PavCo Multimedia Synergistics Weblog

October 31, 2007

Zip Code Fun

Filed under: General — CPav @ 6:30 pm
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Lookup some fun information about your local zip code at http://zipskinny.com.

Your Vote Needed for High School Football

Filed under: Sports — CPav @ 6:30 pm
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If you have a second, please do Lafayette and Marquette High Schools a favor and click on the below link. This will register a vote to show the Lafayette/Marquette varsity football game on the local CBS channel’s High School Football broadcast.

Thanks.

Vote here

NaNoWriMo

Filed under: General,Literature — CPav @ 6:23 pm
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NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) starts in just under 5 hours. I don’t know if I’m going to participate this year (and since I haven’t decided at this point, I probably won’t), but it’s a worthy exercise.  The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000 words) novel, starting on November 1 and finishing by midnight November 30.  The goal is quantity, not quality, and it’s harder to do than it sounds.

Check out http://www.nanowrimo.org for more details, and let me know if you’re participating.

A Bard by Any Other Name

Filed under: General,Literature — CPav @ 6:14 pm
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For ages, there has been a debate over who actually wrote the plays and poems attributed to William Shakespeare. The Shakespeare Authorship Coalition has a Declaration of Reasonable Doubt About the Identity of William Shakespeare which can be signed online, urging the legitimization of the authorship discussion. Check it out athttp://www.doubtaboutwill.org.

Movie Previews

Filed under: Entertainment,Movies — CPav @ 6:03 pm
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Well, it’s been a while. So long, in fact, that while I was composing my “WTF, Viva Laughlin?” post, CBS up and canceled Viva Laughlin. Of course, all that means is that I paused four days after the “preview”, and didn’t post by the morning after the premiere.

I’ve got a couple of movie preview passes, courtesy of Cinema St. Louis, for screenings coming up in St. Louis. E-mail me if you’d like to see The Kite Runner (http://www.thekiterunnermovie.com) on Sunday, Nov. 4 at the Tivoli at 6 p.m., or Music Within (http://www.musicwithinmovie.com) at Ronnies 7:30 Tuesday Nov. 6. Also, Fox Searchlight is having numerous previews for a movie called Juno (http://www.foxsearchlight.com/juno). Check out http://rsvp.foxsearchlight.com/RSVPSystem/screenings.php?MarketsId=0&MoviesId=55 to RSVP for a screening near you. The previews for this look hilarious, so I strongly recommend checking this out.

October 15, 2007

Samantha Who? and Viva Laughlin

Filed under: Entertainment,TV — CPav @ 3:35 pm
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A quick note, so you don’t miss this week’s premieres, one at the beginning of the week, and one at the end.

Tonight on ABC, we have Samantha Who?, the new Christina Applegate comedy in which the main character is in a car accident and loses her memory. The sitcom follows Samantha (Applegate) as she deals with her mother (Jean Smart) and best friend (Jennifer Esposito) and tries to figure out who she was, and if she really wants to be that person any more. This show is getting good reviews, and I intend to watch.

On Sunday is CBS’ Viva Blackpool, a musical drama produced by Hugh Jackman, and featuring him in a supporting role. Based on a pair of British series, Blackpool and Viva Blackpool, Laughlin follows a fellow’s attempts to open a new casino in the face of opposition from a rival casino owner (Jackman). Oh, and it’s a musical. This is normally the type of show I would really enjoy, and I had been looking forward to it until the reviews started rolling in. They are, to say the least, not positive. I’ll probably try an episode or two anyway, since there’s not much on Sunday that I watch anyway, but won’t stick around if it’s as bad as early reports say. Of course, if it’s as bad as early reports say, I won’t have to decide whether to stick around or not. A number of online television “death watch” pools had this picked to die early, but since it was debuting so late in the season, I figured something else would go first. Now, I’m not so sure.

October 13, 2007

Across the Universe

Okay. We start out with a confession. I was largely introduced to the music of the Beatles in 1987, via the movie Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, starring the Bee Gees, Peter Frampton, and George Burns. That movie is generally regarded with great disdain, and the careers of the Bee Gees and Frampton were never the same (though it may be a reverse causation). But hey, I was 12. It made an impression. When I think of the song “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)”, I still hear Dianne Steinberg and the Bee Gees in my head, rather than the Fab Four.

I moved on to discover the original versions of the songs on the soundtrack, and have come to an appreciation of not only the originals, but also a number of covers and re-inventions (George Martin’s 2006 remixes of the original tapes for Cirque du Soleil’s 2006 Las Vegas show Love is among my favorites).

I’ve been dying to see Across the Universe since I saw the trailer a number of months ago. It had a number of things I liked: singing, Beatles music, pretty girls, and looked like it had more depth than your average musical. And, while the tunes were familiar, the story was a rarity in today’s movie world: a musical that isn’t an adaptation of a Broadway show.

So I fully admit that I was predisposed to like Across the Universe going in. And I did like it. Just not as much as I wanted to.

First things first: Across the Universe is the story of Jude, a 1960s shipyard worker from Liverpool (of course) who signs up to work on a ship bound for America, then jumps ship and makes his way to Princeton to meet the father he never knew. There he meets Max, a frat boy who’s barely making his way through school. When Max brings Jude home for Thanksgiving, Jude becomes smitten with Max’s younger sister, Lucy, who has a boyfriend who’s enlisted and headed for Vietnam. (Beatles fans should be sensing a pattern in the names.) Max and Jude soon find themselves in New York City, renting a room from Janis Joplin-esque singer Sadie, along with guitarist Jo-Jo and runaway Prudence.

Jim Sturgess is immensely likable as Jude. His portrayal is well balanced, between the pragmatist who goes to meet his father just so that they both know the other exists, and the artist who fills his walls with charcoal sketches of the love of his life. Evan Rachel Wood (Once and Again) is luminously beautiful as Lucy, whether mooning over her soldier boyfriend, mourning him, or moving on. She has the acting chops to convey both the innocence of the young girl (“I don’t even smoke”, she tells her mother, trying to assuage her concerns about Lucy joining Max in New York for the summer) and the idealism of the woman she becomes.

The supporting characters have varying degrees of success with scarcely defined roles, with Dana Fuchs’ sultry Sadie and T. V. Carpio’s waif like Prudence standouts. Martin Luther McCoy’s Jo-Jo isn’t given much to do, and Joe Anderson’s Max, who could be an emotional touchpoint for the film’s Vietnam segments, instead comes off as extremely bland. Cameos by Bono (who channels Jack Nicholson as a Timothy Leary-type guru) and Joe Cocker (as multiple characters singing “Come Together) are very good. Salma Hayek looks sexy but has no dialogue as a nurse. Eddie Izzard (The Riches, Mystery Men), a performer who is good in almost everything he’s in, is atrocious as Mr. Kite, singing (or more accurately talking) his way through “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite”. Even given the nature of the scene, which seems to be a circus viewed through an acid trip, his performance is jarring.

In fact, Izzard’s scene is indicative of my main problem with the movie: It’s all over the place. The film deals with the things you’d expect a 60s movie to deal with: Vietnam, the stateside protests, race riots, the psychedelic movement, and the balancing of art with social conscience. Unfortunately, it doesn’t deal with any of them in any particular depth. It seems as though a thematic element is introduced then either quickly resolved or simply forgotten.

Much has been made of director Julie Taymor’s fight with the studio regarding the final cut of the movie, and I had originally blamed the somewhat random and disjointed feel of the narrative on Revolution Films’ meddling with Taymor’s artistic vision, but in researching the conflict for this review, I discovered that, in the end, as with editing controversies on her previous films (Titus and Frida), Taymor prevailed, ending up with a cut that was only 4 minutes shorter than her original. There are only about 30 minutes of actual dialogue in the film, stacked up against 33 Beatles songs, including forceful versions of “Come Together” and “I am the Walrus”; an aching, Sapphic interpretation of “I Want to Hold Your Hand”; and a gospel-inflected “Let it Be”, along with more straightforward versions of “If I Fell”, “Blackbird”, and “Hey Jude”. Taymor introduces animated elements effectively in “I Want You”, and less so in the aforementioned “Mr. Kite”. All of the performers have standout turns and very good voices, especially Wood, Sturgess, and Carpio.

Admittedly, Universe will be an acquired taste, and based on the composition of the audience at the late show the night I saw it, it’s going to skew young. Which is fine; every generation needs its introduction to the Beatles. And while this movie might not be a musical for the ages, it’s no Sergeant Pepper either.

You can get a feel for the movie atYahoo movies, which has a trailer and 7 clips, and on YouTube, which has a number of clips (search for “Across the Universe”).

October 9, 2007

Outer Daemons

Filed under: Entertainment,Movies — CPav @ 10:17 pm
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For those of you who have read Phillip Pullman’s controversial His Dark Materials trilogy (and if you haven’t, go do it now), you probably know that the first book, The Golden Compass is coming to movie theaters this December, starring Daniel Craig (Casino Royale) and Nicole Kidman (Tom Cruise).

One of the conceits of the world of the movie is that the human characters are constantly accompanied by their daemons, outward manifestations of their souls in animal form.

The movie’s official web site has launched, and it allows users to answer 20 questions to find out what their daemon would look like. Mine’s a whippet named Calista.

 

 

Go to http://www.goldencompassmovie.com to find yours.

October 7, 2007

Coming This Winter to a Land Behind the Sun, Just a Step Beyond the Rain

Filed under: Entertainment,TV — CPav @ 5:19 pm
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I’m not someone who thinks that the past is inviolate, and that reinventions of popular works of fiction (literature, tv, or movies) is necessarily a bad thing. Sure, we’ve been subjected to some real garbage, especially in terms of old television being adapted for the big screen. I mean, did we really need Car 54 Where Are You?, or the African American version of The Honeymooners? But I’m a huge fan of the new version of Battlestar Galactica and the darker Bionic Woman is growing on me.

All of that said, I’m really looking forward to the miniseries Tin Man, coming in December to the SciFi Network. Starring Neal McDonough (Minority Report), Zooey Deschanel(Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy), Alan Cumming (The Dinner Party), and Richard Dreyfuss (CE3K), the looks-like-a-pilot reimagines the familiar Wizard of Oz through a 2007 sensibility. It looks pretty cool, with a few nods to the source material (take a look at “DG”‘s waitress uniform), but a lot of new stuff as well.

You can view the trailer by clicking the embedded video below.

A Slice By Any Other Name…

Filed under: General — CPav @ 5:00 pm
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When you make a list of things that people are passionate about, I’m guessing you’d come up with things like religion, politics, their neighborhoods (I’ve become particularly aware of this through my City Council service). Since you’re reading this blog, chances are you’d expect me to list favorite movies or tv shows, and I certainly wouldn’t disagree with their inclusion on such a list.

What you probably wouldn’t include, though many of you will probably smack your forehead (at least figuratively) and say “of course” when I say it is pizza. Everyone has an idea of what pizza is or should be, and most folks will defend their preference long and loud. Personally, I can go in a number of different directions. I was raised in St. Louis, so the cracker crust with provel cheese is in my blood (sometimes literally), but I have a healthy appreciation for the large-slice, relatively thin crust, light cheese that is the Brooklyn style and the one-slice-is-enough variation that is Chicago stuffed. (I’m not a big fan of what is commonly referred to as Chicago style, the deep-dish pan pizza, but if it’s put in front of me, I won’t push away.)

But that all may be academic. This Esquire article actually takes to task a pretentious restaurateur who’s deigning to say what is and isn’t “traditional” Italian pizza, but in the middle, it gives a history lesson. Evidently in Naples, which is generally considered the birthplace of the pizza, there are hard and fast rules about what actually constitutes a pizza. Interesting reading.

For those of you in the St. Louis area, we here at PCMmS are recent converts to Ami’s in Rock Hill, which serves Brooklyn style crust and a killer house salad dressing. We’re also partial to the weekends-only Pizzeria Della Piazza on the Hill, and the Spinjune at Caito’s in the Chesterfield Valley area. For St. Louis style, we prefer Ellisville’s own Massa’s.

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