Friday, September 30, 2011

My Week In Movies - You Go, Simba!

The Lion King 3D (1994/2011) Man, it's great to have a classic Disney animated film back up on the big screen. It used to be standard operating procedure for Disney to rerelease it's animated features to theatres every seven years, but when home video caught on and Disney saw the money to be made from VHS sales, the practice faded out. So now it looks like Mickey has found a new hook to bring people back to the cinema to see old movies - 3D. The Lion King was reprocessed into 3D and has since made close to $70 million at the box office. The effect is neat and the movie looks better than ever back on the silver screen and with all the noticeable detail that 3D glasses allow. Some scenes of the film, like the opening and the stampede scene, are simply breathtaking in digital three dimension. Overall, the added effect doesn't do much to the film - it's already a masterpiece of filming that doesn't need any gimmicks to make it an incredible movie going experience. (OMG! I'm all about some 3D Little Mermaid soon!)

Conan O'Brien Can't Stop (2011) This documentary picks up shortly after O'Brien's legendary boot from The Tonight Show. Unable to appear on TV for six months, Conan O'Brien packs up as much of his show as he can and takes it on the road for an exhausting tour of concert dates across the U.S. The film provides an interesting backstage look at the concert tour, as well as serves as document of the concert itself. You also get to see a less polished portrait of the talk show host than any network TV show would ever allow. This is basically a concert film, and like any concert film you're going to enjoy it most if you're a fan of the subject. If you like Conan, this is fun way to spend 90 extra minutes with Team Coco.

Prom (2011) Yes, I must watch every film to carry The Walt Disney Pictures banner! The last big hurrah of the high school social calendar is the centerpiece of an innocent and slightly sappy teenage romantic drama. Even though Prom is an event for 17-18 year olds, 13-14 year old girls is the target audience for this flick which highly romanticizes the event almost putting Prom on the same level as a wedding. It's almost like Romantic Drama 101 for preteens. There's not much original material on display here, with several very familiar storylines overlapping and intertwining. But the movie has it's heart in the right place and is completely free of swear words or sex, which is refreshing for a high school movie.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) Another masterpiece...the first masterpiece from Walt Disney's animation studio, Snow White is a perfect blend of silly cartoon fun, theatrical suspense and perfect storytelling.

Paul (2011) I found this silly sci-fi spoof to be dreadfully boring. Two geeks on holiday to the states to visit Comic-Con, run into an alien in the desert and bring him aboard their RV for a standard "running from the government guys in black SUV's" adventure. There are some clever homages to classic science fiction properties spread throughout the movie, but the simple act of having a cartoon alien drop the F-word every other sentence does not carry a picture.

George Washington Slept Here (1942) I've been wanting to see this one for years. A great classic comedy with Jack Benny and Ann Sheridan moving from the city to an old home they just bought in the country. The house is a bit of a fixer upper and as the weeks go on it becomes more of a fixer upper. This is a great vehicle for Jack Benny who gets to stay close to his TV character and even tosses off a few references to his show in the movie. Good stuff with plenty of laugh out loud moments.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Baltimore WNUV 54 Community News and BTV Ad

I found this ultra-nerdy clip on YouTube the other day I thought I'd share with ya'll. It's a few minutes from a Baltimore station that I logged many, many hours with in my youth. They don't really do these simple Community News bits anymore on the ol' tube but it looks positively ancient compared to TV nowadays. Second is a quick ad for BTV - Baltimore's Top Videos, a weekly music video show hosted by DJ's from the now defunct B104 FM. The DJ in this ad looks like he's dressed for a shift operating Space Mountain.

Monday, September 26, 2011

edTunes - Polka Face

I haven't cared much for "Weird Al's" recent animated videos as they just seem to simply illustrate the lyrics of the song but the new video for his polka medley "Polka Face" is really neat. There's a bunch of visual styles on display, plus there is visual humor independent of the song.
"Weird Al" Yankovic - Polka Face
JokesJoke of the DayFunny Jokes

"Weird Al" Yankovic's new concert film debuts this weekend on Comedy Central.

Friday, September 23, 2011

My Week In Movies - Piranhas Are Better Than Sharks

Shark Night 3D (2011) Folks, this is one horrible movie. It's not scary. It's not funny. It's not campy. It's not gory. It's not very interesting. It's about a group of college kids who go on a trip to a beach house and then they all get eaten by sharks. The sharks look only slightly more realistic than the special effects in a made-for-TV movie on SyFy. The plot involves one of the absolute dumbest motivations for a bad guy ever! The 3D is just about as unnecessary as it can get. Not once do the filmmakers use the 3D gimmick to their advantage. I thought this was going to be silly over-the-top fun like Piranha 3D, but I was wrong. The only thing this film has going for it is the beautiful Sara Paxton in the lead role and former American Idol star Katherine McPhee as one of her friends. Even the fact that the entire cast is in bathing suits for the majority of the running time can't excuse the existence of this poor film.

Pom Wonderful Presents The Greatest Movie Ever Sold (2011) With is third film, Morgan Spurlock seems to have hit the same wall the Michael Moore has - he thinks his films need a gimmick. While Moore constantly tries to cram an in-your-face stunt into every one of his movies, Spurlock too feels the need to duplicate the pattern of his first movie (Super Size Me) and put himself into the middle of the subject he's investigating. In this instance, the subject is product placement in films. That's an interesting topic that hasn't been exposed in a documentary yet, however Spurlock takes it a step further and spends most of the film trying to find real sponsors to finance his film through advertising. It's a gimmick that works some of the time, but chunks of the film with him meeting with various potential clients seemed forced. The expose is at it's best when it uncovers the truth behind advertising in movies.

The Muppet Movie (1979) There are just so many reasons why this is one of the greatest movies ever made. First of all, it's a perfect example of how to take a television property and translate it to the big screen. The Muppet Movie has all the elements of comedy, music and heart of The Muppet Show - just blown up on a bigger scale in set in the real world instead of a theatre. The Muppet's first big screen outing is also the most perfect example of the right way to do cameo appearances. Just about every speaking role by a human in this picture is played by someone famous. Bob Hope, Richard Pryor, Steve Martin, Lee Marvin, Mel Brooks and even Orson Wells all pop up throughout the colorful adventure. The music in the film is all top notch including the now-standard Rainbow Connection and one of my all-time favorite songs, Movin' Right Along. Compared to today's family films with loud pratfalls and even louder flatulence, Kermit the Frog and Company's silver screen debut is an old fashioned, good hearted time at the movies.

Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday The 13th (2000) I'm not quite sure what the deal with this film is. It's seems to have a pretty decent sized budget and it's competently directed but it was just dumped on to TV and video when it was released. Perhaps it was upstaged by the higher profile Scary Movie. Anywho, this is a pretty good parody film which riffs on mostly Scream but also I Know What You Did Last Summer and then about 50 other movies. When Dawson and his friends at school start getting mysterious notes, they are all written on "From The Desk of the Killer" stationary. Now, that's funny right there. I don't care who you are! Unlike the more recent parody films that have been released, this one actually makes fun of all the movies it touches upon. There's actually a pretty funny Grease scene in here. You would think with a staring lineup of Coolio AND Shirley Jones this would have been a big hit - Oh, Hollywood! Netflix Streaming

Going In Style (1979) This older comedy came highly recommended from another blogger so I thought I'd give it a try. It's about three elderly gentlemen who are bored with their lives so they decide to spice things up and rob a bank. Their disguise is pairs of Groucho glasses, which seems to be about the only funny thing in this movie. Dreadfully slow and kind of depressing - I didn't enjoy this at all. George Burns is such a pleasure to watch doing anything...but this caper film just wasn't up my alley. Netflix Streaming

Friday, September 16, 2011

My Week In Movies - When Will I Learn That RomComs Aren't Funny

Something Borrowed (2011) The biggest problem (for me) with this romantic comedy is that it isn't that funny. I realize it's a rom-com, but ya still gotta give a little in the com department! Ginnifer Goodwin and Kate Hudson play best friends, Hudson is engaged, Goodwin sleeps with the groom-to-be, all rom-com hell breaks loose! John Krasinski (Jim from The Office) plays another friend who doesn't really fit into the picture but that's ok, because he's just playing the exact same character as Jim. He even mugs to the camera in one part! Ginnifer Goodwin is a good actress and I think she's down right pretty yet this is the third movie I've seen her in where she is supposed to be the "not hot" one. Does she look not attractive to anyone? Hollywood can be so lame when they still have to cast an attractive person to play a supposedly unattractive person.

Your Highness (2011) The joke of this movie is, "Let's make a big budget sword and sorcery film with lavish sets, costumes and special effects and then just drop the F-bomb every other sentence." And how long can that last, you might ask? By my count it only took 21 minutes before it was obvious that was going to be the only joke in the movie. And it can't really hold 100 minutes of film! Sure, there's also a Yoda-type puppet character who seeks manual gratification and a scene involving a centaur getting his freak on...but how funny can that be? Danny McBride is a great comedic actor and he's pretty good here, but it's not the best thing he's appeared in. James Franco is always fun in my book and he looks like he's having a good time. The biggest question in the casting is why in the world is Academy Award winning actress Natalie Portman doing in this penis joke filled romp. The fact that Portman chose to do this silly movie is just one of the reasons why she's such a great actress. Still, it's a horrible movie.

Not Quite Hollywood (2008) This is a crazy, fast-paced, kinetic documentary about the Australian film industry. The folks Down Under have only been making movies since the 1970's and they've felt they've always lived in the shadow of Hollywood. With different attitudes about sex & violence than the States, Australia has produced some wild & crazy films. This doc is loaded with clips and interviews and focuses on three popular genres of film: sex comedies, horror and action films. This is great fun and a wonderful exposure to some less popular films you might be interested in tracking down. Available on Netflix Streaming.

Cougar Hunting (2011) Having seen so many bad movies lately, I sat down the other night with every intention of watching something with a good story and good word-of-mouth. However, me being me...I ended up watching a recent low-budget sex comedy called Cougar Hunting, ladies and gentlemen! Thank you very much. Even though this was obviously filmed on consumer grade equipment and edited on someones laptop, it's a pretty decent film. Three friends decide to escape their dead-end lives and move to Aspen where they hear easy, available older women are plentiful. Each of the three guys gets into their own adventure. Actual name actress Lara Flynn Boyle has a role as the mother of one of the guy's new girlfriends. Yes, she tries to sleep with him. And Vanessa Angel, who played the Kelly LeBrock role on the Weird Science TV show also pops up in a strange role. It's a fairly well done movie with more heart than raunch.

Dirty Work (1998) One of the greats in the genre of Silly Movies! Norm MacDonald (in his only staring vehicle to date) and Artie Lange are two down-and-out guys who start a revenge for hire business. They go around a pull pranks on people and get paid for it. There's a minimal plot about raising money for a heart transplant and also something to do with an evil land developer (yeah!) But honestly, who needs story when you have a plethora of dead hooker jokes! The cast includes Chevy Chase, Jack Warden, Don Rickles & Christopher McDonald. This was also the feature film directorial debut of Danny Tanner a.k.a. Bob Saget. Awesome movie!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Finally, A Post About Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments

Folks, in case you didn't know... I loves me some Christmas tree decorations! Every year there are a few Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments that catch my eye, and I always intend to share them here and always forget. So this year I'm doing it, even if it's a little early for Christmas posts.

My favorite ornament this year is easily this really cool Caddyshack one. Mr. Gopher taking control of a subtley Christmas colored golf cart would make a fine addition to the South Family Christmas tree. This one is called "Pro Gopher" and it pretty darn cool. I don't think they've done a Caddyshack ornament before so that just makes this one all the neater. As every guy, I love that movie. When I was little, I used to keep my eyes peeled for it to come on regular TV so I could watch it because it was R rated and I just wanted to see that Gopher puppet so darn bad!

Last year, Hallmark did a National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation ornament of the Griswold's Home decorated with thousands of twinkling lights. When you push the button on it, the house lights up and it plays the Hallelujah Chorus. I was thrilled to score one as a gift last season and it's a fine centerpiece of our tree. This year, Hallmark captures the opening scene in the movie when Clark and family trek out into the wood and take home the biggest tree they can find. This keepsake also plays the theme song from the Christmas movie. In the end, you just can't go wrong with the Family Truckster immortalized in ornament form!

This is the other new ornament this year that I really like. I love when stuff is based off specific old Mickey Mouse cartoons. "Clock Cleaners" captures the iconic scene from the 1937 cartoon of the same name. This is one of the best vintage Mickey toons and this ornament is a real doozy. When you turn the little crank in the front, Mickey and Donald sway back and forth working on the clock while they whistle the same song used in the film. Goofy is on the back side, also animated. Really cool piece, but at $34.99 I don't see it being added to our tree this year.

Finally, this Smurfette ornament isn't necessarily all that exciting, but it's pretty cool that the Smurfs have been included in the line-up this year, and it's a real smurf not a 3D movie Smurf. Smurfette will only set you back $9.95 so she's a little easier to hang on your tree than the clock tower. Hopefully somebody else will put out a more gender neutral Smurf ornament. We ain't got a Smurf on our tree!

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

My Week In Movies - Her Head Is A Big Mac

Under The Yum Yum Tree (1963) Here's how I arrived at watching this movie. Over the summer I rewatched the fantastic Disney film The Light in the Forest, the love interest in that movie is played by a young Carol Lynley. She's extremely beautiful in the film and sadly, that's enough for me to go find more films with her in. This swinging 60's sex comedy has an impressive cast surrounding Mrs. Lynley - so I was in. The film stars Jack Lemmon as a apartment complex landlord who likes to rent his rooms out to pretty young girls and then eventually have his way with them. Only in the 1960's could peeking at a girl in her shower be considered delightful. Anywho, Carol Lynley (adorable here as well) moves into the building. Of course, Lemmon goes to work on her right away. What Lemmon didn't know is that Lynley is sharing her apartment with her boyfriend played by Dean Jones, veteran of many Disney comedies. The young couple are taking a dry run at marriage and seeing if they can live together without sleeping together to see if they are truly compatible. Jack Lemmon does everything in his power to keep the two apart. The cast also includes Paul Lynde and Imogene Coca as the building's married handyman and maid. They are fantastic together and alone. You simply can't go wrong with either of them. This flick is briskly paced and pretty funny for a 48 year-old comedy with a running time near two hours.

Vampires Suck (2010) This is the first time I've rewatched one of these recent parody flicks. It wasn't as bad the second time around. This flick, from last summer, takes it's aim at the Twilight movies and as such is more focused than the other films in this series. By sticking to the Twilight plot and not trying to combine the stories of 50 different movies like Epic Movie and Disaster Movie did, the film plays out like a silly vampire flick. Yes, in one part a vampire looks at the girl and sees her head as a Big Mac. That's comedy folks!

Monday, September 05, 2011

Yeah For The New TV Season!

When I was younger (and only slightly nerdier) the arrival of the new Fall TV Season was a big deal in my little lonely universe. I'd pour over the TV Guide and just imagine how awesome all the new shows were going to be. I'd plan out each night of the week for my optimal viewing pleasure. Nowadays, the return of new shows to Network TV isn't quite as exciting as it used to be. Lucky for me, it's also not as jaw-droping awesome to me as it used to be. But for the first time, in a long time...there's a handful of shows that I'm looking forward to checking out this season. I'm sure most of them will be cancelled before Christmas and the rest of them I'll loose interestet in shortly after New Years but I'm actually kind of excited about a few new shows...

The Playboy Club Mondays 10-11 PM Premiers September 19 on NBC
Ok, I've become a big fan of the Playboy Universe not because of naked girls but from watching my beloved reality series The Girls Next Door. Playboy is so much more than nakedness and when I started to read about the life of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, I discovered that he's an incrdibly fascinating man who is responsible for more change in this country than most people will ever give him credit for. The real life Playboy Clubs were a chain of night clubs that popped up in hot spot cities in the 1960's. They weren't strip joints but sophisicated hang-outs that promoted the finer things in life. The clubs disappeared over the following decades and have only recently started to make a comeback. The clubs of the 60's were legendary and the new series The Playboy Club seeks to reinvent some of that mystery and magic. I'm really looking forward to getting into this show.

Whitney Thursdays 9:30-10 PM Premeres Sept. 22 on NBC
Whitney Cummings is a very funny comedian. I've become a fan of her work through her appearances on the Comedy Central Roasts as well as her own comedy special, plus she's pretty darn funny on Twitter too. When I heard she was getting her own show I was pretty excited and then more so when I discovered that it is a traditional multi-camera sitcom. At one time, NBC was the king of sitcoms and they haven't launched a good straightforward laughtrack driven sitcom in a while. The premise is simple, Whitney and her boyfriend live together and are happy with their lives but don't feel the need to get married. Sounds like a fun addition to Thursday nights, even if it's taking 30 Rock's timeslot.

Pan Am Sundays 10-11 PM Premiers Sept. 25 on ABC
I'm quite sure more than one 60 minute show is going to be too much for me to juggle in a single season, but this period drama about globetrotting stweardesses looks like it might be alot of fun. It's kind of covering some of the same ground as The Playboy Club, so much so that the promo also uses an iconic Frank Sinatra song...

2 Broke Girls Mondays 8:30-9 PM Premieres Sept. 19 at 9:30 on CBS
CBS has always had a strong Monday night comedy line-up. They are adding this promising new sitcom right between How I Met Your Mother and Two And A Half Men, that's a pretty nice slot. This is another traditional multi-cam sitcom with a traditional premise: privalaged girl meets underprivalaged girl and they both have to work and live together. Classic. The cast includes Kat Dennings, whom I've enjoyed in a number of movie roles lately. The show was also co-created by Whitney Cummings, so it's got that going for it too. Which is nice.

Suburgatory Wednesdays 8:30-9 PM Premiers Sept. 28 on ABC

This one doesn't look that great...and it doesn't look like it's going to last very long either but it's totally in my wheelhouse. This comedy looks kind of like Clueless mixed with MTV's Awkward. It also boasts Jeremy Sisto in the cast, who is one of the very few males actors that I can say I enjoy his work.

What new shows are you looking forward to?

Friday, September 02, 2011

My Week In Movies - Week of 8/22/11

Take Me Home Tonight (2011) This has got to be one of the dullest comedies I've seen in a long time. A group of high school classmates all reunite at a crazy party a few years after graduation to find out that some of them have changed a great deal and others haven't changed at all. The film stars Topher Grace, who is a little hard to buy as a slacker high school kid after playing Venom in Spider-Man 3. Anna Ferris is here also, who is such a great comedic actress yet she chooses small roles in films that don't showcase her talent!? My biggest gripe with the film, besides not being funny, is that it doesn't know where in the 1980's it takes place. The first scene of the film is set in a music shop, with a giant poster of Madonna's Like A Virgin album in the back ground which would put the film near 1984. But then the record store also has a whole wall of Guns n Roses Appetite For Destruction CD's in the background which would place the movie in the last years of the 80's. The Suncoast Video store in the movie also features posters and displays for movies from all different points on the 80's. There's an ALF reference too, which is nice but just further complicates the actual year of this movie. Accurate references aside, this simply is not an interesting or funny movie.

Police Academy 3: Back in Training (1986) If you know me well, you know that I adore the Police Academy series. And if you know me really well, you know that #3 is my favorite! It was the very first movie in my movie collection. The third film in the series reboots the premise to introduce new viewers to the characters. The first film was a hard R rating, and the second was a PG-13. Both had mature subject mater but for the most part were very immature movies. In part 3, the film goes PG playing to kids and in doing so raises the stupid level to utterly delightful heights. The story is very
similar to the first film and most of the jokes are recycled, but I've always loved Police Academy 3 the best!

August Movie Count: 13
Best New Movie: Phineas & Ferb The Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension
Best Rewatch: Cheetah
Worst Movie: Sucker Punch
2011 Movie Count: 131

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Reason #6,821 Why I Need A Daughter

...and my boys will spend the entire Christmas season wondering if this game will really be under their tree or not!
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