Vice schmice

Let me get this straight: Not only is a speed boat skimming across water the new "Miami Vice" movie's only resemblance to the original TV show (at least in previews), but director Michael Mann has opted not even to use the famous theme song? Good luck, "Miami." You're going to need it.

Is the studio somehow unaware of what the TV classic they're bringing to the silver screen was like? If you're updating a show such as this, you're going to have to make it a little fun for potential moviegoers. Throw us a bone. This was an '80s cop show that didn't always take itself seriously -- and was even better when it tried.

The ads for this film should make us want to go back to Miami, but they really don't. Yes, one character is white and one is black. And yes, Colin Farrell is "Don-ning" (ha! Like that?) a 5 o'clock shadow. But watching the trailer, this movie looks like a darker, unfunny version of "Bad Boys."

We're talking about a TV program that started fashion trends single-handedly and defined "cool" for at least a good month or two. And you're not even going to indulge us for a little bit of a song. You've really sucked me into this movie, Hollywood. Nice work.

It's good to be Keane

I should have talked about this three weeks ago when the album was released, but good intentions.... (and so on). Keane's sophomore release, "Under the Iron Sea" is great -- different, but great.

By different, I mean from 2004's "Hopes and Dreams." This CD has a darker, more colorful tone overall and is a bit more ambitious in exploring different sounds. The first track, for instance, starts off with a pleasant little intro before diving head-first into serious drums and a rich, haunting melody in minor chords. Come to think of it, there are more minor chords in the entire album than there were in the first. This also affects the tone, for obvious reasons.

What isn't different, however, is the quality of the music. Keane is still at the top of its game with even more intricate and layered sonic elements. As usual, that "otherworldly" sound permeates every song and lingers long after. After listening to this new one repeatedly, I would still probably opt for the first CD -- but it is a horse race.

Where "Hopes and Dreams" was declarative and reflective, "Under the Iron Sea" is decidedly narrative. It's as much a collection of stories as it is a collection of songs. One thing I always like about CDs -- for no particular reason -- is if when listening to just the first three seconds of every song, no two are the same. This is a tribute, I suppose, to the prolific, perfectionist songwriting of pianist Tim Rice-Oxley.

The second track and first single, "Is It Any Wonder?" has a strong U2 flavor, and it works. Another of my favorites is "A Bad Dream," a song whose sound perfectly captures its meaning (nothing new for Keane). Upbeat "Put it Behind You" runs into an intense instrumental that ties you up in knots just before a resolution in the peppier "Crystal Ball." "Try Again" will break your heart. And just like in the song, you'll want to listen again and again. Like track 1, the last song, "The Frog Prince," lays on the melancholy and tempers it with just enough hopefulness. It's a beautiful ending.

And everything in between -- "Nothing In My Way," "Leaving So Soon," "Hamburg Song," "Broken Toy" -- is not to be missed (can't expound on everything here, for purposes of space and interest).

Besides piano-driven numbers, the one thing that continues to set Keane apart are the gorgeous vocals of Tom Caplin. His voice is one of the best-sounding around -- clear, crisp, vulnerable, emotional, strong -- and he has plenty of opportunity to show off his range on the album.

If you're a die-hard Keane fan, buy "Under the Iron Sea." If you're not a Keane fan (yet), buy "Under the Iron Sea." Once you go Keane, you'll never go back.

You've fooled me for the last time, Paris Hilton!

About a week and a half ago, I tuned into whatever radio station "the kids" are listening to these days (most likely something with the words "kiss" or "hot" or "skanky" in the title and call letters). I heard a catchy little chorus about the gods and stars and love and so on. It reminded me of the chillin' hook in Blondie's "The Tide is High." I kinda dug it.

The other day, the news hit me like a ton of bricks: This is the new single by Paril Hilton, "Stars Are Blind." Doh!

The goods news is, I had only told my husband about the mystery song that struck my fancy. The bad news is -- do I even need to say it? -- IT'S PARIS HILTON. Yes, each verse's rhymes are utterly corny and predictable, and yes, her voice probably had a lot of "help" in the studio. But I am ashamed to say it's a fun summer tune.

Wow...that hurt even more than I thought it would.

I'll get you, my pretty, and your little dog too!


No, this isn't about bodily functions. That's just the word my friend uses to express various levels of disappointment. I thought this warranted a "vomit."

"Grey's Anatomy" nominated for Emmy's best drama series, "Lost" is not. Riddle me that, Batman. Not only was "Lost" a big winner last year, it's a superior show to almost any on television. In all fairness, I've seen "Grey's" only once ... and that was enough. It was the season finale, and though I didn't know much about any of the characters or storylines, I accurately predicted the entire show. To me, that's not what I would call the mark of a great show.

I've never predicted the entire plot of a "Lost" episode. That's just one of the things that makes it so good. Other reasons include a fantastic cast and intelligent, layered writing that always surprises. Even though I missed most of the first season when it first aired, "Lost" still had the power to suck me in. And yet, despite it's graphic-sexuality-with-good-looking-yet-complex-characters draw, "Grey's" could not.

Again this year it was no surprise "Gilmore Girls" was overlooked. Is this is the WB curse? Or is there some secret conspiracy to ignore one of the smartest, funniest and warmest shows in years? Lauren Graham, not to mention the writers, should already have at least two statues.

It's not the Emmys I'm annoyed about -- afterall, this is the same outfit that gave "Everybody Loves Raymond" a trophy for its lackluster farewell season and completely ignored "Friends" the year it went out. I don't put any real stock into these types of awards. I'll just get sick of hearing freakin' "Emmy Award-winning 'Grey's Anatomy' " every time I turn the channel to ABC.