November 30, 2007

Grand Theft Auto IV box art video

I love the buildup, and pre-release excitement, revolving around these games! It's to the point that the actual release is a bit of a comedown. A new trailer called "Move up, ladies" premieres next Thursday (Devember 6) at the official site.

November 27, 2007

"Love Is a Song"

Despite the fact that the majority of males in East Texas are passionate about deer hunting, I simply can not do it, in large part because of (I've had deer in my site and could not squeeze the trigger):

Judy Marsh and Donald Novis

Music: Frank Churchill
Lyrics: Larry Morey
Performed by: Donald Novis
From: Walt Disney's Bambi (1942)

R.I.P. Kevin Dubrow

"Quiet Riot lead singer Kevin Dubrow dies"

Metal health'll drive you mad.

November 26, 2007

Kiss Me, Stupid in Las Vegas

It's astonishing that the same person behind Sunset Blvd., director Billy Wilder, was also the creator of the 1964 film Kiss Me, Stupid. Quite frankly, Kiss Me, Stupid is, well, stupid. I might try to defend it on the grounds that the early 1960s movie going public was comparatively easier to please, and much more starved for entertainment than we are today. But according to the movie's IMDb entry, it "did not receive critical raves or a warm reception at the box office," so even people back then thought it stunk.

Plot summary from its Wikipedia entry:

Kiss Me, Stupid is a 1964 American comedy film directed by Billy Wilder and starring Kim Novak and Dean Martin. Martin plays a nightmare version of himself called "Dino," Novak portrays a trailer-trash prostitute, and Ray Walston took over a role originally intended for Peter Sellers as a jealous husband after Sellers suffered a heart attack. Excoriated by critics as being immoral upon its release, it has proven to be a prescient forerunner of films in which performers play unflattering versions of themselves, and includes one of Dean Martin's most fascinating performances. Ira Gershwin wrote the lyrics for the intentionally bad songs composed by Walston's hapless character.

The wedded couple characters played by Walston and Felicia Farr end up having sex with other people (Kim Novak and Dean Martin respectively), manage to shrug it off, and get back together. Such adulterous behavior on film upset Roman Catholic Church officials; the Vatican's Legion of Decency banned the film at the time it was released. However, by modern "anything goes" standards, the film is quite tame and has become a charming sex-farce with the passage of time. It also provides a rare glimpse into the personal life of Dean Martin. The film's opening scenes were shot during a live Martin performance at the late Sands Casino in Las Vegas. Also, the customized Italian Ghia sports car driven by Martin in the film was the performer's own real-life automobile.

The first four or five minutes (lasting for the duration of the opening credits) are without a doubt the best the film has to offer, and it features a great (practically historic) sequence of Dean Martin (playing "Dean Martin") as his "character" ends an engagement at the Sands Hotel Copa Room. So basically, you've got Dean Martin playing Dean Martin playing Dean Martin playing Dean Martin(?):

love that neon!!

The shots of Martin driving his own Ghia sports car down Fremont Street, and then out in the Nevada desert (presumably) are priceless. I was a bit stunned by the "What's the matter? That Sinatra kid missin' again?" line. The kidnapping of Frank Sinatra Jr. had a serious and profound impact on Frank Sinatra and is said to have aged him over night. So it seems unnecessarily tasteless and crude. It makes me wonder if Billy Wilder didn't have some sort of personal animosity towards or a grudge against Sinatra. But that's beside the point. Otherwise, this is a great sequence:

November 25, 2007

Steve Martin has big chutzpahs

In a CBS Sunday Morning interview with a mustachioed Steve Martin, it was revealed that he is currently filming a sequel to The Pink Panther (2006), currently titled simply, Pink Panther 2. Based on its February 2009 release date and plot involving a globe-trotting ancient antiquities thief, I imagine it'll be packed to the brim with CGI effects. I grew up on a steady diet (books, records, radio, movies, TV, etc.) of Steve Martin, so I like him a lot, and I really wanted to like his remake of the Peter Sellers and Blake Edwards creation. But except for a few moments and one or two sequences, Martin's The Pink Panther just wasn't very good, to put it mildly. I admire the fact that he's comfortable and confident enough to try again. Or is it simply a case of ego and/or greed?

Cigarette break in the '70s

Speaking of growing up with Steve Martin, he was on CBS Sunday Morning to promote the release of an autobiographical book, Born Standing Up. He embraces his early career during the mid to late '70s.

November 24, 2007

There's a small hotel...

Driving east, into Tyler on Highway 64 (TX-64), I came across these two motor court style motels. Both appear to be in pretty fair condition. The Airways Motel looked like it may have closed recently, as it seemed to be in really good shape. The Siesta Motel appeared to either have permanent residents, or the individual units are being used like self-storage garages. It would be great to refurbish places like these, restoring them to their original, opening day state. The wonderful Tee Pee Motel in Wharton sat, empty and abandoned, for years before someone bought it, restored each tee pee, one at a time, and reopened it for bidness. Anyway, here are pictures of the Airways and Siesta Motels:

November 20, 2007

Blame Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz

As you no doubt saw at boingboing...

A pile of lava rocks?

This is great post, only I wish I'd thought of it!! To celebrate the recent release of the combo HD/DVD and standard DVD set of the original Star Trek episodes, Wired has compiled a list of "Star Trek's 10 Cheesiest Classic Creatures." Ha ha ha, we may laugh now at how pathetic some of these are (notice I said some) now, but each and every one (well, except for Tribbles) of them scared the hell out of me when I was a kid. They all made an appearance in a terrifying nightmare. I no lie.....TO THIS DAY the buttheads Talosians make my skin crawl. Wired apparently didn't consider them to be "cheesy," as they didn't make the cut for this list. But they were really scary to me!


November 19, 2007

The Age of Innocence

Last week I finished The Age of Innocence, by Edith Wharton. I knew somehow, in someway, Wharton was a kindred spirit, and I had to read it after seeing this sentence from the novel's Wikipedia entry:

Edith Wharton, was fifty-eight years-old at publication; she lived in that world, and saw it change dramatically by the end of World War I, when she reminisced about a bygone age of innocence.

the painting (The Age of Innocence) by Joshua Reynolds

More from the Wikipedia entry:

The Age of Innocence (1920) is a novel by Edith Wharton, which won the 1921 Pulitzer Prize. The story occurs among New York City's upper class in the 1870s, before electricity, telephone, and automobiles; when there was a small cluster of old, "aristocratic" Revolutionary War-stock families who ruled New York's social life; when being was better than doing; when occupation and abilities were secondary to blood connections (heredity and family); when reputation and appearances excluded every thing and every one not of one's caste; and when Fifth Avenue was so deserted by nightfall that it was possible to follow Society's comings and goings, by spying who went to what house.

Edith Wharton

I enjoyed the book, and I was eager to finally watch Martin Scorsese's 1993 film version. It can be a bit dull in places, but it is still a beautiful piece of cinematic art and faithful to the novel. With Scorsese's history of making films set in New York City (Mean Streets, Gangs of New York, Taxi Driver, etc.), it makes perfect sense he would direct it. Here are some screencaps, featuring the gas lamp-lit, horse and buggy filled streets of 1870s New York City:

Actually a shot from Newland and May's post-wedding trip to Europe

These last two screencaps are from a couple of breathtaking (to me) shots in the film, featuring great use of CGI (as opposed to the use of it as an excuse to make three prequels to the classic Star Wars movies):

The elegant New York City home of Newland Archer, his mother and sister

See that shot in motion:

Times Square?

See that shot in motion, with Enya's "Marble Halls" as the soundtrack:

young Edith Jones (of the "keeping up with the Joneses" family)

November 15, 2007

"Heigh Ho (Dwarfs' Digging and Marching Song)"

Music by Frank Churchill, lyrics by Larry Morey - from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

The names of the Seven Dwarfs ("Bashful," "Doc," "Dopey," "Grumpy," "Happy," "Sleepy" and "Sneezy") were chosen from a pool of about fifty potentials. Blabby, Jumpy, Shifty, and Snoopy were among those that were rejected (along with Scrappy, Cranky, Dirty, Awful, Silly, Daffy, Flabby, Jaunty, Biggo Ego, Chesty, Bald, Gabby, Nifty, Sniffy, Burpy, Lazy, Puffy, Dizzy, Stuffy and Tubby (Wikipedia entry).