Paintings recovered

IOL: Stolen Munch paintings recovered

The Edvard Munch masterpieces, The Scream and Madonna, have been recovered two years after their theft, Oslo police announced today. At a news conference, police announced that both paintings were in better than expected condition, and were recovered in a police action. The priceless paintings were stolen in a bold, daylight raid by masked gunman from the Munch Museum in Oslo on August 22, 2004.

No word on whether Mars Inc. has paid off on its 2 million M&Ms reward.

Rock Star: Supernova – Round of 6 Results

Thankfully, we put Dilana’s bad week behind us last night. Well, we almost did. We brought it right back up again in the opening video package, before asking her about it in the interview section, and before bringing it back up yet again when she hit the bottom three. But NOW we’re past it for sure, until next week’s well-scripted “great comeback” comments from the band and Dave. (That’s just my prediction there.)

Supernova chose Lukas to play with them last night. As usual, the lights got cranked up and the video got processed to look like film. I think the song might have been OK, but I couldn’t understand a single word Lukas sang. He was so busy growling out the lyrics that they were impossible to make out.

Tommy Lee wore his shirt during the performance, which I thought was weird. As it turns out, the producers had to force him to wear it. Something about not showing pierced nipples on TV. . .

Toby got the encore, even though I thought there were at least three stronger performances the previous night. But, hey, the band is impressed with a guy who can pull up the audience hotties onto the stage with him.

Over the course of the overnight voting, everyone but Magni found their way into the Bottom Three, leading to one of the biggest mathematical blunders in reality TV since Ryan Seacrest couldn’t figure out where the comma was in the vote difference between Ruben and Clay. Brooke Burke said that, for the first time in the show’s history, we knew who the biggest vote-getter was. It had to be Magni. And he had to be leading the competition at this point.

No, it didn’t and he wasn’t. Just because Magni never fell into the bottom three doesn’t mean he got the most votes. It only means he was always in the top three. He might have been the consistent third-highest vote getter all night long, with different surges sending Lukas up and down, or Toby’s totals up and down. All we know is that at the end of voting, Magni was either the top vote getter, the second most popular, or the show horse.

Ryan was the first in the bottom three and so graced us with his version of The Who’s “Baba O’Reilly.” It was awful. His singing stunk. His stage presence was manic, but more in a desperate way than a good way. Maybe it was overconfidence at his newfound comfort on stage? He sprayed a bottle of champagne all around and then spent way too long climbing on speakers to sing from on high. The camera cut to a bored looking Gilby at that point. It was too many gimmicks in one performance. I felt sorry for the House Band, particularly the keyboardist, who has to hit way too many keys too quickly for too long in that song.

Storm fell to the stage next, running with The Beatles’ “Helter Skelter,” which Patrice did on stage not too long ago. Storm did a great job, I thought, culminating in a moment sitting on Tommy’s lap during the song. You could see Gilby trying to push her off before Tommy started enjoying the attention too much. I think Jason was busy hiding all the camcorders at the time.

Finally, Dilana found her moment in the bottom three, at last, telling Dave she’s not surprised because she screwed up. And we’re glad that’s all behind her now. She sang The Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer,” which made me happy. The lyrics fit her perfectly. Not the French ones, of course. She skipped over that verse completely.

She spent way too much time with her back to the audience, which made me wonder if she was having problems with the lyrics. It’s not like the lyrics follow a natural progression in the song. She could easily have swapped verses around and nobody would have noticed. As Gilby pointed out, she did seem a little lost at one point, but I liked it overall. She was back to being her normally possessed-looking thing, and it was a lot of fun.

Wow, two Talking Heads songs in one season. Another dozen turns like that, and the Heads might start competing with Nirvana for most-played band on this show.

I thought for sure we’d see the double eviction last night. And when Tommy Lee dropped the “Tommy-Hawk” directly on Ryan before sending anyone else off the stage as safe, I thought we had just witnessed the first half. Heck, Dilana and Toby stood on the stage waiting for something else to happen, only walking off after an awkward moment or two. (And that could be all editing. It might have been longer.)

Ryan took the dismissal Not Very Well at all, telling the band that, in essence, they’ll suck without him and that he’ll be on the rock charts with them soon enough. (Yeah, like Marty and the Lovehammers are on the Top 40 next to INXS right now. . .) He looked like he was about to pout, and couldn’t even bring himself to thank the band for their time, though he did thank Dave Navarro for his support. Again, it might all be in the editing. But he didn’t come off well with his eviction.

The other five contestants are off to a Supernova Song Writing clinic this week, and hopefully we’ll see some of the results from that on the webisode or on TV next week.

Posted in TV

Thursday Link Dump

Big Brother 7 – 29 Aug 2006

Doctor WillLast night’s BIG BROTHER was another classic. Will worked his magic once again to get everyone to do exactly what he wants. And we even returned to his phone calls with Mike Boogie to end the show. (I paraphrase: “Remember when I got my showmance to evict her best friend?” “Yeah.” “Can you do that with your showmance this week?” “No problem.”) Classic!

Here are a couple of YouTube videos related to Danielle’s melt down last night:

Danielle rang that doorbell for a good solid five minutes. And when they wouldn’t open the door, she tried pressing her ear against the door to hear any talking she could. Will has such a great awareness of the game, he knew to move into the bathroom, and he knew to put the view screen on when the conversation started.

Danielle might be a bit of a boozer, by the way. This isn’t the first time she’s been drunk in this game — even worse, she has a hidden alcohol stash!

There’s one big problem at the moment, and that’s the second eviction on Thursday night. We don’t know how that’s going to be done. If Chenbot 2006 tells all the contestants to go into separate rooms and cast their votes at a moment’s notice, it could go in any direction. Without time to work on people, Will’s power is greatly diminished. If he can’t spend the night in the bathroom or bed with someone he needs to influence, he’s weakened.

I’d hate to think BB would do something like that in an effort to remove the best player from the game.

I also liked Chicken George’s incredulousness (is that a word?) that ChillTown didn’t get nominated again! He’s not as dumb as he acts sometimes.

Doogie Howser had a fun time in the Big Brother house, dropping by to fulfill Dr. Will’s dreams of chilling with Neil Patrick Harris. It seems that Neil managed not to say anything wrong or ruin the game in his short time there, but he’s obviously a fan of the show, and a fellow CBS star.

And I think Erika is doomed. I don’t think she’d win next to George or Danielle or Janelle or Will. She might beat Mike, since he’s probably seen as merely a tool for Will to use to win. But she’d never evict him. Thus, saving Will is the right move for her, because it means Mike is more likely to look kindly upon her should the time come to make a decision for the final two.

I think Will could beat everyone, unless the jury is so pissed at him for orchestrating every one of their evictions that they blindly loathe him and would put up the more likeable George in his place as winner. (And wouldn’t it be funny to see someone from Season 1 win it all?) Janelle versus Will in the end would be close. Will played the house beautifully, but each would suggest they got the other to do exactly what they wanted them to do. Janelle would get credit for all her HoH and POV wins, though.

But there’s not point in hypothesizing all these things until we see what happens tomorrow, and who the second eviction is. Cross your fingers. Chicken George is the most expendable at this point.

Posted in TV

Celebrity Duets

Celebrity Duets (C) 2006 FOXI only watched the first 45 minutes or so of the premiere of CELEBRITY DUETS last night, but several things jump to mind:

  • This is clearly produced by the people who bring you AMERICAN IDOL. The stage set-up is roughly the same. And half the people on the show have been seen on AI already, I think. Definitely Kenny Loggins, David Foster, and Gladys Knight (who was a judge on the kids version from a few summers back).

  • It’s good to see Wayne Brady in action again, even if he has gained a few pounds in the face.

  • Heck, who hasn’t on the show? Really, all of the male celebrities look like they’ve put ten pounds on their face since last we saw them.

  • The whole show is worth it for the train wreck that sits in Paula Abdul’s seat, Little Richard. He’s completely incoherent. An absolute waste of screen time. And an old fuddy duddy. Yet, you can’t help but anticipate the next stupid thing he’s about to say. Even poor David Foster — who deserves much better than this show, even in the Simon Cowell chair — deserves better than this.

  • No, Cheech, you can’t sing. Nor can the gymnast or the wrestler.

  • Is it really fair to have a Broadway-trained child star in a singing competition? Maybe not, but that guy from QUEER EYE should be cutting an album any day now. I thought he was Mario Vasquez at first. . .

I’ll probably watch the rest tonight, but don’t look for a show rundown on this one, like with IDOL and ROCK STAR. It would tire me out too much.

Posted in TV

Rock Star: Supernova Group of 6

You ever have one of those really really bad weeks where everything goes wrong, and just when you think things couldn’t go worse, you break a glass and a shard of it lands in your bald friend’s head?

Yeah, Dilana just had one of those spectacular flameouts that are custom-made for reality television. Even Danielle’s drunken whining/doorbell buzzing incident on Big Brother last night can’t compare to this one.

Dave and Brooke

But then she apologizes, Dave Navarro asks that we all put it behind ourselves (until he brings it up ad nauseum again after her performance), and we move on.

It’s Viewers Choice Week! In other words, the fans choose the worst possible songs for the people they hate, and the best for those they love.

And the results are spectacular. I think this is the strongest show of the season. Everyone brought something interesting and memorable to their performance last night.

Lukas did Nirvana’s “Lithium,” because it wouldn’t be an episode of this series without at least one Nirvana song. I think Mark Burnett is contractually obligated to Courtney Love for that. I liked the new arrangement of the song, particularly the softer opening and dramatic pause before launching into the screaming and whatnot. It was so good that even Dilana forced herself into giving a standing ovation to the man that she said she wants to choke on a daily basis. (I’m sorry, was I supposed to put that behind me already?)

Dave Navarro telegraphs all his twists. He’s awful at surprising the audience with his little reversals. “You took a classic Nirvana song and rearranged it?!?” Yeah, like we didn’t know that was the set-up to, “AWESOME!” (I’m paraphrasing.)

Since we’re down to six singers now, we get lots of background material leading into the song. As a chronicler of this series, I appreciate the rest this gives my hand. I’m sure others are less excited about less singing and more pre-taped packages. Ah, well. Lukas worked at Hooters and wears more makeup than people, often dressing up in a tie and jacket while lounging around the house in front of the cameras. That’s what we learned last night.

Magni was given “I Alone” by Live. Yes, the songs the fans had to choose from were all songs previously sung by others in the series. Again, I hope the man sees a specialist when this show is done, because that vein in his right forehead is going to pop someday if it’s not treated. That would make for spectacular television, but I’m not so sure it’s healthy for him. He’s lucky the broken shard from Dilana’s thrown glass missed that part of his head. (Oops, sorry. I’m putting that behind me again. . . )

The song started out OK, but he got more into it the further it went along, and walking through the crowd to the band to sing on their dais worked well. (Lots of people try it – thankfully, he pulled it off.) The only problem is that it led to a slightly weak ending. The song ended as he was brushing through people back to the stage. I would have liked a stronger exclamation point. Otherwise, it was memorable.

In his pre-taped bit, Magni was very funny, saying that he knew he had to campaign for votes and appealing to every country for their calls. “America — I learned your language” cracked me up.

We’re down to six singers, yet this writeup will still be 1000 words, won’t it?

Ryan got ColdPlay’s “Clocks.” The man proved just how far off his rocker he is last night, and I loved every minute of it. He started off at the piano solo, which worried me a bit. I thought he was going to try to repeat his success with the REM song a few weeks back. I shouldn’t have. As the band came in, he lept on top of the piano, pulled the wired mic with him and proceeded to prance around the piano and the stage like a man possessed. It was manic and strong. The return to the piano near the end was great, too. He does have a tendency to overscream in spots, sounding like he was just stabbed, rather than aiming for a note. But I can forgive him that.

Jason wasn’t quite as impressed, saying that he “lost the plot” when Ryan left the piano. Can’t please them all, but it is something to be worried about. The band has some tough decisions to make in these last couple of weeks, and any excuse to dump someone is a good one now.

Speaking of which, the finale is in two weeks. The final show has three singers, if it’s anything like last year. That means either this week or next will have to be a double elimination.

Storm got screwed by the fans with Evanescence’s “Bring Me To Life.” Her voice is all wrong for that song by a few octaves. To her credit, she did a respectable job with it. She hit the notes she needed to hit and shied away from the ones that would only embarrass her. Plus, she did the brilliant move of bringing Toby up with her to do all the background bits for the song. Toby looked very comfortable up there, giving it his hip hop all. The band thought he stole some of the spotlight from her, but I think she needed him to. That little distraction kept them away from criticizing the voice on a song not made for it, plus gave the number some extra energy that it really needed. (It reminded me a lot of CELEBRITY DUETS last night like that, but that’s a whole ‘nother post later today. . .)

On the other hand, it was Jill and Zayra who sang this song previously. Storm should have had a cakewalk last night if you’re comparing her voice to Zayra’s.

Toby followed that up solo with “Rebel Yell” from Billy Idol. I wasn’t sure at first it was going to be anything more than Toby doing karaoke with an Elvis accent. And I was a bit distracted to see Lukas licking the air in the general direction of Toby at one point. But, then, it looked like Toby raided Lukas’ makeup kit a little bit last night.

In any case, the song went into overdrive in the second half. Not only did Toby get the audience to sing along with him and pump their fists in time, but then he did the “rawk star” move of getting a bunch of the chicks in the front row to come up on stage and dance behind him. Some sported “EVS” written on the palms of their hands, which Toby had across his chest a couple of weeks back. They know who to butter up. . .

Dilana finished up the night. Hey, did you know she had a bad week and was looking to put it all behind her? Just wanted to make sure you hadn’t put it behind you just yet. The package set that up for us all again.

She got Tracy Bonham’s “Mother Mother,” a song I really didn’t get the last time I heard it. Dilana sold it to me, though, being appropriately angry and emotional. (She had a bad week, you know.) She played with the electric guitar. She sang on top of a speaker. She sang with one leg over the bassist’s shoulder. She did a great job at headbanging, which her hair really sold. She was, in a phrase, properly possessed for this song.

And it all ended with a head butt of the mic. Wonderful.

Now, in case you hadn’t realized it, Dilana had a bad week. And Dave was happy enough to bring it back up again so we could put it behind us. As did Tommy Lee. As did Gilby. Brooke sounded like she was over it, though, and had put it behind her.

It’s behind us now. At least, it’s behind us until they dredge it all up again tonight on the results show.

In the end, Storm was the only contestant of the night who might be called weak, but that’s purely a function of being handed a song that was wildly inappropriate for her voice. Dilana could be in trouble for being rude to her fellow contestants. Ryan could be in trouble for losing the plot. Magni could be in trouble if he lands in the bottom three too often. I think Toby and Lukas are safe this week, though.

On the other hand, early voting puts Storm, Ryan, and Lukas in the bottom three. We’ll see tonight. . .

1300+ words. De Blieck Out!

Posted in TV

Tuesday Link Dump

New Releases, 29 August 2006

Full list.

My list:

Akeelah and the Bee (2006)

Supposed to be a very good little movie, about a girl and a spelling bee.

Arrested Development: Season Three (2-disc set)

Over and out. Now can we stop talking about this show?

Brother Bear 2

BROTHER BEAR is the closest I’ve ever come to walking out on a movie. The fact that they’re making a direct to video sequel to the movie shows you how low Disney has sunk.

TaleSpin, Vol. 1 (3-pack)Darkwing Duck, Volume 1 Talespin, Volume 1

People are always surprised when I tell them this, but I didn’t like DARKWING DUCK. It never clicked for me, and the animation looked cheap.

That said, TALESPIN is a classic — a sweet, adventurous, and comedic series with nice animation. Both sets are three discs, including their pilot episodes.

Romancing the Stone: Special Edition (1984) The Jewel of the Nile: Special Edition (1985) Pretty in Pink: Everything’s Duckie Edition (1986)

And that’s it for this week’s Let’s Re-Release Everything In Our Eighties Catalog.

Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World (2005)

Albert Brooks is sent by the U.S. government to Asia to discover what makes followers of Islam laugh. Hilarity ensues.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring: Limited Edition (2-disc set) (2001) The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers: Limited Edition (2-disc set) (2002) The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King: Limited Edition (2-disc set) (2003)

If you needed a cheap way to pick up all three movies, here you go. Otherwise, just skip them. They have nice box art, but they’re duplicates, otherwise.

Mystery Science Theater 3000: Vol. 10

This one includes:

  • 503- SWAMP DIAMONDS (plus short: WHAT TO DO ON A DATE)
  • 514- TEEN-AGE STRANGLER (plus short: IS THIS LOVE?)

(Thanks to for the breakdown.)

The Sentinel (widescreen) (2006)

Kiefer Sutherland is NOT playing Jack Bauer in this movie, no matter how indistinguishable the movie trailer was from a ’24’ commercial.

The Tick: Season One (2-disc set)

All together now: “SPOON!”

The Zodiac (2005)

This is not the David Fincher movie, which has yet to be released. I don’t think there’s even a movie trailer for it yet. It’s currently scheduled for 2007. All we know about the movie is that Fincher has used Final Cut Studio for editing.

Next week: Many Mel Brooks movies, including (at long last) ROBIN HOOD: MEN IN TIGHTS. Another edition of BLADE RUNNER. And the second season of LOST.

Let me spend your money this week

Best Buy wants our money this week, and I think I might be more than happy to give it to them. This depends, of course, on them actually having any of their sale items in stock. That’s a big if most of the time.

In any case, if you’re looking to catch up on your TV-on-DVD viewing, Best Buy has the following season sets on sale for $19.99 each:

  • Charmed 1 – 5
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm 1 – 2
  • Dawson’s Creek 1 – 6
  • Entourage 1
  • Gilmore Girls 4 – 5
  • King of Queens 1 – 4 (hey, they can’t all be good)
  • MacGyver 1 – 6
  • News Radio 1 – 3
  • nip/tuck 1 – 2
  • The O.C. 1 – 2
  • Rescue Me 1 – 2
  • Seinfeld 1 – 6
  • South Park 1 – 3
  • Veronica Mars 1

I know I’ll be looking for VERONICA MARS this week, although there’s a lot more there that’s tempting.

Posted in DVD

Team Fortress 2 video

At long last, it’s almost here: TEAM FORTRESS 2. Just to prove it, here’s some video footage. Old school TF players, such as myself, will find much to recognize and like here. I really like the cartoony approach to the graphics, too.

It should be noted that Valve is now delaying the game until February 2007. The Vaporware curse continues. . .

Friday Link Dump – Games Edition

Indeed, most little girls do not treat their characters nearly as maternally as their parents might hope. ‘We like to put characters in the swimming-pool and then take the ladder away and see how long it takes before they drown,’ explains Ellie Priest. ‘Or you keep giving them drinks and won’t let them go to the loo until they wee on the floor.’

BB7 – Worrying for Will

Evil Doctor WillDoctor Will is in the most precarious position of the season so far today.

He’s now ticked off Danielle, who rages with thunder over James’ ouster. She’s vowed vengeance. Granted, she did that with Janelle weeks ago, and now she has a “truce” with her.

Mike Boogie told Julie Chen he’d have no problem cutting Will’s throat to go with Erika to the end of the game.

Erika has some sort of deal with Chicken George.

Erika gets along very well with Danielle.

Erika is Head of Household.

Janelle thinks she’s just playing Will, and might at any moment decide to stab him in the back. Since the reality is that Will is playing Janelle, this threat could be neutralized. And since Janelle’s deal with Danielle is good for one week only, it might not be too big a problem.

If an HoH ever puts up Will and Mike Boogie, I think Will would be the goner. Erika wouldn’t vote to oust Mike. Danielle would go after Will, who she sees as the real force of Chilltown.

The funny thing is, I think I can see Will’s strategy shifting to accomodate this. Mike has been more active and vocal in his campaign to win the house. Will has become more quiet and laid back in response. Let Mike take the slings and arrows for a while. Will can feed Mike ideas and have him do his bidding AND take all the guff for it. All of a sudden, Mike looks like a bigger threat than Will.

On the other hand, Will is basically running out of people to cajole and coerce to his school of thought.

And things are going to start happening fast and furious now. Buckle up!

Interesting side note from the live feeds: James was ready to cut a deal to stab Danielle in the back at the last minute. Ha!

Side note #2: The Sequester House is always the least happy place. Poor “Marcie.”

Posted in TV

Thursday Link Dump

  • The upcoming edition of SURVIVOR will begin with teams chosen by race.

  • Remember the missing moon landing footage that NASA was looking for? They might have a lead, thanks to a music video director who used footage for Pink Floyd. Go fig.

  • [tag]NASA[/tag] has its own version of Google Earth called World Wind. No road maps, but a lot of other cool features to play with, including topographies, weather systems, and . It’s Windows only at this point. Someone call Icculus!

  • I also learned from reading the World Wind FAQ about “Center Pivot Irrigation.” It’s something I’ve noticed while flying over the farm areas in middle America, but never understand. Their crops wind up forming grids of perfect circles. And now I know why.

  • Using a map of the London Underground tube system, draw animals. It’s impressive, including en emu, an elephant, and a bottlenose whale.

Rock Star: Supernova Round of 7 Results

DilanaThis was Dilana’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week. She couldn’t look like any bigger an arse if she tried. She could have worn a t-shirt that said “I’m With Stupid” and a magic arrow that pointed to whichever rocker she was sitting closest to, and she’d still not look any worse than she did last night. She apologized and said most of the right things on air, but does she truly mean any of them? I guess only time will tell. In the meantime, she’s been knocked down a notch or two.

Or maybe these are all symptons of her skull’s seven fractures finally catching up with her?

Toby got to sing with Supernova this week, and it was a catchy little ditty. He seemed comfortable in front of the band.

Four rockers made the bottom three over the course of the night, including Toby, Patrice, Storm, and Magni.

Magni was the first to be called up. This was the second week in a row for Iceland’s favorite son. Maybe the audience is seeing what Dilana wants them to see — that he wants to be with his family and can’t seriously want to be in this band. (Ouch) In any case, he saved himself quickly with Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire,” in as bold and brave a performance as any we’ve seen on that stage this season. To Dilana’s point, though, it wouldn’t have been anything without that House Band. They carried much of the song. Still, Magni played the guitar for a reason and really strutted his way around that stage. Good stuff.

We don’t ever hear a comment from the band after these elimination performances, but Tommy Lee snuck in a “That’s ridiculous” comment at the song’s conclusion. They loved it.

(Tommy Lee offered up a two word review of someone’s performance on Tuesday night before melodramatically dropping the mic on the floor. Nobody in the room that night and nobody watching it at home to this day know if it was a positive or negative comment.)

Constant commercials from CBS let us know that they’re pinning their hopes on their upcoming THE CLASS sit-com, which is debuting this fall. They aren’t giving us a date yet, though, for this network-saving feature. Weird.

Patricia stepped up for her weekly elimination show performance. She’s really quite the regular on the Wednesday night shows, and that’s something the band is noticing. She did The Pretenders’ “Middle of the Road,” proving once again that she’s not right for the band.

Oddly enough, at the end of the song you could see she cut her upper lip. She didn’t realize it, but Magni pointed it out as soon as she stepped next to him at the side of the stage after her performance. Ever the gentlemen, he offered his red shirt sleeve to her to wipe it off with. It’s either gentlemanly or suicidal, depending on Patrice’s life choices. ;-)

Toby rounded out the bottom three. And we all knew right then and there that Patrice was toast. He just played with the band. He was obviously safe. He did Stone Temple Pilot’s “Plush” and did it strongly.

Thus, Patrice was dropped quickly and without any doubt. Next week, it’s viewer’s choice for song selections. As I recall, that didn’t turn out too badly last year. We’ll see how it goes this year, though.

There are only three weeks left and five rockers to eliminate. You want three rockers for the final week, so they need to get rid of three of them in the next two weeks. Doing the math — another double elimination is coming up! I think we didn’t get it last night because the band doesn’t want to let go of Magni or Toby just yet. If Storm had been in the bottom three, perhaps things would have been different.

Posted in TV