Category Archives: Movies/TV Reviews

Shohreh Aghdashloo

Shohreh Aghdashloo

Oh and I think I want Shohreh Aghdashloo in every movie I watch from now on. She plays the Iraqi soccer mom in American Dreamz. But you’ll also recognize her as the severe doctor from X-Men 3. But even better, you’ll know her sexy purr as Dina Araz from Season 4 of 24. Shohreh played the wife in the terrorist cell and has one of the best scenes ever: she instructs her son to kill his girlfriend (who knows too much) but she poisons her as well just in case and when he can’t bring himself to kill her she shames him for being a coward after the poor little girl chokes to death in front of him. Talk about disappointing your parents. Besides all that Shohreh Aghdashloo is an absolutely beautiful woman – she needs to get a ton of work beyond her type. I would love to see her and Penny Johnson Jerald team up as the Ladies Macbeth or something.

American Dreamz

Is everyone in American a self-absorbed back-stabbing asshole? That is pretty much the thesis of American Dreamz, a American Idol spoof with Mandy Moore, Hugh Grant, Dennis Quaid, Chris Klein and Marcia Gay Harden (doing a fantastic Laura Bush-inspired First Lady). I have a suspicion that American Dreamz was toned down. There is a ton of possibility in the movie to really have a nice vicious streak but it pulls back (at least until the end). Nothing is more American than a farce where everyone is an egotistical sociopath and the movie starts on that path but doesn’t deliver on the corrosive humor (like a Ruthless People). It has some laughs. An ending that will surprise, and comeuppance that is deserving.

Could someone please swap Chris Klein in for Josh Hartnett’s entire career.

Superman Returns

Superman Returns is a valiant effort. But Brandon Routh lacks the charm of Christopher Reeve. Reeve’s Clark Kent was always a big dork but had an underlying charm that Raimi didn’t evoke out of Routh. Spacey is great as Lex Luthor and Parker Posey is fun as his henchwoman, Kitty. I think Parker Posey should be the sidekick to every film’s villain – I think she should be a Bond girl/villainess, too. Ron and I still laugh thinking about her in Blade: Trinity when she smacks this blonde vampire out of her seat. So funny.

Eating Out 2

Eating Out 2-2

Eating Out 2 is about as funny as the first movie which is to say in fits and starts. The movie does retain the erotic malleability of the first movie and introduces us to Marco Dapper, one of the handsomest and hunkiest guys to appear in a gay-themed film in a long time. Where the first movie had the straight guy pretend to be gay to befriend the gay best friend of the straight girl he was after, the second movie has a gay guy pretend to be straight (ex-gay Christian) in order to get close to the questioning possibly bisexual guy. For wanting to be as pansexual as possible, the film trots out lots of hot ripped manflesh but not much womanflesh. The straight encounters are not nearly as erotic as the gay ones – I think it would have been much more rewarding if all of the sex in the movie was hot and crazy. Anyway, wait for the DVD unless you want a nice few hours of hunky men on screen that you can probably find if you Google ‘Marco Dapper’.

Fast Food Nation (film)

And it is Sunday.

Ron and I went to see Fast Food Nation yesterday. We had both absolutely loved the book and I was curious to see how they adapted a non-fiction book into a feature film.

The movie wasn’t what I wanted it to be but it was still pretty good. A talented cast featuring an All-growed-up Wilmer Valderrama who looks much better with some meat on his bones – he could totally be a cross-over cross-cultural action star.

At first I thought the movie was going to be like Traffic, showing the entire economy and impact of a commodity. And it started off like that with the main threads being a marketing exec examining the shit content of the meat supply, a few illegal aliens from Mexico working at the meat factory and a young girl who works at one of the restaurants.

I thought the movie stopped short. Schlosser’s book is a gem because it gleefully muckrakes – and there’s lots of muck to be raked. I wanted to see indictments of not just the meat industry but corporate agriculture, marketing to children, obesity… the whole picture. It isn’t until the end of the movie that we get the money shot of cattle being killed by driving a bolt into their skull and then their innards sent down a chute for the kidneys to be picked out. I wanted this film to nauseate me.

But, the overarching theme of the film seems to be the many ways we turn ourselves into meat to serve an enthrenched food distribution system that affects the entire global economy. That is the real lesson of the book Fast Food Nation, that the requirements of fast food have fundamentally changed the practice of farming, cattle-raising, marketing, merchandising… the whole picture. Fast food is a prism to view the rest of the society. Burgers are interchangeable – made from up to 30 different animals in one frozen pre-fab patty. Food’s flavor must be restored after processing reduces it to a hunk of flavorless fiber. Workers are seen as interchangeable, dumb-down and further integrated as automatons into the machinery. Speed and demand bypasses the need for safety and consideration of the impact of these practices. Cheap oil gave birth to the suburbs and the glorification of the automobile manifests in the drive through window. Baghdad doesn’t have full electricity, but the soldiers in the green zone can choose from Taco Bell or Subway.

I wonder how easy it is to get meat that is not part of this corporate farm system. If I go to the Paulina Meat Market, is that better in the long run?

Saw Scott at Stella’s yesterday.

I go home tomorrow. Brigitte and I are driving down. We haven’t made the trip home together in a long time and usually our road trips include singing the greatest hits of Aerosmith, Pat Benatar or any of several Broadway cast recordings (we do a fantastic rendition of "I Should Tell You" from Rent).

Got stuck last night looking at mini-PCs. They are so cool. We’d seen a Slimline desktop (HP?) at Best Buy. I also started looking at wireless LCD receivers – where I could have the desktop out of sight and simply have a screen and keyboard and that’s it. As we entered Best Buy there was another line of people – this time in line for the Nintendo Wii (this was on Saturday night – the line for the PS3 was on Thursday night). Ron and I had talked about waiting for PS3’s and then reselling them on eBay but we knew that we didn’t have the patience to tough it out in the cold for 16 hours – and what if you have to use the bathroom?

I’ve been finalizing the seminar roll-out schedule for the first quarter of 2007. I have a master timeline that then reiterates for each class. I like planning. I like the overall picture. I’m not so hot on execution but that is why 2007 is about implementation. I keep chanting ‘200K/2K7’ (grossing $200,000 in 2007).

I should get to the gym. But the kitty is next to me already taking nap which only encourages me to lay back down.

Disney/ABC Screens 9/11 Propaganda ‘Documentary’ to Right-Wing Bloggers Only


On September 1, it became evident that ABC had offered previews of “The Path to 9/11” to right-wing bloggers and media personalities, like Rush Limbaugh, and to mainstream media outlets. When it was confirmed that no advance information had been sent to progressive and liberal bloggers and media, an effort was launched to discover how and why this had happened. We have since discovered that President Clinton himself was denied an advance copy of the film.

It gets better:

ABC insists the film is based on the 9/11 commission report. Richard Clarke says they’re full of shit.

And better:

Disney/ABC insider tells conservative blogger that 9/11 film was intended to “blame Clinton”

ABC says they’ll run notice through the program

The following movie is a dramatization that is drawn from a variety of sources including the 9/11 Commission Report and other published materials, and from personal interviews. The movie is not a documentary. For dramatic and narrative purposes, the movie contains fictionalized scenes, composite and representative characters and dialogue, as well as time compression.

At the same time they tell Fox:

Its producers say it is based solely and completely on the 9/11 Commission Report as it follows the footsteps of F.B.I. agent John O’Neal.


I’ve been catching episodes of Nip/Tuck off and on all summer as they replay the past three seasons. There is something so lurid and horny about the whole show that I enjoy. It isn’t really violent as far as lots of people getting killed – but the fusion of plastic surgery, vanity, pretty people, ugly souls and generally self-destructive sex makes for a show I feel awful for watching but totally enjoy. Last night was the finale of Season 3 where they reveal who the Carver serial killer is in a 24-worthy showstopper combining castration, incest, transgender, mutilation, rape and bigotry. And there’s a sense of coolness pervading the whole show – it is twisted like an Oliver Stone or Tarantino movie but those films always have a lot of ‘heat’ in the imagery and editing – this has a slightly disconnected quality – a little Lynch-ish. I think some might argue the show is misogynist – but I think it is misanthropic: it finds disgust with everybody.

Further, I just downloaded the album from Goldfrapp that has the ‘Strict Machine’ song on it that is featured in the Nip/Tuck commercials (as well as the ads for the Chocolate phone). ‘Strict Machine’ (lyrics) would be a great flipside to NIN’s ‘Metal’ (lyrics) and then combine it with the Bjork video for ‘All is Full of Love’ with the robots making love. I think ‘Strict Machine’ was a remix when Ron and I were in Hawaii last year – but I confused it for some older song.

Silent Hill (film)

Silent Hill is fantastic for the atmosphere and visuals. But when based on a video game where a character runs around looking for someone the movie is reduced to pretty much a character running around looking for someone. I mostly wanted to see it because I’d heard that all the creatures were dancers and acrobats with costuming instead of computer generated. I’ve never played the game. It is overlong but has great atmosphere and visuals and the camera seems to mimc camera angles of a video game. I did like the gang of  zombie nurses.

The Descent (2006)

There need to be more horror movies with an all-female cast. It divorces a film of all the cultural gender baggage and sex roles and tropes that we’ve become accustomed to in horror films. There’s no ‘pretty girl’ trying to be impressed or ‘virgin girl’ to survive. There’s no reason to explain why these girls happen to love spelunking and climbing – they just do and it doesn’t make them castrating Amazons but just girls who want to have fuh-hun.
I liked The Descent a lot.

A group of friends go caving in the Appalachian mountains and they encounter some very strange things.

Like the alien in the X-Files: Fight the Future movie, there’s something about a pasty humanoid creature that screeches instead of roars that really un-nerves me.

The movie has more of the suprise scares instead of the suspense scares (that Mr. Hitchcock says are supposed to be better) and I jumped many times and so did Ron.

Tight acting, taut pacing, claustrophic settings and a great understanding of being scared of the dark.

Highly recommended.

Advance word from Matt: Snakes on a Plane is awesome and hilarious.

Advance word from Rebecca: Pulse sucks and rent the Korean (or Japanese) original instead.