23 March 2007

Entertainment Tonight

Here’s a clip you won’t find in the final cut of I Heart
the "existential comedy" directed by the former
Buddhist monk who once tried to beat up George Clooney

And speaking of obsessive autuers who can’t play nicely
with others...

Mr. Roth, a former Disney studio chief who
proclaimed his ’60’s-influenced, artist-friendly
ethos in 2000 by naming his new company
Revolution Studios, is himself a director, of films
like “Christmas With the Kranks,” “Revenge of
the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise” and

He said that Ms. Taymor was overreacting to a
normal Hollywood process of testing different
versions of a movie, something he has done
many times before, including with Michael
Mann’s “Last of the Mohicans.” He called his
version of “Across the Universe” “an

“She’s a brilliant director,” he said. “She’s made
a brilliant movie. This process is not anything
out of the ordinary. Her reaction through her
representatives might be. But her orientation is
stage. It’s different if you’re making a $12-
million film, or a $45-million film. No one is
uncomfortable in this process, other than Julie.”

Although she never directed a Revenge of the Nerds movie,
the NY Times article does mention that Julie Taymor was
given a MacArthur “genius” grant in 1991. It also compares her
current situation with the creative battles that consumed the
career of Orson Welles.

But the LA Weekly’s Nikki Finke has a very different take
on the subject.

I'm told everyone began the movie with
Taymor expecting trouble. And there
was. By some accounts, the film was even
flawed from the very start. "She went into
production on the movie without a good
script. Instead, she went into production on
just a great idea." As one insider described
the process: "You try to help her, but it's
only ever a one-way street. She has a
narcissistic disorder."

But her behavior reportedly grew worse
after she delivered a cut of the film last
October at 2 hours, 32 minutes,and started
receiving criticism about the film. Without
giving details, Roth himself made reference
to Taymor's "hysteria" to the NYT. "I gave
her a note to cut two supporting characters,
one white and one black," a source told me.
"And she starts screaming, 'I'm not cutting
all the black people.'"

Unlike the NYT portrayal, I've been assured
that problems with Taymor's version went
way beyond length to the point where the
pic simply doesn't work. "It is visually a
really interesting and arresting
movie," says one insider, "but as usual with
her it veers off into the absurd." Says
another source: "Her cut is indulgent and
pretentious." Explains an insider: "The
visuals get in the way of the narrative,
which makes no sense. And the pacing is all
wrong. They have a scene with Bono that's
psychedelic, and goes on and on, and has to
be cut down." Still another source
chides: "By the time the dancing puppet
heads come out, you're just like no, no,

Dancing puppet heads?!

Never-ending scenes with Bono?!

Where do I get tickets?

But if you need further proof of just how hard it is to spend
$45 million in Hollywood, check out the trailer.

Jai Guru Deva Om

14 March 2007

Gonzo Justice

Call me crazy, but I think Alberto “Abu” Gonzales is about
to lose his parking space at the Department of Justice.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales rejected
growing calls for his resignation Tuesday as
scores of newly released documents detailed a
two-year campaign by the Justice Department
and White House to purge federal prosecutors.

Gonzales acknowledged his department
mishandled the dismissals of eight U.S. attorneys
and misled Congress about how they were fired.
He said he was ultimately to blame for those
"mistakes" but stood by the firings.

"I acknowledge that mistakes were made here,"
Gonzales told reporters at a news briefing after
he canceled an out-of-town trip. "I accept that
responsibility." He promised changes "so that
the mistakes that occurred in this instance do not
occur again in the future."

Fortunately for Gonzales, the only song they play in the
White House is Stand By Your Man.

Asked about the issue for the first time, Bush
said, "I do have confidence in Attorney General
Al Gonzales" but that his long-time aide needed
to go to Capitol Hill and straighten out the

"I've talked to him this morning. And we talked
about his need to go up to Capitol Hill and make
it very clear to members in both political parties
why the Justice Department made the decisions
it made; make it very clear about the facts,"
Bush said.

Bush said he had a right to remove U.S.
attorneys, and had heard complaints about some
of them that he had passed along to Gonzales.
But he said he did not tell Gonzales who should
be fired, although he believed the reasons for
the sackings were justified.

"I believe the reasons why were entirely
appropriate. And yet this issue was mishandled
to the point, now, where you're asking me
questions about it in Mexico," Bush said.

And he was so looking forward to hitting the bike paths and
playing some golf. But no, you guys in the press just ruined
the whole trip by asking some stupid questions about federal
prosecutors and congressional testimony.

Being president sucks!

Meanwhile, it’s not just Democrats who want to see Gonzales
do the Rumsfeld Shuffle.

"I think the president should replace him," [Sen.
John] Sununu said in an interview with The
Associated Press. "I think the attorney general
should be fired."


On Tuesday, he said firings of the prosecutors,
together with a report last Friday by the Justice
Department's inspector general criticizing the
administration's use of secret national security
letters to obtain personal records in terrorism
probes, shattered his confidence in Gonzales.

"We need to have a strong, credible attorney
general that has the confidence of Congress and
the American people," said Sununu, who faces a
tough re-election campaign next year. "Alberto
Gonzales can't fill that role."

For a succinct summary of the “falsehoods” peddled to Congress
and how Karl Rove and Harriet (could have been a contender)
Miers fit into this growing scandal, check out this morning’s
press conference with Sen. Chuck Schumer at TPM Muckraker.

09 March 2007

A Big Suprise

If I may borrow a pearl of wisdom from that great political
sage, Condoleeza Rice: No one could have possibly predicted
this would happen.

WASHINGTON, March 9 — The F.B.I. has
improperly used provisions of the USA
Patriot Act to obtain thousands of
telephone, business and financial records
without prior judicial approval, the
Justice Department’s inspector general
said today in a report that embarrassed
the F.B.I. and ignited outrage on Capitol

The report found that the bureau lacked
sufficient controls to make sure that its
agents were acting properly when they
obtained records using administrative
subpoenas, which do not require a judge’s
prior approval. And the report found that
the bureau does not follow some of the
rules it does have on the matter.

Robert S. Mueller III, the director of the
Federal Bureau of Investigation, called
a news conference today to accept
responsibility for the lapses, and to
pledge his best efforts to see that they
are not repeated.

“How could this happen?” Mr. Mueller
asked rhetorically. “Who is to be held
accountable? And the answer to that is,
I am to be held accountable.”

Which means he'll probably be given the Medal of Freedom
from President Bush before the year is over.

06 March 2007


Scooter convicted of obstruction, lying to the FBI and two
counts of perjury.

"The results are actually sad," Fitzgerald said.
"It's sad that we had a situation where a high-
level official person who worked in the office of
the vice president obstructed justice and lied
under oath. We wish that it had not happened,
but it did."

Merry Fitzmas

02 March 2007

Why I love YouTube

Sure beats wasting my time watching the four most tedious
hours on television. Congratulations Mr. Scorsese.

I won't even attempt to comment on the comedy stylings of
George Lucas & Co. But what's up with Jack Nicholson? Did
he finally get the green light to make that long-awaited
Paul Shaffer bio-pic?