After George Carlin died, you realize just what a loss it is to the comedy world, especially with all the work he did behind the scenes with young up-and-coming comedians. Jerry Seinfeld wrote an op-ed about his friend in the New York Times and I wanted to share it here, which I found out about on a recent Larry King Live (subscribe here) interview with Seinfeld.
After what I thought was a TERRIBLE marketing campaign during the runup to Kung Fu Panda‘s release, it took me a while to actually bring myself to the theater to see it. It wasn’t until I saw some of the previews for Tropic Thunder, another movie starring Jack Black, that I got excited to see this film. Below is that promo.
Now that I’ve seen the film, I wish I had gone sooner. This was easily the best Jack Black film to date, with King Kong and School of Rock trailing behind. One of the best moments comes right at the beginning of the film where the first style of animation we see transitions to the film’s main animation style. The way it was done was stunning. It made it very hard to tell that the style transitioning to was animation at all! I was very impressed.
The story was a lot of fun, a definite winner of a kids movie. There really weren’t any adult wink wink nudge nudge moments, but the movie was hilarious so I didn’t mind at all. There were some reviewers *cough* Filmspotting.net (subscribe here)*cough* that thought it was unwise to portray the Chinese villagers as yellow buck toothed bunnies, but I didn’t find it to be offensive or in bad taste in any way. When I was looking for this, I found that in actuality, the villagers were really represented by a few different animals: bunnies, pigs and birds. So I felt this was a real non issue. Seriously though, if you want some great movie reviews, check out Filmspotting.
I really think that if you want to just go in to see a film and spend the majority of the time laughing, this is an easy choice for a film to go see.
There has been a lot of press coverage surrounding the United States Supreme Court decision in which the court struck down the use of the death penalty in a child rape case (read the official decision here).
Now, I know this is a sticky topic, which is going to get on some people’s nerves, but I took some time to think about this after my cousin Richard let me know about this recent court decision. Even though it is very hard to argue in any way for child rapists, I ultimately agree with the majority opinion from the court’s 5-4 final decision.
Hear me out on this, I agree because of the underlying issues surrounding the case, not because I don’t think a child rapist should die a horrible death. Just because I think someone should be killed for committing a heinously crime, like raping a child, doesn’t mean that it should be the lawful to do so.
I do not believe in the merits of the death penalty anymore, so the idea of narrowing the scope of when it can be used is something that I agree with. The point was made by Justice Anthony Kennedy, that the penalty of death is not a proportional punishment for a crime which does not result in the death of the victim, which is another point I agree with.
I also do not believe having prisoners spend an average of more than 10 years on death row (which has been the case since 1995) is a humane way to treat a prisoner, it certainly doesn’t give the death penalty the perception of being a deterrent to violent crime with such a long time from conviction to execution either. I am not advocating leniency with these prisoners by releasing them or anything like that, I just believe that instead of sentencing them to death, sentence them instead to over 100 years in prison without bail or the possibility of parole.
One of the reasons behind these long stays on death row is no doubt the length of time the appeals process is for these inmates, but the right to appeal (and the advantages potentially available) is another reason for being against the death penalty. We are coming up with new technologies all the time and we hear of people being exonerated for crimes previously convicted of based on things like new DNA evidence. Once you put an inmate to death, there is no way to bring that prisoner back if it is later discovered that the person was wrongly accused, but if sentenced instead to spend their remaining days in prison, then an appeal could then be made at any point in the future to release the wrongly accused if new credible evidence surfaces.
I know there are many arguments both for and against the death penalty. Let me know what you think about this recent decision or just about the death penalty itself.
Thanks to DeathPenaltyInfo.org for helping me a bit with the facts here.
OK, now that I’ve probably thoroughly depressed you with this weighty topic, I need bring to you as a treat a very apropo to the above topic. The Onion just came out with another hilarious video (subscribe here) that just so happens to involve both the Supreme Court and the death penalty.
I know it is a gross oversimplification to say that the South votes Republican, while the North votes Democrat here in the US, but the New Yorker has an interesting video in their Naked Campaign series (subscribe here), called Map Quest, where they talk about which states Obama could win to get the magic number (270) in the electoral college, while also pointing out which states McCain could swoop in and take himself.
It’s quite interesting to watch, especially for a political junkie, like myself.
I love finding interesting short films, especially those made by enthusiasts. This short is called Sebastian’s Voodoo and was created by Joaquin Baldwin and scored by Nick Favola at the UCLA Animation Workshop. I found this video because of Boing Boing TV (subscribe here).
Watch as a brave voodoo doll tries to save its fellow voodoo dolls from harm. If you can, try and check out the high quality version to get a feel for some of the amazing detail work that went into this!
If you’ve ever watched dotBoom (subscribe here), you know Brian Hogg. Otherwise, dotboom started out as an online puppet show showing the foul-mouthed trials and comical tribulations of a website development firm in Toronto. He’s already made an Emperor Palpatine, Leo Laporte and Amber Macarthur puppets for previous shows.
In his latest endeavor, the Stephen Colbert Puppet Challenge, he has created a Stephen Colbert puppet, in the hopes that Stephen Colbert himself will voice this puppet. If Colbert agrees, he can keep the puppet on The Report‘s set for free and the whole thing is totally awesome!
I never watch MTV, so I didn’t see the MTV Movie Awards, but thanks to Dan Trachtenberg from the Totally Rad Show (subscribe here) for pointing out that as part of Mike Myers hosting the award show this year, he got Dana Carvey to make an appearance and the two revived a huge hit from their past: Wayne’s World.
It’s hard to believe that it has been 14 years since we last got some Wayne’s World, but you can watch the video from MTV here as well as watch the entire award show if you like as well, the whole show is available online.
There are very few things actually captures the true essence of living in New York City, Woody Allen films come to my mind first and foremost, but HBO‘s Sex and the City also comes to mind. but recently, Woody has been AWOL from NYC, spending his time in Europe and Sex and the City held their series finale in 2004. This has left a gap even with rumors that Woody Allen will return to his NYC roots for his next film, I might just need something to hold me over until 2009.
I was hoping that the Sex and the City movie would be that holdover. I enjoyed the television show, but I can’t say I’m a part of its rabid fan base. So, the advantage for me was that I knew all about these 4 women going into the film…
After watching the movie, I felt that it held pretty true to the television show and would satisfy the film’s built in fan base. It felt like 3 or 4 episodes of the television show back-to-back. After telling the person I saw the movie with this, I realized that this may not be such a good thing after all.
The film didn’t just feel like 3 or 4 episodes of the show, it felt like the film ran long, with these episodes just tacked onto the back of each other, instead of a tight continuously flowing story.
The next realization I had was there was very little setup for the main characters (and why the casual viewer should care about these 4 relatively well off women). Now, for someone like me, who knows these four strong ladies very well from their tv escapades, this was not a problem, but what about for someone who has either never seen the tv show or has only seen a handful of episodes? Well, these people just get a quick (~2min) video recap of the tv series laying out the history of the characters and a voice over by Sarah Jessica Parker to go with it and my guess is that this will leave the uninitiated confused and in the lurch.
Even with these misgivings and the fact that there were times when I felt the film was just a bit long, I DID enjoy the movie, there were a handful of unexpectedly funny moments, Charlotte‘s troubles during international travel being one of them (a point I disagree with my favorite reviewer, Roger Ebert on). I feel like for those people who are NYers, New Yorkophiles or fans of the tv show, you should definitely go out and see this film (especially if you’re planning on pre-gaming with a Cosmo or two), but if you’ve never really seen the show or know the characters, you’d be better off not initiating yourself to this world with this film, just go back and rent/borrow/buy the dvds of the original series.
The Onion (subscribe here) reports on the newest, laziest and most slovenly solution to anyone’s fast food needs in their recent report: New Wearable Feedbags Let Americans Eat More, Move Less.
If I didn’t think this was so likely to become a real product option, I’d find this funnier, but as it is, I’m a bit afraid that it isn’t too far from being a viable option sometime in the near future, especially after seeing the World of Warcraft South Park episode!
Enjoy what is, for now, a hilarious farce.