Thursday, March 27, 2008

Press Release: 21


A couple weeks back I started talking about the new movie 21 starring Kate Bosworth and tommorrow the movie finally hits theaters. Here are the last two characters profiles from the film and a Pres Realease (you can find the widge that is talked about on the previous post Previewing 21):

Fisher (Jacob Pitts)

video


Kianna (Liza Lapira)

video



Blackjack fans on MySpace looking forward to the March 28, 2008 release of 21, the high stakes action adventure from Columbia Pictures, can hone their skills and play for individual and college bragging rights with the new 21-themed blackjack widget, available now. A widget is a piece of software a user can grab and put on their own personal website.

In addition, users can enter the 21 Beat The House Sweepstakes for a chance to win a casino-style blackjack table, $1,000 in cash, and other valuable prizes.

Commenting on the announcement, Dwight Caines, executive vice president, worldwide digital marketing strategy, said, “Every year, millions of people travel to Las Vegas in the hopes of winning big. Most leave town licking their wounds and counting their losses, but 21 is inspired by the true story of a team of players from M.I.T., real geniuses, who used their powers and skills to beat Vegas at its own game. With this widget, users can experience the excitement of blackjack and become experts in Vegas’ only beatable game.”

The blackjack widget is skinned to promote 21. When MySpace members register to play, they will also identify their colleges (or alma mater). As they win games, they will earn points not only for the individual leaderboard, but also for a college leaderboard, so players will compete simultaneously for bragging rights among their peers and their schools.

The widget was built by Nabbr, a company that creates interactive widgets for premium content owners and distributes them to millions of users on the Nabbr Network. .

Zeeshan Zaidi, Chief Content Officer and Head of Business Development for Nabbr, said, “We’re thrilled to be building this widget for 21. We can’t wait for this movie and we think it’s a perfect fit for our wide reach into the social networks. As soon as we heard about the project, we brainstormed ways to take this widget to a new level – we wanted to build something that would be sticky and fun for MySpace users. Our 21-skinned blackjack widget does that.”

Columbia Pictures' action/adventure 21 is inspired by the true story of the very brightest young minds in the country – and how they took Vegas for millions.

Ben Campbell (Jim Sturgess) is a shy, brilliant M.I.T. student who – needing to pay school tuition – finds the answers in the cards. He is recruited to join a group of the school’s most gifted students that heads to Vegas every weekend armed with fake identities and the know-how to turn the odds at blackjack in their favor. With unorthodox math professor and stats genius Micky Rosa (Kevin Spacey) leading the way, they’ve cracked the code. By counting cards and employing an intricate system of signals, the team can beat the casinos big time. Seduced by the money, the Vegas lifestyle, and by his smart and sexy teammate, Jill Taylor (Kate Bosworth), Ben begins to push the limits. Though counting cards isn’t illegal, the stakes are high, and the challenge becomes not only keeping the numbers straight, but staying one step ahead of the casinos’ menacing enforcer: Cole Williams (Laurence Fishburne). The film is directed by Robert Luketic. The screenplay is by Peter Steinfeld and Allan Loeb, based on the book Bringing Down the House by Ben Mezrich. The producers are Dana Brunetti, Kevin Spacey, and Michael De Luca.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

First Impressions: Miss Guided


Judy Greer with Jamie Lynn SpearsThere is nothing worse than watching great actors slumming it on less than quality projects (think Kristen Bell in anything she has done not named Veronica Mars or Pootie Tang). Also landing in that category is Judy Greer who seems to get wasted as the sidekick in mundane chick flick. Then the few great roles she gets, like the slutty Bluth secretary on Arrested Development, are fleeting at best.

The Cast of Miss GuidedGreer gets a her first chance to get out of the shadows to as the star of Miss Guided the story of a guidance councilor who goes back to her old high school. Naturally she is easily the best part of the show. Sadly everyone around her are just one note or just plain boring. Kristoffer Polaha (North Shore) fills the boring quota as the object of Greer’s affection as the Shop Teacher turned Spanish teacher who know as much as the launguarge as his students.

Chris ParnellBut Greer has to fight for him with Brooke Burke (also North Shore), the English teacher that also graduated from the school as was everything Greer wasn’t back then. As for the authority figures there is the Earl Billings (never was on North Shore) as the momotone prncipal and Chris Parnel (Staurday Night Live) as second in command who seems like he is just playing an over ran skit.

The three episodes that have aired are mediocre at best, and someone should tell Ashton Kutcher, one of the executive producers, that is not a very good idea to include himself in his own creation because he is much better when someone else creates his characters for him. On the other hand, guest star Jamie Lynn Spears, sans baby bump, is by far the better actress in the family compared to her sister’s cringeworthy stab at acting on How I Met Your Mother.

Verdict: It is nice to see Judy Greer front and center unfortunately everyone around her, from the writers, to the actors, to the directors have dropped the ball. Don’t expect ABC to create anymore episodes than those already in the can. Miss Guided airs Thursday at 8:00 and 8:30 on ABC. You can stream episodes over at ABC.com.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing


The Odd Couple - Gnarls Barkley

There are basically two types of One Hit Wonders. There are the ones that put out extremely catchy songs, but you know you that do not have a second hit in them (think Lou Bega). Then there are the types whose first singles are so big, radio just doesn’t let them achieve a second hit because they are too busy playing the first one to bother given another of their songs a chance (think Semisonic). And that second route is what happened to Gnarls Barkley when, to this day, radio just keeps on spinning Crazy despite Smiley Faces and Gone Daddy Gone being great songs in their own rights.

One reason why the first group fails is they keep on trying to recreate their one and only hit. But don’t expect to hear anything like Crazy on Gnarls Barkley’s follow up album, The Odd Couple because the duo has already moved on. And they didn’t need to because with Danger Mouse’s seemingly never-ending well of beats, the group doesn’t need to try something they have already done. If there is anything similar to their debut on the new disk is Gnarls Barkley still manages to sound like something you have heard before and nothing you have ever heard before at the same time.

When you push the boundaries as far as Gnarls Barkley does, there is bound to be a misstep or two, for The Odd Couple, that comes in the form of Open Book where it sounds like Danger Mouse created a beat and thought to himself that it would be cool if Cee-Lo would unleash a vocal tirade over a backwards version of it. And sadly there aren’t any subliminal messages in there (or least none that I could distinguish).

Despite nothing as intrinsic as Crazy on the album (not that anyone should expect that) there are plenty of tracks worthy of multiple spins. First on the list is Who’s Gonna Save a Soul, a dark psychedelic trip that cuts so deep it will stay with you long after the album is done playing. On the other end of the spectrum, Run (I’m a Natural Disaster) is a frantic call to arms to anyone who wants to write the group off as too weird complete with cheerleader type shouts with Cee-Lo singing like he is running along side and a children storytelling breakdown in the middle just for fun.

Elsewhere there is Going On that incorporates Hendrix type guitars, gospel organs, and Motown snares that will have you clapping along. Blinds Mary is a bouncy pop song that will male you want to grab the nearest hand and skip along in a park. The album ends with A Little Better and an infectious bass line that is almost as good as Crazy’s but that is where the too seminaries end for the two songs. But the true power of The Odd Couple is that no matter how many times you listen to it, you will hear something you didn’t hear before.

Song to Download - Going On

The Odd Couple gets a Terror Alert Level: High [ORANGE] on my Terror Alert Scale.



Gnarls Barkley on iTunes


Monday, March 24, 2008

57 Channels and Only This Is On vol. XXV


Quote of the Week: You know, in the future when we are disembodied brains in a jars, we are going to look back at this as eight hours well wasted. (Sheldon, The Big Bang Theory)

Song of the Week: I Feel the Earth Move - Carole King (as sung by Maggie and Taylor, Eli Stone)

Big News of the Week: SciFi Channel Upfront: The Battlestar Galactica Preview I posted over the weekend wasn’t the only thing to come out of last Monday’s presentation, but too much to cover here as it will overrun this segment, so expect a full rundown as soon as tomorrow.

Coalition Links of the Week:
Buzz tried her hand at casting the spinoff of Beverly Hills, 90210. (BuzzSugar)

This week, we interviewed Eddie Izzard and Minnie Driver about Season 2 of The Riches on FX. (Daemon's TV)

Mikey's dreams for a weekly dose of Judy Greer finally came true, and if Miss Guided's momentum doesn't slow down, it may even be worthy of her talents. (Mikey Likes TV)

Marcia lists her five favorite TV characters of the moment. Naturally, Barney takes the top spot. (Pop Vultures)

Vance loves Judy Greer! Likes Miss Guided. (Tapeworthy)

This week, Jace was all about the Paley Festival (his fifth!) where he attended events for Pushing Daisies, Chuck, Judd Apatow, and the Buffy the Vampire Slayer reunion. (Televisionary)

Dan pondered Battlestar Galactica's Jamie Bamber and House's Hugh Laurie in an effort to figure out which English actor does the best American accent. (TiFaux)

We list the 5 Shows you should be watching! (the TV Addict)

Kate would have cut the entire bottom three (plus Erik) on Top Chef. (TV Filter)


The Big Bang Theory: I had a fear going into the episode that maybe it lost some stream after the momentum it built after an extremely weak pilot, but the first episode back had me laughing out load the whole time thanks to Sheldon’s multiple one liners. Even the guys not named Sheldon were actually funny this week. Although I have to admit that the closet scene hit a little too close to home for me. Check out the latest episodes over at Innertube. You can also download or The Big Bang Theory on iTunes.


How I Met Your Mother: Here is what really bugs me about this show, thery just completely forget or possibly ignore major plot points. The whole B-story line was built around keeping Lily from ruining her ideal apartment, but wasn’t it ruined a long time ago when they learned that it downwind from some air polluter? And if they continue to tease the Mother again like they did tonight for the rest of the season, I may have to jump ship. And had I made my Top 10 Character List after Barney made an That’s So Raven reference, he would have been left off the list. Check out the latest episodes over at Innertube. You can also download How I Met Your Mother on iTunes.


Survivor: Again I was so spoiled early this season that no blind side leaves a bad taste in my mouth. At this point I am just really ready for a merge. And I can’t believe Kathy jumped ship this late. Check out the latest episode over at Innertube.

Survivor on iTunes



Lost: Seriously, all this time Michael has been in New York City where he can’t talk to Walt. No scenes of how he exactly got from the island to NYC. And then after all that he wants to kill himself. And on top of that, he can’t because the island won’t let him. Seriously. But hey, at least we finally learned the Zeke was a gay homosexual once and for all. Who says Lost doesn’t give us answers?

As for the other big news, the someone that will die as advertised in last week’s promo was, um, that one dude whose name I don’t care enough to remember. And don’t tell me Rousseau but it too because if there was a place where I could buy stock in Rousseau wasn’t mortally wounded and will pop up before the season after she is uber-fast healed by the island is over I would invest my savings in it. If she is indeed dead, I will be extremely mad because one of the very few reasons I have stuck by the show was because I was hoping for a Rousseau flashback. And why not show us who shot random dude? It has to be The Others right? Whitmore’s guys would be farfetched. The only other group I could think of, if it isn’t a new faction, would be the Dharma people. Check out the latest episode over at ABC.com.

Lost iTunes



Eli Stone: Maybe the strongest episode yet even if Dr. Abbott and Ed Stevens have been MIA lately. And even though I was a little weary that the Big Head Barry storyline was dragging out a bit too long, I liked how he got over on his lawyers. Hopefully Maggie doesn’t spend too much in Ohio (but if they want to do some on location shots, shout me a holla) and I am wondering how her whole having a boyfriend plays out and please let it turn out to be Tom Lenk who had a blink and you will miss it cameo two episodes ago. Check out the latest episode over at ABC.com. You can also download Eli Stone on iTunes.


Next Week’s Pick: Greek, Monday at 8:00 on ABC Family: A thoroughly enjoyable summer season returns tonight. One advantage it had during the summer was the lack of competition but luckily Mondays are not as log jammed as it was in the fall with NBC opting for crappy game shows instead of scripted drama so you just have to decide what to watch between Greek and The Big Bang Theory/How I Met Your Mother at 8:00 and which to watch on tape (or Tivo for you pretentious types) at 9:00. I just hope that Frannie, who landed in at number ten on my favorite characters list, and all her Republican spouting wisdom gets more screen time this season. You can check up on last season streaming the episodes on ABCFamily.com or you can download Greek on iTunes while the DVD is currentl under $20 on Amazon (see below).