Monday, September 30, 2013

New DVD's 'This Is The End,' 'The Croods' and MoreThis Week

new dvds, how i met your mother, the croods, this is the end

This week for new DVD and BD titles, we have a few classics coming to Blu-ray, TV shows with Josh Radnor, Lea Michele, Zooey Deschanel and Dana Delany as part of the cast.  Movies hitting up the home market include James Franco, Nicolas Cage and Judy Garland.

According to Rentrak, for the week ending Sept. 22nd, these titles lead in sales in the top-10 charts:

World War Z,
Star Trek Into Darkness,
Now You See Me,
Arrow,
The Big Bang Theory,
Grimm and
The Walking Dead

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Here's the list of new releases coming out Tuesday, 10-1-13:


The Little Mermaid (Two-Disc Diamond Edition: Blu-ray / DVD + Digital Copy)

    The Little Mermaid (Two-Disc Diamond Edition: Blu-ray / DVD + Digital Copy)
    Runtime:     1 hr 23 mins
    Starring:     Jodi Benson
    Directed by:     Ron Clements and John Musker

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This Is The End (Two Disc Combo: Blu-ray / DVD + UltraViolet Digital Copy)


    This Is The End (Two Disc Combo: Blu-ray / DVD + UltraViolet Digital Copy)
    Runtime:     1 hr 47 mins
    Starring:     James Franco, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen
    Directed by:     Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg

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The Croods on dvd


    The Croods
    Runtime:     1 hr 36 mins
    Starring:     Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds

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The Wizard of Oz: 75th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray 3D / Blu-ray / UltraViolet)

    The Wizard of Oz: 75th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray 3D / Blu-ray / UltraViolet)
    Runtime:     1 hr 41 mins
    Starring:     Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger
    Directed by:     Victor Fleming

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How I Met Your Mother: Season Eight


    How I Met Your Mother: Season Eight
    Runtime:     8 hrs 38 mins
    Starring:     Josh Radnor, Jason Segel

Sunday, September 29, 2013

'Breaking Bad' Series Finale "Felina," Review

The day we all dread has finally arrived and the last episode of Breaking Bad, "Felina," (Gilligan said that Felina is an anagram for finale**1) has come and gone.  Before this episode, AMC ran the entirety of the five seasons of the series since mid-week. 

BREAKING BAD series finale recap

The TV marathon brought to light some memories and new perspectives.

During the series, up until the demise of Mike, I was on Walt's side.  But then, while arguing with Mike for a list of names, then shooting him, and saying, oh, I just realized Lydia has the list...  well, that was the beginning of the end of my empathy for the character.

Mike made the most succinct statement of the series about Walter just before being shot, telling Walt that if he had done his job for Gus and cooked, they would have had made all the money they ever would have needed, but no, his pride and greed got in the way.

That pretty much said it all.

Other details from the show I noted, where I used to think Skyler was interfering with Walt and Walt was now just a butt head about his own ego.

Seeing the entire series again, I saw it with a new light on how I viewed the characters... specifically seeing much earlier in the show, when Walter started turning ugly before I realized it.

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With that said...  SPOILERS ENSUE from here on...

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In the previous episode, Walter watched the "Grey Matter" news interview on TV and something snapped.  At that moment, I wasn't sure what it was.

So we know that Walt was headed home from his hiding place in New Hampshire and I'm thinking he's gone haywire again.and doing something else stupid.

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The series finale opens with Walter breaking into an icy car and trying to hot wire it.  He finally gets it started and the CASETTE tape in the deck, with Marty Robbins song El Paso, starts playing. 

**1:  Oddly enough, Felina is also a character in the Marty Robbins song we here in the beginning of the finale, the song titled El Paso. 

"Out in the West Texas town of El Paso
I fell in love with a Mexican girl
Night-time would find me in Rosa's cantina
Music would play and Felina would whirl
"

Walter makes a phone call from a pay phone looking for the address to the Schwartz's.  He leaves his watch, a $6300 Tag Heuer Monaco Calibre 12, on the payphone and we next see him waiting for them at home.  He ends up giving them almost $10 million from his trunk to endow to Flynn from Grey Matter when he turns 18, in ten months.

Oh, and he's hired hit men to watch them to make sure they do it.  (He tells them.)  Turns out his two "hit men" were Skinny Pete and Badger with laser pointers.  It's here that he actually learns that the blue meth is still being sold.  The street thought he was still cooking.

"Cheer up beautiful people.  This is where you get to make it right."  A quote from Walter to the Schwartz's.

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We're fed a scene where Jesse made a box in shop class, then snap forward to his cook imprisonment.

Walt gets his gun, gets his risen cigarette and flashes back to when Hank invited Walt along for a meth lab bust.  Sigh.  When it all began to crumble.

BREAKING BAD series finale recap

Todd and Lydia were meeting for lunch and Walter shows up, offering to teach them how to cook without a core ingredient, methylene.

Walter leaves, Lydia puts her sweetener in her coffee and we watch it dissolve...  or was that risen?

Walter is now out in the desert building a contraption to auto-fire his M-60.

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Marie calls Skylar to warn her that Walter is in town and we learn that the police are getting various reports that Walter is going to blow something up.  The cops are stretched thin.

Walt was already in her apartment.

BREAKING BAD series finale recap

He gives her the lat and lon of where Hank and Steve's bodies are and suggests she use it as leverage with the DA.  She finally gets the truth out of him, where he says he did all for himself.  It made him feel alive.

We watch Walt, watching Flynn from across the street, come home from school... AND WALT is wearing a green shirt.  (Didn't he always wear a green shirt when he was winning and getting what he wanted?)

'The Amazing Race' Season Premiere, Who Was Eliminated First?

The Amazing Race 23 premiere recap

As The Amazing Race started its twenty-third season with a Western town motif as the various teams disembarked from a stage coach.

As the teams were introduced, a few things came to mind.

First up was the abundant number of Californians that were in the race.  My other observation was that many of the contestants don't seem to need this kind of money and a few do.

Oh, and did I mention the herd of breasts in tank tops?  That's an observation, not a real complaint.

The Amazing Race 23 premiere recap - "We're like friends"

Ya... but one team, "Baseball wives" with breasts, have been "like friends, for 4 years."  Yes, that was a quote one of them said.  While the NHL "cheerleaders" or Ice girls, didn't give us a total stupid air, but I'm waiting for them to demonstrate some

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They all pile into their cars and head off to Chile, via Los Angeles International airport.

The first challenge is a paragliding stunt, and when "the envelope" has the team pick who will go, the instructions say to change it up.  Nice.

Then there was a rowing contest and a run for the first pit stop.

Ya gotta love when Phil says "You're first, however..."

That pesky "however."

In the end, father-daughter team of Hoskote & Naina were eliminated.  I'm OK with that because it would have been pretty annoying to put up with this guys "father knows best" attitude.

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Friday, September 27, 2013

Is ABC Worried About 'SHIELD?' I Might Be...

So Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. premiered to some pretty strong numbers, what with ABC's spin pitching it success, with various sources out there stating numbers between 11M to 16M viewer counts.   (Oh, and I toss out just what LOLA's license plate might mean while populating this piece with promotional images from upcoming episodes of the series.)

Brett Dalton in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. premieres with great ratings... promo pics from ABC

Those are awesome numbers for a premiere of a new series.  (See the attached press release below.)  Though, the last time a pack of viewers piled in to set records, that show barely made it through a second season.  That show being 'V.'

But I'm worried about the show and I think, maybe, so is ABC.  But please keep in mind, that regardless of what I'm about to say, I do want to see the show succeed.  OK...  with that said, and very very mild spoilers ensuing... 

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Chloe Bennet in preview promo of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.


During the premiere episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. there were two great story lines and one of them involved the mystery behind Coulson's surviving being skewered by Loki in The Avengers.

The other one the assignment of the week.

Outside of that, this was a premiere event that acted like pretty much many other TV series premieres, as far as throwing ALL the characters out there on the table and getting them introduced.

Clark Gregg in upcoming episdoe of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Even if it meant delivering schlocky dialog to make them all seem cute and humorous.

No, seriously, EVERY character had to have funny, Whedon-signature quips in their dialog.  And believe me, that got old before the halfway mark of the episode.

Ian Hart in upcoming episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

There were a few great quips, one being about the truth serum scene, where our serum victim gets shot up and starts answering questions truthfully right away, looks down at the shot and says something like, "Wow, that works fast!"

NOW that was a true Whedon-quip.

But every character needing to quip in almost every scene was getting scary.  It felt forced and it felt like a creative team that didn't trust themselves or their storytelling.

Chloe Bennet in upcoming episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Sure, the premiere numbers were great.  But it's going to be up to Coulson (Clark Gregg) and May (Ming-Na Wen) to carry the plot for a while.

But the words that followed the those numbers, aside from the shills of the industry, were questionable at best.  Folks I know didn't have strong feelings for or against the episode, while some felt it was just a terrible show.

The thing was, I couldn't argue them onto my side of the camp.  That side being the hopeful side that this ensemble of characters will develop in such a way to make us like them and worry for them as time progresses.

That's Whedon's magic touch and his ability to wield group ensembles.

But it feels like something's up, and it isn't good.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. premiered on ABC


Suddenly ABC is distributing images and plot line from the next few episodes.  And that's before the week was even up.  Two days after the premiere actually.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

'Breaking Bad's' Vince Gilligan's Next TV Project(s)?

With Breaking Bad coming to a close, there's going to be a scramble by TV viewers for good television... and that scramble may come up short.  But the show creator, Vince Gilligan, is someone we may want to follow in the foreseeable future, just in case he hits it out of the park once again.

Breaking Bad on AMC


With that in mind, he's got two projects he's eye balling

On AMC, he's got the prequel Better Call Saul lined up.  That could be fun.  Saul was always a surprise of a character.  He looked like an ambulance chaser, but he was pretty sharp in how he handled his "special" clients.

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And there's a possibility that CBS might be getting Gilligan's cop series, Battle Creek.

This is a show about two cops with very different attitudes... one honest and the other sarcastic and deceptive.

With that said...

Sunday is fast approaching with that last episode of Breaking Bad looming on the horizon.  Gulp!  This is it.  The end is nigh!

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'Revolution:' Do We Not Care Any More?

After looking at the Nielsen ratings for the second season premiere of NBC's Revolution, I have to start wondering if anyone cares any more?  The ratings seem to suggest that viewers have lost hope for this series.

revolution premiere had low ratings


Last year Revolution opened to some serious fanfare from NBC.  It was "the most watched series premiere" in the history of all human kind.  Or, they tried to make it sound that way.

First they pumped it up, adding all the preview online viewings (It was online a week or more before it premiered on TV) to the premiere numbers.

Then they started saying it was the best new show on television.  Despite the fact that the show never cracked the top-25 rated shows each week.

It turned out it WAS the best new show, on Mondays.  I did a quickie review and every other new series last year was crushing Revolution.

Except, there were no shows on, Monday night.

And then last year, NBC cut the episode order count by 2.  That was a big clue something was up then.

Season Premieres for the Week Starting Sunday, Sept 29, 2013

This Sunday promises to be a benchmark day of television.  Breaking Bad's series finale will air, bringing this hit series to its final closure.  Whatever that might be.

2013 Season Premieres for the Week starting Sun., Sep 29, 2013

But more importantly, a slew of shows will be kicking off their new seasons this Sunday, like The Amazing Race, Family Guy, Homeland, The Mentalist... well, you get it.

New and returning alike, there's quite the list.

With the majority of shows having already started their 2013 fall TV seasons, there's only a few shows kicking off their new seasons this week.  Specifically on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Psst: Thursday sees the return of The Vampire Dairies and its spinoff, The Originals!

Check it out!  (And remember, any questions or looking for any particular show, leave a comment question, and I WILL get back to you.  (I have a day job, it might be later that day))

Don't forget to check your local listings for times.


SHOW NET DATE
60 Minutes CBS Sun, Sept. 29, 2013
Amazing Race CBS Sun, Sept. 29, 2013
American Dad FOX Sun, Sept. 29, 2013
Betrayal ABC Sun, Sept. 29, 2013
Bob’s Burgers FOX Sun, Sept. 29, 2013
Eastbound & Down HBO Sun, Sept. 29, 2013
Family Guy FOX Sun, Sept. 29, 2013
Hello Ladies HBO Sun, Sept. 29, 2013
Homeland SHO Sun, Sept. 29, 2013
Masters of Sex SHO Sun, Sept. 29, 2013
Once Upon A Time ABC Sun, Sept. 29, 2013
Revenge ABC Sun, Sept. 29, 2013
The Good Wife CBS Sun, Sept. 29, 2013
The Mentalist CBS Sun, Sept. 29, 2013
The Simpsons FOX Sun, Sept. 29, 2013


We Are Men CBS Mon, Sept. 30, 2013


Ironside NBC Wed, Oct. 02, 2013
Super Fun Night ABC Wed, Oct. 02, 2013


Scandal ABC Thurs, Oct. 03, 2013
Sean Saves the World NBC Thurs, Oct. 03, 2013
The Originals CW Thurs, Oct. 03, 2013
The Vampire Diaries CW Thurs, Oct. 03, 2013
Welcome to the Family NBC Thurs, Oct. 03, 2013


The Originals on the CW


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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

'Rush' Leads New Movies in Theaters This Friday

Last week Prisoners, starring Hugh Jackman, dominated the new movies that opened in theaters.

Rush in theaters this week

This week Hugh Jackman will be looking at some stiff competition with Chris Hemsworth and Olivia Wilde.  Not sure how you're going to compete against that pair?

Still of Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Scarlett Johansson in 'Don Jon'

Well, maybe Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Scarlett Johansson can.  But my bet is on Rush knocking it out of the park.

Here's what new movies are coming out this Friday, September 27th: (Trailers at bottom of post)


Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 movie poster

Rated PG 95 min

Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader) now works at The Live Corp Company for his idol Chester V (Will Forte). But he's forced to leave his post when he learns that his most infamous machine is still operational and is churning out menacing food-animal hybrids.

Directors: Cody Cameron | Kris Pearn

Stars: Bill Hader, Anna Faris, Will Forte, Neil Patrick Harris

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Rush

'Rush' movie poster

Rated R 123 min

A re-creation of the merciless 1970s rivalry between Formula One rivals James Hunt (Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Bruhl).

Director: Ron Howard
Stars:    Daniel Brühl, Chris Hemsworth, Olivia Wilde, Alexandra Maria Lara

Bruce's Observation:  More than ten thousand folks have contributed to the IMDb user rating of 8.4.  THAT'S HUGE and if you're on the bubble wondering if you should go check out the movie, that could be a good clue for you.

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Don Jon

'Don Jon' movie poster

Rated R 90 min

A New Jersey guy (Gordon-Levitt) dedicated to his family, friends, and church, develops unrealistic expectations from watching porn and works to find happiness and intimacy with his potential true love.

Director: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Stars:    Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore, Tony Danza

Over three thousand folks have chimed in on IMDb who have already seen this comedy and have given it a user rating of 7.5.  It looks like a fun/cute movie, is Gordon-Levitt's directorial debut and Johansson looks rather alluring in the clips.


'Breaking Bad:' Finale And Loving The Show Despite The Mistakes

SPOILERS for those time-shifted viewers out there

I don't know about you, but as far as I'm concerned, Breaking Bad was the best entertainment on television.  And I'm not sure what, if anything will take its place... except maybe the prequel, Better Call Saul.  Nope... not a joke.

But to take the story of a man, and to watch him go from jilted business partner, to high school chemistry teacher, to cancer victim, to drug king pin... seems like four distant points that don't relate, and yet connected so seamlessly as to make almost perfect sense.

Bryan Cranston in Breaking Bad - s1

And through it all, we watch the man, Walter White (Bryan Cranston) go from milk-toast to a very dominant player on the field of thugs.  And it was quite the transformation.

Do you remember when we cheered for the guy when he upped and quit that crap job at the car wash?  Yep... that was step one.  And we were happy for him, considering his circumstances.

Do you remember his trying to be smart and hide his extra cell phone in the chemistry class?

But then one thing led to another and every success led to a failure, forcing his hand at doing it again...until he found himself working for Gus.

Bryan Cranston in Breaking Bad, Gus's place

Sure, cancer forced his hand beyond quitting his 2nd job and we sympathized for him.  Heck, we were making excuses for him, hoping he'd succeed.  But he traveled down a slippery slope into this monster that Walter has become, and as we ponder, we realize he became that which he was capable of.  Or he'd never be able to do it.

Walter White: Family Man and Mass Murderer

Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn and RJ Mitte in Breaking Bad s1

I don't know about you, but I call Walter a mass murderer.  Over the seasons, he's either directly or indirectly caused the death of over 180 people.

The people Walt has killed himself include


    Emilio (self-defense from pilot episode)
    Krazy-8 (chained up guy in basement, who disappeared)
    Combo (killed by rivals dealing Walt's blue stuff)
    Jane (He could have saved her)
    Nameless rival dealer #1 (run-over with his Aztec)
    Nameless rival dealer #2 (run-over with his Aztec)
    Gale (Orders Jesse to kill him to save themselves from Gus)
    Anonymous Gus henchman in lab (Walt pops him in Gus's super lab)
    Gus (Direct threat removed, using Hector)
    Hector “Tio” Salamanca (Means to an end)
    Tyrus (Guy with Gus when bomb goes off)
    Guard #1 in laundry lab (When Walter blew up Gus's lab)
    Guard #2 in laundry lab (When Walter blew up Gus's lab)
    Mike Ehrmantraut (THIS is when I slipped out from under Walt's fan club)


Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul in Breaking Bad

Those he indirectly killed, include folks like the 167 passengers on those airliners... Jane's father was mentally out of it from her death and he lost track of air traffic.  The kid on the bike in the desert.

Now Chavez and Hank.  And he's ordered the hit on Jesse, not to mention Andrea (Todd work) catching it too, as a side effect.

'Sons of Anarchy' Recap of "Poenitentia" fr 9-24-13

In this episode of Sons of Anarchy, Toric is showing how on-edge he is, and is getting ahead of himself in his fervor to bring down SAMCRO.  Clay finally reveals his hand to Jax, with his tradings with Toric and Tig has some 'splaining to do.

As far as the title goes, "Poenitentia" stands for repentance of regret.  In legal terms, Locus Poenitentia is a place of repentance or the opportunity of withdrawing from a projected contract.

THAT is a very important tidbit for tonight's episode, as you will soon see.

Shall we get to it?

SPOILERS are abound...

CCH Pounder and Donal Logue in Sons of Anarchy

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The episode Opens

...With San Joaquin County District Attorney Tyne Patterson (CCH Pounder) giving a press conference on TV about the school shooting and she will get to the bottom of where that gun came from. 

During the conference, as a sound backdrop, we check in on Nero (Jimmy Smits) at confessional, Toric (Donal Logue) lying in bed after a night with one of Nero's hooker, Jax (Charlie Hunnam) riding his bike, Bobby (Mark Boone Junior) working on his pursuit of a new nomad chapter in Nevada.

Toric Is One Unstable SoB (But we knew that already)

As the teaser winds down, Patterson pulls up to Toric's hotel, with Toric looking out the window.  His hooker gets out of the shower and startles Toric, who accidentally pulls the trigger of a gun he was holding.

Without batting an eye, he tells her it will be OK, then smothers her face with a pillow and finishes the job he accidentally started.

As if that's not bad enough, Toric leaves his room for the day, leaving a body in the tub and a 'do not disturb' sign on the door of his hotel room.

He heads out to prison to get Clay to finally sign that paperwork he's been carrying around for a while.

In latter pursuits, Toric has a few of Nero's men tied up and is tryint to extract information from them by extracting teeth with a beer bottle.  That information being on the whereabouts of the mother (missing) of the school shooter.

By the end of the episode, we see that Toric has been driven, or taking the opportunity, of taking some trace evidence from his dead hooker friend in either Gemma's (Katy Segal) or Nero's truck.  Not sure which, but it would make more sense for it to be Nero's vehicle.

We later see a scene where the cops were called out to the dump location of the hooker's body and the mystery 911 caller said he saw a truck pull away from the scene.

Toric is doing everything under the book to nail these boys.

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Clay, That Father-Son Visit, And Developments

Clay's (Ron Perlman) future seemed pretty bleak coming into this episode.  With that being said, Jax finally shows up at the clinker to visit the father.  Clay lets Jax in on what's expected of him from Toric and apologizes for everything that's gone down.

And then tells Jax he isn't giving the club up.

Jax in turn, faces the one-way mirror that Toric is behind and explains that he's sorry for Toric's sister, that Otto acted alone and is no longer a member, and that he should stay away from Tara.

Toric tries to get Clay to sign that confession.  But Clay digs in and signs nothing, all the while, knowing he will die soon in prison.

But what unfolds for Clay is a surprising (I guess it should not have been) turn of events within the prison walls.

'NCIS' and 'The Bridge' News

Hey gang...  I have a little NCIS and The Bridge series news you might like to know about...

production still of Melinda McGraw, Joe Spano and Cote de Pablo in NCIS


In the spring, CBS is taking at swing at another possible spinoff from NCIS, with a two-part story arc.

This time around, this spinoff attempt will be based out of New Orleans.

Yea, the last time they tried this, the spinoff known as Red, well, started out dead.  In this case, they're picking New Orleans because of its party lifestyle.

Mark Harmon is set to be one of the producers.

NCIS just premiered its new season this week.

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production still of Demian Bichir and Diane Kruger in The Bridge (show renewed!)


FX's The Bridge tells a pretty good and gritty cop story.  But it's not one I've embraced because I'd rather hear my story because I'm always doing other things (Like, um, blogging).

But it seems that at least near 4 million viewers each episode not minding having to read the slew of subtitles that come out of each episode.  Hence, FX being happy with those numbers, is renewing the show and has ordered a second season of The Bridge, with a 13-episode count.

The show was the no. 1 new scripted dramatic series that came out of the summer collective of shows.

The first season is still cooking and will have its first finale on October 2nd.

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'Agents of SHIELD' Review - Was It All We Expected or Hoped For?

We finally got to experience one of the most anticipated TV series in a long time... a new Joss Whedon product called Agents of SHIELD on ABC, a spinoff of sorts, from The Avengers movie and the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

(This is more of a spoiler-free review of the concept of the series...)

Agents of SHIELD TV Review

Joss's work is back on TV.  How's that feelin' FOX?  (Sorry. Couldn't help that one.)

Well, the show is created and helmed by Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon, and Maurissa Tancharoen.

But this show isn't a surprise.  This is going to be us following Agent Coulson and SHIELD, after the events of The Avengers, because the world is in shock that aliens and meta humans exist.

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The series premiere of Agents of SHIELD introduced us to our primary characters of the series, including Agent Coulson, who is pulling this team together.


That team including Agents Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) [at least in this episode], Grant Ward (Brett Dalton), Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) and computer techs Leo Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Jenna Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge).  Or as these two keep getting called, ‘Fitzsimmons.’

They're joined by Skye (Chloe Bennet), an activist blogger who does have some skills to contribute to this team.  And oh, what a team of mixed skills.

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

'Army Wives' Cancelled, Bill Nye Injured on Dancing...

Super quick news bites from the day:


If you're an Army Wives fan, brace yourselves...  Lifetime has cancelled the series, aka, not renewed it for an 8th season.  The ratings just sagged way too low and at that point, a show becomes a bleeding wallet.

But on the other hand, they do plan on putting together one last shindig of a two-hour retrospective on the show.

No date announced for that yet.

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Hey, RumorFix is reporting that Dancing with the Stars contestant, Bill Nye, tweaked his knee during practice and was rushed to the hospital, where the 57-year-old was getting an MRI.

Buggers for Bill, he had a hot partner.

http://rumorfix.com/2013/09/bill-nye-hospitalized-exclusive/


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NBC's 'The Blacklist' - A Review of An Intensely Good Show

 I had a few options of what to watch Monday night at 10pm, and I went with The Blacklist.

And guessing that almost 13 million other viewers did the same, The Blacklist dominated the other competition at 10.  (Castle (10M); Hostages (7.5M) viewers)

The Blacklist on NBC, a review

Alas, James Spader delivers something he's been training his entire acting career for... the role of Raymond Reddington.  Also in the cast is Megan Boone as Elizabeth Keene, a fresh out of acadamy profiler.

The episode opens with Red (Spader) turning himself in, but once incarcerated, says he will only speak to Elizabeth Keen.  And no one can figure out why.

But she seems ready for the job and steps up bravely.

Early on Red lets the Feds know he knows of a terrorist coming into the country with plans to kidnap an important person and set off a bomb.

Do the Feds believe him or blow him off?

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The Blacklist on NBC, a review


Monday, September 23, 2013

'Firefly/Serenity:' Want To See What Happened After the Movie Ended?

Serenity movie from Joss Whedon


For fans of the Joss Whedon created world of the TV series Firefly, we saw how Joss was allowed to end the series with the 2005 cinematic event called Serenity.  In it, Joss was allowed to finish his story.

But for some, how it ended only whetted our appetite for what might have happened after Mal (Nathan Fillion) stopped 'The Operative's' (Chiwetel Ejiofor) dedicated mission and uncovered the dirtiest secret that the Alliance was hiding.

(No, if you were one of the few who have not seen Serenity, I ain't tellin' ya what happens!)

Where did the operative go?  What happened to the crew after events in the movie?

Well, guess what?  Fans will be getting their wish.

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Dark Horse Comics (bless their souls!) has wrangled artist Georges Jeanty (Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Season 8 and Season 9 comic) to pen their new Serenity comic series!

No writers have been announced yet.

Serenity comic will begin with "Mal and the crew are recouping from their recent strike against the sinister interplanetary government, The Alliance, in which they exposed government agencies as those responsible for the creation of ***************.   ************* Mal is finding himself and his ship in greater danger than ever."

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I blocked out the spoilers on the wee chance you really haven't see the movie yet.  (It's awesome and is easily watchable, over and over and over.)

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'Iron Man 3' Leads New DVD/BD Releases This Week

New DVD's This Week...  Iron Man 3, Modern Family,

This week's new DVD titles coming out include the continuing saga of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), a family of modern times, and of all things, a blu-ray release celebrating 35 years of a scary film franchise.  Wow, 35 years.

First up...

Iron Man 3 on Blu-ray/DVD

Iron Man 3 (Two-Disc Blu-ray / DVD + Digital Copy)
The third movie of the Iron Man trilogy, the synopsis goes as follows:

When Tony Stark's world is torn apart by a formidable terrorist called the Mandarin, he starts an odyssey of rebuilding and retribution.

Starring Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall...

On IMDb the film snagged itself a 7.4 user rating.

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Modern Family season four on DVD

Modern Family: The Complete Fourth Season

This TV series, starring Ed O'Neill, Sofía Vergara, Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell. A great comedic series about three different, but related families.

IMDb users give the series an 8.6

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 Foyle's War: Set Seven on DVD

Foyle's War: Set Seven

With Michael Kitchen, Honeysuckle Weeks, Anthony Howell, Jay Simpson.

It's a very popular TV series that I've never heard of... but looking at the IMDb rating of 7.9, apparently I need to check it out.  Do you?

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Halloween (35th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray]


Halloween (35th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray]

This 1978 movie, starring Jamie Lee Curtis and a "hockey fan," has stood the test of time with numerous sequels that embrace the franchise, but nothing touches the original.

And the IMDb user rating of 7.9 tends to back that premise up!

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Check out what else is coming out on DVD/BD for TV series, movies and other things:

2 Broke Girls: The Complete Second Season

3 Films By Roberto Rossellini Starring Ingrid Bergman (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

After Earth

American Dad! Volume Eight

An Unfinished Life [Blu-ray]

Betty Boop: The Essential Collection, Vol. 2 [Blu-ray]

Big Combo [Blu-ray]

Brain Games: Season 2

China Beach Season 1 (3DVD)

City of God / City of Men [Blu-ray]

Countdown to Extinction: Live

Cuatro

Dark Girls

Detective Montalbano: Episodes 23 & 24

Detective Montalbano
: Episodes 25 & 26

Doctor Who: The Complete Seventh Series (Blu-ray)

Doctor Who: The Complete Seventh Series (Blu-ray)



'Prisoners' Trashes the Box Office, Wizard of Oz pulls a Top-10 Spot

It looks like the dramatic piece, Prisoners, starring Hugh Jackman (Without claws), Jake Gyllenhaal took the top spot this weekend at the box office in its first week, pulling in $21.4M bucks.  Dramatic stories with a great cast seem to hold sway over the movie-going public.


Behind Prisoners was Insidious, Chapter 2, in its second week out, pulling in $14.5M.



Behind these, we have The Family ($7M), and in its sixth week, Instructions Not Included in fourth, with a $5.7M weekend.

Riddick is holding on at 8th, in its third week, netting a $37M gross so far. 

And the 3D re-release of The Wizard of Oz pulled in $3M and snagging 9th from Disney's Planes ($2.8M)

Those aren't bad numbers for the Wizard.  A buddy of mine said she went to see it and there were two other folks in the theater with her...  older guys and she was creeped out by the scenario.  But none the less, the IMAX/3D prices definitely helped crank out the bottom line for The Wizard of Oz.

The movie came out in 318 theaters, averaging $9,500 a theater.  Or as I've pointed out in a different piece on one of my sites about non 2D movie ticket prices,

"3D Ticket prices 50% higher than normal tickets!  And don’t forget the IMAX tickets prices are roughly 130% more than a 2D screening."

I Think TV Seasons Need To Be Shorter

Why, do you ask, that I think TV Series Seasons Need To Be Shorter?  Because of how TV ratings seem to sag in the middle of it a season, and how sometimes shows are chopped off at the knees from bad ratings.  On top of that, shows seem to have a solid mid-season ratings resurgence when they take breaks.

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Have you ever noticed that our fellow TV fans on the other side of the pond have shorter TV seasons than we do?  And they call them series instead of seasons.  What's up with that?  My suspicion, is that shorter TV seasons is a combination of TV ratings and costs. 

In the U.S., we used to have 24-episode seasons and they ran straight through.  But now-a-days, a 24 episode run is a lofty number that we ask the networks to commit to.  Now-a-days, networks are more ratings-responsive (read as knee-jerk) than ever before.

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As anyone who follows my site(s) knows, I have a particularly "constructive" perspective about TV ratings. 

Ratings are intricately related to advertisers as they use various ratings metrics to decide when and where to spend their seasonal $20 billion budget.  (Yes, advertisers drop $20B a season on the those loud TV ads

And they do it because is works. But that's another story for another day.)  The better the ratings, the more money they drop on a given TV series.

Case in point, advertisers fall all over themselves to get advertisements for their products run during reality TV shows like Survivor, Amazing Race, The Voice, or scripted dramas like NCIS and Castle.  These shows get the eyeballs, and adverts want those eyeballs exposed to their brainwashing...  I mean TV ads.

But there's always an interesting problem with TV ratings, and I'm not talking about the most popular TV series, but the other 2nd string-like rated TV series.  That is when a show premieres for the first time and gets good ratings numbers, that's great.  But traditionally, once the public has sampled a TV show premiere, usually ratings numbers drop by up to 20% for the subsequent episode, and such.

TV ratings fluctuate via viewers viewing habits.  Season premieres always draw the numbers in, as do season and/or series finales.  But then suddenly, the live or "live +7" numbers start to sag.

My guess is folks are starting to lean more towards VoD or even weaning themselves off of the tube and renting or buying TV seasons with they come to market.

But as it goes, there have been too many times I see series finales get great ratings especially compared to its regular episode ratings.  But then fans lament why the show is going away, when in fact, their own viewing habits doomed the show.  As least as the advertisers see the numbers and make business decisions based on those numbers.  And TV networks can't make TV shows for free.

But...

Have you noticed of late, the latest trend with the "mid-season" breaks for TV shows? 

Yea... I find it as annoying as hell actually and don't get me started on packaging a full season into two different packages on store shelves. 

But this mid-season break crap works because when a popular series returns from its mid-season break, the viewership numbers explode for that mid-season premiere.  Premieres are special and are valued by the fans it seems and they give production studios the impetus to either create a slightly more special mid-season episode or at least market the crap out of it for a month or so, building up the interest for the break-returning episode.

Either way, networks and adverts are taking advantage of that mindset to help their clients.

Other perspectives about the short British series is that folks would rather have shorter, high quality stories rather than long, drawn out series with dribble on with filler content.

Case in point that comes to mind was the latest rendition of Torchwood on Starz, Miracle Day, where it had way too much content that did not seem to further the story but just kill time.  The same could be said about almost the entire second season of AMC's The Killing.

But there is an argument that UK series are short because they're government funded from licensing fees (That's an annual fee charged to anyone who owns a TV in Britain ) and not advertisers.

Or that the UK doesn't focus on syndication like the U.S. does?

Eh, who knows.

But back to the original question, and that's would shorter TV seasons help sell better TV ratings?  It's a conjectural question that will probably not see the light of day, but if there's any substance of a suggestion, I'm thinking the mid-season breaks might be a clue.

Of course, in this day and age when everything is recorded electronically anyway, I keep wondering how the Nielsen system is surviving the technology change?  But that's for another day/piece.

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Casting Calls from Alan Baltes No Longer Covered?


I don't know if you noticed, but I no longer cover casting calls from Alan Baltes any longer on any of my sites.

I used to report on various casting calls that I saw over on websites run by Alan Baltes .  He has always been a great resource to point folks to who don't know about him and his sites.  He appears to work very hard at what he does.

But of late, I've been noticing that he's been posting DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) legal notices on his casting calls.

They read something like this:

Protection: All original content on <site post adress> is created by the website owner, including but not limited to text, design, code, images, photographs and videos are considered to be the Intellectual Property of the website owner, whether copyrighted or not, and are protected by DMCA Protection Services using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act Title 17 Chapter 512 (c)(3). Reproduction or re-publication of this content is prohibited without permission.

Digital Millennium Copyright Act: Part of the US Copyright Law. The DMCA addresses penalties for copyright infringement on the Internet and protects content creators by "establishing procedures for proper notification" to OSPs when copyright infringement is identified online. Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act, Title II of the DMCA "adds a new section 512 to the Copyright Act to create four new limitations on liability for copyright infringement by online service providers." These procedures allow content creators or their designated agent to file proper DMCA Takedown notice to the OSP in case infringed material has been detected on their servers.

Wow... I was running for the hills.  (I mean hey, my first hint at what was going on with The Avengers: Age of Ultron came from his site.)

So I was curious how far Alan would take this if folks kept creating content on their websites, based on his casting call posts.  I fired off an email but my inquiry was met with a deafening silence.

Deafening silence of non-replies can be disturbing, depending on how important the situation is.  Or sobering or enlightening.  I'm going with enlightening.

So there's that...

And I hate receiving cease and desist notifications. 

So I will strive to find a different, more friendly source for casting calls, if I can find one.  But I won't tread on testy waters covered in DMCA notices!!!

As it stands, other websites that do create content based on casting calls seem to be heeding a similar principle and are looking at other resources to quote for their casting call notes.

To some degree, I get it what Alan has done.  There are dubious sites (or site staff) out there that will steal content faster than you can put it up and take the credit and/or run their own ads with the content.

They're known scrapers but Google still has issues discerning these scrapers from the originating sources, despite the work they've been grinding at to stop that very issues.

But when there's no conversation to be had, well, one must assume the worse and play it safe.

I'm just sayin and I definitely wanted to say it.

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'Star Trek Into Darkness,' A Review With Some News

I just watched Star Trek Into Darkness once again since it's now out on the home entertainment market in both VoD rentals and DVD/blu-ray venues.  And I have to say that coming into a movie a second time, you get to see and experience so much more from a title.

'Star Trek Into Darkness,' A Review

And the time between having seen it in theaters and watching it when it comes to market, you get to keep your eye on how the movie consumer and fan has either embraced or rejected a film.

With that said...

With Star Trek Into Darkness having grossed around $466M worldwide, it has landed in the home entertainment world by being the No. 1 ranked rental, leading Now You See Me and Oblivion as the top-three rentals.

Karl Urban, Zachary Quinto, J.J. Abrams and Chris Pine at a Star Trek Into Darkness movie premiere

Starring Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Benedict Cumberbatch and the rest of the gang, I found the film from J.J. Abrams pretty damn entertaining.

Sure, I don't like the marketing tactics that Paramount is pulling, what with leaving different extras on different distribution packages, but hey, I'm just rewatching it for the moment via rental and pondering if I want to buy it later. (Paramount's marketing tactic did sway me away from buying the movie for the moment, if you must know.)

Despite what some anti-fans were decrying about this new chapter of the bold new Star Trek franchise heralded by J.J. Abrams, this is Star Trek at its best.

J.J. Abrams on the set of Star Trek Into Darkness

Best because it's a slightly new spin on old characters, great to get new stories and great to see it done well.  Face it, if 'The Asylum' production company had done it, it would not have made it past a home DVD sale stage.

Be it as it may, we get all the old familiar characters back in a new spin on the franchise, courtesy of a nasty, time-mucking Romulan in the first movie.

Hence, a reboot of a new chapter of stories.

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