Friday, September 29, 2006


I used to watch the original CSI all the time. Caught the new episodes on CBS, caught the old ones on Spike. Then last year, I stopped watching it because it was on opposite My Name is Earl and The Office. Well since those two shows were moved up an hour, I have now picked up where I last left off.

The good thing about the CSI franchises is that there is very little continuity. Basically, each episode can stand on its own, with little background knowledge needed. But that seems to be changing.

Last night's episode was the second part of a two-parter that opened up the new season. While that isn't unusual (in fact, the series premiere was a two-parter) what is unusual is that the main story of the second part was left unresolved. The killing of the character of that Danny Bonaduce played had no where near any closure. It was strongly implied, through a very confusing last five minutes, that this storyline is going to continue. Is CSI becoming more serialized?

I, for one, hope not. The reason why I liked CSI in the first place what that you didn't need to see every single episode to understand it. I could easily miss an episode and not feel left behind. And, contray to what one may believe, that actually inspired loyalty in me. If I missed an episode, I would not only be sure to catch the next one if I could, but also seek out CSI repeats. A serialized drama like Lost, I know if I missed an episode, highly doubtful as that may be, I would probably chose not to watch the next episode until I caught up. Luckily with iTunes that is easier, but it wasn't always like that for my favorite TV shows.

So hopefully, CSI doesn't try to become overly serialized. Some interconnectedness is fine, but try not to go overboard, ok Las Vegas Crime Lab?

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Classic Movie Review: Network

With Aaron Sorkin's new show Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip taking a dramatical look inside a live TV show, it is only appropriate that I review the movie Mr. Sorkin mentioned in his first episode: Network.

Network is about what happens when a news anchor has a meltdown on TV and due to it's high ratings, the big bosses decide to allow the anchor to continue his breakdown, each day. The network builds their rise to the top around this anchor, taking him out from behind his desk, having him beat his chest on a large soundstage, having a seer predict the news, and other odds and ends. This "shock TV" stance has the network start airing shows about a radical leftist terrorist group, all in a bid to grab ratings.

The most well known thing about this movie is the news anchor's, Howard Beale (played by Peter Finch), diatribe that starts off "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!" Of course, in a fitting bit of irony, in the movie, this actually becomes his "catchphrase." Suprisingly, the movie isn't really that focused on Beale, as he is more like a deus ex machina, a device to drive along the plot. The main focus is on Beale's former boss at the news department, Max Schumacher (William Holden), as he struggles to adapt to the changing TV landscape. He falls in love with the Faye Dunaway character, the person in charge of programming, and realizes he likes the old way better. Holden, Dunaway, and Beatrice Straight (who played Max's cuckold wife) all won Oscars for their performance. Unfortunately, Holden died before the ceremony.

People say that the movie, made in 1976, chillingly predicted what television is like today. I say that's not entirely true. While there is crass television on the set now, unlike the situation in Network, I think the major broadcasting companies but on that tripe out of laziness, not as a bid to grab ratings. In Network, at least the new shows and situations are original and far out. Today, everything is a copy of a copy of a copy. Although the programming was dumb, the executives in Network were smart (and ruthless). I don't know if I can say the same for today's TV head honchos.

All in all, the movie was an enjoyable experience, with the just right amount of ludicrousness and humor.

4 Boob Tubes out of 5.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Entertainment Critical's Entertainment Weekly Review For The Week of Spetember 29, 2006

Welcome to the third edition of our review of the greatest entertainment magazine. This week's issue, #899, has the Battlestar Galactica crew on it's cover. Let's get started!


News & Notes: The Evolution of SNL: Great article dissecting the drudges that SNL is in now. You know Lorne is secretly seething that two NBC shows are taking shots at his establishment, despite what he says in the article. Here's hoping SNL regains some of it's past revealance soon.

Is It Just Us...: Here, EW gives us the equation Garden State + Garden State = The Last Kiss (Zach Braff's latest flick). Not an original sentiment, but funny nonetheless.

Back on the Mean Streets: Interview with Martin Scorsese: Although I haven't watched many Scorsese movies, I am a fan of what he represents: Old School Directing. You don't really get the "prestigious" director anymore (especially with M. Night Shamalayans descent). I will always read an interview with a living legend.

Lost Viewer's Guide: I love Lost. Awesome 24 page guide.


Attack of the Ally McBeals: Basically, they rate the new female characters of the fall TV season by how closely they resemble the thinned one. Good article, except I have no idea who Betty Friedan, the name on the opposite side of the spectrum, is. So shame on EW.

Style: Reality Show Stoppers: Once again, I have no style and want none in my magazines.

Lost Viewer's Guide: Only 24 pages? And those pages aren't 8 x 11 1/2? BOOOOOOO!

Overall, I'd give this issue a resounding B+.

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Simpsons: "Please Homer, Don't Hammer 'Em" Review

With a title that references MC Hammer, the episode in question certainly seemed "2 Legit 2 Quit". It was funny and had genuine laugh out loud moments.

The story goes as many Simpsons' stories have gone before. Homer tries to do something, fails, and Marge picks up the slack. Not exactly new. But in this case it was fun. Marge becomes a carpenter, but has to use Homer as a front because no one will hire a woman carpenter. Or as Krusty says "A lady carpenter? What if you get pregnant and I'm left with half a hot tub? And don't tell me you're infertile, I've fallen for that before". As Homer gets more and more credit for Marge's great work, a rift occurs and Homer is left doing a job he can't possibly accomplish. Homer does it anyways, endangering his life, only to be saved by Marge.

The secondary storyline has Bart finding out Principlay Skinner is allergic to peanuts. Bart uses this info to control Skinner, running him through his paces. In the end, Skinner finds Bart is allergic to shrimp, and the two duel ala Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan in Revenge of the Sith (though with "Duel of the Fates" from the first Star Wars prequel playing).

There were some great gags in this episode. When Marge is going through Bart's lunch box for any peanut items she lists peanut butter and jelly, trail mix with peanuts and then exclaims "Good Grief! More Peanuts!", to which a collection of the classic Shultz series is shown. Marge gets the idea to use Homer as carpentry front from Homer's butt crack. Marge is mistaken as a power drill by Lenny and Carl when she is hiding from them. And many more great little gags.

This episode was probably the best episode so far this season. Unfortunately The Simpsons won't return until after the baseball playoffs. See you in November, Simpsons!

4 1/2 Donuts out of 5

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Virgin Music Festival

I had the pleasure to attend the Virgin Music Festival in Baltimore, Maryland, on September 23rd. Here is a full list of bands. I personally saw parts of Kasabian, Drive-By Truckers, RJD2, Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Flaming Lips. I saw the entire sets of Wolfmother, The Raconteurs, Gnarls Barkley, The Killers, and The Who.

I never heard of Wolfmother before the day, although I had heard of one of their songs "Woman". I enjoyed their set, and did get Woman off of iTunes later. The band reminds be of a Doors-esque type of group. I had limited knowledge of The Raconteurs, only knowing that Jack White was in the band (and I only remembered that two songs into their set). I had heard their single only once before, but once again, after I returned home, it was off to iTunes for "Steady as She Goes". Gnarls Barkley was everything I expected. They came out in Roman garb and I think were the first group to play who had mass appeal. It was ironic that their set was supposed to last 50 minutes, but I think their debut album is only about 45 minutes long. Cee-Lo (the lead singer) did talk between songs and kept the crowd entertained. They did an acoustic version of their song "Transformers" and closed with their two singles "Crazy" and "Smiley Face".

I enjoyed The Killers, despite only knowing two of their songs. Their other songs were ok, but I am not going to go out and buy their albums quite yet. The drummer looked like Jason Lee in My Name is Earl though, and that's a plus! I only saw part of the Red Hot Chili Peppers (they were the closing act on the Main Stage). Early on the set, they mostly played their stuff off their new album or their little known songs, so while it was fun, I was a little turned off. Flea is a god on the bass guitar though. Leaving RHCP, I wandered over to the last few songs of The Flaming Lips. There is nothing quite like seeing a pack of Santas surround a band. Throughly entertaining indeed. And, of course, a new iTunes purchase.

The highlight of the night has the be The Who's perfomance. With tickets in excess of 100 dollars, The Who is what attracted me to the festival. And they did not disappoint! They played their greatest hits (Who Are You?, Behind Blue Eyes, and my favorite song of all time Pinball Wizard, among others) and did mix in some of their newer stuff fro their album that is due in October. Roger Daltrey and Pete Townsend still rock out. They had a big video screen behind them that played a conocopica of images that somewhat realted to their songs, much like Paul McCartney did way back when I saw him in 2002. Unfortunately, Pete did not smash his guitar at the end of the set, but overall I would recommend seeing The Who in person if you are remotely a fan of their music.

All in all, a great way to spend a day!

I give Virgin Fest 4 1/2 Fiery Volcanoes out of 5.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Classic Movie Review: Westworld

Machines rising to kill their masters. A Theme Park gone horribly wrong. Man versus God. Sounds like the plot of a bunch of modern movies, right? Nope, it is the plot to the 1973 classic film Westworld, starring Yul Brenner and James Brolin.

To expand on the plot a bit, Westworld is about a theme park made up of three lands: Western World, Roman World, and Medieval World. The worlds have androids that play roles in those 'verses, and the paying guests can interact with those droids in every possible way. Yes, this includes killing them and loving them. The movie is written and directed by Michael Crichton, who would later write the book "Jurassic Park".

Frankly, I think that book and its movie is a better version of Westworld. Critics say that Westworld explores themes such as "man as god" and "what is A.I."? I say, it doesn't. The scenes that take place behind the walls of the theme park have technical speak that is hard to hear or just the general "This bot is malfunctioning" speech. There are no battles over what the robots do, no one questioning their purpose, a general acceptance of them. And when the robots do malfunction, it is viewed as just that: malfunctions, not a design flaw. It seems like the robots are just another set of villains, like aliens or papparazzi.

The movie looks old, though the story translates well. Of course, the main concept behind the plot has been homaged and parodied since the movie was released (with the Simpsons doing a great job in their episode entitled "Itchy and Scratchy Land"). The movie is good, but not great. I recommend it for anyone who finds it on the video rental shelf or on Netflix. Though don't expect anything grand.

3 Robot Overlords out of 5.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Entertainment Critical's Entertainment Weekly Review #2

Hello and welcome once again to my review of this week's (September 22, 2006) EW. This one is number 898 and features Jay-Z on the cover.


News & Notes: "Idiocracy" Inaction: Excellent little blurb about Fox's mishandling of the Mike Judge film "Idiocracy". I wanted to see this follow up to "Office Space", but unfortunately it got buried. I look forward to the DVD.

"25 Must-Have Albums of Fall": In particular, I didn't know that the Beatles "Love" is coming out and now I am looking forward to it. "Love" is the modern mash-up of all their songs as done by their original producer Sir George Martin and his son Giles for the Cirque du Soleil act of the same name. Also, going to keep an ear out for the new Maroon 5 album, the Sean Lennon CD, and the new disc by The Who.

The Review of the Book "World War Z" by Max Brooks: I believe Max is the son of Mel. If that's true or not doesn't matter, as the book name beckoned me a while back when I was purusing some upcoming releases and stumbled across it. I am a sucker for end of the world type books, with The Stand by Stephen King being my favorite book of all time. I am going to pick this novel up and hopefully be entertained.


The Letters Page: A couple weeks ago, EW did a story on a town where pop culture is basically a nonfactor. This week we got readers' responses. I am surprised though that no one, or at least no one EW published, had a negative reaction to the piece. When I read it, I felt that the town was painted as being backwards by the writer, yet no one else seemed to feel that way. I don't know, when I read the original story, I thought there would be some negative comments about it, but apparently I was wrong.

"She's Got Legs": This short article on Katie Couric and her new job as a newsperson just further blurs the line between entertainment and the news. Was this piece really necessary?

Style Page - Men In Black: This feature will continue to be a lowlight until it provides something other than fluff.

"Tale of the Tapes": An article on America's Most Funniest Home Videos. 'Nuff said.

All in all, a pretty lackluster issue. I'll give it a C+.

Monday, September 18, 2006

This is going to make for some awkward Wednesday Nights.

I am a huge fan of "Lost". You slap Lost on anything and chances are I am going to buy it, or at least seriously think about buying it. So, when I heard men's magazine "Stuff" had the "Women of Lost" as its cover story, you know I had to pick it up.

Yunjin Kim, Sun on the show, was on the cover, looking very beautiful. Though the information about the show she said in the interview was nothing new (you could find her almost exact statements in the DVD extras of Season 2), she did say that she would not date a Hollywood actor. The chances of me going out with her increased from 0.00001% to 0.00002%. You gotta like those odds!

Also briefly featured were Evangeline Lilly (Kate), Emilie da Ravin (Claire), Maggice Grace (Shannon), Michelle Rodriguez (Ana Lucia), and Julie Bowen (Sarah, Jack's ex-wife). The last three choices show clearly that Lost is lacking in strong female roles, as both Shannon and Ana Lucia are dead, and Sarah is only shown through flashbacks. I can picture the meeting at Stuff as they try to figure out who to photograph.

"Ok, so we got Sun, Claire, and Kate, who else?"
"How about Rose? Guys love the older chicks!"
"What's the name of that character that Terry plays?"
"Yeah, let's cast her!"
"That's Terry O'Quinn, and he's a badass and not a girl!"
"Hmmm, ok then, how about the hobbit? He looks girly enough."
"Do you even watch the show?"

Hopefully, with two out of the three new cast members being women, the female-to-male ratio will increase.

Either way, I am really excited about Oct. 4, when the new season of Lost premieres. It will be six weeks of pure heaven, followed by 14 weeks of pure hell, then 16 more weeks of heaven.

I will eventually post my own personal pet theory about Lost, so if you haven't read the millions of theories already out there, that will be new for you!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Simpsons: "Jazzy and the Pussycats" Review

After last week's funny season premiere, will The Simpsons make it 2 for 2 and continue to entertain? Sadly, no.

This week's episode was the typical "Bart steals Lisa's spotlight" plot. This time, Bart, who was assigned drumming to help with his behavoiral probablems, gets a shot at jazz superstardom over Lisa. Of course, in the end, Bart helps out Lisa and displays his love for his sister. However, everything in this episode feels off.

Homer's Vegas wife dies and everyone is sad, but didn't she run off with Abe? Doesn't matter, as the funeral just serves to showcase Bart's misbehavoir. Plot Contrivance #1. Then the family goes to a psychologist who mentions drumming. In an unintentional ironic twist, Homer suggest pumping Bart full of drugs to supress his actions. Of course, the Simpsons already did that, in an episode that guest starred Mark McGuire. Anyways, Bart takes up drumming, and in a stunning animated sequence, meets the White Stripes and Meg White actually speaks!

Then the wheels fall off. Bart goes to the local jazz club with Lisa and gets noticed over Lisa. This gets Lisa depressed, and she picks up a puppy to make her feel better (with no mention of Santa's Little Helper). Lisa then gets guilted into adopting other animals who are lost or about to be put down. Plot Contrivance #2. Why? For the second act, the story focused on Lisa and her animals. It came out of left field and only served as a deus ex machina for when Bart gets injured by a tiger and can't drum anymore.

The whole animal thing does contribute two funny jokes, one in which Lisa remarks she can't believe the two stories intersected and Bart's description of his new found feeling of empathy towards Lisa. So Bart throws a jazz benefit concert, in which about twenty musicians show up with their funny nicknames, and gives Lisa a place to keep all her new animal friends. But really, this episode, despite the presencence of the wild kingdom is pretty tame.

2 Donuts out of 5.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Sometimes I Hate

As one might have already surmised, I love everything EW related. The magazine and their website. But sometimes, betrays me. Such was the case this morning.

I check out the site to see if anything interesting has popped up since the last time I checked. They had put up a new gallery, extorting the 25 albums of the fall they are anticipating. I eagerly click through about half of them, until a sense of dread comes over me.

I think to myself, this is probably the feature article in this week's issue, isn't it? Sure enough, on the main page, in the bottom left corner, is the cover of this week's new issue. It says "The 25 Fall Albums We Are Waiting For." I had been duped. Instead of enjoying a virgin-to-my-eyes issue this week, I will now have to settle for a slightly-less-innocent hussy of a mag.

For shame!

How much wood could Hollywood wood, if Holly could wood wood?
Adam Entertainment

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Dreamweaver: The Beatles

Welcome to the first edition of Dreamweaver. What is Dreamweaver, other than a kickass song by REO Speedwagon? It’s where I pitch an idea for a movie or television show. I’ll outline the plot, make some casting choices, and generally remark on how much of a genius I am.

There have been some great trilogies over the years: Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Back to the Future, just to name a few. What if I added one more to that pantheon? What if that name was The Beatles? I just blew your mind, didn’t I? Because The Beatles’s story is so immense, three movies would be the best way to go conveying their story.

This trilogy would be a little different, in terms of timeline. The first movie would actually begin with The Beatles touching down in America for the first time in 1964. Imagine the movie opening up with archival footage from that day. The screaming girls all pushing against the fence on the tarmac at JFK, grainy, black and white footage. The film would then switch to color and real life after the plane lands and the door opens up and we see the Fab Four emerge. This first film would cover that moment, up until the final moments in the studio, recording Abby Road. You can cover John’s Jesus comment, The Beatles experiments with drugs, their Eastern philosophy days, all that. It would concentrate on the group and their dynamics, especially when outside influences like John’s divorce and his resulting relationship with Yoko Ono, Paul and Linda relationship and it’s strain on the group, George’s alienation from the rest of the group and Ringo, as well, Ringo. The movie would end with the door to the studio closing.

The two other movies would be a prequel and a sequel. The prequel would cover Paul and John’s first meeting, the inclusion of George (which would be in a fantastic scene, with the 3 of them riding on top of a bus with George playing a guitar), their time in Berlin with Stu Sutcliffe and Pete Best, their original bass player and drummer, Stu dying and Pete being kicked out, the introduction of Brian Epstein, their manager, and Ringo. Also covered would be their rise in England in the Cavern Club, and in the final scene, to link it up with the first movie, them boarding the plane to America. While there was a movie about this time period, called Backbeat, it only focused on the Beatles’ time in Berlin.

The sequel would cover everything from 1970 on. The release of Let It Be after the band had officially broken up, Paul with Wings, John with his protesting and withdrawal from the world for five years, George and his Concert for Bangladesh and Ringo with his acting and alcohol problems. The third movie would highlight how much they had grown apart, but yet still needed each other. There would be scenes with two of them recording a song, but never one scene with all four of them together. Near the end of the movie, John’s murder would be played out, with everyone’s reactions afterwards. The final scene would be the three remaining Beatles, getting together for the Beatles Anthology series in the 1990s, starting to reminisce about the old days, perhaps this would be archival footage as well.

So why three movies in the layout I described? LAthough I think there could be three very good movies made out of the Beatles’ complete story, I don’t know if the public can handle 3 movies. So, in the format I outline, you can release the meat and potatoes of their story, the movie that takes place from 1964 to 1970. You get a good movie and if it is successful, you have two more lined up.

Who would I cast in the movie? Mind you, these people don’t necessarily have to look like the figures. Martin Freeman (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Britian’s The Office) would be good in the role of Ringo, Hugh Laurie (House) would be good for John, Colin Firth (Bridget Jones’s Diary) as George, and in more most controversial casting, Jim Carrey as Paul McCartney. Why Jim Carrey? This is dramatic fair and he has shown me some brilliant flashes in The Truman Show and Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind. This is more of an ensemble piece, so he doesn’t need to carry the movie. He has the outgoing personality of Paul and if he can have a convincing accent, I think he would be good in the role. And he is a big enough American name that the American public won’t feel like this is a “British film.”

While this is nothing more than a pipe dream, I do hope someday Hollywood makes a Beatles’s movie that covers their entire careers. You know a lot of Boomer Babies would go to see it, and with such recent successes as the Beatles “1” CD and the Jay-Z/Beatles mashup, “The Grey Album” a whole new generation knows about the Fab Four.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Britney's (Possibly) New Single

Britney Spears may or may not have given birth to a baby boy yesterday. So I may or may not say congratulations to her. I also may or may not care.

Unfortunately for Britney, I think her career is at a nadir. I don't think she will ever reach a peak quite like she had in the late 90s, early 00s. Remember, she was the catalyst of the revival of bubble gum pop. Without her there would no Xtina, no Jessica. She was the symbol of that music, that era.

She hasn't had a bonafide megahit since "Oops, I Did It Again" way back in 2000. "Me Against the Music" and "Toxic", while hits, did not capture America. The world has stopped revolving around her. Why? Well, early on in her career, Britney said her role model was Madonna. And Britney has certainly tried to follow Madonna's career path, with movies and a family. But Madonna started a family only after putting out albums and singles for ten plus years. Britney did it in 6 years. Her film career has been nonexistant. Madonna had a successful and controversial book and a successful movie based on her touring before she started her family. Britney may have burned through that tract too fast. And Madonna played the strong single mother when she had Lourdes, while Britney has played the country bumpkin since her marriage to K-Fed.

So what's Britney to do? She should reinvent herself, move away from sugary poppy ballads. Perhaps a duet with John Mayer or another acoustic guy. But I don't see her changing her musical habits. She will probably put out bubble gum albums to decreasing sales. She, with two kids and a marriage, have made herself "too old" for her younger fans, and never was taken seriously by the older generation. She needs to grow, or be left behind. Another option would be to appear on other people's albums, but her herself keeping away from the musical spotlight.

Perhaps only Tom Cruise over the past two years has done more damage to one's reputation than Britney. But there are ways for her to dig herself out of the hole. It's just a question if she's smart enough to realize that she needs to regroup and not force herself back. We shall see.

My 3rd attempt at a signoff.
Roll the Credits. Cut to the Coda.
Adam Entertainment

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Musicals: Will the Beat Go On?

The American Film Institute (AFI) released what they call “The 25 Greatest Movie Musicals of All Time.” Singin' In The Rain is Number 1. Despite a few noticeable exclusions (no South Park movie?), the list is solid, if not unsurprising. I have seen 4 out of the top 5 and 6 out of the top 10. Most of the tunes are classics and standards. In fact, most of those tunes are now stuck in my head.

However, it is interesting to note that there are only 3 movies on the list from the past 25 years. Obviously, the fact that the production of musicals have slowed down over the years is one contribution. Lack of a good quality musical is another. But why have musicals, so predominate in the early years of movies, almost fallen to the way side? We, as a culture, have embraced all forms of music so much since the 1940s and 1950s. So why is the epoch of movie musicals in that era and not more recent?

Demographics: What came first, the need for demographics or the demographics themselves? I am sure studio heads have some statistic that says the 18 to 34 year old males do not flock to musicals. But is that because we have been conditioned that certain demographics like certain movies? Didn’t seem to be the case back in the “Hollywood Golden Age”. Surely there were men that age back then. Why have men been seemingly removed from a musical’s target audience?

Lack of a Strong Male Protagonist: So males might not be attracted to musicals, eh? Maybe because of this. Looking over AFI’s list and there seems to be a lack of a strong male presence in much of the musicals. Heck, even Danny in Grease wasn’t as tough as the name Thunderbirds might imply. In today’s marketplace, with a saturation of action movies and dumb comedies, the attention of the young man is easily diverted. So why not make a musical that breaks the mold and have a tattoo-sporting, cigarette-smoking, badass singing about the Mob (Guys and Dolls) or wrongful incarceration (Chicago) or baseball (Damn Yankees).

Musical Diversity: Today’s music scene is splintered. You got pop, rap, alternative, classic rock, just to name a few. “Showtune” has almost become a derisive term. The rock opera has only seen limited use. Moulin Rouge came very close to establishing that modern forms of music can be used in a musical, as shocking as that may be. Where’s a rap musical? Hollywood shouldn’t runaway from the showtune genre, just start to incorporate some modern moves.

Too Over the Top: In the nineties, musicals became associated with Disney Cartoons. Beauty and the Beast is on the list, rightfully so, but Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, and freakin’ Mulan were also musicals. Musicals were slightly silly, childish things. Chicago and Moulin Rogue were these grandiose event movies, with lots of pretty colors and scene chewery. But once again, look to the classics. Singin’ in the Rain was about movies and every day people. West Side Story was Romeo and Juliet set against a background of gang warfare. Both did not have elaborate, tacky scenes (although Singin’ did have a dream sequence that was, uh, bright). Musicals need to grow up a little and establish that although people are singing this is not a silly, inconsequential movie.

Currently, work has started on the next big musical: Hairspray. This remake has all the trappings of the modern day musical: outlandish behavior (though any work based on John Waters will have that in spades) and big stars that threaten to overshadow the movie (John Travolta, Christopher Walken, etc.). The film is to be released in 2007. The musical has also found a home on TV, with Disney’s High School Musical becoming a surprise hit of summer. Bollywood, in India, has embraced the musical and turned it into something completely different. The musical is not dead it is merely taking a two measure rest.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Simpsons: "The Mook, the Chef, the Wife, and Her Homer" Review

With The Simpsons embarking on their 18th season, many critics have said Our Favorite Yellow Family should be put out to pasture. I say The Simpsons are the most consistent show year in, year out. So what goodies did the season premiere brings us this week?

Well, with a series of events that can only unfold in Springfield, Lisa befriends Michael, Fat Tony's son. Fat Tony is, of course, the local Mob Boss, er, Waste Management guy. Tony is voiced by reoccuring Simpsons fave Joe Mantegna. Also joining Joe are two Sopranos, Joe Pantoliano and Michael Imperioli, who play Fat Tony's rivals. For no good reason other than to mock Otto, the school's bus driver, Metallica shows up. Strangely, although Lars Ulrich is credited as lending his voice, I don't remember the Metallica drummer with any actual dialogue.

With a plot that is mobcentric, you would think the Godfather movies would get played up. There are some great homages (the son's name is Michael, the last scene between Lisa and Michael directly mirrors Diane Keaton's and Al Pacino's when Pacino tells her not to ask about the family business), but The Simpsons does not beat you over the head with it.

In addition, if you only paid attention to the promos and the episode title, you would have thought this episode would be one of those "Homer becomes a blank" shows. Far from, Homer only shows up for the second act, and is effectively moved to the background by the third.

There were some great gags in this episode, from the afore mentioned Michael/Lisa scene, to Bart and Homer's more deadly weapon upgrades after the take over the Mob, briefly, after Fat Tony is injured. Being asked to leave the Mob, Homer pleads to be able to keep expressing himself through his hands, and when that is denied, through his ears. Again, great sight gags.

The Simpsons put a great foot forward with their 18th season premiere.

I give it 4 donuts out of 5.

Entertainment: Critical's Entertainment Weekly Review

What does Entertainment Weekly Issue #897, featuring Eva Longoria on the cover, have to offer? Well, just continue reading!


Hot Mess of the Week-Sean "Diddy" Combs: Always nice when someone knocks down the former P. Diddy down a peg. Diddy is one of those guys that you aren't exactly sure why he is famous and what is talent really is. Is he a producer? A rapper? And why should I care?

The Hit List - A weekly favorite of mine. Scott Brown's sarcasm is something to aspire to be.

Spotlight: Zach Braff: How can I trade lives with him?

"Rachel Harris Is Having a Moment": Loved her on The Daily Show, will love her future work it seems.

The EW Pop Cultre Personality Test-The Rock: Loved his response to the question "Who are you mistaken for most often?" His answer? "I'm The Rock. Nobody looks like me."

The 50 Best High School Movies: No brainer with The Breakfast Club being #1, but was pleasantly surprised to see Election #9 and Rushmore #24.

The Must List-#10: Victor Garber: Recently I caught the first two seasons of Alias and am now digging Victor Garber.

The Reviews for The Office and My Name Is Earl DVDs: The reasons why I stopped watching CSI.

The Lowlights:

Eva Longoria and The Desperate Housewives Cover Story: Alright, I get it. Eva is hot. Aren't there other actors on this show? I am being serious, I don't watch the show.

"American" Gladiators - This article gets the lowlight based on the horrific picture they chose for Clay Aiken. Not like they are any good pictures of him though.

Style Page: VMA Special - I...don' Why are fascinated with fashions that are both ridiculous and impossible to pull off anywhere except the red carpet?

In the style of EW itself, I'll give this issue a B-.

Here's my second attempt at a sign off.

Let the booing begin.
Adam Entertainment

You've made a huge mistake if you haven't seen Arrested Development

Yesterday, I got the final season of Arrested Development on DVD. Today, I have finished watching it. Yes, I blew through 13 episodes in little less than a day. Why? Because AD is damn funny. It is/was the only show on TV that I found myself actually laughing out loud at.

People blamed the low ratings of the series on its "intelligence" and "smart" humor. I don't think the show was too smart for its own good. It does have a lot of what I coined as "smart stupid humor", but let's be real: the jokes weren't about astrophysics. I think the problem, and the beauty, of the show was that it required an attentive viewer. Situations and phrases first seen in one episode would repeat later in another episode. Heck, jokes from Season 1 resurfaced in Season 3. If you haven't seen those jokes before, there is a lot of empty dialogue. Strip away those types of jokes, and you would get a very cliched show. Michael does one thing, the rest of his family is against it, and regular sitcom hijinks would occur. But Arrested Development took those cliches and layered jokes upon jokes on top of it.

All the actors on the show are brillant, but Will Arnett had to be the breakout star of the show. Whenever I hear "Final Countdown" (which is now in a Pepsi commercial), I will inevitably think of his magician character Gob. Michael Cera as George Michael Bluth was also excellent as perhaps the only normal member of the family (that is, when he isn't thinking about stealing a kiss from his cousin). Listening to the commentary on the DVDs, I get the rare impression that these actors and actresses really enjoyed working with each other.

Rumor has it, creator Mitchell Hurwitz is thinking about making a movie based on the show. While I am weary about that, as the continuity jokes I love would probably be nonexistant, I am intrigued by a big screen adventure of the Bluth family. Buy, rent, or steal the DVDs, I don't care. To paraphrase an episode title: S.O.B.: Savor Our Bluths!

I've been told I need a sign off phrase, so here is my first attempt:

That was entertaining, wasn'it?
Adam Entertainment

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Ellen vs. Jon

Ellen DeGeneres was just chosen to be the host of the 2007 Oscars. This follows what many critics said was a poor job last year by Jon Stewart, the host of the Daily Show. Among the many criticism of Mr. Stewart was that he was not political enough. I fail to see how Ellen solves that problem.

Among the many problems the Oscars telecast has, is its length. But the host has very little control over that. He or she can't whisk Halle Berry or Gwyneth Paltrow away when they start on their 12 minute long crying jag. The host can't give the hurry-up sign to the President of the Academy when their speech indicates why they are the President and not someone who is actually reguarly in front of the camera. There are 6, and only 6, awards the general public wants to see: Best Actor and Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Actress, Best Director, and Best Film. All the others are just filler until those names are read.

I thought Jon Stewart did a fine job last year, but his problem may have been what attracted the producers to him in the first place: his sardonic wit. Look, no one likes to be made fun of, especially Hollywood stars who are being "honored" during an awards show. But you have to laugh at yourself sometimes. How many times during last year's broadcast did the camera cut to Joaquin Phoenix to see him staring there stoically? See Steve Martin and his hosting performance a few years ago. See Chris Rock too. Steve Martin got asked to host twice, Rock only once, and both weren't exactly cuddly (Martin took potshots at Russell Crowe his first time hosting).

So Ellen is the safe host. She's cute and nonoffensive. I love her stand up, and I can't comment on her talk show, as I haven't seen enough of it. Chances are funny dances will be had. The Academy really wants to go back to the days of Billy Crystal and Bob Hope, people who have wide mass appeal and no hope of ever being nominated. Will I watch this year's Oscars? Sure. Will I laugh? Absolutely. But the Academy, who can't even seem to get the right movies nominated sometimes, has to be less schizo. Either you want cutting edge or you want safe. And you can't damn one and praise the other when one side doesn't work out.

Hopefully, you can find the link to the press release below:
Oscars Press Release


Welcome to Entertainment: Critical, where I discuss everything from what movie I just watched to which drunken star just got arrested. I will have (hopefully) weekly features that review the latest episodes of Lost and The Simpsons and what Entertainment Weekly articles were intriguing. I will point out stupidity, laugh at it, and continue on, but I will also applaud those that need applauding. Basically, if it's Hollywood and it's news, I will talk about it!