Sunday, May 31, 2009

Recommended Reading

Frank Rich examines the recent Cheney Media Tour, culminating in dueling policy speeches by President Obama and Dick:

[Cheney's] speech itself, with 20 mentions of 9/11, struck the same cynical note as the ads, as if the G.O.P. was almost rooting for a terrorist attack on Obama’s watch. “No one wishes the current administration more success in defending the country than we do,” Cheney said as a disingenuous disclaimer before going on to charge that Obama’s “half measures” were leaving Americans “half exposed.” The new president, he said, is unraveling “the very policies that kept our people safe since 9/11.” In other words, when the next attack comes, it will be all Obama’s fault. A new ad shouting “We told you so!” awaits only the updated video.

The Republicans at least have an excuse for pushing this poison. They are desperate. The trio of Pillsbury doughboys now leading the party — Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, Cheney — have variously cemented the G.O.P.’s brand as a whites-only men’s club by revoking Colin Powell’s membership and smearing the first Latina Supreme Court nominee as a “reverse racist.” Republicans in Congress have no plausible economic, health care or energy policies to counter Obama’s. The only card left to play is 9/11.

More at the link, including how the Dems are playing their cowed and cowardly role to perfection once again after so much practice during the Bush era.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Bad Idea

A Buffy the Vampire Slayer redo that doesn't involve creator Joss Whedon or acknowledge the TV series. I swear, only in Hollywood...

Friday, May 22, 2009

Pre-V

Last fall I made note of a revised version of the iconic '80s sci-fi'er V that was wending its way through the Hollywood development process. Well, with this week's network upfronts, we now know that V '09 has been picked up as part of ABC's schedule for next season. This trailer gives us a good sense of what to expect, and while I'd be happier if they'd gotten V creator Kenneth Johnson onboard with this version, I can't say I'm unimpressed with what I see so far:



Starring Morena Baccarin (of Firefly fame) as Anna, presumably a stand-in for Jane Badler's Diana, and Elizabeth Mitchell (of Lost fame) as Erica Evans, the resident skeptical human, this new V looks to retain the broad concepts of the original (alien visitors in big ships, seemingly friendly, actually evil, etc.), but incorporates an intriguing new element of religious fanaticism to the already-extent fascism angle.

The previous run with the concept started strong, with a brilliant first miniseries, followed by a slightly-less brilliant second miniseries, and a terrible regular series that was done-and-gone inside of a season. Now, with the current vogue for serialized dramas with a fixed endpoint, and with ABC juggernaut Lost reaching its denouement next season, the time seems ripe for V 2.0.

Still, regardless of what they come up with for the new version, and maybe this is just a whole lot of nostalgia talking, they'll be hard-pressed to match this for suspense and just downright creepiness:

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Recommended Reading

Although Dick Cheney has furiously been making the talk show rounds in recent weeks to shore up his reputation (such as it was) amidst the continuing flow of ever-more damning revelations of his conduct in office, the one former Bushy who's managed to keep his name mostly out of the conversation has been former Defense Secretary Rumsfeld. That all changes thanks to this piece at GQ by journalist Robert Draper, who had previously been granted considerable access to Bush's inner circle for his book Dead Certain. The revelations about Rumsfeld's conduct of his job and himself aren't particularly surprising, but I guess it is a little depressing to have the worst impressions confirmed by people who were on the inside.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Frontiersmen

(Yes, it's another Trek treatise. Hey, this is as good a week as any for it.)

One of the claims that drew the most ire during my marathon ten movie Star Trek reviewing streak was the contention, offered up in my Generations review, that Star Trek: The Next Generation, the hugely-successful and popular sequel series, just didn't work.

Now, with Trek 2009's franchise-record opening on the path to a franchise-record box office total, it seems the old Kirk vs. Picard debate, raging in perpetuity since The Next Generation premiered in 1987, has swung back in the direction of James Tiberius. Oh, how fickle the masses...

WTF

Olbermann inaugurated a new semi-regular segment on Countdown this week, and the sophomore installment is a goody:

Monday, May 11, 2009

"Get a Life!" Redux

Here's last weekend's SNL appearance by Trek stars Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto (and friend):

As you can see, it's very much the spiritual descendant of William Shatner's famous hosting gig from back in '86:

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Zaki's Review: Star Trek (2009)

734.

That's roughly the amount of Star Trek hours produced between the time the original show premiered in fall of '66 and the last spin-off, Enterprise, left the air in '05, including five TV series, one cartoon show, and ten features. Some were exceptional, some were execrable, and many lay somewhere in between. Nonetheless, it was and remains an impressive achievement, and the property's enduring value to Paramount meant that it had long since become, to borrow a phrase from the current lexicon, too big to fail.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Zaki's Retro Review: Star Trek Nemesis (2002)

As Nemesis, the laborious fourth movie in Star Trek's Next Generation era, nears its climax, Captain Picard gives the order to ram the Enterprise headlong into an oncoming enemy vessel. The resultant crash leaves the ship's hull utterly wrecked, without even a forward viewer to see where it's going. Appropriately enough, this nicely sums up the state of the Trek franchise by the time the movie left theaters.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Zaki's Retro Review: Star Trek: Insurrection (1998)

Wow, what happened?

Whatever momentum the Star Trek franchise may have built up on the heels of First Contact's box office and critical reception was quickly squandered a mere two years later, with the listless, lackluster Star Trek: Insurrection knocking the venerable movie series back on its heels. Whether a result of steadily dropping quality or the sheer volume of product in the marketplace (or some interconnected combination of both), this film is arguably the juncture at which Trek hit overload.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Zaki's Retro Review: Star Trek: First Contact (1996)

For The Next Generation's sophomore entry in the big screen sweepstakes, Star Trek: First Contact, Picard got angry, Data got happy, and Riker got to direct. Put together, we ended up with one of the strongest chapters in the then-sixteen year old Trek movie series. If that leaves you feeling a little whiplashed after the prison yard shanking I gave Next Gen last time out, just bear with me.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Zaki's Review: X-Men Origins: Wolverine

It took about forty minutes into the latest installment in Fox's increasingly irrelevant X-Men movie franchise for me to realize that I was done. I was done with action sequences where wires yank characters this way and that without a care for known laws of physics. I was done with poor CGI work dropped on top of poor bluescreen work. I was done with faux "tough guy" dialogue that was cliched even when it was brand new. I was done, done, done.