Saturday, September 28, 2002

Watched the premiere of Robbery Homicide Division last night. Yeah, I know, like I need another cop show to watch, but this one is executive-produced by Michael Mann, and it stars Tom Sizemore, plus it got good advance notices in Entertainment Weekly and TV Guide, although neither of them seem to be putting those reviews online. I did come across negative reviews in the NY Post, which found the show "confusing" (I'm no rocket scientist, and I had no trouble following the story...) and hated the violence (Hello? It's a crime show?) and the Miami Herald, who paid so much attention to the show, they couldn't get the creator credits right (Mann executive-produces the show, but Barry Schindel is credited as creator). So take that for what it's worth.

Me? I liked it. I thought it was stylish and entertaining, with an involving story. The dialogue sounded like real people talking, and it was nice to see a cast reflecting the ethnic diversity of Los Angeles. I'll check it out next week.

It also got me thinking--again--about the difference in feel between cop stories set in New York (or other East Coast cities) versus Los Angeles (or other Western cities, like Vegas). I had similar thoughts while reading Stephen J. Cannell's first Shane Scully novel, The Tin Collectors. When done right, there's a definite feel that the regions have, and it's nice seeing a cop/detective show set in LA, especially produced by the writer/director of perhaps the greatest LA crime movie in recent history, Heat. The New York cop shows are fine, but there's a certain claustrophobic, old-world feel they have by virtue of being set in an older, more congested/urbanized part of the country. The LA stories have a more sprawling feel, and I think there's a certain energy that comes from being set in a place where most things are less than a hundred years old. I need to figure out how to articulate this better, but I like that Robbery Homicide Division actually communicates LA as a sense of place, rather than just being a cop show set in LA because films and television are made in LA, and therefore set in LA by convenience. (Used to be everything was set in LA, and now that's a rarity, isn't it?) The only other show currently on that I can think of that treats LA like a distinct place is Angel, and that show does it in a manner reminiscent of Raymond Chandler. Only with demons.)
Anyone still laboring under the impression that comics are just simple stories for little kids should probably check this out. (They should probably also be reading Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, plus a slew of other pretty literate comics, but that goes without saying.)
This is something you just don't see in the big cities: a town's own personal superhero.

Friday, September 27, 2002

I saw The Tuxedo today, the new Jackie Chan movie. Does it make sense if I say it wasn't particularly good, but I still enjoyed it? The characters were shallow, the tone of the bad-guy stuff was way too serious, it felt like huge chunks had been edited out, or nobody every bothered to fill in the holes in the first place, and there were some sequences (*cough* James Brown cameo *cough*) that felt shoehorned in from another, even worse, movie. And there wasn't as much action as there could have been, making this film more like Gorgeous than Project A. But, unlike a lot of American action heroes, Chan has the charm and chops to carry off a relatively actionless action movie, and Jennifer Love Hewitt was fun, too. Yes, certainly mostly eye-candy, particularly at first. But, as the movie wore on, I found myself smiling at her bitchy, snippy lines, which didn't come off like the usual tough grrl crap that we see in movies like, say, Ballistic. And while the main villain was pretty humorless, Peter Stormare's mad scientist character was more in line with the general tone of the piece.

So, bottom line: Not anywhere near as good as Shanghai Noon, and too weird to have the mainstream appeal of the Rush Hour movies. And HK purists are going to hate it just on principle, even though Chan has said he knows he can't keep making the kinds of movies he used to make. But I had fun.

And I heard the Madonna for the new James Bond movie, Die Another Day on the radio tonight. Not spectacular, but it'll probably sound just fine playing over a bunch of images of nekkid chicks.

When I went out for dinner tonight, I passed by the newly-opened Cheesecake Factory store. Apparently, there is absolutely no other place to get cheesecake in Las Vegas, so everyone in the city had to come to this cookie-cutter chain restaurant. Either that, or they were giving away free samples, plus drinks. (I shouldn't make fun of the folks flocking to the franchise food store, since I was getting dinner at Jason's Deli. And, now that I look at their menu, apparently Cheesecake Factory serves a great deal more than Cheesecake. However, can it really be line-of-at-least-thirty-people-out-the-door great?)
Okay, I must confess, I just read the online petition protesting the Superman movie. (I wasn't even really curious; I was just testing the links for my last blog entry.) They list a series of problems they have with the script, and the number one problem, the very first one they have listed, is that, in the script, Jimmy Olsen is apparently gay. Not only did someone think that this Superman script is an important enough issue to circulate a petition about, but the first reason they want people to read, the deviation from established Superman history that they want to point out before anything else, is that Jimmy Olsen is not gay. Because, apparently, for these people who are so concerned that Superman be translated faithfully to the big screen, for these people for whom this is an important enough to rally the world behind, one of the key, defining factors of the Superman concept is Jimmy Olsen's frelling heterosexuality. God.

And, so far, over 6000 people have "signed" this.
Earlier this week, a friend pointed me to an alleged review of Alias creator JJ Abrams' script for the upcoming, yet to be made, new Superman movie. Friday, he points me in the direction of an online petition to prevent the script from being filmed. At this point, I e-mailed him that I was declaring a moritorium on information about the Superman movie. Not just from him; if I happen to come across a news item about the movie during my too-frequent daily web crawls, I'll skip right over it. Because if I start paying attention now, I'm going to have to listen to somewhere in the neighborhood of eighteen months or so of whining, bleating, moaning, wailing, and gnashing of teeth about how Hollywood/Warner Bros/DC Comics/director Brett Ratner/JJ Abrams/producer Jon Peters/Criminal George W. Bush/Osama bin Laden/Kermit the Frog are responsible for trashing the great, brilliant, wonderful, fantastic, perfect American Icon that is Superman, and what a horrible, awful, miserable, evil crime against humanity it is that this movie should ever see the light of the inside of a darkened movie theater, yadda, yadda, yadda. As if this is the most important thing in a world where the Criminal Bush is stumping for a war nobody wants in order to bolster his political clout and wholeheartedly supporting the commercial rape of our national forests.

I mean, there's a petition, for God's sake. On the Internet. As if, first of all, anyone pays attention to those anyway. Say this petition collects a thousand "signatures," never mind that since they're electronic without any real verification anyway they might as well not count at all. Say a thousand real people actually sign it. Most movie theaters seat, what, three or four hundred people? So those signatures represent, what, the equivalent of three or so empty theaters around the world for one showing of the movie? Say each signature represents ten people. How many theaters are there in the country? We're probably talking about the equivalent of one or two unsold tickets at a fraction of the theaters around the country. And it bothers me on some level that there is this small but vocal group of people that would probably be willing to write their Congressman to stop production of this script before they'd protest Criminal Bush's Healthy Forest Initiative.

Thursday, September 26, 2002

Too early to post anything new today, but I wanted to post a link to another friend's blog, High Dudgeon.

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

Welcome to my brand-new blog, written by a 30-something children's librarian living in Las Vegas, NV. I love comics, movies, TV, books, the internet, and complaining about stuff, and you'll read all about that and more right here. So welcome, and enjoy the ride!

I just finished watching the season premiere of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and it seems like we're off to a good start this year. The show is--amazingly, considering it's Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and it's really good--now entering its seventh season, and this episode serves to establish a new starting point, new characters, and new plots that will presumably run through the season. The main story is wrapped up--more or less--but there are plenty of questions left to be answered. I got a kick out of it, but I'm sure you won't have to look very hard to find people on the 'net already declaring this to be the worst season ever. Especially over at Ain't It Cool News, about which you'll hear more in the future.

In the meantime, check out my friend Jim's blog, Strange Interlude, and the San Francisco Chronicle's Daily Fix.