Tagged: Olivia Wilde

Martha Thomases: Vex & Comics & Rock & Roll

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Every Monday my Facebook feed is filled with people kvetching about Vinyl, the new HBO series created by Martin Scorsese, Mick Jagger and Terence Winters. Every criticism I see is valid (the pace is slow, the characters and the situations in which they find themselves are unbelievable), but I still kind of like it.

If you haven’t watched, you should know that Vinyl is about a record company struggling through the changes in music and culture in the early mid-1970s. I moved to New York full time a few years later, so perhaps some of the reason I like it is that it reminds me of my lost youth.

Bobby Cannavale plays Richie Finestra, the head of the company, a drug addict with no moral code (is that redundant?) who uses people in his pursuit of money and more drugs. We are supposed to believe that his love of rock’n’roll redeems him.

I love Cannavale. I love most of the actors in the series, with special shout-outs to Olivia Wilde, Ray Romano and Juno Temple. My problem with the series is that all of the characters are horrible human beings. I would not like any of them if I actually met them. Even Wilde’s character, Finestra’s wife who is struggling to break out of her housewife prison and be an artist like she was before her marriage (hanging out with Andy Warhol), just seems to me to be someone who has coasted on her beauty her entire life, now forced to adjust to middle age.

Richie is especially vile. If he wasn’t played by such a charismatic actor, I think we would all realize what a poser he is. He wants to go to the Mercer Arts Center and listen to the New York Dolls? He wants to sign a punk band? He’s an opportunist. I mean, that is almost his job description.

All of this was brought home to me when I saw CBGB, currently on Netflix. This movie covers the same era in the New York music scene, but from the perspective of Hilly Kristal (Alan Rickman), the man who started CBGBs, the punk club on the Bowery. There is a fictional record company guy, Nicky Gant, played by Bradley Whitford, who may be similar to Richie but who is clearly seen as contemptible by everyone else.

CBGB isn’t perfect movie but, unlike Vinyl, it’s fun. And you know one of the things that makes it fun? Comics!

Comics were a huge part of the punk scene. For one thing, some people credit Punk Magazine with giving the scene its name. (Note: some people do not. This is a pointless argument. Who cares?) I’ve written before about how important I think Punk was (and still is). This movie agrees with me, giving John Holmstrom and Legs McNeil prominent roles. It’s clear that the creative people on the scene at CBGBs did not take themselves as seriously as the people on Vinyl. They love comics, too.

There is also a large, deep cast, with talented actors (Alan Rickman, Malin Ackerman, Donal Logue, Rupert Grint, Estelle Harris, Stana Katic, Freddie Rodriguez, just for starters) playing all sorts of people, some real, some fictional. Unlike in Vinyl, the female characters are defined by more than just their sexual availability (although most have sexual appetites because, like the male characters, they are humans). They are musicians and producers and journalists and business managers and fans. I’m not going to say that the punk scene was devoid of sexism (because it certainly was not), but this movie certainly sees it as an improvement over the rest of the world at the time. And, in some ways, it was.

In general, I’m happy to see my memories validated, because I won’t be truly satisfied until all entertainment acknowledges my importance.

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And Another Thing: If you’re going to this year’s MoCCA Fest in New York this weekend, stroll down to the Medialia Gallery at 335 West 38th Street and check out the exhibit, “From Panel to Panel: Our Voices,” featuring comic art from women and their allies, including Regine Sawyer, Sara Wooley, Kenya Danino and lots, lots more.

The Point Radio: PROSPECTORS Gets Us Rich – Quick!

 

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This weekend a new indy comedy open is several major U.S. cities. FAMILY WEEKEND stare Kristen Chenoweth, Matthew Modine plus producer/co-star Adam Russo who gives us an exclusive look at the new film. Plus there’s a lot more than gold in those hills! Meet Steve Brancato and Amanda Adkins from PROSPECTORS, a new series on The Weather Channel about digging for real riches – and DC’s Bad Guys get their own documentary.

Take us ANYWHERE! The Point Radio App is now in the iTunes App store – and it’s FREE! Just search under “pop culture The Point”. The Point Radio  – 24 hours a day of pop culture fun for FREE. GO HERE and LISTEN FREE on any computer or on any other  mobile device with the Tune In Radio app – and follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.

The Point Radio: Can REVOLUTION Keep The Lights On At NBC?

 

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After a strong start to this television season, NBC has fallen behind to some of the lowest ratings in their history. This week, REVOLUTION (along with THE VOICE) returns to prime time and with hopes of turning things around. Eric Kripke and Elizabeth Mitchell tell us more about why the rest of this season will be so important for REVOLUTION fans, plus some new DOCTOR WHO and a week of free STAR TREK.

Take us ANYWHERE! The Point Radio App is now in the iTunes App store – and it’s FREE! Just search under “pop culture The Point”. The Point Radio  – 24 hours a day of pop culture fun for FREE. GO HERE and LISTEN FREE on any computer or on any other  mobile device with the Tune In Radio app – and follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.

The Point Radio: REVOLUTION Back With Round Two

 

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This Monday, REVOLUTION returns to NBC to complete its freshman season. Four months off the air has given Executive Producer Eric Kripke the chance to move the story forward and gives us a lot of answers to the show’s mysteries. Eric, and series star Elizabeth Mitchell, give us a look at what we need to jump back into there series. Meanwhile, DC’s editorial department is shows some turmoil and Neil Gaiman (along with his character ANGELA) are headed to Marvel.

Take us ANYWHERE! The Point Radio App is now in the iTunes App store – and it’s FREE! Just search under “pop culture The Point”. The Point Radio  – 24 hours a day of pop culture fun for FREE. GO HERE and LISTEN FREE on any computer or on any other  mobile device with the Tune In Radio app – and follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.

The Point Radio: GRIMM Just Gets Better

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NBC has given us more episodes of GRIMM, with changes galore including big ones for Bitsi Tulloch and Sasha Ruiz plus newcomer, Claire Coffee. They give us all the latest – plus more with Walton Goggins (yes he IS coming back to SONS OF ANARCHY) and the cast of X-MEN DAYS OF FUTURE PAST grows again.

Take us ANYWHERE! The Point Radio App is now in the iTunes App store – and it’s FREE! Just search under “pop culture The Point”. The Point Radio  – 24 hours a day of pop culture fun for FREE. GO HERE and LISTEN FREE on any computer or on any other  mobile device with the Tune In Radio app – and follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.

The Point Radio: Walton Goggins’ Talent Is JUSTIFIED

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From THE SHIELD to D’JANGO UNCHAINED, Walton Goggins makes his mark but nowhere is it more apparent than on JUSTIFIED. Walton talks about how his character developed and what is around the corner for the rest of the season – plus VERONICA MARS gets a Kickstart to the big screen.

Take us ANYWHERE! The Point Radio App is now in the iTunes App store – and it’s FREE! Just search under “pop culture The Point”. The Point Radio  – 24 hours a day of pop culture fun for FREE. GO HERE and LISTEN FREE on any computer or on any other  mobile device with the Tune In Radio app – and follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.

The Point Radio: Carell, Carrey & Buscemi Make Magic Happen

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THE INCREDIBLE BURT WONDERSTONE brings together Steve Carell, Jim Carrey and Steve Buscemi on a quest to bring stage magic to the big screen. They fill us in on how it all came about and how David Copperfield helped make it even better, plus Anna Silk and Kensea Solo talk about this season of SyFy‘s LOST GIRL and why the next season will be even hotter.

Take us ANYWHERE! The Point Radio App is now in the iTunes App store – and it’s FREE! Just search under “pop culture The Point”. The Point Radio  – 24 hours a day of pop culture fun for FREE. GO HERE and LISTEN FREE on any computer or on any other  mobile device with the Tune In Radio app – and follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.

REVIEW: “In Time”

Andrew Niccol is an English teacher’s dream, presenting visually compelling dystopia in movies that feature pretty people in dire straits. While his 1997 debut, Gattaca, got us all interested in him as a visionary, he has offered up precious few films since and the most recent one, In Time, was more hard-scratching than captivating.

The Justin Timberlake action movie came and went fairly quickly in the fall and was released this past week by 20th Century Home Entertainment. In a near-future, man has figured out how to alter our genetics so on our 25th birthday, our body is locked in place and our body clock begins to countdown. If I understand it right, they have a year to live without additional time being obtained which has led to a society of the immortal haves versus the time-starved have-nots. District 1 is at the bottom of the social ladder, a slum-like environment in an unnamed portion of the United States and there, factory worker Timberlake fights back, becoming the rebel a society had been waiting for. Along the way, he falls for heiress Amanda Seyfried, who has her eyes opened to the inequity largely controlled by her billionaire father (Vincent Kartheiser). Timberlake is hunted down by a Time Keeper (Cillian Murphy) for breaking the fuzzy law.

Everything is fuzzy about the movie. The world’s economy has shifted from cash and oil to time and it can be bought, sold, traded, and stored. How that works and how the genetics work are never clearly explained. Nor is the society and why is has been divided into a dozen distinct districts (Suzanne Collins does a better job of this in her Hunger Games trilogy). The power stems from the prime district called appropriately enough New Greenwich. (more…)

Review: ‘Tron’ and ‘Tron: Legacy’

Someone had to go first.

As computers were getting faster and significantly more sophisticated, some producer was going to be the first to have computers handle the special effects in a movie. As it turns out, Walt Disney, which pioneered feature-length animation, took the plunge in 1982 with [[[Tron]]]. The film, starring Jeff Bridges, Bruce Boxleitner, and David Warner, was visually stunning in its day as you felt immersed in the emerging video game world. The mediocre story took a backseat to the imaginative light cycle races and glowing disc battles. Audiences were intrigued, just enough to rake in $33 million at the box office for a $17 million production so it almost made money using the math of the time.

Flashfoward 28 years and as computers have taken control over special effects in all media, the time struck many as right to go back and revisit the world of Tron. Disney moved cautiously, wanting to retain the original look and feel then enhance it. When the test footage was shown at Comic-Con International in 2009, they knew there was a potential blockbuster on their hands. The green light was flashed and production began in earnest.

Disney is once more leading the way, releasing this week a five-disc combo package that contains not only the Blu-ray debut of Tron, but the 3-D Blu-ray release of [[[Tron: Legacy]]] plus offering the movie on Blu-ray, standard DVD, and also a digital copy. Five discs offering something for everyone.

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