October 29, 2010

Toy Story As A Horror Movie

Ever since the "Scary Mary" re-cut of Mary Poppins was put up on YouTube, the trend of re-cutting and genre-swapping movie trailers has grown.  One of my favorites, which is perfect for Halloween, is a repurposing of TOY STORY as a scary horror movie.  Enjoy and have a Happy Halloween! :)

October 28, 2010

The Return Of My WTC View

I used to have a beautiful view of the World Trade Center from my apartment in the Village. In fact, I wrote a play about it which then became a film called WTC VIEW.  Looking down my street, the twin towers stood almost directly at the end of it roughly 20 blocks away...a landmark that I still miss. The original towers were slightly to the left in this picture, the north tower rising behind WTC 7 (the tallest building in the background) and the South tower rising over the building to the left of that with the water towers on top.

Yet recently, I noticed that looking down my street, the new One World Trade Center (formerly the Freedom Tower) is now visible.  You can see it in this photo, a small crane poking out the top of what is now roughly the 40th floor.  Eventually the building will have 105 floors with a building height matching the original WTC 1 and a massive 400-foot tower on top to reach it's symbolic height of 1,776 feet. Completion is scheduled in April '13.

October 27, 2010

Tron Sequel + Daft Punk = Hotness

This super cool mini-video was released this week to promote the Tron sequel, TRON: LEGACY.  Seminal French techno-geniuses Daft Punk have done the score for the reboot and, if this is any indication, it's gonna sound awesome.  It also looks totally hot too; the new light cycles are amazing, the glowing Frisbee things are bizarre and there's the neat trick of making Jeff Bridges look 20 years younger.  Not to mention the curious finger-light undressing of his son.  Hmmmm....

Of course, when a movie looks this cool the danger is that it might not make any sense.  We'll have to wait until December to find out for sure. But for now I am rating this TH for  "Total Hotness"!

October 26, 2010

Tracking Progress On The Second Avenue Subway

I was on the Upper East Side last week for a film shoot and got to see first hand all the construction happening on Second Ave for the new "T" line.  Its been in the news lately as merchants and residents have been complaining loudly about the noise and mess of construction and how it's been bad for business.  This weekend the MTA responded with an comprehensive new plan to address these concerns.  Over at the Launch Box blog, there is a summary of what's going on along with pictures of all the mess on the street.

Also on that blog, they've put together a great Google Map where you can follow the progress of the boring machine. The map also has pictures of the new station locations and some of the major construction sites, like the launch box itself where the tunnel boring machine took off from earlier this year. Currently, it's chewing its way through granite about 100 feet below 79th Street.  It has about 15 blocks to go before it will turn around and start boring it's way back up Second Ave next year.

October 25, 2010

Musical Mondays With President Barack Obama

I saw this posted up on FB yesterday...a clever Gilbert & Sullivan spoof song about President Obama.  The chorus bits are the best.  Maybe this sort of infotainment may help Barack and the Dems make their case for the midterms better than all those negative ads.

October 22, 2010

Do You Know What The Speed Limit Is In NYC?

That's okay...most people don't. I didn't know until yesterday that there was actually one speed limit for all of Manhattan and it's 30mph.  Of course, the majority of cars never get above 2mph, especially in midtown.  But after hours, I have been in cabs racing down deserted avenues at speeds closer to those found on I-95.

Last night, ABC-7 aired a story about a new police crackdown on speeding in the city.  Cops will be monitoring avenues throughout Manhattan with radar and slapping unsuspecting drivers with speeding tickets if they exceed the limit.

The impetus behind this is statistics that show a huge spike of pedestrian accidents in Manhattan as opposed to all the other boroughs.  But it seems to me like another semi-desperate way for the city government to raise money in tough economic times. I think there would be better ways to use the police than cracking down on late night cabbies. Besides, if they start obeying the speed limit, I might as well take the subway,which reaches a top speed of 65mph.

October 21, 2010

And The Emmy For Worst TV Re-Dubbing Goes To...

Ever wonder how some of the more, er, colorful language in movies translates to the more restrictive small screen? Well...sometimes it doesn't as this compilation shows to hilarious effect.  The best is last....a stranger in the Alps? Really!?

October 20, 2010

The Rent IS Too Damn High

A meme was born at Monday's wacky debate for New York Governor when Jimmy McMillan was introduced as the candidate from The Rent Is Too Damn High Party.  As Jimmy Kimmel said in his monologue last night, someone else may have been too high, namely Mr. McMillan himself who came across as loonier than Republican candidate Carl Palladino (who at one point left to stage to go to the bathroom....seriously).

I thought the idea of Jimmy as a candidate was pretty funny at first, especially with his weird beard and opening lines such as "as a karate master....".   But what is more disturbing is that Jimmy blames the high rent on "the Jews" and is well-known for his anti-Semitic rhetoric over the past 15 years.  Also, he was once arrested for climbing the Brooklyn Bridge brandishing a knife.  Not the most mentally stable political candidate. But, in this election season of witches and Nazis, not too unbelievable either.

But beyond all that, the reality is that his party does not really exist, except in his own head.  It is basically a website that is hard to figure out, other than the fact that you can order t-shirts with the "party's" name.  And even though I agree with the sentiment (as do most New Yorkers), voting for him will lower the rent in the same way voting for anyone will increase jobs. 

October 18, 2010

30 Rock Goes Live

Last Thursday, the cast and crew of the NBC sitcom 30 ROCK left the safe confines of their soundstage in Long Island City and crossed the East River to brave the dangers of live television from their namesake's home, 30 Rockefeller Plaza in Midtown.  For some cast members like Tina Fey and Tracey Morgan, it was a bit of a homecoming as they returned to Studio 8H where SNL is broadcast.  And for viewers like me, the show was a return to form and laugh-out-loud hilarity.

The premise of the show was pretty standard sitcom fare; everyone has forgotten Liz Lemon's birthday.  But doing it live made for a very meta experience, especially when they did Liz's flashbacks.  There are lots of jokes about live TV strewn throughout the episode and some great cameos from 30 ROCK semi-irregulars.  I won't name names as not to spoil the fun.

The show was actually done live twice, once for the East coast and once for the West. I caught the latter version so I'm not sure if it was better from having had a little live practice.  But it was truly funny and didn't seem to have any major gaffes, other than a couple lines that didn't trip off Alec Balwin's tounge. It made me sorta wish the show was live every week. It was the best 30 ROCK I'd seen in a while.

October 15, 2010

Meat Without Feet

I passed this van on my way to work this morning, laughed and had to take a photo.  Only in New York, kids.  Have a great weekend! :)

October 13, 2010

GLEE Gets Back On Track

After a weird and rocky start to their sophomore season, GLEE seemed to finally get back on track last night in Episode 4 with a simple storyline about a duet competition.  There were no celebrities, no weird trans-football coach and (surprise) no Sue Sylvester.  I have to say, I didn't miss her exit from this episode as she has lately been a cantankerous pain in the shows attempts to tell any kind of story.  There were also a couple brilliant numbers with Kurt; one where he did Julie Andrews and the other where did Judy Garland. It's Kurts Turn! ;)

What also got my interest up was a preview of an upcoming Rocky Horror themed episode of GLEE.  Now that looks fun!  And it would finally explain the bizarre casting of that  new kid "football player", who looks like an Abercrombie model.  In the Rocky episode, he's Rocky of course....and perfectly cast in that role.  Especially given the fact that he'll be shirtless for most of it.  Here's a clip of the preview coming in two weeks....damn those baseball playoffs!

October 12, 2010

The Shirtless YouTube Guy Calls His Mom

In a developing sub-genre of YouTube clips, the funny-shirtless-guy lip-synching-to-his-laptop is becoming a standard this year.  The lastest one that burst onto the scene last Friday with barely 20,000 hits has now broken the 3 million mark.

This cute guy's name is Craigery Morgan and he is clearly a talented mimic with an incredibly expressive face.  But if you want to see his true charm and talent, check out his latest video in which he calls his mom to tell her he has gone viral.  It's great to hear his own voice as he does Kristen Wiig and some characters from MAD TV.  (I've posted that video first and the original video below it.)

This guy is a 20 year old college student in Florida but he surely will be heading to New York or LA very, very soon.

October 11, 2010

Spies In Space


In the 1960's, there was a top secret US program to put spies in space.  These "astro-spies" were to live in a space station whose main purpose would be to take highly detailed photographs of the Soviet Union.  The government figured the best way to keep this program a secret was to hide it in plain sight and, in 1964, President Johnson announced the ambitious plans for a Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) in which astronauts would run "scientific experiments".  There was no mention of the massive camera the size of a Volkswagen that was the real reason for this whole operation.

I learned about all this last night on a rerun of a NOVA special called "Astro-Spies" on PBS.  The program began shortly after Gary Powers was shot out of the sky in his U-2 spy plane in 1960.  The Air Force realized that if they put their spy camera in space, no one could shoot it down.  The plan was so top secret that it was not revealed until the 1990's, when by chance someone found an old astronaut spacesuit with a name on it that was not on the official NASA list of astronauts.  

mol_patch.jpgWhile the US developed it's MOL program, Russia got wind of it and started their own spies in space plan, Almaz. While the MOL was cancelled in 1969 and never got off the ground, the Russian "lab" did make it into orbit with one crazy addition; it had a weapon attached to it to shoot other satellites or threats out of the sky.  The 23mm rapid fire cannon was fired once in a test but never at an actual target.

October 8, 2010

A Real Live Way Back Machine

If you want to have hours and hours of Internet fun, just check out this site....it's a virtual way-back machine on which you can travel a time line through the past of YouTube clips.  It's random, it's fun and it will have you procrastinating whatever you have to do.

October 7, 2010

A Fare Hike And A Metrocard Calculator

The MTA voted to hike fares on the subway and LIRR for the third time in 3 years.  Ouch.  The main pain will be felt by those with the monthly Metrocards which will jump 17% to 104 clams for an unlimited ride on trains and buses.  That card used to seem like a bargain.  The base fare will rise to $2.50 for single rides but multiple rides bought with a Metrocard will still have a volume discount.

In other fare news, a friend has pointed me in the direction of a useful little website which helps you figure out how to get full use of the money you put on your Metrocard. Figuring out those volume discounts can be a little complicated but this site makes it easy/breezy.  Worth checking out if you get annoyed, as I do, when you are left with random amounts on your card like 65 cents.

Only sixty years ago, 65 cents would have been worth 13 rides on the subway....now's it's less than a third of one.  

October 6, 2010

James Franco Makes A Beautiful Woman

There's a new movie out called HOWL in which James Franco plays Beat poet Allen Ginsburg.  Considering his past movie history of stoners and superhero villains I thought it might be a stretch but he's been getting great reviews.  But now comes his greatest role....as a woman.

Franco got all dragged up for the cover of the new Candy magazine, a new monthly devoted to all things trannie.  Who would have ever guessed James Franco, who is a very handsome man, would make such a striking woman.  He almost resembles one of those Robert Palmer chicks from that video.  But classier.

After studying fiction at Columbia, playing a nutty performance artist on GENERAL HOSPITAL, and even putting on his own art show, one wonders...is there anything James Franco can't do?

October 5, 2010

From Newburgh To Space And Back Again

A Brooklyn man and his two sons recently made a remarkable journey.  After weeks of building and testing, they drove up to Newburgh, NY and launched a spacecraft. It was essentially a weather ballon with a small insulated capsule attached to it that contained a Flip Cam and GPS locator.  The video below is testament to their remarkable feat.  It's also stunningly beautiful.

Homemade Spacecraft from Luke Geissbuhler on Vimeo.