Saturday, July 26, 2014

Best of the Week: 7/26/14

Quote of the Week: I don’t know. You believe that (expletive deleted)? I got ripped by a bunch of taco venders on bikes. (Ray Burton, The Bridge)

Song of the Week: Night Moves – Bob Segar (as sung by Ed Cochran, Ray Donovan)

Big News of the Week: Comic Con ’14: It is nerd Christmas when the meek who have inherited the cinema which is now 90% comic book adaption (and is quickly conquering the small screen numerous adoptions premiering this fall). Except Comic Con is all teases and trailers making it more like Christmas Eve where you can look at your wrapped gifts and shake them, but you do not actually get to unwrap and play with them for another couple months, or years in the case of many of the movies (coming in 2018: The Amazing Spider-Man 3, a sequel to a movie that no one liked a couple months ago!). No news that has come out of the Con has really piqued my interests yet, but still two more days to come.

Preview Picture of the Week:

“Bolero” Perception, Tuesday at 10:00 on TNT

Free Download of the Week: Break the Fall – Laura Welsh (iTunes)

New Album Release of the Week: Hypnotic Eye - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

New DVD Release of the Week: Noah

Video of the Week: Last fall ABC’s soapy new drama Betrayal failed miserably. Many people theorized that maybe it would have done better on a premium channel where they could show “the good stuff.” Well we may actually see if that is true when the similarly themed The Affair premieres October on Showtime. Instead of the big city, The Affair takes place in the vacation spot of the Hamptons and though the first trailer focus mainly on the titular deed, it does seem like there is a murder that is tied into the show (again like Betrayal). The big difference between the two shows is that, even though it is not explicitly expressed in the trailer, The Affair “will be told separately from the male and female perspectives – using the distinct memory biases to both misdirect and intrigue.” Oh yeah, and Showtime can show “the good stuff.”

Next Week Pick of the Week: Crossbones, Next Saturday at 8:00 on NBC: For those that watched the NBC mini-series, you will get to see the conclusion a little sooner than expected as the network is going to burn off the final two episodes next Saturday. Personally I found the show hard to get into because the lead on the show not named John Malkovich looked way too much like Kenny Powers to take seriously.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Around the Tubes: 7/25/14

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 Running Wild with Bear Grylls, The Simpsons, MeatEater, PBS Arts Fall Festival, Conan, The Rossevelts: An Intimate History, The Strain, Aporkalypse 2014, FX and TNT renewals, Regal Cinemas, and James Garner.

- Here is a sneak a peek at Running Wild with Bear Grylls, premiering Monday, July 28 at 8/7 on NBC.

- Cowabunga! In celebration of its landmark acquisition of the exclusive cable and authenticated non-linear VOD rights to legendary animated comedy The Simpsons, FXX will launch a record-breaking marathon of the series on August 21, 2014. The marathon will begin August 21, 2014 at 10 AM and will conclude September 1, 2014 at 12 AM, making it the longest-running marathon in television history. For 24 hours a day, over the course of the 12 days, FXX will air 552 episodes of The Simpsons (through Season 25) as well as The Simpsons Movie (airing after episode 400), in chronological order. FXX will also launch “Simpsons World” - the ultimate Simpsons digital experience featuring enriched branded content through and handheld/connected devices via FXNOW, the authenticated multi-network on-demand video service supporting FX, FXX and FXM - in October.

- Adventure, exploration and education are a few integral components that fuel the success of the award-winning program, MeatEater with Steven Rinella. Sportsman Channel, the exclusive network home for MeatEater, unveils a Season Four Recap week beginning Monday, July 28 at 7:00. The marathon leads viewers into the premiere of Season Five of MeatEater on Thursday, July 31 at 8:00.

- Entering its fourth season, the PBS Arts Fall Festival has become a Friday night fall tradition, reaching more than 33 million viewers since its conception in 2011, and underscoring PBS’ ongoing commitment to giving audiences a front-row seat and a backstage pass to the best of the arts on-air and online. The series will be hosted by Emmy and Tony Award-winning actress and accomplished singer Kristin Chenoweth beginning Friday, September 26, 2014 at 9:00(check local listings).

- TBS's late-night show Conan will welcome the cast of the Emmy®-nominated Netflix original comedy series Orange Is The New Black on Monday, Aug. 4, for their first ever late-night appearance as a group. Emmy®-nominated actresses Taylor Schilling, Laverne Cox, Uzo Aduba, Kate Mulgrew, Natasha Lyonne and series co-star Jason Biggs will all join host Conan O'Brien from Stage 15 at Warner Bros.

- Ken Burns’s 14-hour epic of an American political dynasty, The Rossevelts: An Intimate History, will premiere Sunday, September 14th from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. (ET) and run for seven consecutive nights at the same time. In addition, it will be repeated from 10:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. each night and will have a weekend, daytime marathon September 20th and 21st. Beginning on Monday, September 15th, the entire 14 hours will be available online to stream through PBS stations’ video sites,, and PBS station branded digital platforms, including ROKU, Apple TV and Xbox, and will be available for two weeks, through September 29th.

- FX’s newest hit series, The Strain, from acclaimed director Guillermo del Toro and executive producer Carlton Cuse, has a warning for the general public: They may be infected with The Strain. The Strain Transformation app is available as a free download in the iTunes and Google Play stores. Fans can discover what will happen when an ancient parasitic plague enters their system and transforms them into a monstrous vampire. From examination to diagnosis, they’ll see their transformation in seconds. The app enables the infected to quickly share photos of their results on Facebook and Twitter to inform and warn their friends of the spreading infection. It offers exclusive video and access to The Strain social media, including the official Strain Facebook and Twitter pages.

- When Brian “Pigman” Quaca decides to contribute to the eradication of the exploding feral hog population – few experts are better equipped. Beginning Monday, August 4 at 7:00, Sportsman Channel returns with a full-week of the award-winning programming stunt – Aporkalypse 2014. The entire week of expanded hog eradication takes a deep dive into the many issues associated with the feral hog epidemic. When Quaca goes airborne – the process is supremely efficient and effective. The action is unrivaled and the mode of transportation will leave viewers in shock and disbelief. With equal parts adventure and education, Aporkalypse 2014 leads into the anticipated premiere of Pigman: The Series (“Aparalypse”) on Sunday, August 10 at 8:00.

- FX has picked up a fifth season of the Emmy®-nominated comedy series Louie. The seven-episode new season from Creator/Executive Producer/Writer/Star/Director/Editor Louis C.K. will premiere in Spring 2015. In other FX renewal new, Fargo is coming back for a second season with a new cast.

- TNT has renewed three of its chart-topping summer hits: The Last Ship, Major Crimes and Falling Skies. All three dramas rank among basic cable's Top 5 scripted series this summer with total viewers and adults 25-54. They have also helped TNT score a significant lead as basic cable's #1 network in primetime for the summer-to-date.

- Let’s face it—we all love cheese and we all take selfies, so why not get some cheddar for it? From now until August 11th Regal Cinemas and Tostitos are searching for the cheesiest selfie to crown THE ROYAL CHEESIE and fly them out to Hollywood for a VIP weekend. Submit your cheesiest selfie and you'll also score free Regal Cinemas nachos, while supplies last. If we run out of free nacho coupons, don't worry, you'll still receive a coupon for $2 off free nachos. View contest details here.

- Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will remember award-winning actor James Garner on Monday, July 28, with an all-day marathon featuring 12 of his films. The lineup features Garner's performances in such movies as Toward the Unknown (1956), which marked his film debut; the racing drama Grand Prix (1966); the popular romantic comedy The Thrill of It All (1963); the Paddy Cheyefsky-penned The Americanization of Emily (1964); the groundbreaking drama The Children's Hour (1961); and the gender-bending Victor/Victoria (1982). The following is the complete schedule for TCM's tribute to James Garner.

6 a.m. – Toward the Unknown (1956) – starring William Holden, Lloyd Nolan, Virginia Leith and James Garner
8 a.m. – Shoot-Out at Medicine Bend (1957) – starring Randolph Scott, James Craig, Angie Dickinson and James Garner
9:30 a.m. – Grand Prix (1966) – starring James Garner, Eva Marie Saint, Brian Bedford and Yves Montand
12:30 p.m. – Cash McCall (1960) – James Garner, Natalie Wood, Nina Foch and Dean Jagger
2:15 p.m. – The Wheeler Dealers (1963) – starring James Garner, Lee Remick, Phil Harris and Chill Wills
4 p.m. – Darby's Rangers (1958) – starring James Garner, Etchika Choureau and Jack Warden
6:15 p.m. – Mister Buddwing (1966) – starring James Garner, Jean Simmons, Angela Lansbury and Suzanne Pleshette
8 p.m. – The Thrill of It All (1963) – starring Doris Day, James Garner and Arlene Francis
10 p.m. – The Americanization of Emily (1964) – starring Julie Andrews, James Garner, Melvyn Douglas and James Coburn
Midnight – The Children's Hour (1961) – starring Audrey Hepburn, Shirley MacLaine, James Garner and Miriam Hopkins
2 a.m. – Victor/Victoria (1982) – starring Julie Andrews, James Garner, Robert Preston and Lesley-Ann Warren
4:30 a.m. – Marlowe (1969) – starring James Garner, Rita Moreno, Sharon Farrell and Bruce Lee

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Musings from the Back 9: Music Edition XIX

Back in the early days of music, five years after a One Hit Wonder last made the charts they would be teachers, insurance salesmen, or other “real world” jobs. Thanks to the internet it is easy to prolong your fifteen minutes of fame as long as that one hit garnered you enough passionate fans. For those of us that did not become passionate fans, it is fun to give each new single a listen before going, nope; you are staying in One Hit Wonder land (Foster the People are on their seventh post Pumped Up Kicks single). It has been five years since La Roux notched their only hit Bulletproof (to be fair, In for the Kill was a hit in most of Europe) and lost half the group since then and now is essential a one person band, singer Elly Jackson. The result is a more danceable but not as interesting Trouble in Paradise. The album is more sexual with titles like Kiss and Not Tell, Cruel Sexuality, and Sexotheque. This continues on the albums best track Tropical Chaser which sounds like it heavily borrows that weird synth sound from Gorge Michael’s I Want Your Sex. Nothing on Trouble in Paradise makes me think La Roux will graduate to a two hit wonder, but will probably garner enough fans for her to try again on a third album.

Trouble in Paradise gets a Terror Alert Level: Elevated [YELLOW] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Common has been one of the most respected rappers in his two decade plus career but even when he aims for the pop charts like with his Be album he falls short never landing in the top 40. He is not trying on his tenth album Nobody's Smiling and as you can tell by the album title, this one is dark. This one hits hard, well as hard as an album that features Big Sean on a track. Nobody’s Smiling is reminiscent of the types of albums you would here blaring out of the windows of cars rolling urban areas around the time Common got his start of the game. The album may continue his Top 40 drought but the tenth installment fits nicely into his catalogue, Big Sean guest spot notwithstanding.

Nobody’s Smiling gets a Terror Alert Level: High [ORANGE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

It is a tale as old as pop culture; indie actress recruits a musician to make an album of indie pop songs. Mary Elizabeth Winstead met producer Dan the Automator (Gorillaz) during the making of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (she was Ramona Flowers, he helped with the score) and decided to start a group Got A Girl. Their debut album I Love You But I Must Drive Off This Cliff Now is heavily by French 60’s pop music which is why it has a very cinematic feel to it. Winstead’s soft and soothing yet unmemorable voice is well suited for the mellow song which would play more on an easy Sunday morning. But the best tracks are when the duo goes more upbeat like on tracks There’s a Revolution. In terms of indie actresses / indie musicians collaborations, Got a Girl falls in between Zooey Deshanel and M. Ward’s She and Him project and the album Scarlett Johansson made with Pete Yorn.

I Love You but I Must Drive Off This Cliff Now gets a Terror Alert Level: Elevated [YELLOW] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Feed Your iPod LXXXIV: One More Minute

Yesterday I was going through “Weird Al” Yankovic withdrawal which was the first day i9n over a week he did not release a new music video. Of those eight videos I was not too keen of the originals when I made my list from best to worst with the four original making up the bottom of the list. Sure Weird Al is mostly known for his parodies, his latest album notwithstanding, he still has plenty originals that are just as good as the parodies. My favorite of his originals is One More Minute, a sad bastard song in a doo-wop style with Al hilariously breaking up with his girlfriend. I like to believe that You Don't Love Me Anymore, Al’s second best original, is a response song to One More Minute from the person on the other end of the song. At any rate, both songs are worth just watching the music video, the second of which parodies Extreme’s More than Words.

One More Minute – “Weird Al” Yankovic

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I Want My Music Videos: "Weird Al" Yankovic Edition

When Beyoncé air dropped her album before Christmas I wondered what artists could also do the same with some sort of success. Taylor Swift and Adele first came to mind (the latter of which is rumoured to be doing just that this fall) followed by a few rapper like Kanye West and Jay-Z (who both did limited roll outs last year). Who would have guess that “Weird Al” Yankovic would be the first to successfully pull it off? Okay, he did announced the album a month ago but did not give any preview tracks until the day before the release leading many of us to guess which songs he was parodying just by the song titles.

But this paid off as Mandatory Fun is looking like it could be Al’s first number one album ever (it is down to him and Jason Mraz) and his best selling week in the Soundscan era. Boosting these sales was Al’s new marketing plan of releasing eight new music videos over eight straight days starting last Monday. Since record labels do not have large budgets for videos ever since MTV started ignoring their first letter, he partnered up with various websites like Nerdist, Funny or Die, and, um, the Wall Street Journal to underwrite the videos to various degrees of success. So here are those eight videos ranked.

1. Word Crimes – Everyone has parodied Robin Thicke in the past years and each made fun of the video usually having haft naked dudes. Not Weird Al, of course he turns the song into an English class and of course the video is a lyric kind. Sure Al got some digs in at the video with the obnoxious hashtags and “Weird Al Yankovic has a big dictionary” but I liked the subtle two decade old dig at Alanis Morrisette.

2. Foil – A Lorde parody seemed obvious, the only question would be the subject. Apparently my guess of a Game of Thrones parody was a bit too on the nose, instead the parody turned out to be food adjacent. Well until Al take a sharp left with Al going the darkest he has ever gone after putting the tin foil hat on his head. And who did not have a sinking suspicion that Patton Oswalt was one of those secret lizard people from V?

3. Tacky – The video that started off the eight days of Al was also the most star studded with Aiesha Tyler, Margret Cho, Eric Stonestreet, Kristen Schaal, and Jack Black all don their tackiest clothes in a one take shot version of the Pharrell video. Yes Al ran done five flights of stairs for each take for the video.

4. Handy – You really cannot parody the Fancy music video because you would essentially just be parodying Clueless, instead he went with the Schneider from One Day at a Time look. But hey, dancing plumbers will always be funny.

5. First World Problems - Al’s non-parodies this time around were not his best. This was probably the best I pretty much had three of them happen to me.

6. Sports Song

7. Lame Claim to Fame

8. Mission Statement

Bonus: Now That’s What I Call Polka: There was not an official video for the album’s polka (always a highlight for one of Yankovic’s records) but of course someone synced up the original with the Weird Al version and put it on YouTube.

Monday, July 21, 2014

I Want My Music Television: 7/21/14

There have been a couple of videos that have caught my eye lately so I thought I’d give them some love since the death of Musical Television left a void for a forum on the art form. If you are interested in buying the video through iTunes, click the title link (where available). If you are interested in buying the song, look for a link in the analysis.

Angel in Blue Jeans - Train

Sure the new Train song kind of sucks in a jumping on the folk rock trend two years too late kind of way but if you are going to release a bad song you might as well pay Danny Trejo copious amounts of money to lip-sync your lyrics making an actual entertaining video. So congratulations to Train, you almost got me to almost like your crappy Mumford and Sons rip off simply by getting me to watch the music video multiple times.

You and I (Nobody in the World) – John Legend

Just when you think John Legend was going to release yet another music video based around his Sport Illustrated it turns into a very real look at the various types of women that populate the nation. It is empowering and heartbreaking at the same time. Seriously, if you did not break out crying at the breast cancer victim, you very well may not have a soul.

Try - Colbie Caillat

If that is not enough real women for you Colbie Caillat takes that John Legend idea one step further (to be fair, Try hit YouTube two days earlier and is exactly what the song is about; I just put You and I first because it is a much better song) as Colbie and another group of ethnically diverse strip themselves of all their numerous beauty products.

Mother and Father – Broods

We have hit that time a year when people start posting their silly half-year lists. One thing that stuck out to me on these lists is that music so far this year kind of sucked. Making things worse is that are not many good new artists. Around this time last year there were already great albums or EPs from Lorde, Haim, Kacey Musgraves, Daughter, and Chvrches. It is depressing to think Iggy Azalea is probably going to get a Best New Artist nomination basically there is no one else (granted since Ed Sheeran got nominated in the category last year, maybe Lorde will get nominated this year) even though she only has only been on two songs anyone cares about and is the worst part of both songs. Sure there have been a couple songs by new artists that have piqued my interest this year but I really not interested in full albums by Hozier, Bleachers, Jamie N Commons, or X Ambassadors (I have not even been bothered to see if the last two are the same act or two separate ones collaborating on Jungle; which is not to be confused with the new band Jungle that I do not really care for that much) but there is only one group that I am looking forward to hearing more from and that is Broods. They put out a solid EP earlier this year and next month they are releasing their debut album Evergreen (apparently it will not be released stateside until October but sometimes these foreign releases show up on Spotify here before we Americans can buy them). The first single from the album is actually better than anything on that original EP and shoots the album up my list of what may be a crowded most anticipated fall albums (even though many of the biggest names do not have a release date as of now).

Sunday, July 20, 2014

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 7/20/14

Falling Skies: Juts when I thought it was unnecessary when they killed off the old dude last week, they brought back Weaver’s daughter only to have her in the middle of a skitter transformation (that is happening quick now) and just when I thought they would just bring her to Lexi to “cure” her, they just kill her off. What?!? This show is just getting too depressing.
You can download Falling Skies on iTunes.

The Strain: I had high hopes going to the show and it came very close to meeting those. The old dude is all sorts of awesome and he owing Weevil was a great introduction to the character. The CDC guy was a bit much in the court mandate therapy but was much better when he got on the job. And those the show had been pitched as a vampire project, these are definitely not your father’s vampires (or little sister’s for that matter). They kind of seem like zombie vampires which manage to be scarier than both originals. Especially with those worm infested hearts (so that is what was in the old dude’s mason jar which he creepily feeds with his own blood). The first episode does ask a very interesting question, at what point do you believe the crazy old dude with the snake handled sword who wants to burn everyone who was on the plane, even the four “survivors.” Of course, we the viewers know they should have done as he said, but the characters do not have the same information as we do. You really cannot take him at his word at first, especially considering if you did, there probably would not be a show. It seemed like the CDC guy was coming around when he say the worms in the dirt. And if not then, when you learn all the corpse up and left the morgue, that is indefinitely time to start believing the crazy old dude. So I guess the show from here on out will be the CDC guy, his team, and the old dude going around killing everyone on the plane. But who will be the one to chop off the little girl’s head? Samwise better take that one for letting the coffin leave the airport.
You can download The Strain on iTunes.

Switched at Birth: Was no one at all suspicious that Clarence Weidman was Angelo’s doctor. I personally would not have trusted that guy to do brain surgery on a loved one. Granted Clarence did us all a favor because Angelo could have been killed off a long time ago.
You can download Switched At Birth on iTunes.

Under the Dome: I think I said this when he was on Wilfred, but Dwight Yoakam without the cowboy hat is extremely creepy. Somebody give him his own horror franchise. And now he apparently has some of the answers but of course did not spill any yet. Instead we got the start of quite possibly the lamest love triangle of all time between the teenagers. At least we got one answer in that the new girl actually went to Chester Mills High back in 1988, probably not so coincidently the same year the picture of Junior’s mother, uncle, and Dwight Yoakam was taken. Wait, are we really supposed to believe Dwight Yoakam was a teenager in the eighties? (a quick scan of Wikipedia… Dwight Yoakam turned 32 in 1988.)
You can stream Under The Dome on Amazon Instant Video, free for Prime users.

Pretty Little Liars: Mona always seemed like the most likely candidate to be the latest incarnation of A, if she ever really stopped but considering the height of the attacker and her wanting Ali to leave and A making Ali stay I guess we can rule out Mona out (though I bet whoever was under the mask was probably a random stunt person and not the actor who will turn out to be A; and Mona vocally wanting Ali gone could just be her misdirecting everyone from thinking it was her). That would leave Melissa and a not so very blind Jenna as the prime suspects. Also Paige has been extremely squirrelly this season two, there is definitely something going on there (plus she wanted no part of Mona’s let get Ali to leave town cabal).
You can download Pretty Little Liars on iTunes.