Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Emerald-Skinned Women Who Make the Universe a Greener Place

By Lauren Davis

The most recent Star Trek trailer briefly featured a particular species of green-skinned female known for their seductive powers. Green women are a force to be reckoned with in science fiction, and they range from pint-sized invaders to powerful warriors and cunning schemers. We list the green-skinned ladies who make the universe a more colorful place.

Orions (Star Trek): Orion slave girls are known for their beauty, their carnal appetites, and their skills in the bedroom. Being with an Orion woman is a common male fantasy in the Federation, and the women feature in many a holosuite program. But the Orion women are more in control than any outside their species realize. They emit a powerful pheromone that turns men of most species into their willing slaves.

Queen Veranke (Marvel): The princess Veranke was sent to a prison planet for having the audacity to question the leadership of the Skrull king, saying that the prophesies foretold the destruction of the Skrull homeworld and the need to find a new planet. When the prophesies come true, Veranke is freed and made empress of the Skrull Empire. She quickly plots and enacts the Secret Invasion of Earth, acting as one of the plan’s early agents by impersonating Spider-Woman Jessica Drew.

Princess Aura (Flash Gordon): Although later media would remove her verdant hue, Princess Aura was the originally green-skinned daughter of Ming the Merciless, the despotic ruler of the planet Mongo. Her attraction to Flash Gordon proved one of the protagonists’ greatest assets, causing her to turn against her father, though she ultimately falls for the rebel Prince Barin, the rightful heir to Mongo’s throne.

Athena (Lost in Space): Few people are fond of Lost in Space’s villainous stowaway Dr. Zachary Smith. But one such person is Athena, the girl from the Green Dimension. Although she at one point hypnotizes Smith into dumping the Jupiter 2’s fuel, hijacking the ship, and taking a walk in space, she later returns to romance the sad doctor, hoping to escape her brutish suitor and bring Smith back to her home dimension.

Miss Martian (DC): M’gann M’orzz is actually a White Martian who poses as a Green Martian to earn a slot on the Teen Titans. But even after her true form is discovered, she prefers her green appearance, though she is plagued by the fear of her more aggressive White Martian nature.

Tak (Invader Zim): The female Irken Tak is far more clever than her nemesis Zim. She has a more convincing disguise, builds a superior robotic unit, and is single-minded in her pursuits. But after Zim’s actions condemned her to 70 years of janitorial duty on the Planet Dirt, she’s also dangerously insane. She aims to steal Zim’s commission by conquering the Earth and stuffing it with junk food for the benefit of the Irken Armada.

Elmira (Space Cases): The warlike Spung were the primary antagonists of Nickelodeon’s lost in space drama. But Elmira escaped her Spung upbringing because of their shoddy treatment of women. Like Aura, Elmira is green-skinned royal who ends up falling for her father’s enemy. She’s also an oracle, and foresees Jewel Staite’s unfortunate departure from the show.

She-Hulk (Marvel): After Jennifer Walters was gunned down by members of a crime family, her cousin Bruce “The Hulk” Banner saves her life by donating some of his gamma-irradiated blood. The transfusions transforms her into the amazonian She-Hulk, but, unlike Banner, she sees the advantages of going green. Her She-Hulk form gave Walters the strength and confidence not only to fight superpowered crime, but also to practice superhuman law.

April the Gorlock (The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius): Genius Jimmy Neutron may have a secret crush on his intellectual rival Cindy Vortex, but his hormones go into overdrive when he meets April the Gorlock. While trying to protect her planet, April performs her people’s seal of trust on Jimmy, which just so happens to be a kiss. Jimmy was happy to lend a helping hand, hoping to earn himself another seal of trust once the planet’s safety was assured.

Oola (Star Wars): Unlike the Orion women, Oola is a bona fide slave, a Twi’lek tragically tricked into becoming a dancer for Jabba the Hutt. There, she was starved, forced to service Jabba, and beaten for any disobedience. Just before she believed she would be rescued by Luke Skywalker, Oola performed one final dance for her master, but when Jabba pulled on the chain around her neck, beckoning him to her, she defied him, pulling back until Jabba tugged her over a trapdoor and dropped her into the chamber of his hungry rancor.

Xylene (Ben 10): Xylene is the carrier of the Omnitrix, a powerful alien device that can transform the wearer into a number of different aliens. When she finds herself under attack, she sends the device to Earth, where it comes into the possession of Ben Tennyson. When Xylene comes to reclaim the Omnitrix, she butts heads with Ben, but reconnects with Ben’s Grandpa Max, her ally and one-time lover.

Updated by popular demand:

Dot Matrix (ReBoot): We were remiss in not immediately including Dot Matrix, the Command.Com of ReBoot's Mainframe. After her father's experiments wipe out most of Mainframe and nearly all the computer's sprites, Dot keeps Mainframe running, fighting off its resident viruses, Megabyte and Hexadecimal, and ensuring the population isn't decimated by incoming games. At the same time, she owns many of the local business and raises her only remaining family, her younger brother Enzo.

Original here


We all knew that Biggie Smalls wrote most of Lil Kim’s rhymes. What we didn’t know was that he also recorded references tracks to guide Kim through her rhyme sequence and structure. Or that said tracks have been crawling the interwebs for a hot minute. Luckily, our friends at Buhbomp have unearthed some of the reference tracks Biggie cut for Kim way way back in the day, when some of you were still in underoos. One of the cuts (below) finds Biggie spitting Lil Kim’s “Queen Bitch” joint in its entirety. Reference track or not, it still feels weird just hearing B.I.G. say rhymes like, “Got buffoons eating my pussy while I watch cartoons” and “I’m rich, I’ma stay that bitch.”

Biggie - “Queen Bitch” (Reference Track)

Biggie - “Player’s Anthem” (Reference Track)

[Props: Buhbomp]

Original here

Whose Idea Was Beyonce's Shiny Robot Glove?

Leslie Gornstein

Los Angeles (E! Online) – What is that new hand that Beyonce has? Is it a robot hand? Is it superstrong?

--B Fan, Yonkers

See? I told you. The Cylons. They look like us now.

The handpiece you mention--alternately known among fashion reporters as the roboglove, the gling or Anti-Rihanna Death Grip--actually was handcrafted by Beyonce's longtime jeweler, New York-based Lorraine Schwartz. Despite Internet rumors that the piece was fashioned of pure gold--possibly in the legendary Elven forges at Rivendell--it's actually made of...


And, according to sources close to the gling, it's also one of a kind and therefore close to priceless.

More details on the roboglove? Sure.

• Schwartz had her artisans working day and night on the piece, laboring 24 hours a day until it was complete.

• It fits literally like a glove. Beyonce's entire upper arm was cast in wax so that the titanium piece would wrap perfectly.

• It's actually several pieces, including a ring, a glove and a separate component that covers the upper arm. It can be worn all together or separately.

• It looks heavier than it is. Titanium is about 45 percent lighter than steel.

• Beyonce really, really doesn't want to take it off. She wore it on Saturday Night Live. She wore it in her "Single Ladies" video. She wore it in her cover spread for Gotham magazine. She wore it on the red carpet at the MTV Europe Awards.

• The glove was Beyonce's concept all the way, I am told--a "superpower" hand to complement the singer's new Sasha Fierce ego.

Speaking of fierce, the white-hot flame of truth doesn't stop for a turkey. Look for more answers to your burningest Q's later this week.

Got a question about Hollywood? ASK IT:

Oh, and subscribe to my free podcast, 'kay?

••• THEY SAID WHAT? Get today's most commented stories now at

Original here

Family Valewwws: 13 Holiday-Season Films For People Who Hate Their Relatives

By G. Martin

The holiday season is officially upon us. The food, the festivities, the relatives. Feeling nauseous yet? Does spending quality time with the fam fill you with unspeakable levels of fear and loathing? Do you break out in sweaty hives at the very idea of all that forced togetherness and pre-fab merrymaking? If that's the case, take heart, because it could always be worse. No matter what your situation is, these 13 belligerent broods will make yours look positively Rockwellian by comparison. You will be grateful that you're drowning in your own gene pool and not theirs.

13. Parents

What if instead of serving Tom Turkey for Thanksgiving, your mother decided to dish up Tom, your next door neighbor? Living a vegan's worst nightmare, a little boy realizes very quickly that sometimes it's best to keep the origins of "mystery meat" mysterious. So the next time you're bitching about that umpteenth turkey sandwich, just be glad that the protein you're consuming never had arms or a credit card. Guess Chevy Chase and the Griswolds were lucky Randy Quaid ran out of meat that time he had them over for dinner.

12. Friday The 13th

Let's look at this from the Voorhees' perspective, shall we? If some snotty, half-witted counselors let your sorry, deformed ass drown at summer camp, wouldn't you want your mom to dedicate the rest of her life to avenging your death? It's the least she could do. June Cleaver, Claire Huxtable, Maggie Seaver and all those other so-called, "good" mothers aren't worthy of shining Mrs. Voorhees' bloody shoes. So kudos to you, Jason's mom. A family that slays together stays together.

11. Sleepwalkers

It's one thing to have a close relationship with your maternal unit, but it's an entirely different ball of wax once you start sleeping with her. In Stephen King's tale of felonious feline incest, shape-shifting Brian Krause spurns Twin Peaks hottie Madchen Amick for his own mother. Who ever said cats aren't affectionate creatures?

10. What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?

The only situation more unfortunate than being the black sheep of the family is being at the ebony ewe's mercy. As in most cases of violent sibling rivalry, the envious former child star blames her older sister for her life's problems. Considering how the majority of juvenile actors turn out, Baby Jane doesn't actually seem all that maladjusted.

9. Serial Mom

What would be the final straw that would convince you that your mommy was crazy? Her obsessive enforcement of the "no white after Labor Day" rule? The fact that she speaks in a rumbling baritone that gives James Earl Jones a run for his money? Or would it be her habit of killing people for no good reason? Kathleen Turner addresses all these questions and more during her John Waters-inspired spree.

8. The Stepfather

In spite of what The Brady Bunch would have us believe, most stepfamilies go through an awkward adjustment phase at first. Of course, that initial period of discomfort may last a little longer if your new daddy happens to be a homicidal maniac with severe identity issues. As the bizarro Mike Brady, Lost's Terry O'Quinn is a living, breathing (and murdering) endorsement for single moms to remain blissfully unattached.

7. Rob Zombie's Halloween

Providing viewers with a glimpse into Michael Myers' less than ideal upbringing, the lead singer of White Zombie gives us a peek at the boy behind the mask. From his slutty sister to his stripper mama's drunken, live-in boyfriend, The Shape's familial background is straight out of the serial killer's handbook. Then again, if those were your relatives you might be tempted to slaughter them, too.

The Best Quotes from the New Britney Spears Documentary

By: Michael Swaim

As a blogger, one must become sensitively attuned to some very specific phenomenon. News stories involving nudity, stupid criminals, or–preferably–both. Upcoming holidays that could have inspired “novelty items in poor taste.” Websites featuring those items. And, of course, upcoming documentaries about ailing teen pop sensations.

Britney: For the Record follows Brit for three months, and is part of her sweeping “comeback” effort. I guess after all that footage of her shaving her head, dropping her baby, getting stoned with K-Fed, and being bloated and pitchy at the Grammys (and that’s just one clip), her PR team decided the best way to win back the love of the public was to point a camera at her and just let her go.

Big mistake.

Although the numerous leaks and plants that have preceded the movie’s premiere have held off on revealing what career-killing atrocity Brit has planned for the climax, there’s been enough “real Britney” in the air already to convince me this one’s going to be a winner.

Some pearls of wisdom from Spears herself:

  • “Instead of following my heart and doing something that made me really happy, I just did it for the idea of everything.”
  • “I was a pretty cool chick, and I’m really not that way anymore.”
  • “My life is worse than a prison sentence.”
  • “It’s bad. I’m sad.”
  • This pattern continues until she’s communicating entirely with monosyllabic grunts and lip curls.

    I think I’ve already gleaned all the Britney-related information I’m going to get from this documentary. Firstly, that she’s a developmentally stunted woman/girl whose handlers never allowed her to develop a behavioral palette of more than four colors, and secondly, that it’s hilarious to watch her try and express human emotion.

    So that you don’t feel the need to actually watch it when it comes out, I’ve taken it upon myself to capture her essence and synthesize what I’m predicting will be the best quotes and moments from For the Record. As an added challenge, I’ve included three real Britney quotes. See if you can sort the fakes from the genuine article.

    Britney on the Civil War:

    “In the end, I still blame myself, even though I try not to.”

    Britney on her comeback:

    “I’m coming back like a train, like the biggest train. Woo woooo!”

    Britney on Darfur:

    “I think it could be a lot worse; people have it a lot worse than I do.”

    Britney on the theories of Sir Isaac Newton:

    “What goes up, it’s like, sometimes…when I dance, I think it’s almost a spiritual way of—it comes down.”

    Britney on her time in the Mouseketeers:

    “I let bad people into my life because I was lonely.”

    Britney quotes Ralph from The Simpsons:

    “I have eaten the purple berries.”

    Britney on Obama’s election:

    “I heard and I was like thank goodness, because now I didn’t feel so bad about the war where they fought their brothers. The one you mentioned earlier.”

    Britney on the Iraq war:

    “It was bad. I felt sad. Wait, did I already use that one? Anyway, it’s a song I’m working on. It’s called ‘It Was Bad’ and then in parentheses ‘I Felt Sad.’”

    Britney on (and demonstrating) spouting random gibberish:

    “Sometimes you don’t need to use words to go through what you need to go through. Sometimes it’s an emotion you need to feel when you dance, that you need to touch. And the only thing that can touch it is when you move a certain way.”

    Britney on her place in history:

    “Everyone remembers the biggest train, right? I rest my cakes.”

    If you guessed 3, 5, and 10, then you were wrong because it was actually 3, 5, and the one about the big train.

    God, she loved that big train.

    Oh, that reminds me: she dies at the end.

    Original here

    Saturday, November 29, 2008

    Batman killed by his OWN dad

    End of an era ... Batman dies in new comic

    End of an era ... Batman dies in new comic

    Bruce Wayne – who by night is Batman – gets murdered by a man claiming to be the father he thought was dead.

    In a highly controversial new storyline Bruce, who first appeared in 1939, is killed by Simon Hurt – the leader of the shady Black Glove organisation.

    Simon claims he is really Dr Thomas Wayne, saying he faked his own passing when Bruce was a child.

    The superhero dies when he tries to stop his foe escaping by helicopter in the new comic Batman R.I.P.

    Bad father ... Batman's dad

    Bad father ... Batman's dad

    Writer Grant Morrison said: “This is so much better than death. People have killed characters in the past but to me, that kind of ends the story!

    "I like to keep the story twisting and turning. So what I am doing is a fate worse than death. Things that no one would expect to happen to these guys at all.

    "This is the end of Bruce Wayne as Batman."

    Batman will live on though, with another character filling his Batsuit.

    Two likely contenders are Dick Grayson - the original Robin - or current Boy Wonder, Tim Drake.

    Original here

    Cinematical Seven: Non-Dysfunctional Movie Families

    by Jette Kernion

    A few years ago, I wrote a Cinematical Seven on my favorite dysfunctional families in films. Everyone has a crazy messed-up movie family they love, whether it's the Hoovers in Little Miss Sunshine or the Bullocks in My Man Godfrey or the Corleones in the Godfather saga. I thought that this year, it would be fun to make a list of families that got along, worked together, and supported one another. You know, happy families ... but not dull, one-dimensional bundles of endless cheer.

    It's a lot more difficult to find seven movies with happy-but-not-sappy families than it is to find the screwed-up kind, especially if you are looking for something more interesting than the Cleavers. Since I'm visiting my relatives for the Thanksgiving holidays, I asked them for suggestions. They were all very helpful, and I'm sorry I couldn't include all the suggestions, which ranged from The Thin Man to The Sound of Music to The Hills Have Eyes. Let me know what else we missed in the comments.

    The Smiths in Meet Me in St. Louis (suggested by my mom)

    It feels like the right time of the year for Meet Me in St. Louis, which is one of my favorite movies to watch during the fall/winter holidays. The father of the Smith family may be somewhat dictatorial at times, but he's surrounded by a wife who keeps everything peaceful, three lively nearly-grown kids looking for love (including Judy Garland), two mischievous younger daughters (including Margaret O'Brien), and the wise, slightly eccentric grandfather. It was probably considered a corny and overly nostalgic look at the turn of the century even when it was released in 1944, but it's got a bit of a dark side too (Halloween, and the fate of the snowmen).

    The Parrs in The Incredibles (suggested by my husband)

    The Parrs aren't perfect. After all, Bob (aka Mr. Incredible) sneaks around behind his family's back to use his superhero powers again, after they've all decided to live a life as ordinary non-powerful folks. And Violet is rather sulky, but that's what teenagers do. But when someone is in trouble, everyone rushes to help. I was torn between The Incredibles and another movie about a family full of action heroes (or potential heroes), Spy Kids. Both feature strong families, but are never boring.

    The Addamses in The Addams Family (suggested by my grandfather and my youngest brother)

    The Addams family may be creepy and kooky and all that other stuff, but they are the most happily united family you'll ever see on film. Morticia and and Gomez bill and coo like newlyweds, but encourage their children in all their endeavors (no matter how hazardous or morbid), shower a long-lost brother with affection, and let Grandma stay with them. They stick together throughout the entire film. How come when people claim that there aren't ever enough movies about happy, stable, united families, they never mention the Addamses?

    (And it is only after writing the above that I re-read my previous Dysfunctional Families list and realized the Addams family is on both. Hah.)

    The MacGuffs in Juno (my idea)

    Juno MacGuff is an unmarried pregnant teenager ... and her family doesn't yell at her or kick her out or shame her. Her dad and stepmom help her decide what she wants to do about the pregnancy, take her on her doctor's visits, and are willing to fight anyone who criticizes or makes trouble. Juno's relationship with her dad (J.K. Simmons) is particularly sweet and touching, but I also love the scene in which Allison Janney, as Juno's stepmom, takes her to get an ultrasound. If I were a pregnant teenager, I would want these parents on my side.

    The Marches in Little Women (suggested by my sister)

    How many versions of Little Women are there now? My favorite is the 1933 adaptation with Katharine Hepburn as Jo. The 1994 version takes great liberties with Louisa May Alcott's book, but for once you get a non-wimpy Laurie and a rather attractive Professor Bhaer. And I'm dying to see the 1978 version with William Shatner and Susan Dey. In most of these films, we don't see much of Mr. March, but the close relationship of the four girls with their mother, Marmee, is a big reason why the book and movies are so beloved. Sure, it's sentimental at times, and certain tragic events might verge on the melodramatic, but in every movie, I always love seeing the four girls and Marmee clustered around the piano, united and cozy and loving.

    Pecker's family in Pecker (suggested by my husband)

    I can't remember (or find) the last name of the family in this John Waters movie from 1998, but I remember that although everyone has their own little quirks, they're all supportive and loving. Grandma runs a sandwich business from the front window of the house, and she believes her Virgin Mary statue can talk; Mom runs a thrift shop and tries to help everyone look fashionable; one sister works in a gay strip club and the other has a serious sugar addiction. They all stand behind Pecker and his photography, no matter what level of fame and fortune he does (or doesn't) achieve. This isn't the only close-knit family in a John Waters film -- the Turnblads were also a happy family in Hairspray (the 1988 version, at least).

    The Buckets in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (my idea, but my brother is kicking himself for not suggesting it)

    We could argue about the merits of both adaptations of Roald Dahl's best-known book, but my point is that the Bucket family is happy and stable even though they're dreadfully poor. In the 1971 film, Charlie's mom does laundry to make ends not-quite-meet for her son and the four grandparents. In the 2005 film, Charlie also gets a dad. The other families on the tour of Wonka's chocolate factory are stereotypes of every kind of dysfunction in the book, with spoiled children and obnoxious parents. In the Tim Burton film, we also learn that Wonka himself is dealing with unhappy family issues. But Charlie and his Grandpa Joe -- and the rest of the slowly starving Bucket family -- hang together through the worst conditions possible.

    Original here

    Keanu Reeves - extraterrestrial

    The star talks to Will Lawrence about how he approached his performance as a visiting alien in the remake of a sci-fi classic

    Keanu Reeves wants to know how many years I have. It's an unusual expression, akin to an English-language translation of the French "Quel âge avez-vous?" Maybe this should come as no great surprise - after all, Reeves grew up in Canada.

    Keanu Reeves
    Keanu Reeves: 'Sci-fi's just one of the things I can do'

    "So, c'mon," he insists. "How many?" I fib a little. "Thirty-eight," I exaggerate; I'm adding a few years to bring our ages closer together. "You're looking good for it, man," he says. Of course I am - I'm a fair bit younger.

    "It's funny, you are going to get to 40 soon - it's like a club with a secret handshake," he says. "I remember my doctor telling me to enjoy my forties, because I'll still have my physical capabilities but also my life experiences. We should take advantage of that before the physical capabilities slip away."

    I meet Reeves in a New York hotel room, which houses a number a small telescopes, each one overlooking the southern tip of Central Park. Last night was his 44th birthday - "It was quiet, I spent it with family and friends" - and today he's talking about his latest film, a re-imagining of the 1951 sci-fi classic The Day the Earth Stood Still, in which he plays the role of Klaatu, an alien who lands in Central Park. The little telescopes in the hotel room, I note, would have afforded potential onlookers a fine view of his spaceship.

    "Actually, I'm not sure people would want to see this Klaatu," counters Reeves. "He's a little different from the original character, who was played by Michael Rennie in the 1951 classic. He was pretty idealised in the first film. He had Christian, spiritual overtones and he had a naturalism to him. He was more human than human. I am a little less naturalistic."

    In both the original movie and the remake - the latter also features Jennifer Connelly, John Cleese and Will Smith's 10-year-old son, Jaden - Klaatu arrives on Earth with a warning. The first film was released during the first decade of the Cold War, and reflected the concerns of the time: nuclear armageddon. The remake, however, picks up on environmental themes. Here Klaatu is a friend of the Earth, not a friend of mankind, and if he kills the latter, the former will survive.

    "That's how he thinks at the outset, but Klaatu discovers his humanity during the film - that is the journey for him," says Reeves. "So I played him as a man who has an alien inside him, but he is embodied by human flesh and that changes him. I picture the human body as a kind of container for him. It was funny - because of the way I was playing him, I didn't have a lot of facial cues, so when I was thinking about the character, I'd just look at people and I would answer them, but I wouldn't do anything with my face. I realised that it was a little off-putting so when we weren't shooting, I had to remember to smile. I enjoyed it a lot."

    It seems Reeves is taking his doctor's advice: he's enjoying his forties. Traditionally, the fourth decade can prove a difficult one for actresses; for actors, the real test comes in their thirties. Reeves, however, survived, thanks largely to his lead performances in the three Matrix films, which, along with boosting his bank balance, established him as a sci-fi superstar (he has also featured in the likes of Johnny Mnemonic, Constantine and A Scanner Darkly), a reputation that his latest film will only enhance.

    "I grew up liking science fiction - it's almost like a Trojan horse," he says. "You can put any other genre inside. You can do a romance like Blade Runner, you can do action romance like Star Wars; an existential art movie like Tarkovsky's Solaris; or a comedy like Spaceballs. It really translates well to a lot of different genres.

    "As to whether I get stereotyped for doing sci-fi, I don't know. For me, sci-fi's just one of the things I can do."

    In his long and varied career - he began on Canadian TV in 1984 - Reeves has not always won critical plaudits. The stoner-dude he played in the two Bill & Ted films (1989 and 1991) cast a shadow over his later work, and some of his performances - notably in Point Break (1991) and Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) - were justifiably accused of being wooden. But his performances have matured with age. He has worked with some of the world's biggest-name directors, including Stephen Frears (Dangerous Liaisons, 1988), Coppola (Bram Stoker's Dracula), Bertolucci (Little Buddha, 1994), Gus Van Sant (Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, 1993) and, of course, the Wachowskis (The Matrix trilogy, 1999-2003).

    "I have no idea what I would have done if I hadn't been actor," he says. "I've been doing this professionally since I was 16. I've never really - knock on wood - had to look for another job and hopefully I won't have to in the future. I played hockey when I was an adolescent, and maybe that was a crossroads. Professional hockey or the high-school play? I took the high-school play."

    The high-school play has since taken Reeves to the apex of the Hollywood A-list. He has a home in the Hollywood Hills and another in Manhattan not far from our hotel, although he tries to keep himself out of the media spotlight. Notoriously press-shy, he gives short shrift to personal questions.

    This, however, should come as no great surprise; he has endured a turbulent private life. In 2001 his girlfriend Jennifer Syme was killed in a car accident. Syme had given birth to the couple's daughter Ava in 1999, but she was stillborn. The two are buried side by side in a Los Angeles cemetery. He has never spoken about the events publicly.

    Nowadays, he confesses to an interest in travel, especially if it involves his Norton motorcycle. "I have a bike and it's how I get around. There are so many paparazzi in Los Angeles now, it's like: here is Keanu filling up his bike with gas, here is Keanu at a stoplight on his bike! But I got the chance to travel a little bit with the bike this summer in France - I took the Route Napoléon and I went over the mountains in the Ardèche."

    His trip to France also allowed him to indulge his interest in wine. "I'm not a connoisseur, though I do enjoy a good drop now and then. For me it's not only the taste but also the moment that you have the wine. So I have a sentimental favourite, which is a 1982 French vintage, a fine year from a fine grower and a couple of fine moments.

    "An interest in wine, eh? I guess that's something that happens in your forties!" He smiles. "Like my doctor said, I should enjoy them."

    Original here

    Friday, November 28, 2008

    NBC's Rosie O’Donnell variety show disappoints

    Nup_133193_0455 Rosie O'Donnell gave NBC a real turkey.

    The network's attempt to revive the primetime variety show failed to draw an audience Wednesday night, tying for the evening's lowest-rated program.

    A mere 5 million viewers tuned in for the 8 p.m. premiere of "Rosie Live," with the program earning a 1.2 preliminary adults 18-49 rating. The telecast matched ABC's recently canceled "Pushing Daisies" as the night's lowest-rated program on a major broadcast network.

    NBC had high hopes for the special and planned to expand the program into a series should viewers re-embrace the decades-old variety format. Other networks, too, were watching closely since several are developing variety shows of their own.

    "There's a notion that the climate is right for the genre to make a comeback," emailed one executive at a rival network. "I guess we now know what not to do, thanks to Rosie."

    Segments included Kathy Griffin impersonating Nancy Grace, Alec Baldwin hitting Conan O'Brian with a pie, O'Donnell singing "City Lights" with Liza Minnelli and Jane Krakowski doing a product-placement-themed striptease for White Castle burgers and Crest Whitestrips.

    Critics were not kind. The NY Times described it as "hokey comedy with an enemies list." TV Guide called it a "ghastly ego trip." And the LA Times asked, "Rosie, what on earth were you thinking?"

    Networks have been looking for variety show programming as a cheap option to fill their schedules. But the idea has been sought by executives due the format's rock-bottom cost, cross-promotion possibilities and advertiser-friendly format. In other words, the neo-variety show is a retread designed to solve financial woes rather than an act of programming inspiration -- a bean-counting origin story that makes it tough to imagine an exciting final product.

    NBC's variation, in particular, seemed unlikely to attract a broad audience given O'Donnell's divisive personality. Stocked with appearances by Alannis Morrisette, Ne Yo, Rachael Ray, Harry Connick Jr., Clay Aiken and Gloria Estefan, along with Minnelli, Baldwin, Griffin and Krakowski, the lineup's appeal also skewed heavily female for a primetime show airing on the eve of a family holiday.

    One special that did perform well last night was Barbara Walters' interview with Barack and Michelle Obama (11.6 million, 3.0 rating). The interview nearly matched "CSI: NY" in the 10 p.m. hour and gave ABC its highest non-awards show rating in the time period in more than a year.

    Original here

    MC Breed Dead at 37


    MC Breed is joining his pal Tupac in the great rap hall in the sky.

    The Michigan hip-hopster best known for the 1993 hit "Gotta Get Mine," featuring Shakur, died of kidney failure Saturday at the age of 37.

    Breed (full name Eric Breed) had been ill for some time and died in his sleep at a friend's house in Ypsilanti, a suburb of Detroit.

    "We are saddened by our great loss. More than just an artist, we mourn the loss of a beloved father, son, brother and friend," his family and management said. "We are thankful and blessed to have been in his presence and want him to be remembered for his creative, caring, talented and hard-working spirit."

    Breed's 1991 debut, M.C. Breed & DFC, spawned the single "Ain't No Future in Yo' Frontin'." His 1993 release, The New Breed, featured "Gotta Get Mine" with Tupac. After Shakur's death in 1996, Breed released 10 more albums but never really broke through the mainstream again.

    Original here

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer Movie??

    By Rodney

    When Twilight was feeling its rise to popularity there were two comparisons that were thrown about. The literary popularity in young readers like Harry Potter fans, and the criticism that the romance was ripped from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

    And now Hollywood is rumoured to be alive with the buzz that Joss Whedon, creator of the aforementioned Buffy the Vampire Slayer is eyeing the success of Twilight with anxious hands gripping a feature film script he had prepared for the continuation of the show.

    Moviehole Reports:

    The monster success of girly vampire pic Twilight at the US Box office last weekend could kick open the door for a big-screen return of Joss Whedon’s much-loved Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Rumours are circulating in Hollywood that Whedon has a feature-film script based on his hit TV series ready to roll as soon as a studio is prepared to commit.

    I could see this as prime picking for a return of the delectable Sarah Michelle Gellar and her Scooby Gang to return to the big screen. I have no doubt that Joss has a multitude of ideas stashed away for the Buffyverse in that treasure trove of a mind of his.

    Maybe if Buffy gets a movie treatment in this high time of teen vampire romance, other spinoff possibilities could return to television as well. Faith the rebel slayer was rumoured to be getting her own show back in the day and even Spike was considered, but the one spinoff show I was looking more forward to seeing was Ripper. The story of Giles, the last remaining Watcher gathering and reforming what is left of the council (destroyed in the closing end of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on TV). Anthony Stewart Head is currently staring as King Pendragon in the BBC’s Merlin.

    David Boreanaz is enjoying great success on Bones (also a favourite of mine) but I am sure he too could leave some room for a feature film to return as Angel.

    Joss has a cult following, which I am a member of so I am tainted in my opinion. But it might be high time for him to reign the TV waves again. Joss once swore to never do TV, but mid-season he has Dollhouse premiering with former Buffy Alum Eliza Dushku (which is getting mixed reviews and speculation on the Whedon TV Cancellation curse) and his outstanding success online with Doctor Horrible’s Sing-a-Long Blog are keeping him just shy of the spotlight.

    But the rabid Whedonites have let him down in the past with Firefly. But while the market is hot for angsty vampire love, and Hollywood itching to make a movie out of every popular but ened TV show (Friends, Sex and the City, Arrested Development) we just might find all the planets are aligned for our best chance at seeing it happen.

    Original here

    Wednesday, November 26, 2008

    Gotham Shocker: Batman Dead!

    First the economy crumbles and then they kill Batman?  What the heck is going on?
    Stephen Vaughan

    First the economy crumbles and then they kill Batman? What the heck is going on?

    By John Capone

    If the rumor mill is correct (and by rumor mill we mean the DC Comics marketing department) Bruce Wayne will be killed in an upcoming Batman comic. And it won't be pretty.

    Batman Through the Years


    The Telegraph (UK) confirmed the death in an interview with Grant Morrison, the Scottish writer who has been steering the Batman series since 2006. Morrison told the trade Comic Book Resources:

    "What I am doing is a fate worse than death, things that no one would expect to happen to these guys at all."

    Comic book companies, like record labels, have found that the death of a big star is great for sales. When Superman was killed by Doomsday in 1992, DC saw a Cobain-like surge in sales, and the issue was the best-selling in franchise history. However, unlike Biggie Smalls (but very much like Tupac) the character was resurrected. Captain America saw a similar bump after a sniper shot him down in New York last year.

    From the sound of things, it seems like the Dark Knight is really in for it in the Batman Comic that comes out tomorrow. At least this will explain the lines outside Forbidden Planet. Stay tuned. Same bat time; same bat channel.

    Copyright NBC Local Media

    Original here

    Happy B-Day Jimi! Hendrix’s Top 10 Musical Performances

    By Douglas Newman

    Tomorrow, November 27th, Thanksgiving Day, is Jimi Hendrix’s birthday. He would have been 66 years old. Perhaps more significant is that this year marks the 40th anniversary of two landmark Hendrix albums - Axis: Bold as Love and the double-LP masterpiece Electric Ladyland.

    In celebration of this milestone, UME is releasing a host of Hendrix goodies, including the Electric Ladyland CD+DVD Collector’s Edition, Blu-Ray collections of Live at Woodstock and Live at Monterrey, and vinyl reissues of Axis: Bold as Love and Are You Experienced.

    JamsBio is also commemorating Jimi’s b-day and the anniversary of two of rock’s most thrilling records by giving away a V-Factor (Flying V) Gibson guitar! All you have to do is create your own list of the guitar god’s best songs or solos.

    So, on this Thanksgiving day, after giving thanks for the roof over your head (if you still have one) and the food on your plate, also give thanks to Jimi Hendrix for the magic he brought into all of our lives through his transcendent music, amazing vision, and all around good vibes. Lord knows we need some of those now.

    Here’s our list:

    Jimi Hendrix Hear My Train A-Comin'

    #10 “Hear My Train A-Comin’” from Live at the Fillmore East (1969/70)

    The pinnacle of Hendrix’s many blues numbers, “Hear My Train A-Comin’” was given a stellar reading at the Fillmore East concerts that would partially surface as the Band of Gypsys album. The complete concerts were eventually released as Live at the Fillmore East in 1999. The shows were a bit uneven, but you can easily get lost in the guitar solos on this track.

    Jimi Hendrix Castles Made of Sand

    #9 “Castles Made of Sand” from Axis: Bold as Love (1967)

    After the dizzying trip that is Are You Experienced, Hendrix released the equally satisfying, but more majestic Axis: Bold as Love. This is where Hendrix the songwriter shines with equal intensity as Hendrix the guitar god. This is especially true on the sublime ballad “Castles Made of Sand,” arguably Hendrix’s finest lyrical output. In his book Jimi Hendrix: The Complete Guide to His Music, author Peter Doggett nicely sums up the song’s deeper meaning, explaining that “Castles” “explored the failure of a marriage…the realisation of his own artistic limitations and then in a clever reversal of his theme, the birth of hope from the brink of utter despair. Hendrix never sounded more vulnerable, or more involved in the spirit of a song.”

    Jimi Hendrix Freedom

    #8 “Freedom” as performed at the Isle of Wight Festival (1970)

    A groove of epic proportions, “Freedom” was apparently slated to appear on Strate Ahead, Hendrix’s studio follow-up to Electric Ladyland. But because of his death in September 1970, the record was not to be. With a lyrical nod to Curtis Mayfield, one of Hendrix’s major influences, “Freedom” is a funk rock monster that shows the amazing (wasted) potential that the artist possessed. The studio version, with its triple overdubbed guitar parts, vocal contributions from the Ghetto Fighters, and added percussion by Juma Sultan is blistering, but I prefer the raw firestorm from Hendrix’s performance at the Isle of Wight Festival on August 30th, 1970, recorded less than three weeks before his death.

    Jimi Hendrix Purple Haze

    #7 “Purple Haze” from Are You Experienced (1967)

    One of Hendrix’s best known songs, “Purple Haze” is a swirling, dissonant psychedelic classic that features spellbinding guitar work and the now famous “Hendrix chord” or dominant 7 # 9 chord. Author John Perry notes that “In essence,” the 7 # 9 is “the whole of the blues scale condensed into a single chord.” The groundbreaking instrumental track provides a sufficiently jarring background for Hendrix’s lyrics, which vividly describes a dream in which the musician is lost beneath the sea, engulfed in a purple haze.

    Jimi Hendrix Red House

    #6 “Red House” from Hendrix in the West (1971)

    A wonderful original blues number, “Red House” appeared on the UK only release of Are You Experienced. Apparently the record label execs demanded it be left of the US release, noting that Americans don’t like the blues. I prefer the 13 minute live version originally found on posthumous Hendrix in the West record and subsequently released as part of The Jimi Hendrix Experience box set.

    Jimi Hendrix Little Wing

    #5 “Little Wing” as performed at Royal Albert Hall (1971)

    “Little Wing” is one of Hendrix’s most beloved and most covered songs (Derek & the Dominoes, Sting, Stevie Ray Vaughan, The Corrs). Hendrix has become so well-known as a guitar whiz that people often overlook his formidable songwriting prowess. A tender ballad steeped in flowery imagery, “Little Wing” perfectly showcases his composing chops. The song’s short opening guitar solo, a melodic gem with a wonderful flanging Doppler effect (achieved by playing through a rotating cabinet speaker) sets the tone for the beauty to come. While I prefer the live rendition from Royal Albert Hall in 1969 (as found on The Jimi Hendrix Experience box set), you can’t go wrong with the original studio version from 1967’s Axis: Bold as Love.

    Jimi Hendrix All Along the Watchtower

    #4 “All Along the Watchtower” from Electric Ladyland (1968)

    It’s no secret that Bob Dyan was floored by Hendrix’s version of “All Along the Watchtower,” and has since admitted that it has become the definitive reading of the song: “It overwhelmed me, really. He had such talent, he could find things inside a song and vigorously develop them. He found things that other people wouldn’t think of finding in there. He probably improved upon it by the spaces he was using. I took license with the song from his version, actually, and continue to do it to this day.” Recording the version that would end up on Electric Ladyland was a painstaking process with Hendrix overdubbing multiple guitar parts during a laborious three month process. The meticulous attention to detail paid off, as the song displays Hendrix’s amazing virtuosity. Listen to the way he uses shrieks and moans from his guitar to conjure the apocalyptic imagery expressed in the lyrics.

    Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock

    #3 “The Star Spangled Banner” as performed at Woodstock (1969)

    Jimi Hendrix’s performance at Woodstock, although legendary, was pretty bad. It was his first gig since disbanding the Experience and he hastily pieced together a new group, the Gypsy, Sun & Rainbows band, which included two percussionists, another guitarist, plus Mitch Mitchell and Billy Cox. As Doggett noted, “With this under-rehearsed ensemble, Jimi and his muse were sometimes able to wave affectionately at each other from passing trains, but they rarely locked onto the same track.” By the time Hendrix took the stage on Monday morning, only about 30,000 of the original half million people were still around to witness his shambolic set. About an hour into the 90 minute performance, clearly sensing the crowd’s vibe of indifference, Hendrix quieted the band and launched into a tortured, ferocious rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner.” Pierced by squalls of feedback and dripping with rage, Hendrix made one of the most powerful political statements in history with nothing but a guitar and electricity.

    Jimi Hendrix Voodoo Child

    #2 “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” from Electric Ladyland (1968)

    Widely considered one of Hendrix’s greatest guitar showcases, “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” is a wah-wah workout that takes its inspiration from Muddy Waters’ “Rollin’ Stone.” Joe Satriani commented that “Voodoo Child” is the “greatest piece of electric guitar work ever recorded. In fact, the whole song could be considered the holy grail of guitar expression and technique. It is a beacon of humanity.” Doggett wrote that the song “compresses every ounce of Hendrix’s ambition, musical technique, production skill and uncanny sense of impending disaster within five minutes…it was an extravaganza of noise and naked emotion.”

    Jimi Hendrix Machine Gun

    #1 “Machine Gun” from Band of Gypsys (1970)

    Without a doubt, “Machine Gun” is one of Jimi’s most powerful songs, famous for its raging guitar part that mimics the rapidfire sound of a machine gun. The effectiveness of this guitar work was achieved through Hendrix’s mastery of distortion and effects, including the wah-wah pedal, an Arbiter Fuzz Face, a Univibe pedal, and an Octavia pedal. Doggett nails it, “Note after sustained note was mutated into a deathly, screaming howl…” Add to that Buddy Miles’ menacing drum patterns and Billy Cox’ throbbing bass lines and you have one of rock and roll’s most intense statements about the violence and barbarism of war.

    Original here