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Archive for July, 2008

On Tuesday news broke that condom purveyor Lifestyles had offered global tweeny-bopper sensation Miley Cyrus a $1 million dollar contract to endorse their product.  Nevermind that Cyrus has pledged a vow of abstinence until marriage, that the target demographic for her marketing behemoth alter-ego Hannah Montana is the 6-14 range, and that Cyrus herself is only 15!  And they say that the age of innocence is dead.

I recognize as much as anyone the need to ensure that teens understand the dangers of unprotected sex, but this latest play borders on the absurd.  It’s one thing to have “the talk” with your child as they enter adolescence and prepare to start dating; it’s another thing entirely to have to explain to a 9 year-old what Hannah means when she sings her latest bubblegum hit about “shielding your rocket.”

Thankfully, Cyrus and her handlers had the good sense to turn the offer down.  Judging by the Vanity Fair debacle and the risque pictures that keep finding their way to the internet it’s the only good sense exhibited by anyone in the Cyrus camp recently.  Still, though the wholesome image Cyrus trades on is cast into sharper relief by the media frenzy surrounding her behavior, it’s nice to see a recognition that some things are more important than money . . . even if the decision is motivated more by the desire to protect a flagging reputation than to protect America’s youth.

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Good Knight

Thank goodness for Joel Schumacher.  If 1997’s Batman and Robin had never been unleashed upon the world and summarily eviscerated by every critic this side of Gotham, someone else might have taken over the reigns of the ham-fisted series that Burton begat and continued churning out similar tripe for years to come.  Instead, Schumacher’s putrid mess of a film left audiences running for the exits and paved the way for director Chris Nolan’s 2005 series reboot, Batman Begins

At the risk of sounding like a sycophant, I’ll come clean: I was a huge fan of Batman Begins.  The film was a bit heavy on exposition and light on action, but it was an intelligent and complex take which gave Batman and Bruce Wayne some much deserved depth.  Eschewing comic-book convention and the camp leanings that have long characterized the franchise, Nolan’s interpretation re-invented the Batman mythos while maintaining proper reverence for the source material.  Consequently there’s no movie I’ve looked forward to more over the past year than his follow-up, The Dark Knight

As a group of us walked out of the Citywalk IMAX at 1:30 on Tuesday morning, every ounce of enthusiasm and energy drained by the two hour wait for seats and the 152-minute rush of sheer adrenaline that followed, a friend remarked in atypically stoic fashion that she was “satisfied” with the movie.  Satisfied?  The Dark Knight has so galvanized critical and public consensus that, with $158 million in box office, it boasts the biggest opening weekend ever and is currently the #1 rated movie of all time according to IMDB.com (take that, Godfather!).  Satisfied!?!  Surely, I thought, she could be more effusive with her praise.  But the more I considered it, given the hype surrounding the film and our impossibly high expectations going in, I realized that I too was “satisfied” and I believe that satisfaction speaks volumes.  Nolan takes The Dark Knight further than its predecessor in almost every respect, ratcheting up the action and emotional ante to epic proportions while still delivering the intellectually rewarding experience that has characterized his work to date.  The Dark Knight is not without its flaws (chiefly it’s a bit overlong), but it is a very good film, and as a comic book movie it’s transcendent entertainment.

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