Thursday, July 29, 2010

Facebook | Anne Rice:
"As I said below, I quit being a Christian. I'm out. In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life. In the name of Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen."


Friday, July 23, 2010

Inception (2010)***
I *really* wanted to like this a lot more than I did if that tells you anything. It has a labyrinthine, multi-level plot which keeps you on your toes, a top notch cast, some spectacular FX work, and is NOT based on a comic book or video game! (See Hollywood, it can be done.) It's a bit too long and a bit too action-y but most importantly, when all is said and done, you get off the ride and don't care about anybody in the film. THAT is what prevents me from giving it 4 stars. But technically, it's a tour-de-force. The top contender for best editing Oscar by far. (If you've seen the film, check the comments for additional ideas since there be spoilers.)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Family's pit bulls kill 2-year-old Concord boy
"A 2-year-old Concord boy was mauled to death today by three pit bull terriers belonging to his family, police said...The dogs attacked the 2-year-old boy when he walked into the garage, police said. The family has two other pit bulls, which were in the yard at the time. All five dogs have been removed from the home by Contra Costa County animal services."


Wait, let me guess: "We never had trouble with them before."

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Chart of the Day: Social Security | Mother Jones:
"According to Gallup, 60% of Americans now believe that they'll never see a dime from Social Security. As Dean Baker points out, this is a remarkable victory for the Social Security doomsayers. They've spent decades claiming that Social Security will go broke, and now a large majority of Americans believe them."

The question they asked is somewhat vague. The question should be "If left unchanged, do you think the Social Security system will be able to pay you a benefit when you retire?" The answer there is factually "yes". However, given the enormous and unrelenting campaign to dismantle the program, and Democrats' insanely idiotic acquiescence to it, I am convinced that the system will not pay me a benefit when I retire. That's because retirement age will be 80 and I will be dead.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Lindsay Lohan Is in Jail -- Daily Intel
Thank goodness our justice system is there, protecting us from the likes of Ms. Lohan, Ms. Hilton, Ms. Stewart et al. Meanwhile, Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney, Mr. Blankfein etc. are safe on their yachts.
The New Pornographers Concert Setlist at Fox Theater, Oakland on July 18, 2010 |
A rare appearance with all 8 members, a beautiful, recently restored art deco theater, a warm Summer evening and quite possibly the WORST sound system in any concert I've ever been to. And this performance was obviously set up to showcase the group's more mercurial members, Dan Bejar and Neko Case. While enjoyable, it would have been more so if I could have actually heard the vocals.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The gut's 'friendly' viruses revealed : Nature News:
"This microscopic dynamic ecosystem affects our lives in ways we still do not fully understand. Indeed, the rise in the incidence of food allergies in Western societies has led to hypotheses that extreme hygiene disrupts the ability of microbes to colonize human guts, resulting in a lack of tolerance to usually harmless foods."

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Still Walking (2008)****
Lovely slice of Japanese family life in a beautiful seaside town as the grownup children return home on the anniversary of their brother's death.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Bowling Alone? Erskine Bowles Goes Off the Deep End | Beat the Press:
"When the co-chairman of President Obama's deficit commission gets his deficit numbers off by 100 percent, you would think this would be worth a little media attention. But apparently this is not the case."

Mr. Baker, this entire commission is almost completely off the media radar and that is they way they want it. I thought with Bush gone we wouldn't have to worry about Social Security for at least 4 years but guess what? I really think Obama will get this done for them. And nobody will say a word about it.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)**
Nice to see Jim Broadbent, if one COULD see him through the murky, oftentimes totally occluded visuals. What I could make out of the production design is still first rate and Evanna Lynch as Luna Lovegood is still so good she needs her own picture.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Girlfriend Experience (2009)****
Sasha Grey delivers a compelling performance in Soderbergh's excellent "experimental" film. One of the more beautiful looking digitally shot films I've seen and his trademark discontinuous editing really works here.
The Big Heat (1953)***
Good performances and a tough, taut script brings this noir to the top of the B's.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

BBC News - US soldier linked to Iraq helicopter video leak charged:
"The US military has pressed criminal charges against a soldier suspected of leaking video of a US helicopter attack in Iraq to the website, WikiLeaks. Army Spc Bradley Manning is accused of transferring classified data on to his personal computer and transmitting it to an unauthorised third party. Spc Manning allegedly handed over footage of an Apache helicopter killing 12 civilians in Baghdad in 2007."

So let's get this all straight: a whistleblower who exposes evidence of a US war crime is being charged and vigorously prosecuted, yet George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, et al who are admitted liars and war criminals keep getting their pensions in safety and comfort. Blackwater stays on the payroll. Yep that's the change we all voted for all right! Obama you rock!

Monday, July 05, 2010

Father Goose (1964)***
Nice performance by Cary Grant in his penultimate role. He really seems old though next to Leslie Caron who is just not up to his level in this picture.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

The Baron of Arizona (1950)***
Enjoyable yarn about a true land grant swindle and the incredible lengths "The Baron" went through to nearly pull it off. Nice lead role for Vincent Price.
The Desert Rats (1953)**
By-the-book WWII actioner with a stiff upper lipped Richard Burton stuck with Aussie troops and forced to hold Tobruk from an advancing Rommel. James Mason steals the picture in his one scene in the film.
The Long Goodbye (1973)****
Interesting, off-beat take on the detective mystery from Robert Altman.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Avertible catastrophe:
"In sharp contrast to Dutch preparedness before the fact and the Dutch instinct to dive into action once an emergency becomes apparent, witness the American reaction to the Dutch offer of help. The U.S. government responded with "Thanks but no thanks," remarked Visser, despite BP's desire to bring in the Dutch equipment and despite the no-lose nature of the Dutch offer --the Dutch government offered the use of its equipment at no charge. Even after the U.S. refused, the Dutch kept their vessels on standby, hoping the Americans would come round. By May 5, the U.S. had not come round. To the contrary, the U.S. had also turned down offers of help from 12 other governments, most of them with superior expertise and equipment --unlike the U.S., Europe has robust fleets of Oil Spill Response Vessels that sail circles around their make-shift U.S. counterparts."