Thursday, September 27, 2007

4th Quadrant 10/01 '07

The Approval Matrix: Week of October 1, 2007

Dane Cook's Movie

Plot Outline for "Good Luck Chuck": In order to keep the woman of his dreams from falling for another guy, Charlie Logan (Dane Cook) has to break the curse that has made him wildly popular with single women: Sleep with Charlie once, and the next man you meet will be your true love. (IMDb)

Kyle Smith of the New York Post said, "The sex jokes, all of them clammy and stale, are reminiscent not of Wedding Crashers but of an Eighth Avenue peep-show booth in 1979."

The movie received a Critics Tomatometer score of 3%.

Billy Walsh in "Tell Me You Love Me"

Jamie, trapped in a lease for an apartment she won't be sharing with Hugo, hangs out with Mason, smoking pot. Mason suggests having sex with someone to get over her engagement, "just like a hangover." Jamie calls a handful of past hookups, eventually ending up at Marcus's (Billy Walsh (Rhys Coiro) from "Entourage!") apartment after work. But, after a few minutes of making out, she can't go through with it and takes off, leaving another angry voicemail for Hugo on her way home. [Marcus immediately calls someone else when she leaves.] (HBO)

Ryan McGee of Zap2It described the scene as, “…awkward almost-sex…”

Heidi and Spencer's "Body Language"

Pop Dirt reported that Heidi Montag's fiance and manager Spencer Pratt spoke with People magazine about the leaked release of 'Body Language' on KIIS FM in Los Angeles on Thursday, and how 'The Hills' star is not happy about its release.

"We did it as a joke," Pratt explained. "It's not her single at all. It was never meant to be heard by anyone but us. Over my dead body would I rap on Heidi's first single. Heidi is so upset because this was not the first sound she wanted people to hear from her."

Full Song

White Stripes

The White Stripes have canceled all remaining tour dates through the end of the year, including fall dates in Britain.

"They thank you for your understanding and well wishes," said a posting on the duo's Web site.

Singer-guitarist Jack White and drummer Meg White had previously canceled their September shows, saying "Meg White is suffering from acute anxiety and is unable to travel at this time."

Spokeswoman Chloe Walsh, in an e-mail Tuesday to The Associated Press, said she had no further comment on the tour cancellation and White's illness. (CNN)

Manilow vs. Hasselbeck

Barry Manilow pulled out of his scheduled appearance on "The View," because he strongly disagrees with host Elisabeth Hasselbeck's conservative views. In an exclusive statement to TMZ, Barry says,

"I strongly disagree with her views. I think she's dangerous and offensive. I will not be on the same stage as her." Barry, taking a stand!

Barry released the following statement to E! News:

"I wanted to let you know that I will no longer be on "The View" tomorrow as scheduled. I had made a request that I be interviewed by Joy, Barbara or Whoopi but not Elisabeth Hasselback. Unfortunately, the show was not willing to accommodate this simple request, so I bowed out."
(Photo courtesy of E!Online)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

3rd Quadrant 10/01 '07

The Approval Matrix: Week of October 1, 2007

“Angel: After the Fall”

“Angel,” the WB drama that started as a spin-off of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” is returning in February for a sixth season in comic-book form as “Angel: After the Fall.”

Picking up where Season Five of the fan-favorite TV show ended, the first issue in this maxi-series looks at who lived after that climactic battle, who died, and what happened to all of Los Angeles in its wake. (IDW Publishing)

The fist five pages can be viewed here.

Marc Ecko's Dilemma

Marc Ecko, a fashion desiginer, purchased the baseball for $750,000 and took votes on his website to see what he should do with it:

  1. Give the ball to the Baseball Hall of Fame
  2. Brand it with an asterisk
  3. Blast it into space

Barry Bonds thinks Ecko is wasting his money, according to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Voting has ended, and the results will be announced today on the "Today" show.

"¡Ask a Mexican!"

Why do Mexicans use their car horns as a doorbell? Do Mexican children get tamales at Christmas so that they have something to unwrap? The chances are that you will know the answers to some of these questions if you live in the United States and read the wickedly funny "Ask a Mexican!" column .

The brainchild of a Mexican-American reporter, Gustavo Arellano, and his editor at the OC Weekly in Orange County, southern California, the column started out as a prank in 2004. Since then it has become a sleeper hit read by more than a million people from California to New York each week.

The questions -- some addressing Mexicans as "greasers" and "beaners" -- pull no punches, and are met with equally arch slapdowns meant to sneak in an unexpected cultural rapprochement with humor, Arellano said. Through his blunt discussion of stereotypes, he hopes to defend Mexicans and their identity in the United States. (Reuters)

"Bob Pitches A Movie"

Description: Bob Odenkirk really wants to get his film made. But first, he has to sell it to a familiar face.

Robert "Bob" Odenkirk (born October 22, 1962) is an American actor, writer, director and producer. Odenkirk is best known as the co-creator and co-star of the HBO sketch comedy series, "Mr. Show." (Wikipedia)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

2nd Quadrant 10/01 '07

The Approval Matrix: Week of October 1, 2007

Chopin's "Raindrops" in Halo 3 Ad

Jim Sturgess

Rebecca Murray of wrote that Jim Sturgess [a British actor] is sure to win over a lot of female fans with his starring role as Jude in Across the Universe, the wild, imaginative movie musical directed by Julie Taymor and co-starring Evan Rachel Wood and Joe Anderson.

Plot Summary for Across the Universe: A dock worker Jude (Jim Sturgess) travels to America in the 1960s to find his estranged father. There he falls in love with sheltered American teenager Lucy (Evan Rachel Wood). When her brother Max (Joe Anderson) is drafted to fight in the Vietnam War, they become involved in peace activism. The film title and main characters are named after various songs by The Beatles. (IMDb)


TimesSelect is Dead!

This is from an email I received from the Times concerning TimesSelect, which provided exclusive online access to Op-Ed columnists, The Archive, Web tools and more for a fee, but was free to college students, and professors:

Dear TimesSelect Subscriber,

We are ending TimesSelect, effective today.

The Times's Op-Ed and news columns are now available to everyone free of charge, along with Times File and News Tracker. In addition, The New York Times online Archive is now free back to 1987 for all of our readers.

Why the change?

Since we launched TimesSelect, the Web has evolved into an increasingly open environment. Readers find more news in a greater number of places and interact with it in more meaningful ways. This decision enhances the free flow of New York Times reporting and analysis around the world. It will enable everyone, everywhere to read our news and opinion - as well as to share it, link to it and comment on it.

We thank you for your support of TimesSelect, and hope you continue to enjoy The New York Times in all its electronic and print forms.

"Until Proven Innocent"

The book's website relates: In this ever-deepening American tragedy, Stuart Taylor Jr. and KC Johnson argue, law enforcement, a campaigning prosecutor, biased journalists, and left-leaning academics repeatedly refused to pursue the truth while scapegoats were made of these young men, recklessly tarnishing their lives.

The story harbors multiple dramas, including the actions of a DA running for office; the inappropriate charges that should have been apparent to academics at Duke many months ago; the local and national media, who were so slow to take account of the publicly available evidence; and the appalling reactions of law enforcement, academia, and many black leaders.

Until Proven Innocent is a stunning book. It recounts the Duke lacrosse case in fascinating detail and offers, along the way, a damning portrait of the institutions—legal, educational and journalistic—that do so much to shape contemporary American culture.”
--Abigail Thernstrom, Wall Street Journal

Martha Graham Dance Company turned 80?

In researching this topic I found a source from the Times, and from the Village Voice that states that the Martha Graham Dance Company turned 80 last year.

Graham, Martha, b. Allegheny, Pa., 1894; d. 1991. Innovative modern dancer and choreographer. Graham studied with the dancer-choreographers Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn from 1916-23 and also danced in New York revues. She founded her company in 1926, and gained attention for her innovative choreography and magnetic dancing. Among her best-known solos was Lamentation (1930); well-known group dances included Primitive Mysteries (1931) and Appalachian Spring (1944). From the 1950's through the end of her career, Graham turned to Greek myth and biblical stories for inspiration. She won numerous awards, including a Kennedy Center Honor in 1979. (The New York Times)

"Shining at the Bottom of the Sea"

Corey Redekop of Shelf Monkey's review of the book states that the Canadian author’s [Stephen Marche] second novel, "Shining at the Bottom of the Sea," documents the Island of Sanjania, “an invisible dot in the middle of the North Atlantic.” Sanjanians, in the words of one of its leading writers, “are perhaps the most literary people on earth…bookstalls are as common as fruit stands…on Sanjair flights the stewards push small carts of books down the aisle after the beverages and pretzels.”

Yet rather than simply set a story in this fictional country, Marche sets himself the challenge of anthologizing the many varied works of fiction in Sanjania’s history, exploring the country’s past through its pamphlets, short stories, and novels. Marche, in his role as editor, is perplexed that Sanjanian writing is essentially ignored in the world, especially as authors such as George Orwell praise Sanjanian pamphlets as “[reminding] me of a childhood I never had.”

Monday, September 24, 2007

1st Quadrant 10/01 '07

The Approval Matrix: Week of October 1, 2007

The American Scholar's Attack

Gawker reported that there's a totally insane assault on Brooklyn writers…! Jonathan Safran Foer and Nicole Krauss and even the Brooklyn writers who actually live in Manhattan, such as Ben Kunkel—in the Autumn issue of the American Scholar. It's notable for the sheer intensity of its hatred.

"Brooklyn principles can be found anywhere that young people gather to share their search for love and meaning, a search that they alone are qualified to pursue by virtue of their pristine vision of the deep oneness of things. Whereas physical danger or emotional grief leaves most people lonely or ruined or dead, they triumph over adversity.... [The resulting books are] kitsch, which Milan Kundera defined as 'the translation of the stupidity of received ideas into the language of beauty and feeling [that] moves us to tears of compassion for ourselves, for the banality of what we think and feel.'"

The full article, Wonder Bread, Come with us to a place called Brooklyn where the stories are half-baked and their endings bland and soft, can be read here.

James Frey Book Deal

The New York Times reported that James Frey, the author who admitted making up portions of his best-selling memoir “A Million Little Pieces,” has signed a new book deal for his novel “Bright Shiny Morning,” with HarperCollins. The dollar figure was not disclosed, but is now rumored to be in excess of one million according to Gawker. Times Ad

The Hill
reported that former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) said Thursday that he is asking The New York Times for the “same heavily discounted rate they gave” for his campaign to run an ad in Friday’s paper.

Giuliani, calling’s controversial “General Betray Us” ad “abominable,” said his campaign is asking the paper for a comparable rate for an ad to run following President Bush’s speech on Iraq.

The former mayor said his ad “will obviously take the opposite view” from, which argued in its ad that Gen. David Petraeus is “cooking the books” on Iraq and cherry-picking facts that support his recommendation to keep a large number of troops in Iraq for some time.

4oo Bar Exams!

The New York Law Journal
reported that the essays of 400 law students who took the July New York bar exam were incompletely reported.

Software Secure, who was contracted by the NY Board of Law Examiners, determined that the software errors occurred in response to students toggling between answer tabs during the exam. The missing portions of the exams may be recoverable from computer backups.

According to the NY Board of Law Examiners, it is still too early to tell if the software problems will cause a delay in grading the July exam, which is scheduled to be completed in November. (Out of the Jungle)

Statue of Liberty Crown

Science Daily reported that safety issues and not terrorism concerns require the U.S. National Parks Service to keep the Statue of Liberty's crown closed to the public, an official said.

The crown has been closed to the public since the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and there have been numerous calls to reopen it since Liberty Island was reopened on Aug. 3, 2004.

"Our primary concerns about public access to the Statue of Liberty's crown are safety and health concerns, not terrorism," Wenk told the committee.

He said the narrow, winding staircase was originally designed for maintenance workers, and not thousands of tourists.

"A key danger is that once a visitor begins the climb, turning back before reaching the crown is nearly impossible. Each person is blocked by hundreds of people in front and behind," he said.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

4th Quadrant 9/24 '07

The Approval Matrix: Week of September 24, 2007

New England Patriots Stealing

A New England Patriots employee was caught violating NFL rules by videotaping the signals the Jets' coaches sent in from the sidelines at the Meadowlands on Sunday.

It's still not clear exactly how the Patriots gained an advantage through videotaping the Jets' signals, but they most likely compared what they saw the Jets' defensive coaches signaling on the tape to whether the Jets subsequently blitzed and what kind of coverage the secondary used. Then, when the Jets used the same signals later, they could have adjusted their offensive play calling accordingly, or told quarterback Tom Brady through the headset in his helmet what kind of defense he was likely to see on the next play. (The New York Sun)

"Death Sentence"

Nick Hume (Kevin Bacon) is a mild-mannered executive with a perfect life, until one gruesome night he witnesses something that changes him forever. Transformed by grief, Hume eventually comes to the disturbing conclusion that no length is too great when protecting his family. (20th Century Fox)

Kamal Al-Solaylee of Globe and Mail says of "Death Sentence," ”Awesomely bad,” but Roger Ebert says, “There is a courtroom scene of true surprise and suspense, and some other effective moments, but basically this is a movie about a lot of people shooting at each other.”

(Note: The Roger Ebert article relates a lot of interesting information behind the "Death Wish" series, and how it connects with "Death Sentence.")

"Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull"

Shia LaBeouf, one of the franchise's new castmembers, announced the title of the much-hyped, long-awaited flick in dramatic fashion at MTV's Video Music Awards. For months, if not years, the name of this latest Indy adventure has been debated. Ever since the last Indiana Jones adventure, "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade," was released in 1989, rumors of a fourth film have run wild. In the end, it was a polished script by David Koepp ("War of the Worlds") that convinced Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Harrison Ford to break out the famed fedora one more time. The film has been shooting since June in locations ranging from Connecticut to Hawaii. (MTV)

"Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" is set for release May 22.

Steven Seagal’s

Lightning Bolt Energy Drink

When Steven Seagal finished creating a drink that holds untold natural power, there was only one equivalent in nature- The Steven Seagal's Lightning Bolt. Both mysterious and powerful, it's a symbol of the untold energy the earth has to offer- such is Steven Seagal’s Lightning Bolt energy drink.

Steven Seagal's Lightning Bolt is an energy drink as unique as the man who created it. It has pioneered the way for nutritional, all natural energy drinks and emerged as many “firsts”: -

  • First energy drink to contain Tibetan Goji Berries
  • First energy drink to contain Asian Cordyceps

It is also one of the very few energy drinks to be offered in multiple flavors and is available in 60 countries worldwide. (Lightning Drink)


The New York Times
reported that “TMZ” the television show picks up where leaves off, embellishing and adorning the images with a thoroughness that still works best on fast-moving television. Much of what appears nightly on “TMZ” (shown on Fox and other stations) is timely, but still a rehash. More significantly, “TMZ” uses zany graphics to turn videos into judge-jury-executioner cases against marginal personalities.

Each episode of “TMZ” so far has opened with Mr. [Harvey] Levin (managing editor) consulting with his underlings: he calls on them, and they report their photo findings. Typically, he’s thrilled. Michael Jackson’s father thrown out of a nightclub? Gold! Madonna buying a vibrator? Hilarious.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

3rd Quadrant 9/24 '07

The Approval Matrix: Week of September 24, 2007

Oprah and Letterman

For her 22nd season premiere, Oprah took her show on the road to the only place big enough to hold it…Madison Square Garden in New York City!

For her first guest of the season, Oprah called on the man who rules New York's late nights for a special daytime appearance. He rarely does interviews, and she's never interviewed him before—host of the Late Show, David Letterman. (Oprah)

In 2003, Winfrey told Time magazine she wouldn't appear with Letterman because she had been "completely uncomfortable" as the target of his jokes.

Their reconciliation began in 2005 when Winfrey appeared on CBS' "Late Show with David Letterman." During the broadcast, he escorted her across the street to the opening night of the Broadway musical "The Color Purple," which she produced. (Chicago Tribune)
(Photo courtesy of AP/Harpo Productions,George Burns)

Letterman on Oprah Top 10

"Tron" Sequel

Commercial director Joseph Kosinski is in final negotiations to develop and direct "Tron," described as "the next chapter" of Disney's 1982 cult classic. Sean Bailey is producing via the Live Planet banner, as is Steven Lisberger, who co-wrote and directed the original film.

The original, about a computer programmer thrust into a computer and forced to fight in games he helped create, is remembered for its sci-fi gladiator-style battles and groundbreaking special effects. It was the first movie to use computer-generated images instead of models and other optical effects in conjunction with live action. The arcade game based on the movie was so popular that it earned more than the movie. (The Hollywood Reporter)

Bacon-Flavored Chocolate Bar

Applewood smoked bacon + Alder smoked salt + deep milk chocolate
Deep milk chocolate coats your mouth and leads to the crunch of smoked bacon pieces. Surprise your mouth with the smoked salt and sweet milk chocolate combination.

Crisp, buttery, compulsively irresistible bacon and milk chocolate combination has long been a favorite of mine. I started playing with this combination at the tender age of six while eating chocolate chip pancakes drenched in maple syrup. Beside my chocolate-laden cakes laid three strips of fried bacon, just barely touching a sweet pool of maple syrup. Just a bite of the bacon was too salty and yearned for the sweet kiss of chocolate syrup. In retrospect, perhaps this was a turning point, for on that plate something magical happened: the beginnings of a combination so ethereal and delicious that it would haunt my thoughts until I found the medium to express it--chocolate. --Katrina

Shelf Life: 3 months. Gluten free 41% cacao. Price $7.00 3oz. (Vosges Chocolate)

Robert Downey Jr. in "Iron Man" Trailer

Sam Rockwell in "The Assassination of Jesse James
by the Coward Robert Ford"

Plot Outline: Robert Ford (Casey Affleck) joins Jesse James's (Brad Pitt) gang, only to become resentful of the legendary outlaw and hatch a plan to kill the fastest gun in the West. (IMDb)

With his gang depleted by arrests, deaths, and defections, Jesse thought he had only two men left whom he could trust: brothers [Robert] and Charley Ford (Sam Rockwell). Charley had been out on raids with Jesse before, but [Robert] was an eager new recruit. To better protect himself, Jesse asked the Ford brothers to move in with him and his family. Little did he know that [Robert] Ford had been conducting secret negotiations with Thomas T. Crittenden, the Missouri governor, to bring in Jesse James. (Wikipedia)


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

2nd Quadrant 9/24 '07

The Approval Matrix: Week of September 24, 2007

Sonya Walger as Carolyn in
“Tell Me You Love Me”

A provocative and honest exploration of intimacy, “Tell Me You Love Me,” offers an unfiltered look at three couples as they navigate critical periods in their lives. With a candidness that breaks conventional boundaries, creator Cynthia Mort examines the moments – both significant and everyday – that form the basis and language of each relationship.

Meanwhile, mid-thirties couple Carolyn and Palek (Sonya Walger and Adam Scott), comes to learn how much their efforts to become parents and their inability to conceive has strained the intangible connections between them. (HBO)

April MacIntyre of Monsters and Critics says, "Tell Me You Love Me" (8 p.m. Sunday, HBO) is frighteningly depressing for a show with loads of sex, in fact, it makes Showtime’s “Californication” look like an after school special with regards to the bits and bobs we get to see.”

Kelli O'Hara in “South Pacific”

The Lincoln Center Theater revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein's “South Pacific” will welcome “The Light in the Piazza's” Kelli O'Hara back to the stage of the Vivian Beaumont Theater. O'Hara will portray Nellie Forbush, the role created by the late Mary Martin.

Two-time Tony nominee O'Hara will be reunited with “Light in the Piazza” director Bartlett Sher, who will helm the Lincoln Center revival, the first since the musical's Broadway debut in 1949.

Kelli O'Hara was most recently on Broadway in the Tony-winning revival of “The Pajama Game,” earning a Tony nomination for her performance as Babe. She was also Tony-nominated for her work as Clara in “The Light in the Piazza.” O'Hara's other Broadway credits include “Jekyll & Hyde,” “Follies,” “Sweet Smell of Success” and “Dracula, the Musical.” She was also recently seen in the Reprise! staging of “Sunday in the Park with George.” (Playbill)

“South Pacific” will run from March 1, 2008 to June 15, 2008.


Tropfest@Tribeca, created by Tribeca Enterprises and John Polson, founder of Tropfest – the world’s largest short film festival – announced today that 16 finalists will be chosen to compete for the Target Filmmaker Award of an unrestricted cash prize of $10,000 and two round trip tickets on to Australia, home of the original Tropfest, from Qantas Airways and Tourism Australia. Target will present Tropfest@Tribeca on Sunday, September 23, 2007 where the selected films will premiere at a free public outdoor festival, held at the World Financial Center Plaza, alongside the Hudson River. The films will be judged onsite by a jury of well-known actors and filmmakers to be announced at a later date. (Independent Film)


George Saunders'
The Braindead Megaphone

Jason Kottke relates that, "The title essay of George Saunders' The Braindead Megaphone invites the reader to imagine a person at a party with a megaphone. Megaphone Guy might not have much to say, but he's got a megaphone and so he is heard, his utterances setting the agenda for the entire party, the party's collective intelligence (its crowd-like wisdom if you want to put it that way) determined by the intelligence of Megaphone Guy. Before long, it ruins the party because the other guests will stop being guests and become passive "reactors-to-the-Guy."

Joseph Sullivan at BDR goes on to say that, "George Saunders' first collection of essays is out, and before you say "What the HELL is that?", read something that Saunders wrote on his blog:

"The central premise of the title essay in my new book, The Braindead Megaphone, is this: Our cultural discourse is being dumbed-down by mass-media prose that is written too quickly, and therefore fails to due justice to the complexity of the world."

And now think about the latest newscast you watched and tell me that this design doesn't hit all the right notes: ugly graphics, interchangeable talking heads, and most importantly, a real schizoid aesthetic that speaks directly to the way news is created and reported."

David Foster Wallace's intro to
The Best American Essays 2007

Crazymonk says, "In typical Wallacean fashion, he [David Foster Wallace] spends most of the time unpacking the meaning of the collection's title, and expounding on his selection methodology as "the Decider."

Excerpt: Part of our emergency is that it's so tempting to do this sort of thing now, to retreat to narrow arrogance, pre-formed positions, rigid filters, the "moral clarity" of the immature. The alternative is dealing with massive, high-entropy amounts of info and ambiguity and conflict and flux; it's continually discovering new areas of personal ignorance and delusion. In sum, to really try to be informed and literate today is to feel stupid nearly all the time, and to need help.

The full intro to The Best American Essays 2007 can be read here.

2007 Emerging Artist Fellowship Exhibition

This annual show features new works by the Park's current resident artists: Tim Clifford, Linda Ganjian, Vandana Jain, Ken Landauer, Caroline Mak, Greg Martin, Ohad Meromi, Rachel Owens, Ricky Sears, Shane Aslan Selzer, Changamire Semakokiro and Brian Wondergem. Representing a broad range of materials, working methods and subject matter, the diverse sculptural works in this exhibition are presented against the Park's spectacular waterfront view of the Manhattan skyline. (

Sep 24, 2007 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Location: At the intersection of Broadway and Vernon Boulevard in Long Island City.
By subway, take the N or W train to Broadway (Queens), walk 8 blocks west on Broadway to the intersection of Vernon Boulevard.

Monday, September 17, 2007

1st Quadrant 9/24 '07

The Approval Matrix: Week of September 24, 2007

The Marc Jacob's Show

Lauren Goldstein Crowe relates on, “Fortunately, I was having pre-show drinks with Harriet Quick of British Vogue... Harriet had some connections back stage and was getting up to the second texts from backstage on the progress of the show. "The Clothes Are Arriving!" came at 10:00. The show was due to start at 9:00. I decided Marc's lateness was evidence of some sort of insecurity. "Look who is willing to stick around until 11pm for a 9pm show!," he must think. (Anna, Andre, just about everyone...)”

The New York Times reported about the show, “Cool, in the sense of a Marc Jacobs show, is like acupuncture. A mysterious electrical network regulates the system; manipulate one point and you trigger a remote response. The brain may be involved, but no one can tell you quite how. And, although it is possible to diagram the energy vectors (music to fashion to art to pornography) it would be impossible to dissect them under the knife.”

The and the Times' links have photos and videos from the show.
(Photo courtesy of

"The Brave One"

Plot Outline: A woman struggles to recover from a brutal attack by setting out on a mission for revenge.(IMDb)

Andrew Sarris of the New York Observer says, “The Brave One has opened the fall movie season with a bang, indeed with a lot of bang, bang, bangs. Don’t miss it;” however, Peter Sobczynski of says, “Forget about comparing this film to “Death Wish,” as many already have–this isn’t good enough to deserve comparison to “Death Wish 4: The Crackdown.”

Terrence Howard on Jodi Foster

"She's Marlene Dietrich, Glenn Close, she's Marlon Brando, all of them combined," Howard said. "Fifty years from now, the people who can say they worked with Jodie Foster and have that on their resume, I can see my grandkids looking at it and saying, `You worked with Jodie Foster?' and them being amazed, like I marched with Martin. That's what it was like for me."
(Yahoo! News)

"King Lear" Tickets

The New York Times reports that…"tickets for “Lear” and “The Seagull” are pretty much unobtainable, at least by those who shun black markets and blackmail.”

Here is an eBay auction for the September 22, 2:00 PM show. The price is: US $750.00

The Trevor Nunn-directed production of Shakespeare's “King Lear,” starring Ian McKellen, made its U.S. premiere at The Brooklyn Academy of Music on September 6, and will run through the 30th.

37 Arts Bankruptcy?

The New York Post reported that 37 Arts, a state-of-the-art off-Broadway theater owned and operated by two of Broadway's top producers is riddled with debt and faces possible foreclosure and bankruptcy.
The theater was supposed to revolutionize off-Broadway when it opened to much fanfare in 2005. It was built by Jeffrey Seller and Kevin McCollum, the whiz kids behind "Rent" and "Avenue Q," and last season's $10 million dud, "High Fidelity."

According to documents obtained by The Post, the producers, along with their partner, Alan Schuster, have been hit with potentially crippling liens totaling nearly $20 million. The Builders Group, the general contractor that built the theater, claims it alone is owed almost $13 million, the documents show.
But a source deeply involved in the dispute says that's just the beginning. At least two creditors, the source says, have started foreclosure proceedings against the theater.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

4th Quadrant 9/17 '07

The Approval Matrix: Week of September, 17 2007

Rob Zombie's "Halloween" Remake

Plot Summary: After being committed for 17 years, Michael Myers, now a grown man and still very dangerous, escapes from the mental institution (where he was committed as a 10 year old) and he immediately returns to Haddonfield, where he wants to find his baby sister, Laurie. Anyone who crosses his path is in mortal danger. (IMDb)

Mark Dujsik of Mark Reviews Movies said, “So bad it aspires to the height of utter pointlessness that was Gus Van Sant's remake of “Psycho;” however, Kyle Smith of the New York Post said of “Halloween,” "The Batman Begins of slasher movies, and one of the more frightening stabathons of recent years."

"Mr. Bean's Holiday"

Plot Summary: Mr. Bean wins a trip to Cannes where he unwittingly separates a young boy from his father and must help the two come back together. On the way he discovers France, bicycling, and true love, among other things. (IMDb)

Richard Roeper of Ebert & Roeper said, “I hate Mr. Bean, I hated this movie. He’s an annoying, creepy, leering, sweaty, unfunny character, and ten seconds would be too much and this movie’s like 90 minutes; however, Bill Zwecker of the Chicago Sun-Times said, “For younger audiences, Mr. Bean's Holiday will be a pleasure, and of course, Bean addicts will, as always, be happy to see Atkinson's alter ego return to the big screen.”

Kanye West

(Update from the 3rd Quadrant.) Ninja Dude posted that Kanye West flipped out backstage after the MTV Video Music Awards, stating that “he’s done with this pop shit” and he’ll never be back for another show after losing all 5 category nominations. Watch the backstage video below!

Barry Bonds

If you don't remember, Barry Bonds hit his 756th career home run, which gave him the Major League home run record surpassing Hank Aaron.

Lickable Flavor Strips

The New York Times reports that CBS will test the limits by putting lickable flavor strips on print ads for its drama “Cane,” which stars Jimmy Smits as the head of a family that owns a Florida rum business. The samples of the fictional rum brand, Duque, which will run in the next issue of Rolling Stone, are described by the network as delivering the taste of a nonalcoholic lime Mojito “without the sugar, calories or alcohol.”

Mary-Kate on Weeds

reports that in her first major solo role without her twin sister, Mary-Kate Olsen is returning to series television for the first time since 2002 with a co-starring role on Showtime's dark comedy "Weeds." Olsen will play Tara, a devoted Christian girl living in the newly developed megachurch community Majestic who becomes a love interest for Nancy Botwin's (Mary-Louise Parker) son Silas (Hunter Parrish). Olsen will appear in 10 of the 15 episodes of the show's third season, which premieres August 13.

Plot Summary: After her husband's unexpected death and subsequent financial woes, suburban mom Nancy Botwin (Parker) embraces a new profession: the neighborhood pot dealer. As it seems like everyone secretly wants what she's selling -- even city councilman Doug Wilson (Nealon) -- Nancy is faced with keeping her family life in check and her enterprise a secret from her best friend/PTA president, Celia Hodes (Perkins). (Written by IMDb Editors)

Molly of Popsugar posted, “There will be so much Olsen teeth. And presumably she will be dressed in normal teenage clothing! Obvie, this is amazing news. I'm so proud of little M-K. All growed up (and playing a 17-year-old)!”

Victoria Beckham on "Ugly Betty"

Reuters reports that Victoria Beckham, who originally insisted she had no desire to launch a Hollywood career as an actress, has landed her first acting role on prime-time U.S. television, appearing as herself in an episode of the popular comedy "Ugly Betty."

Beckham, the fashionista wife of English soccer player David Beckham, will play a celebrity bridesmaid in an episode of the popular show based on life at a fashion magazine. The episode will be filmed in the autumn.

The "Posh" member of the reunited Spice Girls British pop group arrived in Los Angeles in July in a media blitz as her husband began a five-year contract with the Los Angeles Galaxy soccer team worth $250 million.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

3rd Quadrant 9/17 '07

The Approval Matrix: Week of September 17, 2007

"30 Rock" on DVD

Plot Summary: Liz Lemon (Tina Fey), head writer of the sketch comedy show "The Girlie Show", must deal with an arrogant new boss (Alec Baldwin) and a crazy new star (Tracy Morgan), all while trying to run a successful TV show without losing her mind. (IMDb)

Kyle Braun of UGO relates,”… the DVD definitely comes with added bonuses for true fans of the show. Five episode commentaries headline the set ... The deleted scenes aren't bad by any stretch of the imagination ... A blooper-ish reel called "The Wrap Party" shows that the talent on the series is undoubtedly funnier unscripted than anywhere else, which is why they're so successful in this line of work. A standard "Behind the Scenes" look at the show will definitely appeal to fans, while the "Makin' it Happen" feature goes by so fast in 31 seconds, you'll wonder what you just saw.”

Chris Beaumont of BLOGCRITICS said, “Re-watching the episodes on DVD I have found it to be even better than I remember. The often times seriously off-kilter writing stands out even more when you can watch a number of episodes in rapid succession. This is definitely worth adding to your collection.”

Pedro Returns

The New York Observer reported that, “The results of Pedro Martinez’s return to a major league mound were heartening to New York Mets fans. He pitched well, giving up two runs in five innings, and got a win. But the numbers don’t begin to tell the story. The raw statistics from his return start on Sept. 3 against the Reds tell of an outing that is merely workmanlike. Martinez pitched 76 pitches over five innings, allowing five hits and two earned runs, walked three and struck out four. But one walk was intentional, two strikeouts came against the opposing pitcher, and of the five hits, one traveled about 40 feet and another was misplayed by Moises Alou.”

His rotator cuff surgery last fall forced him to miss the playoffs and the Mets' run to the National League Championship Series, which they lost in seven games to St. Louis. (ESPN)

"Dick in a Box" Performance on Emmy's?

Justin Timberlake, a four-time Grammy winner, won an Emmy at the Creative Arts Emmys for "Dick in a Box." Timberlake's win came in the Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics field.

Marc Malkin posted on Eonline that, “Timberlake and Andy Samberg have been negotiating to perform their Emmy-nominated number from “Saturday Night Live” during the live ceremony on Sept. 16. But the ditty’s racy lyrics continue to be a problem, my source reports. Just last week, I was told that Timberlake and Samberg had balked at the producers’ request to replace some of the adult-themed lyrics with more family-friendly verse.”

A New York Chihuahua

The 2-year-old, 4-1/2-pound Maddy the Chihuahua from New York City won the title of America's Fastest Chihuahua on Labor Day, leaving 14 rivals in the dust as she covered a 35-foot track in just two seconds. According to her owner Sue Yee, Maddy's key to success was "lots of love and intense training, including sprinting, racing up stairs and swimming." Yee said Maddy loves to walk the 36 blocks from their three-story walkup in SoHo to Yee's job as a Web designer at Eighth Ave. and 36th St. In addition to a year's supply of dog food, Maddy won a $300 gift certificate.
(Daily News)

Upset of the Century

The New York Times reported that one week after the most embarrassing loss in the program’s history, the Wolverines were humbled again Saturday, with nowhere to hide before 109,733 at Michigan Stadium. The final score — Oregon 39, Michigan 7 — did not fully reflect how one-sided this game was. Michigan’s defense was so inept, yielding 624 yards, that last week’s 34-32 home loss against Appalachian State, the two-time defending champion in Division I-AA, seemed somewhat less mystifying. Michigan’s defense tackled horribly Saturday, allowed huge plays, made mental mistakes and was manhandled at the line of scrimmage.

Could the Wolverines really have fallen so far, so fast? Last season, Michigan won its first 11 games and entered the regular-season finale against Ohio State with a chance to win the national title. But they lost that game, and then were beaten by Southern California in the Rose Bowl. After starting this season ranked No. 5 in the Associated Press preseason poll, they have suffered two psychologically damaging defeats.
(Photo courtesy of Gregory Shamus/Getty Images via New York Times)

"Frisky Dingo"

"Frisky Dingo" is an animated comedy television series from Matt Thompson and Adam Reed, co-creators of Sealab 2021. It debuted October 16, 2006 at 12:30 AM on Adult Swim and ended its first season on January 22, 2007. The second season premiered on August 26, 2007. (Wikipedia)

Plot Summary from IMDb: Xander Crews is a billionaire playboy whose alter ego is the superhero Awesome X. He'd much rather goof around as a superhero than tend to the everyday aspects of running a corporation. The only problem is that Awesome X has gotten rid of every super-villain in the city, and now his board head Stan wants him to retire as a hero and get down to saving the company he's been running into the ground with his superhero expenses. Coincidentally, a new super-villain named Killface appears. His goal is to destroy humanity using the Annihilatrix, a machine which upon completion will hurl the earth into the sun. The only problem is that he has no way of getting the 12 billion dollars needed to complete his doomsday device. Luckily there happens to be a billionaire playboy in town...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

2nd Quadrant 9/17 '07

The Approval Matrix: Week of September 17, 2007

Tiny Sharks

The Daily News reports that a Coney Island lifeguard rescued a 2-foot sand shark from a mob of panicked swimmers. According to the lifeguard, some of swimmers actually hit and smacked the baby shark in the face.

Another shark was seen at South Beach in Staten Island on Sunday, following the 5-foot thresher shark that startled swimmers at Rockaway Beach on Saturday before its lifeless body washed ashore the next day.

The 80th Annual Feast of San Gennaro

The 80th Annual Feast of San Gennaro will be held September 13th through the 23rd in Little Italy. The street festivities will include free entertainment, food stands and a professional cannoli-eating contest. There will be indoor and outdoor dining at 35 of Little Italy's most famous Italian restaurants, and more than 300 licensed street vendors will sell international foods.
It is hoped that this year’s Feast will again bring more than one million people to the streets of Little Italy. (

(Photo courtesy watz/flickr)

The West-Indian American Day Parade

The West-Indian American Day Parade, the largest West-Indian festival in the United States, was held on Labor Day in Brooklyn. According to the festival’s website: Its roots come from the festivities of the original civilization in Ancient Kemet (Egypt). The many tribes that gathered around the Nile Delta practiced similar ceremonies. Some of those tribes migrated to northern Africa with some of the members being taken to the Caribbean in the slave trade.

During this early period the French, Spanish and British aristocracy held lavish costume balls, feasts and parades. Slaves were not permitted to participate. After the abolishment of slavery, thousands of freed slaves celebrated by lampooning their former masters and mimicking the dress and behavior of the European people.

Ms. Jessie Waddle started the Carnival in Harlem in the 1920's by staging costume parties in large enclosed places - like the Savoy, Renaissance and Audubon Ballrooms. The earliest known street Carnival was held during the 1940's when Ms. Waddle, secured the first street permit for a parade on the streets of Harlem. During the 1960's, another Trinidadian - Rufus Goring, brought Carnival to Brooklyn.

Jason Booher’s cover for Like You'd Understand, Anyway

Joseph Sullivan of the Book Design Review says of Jason Booher’s cover for Shepard’s Like You'd Understand, Anyways, “The more I look at this (albeit online; it's in shops on 9/25) the more I like it: it's quirkier than at first glance, which seems nicely appropriate for something from Shepard. To wit: how many heads do *you* see?

Booher has a BA from Princeton University, and an AAS Parsons School for Design.

Brooklyn Book Festival

From the festival's website: The second annual Brooklyn Book Festival on September 16, 2007 is a book lover’s dream come true! The festival presents exciting and innovative fiction and non-fiction programs with author discussions and readings...! Nearly 100 booksellers and thousands of books will fill beautiful Borough Hall Plaza and Columbus Park. You can hear a poetry slam, participate in a define-a-thon, and have your favorite book signed by the author. Children can hear their best-loved books read at the Target Children’s Pavilion; teenagers will find sports, fantasy, graphic novels and more ...

September 16 at 10am-6pm Brooklyn Borough Hall and Plaza, 209 Joralemon St.
Subway: 2, 3, 4, 5 to Borough Hall.

Martha Plimpton in “A Midsummer Night's Dream”

Judith Jarosz says in her review of The Public Theater's production of William Shakespeare's “A Midsummer Night's Dream” that Martha Plimpton is especially funny as the hapless Helena.

Martha Plimpton was nominated for a 2007 Tony Award and won the 2007 Drama Desk Award for her performance in Tom Stoppard's trilogy “The Coast of Utopia.” She appeared on Broadway last season in “Shining City.”

She goes on to say that, “For those who don't know, Midsummer is Shakespeare's magical classic comedy that involves two pairs of lovers who, after facing a romantic dilemma, flee into the woods only to become the playthings of a group of fairies who are having their own romantic challenges.”

The play closed on September 9, 2007.

Luciano Pavarotti

The New York Times reported that Luciano Pavarotti, the Italian singer whose ringing, pristine sound set a standard for operatic tenors of the postwar era, died on Sept. 6, 2007. He was 71. The cause was pancreatic cancer.

In July 2006 he underwent surgery for the cancer in New York and had made no public appearances since then. He was hospitalized again this summer and released on Aug. 25. He became a titan of pop culture. Millions saw him on television and found in his expansive personality, childlike charm and generous figure a link to an art form with which many had only a glancing familiarity.

Thousands attended his funeral in Italy this past Saturday.

(Photo courtesy of Peri-Percossi, via European Pressphoto Agency, via The New York Times)

Monday, September 10, 2007

1st Quadrant 9/17 '07

The Approval Matrix: Week of September 17, 2007

“Cashmere Mafia”Costume Designer
Patricia Field

the.LIFE files relates that Costume Designer Patricia Field is designing the custumes for ABC’s new show “Cashmere Mafia” starring Lucy Liu. The show is about a group of girlfriends from high school who grow up to be successful executives, and turn to one another for advice as they juggle the high demands of their career and family needs in New York City.

Patricia Field turned Sarah Jessica Parker into a household name and a fashion icon through her character, journalist Carrie Bradshaw, on “Sex and the City.”

FABSUGAR has the following quote from Lucy Liu concerning Field’s costumes, “Patricia Field is somebody that we were lucky enough to have come onto our show. She has an incredible talent for putting together pieces and making them look like art. She never repeats an outfit…and she also puts together things that you would never imagine. . she could put…something from the 80s, put a modern belt on it, and put some shoes, with a purse form the 70s and the look looks great.”

For her work on “Sex and the City,” Field was nominated for 5 Emmy Awards, with one win, and nominated for 6 Costume Designers Guild Awards, with 4 wins. Field also appeared as the first guest judge during the first season of the Bravo’s “Project Runway.” (Wikipedia)

(Photo of Field and Liu courtesy of

“Young Frankenstein"

Kenneth Jones of relates that “Young Frankenstein,” the new Mel Brooks-Thomas Meehan musical version of the Brooks film comedy, ends its pre-Broadway Seattle run at the Paramount Theatre Sept. 1. The elaborate sets will get trucked to Manhattan, and rehearsal will begin in New York, toward an Oct. 11 first preview at Broadway's Hilton Theatre. Opening night is Nov. 8.

“Young Frankenstein” is one of the biggest deals headed to Broadway so far in 2007-08. Top ticket prices will be $120, with some "premier" and "premium" seats priced at $450 and $375 per ticket. The New York Times reported that the $450 orchestra ticket price will apply to the 100 or so best seats in the house. At the time of the August 7 first preview in Seattle, the Broadway advance was already around $15 million.

User larry64 posted in the comments on Broadway World, “These prices are intended for the rich, corporate expense accounts, and so the producers can capitalize early before all the "stars" leave. Prices will most certainly float back to reality when:

a. we find out that the show really stinks and reviews are bad

b. after several years when the original cast is long gone and Ashley Parker Angel is playing "Igor"

c. the cavernous Hilton Theatre swallows this show whole like all the musicals before it!"

(Photo courtesy of Paul Kolnik)

"Jack Heights"

Barry Popik posts that "Jack Heights” (meaning “Jackson Heights,” in Queens) appeared on a billboard ad in 2007. The billboard mentioned that the area is much cheaper than "Billy Burg" (Williamsburg, Brooklyn).

Jackson Heights is an urban melting pot with many ethnic populations, but mainly consists of Latin Americans, multi-generational European, and Asian Americans. It is one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the United States and the entire world. (Wikipedia)

(Photo courtesy of bondidwhat/flickr)

iPhone Price Drop

Apple slashed the price on the 8GB iPhone to $399, which is $200 less than its introductory price, and is giving a $100 credit to early adopters. Early adopter Paul Forrester said on MacWorld in reference to the rebate, “Giving me $100 credit in the Apple store is kind of a yawn for me. I still have to go spend money in the store—it’s not a true rebate. They aren’t really giving me my money back.”

Philip Michaels also reported on MacWorld that Apple hopes that the price cut will spur sales of the mobile device it introduced in June. “We want to put iPhones in a lot of stockings this holiday season.” Apple CEO Steve Jobs said.

Sinkholes reported in the DAILY Intelligencer feature that a truck passing through Chelsea last week plummeted into a four-foot-deep sinkhole.