Recent Entertainment Posts



June 30, 2008

David Hayter wants to write the MGS movie but needs our help

Be sure and Digg the article and write the Sony rep.

June 5, 2008

Batman vs The Dark Knight Trailer

Rob sent me this link and it is rather remarkable. It is a side-by-side comparison of the trailers for both movies. Even the small quick cuts are the same. Simply astounding.

May 29, 2008

That's Hedley!

Another one of the Blazing Saddles greats has left us. Heddy, err, Hedley Lamar, otherwise known as Harvey Korman, has passed. May you enjoy the afterlife finding your froggy, reminding people of their secretaries, snatching land from its rightful owners, hating cliches, snacking on Raisinets, and remembering that yes, you are in fact armed. You'll be missed.

May 19, 2008

Darius Rucker to Go Solo Again

Darius Rucker's first solo album away from Hootie? Not so hot. Even as a die-hard Hootie fan, it was a mess. His second has potential, and I hate country. First single can be heard here, another song snippet can be heard in the video, and a performance of many of the upcoming songs can be found here. Grandpa Campbell is really catchy (10 minutes into the last link).

April 30, 2008

Screw You Paramount

Thanks a lot Paramount. A week to the day you release Cloverfield on DVD, you announce it's coming on Blu-ray June 3rd. That's bullshit. Kind of convenient that you had no Blu-ray plans prior to today, and then suddenly, multiple recent DVD-only releases are getting the HD treatment. I want my $15 back for buying Cloverfield on DVD. We had damn well better be getting a coupon, rebate, or some solid exclusive extras.

On the other hand, if you haven't seen Cloverfield, you need to. Don't expect the tired monster movie cliches. Expect one hell of a fun ride.

February 22, 2008

HD DVD players become DVD upscalers in format war fallout

This from Engadget: "In an attempt to clear their shelves of dead HD DVD weight, retailers are taking the obvious step of slashing prices. Others, like play.com are renaming the players."

I guess Circuit City is doing the same thing now too.

It sure is a good thing that Toshiba made the HD DVD format backwards compatable with DVD, otherwise they would really have a lot of dead weight laying around that could not be sold. Hit that link for picture and Google Cache proof. Pretty funny, and genious marketing. 

February 19, 2008

Blu-ray Wins; CNET on Royalties

We now know that Blu-ray has won the "format war." Is this Revenge of the Betamax? Who knows, but the dust has settled and HD DVD has taken a bow now that Toshiba has made it official today. Sony took a gamble and put Blu-ray in the PS3. Me, being an early adopter to the PS3 (for games, of course) am one of the many gamers that are glad they did.

Continue reading "Blu-ray Wins; CNET on Royalties" »

January 26, 2008

Rambo: Holy Crap That's Violent Part IV

As an aside to my full review soon to be posted on Blogcritics, I had to get this out. This movie isn't just violent. It creates it's own category for sheer brutality. It's not the type of shock that you see in Saw or torture junk. This IS pure, unquestionable VIOLENCE. I don't even know another way to put it. Off the top of my head, you'll see:

A guy completely exploding after stepping on a mine
A kid tossed into a fire while still alive
A guy severed in a half by turret fire
A .50 cal rifle popping heads like a zit
Innocent kids shot at point blank, or roasted by a flamethrower
A man strung up while being eaten by wild boars
A gang rape on three women by 50+ drunken soldiers
A mans intestines spilled after being gutted alive (then being kicked down a hill as his innards leave a trail)
A man's throat being ripped out - slowly - with Rambo's bare hands
An arrow through an enemy's head, only to knock him onto a mine causing him to explode

This all comes after actual footage of the Burma Civil War that has loads of carnage and dead bodies (some in various states of decomposition). It's unreal, and definitely not for anyone even remotely squeamish. The movie definitely builds its villains, and when the time comes, they definitely get theirs and you'll see every detail. Oh, and the camera doesn't just cut away, it lingers or repeats shots for the full effect. How the hell this got an R I'll never know. The inevitable unrated cut will be worse, I'm sure.

Holy shit was this violent.

January 2, 2008

Download Uproar: Record Industry Goes After Personal Use

Now, in an unusual case in which an Arizona recipient of an RIAA letter has fought back in court rather than write a check to avoid hefty legal fees, the industry is taking its argument against music sharing one step further: In legal documents in its federal case against Jeffrey Howell, a Scottsdale, Ariz., man who kept a collection of about 2,000 music recordings on his personal computer, the industry maintains that it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer.

The industry's lawyer in the case, Ira Schwartz, argues in a brief filed earlier this month that the MP3 files Howell made on his computer from legally bought CDs are "unauthorized copies" of copyrighted recordings.

Source: The Washington Post

Did that just sink in? The RIAA is saying that it it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer.

What. The. Hell. This is simply going too far. I mean the RIAA is well known for spreading FUD, but this is a new low for them. It is like the DMCA times infinity bad, or something.

I pray for the human race a little more each time I read something like this.

December 23, 2007

Pirates finally coming to Blu-ray

What? Pirates is already out of Blu-ray? No not that film, silly. Digital Playground is going to release their Pirates smut film on Blu-ray Jan. 4, citing requests from PS3 owners.

This is the same Digital Playground, if you recall, that tried to tell everyone that Sony did not want porn on Blu-ray, that all Blu-ray Disc copying facilities in the United States refused to accept his business. That is obviously not the case.

However I do find it odd how porn has not been the deciding factor in stopping the BD v. HD DVD battle so decisively as it did in the Beta v. VHS days.

August 3, 2007

Ebert's Archive

This is simply an incredible archival job by someone who spent A LOT of time digitally recording these episodes. Nearly every review ever done on TV by Roger Ebert, Gene Siskel, Richard Roeper, and guest critics is accessible online.

If anything, it makes you remember how good Siskel was as what he did. Not to take away anything from Ebert who I greatly respect (despite his "games are not art" rants), but Siskel truly loved film. He hated the business aspects of the industry, and focused on truly great cinema, but also knew how to have a great time. These reviews prove it.


July 10, 2007

Michael Moore Goes off on CNN

Absolutely classic live TV here. Moore rips Wolf Blitzer a new one, completely off topic and on, and it ends up completely entertaining.

July 7, 2007

Transformers (2007)

I don't have many complaints about this film. It was a lot of fun. I will say this however, I was not psyched to see it. I did not go into the theater with huge expectations. But I am glad I saw the film.

The CG work done by Industrial Light + Magic is once again absolutely amazing. I had no idea that Dreamworks farmed the work out.

The story line was well crafted. It had some Men In Black overtones with the Sector 7 agents. The movie had some great humor, very campy. School of Adam West campy. The one-liners were good, but almost too much.

But my problem was not the humor. Hugo Weaving voiced Megatron (to which he did a great job) and has a line in the final battle with Prime that sounds as if Agent Smith is talking to Neo in The Matrix. It is unmistakable to the lore of The Matrix, and was easy to pick out. The line just bothered me, and it was worse that it was Hugo Weaving.

My biggest gripe is the scene where the Autobots are "hiding" around Sam's house. BumbleBee even trips on a power line. It is just one of those "look ma, we animated this because we can" scenes and could have been cut down in length, or cut entirely.

It really did nothing to further the story.

My last problem was the new look of Megatron. He just looks weird in this movie. Who decided to make him look like that for the film? Boggles the mind.

Back to the animation for a moment. One very hard aspect of CG work is conveying weight and mass. Another hard one to tackle is emotion. ILM really nailed the weight and mass of the Transformers. They really felt like they were interacting with the environments, even with the flowers next to Sam's house.

They managed to be successful with emotion by giving the Transformers mouths, and facial expressions, including some rather intricate eye animations.

Bottom line - this movie is worth seeing a second time, especially for the CG work, not to mention Megan Fox

June 28, 2007

Die Hard 4.0

Everything about this movie, besides the title (I really have a problem with that name), was a solid summer movie going experience. We all know that Bruce Willis can escort people around (16 Blocks) and Mac Guy Justin Long does a good job at being the funny dumb guy.

The cyber-terrorism plot seems fitting for the entire post-9/11 sympathetic angle.

Kevin Smith gives a good performance. Jordan and I saw the 7 PM showing and it sounded like everyone was enjoying it. We give it two thumbs up.

Is it just me, or can you not shake Cliff Curtis' role in Collateral Damage out of your heard?

Be sure to look for the stereotypically "good guys have Mac, bad guys have PC" shtick. At the beginning of the movie Justin Long's Matt Farrell character has an Apple Cinema display. He is running Linux, and no Mac was shown, but it was an Apple Cinema display, looked like the 20" or 23" model.

In one the later scenes, one of the bad guys picks up an Alienware laptop. At least the shot of the Apple monitor was just a camera pan, the Alienware laptop was practically framed in the shot.

Other product placement, there was just tons, was Palm and Nokia phones. The Palm Pilots used seemed antiquated, actually. Poor choice if you ask me.

The screen graphics department for this film must have used half the budget. Considering the plot, it makes sense that you would see a lot of computer screens doing a lot of things, but man, tons of screen graphics.

Finally, a summer movie I am not disappointed I saw (see: Spider-Man 3, Shrek the Third, Pirates 3, Fantastic 4 2). Die Hard 4.0, err, Live Free or Die Hard, was the best movie I have seen this summer, better than Oceans Thirteen. Now I can't wait to see The Borne Ultimatum.

They took a big risk -- Willis is 52 -- but I think its gonna pay off. Lots of great explosions, a few good laughs and thank The Lord no cliffhanger at the end.

Now the big question is: will Rambo come through next year?

On a total side note, does anyone remember Die Hard Trilogy on the PS1?

Oh yea, Timothy Olyphant just doesn't seem right to play Agent 47. He looks too young (with a shaved head).

June 18, 2007

BG Super Wal-Mart and Blu-ray

We have a brand new enormous Super Wal-Mart in Bowling Green. Do you think they have Blu-ray movies?

Night At The Museum
X-Men 3
Ghost Rider
(Sold Out)

Yep, thats it. No Casino Royal, no Pirates 1 or 2. It is really quite sad.

June 15, 2007

Ocean's Thirteen Impressions

This is the summer of thirds in a movie series. Maybe they can make a special Oscar for that at this year's Academy Awards.

The movie was good, better than Ocean's Twelve. Good humor, Pacino was wonderful. And hell, it cost me $2 at The Small (Woodland Mall).

Recommended.

May 17, 2007

Dear TNT: Piss Off

How many times do I need to see the same commercial for your original shows during the NBA playoffs? Just for the record, I will NOT be watching the four shows you're relentlessly pushing DURING EVERY COMMERCIAL BREAK, shows whose name I won't mention here to further promote them. I'm sick of them all already. It's beyond absurd, and you're not even presenting a variety of them. It's the same ads repeatedly.

It's becoming difficult to sit through a full game. Commercials are fine, but this is quite possibly the worst display of self promotion I've ever come across on a cable network. Do you think the audience is forgetting about these shows in the span of 10 minutes?

Give it up. It's disgusting, annoying, and aggravating.

January 21, 2007

Bam Bam Bigelow Found Dead

One of the all time fan favorite pro wrestlers was found dead on Friday. Glen Boyd has a superb writeup over on Blogcritics on what he'll be remembered for.

December 27, 2006

Godzilla 1984 on YouTube

Actually, there are a couple of Godzilla flicks up on YouTube, and yes I mean the entire movies. However, 1984 is my all time fave and I can't resist the chance to post this one as it's the Japanese version, not the bastardized US cut. Nothing against Raymond Burr, but his scenes weren't even close to fitting in when the movie hit theaters here in the states. Enough blabbering though. Start here and work your way down the sidebar in order and see the movie like it was meant to be seen.

Better yet, watch it on your Wii with the browser. Sure, I have this one on DVD three times, but I like the idea of having my Wii associated with Godzilla in more ways than one.

October 20, 2006

Hootie Interview

From notmtv.com. Big announcement in there too that Darius wants to retire in five years from live shows.

July 24, 2006

Star Wars Spoof on Youtube

Too funny to miss from what I believe is Robot Chicken. What happened after the Death Star went down? Vader had to call the emperor and explain himself.

May 30, 2006

Movie Review: X-Men III

Actually, rather than review X-Men: The Last Stand, I have an interactive simulation of watching the movie for you to try at home.

1) Take all your X-Men comics, all your old classics and the new ones, and put them in a big pile. If you have copies of the cartoon or the first two movies, throw those on the pile as well.

2) Set the pile ablaze with some fantastic pyrotechnics -- sparklers, cherry bombs, roman candles, whatever you have. Say some cheesy one-liners as it all burns.

3) Once the flames die down, take a giant crap on top of the ashes. Bury the whole mess under ten feet of dirt.

4) Charge everyone $10 to see it.

Hilarious Review of Komodo vs. Cobra

This is just a classic review of an abysmal movie. I thought it was awful enough to be hilarious all the way through, but this guy puts it best:

"Have you ever seen that old black & white footage of the two kitty cats in a tiny boxing ring wearing little boxing gloves wailing away on one another? The actual komodo vs. cobra smackdown makes those boxing kitties look like a fight scene from Ong Bak."

Kudos to the guy who wrote that one!

May 28, 2006

TV Review: Sci-Fi Channel Original - A.I. Assault

While it isn't saying much of anything, the special effects in A.I. Assault manage to be above par for a direct-to-cable Sci-Fi Channel schlock piece. The metallic pods, eerily similar to those in Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds, do some believable damage to a small group of suckers stuck on an island inhabited by no one. It's almost a shame people had to be in this movie to spout off ridiculous dialogue and fire guns that never need to be reloaded instead of giving us extra A.I. cheapness.

Continue reading "TV Review: Sci-Fi Channel Original - A.I. Assault" »

May 25, 2006

TV Review: Sci-Fi Channel Original - Komodo vs. Cobra

Most Sci-Fi Channel disasters fall into the unbearable category. They're not funny, serious, or entertaining. Then something like Komodo vs. Cobra rolls along and you can only imagine being on the set as the actors spout off some of the most unimaginative dialogue ever put on film. This is a hysterically funny movie, whether intentional or not, and has every reason to become a classic for fans of horrible cinema.

Continue reading "TV Review: Sci-Fi Channel Original - Komodo vs. Cobra" »

May 24, 2006

"Greatest Movie of the Century" - Reverse Shot review of DaVinci Code

I still think "The Die! Vinci Code" would have been a better title.

But. Here is a clever review at The Reverse Shot.

Sample excerpt: "For those who have read Dan Brown's eloquent, Faulkner-esque novel, the rest won't come as much of a surprise. Dave is killed for being the monk who knew too much--that Jesus impregnated Mary with a child, who grew up to be....no no, I can't give it away, but let's just say he was one of the cast members in Cast Away."

It's even funnier than Toledo Blade critic Christopher Borrelli's assertion that Monty Python lurks behind the movie, which is destined to become the next Rocky Horror.

May 20, 2006

Sci-Fi Channel Original Review: Abominable

While it has the unique blend of Rear Window and a creature feature, Abominable doesn't succeed in doing much right. It takes forever before things being moving into the horror territory the audience expects, and even then, the goofy grin on the monster suit fails to be terrifying. Anything leading up to that is sheer boredom.

Continue reading "Sci-Fi Channel Original Review: Abominable" »

May 17, 2006

Movie Review: Silent Hill

As soon as those familiar chords started up over the company logo sequence, I knew we were in business. Here's the breakdown:

  • Presentation: 6/10.
  • I'm including the $10 ticket price in this, though you might find it for cheaper. What that bought me, besides a big empty theater with no other players, was a series of promos I could not skip through no matter how hard I mashed the buttons, and then another 20 minutes of unskipable introductory exposition Hideo Kojima would have been proud of. Also at that price, I could not afford any peripheries like, say, popcorn.

  • Graphics: 10/10. As Ken said when we saw it at WalletRape Cinemas in Perrysburg, "It's like watching it on the PS9!" Everything was crisp, dark and creepy, and loadtimes were not a problem - which is good, because this movie is 80% cutscenes.

Continue reading "Movie Review: Silent Hill" »

May 4, 2006

Han Shoots First... SO SHUT UP!

Finally, after years of fanboy whining, the masses get what they wanted: Star Wars on DVD. Yes, I know what you're thinking. You bought it, and you'll be buying it again because these are the originals, not the edited and re-visited versions. So, please, Han shoots first, and in all honesty, I don't care. It's the same damned movie.

Mongs.

April 22, 2006

Sci-Fi Channel Original Review: Mammoth

At the least, director Tim Cox knows this is an awful idea. Mammoth strives for campy from the opening moments, milking the comedic style all the way through. With only a little time spent on the reasons for a frozen Wooly Mammoth to actually come alive, there should have been plenty of screen time left for entertainment. That's not how this ended up.

Continue reading "Sci-Fi Channel Original Review: Mammoth" »

April 3, 2006

Plaque Honors Godzilla Filming Spot

The spot where Raymond Burr would film his scenes to be intercut into the original Godzilla film has been forever marked. A plaque dedicating the site will stand testament to the best "Americanization" of a Godzilla film.

Review: Wrestlemania 22

What a night for the WWE. This year's Wrestlemania reminded us all why we pay extra for the event. Unforgettable spots were so numerous, they could open RAW tomorrow night using nothing but clips from this pay-per-view. Its few downers were in no way enough to ruin the night, and the impressions left by some of the insanity will take years to slip from our minds.

Continue reading "Review: Wrestlemania 22" »

April 1, 2006

Sci-Fi Channel Original Review: SS Doomtrooper

False hope is an awful, awful thing. It's about the only thing SS Doomtrooper provides too. An opening aerial dogfight is the film's highlight, and easily one of the best all time special effects sequences in the history of Sci-Fi Channel movies. The rest of them on the other hand, well, they're going to rank down there with junk like Gargoyle.

Continue reading "Sci-Fi Channel Original Review: SS Doomtrooper" »

March 21, 2006

Not quite a review: V for Vendetta

I first wrote about this movie in September, as it was already chugging along and I had only just heard about it. Being a large fan of the comic, I was both excited and apprehensive about a Hollywood treatment. Having seen the movie last night, I do believe I can say it lived up to Alan Moore's politically relevant anarcho-dystopian vision.

Continue reading "Not quite a review: V for Vendetta" »

March 4, 2006

Baff! Pow! Jihad!

He compares it to comics from 60 years ago with Superman and Captain America punching Hitler, but I have reservations about Frank Miller's planned 200-page graphic novel for next year about Batman going after bin Laden when Gotham is attacked by terrorists. I kind of prefer my superheroes not to live in the same world as me... but after Bush vowed vengeance on the "Axis of Evil," I guess the lines are blurred.

February 25, 2006

Sci-Fi TV Review: Disaster Zone - Volcano in New York

There's a crucial mistake to avoid when making a disaster flick. Don't use stock footage. Ever. It's a bigger crime than totally unbelievable special effects, which at the very least show a little concern and effort towards the cause of entertaining the audience. The cheaply titled Disaster Zone: Volcano in New York falls into both traps, though even without the cheapness, its unbelievable premise and aggravating directorial "style" kill it in the first few minutes.

Continue reading "Sci-Fi TV Review: Disaster Zone - Volcano in New York" »

February 15, 2006

Sci-Fi TV Review: House of the Dead 2

Taking two of the writers from the original mess that was House of the Dead, this sequel that no one in their right mind would ever ask for ends up being mildly entertaining. It has one thing going for it this time out: House of the Dead 2 knows it had no chance of succeeding, so the entire movie plays out as hilarious camp. It doesn't always work, and it's still an awful piece of schlock, but at least someone had the idea not to take this seriously.

Continue reading "Sci-Fi TV Review: House of the Dead 2" »

January 29, 2006

Download MP3 of Disney/Pixar Conference Call

Download the MP3 because it answers a few things. My question was answered: Ed Catmull is now President of Animation. Considering he was President of Pixar, that seems fitting.

January 28, 2006

Sci-Fi Channel Original Review: Swarmed

It’s been over 30 years since Jaws found its way onto movie screens, and yet, people in small towns continue to have public events in the midst of a genetically altered wasp invasion. History has obviously taught them nothing. If you decide to close beaches because of a shark, why do these town leaders continually put their own people in the path of certain death? It makes the scripts writers job easier, duh.

Continue reading "Sci-Fi Channel Original Review: Swarmed" »

January 27, 2006

Great Song

This one was buried on Hootie's site, and until I went through the forums, I didn't know it was there. Mark Bryan's voice is pretty weak, but the lyrics are just incredible (including a few shots at Bush). Check out Say Goodbye, but be sure to read the description first (the other songs, except for the abysmal Divided States of America, are all on Looking for Lucky). You should have a copy if you've ever visited the site given all of my plugs.

And yes, it looks like hell, but it's crunched in a frame when you actually see it on the site and this was the only way to link it.

Disney Buys Pixar For 7.4B, Jobs Takes Seat On Disney Board

Mickey Mouse and Nemo are now corporate cousins. Walt Disney has announced that it is buying Pixar, the animated studio led by Apple head Steve Jobs, in a deal worth $7.4 billion.
Source: CNN Money

Wow. With Michael Eisner out of there (thank god), things are very different. Of note:

John Lasseter ... will rejoin the House of Mouse as chief creative officer for the company's combined animated studios and will also help oversee the design for new attractions at Disney theme parks.
Robert Iger has done in very little time what Eisner never could, and for that I am thankful. Disney was very smart to buy Pixar - at any price - because without Pixar there is no Disney animation.

Soon we will be seeing Buzz Lightyear and Woody along side Mickey and Minnie in the Disney theme parks, and I think that is pretty cool.

I am sure Jobs will fire up the Disney board - and it needs it. As Jobs was the largest shareholder in Pixar, he is now the largest individual shareholder in Disney. Not a bad spot to be in.

What I would really like to find out is what Ed Catmull will be doing now. I am sure he will be an important part of Disney/Pixar, but I have no idea to what extent.

Some history: Steve Jobs bought the computer graphics division of Lucasfilm Ltd. from George Lucas in 1986 for $10 million. Pixar is born. Twenty years later Steve Jobs sells Pixar to Disney for $7.4 billion. Disney is reborn.

Return on investment, anyone?

January 25, 2006

Leaving On A Jet Plane by Chantal Kreviazuk

I am not even going to link to her site. This song is that bad.

I was going through my movie soundtracks tonight and found that I had the soundtrack for Armageddon, I forgot I even had it. By the way, that is not an odd assurance, I have a large digital music collection so I find stuff I never knew I had all the time.

Anyways, Chantal Kreviazuk sings a remake of Leaving On A Jet Plane. There are a lot of people who have covered this song. I have not heard all the covers, but this cover by Chantal Kreviazuk is utterly atrocious--make my ears bleed--bad.

I just thought I would tell you that. Other then this song, and the "Animal Crackers" track, it is an OK soundtrack. Sadly I know this was a CD I actually bought in the physical form years ago. Why? I have no idea. Maybe it was from one of those BMG or Columbia House deals and I had to pick some filler.

Some artists should only be allowed to record their original work - and Kreviazuk is one of them!

January 23, 2006

Sci-Fi Channel Original Review: Magma

At some point, it needs to be considered what's worse: terrible looking CGI creatures or terrible looking CGI volcanoes. Both are disastrous, but not for the reasons intended. That said, Magma fares better than expected given the effects and re-used set pieces.

Continue reading "Sci-Fi Channel Original Review: Magma" »

TV Review: Spike TV's Fresh Baked Video Games

After losing nearly their entire gaming demographic with the abysmal and blatantly corporate sponsored Spike TV Game Awards, it's hard to imagine the station sinking any lower. In fact, Game Head isn't half bad, hosted by Geoff Keighly and featuring actual content. Sadly, that's not what will be reviewed here. Instead, this is Fresh Baked Video Games.

Continue reading "TV Review: Spike TV's Fresh Baked Video Games" »

January 20, 2006

Sex.com Sold To Escom LLC For $14M

SAN FRANCISCO – The infamous and controversial domain Sex.com has officially been sold to Boston-based Escom LLC for a reported $14 million, XBiz has learned.
Source: XBiz

(Yes, this Web page is safe for work.)

Well I am glad that law suit has been settled. I can now sleep easier at night. $14M though! Wow. I need to sell spoiledlittlebitch.com. Hell, I would take only $1M.

January 14, 2006

Sci-Fi Channel Premiere Review: H.G. Wells War of the Worlds

It's not a new concept to rip-off the latest Hollywood blockbuster with a direct-to-video movie of a similar name. Released alongside 2005's theatrical summer hit War of the Worlds, distributor Asylum's video release H.G. Wells War of the Worlds fails to offer any of the gripping action of Spielberg's epic. With a meager $1 million to work with, creating a special effects masterpiece is not a feasible expectation for director David Michael Latte. However, there's still the expectation of being entertained, and that's what's missing.

Continue reading "Sci-Fi Channel Premiere Review: H.G. Wells War of the Worlds" »

January 11, 2006

Let Them Sign It For You

Now here is a piece of Flash that is useful. It is actually very cool, falling under the "Interactive Art" moniker if it were at, say, SIGGRAPH. You type in some song lyrics and it spits them out, word by word, using famous singers voices. It is all very cool until you get "I" in there a few times. It appears that the algorithm does not have multiple instances of the same word - a major bummer. Words not in the database are also a show stopper. But you can submit songs that have those show-stopping words in them.

What a great project! The artist is Erik Bünger.

From the site:

Write your own lyrics and let some of the world's greatest stars give voice to it.
The really sad thing is how many of those songs I can name from hearing just one word.

January 10, 2006

New Hootie Single: January 30th

From their site:

While the first single, ONE LOVE from the band's album LOOKING FOR LUCKY, remains in the Top 10 at Mainstream AC, GET OUT OF MY MIND, will ship this week and will go for adds at HOT AC January 30th, 2006.

If you want a peak of my fave from the new album, Yahoo's annoying site has the video, which was recorded LIVE. I had to use Netscape of all things to view it, but it was worth it.

January 9, 2006

Nipplegate II: WWE Style

Vince McMahon's WWE Raw has pulled some classic stunts over the twelve years I've religiously watched it, but tonight, well, this one is probably going to end up everywhere.

During a hilarious and stupid "live sex" act, WWE Diva Lita's breast made it on screen for a whopping split-second fully exposed. They immediately cut to a blank screen and used the classic "It's live TV" excuse. Surely one of the "parent groups" will be all over this explaining how it's destroyed our country and the children are traumatized. They'll also tell you how offended you were even if you didn't watch it. Don't call me psychic, I just know those groups are beyond stupid. So, we'll get it out of the way now:

IT'S A NIPPLE PEOPLE. Grow the hell up. Thank you.

Read Matt's full article over at Blogcritics.

I'll also add that this made it to Fark, and as I make this edit, it's broke the 60,000 hits barrier.

January 8, 2006

Rob Hates Opening New DVDs

He really does. So much so he had to put together a rather detailed eight point rant about it. And I would have to agree with everything he said, including commenter #1. My biggest peeve is the fact that there has to be a long animation before the DVD menu shows up, with no way to skip it.

January 7, 2006

Sci-Fi Channel Original Review: Caved In - Prehistoric Terror

If Caved In is any indication of the garbage Sci-Fi Channel will be pushing onto its fans this year, it's going to be a long one. Copying last years disaster Centipede, Caved In gives the world another meaningless giant insect flick, with zero redeeming value. If you're looking for entertainment, you're watching the wrong network on Saturday night.

Continue reading "Sci-Fi Channel Original Review: Caved In - Prehistoric Terror" »

Dead or Alive Teaser Trailer

Wow this looks like a winner. If you think you recognize Kasumi it's because you do, she is Devon Aoki (Sin City). The movie doesn't really have anyone else famous in it. But then who wants to be in a movie about a video game notorious for its bouncing boobies.

Continue reading "Dead or Alive Teaser Trailer" »

December 27, 2005

Movie Review: King Kong (1933) Colorized

One of Ted Turner's more controversial moves, colorizing movies was an idea that was created before the technology was ready. That didn't stop him from purchasing entire movie libraries with full plans to "update" them from black and white. With King Kong, about the only thing it does is make the special effects stand out unnaturally while ignoring everything else.

Continue reading "Movie Review: King Kong (1933) Colorized" »

Hootie & the Blowfish LIVE Now Available!

Great idea, and they have the Toledo show I was at. I would have sworn they did I Hope That I Don't Fall in Love With You, but apparently not. It's a meager $10 for nearly 90-minutes of music in great quality. I wish they'd seperate the songs into tracks (it's one long track as it stands), but I'll take it. Now it's just a matter of getting the cash to get the rest of the performances!

December 16, 2005

Movie Review: King Kong (2005)

Impossibly beating all odds, destroying every bad memory about the 1976 remake, and setting a new standard for creature features, King Kong is a remarkable film. It's intense, brutal, and draining on every emotion. You're actually tired after leaving the cinema. Peter Jackson's remake is a $207 million gift for every Kong fan in the world, and except for a few ugly spots, it's hard to imagine a better way to resurrect one of cinema's all time greats.

Continue reading "Movie Review: King Kong (2005)" »

November 29, 2005

Sci-Fi Channel Original Review: Manticore

Manticore begins with false hope. Set during the current war in Iraq, the film opens with a great firefight between US troops and enemy insurgents. The direction, style, and action starts things off with a better than usual style. It seems like the budget has been raised a little higher, and things just may end up entertaining.

Continue reading "Sci-Fi Channel Original Review: Manticore" »

November 28, 2005

Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

The book Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is a turning point in the series. Things are no longer bright and cheery. They're mysterious. They're dark. They're deadly.

Continue reading "Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" »

November 25, 2005

'Mr. Miyagi' dead at 73

Actor Pat Morita, who offered the famous advice "wax on, wax off" to a young karate student in his performance as the wise Mr. Miyagi in "The Karate Kid" has died. He was 73.

(Full article; sorry this is Yahoo news but I couldn't find anything else and it has some good links/lists of his work... he was with Mr. T in something? I never knew...)

November 16, 2005

Stairway to Beep-bloop-blip

I am enjoying the fruits of some SA labor just now and thought you might like them too:

"NEScover," 8-bit synth remixes of classic rock songs.

Track list:
01 REM - Losing My Religion
02 Europe - Final Countdown
03 Radiohead - Karma Police
04 Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody
05 Survivor - Eye of the Tiger
06 Led Zeppelin - Stairway to Heaven
07 Lynyrd Skynyrd - Sweet Home Alabama
08 Led Zeppelin - Kashmir
09 Slayer - Angel of Death
10 David Pomeranz - Nothing's Gonna Stop Me Now
11 Coldplay - Yellow
12 Rick James - Superfreak
13 Semisonic - Closing Time
14 (Silence)
15 Hidden NESmix Intro
16 Zero Wing (Opening Theme) (4x4 Remix)
17 Tetris (Music A) (Piano Practice)

November 14, 2005

Locusts: The 8th Plague Sci-Fi Channel Original Review

If you've ever read a review of a movie like this and thought, "I think I read this before," don't blame the critic. There are only so many ways to pick apart a quick, cheap, and generic bug movie. That's of course the category Locusts: The 8th Plague falls into.

Continue reading "Locusts: The 8th Plague Sci-Fi Channel Original Review" »

November 9, 2005

WIN! Herbie Fully Loaded on DVD!

Herbie: Fully Loaded is on DVD starring Lindsay Lohan, and we have a copy to give away! The rules are quite simple:

1. Name ONE surviving actor from the original 1968 version of The Love Bug.

2. Reply to this post with your answer, one per person. If you enter twice, all of your entries will be deleted.

3. You have one week to do so. This contest will end at 12 noon EST on Wednesday November 16th.

4. The winner will be chosen at random from all the correct answers. Make sure you have a valid e-mail address so you can be contacted if you're the winner.

Tip: If you want a second chance, you can always reply to a second contest of the same type we're running at Blogcritics!

November 3, 2005

New King Kong trailer online

He jumps and smashes a plane while on top of the Empire State Building. Nothing more needs said.

Ok, fine... I'll keep typing. Look at the hair. It's been lengthened quite a bit since the first teaser, and you can see debris in it. The level of detail is stunning. The tension in the T-Rex stand off is remarkable, and this is just a trailer. The brief glimpses of the New York attack just continue to impress. I'm still in awe.

October 31, 2005

CBS Premiere Movie Review: Vampire Bats

Picking up right where Locusts left off, Lucy Lawless returns as Maddy Rierdon to combat another menace, Vampire Bats. This made for TV quickie is mild fun without an original idea to carry it. If you've ever seen a killer bat movie, than you've seen this too.

Continue reading "CBS Premiere Movie Review: Vampire Bats" »

October 29, 2005

Sci-Fi Channel Original Cerberus Review

Given that the Sci-Fi Channel has dug up just about every creature known to the human race for their Saturday night features including (but not limited to) pythons, centipedes, gargoyles, dragons, raptors, pterodactyls, killer bees, snakehead fish, megalodons, the chupacabra, loch ness, spiders, saber tooth cats, and cockroaches, it was only a matter of time until the network began to reach. This brings us to Cerberus, a creature flick that could only come from this cable channel. This is unbearable dreck, one of the cheapest, ugliest, and far reaching of their monster roster.

Continue reading "Sci-Fi Channel Original Cerberus Review" »

October 17, 2005

Return of the Living Dead 4 & 5 Sci-Fi Channel Premiere Reviews

Note: With four hours of Sci-Fi Channel original "entertainment" to get through in one night, it's impossible for one person to take that much in one sitting. As such, help has been called in. Chris Beaumont covers the first of the films this week, and as is the norm, I take on the second.

Return of the Living Dead 4: Necropolis Review by Chris Beaumont

It's been a long time since I've seen any of the Return of the Living Dead movies, to be honest, I can't even recall if I've ever seen Part II. Being that my last viewing is a bit of a fuzzy memory, so my grasp of details is a little slim. Anyway, the returning dead are back for another go around, the first since 1993. There are 2 new sequels, Necropolis and Rave to the Grave. I am here to take a look at the first one, Necropolis.

Continue reading "Return of the Living Dead 4 & 5 Sci-Fi Channel Premiere Reviews" »

September 24, 2005

Sci-Fi Channel Original: Path of Destruction Review

Unabashedly taking the concept of Michael Crichton's novel Prey, Sci-Fi Channel original Path of Destruction is a bland little $2 million movie. It has moments, but the biggest problem is the catalyst. The nano-bots are hardly a significant threat, and they're never shown to as brutal as the movie makes them out to be.

Continue reading "Sci-Fi Channel Original: Path of Destruction Review" »

September 13, 2005

Hootie on Letterman

I've heard their new single One Love performed live at least 15 times now, and this was their best. Real Player required.

September 10, 2005

Man with the Screaming Brain Sci-Fi Channel Original Review

The premise is here. Man with the Screaming Brain puts Bruce Campbell into the role of a rich pharmaceutical company owner who ends up with only half of his brain after being killed. The other half comes from a Russian cab driver.

Continue reading "Man with the Screaming Brain Sci-Fi Channel Original Review" »

Another film anomoly: A Scanner Darkly

Also just learned of an impending film version of Philip K Dick's "A Scanner Darkly." Not my favorite of his stories but the diaspora of talent (it may be that I use the term loosely) working on it may make for an interesting combination.

Continue reading "Another film anomoly: A Scanner Darkly" »

September 9, 2005

Hootie's Looking for Lucky not the success it should be

Ok people. You know you have a copy of Cracked Rear View. It sold 16 million copies, so just admit it. Now, their new album, Looking for Lucky, it's not doing so well. In a month, less than 40,000 copies have been sold. That's bad, and this is their best since their major debut. The lyrics are powerful and timely, and it's still that classic Hootie sound. This isn't a popularity contest, it's about music. In case you need some refreshing and want to buy it (and you do), here's some links:

Interview with Mark Bryan
Totally biased album review
Totally biased concert review
Their website
Amazon link
Best Buy link
Hootie Store link

September 8, 2005

Remember, remember the fifth of November

I feel a little late noticing this, but I was shocked and pleasantly surprised to find out a movie based on Alan Moore's 1980s dystopian-anarchy short series "V for Vendetta" is soon to be released, directed by the Wachikowskis no less.

Continue reading "Remember, remember the fifth of November" »

August 28, 2005

Fenway turf needs repair after Rolling Stones shows

BOSTON (AP) -- The Rolling Stones left the Boston Red Sox in need of some serious grass.
Source: Sports Illustrated

I just have to laugh at these type of stories. No kidding they are going to kill the grass! I remember a Jimmy Buffet show at Jacobs Field that left the outfield dead.

I don't know if it is the stage, the beer, or the people, but I am sure its the combination of the three that kills the grass.

August 27, 2005

Pterodactyl Sci-Fi Channel Original Review

Pterodactyl opens with the single greatest gore sequence in the short history of Sci-Fi Channel originals. As one of the resurrected title creatures swoops down, it picks off a hunter right at the waist, leaving half of his body on the ground, the other half in the creature's claws. It's unmatched, and right around (if not over) the decency line for standard cable.

Continue reading "Pterodactyl Sci-Fi Channel Original Review" »

August 14, 2005

Movie billboards don't feature ratings

This is funny (you'll need to register to read it all). Apparently, parents can't figure out that Deuce Bigalow European Gigolo isn't for their kids, because the billboards that advertise it don't show the rating (the ads were made before the MPAA handed down their ruling). The Leaning Tower in the ad is "conveniently" placed too, let alone the title of the movie.

August 13, 2005

Alien Express Sci-Fi Channel Original Review

Unlike so many other Sci-Fi Channel cheapies, Alien Express had some small potential. It's goofy fun until the effects take over (and these are mercifully done practically for the most part), which showcase the budget in the worst way possible. It's a somewhat enjoyable low budget schlock, but only for those used to this type of movie.

Continue reading "Alien Express Sci-Fi Channel Original Review" »

August 9, 2005

Hootie and the Blowfish: Looking for Lucky Review

If Hootie and the Blowfish have any chance to be back in the position they were in 12 years ago, Looking for Lucky is it. This is their most enjoyable, addictive, and easy to listen to album since the criminally under appreciated Musical Chairs. It's not going to create a new audience, but for those who have stuck with them and those who may have forgotten, this is the album the band needed.

Continue reading "Hootie and the Blowfish: Looking for Lucky Review" »

August 6, 2005

Tidal Wave Sci-Fi Channel premiere

Tidal Wave is one of those movies that might have worked as a single episode of an hour-long TV show. Drug out into feature length, this 1997 direct-to-cable flick becomes a dull, uninspired mess. It's predictable, the characters are uninteresting, central logic is lost, and even the few destruction sequences don't provide much in the way of entertainment.

Continue reading "Tidal Wave Sci-Fi Channel premiere" »

August 4, 2005

Interview: Hootie and the Blowfish's Mark Bryan

Mark Bryan is the lead guitarist for Hootie and Blowfish. He has released his own solo album (30 on the Rail) and composed a short downloadable album titled State Your Peace available on their website. The band is currently touring in promotion of their latest album, which comes out August 8th, Looking for Lucky. I had the opportunity to interview him over the phone before a Tennessee show on August 4th about the band, his solo career, and the new album.

Continue reading "Interview: Hootie and the Blowfish's Mark Bryan" »

August 2, 2005

Hootie and the Blowfish, Toledo Zoo Amphitheater, 8-1-05

Hootie makes sure they end up in Toledo every time they tour the country, and always at the Toledo Zoo Amphitheater. It's a great outdoor venue as far as audio is concerned, even for an older structure. Barring the heat (in the 90s, and staying there for most of the show), everything went smoothly as the band mixed both old and new flawlessly.

Continue reading "Hootie and the Blowfish, Toledo Zoo Amphitheater, 8-1-05" »

August 1, 2005

Despite feud, 'Simple Life' to return

NEW YORK (AP) -- Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie are stuck together for another season of "The Simple Life" -- even if they're not speaking to each other.
Source: CNN

Oh thank heaven! I mean, I was losing sleep over this one.

July 23, 2005

Nature Unleashed: Volcano Sci-Fi Channel Premiere Review

For as illogical and incompetent the other Nature Unleashed films have been, Volcano is somewhat tolerable. The key problem is that it misses one key aspect: a volcano. You'll need to make it through the entire movie just to see why you're watching this.

Continue reading "Nature Unleashed: Volcano Sci-Fi Channel Premiere Review" »

July 12, 2005

WWE Smackdown draws protest

Sigh. Smackdown is filmed on Tuesday. It airs on Thursday. Last week, it featured a terrorist angle involving the Undertaker, and unfortunately, it fell on the day of the London bombings. They constantly flashed a warning on the screen that some people may not be ready for it. It was hardly offensive material, with a group of masked guys choking the Undertaker. Some people though, have nothing better to do, and decided to watch despite the warnings. No controversy here, but with ratings beginning to increase, it's time for the immoral attacks to begin again.

July 11, 2005

Hootie's Looking for Lucky online NOW!

Why it's on CMT is anyone's guess (it's hardly country, at least not all of it), but it's here for everyone to hear. This is likely to curb those who put it up for download a few weeks back (and those us who have downloaded, not that I did that or anything). This is one of the band's best, save for a slightly dry finish. Get out of My Mind is their best song in years.

Coming soon: 9/11, The Movie

Oliver Stone, the Oscar winning film-maker and occasional bete noire of the American establishment, has announced plans for a film based on the September 11 attacks in New York.
Source: Times Online

You knew it was going to happen. But is America, and the world, far enough removed from the events of Sept. 11, 2001? I guess if anything they have a built in audience.

July 9, 2005

Sci-Fi Channel Original: Attack of the Sabretooth Review

You don't start watching a Sci-Fi Channel flick and expect to see something new. This time out, with Attack of the Sabretooth, they gave us that something: New movie rules. It's not going to revolutionize horror movies, but it does present a new ways for idiotic, no name characters to die.

Continue reading "Sci-Fi Channel Original: Attack of the Sabretooth Review" »

July 3, 2005

War of the Worlds (2005) Review

*Small spoilers inside

It's hardly fair to judge this big budget adaptation of War of the Worlds based on the plot holes. The 1898 book is a classic (and it should be), so by ripping this Steven Spielberg piece, you're also ripping the H.G. Wells novel. There are parts of the film, including the horrible, incomprehensible ending, that make it a bare that are the filmmaker's fault. The rest of the time, it's one of the best alien invasion movies in decades, and that's simply because it closely follows the story as written in a new era.

Continue reading "War of the Worlds (2005) Review" »

Review: The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

Bill Murray is top notch in this oddball movie about an oceanographer that plans to exact revenge on a mythical shark that killed his partner. The Life Aquatic has a great cast including Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, Owen Wilson, Jeff Goldblum, Willem Dafoe, Anjelica Huston and a bunch of B list actors.

This movie kind of grew on me. At first I did not really get into it at all. It has some great comedy though, and that is what kept me going.

The art direction is really great. All the pseudo marine life is surreal.

The other reason I really liked this flick is because of the cinematography. The camera angles were very creative.

A great rental.

June 27, 2005

King Kong trailer premiere

Holy. Freakin'. Hell.

With the exception of looking too digital at times (look at the beach seqeunce), this trailer is better then the whole of the '76 remake. If that link goes bad, Kong is King should have it archived.

June 18, 2005

Sci-Fi Channel Original Hammerhead: Shark Frenzy Review

At the very least, this is a movie involving a shark, and it's not a Great White. Then again, it's not exactly a Hammerhead either. This is a stem cell born beastie with the features of a Hammerhead and a human. It seems that DNA experiments gone wrong aren't "in" anymore; it's time to enter the era of stem cell experiments gone wrong.

Continue reading "Sci-Fi Channel Original Hammerhead: Shark Frenzy Review" »

Jagged Little Pill Acoustic Review

I am not ashamed to say that "Jagged Little Pill" was one of my favorite albums of my teen years. It was that time when I was really starting to discover music. I listened to a lot of different music back then. My musical tastes had a broader scope at that time. But more then anything, I still love the music of those years of my life.

This acoustic album is much better then what was planned - a re-mastering of the original 1995 "Jagged Little Pill." On first thought, this acoustic album seems like MTV Unplugged, rehashed. After listening through the entire album a couple times, this is much more then "Unplugged," and it is anything but rehashed. You sing along to every song on "Acoustic" and you do a double take. Did she change the lyrics? Are you serious? Morissette actually put effort into this album? Indeed she did. In a time when artists are becoming lax with their music - with "Best Of" albums that are merely re-mastered - Morissette delivers a new "Jagged Little Pill" that seems to have even more kinetic energy then the original some 10 years ago.

Hootie returns for new album

I hate music. I always have. I never owned a stand-alone CD player. I haven't owned a tape player since I was ten. I have zero use for an I-Pod or other assorted MP3 player. I own about 20 CDs at the most, split across video game soundtracks, Godzilla soundtracks, Weird Al and... Hootie. And movie soundtracks... with Hootie on them. Bootlegs... with Hootie on them. Singles... with Hootie on them. Imports... with Hootie on them. DVDs... with Hootie on them.

Now Hootie is back again, and their new single off their first non-studio album seems to be getting more airplay than ANY of the songs on their previous few albums (which is partially a crime). I don't know what it is about Hootie and his oddball band of Blowfish, but they're the only band I've ever enjoyed just listening too.

They're new single, One Love, confirms they still have it, and I've only heard half of it. The brief teaser clip on their site is really starting to tick me off. It's not fair. August 9th is the day, and I'll be outside Best Buy before they open (though some local smaller shops put it out earlier...). You should be too (or in Ken's case, be online at some MP3 site with one of his 29,000,549,068 music gadgets ready to download).

The ultimate defense

Dan Nied wonders if Michael Jackson walked away from court a free man simply because he is Michael Jackson.

Continue reading "The ultimate defense"

June 16, 2005

Just back from Batman Begins

Worth the price of a ticket? Yes
Going to see it a second time? Yes

I need to get some sleep. But Batman Begins was absolutely amazing. The best movie I have seen in months. I have a review 3/4 written (in analog form no less). I will post it tomorrow once I have polished it a bit.

I was surprised how good a Batman movie could really be. Batman Begins surpasses even Tim Burton's 1989 Batman.

Go see this movie.

June 12, 2005

Into the West on TNT

Did you see Into the West this weekend on TNT? Yea, neither did I. I am boycotting it. Matt and I implore you to do the same.

Since TNT has been running both the marquee overlays during the NBA Finals games, and long commercials for Into the West and Closer, I am fed up, and refuse to watch.

Its such a shame that Game 2 of the NBA Finals was on ABC tonight when Into the West was on TNT. Darn.

Let me tell you how nice it was to watch Game 2 without the annoying-as-hell TNT marketing tactics.

June 7, 2005

Cinderella Man Review

Imagine "Rocky" if it were true.

Imagine a movie that tugs your heartstrings, inspires you to beat your chest and do your Tarzan yell, brings you to the point of tears and makes two hours and 45 minutes fly by.

"The Cinderella Man" is that movie.

Continue reading "Cinderella Man Review"

June 6, 2005

Animal Icons: It Came from Japan Review

If there's something the vast majority of Americans don't understand, it's Godzilla. If you're reading this, chances are the usual "It's a guy in a rubber suit knocking down cardboard buildings while people talk via bad dubbing" thought process is going through your mind. Animal Planet knew this, but they also understand there's a very large, dedicated fan base out there, and showcased that perfectly on Animal Icons.

Continue reading "Animal Icons: It Came from Japan Review" »

June 2, 2005

Store Wars

A blatant waste of food? Sure. But hey, it's got a lightsaber fight between a cucumber and a potato. What else do you want?

May 27, 2005

Film short: Broken Review

According to the advertising for Broken, this 15-minute short contains 100 special effects shots in less than 15-minutes. Youll have to take that as truth. Theres no possible way to count them. Why? They're done so well, you cant even tell they're effects in the first place.

Continue reading "Film short: Broken Review" »

May 23, 2005

Triumph the Insult Comic Dog does Star Wars

Absolutely hilarious (direct link).

May 21, 2005

Sci-Fi Channel Orginal Review: Descent

It's not as if they're known for originality, but the Sci-Fi Channel films at least try to do something different, even if it rarely works. That's not the case the deplorable Descent, a straight knock-off of 2003's The Core. Though a few discernable differences are here, this is, for the most part, a carbon copy of a film that wasn't even enjoyable to begin with.

Continue reading "Sci-Fi Channel Orginal Review: Descent" »

May 14, 2005

The Fallen Ones Sci-Fi Channel Original Review

With a title like the Fallen Ones, you're probably expecting a documentary on World War II. Maybe you're imagining a movie about past and deceased baseball players. Would you guess it's a movie about a 42-foot tall mummy that eats people? Could you possibly guess it's the best 42-foot mummy that eats people movie ever? Well, it is, and even if it doesn't sound like it, that means something.

Continue reading "The Fallen Ones Sci-Fi Channel Original Review" »

May 10, 2005

Shaun of the Dead

This weekend I watched Shaun of the Dead (IMDb, Amazon). I should have caught it in theaters. It would have been worth it. What a great comedy. I highly recommend this movie. It was defiantly nothing like I expected, and it was better for it.

If you love British comedy, this one has it in spades. It also has some nice editing. There is one long steady-cam shot that seems to go on forever. Cool editing and selection of shots all around.

May 6, 2005

Godzilla: Final Wars Review

Godzilla struggled his way through the low-budget 70s, the occasionally generic 90s, and an awful 1998 American version. He even survived a nuclear blast to become king of the monsters. All of that to end up in Godzilla: Final Wars, Toho's supposed last gasp for the series before putting it on hiatus due to dwindling ticket sales and a celebration of the 50th anniversary. Not even the Big G himself can fight his way out of this disaster.

Continue reading "Godzilla: Final Wars Review" »

May 1, 2005

Sci-Fi Channel Original: Man-Thing Review

The one thing any good horror creature feature needs is a monster that has the ability to evoke terror from its audience. If it can't do that, then you simply don't have a creature feature worth watching. Now, with Man-Thing, we have a walking pile of swamp gas, leaves, moss, and branches. It doesn't matter how red this things eyes get or how many people it rips apart. The entire thing is laughable, and that's probably why the full reveal is held off until the final half hour.

Continue reading "Sci-Fi Channel Original: Man-Thing Review" »

April 30, 2005

Star Wars Revelations

A completely fan made Star Wars movie with special effects on par with the recent films? Yep, and it's free and legal. It's worth a download, especially for the incredible Tie Fighter battle. It runs for about 40 minutes total. You need to keep the fact in the back of your mind that it only cost $20,000 to make. The official site and download are available here.

Looney Tunes saved by a kid

If you recall, we ripped on Warner for this one a while back, and so did a lot of fans. In fact, one of them posted the funniest flash movie we've ever seen. Well, some kid took it all to heart, Warner noticed, and now they're toning it all down. It's still doesn't seem perfect, but maybe, just maybe, they can be saved yet.

April 25, 2005

CBS Premiere: Locusts Review

Finally, a direct-to-TV creature feature that got it right and it's not on the Sci-Fi Channel. The premiere of "Locusts" was way beyond the junk CBS produced a few weeks back with "Spring Break Shark Attack." That's not saying this is quality filmmaking, just a cheap, quick blast of fun for those interested in the genre. Cult TV fans get Lucy Lawless in the starring role, which is probably the big selling point.

Continue reading "CBS Premiere: Locusts Review" »

April 18, 2005

Sin City Review

It has been a while since I have seen a movie before it hits DVD. And I must admit, I had fairly high expectations for “Sin City” after hearing all the hype. Per the norm, I was let down. “Sin City” is a good movie that would have been great if only the story did not come across as convoluted as it does.

Continue reading "Sin City Review" »

April 10, 2005

Snake King Sci-Fi Channel Original Review

In 1,000 years, a scientist will find a time capsule buried deep in the ground. He'll open it to find a copy of this Sci-Fi Channel original, "Snake King." Even with years of study, he fails to comprehend just how something made in the year 2005 can possibly have worse special effects than something like "King Kong" from 1933. That just doesn't make sense. However, we're in the present and we have the advantage.

Continue reading "Snake King Sci-Fi Channel Original Review" »

April 3, 2005

Blockbuster to offer refunds on "no late fees" claim

In an agreement reached with 47 states plus Washington DC, the company has agreed to fork out US$630,000 to settle claims of deceptive advertising. That means customers who claim to have been misled (or didn't read the fine print) will be given refunds for movies inadvertently purchased and restocking fees.

Blockbuster will also need to change its marketing slant in its "no late fee" advertising as a result of the settlement.

Source: Ars Technica

March 30, 2005

South Park and the PSP

This thing is everywhere. On tonights episode, Kenny gets a PSP but dies and leaves his new system to Cartman in his will. BUT... when Kenny is brought back to life and put on a feeding tube, Cartman fights to have the tube removed for obvious reasons. It's a VERY touchy subject, but credit is deserved for Trey and Matt for having the all-out balls to tackle the subject of Terry Schiavo in a fantastic manner, bringing forth both sides and showcasing the husband as an idiot. Expect a ton of controversy from this one and you can catch it again Saturday night at midnight.

March 28, 2005

Wrestlemania 21 Movie Parodies

Even if you're not a pro wrestling fan, there's no denying their advertising for their "Super Bowl" this year has been fantastic. Taking classic movie moments, popping in their superstars, and tossing in a little advertising, each one of these is worth a look (though the Pulp Fiction one was highly dissapointing). Personal faves are Taxi Driver and Basic Instinct. Check them all out here and you can even vote for your favorite!

March 27, 2005

Sci-Fi Channel Premiere: Alien Apocalypse Review

If you're about to embark on filming what you simply have to know is going to be an awful movie, you can do a few things right. It should be campy, it should be littered with horrid special effects, and if you really know what you're doing, you get Bruce Campbell. That's about the only saving grace to "Alien Apocalypse," a movie that at least tried a little bit to be entertaining unlike some of the other dredge Sci-Fi has cooked up recently.

Continue reading "Sci-Fi Channel Premiere: Alien Apocalypse Review" »

March 25, 2005

If Nintendo Won't Do It...

Leave it to Dannon. This is a great little Punch-Out knock-off. Nintendo seems content to just let this series die on the Super NES, so here's to corporate America for keeping it going! Oh and if anyone can take down the champ, let me know if there's an ending. I took everyone out until I got to him and his damn cream cheese killed me.

March 22, 2005

Zombie Survival Test

Can you survive an attack?

I barely made it out alive with a 65%.

March 21, 2005

CBS Premiere: Spring Break Shark Attack Review

Who said Sci-Fi is the only station on TV turning out B-movie schlock? Seems that CBS now wants a piece, starting with this week's feature, "Spring Break Shark Attack." The title is correct in that it features both spring break and sharks attacking people, but it fails miserably to combine both or come out with anything worthwhile.

Continue reading "CBS Premiere: Spring Break Shark Attack Review" »

March 17, 2005

Titanic 4-Disc DVD Announcement

Wow. If you follow DVDs at all, you know it was coming. The first release was bare bones, this one looks incredible. How about 400 hours of footage being available for this set? The Digital Bits had a brief interview with James Cameron too. Comparisons to the "Lord of the Rings" sets look to be already relevant.

March 14, 2005

ESPN's Tilt Season Finale

Tilt has been a good series, it has kept me interested each week. The acting has not been too over the top. The amount of cameos has been unreal. It sure helps to sell the series to have real poker players like David Williams, Daniel Negreanu, and Phil Hellmuth. Throw in the humor of Norman Chad, and that faux telecast look, and Tilt has some lofty production values. Michael Madsen is always a solid actor, and plays yet another great antagonist. Good acting all around, really.

Continue reading "ESPN's Tilt Season Finale" »

March 13, 2005

Sci-Fi Channel Original Mansquito Review

So, let's look at what humans have been turned into over the years. Human-like Alligators made an appearance in the "Alligator People," John Agar fought against "The Mole People," man turns into giant mutant-thing in "War of the Colossal Beast," and now we have man turned radioactive mosquito in the hideously titled "Mansquito." Nothing more than standard Sci-Fi Channel fare, this is a basic creature feature that's only going to be enjoyed by those who found any of the above-mentioned films enjoyable or those looking for a few laughs.

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March 10, 2005

And I thought I had back problems

I don't have anything on this poor guy in this Java based physics demo. Pick "The Wall" course for maximum enjoyment. There was another version of this on a recent episode of the Screen Savers that involved boulders and it had better graphics. If anyone knows what it was called, or better yet, where to play it, do tell. A google search came up short for me.

March 7, 2005

Yahooligans and Classic Cartoons

Maybe classic isn't the word that will be going through your mind when you're done traveling down memory lane, but you can't pass up an opportunity to watch the Super Mario Bros. Super Show now can you? Oddly, the episodes they have include the Lou Albano segments which were cut from most of the DVD releases. Go figure. If Mario isn't your thing, check out Zelda, Inspector Gadget, and other stuff I've never heard of, all streaming and all free.

Digital Bits DVD Awards

The Digital Bits have really cut down on their number of DVD reviews over time, but their always solid Bitsy Awards are dead on. This makes for a great buying guide if you fell behind last year. Oh, and you'll find what to avoid too.

March 6, 2005

Sci-Fi Channel Premiere: Skeleton Man Review

Credit has to be given to actors and/or actresses who star in a movie like this. To get through even a short shoot without cracking a smile on a screen has to be brutal. No one in their right mind could take a movie like this seriously. It doesn't even matter how old you are. This insipid piece of work is, almost without question, the worst thing to happen to the Sci-Fi Channel since Farscape fans started writing hate mail.

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March 3, 2005

Copyrights Keep TV Shows off DVD

For many TV shows, costs to license the original music for DVD are prohibitively high, so rights owners replace the music with cheaper tunes, much to the irritation of avid fans. And some shows, like WKRP, which is full of music, will probably never make it to DVD because of high licensing costs.
Source: WIRED News

February 28, 2005

Award show speeches need a redux

I don't want to get off on a rant here (sorry, I don't have the time) but the speeches from tonight's 77th Annual Academy Awards were pathetic. I don't want to hear a speech about speeches. Hearing about how you were thinking about this speech since you were 5 is not exciting. One guy (I cannot remember who) started a small rant himself on how short his speech time was, thus wasting a good portion of his time in the spotlight. He gets the award for the moron of the night.

There were a few group awards and only one person got the the mic. It looked like others would have liked to speak. Share people. Then get off the stage.

Yelling over the orchestra is also just not very classy. Hilary Swank, you may have a million dollar body in that blue dress, but take your lumps like everyone else. This awards show has gone 4 hours before, it was about 3 hours and 45 minutes tonight. There is a reason they play a chime, have a counter, and push that applause button.

Morgan Freeman and Clint Eastwood were two examples of classy people when they delivered their speeches. Short, sweet, and to the point. I really enjoyed hearing about Clint's mother.

On a related note: I am really sad to see that Martin Scorsese did not get his nod this year. I think he had a chance with Gangs of New York, and when The Aviator started sweeping tonight, I thought it would include the Best Director award as well. I know I was not the only one hoping for Martin Scorsese either. Maybe next time?

I also would have liked to have seen Bill Plympton win. He is one of my personal favorites.

Oh, and Chris Rock hit it out of the ball park. The joke on Catwoman 2 was great.

February 26, 2005

Sci-Fi Channel Original: Alien Siege Review

Some directors have a great idea in their heads; they just can't find someone to finance them. In the case of Robert Stadd, a special effects producer for some great films, he has "Alien Siege." This is a film that wants to be large in scale and scope. In some areas he was able to realize what he wanted, but it's obvious the budget just doesn't allow it.

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February 17, 2005

Bugs Bunny and pals get a facelift

Talk about extreme makeovers. Take a look at what's happening to Daffy and Bugs.

Hoping to breathe new life into its animated Looney Tunes franchise and prop up the WB television network's slumping Kids' WB line-up, Time Warner Inc.'s Warner Bros. is planning to launch a new cartoon series this fall based on "re-imagined" versions of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tasmanian Devil, Lola Bunny, Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote.

Warner Bros. has created angular, slightly menacing-looking versions of the classic Looney Tunes characters for its new series, dubbed "Loonatics" and set in the year 2772.

Source: Denver Post

I was a fan of Looney Toons when I was a kid, and I still enjoy turning on Cartoon Network to see them now. I think that Warner is just trying to cash in on the Anime craze.

I will wait to pass judgement to see official images of these new "angular, slightly menacing-looking" Loonatics. I hope it goes well for the kid market. I think us "old" folks will stick to the good old Looney Toons.

Continue reading "Bugs Bunny and pals get a facelift" »

February 15, 2005

Kong is King

Lots of big remakes coming in the next year from Hollywood including "War of the Worlds" and "Willy Wonka," but Peter Jackson fans have to know that "King Kong" is shaping up to be something truly special. After the disaster that was the 1976 remake, Jackson looks to be on track to really pull it off. Fans have the opportunity to see just about every detail that has gone into the production at Kong is King. The production diaries are must views, just make sure to do it in order to see the film really come alive piece by piece. It's better than a stack of DVD extras. The original is really a special piece to me so it's easily one of my most anticipated movies ever.

States Probe Blockbuster No Late Fees Policy

Attorneys general in at least 35 states are looking into Blockbuster Inc.’s new no-late fees-policy, focusing on potentially deceptive practices because of the “restocking” fees and disparities between national advertising and franchisee practices...

The inquiries are focused on two potentially deceptive practices...

Source: Home Media Retailing

False advertising has been under fire a lot lately. Ask Listerine how they feel about it.

Anti-Widescreen... Cult?

Back in college, I was assigned a research paper to write. This was just a few years ago and the catch was that none of the research could be done on the internet. I knew exactly what I wanted to do but still had to cite sources. Since my topic has very little written in book form, it was a little irritating. I didn't understand why exactly the internet was so bashed by professors. Now I can firmly say I do.

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February 7, 2005

Super XXXIX Bowl in Hi-Def

Chances are if you work anywhere that sells TV's, you've been busy for the past few weeks with the Super Bowl being such a huge selling point. Fox did a fine job presenting the game in Hi-Def to all those who bought new sets and to those who have one for a while. Toss in Dolby 5.1 support and it seems like Fox lives up to their claims of being the worlds best standard, but misfires were noticeable.

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February 5, 2005

Sci-Fi Channel Original Review: Chupacarbra: Dark Seas

"Chupacabra: Dark Seas" is the type or movie reviewers hate to review. No, it's not that the title is a pain to spell out. It's that no thesaurus has enough adjectives for the word "awful" in it to cover an entire review. This is more pitiful dredge from the Sci-Fi Channel, plain and simple, and there's hardly an explanation for its existence.

Continue reading "Sci-Fi Channel Original Review: Chupacarbra: Dark Seas" »

January 29, 2005

Music's future: Smaller, faster, richer

CANNES, France (AP) -- It's a bit disorienting: slip on a set of headphones, turn up the volume and, while you move about the room, the music stays put -- as if coming out of five speakers stuck on a wall.

Software engineers in Germany who developed the widely used MP3 audio file format have taken the technology to a higher level with a next-generation format that delivers cinema-like multichannel audio.

Source: CNN

Now this just sounds cool!

January 26, 2005

Sci-Fi Channel Original "Larva" Review

Every once in a while, creature fans are rewarded for their patience. After suffering through countless duds, Sci-Fi has finally produced something tolerable, even entertaining, which is really saying something. "Larva" doesn't break any new ground and it is of course horribly formulaic. That doesn't mean this one isn't fun.

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January 25, 2005

Johnny Carson, late-night TV legend, dies at 79

(CNN) -- Johnny Carson, host of NBC's "The Tonight Show" for nearly 30 years, died Sunday of emphysema.
Source: CNN

IMDb has his biography and a photo album.

I can remember when in 1992 he gave up his late night post to Leno. The Leno vs. Letterman thing was huge. Would Letterman's viewer ratings be better if he had The Tonight Show's name? I think so. After all, Johnny left that post for Letterman to have.

Its amazing. I was 13 when Johnny left the air in 1992 and yet I remember so many of his skits and jokes. He had a lasting impression. He always will. It is a very sad end to an era in entertainment.

January 20, 2005

The Mask of Zorro

I just cought this great movie on TNT. Tell me, what is the use of the tiger growls during every explosion scene for? What does that sound effect add?

January 19, 2005

The End of Late Fees. The Start of Restocking Fees.

Blockbuster video is rolling out the ads, proudly proclaiming their lack of late fees. It's a lie, a blatant use of false advertising and marketing gimmicks to revive their struggling business. They have single handedly made this once simple, easy to understand industry confusing, ridiculous, and misleading.

Continue reading "The End of Late Fees. The Start of Restocking Fees." »

January 15, 2005

ESPN's Tilt

I sure hope the National Gambling Association doesn't get their panties in a bunch about ESPN showing the seedy underbelly of cheats in the poker world. We shall see.

I would have much rather sat down to season 2 of Playmakers last night, but Tilt will have to do.

I enjoyed the premiere. As predicted it has great production values. The cameos were great, Norman Chad adds that bit of fake realism too. I will admit that this first episode was a little hard to follow. I ended up watching it twice. The second time I watched it was the time I figured everything out that was happening. But this was no doubt the pilot, and they had something to prove.

All in all I think this will be a great series, putting ESPN that much closer to becoming the MTV of the sports world.

If you want a comprehensive review, there is a good SI article. Now the really funny thing here is that I googled a Tilt review after I wrote this, Scouts Honor (our views are similar).

What is wrong with the NFL?

The NFL fines Randy Moss a cool $10,000 for his "mooning" incident, but only fined Eric Barton a mere $7,500 for the forearm to the head of Drew Brees.

Tell me, which one of those acts is worse for the welfare of the NFL players? A forearm to the head could have been a very serious injury. Bodily injury should receive a fine far above an end zone dance.

$10,000 is not a lot to these players, its not a drop in the bucket, as Moss said, he will pay in "Straight cash, homey." So take a guess at what a fine of $7,500 feels like to Barton.

Do you know why all these NFL players do their crazy end zone dances? Take a guess. The guys operating the cameras (the Networks, the "Media") are shooting it. The NFL is more then a sport, it is entertainment, and these end zone dances are the entertainment. Sometimes they go too far, but sometimes they are just plain funny. Moss's mooning was just plain funny.

These people would stop doing it if the Networks would stop taping them. But that is not gonna happen anytime soon. That would not sell ratings.

Do you think CBS really cared about Janet's boob? Its all a ratings game.

January 13, 2005

Tech TV dropped completely

LOS ANGELES, CA, January 11, 2005 - G4, the only 24/7 television network dedicated to video games, screeches into 2005 with announcements of a new name, look and feel as well as two new series, "Formula D" and "Girls Gone Wired." Charles Hirschhorn, Founder and CEO of the network, announced the channel's official name as G4 - video game television - earlier today at the Television Critics Association (TCA) press tour. The name change and new network look and feel will take effect on February 15, 2005.
Source: G4 Tech TV (for now)

By now we know what the hell happened. A moment of silence, please, for the best geek Cable TV station that was dismantled in a matter of months.

January 7, 2005

'Crossfire' Is Crossed Out in CNN Shuffle

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - Three months after comedian Jon Stewart attacked its format and sparred with co-host Tucker Carlson, "Crossfire" has become a casualty of the evolving CNN.
Source: ABC News

Sure, it wasn't Jon Stewart's fault, he just sped up the decision process a little. Too bad the "dick" of Crossfire, Tucker Carlson is also out. I always liked the bowtie.

December 24, 2004

Widescreen rant '04

Well it took you long enough. It seems the masses have finally embraced widescreen DVD's. This excerpt is taken from the outstanding www.widescreen.org:

"So, I'm very pleased to announce that the widescreen releases for the Star Wars trilogy and many other movies continue to sell and rent far more than their pan-and-scan counterparts. Every week I check the sales and rental numbers. It's clear that widescreen continued to gain the confidence of the majority of American movie watchers. In fact, the pan-and-scan - sorry - full-frame version of the Star Wars trilogy was consistently ten places behind its widescreen counterpart."
Now, this is considered a "geek" movie (no offense, I'm one of you), one of those that has a fan base who is more in tune with technology and wants their movies perfect. Still it's a sign that shows we are moving in the right direction.

Continue reading "Widescreen rant '04" »

November 30, 2004

Down goes Jennings! Down goes Jennings!

After amassing the largest pot of winnings in TV game show history -- more than $2.5 million -- in a "Jeopardy!" winning streak that began way back on June 2, Jennings is brought down tonight after he flubs two Double Jeopardy responses and then blows the Final Jeopardy round, according to a report circulating yesterday.
Source: Washington Post Via: Kottke.org Via: Anil Dash

Of course we knew this since September, if you read Kottke.org that is.

November 21, 2004

Pixar, the Muddle in the Middle

Will the Fox fanfare be the next film studio logo paired with Pixar Animation Studios bouncing Luxo lamp? According to one recently retired 20th Century Fox executive, it should be a done deal.
Source: o-meon.com

Submission by Chris Browne, thanks Chris.

November 9, 2004

Sci-Fi Channel Original Centipede! Review

It's kind of hard to imagine a creature that hasn't been mutated in some way in order to crawl across our movie screens. The lowly centipede is one of the select few to get a pass. The closest we've ever come is in the Japanese classic "Rodan," but those were called Meganura and you're never really sure what they are. The Sci-Fi channel has come to the rescue with their latest presentation, "Centipede!" That exclamation point was entirely their idea.

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November 4, 2004

Sci-Fi Pictures Original "Gargoyle" Review

Someone should ban the use of CGI in movies. What was once an innovative, realistic, and excellent tool for filmmakers has turned countless movies into schlock. Suffering the worst are those films that go direct to video or to cable. The Sci-Fi Channels latest, "Gargoyle: Wings of Darkness," would have failed miserably with or without traditional effects, but here they just make an awful movie into an unwatchable one.

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November 1, 2004

Eminem's Mosh Video

Watch Eminem's Mosh video.

Directors Note: Most Americans are well aware that in 2000, the presidential election was decided by 537 votes. From hanging chads to the hourly updates of the manual recount, this story was obsessively covered by the mainstream press. However, what wasn’t covered was what journalist Greg Palast discovered that thousands of primarily minority voters were scrubbed from the voter registry in Florida and prevented from potentially changing the course of America’s turbulent last four years.
Source: GNN

This is a great Eminem song, and an even better video.

October 31, 2004

Video of Ashlee Simpson lipsync

Wow, this is bad.

October 27, 2004

Bowling Green native bares all for Playboy

Cara Zavaleta truly is the girl next door — assuming you live in a neighborhood full of naturally beautiful twentysomething coeds, who get unnatural amounts of enjoyment from knitting, star in two reality TV series and get paid to party it up in bars and nightclubs across the country...

Zavaleta will meet the public Wednesday, Oct. 27 to sign copies of the November 2004 issue of Playboy at the following times and locations: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Leo’s Book Store, 333 N. Superior St.; 4-6 p.m., Mike’s Party Mart, 834 S. Main St., Bowling Green.


Source: Toledo City Paper

Yes indeed there is more to Bowling Green then corn.

October 17, 2004

Wal-Mart Wants $10 CDs

Biggest U.S. record retailer battles record labels over prices.

Wal-mart wants every CD you buy to cost less than ten bucks. And the nation's largest retailer -- which moved a quarter of a trillion dollars' worth of goods last year -- usually gets its way. Suppliers who don't accede to Wal-Mart's "everyday low price" mantra often find their products bounced from the chain's stores, excluded from being sold to the 138 million people who shop at a Wal-Mart store every week.


Source: Rolling Stone Via Utterly Boring

October 10, 2004

Sci-Fi Pictures Frankenfish Review

Every generation needs a giant snakehead fish movie. Luckily, we'll go down as the first. In fact, we now have the good fortune to receive two snakehead fish movies in as many months. Fresh off of the "Snakehead Terror," Sci-Fi Pictures proudly presents the next evolution of horror in "Frankenfish." Then again, maybe not. In fact, scratch all of that.

Continue reading "Sci-Fi Pictures Frankenfish Review" »

Frankenstein on USA Networks

Sunday at 9 PM (EST) USA Networks has their premiere of their original movie Frankenstein. It looks like someone got a press kit and has a review online already. We usually get press kits like this at The BG News but this one we didn't get anything on.

USA usually puts on a good show with their original movies, and the trailers look great for this one. There is a well done Flash site for the movie with some behind the scenes and interview video to watch.

September 10, 2004

Disney CEO Eisner to step down in 2006

Michael Eisner said he plans to step down as Walt Disney chief executive when his contract expires in September 2006. Former Disney board members Stanley Gold and Roy Disney, who tried to oust Eisner earlier this year, went on the record in February saying that Apple and Pixar CEO Steve Jobs would make a great choice to run Disney after Eisner. Both Gold and Disney resigned last year in a dispute with Eisner, who has been criticized for numerous company missteps, most recently for not reaching an agreement to extend its partnership with Pixar.

Source: MacMinute

Bye bye Eisner, hello Jobs? I doubt that. I am glad to see Eisner go. Go read SaveDisney.org some time.

September 7, 2004

CBS stations fined for Superbowl exposure

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Pop singer Janet Jackson's bare breast flash earlier this year will result in a record $550,000 fine for 20 CBS television stations, U.S. Federal Communications Commission officials said Tuesday... Source: CNN

July 30, 2004

Manchurian Candidate Review

Jonathan Demme's remake of "The Manchurian Candidate" is scary. I don't mean scary like "Showgirls" was scary. Demme's a brilliant director, as evidenced by Academy Award winners like "Silence of the Lambs" and "Philadelphia."

This movie is far better than Demme's last effort, which was also a remake, "The Trouble With Charlie," cf. "Charade." But that's damning it with faint praise.

The original, directed in 1962 by John Frankenheimer, was a taut suspense film that came chillingly true the next year when a Communist sympathizer (and ex-Marine) killed President John F. Kennedy, depending on who you believe. In fact, rumor had it Lee Harvey Oswald watched the movie shortly before the assassination.

But the remake is scary in ways the original could never be. If the original was scary because it was ahead of its time (would "Three Days of the Condor" or "The Parallax View" ever been made without it?) and came true, the current one is scary because it's already true.

Huge multinational corporation with influence in the halls of power throughout the globe? Check.

Brain implants? Check.

People talking seriously about a presidential election that could decide the fate of the world? Check.

Liev Schreiber plays the title role, Raymond Shaw, a Medal of Honor recipient from Desert Storm and U.S. Congressman from New York. He's being considered as a vice presidential nominee, due largely to the machinations of his U.S. Senator mother (Meryl Streep).

Manchurian in this version refers not to the region as in the original (which used Korea in place of Desert Storm) but to a multinational corporation with a no-bid contract to rebuild war-torn countries and plans for a private army to relieve U.S. troops in combat.

As Shaw is nominated for vice president, the other men in his outfit are starting to have dreams that challenge what the record said happened leading to Shaw's Medal of Honor.

Denzel Washington's the commanding officer of the unit who's trying to get to the bottom of it.

Jeffrey Wright is wasted as one of the soldiers whose mind has gotten the better of him. Jon Voight is Schreiber's rival for the vice-presidential nomination. Keep an eye peeled in the beginning and ending scenes for B-movie king Roger Corman, Demme's mentor (he also cast him in "Silence of the Lambs" as the director of the FBI). Al Franken makes an amusing cameo as a TV news talking head.

First, the comparisons:

Schreiber makes the role his own. He's got the same vacant stare as Laurence Harvey had in the original, but instead of being "unlovable," as Harvey was, Schreiber's just not there, remniscient of the line about Michael Huffington: when you look into his eyes, you see the back of his skull.

Meryl Streep's the Stage Mother from Hell. She's a U.S. Senator from New York who works behind the scenes to get the men in her life in power. But she's not based on Hillary Clinton.

Angela Lansbury was nominated for an Oscar for this role in the original. Meryl Streep probably will as well, but then again, her home movies would get her nominated. Streep, as always, is brilliant, and doesn't even have to resort to an accent. Her character, like Lansbury's in the original, makes you feel all right to be in touch with your inner misogynist.

Washington (in the role originated by Frank Sinatra) is a little more unhinged than in the original, diagnosed with Gulf War Syndrome. In general, the movie's kinder to the mentally ill than a movie in 1962 would be.

The movie hangs together well, with no seams showing. The changes made to update the film fit well into the plot for anyone familiar with the original.

But those same changes might make the movie TOO topical. It's very easy to forget now how scary Communism was in the early 1960s and how ruinous McCarthyism could be (the original "candidate," played by James Gregory, was a McCarthyesque red-baiting senator). How well will this version age?

On the other hand, a remake of a 35-year-old song was used over the opening credits. Wyclef Jean gives his rendition of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Fortunate Son," and the words are just as true today as they were then.

Originally posted to 210 West. Read this and other reviews at 210west.com.

July 22, 2004

Excuse me, Mr. Moore, at what temperature do your lies burn?

I finally drug myself out of the house to see “Fahrenheit 9/11” and to no surprise it was the most ridiculous grouping of lies and misinformation I have ever seen. I am convinced that the only reason it is deemed a “documentary” is because there isn't a category for “best propaganda film” at the Oscars. The film begins with the most insane take on the 2000 election. According to Moore the election was called in favor of Bush partially due to the Fox News Channel. He claims that Fox called Florida for Bush because a Bush cousin was in charge at the news desk. According to Moore, “if Fox said it, it must be true” so every other network followed suite. If one man at a news desk can swing every other network then liberals should just surrender right now. Moore excludes several facts with all of his nonsense and vast right wing conspiracy theories. The truth of the matter is every other network called Florida too soon. CBS announced 18 times that the polls were closed in Florida when in fact many polls were still open in the conservative Florida Panhandle. The other news networks discouraged the Bush vote by calling the state for Gore at only 7:49PM . Fox News waited until all votes were in and called the election at 2:16 AM. Moore also claims that if there was another recount Gore would have won. I'm not sure if Moore has been sleeping under a rock for the past 4 years, (he possibly has considering the way he dresses) but there were many recounts after the election. He won 2 recounts in democratic areas, he won the recount of absentee ballots, and he won the recount which excluded military ballots. Even Tom Daschle said it was time to move on. I'm sorry Michael, but when this very liberal member of the Senate stops the fight you aren't up the creek without a paddle, you are drowning. Other than his ridiculous look at the elections, where even leader of the Senate Al Gore couldn't get one senator to sign a protest paper for the election, Fahrenheit is full of preposterous lies and bad narration. Throughout the movie, Moore makes insane comments that would even give Phil Donahue a brain aneurysm. According to the film, on September 10th Bush “went to sleep that night, with a bed made of fine French linens.” Now how does he know this? I would love to hear his sources on the contents of Bush's bed (I'm sure it's not as exciting as the contents of Clinton 's bed). And according to Moore, Ashcroft was sworn in on a stack of bibles not because of tradition, but because “he needed all the help he can get.” His misleading narration only continues as the film goes on. He also claims that Bush is only in it for the money. According to Moore, Bush and his loosely defined “friends” have made 1.4 billion dollars because of the Saudis. So his friends who run billion dollar companies made a billion dollars, how bout dem apples? He claims that when Bush gets up in the morning he is thinking about what is best for the Saudis. If Bush only cared about money he wouldn't have run for president in the first place. If Moore is correct, Bush has been making this money for the past 10 years while not in the Oval Office, so why would he need to be president to keep making this money? Among the absurd narration, Moore attempts to make valid points about Bush's reaction to 9/11. Moore claims that after the second plane crashed Bush froze in the headlights and didn't know what to do “not knowing what to do, and no one telling him what to do” so he kept reading the book My Pet Goat to the children in a Florida school. What Michael doesn't say is that when he found out about the first plane, it was believed to be an accident, not a terror attack and the damage assessment was unknown. After the second plane hit Bush did not want to scare the children, so he waited. Moore doesn't show Bush interrupting reporters when they asked about the incident. Bush stopped the reporters from asking a question in the class room saying that he will “talk about it later,” again, trying not to scare the kids. The bulk of the movie is a lot of nonsensical information about the Laden family ties to the Bush family. What Moore almost ignores is the fact that the Laden family is not associated with Osama. Osama Bin Laden was kicked out of Saudi Arabia because of his strong disagreement with U.S. troops going to fight Iraqi troops in Kuwait (no Osama – Saddaam connection here!). The film offers one piece of information to disprove the dislike from his family. Osama and unknown family members, according to an “expert” (whose name and title was not given in the film) attended a wedding once since his exile. Good work Sherlock! Now go out and find little Timmy's missing bicycle. The possibility that Osama and unknown family members were at the same wedding after his exile does not prove that Osama is not the black sheep of the family. This is why the government allowed the family to fly out of America after 9/11. Afraid of backlash of an innocent group of Arab Americas, Bush let the Laden family members leave. The ridiculous claim that this event is comparable to a “what if” scenario where McVeigh's family is flown out of the Country is just that, ridiculous. They were not from another nation, so why would that warrant a free flight out of the country. Perhaps if McVeigh's family was from Saudi Arabia, helped run 7% or our economy, was known to be completely innocent and controlled the gas market, then flights may be reasonable. Then Moore goes on to more conspiracy theories about a Bush friend, Maj. Bath which reminded me of a bad X-Files episode. I'm sorry Mr. Moore, but not everything is run by this vast network of people with right wing ideologies. Moore claims that Bath's name was blacked out of Bush's National Guard record because Bath was in business with the Bin Laden family. A more reasonable person would realize that his name was blacked out because the papers were about Bush, not Maj. Bath. They were blacked out because the Major doesn't want idiotic fake reporters like Michael Moore, or anyone from The New York Times at his door. If this was some elaborate cover up why wasn't it censored when Moore got a copy of the papers in 2000? To keep this short, I will comment on 3 last things: Moore's view of the military, the Patriot Act and his favorite topic, wealth distribution. Moore shows footage of soldiers in war and makes up lies about the success' they are achieving. According to Moore most of the Taliban leaders are still at large claiming “Bush really didn't do much.” This is a preposterous statement considering we found almost all of the Taliban leaders, or killed them. Instead of showing Iraqi torture chambers, or mass graves, he decides to make the military look like a bunch of adrenaline junkies. War is dirty and the Marines get the job done. I'm sorry Michael, but war is a tough thing to handle emotionally especially for gut less filmmakers like yourself. The war had to be done, and those “adrenaline junkies” accomplished an amazing and heroic task. As Ann Coulter said, “we are sending in the Marines, not Washington Post Journalists.” While mocking the marines for listening to music in their tanks and doing their job he throws in false facts about WMD finds (if you still don't believe in WMD's, read this) and that Iraq has never attacked the US. Iraq has been attacking Americans for the past decade. They never obeyed the cease fire and tried on an almost weekly basis to shoot down American planes, while at the same time harboring terrorists of several groups. Not to mention he tried to assassinate Herbert Walker Bush. Moore only tends to concentrate on U.S. accidental fire of civilians rather than the amount of enemy that was eliminated. The weapons used in this war have been the best in history, minimizing civilian casualties. The Iraqi war casualties are estimated in the thousands while WWII estimates range in the millions including 19 million civilian dead in Russia and 2 million in Germany . Moore would rather have a pacifist behind the flak jacket and M16 debating the duality of man in war than actually have a Marine who can win. Imagine a Marine and an insurgent face to face, and the Marine hesitates because he is worried about bad press reports or stray bullets; guess who is going home in a body bag? Moore also claims that reporters were not allowed to take pictures of the coffins coming home. This is simply a lie. Look on my website under the Photo's section and see who is telling the truth. The ranting and raving continues as Moore goes after the Patriot Act; supposedly driving about in an ice cream truck reading the 600 page piece of legislation out loud to anyone who is dumb enough to listen to him. Much like Lincoln had to suspend Habeas Corpus in order to save the Union; Bush had to take away certain luxurious we had in order to save the US. What good are rights when no one is alive to enjoy them? Moore complains that the FBI acted wrongly and violated the rights while questioning a man who said “he [Osama] will never be as big of an asshole as Bush.” The man who said this was reported by a friend and the FBI investigated and made no arrests; I fail to see the problem. No ones rights were “trampled on,” he said a stupid thing to a group of people and they called the authorities, what right was violated? And a rant by Michael Moore would not be complete without the mention of wealth redistribution. He complains that Flint Michigan is in such bad shape, and that Bush is the terrorist for allowing people to live like this. Considering Fahrenheit made over 93 million dollars, we'll leave the wealth redistribution up to Moore. In a world of media lies and anti-Bush propagandists, I have noticed one thing; Americans (mostly Democrats and “swing voters”) will believe anything they see on a screen. While gullible people watch this movie and grow a hate for successful companies and the president, our commander will still be fighting for them to protect them from the evils of the world. While Moore is whining about aggressive Marines they will still fight so he will be safe from the threat of terror. To put a stop to the lies, I ask, Mr. Moore, at what temperature do your lies burn? Originally posted at DavesPolitics.com.

July 20, 2004

CD Review: Katie Melua “Call off the Search”

She sounds like she belongs in a smoky Chicago lounge circa 1940 sprawled out over a grand piano with dimly lit beams dancing off her sequins dress. Appropriately named record "Call off the Search," I believe we have found the new voice of Generation Y hipsters. With a voice as sweet as silk it flows smoothly over piano, strings, and light jazzy snare. With the onslaught of "authentic" vocal talents over the past half dozen years or so it's refreshing to notice geniune talent that has staying power. A smash hit in the UK it's no wonder why her independent release on Dramatico has done so well, she has the full package. A clean image, talent, oozing with potential, and a good heart unlike some of her American counterparts, it's no wonder her album is such a skyrocket success. With a seasoned semi-legend as Mike Batt at the helm, writing many tracks on "Call Off The Search," his experience comprising hit songs for an array of musical talent over the years can be seen. Batt is responsible for the monumental single "Bright Eyes," by Art Garfunkel and his work with Andrew Lloyd Webber producing and composing Phantom of the Opera. Amazingly the six-person staff at Dramitico were responsible for over a million albums sold in the UK alone. I especially like the moody, deeply moving "Blame It On the Moon," Katie croons about not falling in love again so soon. Now while she is only ninteen her baby voice matches her face but her style and texture reach far beyond her years. A native of Georgia in the former USSR, Katie has globetrotted to Ireland finally settling into a British School for the Recording Arts. Her accent is not noticable whatsover and finally honing into a unique sound described as soul mixed with vibey jazz her diverse musical influences each shine like a beacon through the clouds. Queen, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Irish and Indian Folk music her prowess is as deep as her passionate vocal ability.

July 3, 2004

Fahrenheit 9/11 was great

I saw Fahrenheit 9/11 last night. I loved it. Even better then Bowling for Columbine. I am so glad that Disney payed for yet did not distribute the film. Go see this film. It does not matter if you are conservative or liberal, you should see this movie. And for crying out loud if you have not registered to vote, register now! With all the eye candy and information in this movie, I feel I must see it again. I think its that good, and worth paying for it a second time. Just like Bowling for Columbine there are refuted facts. If you do enough reading online you will find out that a lot of Fahrenheit 9/11 has a lot to do with the way the information is presented to the viewer, quite ironic isn't it. The thing I like most about Michael Moore movies more then their subject matter is the fact that people are taking a critical look at our society. Without this movie would people be talking about the election in November as much? No. People, specifically college students, do not care enough about politics and voting for their president. I hope this movie pisses people off. I know this movie pisses people off. Do some research for yourself. Michael Moore is not in business to be your researcher. I am not going to write a proper review, rather I think you should read a review at Blogcritics.org. For one they are more informative and better written. Not to mention I do not have the time. My review: Must see!

July 1, 2004

'Fahrenheit' Web leaks add fuel to controversy

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) -- The war between Michael Moore and his critics has escalated as a Web site targeting the "Fahrenheit 9/11" director posting a link to an illegal "Fahrenheit" file download. In the process, it also attacked the filmmaker's stance on copyright law. Source: CNN I don't know about you but I want to see this movie!

Patrick Norton will be leaving The Screen Savers

Patrick Norton will be leaving The Screen Savers after July 2nd. I must congratulate him on the choice of using his common sense unlike some former TechTV hosts looking to make a name of themselves. (Leo excluded for obvious reasons). I hope they can live with themselves. More soon. Source: Warlock Radio Newsbytes Dave posted a comment, so I had to google. Well this sements it for me, I am glad I am no longer paying for G4TechTV. But I agree with this source, I think he has done the right thing. At least when Leo was there Patrick had someone to relate to. What a shameful end to such a great tech show. We need a good tech channel.

June 17, 2004

TechTV Fans Mad as Hell

Looking for a recipe for dissension? Comcast has it. Take two cable networks designed for technology enthusiasts with very different bents -- newbie G4 for young gamers and veteran TechTV for computer geeks of all ages -- and merge them. Fire the staff of TechTV, the network you bought, and be sure to drop the show that has some of the most fervent fans and a host with a cult following. For good measure, take the network's widely linked archives offline for weeks... Ken Edwards, a 26-year-old database specialist at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, has been watching since ZDTV launched. He claims to own every current game console but only watched one show on the old G4. He tracks some of the backlash to the cancellation of Call for Help and the uncertainty over Laporte's future. Edwards and others are bemused but pleased that Laporte's show has been picked up by G4techTV Canada and may eventually reach the United States through syndication...
Source: WIRED News I was interviewed for this article on Tuesday. Not only that but my rant referenced in the article was linked! I had a great phone conversation with Staci Kramer and found out just how many other folks out there are really ticked. Its pretty cool being quoted in the same article as David Pogue! Thank you WIRED, and welcome new readers! The stats don't lie! It now looks like Candy Apple Red is winning out in my current poll. I would have had this up in the AM but I have been very busy at work lately. Both Jake and Neil beat me even. But thats what happens when you are going back to college, managing a newspaper network and doing freelance web design, the blog sometimes waits till the last minute before I go to bed. I'll live with that, I am passing my classes, and everything is going great right now :)

June 11, 2004

ESPN's fumbled ‘Playmakers' now on DVD

If you tune in to ESPN for even 15 minutes, you're almost sure to see a commercial for the DVD collection of “Playmakers.” “The show everyone's talking about,” we're told in the commercial. Yes, but ESPN won't say what people are saying. They're talking about the decision by the all-sports network to voluntarily cancel “Playmakers” after one season, despite terrific ratings and strong reviews from critics, including this one. Source: The Kansas City Star I just ordered this not-so-cheap DVD set. This is a worthy keepsake though, since we will never see it again, so it is worth it to me. What a shame. Do you really think the NFL would have cut its contract with ESPN to shreds? I guess a solid demographic and loyal audience doesn't matter to EOE. I also found a solid yet rather conservative (consider the source) review over at ESPN's Page 3.

June 10, 2004

Sega Battles with EA Sports

Sports games are what truly drive this industry. Whether or not you like them, they put food on the table for the developers to create other games in various genres. Well, Sega has dropped a bombshell that very well may change the way you buy sports games from now on. For a measly $20 (http://www.gamespot.com/xbox/sports/espnnflfootball2005/news_6100283.html), you can purchase this years edition of ESPN Football 2K5 (yep, the 2K is back). That's right, twenty bucks. What's EA doing to counter? Releasing a $60 "Collectors Edition" of this years Madden NFL (http://www.gamespot.com/ps2/sports/maddennfl2005/news_6099841.html). Of course, this is far from a foolproof plan for Sega and Visual Concepts. To be perfectly honest, an established sports franchise that simply upgrades the roster each year should never cost more than $20 in my opinion. Someway, EA and many other companies have gotten away with it for years. Now everything changes. Sega's franchise is superb in everyway, eclipsing Madden on multiple levels. Does it actually play better? Most people probably have no idea. Why? Their brand loyal. Anything else is sheer blasphemy. Now they have a chance to own both, play through them completely, and give each their own fair shot. A brand new NFL football game for $20 is a first for the industry. There is a very good chance that many gamers will save themselves $30 (or even $40) and head on over to Sega's court leaving EA behind them. The game has not been completely overhauled since the previous year, but the entirely new graphics engine will likely blow people away. This is all it usually what it takes to draw the mainstream crowd in. Then again, seeing a brand new $20 football game on the shelves could send the exact opposite signal to people. Is the game that bad that they have to sell it for such a low price just to move it? There is a large group of people out there who only buy a game or two a year and they need to be sure there good ones. An unfamiliar franchise is a risk even at a low price point. The financial side is scary as well. I'm sure the profit margin here is minimal. Should the game still sell poorly, this could very well be the end of the series. When you can't move a product for such a low price, what's the point of trying again? Development costs are likely much lower on a game like this since the groundwork has been set, but the licensing costs are astronomical. This is a huge risk for the company. The series has been getting hammered, so much so that the game no longer appears on the Gamecube. This is a brilliant marketing idea but is could come back to haunt them. Rest assured that I'd be one to plunk down $20 when the game finally hits store shelves and I haven't bought a new football, baseball, hockey, or basketball game since the launch of the Playstation 2. Sega may very well have just changed the entire industry for us all and it's one of the best changes in a long time.

G4TechTV: What the Hell Happened?

I am ticked off. Rule # 1: Don't ruin a good web site full of valuable information. Rule # 2: Don't mess with a man's cable programming. And by the way, could they be more original with the name? G4TechTV. Sounds like MSNBC or something. The new G4TechTV web site does not like Safari at all. The layer that lets you get to the shows without having to go to the Shows page and scroll for ever and a day... That layer does not work in Safari. What the hell happened to The Screen Savers pointer, the URL thescreensavers.com used to take you strait to the TSS Show page. Hello, change the pointer! How the ********* hard is that? What the hell happened to the TSS show notes. Every day at the beginning of the show, they talk about 2 to 3 news stories that caught there eye. Where are the links in the show notes? Where the hell are the years of archives from TSS? They are keeping the techtv.com domain for email, why not just leave the web site up until the web team gets everything ported over to g4techtv.com? Is it just me or does this just seem like common sense? I understand it takes time to do things, but when its already there, its already there. Both Sarah Lane and Kevin Rose have had to resort to using their personal blogs to post their tweaks and tips! What is wrong with that? According to Kevin they are porting one proprietary system to what.... another proprietary system. I am hoping that within these proprietary systems lives some standards, like XML for example. We can only hope. At least G4 seems to know how to install and run a message board. Not that that is hard to accomplish. I haven't even started talking about the programming of G4TechTV yet. And I am not going to. The new station is horrid. I have never seen so many reruns in a two week time period then on this station, but G4 has always been like that. The "merger" - if you want to call it that, has ruined TechTV. I used to watch a few shows on TechTV. Now I just TIVO TSS and don't watch any of it. I play video games, I subscribe to video game magazines and web sites, but I don't need to see the same review about the same game three times in two weeks (it has happened on G4). The video game programming on G4 is a lot of fluff. I still watch X Play if I have the time. And they need to straiten out that web site. I refer a lot of answers to the knowledge found in the thousands of articles in the TechTV archive. Be sure to read the comments on this post over at Blogcritics.

May 31, 2004

Disney Cartoon Sequels Could Damage Pixar

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - In a private meeting this week with a leading Wall Street analyst, Walt Disney Co. CEO Michael Eisner confirmed earlier company statements that the studio has several sequels in the works to the blockbuster films Pixar has created for the company. While analyst Jessica Reif Cohen of Merrill Lynch apparently regards that as a positive for Disney, she cautions that such sequels could have an "adverse impact" on Pixar, which called off contract extension talks with Disney in January, ending a partnership that resulted in such hits as "Toy Story," "Finding Nemo" and "Monsters, Inc." Source: Yahoo! News Would someone just bitch slap Eisner. And then do it again, and again, and again until he wakes up from his dream, and realizes how many enemies he has made! I can see it now Toy Story 9, joy! And can you imagine just how horrible they would look compared to the Pixar work? Have you been to SaveDisney.org yet? You should go - there is a great poll running right now about your favorite Disney villain.

May 30, 2004

Weinsteins buy 'Fahrenheit' film

Miramax founders acquired rights to distribute Michael Moore's controversial movie from Disney. LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Michael Moore's controversial documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11" moved a step closer to U.S. theaters on Friday as Miramax film studio founders Harvey and Bob Weinstein personally bought rights to the picture from Walt Disney Co.... After more than three weeks of talks, the Weinsteins bought rights to the film for costs to date, estimated at about $6 million, and will arrange for theatrical and home video distribution, both sides said in a statement issued on Friday.... Source: CNN Money Yay! We get to see what our Government, um, I mean Disney didn't want us to see. Some people might think that Moore is a kook who is only out to give Americans a bad name. I am not too sure its Moore thats doing the giving here. His books and documentaries may look a little extreme, but I am willing to take a Moore film or book with a grain of salt rather then get white washed by media and Government, those players who tell us exactly what we need to hear. I can't wait to own a copy of Fahrenheit 9/11 on DVD. I will be one of the first in line. You know what they say, "There is no such thing as bad publicity." Thats the reason right there that Michael Moore's stuff sells. Well that and curiosity killed the cat. The Weinsteins did a good thing, especially since Fahrenheit got the nod at Cannes.

May 22, 2004

Moore's 'Fahrenheit 9/11' wins Cannes award

CANNES, France (AP) -- U.S. filmmaker Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11," a scathing indictment of White House actions after the September 11 attacks, won the top prize Saturday at the Cannes Film Festival. "Fahrenheit 9/11" was the first documentary to win Cannes' prestigious Palme d'Or since Jacques Cousteau's "The Silent World" in 1956. "What have you done? I'm completely overwhelmed by this. Merci," Moore said after getting a standing ovation from the Cannes crowd. Source: CNN I was hoping Moore would win. But, all I want to do is be able to SEE it. Thanks Michael Eisner! Moron. The Weinsteins might privately buy it, but when can I see it?

May 21, 2004

Last Call for 'Call For Help'

Today was the last episode of "Call For Help" on TechTV. Leo says G4 is shopping the show, so it might be reborn someday. I did not watch the show for 6 yrs. but I have watched it on and off for a few years now. CFH was a great show, and I am sure it will be missed, missed by the people who actually knew it existed. I know I learned tips and tricks here and there from the show. There are some farewells from the cast and crew, as well as a photo gallery. The last show was great, and Leo's outfit was the best part!

May 19, 2004

Tony Randall dead at 84

(CNN) -- Tony Randall, the Emmy Award-winning actor who made the role of fussy neatnik Felix Unger his own in TV's "The Odd Couple," has died. Randall was 84. The actor died in his sleep Monday evening at NYU Medical Center in New York, according to a statement from his publicist, Springer Associates. The cause of death was "complications from a prolonged illness," the statement said. Source: CNN

May 11, 2004

G4-TechTV

Looks like Comcast has made its plans for the G4 / Tech TV merger public via, G4TechTV.com. The FAQ page list the shows that will be surviving the merger. Call For Help seems to have received the axe. No word is given if the casts will remain the same. Source: Slashdot That is a shame about Call For Help, many more people need Call for Help then The Screen Savers, but that is just my opinion. TechLive is also missing in the list of the FAQ page, that was one of my favorites of the network. Another shame.

May 2, 2004

Head of State

It sure is nice having a Road Runner DVR. Although I am thinking of getting rid of it since I will be starting back to college. We shall see. Head of State was a great movie. I should have seen it in the theater. Great writing by Chris Rock, great acting by Bernie Mac, very funny characters, it was just a very funny movie all around. I can't find one thing to complain about. You should see it.

April 22, 2004

Grand jury indicts Jackson

SANTA BARBARA, California (CNN) -- A grand jury investigating allegations that pop star Michael Jackson molested a 12-year-old boy indicted him Wednesday. The charges in the indictment were not immediately known. His attorneys said he would plead not guilty at his arraignment April 30 in Santa Barbara Superior Court. No trial date has been set. Source: CNN

April 18, 2004

Valenti, Others discuss piracy concerns

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Keeping to a promise he made in the heat of last year's heated battle over promotional "screener" videos, Hollywood's top lobbyist, Jack Valenti, met Monday in Los Angeles with a broad cross section of the film community to discuss the piracy concerns that led his group to institute the controversial ban on screeners "It's the meeting that should have been held before they ever announced the screener policy," said Jean Prewitt, president and CEO of the American Film Marketing Assn. (AFMA), the trade association that represents the independent film and television industry worldwide. She, like a number of the other participants, called the meeting "very informative." Source: AOL News That's a spin in piracy. Seems to me the real story is video rentals are up, box office receipts are up... Valenti and his crew are always crying how piracy is going to destroy their business and then you hear about 2003 being a record year for ticket receipts.

April 17, 2004

Bring Back Chris Pirillo

Chris Pirillo just sent this to me. It is an online petition from our favorite online petition site. So go sign the petition! Thanks for the link Chris.

April 16, 2004

The Apprentice Finale

Who would have though a stogy old gazillionare could perform so well on a show. I didn't catch any of the episodes of The Apprentice, but I did keep up on who was fired, etc. Thankfully the finale started out with a great overview. I think Bill chose Chicago because he was so frantic at the golf tournament. I wait with baited breath for season 2.

March 12, 2004

Kicking off the Academy Awards

Nearly 45 million viewers tuned in to the 76th Academy Awards, the biggest audience in several years, drawn in part by the return of go-to host Billy Crystal and the promise of a signature big show opening. And Crystal delivered, leading his musical monologue with a montage parody in which he is inserted — in full costume, and lack thereof — into actual scenes from nominated films. Crystal convincingly slays a giant elephant from “Lord of the Rings,” comes conspicuously between Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton in “Something’s Gotta Give” and climbs both “Cold Mountain” and the final mountain in “Rings,” complete with a relocated Kodak Theater and Hollywood sign. Director Troy Miller of LA-based Dakota Pictures shot much of the film against green screen backgrounds, using clever composites to convince the audience that Crystal was really “there.” And to convince themselves that the illusions were working, the Dakota crew used PowerBooks and a Power Mac G5 editing station running Final Cut Pro to create and view the shots on the fly, on set, as the footage was captured. Check out the process. Source: Apple Hot News Thanks to Rob for the link!

March 11, 2004

Game Over on UPN Review

Gamers have been "treated" to their second most embarrasing moment of 2004. UPN debuted their CGI animated series "Game Over" tonight and sad as it is to say, I'm not sure if the Spike TV video game awards were worse or if this show just set a new low. Game Over gives us the useless story of the Smashnburns, a family of supposed video game characters living in, well, a video game world. Their neighbors are ninja types who are constantly brawling with other evil ninja types. The mother is a Lara Croft knock-off, the father a race car driver, and their kids are nothing. Yes, nothing. They are not a part of any game like their parents, and their inclusion in the show makes little or no sense. The glorious first episode (sarcasm people) which premiered this evening gives us a mish mash of plots, none of them which pan out or are entertaining in any way. We learn of how the family "adopts" their pet, a purple, horny, chain smoking dog thing that like looking at the mother through a peep hole in the shower. Oh wait, I get it! She like Lara Croft! It's a rip on all of those nude codes! That is just like, so funny (more sarcasm people)! The wonderful producers also gave us a plethora of unfunny fart jokes, a father bra shopping with his daughter, and the teenage boy who's pants drop a bit farther than neccesary to be cool. The only minor high point of this half hour mess were the brief cameos of a few actual game characters including Abe from the Oddworld series and Crash Bandicoot. Supposedly, there are 5 episodes of this show waiting to air for the next 5 Wendsday nights. I'd be seriously surprised if we see more than 3 of these actually air. It's a completely wasted attempt at what could've been a mildy amusing look at video game characters, but instead turned out to be worse than that stupid Old Navy commercial that aired during one of the commercial breaks. UPN, your market researchers blew it.

March 7, 2004

LOTR Prequel (The Hobbit) in the Works

NEW YORK (AP) - Peter Jackson won't be returning to the Shire any time soon. The Oscar-winning director is planning to film "The Hobbit," the prequel to "The Lord of the Rings," trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien, but two studios must first fight over legal rights to the film. Jackson said New Line Cinema has the rights to make the movie, but MGM has the rights to distribute it. "I guess MGM's lawyers and New Line's lawyers are going to have a huge amount of fun over the next few years trying to work it all out," he told reporters recently in Los Angeles, according to AP Radio. "I'm obviously busy for a couple of years on 'King Kong' so those lawyers can just go at it for a long time." "The Hobbit" tells the story of Bilbo Baggins, who found the ring and eventually passes it on to his nephew, Frodo Baggins. Frodo's journey to Mount Doom to destroy the ring is the basis for the "Rings" books and films... Source: My Way News

March 6, 2004

Volvo S40 Commercial

"animated driver on animated course" I believe Grand Tourismo was the game, I could be wrong, racing is one genre I do not like. But the new Volvo S40 commercial uses an animated driver and an animated course. So shit sherlock! We are used to seeing the "professional driver, closed track" disclaimer on all the car commercials these days, but "animated driver on animated course?" The S40 commercial goes something like this: driver is driving around curves on a track, then they show an interior shot, the "animated driver on animated course" disclaimer shows at the bottom, and then the driver takes a few flips off the course, then gets out (unscathed, of course). Come on people! It might look pretty, but its a VIDEO GAME! It is not reality. I can understand the need to have the disclaimer to cover their collective ass for the horde of recent commercials that have a REAL driver on a REAL course driving like a lunatic. But this type of disclaimer on an animation from a video game just shows the hoops that legal departments have to go through these days. Its just pathetic. This type of disclaimer reminds me of Bill Engvall's "Here's Your Sign" bit where he pokes fun at the outrageous warning signs on products.

March 3, 2004

Disney Shareholders Give Resounding No Confidence Vote On Eisner

Roy Disney and Stanley Gold Say Vote Is Clear Message That Eisner Must Go Philadelphia, PA - March 3, 2004 -- "The resounding 'No Confidence' vote cast by shareholders/owners of The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) has sent a clear and undeniable message that dramatic change is needed now and that Michael Eisner must go," Roy E. Disney and Stanley P. Gold said today. Messrs. Disney and Gold said that their estimated tally of votes indicates that Walt Disney Company shareholders withheld more than 40% of votes from Michael Eisner for re-election as a Director of the Company, and 20% from George Mitchell, John Bryson and Judith Estrin as Directors. "It has been suggested that Mr. Eisner's withhold vote is really a referendum on the separation of the jobs of chairman and CEO," they stated. "While we agree that this is a necessary action, and the job should be split, we don't believe Mr. Eisner should have either job." As Patrick McGurn of Institutional Shareholder Services said, "This is unprecedented. This is beyond a referendum on corporate governance. This is a referendum on Eisner's continued presence at the company." ISS earlier recommended a "no" vote on Mr. Eisner. Source: SaveDisney.com I could elaborate and go into my opinion on Eisner, but I wont. He just has to go.

Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ

Propaganda? Anti-Semitic? Religious Splatter Film? Brilliant work of faith? Reviews, news, thoughts here. Have you seen it? What do you think? Be sure to see what others at Blogcritics.org thought about The Passion of The Christ.

The Passion of The Christ

I saw this movie this past Sunday, and before I forget to post anything about it, I want to make a couple comments. I think TIME put it best with the title "The goriest story ever told" (March 2004 issue). It is the goriest story ever told, and Mel Gibson made sure it was shown in full detail. When Peter got his ear torn off, and seeing Jesus put it back on again, that set the tone for the entire movie. During the whipping scene, when they get out the whips with the metal claws on them, that was a rather visceral feeling when you heard them rip the thing out of his back, and saw the flesh fly (I wasn't ready for that one, and neither was the audience in the theatre). And then there was the spear at the end of the Crucifixion scene. This movie was bloody, and gory. Did it need to be? I don't know, but I think it was used for a purpose. And it did not hurt the film. The Passion was bloody and gory, but I was expecting worse from what I had heard. Maybe it is because I have been desensitized by the media and Hollywood, but the blood and gore in this movie did not bother me. The production values were very high, the costumes and sets were very nice. The small amount of effects shots were very good I thought. The spear scene at the end of the movie did not look great, but it was so bloody that most people were not scrutinizing it at all. I thought the teachings and healing of the life of Jesus would have been a bigger part of the movie, but they were only short flash backs triggered during His torture through out the movie. The movie centralized on what happened after the Last Supper. But it was good that the movie did not go broader, the movie was not too long, not too short. It told enough of the story to tell the story well. When we grow up and learn about Jesus and his life through Sunday School, church or what not, we see these carvings and stained glass windows of specific moments from His life. It was amazing seeing these scenes acted out, very closely I might add, to that of what we remember from church. I thought that was the best part of the movie. Another shining point of this movie is the fact that, in my opinion, it was not so much propaganda as other 'Jesus" movies and shows have been. There were no cheesy beams of light, people were not falling over at the sight of Jesus. The story was treated very well, and it was not Hollywood-ized either. No one would want to see that either. The acting was great. The subtitling was not a problem. I was leery about the subtitles. But they did not bother me. They did a great job on those. I am really glad to see this movie has done so well at the box office. 135 million at the box office so far is some feet. Especially for a religious movie. Considering that The Passion has been getting bad press for over a year now, I think more people went to see if they would hate it. Some things in the movie were questionable, debatable, controversial. For example did the nails go in His hands or wrists? There were a couple things like that I picked up. But I think Gibson went with the more widely accepted views, or the way I like to put it, what most people were taught when they were a kid. There is no doubt that this was a very hard movie to see through from beginning to end, and saying it is thanks to the passion of Mel Gibson is surely no pun. All the hard work payed off in spades, regardless of the full on barrage of media in his face through every moment until, and even after opening day. I could go on and on here, I thought it was a great movie, a great story that Gibson told very well. I liked the actress who played Satan, I thought she did a good job. James Caviezel played a good Jesus, Monica Bellucci (Matrix Reloaded, Revolutions) played Mary Magdalene well. I thought the entire cast, Maia Morgenstern as Mary, they all did very well. If you are thinking of skipping this movie because of the blood and gore, don't let that stop you. This was a great film and one you should not miss. I might suggest that you don't take your kids to see this movie. Buy the DVD so they can watch it when they grow up. I only say that because of the sometimes horrific scenes of torture. I give this movie a solid A.

February 26, 2004

SPOILER ALERT - It's just like the Book

I can't wait to see The Passion of The Christ, I watched the PrimeTime Monday Interview, and this movie looks great. I hope it gets great reviews and hits #1 at the box office this weekend and for the 5 day earnings. I think it will do great, if not for anything but the fact that even bad publicity is good for business. From Blogcritics:
Seeing as though I am not Jewish, I probably would not understand the sentiment of fear this movie allegedly engenders, BUT I have read some/partly/most of the Bible and from my understanding ~ SPOILER ALERT~ the movie is just like the Book.
I too have read most of the Bible, and I am sure that this movie is pretty accurate to the Bible (joke). But as they say, the movie is never as good as the book, so we shall see. I plan on seeing The Passion this weekend sometime.

February 25, 2004

Howard Stern Show Taken Off Clear Channel Stations

SAN ANTONIO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 25, 2004--Clear Channel Radio has suspended the broadcast of Viacom's Howard Stern show, consistent with its Responsible Broadcasting Initiative announced earlier today. After assessing the content of yesterday's Howard Stern show, Clear Channel worked with local market managers to take swift and decisive action.

"Clear Channel drew a line in the sand today with regard to protecting our listeners from indecent content and Howard Stern's show blew right through it," said John Hogan, president and CEO of Clear Channel Radio. "It was vulgar, offensive, and insulting, not just to women and African Americans but to anyone with a sense of common decency. We will not air Howard Stern on Clear Channel stations until we are assured that his show will conform to acceptable standards of responsible broadcasting," Hogan said.

Source: Yahoo Finance So, can we expect to see a 5 second delay on the Howard Stern show now? UPDATE: 02/26/04 Howard Stern dropped from Clear Channel stations
LOS ANGELES, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Radio station giant Clear Channel Communications Inc. said on Wednesday it was dumping nationally syndicated shock jock Howard Stern from its stations under a new "zero tolerance" policy toward indecency.

In dropping Stern from its six radio outlets that carry his show, Clear Channel (NYSE:CCU - News) cited his interview on Tuesday with Rick Salomon, the man who was filmed having sex with hotel heiress and TV reality star Paris Hilton in a video widely distributed on Internet porn sites.

Be sure to read the 30+ comments on my post over at Blogcritics.org.

Woman Collapses During Showing of "The Passion Of The Christ"

Peggy Law, also known to some by her married name Peggy Scott is a respected figure in the local broadcasting community. The tragedy has hit some here at KAKE especially hard. She was a former employee. People viewing the movie at the Warren Theatre East say Law collapsed during the portion of the movie where the crucifixion of Christ was shown. A few off-duty doctors and nurses who were in the audience tried to revive her. But when she was taken away in the ambulance, authorities say Law still had no pulse. The movie has been criticized for it's graphic portrayal of Jesus' death. Religious leaders around the country and here in Wichita say people need to be prepared for the graphic brutality. Whether Law's death and the timing in the film are related, we will never know, but religious and medical officials stress this film is not for the faint-hearted. Source: KAKE.com Coincidence? I think so. But will there be a wild debate? Of course!

February 13, 2004

My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance

I am not one to be tethered by the time of a TV show (especially since I now have the Road Runner DVR). I also hate the "reality tv" shows out there. But.... My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance is friggin' hilarious! Watch it and see, its a riot. Editors Note: I need to write a review of the Road Runner DVR service. Some day. Yea.

'Miracle' of a Movie

'Miracle' was a great movie, and so far the best of this new year. Kurt Russel did a great job capturing Herb Brooks. I am not a huge hockey fan, I will admit, but the 1980 USA team transcends the sport all together. Just go see this movie! BTW, did you know: Michigan natives and former BGSU students Ken Morrow and Mark Wells were members of the 1980 U.S. Olympic team whose improbable run to the gold medal is recaptured in the newly released Disney movie "Miracle." Before being chosen to help take their nation to victory, Wells and Morrow led BGSU to three Central Collegiate Hockey Association titles and three straight NCAA tournament appearances in the late 1970s. Right now our hockey team is not going that well, but they used to be tops in the nation. Just tonight their was a banquet (at $75 a plate, too pricey for me) celebrating the 10 yr. anniversary of BGSU's 1984 National Championship.

February 11, 2004

Comcast Proposes Merger With Disney

Comcast, the nation's largest cable television operator, has offered to buy the Walt Disney Company, in a surprise bid worth $66 billion the entertainment giant's board said it would "carefully evaluate." Comcast President and CEO Brian Roberts said today the company was going public with the unsolicited offer after Disney Chairman and CEO Michael Eisner declined to enter discussions. The proposed merger includes stock valued at $54 billion and assumed debt of $11.9 billion. Disney confirmed the offer. "The Walt Disney Company Board of Directors has received and will carefully evaluate the unsolicited proposal from Comcast Corp," the company said in a statement released today. Source: ABC News.com This is just what we need, another AOL/Time Warner. Remember that Disney is also ABC, ESPN, Mirimax, Budwiser, not to mention the rest of what Disney and Comcast owns separately. If successful this will once again reshape entertainment as we know it. I personally think that Eisner should be kicked to the curb after the Pixar deal.

January 28, 2004

Still some surprises among Academy Award nominees

When Frank Pierson, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, walked onstage with Sigourney Weaver to announce the nominees for the 76th Academy Awards, few thought that a low-budget and little-seen Brazilian film (“City of God”) would rake in two major nominations. Fewer still thought alleged shoo-ins Nicole Kidman (for her solid work in “Cold Mountain”) and Scarlett Johannsen (for her lovely turns in “Lost in Translation” or “The Girl with the Pearl Earring”) would get the shaft. And even fewer still, most of them likely being fired from Miramax Pictures’ marketing department, thought “Cold Mountain” would go without a best picture nod.

It’s an interesting list of nominees, with some glaring omissions (“Kill Bill”) and some terrific additions that add up to what could be one of the most intriguing Oscar races in years. Not since the mid-90s when pictures like “Pulp Fiction” and “Fargo” were considered viable contenders have so many smaller, low-budget films been recognized. That’s not say that the Academy has forgotten about Hollywood spectacle-“Return of the King,” racked up 11 nominations and “Master and Commander” scored 10-but even these pictures have a depth to them that typical Hollywood fare lacks. If anything, for all their massive battles, they are interior epics, more concerned with internal conflict than blowing shit up real good.

Does this indicate a shift in Academy taste? Most likely not, but it does bode well for a lot of smaller pictures to gain some much needed attention.

Here’s a look, with commentary, at the major nominations.

BEST PICTURE

  • THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING
  • LOST IN TRANSLATION
  • MASTER AND COMMANDER: THE FAR SIDE OF THE WORLD
  • MYSTIC RIVER
  • SEABISCUIT

Thanks to a huge publicity push by Universal Pictures, "Seabiscuit" swept in and picked up what Miramax probably considered a lock. In many ways "Seabiscuit" represents the "crowd-pleaser" slot that has been filled by the likes of "Chocolat" or "The Cider House Rules." Whatever the reason, it's a big moment in Oscar history as it marks the first time in 11 years that Miramax hasn't had a film nominated for the top prize.

So how to explain "Cold Mountain's" snubbing? The best bet is a Hollywood backlash towards Miramax. After Miramax earned a degree of infamy for its alleged dirty tricks campaign against last year's nominees, this may be a warning shot fired in the direction of Miramax's hardball tactics. Coupled with the release of Peter Biskind's excellent book, "Down and Dirty Pictures," which paints a highly unflattering portrait of some of Miramax business strategies, this could be a way of serving the company its just desserts or at the very least an attempt to ratchet them down a notch.

As for the other nominees, all are obvious choices, with "Return of the King" clearly the movie to beat after sweeping the Golden Globes on Sunday. While my affection for the "Lord of the Rings" films is lukewarm at best, they are grand achievements and impeccably made epics that have nabbed the zeitgeist. Still my heart lies with Sophia Coppola's remarkable "Lost in Translation," a deeply moving almost-romance. And Clint Eastwood's "Mystic River" still retains its power as a poetic street-level opera about the cycle of violence and the scars it leaves on generation after generation.

BEST DIRECTOR

  • Sofia Coppola, LOST IN TRANSLATION
  • Clint Eastwood, MYSTIC RIVER
  • Peter Jackson, THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING
  • Fernando Meirelles, CITY OF GOD
  • Peter Weir, MASTER AND COMMANDER: THE FAR SIDE OF THE WORLD

Once again “Cold Mountain” was snubbed, with director Anthony Minghella being overlooked in favor of Fernando Meirelles of “City of God.” It is clearly the year’s most surprising choice, considering the picture barely received release earlier this year. I’ve yet to see it (it played theaters near 210 West’s central Ohio offices for under a week), but the word is overwhelmingly positive. Still, it doesn’t have a chance, but ultimately the attention it gains from this nomination will have to be reward enough.

As usual the director and best picture nominees don’t sync up, which means “Seabiscuit” won’t likely win best picture. The odds of it happening are rare, but not without precedent-Steven Spielberg took best director in 1998 for “Saving Private Ryan” while “Shakespeare in Love” ganked best picture and last year “Chicago” got best picture while Roman Polanski received best director for “The Pianist.”

Coppola will take the original screenplay award and the honor of being only the third woman and first American woman ever nominated for best director. Not only that, but her win will make her one of the great Hollywood success stories: scion of a Hollywood dynasty goes from acting infamy in "The Godfather, Part III" to well-respected writer/director in a little under 15 years. It's prime fodder for a Hollywood anecdote, and in this case, her work is more than deserving of the accolades.

This category boils down to Eastwood and Jackson. I think Jackson is about as close to a sure thing as can be. His work on the trilogy is almost unparalleled in Hollywood and it’s been pretty clear that by making “Lord of the Rings” the bridesmaid for the last three years the Academy has been waiting to honor the final film as a cumulative achievement. But don’t count Eastwood out. “Mystic River” is regaining momentum thanks to a successful re-release and his professionalism and craft on that film is superb and in many ways could be a factor in priming the pump for an upset.

BEST ACTOR

  • Johnny Depp, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL
  • Ben Kingsley, HOUSE OF SAND AND FOG
  • Jude Law, COLD MOUNTAIN
  • Bill Murray, LOST IN TRANSLATION
  • Sean Penn, MYSTIC RIVER

After Bill Murray’s win at the Golden Globes he’s close to being the front-runner. His work in “Translation” is stunning, but all signs point to Penn taking the Award. Penn is an actor who has consistently given great performances and his work in “Mystic River” ranks as one of his best.

While none of the nominees are all that surprising, Johnny Depp’s nod is a bit unexpected. It is a brilliant comedic performance, and made the overlong, underwritten “Pirates” watchable, but Depp’s Oscar will come somewhere else down the line. The most glaring oversight is Paul Giamatti in “American Splendor.” Along with Penn and Murray it was one of the year’s best performances.

BEST ACTRESS

  • Keisha Castle-Hughes, WHALE RIDER
  • Diane Keaton, SOMETHING'S GOTTA GIVE
  • Samantha Morton, IN AMERICA
  • Charlize Theron, MONSTER
  • Naomi Watts, 21 GRAMS

In the interests of full disclosure, I admit that of all the nominees I’ve only seen Diane Keaton in “Something’s Gotta Give.” It’s a stellar comic performance, and that will be its jinx, unless she triggers a groundswell of nostalgia.

All signs point to Charlize Theron and her transformation into serial killer Aileen Wuornos in “Monster” as being the performance to beat. The nomination for “Whale Rider” is especially surprising, considering Castle-Hughes is only 13, which in some ways might work in her favor a la Anna Paquin in “The Piano.” And while it may seem funny to some, Uma Thurman deserved a nod for her graceful, hard-assed performance in “Kill Bill.”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

  • Alec Baldwin, THE COOLER
  • Benicio Del Toro, 21 GRAMS
  • Djimon Hounsou, IN AMERICA
  • Tim Robbins, MYSTIC RIVER
  • Ken Watanabe, THE LAST SAMURAI

Robbins has got the momentum after his Golden Globe win, and his work as the victim of childhood abuse in “Mystic River” is outstanding. His choice to play his character as a dead man walking, shell-shocked by violence was a wise one, and he has several moments that will break the heart of all but the strongest of souls.

Though a long shot, it would be great to see Baldwin take the Oscar for his ferocious work in “The Cooler.” Over the last decade Baldwin has slowly been finding his niche as a tough-guy character actor and superb comedic actor, and “The Cooler” is the end result. It’s a brutal, funny, and weirdly charming performance.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  • Shohreh Aghdashloo, HOUSE OF SAND AND FOG
  • Patricia Clarkson, PIECES OF APRIL
  • Marcia Gay Harden, MYSTIC RIVER
  • Holly Hunter, THIRTEEN
  • Renée Zellweger, COLD MOUNTAIN

The supporting actress category is generally where the Academy surprises. Marcia Gay Harden pulled an upset when she was honored for “Pollock” a few years ago and pretty much everyone remembers Marisa Tomei’s unexpected win for “My Cousin Vinny.” It makes this category that much more difficult to predict, even if Zellweger seems to be the expected winner. That said, don’t be shocked if Aghdashloo or Clarkson walks away with the nod.

The most stunning omission is Scarlett Johansen’s subtle work in “Lost in Translation.” Odds are she split the vote with herself between her work in “The Girl in the Pearl Earring” and “Translation.” She may be out now, but she’s building the kind of career that gets its honors down the road.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

  • THE BARBARIAN INVASIONS - Denys Arcand
  • DIRTY PRETTY THINGS - Steven Knight
  • FINDING NEMO - Andrew Stanton, Bob Peterson and David Reynolds
  • IN AMERICA - Jim Sheridan, Naomi Sheridan & Kristen Sheridan
  • LOST IN TRANSLATION - Sofia Coppola

The surprising nods for "Dirty Pretty Things" and "Barbarian Invasions" aside, this is clearly Coppola's award. Her quiet, gentle writing for "Translation" wisely utilized silence and atmosphere and had an inherent understanding of the unnerving feeling of romantic and geographic displacement. And "Finding Nemo" is a well-deserved nomination as it was one of the year's most cleanly written and witty mainstream pictures.

The biggest rip here is Quentin Tarantino's writing for "Kill Bill" being passed over. Sure it was a Grand Guignol of grindhouse violence, but "Bill" is an elegantly structured work of B movie genius. Perhaps it's because Tarantino played Solomon and sliced his movie into two parts and the Academy is waiting to honor part two next year, but most likely it's because "Kill Bill" is such a unique piece of work that no one knows quite how to take it.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

  • AMERICAN SPLENDOR - Robert Pulcini & Shari Springer Berman
  • CITY OF GOD - Braulio Mantovani
  • THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING - Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens & Peter Jackson
  • MYSTIC RIVER - Brian Helgeland
  • SEABISCUIT - Gary Ross

Despite “City of God’s” other surprise nomination, the adapted screenplay category is “Lord of the Rings’” to lose. It’s nice to see “American Splendor’s” structural innovation recognized, and it’s clearly the best-written piece of all the nominees, but at this point, even with no acting nominations, “Return of the King” is a hobbit-powered steam roller that will take home pretty much everything it’s up for.

Copyright © 2003 - 2004 210 West, All Rights Reserved

January 19, 2004

Rights issue dogs CD protection

A dispute over royalty rights on copy-protected CDs and other types of music discs is helping to stall the release of some new music technology, and could result in record labels owing tens of millions of dollars in back payments to music publishers. At issue are "double session" CDs that include two versions of each song on a disc, formatted for playback on different kinds of devices. The most widely distributed type are copy-protected discs that prevent CD tracks from being copied to a hard drive, but that also include a digital version of the songs, often in Microsoft's Windows Media format, that can be transferred to a computer or portable digital music player. Music publishers and songwriters, who are entitled to payments of a few cents for every copy of a song sold, contend that since these double-format discs hold two copies of songs, they should be paid for both copies. They've been negotiating with record labels for months, but already hundreds of millions of discs have been released around the world, raising the possibility of huge back payments. Source: C|Net News.com

January 13, 2004

Oscar 'Screener' Found on Internet, Academy Says

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Hollywood's greatest fear became a reality on Tuesday as film industry officials said a digital version of an Oscar "screener" was seen on the Internet after months of industry squabbling over whether sending out the videos to Academy Award voters would lead to movie piracy. A copy of Sony Pictures Entertainment's "Something's Gotta Give" that was sent to an Oscar voter was found to be downloadable from the Internet to a home PC, a spokesman for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which awards the Oscars, said. "Sony let us know late last week that one had appeared on the Internet," Academy spokesman John Pavlik told Reuters.
Source: Reuters We all know the MPAA finally woke up, just like the RIAA did. I hate to say it, but what the MPAA is doing (stopping screeners from going out for voting) is not the solution to the problem. It is not going to stop screeners from appearing online. We are just hearing a lot of news about screeners because the MPAA finally got smart. The MPAA needs to take another note from the "lets act like the RIAA" handbook and sell movies online. And guess what? MPEG 4 has DRM built into it! We finally have a lot of options to legally get music online, we now need a legal way of getting movies online. How long will it be before the movie industry has movies available for purchase online? My guess? It will be a while. Thanks to dad for the link!

December 16, 2003

Return of the King tonight! (Updated)

OK. Return of the King is tonight, midnight showing. Yea. So I am conditioning myself. No food or drink for 5 hours prior to movie time. Go to bathroom at least twice before the movie starts. OK. I think I am good to go. I already have my ticket. I spent the last few nights watching the extended versions of The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers, I am ready. One more hour!

Do you think Peter Jackson will direct the prequel? I am not sure The Hobbit would fit into a 3 hour movie. And considering how liberal he has been with Tolkien with this trilogy, I am not sure a movie would do The Hobbit justice. Unlike LoTR, I did read The Hobbit when I was a kid, and I can just see myself sitting there in the theater cringing. Now that I have seen the LoTR movies I have read (well, OK, listened to) the books. and I now cringe when I watch the movies again.

And do you think Jackson will think of some odd reason why Arwen needs a role in the movie version of The Hobbit? (Yes, I am referring to the LoTR trilogy, Arwen, if you read the books, does NOT have such a large role, but thats show biz.)

So, do you think we will see The Hobbit in the next few years?


Well I must say that I made it through the entire movie without having to take a potty break. I am quite impressed with myself. My "conditioning" played off.

I am sitting here at our local Waffle House at 4 AM, but that is ok, I am a nocturnal animal. This being the case, this might need some revising later, but I wanted to jot down my thoughts while still fresh in my mind.

My buddy Mike had to take photos for the Sentinel-Tribune, so he could not watch this masterpiece. He had to input photos and get ready for a full day of assignments tomorrow. So later this week he is going to want to go see this movie, and I will gladly see Return of the King again, even if it is a solid three and a half hours sitting in the theater.

This movie is more then worth seeing again, for so many reasons. Coming from 3D modeling schooling I was most impressed with the enormous amount of animation mixed with live action (I always notice the CG work first, that’s just me). They blending of the live action and CG were handled very well, and most all the animation was very smooth and with a great amount of detail and blur where appropriate. But I am just a nut when it comes 3D animation. The huge elephants were my favorite, but I do not want to spoil the experience for anyone so I will not go any further on about the animation. Just to say that I was mighty impressed with the progression it has made since The Fellowship of The Ring. They were not kidding when they said The Battle of Helm’s Deep was nothing in comparison to what is in Return of the King. Seeing Massive (the fuzzy logic software built to handle the colossal hordes of men and orc in all the breathtaking battles in this trilogy) handle all the battles in Return of the King was a magnificent experience.

I have not read, or listened to, Return of the King. Since I had not done the same for The Fellowship of the Ring or The Two Towers, I did not want to jade my experience of this third installment. I am glad I have not read Return of the King, as I may have been disappointed in what I did, or did not see.

Humor aided in a larger part of the story this time around, and as Return of the King is by far the darkest of the three movies, it was welcome. There were many moments when the entire theater busted out in laughter. There are some funny moments, more memorable then the rather conservative humor in the last two films.

I do not see how people like my father fall asleep in the middle of watching these movies, the acting, the writing, the visual effects, the landscapes, it is all too much for the senses.. I cannot remember the last time I wanted to see the final chapter to such a good story in a long time.

The Fellowship of the Ring was a very straightforward story, with very little sub plotting. The Fellowship broke apart, and in The Two Towers we had three distinct stories plodding through the lands of Middle Earth. This was all an exercise in out collective attention span as Return of the King jumps from one splinter of the story to the other. But, it never leaves you guessing what happened to who, the pacing is very well shot, or edited, as the case may be.

Musically I think that the various themes, such as the Shire theme, for example, were mixed into the mood and plot points a little more smoothly then in Two Towers. We got the soundtrack to Return of the King a few weeks back, and I have been listening to it. I enjoy it much more then The Two Towers soundtrack.

I could go on to so many points I found astonishing to the senses, but I want you to experience this last journey through Middle earth yourself, not read about it here: go see this movie! You will laugh, you will cry, and three and a half hours later you will, for some strange reason, not want it to end.

The Hobbit anyone?

December 13, 2003

Insomnia (2002)

It is so hard to see Robin Williams in a "bad guy" role. He, maybe more so than any other comedian, is type cast to NOT play "bad guy" roles. I can only imagine what fun it was to shoot this movie, as I am sure Robin Williams made it hard to keep a strait face. This was a good movie, well written, worth a rent. I saw it on HBO, saw bits and pieces (as you know they run these movies a zillion times a month) and finally sat down to watch the movie beginning to end.

December 3, 2003

Master and Commander

I was not impressed. I don't even want to write much about it. The movie was very dark, I thought fights were poorly lit. The fight at the end in the bottom of the enemy ship was very poorly lit. You could not tell who was swinging at who. The story went on for two full hours with absolutely nothing, and then finally we had a battle, and the movie was over, but not an ending, because they were off to catch the enemy ship once again. I did not feel any kind of emotional strings to the people who were killed or died in the movie. You need to have some kind of emotional bond to care when a character gets killed. I do not see what people were saying about this movie.

November 23, 2003

Full Screen Version Please

There are some things in life I will most likely never understand. One of these things has really come to light as of late. At a recent trip to the video store to pick up some used DVD's, I stood next to a woman purchasing the film Drumline. Now, all jokes about the film aside, the clerk informed the woman the only version they had in stock was widescreen. The woman went nuts. "Why would I want to watch a movie where all their heads are cut off?" Thankfully, I managed to contain myself and slowly removed my body from the counter, leaving with my widescreen copy of "Road to Perdition." Had I stayed, my immediate question would be: "Why in the blue hell did you buy a freakin' DVD player in the first place?" This is probably the same person who bought one of those RF modulators to hook her new $25 DVD player up to her 13' TV with a 35 foot coaxial cable. I'm not criticizing anyone's entertainment set-up, but it bewilders me why these people even own a DVD player in the first place. I'll openly admit that for YEARS I watched full screen movies. That VHS copy of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II was a goldmine for me in my younger days. I'll even go back now and watch it to give myself a laugh. When you begin to think about it, isn't it all obvious? Theater screens are rectangular and your TV's square, how else can the entire picture fit? Why do full screen movies have black bars on widescreen TV's? Hell, why do you think they make widescreen TV's in the first place? It's made even worse by movie companies. I remember walking into a local mass-electronics chain (Bust Buy or something like that) and there is a massive standee for the Indiana Jones box set. 600 copies, at least 500 of them are full screen. Maybe it all starts with the directors. Don't these people care that their movies are being butchered for the masses? My hopes increased with my recent purchase of the "Lion King." I couldn't find a full screen butcher job anywhere on the shelves. Happy, I left the store thinking Disney has finally done something right (and if they'd stop releasing unnecessary sequels to their classic films, I may change my outlook on them). I open up the case after tearing it in 7 different places thanks to those god-awful "security stickers" (that's a whole new topic) and begin to read some of the enclosed documentation. Their recommendation? Use the zoom player on your DVD player to get rid of those "black bars." AAHHH!!! It seems blatantly obvious to me that not even the companies stand to educate the consumer. Numerous websites exist to educate people, but will these people even bother to look (widescreen.org is an excellent starting point)? Is there anyone else to blame? Studio's have been releasing VHS copies in full screen since the format began. Have you ever tried tracking down a widescreen copy of a film on VHS. It's like trying to find your car keys in the morning during a bad hangover. Something needs to be done and it needs to be done immediately. I can't stand watching people live their lives missing the finer points of Drumline. If anyone has suggestions, please, drop a line to your favorite movie company. Will they listen? Probably not, but you'll walk away from your keyboard knowing you've wasted 10 minutes of your life trying to make a difference. Oh, and if you still insist on watching your movies crammed, squished, panned, cut, packed, smashed, and butchered, my E-mail address is readily available.

November 11, 2003

Matrix Revolutions Review

No sequel can compare to the original 1999 masterpiece that is The Matrix. I don't want to spoil the ending of this well written piece of popular culture, so I am not going to go into any concrete details. Matrix Reloaded was a disappointment to some, and some people will not be happy with Revolutions for the simple reason that they did not like Reloaded. I was one of the few that enjoyed Reloaded, even though it was a bit thick on the philosophical parts. (If you really want to, check out Taking the Red Pill: Science, Philosophy and Religion in The Matrix, I found it a good read). If for nothing else people swarmed to see Revolutions for closure. We find out what happens to Neo and Trinity, and the rest of the gang. I guess that is why it made 209 Mil. in its international box office opening. That or people were actually looking forward to seeing it for the great movie it was. Revolutions tied up and answered a lot of loose ends left a fray from as far back as the original movie. It is nice to see the story come full circle so well on so many things. I think when you watch these 3 flicks back to back to back you will see what I mean. I watched The Matrix and Matrix Reloaded on DVD before I went to the theater to see Revolutions, didn't you? :-P I thought that Revolutions was cut a lot better then Reloaded. Reloaded had some scenes that went on forever, the pacing of Revolutions was better. The battle scenes and the machine city were very impressive. Very nice amination. Did you notice the heavy overtone of classical music in Revolutions? It was hardly there in The Matrix, and then was stronger in Reloaded, but Revolutions had massive amounts of very electric classical tracks (the Neo - Smith fight, for example). I don't think this is a bad thing, I think it is quite the opposite. While I liked hearing Rage, Prodigy, Rammstein, Rob Zombie etc, in the first flick, the original score is more powerful, especially considering the underlying concepts and philosophy of The Matrix trilogy. I think the popular soundtrack was used to get wider exposure, but look at what they did with the 3rd soundtrack. I would score Revolutions above Reloaded, but without the middle chapter, Revolutions does not make much sense. Revolutions is a very well done ending to a great story. But then I am just a geek that is infatuated with the world of The Matrix. If you did not get a chance to play the Enter The Matrix video game, then you should. You would have gotten much more out of Revolutions if you played through the video game. For one, it introduces the changed Oracle (for those who do not know, Gloria Foster died just after the shooting of Reloaded, so the story had to be modified a little, and a new actress had to be cast.) The video game did a great job of bringing The Animatrix and Reloaded together as well. Enter The Matrix fleshed everything out nicely for those of us that wanted more. It will be interesting to see if/when something compares to The Matrix experience. Three movies, The Animatrix anime and the Enter The Matrix video game are all tied together so well. It makes for a very fun experience. The only thing I was hoping for in Revolutions was big surprises. There were none. Everything was obvious, or it had already been implied by the first 2 movies. But nothing is perfect, and Revolutions was well worth the price of admission. Also posted at BlogCritics.

October 29, 2003

'Playmakers' is Entertainment

The ESPN show is great! You want to know something? Sex sells. It does not matter if it is homosexual or not. As a matter of fact, homosexuality sells a lot more then heterosexuality these days. I think we have seen this in recent history, from "Ellen" to "Queer Eye for a Strait Guy." Hey Paul Tagliabue (and the rest of the NFL) this is entertainment! Take a chill. Say this with me: This show isn't based on reality. This show isn't based on reality. I am a bit surprised that the NFL is reacting like this. Are dramas about the police always drawn in a good light? If ESPN pulls the plug on a second season on it will be because of the NFL. And if the NFL pushes for that, I think some people need to grow up and distinguish the drama from the reality. Here is a quote from Paul Tagliabue, "a gross characterization of our sport." Excuse me? Do you want to talk about character? How about Rae Carruth being convicted of murder? Now that is character, or, well, lack thereof. I thought this was a drama, is a Soap Opera for men (imagine that). So, a more accurate statement would be "a gross dramatization of our sport." That might be true, truer than one might expect. But this is TV, and like Hollywood, there are exaggerations. Lets start with the gay player, Thad, who happens to be the best player on the team. Throughout the previous episodes all the other players profess that Thad is the center to the team. But he's gay. There are some other situations that are addressed in this show. How about Demitrius Harris? He is a drug addict. He lies to the cops about a murder. How about Leon Taylor? He beats his wife! And the quarterback is a womanizer, he has the trainer take care of his girlfriend's abortion. But beating your wife and getting pulled over with cocaine and covering up for a murder are far worse then a player being gay. Or is it? I could go on to the other more fleshed out characters in this soap. There are many other situations being discussed in . But I think the gay issue is paramount, and it has been building the last 4 or so episodes to tonight's well written climax. The NFL and the AWSM (Association for Women in Sports Media) need to chill. This is a drama. It is entertainment. I also happens that they are tackling some rather real world situations. This show being on ESPN does not hurt either. I am waiting to see Boomer though. Using personalities like Jim Rome ("Rome is Burning"), Thea Andrews ("Cold Pizza") and the ESPN brand is the glue that makes this show stick. Next episode has Snoop Dogg in it. Now who is going to watch next Tuesday? I am. ESPN, just like any other broadcasting company, is out to make money. It just happens that ESPN is the one and only station that has the resources from the sports news world to make a sports drama work. Lighten up, don't get your jock straps in a bunch. is not the first show to not accurately depict sports. If it did, it would not be entertaining and it would not sell. But tell me something: Do you tune into more fictional or non fictional TV and movies? I went Googling: Popular '' hasn't won over NFL '' under fire Women's sports media group protests `' Message to the NFL: lighten up! Also posted at BlogCritics.

September 28, 2003

S.W.A.T. (2003 )

What a great summer movie! I can't complain about anything. Thats no fun :-D. I found this on the IMDb Trivia page:
The tune that the team sings at the table in the film's trailer, is the theme from the original TV series.
I figured that is what they were singing. This movie was great from start to finish with great action sequences and not a lot of sub plots, which is by no means a bad thing.

September 26, 2003

Kill Bill Soundtrack

This Monday the BG News got a press kit for Kill Bill, the new Quentin Tarantino flick coming out this fall. The kit has three trailers for the movie, and the movie soundtrack. I only got to listen to the soundtrack once, it has some interesting stuff on it. It does have tunes from Nancy Sinatra, Isaac Hayes and Quincy Jones. The rest are from people I have never heard of. In all there are 20 music tracks, 2 dialog tracks, and 2 sound effects tracks. Gotta love "reviewing" music. The entertainment editor did ask if i would write a review of it, but I am not going to. I would have no idea on where to begin. Its good to listen to, but nothing I would spend money on. The movie looks killer though, I cannot wait till it is out, October 10th.

September 8, 2003

Must Have TechTV

Forget "I want my MTV" I want my TechTV. The main Time Warner package does not come with TechTV! What the hell? No Screen Savers! Oh the horror. I must have TechTV! After waiting on the phone about 10 minutes to talk to a human, I got through to one, and was about to get rid of the "movie package" for the "value package" which has TechTV. Phewww. I can sleep better at night now.

September 7, 2003

Panic Room

I watched Panic Room last night on cable. It was a pretty good movie, but was hampered by the story putting its characters in some really stupid situations. I am glad I did not see this in the theater because there were many times in the story I was yelling at the TV. There are many places in the story that were just plain dumb. Stupid things like when Meg Altman calls 911 and they say "Please hold." Many times I was saying "That would not happen." The 911 call was just the worst case in the movie. Or how about the daughter with the insulin shots. Plug one of those in one of the robbers and they would be out in a second or two. Other then the hard to believe situations, the movie was pretty good. I would have just been an ass in the theater yelling at the screen. The opening credits were really unique. Very nicely done.

August 30, 2003

Friday the 13th (1980)

Haa Haa Haa Haa, Chhh Chhh Chhh Chhh. I saw this movie is a kid and have not seen it since. Last night it was on Cinimax so I had to watch it - Friday the 13th is such a horror classic. They don't make horror movies as gory as Friday the 13th. Geez it is bloody. No wonder kids had nightmares from watching Jason and Freddy reap terror. Maybe i'll go see Freddy vs. Jason, I hear it's not that bad.

July 28, 2003

Scooby-Doo (2002)

This is going to be a very short review. I have many things going on at the moment. I just finished watching Scooby Doo the movie. I must admit that at first I almost turn it off. It was silly and corny. But this movie was not as bad as National Security (I had to leave the theater). But after getting into the movie it brought back good memories of watching the Scooby Doo cartoons. Everything from the wardrobe to the voice of shaggy were done right. "Lets get jinky with it" was by far the best line in the entire film. The computer animation was done pretty well I though. I can't wait to see the sequel. Scooby Doo exceeded my expectations.

June 17, 2003

Back to the Future Trilogy DVD

I have spent the past 5 days watching the loads of extras on these 3 movies. It is amazing how much work was put into this DVD set. I borrowed this from a buddy of mine but I am going to buy it now! It is worth every penny. The quality of the movies is excellent. Bob Gale says in one of the many features that it is actually one generation better then what was shown in theaters. I am very impressed with the quality because my memory of these films is from VHS, bootlegged VHS actually. So watching these on DVD sure is nice. I have been wanting to see these movies on DVD for a while. The Back to the Future trilogy is a fond memory from my childhood. Just seeing these movies on DVD is enough to get this set. But I cannot stress enough how much extra commentary and features are on these 3 discs. All three discs have different features but all have 4 main features in common: The Making of Back to the Future, Making the Trilogy, Q & A with Robert Zemechis and Bob Gale, and Feature Commentary with Bob Gale and Neil Canton. These 4 things make up the most of the DVD and are the first things I watched (after watching the movies of course). The other extras found are pretty standard such as deleted scenes, out-takes, and special effects features. Each movie has an Animated Anecdotes (full length feature) track, but this did not work well at all on my DVD player. It does have a note that says: This function may affect playability on some DVD models. And it sure does because the animated anecdotes don't work. These anecdotes do however work in my PC I just found out. So I will have to watch that track on my computer. This is sorta like Pop Up Video on VH1 that has little bit of info that pop up on screen. Bob Gale, the Writer/Producer for the trilogy does a wonderful job. It is him that really makes this set shine. It is a shame that Robert Zemechis was not on the Feature Commentary but Bob Gale more then made up for it. He talked through out the entire movie, and explained quite a lot about the story, as well as how things might have gone but got changed in the writing process. One thing I was always amazed about was the amount of product placement in the trilogy. Many of the stories Bob Gale told were of product placement. He also explained some of the more obvious and not so obvious gags in the movie. There is so much information on the background of the film, the special effects, techniques and technologies created by ILM, and info about the story and plot points. The amount of extra features in this set is over and above what is seen in a DVD release these days. Bob Gale really makes all the features shine. He does the Feature Commentary as well as all the other features such as the deleted scenes, making of features, etc, etc. One of the many interesting things I learned about Back to the Future II is that Elijah Wood is one of the two kids in the Cafe 80's at the arcade. This is just one of the cool things I found out about the Back to the Future trilogy. These movies have always been in my 'all time favorites' list, and this DVD set shows so much more about the trilogy.

June 10, 2003

Gollum has a potty mouth!

Check out his MTV acceptance speech.

June 7, 2003

The Italian Job (2003)

I cannot stand it when a movie trailer shows not only plot points, but resolves key parts of the movie later on in the trailer. The Italian Job's trailer did exactly that - told the entire movie. They did that with the Episode 1 trailer to a large degree as well. I really was not interested in seeing The Italian Job. And would not have if it were not for my buddy Mike who wanted to see it. Of course the only reason he wanted to see it was because of the new Mini Coopers in it. They were pretty cool. There were some nice driving scenes. But this story was just about revenge over the death of someone. Very over cooked if you asked me. Now after saying that it wasn't a bad summer flick. I am interested in seeing the original now, that's for sure. It was not too long, it didn't drag on and on at all. I would have much rather seen Bruce Almighty, but The Italian Job was an above average film. It was no "wow" but you don't get those every time you go to the theater. It got pretty good reviews and did well at the box office so I must not the be the only one who liked it. Oh, one more thing, I noticed Spider Man in the movie.

May 20, 2003

"Weird Al" Yankovic - Poodle Hat

One of the nice thing about a college paper is that we get a lot of music to review. Most of the time this music is either crap, or its indie music. We do not get a lot of mainstream music. When we do it is great! Last week we got the new "Weird Al" CD and it kicks arse. It is as good as Running with Scissors. The Spoof on Eminem's Lose Yourself and Nelly's It's Getting Hot in Here are the best tracks. Ode to a Superhero, is about Spider-Man and the Spider-Man movie and sung to the tune of Piano Man. The Backstreet Boys, Avril Lavigne, Custom, and I think Tom Petty are spoofed as well. There are also great polka tracks that "Weird Al" always has on his albums. Another great CD from "Weird Al," go get it if you are a fan.

Matrix Reloaded Breaks Records

Duh! Right? As expected by many, The Matrix Reloaded shattered a number of records this weekend. The sequel came in at #1 at the U.S. box office, with $91.8 million over the weekend and $134 million since its opening Wednesday night. Some of the records the film broke include: biggest opening by an R-rated film (previously held by Hannibal at $58 million); biggest first four days of release (besting Spider-Man's $125.9 million); largest preview gross, for Wednesday night's showings starting at 10 PM, coming in around $5 million; the biggest Thursday opening of all time (shooting past Star Wars: Episode II); and Warner Brothers' best 3-day opening (their previous best was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, at $90.3 million).

May 16, 2003

New Matrix Revolutions Trailer

This is not the same one at the end of The Matrix Reloaded. I must say I like this one a lot better. Clicky clicky! I hear it has some scenes from Enter The Matrix (the video game) which is odd. Oh and that laugh by Smith, creepy!

May 15, 2003

The Matrix Reloaded, Review 1

I am gonna split this into two reviews for a couple of reasons. The first reason is I need to get to sleep, and that is the main reason. The second is because the movie does not come out until, well, today, May 15. I got to see the 10 PM show on May 14th. I was really amazed that the BG mall (we call it the small around here) had a special showing. I saw about 8 people there I knew too, which was pretty cool. As my friend Brandon put it "You know when the freaks come out." I am not gonna spoil anything in this review, at least I am not going to be blatant about it. The next review I will discuss spacific events in the movie. I don't know if the Directors did this on purpose or not but there is a heavy amount of philosophy about The Matrix and the Real World given by a lot of the actors. I was sitting in the front row at the theater, the rest of the row filled with kids under 15 yrs. old. The look on their faces during these scenes of heavy dialog about The Matrix (and other things) was nothing short of pure confusion. There is one scene at the very end of the movie I did not even catch all of. I am gonna have to watch the movie again to see that conversation again. I mean I would go see it again regardless. I just don't know if the directors did not deliberately put that much dialog in there to make people go back to see it another time. There is so much behind The Matrix that needs to be explained so I am glad these scenes were in the movie. It is just a shock since the first movie had hardly any scenes of lengthy monologe that explained the philosophy of how the Matrix and other things work. Still, too much talking. That is not to say the movie moves slow. It has very good pacing to it. There are a lot more fighting in Reloaded, and a lot more scenes of that green code stuff, as Neo can now see the The Matrix as code. There is more thinking you have to do while sitting in your seat eating your popcorn and guzzling your pop this time. More than the first movie. It was more thinking that I thought I would be doing watching Reloaded. Now that I am home and have absorbed the movie my mind is popIping with "oh" and "I see" and "I get it now" that my mind had not processed in the movie theater. It was way too much to process while sitting in the theater with my popcorn and pop. A serious amount of information overload. I would go as far as saying my mind had an orgasm of information to decipher. I think that (most) of the audience "got it" though. It did not detract from the flick, or make you irritated at it like it does in other movies I have seen. Those kids sitting next to me and all throughout the theater were sure confused at parts though. The information needed to be said, it needed to us the audience to understand the movie and the directors did it in a very smart way. I am however glad I did not have to take a bathroom break in the middle because of all the pop I had consumed. :-P I hate it when that happens. You do not want to get up and miss any part of this movie. Beyond the obvious reasons there are a lot of plot points and answers to lingering questions from the first movie (and answers to the entire lore of the Matrix) you do not want to miss. They put much more "thinking" into this second movie. There are three or so parts in the movie you really have to think about what they are saying. I think this was on purpose because now I am going to go back to the theater and be able to "think" a little clearer while watching Reloaded for the second time. The Burly Brawl scene that you should know about by now was wonderful. It was not when I expected it, and at the beginning of the brawl scene you find out something that was totally unexpected, Warner Bros. held this, like other secrets of Reloded very well until you saw the movie. The fight at the french dood's place was another big scene with a lot of melee weapons like swords and the like (We already had got to see how well Neo can handle a lamp post in the Burly Brawl scene, so you knew that this was also gonna be a good fight.). That was pretty cool. There was just a little bit too much flying around tho, and not only by Neo either. By far the best scene in the movie is the chase scene. This one part of the movie was the most costly as well. If you did your homework there actually was a highway constructed to shoot the entire scene. The chase with Trinity on a Ducati was the highlight of the entire scene. And I read she did that herself. I only wonder how much of it she did herself. The fight between Morpheus and an Agent on the top of a semi was pretty nice too. And I must say seeing two semi trucks hit head on and destroy each other was the best part of that entire scene! The new Bullet Time was blatantly and gratuitously used in the Burly Brawl scene. But man did it make that fight sweet. They used the new Bullet Time very well sprinkled out throughout the entire movie, more so then how they used Bullet Time in the first Matrix movie. This time I do not think the FX will get ripped off so easily. At least I hope not. Don't get me started about Matrix ripoffs. Can anyone say Bulletproof Munk? Going into the movie I knew there was going to be a cliffhanger of an ending. And the part of the movie I thought would be the spot where they would stop they didn't, which I am glad for. You get a little bit of closing information by the crew of the ship and then the movie ends. I think it was wrapped up enough tho. It does leave questions but you want that for the third movie. Good ending though. Oh and for god sakes DON'T leave when the credits roll. If you do you will miss the trailer for Revelations. I am just remembering reading that in the Wired mag article. So what did I do? I left when the credits rolled :-P Damn, well there is another reason to see it again. heh, how many reasons do you need to see this movie again? Later today, or tomorrow I will have a more indepth look into Reloaded. It will probably have some spoilers in it. You will just have to deal with that. Oh and for those of you who must put a letter or number on everything, i give this movie an A+.

May 13, 2003

A Date With the Matrix 2

Yeah, so I am gonna see the Matrix 2 tomorrow at The Small (small mall) at 10 PM. I for one cannot believe our little Cinimark 5 is having a special showing. But hey I am NOT gonna complain. heh.

Spider-Man DVD

Did you see the cameo by Stan Lee?? I did, but I admit I missed it when I first saw this film in the theature. It is when the Green Goblin first attacks the balcony at the parade. Stan Lee was also selling hot dogs in X-MEN when Senator Kelly walks up on the beach. I did not catch him in X2, and I have seen it twice now, grr. He must be in that one too! First off I have to give the DVD interface for Spider-Man a big fat F! I could have done something better in iDVD and I have done much better in DVD Studio Pro. Not only did you have to fiddle with the buttons to get them to work (the click area was a mystery on almost every button), but everything was very low rez. The buttons were low rez, and the informational 3D rendered text was also low rez. There is no excuse for this, not in this day and age. The menus in the Special Features DVD were not at all better. One of the best parts of the Special Features DVD was the E! Entertainment hour or so long feature. It was great, all expept for the PATHETIC web site based polls they did about superheros. Who is gonna win in EVERY poll they did? Gee, I don't know? Please tell me!? Spider-Man of course! Those polls were really bad. The special features included with Spider-Man are pretty good. There is a good bit of artwork to flip through. There is also a lot of background about the comics to read. I saw Spider-Man in the theature, and lets face it, the real reason we all went to see it was for Kirsten Dunst - Hello Nurse! The fact that the movie turned out to be great was an added bonus. :-P I never read comic books when I was a kid, but I loved the artwork of Marvel and DC, so I drew a lot of the characters a lot. So seeing Spder-Man like seeing X-MEN on the silver screen was something cool from my childhood. That is why I loved watching Spider-Man. I cannot wait till 2004 to see Spider-Man II when we get to see Dr. Octopus!

May 11, 2003

Indiana Jones Trilogy

*drools on keyboard*

Oh yea, November baby! Remastered "frame by frame" and in 5.1 audio. and a 4th disc of extras! I cannot wait!

Here is a great, yet a little dated, link posted by Jake. Thanks Jake.

I just read in a short interview in Maxim with Harrison Ford that they are still working on the script. Ford said they do not have an ending yet. So who knows when it will be coming out.

Matrix Article Mayhem

WOW there have been some great articles in recent magazines. Premeire, Wired, Popular Science and Time have all had some excellent coverage of the effects for the next 2 films (Yes, I do actually subscribe to all of those magazines). If you are looking for some good coverage about the behind the scenes stuff be sure to check these magazines out. They offer a lot more than what can be found on the web.

May 5, 2003

Starting a new Category today

I have recently seen a few movies and I want to write some stuff about them. So the Movies & DVD category is born. I plan to write about the DVDs I watch as well. the first 3 reviews up will be X2: XMEN United, Anger Management, and Phone Booth which I have seen in the last 2 weeks. I have a standard disclamer though. I will not try and keep the commentary about the movies spoiler free. It is pointless to talk about a movie that I have already seen and then have to weed out any of the plot revealing content.



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