Covering Cinema From All Across The African Diaspora

Nose Shower Gel Dispenser

The image speaks for itself! I gotta get me one of these babies for my bathroom... haha!

From the merchant's website: "The nose . . . blows! Just squeeze or press it and green shower gel oozes out of the right nostril. Gross and funny at the same time! Rubber nose attaches to flat surface with suction cups. Easy to fill; includes 5.3 oz. green shower gel and instructions. 9" high."

9 inches high is actually quite tall... might end up being more of an eyesore at that size. They should make a pocket size version, something that won't scream at you upon entering the shower. Still, I dig it though! You can buy yours here for $17.95 - PotPourri Gift Catalog.


Say Goodbye To Amsterdam's Red-Light District?

I've never been to Amsterdam, so its Red-Light District remains nothing but a fantasy :o) - one of those places I only know about from others who have been there, or read about in various trade mags.

And thanks to the below article, I might never experience the district as it currently exists! Boo-hoo...

Reading it, the first thing I thought of was the clean-up of Times Square here in New York City, during the early to mid-1990s - an area that was previously thought of as a cesspool, overrun with crime and home to sex shops and peep shows - essentially, New York's on Red-Light District! Now you can't walk 1 inch without hitting a freaking tourist, looking for Madame Tussauds Wax Museum or the MTV studios, amongst several other attractions.

So, might one of the more liberal democracies in the world be getting a tad more conservative? Is this the beginning of a eventual shift in policy, despite that fact the the district is one of Amsterdam's main tourist attractions?

From Time Magazine Online

For Maurits Van Brunschot, the breaking point came nearly 21 years after he first settled amid the cobblestone alleyways of De Wallen, Amsterdam's red-light district. Van Brunschot began taking his infant daughter to day care. The neighborhood's public nursery was squeezed between two brothels, where nearly naked women in the windows beckon adult passersby. "Can you imagine this is what she sees every day?" says Van Brunschot, a food-company executive.

That question is perhaps too rarely posed by the millions of people who visit Amsterdam each year. For them, the city's liberal laws and attitudes offer a stark contrast to the heavy policing of sex and drugs elsewhere in Europe and in the U.S., and make this tiny neighborhood one of Amsterdam's most intriguing attractions. "Often people go to the museums and then to the red-light district," says the city's mayor, Job Cohen, sitting in his office with a sweeping view of the Ij River. "It is part of the image of tolerant Amsterdam."

Until now, that is. In a break with Amsterdam's "anything goes" attitude, Cohen and city officials have vowed to finally crack down on what they say are extensive criminal networks operating in the neighborhood.

The rest here:

Stair Porn - Architecture Is Sexy Part 4

I love stumbling upon cool and simple sites like this one called As their slogan says, "stairs, and nothing but!"

That's right, it's a site in the same vein as The Satorialist, which I also subscribe to - nothing but pictures of interesting staircases from all over the world, whether in home or business environments, interior or exterior. I've already professed my interest in architecture, so featuring this site on my blog shouldn't be a surprise.

Here are a few I liked upon initially skimming through the site, and then check out the rest of their extensive library here: STAIRPORN.ORG.

Italian Institute of Culture, Stockholm, Sweden

Floating staircase in Spanish home

Hanging spiral staircase in a home in Rotterdam, The Netherlands

The Real Reason McCain Chose Palin

Funny... ha... ha... See my post just below this one as an addendum...

Sarah Palin, The VPILF

I'm sure everyone has heard and is familiar with the acronym, MILF. No, not the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, a Muslim separatist rebel group in the Philippines, not that kind of MILF; THIS KIND.

As I expected, McCain's VP choice, Sarah Palin is now being smacked with that label - except in her case, she's not just considered a MILF, but rather a VPILF. I'm sure you can figure that one out on your own.

Someone or some people have even created a website exalting her VPILF-ness, aptly called,

You've got to love the freedoms that the Internet provides us. Anyone, almost anywhere (well, maybe not in China) can buy a domain name for $15 a year, and create a website dedicated to whatever is of interest to them.

On a more serious note, clearly Palin is not being taken very seriously, from much that I've read in print, and online, as well as heard from the mouths of many of the liberal pundits on television. I think that's a big mistake! I can only associate all of that venom to fear - in essence, she's still an anomaly, and as is often the case, we tend to fear what we don't know. So, before we dismiss her and give the presidency to Obama, I suggest we wait and get to know this woman over the next 2 months, leading up to the election. I have a feeling she's going to take many people by surprise, and give McCain the kind of lift that he likely hoped adding her to his campaign would.
And partly for that reason, I still think Obama should have gone with Hillary as his VP pick - the proverbial dream team! I'd feel much less anxious about our chances of winning. Too late now, I suppose.

But, for now, get your jollies here:

WHITE AGAINST BLACK - The Hidden Issue In The US Presidential Campaign

Forget the issues, their individual stances, the parties they belong to, and all the other seemingly relevant considerations... will this election come down, once again, to the color line - black versus white? When the day comes for every eligible American to vote, will race be THE deciding factor, regardless of what party they claim allegiance to, even those white Democrats voicing their unwavering support for Obama today? Has the United States come far enough that it can accept a black family living in the White House? Is America willing to accept the leadership of a man who identifies himself as black?

A Spiegel Online article believes McCain is counting on an affirmative answer to the color line question, and is working the theory to his advantage.

Here's a snippet:

"Now, though, it's McCain against Obama, Republican against Democrat, old against young -- and, more than anything else, white against black. McCain, of course, hasn't broached the race issue directly. But indirectly, the argument goes like this: To be white means to be like John McCain -- patriotic, bedecked with medals and honors, self-sacrificing and a hero. To be black means to be like Barack Obama -- eager for the spotlight, similar to a Hollywood actor, egocentric, flippant and lacking truly American values. White America is -- subtly and adroitly -- being mobilized against black America."


"Now, the issue of race is playing a role in weakening Obama and strengthening McCain and almost no one wants to talk about it. Indeed, the issue of race in the campaign has become the province of the lunatic fringe -- such as radio personality Rush Limbaugh. Obama's candidacy, he said on air, "goes back to the fact that nobody had the guts to stand up and say no to a black guy." He also referred to Obama as the "little black man child." Limbaugh may be extreme, but it's not difficult to imagine that a large percentage of Republican voters are also wary of seeing a black president. More important, though, is whether the swing voters will be willing to vote for a black man over a white man. And it also depends on the fickle Democrats, many of whom voted for Ronald Reagan in the '80s."

As we all watched Michelle Obama on stage at the DNC earlier this week, along with her 2 children, accompanied by the face of Barack (who wasn't physically present that day) projected on a large screen, we saw a family... and I remember thinking to myself, will all those white Americans watching that familial moment readily identify with the family they see on their TVs, and be willing to accept these brown faces in the white house? Are they ready to see a black man be the face of this nation? I wasn't so sure then, and I'm still not so sure now, regardless of all the excitement that's followed Obama's campaign since inception. I certainly hope he does win the seat! We'll find out in about 2 1/2 months.

Read the rest of the Spiegel Online article here:

Boom! Bash! Dash!

I always love a good smack-down!!!! Dara Murphy, founder of PUMA, and Will Bowers, of "Just Say No Deal," so-called "phony Democrats" and Hillary supporters, get sliced and diced by David Shuster!

Palin: "What Exactly Does The VP Do Everyday?"

So... as expected the Sarah Palin bashing has already begun... haha.

Here's a clip of her, on air on CNBC about a month ago, July 31, 2008. In the clip, the anchor asks her about her McCain VP prospects and she answers quite emphatically actually, "... But as for that VP talk all the time, I'll tell you I still can't answer that question until somebody answers for me: 'What is it exactly that the VP does everyday?'"

Well, I'll tell you Mrs Palin, you'd better catch up on your VP homework and find answers to your own question SOON!

The laughter begins around the 1:52 mark.

John McCain Reads The Obenson Report!

Based on today's surprising news (although I wasn't), I think John McCain must have read my blog - specifically THIS ENTRY from several days ago :o)

That sneaky John McCain... Now the fun really begins! GObama! Go!

The Dark Knight - Child's Play

A group of kids recreated The Dark Knight movie trailer.

Here's the original for comparison - how did they do? HAHA!

"Clintons For McCain"

All I can do is emit a deep sigh at those Hillary Clinton supporters who are still bitter that she lost the Dems nomination to Obama, that they intend to vote for McCain, despite Hillary's rousing unity speech at the convention last night. I'm truly puzzled by their amazing lack of foresight (or maybe it's just an unhealthy case of a childish kind of stubbornness and even foolishness). They consider themselves Democrats, have always voted Democrat, but, for reasons still not clearly illuminated (at least to me), this time, when it probably matters most, they are dead-set on voting for the enemy, and are even actively campaigning for him?!?! The fact that most of them appear to be female (and white) is, although quite telling, even more baffling, given that, historically, the Dems party has been most consistent in championing issues important to women voters - definitely not the Repubes.

It's time the Obama campaign stop kissing their asses in trying to convince them to consider the party's ultimate goal of winning the presidency; let them continue wallowing in their own individual gripes; let them vote for McCain. If he does end up beating Obama for the seat, and we have to endure 4 more years of Repube rule in the Whitehouse, I don't want to hear even the slightest complaint from any of them about policies McCain introduces that affect them or those they love, adversely... not a single squeak!

In the video below, MSNBC's Chris Matthews takes on "Clintons for McCain" founder Cristi Adkins at the Democratic National Convention. She makes a claim about Obama’s past, and Matthews challenges her on it:

The Invisible Human

Finally, I'll be able to sneak into the women's locker room at my local gym, undetected :o)

But seriously, how scary would the world be if these things eventually came to full fruition and grew to become as ubiquitous as iPods? The world is full of immoral and unethical people, and you can guarantee that someone, or some people will utilize the technology for selfish evil than good; my hypothetical ladies locker room perversions will pale in comparison, and will seem like child's play!

UK's Independent says that so-called "Invisibility cloaks" are set to become a reality. Read what they printed today here: Tomorrow's world today: How far are we from the invisibility cloak?.

Your Guide To Airline Fees!

The cartoon above says it all :o)

The good folks at The Consumerist watchdog site put together the below airline fee summaries which you might find useful, especially if you're planning on flying anytime soon. I'm not, but the specifics are eye-opening and give me much to ponder. The Consumerist looked at the fees airlines were charging and picked the top 3 most and least "fee crazy" airlines, stating appropriately, "Avoiding fees is hard, so why not try to avoid the airlines that charge them instead?"

Most "Fee Crazy" Airlines:

  1. U.S. Airways: Not only does U.S. Airways have the distinction of being the only US airline to charge for water, they were also the first to discontinue free snacks. They've also decided to do away with in-flight entertainment. So what will you think about while you're bored, hungry and thirsty? How about that $15 first checked bag fee, the $25 second checked bag fee, the $5-30$ fee to choose your favorite economy class seat, and the whopping $250 fee you paid to change your ticket. Oh, yeah, and remember when they made everyone crazy by charging a $5 fee to book a ticket... with their own website?
  2. United Airlines: United is following U.S. Airways lead with a combination of cutting amenities and introducing fees. They've done away with snacks and are selling "snack boxes." Soon, United will be raising the prices for these items and economy class passengers will be expected to pay $9 for a sandwich. While you're munching on that overpriced nonsense, you can add up the following fees: $15 to check your first bag, $25 for the second bag, and $125 for the third. Then there's the $25 you paid to book your ticket over the phone, the $125 you paid for the privilege of traveling with your pet in the cabin, and of course, the $349 per year that you pay to be able to "stretch out and relax in comfort in seats located at the front of the Economy section,".."if available."
  3. (tie) Delta Airlines & American Airlines: American was the first airline to charge for the 1st checked bag, and Delta has managed to resist that fee — but Delta's other fees are just so darn expensive that we had to call this one a tie. Ultimately, it costs more to check two bags with Delta than it does with U.S. Airways, United, or American. American currently charges $15 for the first bag, $25 for the second, and from $3-6 for snacks. Delta charges nothing for the first checked bag, but if you're thinking of checking two bags, get ready to pay $50 for the second bag, and $125 for the third bag. Ouch! Delta's snacks are complimentary, but they charge from $1-10 more for certain special items.

Least "Fee Crazy" Airlines:

  1. Southwest Airlines: Southwest is the only major airline that isn't charging a fee to check two bags, and the third checked bag will only cost you $25. There is also no fee to change your ticket. Instead, you'll get a flight credit that is good for one year. They don't charge a fee to book over the phone or in person, and they don't charge a fee for an unaccompanied minor.
  2. AirTran: AirTran has fees but they're lower than a lot of its competitors. For example, the 2nd checked bag is $10 and the third is $50. The ticket change fee is $75, and unaccompanied minors will only cost you $39, as opposed to $100 on Delta, United, etc. You will pay $6 for an advanced seat assignment and $20 to sit in an exit row.
  3. JetBlue: JetBlue keeps threatening to go over to the dark side with new charges for things that used to be free (headsets $1, blankets and pillows $7) but they still have some of the more reasonable fees in the industry. There is no charge for the first checked back, and the second bag will cost you $20. Changing your ticket will cost you $100, and expect to pay from $10-20 more for their mini-business class "extra legroom" seats. Snacks and non-alcoholic beverages are plentiful and free, however. Love those blue potato chips.
Damn - they're charging for blankets and pillows now?? Wow! I haven't flown in awhile, mostly because I hate flying, so I feel disconnected from what flying standards currently are. However, I've got some frequent flyer miles accumulated with American Airlines that I plan to use soon. But at these prices, I'm discouraged. It looks like flyers are probably best served by bringing their own food, water, headphones and bedding - or do the airlines have a "zero tolerance" policy on doing that, so that you have no choice but to spend money on their offerings? Another reason I'm discouraged is that, with all these cutbacks by the airlines, I wouldn't be surprised if they start skimping on the quality of airline staff as well - not only the flight attendants, but more importantly, the freaking pilots!!! Why not? If they can save a few extra bucks by hiring less qualified/experienced men and women to pilot your plane ride from New York to Chicago, so that they can pay them less than their veteran counterparts, why wouldn't they? These corporate suits have shown that they lack scruples. Maximizing profit is most important.

For additional reading on airline fees, The Consumerist also included a link to a PDF file put together by,, and called The Ultimate Guide To Airlines Fees. Check it out and weep (or laugh) at the carnage!

Film Review - 'Traitor' (Don Cheadle As An Ass-Kicking Sudanese)

William Goss at Cinematical has seen Traitor (which opens today in parts of America) and posted his review - a mostly lukewarm reception. I wasn't aware that Cheadle's character in the movie is an American-raised Sudanese Muslim... intriguing... I wonder what impact his nationality and religion have on the overall story.

Read on...

- "Post-2001, the likes of TV's '24' and 'Sleeper Cell', and film's Jason Bourne franchise, have tapped into both our political climate and pop culture zeitgeist, into a globe-trotting, gun-toting fear of the here and there and always now. Jeffrey Nachmanoff's Traitor feels like the first film that has itself been directly spawned in the wake of those successes, as opposed to merely bolstered by it, and while it may overtake, say, Vantage Point in terms of plausible plotting and worldly knowledge, it remains a film that is good enough to grasp the bar and yet not quite enough to raise it."

The rest of the story here: Cinematical Traitor Review

UPDATE: 'Miss Sister 2008' Is No More!

I figured it would eventually happen... See my initial post about this HERE.

Courtesy of Reuters:

"The Italian priest who had planned an online "pageant" for nuns has suspended the project, saying he was misinterpreted and had no intention of putting sisters on a beauty catwalk.

"My superiors were not happy. The local bishop was not happy, but they did not understand me either," Father Antonio Rungi told Reuters by telephone from his convent in southern Italy Tuesday.

"It was not at all my intention to put nuns on the catwalk," said Rungi.
"We have to draw more attention to the world of nuns, who are often not sufficiently appreciated by society," he wrote, adding that he had hoped his initiative "would help boost sagging vocations to religious life.""

The most interesting thing to me from everything said above is the last sentence, which indicates that fewer men and women are choosing to "give their lives to God" and become priests, nuns and such. I didn't realize this... then again, I haven't really been paying much attention. I feel like that fact (assuming it is fact) warrants some further investigation. I'm curious as to how today's numbers compare to previous years, and what might be the cause of the downward trend, other than what feels like an increasing secularity across the globe.
I'll return with my findings eventually.

Full Trailer - 'The Secret Life Of Bees'

I don't know... my first impressions of it when I first heard about the project a few months ago haven't changed much after seeing its full trailer below... ho-hum... another drama about Negroes from yesteryear, their struggles, and the white person they end up redeeming. I'll probably pass on this one... The film opens in 2 months. I won't be surprised if one or two of the cast members are recognized during award season next year.

Here's the trailer:

UPDATE: Obama Assassination Plot Suspect Interviewed

See my first post on this HERE.

UPDATE: CBS4, a Denver radio station, reported that one of the suspects told authorities they were “going to shoot Obama from a high vantage point using a ... rifle." When one of the suspects "was directly asked if they had come to Denver to kill Obama", a CBS4 source said, “he responded in the affirmative."

Fox News reported that the three men might have links to Sons of Silence, an outlaw motorcycle group, and white supremacists.

Two rifles, one with a telescopic sight, walkie-talkies, a bulletproof vest, licenses in the names of other people and methamphetamine were found in a truck that was stopped on Sunday morning.

Tharin Gartrell, 28, was in the rented pick-up truck when he was pulled over in Aurora, a Denver suburb, for driving in an erratic manner.

Police then went to the Cherry Creek Hotel in Denver, to pursue Shawn Robert Adolph, 33, who was already wanted on numerous warrants. Adolph jumped out of a sixth floor hotel window, breaking an ankle, and was arrested. Police sources said he was wearing a swastika and is suspected of having ties to white supremacist organisations.

A third man, Nathan Johnson, 32 (he's the one in the video clip above), an associate of Gartrell and Adolph, was also arrested and is said to have told police that the two men "planned to kill Barack Obama at his acceptance speech."

The Secret Service, FBI and the US Joint Terrorism Task Force are all investigating the alleged plot.


'Olympic' Memories - Tuesday Funnies!

A picture is worth a thousand words... what does this one say to you? Click for an enlarged view to see the traumatizing details if you need to :o)


Cher As Catwoman In Next Batman Movie?

I'm sure your immediate response was very similar to mine - HUH???? April Fools' day was almost 5 months ago!

Alas, it just might come to fruition, and might even make sense, once you get the rest of the story.

According to the UK Telegraph, "the 62-year-old singer and actress is reported to be in talks to play Catwoman opposite Christian Bale in the third Batman film from British director Christopher Nolan."

The article quotes a studio executive as saying that Cher is Nolan's first choice to play Catwoman. "He wants to her to portray her like a vamp in her twilight years... the absolute opposite of Michelle Pfeiffer and Halle Berry's purring creations."

So, essentially, Catwoman post her active, leotard wearing, whip lashing days? Sounds intriguing actually, but doesn't that stray from the established characterization of Catwoman in all the comic books and previous cartoons and movies? She has always been portrayed as parallel to Batman, within his age group, evolving as he evolved, much like the Joker, and has even been somewhat of a love interest. If the Telegraph's report is accurate, new rules would have to be developed regarding her character's career, motivations and relationship to Batman, as well as her alter ego's (Selina Kyle's) relationship to Batman's alter ego, Bruce Wayne. Maybe she'll be something like a cougar!! :o)

Regardless, anything would be better than the Catwoman Halle Berry gave us a few years ago. We need something to erase that vision from memory. Might it come in the form of Cher? I haven't seen much of her lately, but she's always been one to maintain near-perfect physical form, so I'm sure that's still the case, even at 62, and donning some black tights and high heels, brandishing a whip, might actually look just fine on her! Her last prominent role was in 1999's Tea With Mussolini. She's done some TV work since then, but for the most part, she's been invisible.



Poster - 'Indie Film Blogger' Documentary

Above is "quite possibly the final poster for the documentary" by Sujewa Ekanayake, which I am a part of and wrote about HERE. If you look really close, you'll find me in there somewhere :o)

The documentary is currently in post-production, so watch this space for its eventual debut info. To catch up on all the updates, go to the Indie Film Blogger Road Trip website.

Miss Sister 2008 - Bringing "Sexy" To The Catholic Church

Haha... I couldn't help but be humored by this. A beauty pageant for nuns... organized by a priest?? Why? To fight the stereotype that nuns are all old and dour, says Rev. Antonio Rungi, an Italian theologian.

So, let me get this straight... the priest is essentially pimping his nuns? Does the Pope know about this?

The story goes... the good Reverend said on Sunday that he is organizing an online beauty pageant for nuns.
The "Miss Sister 2008" contest will start in September on a blog run by the Reverend and will give nuns from around the world a chance to showcase their work and their image.

Rungi said that... visitors to his site will have a month to "vote for the nun they consider a model."
Nuns will fill out a profile including information about their life and vocation as well as a photograph. It will be up to them to choose whether to pose with the traditional veil or with their heads uncovered.

"We are not going to parade nuns in bathing suits," Rungi said. "But being ugly is not a requirement for becoming a nun. External beauty is gift from God, and we mustn't hide it." He hopes there will be dozens of submissions once the Web site is started.

I'm sure there will be lots and lots of criticism following this.

Despite my strict Catholic upbringing, I find the entire thing hilarious! It's counter to much that was beaten into my head as a child. I empathize with the priest's intent, but isn't this just a kind of objectification of the nuns? There's a reason why they wear their habits. What's next? Nun calendars?


The Bin Laden Bridge - Connecting Africa And Asia

I foresee a day when every continent will be connected by some man-made land mass - specifically a bridge - as unfathomable as that might sound in 2008. A time will come when one will be able to drive the 3000 or so miles from New York City to Lisbon, Portugal, much like we drive cross-country from the east coast to California. And train tracks will likely follow... chug... chug... chug...

I found this intriguing report on the Spiegel International website:

Osama bin Laden's brother is choosing a different path to prominence. Sheikh Tarik bin Laden wants to build a gigantic suspension bridge which would connect Africa to Asia.

Tarik’s bridge would cross the Bab el Mandeb, the narrow straits where the Indian Ocean feeds into the Red Sea. Bearing a six-lane highway, a railway line and an oil pipeline, the structure would stretch fully 29 kilometers (18 miles) between continents -- an unprecedented piece of engineering. Huge pillars would have to be anchored to the sea floor some 300 meters (984 feet) below the surface. They would be spaced three kilometers apart.

The bridge alone will cost $25 billion... Sheikh Tarik himself plans to invest $10 billion of his own money.

But one question hasn't yet been answered: Why? Sheikh Tarik isn't saying. Doubts, in short, are plentiful, but Tarik's spokesman insisted that the project would be underway by next year at the latest -- a start that will be quickly followed by a ferry service and a cement factory. But if all goes well, by 2025, the area will look radically different...

Read it all here:

When Computers Attack! Monday Humor

Something to consider the next time you get frustrated with your computer and physically abuse it... haha...

He's probably using a Windows-based PC :o)

Obama Assassination Attempt Foiled!

I'd like to be able to say that this isn't indicative of what we can expect, especially if he does become our next president... but I don't think I can, unfortunately. Suffice it to say he'll need triple the protection than any previous president ever received!

From HuffPo (NewsWeek also posted an entry on this):

Mainstream media are now confirming, and going beyond, the initial reports this evening of a possible assassination plot against Barack Obama and the arrest of two men.
Following up an earlier TV report, NBC in Denver is now reporting, "Sources tell NBC the two men had tattoos and jewelry popular with white supremacists."

It also notes that an unidentified source tells NBC, "There is no reason for someone [with a criminal record] to have rifles with scopes."
The Denver Post has just led its Web piece with: "Federal authorities have scheduled a press conference for Tuesday afternoon amid reports that a fortunate traffic stop by Aurora Police may have disrupted an assassination attempt against Barack Obama."

Firearms and methamphetamine were seized.

The earlier TV report from KUSA-TV in Denver kicked off with, "Federal authorities have scheduled a press conference for Tuesday afternoon amid reports that a fortunate traffic stop by Aurora Police may have disrupted an assassination attempt against Barack Obama.
The first man, identified by the station as Tharin Gartrell, 28, was charged with suspicion of being a felon in possession of a weapon after police found two rifles, a high-powered scope and methamphetamine in his car after the traffic stop. now has his mug shot.

When police accompanied Gartrell to his hotel in Glendale, a second man jumped from a window and was injured in a four-story fall, according to the station. That man was then arrested, but has not been identified by police.

"The Secret Service, ATF and the FBI are all involved in the investigation.

SOURCE: NewsWeek; Huffington Post

Cheadle's Traitor; Ice Cube's Longshots

Soooooo... Don Cheadle's foray into Bond/Bourne territory (titled Traitor) opens this Wednesday in the USA. I assume most of us are planning on checking it out, if only out of curiosity to see what he can do with the genre. I'll certainly see it, although, as I said in a previous post, the PG-13 rating is a turn-off. But then again, so were the Bond/Bourne offerings, and I mostly enjoyed those.

By the way, did anyone see The Longshots this past weekend? Ice Cube's "inspirational" family-friendly football dramedy? I didn't, but I'd like to get some first, second and third impressions, if any.

Watch Studio Feature Films And TV Online For FREE!

Yes, there's more. I've already told you about sites where you can watch documentaries online for free as well as read magazines online, also for free. Now you can also watch feature-length studio films online for FREE! The site has been around for about a year, but I don't know if many people know about it. I've used it a few times, and been content with each experience, each time connecting my laptop to a digital projector and using my apartment wall as a screen. It works for me! was founded in March 2007 by NBC Universal and Murdoch's News Corp, so most, if not all the films available on the site are from the libraries of both media giants and their subsidiaries. The selection is still rather limited, which I guess should be expected, given how young the site is, and how ambivalent studios have been to make their prized products available on the web, whether for free or at a cost. And it's a business model that I think still isn't well understood. As expected, while the screenings are free, there are commercials about every 15 minutes - but each break was often no more than about 15 seconds... at most 30 seconds, so, I was able to tolerate them, and I think you will too.

Some worthwhile films you can watch for FREE on the site right now include: 28 Days Later, Men In Black, the original Casino Royale (1967), Lost In Translation, The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three (The original 1973 version. Denzel Washington is starring in a remake currently in production with a 2009 release date scheduled), Sideways, Requiem For A Dream, Hollywood Shuffle, Groundhog Day, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, amongst many others.

You can also watch television shows dating back to the 60s; I've especially had fun seeing some of my favorites from childhood, like Different Strokes, Fantasy Island, The A-Team and Alf!

So head on over to right now! I'm sure you'll find something you like.


Tambay Got A Mac!

"Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently -- they're not fond of rules... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change things... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do." Steve Jobs (Apple CEO) 1997

Well, I suppose I've officially become one of the crazy ones, one of the misfits, one of the rebels, one of those who sees things differently... not fond of rules, etc, etc, etc... Although, I think I always was :o)

Look what I just bought! While I won't claim to now be a "Mac" guy, I am definitely enjoying my new toy.

Oh yeah, remember this - it could still play today:

Web Serial Killers

As an addendum to my post just below this one on new distribution solutions for indie filmmakers, specifically giving attention to the possibilities the Internet provides, I found this related worthwhile New York Times piece (courtesy of the Filmmaker Mag blog), titled "Serial Killers," referring of course to online serials.

I've been toying with the idea of producing a web serial myself, and I still very much plan on sounding off in my own way, within that specific medium, so watch this space. However, this NY Times article is somewhat dampening.

Here's a snippet:

"Time will tell, but right now Web serials — no matter how revealing, provocative or moving — seem to be a misstep in the evolution of online video. Introduced with fanfare again and again only to miss big viewerships, shows like “Satacracy 88” and “Cataclysmo” have emerged as the slow, conservative, overpriced cousins to the wildly Web-friendly “viral videos” that also arrived around 2005, when bandwidth-happy Web users began to circulate scrap video and comedy clips as if they were chain letters or strep. Top virals — “I Got a Crush . . . on Obama,” “Don’t Tase Me, Bro!” “Chocolate Rain” — never plod. They come off like brush fires, outbursts, accidents, flashes of sudden unmistakable truth. By contrast, Web serials smack of planning and budgets and all that vestigial Hollywood stuff."


"The French artist and filmmaker Jean Cocteau once decried the high barriers to making movies, suggesting that the cost of cameras, film, editing machines and other equipment had inhibited filmmakers by making them too nervous about bottom lines. “Film will only become art,” he proposed, “when its materials are as inexpensive as paper and pencil.” When Cocteau died in 1963, he must have been confident that his hypothesis would never be tested. But with 13 hours of video uploaded every minute on YouTube, the Cocteau test is now fully under way. So where’s the true art? I’m not sure. I know I continue to prefer the strange, beautiful, comical and mysterious stuff of YouTube — the unclassifiable stuff — to the laudable efforts at nouveau serials by bona fide directors. But I still believe that, one day, another serial — not called a serial, maybe, and certainly not webisodes — will exploit the eccentricity of the virals and manage to make new and serious jokes about the truth-illusion-truth-illusion of cinéma vérité, which is what “lonelygirl15” once did. With that, the thrill of filmed “reality” will be returned to viewers, as it was in the early days of film, radio and television."

I will not be deterred damnit!! :o)

Read it all here: SERIAL KILLERS

Do Festivals Still Matter? Solutions

Over at Variety Magazine's website, Christian Gaines, formerly of the American Film Institute, and currently with Withoutabox, contributed a two-part piece on festivals, asking whether they still matter, the standard indie film theatrical distribution model, and offers potential solutions.

Part one is titled "
Do Festivals Matter?", and part two is "Things Gotta Change," where he suggests what he calls, a "Festival Acquisition" model, stating, "In the new “Festival Acquisition” model a sales agent or producer might send a film on a six to ten month tour of sixty to eighty North American film festivals. Absent of commercial venues, if film festivals have become the ad hoc distribution infrastructure for these films - and the film in question might see 250 screenings - then a formal business proposition will emerge, one in which rights holders and film festivals each acknowledge the other’s challenges. In this proposition, several things could start to happen: smaller and mid-size festivals that have previously been shut out of the possibility of securing quality international fare are suddenly back in the game. Quality goes up and regional U.S. audiences have a shot at seeing new works by the masters. Rights holders request a minimum guarantee versus a % of ticket sales (already nothing new), and festivals must weigh up their screening slots and total number of seats and figure out if the proposition makes economic sense."

I think we can all agree that the web presents us (indie filmmakers) with the most promising prospects. The challenge now is finding some strategy that works for our individual projects. What works for one may not necessarily work for the other. Is content really still king... the right kind of marketing hook can work wonders for even the weakest product. Just ask this guy!

Read both sections here: 1.

World War III

I don't know about the rest of you folks, but since Russia flexed its military muscle in Georgia 2 weeks ago, an unsettling, cautious sensation planted its roots in the pit of my stomach, and hasn't gone away since then.

The response from the USA, the EU and NATO haven't done much to ease my anxieties. Paternal-like threats from Bush and Secretary of State Condie Rice, stating that, "Russia is playing a very dangerous game with the US and must be punished," seem to me rather combative and unnecessary, especially since it's not entirely clear who initiated this recent conflict between Georgia and Russia.

May I remind Bush and Rice that Russia is not Iraq, nor Iran, nor Afghanistan. They are certainly capable and will likely hit back if threatened with any sort of American, or other military advances. Referring to, or dealing with them in a kind of subordinate manner certainly won't sit very well with Medvedev nor Putin. Surely we must recognize the hypocrisy of it all, given our invasion, occupation and subjugation of Iraq. Imagine if Russia and the EU voiced disapproval and vehemently stated that America must be punished for its war crimes in the Middle East!

But I'm not naive. Being the world's bully... I mean, being the world's "super power" certainly has its "privileges," if we can even call them that. However, a little less hubris and instead more humility are in order.

So, don't get too comfortable.

I walk the streets of New York, watching the movement of seemingly happy, pleased people, eating, drinking, shopping, living relatively uncomplicated lives, compared to those in other worlds, and I shake my head as I wonder if we all realize that there are wars going on - many that we are knee-deep in, as thousands have died, and continue to die, for causes that still haven't been clearly defined. I look around me and I think to myself, one wouldn't even be able to tell that we are at war.

The world might be a beautiful and radiant place, but it's infested with egomaniacs and megalomaniacs who are driven almost solely by greed, and unfortunately, they are usually the few in power, intent on keeping their constituents oblivious of the goings on behind the curtain.

I came across this piece by Simon Jenkins at Huffington Post:

We Tilt at Windmills as World War Looms
Is the world drifting towards a new global war? From this week the dominant super-power, America, will for three months pass through the valley of the shadow of democracy, a presidential election. This is always a moment of self-absorption and paranoia. Barack Obama and John McCain will not act as statesmen but as politicians. They will grandstand and look over their shoulders. Their eye will stray from the ball. Meanwhile, along history's fault line of conflict from Russia's European border to the Caucasus and on to Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, diplomats are shifting uneasily in their seats, drums are sounding and harsh words are spoken. The world is now run by a generation of leaders who have never known global war. Has this dulled their senses? Dan McNeill, an American general, was recently interviewed in Kabul on how to beat the Taliban. He was not the first to conclude that this could not be done militarily but only by "winning hearts and minds". The problem, he said, lay in the answer to the question, "Whose hearts and minds?" Was it those of the Afghan people or was it rather those of the American Congress and voters? Both Obama and McCain have claimed that the war in Iraq has been allowed to distract attention from the war in Afghanistan. This is different from the neoconservatives, who felt the war in Afghanistan was a distraction from the more important war in Iraq. America now thinks it has won in Baghdad and must return to Kabul - and possibly even Tehran. At the same time it must face the possibility that these conflicts may in turn be a distraction from the reemergence as world powers of Russia and China, who are already gaining the initiative in Iran and Africa. Moscow is also precipitating a nationalist resurgence in eastern Europe and among Russian minorities in the Caucasus. The question is critical. Has the West misjudged the fault line of an impending conflict?

The rest here:
We Are At War