Archive | October, 2010

Influential Me

29 Oct

It is no lie to say that my photo is included in the latest issue of Fast Company magazine, the one with Lance Armstrong on the cover, on page 138, in a section about Social Media’s New Stars.

(Yes, that’s how it’s referred to on the cover.)

Inside, an article is called “The New Influentials,” and it’s all about the “unexpected players” who “exert outsize impact and power online.” As the magazine asks, “Who is the most influential person online?”

Well, according to Fast Company, I’m one of them.

That much is all true. Continue reading

What Did You Think Was Going to Happen?

18 Oct

About halfway through Jackass 3D, Chris Pontius sticks the bottom half of his face in a diorama where a couple of scorpions are crawling around. Seconds later, bitten and stung, Pontius is questioning his motives for partaking in such an inane stunt, and he’s asked, “What did you think was going to happen?” Exactly. Anyone considering seeing this latest film in the Jackass series must ask himself a similar question. After all, this is a movie in which the marquee stunt is something called “Poo Cocktail Supreme,” which features Steve-O sitting in a poo-filled port-a-potty that gets flung up on bungee cords and shaken around a bit (and yes, there are cameras inside the port-a-potty so you can see not just Steve-O’s reactions, but also the poo flying all over).

If you enjoy this kind of gross-out schadenfreude humor (and I do), then you’ll find Jackass 3D to be an enjoyable time at the movies. If not, well, then this is not the movie for you (and you already know that). That said, gags like “The Rocky,” “Roller Buffalo,” “High Five,” “Lamborghini Tooth Pull,” “Beehive Tetherball,” ”Sweatsuit Cocktail,” and an untitled midget barfight (featuring Best Supporting Actor contender Jason “Wee Man” Acuna) are funny, but not as high-larious as some of the stuff seen in the first and second film of the trilogy (and the MTV series). In addition, though this Jackass makes some amusingly gratuitous use of the 3D technology, overall, there’s really nothing here that wouldn’t have been just as funny in 2D. I laughed till I cried while watching Jackass 3D. “It had danger. It had puke. It had shit — and sex appeal,” as Pontius and Steve-O say late in the film. But I still left the theater thinking this was not the strongest film in the trilogy. So that’s why I’m only giving Jackass 3D a B–.

Not Dead. Just Retired.

15 Oct

What is Red?

Well, it takes a while to figure that out.

This quirky action-comedy about a group of over-the-hill former CIA agents who band together when a hit is ordered on one of them has some stylistic touches, and a distinguished cast — both of which make for a surprisingly enjoyable film.

After all, who wouldn’t love to see Oscar winners Helen Mirren and Morgan Freeman putting on disguises, throwing punches, and shooting bad guys?

Bruce Willis, he’s the kind of guy you expect in a movie like this, but you don’t see him going mano a mano with Richard Dreyfuss every day.

Sure, you may not have as much fun as Mary-Louise Parker seems to be having, but thanks largely to its cast, Red is a good time at the movies.

I’m giving it a B.

If You Don’t Like Twitter, Then You Must Not Be Using It

14 Oct

CNN.com reported Tuesday that 71 percent of all tweets on Twitter are ignored.

I don’t believe that.

Just because only 29 percent of the things posted on the social network get an @ reply or a retweet, that doesn’t mean the others are being ignored. I’m sure people are clicking on the links in those tweets, or reading the tweets and moving on (they’re only 140 characters long, after all).

I’m an active user of Twitter, and even though I don’t reply to a lot of tweets I see, and I don’t retweet everything people post, I’m hardly ignoring everything in my timeline. Continue reading

It’s Kind of a Good Movie

11 Oct

Whenever a comic actor tries to stretch and takes on a more dramatic role, it’s a dicey proposition. For every The Truman Show or Greenberg, for example, there’s another example of a less convincing performance. So what a relief that in the new movie It’s Kind of a Funny Story, Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover) is actually good at walking that fine line between sad and clown. In the film, Galifianakis plays Bobby, a patient in the psychiatric wing of a hospital, who takes a younger patient under his wing. That younger patient, 16-year-old Craig (Keir Gilchrist), has checked himself in because he’s feeling stressed out and suicidal, and needs to sort some things out.

It’s Kind of a Funny Story was written and directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (best known for Half Nelson), and despite the plot synopsis I gave above, it’s actually a sweet, teen-oriented drama. Boden and Fleck’s screenplay (based on the novel of the same name by Ned Vizzini) has some black humor mixed in with the drama, and it never once is a downer. There is, of course, a girl on the inside — Noelle (Emma Roberts) — but the romance between her and Craig is predictable and not very well developed. Still, this is a very easy-to-watch and enjoyable film, and as noted, Galifianakis demonstrates decent (albeit limited) range. If you’re going to be stuck in the mental ward for a week, he’s the kind of guy you want to have around. I’m giving It’s Kind of a Funny Story a B.

Horse Wins, Audience Loses

8 Oct

I know what you’re thinking: Will Secretariat be Diane Lane’s The Blind Side? No. No, it won’t be. It won’t even be this year’s The Rookie, Miracle, or Seabiscuit. This fact-based film about the Triple Crown–winning horse and his fiesty owner is cut from the same cloth as those previously mentioned films: down on her luck character finds salvation/redemption through sport and battles adversity and naysaying by others with the help of a quirky coach/trainer to win the big game/race — or in this case, races. Lane even gets to sport a blond hairdo, like Sandra Bullock did in Blind Side.

However, unlike those other films, Secretariat has neither the suspense nor the grace to pull off making this true story a compelling big-screen story. Instead, like its title character, it’s a hard-charging film that’s not exactly subtle. From its first minute you know just what kind of predictable, sanitized, connect-the-plot-points movie it’s going to be, and the platitudes and obvious metaphors in the heavy-handed screenplay only serve to, ahem, beat a dead horse. And sure, there’s some gorgeous photography of the horse races, but that’s not enough to make Secretariat the sports classic it so wants to be. So that’s why I’m only giving this film a C–.

Hey Zuck … Leave Facebook Alone, Will Ya?

7 Oct

During a much-buzzed-about press conference yesterday, Mark Zuckerberg announced two significant changes to Facebook: Users will now be able to download all their data to their desktops for safe keeping, and they’ll also be able to more easily segment their friends into groups.

Great.

It’s nice to see the site evolve, and for Zuck to continue introducing forward-thinking innovations that make Facebook an even more important part of our lives.

(And I’m sure he liked taking more attention away from The Social Network too.)

Except it isn’t so nice. Quite frankly, I’m getting really tired of Zuck changing the site on me every few months, or even more frequently than that.

Continue reading