Pop Culture Gadabout
Sunday, January 15, 2006
      ( 1/15/2006 10:00:00 AM ) Bill S.  


"HE'LL POINT IT AT YOUR MOUTH, SEZ THAT HE'LL BLOW YOUR BRAINS OUT!" – Lou Reed is moanin' about a man with a gun, so it must be time for a fresh round of bullet points, no?:
  • Been doin' some tweaking with the blogroll (basically eliminating those blogs that haven't been updating in the past few months) and, in the process of same, discovered I'd inadvertently eliminated one I hadn’t intended to. (Sorry, Marc!) Some times I'm too damn quick with that delete button.

  • Caught the first two episodes of the new ABC crime series In Justice. From its premise alone – not-for-profit do-gooder group investigates cases of wrongful convictions to uncover the real culprits – the show seems calculated to draw the ire of those whose primary critical lens is a political one. Me, I wonder how many variations on the same basic plot the writers can wring from this show. The first two worked, though, in part because the writers included some telling details (thanx to the savvy of Charles Conti's hard-nosed former cop Jason O’Mara) about ways the authorities sometimes cut corners at the expense of a full investigation, but mainly because Kyle MacLachlan as politically careerist attorney David Swain is such a hoot. In the second episode, for example, there's a subplot concerning an impending visit to the organization's offices by BET – and Swain's stunned realization that there are presently no presently no black Associates working in the place. He scrambles to find some Afro-American faces that'll look for the Black Entertainment Teevee cameras, at one point pulling in a guy in wheelchair for a good one-two punch. Pretty amusing, I thought, and the interplay between the show's feisty young Associates (among 'em, Constance Zimmer, late of Joan of Arcadia) looks promising, too. Will probably be watching this 'un for a time at least . . .

  • Read the first volume in I Luv Halloween, Keith Giffen & Benjamin Roman's new graphic novel series for Tokyopop. The comically grisly tale of a group of elementary school sociopaths who run amuck on October 31st, the book reinforces my current belief about Giffen as a solo funnybook scripter. Without a collaborator like J.M DeMatteis or the constraints of a company comics line like DC, Giffen too frequently mistakes blunt crassness for humor (see also, What Were They Thinking?), often at the expense of the fuller story (as when our masked grade schoolers repeatedly call a big-breasted neighborlady "Nips" and later – hah! – her doltish lover calls her by the same nickname). Though Halloween has a few cute moments (the little girl in the tooth fairy costume who keeps prying molars from the mouths of dead or unconscious victims is fun), the book's tone is ultimately sour and unfunny. Some writers work best with a degree of editorial repression, and I suspect that Giffen is one of 'em . . .

  • Been listening to the new Strokes album, First Impressions of Earth, and my first impression is that the disc represents a step up from the band’s sloggy sophomore effort, even if it, too, starts to drag by the final third (the Curse of CD Length strikes again!) The group is embedding more varied rock influences into its willfully soggy Velvet Underground sound, though, which bodes well for the band's longevity even if lead songwriter/singer Julian Casablancas still seems inordinately proud of having nothing to say . . .

  • Ben Varkentine is ticked off at this week's Masters of Horror entry for its use of the Evil Lesbian plotline. Me, I saw the story ("Sick Girl") as an unsuccessful attempt at a comic take on the cliché, but that's not a critical stance that I wanna hold too strongly. Writer/director Lucky McKee is totally unfamiliar to me (unlike all the show's other directing "masters," he hasn't done anything I’ve seen), so I have no way of gauging what the guy's usual "voice" is. From his entry at IMDB, though, it sure does look like he favors horror fare with lotsa nubile young ladeez in 'em . . .

  • Am planning on catching the new King Kong at a matinee this afternoon. Look to see "Riding With the King – Part Two" to show up here at the beginning of the week.
More later.

Background Music for This Round o' Bullet-Pointing: Disc three of Between Thought And Expression: The Lou Reed Anthology.
# |



Pop cultural criticism - plus the occasional egocentric socio/political commentary by Bill Sherman (popculturegadabout AT yahoo.com).



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