chamber drama! For all the rest, go to:

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Battlestar Galactica: The Museum Has A Plan

So this is pretty cool. BSG the traveling exhibition hits Seattle later this year. I was lucky enough to work around the incredible space-ship mock-ups and sets so I can attest, they really are as cool in person as they appeared on TV. Cooler, actually.

Hat-tip to Galactica Sitrep for the heads up, here's the info straight from the museum site:

Battlestar Galactica: The Exhibition World Premiere Weekend: Oct. 22-24, 2010 at Seattle’s EMP|SFM
New traveling exhibition to feature three full-size spaceships, costumes and props from the original and reimagined series

SEATTLE—Experience Music Project|Science Fiction Museum (EMP|SFM) is proud to announce its latest exhibition, Battlestar Galactica: The Exhibition. Organized by EMP|SFM and in partnership with Universal Cable Productions and Syfy, Battlestar Galactica features three stunning, full-size prop spaceships, iconic costumes, new exhibition films, music and other props from the original and reimagined series. Battlestar Galactica opens to the public Oct. 23, 2010 and runs through March 4, 2012 at EMP|SFM in Seattle.

“The museum is honored to be organizing the first exhibition devoted to both series,” said Brooks Peck, Curator of Battlestar Galactica: The Exhibition. “Battlestar Galactica is one of those rare science fiction shows that appeals to a wide range of people because it combines high adventure with very personal drama. It explores what it means to be human, and has a lot of fun doing so.”

Opening weekend (Oct. 22-24, 2010) will include museum member and public events with some of Battlestar Galactica’s most popularpersonalities.

"Over its four season run on Syfy, Battlestar Galactica became an iconic series that not only entertained, but fulfilled the promise of all great science fiction. It provoked us into examining our world and ourselves through its politically-charged, socially-relevant, religious and technological themes," said Mark Stern, Executive Vice President, Original Programming, Syfy, and Co-head, Original Content, Universal Cable Productions. "It is an honor for us to partner with EMP|SFM in this one-of-a-kind opportunity to experience BSG in an up-close and personal way."

The exhibition will be presented in the Milestones Gallery on EMP’s third level. Battlestar Galactica will become a traveling exhibition in 2012 after its premiere at EMP|SFM.

About Battlestar Galactica: The Exhibition:

Battlestar Galactica is an epic drama of interstellar proportions. The last vestiges of humanity flee a cybernetic Cylon horde, traversing the stars in search of the fabled promised land of Earth. The setting of Battlestar Galactica may be rife with spaceships and inhuman adversaries, but ultimately the show is a complex narrative about how we attempt to retain our humanity under desperate circumstances. The series acts as a science-fictional lens through which to examine difficult questions that we may encounter in our own lives.

Exhibition sections:

Creation of Battlestar Galactica
Explores the genesis of the two versions of the show (1978 and 2003) and introduces the story and central conflicts.

The Search
Focuses on one of the central elements of the shows, the human quest to find the lost colony of Earth. The Search is also a spiritual one, as the humans seek meaning in a dangerous galaxy and grapple with issues of religion, fate and freedom.

The Ships
Three life-size spacecraft from the later series—two human and one Cylon— are the exhibition show stoppers. Concept art, storyboards, props and films complement the ships.

Humans and Cylons
This section presents the major characters from the shows including: Commander Adama, Starbuck, Boomer, Number Six and the Imperious Leader. Costumes are featured, along with props and concept art.

Exhibition specifics:

* Three full-size (30-feet long) prop spaceships:
o Viper Mark 2
o Viper Mark 7
o Cylon Raider
* Series props featuring:
o 15 costumes
o Dozens of props, concept sketches and storyboards
* Exhibition films
* Interactives:
o Music interactives
o Human/Cylon identity interactive

Battlestar Galactica: The Exhibition
Oct. 23, 2010-March 4, 2012

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

STOP THE PRESSES - Dragnet Edition

I know, you were probably expecting some hint about the Falling Skies TV series, or just wondering which press I'm trying to stop -- but this news is too big to wait. Are you sitting down?

Dragnet 1969 (Season 2) is finally coming out on official DVD! Even better, to my shock and delight, the full color 1954 Dragnet movie has been released in an Amazon-only edition! If you have enjoying Jack Webb's performing and directorial efforts already, you don't need a sales pitch. If you're new to this world, I suggest checking out the Dragnet movie. Hyper-stylized cop action with some of the wildest tough-guy dialogue ever written. Check out these examples lifted from the site:

[Hamilton and Friday read the Dead Body, or DB, Report on Miller Starkey]
Captain James E. Hamilton, Intelligence: Shotgun, extreme close range, double-O. Starkey was hit four times, first two cut him in half.
Sgt. Joe Friday: The second two turned him into a crowd.

[an eyewitness is afraid to testify]
Jesse Quinn: Mr. Friday, I'd like to ask you a question. If you was me, would you do it?
Sgt. Joe Friday: Can I wait awhile?
Jesse Quinn: Huh?
Sgt. Joe Friday: Before I'm you.

Sgt. Joe Friday: [as Troy's friend starts to stand up] Unless you're growin', Sit down!

It doesn't get any better than that! And I haven't even started to touch on the amazing fight scenes!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Crush On You!

Sometimes writers, when discussing their work, are challenged about a piece that may not have landed quite as they had hoped. More specifically, "hey, how come that TV show/movie/comic book sucked?" Often the misses are chalked up to "reasons beyond our control" or simply "oops", but if there's one thing I've discovered over the years, it is that critical opinion is not monolithic. So while most vocal critical people may hate-hate-HATE something, there's almost always someone who actually liked it. Strike that, there will be folks who just loved it.

If a so-called creative person plugs along long enough, they'll probably wind up with a few ugly step-children, the projects that clearly didn't come together as planned but still have a place in your heart.

Why, even Mr. Bruce Springsteen has a few. I would imagine if he really hated a song from his catalog, he just wouldn't play it. But on his most recent tour he started to play his E-Street albums from top to bottom, and when he did "The River" it was clear that the song "Crush On You" was not one of his favorites. He sarcastically called the song a "hidden masterpiece" from the River, and then proceeded to rip off a killer performance.

Here's the thing. I'm one of the goofball fans who always loved that song. When I saw Springsteen in Portland Or. on the actual River tour in the early 80's, the performance of "Crush On You" was a highpoint. So how do I process it when the man himself disses it as one of his least favorite songs? Why, I write a blog post, of course.

But here, you can make up your own mind. First, of course, every sentient human on Earth should have a copy of the River CD. So, start there. Then, thanks to Google and the amazing YouTube, you can judge an assortment of "Crush On You" performances for yourself!

Here are the lyrics --

My feets were flyin' down the street just the other night
When a Hong Kong special pulled up at the light
What was inside, man, was just c'est magnifique
I wanted to hold the bumper and let her drag me down the street.

Ooh, ooh I gotta crush on you
Ooh, ooh I gotta crush on you
Ooh, ooh I gotta crush on you tonight

Sometimes I spot a little stranger standing 'cross the room
My brain takes a vacation just to give my heart more room
For one kiss, darling I swear everything I would give
Cause you're a walking, talking reason to live

Ooh, ooh I gotta crush on you
Ooh, ooh I gotta crush on you
Ooh, ooh I gotta crush on you tonight

Well now she might be the talk of high society
She's probably got a lousy personality
She might be a heiress to Rockefeller
She might be a waitress or a bank teller
She makes the Venus de Milo look like she's got no style
She makes Sheena of the Jungle look meek and mild
I need a quick shot, Doc, knock me off my feet
Cause I'll be minding my own business walking down the street... watchout !

Ooh, ooh I gotta crush on you
Ooh, ooh I gotta crush on you
Ooh, ooh I gotta crush on you tonight

This site will sell you a "Crush On You" ringtone!

Here's Bruce doing Crush, live from November, 1980 --

And here's an outtake from the River sessions (!)...

Friday, June 04, 2010

An Idiotic Thing To Be Annoyed About

So I got a new computer with Windows 7, and with it a new version of computer solitaire. The big difference? This edition has a pop-up that appears when you've exhausted your possibilities, telling you in no uncertain terms that you're toast. In the past you could keep fiddling around with different permutations in frustration until you reached the "end game" on your own, but now? The computer tells you you're a dummy. I will now adopt my little kid voice: "I don't like it!"

Of course the more germane question is, why the hell am I wasting time playing solitaire? That will be answered in another blog installment called "work avoidance is your friend."