Pitt has recently rendered himself immune to criticism since the press and
the paparazzi lap up his marriage to sexy philanthropist Angelina Jolie
(and the adoption of her many children, the protective attention he
shows her as she carries their still-to-come twins) and his efforts in
reconstructing New Orleans.
Even when we zoom out of his personal life (fancy that) and take a look
at his career, he has a long line of interesting and intelligent roles
played with talent. He appears on talk shows alerting viewers that
something can be done to right the wrongs of the world, shaking his
head at what the world has come to. It wouldn't shock me if I saw an OK! Magazine headline
claiming he sprouted wings. As we continuously inflate our good-hearted
celebrities however, we may take it bit too far and forget the degree
to which we might fuel their existing narcissism.
I began to worry about Brad Pitt when at "Her Majesty's Stand Up: Comedy that Will Colonize Your Face" a show at the Magnet Theater in Chelsea where up and coming artists like the acclaimed John Mulaney of VH1's Best Week Ever and Joe Mande recent voted one of the 100 Jews to Watch by Heeb magazine
shared some laughs and occasionally picked on Hollywood's bigger heads.
One particularly funny nugget snagged my attention, because I wasn't
quite sure whether it was actually a joke. Brad Pitt, claimed one
comedian, may star in a film where he plays a struggling actor named
Chad Schmidt, whose striking resemblance with rising star actor Brad
Pitt relegates him to look-alike status. Pitt stars as the blatantly
rhymed Chad Schmidt and Brad Pitt...
live in the age of superheroes and tech-obsession, with comic-book
inspired flicks hitting the box office back to back. Today, we've gone
much further than the Batmobile with funky controls. In the tradition
of The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman,
whose bodies were miraculously healed and enhanced into super-human
machines after their near-fatal accidents, Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man
made headlines as Howard Stark of Stark Enterprises, the genius
inventor who aims to save the world wearing a suit of power armor with
a glowing heart after a traumatic incident that left him in need of a
A seemingly bottomless bank account and the brains to be rated one of
the top 10 most intelligent fictional characters in American comics by Businessweek
make all this seamlessly possible, but root such stories firmly in the
world of fantasy. With our growing technological capacities however,
our fascination and excitement over superhuman capacity may be quickly
crossing the line from fiction into fact.
One may look no further than Japan to see the
shocking materialization of what may be our lofty scientific ambitions—or our worst fears. For some time, highly unlikely—but nonetheless
interesting—inventions like the terrorizing Land Walker robot in
2006 were the only significant developments we heard of. Since then the
Japanese government has put pressure on companies to make robotics a
primary focus of development, resulting in the Honda Motor Company’s
demonstration late last year of the Asimo Bots...
New on the menu this summer – wait for it – is yet another reality TV
show about young hot drama-riddled scenesters cruising around LA. But
this time, they're lesbians. In an effort to expand on gay culture's
long overdue explosion into the mainstream media, MTV and Logo came
together to piggy-back off the success of shows like The L Word and Queer as Folk and are offering the world a picture of the "real" West Hollywood lesbian club scene, Gimme Sugar.
The premise: Five culturally diverse club-hopping girls in their
twenties, struggling with their relationships and the desire to start
their own Saturday night gay club, which, after much strenuous thought,
they call Sugar.
The show is shot, edited and narrated following the MTV Real World
template. The theme song could have easily been written by Cleopatra
(Comin' Atcha!). The central conflict of the show occurs when Alex, an
almost 21-year-old bisexual, throws a monumental hissy fit after being
carded at the The Truck Stop, the local lesbian hot spot, where the
narrator Charlene works as a promoter. Furious, she insists that they
start their own club. Circuitous arguments ensue, interrupting their
perpetual partying. The girls cruise from one chic, expensive location
to another to heatedly discuss the non-issue dramas that inexplicably
devour their lives (there are repeated conversations about whether or
not the name "Sugar" is sexy, or sounds forbidden to non-dieters). And
yet we never see them show any concern for going to work.
Charlene, the number one MC on the club scene is shown MCing for a
matter of seconds, but her job seems to consist mostly of sitting on
couches sipping drinks with her girls. Devonee, the aggressive jock
player of the bunch, is a babysitter. Alex the youngster is a stand-up
comedian. It doesn't matter. In the Garden of Eden that is West
Hollywood, sex, love, money and hotties are in constant supply. In
fact, the transitions between one event and another often consist of a
noisy pan across the asses of booze-drenched bar top go-go dancers
gyrating ala Coyote Ugly. During a random beach volleyball game, scenes
of the girls bumping chests in bikinis inexplicably go into slow motion
to showcase their tan slick sandy bods...
I usually look forward to movie trailers, and a new flick from Mike Myers' would generally spark my curiosity. Wayne's World will
always be a childhood favorite, and I was greatly entertained and
impressed with Myers' versatility in all the Austin Powers' movies,
despite having some trouble with his degree of grossout humor. As a fan
of non-PC humor, I have to give the man props for his extraordinary
capacity for offensive silliness.
This time however, the look on my face as the trailer for The Love Guru
came on was obvious enough for my friend Jon to lean over and whisper,
"I'm sorry, we Americans are crude and ignorant." I'm not sure whether
my South Asian ethnicity lies at the root of my disgust. I love
Brown-bashing stand-up ala Russel Peters, and am a huge (though guilty) fan of Apu Nahasaplemapetilon Jr.,
the owner of the Kwik-e-Mart on The Simpsons with the accurately
horrific accent. I can take a little South Asian bashing. This,
however, stepped over some invisible line that I didn't even know
Mike Myers plays Guru Pitka, an American boy abandoned by missionaries
in a rural town in India and raised by a guru. Myers is dressed in a
bright orange Hare Krishna-esque robe and
sports long hippie-hair, a Jesus beard and a wreath of marigolds as he
travels to America to be the next big thing. He begins by distributing
nuggets of sexual genius that make an Italian-American Justin
Timberlake gyrate luridly in boxer-briefs and a mullet.
Pitka gives an emptily gazing Jessica Alba (isn't she always?) nuggets
of philosophy from the wall of a truck stop bathroom (because there are
lots of gas station delis off the highways of rural India carrying
coffee and Pop 'Ems) to the sounds of a classical sitar riff. Oh, and
he makes his way around the U.S on a flamboyantly decorated elephant.
'Cause you know, that's how Indians roll.
I know better than to expect accuracy and cultural sensitivity from a
Mike Myers movie, but I expected a little more courage. Not only is the
film essentially a repeat of Daisy von Scherler's 2002 romantic comedy The Guru,
in which Jimmy Mistry plays an Indian dance instructor who comes to the
U.S. and manipulates New Age fads and the marketability of cultural
exoticism to become a famous phony sex guru, but it falls short of it...
We walked into the theater to the faint smell of weed trailing behind a
group of middle school girls with glasses and dyed black hair,
bright-eyed and chattering, clutching Celtic crosses around their
necks. Packs of boys in skull caps carrying enormous buckets of pop
corn shoved each other around and yelled at the screen to begin. The
theater was flooded. The silly, giggly anticipation was palpable
through out the theater. When the screen crashed to reveal a Windows
desktop background, someone yelled, "What is this, a fan sub?" to
sniggering around the room. Strangers discussed their expectations as
if with old friends. Not a single person over 40 and every nationality
possible, this room at Regal Cinemas Union Square Stadium 14 felt like
a gathering in someone's living room. I sat between two of my best
friends and former roomies, one of whom was leaving the city the next
morning. This (in a small, almost secretive way) was the culmination of
our year. After endless graduation and farewell parties, countless
dollars spent on beer and vodka shots, we escaped to watch the
long-awaited finale to a semester-long hobby.
This was Viz Entertainment and Fathom Features' special two-night screening of the live action feature of Death Note,
a popular anime and manga written and illustrated by Tsugumi Ohba and
Takeshi Obata, recently adapted by Shusuke Kaneko. The story of the
anime, in short, is that of a brilliant but bored young man named
Light, who uses a Death Note; a notebook belonging to a death god, or shinigami,
that comes with a number of rules, the most important of which is that
if anyone's name is written in the death note, the person will die. The
anime is an exhilarating battle of unparalleled intellect and moral
ambition, serious and grizzly as often as it is goofy and purely
entertaining, with a startlingly acute understanding and exploration of
human psychology and sociology, and the question of justice.
My roomies and I had been watching the anime together for months,
imitating characters in our regular conversations, drawing comparisons
for any of our moral dilemmas...