SRSLY, WTF? "Throughout history, the greatest saviors have come in the darkest hours." No, that's not Oprah on Obama, but a subsidiary character in Masters of the Impossible appraising the ultimate cartoon superheroes: Siegfried and Roy.
Just reissued by children's DVD label NCircle, Siegfried and Roy: Masters of the Impossible was produced in 1996 for precise reasons unknown. Read more »
TV DRIVE-BY Are TV commentators covert celebrities? Showbiz Tonight fosters this impression. Instead of junket interviews with fame's roadkill or TMZ-style rampage-cam footage of them at Starbucks, it devotes the majority of its daily, endlessly-rerun hour to carefully curated prefab arguments about the stars. The show's reliable go-to panelist crew gets more regular airtime than any celeb-bot. It's startling shocking! Read more »
TV EYED You know a show has gotten under your skin when it begins to trigger nightmares. That's the case with Showtime's Dexter, now winding up its third season after building, with frustrating slowness, its intertwined partnership narratives revolving around serial killer-turned-crime fighter Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall). Dexter was carefully trained by his adopted hero-cop father to blend in, closet his antisocial blood-thirsty desires, and channel those murderous impulses toward bad apples who slip the scales of justice. Read more »
FREE TO BE TV If you were a kid in the late 1960s and early '70s, you were an integral part of the counterculture's trickling-down influence. Hitherto square as a toddler's puzzle peg, children's TV programming radicalized not long after various sexual and social revolutions liberated their parents from larger strangulations.
Displacing innocuous slapstick pacifiers, shows were redesigned to educate and empower. Or simply be groovy, like the Sid and Marty Krofft Brit-popping Bugaloos or then-teen idol Rick Springfield's Mission: Magic! Kid Power stressed multiculturalism. Read more »
TV EYED Can't live with 'em, can't turn on the glass teat without spying a rerun. Still, the wasteland boasts a few reality TV characters worth studying.
THUS SPAKE ZOE-THUSTRA
Kill me now, club me with a Balenciaga handbag, drive a stake through my heart, and kick me into a coffin in a fabulous Ossie Clark caftan and a Biba head-wrap. Yes, you are driven bananas by the stylist-to-the-starz Rachel Zoe's cute-speak, which rivals TV's other Rach, namely Rachael Ray. Read more »
HALLOWEEN SCREENING What's most shocking about Oliver Stone's W. beyond anything in the too-mild movie itself is that it's simply dramatizing a still-seated US president. That still feels like a breach in our near-extinct public decorum, however much Shrub has degraded the office's dignity.
Yet there's precedent: one prior era brought a slew of movies about its Disaster-in-Chief. Once Watergate broke, filmmakers from late radical-left documentarian Emile de Antonio to future Roller Boogie (1979) director Mark L. Read more »
(Electronic Arts; Nintendo DS, PlayStation 2 and 3, Sony PSP, Windows Vista/XP, Xbox 360)
GAMER In the midst of all this excruciatingly important election business, I strive only to be a better-terrified, proverbially neo-American Joe, asking you, "O citizen, has there ever been a more convenient time to wed distraction by an awesome bit of footy on the Xbox 360?"
SHOCKING PROFILE When I informed John Epperson, aka Lypsinka, that there was a biography of Grayson Hall, he said, "Of Grayson Hall?! God." Then I told him the title of the book, by R. J. Jamison: A Hard Act to Follow (iUniverse, 224 pages, $18.95). "A hard actress to follow," Epperson observed.
Epperson and I had reached the subject of Hall through a discussion of the thespian skills of Joan Bennett, whose plum-flavored line readings took on an extra coating of irony in Dario Argento's 1977 Suspiria. Read more »
SIN-EMA Though he's lived in Denmark since 1993, time and distance have only drawn author-archivist Jack Stevenson closer to his erstwhile home's filmic arcana. Proof arrives via "The Superstars Next Door: A Celebration of San Francisco Amateur Sex Cinema." This Yerba Buena Center for the Artscommissioned series flashes back to SF's smutty '60s, when the sexual revolution dragged "adults only" movies semi-overground. Read more »
Earlier this month at the Toronto International Film Festival, I ran into Dead Channels Film Festival director Bruce Fletcher more than once not surprising, considering we were both haunting the same Midnight Madness screenings. This is, after all, the local programmer who brought 1975's Welcome Home Brother Charles with director Jamaa Fanaka in tow to the 2007 Dead Channels fest. Read more »