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September 2007 Archives

September 28, 2007

Hey Francis Ford Coppola, try this

flash drive

Francis Ford Coppola's house in Buenos Aires was robbed, and the thieves got his computer containing ideas for his next movie. The reports don't actually say that he didn't have a backup, but an employee said "Coppola is very sad and the only thing he's asked for is to get back his computer, which is essential for him and his work."

If you want to email any files to me, Francis, I'm happy to hold on to them for you. In the meantime, the director is offering a reward for help tracking down the computer- no word yet on whether the reward is a cameo in Tetro.

September 27, 2007

Dirty Sexy Money and Gossip Girl, a comparison

Dan Rather on Dirty Sexy Money

Gossip Girl

Last night was the premiere of ABC's "Dirty Sexy Money", a title that I cannot say or write or even think about without rolling my eyes. But the show itself was fun--an a much better premiere than the similarly hyped "Gossip Girl", which aired its second episode last night. Both shows are about the scandalous antics of New York's super-rich and were created by guys with promising backgrounds--"Money" is by Craig Wright, a successful playwright who wrote a few episodes of "Six Feet Under" and "Lost", and "Gossip" is of course by Josh "OC" Schwartz.

But "Money" is already about a hundred times better. Sure, the premiere had some throwaway references to run-of-the-mill rich-person illicit behavior (the youngest brother casually mentioning his coke dealer and looking generally rumpled and fucked up all the time) but the show has some standout qualities, too:

  • Name-dropping. The Darling family at the center of the show is like a wackier, WASP-ier version of the Kennedys, they know Bill Clinton, and got Dan Rather and Peter Bogdanovich to do cameos
  • A cast that would be pretty great even if Donald Sutherland wasn't in it
  • Donald Sutherland
  • A potentially murderous priest with illegitimate children
  • Trannies!
  • Possible incest!

Maybe it's because "Money" is about adults--the producers seem to feel totally fine about throwing in a lot more salacious material than the prudes over at "Gossip Girl". I gave that show a second chance last night, and that's it, we're through. Did ANYTHING happen in last night's episode that added anything to what we already knew from the premiere? The central scandal of the show is one single consensual sexual encounter that occurred a year before the show even started. Oooo! Other than that, there's some snoozy cattiness and some unsubtle attempts at commentary about class.

Actually, that's one thing the shows have in common: both are structured around one supposedly middle-class family, who the audience is meant to identify with, that's struggling to live in the high net worth world. Except this is television, so these families live in giant, fancy apartments and take cabs everywhere while talking about how they don't have any money.

Both shows also prominently featured Peter Bjorn and Johns' "Young Folks" in their premieres, the overplayed hit from summer 2006 with a catchy whistling hook that strikes me as a little too twee for either show. This song was used in "Grey's Anatomy" last season, and apparently was also in the premiere of ABC's "Big Shots" a few weeks ago. Not surprisingly, the single was re-released last week, in case you haven't heard it enough yet.

September 25, 2007

Terrence Howard is in here somewhere

Fighting shoot in Hell's Kitchen

Yesterday afternoon I happened to see a film shoot going on in Ramon Aponte Park on 47th St in Hell's Kitchen. The trailers parked on 9th Avenue had the names "Luis" and "Dito" on the doors. I figure there's probably only one Dito in the movie world, and that's Dito Montiel, whose first movie, A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints, came out last year.

Sure enough, yesterday's movie shoot was for his next movie, Fighting, which stars Terrence Howard, Luis Guzman, and a guy named Channing Tatum, who also appeared in Guide, that Amanda Bynes movie where she pretends to be a boy, and Anne Hathaway's good-girl-image-incinerating, straight-to-video Havoc. Fighting seems to be about underground fight clubs.

Anyway, I saw Terrence Howard walking around inside the park waiting for the scene to start, but he was mostly obscured by the crew and all the equipment. I ran and picked up a pack of baby wipes to try to get onto the set by declaring "Mr. Howard needs me to get these to him right away!," but no dice. So I had to settle for the shot above.

You can see the tracks laid for some kind of dolly shot here.

September 24, 2007

MTA mind games

F Train express

For the last few months, bloggers, online petitioners and editorial writers have been tussling over whether adding an express train to Brooklyn's F subway line makes sense. While the MTA itself has recently claimed they want to be responsive to their riders and might consider adding express trains if their work on the above-ground part of the line doesn't happen as quickly as planned, it looks like they're trying some sneaky negotiating tactics to make the demands go away.

First they tried to suggest that riders were wrong to want an express train in the first place, since they would only save 4 minutes by skipping stops in Brooklyn. To test the actual time saved on another express/local line, the Post sent its staff to ride from 125th St to the Brooklyn Bridge on the express 4 train and on the local 6. The journeys took exactly the same amount of time--33 minutes.

Great news for the MTA! They might actually succeed in dissuading riders from wanting an express train if they can convince them that their service is so erratic and bad that express trains are just as slow as locals.

Today, NYC Transit's senior director of service planning pulls a great Jedi mind trick in response to these findings. She reasons to the Post: "There is a psychological benefit to bypassing stops."

See, even though express trains don't actually save you any time, the MTA is feeding its riders delicious sugar pills that keep them blissfully placated in a delusion of efficiency while they crawl along their beloved "express" track, slow but happy. Clever tactic--make riders feel like morons for wanting a service that you'll admit doesn't provide any real benefits, until they eventually stop asking for it.

September 19, 2007

Gossip Girl

Gossip Girl

Ready for this season's new show about bitchy drunks and spoiled date rapists? The glaringly over-exposed "Gossip Girl" premieres tonight on the CW. I'm just going to assume that everyone is going to watch this crap.

Our nation's 11 year-olds now have a whole new level of slutiness to aspire to, while everyone over 30 can reminisce about how good and debased Buffy was in Cruel Intentions.

Some media coverage:

NYT doesn't like it, but for what sound like good reasons: moralistic storylines and too much boring stuff about the parents. Because if you're going for teenage depravity, go all the way.

  • On the other hand, the more easily scandalized ABC likes the bloated trashy overindulgence, and thought there were hardly any boring parents scenes, so who knows.
  • The LA Times quotes the writers saying the show was inspired by The Great Gatsby and The Age of Innocence, and also one of the actresses stressing that her character is really not like Paris Hilton. Mm-hmm.
  • Slate calls it predictable libertinism, though is a little disappointed that all the bulimia in the books got cut for TV.

  • September 17, 2007

    Esther and Shimon, BFF

    L'shanah Tovah, Madge

    In celebration of the Jewish New Year, Madonna has been "talking peace" with Shimon Peres. Madonna, Guy, and Shimon reportedly met for two hours , surely enough time to hash out a peace plan.
    Apparently, Orthodox Rabbis are disgusted by her whole visit to Israel:

    ""It is a known fact in Kabbala that impurity and evil are inherently attracted to sanctity," said a director of one of the most respected Kabbala yeshivot in Jerusalem who preferred that he and his institution remain anonymous.

    "That's why people of Hollywood, a place of iniquity and lasciviousness, are naturally attracted to the holiness of Kabbala."

    September 13, 2007

    Bloody hell! I look like crap too!


    Remember Everyone Says I Love you and Slums of Beverly Hills . Natasha Lyonne could have been the next Parker Posey, or something.

    Thanks, Heatworld .

    September 12, 2007

    Bloody hell! I look like crap!

    Colin Farrell

    Man, look at Colin Farrell. The pretty boy from a few years ago has had some late nights. Here he was at the premiere for Alexander just 3 years ago:

    Colin Farrell, Alexander premiere

    Now here he is in Toronto with Ewan McGregor, for the premiere of the Woody Allen movie they're both in, Cassandra's Dream:

    Ewan McGregor and Colin Farrell

    Ewan McGregor is 5 years older than Colin Farrell. And Colin Farrell has a neck that is just a little bit jowlier than Woody Allen's.

    Colin Farrell

    Woody Allen


    September 11, 2007

    Which news makes the news?

    Margaret Warner in Pakistan

    You may have heard that CBS News anchor/albatross Katie Couric recently went to Iraq. Some things people have been talking about related to her mission:

    • It was a publicity stunt for ratings.
    • It was not a publicity stunt for ratings.
    • Katie carefully considered her decision to go to Iraq, since she has 2 young children.
    • Brian Williams of NBC Nightly News has already been to Iraq three times, and Bob Woodruff of ABC World News went to Iraq last year, where he was badly injured.
    • Nobody did soul-searching interviews with them before they left about their young children.
    • CBS News producers are "proud" of the show and Katie's journalistic chops despite all the viewers they've lost since she came on.

    It's a good thing CBS didn't send Katie Couric to Iraq and Syria for ratings, since all that media coverage didn't get anyone to actually watch her show. Last week while she was there, the Evening News tied its own all-time low record.

    In other news news, I bet you haven't been seeing any news coverage about Margaret Warner of PBS's News Hour, who was in Pakistan, home to al-Qaida and recent suicide bombings, at just about the exact same time that Katie Couric was in Iraq. Her pieces were awesome, and she did interviews with politicians (former Prime Ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif), people on the street, local journalists, and business people. She seemed to really like being there, calling Islamabad "a political junkie's paradise," and it was a great series.

    Incredibly, Margaret Warner's News Hour bio doesn't say if she has any small children who she, as a mother, might have taken into consideration when planning her trip.

    September 7, 2007

    Shoot 'Em Up and good negative reviews +

    Clive Owen in Shoot 'Em Up

    I know that A.O. Scott's review of Shoot 'Em Up is meant to make me decide that I don't want to go see it. He calls it "witless, soulless, heartless" and "a worthless piece of garbage". Fine. I pretty much knew this was going to be a completely absurd and misguided movie just by the poster featuring Paul Giamatti (?!) menacingly holding a machine gun that's almost as big as he is.

    But the photo attached to the article? Hm! Why is Clive Owen pulling that trigger with a carrot?

    Then A.O. Scott goes and writes things like this:

    Ms. Bellucci plays Donna Quintano, a lactating prostitute.

    And this:

    That task is no easier now that the movie has been made, though "made" (to say nothing of "movie") is perhaps too generous a word for this slapdash assembly of hectic, poorly shot action sequences, lame catchphrases (tell me Mr. Owen didn’t say, "What's up, Doc?"), sadistic gags and heavy-metal tunes. The body count is astronomical as Mr. Owen shoots 'em up while rappelling down a stairwell, driving a BMW and feigning intercourse with Ms. Bellucci. (Not all at once, by the way. Now that would be cool.) Also, he drives a carrot through the back of one man's head and uses another one to put out an eye.

    Yeah, I know, what are Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti, and Monica Bellucci doing in schlock like this, etc. Still, this negative review makes it sound so weird and fun that if the opportunity to sneak in to this movie presented itself, I wouldn't say no.

    UPDATE: Sourpuss A.O. Scott missed the boat on this one. I saw Shoot 'Em Up, and it's one of the weirdest, most ridiculous movies I've ever seen. It's a riot. (It's also probably a good idea to have a drink or two before you watch it.) The audience at the AMC went nuts for it. If the movie didn't have such great actors in it, it probably would have felt smarmy and irritating, but these actors know how to take radically over-the-top material and make you feel like you're all in on the same joke.

    Roger Ebert got the joke too: his review is really good. He recognizes how nuts this movie is, but he happily goes along for the ride: "Shoot 'Em Up is the most audacious, implausible, cheerfully offensive, hyperactive action picture I've seen since, oh, Sin City, which in comparison was a chamber drama. That I liked Shoot 'em Up is a consequence of a critical quirk I sometimes notice: I may disapprove of a movie for going too far, and yet have a sneaky regard for a movie that goes much, much farther than merely too far."

    September 6, 2007

    Now you can be a patriot AND an elitist

    Made in USA

    Remember when campaigns trying to get people to Buy American were mostly Wal-Mart territory and made you think of eagle-emblazoned sweatshirts and visors with flags on them?

    Today, the NY Times tells us that the fashionable liberal elite has embraced Made in USA products. The local food movement, the high carbon footprint generated by buying European bottled water, and toxic Chinese toys have all inspired the urban cognoscenti to start supporting some domestic companies, particularly when their products are more expensive than foreign ones.

    Price seems to be the determining factor when wealthy people decide it's cool to buy American; as the Times says, "It is hard to imagine, say, that people who tote reusable cotton bags to Whole Foods will ditch their beloved Saabs for an American-made Chevrolet Cobalt." But $1,250 custom-made bikes, designer t-shirts with flags on the tags, or top of the line New Balance sneakers with big USA logos? Sold! Conspicuous consumers are suddenly turning into a bunch of flag-waving patriots.

    But this is still a pretty recent demographic shift for the Buy American market. Many products that proudly display their Americanness might be a little too patriotic for those who are really just "people wanting to have guilt-free affluence,” as Alex Steffen, editor of a sustainability website, calls them.

    Yes, the less prestigious side of "Made in USA" is still with us--it's not all hand-painted sustainably-harvested wooden toy trucks. You can still be outrageously tacky while spending an assload of money on showing the world that your purchases are not just more mass-market knockoffs from China:

    Hyper-patriotic car:

    Flag gown:

    Flag iPod case:

    Flag jewels:

    America, fuck yeah!


    Here's my advice: Even if you are traveling and assume you're oceans away from Michael Cera, make sure you look your best. You never know when you're going to run into him.

    Michael and me

    Michael was very gracious.

    And now we're getting married.

    Good luck with the UK movie opening, Michael, and don't be a stranger.

    September 5, 2007

    At last, George Bush has someone to vote for

    Fred Thompson at the butter princess, Minnesota State Fair

    Over Labor Day weekend, the Times asked a bunch of people who they thought looked good for president. A lot of the Democrats they talked to in Iowa and New Hampshire might not have made up their minds between Hillary and Obama yet, but they have this over the Republicans: they're going to vote for somebody.

    But the Republicans are screwed. Ohio and NH Republicans aren't into anybody. Even if the people interviewed for the article actually like a candidate, they talk themselves out of supporting them.

    "I liked McCain, but he’s losing ground too fast to win. I don’t know if it’s his age or the war," says Nancy Adams, an "energetic 70".

    Leanne Stein, 41, sort of likes Giuliani. "He’s got style, and he has firsthand experience with how to run government in a way that deals with terrorism. But he needs someone to coach him on all the issues. All he talks about is terrorism. What about health care? What about education?"

    Wayne Horton, 53, likes Romney, but assumes he won't get the nomination because he's a Mormon, and has nothing good to say about anyone else: "Giuliani, he’s pro-abortion. It’s hard for me to believe that he’s a Republican front-runner. Giuliani’s children aren’t even supporting him. He’s had three wives. I don’t like that." And McCain "never impressed me, anyway. He comes from Arizona, where he let all the immigrants walk in with no repercussions."

    That leaves D.A. Arthur Branch who's looking like the best choice out there for Republicans, mostly because voters don't like anybody else, and his campaign hasn't really started yet. He's finally announcing tomorrow.

    The thing about Thompson is, he's the only front-runner candidate in either party who is a white, Protestant man, which is all our stupid country seems capable of electing. I bet that George Bush, when he finally endorses somebody, will get behind Thompson. Plus, he's 6' 5" and was in Die Hard 2. Unless Giuliani transforms himself into a charming southern non-denominationalist, I think Thompson's going to take it.

    About September 2007

    This page contains all entries posted to Amy's Robot in September 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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