Saturday, January 11, 2014

Best of the Week: 1/11/13

Quote of the Week: Hey Raylan, can I get you a (expletive deleted) or something? (Wade Messer, Justified)

Song of the Week: Ants Marching – Dave Matthews Band (Community)

Scene of the Week:

Big News of the Week: Polar Vortex: At the beginning of the year there was Winter Storm Hercules and I sat there watching the Weather Channel thinking, come on, you just making stuff up now because people like naming hurricanes. If you really want to scare me, give it some weird scientific name. Then came the Polar Vortex. Like El Nino before it, ish got real. And by real, I mean real cold. And if -15, the lowest I saw here, was not bad enough, the wind chill at the time was -32. And of by tomorrow it is supposed to be 50 and raining. Mmm, I am beginning to think these climate change people are on to something.

Preview Picture of the Week:

"Drowning Girl" Switched at Birth, Monday at 8:00 on ABC Family

Free Download of the Week: Reflections – MisterWives (iTunes): For years, record labels have been holding the vast majority of their marquee albums until the fourth quarter to get those Christmas dollars so the first half of the year is usually left over hits from the previous year’s releases, new artists (Lorde dropped her Love Club EP in early March last year), or older acts who finally breakthrough with little competition (like Robin Thicke and Daft Punk). This week new band MisterWives released a very eighties inspired dance EP. Will they be the 2014 version of Lorde? But maybe Reflections could be a less annoying 2014 alternative to I Love It.

New Album Release of the Week: High Hopes - Bruce Springsteen

New DVD Release of the Week: Fruitvale Station

Video of the Week: Last weekend was the first weekend where I could just sit back, relax, and not worry that it would be ruined by a Brandon Weeden sighting. It looks like I will not have to worry about actually learning how to spell the Browns coach’s name because he got fired last week. But cheer up Browns fans, it looks like our next couch will come straight out of New England. No, Patriots Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniel has already pulled out of the running; nope the next coach of the Cleveland Browns is Denis Leary! Or at least he is the coach of the Browns in the upcoming Draft Day movie. Yep, twenty-five years after Major League, yet another Cleveland sports team is so bad, they need to be saved by Hollywood. As Bill Simmons would say: God hates Cleveland.

Next Week Pick of the Week: Suburgatory, Wednesday at 8:30 on ABC: Two seasons ago, Suburgatory was not just my favorite new comedy of the season, it was my favorite comedy period. It went through some rough patches during its sophomore outing because they started focusing more on the adults when the children are the main attraction on the show. The season ended with Tess moving in with her mother, but I am guessing that will not last long because her mom got cast on another show this season. And do not ask me why the show did not return with ABC’s Wednesday comedy lineup last week. Instead there was a double dose of Super Fun Night which is inexplicably still on the air (though I understand why the network would want to burn that show of as soon as possible but its replacement is not scheduled to debut until late February).

Friday, January 10, 2014

Around the Tubes: 1/10/14

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 Helix, Lost Girl, Being Human, Bitten, Chozen, The Hot Housewives of Orlando, Or, Quality Balls - The David Steinberg Story, The Pete Holmes Show, Tom Green Live, The Friars Club, and Off The Grid.

- Watch the first 15 minutes of Syfy's new outbreak thriller Helix. Go On Demand now, then tune in this tonight at 10:00 to check out the full episode. Or maybe the teaser below will be enough to get you to tune in.

Syfy is also all new on Monday. The primetime sizzle begins January 13 at 8:00 with the Season 4 premiere of Lost Girl, starring Anna Silk as a Succubus, a powerful female entity in folklore who feeds off sexual energy. At 9:00, television’s hottest roommates (Sam Witwer, Sam Huntington, Meaghan Rath and Kristen Hager) confront their haunting pasts in the fourth season return of the hit series Being Human. Rounding out the evening at 10PM is the series premiere of the smouldering, emotionally charged drama Bitten, which stars Laura Vandervoort as a sultry and intelligent female werewolf – the only one in the world – who reluctantly returns to her secretive Pack of powerful male werewolves to help track down the serial killer that threatens to reveal the Pack’s true supernatural nature.

- FX unveils its new animated comedy Chozen Monday at 10:30 after a brand new season of Archer, check out a preview below. For those that cannot wait, you can watch the premiere in its entirety using the FXNOW app on Xbox One.

- Paramount Digital Entertainment announced today a new series premiering on Hulu called The Hotwives of Orlando, starring Casey Wilson, Angela Kinsey, Kristen Schaal, Tymberlee Hill, Danielle Schneider and Andrea Savage as the Hotwives along with special performances by Kate Walsh, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Joey McIntyre, Stephen Tobolowsky, Paul Scheer and many more. The series, coming exclusively to Hulu and Hulu Plus in 2014, is produced by Emmy© Award-winning producers Jonathan Stern and Paul Scheer, and Paramount Digital Entertainment, the studio behind the Emmy© nominated Burning Love.

- Or may win the award for the least googleable band name ever, but if you are looking for a “super indie pop girl” check out her video for Tell Me Why below:

- Quality Balls - The David Steinberg Story will make its U.S. debut exclusively on SHOWTIME on Monday, February 3 at 9:30PM ET/PT. The documentary follows the life and trailblazing career of legendary comedian David Steinberg from his upbringing in Winnipeg, Canada, to his start in comedy at Second City and his record number of appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson (second only to Bob Hope), to his work behind the camera as a director on hit shows such as Seinfeld, Mad About You, Weeds, Curb Your Enthusiasm and many more. Viewers will get an inside look at his life as he deals with some of the more controversial moments from his career including the Biblical “sermons” he performed on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, which eventually led to the show’s cancellation, and his jokes about Nixon, resulting in being on Nixon’s enemy list.

- TBS has renewed its new late-night series The Pete Holmes Show, which enjoyed a seven week run at the end of 2013. TBS has ordered an additional 13 weeks of the series starring popular comedian Pete Holmes and produced by Conaco LLC, the company behind the late-night hit Conan. New episodes of The Pete Holmes Show are set to launch Feb. 24 and will air Monday-Thursday nights at midnight (ET/PT), following Conan

- The interviewer will become the interviewee next week, as Emmy® Award-winning journalist, news anchor and host of AXS TV’S The Big Interview Dan Rather will be the guest AXS TV’S Tom Green Live. Host Tom Green will deliver a one-of-a-kind, hour-long interview with Rather, live on Thursday, Jan. 16 at 9:00 on AXS TV.

- The Friars Club this week announced that comedian Jeff Garlin will take the helm as Roastmaster at this year’s Friars Club Roast honoring Boomer Esiason. The former NFL quarterback and NFL MVP Boomer Esiason will take his turn in the hot seat at the next Friars Club Roast on Thursday, January 30, 2014, at a luncheon at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, just in time for NYC to host the Super Bowl. Garlin, star and executive producer of HBO’s award winning “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and star of ABC’s new hit comedy The Goldbergs, will lead a dais of A-list celebrities who are coming together to skewer their friend and colleague, Esiason.

- What happens when the mainstream media is owned by the corporations and isn't diligently investigating or reporting the news? Tune in online on January 27th, 2014to find out. Jesse Ventura and Ora.TV are presenting Off The Grid - a daily political news show available online. “News should be free - free meaning cost - and free of bias," stated Jesse Ventura, the 38th governor of Minnesota. "I will present stories you need to hear, the news that affects us all - globally, nationally, and locally - that you won't hear anywhere else."

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Previewing House of Lies: Season Three

Season two of House of Lies was all about Marty maneuvering so he could start his own firm and bringing his pod along with him. Except by the time the season ended, Doug decided to stay behind at Galweather Stone, feeling betrayed, Clyde jumped ship to work under Monica at Kinsley Johnson. Jennie was already to make the move, but after she professed her love for Marty, he blew her off and their last interaction was Jennie telling Marty she never wants to talk to him again. So it was up in the air just where she would end up.

So at the start of season three, Marty’s former pod resides at three different agencies (no, Jennie does not end up a fourth unknown firm). None of the four main characters seem that happy in their new surrounding or old jobs with new co-workers. Clyde really did not think through jumping ship to work with Monica or just did not believe she could be as crazy as Marty makes her out to be, but he, and the audience, quickly sees just how evil she is in her natural habitat.

Since the four former pod members are now in three different pod, there are plenty of new faces on the show (for those that need the math done for them, that is seven new pod-mates not including Monica), the females of which are much more interesting (though most of the guys seem to be intentionally dull). The one in Clyde’s pod may be as crazy as Monica but in a different way. The newly married Doug may hilariously be overselling his new pod member’s unattractiveness. And the new girl at Marty’s firm just ranks very high on the likeability scale.

There are some familiar faces outside the new pods. Daniel Stern (who has to get nice royalty checks this time of the year after all the December airings of A Christmas Story and Home Alone), Drew Carey’s cross-dressing brother pops up as a new rival to Jennie who also has a run in with former (and future) co-star Ryan Hansen in a scene that doubtful be reenacted by Dick and Ronnie in the upcoming Veronica Mars movie. Ryan even gets in a discussion about pitchers and catchers that he had during Veronica Mars. And if that is enough Veronica Mars for you, there is a very obscure reference to the show in the season premiere where Don Cheadle has a conversion that Ronnie had word for word back in the season two premiere of Veronica Mars. It seems like the writers of House of Lies re-watched Kristen’s previous series to get ready for the movie. Whatever the reason, House of Lies, after a rough first two seasons, seems to be hitting its stride in the start of the third.

House of Lies airs Sundays at 10:00 on Showtime. For those that cannot wait four days until the premiere, you can watch the season three premiere below to she just where Jennie ends up and if you can catch the Veronica Mars reference. House of Lies will be followed by the third season of Episodes of which you can watch the premiere of here.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Previewing Shameless: Season Four

The Gallagher clan is back for a fourth season of Shameless

When we last saw the Gallagher family of Shameless, Frank did the first unselfish thing in his life when he took the fall for his son who robbed his foster family. Oh yeah and her learned if he continues to drink alcohol, he will die. Also Lip was the first in the family to graduate, Ian enlisted, and Fiona actually landed a stable job and broke up with Jimmy. The last we saw of Jimmy was sailing, presumably, off to his death. But as I always say, no one is truly dead on television until we see a body (and even then I can still be suspicious). Oh yeah, and Kev knocked up his mother-in-law at the request of Veronica.

The new season starts off how it always seems to do, with Frank not been seen since the end of the previous season (it is mentioned that Fiona has been on the job for three months, so about that much time has passed). But it does not take much time for Frank to find himself back at the Gallagher doorstep somehow even worse than we left him when he learned that drinking alcohol is eroding his throat and any more will kill him (in true Shameless tradition, he does find other ways to get alcohol into his bloodstream other than through the throat; and it is not pretty; you have been warned).

Not that Fiona cares that much if Frank lives or dies because thanks to her new job; she is now creeping up on the poverty line. This will undoubtedly not be a smooth transition. Most which will probably come thanks to her new relationship with her boss who definitely comes from a different family (as in one that can afford Bears season tickets; while Carl shows what people in their tax bracket think of Jay Cutler’s new contract with an eye catching t-shirt).

While Frank makes it back to casa de Gallagher, two members of the clan do not set foot in the house, at least in the first couple episodes. Ian is still MIA after enlisting while Lip is adjusting to being a small fish in a big pond after cakewalking menial Chicago public schools both inside the classroom and out. Kev also thinks he is on his way above the poverty line too after the owner of the bar dies and leaves it to him, but there turns out to be a complication or three when it comes to the pregnancy he caused. And it would not be Shameless without a major bombshell and the end of episode has a pretty big one (hint: the last line spoken is the episode’s title: My Eldest Daughter).

Shameless airs Sundays at 9:00 on Showtime. If you cannot wait five days or want to give it a shot to see if it is worth ordering Showtime, you can actually watch the albeit censored version of the premiere below:

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Feed Your iPod LXXX: The Woodpile

I first discover Frightened Rabbit with their song Swim Until You Can’t See Land, a sweet ode to diving into the unknown. Sure, there are times I get the Scottish band confused with the American rock band White Rabbits (it certainly does not help that the latter band's second album is entitled It's Frightening). Frightened Rabbit released its first major label album early last year and though its first single The Woodpile got heavy play in my library last year, I do not think I mentioned it until the video popped up on my list of The 50 Best Music Videos of 2013. The song would go on to be lucky number thirteen on my list of The 100 Best Songs of 2013. It may not have been a big hit; the song does deserve to be noticed. It is an epic song that sounds like Coldplay sifted through a heavy Scottish filter that would not sound out of place on mid-nineties Alternative radio stations. For those that saw my Best Songs of the year list and now want to listen to it, I have created a Spotify playlist which you can listen below under the YouTube video of The Woodpile (do not ask me why only half the songs show up in the embed, I checked on my tablet and all 100 songs are in the playlist when you open up Spotify).

The Woodpile – Frightened Rabbit

Monday, January 06, 2014

The 14 Events That Will Make 2014 Awesome

2014 may be less than a week old, but in no way means it is too early to do a Best of 2014. Here are fourteen events that will hopefully keep us entertained over the next twelve months.

14. Detox – Dr. Dre: Let’s start off the list as I always do by suggesting this may very well be the year we get to hear Detox. Hey, maybe Dre will launch it with his Beats Music Service which is supposedly going live sometime this month as a rival to Spotify (YouTube’s music service is also due this month). But where Spotify is made by software engineers, Dre has teamed up with Trent Resnor and legendary record executive Jimmy Iovine. Though it will not be in use until a still unspecified date earily in 2014, grab your Beats Music username now.

13. The End of How I Met Your Mother: Okay, the show has not been great for a while (I would argue the show started going downhill right after Victoria left for Paris) and the last season has been as I expected considering it takes place over one weekend (and that is not very), but it is an end of an era when the show comes to a close after nine seasons this spring. Well that is until it is replaced with the rumored How I Met Your Father next fall.

12. Frank Miller on Screen: For the very small niche of Frank Miller fans who hate reading, 2014 will be a good year for them because two of his graphic novels will once again be given the big screen treatment. First up in March is 300: Rise of an Empire, a prequel to the original focusing on those evil Persians. Then in August Sin City a Dame to Kill For will get its long delayed release bringing back Bruce Willis, Jessica Alba, Rosario Dawson, and Josh Hartnett in four segment, two straight from the Frank Miller graphic novel and two original stories for the film.

11. World Cup: Real football fans rejoice, it is World Cup time and it is back in the Western Hemisphere for the first time in twenty year. Sure Brazil and soccer has been in the headlines recently because of referee beheadings, but that is juts minor considering the controversies surrounding the other major sporting event this year. There should be less refereeing complaining this time around because this will be the first World Cup with goal line technology. Also new this year: vanishing spray for referees to mark the ten year mark which disappears a minute after application. Oh technology, what will they think of next. The World Cup kicks off June 12 on ABC and ESPN, while America starts off June 16 against Ghana who has beaten the USA at the last two World Cups.

10. The Strain: I have been on a vampire moratorium since the series finale of Angel but it may be time to lift that because of The Strain. The show was created by Guillermo de Toro who knows a thing or two about creepy storytelling, just check out Pan’s Labyrinth for proof. Just like The Walking Dead, The Strain is based on a graphic novel but hopefully del Toro can avoid the pitfalls Frank Darabount did when he tried to adapt The Walking Dead. We do not have any footage of the series just yet (there is a viral marketing video featuring rats) but expect the show to debut sometime in July on FX.

9. Penny Dreadful: If that is not enough supernatural being for you, or fears that even basic cable will not be able to go there, there is Penny Dreadful which was picked up by Showtime. The show will weave together the origins of literary horror characters, such as Victor Frankenstein, Frankenstein's monster, Dorian Gray, and Count Dracula, as they grapple with their monstrous alienation in Victorian London. And the cast boasts Josh Hartnett, Eva Green, and Billie Piper while the show is executively produced by Sam Mendes director of the Daniel Craig era James Bond films. No premiere date other than “spring” but I am guessing it will be the week after the Shameless season finale, so sometime in early April.

8. Live Television: Whenever something is successful, expect more of it. Yeah The Sound of Music Live! Go panned, but it went head to head with ratings champ The Big Bang Theory. So expect more scripted live events this year. I was hoping NBC would do a live adaptation of A Christmas Carol but the network has already tasked the producers behind The Sound of Music revival to do another musical. The next beloved music would probably be West Side Story. Is Selena Gomez as Maria too obvious? Sure the internet will probably like that casting as much a Carrie Underwood but at least Selena can act (though she does not have as good a voice as Carrie). Then for Tony, let me suggest Jason Street. Then much like The Sound of Music Live! Fill out the rest of the cast with actual Broadway veterans. Well, and have Neil Patrick Harris and Bill Hader make a cameo as Lieutenant Schrank and Officer Krupke. Granted if I ran NBC (or any other network getting into the Live television game), I would throw all the money in my coffers at Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling to star in a live adaptation of Guys and Dolls in the rolls of Sister Sarah Brown and Sky Masterson.

7. More Marvel Movies: Marvel is going to dominate the movie theaters this year with sequels to Captain America (April 4), Spider-Man (May 2), and an X-Men (May 23) movie that bridges the 00’s trilogy and the most recent prequel. Oh yeah, and the studio is also launching a new property Guardians of the Galaxy (August 1) which features a gun toting raccoon and a talking tree. Meanwhile over at DC, there are no movies on the docket for this year, but…

6. DC on TV:.. by this time next year there could be as many as five DC comics based shows on television. Right now there is only Arrow on The CW based on Green Arrow but the show is developing a spin-off based on The Flash. And apparently The CW is beginning to realize that only targeting teen girls is a bad strategy because they have yet another funny book adaptation in development with Hourman, a pharmaceutical analyst who discovers that the visions that have plagued him since childhood are actually glimpses of tragic events occurring one hour in the future. Now if only the network would hire real actors instead of Ambrocrombie models and became a superhero only network (aside from a Veronica Mars reboot of course), it may become watchable. Meanwhile over on Fox they have already picked up Gotham to series based on James Gordon in a pre-Batman city (granted the last Batman-less Batman show Birds of Prey did not do very well). Then over at NBC, they are developing a show based on Constantine comic (last seen come to life in the Keanu Reeves movie). And this does not even include the long gestating Wonder Woman television show that almost made it to air a couple seasons ago on NBC and has long been in development as a origin story for The CW but never made it to the Pilot phase at the network.

5. New Music from U2: It seems like there has been a rumored U2 album coming soon ever since the release No Line on the Horizon was released back in 2009. Though those albums never materialized, the band wrapped up recording of their latest with Danger Mouse (who will have his album with Broken Bells out this year, and if you believe TMZ ambush interviews will be re-teaming with Cee-Lo Green for a new album in the new year) producing just prior to the holidays. And where Beyonce just airdropped her latest album out of nowhere, rumor has it U2 will go the completely opposite direction and will make their announcement for a new album during a Super Bowl commercial. Unless of course that commercial announces you can get the album starting at the end of the commercial on iTunes which may be the only way anyone could ever out-Beyoncé Beyoncé.

4. Untitled Cameron Crowe Project: Not much is known about the next Cameron Crowe (writer / director of Singles and Jerry McGuire) project but all I need to know is that it reunites Zombieland costars Emma Stone and Bill Murray. Throw in Rachel McAdams (who is due for a career resurgence) and you have a movie that you cannot miss.

3. Interstellar: Another movie shrouded in mystery. It supposedly has something to do with wormholes, but the recent teaser which was basically just Matthew McConaughey driving a beat up truck down a dirt road like he was in a country music video. But the movie comes from Christopher Nolan who messed with everyone’s heads on Inception and had fanboys everywhere geeking out with his Batman trilogy. Go ahead and mark November 7 on your calender now.

2. Winter Olympics: Curling enthusiast rejoice because the sport is coming back to television when the Olympic hit Sochi, Russia starting February 7. Sure no one watches any of these sports when not played under the Olympic flag besides hockey (though now that NBC has its own sports network, I do not see why they do not start airing curling league games). Still I will watch all that I am able to be it biathlon (Skiing! Shooting! All in one silly event) or luge. Sure there are some political aspects that could put a damper on the games be it Chechen terrorists or that Johnny Weir could be arrested right off the plane and shipped to Siberia just for being who he is.

1. Veronica Mars: Almost ten years after it debuted on television, Veronica Mars will hit the big screen March 14 with Neptune’s finest returning for a class reunion with all the major castmembers returning along with fan favorites like Vinnie Van Lowe, Amanda Sinclair, and Leo D’Amato making an appearance. Oh year, and the official trailer hit the internets recently, take a gander below.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

The 25 Best Movies of 2013

Before I get into my favorite movies of the year, I want to wish melancholy happy trails to Blockbuster who finally went under this year (sure the name lives on but like Napster before it, Blockbuster as we knew it is dead). It was basically my main source of movies for the past decade and with it gone, this may be my last Best Movies list for a while because I do not care for steaming movies. With Blockbuster dead, I have only seen one movie in the past month and really have not missed them because good Hollywood movies seem to be far and few in between anyway. So without further ado, here are the 25 movies I saw this year (not necessarily ones released over the past twelve months) that I did not absolutely hate.

1. This Is the End

2. Zero Dark Thirty

3. Pitch Perfect

4. Iron Man 3

5. Silver Linings Playbook

6. Django Unchained

7. Looper

8. Skyfall

9. The Watch

10. This Is 40

11. The Great Gatsby

12. Evil Dead

13. Spring Breakers

14. Moonrise Kingdom

15. Man of Steel

16. Snitch

17. Side Effects

18. Oz the Great and Powerful

19. Olympus Has Fallen

20. Premium Rush

21. The Man with the Iron Fists

22. Don't Be Afraid of the Dark

23. Flight

24. Argo

25. The Lockout