Excuse the Al Gore reference, but how many more chances will we get to make those? Regardless, incredible close to a spectacular season of Lost last night. Less of a complete mindblower than last year's, but prolly more emotionally rewarding. Can. Not. Wait. 'Til. 09.



...despite your worst fears, they get it right. At least I did ;) Kudos to Idol for crowning the rocker who was far beyond the competition. And, um, boo-dos (I guess) to Idol for running far beyond their two hours. When your whole year boils down to a few seconds, the producers should trade one of the tiresome medleys to get those few seconds in during the, you know, show. But enough bitching – tonight all is right in America... n Idol.


It doesn't quite move me to tears, but I am loathe to admit that I think David Archuleta's prolly gonna beat David Cook last night. I spose Daughtry proved that it doesn't matter much if the rocker wins, but watching Little David awkwardly shift back and forth on stage under the guise of "performance" still sorta makes my skin crawl.

As Idol finales goes, this one was typically overblown, even for a performance show. Atypically, tho, it appears that Rupert Murdoch must have recently bought professional boxing (perhaps to rename it "FOXing"?) because Fox pulled out every boxing cliche and pummeled us in the face with them. We got Michael Buffer doing his "let's get ready to Idol!" schtick. Side note: hey, Michael Buffer – let's get ready to... go away. The bloom's been off your rose ever since I saw you do the white-man's-overbite dance with your trophy wife/girlfriend at the B-List Godzilla premiere party ten years ago.

Anyway, back to the bout – in addition to Buffer, we got the Dueling Davids dressed in robes and gloves for their introductions. We got Jim Lampley barking boxing analysis at the beginning of each round. And if you're like me, we got tired of it pretty quickly. Particularly by the time Simon crowned the night a "knockout" for Archuleta.

Oh, and as Randy reminded us several times, the show took place in the new Nokia theatre at LA Live! Apparently the Davids were competing to be the King of the Nokia. And that they rocked the Nokia. And, oddly enough, that this is THE duel of 2007! I suppose he was looking to the past because they're getting ready to crown a mini version of Clay Aiken – Archuleta was "better" last night, in the sense that he nailed his treacly ballads. Clive Davis gave him a classic, the songwriter winner was in his wheelhouse, and his take on "Imagine" is pretty moving. Cook, however, started pretty strong with the U2 song, did the best he could with his songwriter winner, and then dug his own grave with a boring Collective Soul song that never took off. If he'd done a full length version of Always Be My Baby, I'd be writing a different post right now.

So the former Claymates can celebrate Little David's win by rechristening themselves "Archuladies" and Big David can become the next Daughtry. I'm fine with that. What I'm not fine with is that songwriter contest. Lose it – or at the very least, don't saddle the finalists with having to perform them. "Dream Big" was a forgettable piece of power pop, and Archuleta basically did a rehash of Kelly Clarkson's "Moment Like This." It's a bad idea executed poorly, and it leaves a gaping good-song-sized hole in the middle of the show. Let's fast-forward thru tonight's results and then fast-forward to next year's excruciating auditions.



Whether it'll be worth the watch is hard to say from this EPK, but I'm cautiously the 90210 reboot. While it's a fairly obvious attempt to reclaim the throne that Gossip Girl inherited from The O.C. (which inherited it from Felicity which inherited it from Dawson's Creek which inherited it from Party of Five which inherited it from... 90210), it comes from good stock. Rob Thomas (Veronica Mars showrunner, not the Matchbox 20 guy) created it, and at the very least, it'll be amusing to see Jennie Garth (and rumored Tori Spelling and Ian Ziering) step back into the roles that created them.

And while this piece makes it feel a little more One Tree Hill than The Hills, the new showrunners (Jeff Judah and Gabe Sachs) have Freaks & Geeks and Life As We Know It experience and have re-written the pilot. So we'll have to wait and see whether this version of Donna Martin graduates with honors.


Sayonara Syesha

You never know, but I think it's her time to go. David Archuleta's got the former Claymate vote sewn up, David Cook's got the people who actually like good music vote sewn up, and that leaves Syesha sitting alone. On a chair. She'll prolly have a career, tho – just on a different stage. She's got some flair for Broadway, has a fine voice and acting experience... she just wouldn't sell albums.

Overall, it was an off night – kind of limping toward the finals. Frankly, everyone seemed exhausted – perhaps it was the process of cutting down, re-arranging, learning and performing three songs. Not sure why the shows are so truncated at this point – Idol drags us thru two hours of excruciating auditions several times a week; why not go to 90 minutes so the performances can be longer than 90 seconds?


No, Speed Racer, No

It's like Akira meets Blade Runner meets Carmaggedon meets Dragon Ball Z meets Every Which Way But Loose meets Fifth Element meets Gran Prix meets Herbie meets Indy 500 meets J-pop meets K-pop meets Lone Wolf and Cub meets Matrix meets Nascar meets Otaku meets Pole Position meets Road Warrior meets Sesame Street meets Tokyo Drift meets Ultron meets Videodrome meets WipeOut meets X:1999 meets Yakuza meets Zoom... all tossed into a digital blender and tossed up on the big screen for your viewing enjoyment.

Or lack thereof.

After breaking in with Bound, breaking thru with The Matrix, breaking down with the Matrix sequels and breaking out with V for Vendetta, The Wachowski Brothers break off more than they can chew with Speed Racer. Much was made of how they'd bring their signature visual style to the screen, but what it ends up meaning is an exercise in hyper-kinetic over-editing. The much-ballyhooed race sequences featuring auto fight scenes called "car fu" are almost impossible to follow, given that all the cars look alike, none of them are on-screen for more than a split-second, they rarely stay on the ground and we're given little to no idea where they are – on the track or in comparison to each other.

And that's only a small fraction of this two-hour-and-fifteen-minute ordeal; the rest consists of pedantic plots and amateurish acting that details a laborious screed against corporate culture set against life lessons like "be true to yourself," "family is good" and "everybody loves monkeys and/or smartass fat children."

Unless you're a completist that can't resist or have wet dreams of cargasms, do yourself a favor and pass on Speed Racer.


Iron Chic

The suit looked good, the cast looked great, the director looked solid... and yet I still kept expectations fairly low for Iron Man. In addition to this hero being a bit B-list, comic book movies in general are tougher to pull off than they seem. You've got to manage fanboy desires while making mainstream entertainment, tell a complete tale while setting up a sequel and deliver spectacular special effects without creating a CGI cartoon. So how does Iron Man hold up?

Why, with his proprietary repulsor ray technology, of course! Oh, and the movie? Fan. Effing. Tastic.

Iron Man starts this superhero season with a supersonic bang. It's directed and performed with unabashed joy and a witty sense of style. Robert Downey, Jr. is a perfect Tony Stark – brash and cocky, but absolutely believable. His repartee with Gwyneth Paltrow as is (sorta) better half Pepper Potts is fresh and fun. Terrence Howard and Jeff Bridges elevate what could be fairly stock characters into actually interesting roles. And Jon Favreau holds it all together, directing would could have been an 800-pound iron gorilla with a deft hand and comic touch.

Special credit also goes to the writers (a committee of Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, Art Marcum and Matt Holloway) for creating an adventure that's truly fun and funny without sacrificing story for slapstick comedy. The laughs in the film (and there are many) are genuine – derived from character moments instead of pop culture references. And the plot, while not exactly breaking new ground, is tight and free from overcomplications that often burden comic book flicks.

Is it perfect? No – it errs a bit on the origin story side (I longed for one more act where the stakes get raised even higher), but that's unfortunately expected for a franchise-starter. And it could prolly use one more go-for-broke action sequence, tho what's in there is spectacular. But those are about the only nits I found to pick – overall it's a much-needed shot in the arm for the genre and a great start to the summer. It's not only well worth a watch, I'm anxious for a rewatch. Go. Enjoy.