Saturday, January 28, 2006

This Is the World Coming Down on Your Head

Yellowcard - Lights and Sounds

arrived on the scene riding in the back of the wave of pseudo-punk band that flooded the airwaves in recent years even though they sounded more like the than (think , , and other bands your little sister listens to). What set the band apart was they violinist in the group but you have to listen pretty close to here it and really isn’t a focal point of the band unlike the ones in or . On stage, he just comes arouses like a prop much like the dancing dude from .

Now Yellowcard is back with a new album which starts earnestly enough with the instrumental Three Fights Up. Yeah it seems to rip off the opening to the Smashing Pumpkins , but there are worst bands to steal from. Speaking of Yellowcard ripping off other bands, is it just me or does their new video, Lights and Sounds look exactly like the Coldplay Speed of Sound video? (Click on the song titles to compare.) But anyways. Sadly the instrumental is followed by the bland punk-pop songs that make the genre virtually unlistenable.

There are a few departures on the album from the power-pop formula like Two Weeks from Twenty which sounds like a song but was rejected for his album because it wasn’t as catchy and the lyrics weren’t as clever as songs that made the cut. The lyrics do tell the story of a boy who couldn’t find any work in Jersey so he went into the army and was killer ironically enough two weeks before his twentieth birthday. One must wonder if they wrote the song after watching Green Day’s Wake Me up When September Ends video. And with the line, “there's still no shame from the man to blame,” one can assume it was directed at George Bush. C’mon, Bush bashing was so 2004, where are the anti Tom DeLay songs?

Yellowcard did land a big coup by landing one of the to sing back-up on How I Go. That would be Natalie for those keeping track at home. But even her angelic voice can help out one of the worst singers making music today. When it comes down to it, it’s sad when the best song on the album is an instrumental one.

Song to Download - Three Fights of Stairs

Lights and Sounds gets a Terror Alert Level: Guarded [BLUE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Fantasy CW Television Schedule

The big news Tuesday was the unexpected merger of The WB with UPN. My first thought was, “Oh crap, there’re going to get rid of .” Then after every major and minor new report mentioned the show as most like being apart of the new CW network (a name so bad you’d think they’d try to get half owner, CBS, to let them start showing Love Monkey). Add onto that the show is currently on UPN and is produced by the Warner Brothers studio, which of course owns The WB, they already both have vested interest in the show. But being beat by a repeat of Beauty and the Geek this past Wednesday may not help though.

Aside from announcing the merger, both sides have been relatively quiet about the specifics like which shows will make up the new channel or even how much prime time programming there will be. I’ve heard everything from as little as 17 hours all the way up to 30 hours. So I have compiled a list for the newly minted CW letting know not only what shows that should stick around and those that should be dumped but a potential lineup they should use come fall using the current WB hours which I have heard a couple times as being the model for:

Must Have Shows – Veronica Mars, Everybody Hates Chris, Everwood, Supernatural
Must Dump Now – South Beach, Cuts, One Tree Hill, Living with Fran, Twins, Charmed, Eve

8:00 - 7th Heaven spin-off
9:00 - Gilmore Girls

8:00 - New Joss Whedon Show
9:00 - Veronica Mars

8:00 - America’s Next Top Model
9:00 - Supernatural

8:00 - Everybody Hates Chris
8:30 - One on One
9:00 - Girlfriends
9:30 - Half and Half

8:00 - WWE Smackdown

5:00 - Veronica Mars Beginnings
6:00 - Easy View Tuesday 8:00 Show
7:00 - What I Like About You
7:30 - Reba
8:00 - Related
9:00 - Everwood

On Mondays I know that this is the last season for but it is still the second highest rated show currently on The WB so taking a couple characters from the show for a new show would be a wise decision and pairing it with would make a good family lineup.

For Tuesday, here is my probably too far fetched idea but I will pitch it anyways, beg Joss Whedon to create a new show for the fledgling network. He helped bring credibility to The WB with and did the same for UPN when Buffy moved there in season 5. Whether it is a show in the Buffy-verse, a offshoot or a new show entirely, they need to beg Weadon to bring a show to the network. Then have that show lead into the best show since Buffy, Veronica Mars, would be a great pair.

Wednesday is sort of a hodgepodge as there is nowhere else to put Supernatural unless it gets paired up with Veronica Mars considering that it’s doubtful that my Weadon suggestion will come to fruition. Thursday is a combination of the best urban shows while some of the crap gets axed. Seriously how did Shannon Elizabeth get her own show? But anyways. Smackdown is perfect for Friday as it give pre-pubescent dude something to do when they can’t get a date. If only this was the case when I was young so I wouldn't have been stuck watching Urkel.

The WB loves its Easy View so why not keep it around. UPN even stole the idea by repeating Veronica Mars at 7:00 on Sundays this year. And just like The WB has done with Smallville and Gilmore Girls in the past, show the first season of Veronica Mars so late comers can get caught up. While all the new programming are good family shows, even though the dramas do have some older themes. In addition to the schedule, CW should bring back Beauty and the Geek and Blue Collar TV as replacement shows or fillers for when show go on hiatus instead a weeks of repeats instead.

The most glaring omission from this lineup is . When watching the 100th episode and watching the deaths of Lana (thankfully she came back to life) and Papa Kent (don't they know what happen the last time a show tried to go without Bo Duke?), I realized that this is the last hurrah for the show. It was good while it lasted, but it’s quickly running out of storylines and Warner Brother won’t be hesitant to pull the plug before the show does something to taint the legacy, and in turn taint the movie that will be coming out this summer, and most like future summers too. Plus it would be silly to have a television show and film franchise running at the same time. And to the Smallville faithful, you should be happy the show that the show will not be able to fall into late season type decline.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Toss Up: Lost vs Veronica Mars week 9

Xena - 1, Lamb - 0For the first time since early December, went head to head with with new episodes. Who had the better one? Let’s play a little game I like to call Toss Up. (Picture to the right is courtesy of UPN/Warner. Used by permission)

Best Breakup
Lost – Claire kicks Charlie to the curb, and then slaps him when he tries to get back together.
Veronica Mars – Veronica and Duncan have a very public breakup with a lot of mud slinging only for it to be a whole set up.
Winner – Veronica Mars

Best Middle School Flashback
Lost – The cool kid tries to get the fat kid to ask out the hot chick.
Veronica Mars – Veronica puts on some horribly depressing music post break-up including How Can You Mend a Broken Heart? By Al Green from Soundtrack.
Winner – Lost

Best Lie
Lost – Libby tells Hurley that he stepped on her foot when he boarded the plane yet she was supposedly in the back of the plane while he was in the middle.
Veronica Mars – Veronica fools everyone into thinking she’s not in cahoots with Duncan.
Winner – Veronica Mars

Best Baby Namesake
Lost – Charlie’s sister-in-law named his niece after his mother even though the father didn’t bother to show up.
Veronica Mars – Duncan names his daughter after his sister.
Winner – Veronica Mars

Good to See Again
Lost – Liam
Veronica Mars – Vinnie Van Lowe, Cliff, Sean, and Xena the Warrior Princess
Winner – Veronica Mars

Best Line(s)
Lost – Anna Lucia, “You hitting that?”
Veronica Mars – Dick, “He told me to go have sexual intercourse with myself.” Logan, “Doesn’t he know if you could do that you’d never leave the house?” Dick, “You know it.”

Lost – Michael’s still in the jungle.
Veronica Mars – Jackie hasn’t been seen since Homecoming. Plus no Beaver.
Winner - Lost

Worst Song
Lost – Charlie writes a song that in no way could get his band back on the charts.
Veronica Mars – While moping around Veronica listens to Paula Cole’s I Don’t Want to Wait (and didn’t make a joke) and The Hollies’ Air That I Breathe (to be honest, I do have this on my iPod).
Winner - Lost

Pep Talk
Lost – Sawyer tries to help Hurley out on how to hook up with Libby.
Veronica Mars – Dick tries help Veronica forget about Duncan by explaining why Duncan would hook up with Kendall in graphic detail.
Winner – Veronica Mars

4 8 15 16 23 42
Lost – Were nowhere to be found.
Veronica Mars – Were on the fortune cookie Duncan gave to Veronica in the season premiere with the words “True love stories never have endings.”
Winner – Veronica Mars

Worth the Wait
Lost – Comes back after a hiatus with a decent episode, a good one, and an absolutely boring one.
Veronica Mars – Comes back after a hiatus with one of the best hours this year on television.
Winner – Veronica Mars

This week’s toss up was no contest as Veronica Mars had one of the best episodes this year whereas Lost was one of the worst hours of television I’ve seen this year. I would rather watch an hour of Emily’s Reasons Why Not and Courting Alex than to see Fire+Water ever again.

Lost had a Charlie-centric episode but his flashbacks/dream sequences didn’t do much to help the storyline. I guess they were trying to convey that he has abandonment issues and doesn’t want to lose his new family (Claire and Aaron) like he did his real one. But much like Jack the episode before, they made him out to be such a tool that I really don’t feel sorry for him. Even Locke became more unlikeable and for some reason is keeping all the Virgin Mary’s around. ThenThrow in some weird piano and religious metaphors and you totally lose me. There are very few things more annoying than dream sequences.

The non Charlie segments were somewhat better with an exchange between Hurley and Libby that totally change my crack pot theory about the mysterious tailie. Last Week (See Toss Up… ) I theorized that she is whom Jack wife left him for. But when Hurley asked her if they had met before and she gave the obviously improbable lie I’m thinking that she worked at nut house where Hurley was at because she did mention that she was a psychologist. I wouldn’t be surprised if she is aware of the numbers too and was working with Leonard.

Then there was Veronica Mars who packed in more excitement before its theme song than Lost had all episode. The show starts off with a very public breakup followed by a great montage of depressed Veronica (personally I would have thrown on a little Anna Begins in this situation, but anyways). But this was all a part of a great plan Veronica and Duncan devised to get his baby from the Mannings. I have to admit I was completely fooled and didn’t suspect anything that grand until Veronica looked behind her when she was about to go into her apartment only to go next door.

There were a few things that bugged me with the whole plan though. First when Veronica brought Vinnie in, presumably in the “private” letter meant for Duncan, Vinnie’s the type a person whom would have turned around and seen if Celeste would have upped the offer. Also why would Celeste’s personal assistant, who she was putting through grad school, participate in all of this? Then there is the sequencing where Vinnie and the chick make the fake phone call in Big Bear, drive back to Neptune to pick up baby Lily, and drive to Mexico to use Veronica’s ATM all in the time allotted by the other thing that happened. But since the episode as a whole was great, it’s easy to overlook the holes.

Elsewhere in Neptune, Wallace has come back and he says it was to play basketball. But it turned out that was a lie and he was really getting away from being apart of a hit and run back in Chicago. Again a big plot hole in that most schools don’t people who transferred in the middle of the year play sports and Wallace was able to do it and then was able to transfer during the season to get back on the Pirate squad. I can’t imagine that the California and Illinois High School Association rules are that lax.

Then there was a small advancement of the Felix murder as Logan and Weevil continue to look for the real killer. The only real news here was that Felix was hooking up with one of the lady Fitzpatrick’s. But this whole storyline were enhanced by the involvement of Dick who is currently neck in neck with Barney from How I Met our Mother for the best character on television. Dick wasn’t the only one to get off some one-liners as Xena as an FBI agent had some great lines at the expense of Sheriff Lamb my favorite was when Lamb expressed interest in joining the FBI.

Next week Lost is already back to repeats while Veronica seems to be helping out Wallace in the little hit and run incident. For more on Veronica Mars, here is the official press release From UPN:


Jeffery Sams ("Soul Food") Returns as Baseball Legend Terrence Cook

"Rashard and Wallace Go To White Castle" -- Wallace is forced to turn to Veronica for help when a star player from his former Chicago high-school basketball team and his shady uncle falsely name Wallace as the driver in a tragic hit-and-run accident, on VERONICA MARS, Wednesday, Feb. 1 (9:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on UPN. John Kretchmer directed the episode from a script written by John Enbom.

Meanwhile, Veronica and Keith stumble on evidence that links Jackie's dad Terrance Cook (guest star Jeffery Sams) with the teacher that died in the bus crash. Later, looking for solid proof that would tie his gang with the Fighting Fitzpatricks mob, Weevil asks Veronica to bug Father Patrick Fitzpatrick's confessional at the local church.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Do You Realize That Everyone You Know Someday Will Die?

Not gonna happen, Lois and Clark are safeIt seems as if the amount of deaths of major characters on television shows have gone up significantly in the last couple years. Death on TV seemed few and far between when I was younger but it’s gotten to the point where we see one about once a month. The latest will be on the next episode of where “someone close to Clark will die.” Usually I like to stay away from spoilers but when the show has been hyping it at every commercial break, it’s really had to do (see how much I hate spoilers here – Spoiled). Luckily I have stayed away from finding out who dies so here I bring to you the odds of who will be knocked tomorrow night:

Clark, Lex, & Lois (nil) – Not going to happen even though Clark technically already died this season and Lex has been fatally shot twice in the last three episodes and averages about four near deaths each season. The trio will be showing up in the movie next year and the WB wouldn’t let a silly television show confuse people.

How could kill off a girl this hot?Martha (100-1) & Jonathan Kent (95-1) – Both also show up later in Superman lore with Martha making the Superman costume. The only why that either would die would be if Annette O’Toole or Bo Duke decide to leave the show. Jonathan is slightly higher due to connection to the election.

Lana Lang (25-1) – Her odds would have been higher because I thought no show would kill off the token hot chick, but with the death of the token hot chick on , it puts Lana’s mortality in question. But if she is the one to die maybe she can star in a straight to Cinamax movie with the token hot chick from Lost. Mmm, maybe I should root for her to die. But anyways.

Lionel Luther (10-1) – The only character that I consider disposable because the elder Luther hasn’t done much this episode. The only reason he isn’t the frontrunner is that it’s been advertise that “someone close to Clark will die” and Lionel doesn’t necessarily fit that description.

In the words of a wise man, 'your time has come'Chloe Sullivan (3-2) – The only main character created solely for the series so they can easily get rid of her without any major uproar from the comic book geek community. Plus the last friend who learned Clark’s secret was quickly moved out of town and off the show.

Feel free to place your bets in the comment section (assuming you don’t already know the outcome, please don’t ruin it for the rest of us). Also I currently working on a post for the new CW channel where I will tackle many question like is the merger a good thing, what shows should, and ultimately will end up on it, and a few suggestion. That should be up on either on Friday or Saturday, tomorrow will be my usual Thursday Toss Up between Veronica Mars and Lost who will go head to head with new episodes for the first time in about two months. I may even throw in my first album review of the year this weekend too.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

First Impressions - Courting Alex

Dharma and Dr. Burton hook up in NYCJust two weeks after Emily’s Reason’s Why Not (see my review – First Impressions) for the first and maybe last time, CBS debuted their sitcom about a woman in her early thirties in New York City looking for love while juggling her job with . Now there are some differences between the two shows the biggest being that Courting Alex doesn’t have a narrator unlike almost every new show this season. Another big difference is that, unlike , isn’t an absolutely horrible actress.

But there are still are similarities between the shows other than the setting the most notable being that neither induced any laughter. Not one. There was barely even a chuckle inducing joke in the show.

The show follows Elfman’s lawyer character around as she tries to balance her job in her law firm, run by her dad, played by the poorly used , and a dating life. And at the beginning of the show she’s not doing a good job as she took a business call while on a date. But things seem to change when she meets Scott, played by Ed’s Dr Burton. Scott’s more of a free spirit whose tavern happens to be in the way of a skyscraper Elfman’s firm is trying to build. But instead of convince him to sell, she instead is attracted to him and through him looks to be more spontaneous. Or that looks like what the show will be about, not that I’ll stick around to find out.

Verdict: Not as bad as Emily’s Reason Why Not, but that’s not saying much.

On a side note it looks like UPN and the WB will be no longer at the end of this TV season as they will be combining come next fall. I did read somewhere that will be announced soon that Veronica Mars will be on the new network CW, for a third season, hopefully this is true. I may have more on this tomorrow when I discuss the upcoming Smallville death or Thursday during my usually Toss Up segment. And maybe my new friends at UPN (whom I hope will also make the transition to CW) will give me some insight into the situation.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Sometimes Bad Things Happen to Good People

Red Eye

Completing my weekend was the in the air thriller Red Eye which was just a slight departure from the other film of hers I saw this weekend, Wedding Crashers. In Red Eye, McAdams is a manager at a prestigious hotel who is returning home from her grandmother’s funeral. But back at her hotel, they are preparing for the arrival of the head of Homeland Security with McAdams’ replacement who really doesn’t seem ready for the extra responsibility and brings some good comic relief to a very tense movie.

Playing the antagonist to McAdams is last scene in Batman Begins (see my review - A Guy Dresses Up Like a Bat Clearly Has Issues) as the disappointing Scarecrow, granted that wasn’t really his fault as the screenwriters had him as Dr. Crane more than the Scarecrow. But Anyways. Red Eye is really a two person movie with the rest of the cast getting very little screen time but be sure to be on the look out for Beaver Casablancas as Headphones Kid Brother and Colby of fame as Keefe’s Head Bodyguard and try not to laugh went he makes his hand singles.

Spending most of the time on just the two main characters has its drawback because the lack of screen time to the two people the terrorist are targeting we don’t have enough time to have empathy for them if fact the head Homeland Security comes across as callous early in the film when he is seen giving a speech on a new channel. Plus we never learn why the group was targeting him either. I don’t know why they had Murphy use an American accent when his natural Irish accent would have made more sense. And there is something to say about a movie named Red Eye that doesn’t get exciting until the plane lands.

But even with all those complaints, a lot of credit goes to McAdams and Murphy for being able to hold the interest during the flight when not much could happen. It was just great watching McAdams’ expression change when she realized that the charming guy she just happened to meet in the airport and was seated next to wasn’t lying when he says he job deals with nation overthrows and high profile assassinations. Credit should also go to director who camera work is able to keep us on the edge of our seats. Also it was good how, like many movies of this type with a meek female protagonist, McAdams doesn’t turn into Buffy the Vampire Slayer all of the sudden and everything she does in the film is very believable for her character.

Red Eye gets a Terror Alert Level: High [ORANGE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Tattoo on the Lower Back, Might as Well Be a Bullseye

The Wedding Crashers

Last summer, Wedding Crashers was toted as the return of R-Rated comedies and which basically means more swearing and nudity. But a movie can have all the F-bombs and boobies, it still needs to have a plot, good acting, and be well written for it to be entertaining. The plot itself is brilliant, built around the concept that there is no better place to hook up than at weddings. And just because you are not invited shouldn’t stop you from sampling from the easy chick buffet.

As for the acting returns to his roots by channeling the character that made him a star, Double Down Trent from although his character her might actually be more over the top. His partner in crime is the low key who unsuccessfully tries to ground Vaughn throughout the film. After years of successfully crashing weddings they decide to crash the granddaddy of all weddings, that of the daughter of Treasury Secretary played by the always get . But things get off track want Wilson decides to break one of the rules of wedding crashing, Rule #22: You have a wedding and a reception to seal the deal. Period. No overtime. But Wilson, in a play to win over the Secretary’s daughter, accepts an invitation on Vaughn’s behalf, who hooked up with another of his daughters, to his summer house for the weekend. But I’m sure anyone would do the same thing if the girl in question happens to be the hot chick from (not that I've seen it or anything).

The writing is what brings the movie down somewhat as there were a few lulls in the movie where nothing seems to be happening. Plus there is an uber-cheesy montage where Wilson, in the middle of the night, goes to the door of the girl he is pining over only to go back to his room instead of knocking only for the girl to decide to go to his room later, but decides not to knock either. And one can’t help to think that most of the funniest lines were ad-libbed by Vaughn and Wilson.

Be sure to check out the extra on the DVD including the 24 pages of rules to crashing wedding. And make sure you check out the extremely hilarious karaoke version of 99 Red Balloons that Vaughn and Wilson do in a deleted scene. But for some reason they have bother the Uncorked and Theatrical versions of the film on the DVD. It seems like a waste of space and makes suspicious that there will be another Special Edition of the movie that will be released in the future.

Wedding Crashers get a Terror Alert Level: Severe [RED] on my Terror Alert Scale.