>> The Incredible Burt Wonderstone
>> Identity Thief
>> Gangster Squad
>> Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away
>> Zero Dark Thirty
>> The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
>> Hyde Park on Hudson
>> Safety Not Guaranteed
>> The Great Gatsby (PG-13) [trailer]
>> Peeples (PG-13) [trailer]
>> Aftershock (Limited) (R) [trailer]
>> And Now a Word From Our Sponsor (Limited) (NR) [trailer]
>> Erased (Limited) (R) [trailer]
>> Sightseers (Limited) (NR) [trailer]
>> Venus and Serena (Limited) (PG-13) [trailer]
Las Vegas: Satan Vacations Here
by Victoria Alexander
December 17, 2007
Leaving for Morocco, TDH Returns January 14, 2008, Movies This Week, Uganda: East Africa’s Secret Paradise, Has Osama Granted an Interview?, Fab Four Mania at Sahara Hotel & Casino, Owen Wilson Visits Peru, Ollie’s Neighborhood Tavern, The Dead Are Spying On Us, PETA on the Warpath, and more...
TDH Returns Janaury 14, 2008. We’re off to Morocco for the holidays and our 15th wedding anniversary!
Movies This Week. The Las Vegas film Critics Society holds its voting next week, so we are seeing 2 movies each day! This past week I saw “The Great Debaters” (NO), “I Am Legend” (YES), “Cassandra’s Dream” (YES) “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” (YES), “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story” (YES), “The Bucket List” (NO) and “There Will Be Blood” (YES).
Has Osama Been Found? "Super Size Me" filmmaker Morgan Spurlock’s latest documentary is called "Where in the World Is Osama Bin Laden?" Since the Bush administration has been looking for Bin Laden for six years, could a no-name filmmaker (at least not a household name in the Middle East) without contacts or money actually have found the answer? Spurlock, said to have shot more than 800 hours of film in Afghanistan and the Middle East hunting for the world's most wanted man, is fanning the rumor that he may have succeeded in making contact.
At this year's Berlin International Film Festival, he gave a 15-minute teaser to would-be distributors, all of whom had to sign a strict non-disclosure agreement that Al Qaeda would have envied.
The Weinstein Company bought the rights for a low-seven-figure deal. However, Spurlock's director of photography, Daniel Marracino, has claimed the director has "definitely got the holy grail."
What a minute! Isn’t there a 50 Million Dollar bounty on Bin Laden’s head?
Fab Four Mania. David Saxe’s best production! A straightforward Beatles tribute concert with no jugglers but 4 go-go dancers and Ed Sullivan. The show begins with The Beatles introduction to American audiences on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964.
This is a guaranteed live performance by Ardy Sarraf as Paul, Rolo Sandoval as Ringo, Michael Amador as George and Ron McNeil as John. Nothing is better than listening to Beatles music in a superior sound venue. I sang out loud. Everybody did, and you will also.
The Fab Four Mania quickly progresses through the various stages of The Beatles from “She Loves You, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah” to “Imagine.”
As far as I am concerned, entrepreneur David Saxe has hit the mother-lode with Fab Four Mania (except for John Lennon’s weird dour lecturing to the audience that reminded me of the Peter, Paul & Mary concert I saw at The Orleans).
"Fab Four Mania" performs Monday through Saturday at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $49 plus taxes and fees for adult general admission. For ticket reservations call (702) 737-2515. Las Vegas Hotel Shows - Sahara Hotel and Casino Show Tickets
Uganda: East Africa’s Secret Paradise. For American travelers, Uganda hasn’t yet shaken the dark aura of notorious dictator Idi Amin’s legacy. Amin took power in 1971 killing an estimated 300,000 Ugandans. He intended to make Uganda "a black man's country" and expelled 40,000-80,000 Indians and Pakistanis in 1972, thereby decimating the economy. (Amin’s decree came after receiving a message from God during a dream.)
By most accounts an illiterate and gluttonous buffoon, Amin has become the subject of many bizarre rumors and myths. There are stories of cannibalism, of feeding the corpses of his victims to crocodiles, of keeping severed heads in a freezer at his home and bringing them out on occasions for "talks" - most or all of which are unsubstantiated, but not necessarily untrue. He is known to have admired the German dictator Adolf Hitler and is quoted as saying that Hitler "was right to burn six million Jews."
His reign was ended after the Uganda-Tanzania War in 1979 in which Tanzanian forces aided by Ugandan exiles invaded Uganda.
It is undisputed, Uganda is gorgeous. Half of the world's remaining mountain gorilla population is in Uganda. It has world-class white water rafting at the Source of Nile (where we camped) and some of the region's more exotic national parks. The highest mountain range in Africa, the Rwenzori Mountains, is in Uganda. It has one of the most powerful waterfalls in the world, Murchison Falls. The people are friendly and welcoming. As we quickly found out, Uganda’s beauty has been discovered again by Europeans tourists.
We camped at the Nile High Camp in Jinja, Uganda on Lake Victoria. Adrift’s water water rafting is classed Grade 5. Prince William went to the notorious “Bad Place,” where every raft turns over. In fact, staying in the raft was not a requirement. Adrift has half day ($85) one day ($95) and two day rafting excursions. Johan Van Maanen, bungee jumping master and Nile High bar manager, boasts the cheapest bungee rates in Africa! A night jump is $55 with a “double dip” $140. (www.adrift.ug) I’ll bungee jump if I could be lashed to Johan. (Photos of white water rafting on Lake Victoria and Declan King preparing for his night jump.)
Owen Wilson & Woody Harrelson Do Ayahuasca, Or Just Go Sightseeing? Actors Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson arrived to Lima, Peru and stayed in the Miraflores district (I know it well) until their early departure to Cusco the following morning.
Having to catch an early flight to Cusco the following morning (one year I was detained due to bad weather for 15 hours at the Lima airport), the two Hollywood stars did not leave their hotel to enjoy Lima's nightlife. Possibly, these well-known fun lovers could have been following the strict rules of preparing oneself for an ayahuasca ceremony.
When Owen and Woody arrived in Cusco they were seen being met by an older woman at a hacienda in the Sacred Valley. According to locals in the city, the woman performs rituals with Ayahuasca, a psychotropic brew made with plants from Peru's Amazon.
Ollie’s. Thanks to Tom Wilkinson of Vegas4Locals.com, we got the email notice about a networking mixer at Ollie’s Tavern, 8075 S. Decatur Blvd. hosted by CallBack Magazine. Ollie’s is a neighborhood bar, the cuisine is American, and there is music live from 8 to 11 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays with Jamariah. If you listen to Smooth Jazz 105.7, still think the only sexy music is Barry White, Marvin Gaye, and George Benson, Jamariah is the 2-man group to see. Along with performing at Ollie’s, Jamariah performs on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays at the Golden Nugget.
Why am I featuring a neighborhood band? Jamariah began their first set with Marvin Gaye. I requested one of my favorite songs, Bobby Coldwell’s “What You Won’t Do, You Do For Love,” and they were quick to do a terrific rendition.
The Dead Are Spying On Us. I knew It! From the New York Post’s Page Six comes this item: “THE dead do walk among us, watch us make love and sometimes even try to get in on the action - but they won't follow us into bars. In her new Harper book, "Do Dead People Watch Us Shower and Other Questions You've Been Dying to Ask a Medium," spiritualist-to-the-stars Concetta Bertoldi (pictured) writes: "There are many dimensions of God, but I really don't think that a bar scene is one of them - even though there are plenty of spirits in a bar. A 'Sex on the Beach' or 'Fuzzy Navel' would no longer hold any meaning for them."
But ghosts do enter the bedroom when they feel like it. "I've twice had a spirit actually try to make love to me. Very strange - but not scary," reports Bertoldi, who has a big celebrity following. She notes that spirits can't have sex anyway because "they are energy forms . . . they're in spirit form, not flesh. I know you're probably thinking, 'No food, no sex? I'm not going.'"
PETA Takes On Fashion “Icons”. PETA are on the warpath again by targeting those Joker-faced Olsen Twins, Ashley (pictured) and Mary-Kate. PETA is called them "The Trollsen Twins." PETA is furious they've "ignored pleas to stop wearing fur and using it in their fashion collection." The group is unveiling a campaign against the "fur fiends" - Mary-Kate ("Hairy Kate”) and Ashley ("Trashley") - with a tag line: "Fur Is Worn by Beautiful Animals and Ugly People." The Trollsen Twins poster will be unveiled at their Walk of Fame star in L.A.
The Olsen Twins PR machine has put these two on every fashion magazine cover hailing them as style mavens. Now comes this billboard!
Well, thank goodness PETA has never heard of me and my floor length Revillon mink. But I have two good reasons for justifying my fur wearing.
The Great Debaters. I will be crucified for hating Denzel Washington’s “The Great Debaters.” My tag line reads: Noble, brilliant suit-wearing Negros fight for equality in racist Texas circa 1935. All the white people are toothless, evil pig farmers. Denzel insults his white audience with caricatures.
I wasn’t going to review “The Great Debaters” knowing full well the ugly emails I would get. If I don’t like a movie made by or about black people, I’m a racist; I didn’t like “Rent,” so I’m homophobic; and only the Lord and I know what happens when I don’t like the “underdog team makes good” sports movie. But no group out-ranks the LOTR army.
You’d think that when a top star directs (and is the star), he’s got all the right support staff behind him. He’s watched and learned from great directors, he knows all about pacing and structure. He should know how to direct actors. “The Great Debaters” is poorly directed. All the acting is over-the-top. I’ve never seen a film with more sanctimonious, flaring nostrils, noble-faced actors. This is high school drama class directing. Everybody in “The Great debaters” is playing to the back row.
If you forgotten the cruel fight for equality, director and star Denzel Washington wants to shove it right back in your face. Denzel’s huge fan base might have either not known or forgotten America’s ugly past, so here it is. There is even a lynching.
What is Denzel Washington so bitter about? Julia Roberts, in her Vanity Fair cover story, continues to lust after him. He’s one of Hollywood’s biggest stars. Why the grudge? Get some therapy!
It's 1935 and Wiley College’s Professor Melvin B. Tolson is the coach of the debating team. He’s also a poet and secret union organizer. When does he teach? A classroom full of students want to join the debating team, so Professor Tolson must whittle down all the top students to a four-member team. He chooses Hamilton Burgess (Jermaine Williams) and arrogant Henry Lowe (Nate Parker). The two alternates are fiery feminist Samantha (Jurnee Smollett) and 14-year-old James Farmer Jr. (Denzel Whitaker).
Tolson is a fire-and-brimstone coach. Young James is the son of a strict preacher (Forest Whitaker) and, even though he is a brilliant student, he is given no slack. James Farmer Jr. (pictured) grew up and founded the Congress of Racial Equality.
Tolson, dressed as a sharecropper and organizing the poor folk, comes to the attention of the mean town sheriff (John Heard). James follows Tolson to a union meeting and sees a lynching.
This is Texas in 1935 from director Washington’s point of view: Barely dressed, cud-chewing white pig farmers, racist sheriffs and deputies, and snotty, elite Harvard.
Tolson keeps applying and finally gets an invitation from Harvard to debate! Because of his union-organizing activities, he is unable to go with his team to Boston. The Wiley Debating Team suddenly loses Hamilton when his father questions Tolson alleged communist sympathies. At Harvard, the man who serves the trio their meals and attends to them is a classically trained, highly educated, well-dressed Negro.
I had no idea that college debating was so boring. You will agree with me.
If you would like to contact me about this column, or be included on my private distribution list for a weekly reminder, just email me at Masauu@aol.com.
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