The Chronicle, U.S.A.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Dr. Zag gives the thumbs up to Cage's 2009 thriller Knowing

Hey Harry -

I just got back from a screening of KNOWING and wanted to share my reaction since I’ve been hearing a lot about the movie and haven’t read any reviews yet. I'll start off by prefacing this that it way exceeded my expectations. Yes, it was Alex Proyas so I should have been more excited, but it had been 10 years since his last movie that I loved -- actually one of my top sci-fi of all time -- Dark City. On top of that, it was a new Nic Cage movie, which meant it had a 50% chance of sucking. I was hoping for the Nic Cage from action movies like The Rock or Face/Off, not Ghost Rider or Next Nic.

So imagine my surprise when I walked out of the theater with the initial thought that I'd just seen a brilliant thriller. I'm going to try to keep this as spoiler free as possible, b/c the trailers are doing a great job of concealing some of the shocking (and pleasant) surprises of this movie. It's an intense experience - the movie is filled with a pervasive sense of dread (compounded by the spectacular disaster sequences - Roland Emmerich should take note - this is how you create disaster sequences with shock and consequences while investing people emotionally -- not just empty spectacle). But the turns that this movie takes produce a surprising ray of hope, and not in the Deep Impact or Armageddon kind of way where people improbably save the day in the nick of time.

The movie begins with Cage's son receiving a string of hand written numbers from a time capsule that his (and Nic's former) elementary school unearth. Cage is an astrophysics professor and he is raising his son by himself - his wife died years earlier - and in his opening classroom scenes you get the sense that this loss and his academic philosophy have left him believing that he's living in a world without meaning, where everything happens at random. The discovery that the numbers may have predicted every major disaster (the numbers list date/total deaths/longitude-latitude location) throws this entire belief system into chaos.

He doesn't come full circle until a horrifying plane crash matches one of the three number sequences left to happen. It's an insane sequence - shot all in one take (reminded me of those crazy ass action scenes from Children of Men that were done in one unbroken camera shot). After this he becomes a true believer and sets out on a quest to find out who wrote the numbers.

The end of the film is bold - definitely not what I was expecting - especially for a mainstream Hollywood film. I appreciate the fact that Alex Proyas decided not to go the easy way out and give everything a supernatural explanation - it's all readily explainable and it really ties in the theme of spirituality/meaning vs. science/randomness in some unique ways. It's emotional and it will leave you thinking and debating the outcome with your friends. I still can't shake it.

Some gripes -- it sags in the middle a bit after going at a break neck pace for the first half. There are some Cage moments that are a bit cringe-worthy, but all tolerable within the overall journey of his character.

The good - incredible tension throughout most of the film. A threatening sense of dread and a true mystery was unraveled that I didn't see coming. The disaster sequences - jaw-dropping. And the relationship between father and son was particularly affecting.

Overall I'd give this a solid 8 out of 10. Alex Proyas is back folks and Nic Cage can chalk one up to "good" 50% column. He's safe until National Treasure 3.

If you decide to use this review, please call me Dr. Zag.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes To Jail tops box office

The Jonas Brothers are a genuine sensation - in all seriousness, they might just be the biggest act on Earth.

And the Jonas Brothers had a film out on Friday. So what’s the number one movie at the weekend box office this week? You guessed it - it’s Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes To Jail.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Ebony & Jet on the brink of ruin

This e-mail was sent to me from my friend, Toni:

One of the MOST notable permanent fixtures in EVERY black household (back in the days), was the Ebony, along with Jet magazine.

If you wanted to learn about your history, the plight of black america, current issues facing black americans, how the political process of america affects you, how politics works, who the hottest actors were, what time a particular black television show aired, who got married recently, who were the most eligible bachelors, and bachelorettes in your town, what cities had black mayors, police chiefs, school superintendents, how to register to vote, what cars offer the best value for the buck, who employed black americans, how to apply for college scholarships, ect, MORE THAN LIKELY, the Ebony, or the Jet magazine could help you find answers to those questions.

We have recently been informed that the Johnson Publishing Company organization is currently going through a financial crisis. The company is attempting a reorganization in order to survive. Many people have already lost their jobs with a company that has employed thousands of black americans during the course of it's existence.

In order to support this effort to save OUR magazine, my friends and myself have pledged to get a subscription to both, Ebony, and Jet magazine, starting with one year. We are urging EVERY other person who comes across this plea, to do the same. Please post, repost, and post again, to any blog that you may own, or support. Please email this to EVERY person that you know, regardless of their background. Let them know that Ebony, and Jet magazine has been part of the black american culture for 3 quarters of a century, and that there is a lot that they can learn about black american culture from reading them.

We are currently discussing the idea of throwing an Ebony/Jet party, where people can eat, drink, and sign up for their subscription on the spot. Please spread this idea around to all that you know. Your sororities, fraternities, lodges, VFW posts, churches, civic groups, block clubs, caps meetings, book clubs, ect.

It would be a crying shame, to lose our historic magazine, during the same year of such an historic event as the election of our FIRST BLACK President of the US.

May our Father continue to bless us, in the name of our savior, Jesus Christ.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Fence & Fog

Jerry Seinfeld hosts new comedy reality show

NEW YORK - Jerry Seinfeld is headed back to NBC as the producer of a comic reality series about marriage.

The series, called "The Marriage Ref," will feature a real-life couple involved in a marital spat.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Jamie Foxx "Blame It" video premiere

A star-studded study in human nature...

Everyone grown has been here at one time or another. Can you squeeze another big name in this vid, Jamie? I love this video and this song!
I love when songs examine human nature and motives and all.

Friday, February 20, 2009

CNBC Tantrum too little, too late

Translation: This is what I wanted to say last year but was afraid to do so.

See, I was too busy filling my pockets to notice that the economy was going to hell in a hand basket WAY BACK THEN. I feel it is appropriate to yell and scream at a president who has been on the job for about a month.
This is what fear does to a man. It keeps his mouth shut until he feels as if he has nothing to fear anymore.

The horse has left the barn and the barn is on fi-ya. The man with the fire hose who is busy putting out the fi-ya should be yelled at because he is the only adult on duty right now.

Seems about right to me.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Worth Reading

I found this book while searching for representation. It sounds interesting.
Writer's Representatives

This is what a musical genius sounds like, looks like

This is standing applause. Keep making that music, Ye.

KANYE WEST "Welcome To Heartbreak" Directed by Nabil from nabil elderkin on Vimeo.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Nic Cage is Al Capone in Untouchables Prequel

May 12, 2007
Source: MTV
by Alex Billington

Remember that great 1987 mafia movie The Untouchables that won Sean Connery an Oscar and brought the great performances of Kevin Costner and Robert De Niro to light, as well as a wonderful score from Ennio Morricone? Sticking with the Hollywood trend of sequels (and prequels) these days, they're bringing it back from the dead and making a prequel tentatively titled The Untouchables: Capone Rising, and they've already got their star - Nic Cage. Cage will play Al Capone, the role that Robert De Niro played in the original, but no other major roles have been cast yet.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Urotherapy Works?

LA PAZ, Bolivia – A Bolivian woman has died from an injection of urine allegedly administered by her friend as a form of health therapy, a prosecutor said Tuesday. Investigating prosecutor Oscar Flores told The Associated Press that 35-year-old Gabriela Ascarrunz died Saturday of an "infection caused by urine that was injected by fashion designer Monica Schultz."
I cannot imagine how this works but apparently it does. I would like to know why it did not work in this woman's case but it did work in the clothing designer who allegedly gave her the fatal dosage.
I read a little on this topic and saw on Wikipedia that Madonna used it to cure athelet's foot fungus.
Apparently this urotherapy has been around for thousands of years.
Growing up I have heard old wives tales that say wipe your face or the baby's face with infant urine for healthy skin. I saw the end results of this but the person was not using cloth diapers but the modern kind. Maybe that was a factor but the baby's face was rash upon rash. Maybe as time went on it cleared up--I dunno.
Anyone else know about urotherapy?

Look What I Can Do!

Watch this preview and tell me it is not funny. Amy is funny and the writing seems off the chain! (And it is set in Indiana)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Black Milk-Give the Drummer Some

Kanye West, T.I. React To Chris Brown's Arrest - News Story | Music, Celebrity, Artist News | MTV News

Kanye West, T.I. React To Chris Brown's Arrest - News Story | Music, Celebrity, Artist News | MTV News

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Chris Brown's Songs, TV Appearances Yanked From Air - News Story | Music, Celebrity, Artist News | MTV News

Chris Brown's Songs, TV Appearances Yanked From Air - News Story | Music, Celebrity, Artist News | MTV News

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Rihanna Is 'Fine,' According To Her Grandmother - News Story | Music, Celebrity, Artist News | MTV News

Rihanna Is 'Fine,' According To Her Grandmother - News Story | Music, Celebrity, Artist News | MTV News

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Text Message Might Be Behind Chris Brown/ Rihanna Fight - News Story | Music, Celebrity, Artist News | MTV News

Text Message Might Be Behind Chris Brown/ Rihanna Fight - News Story | Music, Celebrity, Artist News | MTV News

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Chris Brown's Family Has History Of Domestic Abuse - News Story | Music, Celebrity, Artist News | MTV News

Chris Brown's Family Has History Of Domestic Abuse - News Story | Music, Celebrity, Artist News | MTV News

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Monday, February 09, 2009

List of Grammy winners (the collab was tight)

For recordings released during the Eligibility Year
October 1, 2007 through September 30, 2008
Note: More or less than 5 nominations in a category is the result of ties

Now back to the collaborative performance "Swagger". Just about everyone who I Twittered with said they want to see a tour with all of them.

As written on one of the Grammy blog posts:"...The newly-formed Rap Pack emerged with Jay-Z, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, T.I, and a very pregnant M.I.A. who seemed to fully let loose on stage rolling and riffing with the hip hop gentlemen for "Swagga Like Us."

Twittering while watching the Grammys was the best thing ever but it depends on who you follow. I have good Twitter taste.
Overall, I was completely impressed with the show and its guests and overjoyed with the interactive presence this year with the Grammys. Keep up the good work.

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