Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A New Discovery

Sometimes I stumble upon a new band or website or book or restaurant and when I excitedly tell friends about it they give me that, “Where the hell have you been?” look followed by that disgusted “God, you are so lame” look. I do consider myself hip and happening, but every once in a while something slips past me only to be discovered later on.

So anticipating those looks I want to share with you my latest website discovery, which you’ve might already discovered and neglected to mention to me:

It’s a great website where you can download (purchase) or listen (for free) to concerts. There are 932 performers listed in the concert section including Blondie, Boy George, Dolly Parton, Neil Young, Slade (this should make a certain Owen very happy), Van Morrison, Patti Smith, and the list goes on and on.

Sadly they don’t have any Buffy Sainte-Marie concerts. Maybe someday soon.

Check it out.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Navajo Code Talker

This past weekend I went to the 40th Annual California Indian Center Pow Wow at the Autry National Center in Los Angeles.

There were food booths, craft booths, and Native American dancers.

When I first got there I made a beeline to the frybread counter and savored every bite of a frybread taco. There’s something about frybread that sends my taste buds into overdrive, and I always look forward to having it.

After the frybread I wandered the booths and headed over to watch the dancing. My dear friend Mary has always wanted to dance with the Native Americans and she was able to join in on one of the dances. She was over-the-moon happy.

The absolute highlight for me was meeting Joe Morris Sr., a USMC Navajo Code Talker, whose contribution to the allied forces in World War II were pivotal to us winning the war. It was an extreme honor to meet him.

I look forward to next year's Pow Wow.

365 days and counting...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A New Evil Awakens

Tonight I had the pleasure of going to the premiere of the latest in "The Mummy" franchise, “The Mummy: The Tomb of the Diamond Emperor,” starring Brendan Fraser, Maria Bello, Jet Li, and John Hannah.

In this installment of the franchise Rick O’Connell (Fraser) and his wife Evelyn (Bello) travel to China and battle resurrected evil emperor Han Emperor (Li) who's been awaken by O’Connell’s adventure seeking son Alex (Luke Ford).

Catacombs come alive with thousands of warriors and the battle to save the world begins.

Who wins? The O’Connells of course, but not before near death, avalanches, monsters, yeti, gunfire, and some father son confrontations and resolutions.

Oh but fear not, this certainly cannot be the last of the franchise. The final scene of “The Mummy: The Tomb of the Diamond Emperor” is like a large neon sign announcing the next location... Peru.

The film is a totally enjoyable romp with lots of action and the trademark Mummy franchise tongue-in-cheek dialogue.

I liked it better than "HellBoy II."

Oh... The after party was a total blast. Lots of Chinese food, desserts, drinks, celebrities, and 80s music.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Little Crocodile Girl

I don’t know about you, but I find ten year old Bindi Irwin to be a bit irritating and a bit scary. Something’s not right...

She’s ten and yet she talks and acts like she’s decades older. Maybe she’s been around the crocodiles too often, with the adults around her expecting too much, too soon.

(Hey, instead a cash cow she’s a cash croc.)

Hopefully we won’t be reading about a sad/abusive/lonely/drugged out childhood ten years down the road.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Native American Pow Wow

This weekend is the 40th Annual California Indian Center Pow Wow at the Autry National Center in Los Angeles. I have waited two years for this event, and the first thing I’m going to do when I get there is to have some frybread. Mmm, mmm, good!

Last year I was all ready to go, but the day before the pow wow I moved to Kauai for three months to work on “Tropic Thunder” (which opens mid-August). I was thrilled to be in Kauai, but disappointed I had to miss the pow wow.

Then in October I came back to Los Angeles the day before the Indian Pow Wow on Kauai. Talk about bad timing!

This year nothing is stopping me from going.

Besides frybread there will be arts and crafts displays and Native American dancing, which is always a highlight of the experience.

It’s going to be a lot of fun.

For a brief history of frybread and a frybread recipe check out

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Movie Night

I live in an apartment building where the mailboxes are in the lobby, neatly lined up one after the other.

When I went to get my mail today I noticed Netflix envelopes in many of the mailboxes, including mine. It was a mini sea of red envelopes.

I imagined everybody getting comfortable tonight in their pajamas, underwear, sweat pants, or birthday suits and popping some popcorn (lightly buttered), pouring a glass of Shiraz or Malbec or maybe some Chablis, and curling up on the couch or settling in front of their computer to watch their latest rental.

I fantasized what type of movie each apartment rented.

Apartment 2 must be getting something animated, safe, like a Disney film, or a movie musical from the 1940s.

Apartment 18 would definitely be getting something erotic with full frontal nudity, both male and female.

Apartment 20 had to be receiving a foreign language film, maybe Fellini or something Swedish, but definitely not Spanish.

Apartment 9 would undoubtedly have a documentary on the evolution of the cockroach, or the complete third season of “Seinfeld.”

Apartment 17 would be secretly renting and enjoying “Shortbus” in the dark with the volume way low and a box of tissues nearby. (FYI - “Shortbus” isn’t a tearjerker, though it would definitely incite some type of jerking.)

And tonight while I’m watching my film I can sigh relief knowing that my neighbors will all be home with their air conditioners blowing cool air and experiencing the joys of cinema.

What will I be watching? Ryan Gosling in “Half Nelson.”

Sunday, July 13, 2008

91 Minutes of Green

Recently I watched the wonderful “Children of Men” starring Clive Owen. When I sent the film back to Netflix there were suggestions for other Clive Owen films, one being “Greenfingers,” a film I’d never seen or heard of. I figured “what the hell” and put it in my queue. It arrived in my mail slot the other day.

Inspired by actual events “Greenfingers” is the story of Colin Briggs (Clive Owen) a British convict who gets transferred from a high security prison to an experimental open prison where’s he’s instructed to learn a trade. Through a series of events he and four other prisoners are put together to create a garden on the premises and lo and behold they become gardeners extraordinaire.

The queen of British gardening, Georgina Woodhouse (Helen Mirren), takes notice of their accomplishment and arranges for them to participate is the highly prestigious gardening competition, The Hampton Court Palace Flower Show.

“Greenfingers” is about growth, transformation, and the joys of gardening.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know what you must be thinking... and I will agree that this is certainly a whitewashed retelling of what probably really happened and it’s sometimes too sweet and sentimental for its own good, but it also has a tremendous heart, a well-written script, and all around strong performances especially from Owen and David Kelly (from “Waking Ned Devine”).

Everyone needs a movie like “Greenfingers” every once in a while. It’s 91 minutes of green, and that’s a good thing.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

The Moral Compass

Every now and then someone writes a comment about one of my postings. I thoroughly enjoy reading them, and encourage people to do so.

However, every once in a while there’s a comment that is so hideous that it needs to be addressed.

In my previous posting “Wanted vs. Hellboy II” I received a comment from a Mrs. Walter J. Katsellas that made me laugh out loud. This is what she wrote:

Young man. I think you should stop promoting movies with those R ratings that show women in various stages of undress. Find yourself a church with good air conditioning and go there when you need to escape the summer heat. After all, the summer heat is no comparison to the eternal fires of Hell, which is where you might end up if you keep watching movies like this, dear. The choice is clear. Yours in the Love of Christ.

I click over to her blog to find out a little about her, and this is what’s written under the “About Me” section:

This is a Senior Citizen in her Golden Years who has taken to journal writing. Maureen Katsellas is a feminist, an activist, a Catholic, and not afraid to speak her mind. “I am a down to earth Moral Compass for my Neighborhood, and after encouragement from some of those altos in the church choir, I am taking my story story onto the world wide web to knock some sense into the heads of these teeny bopper young kids on the information super hi way,” she says.

I read some of her postings and they’re absolutely hateful. Jesus ought to wash her mouth out with soap!

Shame on you Mrs. Walter J. Katsellas. You’re moral compass appears to be wedged up your ass. Take it out a relax a little. You might be surprised at how good it feels.

All I can say to you, Mrs. Walter J. Katsellas, is I hope you like the heat because with a close-minded “moral compass” like yours you will definitely end up in the eternal fires of Hell... hopefully sooner rather than later.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Wanted vs. Hellboy II

Over the past week I was invited to screenings for two action films. Usually the action genre is not the top of my list, but they were free and I figured, “Hey, what have I got to lose?”

The first film was “Wanted,” the highly anticipated Angelina Jolie flick. The premise is pretty ludicrous with not a trace of believability, but there’s something about it that works, and works well. James McAvoy plays an anxiety prone dweeb accounts manager who’s a doormat for his girlfriend, his boss, and his best friend (who’s sleeping with the girlfriend). They treat him like crap. Then one day Fox (Angelina Jolie) shows up and changes his life forever. She transforms him into an assassin to avenge the death of his father, a man he never knew.

Yeah, yeah... there are twists and turns and lots of gunshots, and yes, one scene with a naked-from-the-back Jolie, which for some would be worth the price of the ticket.

All in all “Wanted” is an enjoyable romp that’ll get everyone out of the summer heat and into the air conditioned cineplex.

The other film was “Hellboy II: The Golden Army.” I never saw the first Hellboy film, and maybe that’s why I found this one such a disappointment. There just didn’t seem to be any chemistry between the characters. The silly dialogue and not-so-good acting didn’t help either.

What’s the story? The Golden Army rises and rebels in order to rule the world, and Hellboy leads the crusade to defeat these creatures from the mythical world. Does he succeed? Oh yeah, and the ending is a set up for yet another sequel in this franchise.

In an attempt for humor there’s a scene where Hellboy gets drunk and sentimental, singing along to Barry Manilow’s “Can’t Smile Without You.” What can I say? It’s good to see Manilow having yet another career resurgence.

Of the two films I say go see “Wanted” and skip “Hellboy II.”