Monday, 31 October 2011
Tuesday, 11 October 2011
And if we must have a National Coming Out Day for the LGBT community, for the love of Prada, can’t we make it at least a wee bit fun and glamorous? I know we have Pride Days for parades and all that, but it’s our coming out and we should be allowed to make a party of it if we want to. So let’s make it a vodka-and-beer-soaked holiday parade of gays, lesbians, drag queens and kings, all the trans men and women, all our fag hags and lettie bags, and every other fabulous creature ( nod to GeeGee there…go check out her website Two Fat Cows And A Bottle Of Goose…it’s fabulous, too! ) on this green earth. Show the homophobes, who continue with their rabid ignorance to force us to make an issue of ‘coming out’ at all, exactly how dreary a place the world would be without us in it.
For National Coming Out Day...and just because there's always time for some glam-disco!
Friday, 7 October 2011
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
After sleazy “fixer” Richie Stella does up-and-coming movie star Bobby Dye a favor by making a problem disappear, Bobby finds himself the subject of blackmail. Aware of what a scandal could do to his fledgling career, Dye hires PI David Spandau to sort Richie and the mess out. But this being Hollywood, things are, of course, not quite what they seem.
Daniel Depp ( brother of actor Johnny ) steps out of his role as screenwriter and into that of novelist in his first work, a wise-cracking modern noir detective story set in Hollywood. Depp introduces us here to David Spandau, one-time stuntman-turned-investigator. Spandau has all the requisite features of a noir PI: he’s weary and cynical, he drinks, he wise-cracks his way through life, he is the ban of his grumpy boss’s life, he’s still in love with his ex-wife, and deep down he feels he’s on the side of the angels. The plot doesn’t throw up too many surprises within the genre either.
But familiarity in this case is a good thing well enough done by Depp. The story jogs along at a nice pace, the characters interact with lines that occasionally make you actually laugh out loud, and Depp’s writing style, although simplistic, is entertaining enough to get away with it. If there is one thing I appreciate about how screenwriters handle novel-writing it is that they have learned the value of “less is more”. They know when a sentence will suffice rather than a paragraph. The fact that the plot is as thin as your average supermodel is neither here nor there.
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Saturday, 24 September 2011
The recent Facebook changes have met with a storm of protest from users, mostly because people feel that these changes have been railroaded through without Facebook apparently giving a flying status update about what its users think. Naturally, not consulting people on changes that will affect them is going to cause consternation. Not caring that it is causing consternation is what jars people to outright anger and resistance. Also, at the present moment it is hard for many of us to see where these changes are ‘improving’ our social networking experience rather than making it simply hard work and a headache, and no acknowledgement from Facebook of the problems faced by its users does not diminish our anger or will-to-resistance. It is easy, on the other hand, to see Facebook as caring less about its users than about achieving a kind of internet domination achieved by gathering as much personal information as possible from users for the purpose of luring in more advertisers and thus greater revenue for the CEOs and shareholders.
Some argue that Facebook is a ‘free’ service and therefore we should all put up and shut up as far as the changes go. This argument turns itself in circles when you realize that Facebook is only a free service insofar as the user doesn’t pay an upfront monetary charge to use it. We pay for our usage in other ways, however, by providing information to advertisers via our likes, status updates, links etc. Without users, advertisers would find no purpose in Facebook because they’d have no audience to target, therefore there would be no staggeringly huge profit to be made and no Facebook. Besides, providing a free service does not entitle the provider to change what it likes, whenever it likes, without consulting its users, not unless the price of using a free service is wearing the yoke of dictatorship? In which case it isn’t a free service… and around and around we go. But we end up at the same point: there’s no such thing as a free lunch, or a truly free social networking experience.
Protest and complaint are the legitimate ways by which we voice our displeasure at changes affecting us negatively. How else would the entity behind the changes, be it government or social network, know that it has done anything wrong in the eyes of its service users? ‘Putting up and shutting up’ is what a brainwashed and cowed population does. Is that what we have become…the zombie foot-soldiers of Facebook, marching in mindless obedience to the beat of the profit drum?
Or can we still view things clearly enough without our rose-spectacles to see that we are being so used, and to then realize that we really do have the right to rebel, to tell our wannabe Facebook masters that we don’t like it, we don’t want it, and goddammit, we won’t have it?
Sunday, 7 August 2011
Coming in at NO. 10, but definitely not the least for being last, is body language expert and cheeky git Dr Cal Lightman ( Tim Roth ). Although 'Lie To Me' has now been canceled by those clueless networks, Cal remains a lovably roguish crime fighter. He might not have been hunk-handsome but he had a certain sly charm made him sexy, certainly it was good enough to make him attractive to cute colleague Dr Gillian Foster which makes him good enough for me then.
At NO. 9 and once described as “a pipe cleaner with eyes” is the BAU’s Dr Spencer Reid ( Matthew Gray Gubler ), who brings geek-chic to swoonsome new levels for many a 'Criminal Minds' fan. Spence needs to be my little brother ASAP, he’s puppy-dog-level adorable! It also has to be said that on top of his genius, neither is Spence is a bad shot for someone who once failed his yearly FBI firearms proficiency test! At least he’s a better shot than colleague SSA Emily Prentiss ( as much as I am chagrined to say so ) who over the course of six seasons has continually failed to hit anything smaller than the side of a barn, and I might even doubt that. Of course, if you need some sharp shooting in a tight situation, the smart money is always on JJ…
Striding in at NO. 8 with the ever-present cup o’ joe in hand, is the one, the only, the legendary Leroy Jethro Gibbs ( Mark Harmon ) of 'NCIS'. A man of few words and steely-blue eyes, it’s no surprise that often the distressed damsels prefer to put themselves in the care of this Silver Fox than that of younger agent Tony DiNozzo.
At NO. 7 is yet another of the BAU’s best, the delicious SSA David Rossi ( Joe Mantegna ) also of 'Criminal Minds'. The original profiler and the man for whom the no-fraternization rule was made, Rossi has that roguish, twinkly-eyed, slightly grizzled, bad-boy charm in spades. So much of it does Rossi possess, in fact, that I’m pretty certain even the disagreeable Section Chief Erin Strauss secretly harbors a crush on him! As disturbing an image as that may be for many Rossi fans… I do apologize! Let me make it up to you with a pic of Rossi looking all mean 'n' moody...
Anonymously avenging the justice system’s mistakes at NO. 6 is sexy serial killer Dexter Morgan ( Michael C Hall ) of the eponymous 'Dexter'. Never has murder looked so good as it does wrapped up in the package that is the blood-splatter-analyst-by-day-serial-killer-by-night Dex. And besides, any guy who has a wonderfully foul-mouthed, man-shirt-wearing, sexy cynic of a sister like Detective Debra Morgan ( Jennifer Carpenter ) absolutely must be on this list! I long for the day that Deb realizes men are just not her forte and embraces her latent lesbianism…
At N0. 5 is Sheriff Rick Grimes ( Andrew Lincoln ) of 'The Walking Dead'. Rick may have swapped fighting crime for fighting zombies, but he still looks damn good doing it, and without a doubt he’d be my go-to guy for any living dead problems I might have…well, you never know these things. Do you know for sure that the government isn’t working on creating an army of zombie-soldiers? No. Well. Just sayin’.
At NO. 4 we have another unconventional crime-fighter, Guerrero ( Jackie Earle Haley ), the Man of Only One Name, from 'Human Target', another show canceled by the stupid networks. Forget Chance, forget Winston, the little guy in the glasses is the one I want standing between me and the people hellbent on making me a non-living soul. Kind of like Dexter, Guerrero is a borderline psychopath on the right side of justice, if not quite the law, and the man does have great taste in clothes. I must agree with Mrs Pucci on that one.
Bringing us into the Top 3 at NO. 3 is Deputy Marshall Raylan Givens ( Timothy Olyphant ). The handsome modern-day cowboy of 'Justified' sure knows how to fill a pair of jeans and a Stetson, every damn week making me wish that Raylan had a twin sister also happened to be a lesbian…*sigh*… The man also has the most perfect freaking hair I’ve ever set eyes on, not to mention that wonderful Southern drawl, and damn, can he shoot! Please…someone give this guy a gay twin sister…then put her and Deb Morgan together…
In at NO. 2 in a closely-fought crime-fighter race for the top spot, is The Man That Is Sam Axe ( Bruce Campbell ). Sidekick of 'Burn Notice’s spy Michael Westin, Sam epitomizes cool and he knows how to Get Shit Done. He’s Sam Axe. He’s Bruce Campbell. What else is there to say? He rocks either way.
But, coming in at NO. 1 with a bullet, is the Classic of all Crime Fighters, the hero extraordinaire, The Ginger One himself, the only man who can wear the Sunglasses of Justice, it is Lieutenant Horatio Cain ( David Caruso ) of 'CSI: Miami' fame. Oh yes, if Horatio were a real crime-fighter in the real world, we could all sleep safe and sound in our beds at night, knowing we were being protected by a man true of heart, upright of intent, way smarter than the criminals, as invincible as his sunglasses, a man who can wear black suits in hundred-degree Miami heat and not lose his cool for a moment. Vegas may have survived the departure of Gil Grissom but Miami…nay, the world…will always need Horatio Cain.
Sunday, 31 July 2011
Ooh, an email from the FBI...seems the Bureau haven't enough work to do these days so they are sub-contracting themselves out to Nigerian banks to trace long-lost relatives who have inheritances awaiting. Just send all your private bank details to this nice bank managar ( yes, that is how it was spelled ) in Nigeria and he will promptly send you that $10 million dollars that Great-Uncle Fester left you, for some reason having chosen to leave it in the care of a bank several thousands of miles distant from the USA in which he was resident...except WAIT A MINUTE! I don't have a Great-Uncle Fester, and that isn't the real FBI logo...
How stupid do they think we are?
And oooh tripled, looky at this...another email, this one from Mr Charles ELVIS... he wants to notify me of a payment awaiting me on e-bay and I should just pop all my details over to him in -surprise! - Nigeria so that he can make sure I get this payment. It's odd because I don't have an e-bay account...? Never have had.
Mr Elvis, please leave the building.
Tuesday, 21 June 2011
Real life is just not that entertaining. The day-to-day reality of the average police officer’s life is taken up with paperwork and court testimony, neither of which makes for giddy viewing. The rest, too, is often non-glamorous calls such a petty thefts, petty assaults, domestics, and traffic incidents. Spend an evening watching those fly-on-the-wall cop documentaries and you’ll see just how similar they all are. It doesn’t matter whether the cops are in LA or London, most often you will see them dragging recalcitrant drunken students into vans, separating drunken friends who’ve decided to fight over some woman, or arresting some drunken driver. Even raids in reality tend to proceed smoothly, carried out deliberately at dawn when the occupants of a house are bound to be asleep and possibly hung-over, unlikely anyway to put up any significant resistance. On TV the raid will take place at night, usually when its pouring rain for atmosphere, and inside the crack house will be a dozen tough-guy gang members, all busily cutting rock cocaine on the kitchen table, and every one of them will have a huge-ass nine-mil in front of him, so that bad guys and cops can enter a tense Mexican stand-off, all pointing guns and screaming at each other. On TV the cops are always pointing their guns and shooting bad guys, and everyone pats them on the back and tells them “ Atta boy/girl!” In reality the average cop may draw his service weapon less than a dozen times in a full twenty-year career, and he may fire it ( outwith the practice range ) once or twice at most. Many cops will never fire their service weapon in their entire career. Discharging your weapon in reality sets off the kind of landslide of paperwork and IA aggravation that no cop needs or wants.
Many ex-cops-turned-writers-or-advisors will praise a show such as Southland for its ‘realistic portrayal of police procedure’ and whilst this may be true in many respects, they are turning a blind eye to the less realistic aspects of the show. For instance, in reality a uniformed cop with an obvious substance abuse problem, discovered drunk, stoned, and handcuffed naked to a bed at a disreputable party, and all whilst on active duty, would likely be dismissed from the Force for conduct unbecoming. A detective would never have to shoot a bad guy breaking into her home to find a witness ( and do so with the 12-guage shotgun she handily keeps in the hallway closet ) because in reality that detective would never have been allowed to take a vital child witness into her own home. Even ‘realistic’ shows like Southland need to inject a little unreality to keep the viewers hooked.
One of my own favorite TV cops shows, Criminal Minds, bears only the most distant resemblance to FBI procedural reality. There is a Behavioral Analysis Unit at Quantico but their work is mostly consultancy done via email and telephone. There is no team of ridiculously good-looking agents who travel around the country on a private jet and help the local law enforcement to solve their crimes. There certainly is no Miss Penelope Garcia doing whizzy things with computers!
These days, it isn’t just the cops either who solve crimes in fiction. We all know that CSI’s don’t carry weapons, they don’t interview witnesses, they don’t make arrests, and they certainly do not solve the crimes all by themselves…except on TV. The streets of LA were surely safer back in the day when Quincy, ME was running around doing the LAPD’s job for it. Two of today’s most successful crime writers are James Patterson and Harlan Coben. Patterson’s runaway success ‘The Women’s Murder Club’ employs a cop, a journalist, an ME, and a lawyer as a crime-solving team of women friends. Coben has Myron Bolitar, a sports agent who inevitably winds up embroiled in dangerous mystery situations on behalf of his clients. We, as viewers and readers, don’t sit around questioning the qualifications of these characters to solve crime, we simply jump aboard and enjoy the ride that they take us on. Yes, every now and then a TV show or novel will jump the shark, stretching the viewer or reader’s willing suspension of disbelief to breaking point, but we accept this and we move on, usually with minimal rancor. We do so because we understand that fiction is allowed to take these kinds of liberties with reality. It is by this means that it entertains us.
Monday, 13 June 2011
Sunday, 29 May 2011
Yes, it may look like an ordinary, innocent birdbath ... but do you really know what it's thinking?
Sunday, 22 May 2011
Big-ass lizardy-thing assisting Facebook.
Monday, 16 May 2011
Saturday, 14 May 2011
On the whole Paget Brewster got a more deserving send-off than did poor AJ Cook but there were things nonetheless bothered me about 'Lauren'. Not least that Ashley Seaver got to play such a large role. Considering her unpopularity with we fans, it felt a bit like rubbing salt into an already very raw and aching wound. Personally, despite trying to find some means of at least tolerating her, ever since this character joined the show I have only been able to find her the human equivalent of Jar Jar Binks. I have watched her alternately clumsy and insipid delivery of teeth-grindingly inappropriate utterings with something approaching manic irritation ( No, Ashley, there is no chance in hell that a 10 yr-old autistic child is your Unsub ... go back to the Academy RIGHT NOW for even thinking that! ) but having to endure her declaring in the middle of 'Lauren' that she thinks dating a few narcissists makes her an expert on those, well, it made me want to throw something at the TV. And I love my TV. A great deal.
Putting Ashley aside for the moment ( Please, CBS, put her aside someplace ... anywhere that isn't the BAU ), what's done is done with regard to Prentiss, but the good news is it ain't anything can't be undone. Hurrah! All we need now is for the network to hire some new dedicated-to-canon writers who will make it their mission to find a suitable cliff to push Ashley over, and then we can all get on with forgetting that this horrible season ever happened. Me, I'm more than ready to make like Bobby Ewing waking up from a bad dream in the shower.
Thursday, 28 April 2011
Just one more thing about the Royal Wedding tat ... is it my mind that is simply going to awful places or does that cruet set look a bit, well, phallic? I couldn't imagine shaking anything outta those onto my food ... I have, however, purchased a nice Royal Wedding ashtray for my housemate. Watching her stub her cigarette butts on a couple of royals just kind of appeals to a childishly subersive, rebellious part of me.
Saturday, 23 April 2011
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I love Hollywood, from past to present, technical to gossip, and I have a large collection of books reflecting this. I bought this one because it appeared to be in the mould of Julia Philips's 'You'll Never Eat Lunch In This Town Again' and William Goldman's 'Adventures In The Screen Trade', and whilst that is true to a degree, 'Shoot Out' is still not quite as good as either of those. Written by two long-time insiders, Peter Bart and Peter Gruber, both studio heads and movie producers at one time or another, it is on the whole an entertaining read. It did get quite technically detailed at times, to the point of being dry, especially when the authors are describing the financial shenanigans of today's 'corporate Hollywood'. Still, I suppose financial wheeling and dealing isn't easy to make sexy unless you are Gordon Gecko!
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Saturday, 15 January 2011
Beginning its 6th Season on UK TV on 7th January 2011, 'Criminal Minds' played out the 2nd part of the serial-killer-in-the-blackout storyline that ended last season, with a stand-out performance given by AJ Cook as her character manages to get through to killer Billy Flynn using an All Emergency Channel broadcast. The same power was delivered by Cook in her last-ever episode as Special Agent Jennifer ‘JJ’ Jareau, the BAU’s media liaison and so much more ( shown on January 14th 2011 on UK TV ), appropriately enough titled simply ‘JJ’. I am rarely given to displays of weepiness but I admit to tearing up a little as I watched this sad, senseless farewell to a beloved character. Senseless, because suddenly fans were expected to accept that we had entered some strange, alternate universe where an FBI employee can be ordered to take a promotion by the Department of Defense, and that said employee does not have any other options to fight a forced removal from her job for no good effing reason. It was pathetic and it has angered fans no end. Sad, because the farewell scenes between the characters so closely echoed how the actors felt about the wholly unexpected firing of Cook. Spencer Reid’s lip-quiver and desolate, “ But they can’t just take you away from us” was like watching Baby left alone by Mommy, and Garcia’s desperate denial of the inevitable and her helpless sobbing as JJ left, would have cracked even the stoniest heart. It was by far not the first time Cook has shone in this role either. The Season 2 episode ‘Revelations’ still is one of the very best, mostly down to how well Cook played out JJ’s self-blame and doubt at her fitness to be in the field after Reid is kidnapped by a psychotic killer. Season 4’s ‘Cold Comfort’ is effectively humanized by JJ alone as she tells David Rossi, regarding a victim’s mother, “ All she has right now is hope. How can you take that away from her?”
It seems like these days ( unless your name is Mariska Hargitay ) if you are female and on TV, you are imminently expendable. What message does that send to all those young women watching who might be seeking role models? “ If you are strong, smart, and independent, you will be treated disgracefully … but hey, if you act like a violent, chauvinistic boor or a simpering bimbo, you’ll be rewarded!”
And no, Garcia, they don't care.