The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus Teaser Trailer

Below is the teaser behind the scenes featurette/trailer for Terry Gilliam’s upcoming fantasy The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus,” starring the late Heath Ledger.

At the time Heath Ledger was working on the film but passed away and was replaced by Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell and Jude Law.

The pic tells the story of Dr Parnassus and his extraordinary ‘Imaginarium’, a travelling show where members of the audience get an irresistible opportunity to choose between light and joy or darkness and gloom.  The film should be arriving at a theater near you sometime in 2009.

Stephen King on “Manfiction”

If you catch publishing types in a ”don’t quote me” mood, they’ll tell you the male audience for fiction is disappearing. Agents and editors are constantly on the lookout for the next hot female writer, and why not? At the end of August, 7 of the 10 New York Times hardcover fiction bestsellers were by women, and that doesn’t even include Stephenie Meyer’s mega-selling Breaking Dawn (which the Times considers kid lit, thus not meriting a place on the adult list).

But, to misquote Mark Twain, reports of the male reader’s death have been greatly exaggerated. Women have chick lit; guys have what my son Joe (as in Joe Hill) calls ”manfiction.” And publishers sell it by the ton. Here’s a concept so simple it’s easy to miss: What men want from an Elmore Leonard novel is exactly what women want from a Nora Roberts novel — escape and entertainment. And while it’s true that manfiction can be guilty of objectifying women, chick lit often does the same thing to men. Reading Sandra Brown or Jodi Picoult, I’m sometimes reminded of an old Julie Brown song, ”I Like ‘Em Big and Stupid.” One memorable couplet goes, ”My father’s out of Harvard, my brother’s out of Yale/Well, the guy I took home last night just got out of jail.”

Is this a bad thing? From an entertainment standpoint, I’d say not. Women like stories in which a gal meets a handsome (and possibly dangerous) hunk on a tropic isle; men like to imagine going to war against an army of bad guys with a Beretta, a blowtorch, and a submachine gun (grenades hung on the belt optional).

And current manfiction certainly gives women a better deal than they got in the pulps of yesteryear, when most were presented as barracuda debs in frilly negligees. Robert B. Parker, who chronicles the hard-bitten exploits of that manfiction avatar Spenser (no first name), is also the creator of Sunny Randall, a PI who has had her own hard-bitten exploits. And while it’s easy to become exasperated with Spenser’s longtime partner, Susan Silverman, sooner or later Spenser and his pal Hawk always spring into action. Often with a .38 or a .12-gauge shotgun.

Alex Delaware, Jonathan Kellerman’s entry in the manfiction sweeps, also has a longtime female companion. Robin Castagna is less annoying than the navel-gazing Ms. Silverman, but both need rescuing from time to time, and saving the damsel in distress has been a satisfying part of good manfiction since the days of old when knights were bold and ladies fair went without their underwear. Also, Alex has a gay sidekick, Milo Sturgis. If that doesn’t make him a 21st-century dude, what does?

The fathers of modern manfiction would be Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, and John D. MacDonald, creator of the world’s first boat-bum PI. MacDonald’s Travis McGee ruled the best-seller lists during the years when reading Playboy was still cool, and may have been the first continuing male character to see women as people rather than just as potential bed partners. Not that Travis was any slouch in bed; he specialized in a form of sexual healing mortal men (such as your faithful correspondent) could only admire. In the 21 McGee novels, the guy must have sexually healed over 200 women. Take that, Dr. Laura!

The best current manfiction writers? I’d say Michael Connelly, Robert Crais, Richard Stark, and Lee Child. Connelly’s Harry Bosch is a dogged cop who takes on the LAPD power structure as often as the bad guys. His current girlfriend, a very liberated woman, is an FBI agent. Crais’ creations — Elvis Cole and Joe Pike — are as tough as the combat boots they used to wear. Richard Stark’s Parker (also no other name) is refreshingly amoral, a thief who always gets away with the swag. In the series’ most recent books he has gained a little warmth thanks to Claire, his own longtime companion.

I saved the best for last. Lee Child’s tough but humane Jack Reacher is the coolest continuing series character now on offer. Reacher has also rescued his share of damsels in distress. He wanders the U.S., sometimes hitchhiking, more often riding buses. He dresses in cheap workingman’s duds bought in chain stores, pays cash, and (this is the part I really love) he used to carry only a toothbrush for luggage. He satisfies the most elemental male daydream, which is at bottom quite sweet: to ramble around and help out when help is needed. Possibly with a Beretta, a blowtorch, and a submachine gun.

Grenades optional.  (Reprinted from Entertainment Weekly)

Holy Curse Words, Batman.

DC Comics is asking stores around the country to destroy tens of thousands of copies of a new Batman comic book because of a printing error that revealed a slew of obscenities.

“Text every friend you’ve got, s- – -heads,” Batgirl tells a group of incredibly foulmouthed, drug-dealing thugs in “All-Star Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder” No. 10.

“Sell your poison somewhere else. This here arcade belongs to the f- – -ing Batgirl.”

The S- and F-words were supposed to be blacked out, but two shades of black were used, and the expletives are clearly legible, as are the thugs’ A- and F-words – and even a number of C-bombs.

While “All-Star Batman & Robin” isn’t aimed at kids, it also doesn’t have a “mature readers” warning on the cover.

DC caught the error earlier this week as the comic was heading to stores. They were able to stop some shipments, and asked retailers who got copies to destroy them.

DC said “a printing gaffe” caused “a problem with All-Star Batman. As soon as the problem was discovered, we quickly asked retailers to pull the issue. We apologize to our retailers and fans for any offense or inconvenience.”

Several city comic-book stores said they had complied, but the book was sitting on the rack at St. Mark’s Comics in the East Village yesterday.

“We’ve sold a lot,” said store owner Mitch Cutler.

“We didn’t destroy it because we couldn’t know everyone would destroy it,” Cutler said.

The comic is currently doing “Dark Knight”-like business on eBay, with copies selling for between $20 and $250.

Cutler was selling copies at his store for cover price, $2.99. “There’s no need to inflate the price,” he said. “It’s wrong and evil and slimy.”

Cutler said he hadn’t sold any copies of the issue – or the entire series – to kids.

The title “has been full of adult content since the minute it was published. We’d never sell it to minors. The curse words make no difference.” (Reprinted from the New York Post)

iPhone OS 2.1 Requires Sync To Add Genius Feature

While Genius playlist creation is listed as a new feature in the release notes of the iPhone 2.1 Software Update, iLounge has confirmed that the feature will not appear unless the user performs a sync following installation of the 2.1 software. First seen on the new iPod touch, the Genius playlist creation button is supposed to sit below the audio scrub bar on the Now Playing screen beside buttons for toggling shuffle and looped playback on and off. Normally, the bar and buttons can be accessed by tapping the screen while a song is playing.

If the iPhone is not synchronized after applying the 2.1 software update, the Genius button never materializes, leaving a sizable gap between the shuffle and repeat buttons. The feature is also missing from the top of the Playlists menu, where it would normally appear. Synchronizing the iPhone with the Sync button in iTunes fixes this issue, bringing the button and menu choices back. (From iLounge)

Your playlist begins

Apple Releases iPhone 2.1 Software Update Today

As promised during the Let’s Rock event, Apple today released its iPhone 2.1 Software Update, the latest update to the software for iPhone and iPhone 3G. According to Apple, the new software features a variety of improvements, including a decrease in call set-up failures and call drops, significantly improved battery life for most users, dramatically reduced time to backup in iTunes, improved email reliability, notably when fetching email from POP and Exchange accounts, faster installation of 3rd party applications, fixes for bugs causing hangs and crashes if the user has lots of 3rd party applicaitons, improved performance in text messaging, faster loading and searching of contacts, improved accuracy of the 3G signal strength display, repeat alert up to two additional times for incoming text messages, option to wipe data after ten failed passcode attempts, and Genius playlist creation. The iPhone 2.1 Software Update weighs in at 237.8MB for the iPhone 3G and is available now through the Update feature in iTunes.  (From 

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