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May 22, 2006

Rumbly Scottish Mutant Sex Party

Juggernaut_1 In the ramp up to its May 26th premiere, HBO has been running little featurettes of X-Men: The Last Stand. In addition to an interview with Aussie hottie Hugh Jackman, HBO offers up a first look at a completely random scene from the movie.

Here, Ian McKellen's Magneto frees mutants in transport (to concentration camps or some such). We're introduced to two new characters to the movie series, Juggernaut and Guy Who Makes Lots of Copies Of Himself. He could be a one man orgy. Who doesn't want that power?

[Watch video – 3:33, WMV format, high bandwidth]

[Watch video – 3:33, WMV format, low bandwidth]

April 17, 2006

Does Howard Read The Malcontent?

Malbug_13A few days ago, I posted about how my opinion of Rosie O'Donnell has been quickly changing for the better.  This morning, Howard Stern followed suit on his Sirius satellite radio show.

A transcript follows after the jump ...

Continue reading "Does Howard Read The Malcontent?" »

April 11, 2006

Dead Presidents' Society

Yankee_doodleMalbug_13UPDATE: Robbie has informed me that I don't read my own blog.  Somehow I missed his post about this within the silly "South Park" and "American Idol" stuff.  Oh, well.  Now you know how we both feel about it.

Back in college, my first U.S. history course was taught by one of those pointy-headed academics who seemed unable to see any redeeming features whatsoever in America.

And it was a stretch to call the class "U.S. History," really.  The only books on his syllabus that were even tangentially related to our nation's past dealt with "CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade," and a boring story about a loser that was turned into a movie starring someone much better looking than the real guy.

But oh, how I wish that Robert Wuhl had been my professor.  Why would I want a B-list comedian teaching me history?  Because it is probably the closest thing to Robin Williams in "Dead Poets' Society" that most people will ever come.

Wuhl's new special on HBO – "Assume the Position" – is a sharp, witty romp through history, "the stories that made up America and the stories that America made up."  A combination between a comedy monologue and a college lecture, Wuhl's rapid-fire delivery and Powerpoints will entertain students and cable viewers alike.  And they might learn something along the way, such as how they "did it" during Colonial times, or how Freddie Mercury embodies the effete continuation of a bellicose heritage that dates back centuries.

Can you imagine such a thing on network television?  The suits probably would have made him set the whole thing on a beach full of scantily clad co-eds.  (Some of the language might make the clip NSFW.)

O Arliss, my Arliss!

[Watch video – 10:07, WMV format, high bandwidth]

[Watch video – 10:07, WMV format, low bandwidth]

April 10, 2006

Leather, Guns, and Mobsters

Sopranos_vito Since I watch very little of the Sopranos, suffice to say I'm entirely unqualified to discuss last night's clip. Luckily, an article on AOL plumbs the history of Vito and actor Joseph R. Gannascoli's role in bringing the gay subplot on the show to life. The article is very spoiler heavy if you haven't seen last night's episode.

Here Vito is discovered in an S&M bar by fellow mobsters who've come to collect protection money. After strenuous denials and insisting, "It's a joke," the freshly outed mobster is left sitting in a motel room by episode's end, contemplating the gun on the nightstand.

[Watch video – 4:15, WMV format, high bandwidth]

[Watch video – 4:15, WMV format, low bandwidth]

Surreal Time With Cynthia McKinney

CmMalbug_13 I don't know what school of PR Cynthia McKinney's lawyers and handlers went to, but one of the first things I ever learned about damage control was, "If you're in a hole, then put down the damn shovel."

In the latest stop on her you-a culpa tour, the Georgia congresswoman was on HBO's "Real Time With Bill Maher," denying that she had asserted that her altercation with a Capitol policeman was a function of racism, and then disingenuously expounding in the same breath on the racist nature of society.

Using the royal "we," McKinney argued essentially that her liberal credentials put her personal behavior off-limits to scrutiny, even when such behavior is potentially criminal.  To his credit, Bill Maher tried to call her on her bullshit – in his own timid, left-leaning way.

[Watch video – 8:26, WMV format, high bandwidth]

[Watch video – 8:26, WMV format, low bandwidth]

April 07, 2006

Not Your Grandfather's Muppets


TBS this week has been rerunning the last few episodes of "Sex and the City," and it got me to thinking: Here we have Mikhail Baryshnikov playing the suave Russian "Aleksandr Petrovsky," who has made a fortune as an artist.  And what is his medium of choice?  "Light installations."

Yes, the guy basically takes neon or fluorescent tubes and creates rather banal blinking things for which people supposedly plunk down big bucks.  As any "SATC" fan knows, Carrie became fed up with all things Aleksandr and fled Paris for life back in Manhattan.  (Of course, it didn't help that he "accidentally" hit her, either.)

Puppeteers_1My point being that, while I suppose I found some aesthetic quality in those "light installations," I was just as perplexed by them as Carrie was.

No sirree, give me "dick tricks" instead.  I'm talking about "Puppetry of the Penis," or "the ancient art of genital origami," created by Aussie duo Simon Morley and David Friend.

I have not had the pleasure of seeing the show in person, but I caught HBO's rerun last night of the "Real Sex" episode featuring this bizarre and rather painful-looking art form.  If you're a "POTP" virgin, then prepare to be ... well, amused, anyway.

You will probably never look at the Eiffel Tower or hamburgers the same way again.  (Very much NSFW.)

[Watch video – 10:04, WMV format, high bandwidth]

[Watch video – 10:04, WMV format, low bandwidth]

March 27, 2006

I Call Dibs on Stanford

Malbug_13HBO aims to keep the "Sex and the City" flamers burning with an upcoming reality show.

February 20, 2006

Wiretapped? Here's a Quarter to Call Someone Who Cares

Malbug_13MaherBill Maher began a new season of his HBO show "Real Time" on Friday.

His cast of characters included Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.), Fred Barnes, former Coalition Provisional Authority spokesman Dan Senor, comedian Eddie Griffin, and everybody's favorite crazy aunt in the attic, Helen Thomas.

The interaction among the panel was mostly lame, although I did prick up my ears when Helen essentially said it was fruitless to try to deny nuclear weapons to Iran, and Griffin furthermore argued that to do so would be racist.  (I know, it doesn't really compute with me either.)

But I thought Maher was at his best when he counseled Americans to simmer down a little about who might or might not be wiretapping them.  Most of us, it seems, are lucky if we're interesting enough that anyone wants to pay attention.

[Watch video – 3:32, WMV format, high bandwidth]

[Watch video – 3:32, WMV format, low bandwidth]

November 22, 2005

The Hills Are Aroused

Malbug_13KimcattrallWe interrupt this string of political tirades to talk about: the penis.

More precisely, we'll allow Kim Cattrall to do the talking.

The alter ego of sex-crazed Samantha Jones is the host of an HBO special called "Sexual Intelligence."  (Actually, it is called "Kim Cattrall Sexual Intelligence," but that is an even worse sentence fragment than the title I chose.  Cattrall is the host and exec producer, yet she chose not to put the title in possessive form, perhaps for fear of being mistaken as actually being "sexual intelligence."  Kind of like "Tobias Is Queen Mary."  But I digress.)

The first several minutes of this otherwise unremarkable show focus on your johnson, your piece of pork, your wife's best friend, and cetera.

Perhaps the most memorable scene (as flagged by Robbie) was when the camera swooped in on Cattrall on a hillside near Dorset, England, channeling Julie Andrews and dancing on a large and "eye-catching" 2,000-year-old artifact.

The MalcoVision clip is relatively safe for work, unless your priggish boss is put off by ancient hillside depictions of tumescence.  (Private to HBO: Screw your content protection!)

[Watch video – 2:12, WMV format, high bandwidth]

[Watch video – 2:12, WMV format, low bandwidth]

September 26, 2005

Quote of the Day

"Rita is supposed to make landfall in Texas, which is good for Barbara Bush because she can insult survivors closer to home."

— Bill Maher, HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher

September 07, 2005

No Joy in Red-ville


Redheads Two of my favorite TV redheads are having their swan songs this week, and I am pulling hard for both HBO to give "The Comeback" a second season and for Bravo to re-up "Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List."  (This post was originally much more downbeat because the Husband told me that he heard HBO would not renew "The Comeback," but I haven't yet been able to verify that anywhere with a Google search.)

Let's start with Valerie Cherish: I know it has been somewhat fashionable to bash HBO's quirky quasi-reality-cum-sitcom experiment, which ended season one on Sunday.  I have even participated a little myself.  But if you tuned out mid-season, then you missed the maturing of a show that showed nascent signs of great potential and depth.  (I found other critics who have written very similar things after I wrote this line.)

I'll readily concede that "The Comeback" is no "Sex and the City," even though SATC's exec producer, Michael Patrick King, also helped give life to Valerie Cherish.  Then again, if you watched the first season of "Sex and the City, " it was no "Sex and the City," either.

But as the season progressed on "The Comeback," the plotlines became more nuanced and intricate, the situations more laugh-out-loud funny.  You could see them light a comedic fuse and walk away, and you wondered where and when the bomb would explode.  (Usually, it was in Valerie's face.  But in at least one delicious moment from the penultimate episode, the oleaginous Paulie G. was the target, doubtlessly to cheers in the living rooms where "The Comeback" was still being viewed.)

Characters took on more depth and pathos.  Lisa Kudrow began to exhibit more of the serious acting chops that have served her throughout a long and successful career.  Even the show-within-a-show's reality "producer," Jane, began to see Valerie as more than the one-dimensional, self-absorbed joke she started out as.

So if HBO really wants to give this show the ax, can't they just add a couple of "bee-dee, bee-dee boys" to the cast and try again?

UPDATE: Check out the "six stages" of "The Comeback."  I've been there and back!

Malbug_13On the other hand, Bravo's actual reality series, starring Kathy Griffin, airs its season finale tonight.  Like Valerie Cherish, Griffin produces a lot of uncomfortable shifting in your chair.  But unlike Cherish, Griffin is well aware that she is the butt of the joke, a position she relishes and plays to the hilt.  And for a woman who has had countless cosmetic procedures, she remarkably lacks vanity, even when her hair is pulled back during a workout and the camera is trained on her enormous forehead.

Even though I liked "D-List" more than "The Comeback" at the outset, this show also grew on me as time went on.  Initially, I found myself hoping for more of Griffin's icy and incisive standup routines than was offered, but I got sucked deeper and deeper into her world of freeloadery and penny-ante charity events.

I would love to watch where Griffin goes next, especially as she attempts to deal with the step upward in the alphabet that the series is bound to give this D-lister.

In a related bit of synchronicity, Griffin is auctioning off a chance to see Kelly Clarkson perform live in Las Vegas with her and "her gays" to benefit Hurricane Katrina relief.  [eBay link]  I'll go in on a bid (with a bunch of other people, seeing as how it was well over $5,000 at this writing), but only if Griffin promises a lot of jokes at the expense of a certain Clarkson compatriot.

[HT: Andy]

August 22, 2005

The Hollywood Minute


Ruth and Brenda: One of my favorite scenes from last night

First, a thought about movies, and then a little more about the Six Feet Under swan-song:

This weekend we had a choice between The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Broken Flowers, and decided to see the latter.  To paraphrase the Knight Templar from the third "Indiana Jones" movie, we chose ... poorly.

Bill Murray is a good actor and has rightly enjoyed a late-career renaissance, but anyone expecting something along the lines of Lost in Translation or Rushmore will be bitterly disappointed.

OK, some random and potentially spoiler-ish things about Six Feet Under after the jump.  (You have been warned.)

Continue reading "The Hollywood Minute" »

August 18, 2005

"Extras" Gets Extras Before Firsts

Rickygervais Malbug_13Fans of Ricky Gervais' unctuous boss on The Office should be pleased that HBO has taken the rare step of picking up a second season of Gervais' much-hyped Extras before it has even debuted.  No sophomore slump for the Brit, whose new project is drawing raves on the other side of the pond.

Let's hope Gervais and Extras give HBO the creative spark it has been lacking recently.

The show premieres in the U.S. on Sept. 25.