This is a fantastic documentary about the famous comedienne, who, at the age of 75, is still going strong. Being the youthful tot that I am, I only knew Joan Rivers as an uninteresting talk show host and a really awkward commentator on Oscar night, it’s incredible to see her open up into an incredibly funny, driven, abrasive personality. In the course of the film we see her put on a play, compete on “Celebrity Apprentice”, publish her new book, and continually complain about her lack of work. It’s inspiring to see her drive, and uplifting at the end.
And also, she’s really hilarious.
The documentary is available on Netflix Instant Streaming.
This is probably my favorite new album of 2011. The music is like a laid back, island Daft Punk. Its perfect pop and super infectious, with the just the right dashes of cool and dark to make you feel like a superstar as your rock back and forth to the beat. My favorite song by far is Neu Chicago, possibly the slickest track that’s ever glid through my ears.
The album was originally released on cassette(!), and later vinyl– but you can download it from the link above. That will take you to the free version– the A and B sides of the tape, mixed together into two MP3 files. This is not a bad way to hear these songs, and they’re well worth the download. For $5, you can get the full album, with all the songs separated and in higher quality.
This is fantastic music, and more than worth the tiny amount being charged. No matter what, you should hear this. And now you can.
There’s a twofold purpose to You Should Watch This. One is to draw attention to films and shows you might not know exist, and link you to it so you don’t have to hunt it down. The other is to draw attention to shows you might already know about, but didn’t know they were available online.
Rocky and Bullwinkle are about as iconic as cartoon characters can get, and even if they haven’t been on TV in a couple decades (save rerun networks), the sheer quality of the original shows still holds up. Sure, the actual animation on the cartoons is… nonexistant. That doesn’t matter. If there ever was a show that proved good writing can make up for bad visuals, it’s Rocky and Bullwinkle. Essentially, what you’re getting is one of the best radio shows ever written– not only funny at face value, filled with puns and gags, but also still remarkably sophisticated, heaped with satire on politics, human nature, and everything inbetween. I just found this on Instant Streaming, and within five minutes I was laughing out loud in a public workstation.
Each episode opens with another installment of the latest Rocky and Bullwinkle serial adventure, then two standalone cartoons (usually a Fractured Fairytale, Dudley Do-Right of the Mounties, or Peabody & Sherman), and finally another R&B installment, ending with a huge cliffhanger. What’s fantastic is that these serials can be tremendous– some only 8 episodes long, but the first stretches out to 40 episodes long!
The first two seasons are available for streaming on Instant Netflix– Season 1 clocks in at a standard 24 episodes; Season 2 at a staggering 52!. This makes for a great palate cleanser material or late night watching. And no matter what, every episode is going to be good.
There’re a lot of things you can talk about with Dolls– the crazy, charming 80′s practical effects; the cool fairytale vibe of the story; the surprising amount of fun that you’ll have watching this killer toy horror movie.
But I want to talk about Ralph.
See, the plot’s simple: Judy’s stuck with her uncaring father and her super-rich ice-bitch of a stepmother for the summer. One day, caught in a rainstorm, their car breaks down and the family scurries up to the spooky mansion up the hill for safety. Once they get there, they meet the kindly old toymaking couple that live there… with their creepy, did-they-just-move dolls.
And then Ralph, the single best horror movie character ever, comes in. Ralph got stuck in the storm too–and he picked up the couple of hitchhiking punks that Judy’s family tried to run over in the opening credits. Ralph is incredibly nice, more than a little bumbling, and a huge child at heart. He’s a little like if Rex from Toy Story was a person, really. And when the shit goes down…
Well, Ralph is probably the first person in a horror movie ever to want to *leave* when he realizes people are being *murdered*. When he sees blood, his first reaction is to *not go in the room with all the blood*. In every scene, his reaction is hilarious, touching and perfect. When you watch Dolls, you’re watching it for Ralph. And you really, really should.
Richard Feynman is probably one of the most interesting physicists of all time– and certainly, as these videos show, one of the most eloquent teachers as well. These are a series of clips featuring Feynman from his appearance on an old BBC show called “Fun to Imagine”– in which Feynman does just that. Using easy to understand mental images, he breaks down incredibly complex physical phenomina into entertaining and illuminating material. My favorite (of the many!) is part 4, in which he explains just how difficult it is to answer “Why”.
The top link goes to part one– the rest are available through branching links on the accompanying Youtube page.
Here’s the elevator pitch: It’s Takashi Miike’s live action family-friendly spy sitcom about a boy and his robot cellphone.
So it’s a little Ghost in the Shell, a little Max Headroom, a lot Alias and possibly of the the sweetest, coolest buddy cop shows I’ve ever seen. Keita’s family’s just moved to Tokyo, and he could care less. Everything he ever cared about is back home, including his best friend. One night, he gets up the nerve to run away and meet up with his pal at Mt. Fuji… but his plans are waylaid when a secret agent (!) and his walking cellphone partner (!!) smash up his bike and almost get him killed in the middle of their mission to stop a hacked construction robot (!!!) from going on a rampage! The secret agent is incapacitated, and Keita must team up with the Phone Braver infiltration unit Seven to save his life and the lives of others from the rogue cellphone, Zero-One.
What follows is one of the coolest shows I’ve ever seen. It definitely has its own style– but if you can get through the quirk, it’s a great ride. In particular, the relationship between Keita and Seven is super-strong, with both growing tremendously throughout the course of the series. Also, the special effects are not bad for a Japanese TV show, especially for a few years back.
…okay, there are also some other talking heads (including BSG’s Ron Moore and Neil Gaiman!), but Harlan Ellison by himself is so inherently amusing and enjoyable in his sheer curmudgeonliness, he supplies the entertainment almost single-handedly. Beyond that, the glimpse into the mind of someone so razor sharp, even at 80, so brilliant and yet so incredibly human and vulnerable is one that will, for a few moments, touch you deeply and profoundly. There are few films and fewer individuals who can be both utterly innocent and utterly profane in, if not the same moment, then just a blink between.
You guys might remember I posted a very impassioned thread about going out and watching this show. The big Marvel/Disney merger was going down, and while the show was doing well in its timeslot, it still needed just a little more oomph to prove to the executives that it should be saved.
Well, given that it got cancelled, I think its safe to say that nobody took me at my word. Which is to your detriment!
I stand by the statement that Spectacular Spider-Man is just as good as Avatar: The Last Airbender. The animation is fantastic and fluid; the voice cast is superb (Josh Keaton! Tricia Helfer! Peter Macnicol!), and the storytelling pulls no punches. Everything Spidey does comes at a cost somewhere down the road– Peter’s life sucks, and it’s all his fault. Not to say this is a grim show– far from it! Here’s Spider-Man as he should be- cracking jokes AND heads while he battles evil! However, the interpersonal relationships, the ethical dilemmas, and the wonderful character development all add a wonderful depth to this definitive Spider Man tale.
Oh! And look! The first season is all on Netflix Streaming! You have no excuses now.
Prime is the latest and greatest in the sprawling clusterfuck of the Transformers franchise. It theoretically takes place in the same continuity as the War for Cybertron game, which was fantastic, and is written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. You might remember these guys wrote the two live action movies, which are awful. However, they also wrote Star Trek, Alias, Fringe and the soon-to-be-released Cowboys and Aliens; so one might be able to discern that perhaps they were not being allowed full creative leverage on the TF movie project.
Prime gives the that leverage. The show is only 7 episodes in, and already it’s proven to be exciting, brutal, and mature in ways extended toy commercial shows shouldn’t be. The CG animation is fantastic, particularly in the action scenes, and the writing is superb. The first five episodes are all one miniseries; if nothing else, check those out. The series just started in earnest and is guaranteed to have another season; so its worth the investment.