Friday, May 25, 2012

Review: Men in Black 3

Posted By on Fri, May 25, 2012 at 4:31 PM

Audiences had good reason to expect the worst from Men in Black 3. The original MIB was an authentic hit thanks mainly to the chemistry between stars Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones. The second installment squandered the first film’s easy charm, and replaced it with gooey space aliens repeatedly going splat. Ten years have passed since MIB 2. Why bring back a series that seemed tired and played-out before the Iraq War even began?

If phrases like “easy money” or “gullible audiences” come quickly to mind, think again. There’s always a profit motive behind a big summer-movie franchise. But that doesn’t necessarily tell the tale. For the most part, MIB 3 is breezy and fun and all the things moviegoers look for when the weather gets hot. It’s the most entertaining entry in the series so far. It even gets poignant at the end. Who knew?

Significant time off may have helped recharge the MIB batteries. Barry Sonnenfeld, who directed all three movies and began his career as the Coen Brothers’ ace cinematographer, spent the last several years producing TV shows. Will Smith last appeared in a movie four years ago, as he’s been working behind the scenes to support the show-biz careers of his wife (Jada Pinkett Smith) and kids. But the secret weapon here is a script by Etan Cohen (not to be confused with Coen Brother Ethan Coen) that manages to match alien goo with character and story.

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Tex Jernigan will make you walk on water

Posted By on Fri, May 25, 2012 at 4:21 PM

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  • Tex Jernigan
... well, sort of.

New Orleans-based artist Tex Jernigan likes to remain coy about exactly how he does it, but by using a portable platform system in a shallow body of water he can create the illusion of subjects walking on water — that act synonymous with the impossible or miraculous.

"It's beyond elevating people to rockstar or celebrity. It's bringing people to spiritual leader, or Jesus," he says. "It's the miracle of walking on water."

At 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 27, Jernigan will be where St. Bernard Avenue meets Lake Pontchartrain to demonstrate his technique, and onlookers can even participate in their own walking-on-water portraits.

"With things like Facebook and Twitter you want to have lots of crazy images of yourself," he says. "I'm filling a need in that sense."

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Listen: Gambit's free music Friday

Posted By on Fri, May 25, 2012 at 3:00 PM

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Watch Lafayette astro-pop outfit GIVERS cover Paul Simon's "That Was Your Mother" with Dickie Landry, below. It's the first cover in a series for the 25th anniversary of Simon's Graceland. The anniversary release is June 5, and the video series will officially kick off May 29.

More below the jump.

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Sunday: The Money Wasters second line parade 1-5pm

Posted By on Fri, May 25, 2012 at 11:33 AM

THE 38TH ANNUAL MONEY WASTERS SECOND LINE PARADE

SUNDAY, MAY 27, 2012 1-5pm

featuring The To Be Continued Brass Band

(route below the jump!)

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R-rated trailer for NOLA-shot Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter reveals all-out gorefest

Posted By on Fri, May 25, 2012 at 11:16 AM

Studio marketing campaigns are an ongoing source of mystery. Yesterday brought the release of what industry jargon terms the "red band trailer" for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, a summer blockbuster shot in New Orleans last year and currently scheduled for release on June 22. Red-band means "made for audiences currently assembled to watch an R-rated movie," as opposed to the previously released "green band" trailer that was safe for kids—as if they didn't watch what they want on the Web all day long anyway.

What's surprising here is how much blood, guts, and beheadings can be squeezed into 1:54. Early excerpts of this movie made it look like an almost Tarantino-esque pop-culture mash-up. It appears we swallowed the marketing campaign's phase-one bait. Now it looks like horror all the way.


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-30-

Posted By on Fri, May 25, 2012 at 3:14 AM

News that The Times-Picayune would cease publishing daily editions went off like a bombshell this week. From the newsroom to the state Capitol to boardrooms and barrooms across the metro area, people found it hard to believe that the paper’s owners were abandoning four days of news coverage in print.

In some ways, it’s a sign of the times for America’s newspapers. Yet it’s sad that New Orleans has to be on the forefront of such an awful development. Despite the TP’s rosy coverage of the news, there’s nothing good about the paper dropping to three days of printed circulation.

From the inevitable layoffs among the paper’s extremely talented staff to the diminution of a powerful voice for reform in local and state politics to the probable loss of in-depth investigative reporting, this is bad news all around. It leaves a huge void in local and state politics.

To get just a glimpse of how important newspapers are to a democracy, think back to the founding of the Republic. The Founding Fathers, in an effort to “sell” the new Constitution, adopted a set of amendments to it — the Bill of Rights — and led off with the words, “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” No other industry enjoys specific constitutional protection against official incursion. Unfortunately, the Constitution cannot ward off the Internet or a bad economy — or lousy ownership.

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Controversial gun ownership bill backed in House

Posted By on Thu, May 24, 2012 at 5:26 PM

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Earlier this month, members of the state House committee on criminal justice engaged in a heated debate over a controversial piece of legislation that would amend the state constitution to make “denial, infringement, or restriction” on the Second Amendment right to “acquire, keep, possess, transport, carry, transfer, and use arms for defense of life and property” subject to “strict scrutiny” in the courts — meaning the highest standard of judicial review and the strongest legal protection typically reserved for fundamental human rights would apply to gun ownership.

It ultimately passed 9-5 through that committee. Today, Sen. Neil Riser's Senate Bill 303 passed in the full House by a 77-22 vote, and it’ll head to the state Senate for final review before appearing on ballots this November.

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After the news: Today at The Times-Picayune

Posted By on Thu, May 24, 2012 at 5:05 PM

When the word came down that The Times-Picayune would no longer be a daily newspaper, it wasn’t from the paper’s owners, Advance Publications. Nor was it from senior management or newsroom officials. It came as a brief item on The New York Times’ “Media Decoder” blog, written by David Carr, and sent out over Twitter at 10:33 p.m., when the newsroom was largely empty:

“Newhouse Newspapers, which owns The Times-Picayune, will apparently be working off a blueprint the company used in Ann Arbor, Mich., where it reduced the frequency of the Ann Arbor News, emphasized the Web site as a primary distributor of news and in the process instituted wholesale layoffs to cut costs.”

Five paragraphs in, the story mentioned that longtime editor Jim Amoss and his two managing editors, Peter Kovacs and Dan Shea, were among those leaving. Publisher Ashton Phelps Jr. had already announced his retirement in March.

Carr’s report wasn’t exactly right about the “blueprint”: In Michigan, Newhouse did not reduce the frequency of the Ann Arbor News — it closed the paper, fired most of the staff, then created a news-flavored website called AnnArbor.com, which puts out a perfunctory print edition twice a week.

The New York Times report came after a tumultuous week in the T-P newsroom. Speculation about the paper’s future had been rampant after incoming publisher Ricky Mathews had come to New Orleans the week before, moved into the Windsor Court Hotel, and held meetings with some — but not all —Times-Picayune executives off the building's premises. All week, speculation had ranged from shuttering bureaus and eliminating some managerial positions (the best case scenario) to “Armageddon” — the closing of New Orleans’ paper of record, with mass firings, a few people invited to reapply for their jobs and news delivered solely through Advance Publications’ online arm, NOLA.com.

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Suitcases for foster kids

Posted By on Thu, May 24, 2012 at 4:34 PM

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  • Photo by Oleg Kozlov

Four area courts are collecting new or slightly used suitcases, duffle bags and backpacks for children moving through the foster care system.

Luggage donations can be dropped off at the Louisiana 4th Circuit Court of Appeal (410 Royal St.), marked to the attention of Judge Max Tobias. (The duffle bags and backpacks should be large.)

Judges for the Louisiana 4th Circuit Court of Appeal, Orleans Parish Juvenile Court, the 25th Judicial District Court for Plaquemines Parish and the 34th Judicial District Court for St. Bernard Parish came up with the program after observing that children moving into new foster homes generally have to carry their belongings in garbage bags, which the judges say is demeaning. Some of the children remain in the foster care system for years and move several times.

“It is bad enough for a child to leave everything he or she knows and loves, but then to have all their belongings placed into a trashbag places a feeling of worthlessness on top of it all,” 4th Circuit Chief Judge Charles R. Jones said in a news release announcing the program.

Organizers of Suitcases for Foster Kids hope individuals, community groups, businesses and service organizations will join the effort. The luggage will be distributed to courts in Orleans, Plaquemines and St. Bernard parishes, which will get the bags into the hands of foster children who need them. Any extras will be distributed to foster kids elsewhere in Louisiana.

For more information, email suitcasesforfosterkids@yahoo.com or call Tobias at 412-6072.

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Green Burrito: Late night burritos in the Bywater

Posted By on Thu, May 24, 2012 at 4:00 PM

A green burrito from the Green Burrito.

There have been a lot of changes to the eatery options in the Bywater lately, and one of the more recent additions is staking out some late-night turf.

The crew at the Green Burrito (3046 St. Claude Ave., 949-2889) sling their menu of burritos, tacos and quesadillas from 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. daily. Pick your tortilla configuration and they fill it with steak, chicken or grilled fish, plus all-vegetable and vegan renditions.

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