Saturday, November 10, 2012

Best of the Week - 11/10/12

Quote of the Week: Honey, you are fighting for your future in front of a disciplinary committee, not entertaining the secret service. (Claire, Modern Family)

Song of the Week: Low Rising – The Swell Season (Castle)

Scene of the Week:

Big News of the Week: Mackenzie Was Voted off the Voice!: Just kidding, the real big news was the election. I did not care for either candidate (is it too soon to put up a Huntsman 2016 yard sign?) so I knew the country would lose either way. But if there was a winner Tuesday it was Nate Silver of Five Thirty Eight. Even though I did not really cared about the outcome, I am a big stats geek and still poured over the daily polls, and Five Thirty Eight was daily reader. And after getting forty nine state correct in 2008, Silver correctly predicted all fifty states this time around (assuming Florida stays in the Obama column, but it is Florida, so we may not know until January). As a stat geek, I know actually correctly predicting the outcome of fifty states based on polls in itself is a statistical anomaly. Although it is a little depressing that after twenty months of campaigning, around twenty-five debates, and over a billion dollars nothing really changed in Washington: Obama got reelected, the Senate still belongs to the Democrats and the House is still being ruled by the Republicans. Seriously people, in 2014 stop voting for the “R” or “D” besides a candidate’s name, look for the “I” and then vote for the other candidate. That is the only way to get real change in Washington.

Preview Picture of the Week:

Wedding Band premiering tonight on TBS

Free Download of the Week: The Noise Trade Loft Sessions Mixtape – Rachael Yamagata

New Album Release of the Week: Lotus (Deluxe Version) - Christina Aguilera

New DVD Release of the Week: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Complete Classic Series Collection

Video of the Week: When I heard there was going to be a romantic zombie movie, my first thought was, oh goodness no. Even worse it is coming from the same studio that released those horrible romantic vampire movies. Then I saw the trailer for Warm Bodies. It may be one of those movies where all the good parts in the trailer, but it at least will get me to watch. And bonus points for Teresa Palmer who should be more famous than she is.

Next Week Pick of the Week: Space Dive, Sunday at 7:00 on the National Geographic Channel: The world was captivated last month when Felix Baumgarter traveled up 120,000 feet to do a sky dive. And the National Geographic Channel documented the dive with more than twenty cameras and now you can se the whole jupm like you have never seen before in this special.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Around the Tube - 11/9/12

I have gotten a plethora of cool press releases have been flooding my inbox recently that you may find interesting. This post will include blurbs on Mel Brooks Strikes Back!, Downton Abbey, Harry Potter, The Notebook, Battlestar Galactica, Mankind: The Story of Us, The Americans, Jim Rome on Showtime, the mayans, American Life, Dastardly, and Esthero.

- Mel Brooks fans (which I assume is everyone) mark your calendar because on December 10 at 9:00 HBO will be airing Mel Brooks Strikes Back! Appearing onstage with Alan Yentob, creative director for the BBC, at the Geffen Theater before a live audience, Brooks reviews his career as a writer, director, actor, producer, composer, failed ballet dancer and comedian. The special looks at the Brooklyn native’s early life, show-business influences, early career and ascension as one of Hollywood’s most successful writers and directors. Check out a preview below:

- As the anticipation for the third of Downton Abbey mounts, PBS will be going behind the scenes with Angela Lansbury to relive great moments with your favorite characters premiering Sunday November 25, Thanksgiving weekend.

- Next week, starting Monday at 7:00 through Thursday, ABC Family will be airing a Harry Potter Marathon. But before then the channel will be airing a Special Edition of The Notebook which includes over ten minutes of deleted scenes Sunday at 8:00.

Ryan Gosling wants to to watch the Special Edition of The Notbook

- For those waiting to see the latest installment of Battlestar Galatcica, wait no more because Blood and Chome premieres today on the Machinima Prime YouTube page.

- History is rolling out its next mini-series, Mankind: The Story of Us narrated by Josh Brolin premiering Tuesday, November 13 at 9:00. The six –part series will take a look how went from hunter-gatherers to global citizens. Take a look at a sneak peak below:

- The promos for the upcoming FX series The Americans have been fairly ambiguous, but here is a promo with actual footage which kind of make it look like Homeland circa 1981 with Felicity filling in for Angela Chase. That works for me.

- After being lured away from ESPN by CBS, Jim Rome has been relegated to something called CBS Sports Channel which is in the digital part of my cable package and I think you have pay for it too. Soon Rome will be shown on another pay channel, but this time Showtime when Jim Rome on Showtime, a one hour sports talk show premiering Wednesday, November 21 at 10:00.

- Get ready to hear It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine) in heavy rotation over the next month as we inch closer to the ending of the Mayan calendar. And The National Geographic Channel is celebrating with three new specials across two night December 2 and 3. Evacuation Earth will be on the 2nd at 9:00 which explores the possibility of building a spaceship to take us to a new world to habitat if ours reaches extinction. Then on the 3rd at 9:00 The Mayan Apocalypse 2012 shows how the phenomenon swept across the internets. It will be followed by Maya Underground: The Real Doomsday to see if the civilization really predicted the end of the world.

- For those that listen to This American Life on the radio but always wanted to watch the show, now you can. They just released a video of a two-hour episode entitled The Invisible Made Visable which you can download for $5 at

- Fans of old time folksy records will want to check out Ballads in Blue by Dastardly on Band Camp where you can stream the songs in their entirety before buying. While people who like their pop music out on the fringes, check out the newly released Everything Is Expensive by Esthero.

- I agree with the John F. Kimberling article What This Country Needs: A New Political Party on the Huffington Post but unfortunately I do not think it is going to happen because there is just two much money in the current parties, and if Ross Perot cannot create a new one with his money, I do not see anyone else being able to do it.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Previewing Wedding Band

Mother of the Bride on Wedding Badn

For those Beverly Hills, 90210 fans who have ever wanted to hear a grown David Silver sing Hollaback Girl, I have a treat for you: This Saturday is the premiere of Wedding Band where Brian Austin Greene plays the lead singer of a wedding band. Seriously, how did it take almost fifteen years to serialize the great Adam Sandler movie? I guess we have Glee (and Smash, and Nashville) to thank for this. But unlike Glee, the performances on Wedding Band are intentionally cheesy (I think), see the aforementioned Hollaback Girl sung by a grown man, or as grown a man as David Silver can be.

Yes that is David Silver singing Hollaback GirlJoining David Silver in the fictitious Mother of the Bride band include Peter Cambor (Notes from the Underbelly) as the guitarist and token dad in the family who has to juggles his kids, his wife, and gigs to live out his rock and roll fantasies. Derek Miller (Secret Girlfriend) is the drummer and totally steals Jack Black’s persona to the point his character’s name is the same as Jack’s in High Fidelity. The new guy on bass is Harold Perrineau, a studio musician who really has never had a band of his own, granted it is a little weird to see his cheeky performance on Wedding Band days after seeing him do things like light someone’s kid on fire for Sons of Anarchy. Filing out the cast are Jenny Wade (Feast) as the wedding planner who has to deal with the boys shenanigans and her boss played by Melora Hardin (The Office) who does not seem to have a filter which means she is the most entertaining character on the show.

Jenny Wade of Wedding BandWedding Band also has an impressive guest list signed up for the show including Ken Marino (Party Down) who plays the lead singer of Mother of the Bride’s rival wedding band Armageddon It (which of course is also a Def Leppard cover band). Ken may be too good in his role because after he and his band are introduced, it is clear the show would have been much more entertaining if it were focused on Armageddon It instead. Also showing up sometime this season are Ryan Hansen, Gary Cole, Bill Simmons (yes the Grantland guy, Kurtwood Smith, Donald Faison, Ashley Williams, Pat Monahan (yes, the dude from Train is surprisingly the only musical guest the show managed to wrangle), and James Marsters. Greene was even able to pull in his wife Megan Fox (in the second episode) as the star of a sci-fi show with an annoying fan base who accidentally shares the ending of the series. And just when you think Perrineau is about to make a Lost joke…

Speaking of not going there, despite the band branching out into other parties like bar mitzvahs, house parties, and cooperate events, it is a bit disappointing they do not “go there” like Party Down did with their off the wall parties. Sure, since this is TBS and not pay cable, I do not expect them o play an orgy, but I was hoping for gigs more creative than “adult prom”. Wedding Band does have plenty of funny moments and there is an air of what song are they going to pull from their musical quiver next and in what style. But I am not sure it is appointment viewing, especially on a Saturday night, even is Wade is very endearing in her role. But maybe if the show is successful enough, there will be an Armageddon It spin off. Now that is a show I would watch every week.

Wedding Band airs Saturdays at 10:00 on TBS.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

What's the Most You Ever Lost on a Coin Toss

Javier Bardem 3-Film Collection

Later this week Javier Bardem will become the latest Bond villain in Skyfall so Lionsgate has rounded up a three film collection of his most memorable roles out on DVD this week. (Granted I would have included Vicky Christina Barcelona.) The collection is highlighted by No Country for Old Men which garnered him an Oscar as an unorthodox hit man with an unorthodox haircut with a penchant for flipping coins. Bardem is hired to hunt down Josh Brolin (The Goonies) who came across two million dollars after a drug deal gone bad while Tommy Lee Jones (The Fugitive) is the local lawmen who tries to hunt them both down.

No Country for Old Men is a harrowing tale where directors Joel and Ethan Cohen faithfully reproduce the Cormac McCarthy novel. The three top line names all deliver unforgettable performances while Woody Harrelson (Zombieland) and Stephan Root (Newsradio) give great cameos. The DVD features the same extra as the original release of the movie including a Making Of feature, “Working with the Coens”, and “Diary of a Country Sherriff” featurettes.

I had never heard of Mondays in the Sun until I got this collection and when I put it in I knew why: the film is in Spanish. Like No Country for Old Men, Bardem had a memorial haircut, this time instead of the Dorothy Hamill bowel cut, he is significantly balding as he plays an out of work dockworker. After everyone was laid off when their ship building jobs were shipped to Korea, Bardem and his friends spend their days looking for new work and nights hanging out in a bar that one of them bought with his severance pay. Even though the film is a decade old, take place in another country, and is in a different language, the heartbreaking tale can resonate in today’s America where many people are still trying to cope with jobs that went to Asia a while ago. The DVD also features audio commentary from Bardem, and director Fernando Leon de Aranoa, deleted scenes, a Making Of featurette, and storyboard to scene comparison.

Biutiful saw Bardem team with famed director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Babel) and produced by Guillermo del Toro which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film (Bardem lost out on picking up another Best Actor Award but was the first ever nominated for an entirely Spanish-speaking performance). Yep, this one is in Spanish too. The film takes him back to Spain where he struggles to provide for his children while working on the wrong side of the law. This DVD is low on extras, just featuring the director’s flip notes, and an interview with the cast and crew.

Full Disclosure Notice: The DVD was given to me to review by Lionsgate.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Better to Rule in War than Serve in Peace

When I think of samurais, I cannot say that Wes Bentley (P2) is high on my list of people who would play one. But there he is in a haircut the borders on a mullet in Hirokin: The Last Samurai (which is not to be confused with the Tom Cruise flick, another very Caucasian dude whose name does not conjure up visions of samurais). Like any good sci-fi flick, this movie starts off with a heavy back-story: humans came to a new, stole all its resources, and then left aside from a few who stayed to rule over the original inhabitants. That is until one hero (Bentley, of course), haunted by his past, has to find a way to help the rebels rise up against their oppressors.

It should be noted that the alien race look identical to humans except you can see veins in their hands so a lot of the character spend the movie sticking their hands out like Diana Ross telling you to stop in the name of love. It is actually not that hard to tell the two races apart because for some reason the human warriors wear helmets, on a desert planet, that look like a cross between the one Boba Fett and the Cylons from the original Battlestar Galactica.

Really you can make a drinking game out of the Star Wars references from the Tatooine-type setting, Bentley’s Obi Wan Kenobi type robe, there is even a character that has a duel (though non-light) saber. The movie does pull out some cool moves of its own like Bentley’s bungee sword and an extremely evil and twisted game the antagonists make locals play for his own enjoyment, but really, most the characters fall flat (there is a pair shoehorned in for comic relief that should have been shoehorned in a little more) thanks to a think plot while a few actors were clearly phoning it in.

The DVD is also thin on extras. There are a few deleted scenes, but the menu lacks a “Play All” option. There are also three featurettes but all of them are under five minutes each.

Full Disclosure Notice: This DVD was given to me by Lionsgate to review.

Monday, November 05, 2012

The Voice Season 3 Knockout Round Power Rankings

The mysterious Knockout Round finally debuted (and finished) this week and it turned out they were just an extension of the Battle Round but without the potential of anyone getting stolen. At least it was only a week. And now on to the newly minted Live Playoffs! (Which just seem like the Live Shows except starting next week anyone from any team can get sent home.) So before the show goes live, here is my latest power rankings.

Trevin Hunte Team Cee-Lo The Voice1. Trevin Hunte – Everyone else should be worried that he is already the best this season and I still do not believe we have even seen close to his best performance yet.

2. Amanda Brown – Yep, Cee-Lo makes some really bad decisions.

3. Cassadee Pope – The verse this week was not her best and her Battle Round performance was apparently so bad The Voice only showed three seconds of it, but I still think she is Trevin’s stiffest competition.

4. De'Borah – Who would have guessed a church going lesbian who looks like Urkle would be such a fan of soft rock? After Train and The Fray, I cannot wait for her to take on John Mayer during the Live Playoffs.

5. Terry McDermott – The first two winners of The Voice were dudes in their thirties who never were able to get their big break yet, so do not be surprised is Terry wins this season.

6. Nicholas David – Cee-Lo seems to be the only coach that always dictates songs to his team and considering Nickolas’s best performance was when Cee-Lo gave him She’s Gone, he may be the wild card this season.

7. Adriana Louise – Not the best singer in the competition but has this aura around her that she may be the last member of Team Christina standing. Unfortunately for her, thanks to the rule change, she may be already (take a minute… pause…) gone by the finals.

Amanda Brown Team Adam The Voice8. Devyn DeLoera – If she does the backwards shimmy she did during her Blind Audition I will vote for Devyn like a teenage girl voting for Justin Bieber in a meaningless internet poll. I just hope she does not go with the 80's Jersey prom hair she had in the Knockout Round.

9. Brian Keith – Has a strong distinctive voice but lacks, dare I say, that X-factor.

10. Liz Davis – Blake widdled his country-heavy team down to one this season going into the Live Playoffs, but much like the first two season, I do not see one of his country artists making it even to the semi-finals this season.

11. Cody Belew – I will be severely disappointed if he does not sing Fat Bottom Girls during the Live Playoffs.

12. Joselyn Rivera – Apparently Adam was the only coach that took the Steal seriously, taking his two steals to the Live Shows> Playoffs, but I do not see her going much further in the competition.

13. Michaela Paige – Seriously, I do not understand how Suzanna did not get this slot instead.

14. Sylvia Yacoub – Beforehand I thought Aquille would easily win their Knockout, but he did lay a dud.

15. Diego Val – Should have been Caitlin.

Cassadee Pope Team Blake The Voice16. Melanie Martinez – Her performance of Toxic was quirky and fun, but her persona has started running thin.

17. Julio Cesar Castillo – I was surprised that Blake picked Julio over MarissaAnn but really, Suzanna deserved his spot in the Live Shows Playoffs.

18. Dez Duron – I will give this to Dez, between Hall and Oats and Lionel Richie he has great taste in music, but his voice is way too thin to had made it this far.

19. Loren Allred – Sometimes all you need is one good note on these types of show, but is hard to believe she got this far based on one note. Nicole Nelson was much more consistent and significantly better overall.

20. MacKenzie Bourg – Seriously, the guy squeaked through two Carley Rae Jepsen songs and somehow won twice despite giving two of the worst performances of the two rounds. I really hope he splits the annoying teen girl votes between Dez and are both gone early.

So let us take a look at who has the strongest team (even though it only takes one to win) based on these ranking:

Adam – 47
Blake – 57
Cee-Lo – 52
Adam – 47

Surprising Christina pulled into second place after being last by a mile after the first two of my Power Rankings. It probably helped that she managed to wisely picked each winner during the Knockout Round unlike her other coaches. Adam sank to the bottom after picking Loren, who was so bad in the early rounds they did not bother to show her performances over Nicole Nelson, the best singer on his team. Blake takes the top spot in part to him having the best chance of having two finalists this season with Cassadee and Terry. But anyway. Here are some predictions for this week (and beyond)

Predictions for the Top 12

Adam: Bryan, Melanie, Amanda (Coach Save)
Blake: Cassadee, Terry, Liz (Coach Save)
Cee-Lo: Trevin, MacKenzie, Nicholas (Coach Save)
Christina: Dez, Adriana, Devyn (Coach Save)

Way to early prediction of the finalist: Cassadee, Trevin, Bryan and either Melanie, MacKenzie, or Terry (sorry Christina , it looks like another last place finish for you)

Sunday, November 04, 2012

57 Channels and Only This Is On - 11/4/12

Once Upon a Time: After a year of wondering, it turns out Dr. Whale is… Dr. Frankenstein? Alrighty. When he was first introduced as a wizard, I actually thought he would turn out to be the Wizard of Oz (okay, my first thought was, oh goodness, he is not going to be Harry Potter is he) when they talked about his ability to transport to places without magic. So what world exactly does Dr. Frankenstein live in, one where all the classic horror monsters live: Dracula, Wolfman (who I assume would end up being a love interest to Little Red Riding Hood), The Mummy, The Invisible Man. And I know they live in a world where Captain Hook looks like an Abercrombie model who does not think there is such a thing as too much eyeliner, but how can you have Igor without a hunchback?
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Once Upon a Time on iTunes.

Revenge: I thought for sure Amanda was not going to make it through surgery. I guessed she made it so Mason Treadwell could come back to cause more havoc. Of coutrse if Mason knew what was best for him he would stop snooping because the last time he got on the case, his house burned down. But I wonder if they are going to put a burn scar on Emily’s back even though I am pretty sure we have seen her in a bikini without one.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Revenge on iTunes.

The Walking Dead: The infamous Governor has finally appeared and he and his wall of floating zombie heads lived up to the hype. Of course without television in a zombie apocalypse, what else are you going to stare at hours on end than a wall of illuminated zombie heads? Oh yeah, and Mearle! And I have to wonder if this is the rape camp that Randell came from. I have a feeling Andrea will find out sooner than later.
You can download The Walking Dead on iTunes.

The Voice: Last week I wondered how they could get forty songs into two hours, I assumed they would just montage half of them, it turns out instead they just gave everyone about a minute of screen time with some really bad editing as they cut down songs. And it turns out the much ballyhooed Steal ended up being a major flop. I got a sense when lesser talent got stolen that coaches just did not want someone who would end up replacing an original tram member. Only Adam is taking a saved member to the Live Shows Playoffs even though Caitlin Michele and MarissaAnn clearly won their Knockout pairings.

That was not the only really bad decision from Blake Shelton. Even though he was the best coach when it came to making decisions in the first two seasons, he made some really bad pairings this season decimating his team. After pairing up two of his three best singers in the Battle Rounds with Suzanna Choffel and Lelia Broussard, he then paired his best two in the Knockout Rounds when he put Suzanna up against Cassadee Pope especially when Michaela Paige and Julio Cesar Castillo advanced. When it got down to the final four on his team I thought he was going to pair MarissaAnn with Cassadee and Michaela with Suzanna. Maybe Blake tipped his hand when he said the reason he paired Liz Davis and Gracia Harrison was that he did not want the two to siphoned votes from each other so he was only going to take one, so he took some weak singers (Michaela and Julio) to the Live Shows Playoffs to make it easier for his stronger singers (Cassadee and Terry) to advance.

If anything, the Knockout Round showed just how important song choice is. And for all the dude karaokers out that did not know earlier; never ever ever ever ever sign a Taylor Swift song. Like ever. Dare I say you would be much better off with some indie record that is much cooler than hers. And this week we actually had two dudes try to sing a Taylor Swift song. It was actually a big week for guys singing chick songs, which I rarely think works. Also, do not sing songs but dudes who beat on women. I thought Avery Wilson had a chance to win the whole thing but after a poor song choice, he danced himself off the show.

Even though the Steal ended up flopping because no none but Adam wanted to take them to the Live Shows Playoffs, I do wish they were still allowed one more steal during the Knockout Round. Blake could have finally gotten Caitlyn (assuming she did not reject him for the third time), Adam would finally gotten Gracia, maybe Cee-Lo takes a flyer on Suzanna, and Christina… who knows what stupid decision she would have made. Maybe Kayla Nevarez or steal MarissaAnn back. Really Caitlin was part of my favorite thing that happen this week when she was caught dancing to Nickolas performance.

You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download songs from The Voice with the widget at right.

Castle: Stupid credits. I actually did not think much when I saw Michael Mosley’s name at the beginning of the show, but as the evidence started to mount against Catle, I remembered, oh yeah, he was the serial killer that was never caught and he is totally setting him up. At least he showed up on screen shortly after I figured it out. But seriously, they really need to figure a way to keep the guest stars out of the beginning of the episode.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Castle on iTunes.

Don’t Trust the B---- in Apartment 23: It was nice to see someone finally put fans of The Wire on blast. I will never watch the show because I never want to turn into one of those pretentious jackasses.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 on iTunes.

Sons of Anarchy: After Gemma talked about overcompensating after losing a child, I thought for sure Able was a goner, and was a bit surprised with all the shocking deaths this year they stopped short of killing a kid.
You can download Sons of Anarchy on iTunes.

Survivor: Philippines: I was a big Astros fan back when I actually paid attention to baseball so I know how big an idiot Jeff Kent is so it is not surprising he has a horrible game plan on the show. Seriously, if you were so keen on getting rid of Penner, why not do it last week? Then had you stuck with him this week you would have had been the leader of the majority alliance with two former players that would be bigger targets. Now you need someone to make a dumber move than you made to get back in control of the game.
You can stream recent episodes over at You can also download Survivor: Philippines on iTunes.

Subugatory: I was super disappointed that after this episode when I went to iTunes, Tessa’s version of Sussudio was not there yet.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Suburgatory on iTunes.

Grimm: Last week when the promo monkeys said there was a new, more violent, Grimm was coming to town, I thought, this is just going to be a retread of the other Slayers on Buffy. I do like that it turned out to be a Vessin who hated who he was. But you know there have to be other Grimms out there somewhere.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Grimm on iTunes.