Saturday, July 19, 2014

Best of the Week: 7/19/14

Quote of the Week: I don’t wear pink. It’s for (expletive deleted) and little girls who want to grow up and be princesses. (Eleanor Nacht, The Bridge)

Song of the Week: Who'll Stop the Rain – Dwight Yoakam (Under the Dome)

Big News of the Week: Christopher Walken Is Your New Captain Hook: After the success of The Sound of Music Live!, NBC was quick to announce that the live musical would happen this year (and probably for the foreseeable future) and it was eventually announce that Peter Pan would be the next one. We finally got our first casting news and surprisingly it was not for the titular character. Instead we learned this week that Christopher Walken would be the antagonist. Awesome. Sure the seventy-one year old actor may be two decades too old for the role, but thanks to Fatboy Slim we do know he can dance. And he will definitely be a better Captain Hook than the Abercrombie model they have on Once Upon A Time.

Back when Peter Pan was announced I suggested Jack Black whom probably would have been a better fit age wise, but that the Walken casting does is bring star power to the show and do not have to reach for the lead with name recognition like they did with Carrie Underwood and instead can cast someone who is competent and does not have to be a household name. So let me again suggest Brie Larson who may not be a big a name as Underwood, but we know she can act (see the critically acclaimed Short Term 12), that she can sing (see Scott Pilgrim vs. The World); and this week we learned she is even a passable as a boy when she popped up in Jenny Lewis’ video for Just One of the Guys (which sadly is not the theme song for a reboot of the awesomely bad eighties movie of the same name).

Preview Picture of the Week:

“Hail Mary” Tyrant, Tuesday at 10:00 on FX

Free Download of the Week: Busy Earnin' – Jungle (iTunes)

New Album Release of the Week: Nobody's Smiling - Common

New DVD Release of the Week: Godzilla Vs. Megalon [Blu-ray]

Video of the Week: It was just a couple weeks ago when I suggested we needed more Keira Knightley in our live. And just when that film who trailer made me make that declaration is hitting theaters, here is yet another Keira Knightley film trailer which is yet another indie film set in modern terms with Keira doing a surprisingly good American accent. Now that the Keira Knightley revival it is time to get her into a superhero movie or one of those super high quality miniseries that are all the rage lately. Oooh, since she is so good at period pieces and the character would need a sidekick, how about getting Keira Knightley into the upcoming Agent Carter television show. That would have the potential of being the greatest show ever in the history of the medium.

Next Week Pick of the Week: The Lottery, Sunday (tomorrow) at 10:00 on Lifetime: A year or two ago I was offered access to Lifetime screeners despite being a dude (I was also granted access to History which is more aligned with my idea of gender roles). Since they were nice enough to think of me I occasional check what is available and every that I watch I came away thinking, I am just too male to enjoy this. I check out their latest project The Lottery because who does not need more Marley Shelton in their life? Sure the women in the dystopian future all being infernal really preys on women’s emotion but I came away thinking it is the best thing they have ever produced and could actually appeal to the less fair sex. You can check out my full review here: Previewing The Lottery: A Dude's Review of Lifetime vol. VIII.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Around the Tubes: 7/18/14

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 Hemlock Grove, Face Off, The Line, Wicked Tuna: North vs. South, Chop Shop, Bert Blyleven, Guster, Smashing Pumpkins, and The Expanse.

- What is lurking within the city limits of Hemlock Grove? Werewolf transformations of course! Netflix has released an all-new exclusive clip showcasing the behind-the-scenes of this fan-favorite moment of Season two! The clip features new Season two executive producer/showrunner Charles "Chic" Eglee as well as cast members Landon Liboiron and newcomer Madeline Brewer discussing how these special effects came to life! Fans of the Emmy-nominated Eli Roth Netflix original series can now witness new transformations, thrills, chills, murder, suspense and more blood for themselves, as Season two of Hemlock Grove is now available for streaming at Check out a clip below:

- Premiering Tuesday, July 22 at 9:00, season 7 of Syfy’s special effects makeup competition series Face Off begins with two of the aspiring artists being eliminated before the competition even begins, a twist that shocks the 16 aspiring hopefuls the moment they arrive to Los Angeles. This begins Face Off’s “Life and Death” season, in which the contestants face creative challenges that will inspire them to explore themes of rebirth and mortality. In the premiere, the contestants must incorporate a prosthetic into their audition makeups in a stressful four-hour challenge. As the artists are working, host McKenzie Westmore introduces a special guest advisor for the challenge, horror icon Robert Englund (Nightmare on Elm Street’s Freddy Krueger). In the end, two artists are eliminated before ever moving into the Face Off house or stepping into the lab. Syfy also rolls out an interactive social element for season 7, Tweet Off: The Fan Favorite Sweepstakes. Every week, viewers can tweet which of the contestants is their favorite using #FaceOff. At the end of every episode, there will be a reveal of which contestant garnered the most positive sentiment for the week. And at the end of the season, the contestant who has the most cumulative weekly wins is named Fan Favorite and will be awarded $10,000. Tweet Off: The Fan Favorite Sweepstakes also gives viewers the chance to win. Starting with the premiere on July 22 and running through the end of Face Off’s season 7, viewers can enter the sweepstakes at to win a Kryolan make-up kit and a tutorial from the season 7 Fan Favorite.

- Game Show Network, the leader in game shows and competitive entertainment, announced this week it has greenlit a new traveling game show, The Line, from High Noon Entertainment. Hosted by Jeff Davis (Whose Line is it Anyway?) and Candace Bailey (Attack of the Show), the series offers people the chance to win cash and prizes by playing outrageous games while waiting in a line for their shot at answering a series of trivia questions. The Line, which will shoot five episodes in Nashville beginning July 19, is a unique traveling game that invites hundreds of people to line up each day for a chance to win cash and prizes. Though the goal is to get to the “Trivia Vault” at the front of the line, where each contestant can attempt to win a jackpot by answering eight true/false questions, many will have an opportunity to play and win while waiting in the line itself. Those who make it to the front of the line will see the jackpot grow with each contestant who fails to answer his or her eight questions. Still, everyone who gets in “The Line” may have the chance to be a contestant and a winner – one way or possibly both!

- On the heels of its third and highest-rated season for hit series Wicked Tuna, National Geographic Channel pits Gloucester’s finest against good ol’ Southern fishermen in an exciting new series, Wicked Tuna: North vs. South, premiering Sunday, Aug. 17, at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT. n order to succeed, the Gloucester rod-and-reel veterans will need to master the different method of fishing — greensticking, in which artificial squid are trolled from a 30-foot fiberglass pole in order to entice bluefin swimming near the surface — and best a fleet of North Carolina captains battling for the same catches. Bluefin season in the Outer Banks only lasts a limited time, and there is a highly restricted government catch quota. But if the captains can reel in some “monstah” fish before the quota is reached, the winter months could potentially yield a greater catch than in Gloucester. In fishermen’s terms: a cash bonanza.

- Paramount Digital Entertainment and Machinima have partnered on a gritty, new action drama Chop Shop to premiere today. Chop Shop follows a crew of car thieves as they rise from the mean streets of Los Angeles to become high level international players. The series will premiere exclusively on Machinima’s channels. Elliott Lester (Blitz) directs the Bandito Brothers (Act Of Valor) and Joshua Weinstock produced series, alongside writers Josh Baizer and Marshall Johnson (Mortal Kombat: Legacy). Series stars John Bregar, Rene Moran, Ana Ayora, along with Robert Patrick. Check out the trailer below:

- On Monday, July 14 in Minneapolis, legendary pitcher Bert Blyleven teamed up with 2 GINGERS® Irish Whiskey to face brave batters in a Wiffle® ball battle heading into the 2014 MLB All-Star Game®. Blyleven pitched his iconic curveballs, and every batter who struck out took a pie in the face. For every pie thrown, 2 GINGERS® donated to the Wounded Warrior Project and the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association, resulting in a combined total of $10,000.

- PledgeMusic is excited to announce a freshly launched pre-order campaign with Boston alternative rock band Guster for their upcoming album. Produced by Richard Swift (The Shins, Foxygen), the new album is the follow up to 2010's Easy Wonderful. With the album fully recorded, Guster wants to offer exclusive merchandise and experiences and create frenetic fan engagement leading up the album's early 2015 release. Fans can purchase pre-order exclusives such as signed CDs, handwritten lyrics, and a skydiving adventure with the band. Among the unique experiences available for pledgers, they can welcome Guster's Ryan Miller to DJ a house party while wearing a Chewbacca costume or accompany the band to a local Tesla dealership where they will test drive a Model S with you and then purchase it for you (for a cool $150K USD). In addition, fans can spend a day with Guster on the idyllic Maine seacoast with paddling, lawn games & archery followed by a sunset BBQ and acoustic set, hosted by the L.L.Bean Outdoor Discovery Schools. For more details visit Pledge Music.

- When it was first released on June 1, 1998, the Smashing Pumpkins’ Adore, the follow-up to their mega-successful 1995 double album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, fans were puzzled by its lack of rock guitars, its folk and electronic elements and relative intimacy. Even the album title, as Billy Corgan mentions in the booklet that accompanies Universal Music Enterprises’ 107-track, six-CD/DVD reissue of the epic disc—due Virgin/UMe on Sept. 23—was misunderstood. “The funny thing was [it] was a joke that no one ever got,” says Corgan, explaining that Adore was meant as a play on “A Door.” In addition, Adore will be available as a single CD, a double-vinyl version and a deluxe, 90-track digital package.

- Syfy and Alcon TV today announced that three-time Golden Globe nominee Thomas Jane (Hung, The Punisher) will star as the world-weary Detective Miller, a native of “the Asteroid Belt” between Mars and Jupiter, in The Expanse, the new 10-episode space opera based on the international best-selling book series, premiering on Syfy in 2015.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Previewing The Lottery: A Dude's Review of Lifetime vol. VIII

Marley Shelton from The Lottery

Near future dystopias have been all the rage in multiplexes lately it is surprising it has taken this long for it to make it to the small screen. Since the future dystopian movies are like comic book movies for the fairer sex, it should not be surprising that Lifetime got in on the ground floor. And they are really hitting at female fears with what went wrong in the near future: In The Lottery all women become infertile. As the opening scenes describes: “In 2016 there was an alarming drop in worldwide human birth rates. No specific cause could be identified. In 2019, only six children were born. They were the last ones. Every effort to reverse infertility has failed.”

See, every young woman’s nightmare. But here is the thing; the show may be the first project Lifetime has ever done that can actual appeal to dudes too. Except instead preying on possible dystopian fears for women, the world that The Lottery lives in is a utopia for men. Seriously, a future where even chubby dudes with receding hairlines can get to hook up with absurdly attractive doctors because if you also decent from Ethiopia, you are extremely fertile (oh yeah, dudes are still fine in the future, it is the woman’s uterus that is the problem; there are even billboards plastered everywhere that says, “Sam wants you to donate sperm”). Seriously, sex is so prominent in this future there are beds inside the bars because people cannot even be bothered to spend the time to drive home. Awesome, if not kind of extremely unsanitary.

The Lottery picks up in 2025, so those final six kids are now six years old. One of course is raised by a single dad who has to be getting more action than even your average chubby Ethiopian with receding hairline. And though there are no kids under six (sorry kindergarten teachers, you are now out of work in this near future) at least there are now televisions inside gas pumps and virtual treadmills for those who what to feel like their outside without actually having to be outside. But do not fret women of the future, Marley Shelton was able to fertilize one hundred embryos (of course the chick from Sugar and Spice plays the smartest doctor in the world).

So why The Lottery? As you can probably guess the show is not based on the short story you probably read in school about the dystopian future where kids are stoned to death. No, the president, facing low poll numbers and a possible recall (apparently you can also recall the president in the future too; wait until the Tea Party hears of this idea) has decided to host a lottery where the one hundred women of America will get to carry one of the embryos to term. Yeah, Lifetime is really going hard at the female viewer. But I am just watch for the thought of the future where I can easily hook up with any random hot chick with a ticking biological clock without fear she would actually get pregnant barring some miraculous super sperm. But in all seriousness, this is the best project from Lifetime that I have seen yet.

The Lottery airs Sundays at 10:00 on Lifetime.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Previewing Expecting Amish: A Dude's Review of Lifetime vol. VII

The amish of Expecting Amish

I can be stubborn, stuck in my ways, and fear change but no one is more stubborn than the Amish who shun fancy things like electricity. Now I have to admit the about ninety percent of what I know about their culture I learned from “Weird Al” Yankovic. Then the other ten percent was half an episode of Amish in the City which probably not the best representation. As the latest Lifetime Movie, I am not sure if Expecting Amish is a better representation of the culture.

One of the aspects of the Amish life I learned about Amish in the City was a rite of passage Amish young adults take where they live in the modern world and after a month they decide if they want to come back and be baptized in the church or stay in modern civilization and be shunned (which was the basis of the show). It has a name, but it long and weird and I am too lazy to look up the correct spelling so let us just call it Amish Spring Break.

Amish Spring Break is the basis of Expecting Amish where AJ Michalka (Cow Belles) and her three Amish buddies go to Los Angeles where they are amazed by self closing car doors and toaster ovens. They are so naïve they are even enamored by One Republic, just wait until they get to hear some real music like The Clash. How the Amish are able to afford such a swanky LA pad goes unexplained, but I guess when you are not spending all your money on disposable income on iPads, Playstations, or even groceries because you grow and kill your own food, it is easier to save a nest egg.

Then the Amish go to a college party to party like it’s 1699 with the “faithless” including Jesse McCartney (Beautiful Soul). Since this is a Lifetime Movie, it from there can go one of two ways: they can be roofied and taken advantage of or fall in love with a modern boy who teaches her there is more to the modern world than toasters and computers. (Granted the ultimate Lifetime Movie, both would end up happening.) But with a title like Expecting Amish, the result of the trip to Los Angeles is fairly obvious. Then, of course, hilarity ensues (well depending if you take Lifetime movies serious or watch them semi-ironically).

Expecting Amish premieres Saturday at 8:00 on Lifetime. Two more Lifetime movies premiering this month includes Guilty at 17 premiering on Sunday at 7:00. It is a thriller starring Erin Sanders who co-stars on Melissa and Joey. She plays 17 year old Traci, who falsely accuses a teacher of sexually harassing another student. When the teacher commits suicide and Traci finds out the teacher was really innocent, she confides in a substitute teacher who places both of them in danger when she takes matters into her own hands. Also there is The Chocking Game premieres on Saturday, July 26 at 8:00. Based on the YA novel called Choke by Diana Lopez, Freya Tingley (Jersey Boys), Peri Gilpin (Frasier) and Alexandra Steele (De Grassi) star in the drama that follows a teenager who flirts with disaster after being introduced to the "game" of intentionally cutting off oxygen to the brain to get high.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Previewing The Hotwives of Orlando

The Bachelor is a pretty deplorable franchise, targeting young women who think they could one day find Prince Charming via reality television even though ninety percent of the contestants on the show are not there for, dare I say, the right reasons. I never watch one second of The Bachelor or any of its spin-offs, but I did watch Burning Love, a web series that parodied the show including its two spin-offs in later seasons.

Bravo’s numerous Housewives in another deplorable franchise that I would never watch. But a parody of the shows? Sure. Just like Burning Love, you will need an internet connection to watch The Hotwives of Orlando which premieres on Hulu today, but if you are reading this, that should not be a problem. But it looks like Hulu is taking a page out of the Netflix notebook and instead of releasing one or two episodes every couple days to a week, all episodes are available now.

None of the cast may be household names, but you will undoubtably recognized. Yep that is the chick from The Office and the other is from Happy Endings. You may not even be able to place the token drunk housewife, but you know you have seen her on multiple sitcoms before. The dude from The League even pops up as the Andy Cohen after show host to tell you what he is going to talk about on his show (sadly this show does not actually exist… yet).

All the Housewives tropes are here, The Trophy Wife, The Religious Zealot, The Entrepreneur, The Bankrupt Overspender, The Cougar, and of course The Drug Addled Former Child Star. The first episode naturally features a charity party that makes little to no sense (high heels for dogs, because it is just an excuse to throw a party and stir up drama.

For those that fear that there may no be enough material to fill up a full season, the This Season On package (which tends to be the best part of any reality show, even parody ones), includes a Pimps and Ho’s party (which ends up being even funnier than the charity party), an intervention, infidelity, plastic surgery, Botox, a strip club, rehab, a heavily auto-tuned pop single, hair pulling, and “Weird Al” Yankovic. Yes, Weird Francking Al makes a special appearance. There is a very good chance you will laugh more times than you do on your usual network sitcom.

The Hotwives of Orlando premieres today on Hulu. Why are still reading this, click the link and go there now, you can watch all seven episodes (well if you have Hulu Plus, just the first two episodes now for the free version), which includes the prerequisite reunion show.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Previewing Brain Games and Going Deep

On Mondays this spring, the National Geographic Channel, the viewers IQ were raised when they aired Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey for those that missed it a day before on network television. Learning done in fun ways continues tonight with the return of Brain Games. First up host Jason Silva dives deep into seeing a human brain’s capacity for compassion and just how to manipulate people to be more compassionate (not very surprising, it is to express compassion for them). The show explores if we are born naughty or nice with actual newborns and a puppet show. Next week Jason tackles the brain and language which includes a very special version of the telephone game. And like usual, you can play along at home. Other subjects covered during the summer season include Addiction which shows that we are all addicted to something. Risk looks into how t6he brain calculates and evaluates risk.

Brain Games airs Mondays at 9:00 on National Geographic Channel. You can download Brain Games on iTunes.

New to the learning Mondays lineup is Going Deep which more than lives up to its name by going deep on what you may think is the most mundane tasks. Case in point, the first episode is about making an ice cube. That is it, the whole episode is dedicated to the task of freezing water in a geometric shpe. But as you will learn making the perfect ice cube, the perfectly clear kind you see in beverage ads (I hate to break it to the host, those “perfect” ice cubes are likely fake and made of plastic so they will not melt over a long shoot). Along the way you will learn why your ice cubes may be “cloudy” and why a little imperfection in your water that you make ice with is actually a good thing.

Sure the host David Rees tends to fluctuate between annoying and extremely annoying but this is a guy who quite literally wrote the book on how to sharpen a pencil. Seriously: How to Sharpen Pencils: A Practical and Theoretical Treatise on the Artisanal Craft of Pencil Sharpening for Writers, Artists, Contractors, Flange Turners, Anglesmiths, and Civil Servants. I told you the guy goes deep.  Though pencil sharpening is not on the docket (yet) other topics this season will include How to Tie Your Shoes where Rees tries to perfect the ancient art (somehow overlooks the most obvious advancement in the shoe wearing arts: Velcro). Each episode sees Rees visit experts to help him perfect that topic for instance for ice cube he seeks the advise of mass icemakers, ice sculptors, glaciologists, and, why not, a Buddhist Monk. Other mundane tasks that Rees will undoubtably make fascinating this season include How to Dig a Hole, How to Flip a Coin, How to Swat a Fly, How to Open a Door, How to Climb a Tree, How to Throw a Paper Airplane, How to Shake Hands, and How to Light a Match.

Going Deep with David Rees airs Mondays at 10:00 on the National Geographic Channel.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 7/13/14

Falling Skies: C’mon, did they really have to kill the old dude in front of his old wife? Couldn’t they just kill a nondescript Red Shirt instead? Seems a little cruel. Well at least we know now just how exactly Lexi came to have alien DNA too, that was a creepy scene.
You can download Falling Skies on iTunes.

Switched at Birth: As I have stated multiple time I have when episodes start in the third act and flashback. It was bad enough last week’s promo said this is how the episode ends as someone is rushed to the hospital. From the promo, my instant prediction was that it had to be Angelo with an outside chance of Toby or some minor character no one cared about. Nothing happened during the episode that made me think I was wrong that is was Angelo so I was not at all surprised when it was him in the car accident. Now the question is if he will survive, not that it matter. The reason I always thought I would be Angelo because he was the most expendable so it does not really matter if he dies or not.
You can download Switched At Birth on iTunes.

Pretty Little Liars: After a lackluster start of the season, I assumed they were saving any big plot twist until the one hundredth episode. Except the hundredth episode started out pretty boring unless you have a vest invested in seeing the Liars reunite with their longtime beaus (except for Emily and Alison who hocked up with each other). It was so uneventful, we did not even get to meet Hermie’s new girlfriend and Caleb, who cut off his faux-Riggins haircut, basically yadda-yadda-ed how he got out of Ravenswood.

But finally something happened at the end of the episode when they quite literally blew up a house. Oh snap. And of course A is back because anyone who thought Shawna was the A is a moron. Since she just returned, Jenna has to be on the top of the list… except that would involve blowing up her own house. And if she was in it, that would make it slightly less likely that she would be A (although Alison faked her own death so even if Jenna’s body is found I still would not count her out). And just like that, I am almost back in on the show.
You can download Pretty Little Liars on iTunes.

Perception: The vision’s Dr. Pierce sees usually are the best part of the show and Lionel Luther as the Devil may have been the best one yet.
You can download Perception on iTunes.

The Bridge: The first season felt really disjoints and when you learn that one of the writer wanted to make a serial killer procedural while another wanted to look at the underbelly of the border it made perfect sense. The writer that wanted the show to be a procedural is not gone and the second season, for at least one episode, is much better for it. The show got weird, and essentially more entertaining. With a serial killer you knew where the show was going (he would be eventually caught), now I have no clue where the second season going. That is something to look forward to.
You can download The Bridge on iTunes.