Monthly Archives: September 2012

Ventura

 

Always the gracious host, Piers Morgan informed guest Jesse Ventura, “You make some very sensible points, and you make crackpot points.”

Piers later told Jesse, “You have been, as always … slightly crackers.”

I don’t know.  There are times when Ventura (above right, with potential “running mate” Howard Stern) makes more sense than our current candidates.

 

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Costas

 

Worst thing about the ridiculous fuss over the NFL’s striking referees? The unfortunate side-effect that it provided pompous ass Bob Costas with lots of air-time on news outlets.

 

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Bashir

 

Martin Bashir, above, has trouble restraining his inner naughty boy.  After the New York Times ran a quote about “the stench of [Mitt] Romney” and its deleterious effect on Paul Ryan, Bashir asked guest Ken Vogel about the Romney campaign’s difficulty in attracting donors.

 

Bashir:  “Who’s to blame?  Is it Mr. Ryan or The Stench?”

Vogel:  “I don’t know about The Stench.”

Bashir:  “Is it time for more Republicans, as it were, to start standing upwind of Mitt Romney?”

Vogel:  “We should point out that that is traditionally the role that vice-presidential running mates take:  They are number two.  They’re number two for a reason.”

 

Somewhere, Beavis and Butt-head are giggling.

 

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So much for gender equality in high-school sports.

 

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Time was, movie stars considered themselves too good for TV commercials.  Then some of them began doing ads on the sly in places like Japan.  Now, you can’t turn on the television without hearing pitches from Tom Hanks (Marie Callender’s), Paul Giamatti (Liberty Mutual Insurance), Jeff Bridges (Duracell), Tommy Lee Jones (Ameriprise), or George Clooney (Budweiser).  John Travolta must be mistaken; it’s a good time to be a celebrity.

 

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                               McGuirk

 

“President Obama on that thing, he came off as an emasculated wimp.  He really did.” — Bernard McGuirk (above), a Bill O’Reilly minion, evaluating Obama’s appearance on The View.

OK, talk-show tough guy, be sure to let us know how emasculation feels on November 7.

 

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Meanwhile, this week on Survivor

 

 

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Rudy

 

It’s only a few weeks into football season, and your favorite team already sucks.  You need to watch football and feel good about it, even if that means viewing a predictable, schmaltzy movie like Rudy.  So here you go:  Click here  to watch for free.

 

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Great Art (and Hot Blondes)

 

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Survivor is back, and it’s not hard to figure out which castaway is the favorite with CBS cameramen.  Hint:  It’s not the black dude.

 

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Critics Agree!

 

“It’s a stupid film on YouTube.” — noted author Salman Rushdie

“Fourteen minutes of your life you will never get back.” — some other guy

 

I had to see what all the fuss was about, so I checked out the trailer for Young Muhammad in Love, or whatever it’s called, and, well … I’ll have to say, this is wonderful stuff.  Here are my Oscar predictions for this charming little indie:

 

Best Supporting Actress:  Irma Glutz 

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Best Supporting Actor:  Clem Kardashian

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Achievement in Special Effects

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Best Sex Scene (ok, ok, not an Oscar category, but should be)

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Sometimes I daydream about moving to Alaska.  I think it might be a nice place to live.  But then I see news items from Alaska like this:

 

Alaska

 

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Piers Morgan took to Twitter to vent about Kelsey Grammer, who stomped off the set of Piers’s CNN program:

“Kelsey Grammer was supposed to be on my show now but ran out of the building.  Strange,” tweeted Piers.  He followed up with this:  “So, Kelsey Grammer saw a photo of his ex wife Camille in the open to our show and legged it  …. a shockingly unprofessional thing to do.”

Hard to understand what Kelsey found so offensive, so we tracked down the picture that opened Piers’ show, from Camille’s Oscar-nominated turn in The Naked Detective:

 

Camille

 

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Not that long ago, the world stood still when a certain author published certain books.  This week, that author is publishing her latest book.  What’s that, you say?  Nope, I wasn’t aware of it, either.

 

 

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by Janet Evanovich

Explosive

 

I’m not sure who’s more foolish, Stephanie Plum or me, because I continue to read this silly series.  Eighteen is more of the same-old slapstick, but what’s new is that, for some inexplicable reason, Evanovich has made her plot ridiculously complex.

 

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Arbit1

 

These are tough times for the “1 percent.”  The economy still sucks, their presidential candidate keeps putting his foot in his mouth, and even Richard Gere, with his movie-star looks and charm, can’t portray one of them and garner much sympathy.

In Arbitrage, Gere is Robert Miller, a Wall Street hedge-fund magnate whose world begins to crumble when a bad investment — in a Russian copper mine, of all things — leads him to commit fraud during negotiations for his trading empire.  Miller’s personal life is even messier:  A car accident ends badly for his mistress, and when he attempts to cover it up, Miller draws the attention of a New York cop (Tim Roth) who has no love for “masters of the universe.”

 

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What follows is The Bonfire of the Vanities meeting a 1970s episode of Columbo, but without much suspense.  Arbitrage is slick, smart … and unsatisfying.  It’s a curiously flat movie, always interesting but lacking tension.  Susan Sarandon and Brit Marling, as Miller’s wife and daughter, are on hand, I suppose, to engender sympathy for Miller’s embattled family life.  But it’s difficult to care much about the fate of people who rely so heavily on wealth for their self-esteem:

Says one character whom Miller enlists to help fool the cops:  “You think money’s gonna fix this?”

Miller:  “What else is there?”

As a viewer, I wanted some sort of resolution to this game of cat-and-mouse between Miller and the police.  Either the bad guy should win or the good guys should win.  That might not reflect reality, but it would make for a better movie.      Grade:  B-



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Director:  Nicholas Jarecki   Cast:  Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, Tim Roth, Brit Marling, Laetitia Casta, Nate Parker, Stuart Margolin, Chris Eigeman, Graydon Carter  Release:  2012

 

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                                                     Watch Trailer or Clip   (click here)

 

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Identity

 

It was a dark and stormy night ….  You never know these days what kind of movie you’re going to get when John Cusack is the star – crowd-pleasing junk or critics’ darling – but this mind-bending thriller is slick and entertaining.  Click here to watch it for free.

 

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Joy

 

“During sex with your father, is it considered cheating if you think of someone else?” — Joy Behar, mangling a viewer-submitted question (she meant to say “partner,” not “father”).

It’s possible that I might have butchered Behar’s mangled quote, just a bit.  Behar’s new network, Current TV, does not provide written transcripts of her show.  My point is this:  Who knew Jokin’ Joy is back with a new show?

 

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Columbia Pictures Premiere of "Moneyball"

Prick of the Week:  Moneyball Author Michael Lewis

 

Rachel Maddow:  “Why do you think President Obama let you have this kind of access for eight months?”

Michael Lewis (author of a new book about Obama):  “It’s interesting because he never explained why it was that he let me tag along with him, which is what he did.”

Gee, Mr. Journalist, could it be because you violated reporting ethics, big time, by agreeing to let Obama veto any quotes he didn’t care for?

 

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Comment

 

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I was watching one of those British mystery series, Midsomer Murders.  The killer turned out to be a young woman, the product of an illicit affair, who was upset because she wasn’t fully accepted by her family — the “Inkpens.”  Yes, folks, she was driven to kill because she really, really wanted to be an Inkpen.  Gotta love those British mysteries.

 

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OReilly

 

“Well I hate to say this but I was right and the president was wrong.” — Bill O’Reilly, crowing about his “prediction” of trouble in Egypt.  Great work, Bill.  You, and only you, suspected that violence might once again rear its ugly head in the Middle East.

 

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Yes, there is another scandal involving England’s royal family.  According to at least one Web site, “Kate [Middleton] was spotted smoking a cigarette as the couple walked out of nearby Marseille airport, where they arrived on a commercial flight.”

This kind of behavior must end.  Cannot believe they are taking commercial flights!  And oh, yes, there are also naked pictures of Kate, taken apparently as she playfully mooned the photographer.

 

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And finally, since we are on the subject of sexy mammals

Click here for the saddest love story since Romeo and Juliet

 

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by Dan Ariely

Honest

 

In all honesty, this book was a letdown.  The human propensity for lying and cheating should be a juicy topic, but Ariely manages to squash reader interest by (mostly) confining his experiments to sterile classrooms, where one group of student volunteers after another pencil in answers to one dull test after another, usually involving dotted matrixes, one-dollar bills, and paper shredders.  When Ariely and colleagues do leave the artificial environment of the classroom – sending a blind girl into a farmers’ market to buy tomatoes, for example – their research yields some interesting results.

But back to that classroom … our intrepid social scientist’s big discovery is this:  We all cheat, but only a little bit.  And if we can just get a few reminders that cheating is bad, maybe we won’t do it so much.

That’s not exactly a scientific breakthrough; it’s simple common sense.  And that’s the brutal truth.

 

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Headhunters

 

Headhunters     Roger (Aksel Hennie, Norway’s answer to Steve Buscemi) is a little guy whose gorgeous wife Diana (Synnove Macody Lund, Norway’s answer to Sweden) has expensive tastes.  So Roger, a corporate headhunter, supplements his income with a side business in stolen art.  And then … things begin to go wrong for Roger. The twists in this clever thriller are unpredictable, and the action is relentless; in fact, things move so fast that I’m not sure whether the plot holds up.  But hey, you could say the same thing about some Hitchcock classics.  Release:  2011  Grade:  B+

 

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Silent

 

The Silent House     Young Laura and her father are hired to repair an abandoned cottage — but this is an old-dark-house movie (sort of), so we know that trouble’s afoot.  There’s a fine line between “artistic license” and a storyline that cheats, so how you feel about the twist at the end of this low-budget chiller from Uruguay — shot in one well-choreographed, 78-minute take — will likely depend on what you feel is fair.  But until its iffy denouement, this House harbors solid suspense and delivers a few genuine jolts.  Release:  2010  Grade:  B

 

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Creatures

 

Heavenly Creatures     The attractions here are Peter Jackson’s direction, the performances by Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey, and New Zealand doing what New Zealand does best — looking like New Zealand.  But the dark story, based on an actual murder carried out by two teens in 1954, is less compelling than off-putting.  Release:  1994  Grade:  B

 

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