Saturday, July 10, 2010

Predators: A Few Gems Among A Whole Lotta Mediocrity

Going into Predators I had mixed expectations. On the one hand, I really wanted to see new life breathed into the franchise and see some creative new spins on the classic set up. On the other hand, I just really wanted to be entertained. These were similar expectations I had going into AVP and AVP: Requiem and Predators succeeded a lot more then those other films did. Predators gave us a lot of the best parts of the Predator movies, great action, cool effects; but it also failed in certain respects. The story failed to all. The set up is a bunch of  killers are mysteriously transported to the alien planet and they are trying to evade death from the aliens and escape. The problem is thats it. We don't really get any answers or gain insight to why any of this is happening, other then the Predators want to become better fighters by hunting the best human killers. We're briefly told about a conflict between different types of Predators--smaller ones and larger ones; larger ones hunt the smaller ones--but its the most we get as far as answers. Robert Rodriguez tried to put together a solid script but failed to provide any bit of characterization. The only progression made is shown through the main characters becoming more aware of whats going on. There is a climactic twist involving Topher Grace's character which, I guess, is meant to provide characterization, and an arc for his character but it succeeds in only dumbing down the movie and is utterly stupid and 100% pointless. In fact, Grace's character wasn't even needed in the film. The "twist" doesn't impact the endgame, as far as the Predators goes, it just seems to be in there to create the illusion of a significant plot device. In other words, its like putting in a twist just for the sake of having one. Some other issues with the film involved the design of the new dog-like Predator creatures. These new creatures had tusks/horns that seemed to protrude so far and curve so far back over their own faces that it is a wonder they'd ever be able to eat their kill. I liked that Rodriguez and director Antal tried to bring new creatures into the film but they should have thought through the design more. Speaking of thinking things through more, theres one other "big twist" that happens around the middle of the film that was just as ridiculous and ludicrous as the Topher Grace one. ***SPOILER ALERT*** Midway through the film, the band of killers happen upon the Predator's camp. They notice a Predator is strung up on some kind of alien stockade looking thing. As they all move in for a closer look and see the true face of whats been hunting them, Alice Braga's character has a look of recognition on her face. Later on, she goes on to tell us that in the 80s, a group of mercenaries were in the south american jungle on a mission and some thing showed up, hunted and killed all but one soldier; she apparently either debriefed Arnold Schwarzenegger's character from the first film or read the debrief. Regardless, it was a total cheat. I admire Rodriguez' chutzpah and desire to pay homage to the original film and to try and connect the two, but he failed in what I think he sought out to do there. The big reveal in this scene elicited a mighty laugh from me. People always talk about, with 3D, how its not a good idea to break the 4th wall, Rodriguez broke the 4th wall here in terms of keeping me invested in his vision. By even bringing the first Predator film into the mix the way he did he only succeeded in disengaging me from his own story. The good news though, most of the cast worked. Alice Braga needs to be in more movies. She has a quiet confidence and all around tough swagger all her own. Walter Goggins got my attention this year for his brilliant work alongside Timothy Olyphant in Justified but here was used a bit too much for comic relief, still, he was effective. Lawrence Fishbourne swooped in long enough to make me more involved with the film before his untimely exit. He also has a very cunning, slick reference to his work in Apocalypse Now. Fishbourne should play crazy more often, it was scary how good at it he was. Last, but not least, Adrian Brody could not have been more miscast for this film, yet, its as if he knows this and doesn't care, for he found a way to make it work and by the end I had mostly bought into his mercenary, but don't even get me started on his out of nowhere, bogus Scarface-ripoff line. One character who was barely developed that I really wish had more in the film was the Yakuza. By far, the best scene in the entire film was the epic fight between the Yakuza with his samurai sword and the Predator with his blade, just a really well staged and shot scene. All in all Predators was a moderate success in updating the franchise. Its a B film that knows its a B film and doesn't try to be anything more. Hopefully the sequel works out the kinks.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

LOST Finale Thoughts: Would You Know My Name if I Saw You in Heaven?

    Going into Sunday's epic LOST finale event, I knew I'd be emotional, but I did not expect the final show to totally leave me broken down and emotionally vulnerable the way it did.
    My Aunt, who I was very close to, died this past August after an over 2 year fight with brain cancer. In the beginning of the summer I spent a few months helping to take care of her while she received treatment. She too was a LOSTIE, although she was a late comer to the show. I remember watching the Season 5 finale with her.
   When the Sideways storyline was revealed for what it really was in the final 10 minutes of the show on Sunday, I was overcome with emotion. By no means would I consider myself a Man of Faith, but the idea that, in death, I could be reunited with my Aunt and others I've lost in my life was enough to make me hope for something more when I die, then to just rot in the ground. This might explain why I felt not only vulnerable after the show, but little dazed and confused. I've spent so long telling myself that there's no heaven or hell and that when I die I will just be in the ground that I forgot what it felt like to believe in something more then this plane of existence. I don't know if I will ever be a total person of faith, but this awakening in me, a yearning for something more, gives me hope for the future; and I know that, when I die, I hope I will be able to walk up to my Aunt in heaven and that she will know my name.

Would you know my name
if I saw you in heaven?
Would it be the same
if I saw you in heaven?
I must be strong and carry on
'Cause I know I don't belong here in heaven...

Would you hold my hand
if I saw you in heaven?
Would you help me stand
if I saw you in heaven?
I'll find my way through night and day
'Cause I know I just can't stay here in heaven...

Time can bring you down, time can bend your knees
Time can break your heart, have you begging please...begging please

Beyond the door there's peace I'm sure
And I know there'll be no more tears in heaven...

Would you know my name
if I saw you in heaven?
Would YOU be the same
if I saw you in heaven?
I must be strong and carry on
'Cause I know I don't belong here in heaven...
- Tears In Heaven by Eric Clapton

Friday, May 21, 2010

LOST: In The Words of Jim Morrison, "This is the End..."

Do you remember where you were on September 22, 2004 and what you were doing at the time? I do. Myself, and about 18 million other people in the US were watching the pilot episode of a new TV show called LOST. At that time, there was no telling what would happen to the show, how much of a phenomenon it would become, but one thing was clear to all who were watching: it was a damn good hour of television. Soon after its start, LOST was being talked about and embraced everywhere, and as a new high school freshman, I couldn't have asked for a better ally. Starting high school is a scary thing, you are back to the bottom of the food chain among students and you don't always know people. I felt like a "Stranger In A Strange Land", so I instantly identified with LOST. Watching the castaways start off as strangers and eventually forge relationships with each other, it really helped me embrace high school more as I went along.

- LOST Season 1 Tribute Video

During the hiatus between Season 1 and Season 2, I was trying to get my father to sit down with me and watch the first season. I knew my Dad would love the show, for he's always been into Sci-fi. However, he declined, saying he was "watching too much TV as it is". For weeks I continued to nag him to watch, until he finally gave in. With each episode we watched, he became more and more hooked. There were some nights where we watched 4 or more episodes. As we finished season 1, and my father watched the famous shot of Locke and Jack peering down the hatch, I remember him turning to me and thanking me for making him watch. LOST became a weekly thing for him and I. At the time, my folks were divorced and I was living with my mom but that didn't stop us from watching the show together or even being on the phone throughout most of it. At a time when I wasn't seeing my father as much as I liked, LOST kept us together and even helped us become closer then we already were. So, LOST not only helped me through high school, it helped me through my parent's divorce.

Lost hasn't been without its controversy. With every episode came new questions with few answers. A lot of fans of the show grew weary of the continuous stream of new questions. For me, while I do want answers, the show has always been about the characters. Over 6 years I feel I've become very emotionally involved in how it plays out for Jack, Locke, Sawyer, Kate, Hurley and the rest; so answers, while nice, weren't priority no. 1. Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, the LOST masterminds, were aware of growing fan frustration and also were becoming weary themselves. They had an endgame in mind but with no clear end date to the show they were worried about how to keep it going. Side effects of their troubles included a Bai Ling appearance and two of the most hated characters in, possibly, TV history: Nikki and Paulo. However, once the end date was set and number of shows per season reduced, Damon and Carlton began unfolding the endgame of their epic story and its been a helluva ride.

In my life, I have never seen anything like LOST. No TV show has ever come close to the size and scope of the story LOST has told. As a filmmaker, LOST has restored my faith in the medium of television and what you can do with it. I don't think there will ever be another show like it. As we approach the finale this sunday, I am excited for the conclusion, but also very sad, for a chapter in my life and many others is closing. At this point I would like to thank J.J. Abrams, Jefferey Lieber, Damon Lindelof for creating this show and Carlton Cuse for coming on and helping to keep it going. I also would like to thank Edward Kitsis, Adam Horowitz, Elizabeth Sarnoff, and all the other great writers; Jack Bender and all the other wonderful Directors. Last, but certainly not least, I'd like to thank the amazing ensemble cast for their incredible performances throughout the years: Enter text here.Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Naveen Andrews, Nestor Carbonell, Henry Ian Cusick, Jeremy Davies, Emilie de Ravin, Michael Emerson, Jeff Fahey, Matthew Fox, Jorge Garcia, Maggie Grace, Josh Holloway, Malcolm David Kelley, Daniel Dae Kim, Yunjin Kim, Ken Leung, Evangeline Lilly, Rebecca Mader, Elizabeth Mitchell, Dominic Monaghan, Terry O'Quinn, Harold Perrineau, Zuleikha Robinson, Michelle Rodriguez, Ian Somerhalder, John Terry, Alan Dale, Sonya Walger, Mira Furlan, Kevin Durand, L. Scott Caldwell, Sam Anderson, Cynthia Watros, Mark Pellegrino, and Titus Welliver.  
LOST will live on forever as the greatest, most game-changing television show in history. I'm happy I was able to go along for the ride and am ready for the end. Namaste.
Enter text here.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

TV Upfront Week: NBC

Its that time of year again! Its time for TV Upfronts, where the networks present their fall schedules to advertisers in an effort to secure revenue for ad space. First up this week was NBC. Over the years, NBC has been a fraction of the network it once was. Once a dual powerhouse in both drama and comedy, the network has become, in recent years, a dumping ground for bad dramas(My Own Worst Enemy, Kidnapped) and reality shows(100 Questions). All the while, the network seemed to focus more on developing their comedies. So, I was pleasantly surprised when I watched the trailers to the new fall dramas and saw what appears to be quality TV! I know its not likely all will succeed, but they all looked very interesting, and even better, made me want to watch them.

The Event  is the most mysterious and mythology laden show in NBC's arsenal. It follows intersecting stories between The President learning of a government cover up and a young man's search for his seemingly kidnapped girlfriend. The question though...what is The Event?

The Chase is your standard cop serial but with an added jolt of Jerry Bruckheimer high-octane action. It follows cops as they track down criminals who are on the run. Out of all the dramas, this is the one I'm least interested in, but it still looks exciting. Making their return to TV is Amaury Nolasco (Prison Break) and Cole Hauser (K-Ville).

Undercovers is the new show from the mind of J.J. Abrams. It will live and die by the chemistry of its main stars: Boris Kodjoe (Surrogates) and Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Larry Crowne, Doctor Who). Good thing Abrams has Felicity, Alias, LOST, Fringe, and Star Trek under his belt, he's certainly proven himself with casting.

Outlaw, starring Jimmy Smitts, looks really good. It was my favorite of the trailers and I really dig the premise. What I dont like, though, is that NBC stuck it at 10pm on FRIDAY! Thats like admitting to the public you want it to fail. Time will tell I guess...

Harry's Law is from David E. Kelly (The Practice, Ally McBeal, Boston Public, Boston Legal), one of the most successful TV producers of our time. I like the choice of Kathy Bates to bring out the quick wit in her character, Harriet. This one pops up around mid-season.

The Cape is the story of Vince Faraday, a lone good cop in a town full of corruption. He is framed as the ruthless criminal, Chess, and is forced to go underground. With the help of a circus leader, played by the under-used Keith David and a blogger played by Summer Glau, Vince becomes The Cape, a masked hero determined to fight off the corrupt and to clear his name.

Out of NBC's new Comedies there were two that I thought looked very good.

Outsourced sounded terrible on paper, but the trailer won me over. The show actually looks pretty funny.

The second comedy is an hour long show called Love Bites.

Love Bites didn't look as promising until I saw the appearence of Greg Grunberg and Craig Robinson: 2 very funny dudes. Also, I gained total confidence in the series when I saw it was from the creative team behind Love Actually, which is the best romantic comedy I have ever seen.

So there you have it, Day 1 of Upfront Week! I'll be back with more thoughts and coverage tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Glee: Bringing Happiness Back To TV

 I've posted the songs and the videos; I've said how much I love it, but its now finally time to devote a post to Glee, and how every glee-filled hour is bringing happiness back to television. Before Glee arrived in the form of a Post-American Idol sneak peek last year, TV was a scary place. Every network had show after show of detectives tracking down murderers, psycopaths, and going toe-to-toe with sociopaths. There was no real show that dealt with dramatic, intense issues, but in a light, happy way. This all changed when Ryan Murphy's show debuted. Glee tackles heavy issues like sexual orientation, failing marriages, and loss but does so in a way that, while you feel the emotion of the drama, its not all-consuming. Every episode is filled with gut-busting one-liners and situations, as well as some fantastic musical numbers. I still get chills when I listen to the Glee version of Don't Stop Believing, Somebody To Love, and most recently--Like A Prayer. Last night's episode, "The Power Of Madonna" may have been the show's best episode yet. Everything about the episode felt right and you could tell they wanted to step it up in this one. The writing was at its Glee-ful best as was the acting and performances. They all brought their A-game. In the ever-changing TV landscape, its impossible to say for sure if Glee will go on a run as long as shows like 24, ER, or even Law & Order , but as long as the glee continues with each new episode, the show could end up surpassing them all. After all, its impossible to watch an episode of Glee and not be filled with overwhelming joy.

Monday, April 19, 2010

I Wish My DATE NIGHT could have been KICK-ASS(CC: Roger Ebert)

So, this weekend I saw two movies: Kick-Ass and Date Night. Date Night was very funny at times, mostly due to Steve Carrell and Tina Fey. The rest of the time, however, was riddled with jokes clinging to the audience for life. I really wish the script had delivered more. Besides the two main stars, only James Franco and Mila Kunis actually scored laughs in their supporting roles. I was disappointed to see William Fichtner wasted here. His fine dramatic acting skills aside, I really do think he could be funny, but just not with the material he was given. Someone else who was terribly wasted was Kristin Wiig. Theres a scene early in the movie where Fey's character is hosting a book club attended by her husband and all of her girlfriends. One of the ladies gets very over-emotional and angry about Carrell's reaction to the book. She's trying to be funny, but fails tenfold. The whole time, Wiig's character is seated directly accross from her, removed from the action. The whole bit was something that Wiig could've done, a million times better. Date Night also reaffirmed something I've been thinking for a while: Ray Liotta, for some crazy reason, isn't in good movies anymore. Its hard to believe that Liotta's brilliant turn in Goodfellas has been completely forgotten, so him not seeing quality roles baffles me. Here, Ray is forced to play another mockery version of himself. I found Ray's only laugh was unintentional. It came when Taraji P Henson's detective character walks into a restauraunt to see the Gangster bad guy of the film, and you see its Ray Liotta(since it seems only Ray Liotta can play a cheesy, viscious gangster -type). There's also a car chase scene towards the middle of the film that just may be the worst shot car chase I've ever seen. For a date night, I guess director Adam Shankman's film succeeds thanks to the talent of it's lead stars, but it could have certainly been better. (6/10)

Thankfully, the second film I saw this weekend, KICK-ASS, lived up to its name, and then some. Set in a world identical to our own, albeit with a few more pop-culture references, KICK-ASS is a funny, violent, and exuberantly fun film. The film got mostly good reviews, but the negative ones all cited the character of Hit Girl to be the the film's downfall. Roger Ebert even went as far as to call the film "morally reprehensible" and shared his worry of 6-11 year old girls seeing the film and Hit Girl's actions. First of all, Roger, I don't understand how or why and girls that age would ever be seeing this film. I know we live in a society where proper supervision is pretty much out of style as far as parenting goes, but seriously, the movie is called KICK-ASS...should be an instant red flag. Second, Roger, the film, as you so quickly dismissed, is based on a comic book. You're worried about little kids seeing this movie when the comic is on bookshelves in stores all across America. Any kid could go, pick it up, and read most of it before their parents even noticed. Finally, Roger, the final part of your review expresses your disgust over a climactic scene in the film, where Hit Girl is being pummeled within an inch of her life. Call me crazy, but I was happy they put this in the film. For a movie that sets out to show real people, without any super powers, trying to be superheroes, it would have been unrealistic and foolish if Hit Girl wasn't shown to be vulnerable, at all. The fact that she was able to get hurt, and did, reinforces that these "heroes" aren't "super", which was the point of the film. KICK-ASS was made uncompromisingly. Because of this, it remained true to the source material as any book/comic-to screen adaptation should. I really wish Roger Ebert, and other critics, could have enjoyed the film for what it was: a great fucking time.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

"Did You Know That A Dolphin is Just A Gay Shark?!"

Ahhh, Glee. How I have missed you so...

My entire week is now better, and more cheerful just because this show is back.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Monday Movie Moment: Up In The Air

All movies have great moments. Some can be smaller, more insignificant; others can be huge and important. In Up In The Air, there's a great moment that comes in a scene about halfway through the film. Anna Kendrick's character, Natalie, has just gotten a break-up text message from her boyfriend and is upset. Vera Farmiga's character, Alex, responds by calling him a prick and Natalie says, "but what does that make me? Someone who falls for a prick" Alex's answer is one of the great moments of the film. She says, "We all fall for the prick. Pricks are spontaneous, they're unpredictable and they're fun. And then we're surprised when they turn out to be pricks." (SPOILER ALERT) After having seen the film, the scene is full of so much irony. Alex speaks of the prick, but ends up being "the prick" to George Clooney's Ryan Bingham when he turns up at her house, only to find out that she's married, with kids, and thinks of her rendezvous with him as an escape from her normal life. The moment also helps drive home the huge differences between Ryan and Alex. Ryan looks at going out on the road as him being himself and when Alex goes on the road she's looking to be someone else.

Look for more Movie Moments on future Mondays. In the meantime, tell me in the comments, what are your favorite movie moments?

We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Programming For A Word From The World of Sports: WTF?!?!?!!?

Last night, in a sudden and very random move, The Pittsburgh Steelers traded away, number 1 reciever and superbowl hero, Santonio Holmes (79 catches, 1248yrds, 15.9avg in 2009) to the New York Jets. The price for such a player? One singlular 5th round pick. The 155th overall pick in the draft. I understand the Roonie's feelings about Holmes. His problems off the field have been getting steadily worse for a few years. What I don't understand though is why they didn't care about getting more for him. If they'd cared they could have gotten a 4th or even 3rd round draft pick. The Steelers organization will regret this decision if, come February, Holmes is once again a Superbowl hero...but for The Jets. Speaking of The Jets, they are going to be monstrous. Playoff bound for sure.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Lazy Sunday: In Which I Try To Explain My Affinity For Cooking Shows

Lazy Sunday, wake up in the late afternoon.
Call Parnell just to see how hes doin.
What up, Parns?
Yo Samberg, whats crackin?
You thinking what Im thinkin?
Man, its happenin.- "Lazy Sunday" by The Lonely Island

Another Lazy Sunday is here! The day in the week where you sleep in and spend your day doing what you want, at your own pace, and just taking some time off from life. Sundays, for me, can be valuable for catching up on TV from the week. Today I was catching up on Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares (US Version). He really is a brilliant chef and restauranteur. Also, he's FEARLESS! He's ventured into so many smelly, disgusting, cockroach infested kitchens in an attempt to bring restaurants back from the dead. Watching the shows today got me thinking about culinary shows in general. I'm sure most of my readers don't know this, but I've been a Vegan since July 20th, 2009. I haven't had any meat and only the smallest bit of dairy since. While in Pittsburgh last week, I took advantage of my Grandmother's FIOS to enjoy cable's most exciting channel: Food Network. My Mother didn't understand why a Vegan such as myself would love watching cooking shows so much, since its all food I don't eat anymore. The answer is a simple one. Food is a marvelous thing. Even though I don't eat a lot of it anymore, I still love seeing what people can do with it. For instance, I love watching Guy Fierri, on Diners, Drive-Ins, & Dives, showcase amazing, fine dining food going on in--a local bar. Its amazing to me that I could walk down some street and see a normal looking, everyday bar thats serving up the towns richest, best food. I love seeing the brilliant chefs on Iron Chef: America take food and make it into more of an art form. Whether you can eat it or not, beautiful cooking and sensational food is still something fun to learn about and watch.
My favorite show about food isn't even on the Food Network. Anthony Bourdain's: No Reservations, on the Travel Network, showcases all sorts of food, normal and exotic, all across the world. What I absolutely love about the show though is that Bourdain also shows the culture and his appreciation for it. The show proves that here in the US, or even in hostile or third world countries, food is a universal language.

Thats it for this Lazy Sunday. How are you all spending yours?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Weekend Movie Picks & The Friday Five

After the recent bombardment of new releases from major studios, this weekend has only one real new and noteworthy movie coming out. Date Night, starring Steve Carrel and Tina Fey, looks to be a very funny movie. Director Shawn Levy is taking a break from his usual CGI-heavy films which should also help this film succeed. If you're looking to stay in this weekend, I reccomend going to your local Blockbuster, RedBox, or Hollywood Video and renting Werner Herzog's Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans. Starring Nicholas Cage and Eva Mendes, the film follows a rogue detective who is devoted to his job, as well as scoring drugs. In the aftermath of hurricane Katrina he becomes a full-fledged addict. Complicating things is the prostitute he loves (played by Eva Mendes). Together they descend into their own world marked by desire, compulsion, and conscience. Bottom line though, its Werner Herzog directing Nicholas Cage, so rent/buy/download it!

 Today has been a pretty boring day, but the good news is it gave me plenty of time to find some things on the internet that I think are pretty damn cool. With out further hesitation, I present The Friday Five:

  • First and foremost:  fuckyeahmashups If you've ever gone clubbing, or listened to the radio late at night or on Halloween then you already know what a mashup is. For those of you who don't know, a mash up is when you take any 2 or more songs and put them together to create a super song of sorts. fuckyeahmashups is devoted entirely to the best mashups out there. Featuring countless artists, the site updates regularly and has over 40 pages of mashups currently on the site.
  • There have been a lot of good trailers coming out lately. Today I happened upon the trailer for Will Farrel's upcoming film The Other Guys. The film pairs Farrel with Mark Wahlberg as two inept cops who look up to, and try to be like their department's all-star detectives; played by Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Let me state the obvious: BEST. CAST. EVER. Seriously though, the movie looks hilarious.
  • A lot of people have criticized Jimmy Fallon's Late Night vision. Personally, I think he started out with terrible sketches and writers, but lately I think he's improved tenfold. He's started doing spoofs of popular TV shows. The first was LATE, his spoof/homage to LOST. As funny as that was, the latest spoof, 6-BEE, is better. Here, Jimmy is spoofing Glee and its hilarious and fun. The second episode finds Jimmy and his fellow Glee club members distraught at having to compete against the cast of Parks & Recreation along with a certain band of Late Night traitors.
  • The other great trailer I saw today was for Sylvester Stallone's The Expendibles. This movie looks to be the action movie junkie's wet dream. I dont care how bad the dialogue could be or any glaring plot holes or cliches that make it into the film, I'm going to see this fucking movie!
  • Finally, to cap this week's Friday Five, I need to share my new favorite thing in the world: Old Spice TV ads. Don't you judge me! It has been a long time since I've seen commercials as funny as these have been. The latest ones, starring Terry Crews, are gut-busting. Watch, and laugh yourself silly!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Tuesday TV Round-Up!

Its only Tuesday and already there have been lots on the tube to talk about:
  • FOX had my total attention Monday night with an epic 2 hour dose of 24. It seems that ever since the talk began about the show being cancelled, it got a trillion times better, and now that its been officially cancelled it looks to be going off in style. Jack raced to find President Hassan and CTU dealt with their mole; but the real shocker came in the scenes for next week's episode: the return of Ex-President Logan!!  I'm truly going to miss 24. It leaves Television in May having left a great mark. Action/Thriller shows will forever be held to the standards set by 24. The show also revitalized Kiefer Sutherland's career. This is maybe the best thing to come of it, for Kiefer is a fine actor who deserves so much more then many of the roles he's had in his career.
  • Also on Monday: The NCAA National Championship Game. This game was so intense! (and to think I almost didn't watch it!) Butler put up a strong effort and the game very nearly became a "Hoosiers 2" (one of the announcer's quipped "Do you believe in sequels?!" right after returning from commercial break before the game's final 13 seconds.) I will admit I was bummed afterward but it was still an excellent game. Fuck Congrats Duke.
  • If you know me well, then you know that Tuesdays have turned into my big TV night this year. Starting at 8pm is American Idol. Until they go back to the 1-hour episodes I won't be watching the whole thing live (sorry, LOST is WAY more important). This week it was the Lennon-McCartney songbook. (UGH!....not because of the music, but because of the fact this years top 12 mainly sucks and would mess up great songs) Before 9pm I was able to see Aaron Kelly (“The Long and Winding Road”), Katie Stevens (“Let It Be”), Andrew Garcia (“Can’t Buy Me Love”), and Michael Lynche (“Eleanor Rigby”) The only one who remotely impressed me was Michael Lynche. He made Eleanor Rigby sound like a modern R&B hit. As 9pm approached I got a sinking feeling that I'd miss seeing Crystal Bowersox's performance before LOST started. Sure enough, as it hit 8:57pm I was teased by Crystal Bowersox's impending performance only to have it start after 9pm and thus making me miss it. (I'm sure she was amazing) I'll update this once I see the remaining performances.

  • Finally, the main event: LOST.(SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!!!) This weeks episode centered on Desmond. The biggest thing was that the episode finally began to show us how the sideways storyline relates to the current Island one. The episode also prominantly featured Dominic Monaghan's Charlie. I cant wait the 7 days till the next new episode! For any of my readers (HA! I crack myself up) who are also LOST nuts, I emplore you to check out Entertainment Weekly's Jeff "Doc" Jensen's LOST recap collumn, which will post after sunrise.
  • My Tuesday night gets even more crowded at 10pm with a fork in my great TV road. One direction takes me to the wonderful-in-every-way "Parenthood"* on NBC; the other keeps me on ABC for "V" Tonight I watched "V" only because my father really wanted to and I can watch Parenthood on Hulu. "V" had a fairly strong episode tonight. Its strange, but I really feel Morris Chesnutt is getting the best material and doing the best with it right now. I adore Elizabeth Mitchell, but ever since the show returned her character has been stuck in a holding pattern. She just keeps worrying about her son and walking around looking confused. I really cannot stand Joel Gretsch's Father Jack Landry. As an actor hes terribly stiff and the character is flat. Hopefully we learn more about him soon. Theres something about the show that is starting to bother me. I noticed it last week and even more tonight. Theres an underlying flatness to the entire show. While I do enjoy it and the story I also just get a dull vibe from it.

That about does it for the TV Round-Up. As far as the rest of the week goes:
Wednesday: Check out the ridiculous, yet, fun Human Target @ 8pm on FOX. Also, the premiere of the new season of Top Chef Masters on Bravo @ 11pm
Thursday: Flash Forward probably won't get picked up for a second season, so watch it while its around on ABC @ 8pm

*NBC's Parenthood is simply fantastic. Its hard to find a better show on TV right now. The cast is brilliant as is the writing and its a total joy to watch.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Even If They Don't Win The Oscar, The Nomination SHOULD Be Enough

In each of the 24 Oscar categories there can be only one winner...of a golden statue, that is. The remaining "Losers" get the customary Oscar gift basket. This year's gift basket (why its called a basket, what with so many items I do not know) is valued at over $85,000. Let me be the first to say "WHOA!" In the last few months we've seen two global catastrophes--the earthquake in Haiti and the earthquake in Chile. The world seems to be falling apart and all the Oscar "Losers" will get Gift Baskets that, when all baskets combined, reach a value of over 8 million dollars. So the question is, why can't the academy forgo these ridiculous gift baskets and make charitable contributions in the nominees' name?! I'm all for celebrating the best that the film industry has to offer but, when so many other people in the world are without basic necessities, it just doesn't seem right to be celebrating these achievements with a mountain of "swag".

Just so it can be understood how ridiculous these gift baskets are, I've included a complete list of all the items in the gift baskets.

* Gourmet artisan chocolate creations from Chocolatines by Sweet Endeavours that will sweeten the bitter Oscar loss with a 16-piece Contempo Collection, Chocolate-dipped Bacon, Matcha Sesame Bark, Mini Lux Turtles and Diamond Collection Champagne Ganache

* Fancy Feast's "Celebrate the Moment" gift package including a FlipCam Mino, Tiffany crystal-studded cat collar and an assortment of Fancy Feast Appetizers for Cats

* HGTV Green Home Mattress Collection by Serta

* The Oral-B Pulsonic slim & sleek electric toothbrush

* $4,000 limited edition (only 125 made) luxury Leather Travel Bag from Victorinox, makers of the Original Swiss Army Knife

* Private island vacation at the Turks & Caicos Sporting Club at Ambergris Clay

* $45,000 private & exclusive use of an African Safari Lodge from Premier Tours (includes four nights at the luxurious Lion Sands Private Game Reserve in South Africa for up to 8 adults and 8 kids, all meals prepared daily by a private chef, daily private game drives in open safari vehicles and guided nature walks)

* $14,500 four-night resort stay in a seaside suite with breakfast in bed at the Monte Carlo Beach Hotel in the Principality of Monaco

* DeLea Signature Perfume Oil

* A $7,000 three-night all-inclusive rustic getaway to Winvian Luxury Hotel in the Litchfield Hills of Connecticut (2009 "losing" nominees Ron Howard and Frank Langella redeemed last year)

* AG Hair Cosmetics deluxe Colour Savour gift set

* special access online shopping cards

* Professional dog studio photography package from Otis & Lucy (Paris Hilton is a fan)

* BlueFox Extreme Bluetooth headset

* An "Exclusively Scandinavian Gift Basket" from The Scandinavian Company (items from the line can be found in Heidi Klum's closet)

* A year's supply of Altoids Smalls

* The Pig Board from Snout a Pig

* Modern Meditations - Rock Goes Zen CD sets

* Ila DUSK personal security alarm

* iFLY indoor skydiving experience

* Eco-friendly certified carbon free SoHo Ultra-Quiet personal shredder from GoECOlife

* Herbalife Nutritional Products including Shake Mix and Best Defense immune booster supplement

* The Fifth Agreement by don Miguel Ruiz

* Assortment of all-natural designer dog toys, bowls and leashes from Petprojekt

* Wellness WellBites and Pure Rewards all-natural dog snacks from Wellpet

* WooLoot waterproof tourmaline sport watches

* Fashion-forward costume jewelry from MILLIANNA Jewelry

* La Peau Couture Organic Wrinkle Diminishing Serum (priced at $499 per jar)

* Slimware portion-control plates (used by body-conscious Hollywood stars such as Rene Russo, Kristin Chenoweth, Emily Procter and Ashlee Simpson)

* 10 personal training sessions from Huntley Drive Fitness (where previous nominees Melissa Leo and Jason Reitman train)

* One week all-inclusive fitness bootcamp from Live In Fitness Enterprise (former Oscar nominee Angela Bassett just finished the Red Carpet Bootcamp Program)

Friday, February 5, 2010

What Makes Me Smile At 6AM?


In Theaters February 26th, 2010

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Decade Under The Influence

 My 30 Favorite Movies of the Last Decade

The Hurricane
The Hurt Locker
There Will Be Blood
The Royal Tenenbaums
Lost In Translation
Love Actually
Requiem For A Dream
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
25th hour
Little Miss Sunshine
No Country For Old Men
Slumdog Millionaire
Almost Famous
The Aviator
Minority Report
The Departed
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
Moulin Rouge!
Half Nelson
Children Of Men
Into The Wild
Brokeback Mountain
Road To Perdition
Lord Of The Rings Trilogy

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

To Boldly Go Where No DVD Collector Has Gone Before...

The other day, as I gazed at the numerous, towering piles of DVDs scattered around my home, I came to the conclusion that maybe it is time to catalog them. The task is definitly a daunting one; my collection exceeds 200 DVDs. In each catalog entry I hope to have the title, director, year, format(WS/FS), along with value. The purpose of distinguishing the few dvds I own that are Full Screen is so I know which ones I need to put on EBAY. With the help of Google Spreadsheets I hope to be done in a few weeks. Will post updates on my progress...