Archive for August, 2004

Bounced

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End of an era. Goliath falls. Team USA doesn’t play the right way. Elimination, derision, and blame. Come on, bronze ain’t that bad! What is bad is that we didn’t learn anything from the 2002 World Basketball Championship. Hopefully, this shock will finally wake the ferry driver.

How ironic is it that Larry Brown, after winning with fundamentals, was put in charge of a team with no chance of playing fundamentally sound ball? No shooting, and only one on the inside. While there is little doubt world is catching up with us on the basketball front, what we really learned from the Bball Olympics is that a group of skilled guys who have played together for 9 months stand a pretty damn good chance of beating some of the best players in the world — if, that is, the best players are thrown together haphazard and at the last minute.

It comes down to this: Don’t blame AI or Timmy or even a guy with a choice name like Boozer. And for God’s sake don’t blame Larry. It’s the big geniuses that put the team together who need to get on the pink slip train. Bounce them and we may yet save that vein in Coach Brown’s forehead.

photo via AP

That Miami Vice Feeling

On the surface, Michael Mann‘s 80s classic Miami Vice and his new film Collateral really don’t have much in common. Different location, different premise, different era. But his ability to bring cities to life through the spectacle of their lights while creating an undertow of tension and longing permeates each show. His trademark mixing of gritty realism (gunfights aren’t in slow-mo; they take place at ferocious speed) with the surreal milky emptiness of night is just as much in evidence now as it was then.

While Mann’s recent TV flop, Robbery Homicide Division, took a stab at bringing out the lights of LA and had some visuals that sang (though it periodically descended into typical crime drama cliches), Collateral takes it up a notch. In Collateral, Mann takes a virtually empty Los Angeles night and allows his characters (Tom Cruise’s cocky self-justifying hitman and Jamie Foxx’s soft-spoken dream deferred cab driver) to grow and fill the space. Only when we visit night clubs, bars, and the occasional populated street do we meet the other characters who help add color to this quietly tense world. Sound familiar?

Though Collateral certainly isn’t Miami Vice, it does in many ways represent what Michael Mann does best. It’s nice to see him doing something at once familiar and so different.

images grabbed from wildhorse and filmforce

Google’s Tent

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Google’s logo underwent an interesting transformation today. We started out with a particularly, shall we say, “excited” Neptune. Tent pitched, at attention, you know… Perhaps this makes sense given that Google bosses Larry and Sergey were so prominently featured in Playboy recently. By around 3pm this afternoon, though, old Neptune had gone a fair bit more modest.

Ya think the powers that be might be a little concerned about further tempting the gods of IPO disaster with the appearance of off-color humor?

Welcome, Republicans!

rnc-shall-not-pass.pngWell, the reality is really starting to set in. RNC in New York and freaking soon. What are they thinking? I mean, have they forgotten that over 200,000 people marched against the war here? And with the city allowing the protests no closer than three blocks to the convention, people are getting pissed. Check this heated snip from way back in July:

Kelly has proposed that the marchers with United for Peace and Justice walk north on Seventh Avenue past Madison Square Garden, where the convention will be held, then turn west on 34th Street and keep walking, all the way to the West Side Highway. We?re surprised he hasn?t suggested they keep walking right into the Hudson River.     — El Diario/La Prensa (UPJ)

And, heck, those are the moderates! For the other end of the spectrum, visit rncnotwelcome.org and counterconvention.org. Folks are getting creative, too. And when New Yorkers get creative, you might want to worry if you’re on the other side.

Whatever happens, this is going to get a lot more interesting before it’s all over. Living within the DMZ ain’t really reducing the stress level over here, either! Oh, and don’t miss this classy little clip (9mb)

EX-Box

amny-executed.jpgWhile New York news dailies are in the habit of trying to top each other with eye grabbing (and often fairly funny) front covers, newcomer AM New York has apparently decided to make its mark by going ultra tasteless. Way to make light of gruesome bat beatings! Ugly. Gates and his goons can’t be too happy about this unwanted publicity. Then again, Sony hasn’t been doing all that well in this department lately, either.

Grab the sorry front page in all its full size glory

Firemen Blow Kisses to West Side Stadium

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While a few people think the West Side Stadium is a wonderful idea, it seems like pretty much everyone else thinks it royally sucks. From the jobs figures to the environmental impact to the neighborhood itself, folks are lining up to take swipes at the grand olympic attractor.

All agree that West Side development is important in principle, but the breadth and uniformity of the opposition to this particular approach is likely to give the planners pause. It doesn’t help when firemen start taking out building-sides to mock your plan, either.

For more, see newyorkabc.org and the mega-archive at hellskitchen.net

photo by jellis

Filmbust: Taking Lives

fb-taking-lives.jpgFor some time, I’ve admired the ability of movie critics to come up with new ways to dis films and those responsible for them week after week. A clear heavyweight in this category has to be the Washington City Paper, which never fails to creatively slam everything under the sun. So, I’ve decided to try out a new feature that periodically highlights some of the more creative smacks in the face to film at the hands of heartless critics: Filmbust. Without further ado…

On Taking Lives:

Oh dear. Angelina Jolie’s made another bad film. Is it too soon to give up on her yet?… [S]he has that Oscar, you know, the gold statue that occasionally correlates to genuine acting talent. But sadly, there’s also Life or Something Like It. Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life. Beyond Borders. Gone in 60 Seconds. It’s beginning to seem as though large breasts and a willingness to flaunt them are the only attributes that separate Ms. Jolie from, say, Cuba Gooding Jr.     — Luke Thompson, New Times

Ouch. Leave poor Cuba out of this. :-(
Film fans seem to agree with the critics, though, since Ms. Voight’s latest didn’t even make its money back. One might begin to think that her 15 minutes are up and, if the box office slide continues, that might not be far from the truth.





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