It’s long been a staple for US celebs to appear in Japanese ads, hawking whatever needs additional star power, picking up some handy spare change (A mere 3 mill per movie doesn’t go far these days) in the process.

Recently, both Dustin Hoffmann and Goldie Hawn has appeared in clothes ads here in the land of the midnight, etc. It’s sort of weird. I’m used to international ads, and I’m used to awful dubbing (it’s kinda fun to think of Penelope Cruz’ on-and-off English diction being jetted for an overdub that’s even worse.), but these celebs are in…local ads. OK, local as in national, but national is Norwegian, which is a bit like Rhode Island, so…well, you get the idea.

My point is: we don’t have lawyer ads yet, but if we get them, I hope somebody can rope in the Man From U.N.C.L.E. (“Hi, I’m Robert Vaughn. Sacked by vikings? You can sue!”) That would be awesome.

09.03.2007 • Permalink

Captain America: Assassinated: The good Cap went out with a bang, killed by a sniper’s bullet. Much rhetoric will be invested in this by both sides, to be sure, but I also noticed we’re talking ish#25. CA’s been an on-and-off title for a while. Could his death – no doubt at the hands of Islamic jihadi forces working in unison with freedom-hating, gun-controlling liberals (alternately the staff at Walter Reed) – possibly be the result of sales that are in the toilet? (Of course, you know the worst thing about comic book deaths: Everybody always stays dead. Forever. Really.)

07.03.2007 • Permalink

Thanks to British SF magazine Annsible, for reminding me that Apple Computers once had a model called “Sagan”, in honor of Carl Sagan. It was later renamed “BHA” when Sagan threatened them with a lawsuit. Apple let slip (unofficially) that “BHA” stood for “Butt-Head Astronomer”. What do you know: Sagan sued them over that, too.

07.03.2007 • Permalink

Directors: Russell Mulcahy

Russell Mulcahy comes from the land down under, where women glow, etc. Mulcahy was arguably the first of that detestable phenomenon: the music vide director turned feature film director.

His work was awash in style and bathos, the perfect visual companion to the musical stylings of Duran Duran, to whom he may have been called house director.

His most famous effort is still “Highlander”, that epic tale of immortal buffoonery, starring – inexplicably – Christopher Lambert as a Scot and – more inexplicably – Sean Connery as a Spaniard. It will forever retain a place in my heart for the sheer thrill ride of fun that it is. A perfectly cast Clancy Brown as the baddest badass in the history of badassery makes for half the movie; skillfully edited segues, gorgeous backdrops, stylish beheadings and THAT Queen song accompanying the death of Connor’s wife make up for the rest; the plot isn’t the sturdiest, but it’s a small complaint overall. The movie is so much fun that even the atrocious sequel couldn’t really mar it. Mulcahy left the franchise after that, secure in the knowledge that his two efforts had scaled both the highest and plumbed the lowest. None of the other sequels have come over as anything but middling when faced with Mulcahy’s efforts.

“Highlander” was, however, not his debut: that honor goes to “Derek and Clive Get the Horn” with Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. I haven’t seen it, so I’ll not comment.

His second feature was “Razorback”, a horror movie about a wild killer boar in the Australian outback. Not a classic, but it’s done with an amount of panache and a visual sense that aids the low budget, not to mention a tongue planted very firmly in cheek – to be more entertaining that it has any reason to be.

He has commanded actor such as Denzel Washington, John Lithgow, Michael Caine, Kim Basinger and Geoffrey Rush.

He made the unloved “The Shadow”, which took a critical pounding and tanked at the box office. Having no knowledge of “The Shadow” beyond the fact that it was some sort of pulp series and that Howard Chaykin (I think – I can’t be bothered to look it up) resurrected in the late 80s, I enjoyed Mulcahy’s movie version to no end. I admit it’s no classic, but it’s a guilty pleasure all the same.

As a matter of fact, I have seen most of Mulcahy’s movies, and have a simple admission: I like him. He has one bona fide classic – a genre classic, granted, but a classic nonetheless, at least one bona fide stinker, and several good and some middling. His name will never be mentioned in the hushed breath of a Kubrick or Spielberg, but he’s a good craftsman and a good entertainer. many of his movies are uninspired – see such efforts as “Resurrection”, clearly a rip-off of “7even”, though entertaining enough to slip into the “homage” category.

I was moved to jot all this down after seeing his 2003 effort “Swimming Upstream”, the biopic of Australian swimmer Tony Fingleton. Geoffrey Rush stole the show, as he often does, and there were perhaps a few too many split screens (Time Out pointed out one almost expected Steve McQueen to stride onscreen), but the rest of the cast turn in solid performances also – and Mulcahy’s direction has much to do with that. I have also learned he directed a TV version of Stanley Kramer’s “On the Beach” which some feel surpasses the original. (Of course, chopping an hour or so would to the job as nicely)

I’m not convinced Mulcahy has a true classic in him, but all the same, he will have a spot in my movie heart as one of “those guys” – the ones whose work I always enjoy on a gut level, if not intellectual, and who, at the end of the day, I think it would be fun to have a beer with.

04.03.2007 • Permalink

Johnny English

Cheery send-up of the James Bond movies, starring Rowan Atkinson as the titular Johnny English. Atkinson delivers a wry performance, mixing Blackadder’s solipsism with Mr. Bean’s ineptness.

Delivers a few belly laughs as well as a fairly constant number of snickers. Harldy a classic, but certainly on par with the Austin Powers movie. There are far worse ways to spend an evening.

  • Director: Peter Howitt
  • Cast: Rowan Atkinson
04.03.2007 • Permalink

Browser Update

For the hell of it, I decided to try Camino out once again. It’s pretty neat, and hogs a lot less RAM. I miss the extensions like WebDev and such, but Camino’s flashblock is pretty awesome. Also, I found a decent widget that allows me to post to the blog from Dashboard. So all in all, it’s pretty good.

03.03.2007 • Permalink

Good-bye, Texas’ obese, alcoholic, Pill-popping Rose

I’m watching CNN covering the burial of Annna Nicole Smith, which they are doing obsessively. I am sad, since this basically means that CNN has lost its journalistic bearings. Here is the story in its entirety:

  1. Anna Nicole Smith, former model and enabler of octogenerian orgasms, has died due to and overdose. This surprised the same 5 people who are still shocked by anything Madonna does.
  2. She was buried in the Bahamas.
  3. She now roams the American Heartland with Elvis, on a pilgrimage to sacred burger joints on Route 66.

This is not a news story; this is maybe a minute-long book-end to a couple of hours of actual news. (Wolf Blitzer would say “In other news, former model Anna Nicole Smith died today.”) I admit, with great shame, that I have weak spot for gossip, but come ON! There’s a war on, there will most likely be another one on shortly, there’s the Walter Reed story in the US, and the global economy just took a serious hit. Those are news.

If CNN finds itself losing market shares to Al-Jazzeera, it might consider stuff like that. CNN won’t, of course. News is not news anymore. News is entertainment. It’s opinion and conjecture. What it no longer seems to be is relevant.

Also in the news: A photo of Tony Blair in college has surfaced, and in said photo, he’s making a wanking motion with his hand. This is shocking, because no college kid has ever goofed off in a photo, ever, in the entire span of time.

03.03.2007 • Permalink