Friday, June 04, 2010

Around the Tubes vol. LIII

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 Expedition: Great White, Drop Dead Diva, Robert Klein: Unfair and Unbalanced, and Neistat Brothers.

- If you remember the special I mentioned a couple months ago which featured Paul Walker as a deckhand for a sharking expedition, that special is now becoming a full series, Expedition: Great White premiering this Sunday at 9:00 with back to back episodes before the show settles into its regular timeslot at 10:00 the following week. Here is a preview of the premiere episode:

- For those that need a quick refresher of the first season of Drop Dead Diva before the premiere this Sunday, here it is:

- Fun fact: the very first HBO standup comedy special was Robert Klein. Thirty-five years later he is back with his ninth one man show Robert Klein: Unfair and Unbalanced Saturday June 12 at 10. Here is a preview:

- Tonight on HBO is the premiere of Neistat Brothers, an eight-episode series consisting of experimental short films from the art-world brothers of the same name. Check out a clip below:

Thursday, June 03, 2010

I Want My Music Television vol. LXXXIII

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.

The Ghost Inside – Broken Bells

The latest Broken Bells video just may be the greatest Outer Limits episode never to air and even stars Firefly vet Christina Hendricks who is no stranger to outerspace.

Half My Heart – John Mayer

I am really disappointed that with the absent of Taylor Swift we were deprived of some cheesetastic scenes that harken back to when Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks would share microphones during their duets. Instead we just get John Mayer sulking around as if he just got accused of being a racist.

Holiday – Vampire Weekend

Oh those wacky Ivy Leaguers of Vampire Weekend going all Victorian on us. Well done boys.

Rockstar 101 - Rihanna

If Rihanna is teaching Rock Star 101, who is the professor for 102, Pat Boone?

Wednesday, June 02, 2010



As much as I hate the laziness in Hollywood, I resigned that they won’t stop cranking out remakes because they have run out of original ideas long ago (though I still which I had a Hot Tube Time Machine so I could un-see The A-Team trailer). I even occasionally try to help them out with some casting ideas for remakes. Like isn’t it time for a Victory for a new generation? Instead of Allied soccer players betting their freedom against their German, a group of female soldiers get ambushed by the Taliban and have to show that woman are just as capable as them to secure their release. Get Mia Hamm to replace Pele, Queen Latifah to sub info Sylvester Stallone and Angelina Jolie take over for Michael Caine.

Maybe because of the sport depicted, Victory has gotten lost in the discussion of great sports movies of all time. But how can you not love a movie where the allied forces beat those darn dirty Nazis at a sport they love. Sure having a midget like Stallone as a goalie is one of the biggest stretches in sports movie history (it’s like having Carlton Banks starring in the Patrick Ewing story), but the eighties cheese of it more than makes up for it.

Though one of the scenes still makes me squeamish just think about it, where they break the current goalie’s arm just so they could have Sly play in the big game, probably not a scene anyone who is still in single digits in age should watch like I was when I first saw the movie in my youth. But the movie is still worth of being inducted into the Scooter Hall of Fame. Now can we have Victory in Afghanistan ready for the next World Cup in four years?

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Life Is Sweet

There is really no better advertising for Life, the BBC Earth miniseries which recently aired on Discovery, then “From the Makers of Planet Earth” which is one of the things on top of the list of reasons you should upgrade to an HD television set. Where Planet Earth focused on ecosystems around the worst, Life, out today on DVD and Blu-Ray, takes a look at the species that inhabit them from the jungles of Africa to under the arctic shelf.

© Barrie Britton

The first episode of Life is a primer for the series with the closing one takes a look behind the scenes of the humans (who show up only once in the other episodes) that were given the tasks to film in such remote locations. In-between each episode is dedicated to Classes such as Reptiles and Amphibians, Mammals, Fish, Birds, Insects, Plants as well as some subsections including Hunters and Hunted, Creatures of the Deep, and Primates.

© Stefano Unterthiner

If there is one complaint I have heard about Life it has been the narration from Oprah Winfrey, which could get bland at time and lacks the emotion that corresponds with the beauty that is presented on screen. If you were one of those that thought that during the Discovery telecast are in luck because both the DVD and Blu-Ray feature a music only viewing option. Both sets are also available with original British narration from David Attenborough; in fact the DVD is actually two dollars less than the Oprah version.

©Neil Lucas

If there was another complaint I could come up with it would be dedicating a whole episode to plants. Sure the Venus Fly Trap and other insect eating plants are entertaining, but watching a vine taking days to climb up a tree: not so much. Even more disappointing is the Behind the Scenes companion for the episode that shows much of what made it to screen was actually a blue screen with most of the plants actually were film inside.

©Rupert Barrington

Oprah haters may also want to pass on the Behind the Scenes episode because there are extend versions of each segment presented as bonus features, a ten minute behind the scenes look at each episode on how the filmmakers got the shots that ended up in the show. We also get to see cameramen struggle with gets great shots such as a komodo dragon hunting a water buffalo who takes a week from receiving a poisonous bite from the dragon until he is sick enough to eat. Or another that took three weeks of squatting to catch on film two birds mating which in total took less than a minute. One camerman even gets too close to a school of flying fish that choose to spawn on him. Also included in the set is eighteen minutes of deleted scenes, most of which were cut from creatures featured in the original series as well as a new segment on grass.

© Hugh Miller

As the above mention of the water buffalo, animal lovers be warned, the hunting scenes do get quite graphic and you may want to watch the series with a finger on the fast forward or next chapter button and skip the Hunters and Hunted episode altogether. But it is worth it to check out the rest of Life for its awe-inspiring shots from around the globe of 130 (54 of which have never been filmed before) different stories of species and the mate, find food (and avoid being that for others), and adapt to their environment. All presented in an entertaining package that you will not want to turn your eyes away from, especially when it is presented in HD.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Previewing Are We There Yet?

Earlier this decade, UPN was the place for urban comedies, but it then closed up shop the two sitcoms that got grandfathered to The CW were quickly banished to the Friday death spot and then quickly canceled. Now TBS looks to be the spot for the niche genre with two Tyler Perry productions already on the air and on Wednesday it adds Are We There Yet?, a remake of the 2005 Ice Cube flick. Though the sequel got a name change (Are We Done Yet?) the new show doesn’t despite the family being domesticated in Seattle without anywhere to go.

It is easy to get your hopes up for the sitcom version of Are We There Yet? because of the involvement of Ali Le Roi who was the show runner for Everybody Hate Chris. And he even brought in the patriarch from that show Terry Crews to fill in for Ice Cube while his female counterpart, another UPN expat, Essence Atkins from Half and Half. And though Crews is as entertaining as usual (albeit even more tamed down than Julius) there is just something missing: actual funny lines. Even token white dude Christian Finnegan (Best Week Ever) fails to bring the funny.

The show does have its moments; mostly in next week’s 9:30 episode where Crews and his new son argue over what is the better football, American or European (what we call soccer) which leads to some entertaining physical comedy from Crews. And whenever Ice Cube shows up as his new SWAT officer brother-in-law is comedy gold just because Cube goes over the top in his acting as if he only watched eighties sitcoms to prepare for the role. But it is not enough funny to tune in every week.

Are We There Yet? airs Wednesdays with new episodes at 9:00 and 9:30 on TBS.