Tag Archive for show

Movie Round-Up: June 5th, 2009

Land of the Lost:

I grew up on the show, which means I approach a remake with much hesitation.  Add to that the fact that I don’t really find Will Ferrell to be all that funny, and you’ve got a movie I am not itching to see.  But I’m sure it will make a ton of money.

The Hangover:

If you are going to go see one movie this weekend and aren’t dead set on seeing Land of the Lost, I suggest seeing The Hangover.  This movie is hilarious.  Just awesome.  Every actor seems so perfectly cast, and the whole thing is so absurd but it never quite goes into disgusting territory with its humor.  It is one night they will never forget, if only they could remember.

My Life In Ruins:

I wasn’t a big fan of My Big Fat Greek Wedding.  It was humorous.  It was cute.  But overall it was… eh…  So I went in to My Life In Ruins with the bar set pretty low.  And that’s probably why I enjoyed it so much.  It is humorous.  It is cute.  Greece is beautiful and the whole film is well shot.  And Richard Dreyfuss steals the show.  If you go see two movies this weekend, and one of them is The Hangover, make the other one My Life In Ruins and just skip Land of the Lost.

Jeremiah

What if there was a virus that somehow affected only people who had gone through puberty and killed them, all over the world?  That is the stage that is set for the TV show Jeremiah.  Don’t bother looking for it in your local listings, it ran on Showtime from 2002 to 2004.  The first season ran 20 episodes and the second season ran for 15, and I enjoyed every single one of them.

The major saving grace of this show is that they avoided mutants and monsters, it is just about people.  The show begins fifteen years after a virus killed off all the adults, making the oldest people on Earth around thirty years old or so.  The world is in disarray.  Since kids generally don’t know how to run complex machines everything eventually stopped, and not many kids know how to grow crops so starvation was a big problem.  They learned to fend for themselves.  And now, fifteen years later, towns run by bullies have solidified and barter cultures have arisen, and some kids have even spent time reading books instead of burning them trying to regain the knowledge they lost in “the Big Death”.

I was worried, of course, as I always am when watching shows that were cancelled that it would end poorly.  But Jeremiah managed to tell two seasons worth of stories and even end well.  So, if you are a Netflix user and you own an Xbox 360 with a Live Gold subscription, I highly recommend throwing this show into your instant queue and giving it a shot.

Last.fm

I’ve been a user of Last.fm for quite a while now.  Originally I would just hit it up occasionally to find a band or song and listen to it and maybe find some new music I’d never heard before.  Then, when the wife and I started having guests over to the house, either for parties or dinners, I put a PC up in the kitchen and dining room area where we could pick an artist and have random selections play in the back ground while we cooked, ate and hung out.

Then something happened.  With the idea that a television show could showcase and promote music through the site (something I still think every TV show should consider), I found myself spending entire work days on Last.fm, winding my way through genres of music.

So, I finally took the plunge and actually signed up for a free account there so I can actually store favorites and all that stuff.  This means, of course, I now have a profile there.  If you happen to also use the site, feel free to add me as a friend, and if you want to, let me know your profile so I can see what you are listening to.

The Edge of Disbelief

The wife and I have been watching the show Alias lately, on DVD of course since its been off the air a couple of years. I must say that I am really enjoying it. Overall, J.J. Abrams proved that you can do incredibly complicated multi-season stories where each episode is also satisfying within the whole, something he would later lose during season three of Lost.

While the show includes many quasi-realistic gadgets and situations, its normally just right at that line of believability without going over into complete bull shit… at least until the last couple episodes of season three. This may not be exact, but the scene is that they’ve just put together this machine and slapped a container of goo in it, and it begins drawing out these wavy lines, which are determined to be a brain-wave pattern, and the dialog goes:

SLOANE: Each individual has a signature brain-wave pattern as unique as a fingerprint. So to exploit this, the DoD’s developed an experimental satellite network capable of remote encephalography.
SYDNEY: Reading brain-waves from orbit.

See… I’d buy that perhaps brain-waves are as unique as a fingerprint, but reading brain-waves from orbit? I had been comfortably standing at the edge of the ocean, happily watching the waves hit the beach, and this exchange was like stepping into the water to find out that despite the sunny day and warm winds the ocean water is so very very cold. I was snapped right out of the show to turn to the wife and say, “Did they just say reading brain-waves from orbit?” Luckily, they didn’t dwell on it, they didn’t show the team calling the brain-scanner office to track down the pattern in question, they just said “Found her” and moved on. In fact, its unclear if they even used the brain-waves at all as they may have just had a hit on one of the identities they knew the girl had been using. Of course, season three ended shortly there after with the girl in question being on the loose again, so its possible that the orbiting thought police might be utilized in season four to find her again. I hope they don’t…

Anyway, I’ve heard that season five wasn’t so hot, but I plan on watching the whole thing. I’ll post a review of the entire run once I’m finished.

The Sarah Connor Chronicles

11 out of 13 nots
for Terminator fighting awesomeness

When I first heard about the new TV show The Sarah Connor Chronicles, I was excited.  I love the Terminator movies, and I always wanted to know more about the points in between, particularly the gap from Terminator 2 to Terminator 3.  However, after watching the premier episode, I was left with a general “meh” attitude.  The show certainly didn’t suck.  It wasn’t garbage, but it also lacked a certain pizazz I was hoping for.

I’m glad I stuck with the show, because in my opinion it got much better… more after the break.

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The Best Things In Life Are Free

Have you ever felt the stars align?

I was checking my email on Tuesday while I was working and I got what at first glance I thought was spam email. It was Ticketmaster telling me about some concerts in my area that I might be interested in. At least, that’s what it looked like. I ignored it and did some other things, but about an hour later I was staring at it again.

It wasn’t spam. It was an invitation to get some complimentary concert tickets. Velvet Revolver with Alice In Chains and Sparta on October 3rd at the HiFi Buys Amphitheater. I suppose the reality is that the concert was not selling as well as they wanted, and rather than play to empty seats, they were giving away tickets. I “bought” 4.

Nobody went with the wife and I. It was too short notice and everyone had plans or something. Except one guy, but he had a bad day at work and decided not to go out. No loss though, they were free tickets, if no one went it didn’t matter.

We got to the show and it was worse than I thought. Ticket sales had been so bad that at the door they were allowing people with lawn seats to upgrade to reserved seats for no charge. The lawn was closed. Even with the free ticket offer they’d spammed out (likely to everyone who had purchased tickets to a “rock” show in the past 30, 60 or 90 days … I went to Def Leppard) they hadn’t given away enough tickets to fill the seats. The ones we got online were pretty good. Section 203, row QQ on the inside aisle.

We sat down and listened to Sparta. They did what a good opening act should do. They played, they played well, and even got me wanting to go find their CD and give it a listen.

When Sparta left the stage, we went back out to the Zune booth… oh wait, I left that out. On the way in, we got raffle tickets. After the first band, the Zune booth was having a drawing. We won a 30GB Zune. Been playing with it this morning, its pretty sweet.

Alice In Chains took to the stage next… I saw AIC for the first time back in 1991 when they opened for Van Halen on the For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge tour. I’ve been a fan since Facelift. When Layne Staley died, I figured the band was done. Well, they aren’t done. With new lead vocalist William DuVall, the band is tight. There were times during the night that I could swear the man had to be lip syncing. It was eerie, but also fantastic. They played through all the hits and fan favorites. I look forward to hearing more from Alice In Chains.

After another break, Velvet Revolver took the stage. I’m not a huge fan of VR, in fact the only song I really know is Fall to Pieces. Scott Weiland has decided, apparently, that he is a Mick Jagger impersonator, and his voice just doesn’t sound like it used to. Stone Temple Pilots was a great band that I loved. With VR, at least live, Scott sounds like he’s on helium or been kicked in the nuts, about an octave above what would sound good. They played a few songs I didn’t know and really at that point it wasn’t likely that their performance was going to surpass the previous band, it was a weeknight, and I hate traffic. We left.

All in all, a free concert, a free 30GB Zune… a good night.

Music to the Masses

Let me just get this out of the way… I like Kelly Clarkson’s music. There, I said it, now let us move on.

CNN has a story up today about Kelly canceling her tour. And on one hand I feel bad for her because she was having poor ticket sales and I feel bad for her fans because the ones who did buy tickets won’t get to see her (No, I didn’t buy tickets), on the other hand I’m kinda glad to see another arena tour fail.

Don’t get me wrong… I love a good arena show. But there is a certain type of arena show I like. For example, in August I’ll be going to see Def Leppard, Styx and Foreigner. And whenever Poison puts on one of their Glam Slam Metal Jams, I’m there. I love a good festival show, like the local radio station 99x’s Big Day Out. But a huge arena show needs bands that demand it, or needs to feature a few bands. U2, prime candidates for a solo arena tour. Same with the Police on their current reunion. Not only do they have a huge library of their own music which will easily fill two hours on stage (plus an encore or two), but they have the current pull to fill the seats. While each band on my 3-band August show ticket could have at one time filled an arena on their own, these days they haven’t had a whole lot of hits.

Kelly Clarkson is a pretty good artist. She sings well, performs well, and all in all I like her. I would definitely go see her live… if it were a smaller show. For her Atlanta date, she was playing the Arena at Gwinnett Center, half house (which is actually more than half), running her about 8,000 seats, give or take. For $50 to $70 (plus handling fees), that’s just too much to wind up being in the nose bleeds for an artist with only her third album coming out and a handful of top 40 songs. Now, put her down at the Roxy or the Tabernacle and drop the price to $15 or $20, I guarantee she’d be a sellout. Heck, in a smaller venue I might actually be willing to pay that $50 or more for an artist who is know to hang around and talk to the fans or put on an awesome show. For $50 I expect to be able to watch the artist perform, not to watch the artist perform on a giant TV because I’m too far away to watch the artist.

I see the draw of the arena show, the same draw it always has had: more money and less time. You play one show, 5,000+ people at $30+ a head, even if you only take home 25% of that, its $37,500+ for one night. Do a tour of 20 or 30 of those and you can probably net near a million dollars. Plan it right and you can do that tour in under 3 months, and take the other 9 off to work on songs and plan your next tour, or maybe do a leg through Europe or Asia. Meanwhile if you do the little shows, you have to do more of them, you have to stay on the road. A year, 18 months at a stretch maybe, at least that’s what those guys on Behind the Music always say. It would be hard work… like, I don’t know… working retail every day, or sitting in a cubicle punching out programming code. Except, you’d be in music, and seeing the world, and making a living entertaining people and putting smiles on faces. Arenas always seemed to me to be a way to facelessly rock as many people as possible.

Maybe I just need to catch more bands on the upswing. I went and saw No More Kings play down at Smith’s Olde Bar, and I and my friends chatted with Pete Mitchell for nearly a half hour. But that doesn’t cover it entirely… I’ve seen Better Than Ezra in concert a half dozen times, once or twice they were part of a festival where I got to see twenty bands, but mostly they’ve been at places like the Roxy, or Underground, or even in the Centennial Park, and even though I’ve never met the band, their shows felt more personal, they were better.

Anyway, enough of my rambling. Ms. Clarkson, if you or your people read this, come to Atlanta, play a small show, I’ll be there and I’ll sing your praises.

The Fall Season Preview Review

Over at Laurel’s TV Picks, she’s gotten up her annual Fall Season Grid.

I’ve spent the last week taking a look at the various clips and plot summaries of all the new shows and returning shows… what follows is my opinion of the new fall season as it currently stands. Keep in mind, some schedule juggling and even show re-tooling happens, so take what I say with a grain of salt.

Monday:

The returning shows worth watching are How I Met Your Mother (CBS, 8pm), Two And A Half Men (CBS, 9pm), Rules of Engagement (CBS, 9:30pm), Prison Break (FOX, 8pm), and Heroes (NBC, 9pm). Gone are The Class, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and a couple shows that get canned early on. Of the 5 new shows on Monday, it goes like this: Sam I Am (ABC, 9:30pm) is about a girl with amnesia who wants to be a better person that she used to be, so basically My Name is Earl about a woman with head trauma, might be funny so I’ll give it a look see. The Big Bang Theory (CBS, 8:30pm), two nerds live next door to a hot chick, since I’m already watching the other 3 shows in CBS’s comedy block, I’ll give this a chance. Journeyman (NBC, 10pm) is about a journalist who travels in time… yeah, I thought it sounded stupid too until I watched the preview for it, now I figure its weird enough for me to like and to get canceled, I give it 6 episodes, max. K-Ville (FOX, 9pm) is about police in New Orleans working in a city still recovering from Katrina, pass. Aliens in America (CW, 8:30pm), something about a Pakistani Muslim exchange student, and like everything else on UPN.. I mean the CW’s Monday night comedies, I won’t be watching it.

Five shows from last season, three new ones… total of five and a half hours of TV.

Tuesday:

Returning shows worth watching on Tuesday… The Unit (CBS, 9pm). Shows not returning: Gilmore Girls, Veronica Mars, Standoff and the Knights of Prosperity. Much hate for the networks for what they did to my Tuesdays. New show breakdown: Cavemen (ABC, 8pm), the Geico commercials are not funny and I predict this show will be no better, pass. Carpoolers (ABC, 8:30pm) is about businessmen who carpool together and I presume will tell stories about their lives… what better show to pair up with the suckfest Cavemen will be than another show that sounds like a suckfest, pass. Cane (CBS, 10pm) is the story about a Cuban American sugar and rum producing family, a plot which sounds like it would be a great daytime soap, but as a weekly nighttime drama, I’ll pass. Chuck (NBC, 9pm), about a guy who gets a government server downloaded to his head so suddenly they need to use him as an agent… reality check, they’d actually throw him in Gitmo and torture him until they got their info back, I predict this show will last just as long as most other robot/computerized human shows, less than a season, not worth my time. New Amsterdam (FOX, 8pm) is the name for Old New York, and this show is about a guy old enough to have lived there, he’s immortal, he’s a homicide detective, and only true love will make him mortal again, but it looks interesting enough to garner a viewing or two. Reaper (CW, 9pm) stars the kid from The Loop (another unfairly canceled show, but not from Tuesday) as a kid who winds up being the devil’s bounty hunter, now some of you may be old enough to remember Brimstone, this doesn’t look at good, but might be funny, so I’ll watch it.

One returning show and two new shows… three hours.

Wednesday:

Returning shows worth watching: ‘Til Death (FOX, 8:30pm) and Bones (FOX, 9pm). New shows: Pushing Daisies (ABC, 8pm) about a guy who can bring people back to life, some more permanent than others, I don’t really understand, I might watch it, I might not. Private Practice (ABC, 9pm), where Dr. Addison Montgomery from Grey’s Anatomy runs off to California, to be honest, a spin off hasn’t looked this good in ages, definitely a keeper. Dirty Sexy Money (ABC, 10pm) could be interesting and has a great cast, I might watch it, but I suspect the name, if kept, will be its downfall. Kid Nation (CBS, 8pm) has a bunch of kids living in a pioneer ghost town making their own rules… interesting sociology experiment, awful TV show idea, pass. Bionic Woman (NBC, 9pm), I am hoping this is great, but I’m worried it won’t be, I’ll be watching to see. Life (NBC, 10pm), a wrongly convicted cop is freed and returns to the job… totally unrealistic, in the real world he would sue for millions, win, and retire deservedly, but the show might still be okay. Back To You (FOX, 8pm), Kelsey Grammer returns to TV in front of the camera and it looks to be pretty funny, it will round out my two hours on FOX nicely. Gossip Girl (CW, 9pm)… my hatred for this show known no bounds, seriously, I hope it gets worse ratings than Veronica Mars ever did and they cancel it in under six episodes.

The round up… two returning shows, three definite new shows with two or three maybes… four to six hours.

Thursday:

Shows from last season worth watching: Ugly Betty (ABC, 8pm), Grey’s Anatomy (ABC, 9pm), My Name is Earl (NBC, 8pm), 30 Rock (NBC, 8:30pm), Scrubs (NBC, 9:30pm), Smallville (CW, 8pm), Supernatural (CW, 9pm). Gone are The O.C., Six Degrees and Happy Hour (the show so good they canceled it twice). New shows: Big shots (ABC, 10pm) just doesn’t look good. Kitchen Nightmares (FOX, 9pm), I didn’t watch Hell’s Kitchen, I won’t watch this.

Seven old shows and no new ones keeps me at five and a half hours for the night.

Friday:

Returning shows: Men In Trees (ABC, 8pm), Ghost Whisperer (CBS, 8pm), Numb3rs (CBS, 10pm), Las Vegas (NBC, 9pm). Gone to the big schedule in the sky are… well… nothing I watched. New Shows: Women’s Murder Club (ABC, 9pm) is based on a series of books by James Patterson, I enjoyed the first book, the wife enjoyed them all, but what I’ve seen of the show so far was… unimpressive. Moonlight (CBS, 9pm), I really liked Forever Knight, but I’m not sure about this new telling of the (now tired) vampire trying to do good tale, may give it a shot though. The Singing Bee (NBC, 8pm), pass. Search for the Next Great American Band (FOX, 8pm), I’ll give it a chance since I always thought American Idol with groups instead of solo artists would be cool. Nashville (FOX, 9pm), pseudo-reality TV like Laguna Beach annoys me, pass.

So I keep four hours from last season and gain maybe three more… six or seven hours.

Saturday:

Saturdays are a dead zone of repeats and encores, where they don’t even try to schedule new shows any more since people don’t watch… or maybe they would if anything worth watching, aimed at the people who don’t go out… I’m thinking Sci-Fi and Horror shows would do well here, but the networks obviously don’t want to change a good (bad) thing and aim to continue their rerun filled Saturdays.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Sunday:

Returning shows worth my time: Brothers & Sisters (ABC, 10pm), Shark (CBS, 10pm) and the Family Guy (FOX, 8pm). Nothing lost here for me… as for new shows: Viva Laughlin (CBS, 8pm) at first glance sounds uninspired, a guy going to run a casino loses his funding and has to turn to his enemy for help, especially once you know its a remake of a UK show, but with Hugh Jackman involved and the mention of the integral part music will play… my interest is piqued and I may give this a chance. Life is Wild (CW, 8pm), about a family that moves to Africa, can jump in a lake, pass. The CW’s other Sunday offerings, CW Now and Online Nation are going to get a pass from me as well.

Three shows kept, maybe one gained… two and a half or three and a half hours for the night.

Not On The Schedule:

You might have noticed that there are many shows I didn’t mention, like Lost, Medium, One Tree Hill, October Road, and Notes From the Underbelly, all shows that were not canceled, and yet they don’t appear on the schedule… it seems that the networks are hedging their bets, holding shows in reserve until they cancel some early failures or waiting until the schedule shakes out a bit to find a place for their shows to get good ratings. There are also new shows picked up but not on the schedule. I’m not going to touch any of the reality shows, most reality shows are crap and you people should stop watching them so they’ll stop making them, but there are no less than SIX new reality shows and game shows waiting in the wings, and each of them sounds worse than the canceled Thank God You’re Here. On the comedy side there are four: The IT Crowd (NBC) is a spin off of the Office, or so it seems, and like the Office it is an import from the UK. Miss Guided (ABC) looks funny, and its got Judy Greer in it and I want to see her on a show that doesn’t get canceled for once, but ABC doesn’t have a spot for it until Dancing with the Stars ends or if one of its new Tuesday shows fail… lucky for Judy, both Tuesday shows look like stinkers. FOX has two half hours waiting for a chance, The Return of Jezebel James comes from the people who brought you Gilmore Girls, and The Rules for Starting Over comes from the Farrelly brothers, both are proven good writing teams, but both shows seem a bit iffy, I’ll watch them if they ever make it to the big leagues. On the Drama front you’ve got all sorts of stuff… NBC is holding Lipstick Jungle, from the woman who gave us Sex in the City and starring Brooke Shields, I’ll pass on it, but the wife will probably want to watch it, so I expect it to come in and replace something I want to watch, like the Bionic Woman. CBS, the network that used to be for old people, has Swingtown in its bullpen, and it has to be the oddest show I’ve ever read about… set in the 1970’s, a couple moves to a new “swinging” neighborhood… and if you don’t know why “swinging” is in quotes, then this show is probably not for you, even if you do know, this show is probably not for you. ABC is holding on to Eli Stone and The Cashmere Mafia, the former, about a lawyer who begins hallucinating and doing good things, might be quirky enough to succeed if it gets a chance, the latter is basically the Lipstick Jungle but on a different network. And lastly, FOX is keeping two shows off the schedule for now… the first is Canterbury’s Law, and the best thing going for it is that its coming from the same team that does Rescue Me over on FX. The second show is The Sarah Connor Chronicles, yes, that Sarah Connor… taking place between Terminator’s 2 and 3, Sarah and John, with the help of a reprogrammed Terminator run for their lives and try to make sure the future is safe from the annihilation of humanity.

In there, you’ve probably got another four hours of shows I’d watch if given the chance.

All in all, the new fall season is looking to be about thirty hours of TV watching per week. Of course, if the networks repeat what they did this season, with all the delays, hiatuses and cancellations, I might not ever have more than twenty in a single week.

And there you have it… Enjoy.

Storm Front

The Sci-Fi Channel series The Dresden Files piqued my interest, so I picked up the first couple of books in the series by Jim Butcher and read Storm Front, the first one.

I love the TV show. Its fun, sometimes funny, with a bit of magic and darkness. The book is about the same, though as always with works taken from page to screen (big or small), it is only “about” the same. There are differences, but not so much so that it hurts either.

If you don’t know what The Dresden Files is, its about a man named Harry Dresden and he is a wizard. This isn’t your Harry Potter type wizardry, it is definitely not aimed at kids. Dresden lives in a world where magic exists, but its sort of a secret. Not the magic itself, but the White Council that presides over it all and tries to keep people from using the darker magics. Harry comes from a powerful line of wizards, all of whom are dead. From the show we know that Harry’s dad was killed by his uncle, and that Harry ultimately killed his uncle (in self defence). None of that is in this first book, not clearly anyway. There are hints that his family line might not be the cleanest around, and there is a judgement for murder against him currently held in check. Harry even narrates that he killed a man with black magic and that is why he is reluctant to tread in those waters again.

As it stands, Harry consults for the police as a “psychic” on weird cases as well as doing his own brand of private eye work. The book almost drips with old noir style storytelling, and in part that is what makes it so good. There is evil in the world, and if good is going to win its only going to do so by the skin of its teeth and by the barest of threads, and never emerge unscathed.

With the first book down, I’m really looking forward to the rest of the series, so I whole-heartedly recommend Storm Front. Of course, I don’t like to read series books back to back, so number two of The Dresden Files will have to wait until I’m done with the new Hellboy book.

Night Stalker

Last TV season, I got hooked on Night Stalker, an update to the old Kolchak series. The new show had Stewart Townsend as the lead in the place of Darren McGavin, and went for a younger and hipper style. But despite that skew, it was still a dark, violent and brooding collection of stories about a reporter trying to understand why his wife was killed.

I was really pissed when they cancelled the show, because I felt it was just getting started… that and the fact that the last episode they aired was part one of a two part story. Man, I hate that.

Luckily, they put out the six episodes they aired plus four episodes they didn’t out on DVD.

Over the last couple days, I’ve watched all ten episodes and the commentaries, and I plan to read all the unfilmed scripts they included on the DVD-ROM section. All that brings me to one conclusion… damn, I wish they hadn’t cancelled this show. But then, hey, I’m used to stuff I love getting canned. So, if you like horror/thriller/mystery type stuff, pick this up when you can, it was worth the watching.