Monday, November 30, 2015

BATMAN V SUPERMAN: the film of the decade?

The 1989 Tim Burton BATMAN was tagged with the blurb THE FILM OF THE DECADE.

And certainly, there was a must-see factor due to its trailer showcasing the stunt casting of Jack Nicholson (in his only superhero outing to date) as The Joker.

But there wasn't the enormous burden of artistic/financial expectations as there are for Zack Snyder's BATMAN V SUPERMAN.

Warner Brothers and DC have managed to devalue the DC Comics brand on-screen for more than twenty years--starting with the decision to dropkick Burton after the blend of genuine subversiveness (the Penguin and Catwoman scenes) and going-through-motions that was BATMAN RETURNS; the studio chose to hand off to the more pliant Joel Schumacher (it should be noted that parents weren't complaining about disturbing content the way they did during the original release of BATMAN RETURNS) for two films that tried to fuse 90s camp (nipples on the Batsuit) with the more obvious burlesque humor of the 60s Adam West/Burt Ward ABC series.

There's no need to discuss at length Bryan Singer's heartfelt but too leisurely attempt to provide a coda to the Richard Donner/Christopher Reeve era of SUPERMAN. 

But it's still a mystery to me why WB/DC decided to double down on Zack "punch through three layers of concrete" Snyder (who admittedly made a mostly effective film of WATCHMEN) after he too gave the world an uneven SUPERMAN reboot with a way-overdone climax.  And Snyder/WB/DC tripled down on retaining Henry Cavill as Superman (during the making of B V S, the Guy Ritchie MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. co-starring Cavill underperformed due in part to young audience unfamiliarity with the old TV series that birthed it).

Some people I follow on Twitter are beginning to salivate over BATMAN V SUPERMAN--perhaps in hopes the "adult comic book" ethos and fresh-for-the-time feel of the Burton BATMAN duo will again be realized (within the limits of the PG-13 rating as it's now enforced).

Maybe the miracle will happen.  But I'm not so sure we'll see a franchise rejuvenation like, say, the good-but-not-great CREED or the so-far-wonderful trailers/clips for JJ Abrams' STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The most reductive AOL clickbait I've seen lately.

Here it is:

Gwen Stefani flashes undies in red carpet dress

Talk about a revenge look! 'The Voice' judge showed her ex husband exactly what he's missing in a sheer gown that was definitely a head-turner.

And it's so wrong on at least two levels.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Jesse Eisenberg works out his film-critic aversion issues in THE NEW YORKER.

Actor/author/playwright Jesse Eisenberg just had his intended-as-humorous piece about a film reviewer as hapless-wannabe-loser in THE NEW YORKER:

Here's a link to a past encounter between Eisenberg and a Univision reviewer Romina Puga on a film junket for the first NOW YOU SEE ME:

From the same junket with MTV Canada's Rich Wilkinson:
And here's Eisenberg displaying discomfort with Comic-Con (using the word "genocide" which he later walked back) while doing press for THE END OF THE TOUR (plus a dig at the press):

It's understandable that actors can be irritated when junketeers either insist on doing personality schtick or want to throw out "gonna getcha angry" inquiries.  Or if they feel print reviewers are inadequate and/or know next to nothing about films/film history/the particular film of the actor being reviewed--or, as implied in Eisenberg's NEW YORKER piece, desire to be secretly unethical.

But few of them get the privilege of having smirky ripostes published in prestigious magazines.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

From the Poetry.LA YouTube Ben Trigg transcript.

As transcribed by YouTube without any changes.

,,,have you seen any
major change from the beginning when you started we in the market today in the in
the budget production of the boys are in contact with the one thing I think the
Tappan disaster evening went on and gained a reputation 
bring in a
a new level of featured readers and I feel like part of what has led to the
the level of our readers in the improvements i've seen over the course
of years is the examples we pride so you know when you can bring in some really
amazing people that people are hearing what works and even unconsciously try to
emulate that I think it just sort of elevates everything and i felt like we
have there's a almost unspoken expectation at the ugly mug like people
figure out if they're gonna read there they need to either run you know improve
as they can you know we don't have some sort of awake if you want this could go
but but we want everybody doesn't matter how good you are or if you're ok if
you're amazing we want everyone to get better and and they're sort of like
understanding of no work
grow on growth exactly grow or eventually people move on to something else...

Monday, November 16, 2015

Ben Trigg explains today's poetry scene for you.

Recently, veteran Orange County poetry host Ben Trigg did an interview with Mariano Zaro for the Poetry.LA site.  From 3:16 to 4:50 in the video, Trigg discusses the evolution in the Two Idiots Peddling Poetry reading (co-hosted with Steve Ramirez) from relative populism (i.e.showcasing a variety of levels of talent) to a more elevated status in terms of poetry and the reading's reputation (applying to both features and open readers).

Here's a link to the entire video:

Can Facebook be used without feelings of envy and sadness?

Just saw this article:

And here's a key passage:
"Instead of focusing on what we actually need, we have an unfortunate tendency to focus on what other people have," the authors of the [Happiness Research Institute] study wrote.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Some comments from others about the savage attacks in Paris.

Excerpted from an AP article by Robert Burns: "Paris attacks may lead to US military anti-IS escalation:
One new wrinkle since Friday's attacks in Paris is the prospect of France asking its NATO allies to come to its aid, invoking the 28 members' treaty obligation to consider an armed attack on one member as an attack against them all. That has happened only once in NATO's 66-year history: in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks against the U.S.
James Stavridis, the retired Navy admiral who served as NATO's top commander in Europe from 2009 to 2013, said NATO should play a military role now.
"NATO's actions need to be deliberate, meaningful and at a significant scale," Stavridis said by email, adding that consultations among the allies should begin shortly.
Stavridis, who is dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, said NATO special forces could be called on in Iraq and Syria as aircraft spotters and as trainers of anti-IS fighters. They also could gather intelligence and conduct raids, he said. The alliance should welcome nonmember participants, including Russia, he said.
"Soft power and playing the long game matter in the Middle East, but there is a time for the ruthless application of hard power," Stavridis said. "This is that time, and NATO should respond militarily against the Islamic State with vigor.
Excerpts from Charles P. Pierce's ESQUIRE online article "There Is Only One Way To Defeat Isis:

These are a few things that will not solve the terrible and tangled web of causation and violence in which the attacks of Friday night were spawned. A 242-ship Navy will not stop one motivated murderous fanatic from emptying the clip of an AK-47 into the windows of a crowded restaurant. The F-35 fighter plane will not stop a group of motivated murderous fanatics from detonating bombs at a soccer match. A missile-defense shield in Poland will not stop a platoon of motivated murderous fanatics from opening up in a jammed concert hall, or taking hostages, or taking themselves out with suicide belts when the police break down the doors. American soldiers dying in the sands of Syria or Iraq will not stop the events like what happened in Paris from happening again because American soldiers dying in the sands of Syria or Iraq will be dying there in combat against only the most obvious physical manifestation of a deeper complex of ancient causes and ancient effects made worse by the reach of the modern technology of bloodshed and murder. Nobody's death is ever sacrifice enough for that.
Francois Hollande, the French president who was at the soccer game that was attacked, has promised that France will wage "pitiless war" against the forces that conceived and executed the attacks. Most wars are pitiless, but not all of them are fought with the combination of toughness and intelligence that this one will require. This was a lesson that the United States did not learn in the aftermath of the attacks of September 11, 2001. There are things that nations can do in response that are not done out of xenophobic rage and a visceral demand for revenge. There are things that nations can do in response that do not involve scapegoating the powerless and detaining the innocent.  There is no real point in focusing a response on the people whose religion makes us nervous. States should retaliate against states.
It is long past time for the oligarchies of the Gulf states to stop paying protection to the men in the suicide belts. Their societies are stunted and parasitic. The main job of the elites there is to find enough foreign workers to ensla…er…indenture to do all the real work. The example of Qatar and the interesting business plan through which that country is building the facilities for the 2022 World Cup is instructive here. Roughly the same labor-management relationship exists for the people who clean the hotel rooms and who serve the drinks. In Qatar, for people who come from elsewhere to work, passports have been known to disappear into thin air. These are the societies that profit from terrible and tangled web of causation and violence that played out on the streets of Paris. These are the people who buy their safety with the blood of innocents far away.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Some wisdom about supporting creations of creative people from Heaven 17's Martyn Ware.

...there is nothing at all embarrassing, Ware argues, about being artistic – and Britain should wake up and realise that.
“I find the world tries to make you feel guilty,” he said this weekend. “But anything artistic is undervalued in this country at the moment. The zeitgeist seems to dictate that artists should be grateful for any attention they get. Well, I just don’t buy that at all. It is really appalling and we are actually damaging our future prospects when people don’t support artistic endeavour.”

The above quote can be found in a profile of 80s synthpop star Martyn Ware--and how he believes that avant-garde art can be accessible to everyone.

Link here:

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Guessing the mindset leading to Donald Trump as SNL host.

Lorne Michaels, at this moment, probably thinks: What's the big deal?  I had Sarah Palin on the show.
Where were all these protesters when Trump appeared on my TONIGHT SHOW WITH JIMMY FALLON?

Comcast/NBC/Universal definitely think: Yes, so he said some things about people illegally immigrating to the USA from Mexico.  And you could find those remarks to be racist.  But we were okay with Jorge Ramos from Univision pushing back,  Now, that's done and we've returned to embracing the ratings that Donald Trump brings.  Trump just uses the language of talk radio--like most other GOP candidates.

And, finally, CNN's Don Lemon shows a clip where Trump, in full Trump mode, tells a crowd about going to meet with Lorne and SNL staff to go over sketch ideas.

The only thing left for  people opposed to Donald Trunp hosting SNL: don't watch.

The lower the ratings, the more attention will be paid by the network and Lorne Michaels' Broadway Video.