Monday, April 25, 2005

What have you been listening to, watching and reading?

Doug recommends The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill (film || book)
Walter recommends the vocals of Eva Cassidy
Lewberry says you're better off with the acting of Carmen Electra than the acting in the film Elektra.

Poll question of the day!

With Hitchiker's Guide opening in theaters this weekend, it got me thinking: what is the best book that was made into an equally (or close) good movie?

2 TV Pitches
#1. You already know I watch and like (so far) Project Greenlight on Bravo (ch. 56 on Comcast for you Nashvillians). The producer is using the show's blog to beg for more viewers to raise the flagging ratings. Now that he thinks they finally have a decent film (or so they are saying), he's worried the TV show, an essential part of the contest deal, will be what kills it. He asked fans to pass the word, so consider it passed. As much as Gulager's own personality can get in his way, I love his outlook on the process: that without the trust in a director's vision, even if it seems super-risky,the filmmaking is done by studio committee, and the result is necessarily bland, at best. It remains to be seen whether this bland version of the film "Feast" is all they will have to promote, or if more if his voice will creep in to the final stages of shooting and editing.

Project Greenlight airs Thursday nights, but replays throughout the week. You can catch the show from episode 2 forward on May 1.

#2--Monday is DocDay on the Sundance Channel. Tonight is the last installment (of 4) of The Staircase, a real-life courtroom drama that staggers with a harrowing story. Tonight begins the defense case. The documentary was shot while the trial was ongoing, with incredible access to especially the defendant's side. Even if you have missed the first 3, this last one will be interesting and worthwhile. No matter the underlying truth, the developments in this story have been shocking and agonizing.

King of America 2-Disc re-release tomorrow
Elvis's 1986 release has always been a favorite. I can't bring myself to pay the money for an album I already have, even if there are alot of extras. But Amazon's price (13.99 for the set) is tempting.

Rolling Stone Recommendation
Bruce Springsteen's new CD gets 4 1/2 stars. You can catch him in a 2-part interview on NPR's Morning Edition tomorrow and Wednesday.

The Topical and the Simplistic
The New York Times investigates Ridley Scott's new film on the Crusades. Money quote:
[B]y dwelling on the extended, turbulent holy war known as the Crusades, Sir Ridley said he hoped to demonstrate that Christians, Muslims and Jews could live together in harmony - if only fanaticism were kept at bay.
Well, that sure sounds easy. Step #1: remove all obstacles, big and small. Step #2: Success!

Cohen for Nobel
Over at Talk...Myself to Death, Doug points to the effort underway to nominate songwriter Leonard Cohen for the Nobel prize in literature. I don't know Cohen nearly well enough, but all of my smartest students always love him, a good sign I should investigate further. So far as I know, his most popular breakthrough (at least the one I know best) is the song Hallelujah, sung hauntingly by Jeff Buckley and later on the Shrek soundtrack (of all places) by Rufus Wainright, an Article 19 favorite. Bono, among others, has also covered the tune. A nice, comprehensive web tribute to Cohen, including a list of more htan 1,000 covers of his songs, is at

Documentary Watch
BoingBoing profiles the new documentary about Enron, "The Smartest Guys in the Room":
The movie convinced me beyond any doubt that Skilling and Lay are cold-blooded criminals who wiped out the life savings of countless people, deceived 20,000 employees, and ratcheted down the global econonmy, but I doubt they'll ever go to prison. Even though the duo embarrassed and angered the politicians they placed into offce, such as George W. Bush, Lay and Skilling will live out their lives as buck-passing, finger-pointing, chaffeur-driven gazillionares. The only thing they regret is getting caught.
Weekend Box Office
1. The Interpretor
2. The Amityville Horror
3. Sahara
4. A Lot Like Love
5. Kung Fu Hustle

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