Sunday, January 28, 2007

Movie Review - Pan's Labyrinth

Guillermo del Toro knows how to tell a real fairy tale! A fairy tale that isn't all princesses, princes, magical fairies and happy endings. It might have them, but the point that has been sanitized out of fairy tales over the last century or so is the fact that they were originally cautionary tales for children, handed down through generations of oral tradition to teach children what life is. And what is the one fact that children should learn as soon as possible? That life is nasty!

Laberinto del Fauno (titled Pan's Labyrinth here, though no mention is ever made to the faun in the film being Pan) is the story of Ofelia, a little girl forced to move with her pregnant mother to rural Spain to be near her stepfather, a Captain in the fascist army during the Spanish Civil War. As she experiences first hand the horrors of war and fascism, she enters an ancient maze and meets a faun who tells her she is a lost Princess of an underground kingdom and must pass three tests to claim her place there.

I will admit that I went into this film expecting a nice, children friendly movie, but del Toro pulls no punches when it comes to the war, a war he experienced as a child. It's hard sometimes to decide what was more important to the director; Ofelia's story, or whether that was just a backdrop to highlight all the more the cruelty and brutality of the war.

There are no Indiana Jones style comedy Nazis here; the fascists are truly evil and we see it. Both the violence (which is just graphic enough to prevent us from being able to ignoring it without ever being gratuitous) and the mindsets of the people involved. What is more disturbing that any of the on screen actions is the attitude of 'pull the ladder up jack, I'm alright' of those who find themselves in privileged positions. Ariadna Gil, as Ofelia's mother showcases this perfectly. She knows full well what Vidal thinks of her only as a vessel for him unborn son, and that he probably killed Ofelia's father, but she never seems to resent him. Neither does she ever seem to love him. What you get is more a kind of relief; she knows that as long as he has a use for her she and her daughter are safe. It's purely self-preservation, to know your place and survive, and that is more disturbing to me than anything else in the film.

Sometimes it's even almost as if Ofelia's quest is the subplot, as even fantastical tales of giant toads, fauns, a magical kingdom, the Pale Man (a horrific creature with it's eye in its hands) pale into insignificance when we're faced with the true life horrors that we see mankind inflict upon itself.

And that's one of the most interesting aspects of the story. Even as everything goes on around her, as the Civil War rages around her, her mothers life lies in Captain Vidal hands, what can the innocent do. Ofelia is not part of this world, she hasn't had a hand in creating it and she does not have a hand in affecting its outcome. The faun and his quests are, to her at least, far more important as they are something that she is involved in, that are about her.

On the technical side this is a beautifully crafted film. The cinematography and sets are wonderful, never once setting a difference between the real and the fantasy. Both aspects of the film seem just as important to del Toro, some directors would have favored one or the other sides of the story and that would have made the film unbalanced.

It's clearly influenced by many fairy tales, and a nice touch is, like many movie fairy tales, we never certain whether the fantasy is real. Is Ofelia really a lost princess from a magical kingdom, or are all her adventures and meetings purely from her imagination, one of the stories she tells to her unborn brother expanded to protect her from the nightmares of real life? What Guillermo del Toro has done with this film is to create a beautiful fairy tale masterpiece that harks back to the days when fairy tales were told around a fire to scare children, not read at bedtime to put them to sleep.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Could This Man Be Any Crazier?!?

Iran: Israel, US will soon die

Ahmadinejad: Be assured that the US and Israel will soon end lives
by: Yaakov Lappin

Israel and the United States will soon be destroyed, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tuesday during a meeting with Syria's foreign minister, the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) website said in a report.

"Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad… assured that the United States and the Zionist regime of Israel will soon come to the end of their lives," the Iranian president was quoted as saying.

"Sparking discord among Muslims, especially between the Shiites and Sunnis, is a plot hatched by the Zionists and the US for dominating regional nations and looting their resources," Ahmadinejad added, according to the report.

The Iranian president also directly tied events in Lebanon to a wider plan aimed at Israel's destruction. He called on "regional countries" to "support the Islamic resistance of the Lebanese people and strive to enhance solidarity and unity among the different Palestinian groups in a bid to pave the ground for the undermining of the Zionist regime whose demise is, of course, imminent."

Ahmadinejad has threatened the State of Israel with annihilation several times in recent months, and has recently added the US and Britain to the list of countries he says will be destroyed.

Syria's Foreign Minister, Wailed Mualem, accused the US of attempting to carry out a "massacre of Muslims" and of sowing "discord among Islamic faiths in the region."

Mualem called on "regional states to pave the ground for the establishment of peace and tranquillity… while preventing further genocide of the Muslims," the IRIB website said.

All I can say is that this new Hitler needs to take some crazy pills. I love where he is quoted in saying that sparking discord among Muslims is US and Zionist plot. Well I guess I need to start looking for a nice little place somewhere in Canada. Somebody please take this little bitch out.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

"I Smell Like Popeye's and Broken Dreams Y'all!"

Poor Beyonce, she didn't win her Golden Globe.
Can we all say... OVERRATED!?!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Definition of Cool

This post is dedicated to my fellow bloggers Daine and LA. Hope you ladies enjoy!

* It says "Dying to Come Out" underneath Jake... Thoughts?

If a person were to look up the definition of the word cool in the dictionary, one would find these four pictures of Jake Gyllenhaal.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

I Am Going to Have to Cut A Bitch - UPDATED

LOS ANGELES (January 16, 2007) – "Grey's Anatomy" star Katherine Heigl is taking a stand against her "Grey's" co-star Isaiah Washington after he used a homophobic slur in the Golden Globes press room on Monday night.

"I am not okay with it," Heigl told Access Hollywood's Shaun Robinson, referring to Washington's remarks.

In the Globes press room on Monday, Washington tried to set the record straight in regards to reports in October of an on-set incident that resulted from the alleged use of a homophobic slur toward co-star T.R. Knight.

After a reporter questioned the validity of the on-set incident, Washington denied his involvement saying, "No, I did not call T.R. a faggot. Never happened, never happened."

In response to Washington's use of the slur when addressing the situation last night, Heigl spoke out.

"I'm going to be really honest right now, he needs to just not speak in public. Period. I'm sorry, that did not need to be said, I'm not okay with it," Katherine told Shaun.

When asked if she thought it was just an off-the-cuff remark, Heigl added, "I have no idea what it was, I just find it hurtful…I just feel like this is something that should be very much in house we need to deal with and it's among us and the cast and crew and among Shonda [Rimes, show creator] and the producers."

Heigl said that she hoped they work the situation out, making her loyalty to Knight, who plays Dr. George O'Malley on the hit show, clear.

"I don't think [Washington] means it the way he comes off…But, T.R. is my best friend. I will throw down for that kid. I will beat you up. I will use every ounce of energy I have to take you down if you hurt his feelings," she said.

When asked if she thought Knight was hurt by Washington's comments she added, "I don't see how you could not be under those circumstances. Drawing attention to it and saying the word again is just unnecessary."

After making his comments in the press room, Washington came straight to Access Hollywood's Billy Bush and Nancy O'Dell to explain.

"There is no way I could do anything so vile, and so horrible, not only to a castmate, but to a fellow human being," he insisted.

When asked what spurred his comments on the October incident Washington told Bush, "It's the truth. It did not happen. I was going to hire some other great shiny publicist, but you know what, God laid it on my heart to say it because it was so close. The reports were all wrong. It did not happen. I'm very disappointed that the New York Post actually wrote legitimately about something that was put in a tabloid about some angry person to get some validity to this, and then it just rippled."

Washington also said that he and co-star Patrick Dempsey have moved beyond the October incident.

"I kiss Patrick Dempsey. We sing 'Ebony and Ivory' everyday since the so-called incident and it hasn't come up. We purposely sing 'Ebony and Ivory' every night since October 9 and nobody has written about it," he added.

I swear he needs to shut his big mouth! Every time he opens it he sticks his foot in and starts choking. I freakin love Katherine Heigl and am impressed that she spoke publicly on the matter at hand. Katherine is hardcore, speaking of beatdowns and what not. I swear do I have to fly down to LA, go to the Grey's Anatomy set and help Katherine beat the shit out of Mr. Washington? I think it might just happen. Nobody fucks with T.R., nobody!

Ellen Interview from Jan. 17, 2007

Monday, January 15, 2007

25 Most Played Songs on Ryan's iPod

After reading a couple of fellow blogger's Top 25 Most Played Songs I began scroll through my own Top 25 List.
Though these are the most played on my iPod, most are not my favorite songs. This is due to the fact that most of these songs are on my gym playlist. I typically listen to all of these songs while I work out, thus that is why they are the most played. Hope you enjoy my list. Please keep your laughter to a minimum.

1) Everything to Me - Liz Phair
2) Don't Forget Me - Way Out West
3) We'll Be Burnin' - Sean Paul
4) 1, 2 Step - Ciara Feat. Missy Elliott
5) Delicious Surprise (I Believe It) - Jo Dee Messina
6) I Don't Paint Myself Into Corners - Trisha Yearwood
7) Why Do You Love Me - Garbage
8) Lose Control - Missy Elliott
9) Right Between the Eyes - Garbage
10) Memorized - Rebecca Lynn Howard
11) Sexy/Back - Justin Timberlake
12) Parade - Garbage
13) Missing (CL McSpadden Powerhouse Remix) - Everything But the Girl
14) Push It (Victor Calderone Mix) - Garbage
15) Boys Just Want to Fight - Garbage
16) You Win My Love - Shania Twain
17) Must Be Dreaming - Frou Frou
18) Lean Back - Terror Squad
19) Run Baby Run - Garbage
20) Bleed Like Me (Eric Kupper Klub Mix) - Garbage
21) Since You've Been Gone - Kelly Clarkson
22) When I Grow Up - Garbage
23) Buttons - Pussycat Dolls feat. Big Snoop Dog
24) Beautiful Goodbye - Jennifer Hanson
25) New Day - Kate Havnevik

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Super Sex Show - UPDATED

Some things are just too hard to explain - you either get it, or you don't. Like, just exactly how is it that a skinny white guy from Memphis manages to out sing, out dance and just about out cool almost everybody on the planet? By all logical accounts, Justin Timberlake - a boy-band alum who still performs choreographed dance moves and sings more than his fair share of hackneyed lyrics - should be little more than a guilty pleasure. Lucky for Timberlake, I get it.

More specifically, 17,000-plus screaming fans totally got it when the 25-year-old pop star heated up Arco Arena on an icy Friday night with his FutureSex/LoveShow tour.

Pink opened the show with a boring and annoying 45-minute set that included hits such as "Just Like a Pill," "Get the Party Started" and "Stupid Girls." Such a boring closet lezbot. But it was Timberlake's night, and the singer staked his claim by using every inch of the gigantic "in the round" stage for a two-hour set that featured 10 back-up dancers, a 14-piece band and a guest appearance by mega-producer Timbaland.

Dressed in a natty gray suit (that eventually gave way to a more relaxed vest-and-sneakers ensemble), Timberlake shook, shimmied and sang, eliciting eardrum-piercing shrieks with every well-timed hip thrust or carefully calculated tip of the fedora. (Insert your own "SexyBack" quip here.)Timberlake opened with the title track from his double platinum "FutureSex/LoveSounds" album. The intoxicating herky-jerky dance track set the pace for the show's overall feel: frenetic, sexy and, for the most part, expertly calibrated.

The high points were many: Slinky, soulful renditions of "Damn Girl" and "Rock Your Body" evoked memories of a young Michael Jackson. A rocking version of "Cry Me a River" morphed the song from a revenge therapy ballad into a body-shaking thumper. Timberlake did let his feet rest several times, settling in at a keyboard for ballads such as "Until the End of Time" and a breezy rendition of "Senorita." The latter, with it's '70s blue-eyed soul vibe was - dare we say it? - very Doobie Brothers. But in a good way. Timberlake also plucked away at an acoustic guitar on a couple of tracks - who knew? - and demonstrated his love the piano.

There were a few lows. "Losing My Way," a first-person narrative about a broken-down ne'er-do-well, is already one of Timberlake's lesser moments - we're supposed to believe he's singing about himself? As if. Live, the song took on an even bigger sense of inauthenticity and disconnect thanks to the video images of a choir and orchestra superimposed on the video screens. JT, we're paying big money to watch you put on a major pop show - spring for the extra in-the-flesh players.

And, as much as we love right-hand man Timbaland, the producer's 15-minute DJ set seemed to stretch like a heavenly eternity. I personally dug it, but the audience around me were not feelin' it. Finally, if you pay really close attention, stripping away at the layers of bouncy hooks and Timberlake's charisma, you're often just left with trite lyrics and music that relies heavily on precision-cut choreography to make its point.

But, you know, whatever.

Because sometimes the whole of one's cool is greater than the sum of any cheesy parts. When Timberlake launched into an extended, dance-tastic remix of "SexyBack," the result was, as the kids say, off the hook. Best of all, this generation's King of Pop - smiling and clearly basking in the glow of such frenzied adoration - genuinely seemed to be enjoying himself. Sure, Timberlake probably says it to all the cities, but when he said, "I just might have to come back to Sacramento tomorrow night," we felt the love. And that's cool.

*Here is an 8:00 minute highlight video I just put together from my Canon SD Camera*

Friday, January 12, 2007

So Gay...

I mean come on... is a discussion really needed? Jake is such a homo.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Uno Day and Counting...

"you look so fine
i want to break your heart
and give you mine
you're taking me over

it's so insane
you've got me tethered and chained
i hear your name
and i'm falling over

i'm not like all the other girls
i can't take it like the other girls
i won't share it like the other girls
that you used to know

you look so fine

knocked down
cried out
been down just to find out
i'm through living for you

i'm open wide
i want to take you home
we're wasting time
you're the only one for me

you look so fine
i'm like the desert tonight
leave her behind
if you want to show me

i'm not like all the other girls
i won't take it like the other girls
i won't fake it like the other girls
that you used to know

you're taking me over
over and over
i'm falling over
over and over

loving me one more time
hide inside me tonight
do what you want to do
just pretend happy end
let me know let it show)
ending with letting go
let's pretend happy end"

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

2 Days and Counting...

* This started out as a good idea... now I am so over it.

"If we sleep together
Will you like me better
If we come together
We'll go down forever
If we sleep together
Will I like you better
If we come together
Prove it now or never"

I totally forgot in my previous posts to ask you all if you knew the titles of the songs that I have been posting over the past week. I would be impressed if you knew, without google searching the lyrics.

Note: None of the lyrics posted in my Countdown are Justin Timberlake/NSYNC songs.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

I Hear Wedding Bells In My Future

How compatible are you with Jake Gyllenhaal?

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3 Days and Counting...

"Come on come on
Shed the skin thats held you in
Ya, held you far too long

Now how bad could it be
If you should fall in love with me
How bad could it be

Come on come one
Kiss away the ones who say
The lust you feel is wrong

Now how bad could it be
If you amuse yourself with me
How bad could it be

Release yourself upon me
Free the hounds of chastity
Unleash your sexuality on me

How bad could it be
If you should lose yourself in me
Now how bad could it be

Release yourself upon me
Free the hounds of chastity
Unleash your sexuality on me"

Monday, January 08, 2007

I Thought I Would Have A Higher Percentage

You Are 48% Evil

You are evil, but you haven't yet mastered the dark side.
Fear not though - you are on your way to world domination.

4 Days and Counting...

"I can love you better that that
I know how to make you forget her
All I'm askin' is for one little chance
Cause baby I can love you, baby I can love you better"

Sunday, January 07, 2007

5 Days and Counting...

*For Diane (I personally can't stomach this pic.)

"I want a man that stands beside me
Not in front of or behind me
Give me two arms that want to hold me, not own me
And I'll give all the love in my heart
Stand beside me
Be true, don't tell lies to me
I'm not lookin' for a fantasy
I want a man that who stands beside me"

Drunken Memories Thanks to YouTube

This video was taken by your's truly.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

6 Days and Counting...

"Oh baby know what your like?
You're like my favorite underwear
It just feels right, you know it
Oh baby know how you feel?
You feel like my favorite underwear
And I'm slipping you on again tonight"

"Hope" Floats

On Begin to Hope, Regina Spektor treads a delicate balance between her anti-folk past and her present home on Sire Records. Though the label re-released Soviet Kitsch in 2004, Begin to Hope is Spektor's first original material for Sire, and it feels more like a major-label debut than Soviet Kitsch ever did. The album's big, glossy production and preponderance of drum machines and keyboards inches Spektor toward territory that isn't exactly mainstream, but is closer to a more conventional adult alternative singer/songwriter sound. Her songwriting mirrors this, too: "Field Below," which finds her wishing for the countryside while living in the city, has a mellow, appealingly rambling vibe that grows from the traditional singer/songwriter roots of Joni and Carole; "Better" takes the breathy, literate, pretty side of Spektor's music and tailors it into a radio-friendly single. "On the Radio" takes it a step further and becomes a smart, funny, and sad meta-single, with lyrics like "We listened to it twice/Because the DJ was asleep" backed by poppy synths and beats. But even though Begin to Hope's first few songs might suggest otherwise, Spektor is much too freewheeling and quirky a talent to stick to the straight and narrow for the entirety. Show tunes, classic soul, the Bible, and the backs of cereal boxes are all inspirations for the album. And whether she quotes the melody from Doris Payne's "Just One Look" and pairs it with lyrics about orca whales on "Hotel Song," or begins the lovely, confessional closing track, "Summer in the City," with the line "summer in the city means cleavage," Spektor uses them in unexpected ways. She also places some truly surreal, heady tracks toward Begin to Hope's end: "Lady" is a torchy number arranged for piano, saxophone, and typewriter, while "20 Years of Snow" is buoyed along by impressionistic keyboards that twinkle and tumble like a just-shaken snow globe. "Apres Moi," one of the album's most impressive tracks, showcases her classical piano training, her Russian heritage, and those biblical influences to ominous, paranoid effect. Leaving the more unique, quintessentially Regina Spektor-esque tracks at the end of Begin to Hope isn't so much a bait-and-switch as is a clever way to lure in and loosen the inhibitions of new fans. The album feels like getting to really know someone: at first, it's polite and a little restrained, but then its real personality, with all of its charming idiosyncrasies, finally reveals itself.

Friday, January 05, 2007

7 Days and Counting

"Here we go, we're at the beginning
We haven't fucked yet, but my heads spinning"

Don't Get Me Started

Oprah Winfrey, who recently opened a $40 million school for poor girls in South Africa, spoke in a Newsweek interview about potential criticism for spending the money abroad rather than on education in the United States. American pupils don't appreciate what they have, she said, adding that she became frustrated visiting inner-city schools and just stopped going. "The sense that you need to learn just isn't there," she said. "If you ask the kids what they want or need they will say an iPod or some sneakers. In South Africa, they don't ask for money or toys. They ask for uniforms so they can go to school."

I applaud Oprah for opening a school in South Africa but I find her comment to be a ridiculous generalization and severely hypocritical. I find that she actually perpetrates this mentality of entitlement, consumerism, and celebrity. I rarely watch the Oprah Winfrey show, but I have seen episodes where she gives away free crap to her audience members in episodes called "Oprah's Favorite Things." A couple of years ago she also gave away brand new vehicles to each and every person attending the taping of her show. I still remember her shrieking, "you get a car, and you get a car, and you get a car..." I need someone to get the hook. Oprah, next time you open a school, make sure you do it quietly so I don’t have to be annoyed with the ridiculous statements that fly out of your mouth.

I leave you with one of the funniest SNL Oprah skits ever! I remember watching the episode and laughing so loud I may have accidentally woken the neighbors. It stars Maya Rudolph, Rachael Dratch, Amy Pohler, and even Tina Fey. These bitches were on fire! Hope you enjoy this as much as I did, and still do.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Duped Yet Again!

After taking the cleaning lady home, making dinner, and taking a shower, I sat down on my couch at 9:00pm and turned the television on to watch Grey's Anatomy. I had mentally prepared myself for a fresh episode since it has been off for at least five weeks and it is a new year. I think the first words out of my mouth when I realized it was a repeat was "fuck me." I had been looking forward to the show all day, ever since I woke up at 5:30am. On the bright side my cable did go out half way through the episode. Now you know I would have gone down to the Comcast Headquarters and cut a bitch if it had gone out half way through a new episode.

One Week and Counting...

That's right folks, Justin Timberlake will be in Sacramento performing on Friday, January 12, 2007. And you guessed it... I will be attending. In an effort to hype myself up into a fucking tizzy, not that I'm not already, I will be making daily Justin posts up until the day of the show. And yes, I know I have a problem...

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

My New Year's Resolution 2007

This is my New Year's Resolution all wrapped up neatly in a nice little song.
I have told myself that I am not going to settle for anything less than everything in every aspect of my life.
Love, Work, School and Health... every aspect I say!
Here are the lyrics if you want to sing along!

Settlin' - Sugarland

Fifteen minutes left to throw me together
For Mr. Right Now, not Mr. Forever
Don't know why I even try when I know how it ends
Lookin' like another, "Maybe we can be friends."
I've been leaving it up to fate
It's my life so it's mine to make

I ain't settlin'
For just getting by
I've had enough so-so
For the rest of my life
Tired of shooting too low
So raise the bar high
"Just enough," ain't enough this time
I ain't settlin' for anything less than everything

With some good red wine
And my brand new shoes
Gonna dance a blue streak around my living room
Take a chance on love, and try how it feels
With my heart wide open
Yeah, you know I will
Find what it means to be the girl
Who changed her mind
And changed the world

Repeat chorus

I ain't settlin'
For just getting by
I've had enough so-so
For the rest of my life
Tired of shooting too low
So raise the bar high
"Just enough," ain't enough this time

I ain't settlin'
For just getting by
I've had enough so-so
For the rest of my life
Tired of shooting too low
So raise the bar high

I ain't settlin'
No, no, no, no, no, no
So raise the bar high, high