Film

Summer of Same: June 2009

This month's "original" fare offers a take on a Sid and Marty Krofft classic, more battling seizure robots, and the retaking of '70s subway thriller. Everything old is new again.

Director: Brad Silberling Film: Land of the Lost Studio: Universal Pictures Cast: Will Ferrell, Anna Friel, Danny McBride, Jorma Taccone Website: http://www.landofthelost.net/ MPAA rating: PG-13 First date: 2009 US Release Date: 2009-06-05 (General release) Image: http://images.popmatters.com/blog_art/l/landofthelostposter.jpg

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5 June

Land of the Lost

It seems like one of the more incongruous pairings this popcorn season -- Will Ferrell and the psychedelic '60s kid vid imagination of Sid and Marty Krofft. While many would look at such a combination and say "makes sense", the truth is that many a Star Trek scribe found their way onto the set of the Saturday Morning sci-fi series about a family lost in prehistoric times. They took the storylines seriously, even if the special effects occasionally let them down. Now Ferrell steps in and brings his standard mischievous irony with him. How that will mesh with the Land of the Lost faithful is yet to be seen. Surely those expecting a CG enhanced experience will not be disappointed, but one imagines that this is the kind of high concept moviemaking that gives the term "reimagining" a bad name.

Land of the Lost

Director: Todd Phillips Film: The Hangover Studio: Warner Bros. Cast: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Heather Graham, Justin Bartha, Jeffrey Tambor Website: http://hangovermovie.warnerbros.com/ MPAA rating: R First date: 2009 US Release Date: 2009-06-05 (General release) Image: http://images.popmatters.com/blog_art/h/hangoverposter.jpg

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5 June

The Hangover

How can you tell when you have a sure-fire hit? When Tinsel Town plans on a sequel BEFORE your film hits theaters. That's the case with this latest bro-mance comedy, a film by Old School's Todd Phillips which follows the madcap adventures of a group of guys who spend one of those clichéd nights in the City of Sin, only to wake up the next morning surrounded by all manner of liquor-induced trouble. With a cast that includes Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and surreal comic sensation Zach Galifianakis, the ads promise a bad taste ride through the ritual of men being men. There's even a quick cameo by Mike Tyson (whose air drumming to Phil Collin's "In the Air Tonight" remains a trailer treat). Here's hoping that this film can tap into the still ample Apatow groove before that style of wit gets worn out and wasted.

The Hangover

Director: Donald Petrie Film: My Life in Ruins Studio: Fox Searchlight Cast: Nia Vardalos, Richard Dreyfuss, Alexis Georgoulis, Harland Williams Website: http://www.foxsearchlight.com/mylifeinruins/ MPAA rating: PG-13 First date: 2009 US Release Date: 2009-06-05 (General release) Image: http://images.popmatters.com/blog_art/m/mylifeinruinsposter.jpg

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5 June

My Life in Ruins

No, this is not the directorial debut of My Big Fat Greek Wedding's Nia Vardalos. That film is entitled I Hate Valentine's Day and is tentatively scheduled for later in July…maybe. Instead, this is a nominal RomCom from the director of cinematic stinkers as Turner and Hooch, Grumpy Old Men, and My Favorite Martian. Ew. Still, Donald Petrie has a reputation for bringing in modest moneymakers, and with a script by the Simpsons' Mike Reiss, this might have a chance.

My Life in Ruins

Director: Sam Mendes Film: Away We Go Studio: Focus Features Cast: John Krasinski, Maya Rudolph, Allison Janney, Jeff Daniels, Maggie Gyllenhaal MPAA rating: R First date: 2009 US Release Date: 2009-06-05 (General release) Image: http://images.popmatters.com/blog_art/a/awaywegoposter.jpg

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5 June

Away We Go

After his criminally overlooked masterpiece, Revolutionary Road, failed to ignite audiences during the 2008 Awards Season, Sam Mendes stepped back and decided to make a pure comedy for a change -- and he's brought along John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph along for the ride. This post-modern road movie, about a couple seeking the perfect place to raise their expectant family, is apparently testing through the roof. Here's hoping its success keeps the Mendes bashing at bay -- at least for a little while.

Away We Go

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Cover down, pray through: Bob Dylan's underrated, misunderstood "gospel years" are meticulously examined in this welcome new installment of his Bootleg series.

"How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?
How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the wilderness?"
-- Bob Dylan, "When He Returns," 1979

Bob Dylan's career has been full of unpredictable left turns that have left fans confused, enthralled, enraged – sometimes all at once. At the 1965 Newport Folk Festival – accompanied by a pickup band featuring Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper – he performed his first electric set, upsetting his folk base. His 1970 album Self Portrait is full of jazzy crooning and head-scratching covers. In 1978, his self-directed, four-hour film Renaldo and Clara was released, combining concert footage with surreal, often tedious dramatic scenes. Dylan seemed to thrive on testing the patience of his fans.

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TV

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

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The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

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Gallagher's work often suffers unfairly beside famous husband's Raymond Carver. The Man from Kinvara should permanently remedy this.

Many years ago—it had to be 1989—my sister and I attended a poetry reading given by Tess Gallagher at California State University, Northridge's Little Playhouse. We were students, new to California and poetry. My sister had a paperback copy of Raymond Carver's Cathedral, which we'd both read with youthful admiration. We knew vaguely that he'd died, but didn't really understand the full force of his fame or talent until we unwittingly went to see his widow read.

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If space is time—and space is literally time in the comics form—the world of the novel is a temporal cage. Manuele Fior pushes at the formal qualities of that cage to tell his story.

Manuele Fior's 5,000 Km Per Second was originally published in 2009 and, after winning the Angouléme and Lucca comics festivals awards in 2010 and 2011, was translated and published in English for the first time in 2016. As suggested by its title, the graphic novel explores the effects of distance across continents and decades. Its love triangle begins when the teenaged Piero and his best friend Nicola ogle Lucia as she moves into an apartment across the street and concludes 20 estranged years later on that same street. The intervening years include multiple heartbreaks and the one second phone delay Lucia in Norway and Piero in Egypt experience as they speak while 5,000 kilometers apart.

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