Unlike my esteemed colleague Jen Krueger, I watched the Academy Awards all the way through on Sunday (although at the same time I was also fixing dinner, playing fetch with my cat, and incessantly checking my e-mails, and then later trying to find a position in bed so I could see but still be horizontal).
I like to watch award shows for different reasons than most people, at least if I believe the Internets. All those technical awards that everybody hates? Those are my favorites. I love to see someone who is not a celebrity recognized for his or her work. I love to see them get their moment literally in the spotlight. I imagine their mothers at home, kvelling.
This year is the first time in my life that the Winter Olympics and the Academy Awards have fallen in the same month. Because I grew up with a great love for watching both figure skating and movies, it seems like 2014 should be a banner year for me to tune into the events that represent the highest level of competition in these two pastimes. Instead, 2014 is the first year that I watched neither. (more…)
On the eve of the Academy Awards, the Tweeks look at multiple Oscar-nominated [[[Gravity]]], starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. (And some quick coverage of [[[Thor: The Dark World]]] DVD, because reasons.)
Thursday the 5th of December 2013 Denys Cowan and I sent, via UPS, our artwork for the Milestones show. The work was to be shipped for overnight delivery. That was the plan but Brown screwed that up. When called the UPS location where the work was sent from gave the wrong cut off time for east coast overnight shipments. So the art was scheduled to arrive on Saturday instead of Friday the following day.
There was an omen if ever there was. It was two packages but one shipment. My assistant James was smart enough to request two different airbills to make any tracking easier.
Bad stormy weather on the east coast was headline news much of the week so the art was wrapped in plastic, sealed with tape, then placed in size related cardboard boxes and that was sealed with at least 3 layers of packing tape. Professional artists KNOW how to ship their art.
Denys sent 28 original pieces of not just art but history. Included were irreplaceable work from original Milestone concept drawings to Batman #400 pages other works from both before and after those career highlights.
My work (some of it) arrived at the Geppi on Saturday. Denys’ did not. On Monday UPS says it tried to deliver Denys’s package but the Geppi was closed because of a snowstorm.
On Tuesday Denys’ box arrived. In that box was some damn fine art. Problem was 27 pieces of Denys’ 28 pieces of art were NOT in the box.
Gone. Perhaps, forever.
For some reason that has yet to be explained to me Denys’ package sat for two days in the UPS Kentucky hub. BOTH boxes left and arrived at the UPS location in Kentucky at the same time. My box was scanned and arrived in Baltimore on Saturday.
I’ve placed numerous calls to UPS and have made it crystal clear what was missing was the art of the man whose idea it was and from which the Milestones show sprung. I made it extremely clear that if this was a show on cubism they had ‘lost’ Picasso’s art.
The woman I said that to didn’t get it. “The Jackson Five exhibit without Michael.”
THAT she got.
I spoke to 11 different people during the week. All were extremely nice; all were as useless as a condom worn on an ear.
What was made clear to me was the repeated UPS reason why 27 of 28 works of art were not in the box. The package was somehow sealed wrong and the art, ‘fell out.’
So, the packing tape (used by professional MOVERS among others to keep boxes SEALED-hence the name PACKING TAPE) somehow came loose, every layer simply came apart the plastic sealed art then fell out, the plastic opened 27 pieces of art with it but one somehow crawled back in the box and was able to make the trip from Kentucky to Baltimore.
When arriving at the Geppi the box was sealed (badly) when opened both the art and the plastic around it was gone, say ONE.
HOW can that be? How can 28 pieces of art wrapped in plastic become ONE piece of art?
The art was either stolen or ‘fell out.’ I’m sure it was stolen, someone opened the box, opened the plastic took the art except for one, resealed the box, badly and sent it along it’s merry way.
I can’t say that for a fact because I was not there when it went missing. I also can’t say for fact slavery is bad as I’ve never been a slave but I’m pretty sure it is.
As of today, Monday Dec. 16th nothing has been done to find the artwork of Denys Cowan.
The last thing I was told was NOTHING could be done to expedite the ‘process’ because UPS treats every single ‘lost’ package the same they are all of equal importance.
Sandra Bullock is lost in space, literally, in Alfonso Cuarón’s new film GRAVITY. It was a totally new experience for Sandra and she shares her thoughts for us here, plus we go to the set of the new buzz worthy Fox comedy, BROOKLYN 99 and talk exclusively with serious star Melissa Fumero about having to live up to all the hype. Meanwhile, SHIELD scores big on TV, but, here comes GOTHAM.
COMMUNITY fans know him as the offbeat Dean, but Jim Rash is also an Oscar winner writer and the perfect host for The Sundance Channel‘s new series, THE WRITERS ROOM. Jim talks about the plans he has for showcasing the talents behind series like DEXTER, GAME OF THRONES & more. Plus we invite you to meet the voices behind JUSTICE LEAGUE FLASHPOINT, including Cary Elwes doing Aquaman and Sam Daly stepping in as SUPERMAN.
The ESO crew takes a look at one of tv’s tried and true tropes, the spinoff. Mike Faber, Mike Gordon, and Bobby Nash are joined by Joe Crowe, Dan Carroll, and Greg Plunket to review the best and worst of the bunch, even including spinoffs of spinoffs! We are also joined by writer Jim Beard, who may be familiar with monsters, but can he survive The Geek Seat? All this, along with the usual Rants, Raves Khan Report and Shout Outs!
There are very few genre classics that have yet to come out on Blu-ray but this year, one of those voids is being filled by Warner Home Video, just ahead of the fourth installment in the series. Here are the official details:
Burbank, Calif. February 25, 2013 – Mad Max, the sci-fi franchise that introduced Mel Gibson to the world, will come together for the first time as a Blu-ray collection when Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (WBHE) debuts the Mad Max Trilogy on June 4th.
The three films – Mad Max (1979), Mad Max Road Warrior (1982) and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985) – are all set in the near-future in Australia. From the very first film, Oscar® winner George Miller (Happy Feet, 2006) proved a master at creating the gritty, bleak dystopian world and staging the incredible car stunts and crashes in the era when stuntmen, not computers, achieved the effects. All three movies starred Mel Gibson, virtually unknown until after the second film, as Max Rockatansky, a highway cop traveling through the Outback in a society descending into chaos. The films started Gibson on his road to international superstardom, led to his signature Lethal Weapon series, and later two Academy Awards® for his roles as producer and director of Braveheart (1995).
This must-own collection for action fans is available in limited premium tin packaging and makes a perfect gift for Father’s Day. The collection will sell for $49.99 SRP on Blu-ray Disc™. Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, which is making its Blu-ray debut, will also be available as a single along with Mad Max Road Warrior. Order due date for all is April 30th.
About The Films
Mad Max (1979)
George Miller’s first entry in the trilogy, Mad Max packs brutal action and insane stunts as it follows the inevitable downfall of relentless cop Max Rockatansky (Gibson) in a world gone mad. Living on the edge of an apocalypse, Max is ready to run far away from it all with his family. But when he experiences an unfortunate encounter with a motorcycle gang and its menacing leader, the Toecutter, his retreat from the madness of the world is now a race to save his family’s life.
Mad Max Road Warrior (1982)
The sequel to Mad Max,Mad MaxRoad Warrior provides action-packed, “automotive” entertainment, telling the story of a selfish-turned-selfless hero and his efforts to protect a small camp of desert survivors and defend an oil refinery under siege from a ferocious marauding horde that plunders the land for gasoline.
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)
Mel Gibson returns for his third go-round as the title hero who takes on the barbarians of the post-nuclear future – and this time becomes the savior of a tribe of lost children. Music superstar Tina Turner co-stars as Aunty Entity, a power-mad dominatrix determined to use Max to tighten her stranglehold on Bartertown, where fresh water, clean food and gasoline are worth more than gold.
THE MAD MAX TRILOGY
Street Date: June 4, 2013
Order Due Date: April 30, 2013
Catalog/UPC #: 1000334058 / 883929266661
Pricing: $49.99 SRP
Mad Max Run Time: 94 minutes; Rated R
The Road Warrior Run Time: 91 minutes; Rated R
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome Run Time: 107 minutes; Rated PG-13
LOS ANGELES (February 19, 2012) Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment today announced the availability of Oscar® Winning Director Ang Lee’s cinematic masterpiece Life of Pi on DIGITAL HD five days before the 85th Academy Awards. Nominated for 11 Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director, the inspirational epic journey can be enjoyed on connected HDTVs in your home, or on your tablet or smartphone on the go.
“Today, digital platforms offer us greater flexibility to innovate our consumer offerings,” said Mary Daily, President of Worldwide Marketing and Chief Marketing Officer, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. “Revisiting the magical world that Ang Lee has created with Life of Pi on Digital HD gives audiences the choice to enjoy this beautiful masterpiece on the device of their choice.”
Life of Pi on Digital HD is available at digital stores including Amazon Instant Video, CinemaNow, Google Play, iTunes, Kindle Fire, NOOK Video, PlayStation, VUDU, Xbox Video and YouTube for under $15, arriving four weeks before Blu-ray, DVD and video-on-demand (VOD). LIFE OF PI is also playing in theaters nationwide, experience it in stunning 3D.
Based on the acclaimed best-selling novel from Yann Martel that has been published in 40 languages, and brought to life by visionary Academy Award winning director Ang Lee, this magical adventure of hope, wonder, survival, and the power of the human spirit has been celebrated by critics all over the world. A “magnificent and moving” (Peter Travers, Rolling Stone) motion picture event that has been hailed as “a masterpiece” (Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times), taking in over $500 million in worldwide box office. LIFE OF PI follows Pi Patel, a young man on a fateful voyage who, after a spectacular disaster, is marooned on a lifeboat with the only other survivor, a fearsome 450 lb Bengal Tiger named Richard Parker. Hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery Pi and his majestic companion make an amazing and unexpected connection.
On the ballot here in Michigan in the last election, there were several proposed amendments to the state constitution. One was concerning the use of Emergency Financial Managers (EFMs). It’s no big news that Michigan is having a hard time of it financially and several municipalities and other local organizations such as school districts have been tottering on their own fiscal cliffs as a result of ineptitude, mismanagement and plain old corruption on the part of the sundry boards, councils, and mayors involved.
The draconian solution devised by the Michigan legislature, itself a meeting place of miscreants and ideologues who are currently ramming through a “right to work” bit of legislation without any public hearings or other forms of democracy, was a pair of Emergency Financial Manages bills. This allowed the governor to appoint a Financial Manager for an undisclosed amount of time who would take over the troubled entity’s finances. The more extreme of these allowed the EFM to break or change contracts without negotiation and many other dictatorial acts. This one was struck down by the Michigan Supreme Court as unconstitutional. The governor’s office responded by trying to reinsert the law as a state constitutional amendment, outside of the Court’s reach, and thus it was on the ballot last November.
It got voted down and I was one of the ones voting against it. I understood the reasoning behind the law and the proposed amendment. The reason that the various local entities were in the financial mess that they were in was an inability and/or unwillingness to come to grips, get past their own petty personal attempts to hold on to power and do what was necessary to solve the problem. At the same time it was so inherently undemocratic that I couldn’t support it. Good, bad, or indifferent, these local officials were voted in by the populations they supposedly served. I could understand the impetus and reasoning behind the EFM but I couldn’t accept installing what was essentially was a dictator however worthy the reason. It just went against the grain.
And what has all this to do with pop culture, about which I am supposed to be writing?
I and My Mary recently went to see Lincoln, Steven Spielberg’s astounding film about the President and focusing on his attempts to get the Thirteenth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution, abolishing slavery, through the House of Representatives. It’s going to win a lot of Oscars at the next Academy Awards and deservedly so. Daniel Day Lewis inhabits the part of Lincoln, making you think that this how the man must have been. He wears the sadness and melancholy of Lincoln the way that Lincoln often wore a shawl. It drapes over him.
The cast of the movie is stellar. Sally Fields plays Mary Todd Lincoln and is every bit the equal to Daniel Day Lewis. One scene features an emotionally intense fight between Lincoln and his wife and Mary Todd gives as good as she gets. If you think of Mrs. Lincoln only as Lincoln’s widow who winds up in an insane asylum, this will make you re-think that notion.
There is some very canny casting in the film, playing to our perceptions of the actor and infusing them into the part. Tommy Lee Jones as Representative Thaddeus Stevens, an ardent abolitionist who was a key to getting the 13th Amendment passed, not only looks like photos we have of Stevens but Jones’ rat-a-tat way with an insult meshed perfectly with the character. These days we are accustomed to James Spader playing slightly sleazy and underhanded characters and his part in the film, W.N. Bilbo, who helps court or bribe representatives to vote for the Amendment, plays to that perception.
There are other fine performances and actors throughout the film – David Straitharn, Jospeh Gordon-Levitt, Hal Holbrook among many, many others. The script is by Tony Kushner (who wrote the award winning pair of plays, Angels in America} based on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s superb biography of Lincoln and his cabinet, Team of Rivals. This script will be up for an Oscar as well and deserves to win it.
The film also had me asking questions of myself. Abraham Lincoln was arguably the greatest president this country has known. As I’ve learned about him, he has become and remained one the heroes to me of our country’s history. I wonder, however, if I had lived in his time, knowing only what people then knew, would I have been for or against him?
Lincoln, early in the Civil War, suspended the writ of habeas corpus, a central tenet of our government, by which an unlawfully detained prisoner can demand his or her release. When the Supreme Court of the time overruled his suspension, Lincoln ignored them. Civil law could be suspended in the areas of the South that the Union controlled and martial law, with military tribunals, were imposed. Newspaper and journalists could be censored and some were, inhibiting freedom of speech.
Given my unease with Michigan’s EFM law, how would I have responded back in Lincoln’s day to the suspension of habeas corpus? Yes, there were good reasons for him to act as he did but how much of that is plain in hindsight from where we are now and how much would that have been apparent then? Would the erosions of civil liberties, however worthy the apparent reason, grated on me? Could I, would I, have supported Lincoln back then?
Honestly, I don’t know. Those of us in the moment may not always be able to see things as clearly as the hindsight of history may show. In this time, in any time, perhaps the best we can do is try to do the best as we see it and hope that, as Lincoln said, we side with “the better angels of our nature.”