Thursday, February 19, 2009

Cyanide and Happiness

by Dave

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MC Hammer to star in A&E reality series

IMG_6331 copy A&E has picked up a new series starring '90s rapper MC Hammer.

The performer, his wife and five children will be the focus of a half-hour, 11-episode reality series set to premiere this year.

The title, naturally, is "Hammertime."

Executive producer J.D. Roth said the show likely will play similar to an unscripted version of the Huxtable family from "The Cosby Show."

"Here's a dad with five kids, married to the same woman for more than 23 years, living in the same place where he grew up and going to church every Sunday," Roth said. "He's had his ups and downs, and it's what makes him such a character you root for."

Hammer had a spectacular rise and fall in the early 1990s, becoming a household name and selling millions of records before falling into debt and bankruptcy because of overspending on a lavish lifestyle. Hammer "now lives a more economically balanced life," according to the show's press materials, as a "new-age dad" in Oakland, Calif. This month, he appeared with Ed McMahon in a Cash4Gold Super Bowl ad.

"MC Hammer is an iconic figure in American pop culture, but many people only know him for his music and fashion sense. Now A&E takes an unprecedented look behind his larger-than-life personality and into his life as a devoted husband, father and business entrepreneur," said Robert Sharenow, senior vp alternative at A&E.

Hammer has been offered reality shows before. Roth said he told the rap star he wanted to focus on his future rather than the past.

"I really wanted to tell the future of MC Hammer," Roth said. "What kind of dad is he?"

Roth noted that having one of Hammer's catchy early hits in the opening credits, however, would be welcome if the production can obtain the rights.

Shooting on the series starts next week, with Roth, Hammer, Sharenow, Todd Nelson, Scott Lonker and Stephen Harris executive producing.

(Yes, avoided writing "it's Hammertime" or "he's 2 legit to quit" for entire story)

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The 27 Club: Musicians Who Died At The Age of 27

Written by Rakis

Kurt Cobain once quoted Neil Young who said “it’s better to burn out than to fade away” and then he (allegedly) shot himself in the face. Kurt, who would have turned 42 this coming Friday, is part of the unlucky group of musicians who died at the tender age of 27 when their careers were still in bloom (oh, bad pun). As homage to the Nirvana frontman, we take a scroll through memory lane and honor the five greatest musicians who are part of the cursed 27 club; May they rest in peace.

Jimi Hendrix – The Jimi Hendrix Experience (died 1970)

There was nothing about Jimi Hendrix that didn’t stick out; from his flamboyant outfits, to his left-handed guitar or his use of amp overdrive. After being turned down by The Rolling Stones, Jimi was introduced to Chas Chandler via Keith Richard’s girlfriend. They went on to form The Jimi Hendrix Experience a rock band that would revolutionize the genre forever. In 1969, he headlined the biggest music festival of all time, Woodstock. One year later, Jimi Hendrix was found dead after overdosing on pills and drowning in his own vomit (Asphyxiation).

Brian Jones – The Rolling Stones (died 1969)

Brian Jones was the founder of a little known band named The Rolling Stones. While on the phone to secure a gig with a venue owner, Brian came up with the name “Rollin(g) Stones” by reading it off an album that was laying around. Their music consisted mostly of R&B covers and it wasn’t until Andrew Loog Oldham joined that they began shifting their focus to newer, more original material. This transition reduced Jones' role in the band which was further accelerated with his drug habit and alcohol abuse. He became alienated from The Rolling Stones and eventually, he was no longer a member of the band he helped form. One month later, he was found face down in his swimming pool.

Janis Joplin – Big Brother and The Holding Company (died 1970)

Janis’ big break came in 1966 when she became the lead vocalist of the psychedelic hippie rock band, Big Brother and The Holding Company. She was renowned for her strong powerful vocals during a male dominated rock era. Janis Joplin performed at Woodstock after having several shots of heroin and being highly inebriated. In 1970, she flew to Brazil where she cleaned up her act and remained sober for a while. She would later return to the US where her drug habits would resurface and ultimately, get the better of her as she died from an apparent heroin overdose in October 1970.

Jim Morrison – The Doors (died 1971)

Jim Morrison was a poet, a writer, a filmmaker and of course, the lead singer for the rock band, The Doors. Controversy surrounded The Doos when they were asked to perform on the Ed Sullivan show. Fearing that the lyric “Girl We Couldn’t Get Higher” was too risqué for television, Ed Sullivan requested that the band modify the sentence to be more TV friendly to which they agreed. When they played, Jim proceeded with original wording which infuriated Ed Sullivan. The Doors had great success in the late 60s but Jim Morrison started to get out of control. He was constantly drugged or drunk and would oftentimes show up late for live performances. In 1971, he moved to Paris and a few months later, Jim Morrison was found dead in his apartment. The circumstances surrounding his death are still unclear as an autopsy was never performed.

Kurt Cobain – Nirvana (died 1994)

We began with a left-handed guitarist, so it’s only fitting that we end with one as well. In an era where rock music was all about long hair and leather jackets, Kurt Cobain sported short hair and wore flannel clothing. Nirvana became an overnight success when they took Michael Jackson off the number one slot in the Billboard music charts with their smash hit, Smells Like Teen Spirit. Grunge music would go on to flood the radio airwaves throughout the early nineties. In 1992, Cobain wed the equally unorthodox Courtney Love with whom they had daughter Frances Bean Cobain. In 1993, Nirvana, known for their grungy loud music, were approached by MTV and asked to perform a quieter, more intimate acoustic set. Kurt Cobain’s emotional performance in “Where Did You Sleep Last Night” still sends chills down our spines.

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Green Lantern Movie Moves Forward

By Rafe Telsch

We keep hearing reports that Warner Brothers and DC Comics are moving forward with their Green Lantern movie. Now we are hearing… the exact same thing, although this latest report confirms some of the names we had heard associated with the project before.

Writer Michael Green, who is sharing the scripting duties for Green Lantern, told Sci-Fi Wire that the project is proceeding, while he was promoting the upcoming series Kings, which he also has a hand in writing. Green confirmed the addition of director Martin Campbell to the movie, who we had last heard was in talks to helm the movie. I guess those talks panned out, since Green lists him as being the film’s director.

Green chimed in that he wants to see the movie move forward as a fan as much as a writer, because he’s a fan of the character. That’s always a good thing to have in a writer of a film adaptation. Here’s hoping the next piece of Green Lantern news we get isn’t just another “the project is moving forward” report though.

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Five Christ Figures as Depicted in Science Fiction/Fantasy Movies

Published by Madison


The use of a Christ figure is a concept that is not uncommon in literature, but this concept manifests itself in movies, too. Somethimes it’s obvious that a certain character is supposed to be representative of a messiah, and sometimes the subtlety of the character or his situation can lead to the depiction of a Christ figure by inference. Perhaps no genre of film includes Christ figures more often than science fiction/fantasy. After the jump, we take a look at five characters from science fiction/fantasy movies that you may or may not have realized were Christ figures:

Superman - Superman movies, particularly Superman Returns


If you think about it, Superman is more of a Moses figure than a Christ figure, at least until his portrayal in Superman Returns. Created by a couple of Jewish guys (Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster), Superman is like Moses in that they were both sent off from their homelands by their parents, and both grew up to lead the people in their new lands. Superman was sent from Krypton in a spacecraft, and Moses was sent to Egypt in a basket; Superman has helped lead and protect Earthings, while Moses led and protected the Israelites from the evil Pharoah.


Superman, as the title of this article would imply, is also a Christ figure, particularly in Superman Returns. Aside from being about as morally pure as one can be, Superman possesses godlike abilities: Jesus could walk on water, something Superman could do as well. However, Earth’s reliance on Superman as a godlike savior is where the real parallel between Superman and Christ can be drawn. Like Christ, Superman was sent to Earth by his father to lead by example. Toward the end of the movie, Superman is stabbed in the side with a piece of kryptonite, a metaphor for Jesus’ stabbing during the Crucifixion. Later, after after hurling Lex Luthor’s continent into space, Superman falls to Earth in a pose that is unmistakenly that of Jesus on the cross. Finally, Superman wakes from a coma after three days, analogous to Christ’s “awakening” three days following his cricifixion. Director Bryan Singer has not hidden the fact that his version of Superman was intended to be a Christ figure.

Ellen Ripley - Alien 3


One could argue that Ripley serves as a Christ figure to Newt in Aliens, but I think that’s a bit too much of a stretch. What does work, though, is Ripley as a Christ figure in David Fincher’s Alien 3. Ripley lands on a planet, the only human inhabitants of which are male prisoners and guards, and her sudden arrival and uniqueness spur heated religious debate and inner relection amongst the men. More significantly, Ripley sacrifices herself so that the Queen Alien growing inside of her will die, too. Hammering home the point that this sacrifice is analogous to Christ dying for the sins of humanity (with the Alien Queen representative of the sins), Ripley spreads her arms as she drops down into a large furnace, a pose easily recognizable as, once again, Christ on the cross. Also like Jesus, Ripley returns to life in another form (for Ripley, it’s as a clone) in Alien: Resurrection. If and when Jesus returns, let’s hope it’s not in a crappy, unnecessary sequel.

Robocop - Robocop


Now, before you scoff at this suggestion, know that director Paul Verhoeven intended to portray Robocop as a Christ figure. If you look for the symbolism throughout the movie, it isn’t difficult to pick up on exactly what Verhoeven was thinking. Detroit, overrun with crime and corruption, desperately needs a savior. That savior arrives in the form of a cyborg, but his parallels to Christ are sprinkled throughout this incredibly violent movie. Officer Alex Murphy is brutally murdered, shot first in his hand, then his body, and eventually his head, symbolic of Christ’s crucifixion, with the headshot analogous to the crown of thorns. Murphy is resurrected in a new form - Robocop - and set to serve and guide the people who look to him as a savior. Toward the end of the movie, during Robocop’s final confrontation with Clarence Boddicker, Robocop can be seen walking on water, an obvious hat tip to the man J.C.

Neo - The Matrix Trilogy


Look, if you saw the Matrix movies and still need an explanation as to how Neo fits the profile of a Christ figure, you probably have a double-digit I.Q. The Wachowskis portray Neo as a messianic figure without much subtlety. Neo is viewed as a godlike savior, able to do things in both the Matrix and the real world that no one else is capable of understanding, let alone doing. He is the sixth version of The One, implying that had he chosen to “reload” the Matrix, it would have been the seventh version, analogous to God creating the world in seven biblical days. Most notable is Neo’s self sacrifice for the benefit of mankind, a Christ-like deed that results in the familiar crucifixion pose we’ve already mentioned with regards to Superman and Ripley. Heck, even Agent Smith serves as an anti-Christ to Neo’s Christ, one of the many parallels to the Bible that saturate the Martix trilogy. Of all messianic figures in science fiction films, Neo has got to be the most obvious.

John Connor - The Terminator movies


James Cameron’s Terminator is essentially a science-fiction spin on the Second Coming. In the future, machines attempt to enslave and destroy the human race, facing resistance from John Connor. Connor is clearly a savior for humanity - and like Jesus, a savior for which mankind is waiting - but his similarities to Jesus don’t end there. In a sense, and like Christ, Connor was born via immaculate conception. Sure, Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese techincally fornicated, but Kyle came from the future and died almost immediately following his journey back in time, so it’s like he never really existed in the first place. That, coupled with mankind’s reliance on Connor to deliver them to salvation, makes Connor a pretty compelling Christ figure. And if you’re still not convined, the initials “J.C.” should do that trick; that’s not a coincidence.

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10 Worst Post-Oscar Career Choices

Amy Fisher Taking Up Stripping

The inevitable has finally happened: Amy Fisher is hitting the pole.

The Long Island Lolita - who went to prison for shooting Mary Jo Buttafuoco in the head and recently started a porn Web site featuring herself - plans to tour the country as a high-paid stripper.

"I love to dance, and I'm an exhibitionist," the 34-year-old Fisher tells "I am going to take this road until my fans tell me, 'Dear, please put your clothes back on. You're too old.' "

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subscribe features fashion wiseguy video blogs news style manual details CARLA GUGINO

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"Goo-JEAN-o," she says.

She is thoroughly American, yes, but when Carla Gugino gives you the correct pronunciation of her last name it's as though she is drizzling olive oil on top of a bowl of fagioli all'uccelletto. She says it again, just to make sure it's sunk in: "Goo-JEAN-o. Yeah, I know it's tricky."

Of course, people should know how to say her name by now. She is 37 and she has been onscreen for 20 years or so; she's been in gangster movies, kid movies, horror movies, and a Bon Jovi video. After playing a Wilderness Girl alongside Tori Spelling in 1989's Troop Beverly Hills, she went on to lend her brown eyes, Armistice Day curves, and roasted-coffee voice to everything from the sitcom banter of Spin City to the hard-boiled sleaze of Sin City. On Entourage she is Amanda Daniels, the tough-as-titanium Hollywood agent who marches around her hacienda in black-lace panties and who once, notoriously, gutted agent Ari Gold, played by Jeremy Piven, with the following line: "This town's not safe for a bitch."

You'd think people would remember. Yet those Italian syllables of hers continue to get fottuto. "I think that perhaps I should do a campaign for the pronunciation of my name," she says over lunch at a Los Angeles restaurant. "Remember how with Demi Moore, people thought she was Demmi, and then all of a sudden everyone understood: Demi."

Gugino's own Demi Offensive, it seems, is already under way. This month she is costarring in Race to Witch Mountain, a Disney action flick loosely based on the spooky seventies curio Escape to Witch Mountain, and in Watchmen, Zack Snyder's cinematic unspooling of the dark and revered comic-book series. Such is the anticipation for Watchmen that last summer, when Snyder brought Gugino and her fellow cast members and a few blood-spattered snippets of footage to Comic-Con, the annual San Diego fanboy festival, Warner Bros. almost had to distribute drool cups.

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Paul Simon Reunites With Art Garfunkel, Revisits Rich Solo Catalog in New York

Photo: Gershoff/WireImage

Paul Simon’s first show at New York’s renovated Beacon Theatre this past Friday night ended with his former partner Art Garfunkel coming onstage to stunned applause by an A-list crowd that included Paul McCartney, Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Jon Bon Jovi, Rosie O’Donnell and many others. Nobody expected Garfunkel to show since he had a solo show in Key Largo, Florida, the night before and another one in Fort Piece Florida the following evening, but he flew up on his day off to join Paul for heavily nostalgic performances of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Old Friends,” “The Boxer” and “The Sounds of Silence.” I’m sure it was an amazingly powerful moment, but I wouldn’t know since I went to the Saturday show. The Springsteen rule of concert-going says always go to the final concert of a multi-night stand, but that doesn’t take into account Art Garfunkel’s packed calendar.

This wasn’t like missing a spontaneous Who reunion at the end of a Roger Daltrey solo concert. Since breaking with Garfunkel in 1970 Paul has released 10 diverse solo albums whose styles literally span the globe. During the nearly three-hour show, Simon drew from all of them with the exception of 2000’s You’re the One. For a man who will be 70 in just three years, Paul Simon’s voice is remarkably preserved. Many of his peers (Bob Dylan, Elton John, Peter Gabriel) can make no such claim. As usual, he was backed by an ace band that was equally prepared to tackle the complex Brazilian rhythms of “Cool, Cool River” and “Proof” as the gentle harmonies of “Slip Slidin’ Away” and “The Boxer.” Nuggets from his 1986 classic Graceland were sprinkled liberally throughout the night, drawing huge applause each time.

After a 20-minute intermission, Simon uttered words few wanted to hear: “We’re going to do some songs from The Capeman now.” A large doo-wop choir came onstage and you could feel the crowd stifling a collective groan. Eleven years ago, after nearly a decade of work and $11 million, the Paul Simon-penned Broadway play about a Puerto Rican gang member went belly up after a disastrous three-month run. The massive failure stung Simon hard and he’s been searching for redemption ever since, most recently with a five-night run of Capeman performances at the Brooklyn Academy of Music last year. Paul joined the singers and tried to make the most of the material, but removed from their context it was impossible to follow the story and the whole thing never took off. Simon wisely followed it up with a slowed down, trippy version of “Mrs. Robinson.”

Simon’s pair of Beacon shows commemorated the grand re-opening of the Theatre, which just underwent a $16 million renovation. The place looked truly spectacular and it remains one of the best spots in town to see a show. There was no red carpet Saturday night, and no Beatles or mayors were in the audience. The only celebrity I saw was Wallace Shawn, who seemed to thoroughly enjoy himself, particularly during “You Can Call Me Al.” When Paul toured with Garfunkel in 2003/04 he played to his biggest crowds in many years, but the set list was confined to a tiny sliver of his overall career. It was great to see him push most of those tunes aside in favor of gems like “Train In The Distance” and “Born At The Right Time.” I have little doubt that same night the crowd at the Sunrise Theater in Fort Pierce Florida saw Garfunkel sing “Bridge Over Troubled Water”; it was likely a killer nostalgia trip, but one Simon didn’t need to take back in his hometown.

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Best Of 'Friday The 13th': Jason's Greatest Kills

By Larry Carroll

With all due respect to Kevin Bacon, Corey Feldman, Jared Padalecki and Dudley from "Diff'rent Strokes," let's be brutally honest: We don't go to "Friday the 13th" movies to witness the acting skills of master thespians. We want to see Jason kill them!

So what's an actor cast as an ill-fated Crystal Lake camper to do? For starters, they can seek inspiration in the brave warriors of the Darkon Wargaming Club, who consider it a great honor to reward their killer with a memorable death. Because in the end, it is the perfect combination of sexiness, sadism, sarcasm and splatter that makes the "Friday" fans remember you for decades to come.

After watching all 12 Jason movies in six days, including the new "Friday the 13th," I compiled this list of the 10 best kills from the 183 murders committed throughout the series and included time codes for your, er, convenience. These are the baddest of the bad — which is what makes them so damn good.

10. "Freddy vs. Jason" (2003): Arriving at an outdoor rave in a cornfield where dozens of teenagers are drunk, stoned and/or having sex, Jason eyeballs his prey like a kid in a candy store. When one of the little punks sets him ablaze, a fiery Jason decides it's time to join the party — and begins slicing through the teens like a hot machete through butter. One lucky survivor sums up the attack thusly: "Dude, that goalie was pissed about something!" (33:05 on the DVD)

9. "Friday the 13th Part II" (1981): The survivor from the first film, Alice, has returned home and is making some tea to calm her nerves. Suddenly, she opens the fridge to discover Mrs. Voorhees' decapitated head next to her Jell-O, a reminder of how she wronged Jason. She's allowed only time for a quick scream, before the killer stabs her in the side of the head with an ice pick — then courteously removes her whistling tea kettle from the stove. Incidentally, this marks Jason's first true kill in the series. (10:56)

8. "Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday" (1993): After Jason is "killed," two coroners go to work on his autopsy. One begins mocking Voorhees, declaring that he'd like to take a dump on his hockey mask. What he doesn't realize is that his partner has been hypnotized by Jason's still-beating heart, eaten it and then become possessed by his spirit. (Doesn't it suck when that happens?) Before the coroner's death, we get what might be the best line ever delivered by a victim before getting killed. As his partner silently stands before him holding what is about to become a weapon, the victim says sarcastically, "Yes, that's a probe." (12:07)

7. "Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter" (1984): Axel the morgue worker is a ladies' man who tries to get it on with a nurse and implies that he has sex with the dead bodies. While he's watching some women gyrate in an '80s workout video, Jason sneaks up behind him with a hacksaw, slices his throat and then twists his head all the way around. (13:58)

6. "Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives" (1986): Stumbling across a group of corporate execs on a paintball expedition, Jason jumps in front of Katie, Larry and Stan (the latter two wearing "dead" bandannas since they've been eliminated from the game). In an extremely rare "Friday" occurrence, Jason takes multiple victims out at once: a triple beheading with one fell swoop of his machete. (23:47)

5. "Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter" (1984): Having just gotten lucky, Crispin Glover's Jimmy comes downstairs to toast his conquest with a celebratory bottle of wine. Searching through the kitchen drawers, he keeps screaming, "Where's that corkscrew?" Always one for irony, Jason stabs him in the hand with the kitchen utensil he's been searching for — and then finishes him off with a good old-fashioned machete to the face. (59:58)

4. "Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning" (1985): "It's them damn enchiladas," Demon complains as he runs to an old aluminum Port-o-Potty in a Crystal Lake campsite. When his girlfriend jokingly starts shaking the bathroom box while he's on the throne, he threatens to get his revenge. But when it starts shaking again, Jason has killed the girlfriend — and soon begins shoving a pointy rod through the walls, impaling a screaming Demon as he sits on the commode. (53:01)

3. "Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan" (1989): Julius is a fast-moving boxer who has shown off his skills throughout the movie. Spotting Jason on a rooftop, he moves in and goes to town, punching, jabbing and working Jason's ribs with dozens of rights and lefts. Aside from stepping back a bit, Jason doesn't do anything but stare down at the wannabe Muhammad Ali — until young Julius has exhausted himself. With one return punch, Jason knocks the pugilist's head off, sending it flying across the New York skyline. (1:10:39 on the DVD)

2. "Friday the 13th Part III" (1982): Jason's first official "hockey mask kill" occurs when he tracks down the beautiful Vera on a Crystal Lake pier. Making excellent use of the film's 3-D gimmickry, Jason shoots a harpoon straight at the camera — and into Vera's left eye socket. (59:35)

1. "Jason X" (2001): Thawed out on a spaceship in the year 2455, Jason wakes up in a cryogenics research lab. Grabbing hold of a pretty female technician, Jason shoves her face into a sink of liquid nitrogen and freezes it. He then bashes her skull against a counter, sending chunks of her head everywhere. (29:54)

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