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Issue of 11/12/2008

Cover Story:

Secrets & crimes
by Lee Gardner
An interview with National Security Agency expert James Bamford


Armageddon time! by Liz Hill
New Detroit 'supergroup' Octopus mixes lofty ideas with conspiracy theories and sex appeal

Bond for babes by Cole Haddon
Daniel Craig's no longer the blond loser, and he'll tell you why

Ode to Kilpatrick by Lisa M. Collins
Memories from a reporter who believed

See ya, Nay-Dog by Matthew Smith
A Nathaniel Mayer collaborator looks at the life that was


Comics (Comics)

Couch Trip by Metro Times film writers (Couch Trip)
Robert Conrad's fine ass, Jack the Zipper's latest porn, a French near-art porn and some Kabuki cerebral bloodletting

Food Stuff by Metro Times food staff (Food Stuff)
Full plates for local foodies.

Letters to the Editor by Metro Times readers (Letters to the Editor)

Jeffrey Morgan’s Media Blackout by Jeffrey Morgan (Media Blackout)
Fast reviews with an attitude

Motor City Cribs by Doug Coombe (Motor City Cribs and Rides)
Malik Alston holds down the family homestead

Highlighting ACCESS by News Hits staff (News Hits)
Dearborn-based Arab services group now a national resource

Hope's future by News Hits staff (News Hits)
Community leaders discuss how to help fix Detroit

Night and Day by Megan O'Neil (Night and Day)

On the Download by Chris Handyside (On the Download)
Fertile fields and other groovy things

Believing by Jack Lessenberry (Politics and Prejudices)
Obama won because he was the best

Presto: You're gay! by Dan Savage (Savage Love)
Dan's revenge over Prop 8's passage



5 The Hard Way - Spitting Nickels Reviewed by Brett Callwood (Record)

The Villain - Trick Trick Reviewed by William E. Ketchum III (Record)

Rocking the Cradle: Egypt 1978 / Road Trips Volume 1, Number 4 "From Egypt with Love" - Grateful Dead Reviewed by Mike Ross (Record)

The '59 Sound - The Gaslight Anthem Reviewed by Bill Holdship (Record)


Role Models Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
Wiseass Danny (Paul Rudd) and amiable dude Wheeler (Seann William Scott) have a peculiarly demeaning job — they cruise around in a monster truck peddling an antifreeze-colored energy drink to middle schoolers; Wheeler wears a furry costume while Danny delivers the bullshit pitch. The dead-end gig is turning Danny into a royal jerk, and when his long-suffering girlfriend (lovely Elizabeth Banks) dumps him, it leads to a major road-rage blowout with Wheeler stuck in the shotgun slot. This tantrum earns the guys 150 hours apiece of community service, reluctantly served as youth mentors. They’re quickly saddled with a hilarious pair of problem kids, pint-sized potty-mouth Ronnie (Bobb’e J. Thompson) and fantasy-obsessed dorkling Augie, in another standout geek performance by Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Superbad). It’s not freshest premise, but it’s enough for these funny pros to work, smuggling very smart stuff into a dumb comedy, Trojan horse-style. Wain co-scripted Role Models with Rudd, and what could’ve been another wincing exercise in cuteness (Daddy Day Camp, we’re gazing at you) is punched up with nudity, a dash of raunch and clever punch lines about Marvin Hamlisch, Fellini and live-action role playing.

Soul Men Reviewed by Al Shipley (Movie)
And though it’s bound to be a mere footnote in Isaac Hayes' and Bernie Mac's distinguished careers, Soul Men ain’t a bad way for either to go out, fondly satirizing the soul music Hayes embodied with one of Mac’s better screen performances. And in Samuel L. Jackson, Mac has a perfectly matched co-star, someone with an equally intense glare, a commanding voice and a gift for delivering profanity as poetry. As an estranged and embittered R&B duo back on the road for one last hurrah, each performer is allowed to unleash the full power of his comedic fury. Unfortunately, limp pacing and a clumsily deployed supporting cast only get in the way.

Madagascar 2: Escape 2 Africa Reviewed by Michael Gallucci (Movie)
This animated sequel quickly picks up where the other Madagascar left off. The four animals — lion Alex (Ben Stiller), zebra Marty (Chris Rock), giraffe Melman (David Schwimmer) and hippo Gloria (Jada Pinkett Smith) — who were raised in captivity and pampered in a New York zoo all their lives, are still stranded in the wild and want to go home. With the help of cross-dressing, egomaniacal King Julien (Sacha Baron Cohen in full off-the-hook mode), a pair of uppity monkeys and some straight-talking penguins, the stars board a broken-down plane destined for New York City. The doomed trip ends with a crash-landing in Africa, where the foursome quickly adapts to its new surroundings: lush green fields filled with other lions, zebras, giraffes and hippos. For the first time, the formerly caged critters experience freedom and the joys of frolicking with their own kind — as long as they stay on the reserve.

Patti Smith: Dream of Life Reviewed by Bill Holdship (Movie)
Fashion photographer Steven Sebring met Smith 11 years ago, during a photo session, and approached her with the idea of a personal documentary. Smith agreed, and the documentarian was given extraordinary access to his subject for more than a decade. Smith narrates the film herself — both in verse and plain speaking — and her biggest fans will find much here to love. Early in the film, we’re treated to footage of her old home in Grosse Pointe, as well as a visit to late husband Fred “Sonic” Smith’s grave. The Smith’s children — Jackson and Jesse — figure predominantly throughout the film, both as young children and young adults. There’s also moving footage of Smith with her seldom-seen, now-deceased parents at their family home in New Jersey. And there are images, as well as footage, of Smith with iconic friends, from the great (Dylan, Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Phillip Glass) to the questionable (Ralph Nader, Red Hot Chili Pepper asshole Flea). And remembrances of Burroughs at the Chelsea Hotel are hilarious. But one wishes that Sebring had concentrated more on Smith’s humorous and humanistic side, like those mentioned above, and less on the pretentiousness. Another major complaint is that while trying to show that Smith is more than a rock star, the director (and perhaps Smith herself) short changes the importance of Patti the rock ’n’ roll star. Smith is one of the greatest rock performers this reviewer ever saw during her mid-’70s heyday. While there’s no footage of her as the young performing wildcat, there are scenes (perhaps not enough, though) of some more recent and overwhelming performances in various parts of the world.


Mercury Coffee Bar (closed) Reviewed by Jane Slaughter (Restaurant)
Across from Slows Bar BQ and a stone’s throw from what’s left of Michigan Central Station, the Mercury specializes in “slow coffee,” salads and sandwiches. The excellent soups include the Irish colcannon and the thick, velvety, nurturing butternut, and salads are nicely conceived, including a welcome small for $3. The slow coffee is ground and brewed by the cup for peak freshness. Sandwiches and panini on Avalon bread are delicious and creative, although they could use more inside. All the extravagant desserts are made in-house, and there are some doozies. The fact that the kitchen is in your face is part of the Mercury’s design, though it can feel industrial, and loud, despite the assertive friendliness of the staff.