Saturday, July 28, 2007

They're Gonna Pour Boxes of Bullets into Him

Smokin' Aces

For anyone who has watched reality television in the last couple years and you will see just what some people would do to get their hands on a million dollars. Well imagine if someone put a million dollars on your head, or more specifically your heart. Well Vegas entertainer turned mobster turned snitch Buddy “Aces” Israel (Jeremy Piven) learned in the action packed Smokin' Aces. Well at least he would have known how that felt if he wasn’t self-quarantined in a penthouse in Tahoe with more than enough women, drugs, and bodyguards which includes Common.

Starting out just as clueless as Israel are the Feds (Ryan Reynolds, Ray Liotta) that are assigned to bring in the mobster in so he can testify against his former cohorts. It isn’t until they get to the hotel that the million dollar mark on Israel has brought out a wide array of hired assassins that have descended on the town hoping to collect the heart of the rat before he is able to tell is story. And what an array of hoodlums they are including a female duo (Alicia Keys, Taraji P. Henson) who come complete with the biggest gun despite being the smallest physically. Then there is a master of disguise that can transform himself into almost anyone and how he does it extremely creepy. Even creepier is the torture expert played by Nestor Carbonell who has a disturbing run-in with Lost co-star Matthew Fox in a wig as bad as the one from his mullet flashbacks.

But the grizzliest of the mercenaries are the Tremor Brothers, born of the same mother but all have different dads and even though there are numerous great elevator scenes throughout the movie, their exit out of it ranks the highest as they sport some unconventional weapons for assassins. The neo-Nazi brother also have a run in with a trio of bail bondsman (Ben Affleck, Peter Berg, Martin Henderson) who are hired by a lawyer (Jason Bateman) who like to wear things that most men don’t to retrieve the mob boss from skipping bail.

The action comes quick and frequently with just a few a few soft spots like when the grandmother and her little too excited grandson show up. And you couldn’t ask for much better cast than this, you know it is great when Piven is the weak link (he goes overboard a couple times). The big surprise is Keys who more than pulls off the female assassin role (although I’d still rather her stick to music) and Affleck who is much more palatable as a bit player than the leading man role he undeservingly gotten lately. And for a few laughs, check out the bloppers on the DVD to see just how bad of a pool player Affleck is.

Smokin' Aces gets a Terror Alert Level: High [ORANGE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Friday, July 27, 2007

First Impressions: I Hate My 30's

Two decades ago there was a show called Thirtysomething that followed a bunch of couples as they built and raised their families. But a lot has changed in those twenty years since as more and more people or waiting well into their thirties to settle down and start a family. Seeing that trend, the network that brought you Flavor of Love, Hogan Knows Best and I Love the (Insert Decade) is getting into the scripted business (well that’s not to say Scott Baio Is 45… and Single isn’t completely scripted, but anyways) with I Hate My 30’s.

Now network television has aired some extremely unfunny sitcoms in recent years like Emily’s Reasons Why Not, Four Kings, the upcoming Cavemen and Two and a Half Men, but none of them are as bad as I Hate My 30’s. The show centers on an office where everyone just happens to be in their early thirties and single aside from your token punk-ish twenty-something secretary and for some reason there is also a friend of what I think is the mail boy who for some reason pops up. And the narrator is named Dr. Rod (no, seriously, that is what they call him) who works at a coffee shop that is sadly more Starbucks than Central Perk.

It is doubtful that you will recognize any of the actors, which tells you something about the quality of acting considering they are playing thirty yet this is their first big gig, aside from the vain token hot chick in the office played by Jill Ritchie, who has an older brother named Bob (you may know him better as Kid Rock) and you may actually remember her from her stint as the Bluth’s publish on Arrested Development. But the first episode centers on Megahn Perry, who you may or may not remember from her one episode guest spot on Sabrina the Teenage Witch as her co-worker plan her thirtieth birthday party and hilarity doesn’t ensue.

Verdict: This show sucks massively. In fact, if you are in your thirties you may want to consider suing for defamation of character. If for some reason you still want to watch the show, I Hate My 30’s airs Thursday at 10:30 on VH1 and you can download it on iTunes (where you can get the first episode for free).

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Old Folks Talking 'bout Back in My Day

Today I had planned to give a preview of I Hate My 30’s (which debuts tonight at 10:30 on VH1 or download it for free on iTunes), but we interrupted the regularly sheculed post for this very important video that you must watch:

Kanye West has been known for making multiple videos for the same song, this time he commissioned comedian Zach Galifianakis to make another video for the first single Can’t Tell Me Nothing from the upcoming album Graduation. And how can you better fully visualize a rap video than to film at Galifianakis’ North Carolina farm. I’m not sure why no one has utilized this idea since “Weird Al” Yankovic combined the two for Amish Paradise (and the up-close profile view with his buddy looks like the original Gangstas Paradise). And if Zach doing farm work wasn’t enough, the best part is the cloggers in the blue dresses. Of course this isn’t Galifianakis’ first foray into lip-syncing as he popped up in Fiona Apple’s Not About Love (so for those keeping track at home, Kanye has stolen Fiona’s producer and video director, she may want to keep a close eye on her hairdresser) which landed at number five on my list of the Best Videos of 2006 which I added below as well as Amish Paradise because, well I can:

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Discover Channel: Press Releases

A couple weeks ago I posted a press release about Shark Week on The Discovery Channel (see here, near the bottom) which starts up next week, goiung from July 29 to August 4. Below is one of the pictures from the event:


Also coming soon to The Discovery Channel is the return of Meerkat Manor, here's a press release:


-- Families of Meerkats Return Friday, August 10, for a Sizzling New Season of Love, Lust, Treachery and Drama as Colorful Characters of the Kalahari Fight for Survival in the Desert --

When we last left off…
It wasn’t too long ago that the Whiskers meerkat family was embroiled in a fierce battle against their biggest rivals, the Commandos. Last we saw the Whiskers, Mozart’s pups had been killed by the Commandos during a burrow raid, and the Whiskers were facing a long harsh winter.

Which brings us to the present-day Kalahari Desert…
Now, kicked out of their home, Flower, the matriarch of the Whiskers clan, must lead her brood through a perilous journey to mark and settle into their new manor, survive the weather and stave off the threat of predation. The Whiskers must face new rivalry posed by their neighbors from hell, the Zappa gang, and Flower is determined to lead her brood to victory no matter what it takes! And, the plot thickens when the fighting persists within the Whiskers’ own inner circle. Ever the dysfunctional family, the Whiskers find themselves involved in confrontation, control, love affairs and more drama than ever! With daughters sleeping around and sisters fighting over the same main man, it’s no wonder that it’s a slippery slope surviving desert life. Fans will see who lives, who dies and which ‘kat winds up as top dog.

Each Friday night during the sizzling 13-episode season of MEERKAT MANOR, pop in for fur pulling, conflict, romantic tension and cut-throat competition. The Whiskers soap opera unfolds Fridays at 8:30 PM ET/PT beginning August 10. For a sneak peek of the premiere episode, viewers can virtually visit the meerkats online at for one full week beginning August 3.

About the ‘Kats…
Standing tall at on only one foot high, the meerkat is a small member of the mongoose family that thrives in one of the driest places on Earth – the Kalahari Desert. On the surface, the meerkats seem like adorable creatures, but do their cute façades mask their true colors? These highly social creatures are precocious and tough enough to send a cape cobra slinking into a hole.

About Meerkat Manor…
MEERKAT MANOR is produced for Animal Planet International by Oxford Scientific Films (OSF). Caroline Hawkins is the executive producer for OSF. Mick Kaczorowski is the executive producer for Animal Planet U.S.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I Know U Hear Me Like a Whisper in Ur Ear

Planet Earth - Prince

Many artists like to say it is all about the music all the while charging three digest to their concerts and licensing their music for even the most inane products. Then there is Prince who, ever since ending his long time battle with label Warner Bros, has been the most progressive artist in getting his music out including giving copies of his latest albums out to anyone who buys a ticket to his concerts, which are reasonably priced when his contemporaries are charging obscene prices. His latest attempt to get his music out came when he struck a deal with British paper The Mail who attacked Prince’s latest album, Planet Earth, to one of its editions last week.

Naturally Columbia Records, who is handling the world wide distribution of the album wasn’t too thrilled and decided not to release the album in England. Not like Prince cares because all he wants is for people to hear the music. And ever since changing his name back from an unpronounceable symbol, there has been some great music including the grove of Musicology, the funk of Black Sweat, and even his contribution to the Happy Feet Soundtrack was pretty catchy.

And that is what makes Planet Earth so disappointing. Certainly other artist would like to produce an album this good a year away from their thirtieth anniversary in music, but considering his recent work, this album falls flat. And that is even with the Purple One bring back past collaborators Shelia E., a few members from the New Power Generation, and Wendy and Lisa (no word on if Diamond and/or Pearl will show up in a video from the album). Although Planet Earth is still better than his nineties, symbol era.

The album opens and closes with Prince’s thoughts on current hop button topics including the fragile Earth on the title track and war on Resolution that aren’t good enough to convert people to his cause. And that is not because Prince is like many musicians like Sum 41 or Maroon 5 that have jumped on political bandwagon in recent years because everyone else is as Prince has made some of the best socially conscious songs like the classics Sign O the Times and Money Don’t Matter 2Night or the more recent Cinnamon Girl. It just the new songs won’t be added to that list anytime soon.

Prince does some retreading on the album too. The One U Wanna C might as well have been called I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man 2 complete with the line like, “you ain’t no one night stand” but this could end up bringing down the house when performed live. What won’t though is Mr. Goodnight where he bring back half rap, half talk come on’s like Gett Off but they just aren’t as good now that Prince has gone and found religion, so no talk of Almond Joys instead he just wants to watch Chocolat. Yawn.

Again, that is not to say the album is bad, it is just not Prince good. Guitar shows he can still handle the ax and will make you thank someone that Prince hasn’t found someone he loves more than his guitar yet, though still not as blistering as anything from Purple Rain, or his solo from While My Guitar Gently Weeps from the year he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Somewhere Here on Earth has a cool jazzy feel to it thanks to some well placed trumpet and would be best played in a smoky club. Hopefully Planet Earth is just a test run for something classic that Prince will unveil for his thirtieth anniversary next year.

Song to Download - Guitar

Planet Earth gets a Terror Alert Level: Elevated [YELLOW] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

First Impressions: Scott Baio Is 45... and Single

After the conclusion of the first season of The Osbornes I have avoided the follow around has beens on their day to day lives at all cost. Yet seeing the commercial for Scott Baio is 45… and Single that VH1 put into regular rotation for what seems for over a month made the show seem disturbingly entertaining. So with my tail between my legs I decided to check it out against my best judgment. The show is exactly what you would expect from the ads with a very out of touch, narcissistic, has been who gets a life coach to help him figure out why he has commitment issues.

The first episode is an hour long mostly because it takes a while for Chachi to list all his famous conquests which he is happy to repeat a couple times to anyone and everyone. Of course, even though his life coach is sending him to see past girlfriends, don’t expect him to visit any of the ones that still can get acting jobs. So instead we get Charles visiting former Happy Days co-star Joanie who will apparently be followed by in future weeks by a laundry list of chicks that posed naked in different magazines. Oh, and Nicole Eggert.

Despite all that, the show is almost entertaining in an it is totally scripted and the scenes are staged kind of way. C’mon, the cameras just happen to be inside when Bob Loblaw shows up. But my favorite “reality” moment is when his agent wants to have a private conversation yet there is still sound when they talk as the camerman shoots threw the blinds The Office style. And this was after his coincidental run in with Clint Howard. I guess Richie was too busy. Then there is Baio’s Entourage (and yes I capitalized that for a reason) which just so happens to include Kevin Arnold’s older brother. What, you couldn’t get Willie Aames? Well at least he got in a call to Fonzie.

Verdict: Luckily now that all of Chachi’s name dropping is out of the way, the show gets cut down to the more digestible half an hour. Even then I’m not sure if I could stomach a whole season, but I have to at least stick around until the Eggert appearance as she was one of my earliest crushes. Scott Baio s 45… and Single airs Sundays at 10:30 on VH1 and, since it is VH1, will most likely be repeated constantly throughout the week. You can also download the first episode for free on iTunes.