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Showing posts from June, 2008

Wall-E

The opening minutes of Pixar's latest masterpiece is a haunting stunner, something one would never expect from an animated film with the Disney label slapped on it. Let's put it this way: You'll never watch Hello Dolly! the same way again.

Wall-E is the last functioning robot on Earth, an adorable piece of scrap metal designed to compact the tons of trash left behind by humans. He's the more endearing (and less annoying) younger sibling of Short Circuit's Johnny 5, a diligent worker whose only companion is a cockroach sidekick. Wall-E works night and day, collecting items which intrigue him (including one very important plant), living inside a tank that houses all of his eclectic treasures.

Then, little Wall-E's world is turned upsidedown when a spiffier (read: sexier) robot-on-a-mission gets dropped off on Earth by a very large and very loud spacecraft. Her name is Eve (wink), a sleek and soaring bot that packs a mean (read: fiery) punch.

For a movie in which tw…

It's Electric!

Something to check off the Life List: Attend a 12-hour dance-music festival and immerse myself in some euphoric beats and an energy one rarely experiences on this planet.

Insomniac Events' annual ELECTRIC DAISY CARNIVAL took place in downtown Los Angeles this past weekend, and Mona Holmes of SHEJAY.NET and I were fortunate enough to be included among the minimal press covering this musical event of epic proportions (Sadly, Big Chocolate herself was unable to attend at the last minute, so I was left to check out the shenanigans by myself).

A wi-fi Woodstock for the Facebook fiends of the 21st century, EDC, as the regulars call it, has grown considerably over its 12-year run. This year's event was quickly proving to be the biggest one yet. Among the celebrity DJs who filled up the roster: Benny Benassi, Armand Van Helden, DJ Heather, D.I.M., DJ Hype and MC Daddy Earl, Krafty Kuts, Freestylers and dozens more.



The night started early out on the 110 at the Martin Luther King Jr. Bo…

Casual Six

Nearly a fifth of my life has now been spent living in Los Angeles, and I realize I'm no longer the fresh and green twentysomething who made his parents buy him a one-way ticket to the other side of the country six years ago. I'm sure it comes as no surprise when I say that six frickin' years of living in this city has changed me. How so? Let us count the ways...

1. I am one impatient - but careful - sonofabitch on the road.

2. I wear flip-flops to the office.

3. The thought of asking someone for an autograph makes me ill.

4. I've turned Sunday brunch into a weekend staple.

5. I dig Spanish tiles.

6. I'm on lists.

7. I acknowledge and appreciate the trials and tribulations of freelancers (a.k.a The Frequently Unemployed).

8. I know how to scratch a back once mine is (preferably) scratched first.

8b. I'm pretty good at anticipating the needs of others.

9. I don't mind avocado with my breakfast.

10. I feel enormously fortunate to be in the company of such loving, talent…

Get to Know: Sam Sparro

Proving once again that I am months ahead of those music geeks at iTunes (inflating my ego as well), Sam Sparro's "Black & Gold" is this week's featured (and FREE) Single of the Week: "The new master of digital funk and atmospheric soul...the former child star and native Australian works a fair amount of magic on this self-titled debut. The track we've chosen this week, 'Black and Gold,' is a Daft Punk-meets-Jamie Lidell bit of hiccuping electro madness. If you've ever worn a pair of plastic-framed Ray-bans indoors (at night, especially), this is your new favorite song."

Me? I've never worn my sunglasses at night, but I will go out on a limb to say this is definitely one of the best singles of 2008. There's a reason why this track has been playing on repeat in my car every morning since April. ALSO NOTEWORTHY: "21st Century Life," "Sick," and "Too Many Questions".

Need more convincing? Here's a REM…

Movin' On Up

With great bloggage comes great responsibility...

Michael Medico and Corey Moore, the fantabulous founders of HOTINHOLLYWOOD.TV (or, as most of us like to call them, M&M), have recently appointed me Managing Editor of their website.

For the past couple of weeks I've been taking over the reins while they've been immersing themselves in new ventures and research for revamping the site itself, something I hope to oversee as well (oh advertisers, where for art thou?). We will continue to work and pride ourselves on being a Hollywood site that doesn't dish out malicious gossip and petty rumors. That's our angle, and we're sticking to it. We just need to keep up our traffic and inject the whole milkshake with a few more energy boosts.

I've accepted the task and look forward to the challenge.

What this now means for me: Pulling in double (sometimes triple) time while updating both The First Echo and Hot in Hollywood, doing my little freelance gig for Instinct magazi…

Random Thought of the Week #5

Hello, my name is Hiko. And I am an SYTYCD addict.

EDC is Coming...

Hold onto your iPods and get ready to plug in...THE FIRST ECHO and SHEJAY are proud to announce that they will be reporting from the festivities next weekend.

Stay tuned!

Introducing Gabriella Cilmi

Okay, it's a given: the U.K. has suddenly become one big factory pumping out stylishly soulful, from-another-era singers. The latest chanteuse to come off the assembly line after Amy, Adele and Duffy is GABRIELLA CILMI. Consider her a welcome and more organic antithesis to Miley Cyrus (and yes, this Aussie is 15 too - IN. SANE.). Our spotlighted song? "Sweet About Me," an easy-breezy-beautiful teaser of a track that's been a hit all across the interwebs.

Remember her name, because if history is to repeat itself, Americans will be humming along to her tune in no time:

7 Minutes with Angelina Jolie

Wowzers. Grab a Coke, sit back in your seat, and make sure the boss ain't watching you watch this opening sequence of WANTED, the upcoming Angelina action fest (girl's gotta sick automatic and can steer a Viper like it's her bitch). Save June 27 for a date with her, James McAvoy and a large tub of popcorn (just give it a few secs to upload).

Random Thought of the Week #4

Thank God someone has finally taken down these billboards on Overland Avenue near the entrance to the 10 Freeway. No longer do I have to face these spotlight-hungry coke whores on my way to work every morning.

The Happening

I didn't mind The Village, even that freakin' "bedtime story" Lady in the Water.

But, M. Night, really?

Is your clout now that big enough to pull together hundreds of people, spend millions of dollars, waste so much time - to make this?

The Life of a Pop Culture Correspondent

Remember that Three's Company episode where Jack was panicking over the arrival of a famous food critic who was coming in to review his bistro? The reviewer was a stuck-up prick who couldn't give poor unlucky Jack a break.

That's the way the media has usually portrayed critics - tightassed, anal-retentive snobs who think they're above everyone else, their attitudes probably stemming from years of being nobodies with ignored opinions and sad social lives.

In no way whatsoever do I consider myself a critic (several more paid writing gigs and a byline in Entertainment Weekly, then you can get back to me), but I'm starting to understand where the sentiment is coming from. After a while, critics/commentators/reviewers develop a sense of entitlement. They feel the pressure to live up to expectations, to provide the masses with what they think is worthy of their attention via witty commentary or snide remarks. However, some of the commentary can turn bitter, hateful, and th…

TRAILER PARK: Benjamin Babylon Edition

Hot damn, I wanna see this movie now!

We're all in for a holiday treat come December when David Fincher's highly anticipated and whimsical tale of epic proportions, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button drops in theaters (I'm feelin' the Forrest Gump/Big Fish vibe). Brad Pitt is the titular character who is truly one unique individual: he ages backwards. Born as an old man and dying as an infant, Benny B sets off on an incredible journey of events, befriends a number of people along the way and falls in love with Cate Blanchett, who doesn't age backwards (sucks for her):



Then, there's a curious case of another kind, that being of Vin Diesel. Babylon A.D. is a futuristic tale about a former soldier/mercenary/all-around badass who has to protect and smuggle a "gifted" woman into the country (her talent? stay for the end of the trailer). Normally, I wouldn't touch a Vin Diesel vehicle with a ten-foot pole attached to another ten-foot pole, but somethin…

Praise the DVD Gods

After nearly three years of scouring Amazon.com to see when one of my favorite British movies of all time, Peter's Friends, would be released in the States, I finally had my prayers answered.

Kenneth Branagh directed and starred in this beautiful British Big Chill about college chaps who reunite for a New Year's Eve weekend at a countryside estate. Rounding out the rest of the cast is Emma Thompson (when she was married to Branagh in real life), Hugh Laurie (years before House), Imelda Staunton, Stephen Fry, and Rita Rudner. The 80s soundtrack is killer, highlighted by an amazing opening credits sequence done to Tears for Fears's "Everybody Wants to Rule the World."



The film was released here as an indie in 1992, back when independent films barely registered on the mainstream radar. And back then, when I was wee lad in Westchester, the only theater that played indies or foreign films (outside Manhattan, of course) was a venue situated in a small Hartsdale strip mal…

Blasphemy of the Month

Ash, I dug (and defended) most of your album back in the winter of 2006, but to cover a Rick Astley song (with shit production value no less) is a serious musical crime. That, and you purposely misspelled "Gonna" in the title. Really?

Okay, so it looks like this is a part of some Degree deodorant campaign. I would like to know which prick creative at what agency thought of this? Hey let's Disneyfy the shit out of 80s pop classics!


(In the meantime, I'll wait for a remix)

H.P.M.

Extravagant Thursday

Dinner at STK in West Hollywood (so new, so hot) with Kathleen and fabulous Australian fashion designer Rhonda Betts started much later than we had anticipated.

K was coming from prepping a huge event at the LACMA, and, according to the hostess, we couldn't be seated until all three of us were present (our res had been for 9:15). However, once we were all gathered - cocktails in hand, purchased at the bar where a scruffy DJ spun some 60s doo-wop and 80s rock - David, the dashing manager who tried his best to cater to the needs of the growing crowd, was all apologies and informed us our original table wouldn't be ready. Reluctantly pulling the I-Know-Someone Card, I asked David if the owner was on the premises for a quick hello. Clearly he got my hint, and with a promise to make it up to us later, he told us a better table was being set up and "would be ready shortly."

Thankfully I wasn't too famished. I had nibbled on some tuna before leaving the house, and the ch…

Random Thought of the Week #3

Who would have thought, nearly 20 years ago, that this fresh-faced, pre-cocaine actor from a Cybil Shepherd film (Chances Are) would dominate the summer box office in 2008 as a superhero hotshot?

TRAILER PARK: X-Women Edition

Because I measure at a 15 on the Dork Scale of 1 to 10, I couldn't help but squeal with delight yet again at the NEW (yes, another one) trailer for The X-Files: I Want to Believe (out July 25). We see more of Amanda Peet. We see more of that crazy Billy Connoly. And we get more shadowy figures running through the cold night. We still have no clue what the plot is, but you can bet geeks everywhere will be taking tequila shots whenever Scully yells out Mulder's name throughout the film (color me wasted). WATCH:



Then, we get The Women, a film in which there are so many vaginas, it may just make Sex and the City look like a Monday Night Football outing. Annette Bening. Meg Ryan. Jada Pinkett-Smith. Bette Midler. Debra Messing. Eva Mendes. Carrie Fisher. Debi Mazar. Candice Bergin. Cloris Leachman...Gossip is dished. Hearts are broken. Betrayal is tolerated. Passion is ignited...

Break out the Botox and Monistat on September 12 (and yes, it's a remake to that 1939 farce with Jo…

SCORCHER: Summer of 2008, Vol. 2

It's only getting hotter out there, so cool off with some more tunage I've collected for ya. We've got the new PCD to get you pumped for that night out on the town, the latest from Duffy to help you lounge away by the pool, a welcome return by Cyndi Lauper, and another irresistible dance track from Rihanna to help you sweat off all that barbecue.

School may be getting out, but here's one more lesson on how to create that definitive summer soundtrack. Pencils ready?

1. "Viva La Vida" by Coldplay
2. "Just Dance" by Lady GaGa feat. Colby O'Donis
3. "Devil Wouldn't Recognize You" by Madonna
4. "Disturbia" by Rihanna
5. "The Time of My Life" by David Cook
6. "When I Grow Up" by The Pussycat Dolls
7. "I Kissed a Girl" by Katy Perry
8. "Into the Nightlife" by Cyndi Lauper - The girl who just wanted to have fun returns triumphantly with a single from an album that's practically her own Confess…

Shut Up and Drive

It cost $41 to fill up my tank with gas last week, a new record for me since living in this city of constant commuting. Six years ago, $16 was all it took to get me filled up for the road. To say the least, it's hurting like a mofo to travel the slightest distance within these city limits.

I live near Westwood, a mile west of Century City, and during most of my weeks I find myself having to drive to the Hollywood area (the East Side) quite often. And during those drives I usually pass gas stations displaying the most recent price hikes. It's chilling actually. Who could have fathomed paying $4.25 for a gallon of gas half a decade ago? Granted, Sydney, my loyal Focus, maintains an impressive MPG, and my commute to work every day is a blessed four miles each way (a rarity in this town). However, I sympathize with those who have to fill up those larger tanks (not just those gas-guzzling SUVs) and squeeze more dollars out of their wallets.

Most of my destinations are east of me, an…

Disturbia

The girl just doesn't stop.

Rihanna's got another single ready to rule the airwaves of yet another summer, and no, it ain't the theme song to the Shia LeBeouf suspenser from last year. "Disturbia" promises to be the dance hit of the season, and it can be found on her upcoming re-release of Good Girl Gone Bad. Like she says, go and "figure this shit out."

The 2008 MTV Movie Awards

Weed, wackiness and winners galore...

My recap is IN over at HOT IN HOLLYWOOD