I already liked Jesse Eisenberg. Now I love him. His appearance on Conan O’Brien last night is one of the funniest interviews I’ve seen in a while.
Unfortunately, Muse’s new album is not really as good as their last one, Black Holes and Revelations. The Resistance might represent the fullest expression of what the band wants to be, insofar as they sound more like Queen than ever before, but the result is consequently less original and creative than their best work.
There is a service Matt Bellamy provides to pop culture, which is taking earnest conspiracy theories that too many people take seriously, and transposing them into surreal fantasias about an alternate universe in which gnostic revelation of the suppressed truth provides salvation for the justifiably paranoid.
The Resistance is the most thoroughly realized achievement of this peculiar ability, and its effect on listeners should be comparable to watching Ron Howard’s adaptation of The DaVinci Code: it will probably make them realize that conspiracy theories make for entertaining narratives but they are not serious depictions the real world.
It was a nice reprieve to ignore this blog for a few days which somehow turned into twelve weeks but I think I’ll start posting some reviews here again for posterity. What better way to start (again) than with a review of the new Bond flick.
If you’ve been loyally checking back I’m sorry to have kept you waiting for so long!
Sorry for the unannounced six week vacation, kids! Not to worry, though. I’m back and all is well.
As Prison Break gets increasing dark and decreasingly fun, my favorite new show is Journeyman! We’re apparently seven weeks behind as tonight I just saw a repeat of the first episode, following Prison Break on SkyOne, but it looks like NBC will be airing Episode 8 tonight. If it’s anything like the first — and word is the show gets better every week — you’re in for a great balance of episode-length micro-story with macro-arc intrigue related to the time-travelling protagonist’s personal life, which is immediately complicated by the fact that in the past he’s engaged to a different woman than the one he’s married to in the present.
Kevin McKidd (Rome’s Lucius) is undeniably a poor-man’s Daniel Craig but I think I’ll soon be able to see him as himself instead of just a budget-friendly lookalike. Though Journeyman shares similarities with Early Edition, the unpredictable time-travelling premise should keep it from being as formulaic, taking its cues instead from Frequency and Heroes’ Hiro. And being filmed in the most photogenic city on earth (San Francisco) makes it all the more easy on the eyes.
Can you imagine what JFK would have thought if someone had told him in 1961, when he promised a moonwalk by the end of the decade, that it would take an additional 50 years before we got around to building a moonbase? He probably would have laughed at your lack of vision and scolded you for being so pessimistic.
Sure, we honored his memory by achieving his goal with months to spare, but the mind-boggling accomplishment of putting Man on the Moon inspired nothing so much as a 38-year vacation from interplanetary progress.
But Rip van Winkle-like, NASA have finally been roused from their stupor and are talking Moonbase by 2020. This is the first step towards removing the 500-year stigma of violence from colonialism and creating a world, or rather a solar system, in which imperialism not only doesn’t imply genocide, it’s categorically impossible.
With the suburbanization of space finally underway, we can look forward to a future in which Republicans will be from Mars, Democrats from Neptune; the best show on TV will be “Triton Break”; feminists and pro-lifers will be united in common cause; and Earth’s environment will finally be saved from human litter. (To find out why, consult this post.)
In Academy, R. Luke DuBois has compressed the images and sounds of every year’s Best Picture (through 2003) into a single minute. The results are fascinating. A few online excerpts of Academy:
Wings in 60 seconds
Gone with the Wind in 60 seconds
From Here to Eternity in 60 seconds
West Side Story in 60 seconds
The French Connection in 60 seconds
Amadeus in 60 seconds
Titanic in 60 seconds
I’m also very intrigued by DuBois’ recent project, Fashionably Late for the Relationship, a 72-hour performance by Lian Amaris Sifuentes on a traffic island outside Union Station, accelerated into a 72-minute film. I haven’t seen it but I presume the actress’ movements were about 1/60th normal speed so that in the final product they look normal while city life speeds by around her.
I’m trying to go to bed but I can’t help rewatching this video of a “Miss Teen USA” contestant trying to answer a question. The fact that it’s a softball question is practically beside the point, though it enriches the humor. The first half of the answer is funny enough just because of the look on her face of either (a) thinking extra hard, or (b) total vacuity (I’m not sure which), but despite how dumb her answer is, at least it’s a grammatically decipherable sentence.
After about second 23 though, she seems to forget what the question is but think she’s on a roll and must add a few de rigeur platitudes before her time runs out. The subsequent series of free association is so funny, yet so pure as an immediate verbalisation of every phrase that pops into her head like a Mad Libs of Miss America phrases, repeatedly aborted mid-statement by uncertainty.
Although she’s admittedly an empty head (an observation so obvious it’s almost gratuitous to state explicity, like saying a mentally handicapped person is, admittedly, retarded) she must have been distracted by something to so completely lose her train of thought. The panic on her face, as if in realisation that she’s out of her depth in a bird bath, makes me unexpectedly sympathise with her.
But ultimately her answer is the purest expression of Beauty Pageant discourse, and revelatory of the thought process behind any such answer. It is a rare moment of truth that deconstructs the soundbite to its basic nature: a series of sub-bite particles that, when strung together, usually come out sounding like a sentence. Ideally a sentence that sounds compassionate and optimistic rather than patronising and naive.
But unfortunately for Miss South Carolina, a few synapses misfired in her freak brainstorm so this time the sub-bite particles didn’t come out sounding like a sentence. It was just bad luck for her because, honestly, it could have happened to any one of her rivals.