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Archive for July, 2006

Heading for Compass.

Chris Weitz’s film version of The Golden Compass closes in on its Mrs. Coulter: Nicole Kidman.

Ye men of blood.

Online of late is the new trailer for Martin Scorsese’s The Departed (a.k.a. the remake of Infernal Affairs, with Tony Leung and Andy Lau), starring Leonardo diCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, and Alec Baldwin. I liked the original quite a bit, but I get the sense from this preview that this version may be marred somewhat by the usual late-era Nicholson grandstanding.

Dream a little Dream.

“‘The Republicans say the economy is great for everyone,’ Clinton said. ‘They’ve done nothing about these costs that are eating away at the paychecks of hard-working Americans. Democrats will work to get health-care costs down, to get college tuitions under control, to address the rising costs of gas prices, to cut middle-class taxes and reward companies that create jobs here at home.‘” With November in the not-too-distant future (and 2008 only a step beyond), Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton announces the American Dream Initiative, a.k.a. the DLC centrists’ stab at a Contract with America-type campaign agenda: “The centerpiece proposal would provide additional support for college costs, with the goal of increasing the number of college graduates by 1 million a year by 2015…Other ideas include requirements for employers to establish retirement accounts for all workers and a refundable tax credit for savers; ‘baby bonds’ that would create a government-funded savings account of $500 for every child born in the United States; a refundable tax credit to help provide the down payment on housing; universal health care for children; and benefits for small businesses to lower the cost of providing health insurance to workers.” This all sounds good, if a bit classically Clintonesque. OK, the name is goofy (as was Hillary’s “It’s the American Dream, stupid.“), and IMHO there needs to be more here regarding both campaign finance and lobbying reform. But, still, there’s very little of the usual protective camouflage-y cruft that usually accompanies anything put out by the DLC, so that’s a good start. Let’s see where it goes.

What happens in Vegas | Nothing could be finer.

Ethanol and granite, meet poker and palmettos. After months of wrangling, the Dems announce that Nevada and South Carolina will be pushed forward into Iowa/New Hampshire territory come the 2008 primaries. “Harold Ickes — a committee member and confidante of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y., a potential 2008 candidate — spoke in opposition to a Palmetto State primary out of concern that it would be a walkover for former senator John Edwards (N.C.) should he choose to run.” (Interestingly enough, this article also notes that Rep. Jim Clyburn, the congressman from my hometown of Florence, SC, is now the third-ranking Dem in the House. Nicely done.)

The Round Mound is Sound.

“The word conservative means discriminatory practically. It’s a form of political discrimination. What do the Republicans run on? Against gay marriage and for a war that makes no sense. A war that was based on faulty intelligence. That’s all they ever talk about. That and immigration. Another discriminatory argument for political gain.” Basketball legend Charles Barkley sets the story straight about his political affiliation: “I was a Republican – until they lost their minds.” (Via Now This.)

Comic, Comic, Comic, Comic, Comic, Chameleon.

As most of y’all likely already know, this past weekend was Comic-Con 2006 in San Diego, which means an exceedingly large amount of news in the fanboy department. To wit:

  • Regarding perhaps the most anticipated comic-to-film property nearing post-production, Sam Raimi’s Spiderman 3, the attending panel offered a number of new shots of the main characters, including an iconic poster of Thomas Haden Church as the Sandman and — at right — That 70s Show‘s Topher Grace, a.k.a. Venom, having a painful-looking first run-in with the black suit/symbiote.

  • Also in Marvel’s wheelhouse, Jon Favreau premiered the teaser poster for his take on Iron Man, and confirmed the villain of his film, the Mandarin.

  • In other Marvel news, Louis Leterrier’s Incredible Hulk has picked a villain, too, that being the Abomination.

  • On the DC side, Bryan Singer is looking to revisit Superman in 2009, even though the jury’s still out on Superman Returns.

  • The inimitable Peter Jackson, via remote (and still not making The Hobbit) showed off a scene from his extended DVD version of King Kong (my love of the extended LotR versions notwithstanding, count me among those who thought Kong needed tightening more than anything else.)

  • Not Comic-Con news, per se, but worth mentioning here: Former Jedi Samuel Jackson and Hayden Christensen may reunite for the film version of Steven Gould’s Jumper, a surprisingly solid little take on the hoary old teleportation meme, to be directed by Doug Liman of Swingers and The Bourne Identity.
  • J.J. Abrams of Lost, Alias, and M:I:III brought along a teaser poster for his Trek reboot, which, word has it, puts young Kirk (Matt Damon?) and Spock back at Starfleet Academy.

  • In other sci-fi television news, J. Michael Straczynski announced he’ll be revisiting the world of Babylon 5, albeit in straight-to-video spinoffs.

  • Also regarding sci-fi on the telly, Battlestar Galactica‘s Ron Moore showed up to kick some more k-nowledge about BSG Season 3, due in October (which complement the recent spoilers here.)

  • And lots of other news, including Kurt Russell in Quentin Tarantino’s half of Grindhouse, a look at Zack Snyder’s 300, talk of the Star Wars spinoffs, teaser posters for Michael Bay’s Transformers, and descriptions of clips from Neil Gaiman/Matthew Vaughn’s Stardust. Yep, Comic-Con seems like good fun…perhaps I’ll make it out someday.
  • He is Legend.

    “When you thought it had to be over, that your nerves couldn’t stand any more, that was when Matheson turned on the afterburners. He wouldn’t quit. He was relentless. The baroque intonations of Lovecraft, the perfervid prose of the pulps, the sexual innuendoes, were all absent. You were faced with so much pure drive that only rereadings showed Matheson’s wit, cleverness, and control.” By way of Ed Rants, Stephen King pays tribute to Richard Matheson’s I am Legend, soon to be a Will Smith/Johnny Depp movie near you.

    A gal walks into a bar…

    Best of luck to all the local folks sitting down for the first installment of the 2-day New York Bar exam this morning (including one of my favorite people these days.) While I’m loath to concur with anybody from the von Mises Institute, I’ve always been inclined to agree with this article, which points out that, much like the AMA over on the doctor side, the primary purpose of bar organizations ever since the progressive era has been to create arbitrary barriers to entry and thus raise the salaries of practicing lawyers, to say nothing of the cost of both law school and legal services. Having now witnessed the bar-prep experience from some remove, I have to say that my suspicions about the somewhat shady nature of the whole enterprise have been sharpened, what with the seeming Bar/Bri monopoly on prep courses and what appears to be the test’s extreme emphasis on rinkydink legal minutiae that could very easily be looked up when (or if, so much of it being archaic and obsolete — dueling, anyone?) it ever became necessary. All that being said, the bar is obviously aptly named, so here’s hoping any and all GitM readers/lawyers-to-be in the NY area hurdle it with maximum dexterity and minimum fuss over the next two days. 🙂

    Res ipsa loquitur.

    This report raises serious concerns crucial to the survival of our democracy…If left unchecked, the president’s practice does grave harm to the separation of powers doctrine, and the system of checks and balances that have sustained our democracy for more than two centuries.” Then, again, I could be sold on the merits of bar associations…if they continue to call out Dubya for trampling on our Constitution.

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