Tuesday, February 28, 2006

...and re-enacted by bunnies

Apparently there are people out there who have been waiting to see some of their favorite movies condensed to 30 seconds and performed by bunnies, and a web site is catering to their needs. Other films displayed in Bun-O-Vision include "The Big Chill", "Pulp Fiction", "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre", and "King Kong". Of course, to the shock of nobody, a version of "Brokeback Mountain" is coming soon.

Take my word for it, or see for yourself, but the more of these movies you watch, the less funny it gets. However, a first viewing of "The Shining" is pretty damn good. All I have to say is that the Jack Nicholson bunny pulls off quite a performance, with a haunting frozen-in-ice stare that will linger with you long after the credits roll.

Watch "The (Bunny) Shining"

Sunday, February 26, 2006

In the future there will be robots

I've finally got the footage back from the lab: here's video of Sam at The Room on his birthday, shortly after knocking back a few shots of chocolate cake. (He's on second, using the pseudonym of "David" from Santa Ana ... no doubt in homage to Mr. Hasselhoff.)

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Chocolate Cake

Yesterday was my birthday. Conventionally, you people would be giving me gifts and good wishes, but that ship has clearly sailed. Still, I would like to share two presents with you loyal readers, as well as those new visitors.

First, the gift of song:

Now this is going to be a bold statement, but I actually think the second gift is even greater then the first. Last night I had a little birthday party at The Room in Hollywood, and the bartender suggested a shot called a Chocolate Cake. I say, without hyperbole, that the Chocolate Cake might be the greatest shot...ever!

The Chocolate Cake looks and tastes like liquor. You down the shot, and so far nothing is out of the ordinary. But then you take a lemon and bite into it. Brother, let me tell you, the combo is pure Chocolate Cake goodness. It is crazy. I think you should get your first Chocolate Cake from a trained professional. But in case you need to make it at home to satisfy your curiousity, here is the recipe...

Mix equal parts of Citron Vodka and Frangelico in a shot glass. Drink the shot, and follow it by immediately sucking on a sugar-coated lemon wedge.

Enjoy, my legal aged friends. And feel free to contact me to make arrangements to send belated gifts.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Oh no, he didn't!

Showing that this blog reviews a wide variety of movies, I'd like to tackle the new romantic comedy Something New.

"Why," you scream, rolling your eyes. "What would inspire you to see that?" Very simple, friends. I have a lady. She likes romantic comedies. She likes "urban" movies. She doesn't believe in Valentine's Day which is a plus in my book, so when she wants to go see a movie, I like to oblige and take her.

While this movie certainly isn't for everyone, here are some interesting points:

1) It has a very interesting style of shooting which evokes Soderbergh. Stop rolling your eyes, I mean it. Interesting cuts highlighting actors reactions, a distinct hue similar to the Detroit section of Out of Sight.

2) It's funny, without being over the top funny. They don't comment on why four sistas are discussing men while sitting in a rabbi's office. The actors don't mug the comic moments, and even Donald Faison tones it down a bit (just a bit) from his role on Scrubs.

3) In the most random bit of casting, the white dude's father is played by John Ratzenberger.

What makes this so random? It's a non-speaking part. Cliff Claven is an extra! What is this world coming to? I would understand if it was Karla or that weird guy with the big head and the glasses that sits at the bar and gets one line every six or seven episodes, but Cliffy? Say it ain't so.

But I digress. In closing, I've seen worse movies in the theater this year...and yes, I mean 2006.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Say a genie offered you one wish, and it was that you could pick any two celebrities to see on a sex tape. Which two?

It seems that Kid Rock and Scott Stapp (former lead singer of Creed and nemesis of David Cross) have been caught on video having sex on a tour bus. Was that your answer?

This is the first time in 2006 that two such influential musicians have been caught in this sort of scandal. Oh, if you were curious, they were not having sex with each other, but with various female groupies. However, they apparently do talk to each other while they have sex.

The same company that released the classic Paris Hilton tape, "One Night in Paris", claims to have the tapes and will be releasing the film later this year. The countdown begins!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Update from our Vegas Correspondent

The following was overheard by our ATG&B man in the field, on his recent undercover assignment in Las Vegas...

Location - Bathroom at the Wynn
Drunk Man (standing at the urinal, speaking into cell phone):
"Hi Dad. Yeah, I'm on the 5. I just left San Jose. No, there's no one
else in the car. Yeah, I'll see you tomorrow at 3 o'clock."

Location - A bar at the Monte Carlo
Woman, to her boyfriend:
"If I'm gonna have to call my mom and say 'Hi Mom. No, I'm not at work, I'm in Vegas and I just got married,' then the least you can do is take a fuckin' shot with me."

Location - A bar at the Mirage (Sunday morning, 10:00am)
Prostitute, to Chad:
"Wanna get naked and have some fun?"

A Cock and Bull Story

Last night I went to see Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story at the good old Arclight. Excellent film. Funny; clever; profound; chaotic. The movie is kind of like Naked Lunch for the Merchant-Ivory set: a highly self-reflexive adaptation of a supposedly "unfilmable" novel ... all structured as a "film-of-a-book-within-a-film-of-a-book".

I tend to find mise-en-abyme irritating in most movies, but Winterbottom and company did an expert job of using the device here. The novel has been described as a precursor to postmodernism: Tristram Shandy sets out to write the biography of his life, but through a series of digressions and allusions never gets beyond the moment of his birth. The movie's approach to this material is to add an extra layer: the story of a group of egotistical filmmakers trying to adapt the Tristram Shandy novel, but never getting beyond the birth scene. It's a clever device and the movie's narrative style is deliberately one of digression, allusion and evasion - which not only allows for a lot of self-depricating humor about filmmaking, but also allows for the more existential themes of the movie to play out in rich but unpretentious ways.

All in all, a fabulous movie ... and be sure to stay through the end credits for some of the most hilarious banter you'll ever hear.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Cheney Rant

Ok, first, some comedy highlights of the Cheney shooting debacle...

- Day 1 of Daily Show coverage
- Letterman covers Cheney's press conference
- Daily Show update + White House press conference

Last night I was with a group of people, and was stunned to discover that they had not heard about Cheney's shooting incident. How could that have gone under anyone's radar, especially 3 days after the fact? But in catching up with the news myself, I saw a video of a Chris Matthews interview with Bill Maher posted on Crooks and Liars. Maher had a joke that resonated with me.

"I think its interesting that this is only the third worst thing that happened to Dick Cheney this week."

Here are the other two "worst things"...

1st, Scooter Libby said that his superiors told him to put out classified information. This is a pretty transparent claim by Libby that Cheney is at the top of the food chain regarding the outing of Valerie Plame.

2nd, Paul Pillar, the former CIA official who coordinated U.S. intelligence on Middle East until last year, accused Bush and Cheney of "cherry-picking" intelligence on Iraq to justify the decision to go to war (a decision that had already been made and needed justification) and ignoring intelligence that warned of the violence and chaos that would likely result from a U.S. invasion and overthrow of Saddam Hussein.

What I am realizing is that the circus around the Cheney shooting might actually be giving the administration cover from the two much more devestating stories that Maher made the joke about. The press are extremely aggressive in pursuing the shooting, which is a good thing. There is something suspicious going on about the delay in Cheney's reporting of the incident, as well as the scrubbing of the MSNBC article that had a quote about how alcohol was consumed by some before the accident. Also, the story is alternatingly funny and sad, yet always bizarre.

But my realization is that the shooting coverage is coming at the expense of attention paid to the other major revelations.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

I Heart Doppelgangers!

This may be old news to some, but I recently learned about the striking resemblance between Finnish President Tarja Halonen and Conan O'Brien.

I know what you're thinking...I want more! Click me.

Monday, February 13, 2006

It's Hard Out Here For a Pimp

Last week I decided to sign up for Netflix. Not sure why it took me so long to get around to it. Anyway, one of the first batch of DVDs I received was Hustle & Flow. I really enjoyed the movie, and thought Terrence Howard gave a strong, compelling performance ... but it made me realize that any movie that follows the Rocky formula is guaranteed to sucker you in. You could make a movie about a down-on-his-luck, underdog bookkeeper from Pittsburgh with a dream of becoming a shoe salesman and the audience would lap it up.

When I think about the actual story of Hustle & Flow, it's all rather cheesy and ridiculous ... but I thoroughly enjoyed it when watching it. I mean, why is everybody making tapes of their music??
(Obviously, to make them seem poorer, more retro, and more underdog ... but come on people!!)

If only Burgess Meredith were still alive to play the white boy. That was the only thing standing in between Hustle & Flow and a Best Picture nomination, as far as I can tell...

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Go see "Through the Fire"

ESPN Original Entertainment might not be the name you trust when it comes to picking what film you want to see, but they made a solid decision in backing Jonathan Hock's film Through the Fire. The movie includes a great little scene that shows the work it took at the Sports Illustrated photo shoot that led to the cover image seen above. But more to the point, the caption that accompanies the image might as well have been the tag line of a poster for the film. "Through the Fire" is all about a supremely charismatic and good-natured basketball sensation named Sebastian Telfair, and the year of his life leading up to the NBA draft.

The film begins by bringing the audience into Telfair's world, the same Brooklyn projects featured as Jay Z's stomping grounds in his 99 Problems video. Basketball is clearly one of the few activities that the guys growing up in this world have easy access to, and the competition on the courts is fierce. So when Telfair is above and beyond the competition, you believe he is something special. The film does a great job showing the desperation of the environment.

There is already a success story in Telfair's family, in that Sebastian's cousin is superstar Stephon Marbury (currently with the Knicks). But Sebastian's more immediate forerunner is his older half-brother, Jamel Thomas. Jamel was a NCAA Big East scoring leader and star at Providence. However, when he decided to go pro and enter the NBA draft, his hopes for the future were crushed when he was not selected by any team. All scenes with Jamel carry the heavy weight of disappointment for what might have been. But not because he asks for sympathy in any way; he is proud and inspirational in dealing with his setback. However, playing European pro-ball for Greece is clearly a let down from his dreams. And the close relationship with Jamal is what looms heavily over Sebastian's journey, not Marbury's success.

The intimacy that the audience gets with Telfair and his family is what makes the movie. It is stunning how much pressure is being placed on his shoulders, and how he is somehow able to summon the strength to keep it all together. The fact that Sebastian stays humble and likeable is pretty amazing for a teenager, with Derek Jeter watching at one high school gym and Jay-Z visiting him in the locker room before a game. And on top of that, Sebastian Telfair happens to be a spectacular point guard with his speed and dazzling moves.

It is hard not to compare this film with Hoop Dreams. Although the plots are similar, they provide very different experiences. "Hoop Dreams" is a more powerful movie, which digs deeper and has an epic feel. It is also more about questioning the business of basketball and its impact, whereas "Through the Fire" feels like a rags-to-riches fairy tale. But "Through the Fire" is still a compelling story, with great characters including the protagonist and his family as supporting cast.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Solving the Dakota Fanning Mystery

Some people have arrived at this little blog following a google search for Dakota Fanning, and were confused to find the previous blog entry entitled "I read Vanity Fair for the Articles". Was this just a strange coincidence? Like all things in our little circle of life, there is inevitably a connection.

First, a little back-story about the Vanity Fair picture taken by Annie Leibovitz. You may have wondered, why is there some random dude on the cover? Doesn't a third movie star exist in all of Hollywood? The answer may surprise you. Yes, there are more then two movie stars in Hollywood. The guy in the suit is "fashion superstar" Tom Ford, the issue's guest art director, who offers an explanation that tries to quash the reaction that he is simply a narcissistic douche.

"Three girls in a bed is a bedful of girls, but two girls in a bed are lesbians."

Sounds pretty airtight. I heard that old adage so many times growing up, I thought it was my family motto.

But wait, why not go for a "bedful of girls"?

Rumors have circulated that Rachel McAdams, the Canadian, was going to be the third girl in the photo. Ford even took a hand in spreading the rumor, telling Good Morning America that, "She did want to do it, and then when she was on the set I think she felt uncomfortable, and I didn't want to make anybody feel uncomfortable." Come on, Ford's bizarre cover seduction pose proves he has no problem making millions of people looking at Vanity Fair feel uncomfortable.

Tom Ford doth protest too much. What is he covering up? And what does this all have to do with Dakota Fanning?

The original title for the previous blog post was, "Thankfully Dakota Fanning had a scheduling conflict." I, on behalf of the rest of the staff at "All Things Goldberg", wanted to go on record that we are thankful that the busy schedule of the young starlet prevented her from being the third actress on the cover. This position may be unpopular, but we at "All Things Goldberg" are happy to take the moral high ground. We believe that some people are simply too young to appear on such a racy cover.

"Thankfully Dakota Fanning had a scheduling conflict" was changed to "I read Vanity Fair for the Articles", for there was an initial surge of bloggers who read the post and were making a mental picture of Dakota Fanning on the cover in place of Tom Ford. The post was simply intended to spread the truth about the cover and counter Tom Ford's lies. But even after changing the title and reposting the blog, there was a phantom trace left on the internet that allowed googlers to search for Dakota Fanning and be led to the cover post.

For the record, it was never the intention of this blog to have visitors imagine Dakota Fanning posing on the cover of Vanity Fair with Scarlett Johannson and Keira Knightley.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I read Vanity Fair for the articles

Scarlett and Keira airbrushed to the brink!

Yet this is hardly Scarlett's lone recent sexual publicity. I will not soon forget the bizarre fondling at the Golden Globes...

Friday, February 03, 2006

It's Spreading Like a Virus

With the "All things Goldberg" part now fully covered, I guess I'm representing "and beyond!".

I enjoyed Hostel too. Despite some of the awful plotting, it flowed nicely, was admirably trashy, and was very generous to its audience, providing plenty of tits and ass and limbs.

Something that bugged me about Hostel - and bugs me about most new horror movies - is the lack of depth or substance. They tend to be too content to just offer a cheap thrill ride, and are often too self-conscious and too "movie-movie" for their own good. The cameo of Takashi Miike (picture above, with Eli Roth) only served to emphasize this for me. Miike's films are genuinely strange, perverted, idiosyncratic and challenging. He is one of the few real auteurs working in film today. Eli Roth remains a wannabee. Above all else, Hostel wants to be a Miike film. But it is a pale imitation.

There can be only...two?

Aha! The writing team of "All things Goldberg, and beyond!" has officially doubled. That's right, I'm on board, injecting much-needed drama and an East Coast/West Coast Goldberg rivalry the world has been craving.

And in honor of my arrival on this blog, here's a creepy brother photo:

There's room for one more!

One of my favorite things L.A. has that New York doesn't is outdoor bars. Who doesn't like drinking in bed? I can't think of a better way to start the day.

Actually, New York is finally catching on to the rooftop bar craze, only we are limited to a few months of the year...the winter is too cold, and the summer smells too much of urine. Human urine.

But enough about bars...back to movie reviews. I actually haven't seen any in the past few weeks and since I have a memory like a goldfish, I can't offer any insight to past films since I don't remember them. I have seen all the Oscar nominees for best picture, though. I think it would be compelling television to have representatives from the Best Picture nominee Munich rumble onstage with reps from Best Foreign Film nominee Paradise Now. Since so many problems are solved (and created) by reality television, maybe a 20 minute Oscar segment could make great strides in solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If it happens, remember this post and nominate yours truly for a Nobel Peace Prize.