Sunday, May 31, 2009

Rescue Me Resurgence in Season Five

It's very rare for a TV series to lose its way several years into its life, and then come back with (in this case) a ferocious vengeance. Last year, Rescue Me (Tuesday night, 10pm on fX was foundering and lost. The series, which started as an inside look and homage to the humor and horror that NYC firemen (post 9-11) live every day, had gone off into a surreal, almost daytime soap opera zone that became, (even for this die hard fan) nearly unwatchable.

Thanks to Denis Leary's writing, producing and unfailing eye for the dark side of humor, Rescue Me is back. In fact, as a fan who has never missed a single episode, this is without question the best season ever.

The most recent episode, "Iceman", opened with the theatrical existentialism of Eugene O'Neil's The Iceman Cometh, where Tommy Gavin faced his demons and ghosts in a NYC bar. And it ended with more blood, fire, explosions, and drama than you would pay good money to see for one of those Jerry Bruckheimer action flicks at your local movie palace. In between, there was profane, swallow your tongue humor and...quite frankly...the best banter on TV.

Last week's episode found our beloved Tommy Gavin (Denis Leary) tossing his AA chip for the siren call of ghosts and alcohol once again. This is not a new theme, and could have been tedious, except for a phenomenal moment between Tommy, and fellow firehouse buddy (and now room-mate) Lou. Confronting T. Gavin, Lou launches into a flaming put down of all his faults, and lays it on the line.

"Sober...you're a great fireman. And a selfish, spiteful, hit the nail on the head, no bullshit kind of guy. Drunk...you're a great fireman. And a selfish, spiteful, hit the nail on the head, no
bullshit kind of guy. But funny. And I like funny."

This may be my favorite TV line of the season. Played by John Scurti (Lou), Shea is a revelation. He's a solid, hilarious, down-to-earth dude who seems more real than any other character on the series. I think he is sexy as hell, and I don't wonder why the mean French journalist was attracted to him. If she didn't give Lou a roll in the sheets, that's one more reason why folks here in the USA might resent the French. I hope Emmy award nominations are around the corner for both Denis Leary and Scurti this Fall.

This is superb television, and as we wait for some of our other favorites to come back, there isn't anything better on TV. Please visit the website too, as Denis Leary wants to funnel the recognition for this fantastic program into support for real life firefighters and their missions.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Fantastic News for "Dexter" Fans!


Wow! Showtime has just announced the actor John Lithgow will be joining the cast of Dexter's third season (and by season we mean the typical half-season of 13 episodes that is the norm on cable these days).

In a real spoiler-filled release -- and if you don't want to know the gist of next season's story arc, you should just tune out now -- they disclosed that Lithgow would be playing "Walter Simmons, an unassuming, mild-mannered suburbanite who has been living a dual life as one of America’s most prolific and deadliest serial killers. Dubbed the 'Trinity Killer' because of his proclivity to kill in threes, he relocates to Miami after being tracked by FBI Special Agent Frank Lundy (Keith Carradine). Brought on to assist in the investigation of Miami’s latest serial killer, Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) becomes fascinated with Trinity’s killing methods and his ability to evade capture for almost three decades." Pictured above, Lithgow in one of my favorite of his performances, as Dr. Emilio Lizardo in the brilliantly eccentric 1984 movie The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai.

Oh, boy! Not only does that bring us Lithgow, one of the most interestingly idiosyncratic actors around, but it also means that Keith Carradine is back (at least for some episodes) as Special Agent Lundy. You must remember how we were completely smitten with the second season sexy May-December romance between Lundy and Debra Morgan, Dexter's sister (played by Jennifer Carpenter, who is Mrs. Michael C. Hall). Their relationship was nipped in the bud when Lundy left Miami to go back to his regular post, and last season Debra got herself another beau in the form of the deliciously laid-back musician Anton (David Ramsey).

What will happen now that Lundy is back? Will the sparks fly again? I'm hoping that this intriguing romantic rivalry will overshadow the less-interesting (at least to me) new marriage/domestic angle that will no doubt take up some of Dexter's own storyline.

So much for our girlish natterings. But Lithgow -- now that's an inspired piece of casting and should make for much murderous merriment when Dexter returns on Sept. 27, 2009. Sounds like a long time from now, but it's really just a summer away!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

We're Starting Our "TrueBlood" Countdown!

Check out the superb widget on our sidebar for the 2nd season premiere of HBO's titillating vampire melodrama TrueBlood on June 14th! We can't wait for the new batch of episodes; we loved the first season and especially the softspoken charms of vampire Bill -- played by Stephen Moyer -- and his psychic squeeze Sookie, the Golden Globe-winning Anna Paquin.

Here's a terrific moody promo for Season Two, to Bob Dylan's "Beyond Here Lies Nothin" --




You'll probably also enjoy taking a look at this new TrueBlood ad campaign which uses the vampire theme in print ads for real products. Take a look at them here.

More on TrueBlood, of course, coming on The Flaming Nose soon!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Fall 2009 Network TV Preview Coming Soon!


Get ready, because the Flaming Nose Fall TV Preview is in the works right now! As soon as the broadcast networks completed their upfront presentations, we began to feverishly comb through the schedules and start analyzing them. Pictured above, Alex O'Loughlin in CBS's new transplant drama Three Rivers.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Three Winners

I have to admit I was much more heavily invested in David Cook last year than I am with either Adam Lambert or Kris Allen, but I think both of the dudes are terrific. Adam is an off the scales talent, but it looks like America views Kris as accessible. For me, for you (tm Randy Jackson), I connect emotionally with Kris' performances more than I do with Adam's. For pure entertainment, Adam is one of the best that Idol's ever had. Here's the thing. Last year David Cook combined the power and to some extent, the theatrics of Adam with the emotionally filled, sometimes understated qualities of Kris. For me, David was the total package. With Kris and Adam, I tend to get either/or. The out and proud gay part of me rooted for Adam. The ipod-listening part of me was rooting for Kris.

The real winners? We really have three of them.

Kris is the "official" winner and will get the perks that go along with that. I think he has a shot at success. A lot of elements must come together for him: the right producer, the right management, the right singles, the right album. He demonstrated some sophistication and maturity during a barrage of interviews in the past 24 hours, and he seems to know who he is as a musician. He must fight for his integrity with 19 alphabet, the way Cook did. It pays off in spades.

Adam may turn out to be the bigger winner because he already has the media attention and from the looks of it on itunes, the sales. He's got tangible stage experience and there's actually talk of him joining Queen as their new lead singer! He didn't deny it this morning... he took the fifth! We'll see about that. The point is that he can do theater, he can do movies, he can do music. Will rock embrace him (without Queen backing him up LOL!)? No. Not rock radio. But if he can tone it down and come up with some good pop rock he will do fine on Adult Top 40 (aka Hot AC, where Cook and Daughtry live).

The third winner? David Cook. Ok, stay with me. His stunning live rendition of "Permanent," in honor of his brother who passed away three weeks ago, is now rising at a meteoric rate on itunes. The album track of "Permanent" just hit #6 and is beating both Kris' and Adam's coronation songs (ok, "No Boundaries" is dreadful. No threat of dethroning Cook's "The Time of My Life" as the most successful coronation song ever). His 6 month old self titled album just reentered the top 10 on itunes thanks to this performance. To make this more than just a David Cook fanboy post, I encourage you to download the charity version of "Permanent" from iTunes because 100% of the proceeds go to ABC Squared, a non-profit organization dedicated to finding a cure for brain cancer. David was a class act last season, and remains a class act one year later as a platinum-selling artist with 3 big hits on the radio.

If you missed last night's finale, or just want to experience David's performance again, here it is. I believe itunes will be releasing the music video version soon. Again, please spend a buck and download this from itunes... 100% of the proceeds go towards finding a cure for brain cancer.

AI Finale: Oops!

This is why we don't bet big in Vegas folks! Kris Allen, low key alt-folk cutie pie beat the harder edged, showier Adam Lambert to become this year's American Idol. No one was more shocked than Kris. At the end of the day, it probably doesn't matter. Lack of the top spot has never hurt Chris Daughtry or Jennifer Hudson. And it never helped Taylor Hicks, whose career never took off in spite of getting the crown.

I'll tell you what this really means, for once and for all. The results really are based on voting, and not the whims of Fox producers or executives. Adam was clearly the favorite of the judges, so the fact that Kris won means that votes mattered. Teen girls can text faster than anyone on Earth, and now they have spoken by giving their darling Kris the top spot.

Farewell until next year, American Idol TV show obsession! Next up: a review for "Glee". It was exhilarating!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Waiting for Adam: American Idol Season 8

Adam Lambert American Idol Mad World Tribute


We predicted (14 weeks ago), we confirmed (6 weeks ago) and we still believe (tonight). Adam Lambert is one of the most qualified and least typical of any of the American Idol contestants that have come before in this top rated Fox Television program's 8 season history. He can sing anything and his range is triple octave. He has enormous stage presence. He is handsome, and personable and humble and (OMG) even nice. He is unflappable in the face of countless AI judge insults and inanities. He has weathered (in this day and age...puleeze!) a ridiculous tabloid tsunami of snipes and hisses about his possible "gayness". To which I (and hopefully the American public after tomorrow) will respond...who gives a flying factoid one way or another. Adam Lambert is a star. My only hope is that he can write. If he can come up with his own original words for a few fine tunes, and find a Bernie Laupin to make the music ring, we will have a star on our hands that will last for a good long time.

Having said all that...I do have to mention, that both final contestants had to sing songs chosen by AI producer Simon Fuller tonight. He picked "Change is Gonna Come" by Sam Cooke for Adam and (one of my all time personal favorites) "What's Going On" by Marvin Gaye for Kris. As talented as these two guys are, neither one of them came close to the originals. It's not their fault...how could they possibly? But I'm glad the songs were chosen because it puts a spotlight on two great African American artists that are no longer with us. And maybe they will get some fresh downloads as a result of this publicity.

Good luck to both of tonight's contestants. Alan Lambert and Kris Alan will have to sort it all out tomorrow, and wonder along with the rest of us....who is the American Idol? How long does it last? Who will get the most downloads? And (most importantly) will anyone still care after Susan Boyle wins "Britain's got Talent"? My fantasy for the Wednesday night finale is for Adam and Kris to sing "Under Pressure", a great 80's song by Freddie Mercury and David Bowie. It would bring down the house.

Note: This post has been updated with a video. It's Adam singing "Mad World" while a water ballet lady swims around blowing bubbles. It's exquisitely weird.

Monday, May 18, 2009

"24" Season Finale Tonight on Fox


I've completely lost track of 24 this season, though the buzz has been good and everybody seems to like it. #1 on my list of things to do this summer -- watch the whole season!

There's an interesting article this morning on the current state of the show from Chuck Ross of TV Week magazine. Click here to read it.

If you have been watching regularly, here's to a great 2-hour Season Finale tonight for one of the most ambitious shows ever to hit television!

A Big "Be Safe" Shout-Out to Nosers in Los Angeles!


Heard about last night's 4.7 earthquake and the several aftershocks! Hang in there and I was just watching something that said you're in an active earthquake period right now, so hang on, too!

Other than the unthinkable Big One that is yet to come and the terrible damage caused by some of the others, I always enjoyed earthquakes while I lived there. Nothing quite like one, is there, with the ground just pitching about around you and you just grab and hope it stops sometime soon.

And watch your animals! I swear, before one of the big ones in the 1970s, my cat wanted to go outside in the worst way, and not but a couple of minutes later we had a really big one. They know these things!

Anyway, since this wasn't a big one, hope you enjoyed the ride!

Leonard Nimoy on "Fringe" Finale -- Fascinating!

Hope you caught last week's Season Finale of J.J. Abrams' series Fringe on Fox. After falling asleep during it the first time -- blame my aging brain, not Abrams -- I caught up with it this weekend on Canada's Space Channel (several times, actually) and it was awesome!

Great dimensional breaches, gruesome injuries, fascinating discoveries, a creepy bandaged face, and most importantly, Leonard Nimoy revealed as series mystery man William Bell. I know Nose correspondent Jane was most impressed by the amazing appearance of -- SPOILER! -- the Twin Towers where Bell has his office. Gotta love alternate realities!

This will make for a fantastic 2nd season for the show. I think we should all do a refresher course on Fringe over the summer, and give it our complete support and attention when it returns with new episodes. We've liked the show a lot here, but it never quite blossomed into true love. With Nimoy around, that's going to change!

(Late Breaking Update: Fox has just released its Fall 2009 line-up, and Fringe is moving to Thursday nights at 10pm, opposite CSI, Grey's Anatomy, and two of our favorite sitcoms. Break out the DVRs!)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Viral Video: Hulu's New Commercial with Denis Leary Won't Rot Your Brain



Have you seen this wonderful commercial yet? Hulu has been rocking the airwaves as one of the few big Internet sites to advertise on TV. They rolled out some great advertising in this year's Superbowl. But because Hulu is all about television, it walks a gossamer thin line in this spot; poking fun at TV...while simultaneously making it seem like the coolest thing on earth. And what better spokesperson could they have gotten for THAT message than Mr. Denis Leary? If you look up the word cool on Wikipedia, you'll find a picture of Denis, who can be found every week in the gritty FDNY series "Rescue Me" (Tuesday nights on fX).

Hulu's online traffic has been growing faster than you can say the word Twitter. It really makes you wonder why more big web sites don't spit shine their brands and send them off to TV Land. With most advertisers fretting about "clutter", TV is a wide open frontier when it comes to this category.

Friday, May 15, 2009

LONDON BOULEVARD AWAITS OUR WALK


Every once in a while we shift our focus off of our beloved television programs and spread our affections to one of the other mediums/arts. (Star Trek has been an object of obsession for two of my co-horts here at the Nose). We have the good fortune of writing for television and film blogs and writing for them anonymously. Sometimes writing for them is a challenge re: time, particularly since we all do have careers in various media outlets and that's not counting our respective lives beyond work. It is no secret that all of us here at The Flaming Nose feel blessed or lucky (depending on one's perspective) to work in the film, television and music industries. As much as I savor my television programs I came of age loving music and film more; and the deeply rooted attachment I have to film has never wavered since my youthful discovery. My mum and dad loved movies and in some DNA carpentered moment I got the love of film into my system. Even when the movies go through painfully awful periods (too many in the last 20 years) I always know that the sun will rise and set and at some point I will be looking at the right time to catch one of the most beautiful of sights (beyond sunrises and sunsets) -- a great big bouncy piece of cinematic brilliance.

I also love books and I enjoy a well written crime novel (not the slasher ones, but the deep thinking ones); and clearly no one does this better than James Ellroy, but the great Irish writer, Ken Bruen has managed to steal away many hours of my life as I transport myself to his venues of the rough and wacky. I love his integration of music into his works. How can you not love a guy who references everyone from the Eagles to Trisha Yearwood to Frank Sinatra? Some time back I purchased a copy of his London Boulevard on amazon.com.uk. I couldn't buy it in the states and I was too big a fan to wait for its U.S. arrival. I read it in one sitting. It's a short book! Shortly thereafter I heard they were making a film out of it and that William Monahan (most notably, The Departed) was writing the script and making his directorial debut, but the the bigger excitement was that two of my favorite film actors were going to play the leads or in the case of one of them a combination of the leads. Since 2002 when I kicked along to Bend it Like Beckham I have adored Keira Knightley. She has been cast as the combo pairing of the actress and the love interest. In the book, these are two separate characters. Keep in mind, in the book, the actress is a 60 year old and I guess they didn't want to have Julie Christie play the actress (even though she is 68 she could still play 60), although that would have been an intriguing move. Of course, then you couldn't have hired Colin Farrell to play the character of Mitchell since Mitchell is 47 years old in the book (although I suspect Colin may look 47 before he is really 47 - I'm not being mean since I love the guy's acting and clearly I'm a fan, but all of those cigarettes will age him the way they aged Mel Gibson).

I return to the thought. Drive truth away from storytelling. Why not? It's done all the time, so now we have the stunningly beautiful (a cross between Julie Christie and Jacqueline Bisset - what a cross) and gifted young actress, Keira Knightley playing the female lead in one of my favorite recent books. I love Colin Farrell too, although he hasn't done a great deal to deserve the love, but from the first time I witnessed him I gathered this bloke up in a big bunch of pony-tailed (hopefully, those days are past him) potential! Every once in a while he hits a high mark (think In Bruges and not Alexander or Miami Vice for that matter). I can only hope that London Boulevard will be his cinematic payday. I'm looking forward to this film (although since it starts production in a couple of weeks it won't be out until summer or fall of 2010) and I am most looking forward to the highly anticipated (my highly anticipated) chemistry of these two old-school movie actors. They could have co-starred in just about any of the great dramatic films from the golden period of films back in the 1940's. They are timeless types and that part may come from their Isles roots. Americans (and yes, I am an American and I love my country) don't do timeless well. We are too contemporary and our actors (outside of Johnny Depp who is clearly in a schoolroom with no other students) reek of the now. The Brits and the Irish have qualities we lost somewhere in the counterrevolutionary period of the 1960's (which in many ways the Brits started). We've never been the same. What other group of people travel in their pajama pants? We've become sneaker/sweatshirt slobs. We AIN'T timeless anymore. Keira Knightley and Colin Farrell. I like them. Pure and simple. They are gorgeous and gifted and they both seem like decent people. They clearly attempt to live somewhat normal lives (now that he is healed from his addictions), they avoid Hollywood pomposity, they even seem grounded with their highly devoted to family lifestyles. They are funny, quick, clever, witty, articulate and wickedly smart. If they weren't actors I'd assemble their selves as the perfect Match.com entry.

The book is a solid entry in the crime genre and if you have any tender loving feelings for Billy Wilder's Sunset Boulevard (if you know anything at all about film you would have to have lots of tender loving feelings for it) then you are going to anticipate this film as much as I am. Now whether Monahan can achieve even half the depth of that script is yet to be known, but I am going to trust that it will be worth the wait. Hopefully, Monahan avoids the gratuitous use of the F BOMB. His films (The Departed most notably) have the word being dropped in every third word placement. Outside of hardened criminals I'm not sure who talks this way except maybe the director and lead male actor. One must think that, correct?

Now that the 2008-2009 television season is wrapping itself (Dancing with the Stars ends next Tuesday - I'm worried about that outcome, well, not really, but it sounds so melodramatic, but it better not be Shawn - Melissa and Gils are better) up we can target our moments of being entertained on to the summer of '09 film releases. I am shockingly looking forward to Terminator Salvation since I like Christian Bale. That's it. The only reason. I am also dying (no pun intended) to see Michael Mann's Public Enemies. Johnny Depp and Christian Bale are two of the best actors working in films today and since I was born and raised in Chicago I am always game for another take on the life and death of John Dillinger. Funny People looks good and the chick in me looks forward to The Time Traveler's Wife.

Happy weekend to all. Tomorrow, is the second leg of the Triple Crown with the running of the Preakness. Heaps of health to Mine That Bird. With or without the rider up as Calvin Borel I am hoping beyond hope that this gelding goes the distance.

Dedicated to a walk on a boulevard in London. Having lived there right out of Grad School I still love going there. I'll be back there at the end of the summer taking the tube and enjoying the company of some good friends! By then, London Boulevard will have concluded production and my wait will have gotten that much shorter.

"30 Rock" Star Jane Krakowski in Hilarious "GWTW" Spoof -- For Ice Cream!


If you watched Flaming Nose favorite 30 Rock last night, you saw a commercial for Breyers Smooth & Dreamy Ice Cream featuring series co-star Jane Krakowski as Scarlett O' Hara. They've got a website set up for the promotion, and you really need to go to there and watch the Gone With The Wind parody with Jane and Rhett Butler. In addition to being hilarious, it's beautifully done, and you might even want to watch the behind-the-scenes featurette.

We're not advocating ice cream here on the Nose -- though how could that be wrong? -- but we do know that you'll love Jane Krakowski's terrific performance. She's delightful! Evidently another webisode with her inserted into King Kong is coming up soon. Can't wait!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Cheer up: "Glee" Gives us a Sneak Peak Next Week!



With so many Flaming Nose TV favorites coming to a season close, I thought there might be something nice to carry us through the summer. Alas, there will just be a one hour glimpse of Glee before it is put on ice to wait for the real debut in the Fall. What a tease. "Glee" (Fox, next Tuesday on May 19th, 9pm) gives us a great show biz perennial ("let's put on a show!") and smacks it down in a venue that is pulsating with peril (high school). Scheduled after next week's American Idol season finale, Glee should resonate with anyone who ever tried out for chorus or the drama department. Check out the video, it looks like High School Musical with brains and humor. Too bad Fox had to try such an odd scheduling technique. If it's any good, we will have a long, long wait to see the second episode. The audience better be patient, or else Fox will be singing the blues.

Oh well...summer belongs to cable anyway!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Viral Video Moment: U-Zoo Hits the Spot

Woman Lives With Lions


OK, somebody had to do it, so I'll take the fall. Before Shatner himself comes onto the Flaming Nose and tells us to "get a life" for being all Star Trek, all the time...here's a little break from our beloved TV Series-Movie Franchise.

MySpace Video has a feature now called U-Zoo (you can subscribe). I'm a connoisseur of animal videos, and what I like about this series, is the subtitles, giving you some sort of idea of what (in this case Russian) people are talking about as they adore their critters. In this particular video I love how the domestic house cat and dog are so accepting when their new family suddenly includes a few lion cubs.

It's a great series, but they need to refresh it more often. Good also for ultra sensitive animal lovers, as they don't include some of the more violent/drastic stuff that is omnipresent on YouTube.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Star Trek XXX: It had to happen

I haven't seen this movie, produced by Hustler mastermind Larry Flynt, but I thought you Star Trek fiends should know it exists (co-starring now-mainstean star Sasha Grey, of Soderburgh's new movie The Girlfriend Experience). I have to admit, its art direction and costume design is superlative (and I assure that absolutely no sex scenes are included in this preview).

Amazingly Insightful "Star Trek" Article in the N.Y. Times!

Read this article! "Exploring the Universe, One B-Movie at a Time" by David Hadju.

I've never before read an article that completely and concisely explained what was so immensely entertaining and importantly different about Star Trek: The Original Series. Hadju, a professor at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, author, and music critic at The New Republic magazine, totally nails what made ST:TOS unique.

It sounds like Hadju grew up like many of us did, devouring television and movies and making connections between everything we saw. His appreciation and understanding of the special pastiche of cultural influences which came together in Roddenberry's original vision for Star Trek is dead on and faultless. Explaining Trek's special magic doesn't ruin the illusion, it makes it even better.

What a delightful and insightful article! Hadju nails it and in the process actually makes Star Trek even more culturally relevant than ever.

The sketch at the top of the post is artist Ted Mcgrath's witty illustration for the piece. Hilarious!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Star Trek The Movie: They Had Me At Hello


If you've read anything on the Flaming Nose over the past few months you're aware that our eager anticipation for the new J.J. Abrams Star Trek movie was just this side of borderline psychotic . I am pleased to announce that the movie opened wide on 5.08.09 and did not disappoint. Would it be too over the top to use the word "Love"? No it would not. I would like to write a love letter to Mr. Abrams, because if anything, Star Trek surpassed even my OTG (Original Trek Geek) expectations.

At its core, the original Star Trek television series was about hope, friendship and the pioneer spirit...enduring themes that have always contributed to its immense popularity around the world. Who wouldn't want a future where humans (and quite a few extraterrestrials) of every race and origin, live and work in harmony? Star Trek was a program that featured a young
Ja
panese Navigator (Sulu) as a central character, only twenty years after World War II ended. While the American south was still riddled with
"Whites Only" signs, Star Trek dared to display an interracial kiss between Kirk and Uhura. The movie kicks it up a few notches with an "inter species" moment between Spock and Uhura that is hotter than Antares. I'm not going to spoil it for those who have not seen the picture yet, so all I will say is, "oh my". Ladies, feel free to explore your inner cougar inclinations with this one.

Star Trek appeals on every level, whether you grew up loving the Shatner-Nimoy opus or cut your teeth on the last three Star Wars movies. I saw it yesterday with my teenage son and two of his friends. They were just as engaged as this die-hard Trekkie and didn't seem to mind at all when I repeatedly gave the Vulcan hand salute to the screen.

Star Trek is a summer blockbuster in every sense of the word. It moves at a breathless, lightning pace and the special effects are astounding. There are harrowing, edge of the seat fight scenes and a fantastic torch-like atmospheric drill the evil Romulans use to threaten Earth. You want a little humor with your action flick? Star Trek was packed with genuine laughs and surprises, many coming from Simon Pegg who played the Enterprise loving chief engineer Scotty. For traditionalists, Leonard Nimoy's appearance as Spock Prime was touching, and (not a word generally used for Vulcans) emotional.

But nothing in Star Trek is as compelling as the developing friendship between the young Spock (Zachary Quinto) and Kirk (Chris Pine) who meet at Star Fleet Academy and take an instant dislike to each other. That's called "meeting cute" in the movies, and it usually means that a lifelong buddy bond is on the way. Quinto's young Spock was fascinating and very sexy; his struggle to be Vulcan and subjugate his emotions conveyed by a slight flash of the eyes or a barely perceptible tightening in his face. This is a very explosive, angry Spock. Whatever you do, don't say anything bad about his mother. Chris Pine is amazing as the brilliant "bad boy" Kirk, a car jacker and party animal until he gains focus and joins the Star Fleet. Like many young men who turn to the military, he soon discovers it's a lot more fun to fight bad guys at warp speed than punch wise guys in a bar brall. I loved it when he assumed the familiar lion-like slouch in the Captain's chair on the Enterprise. A new super-hero, refreshingly human, was born.

The USS Enterprise, a cultural icon so huge that NASA named the first Space Shuttle after this fictional ship, functioned like a main character in the movie. Sleek, gleaming and surreal, when the silver bird with its aviation mark NCC-1701 first appeared on screen I got a lump in my throat and had to reach for my popcorn napkin. Seeing Scotty's love-at-first-sight appreciation for the beautiful ship was also a delight.

As I write this report, the LA Times has announced that Star Trek the Movie is on track to surpass estimates and may reach $80 million at the box office this weekend. I certainly hope it will. And please let there be a sequel to this prequel. The incredible chemistry of this cast is too good for just one movie. We want to boldly go see another one, as soon as we finish seeing this one about 6 or 7 more times.

Thank you J.J. Abrams. From the opening battle scenes to the final credits (and dedication to Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry), this movie was a wonder. Flaming Nose fans, if you have not done so already....go see it now.

Friday, May 8, 2009

"Onion News Network" Weighs In on "Star Trek" Movie!

We're Keeping a Bit Mum on the New "Star Trek" Movie --


-- until more of us have seen it! Our correspondent Jane is probably seeing it almost as I'm typing this, and I went to it last night. Can't wait to share our thoughts with you!

I'm hoping for some amazing box office numbers! Please, let it beat Wolverine!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

An AI Outrage

If I wasn't convinced that the producers of Americn Idol were trying to manipulate this year's results in favor of the new "chosen one," this this did it. We're down to Top 3 and the hometown visits, and look what graces the cover of EW. They might as well just call it already. It is an outrage and I have my theories about what's behind this.
The original "Chosen One" was Danny Gokey. I have to admit during Hollywood week, I had the nerve to call it for him. The judges went nuts and the producers even played up the tragic backstory: a widower in his late 20s who lost his wife a month before his audition. The backlash came quickly, with many people noting how last year, David Cook never allowed the backstory of his brother's brain cancer to be exploited. When Cook's pre-Idol solo album, Analog Heart started selling suddenly on Amazon.com MP3 (it was #1 for a short time, ahead of Mariah Carey's new album), he had it pulled quickly. All out of fairness.

Flash forward to season 8. As the Top 12 progressed, Lambert came on strong week after week and never faultered in his performance, while Gokey became kind of boring. With Lambert, the producers found a new "Chosen One" who is much more likely to sell records and generate buzz. Gokey has plenty of fans - and they are a visible and voting bunch - and he will most certainly face Lambert in the finale - but if he wins, I think we're looking at another Taylor Hicks. I just don't see Danny igniting record sales, singles sales, or much of a buzz in general. The Powers That Be must agree with my assessment because they are clearly doing what they can to hand Lambert a win. The person really getting screwed here is Kris Allen, who is now almost certain to go home next week. I think he could have had a fighting chance if Gokey and Lambert weren't so heavily promoted. Allen happens to have the pop quality and boyish good looks and charm to make it as a pop idol. I hope he finds runner-up success a la David Archuleta.

The shame of it is that Lambert, at this point, probably deserves to win anyway. He is a skilled and experienced peformer and has an amazing vocal range. Not everyone likes his voice - and I must say I want to like his voice more than I do - but you can't deny his charisma, perfect pitch and power. My previous post goes over the huge challenges he faces if he goes the rock route - the genre that most people (including the judges and me) feel suits him best.

Back to this cover story. It's not easy getting a cover on EW. There's plenty of competition out there right now, especially with the new Star Trek and X-Men movies and the rest of all the summer blockbusters opening. I don't think this is a case of American Idol's producers "allowing" this to happen. They rallied hard with EW to make this happen. No matter how much you like Adam Lambert, this kind of coverage during the competition is unprecidented and in my book, unfair. Unfair to Gokey & Allen, and to the millions of faithful viewers who like to make up their own mind and then cast their votes.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Idol Rock Stars (and the post-Idol dilemma)



A thoroughly enjoyable but exasperating night on American Idol has prompted me to post this morning! The good news is that, like many viewers, I finally know what kind of record Adam Lambert should (and probably will) make. Yes, as the judges said, he needs to go the Led Zeppelin mixed with glam-rock route. There are, however, some big problems with that and I will elaborate in a moment.

First I must vent because the judges really pissed me off by going overboard in their obvious attempt to save Mr. Lambert after last week's bottom two "scare." Whether Lambert is your cup of tea or not is irrelevant because he turned in a stellar performance last night and didn't need extra pimpage from the judges. Allison Iraheta came out and gave one of the best performances anyone has given all season, and they picked it apart over what seemed like the lamest of reasons. Non-reasons. It smacks of manipulation. I would still buy Allison's record before Adam's. But that's me. Kris Allen and Danny Gokey did the best they could with the material but they are not this year's rockers and it showed. Gokey's fan base will keep him safe.

So let's get back to rock music. Here's where Adam Lambert faces a challenge. If he takes the judges' advice and goes the pure, classic, bring-the-house-down rock route he's going to have post-Idol troubles. There's much talk about filling the current empty void of arena rock but I've got news for you and I will put this in bold typface: an American Idol contestant, whether a winner or runner-up, is not going to be the one to single handedly bring back rock. Mr. Lambert, good luck getting on rock radio, because you better line up behind 5 x platinum Daughtry and newly platinum David Cook. Their "tainted" American Idol history still has them waiting for spins on the all-too-snobbish rock radio format. The pair are ruling Hot Adult Contemporary (aka Adult Top 40) and they both do well on Top 40, but cracking into the rock radio format is an uphill challenge. Daughtry's sophomore album is due out in July, and it remains to be seen whether he's paid enough "rock dues" to get onto rock radio. If so, it will have been three long years since he left American Idol, and he didn't even have the "stigma" of winning the show!

Adam Lambert faces other big challenges, especially if he wins and is signed by 19 Recordings and managed directly by the boss, Simon Fuller, himself (as is the case with Daughtry and Cook). They'll likely hook him up with RCA Records (again, like Daughtry and Cook, both 19/RCA) and there's no way he'll put out a hard rock-Led Zeppelin-Guns & Roses type of album right off the bat. David Cook, who was given unprecedented creative freedom post-Idol, and is by far the Idol success story with the most extensive indie-rock resume, put out a superb but fairly commercial rock album that crosses several radio formats (HAC, Top 40, Adult Contemporary). Daughtry's debut album has similar characteristics. The difference between Lambert and his two Idol predecessors is that it's unclear whether Lambert can shine in the dialed-down rock ballad category. Daughtry's crisp, clear understated angst-driven vocals have made him a rocker who gets played on pop radio. Cook's power and pipes go into Lambert's territory, but Cook is also brilliant at dialing it back and putting in a vocal performance that can bring tears to your eyes. Both Daughtry and Cook write and sing songs with pop-rock hooks that stay on your brain all day, but never stray from their rock roots. I'm not convinced Lambert will have me buying his entire album. Cook and Daughtry are seasoned musicians but I have no knowledge of Lambert being anything more than a performer, and that can be another handicap for Lambert in the rock world.

As an American Idol fan, I hope that Lambert succeeds as a rocker. Daughtry opened the door. Cook practically broke the show last year and proved you can be a successful rock winner. I think both Daughtry and Cook have allowed the judges and the fans to embrace rock on Idol, and as someone who prefers rock to pop, it makes me happy. Slash's involvement with the show might also help keep rock alive on Idol, and open some rock doors for Idol alumni. The sad news for me is that, in the real world, when you look at current radio, it's clear that rock has taken a back seat to R&B and Hip Hop oriented pop, so when a rocker does well on American Idol, expectations for him/her need to be managed. Versatility is the key to success, and I'm not convinced that Adam Lambert has the level of versatility that has helped David Cook succeed on HAC, Top 40 and Adult Contemporary. I would love to hear all four Idol rockers - Cook, Daughtry, Lambert and Iraheta, on rock radio - and soon!



Contestant duets are a welcome addition this season. Last night's performance of Foghat's "Slow Ride" by Lambert and Iraheta was a highlight of the show.

More Videos!

Here's a wonderful promo for the boxed set of Star Trek: TOS! Hilarious!

Terrific Dr. McCoy Tribute Video!

Star Trek never ends around here!

This is an adorable montage of wonderful moments from the late, great DeForest Kelley as Dr. Leonard McCoy of the Starship Enterprise. Word is that Karl Urban makes a terrific new McCoy -- can't wait to see him in the role made beloved by Kelley!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Star Trek Memories Over Time

I found this fabulous montage, made by a fan on Yahoo Images. It seemed like the most appropriate visual for my final, final post before the new Star Trek movie opens (Yes! I totally mean it, not another word until after the movie is in the theater!). At this time, I would like to list all my best, and weirdest, Star Trek memories; in chronological order:

  • Being forced to play the "Gorn" monster on the playground during recess at the age of 12, because my two fellow male classmates would not let me be, "Spock" (my first choice) or "Kirk". OK, this is not a good memory, but it built character.
  • Following my Dad (may he rest in peace) outside after watching an episode of the original Star Trek series and having him point out all the stars...and their names...and seeing his excitement about thinking that humans would go there some day. Star Trek really made him believe. I was just a kid at the time, but it made me a believer too.
  • Winning the Kings Elementary School oratory contest for reciting a segment from Leonard Nimoy's "Mr. Spock from Outer Space" album in 6th grade. All the other kids read poems about flowers. I had a more apocalyptic view.
  • Seeing John Belushi do his skit on Saturday Nite Live with Chevy Chase...still one of the best SNL moments ever. NBC comes to take down the set of the immortal series Star Trek, because the ratings suck...Spock and Kirk can't break character to let it happen. Best line...a production assistant yanks the pointy's off of Chevy Chase as the fourth wall crumples.... and he screams..."I want my ears...give me back my ears!"
  • Creating some of the strangest, funniest Spock and Kirk stories ever with my co-worker (and now fellow Flaming Nose creator) Lisa back in the days of independent television. Does anyone want to see some of it? It's wonderfully inappropriate. Maybe we'll wait until after the movie opens.
  • Taking my (then) 6 year old son to a huge Star Trek convention in Pasadena with my sister Georgette. He was horrified by the giant leather clad Klingon fans in attendance (fabulous bone heads, enormous weapons, platform boots) . My beloved offspring flipped out when I would not buy him the blow-up Enterprise, AND the Phaser AND the talking Tri-corder. I bought him the Enterprise. Then he had a melt-down. Mom and Aunt exited with enraged 6 year old. I told him if he didn't settle down, I would give him to a Klingon. Silence. Before all the Mom PC police get their shorts in a knot...that kid has grown up to be the greatest young man ever. He's college bound, and a sci-fi geek to the core.
  • Actually that last bullet point is the perfect set-up to my most favorite Star Trek moment...and I will have to bring it to you through the Space Time Continuum, because it hasn't happened yet. This Friday, I'll be seeing Star Trek the Movie on the day that it opens with my son Tommy and a few of his buddies. They are all teenagers. (You hear that Paramount...it does span generations!). It was their first choice to see in the theater this weekend. It was my first choice as something to do for Mother's Day. A complete win-win for all.
Happy Star Trek Movie weekend to all the Star Trek fans that read the Flaming Nose here in the U.S. and around the world. Please tell us your favorite memories too!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Leonard Nimoy to Appear on Next Week's "Fringe" Season Finale!



According to a recent blurb in Entertainment Weekly online, Leonard Nimoy has been tapped to appear in the season finale of J.J. Abram's Sci Fi series, Fringe next Tuesday May 12th (9-10pm) on FOX. He'll be featured as William Bell, a mysterious scientist and former partner of John Nobel's quirky and wonderful Dr. Bishop.

Rumor has it that this is more than a walk-on, and Nimoy will return next season to carry on the role as a semi-regular. Fingers crossed for that!

PS-I lied when I said I wasn't going to do any more Trek related posts. Never trust a Trekkie when they say they are done. They can try to make me go to Star Trek Rehab, but I won't go, go, go!

Found a Great Feature about Spock on NPR!

From June of last year, by Neda Ulaby -- check it out! Mr. Spock: The Mystery of Masculinity Embodied -- read and listen to it! With film clips and everything!

A very insightful analysis of the greatness that is Spock, the character. They love him as much as we do.

Sigh.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Hugs and Kisses from Kirk and Spock

The net is buzzing about some of the plot points from the new Star Trek movie, a key one involving romance. (So as not to be tossing spoilers about, we'll warn you that if you click here or here or especially here you'll find out what we're talking about.) We've been intrigued at The Flaming Nose with preview scenes featuring saucy and hilarious dialogue, and we think it's darn smart of J.J. Abrams et al to have figured out that the Enterprise crew's sex lives are of keen interest to the fans out there. Feh to folks who have carped that the new gang makes it looks like Star Trek 90210 -- are you kidding? Some of us can't WAIT to see these folks jump into the sack!

Let's not forget that when Star Trek: The Original Series was first on the air, like all good 1960s-era adventure TV series it had its share of romantic plot elements. Much merriment has been made over the years concerning Captain Kirk's supposed incessant womanizing -- really, he didn't kiss every alien lady he came across -- and though you can count the number of times Spock fell for somebody on less than one hand, we'll never forget them. We figure it's about time to give a little tribute to the softer side of our favorite Star Trek heroes.

Though he was far from a cad, James T. Kirk was definitely a lover as well as a fighter. From his kiss (above, left) with the lovely android Andrea (played by Sherry Jackson) in "What Are Little Girls Made Of?" to his attraction (above, right) to Kodos the Executioner's daughter (Barbara Anderson) in "Conscience of the King", or maybe his dalliance (left) with the alternative universe's Captain's Woman (Barbara Luna) in "Mirror, Mirror", or his romantic manipulation (right) of the Kelvan invader Kelinda (Barbara Bouchet) in "By Any Other Name", Kirk liked the ladies. We also can't forget the bizarrely-costumed yet historic kiss between Kirk and Lt. Uhura in "Plato's Stepchildren", and the amnesia-induced idyll with the Native American beauty Miramanee (Sabrina Scharf) in "The Paradise Syndrome", and that's just skimming a few off the top for Kirk. We loved him for it, too, and a Kirk without an active libido wouldn't be quite right.

Because of the rarity of Spock's romantic encounters, each one was a real special occasion, at least for the Spock fans out there. We had the long-standing and mostly unrequited attraction of Nurse Christine Chapel for Spock, in evidence especially in "The Naked Time" where a virus caught everybody with their emotions hanging out, in "Amok Time" when she made Spock some Plomik Soup and had a strange, intimate conversation with him in his cabin, in "A Private Little War" when she holds his hand as he's unconscious in a Vulcan healing trance, and of course in "Plato's Stepchildren" when they are forced to kiss by the Platonians. Not quite what she wanted, but better than nothing, we'd think.


In terms of non-workplace relationships, we had Spock's reunion with Leila Kalomi (Jill Ireland) in "This Side of Paradise", where in addition to kissing a girl Spock also gets to hang from a tree like a chimp. Bravo on both counts! We can't again ignore the total Vulcan sexuality-infused "Amok Time" where we meet Spock's betrothed T'Pring (Arlene Martel) and also catch him at his computer almost creepily gazing at her picure as a child. (Always thought that was a bit weird!).

How about his out-of-character flirtation with the skinnier-than-skinny spoiled aristobrat Droxine (Diana Ewing) in "The Cloud Minders"? I was always fascinated by it, but thought it completely ridiculous and highly illogical, albeit almost hilarious. Much better was Spock's James Bond-ian undercover seduction of the Romulan Commander (Joanne Linville) in "The Enterprise Incident". Not only they did look good together, but as distant racial relatives they shared unearthly foreplay techniques which were good for endless speculation.


Mainly because I've always loved actress Mariette Hartley, I'm partial to Spock's unlikely but nearly plausible -- thanks to time travel -- infatuation with Zarabeth in "All Our Yesterdays". It's also got that wrenching doomed romance farewell scene, this time played in blowing snow, which gives it kind of a Doctor Zhivago-esque air. Quite memorable overall!

I think that's about all for now, so I'm hoping the new movie will add more nooky to the Star Trek canon. Love makes the world...the universe...go round!